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Uploaded on Mar 31, 2007
The death of Railroad Bill - Private detectives, rail detectives, lawmen, and citizens were after Bill, or at least the $1250 reward on his head. A posse was taking a break in the store of Tidmore and Eard in Atmore when a lone, black man with a slight limp walked through to the counter. Nobody paid him much attention except the storekeeper who recognized him as Railroad Bill. After Bill's last visit, the storekeeper placed a double barrel shotgun within reach so that he might win that reward. He was so afraid of Bill that he didn't go for the gun. Bill sat himself on a barrel and proceeded to snack on crackers and cheese, the posse continuing their conversations just across the room.
Leonard McGowin had recognized Bill going into the store. Again, Bill's reputation, the legend that he could only be killed by a silver bullet, his known ability with a gun, caused McGowin to hesitate. McGowin went around to a side door and fired his rifle from outside, issuing a fatal wound. On the way down, Bill went for his gun, but was hit again by a shotgun blast from the storekeeper. It took the startled posse a moment to figure out what was going on and then they opened fire on the corpse.
Railroad Bill's body was strapped to a board. His guns were placed on his person and he was placed on public display. In every "colored waiting room", in every major depot, from Atmore and Brewton to Montgomery, citizens were given the chance to pay 25 or 50 cents to view the remains or have their pictures taken with the notorious outlaw. The photo here of Leonard McGowin standing over the body, was widely sold for 50 cents by a company in Brewton. The body was buried in an unmarked grave in Pensacola.
The only genuine picture of McCoy is the final one of his body strapped to a board. All the others are of various other African American bad men and notable characters of those days. I couldn't find a picture of 'a .38 barrel on a .45 frame' so made do with various 45's and 44's. Bill's gun sounds quite feasible. The smaller .38 calibre and the heavy .45 frame would give you much reduced recoil and the with the long barrel you should have pretty accurate firearm.