Funny, Funny Stories From my days at Eden, P.D.
By Michael D. Martin, E.C.P.D. Retired
About the author...Michael Martin (pictured front row, far right in the 1981 photo) is a retired veteran of 25 years on the Eden City Police Department, and has penned a number of anecdotal writings recalling his experiences.
LII. Otis KimballIn 1966, I went to work for Spray, PD and soon met Otis Kimball. Otis sold a bit of Government whiskey out of his store which was located at the traffic circle at Spray. I think Otis only sold pints and when a customer went in to buy groceries and placed a special order, a pint bottle was added to the bottom of the grocery sack and if you watched closely, everything looked quite legitimate.
Once, Otis got caught three times in a row transporting way too many pints from the Reidsville ABC store to his store and a six man jury was empanelled from Spray citizens, in the old recorder's court, Judge Herman Peters presided and. I listened to the evidence and there was no doubt in my mind that the officers had acted correctly and the evidence was seized and presented properly...I did not know it then, but I was seeing the first instance of Jury Nullification. The Jury must have been agitated that Reidsville had an ABC store and Eden did not because they returned a "not guilty" on all three charges. Otis Kimball was Eden's ABC store and nobody better mess with it.
I got to know Otis over the next few years and I learned that there was not a man in Eden with a bigger heart. I can not recount the times I found families destitute and without any food. I always went to Otis and told him what I had found and Otis would hand me a box....a big box and said "get what you think they need." I would try to keep up with what I was getting and Otis said.....no need, just get what you need for them.
One morning I was called to a house just off Morgan Road where a social services worker had gone to check on one of her families and found the husband had left four days past and the family had been without food or coal. When I got there, it was four degrees and water in the kitchen was frozen solid in pots. The mother was bundled up in all the blankets and quilts she had with her two young children and even then, their faces were frostbitten and rosy red. I got the story and went immediately to Otis Kimball,
Social Services could help in a few days, Otis would help right now. Otis called Luther Griffin and said "Luther, Load three bags of coal in that police car." and he gave me the big box and said "get what you think they will need." and as always, I did not have to keep up with anything, it did not matter to Otis.
Otis was a bootlegger, but I have only the fondest memories of him. Otis Kimball was a fine man.
Michael D. Martin
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