Seaborn Posey, Winston County Embezzler
Submitted by Robin Sterling
Seaborn Benjamin Posey was born in Alabama in 1847 son of F.M. and Sarah Posey. When he was about 17, he enlisted in Company K of the 24th Alabama Infantry, CSA. He was wounded and captured near Atlanta in 1864 and spent most of a year in prison at Camp Chase, Ohio. After his parole at Talladega in June 1865, he returned home and resumed the life of a farmer. He married Barbara Isabell Posey in 1869.
By 1880, Seaborn and Barbara were residents of Winston County. Soon, Posey entered into the field of local politics and was elected Superintendent of Education. Unfortunately, the money attendant to the office was too tempting and in October of 1885, Posey took somewhere between one and two thousand dollars of school money and left the country. Immediately, law enforcement personnel scoured the countryside looking for him. The Governor offered a reward for his arrest.
Descendants claim he was inadvertently led into embezzlement by a prominent Winston County citizen who convinced Posey to temporarily loan him the money. When the other man refused to pay back the money, as the responsible party, Posey was accused of stealing it.
Almost two years later Posey was found living near Hot Springs, Arkansas. In May 1887, he was arrested and brought back to stand trial. In the meantime, he was kept in the Cullman jail. The Judge set his bond at $1,800 and set his trial for the February 1888 term. Posey made bond and at his trial, held in September 1889. He was found guilty and sentenced to the penitentiary for two years. His sentence was light and took into consideration he had been used as a tool by the other man and had already been in jail two years awaiting trial.
Posey immediately appealed and since he was a flight risk, he was held in the Jasper jail until the case was heard by the Alabama Supreme Court. In October of 1889, several weeks after his conviction, the doctor was called to his cell. Seaborn Posey was suffering from asthma, and the doctor recommended to the Sheriff to remove his bedding from the jail cell and put it in the corridor which was better ventilated and would help Posey?s breathing. When Deputy Sheriff Hendon awoke the next morning he discovered that Posey had removed several bricks from an outside wall and lowered himself to the ground by fastening his bed clothing to the iron bars. The Walker County Sheriff was convinced Posey had help in his escape.
This time it took law enforcement seven years to find Posey. When the long arm of the law finally caught up with the embezzler, he was hiding out in Indian Territory. He was again brought back to Winston County and this time wound up in the state pen. Meanwhile, his friends back in Winston County circulated a petition and gathered signatures for a pardon from the Governor. The Governor looked favorably upon the petition and granted Posey a pardon in June 1898. When he was released, Posey made one last trip to Winston County to thank his friends who had labored on his behalf. Then he returned to Indian Territory.
Posey spent the rest of his life out west. In 1910 he was found in Muskogee County, Oklahoma. Barbara died in 1915, Seaborn B. Posey following in December 1916; they were buried in the Avant Cemetery in Garland County, Arkansas.
Source: Various issues of the Winston Herald and the Blount County News, Federal Census, FindaGrave.com, and the Mountain Eagle