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Old News Stories
Sheriff Ben Keith Shot, Dies, 1907

From The North Georgia Citizen
published at Dalton, Ga.
August 1, 1907

Ben Keith Passed Away Last Sunday Morning–End
came at 5 O'clock

Ben C. Keith...died Sunday morning about five o'clock, after lingering between life and death for five days. His death resulted from a bullet wound which he received while making the arrest of John Harper, an escaped murderer for whom these was a reward of $300.

In conducting his prisoner from Eton, where the arrest was made after Harper had fired the shot which proved fatal, to Spring Place and lodging him in the Murray County Jail, Sheriff Keith gave an exhibition of true grit. With the bullet lodged in his bowels, he kept a tight grip on his prisoner until he was locked in a cell. He then went home and a physician was summoned. Dr. S. A. Brown ...was the physician who attended him, and seeing the dangerous condition of his patient, he called in Dr. J. G. McAfee (of Dalton) and Dr. J. M. Gregory. The very best of medical attention was given, but the wound was of such a serious nature that the doctors could not avert the end...The wound from which President McKinley died was nearly similar...Such a wound almost always proves fatal.

Mr. Keith, at the time of his death, was about thirty-five years of age. He was a son of Mr. Amos L. Keith, one of the most prosperous and highly respected farmers of Murray county. He married a sister of Dr. W. L. Looper, of this city, and three children were born to them. He was a brother of Mrs. H. H. Gregory, of Dalton.

Though, at the time of his demise, he had served only a small portion of one term as sheriff, he had, on all occasions, proved himself to be a brave, conscientious officer, serving the people to the best of his ability. The expressions of regret hears at his death, give evidence of his popularity among all who knew him. All Murray rang with praises for his courage in making the arrest of Harper and for his exhibition of grit in taking his prisoner to jail after having received the painful wound.

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