A Sad Day at Albion
The Shooting of Charles Robert Butterfield
By Glenn Butterfield
Two men faced each other on a cold January day. The Oxford deputy sheriff’s sawed-off shotgun was trained on the outlaw as they stood in an enclosure that held the hotel’s outhouses, waiting for Sheriff William Stokes of Albion to return with handcuffs. The deputy had tracked the outlaw to Albion and now was anxious to return with his prisoner to Oxford.
“Mind if I have a smoke?” the outlaw asked.
“Make it quick. We’ve got a long trip ahead of us.”
Taking his time, the outlaw pulled from his vest pocket a small bag of tobacco and a package of white cigarette papers. He selected one and put the others back in the pocket. He held open the small bag while making a trough in the white paper. Holding the paper in the fingers of one hand, he tapped the bag with the other, causing tobacco to fall precisely into the trough. He pulled a string on the little bag with his teeth to close it and returned it to the vest pocket. He then rolled the cigarette, twisted the ends, licked the paper along the seam, and stuck the “pill” into his mouth.
Producing a match from his other vest pocket, he reached down and tried to strike it on his raised boot. He tried two more times, raising the boot higher with each effort. On the third attempt, he pulled out a small pearl-handled pistol and shot the deputy in the stomach.
A second shot rang out, and the outlaw’s scalp and brains were plastered on the side of a shed.