Elusive Bunch Gang Escapes From Cordon
Turns up in Knoxville on Rampage; Several Jailed
Governor Hill McAllister last night said that the State of Tennessee is offering $1000 reward for the capture of Clarence Bunch, East Tennessee’s Public Enemy No. 1. This amount will be matched by East Tennessee rewards. This makes $2000 reward and it is said that there are other rewards for his arrest.
Claiborne County officials, together with officers from Knoxville, Morristown, Bell County, Lee County, and several East Tennessee counties closed in on “Pee Jem” Bunch and his gang Tuesday, only to learn that he was in Burlington on a rampage. Officer E.A. Carr was shot in Burlington by the Bunch gang, several stores were held up and Clarence Bunch and his gang are once more in the hills of Bunchtown, about ten miles of Tazewell.
However Bunch’s gang is getting less all the time as officers bring in one and two at a time. Gus McCoig, said to be Bunch’s ace sharpshooter and wanted in five states is in the Tazewell jail having been captured Tuesday morning at ten o’clock by Deputies Bob Robinson, Shultz Robinson, Frank Riley, Sheriff Ridings of Bell County, Chief Minton of Middlesboro and John Brewer of Middlesboro. Joe McCullough is also in jail charged with harboring the Bunch gang.
Nellie Payne, Bunch’s moll or sweetheart, is also in jail here. With her were arrested Harry Gulley and wife. All were brought in Monday. Woodrow Bundren was arrested Tuesday morning, charged with harboring Bunch.
Beginning Sunday night Bunch and his gang went on a rampage, leaving a trail behind that enabled officers to get them cornered in Bunchtown. “Pee Jem” and his pack, said by McCoig to number about 20 or 25, although only three were in the Sunday night raid, came out of their lair in Caney Valley Sunday night about eleven o’clock and stopped in at Glenn Rowe’s place in New Tazewell. Bunch shook hands with Glenn Rowe and said he wouldn’t bother him, but that he was going to Aiken Robinson’s place and take it, then to Shultz Robinson’s place and take it, then to Shultz Robinson’s place in Tazewell and not only take it but cremate him. After taking some money from Aiken and a watch from his clerk, Aiken served Bunch with a piece of pie. The gang came toward Tazewell and the car turned over at Midway in which one of the gang was injured.
Clarence Richardson, coming out of his house nearby to see what was wrong, was demanded to give over his car keys. Taking the car they sped toward the Y where they met a man with a truck-load of hogs. They shot the driver in the hip because he had only a few dollars. The gang then robbed Grover Williams and family of Harrogate and took his car.
In this gang, according to officers, were good Ashberry, Babe Simpson, and Clarence bunch.
Officer pursued the gang to Lone Mountain where they were heard in the home of Dr. Miller. Bunch forced Dr. Miller to dress the wounds of one of his gang. The officers, Shultz Robinson, Aiken Robinson, Frank Riley, Sam Smith, and Andy Hurst, drove up to the house and shone their car lights on it. Bunch ordered them to move the car and a gunfight followed. More help was sent for Safety Director Walter C. Anderson and five policemen, of Knoxville, Sheriff John Brewer of Middlesboro with his machine gun, and Sheriff Dale of Lafollette with his bloodhounds came to their aid. Bunch and his gang shot their way out and escaped to the woods.
Monday the officers surrounded the gang and were closing in on Bunch. A gun battle ensued Tuesday more captures were made and still the officers closed in, thinking they had Bunch in a trap. However, Bunch broke through, unknown to the officers, and turned up in Knoxville on a rampage. Afterwards came the word from Governor McAllister that the state will match reward offers up to $1000.
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