Saturday, September 07, 2013

"candidate for the Vice-Presidency . . . at the head of an armed faction..."


Former Populist Leader on the Warpath.

Special Dispatch to The Call.

   THOMASTON, Ga., Nov. 5.--Thomas. E. Watson, candidate for the Vice-Presidency in 1896, once leader of the Populist party and later renowned as an author on account of the success of his historical works, has for the last two days been at the head of an armed faction representing the ultra prohibitionists of the town, which for a time threatened to meet in bloody combat the so-called liquor element, which also was under arms waiting for trouble.

   McDuffie County is "dry" under the Georgia local option law, but there have been a number of charges of the existence of "blind tigers." Watson has taken a prominent part and for some time great bitterness has existed the former Congressman and the leaders of the faction which was charged with encouraging violations of the liquor laws.

   A crisis was precipitated a few days ago, .when Watson was informed that a young man of the town had used some opprobrious epithets concerning him before a crowd in a local barber shop. Meeting the young man on the street a few hours later, Watson told him what he had heard. The former not only admitted his remarks, but repeated them, with curses. Bystanders prevented a personal encounter, but Watson's antagonist and his brothers proceeded to arm themselves, whereupon Watson also armed himself.

   Friends of both sides were quickly under arms and for a time it seemed impossible to prevent bloodshed. Every dealer in the city handling firearms and ammunition was besieged and a battle was expected.

   The affair was finally adjusted through the intervention of older citizens, who acted as intermediaries. and both factions have now laid aside their arms, though the bitterness has not been allayed and the trouble may break out again.

[The San Francisco Call, San Francisco, Friday, November 06, 1903. Volume XCIV--No. 159. Pg. 1]

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