Tough Times in Lincoln County – Part IV

Robert Compton was a name that filled the men in the barn with second thoughts of what they intended to do. Robert Compton was a good man, an honorable man that disappeared on his way to work. Everyone knew who was responsible for Robert Compton’s disappearance. However, few ever wanted to talk about it. They all knew James McDowell was responsible (along with his witless son, Isiah) for Robert Compton’s disappearing off the face of the earth. Of course, there was no way to prove that. “It’s the only way. If we were to shoot McDowell outright, the rest of the clan would be after us and practically everyone in town. It has to be sudden and when James is by himself,” said Jacob. “You know, this may not be common knowledge amongst you boys, but James McDowell has him a honey in Bogue Chitto. I know for a fact he goes to see her every Wednesday night, after church mind you, when he drops off Carla at home. I don’t know what his excuse is to her when he does this. Maybe she don’t care. I don’t know. But, if we ever going to take him, that would be the only time we could do it. Only thing about it, we can’t have more than three men do it. More than that and it would arouse suspicion. We likewise would have to do it after Wednesday services,” said Ethan Green. The men all looked at each other with the sudden realization this deed was going to come about. “Okay. I volunteer myself. Who else?” asked Jacob. Only Ethan and Luther Green raised their hands out of the eight men gathered. Of course, those two had reason enough to kill James McDowell. Their families have little in the way of meat since the McDowells stole all their pigs.

Two weeks later, Wednesday night had come for Jacob Dinkins and the Green boys, Ethan and Luther. Church was letting out, people were hugging and shaking hands. The plan was for Jacob Dinkins to have his car broke down in the middle of Hwy 32 leading out of town. Jacob would be broke down by the old abandoned mill, about three miles outside the town limits. Ethan and Luther would be in the bushes waiting with their guns they had bought off a traveling gun trader. No way the guns could ever be traced back to the Green boys since there was no paperwork. Jacob waited for a good thirty minutes before he left to go down Hwy 32 along with the Green boys. James McDowell needed time to get organized for this ambush. “You sure you want to do this, Jacob? I know we discussed this over and over. But, I got to admit, I’m scared about this now. What if we get arrested by that horse’s ass of a sheriff? What then?” asked Ethan Green. “A little late to be having second thoughts on this now, don’t you think, Ethan? I mean, we all agreed this has to be done. The McDowells aren’t giving us any damn choice! Now, if you want to back out on your end of the deal, that’s on you,” said Jacob. ” I ain’t backing off no damn deal. I’m just thinking, that’s all!” Ethan angrily shouted. “Shut up, Ethan, you gonna get us all kilt,” replied an equally angry Luther. About that time, they saw headlights coming around the curve. “Here he comes boys. Now, don’t come out of those bushes until you hear me say ‘I’m heading home,” said Jacob. Jacob had the hood on his car up and was trying to look helpless.

“That be you, Jacob Dinkins?” came a voice from the 1929 Ford pickup. “That be me, James McDowell. I can’t figure out quite what’s wrong with this old Chevy sedan,” said Jacob. “I was just driving along and it just sputtered dead. It’s got water, it’s got gas. Don’t make no sense at all,” said Jacob. Then came another voice…a voice that was unexpected. “I find it a bit strange you can’t figure out the problem, Jacob. You being such a good mechanic and all,” said Isiah McDowell. Now, this is a problem, thought Jacob. Why is Isiah with his father? Surely he’s not going to the same house of ill-repute. “Hell, folks from town say you about the best county mechanic these parts seen since Joshua Perkins up and died on us all,” said Isiah McDowell. “I’m a decent mechanic. But, I’m not Joshua Perkins and never will be,” said a suddenly rattled Jacob Dinkins. The plan was called to deal with James McDowell. Not his son, Isiah. Should we cancel this whole thing, thought Jacob. Jacob had to think fast or things would go south quickly. James was already eyeing him suspiciously. “What you doing out this way so far out of town and this time of night, Jacob?” asked James McDowell. “As you can see in the back of my truck, I got chicken feed. Its the wrong kind of feed for my chickens. I told them boys at the hardware store I needed the feed with high protein,” replied Jacob. “I think a better question is what you two boys doing out this way at night,” said Jacob. “That be none of your damn business, Jacob McDowell! You always was a busybody and cant mind your own business,” said the elder McDowell. “It being Sunday night you think you going to find the hardware store open? What you really up to Jacob? asked Isiah McDowell. ” “I’m tired of talking to you two. I’m heading home.”

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