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Fairfield, IL

60 years later, gang leader's slaying still unsolved

Sorry, accidentally posted the 2nd part twice.  (Jun 20, 2009 | post #66)

Fairfield, IL

60 years later, gang leader's slaying still unsolved

The Sheltons later dropped the first bomb ever from an airplane onto American soil as an act of "terrorism " which was directed at the Shady Rest (Birgers illegal booze joint, known as a speakeasy) but misjudged the trajectory and only managed to blow up the cock fighting pen behind it. As a teenager in the mid 80's growing up in Pond Creek, I became very interested in all of this history and began to research it as best I could. Imagine my surprise as I discovered the black, 2 door sedan Blackie was driving when Carl was killed, that still sits on land that was owned by Blackie at the time of the murder, and shortly after that,found a large rock protruding from the side of a ridge in which is carved "Charles Harris 1926" with 7 (?) scratchmarks most likely indicating current number of kills. Later, I was priveledged enough to actually get to hold both The nickel plated, ivory handled, left handed grip, Colt(?) 45 revolver that Carl always carried and managed to fire back 5 out of 6 possible shots with at Blackie the day he was killed, and Hal Bradshaws' 45 service revolver at the same time. As I recall, Hal was the Sheriff in Wayne County at the time of Carls reign. I have much more info if anyone is interested and can point you at the local library which has a stack of original newspaper articles concerning all of the aforementioned and so much more. Simply fascinating to read these and how, as they progressed, it went from being reported as BIG news to basically just another incident. Also My Great grandfather Willie Gammon, on my mothers side, was an affiliate of the Sheltons and ran illegal booze for them. It has been a hush hush rumor within some of our family that he murdered a man and hid the body and a great deal of money down an old well on their farm-junkyard, south of Wayne City, and covered the old well with a car. Neither were ever retrieved, as Willie found salvation shortly after "meeting the Devil in the fence row" and spent the last approx 50 yrs of his life as a pastor. He felt that the money was blood money and was tainted, and so to my knowledge, it still remains where it was. I can't verify that particular story about Willie but the rest is all known fact. Contact me at [email protected] oo.com for additional info.  (Jun 20, 2009 | post #65)

Fairfield, IL

60 years later, gang leader's slaying still unsolved

This is part 1 of 2, I am Shannon Fry, I am Kim Doziers fiance, and I have lived in Wayne County for all but 2 of my 38 yrs, with much of that having been in Pond Creek. I know the area and it's history pretty well. I am wondering if Gary Harris is the same one that lived in Fairfield from the 80's til early 2000's and operated O & M services. If so, I worked for him and I can tell you that the man wouldn't lie at gunpoint. Comically though, he, like his grandfather, was usually equipped with at least 2 guns on his person at all times. If it is the same guy mind you. As for books, Try Brothers Notorious, a very good read with lots of great pics and info about the Sheltons, Charlie Harris, and Charlie Birger who was another notorious outlaw from Harrisburg Il. with whom the Sheltons had business ties but later on had a severe falling out much like with Charles "Blackie " Harris. Another good read concerning all of this is Charlie and the Shawneetown Dame. The Dame in point would be Helen Holbrook Richardson, a wealthy, Shawneetown socialite with blonde hair and stunningly good looks. My late grandfather, Noble Fry, never said much but when he did, it was usually worth hearing. Late in life, he told of his youth and how his father had kept horses for the Sheltons (they loved animals and owned many throughout their lives, especially Carl and Bernie)and that they used to bring their girlfriends out to his farm north of Fairfield to ride the horses and show off and shoot their guns. They would give Grandpa a silver dollar to clean their cars. Big money back then. He remembered vividly a certain Blonde from down south somewhere but couldn't recall her name. When I mentioned Helen Holbrook Richardson, he said "yes, that was it. I think she lived on a rivertown and was very rich but caused trouble between Carl (Shelton) and Charlie (Birger)". This is also true, although she was certainly not the only mitigating factor in their falling out, she was indeed, an aggravating one.  (Jun 20, 2009 | post #64)

Fairfield, IL

60 years later, gang leader's slaying still unsolved

Cont. The Sheltons later dropped the first bomb ever from an airplane onto American soil as an act of "terrorism " which was directed at the Shady Rest (Birgers illegal booze joint, known as a speakeasy) but misjudged the trajectory and only managed to blow up the cock fighting pen behind it. As a teenager in the mid 80's growing up in Pond Creek, I became very interested in all of this history and began to research it as best I could. Imagine my surprise as I discovered the black, 2 door sedan Blackie was driving when Carl was killed, that still sits on land that was owned by Blackie at the time of the murder, and shortly after that,found a large rock protruding from the side of a ridge in which is carved "Charles Harris 1926" with 7 (?) scratchmarks most likely indicating current number of kills. Later, I was priveledged enough to actually get to hold both The nickel plated, ivory handled, left handed grip, Colt(?) 45 revolver that Carl always carried and managed to fire back 5 out of 6 possible shots with at Blackie the day he was killed, and Hal Bradshaws' 45 service revolver at the same time. As I recall, Hal was the Sheriff in Wayne County at the time of Carls reign. I have much more info if anyone is interested and can point you at the local library which has a stack of original newspaper articles concerning all of the aforementioned and so much more. Simply fascinating to read these and how, as they progressed, it went from being reported as BIG news to basically just another incident. Also My Great grandfather Willie Gammon, on my mothers side, was an affiliate of the Sheltons and ran illegal booze for them. It has been a hush hush rumor within some of our family that he murdered a man and hid the body and a great deal of money down an old well on their farm-junkyard, south of Wayne City, and covered the old well with a car. Neither were ever retrieved, as Willie found salvation shortly after "meeting the Devil in the fence row" and spent the last approx 50 yrs of his life as a pastor. He felt that the money was blood money and was tainted, and so to my knowledge, it still remains where it was. I can't verify that particular story about Willie but the rest is all known fact. Contact me at [email protected] oo.com for additional info.  (Jun 20, 2009 | post #63)

Fairfield, IL

60 years later, gang leader's slaying still unsolved

I am Shannon Fry, I am Kim Doziers fiance, and I have lived in Wayne County for all but 2 of my 38 yrs, with much of that having been in Pond Creek. I know the area and it's history pretty well. I am wondering if Gary Harris is the same one that lived in Fairfield from the 80's til early 2000's and operated O & M services. If so, I worked for him and I can tell you that the man wouldn't lie at gunpoint. Comically though, he, like his grandfather, was usually equipped with at least 2 guns on his person at all times. If it is the same guy mind you. As for books, Try Brothers Notorious, a very good read with lots of great pics and info about the Sheltons, Charlie Harris, and Charlie Birger who was another notorious outlaw from Harrisburg Il. with whom the Sheltons had business ties but later on had a severe falling out much like with Charles "Blackie " Harris. Another good read concerning all of this is Charlie and the Shawneetown Dame. The Dame in point would be Helen Holbrook Richardson, a wealthy, Shawneetown socialite with blonde hair and stunningly good looks. My late grandfather, Noble Fry, never said much but when he did, it was usually worth hearing. Late in life, he told of his youth and how his father had kept horses for the Sheltons (they loved animals and owned many throughout their lives, especially Carl and Bernie)and that they used to bring their girlfriends out to his farm north of Fairfield to ride the horses and show off and shoot their guns. They would give Grandpa a silver dollar to clean their cars. Big money back then. He remembered vividly a certain Blonde from down south somewhere but couldn't recall her name. When I mentioned Helen Holbrook Richardson, he said "yes, that was it. I think she lived on a rivertown and was very rich but caused trouble between Carl (Shelton) and Charlie (Birger)". This is also true, although she was certainly not the only mitigating factor in their falling out, she was indeed, an aggravating one.  (Jun 20, 2009 | post #62)