Alexander Breedlove, Appalachia, Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency, Charleston, crime, history, James Bolles, Lick Creek, Logan Banner, Matewan Massacre, Mine Wars, Mingo County, United Mine Workers of America, Welch, Williamson
The following story appeared in the Logan Banner on July 8, 1921, providing some history for events in Mingo County, WV, after the murder of Baldwin-Felts agents in Matewan and before the killing of Sid Hatfield at Welch:
TROOPER SHOT IN MINGO FRAY
WOUNDED MAN MAY LOSE USE OF ARM AS RESULT OF THE AFFAIR
Trooper James A. Bolles, of Charleston, who was shot June 14 while engaged in searching for arms in the Lick Creek tent colony near Williamson, Mingo county, may lose the use of his right arm as a result of the injury. The search followed a complaint that automobiles passing on the public highway had been fired upon from the tent colony.
A detachment of state police, assisted by some 10 citizens who had volunteered and been sworn in as special state police, went to the camp to seize arms found there in order to prevent further shooting, the identification of any person using his rifle viciously and recklessly being impossible while many of the residents of the colony had arms.
With a party of 15 special state police, Trooper Bolles came upon a group of armed men. He ordered them to put down their weapons but was answered by a number of shots. The trooper and the citizens with him returned the fire with the result that Alexander Breedlove, on of the armed group, was killed.
Shot From Hillside
Some person hidden away on the wooded hillside opened fire and Trooper Bolles was struck in the back, the bullet breaking several bones and severing a number of nerves. Although severely wounded, the state police officer attempted to lift his rifle. He fell to the ground and was guarded by two armed civilians while others attempted vainly to locate the man who had shot him.
When first taken to hospital, Bolles’ chances of recovery appeared slight but the doctors later announced that he would get well but might lose the use of his right arm. The popularity of the injured trooper was such that many citizens of Williamson called upon him daily in the hospital.