Sweetwater Telephone (Monroe Co. TN) Thursday, January 9, 1908:
"Noted Moonshiner And Outlaw Killed---Garret Hedden, a noted moonshiner and outlaw, was killed, his nephew, John Hedden, was mortally wounded and his son, Charles, seriously wounded the result of the attempt of a posse to capture the elder Hedden in the mountains of Polk County last Saturday morning.
The posse, headed by Sheriff Birch Biggs, of Polk County, and Sheriff Watson, of this county, surrounded Hedden’s illicit distillery on Lost Creek, in Polk County, and attempted to capture Garret Hedden, who refused to obey their command to surrender and was shot down. Hedden’s son and nephew attempted to run into the distillery, presumably to get guns, and were also shot down. The nephew, John Hedden, will die, it is reported, and the son, Charles Hedden, is badly wounded, although the wounds are said to be not necessarily fatal. Four shotguns and Winchester rifles were found in the distillery.
The posse was attempting to capture Garret Hedden for the killing of his brother, William, several years ago, and strange to say, the nephew, who was mortally wounded, is a son of the brother whom Garret Hedden had killed.
Garret Hedden has been one of the most noted moonshiners and outlaws that ever frequented the East Tennessee mountains and the members of the sheriff’s posse which went out in search of him knew that they were dealing with a desperate criminal and determined to take no chances, and Hedden, when he declined to obey the command to surrender, was shot down. Several shots were fired and it will never be known who killed Hedden.
Garret Hedden killed his brother, William, in what is known as the Hedden settlement, several years ago, about nine, it is said. The killing occurred iver an Indian who worked in the Hedden distillery. William Hedden was about to cut the Indian with a knife, it is said, when Garret told him that if he did he (Garret) would kill him (William). The latter slashed the Indian and Garret killed him on the spot.
Strange to say, no effort was made to bring Garret Hedden to justice for several years. He was known as a desperate man and a dead shot, which probably had something to do with his immunity from the officers of the law. About a year ago Sheriff Biggs procured a warrant for Hedden and has since been looking for him. A posse was organized and Saturday morning the officers started out to find Hedden in his mountain retreat.
In the party were Sheriff Biggs and Deputies Joe Williams and Gus Barcley, of Polk County, and Sheriff Pryor Watson and Deputies Blair and Chambers, of this county. The officers surrounded the distillery and were close to it before being discovered. Garret Hedden stepped out, presumably for some water. Sheriff Biggs twice ordered him to surrender and throw up his hands but he declined to comply with the commands and started to run back in the house, when several shots were fired and Hedden fell dead. He was shot in the head and neck. The two boys, Charles and John Hedden, were near the house and also started to run in, supposedly to get their guns, and they were also shot down. John Hedden was shot through the bowels and it is not thought that he can live. Charles Hedden was seriously but probably not mortally wounded. Another son, older than Charles, with a helper, was at the place, but they were not harmed. John Hedden was about eighteen years of age and was the son of William Hedden, who was killed by Garret several years ago. Charles Hedden was about sixteen years of age.
Garret Hedden was about sixty years of age and leaves a wife and three children. He was a brother to Riley Hedden, who was sentenced to the penitentiary a few months ago for an attempt at criminal assault on the person of a young girl.
The Hedden distillery was located near the waters of Lost Creek, about three miles from Reliance, a station on the L. & N. Railroad. It is a very large distillery, located in a very rough and almost inaccessible spot.
Knoxville revenue officers went to the scene last Sunday and destroyed the still, which was one of the largest ever captured in this part of the State.
Later: John Hedden, who was mortally wounded, died Monday."
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