Newspaper clippings · Religion · West Virginia

Gunfight breaks out at church (1906)

March 27, 1906
Coaldale, West Virginia
A fight erupts in a church leaving one dead, one mortally wounded, and 4 injured

Tensions within the church had been high as the church members formed two conflicting factions arguing over how church funds should be spent. As hostilities grew, guns were drawn. It was reported that no one was certain who shot first, but a violent volley of bullets followed leaving Benjamin Capely (sometimes spelled as Copely or Capeley) dead, his wife “disfigured by having part of her head torn away with a gun shot” as she entered the church doorway and “cannot recover,” a woman shot in the side, and a man shot in the leg. Two unknown men fled the scene but were injured as well. Three of the members were arrested.

I couldn’t find any additional information on this incident, which seems to be a common theme with stories that are 100+ years old. I wasn’t able to find Benjamin Capely’s grave or death certificate despite using several alternate spellings, nor could I find any other articles reporting the trial of those arrested.

Clipping: Daily News (Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania) Mar 28 1906

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