Story furnished by Clarence
As had been the custom for
many years, the mill Superintendent went to the mill office early on
Friday morning, February 27, 1948 to make arrangements to pay the first
and second shift workers. The money had been brought from the Citizens
and Southern National Bank in Spartanburg and had been prepared in
small sealed manila envelopes, placed in small trays according to
departments and placed in the company safe by the Paymaster on the
evening of the 26th.
The employee’s name and total
amount of earnings were written on the front of every envelope along
with the applicable deductions such as house rent, tax, S.S.,
insurance, company store charges, church contributions, charity, etc.
Small bills, none over twenty dollars and change were used to pay the
This particular Friday
morning was different from all others. When Bernard White, Mill
Superintendent arrived at the office, he found the safe open and the
money missing. Sometime Thursday night, February 26, or early Friday
morning, the 27th, a thief or thieves had entered the office, knocked
the safe combination knob off, punched out the mechanism and ripped the
door open and had taken all the money.
The Spartanburg County
Sheriff, B. B. Brockman was notified. He, county Detectives George
Pruette and Jess Murph came immediately to the mill office. Will Quinn,
mill and village policeman, was there also.
In an article written by Mike
Guthrie and printed in the Spartanburg Herald on Saturday, February 28,
1948, it was stated that the trays of money had been loaded in a
wastebasket taken from the office to cart away the loot. Merchants were
asked to be on the look-out for persons with unusual amounts of small
It was the opinion of all
concerned parties that the robbery had been well planned and executed
perhaps by several persons having at least one car. The mill night
watchman had made his regular rounds punching the time clocks and had
seen nothing unusual. The Sheriff suggested that it would have taken
only a few minutes for an experienced robber to do the entire
Mr. L. D. DeLoach, Executive
Vice President and General Manager of Glendale Mills, also felt that
the robber or robbers got in quickly, worked fast and got out fast. It
was his opinion that it was the work of a professional safe cracker
expert or experts.
Since evidence of a recent
robbery at the Saxon Mill Store and the Fingerville Mill plant as well
as others in North Carolina and Georgia showed that there might be a
connection, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, The Treasury
Department Agents, The North Carolina State Police along with the
Spartanburg Sheriff’s office joined in the investigation. At that time
the robbery was considered to be among the largest in local history.
Bulletins concerning the robberies were circulated throughout the
southern states. After a suspect had been identified and Police were
advised that he had lived and worked in Glendale, the house in which it
was said that he had lived was immediately put under surveillance.
Incidentally, the house was within sight of the mill office.
Having been advised that
Tennessee police were holding the suspect, Sheriff B. B. Brockman,
County Police Chief, O. L. Brady, State Constable J. Marion Langston
and a Postal Inspector went to Kingsport, Tennessee on Monday afternoon
April 5. On Tuesday afternoon April 6, 1948, Sheriff Brockman, while
still in Tennessee, announced to the Spartanburg Journal through
Detective George Pruette in Spartanburg that a suspect, Claude Manis
alias Hugh G Manis, had been arrested and charged with the robbery at
Glendale Mills and the Saxon Mill Store. He stated that two warrants
had been signed before Magistrate Esten C. Taylor and served on Manis
who was being held in the Tennessee jail.
The Newspaper account written
by Glen W. Naves stated that the first warrant charged him with taking
$18,000.00, more or less, from Glendale Mills. The Second warrant
charged him with taking $2200.00 more or less, from the Saxon Mill
Store. Detective Pruette stated that officers had been informed that
Manis had lived in Spartanburg county for some time and had lived in
Glendale, working in the mill for a short while.
Shortly after the robbery,
the company began to pay the employees by check as opposed to cash.
Arrangement was made at the Glendale Mill Store to cash the employee’s
check when requested. Cash was brought from the bank on Friday and
Saturday mornings by armed guards for this express purpose.
According to court records,
copies (19 pages) of which I have at hand, indicate that Manis appeared
in the Spartanburg General Session Court which convened on the fourth
Monday of July 1948 where he was charged in the Glendale Case with
three indictments; Housebreaking, Larceny and Receiving stolen goods. A
panel of twenty seven jurors was drawn of which five were excused by
the State and ten were excused by the Defendant. Sheriff B.B. Brockman
presented the case against the defendant as he had found it along with
the testimony of Mr. T. M. Howe and his wife, Mrs. Annie Howe,
employees of Glendale Mills. They testified that they saw a man parked
near the office about 10;20 the night of the robbery and identified
Manis from a photo which was shown to them. They later testified that
he was the same man they saw the night of the robbery when confronted
by him after his arrest.
He was found guilty by the
jury on the first and second counts and not guilty on the third count.
Signed by C. M. Pearson, Foreman. The judgment of the court read; “The
sentence of the Court is that you, Claude Manis alias Hugh S. Manis be
confined upon the public works of Spartanburg County or in the State
Penitentiary at hard labor for a period of fifteen years.” Signed by T.
S. Sease , Presiding Judges July 29, 1948.
The lawyers for the
defendant, Attorneys Sam M. Burts, C. Yates Brown and Thomas Whiteside
moved that the Judge give a directed “Not Guilty” verdict on all
accounts but was denied. They then made the motion for a new trial
which was also denied. Notice of intention to appeal to the State
Supreme Court was filed immediately with Samuel R. Watt, Solicitor of
the 7th Judicial Circuit, consenting.
A six page appeal was filed
January 12, 1949 before the S.C. Supreme Court by the aforesaid
attorneys for Claude Manis alias Hugh S. Manis . Pointing out that the
respondent has relied entirely on circumstantial evidence and while
crediting the testimony of Mr. and Mrs. Howe with all sincerity was
“dubious” at best. It was suggested that the word of a $500 reward
might have influenced them in that they did not notify anyone of their
sighting for some time after the robbery. After strong emphasis on the
lack of “proof” the judgment of the Supreme Court was; “the judgment of
the lower court is reversed and the case remanded for entry of judgment
for the appellant; and unless there are other charges pending against
him, it is ordered that he be discharged from custody. Copy of judgment
filed by E. W. Miller, Clerk of Court, Spartanburg County, January 24,
Unfortunately for Manis
another warrant had been filed in Spartanburg County against him on a
like charge which was pending trial preventing his release. On January
24, 1949, same day as the Supreme Courts judgment, C. Yates Brown, the
Attorney for Manis, filed motion before the Spartanburg General
Sessions court that Manis be granted bail. The court ordered that he be
released from custody under bail of fifteen hundred, ($1500.00) This
writer having no further interest in the case against Manis sought no
further information regarding the defendant.
Following the fire which destroyed the Mill Plant and all outer
buildings except the Mill Office, the Mill Office and other property
was donated by the owner to Wofford College, Spartanburg, S. C. They
have done a magnificent work of restoration of the building and
preservation of the grounds. This writer would like to commend and
express appreciation for their help in making Glendale a point of
interest once again.
This web site has been started as a
public service to share the story of Glendale. The web master and
person to contact about putting information on the web site is Mary
McKinney Teaster. Contact her at:
or by telephone at (843) 873-8117. See
more information about Mary and her Glendale connection at Mary McKinney Teaster.