Born: 18 Feb 1916, Catawba County, NC Died:
24 Feb 1949
Whitener Loftin was the tenth child born to Alonzo Lester Loftin
and Ida Lillian Setzer. Mike was born 18 Feb 1916 in
Catawba County, NC.
(Right) A pre-teen
Mike Loftin with his sister-in-law, Marie Hoke Loftin, wife of
his brother, Theodore Roosevelt "Speedo" Loftin
(Below) An older
Willie Goble Loftin, "Mike seemed to frequently be involved in
the shady side of life. He was even a bootlegger.
Mike could get stuff during WWII when things were being
rationed, even when no one else could get them."
Mike showing his "fun-loving" nature
Mike and Tate Pope ran Catawba Cleaners before he was married.
(Left) Mike Loftin with Tate & Fred Pope
(Right) Mike with Winifred Kale and Mary Jo Rufty, 1945, at the
Cleaners in Catawba
Mike and his brother, Os, were arrested in the death of Carl
Cline in 1945 but found not guilty - as well as assaulting
(slapping) two females.
1945 September 3
Carl Cline Believed
Thrown From Catawba River Bridge & Killed
35, of Newton, former employee of the Tallent Transfer
Company of Hickory, was fatally injured in a fall from
the Catawba River bridge 12 miles west of Statesville
(the bridge between Catawba & Iredell Counties) Saturday
night about 10:30, following a road house brawl.
The trouble started at Riverside Service Station near the
bridge on Highway 70, and several men were chasing Cline
out in the direction of the bridge. Four of his
pursuers are charged with throwing him from the bridge,
the fall resulting in injuries from which Cline died
about an hour later. The men involved are all from
Catawba County, but the disturbance took place over on the
Iredell County side of the river.
Sheriff Walter D. Morrison, Coronon N. D. Tomlin and a
Coroner's jury composed of W. J. Mastheson, J.E. Deitz,
J.A. Deaton, W.S. Kelly, C.R. Rimmer and Marvin Mason,
started an investigation of the death in an inquest at the
Iredell Court House Sunday morning at 11 o'clock.
Solicitor Charles L. Coggins, of Salisbury, Solicitor
Mason M. Simon, of Iredell Recorder's Court, and Sheriff
Ray Pitts, of Catawba County, took part in the
preliminary investigation. At the suggestion of
Solicitor Coggin, the jury recessed after viewing the
body at a local under-taking establishment and a visit
to the scene of the tragedy. The jury will meet
later to complete the inquest. Four men from
Catawba were ordered held in jail pending developments.
The men ordered helf in jail without bond are Henry
Bolick, Joe Bridges, OSCAR LOFTIN and MIKE LOFTIN.
Witnesses told of Cline having trouble with other
guests at the road house over a serving of beer,
resulting in a fight. Several men were said to
have attacked Cline and he ran out in the direction of
the river bridge pursued by a number of men.
Thirty minutes later, some one heard groans under the
bridge, and the dying man was identified as Cline, the
man who was chased from the road house a short time
before. Cline was brought to the Davis Hospital
but he expired a few minutes after being admitted to the
Investigation is to determine whether Cline fell from
the bridge or was thrown off by his pursuers. The
distance which Cline fell from the top of the bridge to
the river was estimated at 60 to 65 feet. It
appeared the he fell on his head in the sand.
Carl Cline leave his wife and four children, two sons
and two daughter. His home is a mile west of
Newton, in the St. Paul's section. He is the son
of John Cline of Maiden. His mother resides at
Maiden. The body was taken back to Newton Sunday
afternoon. Funeral plans were not complete.
1945 September 10
Loftins Again Are
Loftin, 24, and Mike Loftin, 29, of Catawba County, who
were released last Saturday following a coroner's
hearing to investigate the death of Carl Cline, who was
fatally injured in a fall from the Catawba River bridge
on the night of September 1, had warrants served on them
charging them with an assault on a female. It appears
that a number of women were at the roadhouse brawl on
the night that Carl Cline lost his life.
Both Oscar and Mike Loftin filed bonds in the sum of
$300 each for their appearance in the Iredell Recorder's
Court, September 17, to answer the charge of assault on
1945 September 30
Loftins Guilty of
Slapping Two Females
and Oscar Loftin, of Catawba County, were found guilty
of assault on two females, the evidence showing that on the
night Carl Cline met his death at the Catawba River
bridge on the night of September 1, the Loftin boys
slapped two girls who were present at the Riverside
Service Station brawl. The girls were knocked
down. Mike and Oscar Loftin each got the same
judgment - three months on the roads, suspended on good
behavior for two years and each to pay a fine of $25 and
Mike married Eleanor Carolyn Irvin on 18 Oct 1947. Eleanor was born 30
Mike Whitener Loftin & Eleanor Carolyn
Irvin's Marriage License
(Below) Mike Whitner Loftin and Eleanor Carolyn Ervin Loftin
Eleanor lived in the boarding-house in Catawba, but eventually
he built her a home about a mile and a half out of Catawba.
He owned and operated a beer-joint next-door to
his home. The facility functioned as a dine-and-dance and
went by the name of "The Bamboo Club". Like Speedo and Sam, Mike had illegal
slot-machines in his beer-joint.
Mike and Eleanor's home on Hwy. 10
Mike was killed in the auto accident on 24 Feb 1949.
1949 February 28
Mike Loftin Is
Killed and Two Policemen Hurt
Feb - A night club operator lost his
life and two policemen were critically injured in a
three-vehicle collision near here today.
Thirty-year-old Mike Loftin was killed when the car in
which he was riding with the officers collided with a
truck, which skidded into a second truck in the impact.
It is understood that the truck was in the act of
turning around in the highway when the death car came
over the crest of a hill at considerable speed.
Seriously injured were Deputy Sheriffs Ralph Pitts, 28,
and Russell Herman, 60, both of Newton. Catawba
County Hospital reported the men were in
"extremely critical" condition.
Occupants of the trucks escaped injury in the crash.
They were identified as Early Reinhardt, 24, Negro, of
Maiden, who was operating a vehicle owned by Bost
Building Supply Company; and Pete Craig, 35, of Vale,
Route 2 and David Leonard, Occupants of the other truck.
Loftin, owner of the Bamboo Club, a dine-and-dance
establishment situated five miles east of the scene of
the accident on Highway 10, was reported to have been
accompanying the deputy sheriffs on an investigation.
Authorities declined to disclose the nature of the
investigation, but Loftin was involved purely as a
witness, they made clear.
A native of Catawba County, Loftin was the son of the
late A. L. Loftin. Survivors include his wife and
several brothers and sisters.
According to Willie Goble Loftin, "Mike's beer-join
(dine-and-dance establishment) had been broken into on the night
that died. The illegal slot-machines that he had in the
building were provided by the Pitts family and Deputy Ralph
Pitts had come by to pick up Mike to take him to the Bamboo Club
to see if the slot-machines had been stolen or damaged."
Unfortunately for Mike, the ride cost him his life.
Statesville, North Carolina
1949 March 9
Deputy Requests Own
March 9 (U.P.) - A conscientious deputy sheriff
involved in a highway death was charged with
manslaughter today at his own request.
Deputy Ralph Pitts asked that a warrant be sworn out
for his arrest in connection with the death of Mike
Loftin, 35-year-old night club operator killed when he
was riding in Pitts car Feb. 24. Earl Reinhardt,
Negro, 24, driver of the truck which collided with the
car, already was facing similar charges.
Pitts was still in Catawba County Hospital here with
injuries. His brother, Sheriff Ray Pitts, took his
request to the highway patrol.
Statesville, North Carolina
1949 March 30
Two Men Exonerated
In Manslaughter Case
NEWTON, March 30 (U.P.) - Deputy Sheriff Ralph
Pitts and Earl Reinhardt, Negro, today were cleared of
manslaughter charges in connection with the death of
nightclub operator Mike Loftin, 33, in a highway
accident Feb. 24.
Loftin was a passenger in Pitts' car when it collided
with Reinhardt's truck at a crossroads near here.
The charges against the two men were non-suited in
Recorder's court here.
Statesville, North Carolina
1949 July 8
Damage Suit Is Filed
As Result Of Collision
July 8 (U.P.) - Deputy Sheriff Ralph Pitts today
sought $25,000 damages from Loy R. Bost of Maiden as a
result of a car-truck collision last spring.
The accident claimed the life of Mike Loftin, 35, of
Catawba, a passenger in Pitts' car.
The suit filed by Pitts charges negligence on the part
of the Negro driver of the truck owned by Bost.
Bost previously filed a damage suit against Pitts.
Mike's death certificate shows that he was involved in a collision
while riding in a police car - that he sustained chest and head
injuries - and that he was dead on arrival at the hospital.
The informant was Theodore Roosevelt "Speedo" Loftin, his
brother., The death certificate also shows that he was a
night club operator. He was only 33 years old.
Mike is buried at Center Methodist Church in Catawba County, NC.
Mike and Eleanor had one son, Michael Lane
Loftin, born 22 Mar 1949.
Mike's death on 24 Feb 1949, was a month
before the birth of his son, "Mikey", on 22 Mar 1949.
Mike's widow, Eleanor, married Robert Rufty three months after Mike's death.
Eleanor with newborn son Michael Lane Loftin
Michael "Mikey" Lane Loftin
Mikey celebrates his second birthday
Robert and Eleanor moved to Florida but would occasionally visit
Robert's family on Rufty Lane just out of Catawba on Hwy 10.
While visiting the Rufys, Mikey loved to walk through the woods
and visit with Sam, Willie, Billy Ray and Curtis Loftin. He got
more that one "whipping" from his step-father for going to visit
his Uncle Sam and family - but he still kept coming back.
Mike and Eleanor's son, Mikey, was killed in an auto accident on
25 Jan 1965, two months before he turned 16. Mikey wasn't
driving the car that he was killed in.
29 Jul 2010 Frances Loftin Cook talks about her
brother Mike Loftin YouTube
A special thanks to Frances
Loftin Cook and Peggy Loftin Brotherton
for the photos and
information on Mike and his family.
If you have additional photos or information
on Mike Whitener Loftin, please contact me.