Within a few days, he received two letters from Owen, the first apologizing for his failure to answer
the earlier letter and explaining his inability to get in contact with Shotwell. Owen's second letter,
dated September 30, detailed his interview with Shotwell, whom he had found in a bad humor as a
result of the adverse publicity he was receiving from the local press. Shotwell claimed to have
been personally acquainted with the soldier from whom he had purchased the manuscript, "an honorable
gentleman whose integrity could not be called in question," but who had admitted to taking
the Bill of Rights "and other articles from the State House at Raleigh as souvenirs." Despite
Owen's judgment that "with genteel and courteous treatment, he will not be unreasonable in the matter,"
Shotwell refused to part with the document and soon disappeared from public view.
Twenty-eight years passed with no further word of Shotwell or the purloined Bill of Rights. Then,
in February 1925, Professor J. G. deRoulhac Hamilton of the University of North Carolina
received a curious letter from Charles I. Reid of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Reid requested
some background information concerning the theft of the North Carolina copy of the Bill of Rights.
He claimed to represent an old man (presumably Shotwell) who had bought it from a Union soldier
soon after the war. Interestingly, Reid and Shotwell's son Grier had served together in the U.S.
Army during World War I. Hamilton referred the letter to Robert B. House, secretary of the North
Carolina Historical Commission. After being rebuffed in an attempt to sell the document to a private
collector in Durham, Reid offered it to the commission, but House refused to buy stolen State
property. In a memorable phrase, House declared: "So long as it remains away from the official
custody of North Carolina, it will serve as a memorial of individual theft." Reid, his mysterious
client, and the Bill of Rights again disappeared.