As mountaineer feuds go, the one between Thomas Price and the Potter brothers was brief, though deadly. Both the 65-year-old Price and the Potter family were outsiders who fairly recently had arrived in western North Carolina.

Price, according to Bruce Stewart in his book, "Blood in the Hills: A History of Violence in Appalachia," was the kind of man many locals wanted to attract to the area. He was a wealthy, newly retired railroad executive who loved the land and had strong ideas about preserving it.

The Potter family hailed from nearby north Georgia, but had spent several years in Oklahoma, hoping to improve their lot in life. However, Oklahoma was not the place to settle in the early 20th century, so the Potters returned east, settling in North Carolina, but moving from county to county until Dewey Potter found a job, of sorts, as the caretaker of an abandoned mine, a position that provided him with a house.

Meanwhile, Thomas Price was developing his 1,200-acre estate not far from the Potters. Dewey's brother, Clarence, liked to hunt on the property that now belonged to Price. Other neighbors used some of the Price property for cattle-grazing.

That stopped in 1933 when Price retired from his railroad company job and settled in for the summer on his North Carolina estate. He kept his home in New Jersey, but it seemed clear he would be spending most of his time down south. He put up a fence to keep out cattle and "no trespassing" signs to warn would-be hunters that they would be arrested.

In September, Clarence Potter was arrested on Price's property, though the feud had started brewing weeks earlier. Dewey Potter was more upset about it than his brother, and he warned Price to stay away from mountain trails that were outside the Price property.

Price knew Potter didn't have the authority to do such a thing, and soon the feud between the two men boiled over:

New York Sun, September 25
WAYNESVILLE, North Carolina (AP) — A mountain man’s smoldering grudge was blamed today for the slaying of Thomas Price, 65-year-old former rail executive of New York.

Riding horseback along a trail on his 1,200-acre estate near here with two mountaineers yesterday afternoon, the retired secretary of the Union Pacific Railroad was halted by several men. In the burst of gunfire that followed, Price was shot to death and his friends were wounded.

Shortly afterward, Dewey Potter, 30-year-old Haywood County man, surrendered here and admitted, officials said, that he shot Price. Potter’s brother, Clarence, 35, and Eric Ledford, 22, came into town with him and also were jailed.

Last Saturday, Potter, who lived on abandoned mining property next to the Price estate as caretaker, was fined $5 in Magistrate’s Court here for hunting on the New Yorker’s estate without permission. Officers said this was the only motive they could assign for the shooting.

The three men were held without bond and no formal charges had been filed against them. A preliminary hearing likely will not be held.

Throughout last night Sheriff Jake Lowe and deputies investigated the shooting. The poor of this section mourned Price’s death, for his philanthropies had been many.

Price’s companions were Virge Williams and Charlie Buchanan. Williams was shot in the thigh and severely wounded, physicians said, but will recover. Buchanan’s wounds were minor.

Price was shot in the chest by either a rifle or a pistol, while Williams and Buchanan received shotgun slugs, it was said. Potter, it is said, asserted he was without companions, but both Williams and Buchanan said several men, including Potter, halted them.

Potter appeared suddenly from behind a tree about fifty paces from them, Buchanan said, and ordered Price to turn about on the trail. Before he could comply, Buchanan told the sheriff, guns barked and the assailants fled.

Price’s horse bolted, throwing him, and he died before he could be brought from his lodge three miles away.

The New Yorker was well known in this section, where he had visited for more than twenty years. He had assisted many mountain youths in obtaining an education, maintaining a circulating library for his neighbors, and helped support schools and churches. A large stock of medical supplies was kept by him for use among the needy poor.

Mrs. Price, the former Miss Ester A. Kilburn of South Orange, New Jersey, where the couple lived for a number of years, had returned to New York from the estate only last week. Price’s body was to be taken to New York today for burial.

Thomas Price, born in Wrexham, Wales, came to America as a youth. He rose to be secretary of the Union Pacific system from a clerkship, after becoming chief clerk and secretary to the president of the Union Pacific Railroad in 1907.

Upon his retirement he was connected with the management of 19 railroads, public utilities and other companies, most of them subsidiaries of the Union Pacific.

He was secretary of the Union Pacific Railroad Company, the Oregon Short Line Railroad Company, the Oregon-Washington Railroad & Navigation Company, the Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad Company and the St. Joseph & Grand Island Railroad Company, of which he was a director.

He was secretary and a member of the board of the Union Pacific Coal Company and three water companies, the Union Pacific, the Green River and the Rattlesnake Creek.

He held a similar connection with the Railroad Securities Company, the Illinois Union Coal Company, the Union Land Company, the Utah Parks Company and the Saratoga & Encampment Valley Railroad Company.

He was a director of the Pacific Fruit Express, the Baton Rouge Electric, the Eastern Texas Electric, the El Paso Electric and the Key West Electric companies.

Mr. Price was a center of controversy during his efforts to enforce laws against cruelty to animals during the years from 1925 and 1932 when he was president of the New Jersey SPCA.

Mr. Price often told friends here of his problems in winning acceptance as a neighbor of the Carolina mountaineers. On his early visits, before he had bought the hillside cabin, it was his custom on his rides through the country to carry his pockets filled with chewing gum for the children, who came to recognized him as “the chewing gum man.”

As he added to his land holdings in the last five years or so he found the forest crossed by several hidden trails, which he was prudent enough not to investigate. He sought to fence off only a few acres around the cabin and ran into trouble with one of his neighbors whose accustomed route to the woods was blocked.

Dewey Potter was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. He didn't deny shooting Price, but said he did so in self-defense. His jury didn't agree; Potter was found guilty and sentenced to spend 10-to-25 years in prison.

Eric Ledford, a cousin of Potter, was sent to prison for 15-to-20 years.

Oddly, witnesses claimed Clarence Potter was nowhere near the scene at the time of the shooting, but he was convicted, anyway. though he received a sentence of only two-to-four years.

Dewey Potter's 14-year-old son, charged with conspiracy, was found not guilty.

Thomas Price's will made news:

Spartanburg (SC) Herald-Journal, December 1
WAYNESVILLE, North Carolina (AP) — The laws of North Carolina and New Jersey will thwart Thomas Price’s desire, expressed in the will of the 65-year-old former Union Pacific Railway official, that his horses be put to death painlessly.

Court officials here said today the laws of the two states, in which Price maintained homes, forbid killing animals under such circumstances and that the horses on Price’s mountain estate hear here would remain on the premises.

The incident also brought to mind a 1926 shooting for which some people in New Jersey held Thomas Price partly responsible. That shooting was the "controversy" mentioned in the Associated Press story near the top of this page.

Price became president of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 1925. In 1926 the SPCA set out to investigate a complaint that a farmer near Pittstown, in the western part of the state, was mistreating his cows.

What happened next to that farmer's family became a public relations nightmare for Col. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, commanding officer of the state police. (His son, Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr., became famous as the commanding officer of Coalition forces during Operation Desert Storm.)

New York Evening Post, Thursday, December 23, 1926
CLINTON, New Jersey— The bullet-riddled farmhouse-fortress at Jutland where two brothers and a sister withstood a thirteen-hour siege by nearly thirty State Troopers, was overrun by neighbors and curiosity seekers today while its mistress lay dead in Somerset County Hospital.

The wounds Beatrice Meaney received in the all-night battle in which the police replied with Springfield rifles and tear-gas bombs to her brothers’ fire from an antique shotgun proved fatal to her early today.

James Meaney, a brother whose left kneecap was shattered by a rifle bullet, is in the hospital. Doctors said he would be crippled for life.

Timothy Meaney, the brother who did most of the shooting, was uninjured, but he is a prisoner in the Hunterdon County jail, charged with assault and battery with intent to kill.

Recorder Webster of Flemington fixed Timothy Meaney’s bail at $2,000 and remanded the giant farmer to jail when the required bond was not forthcoming.

James Meaney will face the same charge when he has recovered enough to permit his being taken to Flemington for arraignment.

In the desolate, hilly section where the farmhouse is located, the Meaneys were known to their neighbors as “queer people.”

Usually they were “let alone” by others of the vicinity. But today, with Beatrice dead, “Jim” in the hospital, Timothy in jail and the other nine brothers and sisters away from the farm, the curiosity of the neighboring farmers overcame their discretion.

For years they have been kept off the old farm by threats from “Jim” and ”Tim” that they would shoot trespassers on sight. Many are the tales that are told about the Meaneys’ manner of living and their dislike for company.

Never in more than a score of years has an outsider been within the doors of the old house built in Revolutionary times and occupied by ancestors of the present tenants for more than 100 years.

But today prying fingers poked among the contents of bureau drawers and thumbed the leaves of books. Curious eyes scanned the meager furnishings.

Upon the walls of every room with colored chromos of religious pictures, the Virgin and Child, portraits of the Popes and cardinals, and pictures of the saints. The glass coverings of several pictures on the first floor were shattered by bullets.

A huge log, the size of a telegraph pole, was in the living room, with one end sticking out of a window where the troopers had left it after using it as a battering ram. Bits of broken chairs lay round about, rugs were torn from the floors and left in crazy heaps.

One window in the living room had fifty-six neat round holes where bullets had torn through.

Upstairs the house was wildly awry. Pictures had been torn from the walls and the contents of bureau drawers were spilled on the floor.

There were four beds in the upstairs rooms, but no sign of bed clothing, except for a few torn quilts and two or three rugs, heaped on the best posts.

According to neighbors, the sister was the only one of the family who slept in the house, the brothers living in a barn and a woodshed on the property.

The situation for the New Jersey State Police went from very bad to worse when more information about the "Siege of Jutland" became public:

Buffalo Courier Express, Saturday, February 5, 1927
TRENTON, New Jersey (AP) — Specification of charges against three state troopers connected with the siege at the Jutland farm of James and Timothy Meaney on December 21, which resulted in their suspension, were made public today by Colonel H. Norman Schwarzkopf, commanding officer of the state police. The three men are Lieutenant Daniel F. Rogers, Corporal Matthew A. Daly and Trooper Alfred K. Larson.

Lieutenant Rogers is accused of ordering Corporal Daly and Trooper Charles Schwartz to riddle a state-owned car with shot from a gun confiscated from the Meaneys to substantiate alleged misstatements in a report by Rogers to Colonel Schwarzkopf that the car was fired upon by the Meaneys.

It is also charged that Rogers ordered Trooper Schwartz to fire a number of rounds of ammunition from the same gun in order to procure the empty shells and placed them in evidence as having been found in the Meaney home, bearing out the contention that several shots were fired at the troopers. Both orders are said to have been issued by Rogers on January 1.

Daly was also accused at the time of his suspension of failing to account for several articles taken from Timothy Meaney and entrusted to his care as evidence. The specifications charge that on January 19 he obtained a tobacco pouch and attempted to substitute it as the one which Sergeant Cunningham said had been turned over to Daly along with other articles that were seized.

Larson is specifically charged with firing, without sufficient provocation, upon James Meaney and wounding him, failing to render first aid after the assault and neglect to make an effort to identify the man he had wounded and to arrest him.

In each case the same general charge has been brought — “conduct unbecoming a member of the state police and behavior to the prejudice of good order and discipline of the state police.” Colonel Schwarzkopf has ordered a hearing of the case next Friday.

In all there are seven counts against Rogers, three against Daly and four against Larson.

The incident is recounted in the book, "The Siege at Jutland" by Mark W. Falzini.