Dowdytown Was a Rough Place Back in the Day
Dowdytown Negro Dies of Old Wound: Injury Inflicted by John Dowdy Proves Fatal: 1931
Police today were investigating the death of Alexander Henderson, a 24-year-old negro who succumbed yesterday morning in Providence Hospital to a gun shot wound in the leg inflicted September 26th, the injury becoming progressively worse until a final operation for the amputation of the leg proved fatal.
The negro dies without making an ante mortem statement, but police today were in possession of the name of the man who, the negro is said to have stated, shot him one night in Dowdytown. City Coroner J. E. Taylor was also pursuing an inquiry today. The only reference to the man who shot Henderson was made to hospital attendants whose word now is relied upon to form the basis of whatever process follows. He was quoted as saying he was shot at Dowdytown. The case was not reported to the authorities chiefly because of the intermittent visits which Henderson made to the hospital.
The wounded man was brought to the hospital on the night of September 26th with a bullet wound above the knee. The bullet had ranged down, however, and was removed from the muscles of the calf. Henderson seemed to make progress and left the institution on September 30.
On October 21st he was again brought to the hospital for treatment. The leg did not appear to be mending and he was suffering hemorrhages from the wound. He continued to take treatment until October 26th. Then he left the institution to be brought back on December 1st, this time in serious condition. He was in weakened condition and there were symptoms of gangrene. The immediate effort was to build him up for the shock of an operation for the removal of the limb. This was undertaken on Sunday evening by Dr. Julian Robinson who was called in the last desperate resort to save his life with small chance of his recovery because of his general weakness and the condition of his system.
While local hospitals have been more prompt of recent weeks in reporting all violent injury admissions to the police, the local authorities today still pointed to any mandatory provision in the city ordinances which would compel such action by the hospitals.
Chief of Police J. H. Martin said today that there had been no mystery about the shooting and that it had been investigated promptly at the time by Sheriff Gatewood, of Caswell County, also by local police. The version at the time is that he had a quarrel with John Dowdy on the night of the shooting, that the negro left the scene and returned later with a shot gun whereupon Dowdy fearing that the negro was about to shoot him, fired and wounded him in the leg. Dowdy is said to have given this explanation of the shooting at the time.
The Bee (Danville, Virginia), 8 December 1931, Tuesday, Page 2.