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Timeline

Corruption Takes Over, 1937-1953

1937
  • Attorney Albert Patterson moves his family to Phenix City.
1938
  • Corruption is generally accepted as nearly everyone in Phenix City has a friend or relative involved in the crime industry.
  • The Ritz Café, owned by Shepherd and Matthews, collapses on a crowd pushing in to see the winning lottery numbers. 24 people are killed, dozens more injured.
  • No witnesses come forward to aid in investigation.
1941
  • The U.S. enters WWII and the population of soldiers training at Ft. Benning increases.
  • Gamblers control the police, who consistently take their side against complaining soldiers.
1951
  • Russell Betterment Association (RBA) is formed by Hugh Bentley and supporters.
  • Albert Patterson draws up the papers of incorporation.
1952
  • Hugh Bentley’s house is bombed as the family sleeps. All survive.
  • Albert Patterson’s office is set on fire.
1953
  • Impeachment trial of Sheriff Mathews for willful neglect of duty. He is acquitted after Alabama attorney general Si Garrett testifies “I have known almost every Sheriff in Alabama since 1935 and I don’t know of a better one than Ralph Matthews.”
  • John Patterson returns from military service to join his father's law practice.

 

 

 

1798-1833 | 1909-18 | 1923-31 | 1937-53 | 1954-55

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Copyright December 3, 2002.
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