Unearthing Alapaha’s eye-popping shootout with Jesse James Roberts

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Always-on-the-go Bank of Alapaha Senior Vice President and board member Sylvia Roberts coolly squeezes the trigger of the genuine Smith & Wesson .38 Special revolver used by former Vice President Charlie Matthews to thwart a failed robbery attempt by Jesse James Roberts. According to Sylvia, “Besides the pile of stuff in my pink hospital bag, I was on my way to Fitzgerald to have the gun cleaned and mounted in a box. I asked my son if he wanted to see the gun. He said, ‘I bet you can’t even pick that up.’ Of course I took the bait, not knowing he took a picture. In 2018 I was honored at the Georgia Bankers Association convention for 50 years of employment with Bank of Alapaha. Much to my embarrassment and dismay, this is the candid they showed on a large screen.” Photography by Jeremy Roberts

Facebook memories from Alapaha residents…

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A circa 1966 mug shot of contrite-looking bank robber Jesse James Roberts. Note the misspelling of his forename. Image Credit: The Edward Smith Collection / Find a Grave
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Vice President C. A. “Charlie” Matthews was employed by the Bank of Alapaha on November 15, 1930 and became a director on January 8, 1953. Thirteen years later he would be caught smack dab in the middle of a fight for his life in hot pursuit of notorious bank robber Jesse James Roberts. Image Credit: The Bank of Alapaha Collection
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Jesse James Roberts should have known better than to hold up the imposing J. P. Culpepper, who joined the Bank of Alapaha as cashier on December 1, 1926, and rose up the ranks to become president on Jan. 12, 1965. Image Credit: The Bank of Alapaha Collection

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Retro pop culture interviews & lovin’ someone fierce sustain this University of Georgia Master of Agricultural Leadership alum. Email: jeremylr@windstream.net

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