(08/17/2018)

Former Calhoun Man Murdered by Moonshiners Transcribed by Norma Knotts Shaffer from microfilm of the Calhoun Chronicle dated 6/3/1920

Gilbert Keith, one of Washington district's most prominent citizens, has been missing from his home for some time is presumed to have been murdered by moonshiners upon whom he informed.

Keith, who is well known to people in this county, was in the railway mail service with a run from Charleston to Cabin Creek.  He lived about three miles from the railroad. On his way home he took him through the woods, over a hill.

One night, several months ago, when he had finished his work and was going home, he lost his way in the dark and while stumbling around in the woods came upon a gang of moonshiners making whiskey.

They set upon Keith and robbed him of what money he had with him and made dire threats of what would happen should he ever inform upon them.

Some time afterwards Keith got word of the affair to the revenue officers, and as a result of the information given by him the still was raided and several moonshiners sent up.

About three weeks ago, after he had worked out his run, Keith set out over the lonely path in the dark for his home. 

Since then he has never been heard of, although his dinner pail and lantern were found along the trail, where there were signs of a hard struggle.

It is presumed that friends of the moonshiners waited for him and carried him to some deserted spot and there murdered him.

On account of fear of the moonshiners, no extensive search has been made in the woods for his body.

His wife Bessie, who is a daughter of Mr. And Mrs. Sanford Cunningham, has returned to the home of her parents on Sycamore.

It will be remembered that it was Keith who gave the Kanawha County officers the information that led to the arrest of Lem Laughlin, the noted Calhoun bootleg bandit, several weeks ago.

He was the son of Roswell M. Keith.


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