Maryville Times (Blount Co. TN) Friday, August 11, 1905:
"Walter Heffner Killed At Townsend---Sunday witnessed a bloddy tragedy at Camp No. 4, above Townsend, in which one man was killed and another wounded. From what we can learn, a company of men were drinking and fell out among themselves and began shooting with their pistols. Walter Heffner, who was killed and Tom Messer, the man who was wounded, were in a cabin nearby. Messer was standing in the door when a stray shot struck his leg, driving his knife through the fleshy part of same, making a gaping wound. Heffner went to his relief, and was bending over him when a ball struck him in the back, ranging upward, cutting the large artery in the arm. The ball went through two, wooden partitions before striking him, passed through his body and into another wall and was evidently fired from a rifle. Heffner, nor Messer neither one were concerned in the row, but were innocent bystanders. Heffner’s wound was dressed and he was placed on a hand-car to be taken to the hospital at Knoxville, but died when they reached Hubbard, four miles from Maryville. His body was brought to Maryville, and taken to C. Pflanze’s where it was prepared for burial, and shipped to his old home in North Carolina. He was a young man about 25 years of age, of fine appearance and well liked by those who knew him. He was employed as cook at the above named camp since last April. Dick Thomas, who was near the scene of the row, thought the men were firing at him, secured his rifle and began firing around promiscuously, and it is thought that he fired the shot which killed Heffner, but he stoutly denies it was him. Messer says that Thomas did not shoot him. Thomas was brought to this place by Deputy Sheriff Miller and lodged in jail. Several arrests have been made, and it is to be hoped the guilty party or parties will receive just punishment."