More Cobb History: Bandits captured outside Mableton in 1914 car chase

A line drawing of an antique car, with a Cobb County Courier logo alongside it

In 1914 a newspaper called the Atlanta Georgian was owned by William Randolph Hearst. Like most Hearst newspapers, the Georgian placed a high emphasis on sensationalism. Crime and scandal were frequently the lead stories.

We’ve been digging through late 19th and early 20th-century issues of the Georgian in the Georgia Historic Newspapers database, looking for stories involving Cobb County and its cities.

While this story wasn’t quite John Dillinger or Bonnie and Clyde caliber, it had enough gunplay and car chase to make the front page in the February 16, 1914 edition.

2 Auto Bandits Taken in Wild Night Chase

Youths Decoy Taxi Driver to Obscure Place, Rob Him and Flee With Machine.


Following a wild auto chase across Fulton and Cobb Counties Sunday night, the Atlanta police Monday have in jail two taxicab hold-up men giving the names of C. A. Gray and William Paul Gray, of Birmingham. After robbing A. C. Hodge and stealing his machine, the men gave him a dime for carfare back to town. The police will seek to identify these two men with other Atlanta holdups and similar crimes in other Southern cities.

The two Grays decoyed Augustus C. Hodge, taxi driver, to Neal and Ashby streets on the pretext that they were legitimate fares.

Robbed Him at Pistol Point.

There they confronted him with Colt revolvers, robbed him of $1.45, compelled him to show them how to run the machine, then left him on the sidewalk while they rode into the country at top speed. Hodge is employed by the J. A. Gwinn Taxicab Company.

Hodge telephoned police headquarters, and two automobile loads of officers soon were traveling 60 miles an hour in the wake of the bandits. At Buckhead they picked up Lieutenant Cheshire, of the county police. Race Through County. Out along the Howell Mill road raced the pursuers, then on through a maze of country roads into Cobb County. At times the front machine could see the taxicab of the bandits weaving and careening crazily in the gloom ahead. That was between Mableton and Smyrna. Just before they reached Mableton the bandits heard a tire explode. So they stopped and built a fire. The officers’ machines stopped beside them. The bandits just grinned, and went ahead with their fire-making.

The Grays readily handed over their revolvers. At first they said they took the car for a joy ride, but later they are said to have admitted intention to take it to Birmingham and sell it. Both men say they have been in Atlanta only a few days and were not implicated in any other robberies.

About Georgia Historic Newspapers

Georgia Historic Newspapers is a part of the GALILEO project and is housed at the University of Georgia. It’s an amazing resource for anyone with an interest in the history of Georgia and its regions.

According to the “About” page on its website:

The Georgia Historic Newspapers Archive is a project of the Digital Library of Georgia (DLG), a part of Georgia’s Virtual Library GALILEO and is based at the University of Georgia Libraries. Since 2007, the DLG has partnered with universities, archives, public libraries, historical societies, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions to digitize historical newspapers from around the state. The archive is free and open for public use and includes over two million Georgia newspaper pages between 1763 and 2021.

Newspaper titles are regularly digitized and added to the archive. If you are interested in including a particular title, you can visit our participation page. A majority of the newspapers on this site were digitized from the microfilm produced by the Georgia Newspaper Project (GNP). For more information about the microfilm available through the GNP, please visit their website.