Tough Times in Lincoln County – Part III

James McDowell was a despicable, ornery, mean, tough as nails man as you’ll ever meet.  Those are most likely his good traits.  He was also a thief and had been most of his 65 years of life in Lincoln County.  Jacob Dinkins knew taking out James McDowell was not going to be an easy feat.  Most of the town wanted to go to his homestead and take out his entire family.  That would have most likely brought in federal agents.  As much as they hated that whole McDowell family, their hatred for the feds was infinitely more.  Most of those farmers supplemented their income with illegal stills for making moonshine whiskey. Those feds would have found those stills and destroyed them.  Those stills were the only thing that put food on the table for most.

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Tough Times in Lincoln County – Part II

As the Great Depressions continued to tighten it’s grip on the nation and especially in Lincoln County, Mississippi, the pressure on men to provide for their families increased.  In 1931, residents of Lincoln County were begging, pleading to their state government for help.  There was nothing forthcoming as state treasuries nationwide were depleted to the point of red ink. This was because of a lack of a tax base.  There was little in the way to tax due to so many that were unemployed and people not having money to pay for things.  In Lincoln County, people were at their breaking point.  This was due, in no small part, because of the McDowell family.  Having such a large family, the McDowell’s were in the business of constantly stealing, intimidating and robbing their way to ensure they did not go without three meals a day. Even the county sheriff was intimidated by this family.  So, the law abiding folks of Lincoln County were left on their own.  People were grumbling about the McDowells, to be sure.  But, they didn’t grumble too much.  No one wanted to meet the same fate as Robert Compton.  But, something had to be done or else the only people that would survive the Great Depression would be the McDowell clan.  No one knew if the depression would ever end in 1931.  Many considered this the “new norm.”  Whether it was the new norm or not, the seething anger and unrest among the good people of Lincoln County continued on unabated.  Something had to be done.  There was only one man who would take the lead.  That man was Jacob Dinkins.  Jacob Dinkins was a farmer who barely kept his head above water during this time.  But, that was more, far more than most farmers enjoyed during this time.

Tough Times in Lincoln County – Part I

In 1931, it was the heart of the Great Depression in Lincoln County, Mississippi.  Unemployment was at an all-time high of 16% in the USA and Congress had shown no inclination to pass legislation to help the nation recover. This economic downturn had no equal in the history of our nation.  In Lincoln County, Mississippi unemployment was double the national average, there were long soup lines and people were basically starving to death.  Families were leaving in droves looking for a better standard of living.  But, there was nowhere else in the country that could take new families.  Most were encouraged to keep moving on.  Most had given up hope that prosperous times would ever come again as was witnessed during the Roaring 20s when the economy was booming.  What made times even worse, than they already were, was having to deal with a family of thieves, bullies, and psychopaths.  This family was avoided in Lincoln County at all costs.  If you crossed one, you crossed the entire family.  Just threaten one, and soon you would see the entire family, both men and women, coming to pay you a visit.  You either gave something of value to the offended family member or you would find your house on fire, valuables stolen, your ass stomped in the ground…or worse.  There were rumors of people who crossed this family and they then disappeared virtually overnight.  This family was not above murder and mayhem.  This was the McDowell family.  It was a family of 40-45 adults, men and women.  There were numerous children who were well on their way to achieving notoriety.

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The Redemption of Thomas Gordon – Part V

Thomas had reached the very pinnacle of the West City Bridge .  His tears seemed to freeze before they had barely rolled out of his tear ducts.  It must be a wind chill factor of less than zero, Thomas thought.  He had climbed to the top of a rail about six feet from the outer walkway for pedestrians.  There was no one on this bridge but him tonight.  Thomas looked down into the frozen ice floes below.  Jumping from this distance into that frozen water would be instant death.  Thomas had been a failure at everything that life has to offer.  From romance, to marriage to education and to family, all his endeavors had ended in complete, utter failure.  Maybe leaving this earth will be the one good act he could bestow upon all those who loved and cared about him, Thomas pondered as he continued to look at the ice below. All my life, I’ve only cared about my wants, my needs and whatever suited my fancy, Thomas berated himself.  “I never thought of others!,” he cried out into the ice covered bridge. So to mask his failures, Thomas dived into the drug culture of Las Vegas, his hometown.  That provided him with a ticket to prison in Nevada.  But, even drugs got to the point it didn’t help his mood, his outlook on life in general.  Thomas stepped closer to letting go and just ending this miserable, sorry ass life he had been brought into without his consent.  Enough of this punishing myself, Thomas decided.  It’s time to meet my destiny and to see what the next world, if any, has to offer.  As he leaned forward to let go in the darkness of the West City Bridge, the white Pigeon, with the blood spatter on it’s wing appeared miraculously before him…and sat on a steel girder watching him.

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The Redemption of Thomas Gordon – Part IV

Thomas tore open the tarp in one swift kick.  The tarp immediately started rolling down the sidewalk and into the street.  The wind had picked up overnight.  Jack must be suffering with hypothermia, Thomas thought.  “HELP! HELP! I NEED HELP HERE! MY FRIEND IS IN NEED OF HELP!”  -Thomas screamed, as he carried little Jack as fast as he could toward the Mission House.  The wind in Thomas’s face was like a blow torch with the 21 degree temperature.  He probably was going to suffer frostbite.  What a stupid decision I made to not stay at the Mission House, Thomas thought as he noticed a police cruiser turn the corner at a traffic light.  “Hey, I need help officer!  Please stop!” Thomas pleaded with the officer in the cruiser.  The police car slowed down to within 15 feet of them. Thomas could see the officer smiling at them as he sped up and away from both men.  He must have thought we were both drunk, Thomas, reasoned.  No one would turn away from people who need help, even the homeless of the area, would they?  Thomas sobbed as he struggled once again to get Jack to the Mission House.  Jack was a little guy.  But, he was dead weight….and then Thomas thought how inappropriate that thought was as he saw the display of the Mission House in sight now.  “Somebody, ANYBODY, please help me!!!  I have someone in desperate need, please!!!” Thomas again screamed.  Thomas could make out a man’s form step out from the Mission House which was about 500 feet away now.  The man came running toward them.  It was the Mission Captain Jack had spoke to the day of Miss Betty’s death.  “What’s wrong with him?” the captain asked.  “I think he’s suffering with hypothermia.  Would you please call an ambulance?” Jack pleaded.  “Let’s get him in the shelter and see if we can revive him first.  I’ll notify my supervisor to get an ambulance from City Hospital here ASAP!” the Captain yelled at Thomas.

Continue reading “The Redemption of Thomas Gordon – Part IV”