Go to:
The Palm Beach Post
historic palm beach logo

Ashley Gang Shot On Wooden Bridge

Q: Was O.B. Padgett one of the deputies who “captured” the Ashley Gang? — D. S. Padgett, Lamont, Fla.
A: Mr. Padgett doesn’t say whether he’s related to the deputy who was part of one of the most dramatic moments in the history of Treasure Coast crime.
On Nov. 1, 1924, deputies stopped John Ashley and colleagues Hanford Mobley, Ray “Shorty” Lynn and John Middleton on a wooden bridge over the St. Sebastian River in what was then St. Lucie County.
Deputies said the gang was shot because the men tried to escape.
But many believed the Ashleys were assassinated by lawmen tired of being humiliated from Stuart to Miami by the gangsters’ bank robberies, moonshining and murder.
As early as 1928, Hix Stuart’s The Notorious Ashley Gang identified O.B. Padgett as one of the four Palm Beach County deputies, along with two St. Lucie deputies and the sheriff, who were on the bridge.
In 1997, Ada Coats Williams, a retired teacher of creative writing at Fort Pierce’s Indian River Community College, completed Florida’s Ashley Gang, the first book on the Ashleys since 1928.
A retired deputy who’d been on the bridge that night had confirmed to her in the 1950s that the men were shot while handcuffed, after John made a sudden move.
He had told her on the condition that she keep the secret until after all those involved had died.
Ten years later, in October 2007, in Indian River Magazine, Warren J. Sonne, a private eye and a retired New York police detective,concluded that the deputy who shot Ashley, and who confided to Ada Williams, was not O.B. Padgett, but Elmer Padgett (we couldn’t learn whether the two were related).
Williams still refuses to identify her confidant.

Tags: ,

Posted in Eliot Kleinberg June 18, 2008 at 10:47 am.

1 comment

One Reply

Leave a Reply

We'd like your thoughts on this story. I appreciate your willingness to share them. At PalmBeachPost.com, we want to avoid comments that are obscene, hateful, racist or otherwise inappropriate. If you post offensive comments, we will delete them as soon as we can. If you see such comments, please report them to us by clicking this link.

Tim Burke, Executive Editor, The Palm Beach Post.

© Copyright 2014 The Palm Beach Post. All rights reserved. By using PalmBeachPost.com, you accept the terms of our visitor agreement. Please read it.
Contact PalmBeachPost.com | Privacy Policy