Tazewell Republican, Tazewell, VA

February 23, 1911

Lebanon Briefs.

Russell County, Virginia History - In the News
Tazewell Republican, Tazewell, VA

July 20, 1899


Accused of Having Killed George W. Ratliff.

From the time the first news was received about the killing of Mr. George W. Ratliff on Swords Creek, the 29th of June, there has been much anxiety about the capture of the men who committed the crime. The Government offered a reward of "two hundred dollars for the arrest and conviction of each of the persons who ambuscaded the party in charge of Deputy Collector Ferguson, when searching for illicit distilleries on June 29th, 1899, near Sword's Creek, Russell county, Virginia, and killed George Ratliff, posseman." On Tuesday, the 11th inst., a posse led by Deputy Collector Ferguson went to Swords Creek early in the morning and destroyed the still which Ferguson and Ratliff were searching for when the latter was killed. Deputy Marshal R. M. Baldwin and Detective Thomas Felts were with the party and succeeded in capturing Charles Brown, a young man, who is accused of being with the party who shot Ratliff. Brown was brought to Tazewell and placed in jail.

On Wednesday, the 12th inst., Baldwin and Felts went back to the Swords Creek neighborhood and captured three men, John Brown, Charles Newberry and Henry Strouth, who were also accused of being with the ambuscaders. These men were brought to Tazewell and also lodged in jail. Baldwin and Felts then started out in search of William Strouth, the man who is charged with having fired the double-barrel shot-gun which gave Mr. Ratliff his death wounds. They succeeded in tracking Strouth to a house in the mountains back of Pocahontas, and on Sunday morning about daylight effected his capture. It is rumored that Strouth made an effort to resist arrest, being armed with a Winchester rifle. While his attention was directed to parties at the front of the house, Baldwin went in at the rear and covered him with his gun. On the way to Tazewell, we are told, that Strouth was very violent, though he was handcuffed. He was also put in the jail at this place at 11 o'clock Sunday morning.

This makes five men who are now in custody accused of being participants in the cruel murder of George W. Ratliff. The law will have to say whether they are guilty.