September 20, 2018

Granville Prewitt Hanged for Murder of Jarvis and Ellen Buck, Wayne, 1886


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[June 22, 1880] -

1880 census page for Magisterial District 4 of Wayne County, Kentucky, shows:

1. Jarvis Buck, head of household, age 35, white male, farmer, cannot read or write, born in North Carolina, both parents born in North Carolina;
2. Ellen Buck, age 31, white female, sister of Jarvis Buck, keeping house, cannot read or write, born in North Carolina, both parents born in North Carolina; and
3. Lias L. Buck, age 2, white male, (Ellen's son), born in Kentucky, whose father was born in Kentucky and mother in North Carolina. [1]


[October 31, 1886] -


A Young Man Enticed Into the Mountains to Have His Throat Cut.

His Sister in Turn Shares His Fate, Her Little Son Only Escaping the Murderers.

(Special to the Courier Journal.)

MONTICELLO, KY., Oct. 30. -- One of the most shocking murders that ever happened in this vicinity was committed in the southern part of this county last Tuesday night. Out in the mountains, ten miles from this place, lived a very humble family composed of Jarvis Buck, his sister, and her ten-year-old son. On Tuesday night this family was visited by a man whose name is Grand Prewitt. He ordered supper, which was prepared for him. He then told Buck that if he would go up on the mountain about a half mile that a fellow was up there who would give him a drink of whisky.  They went off together, but Prewitt soon returned and when asked where Buck was by his sister, replied that he would be back soon. Immediately he seized the woman, and the little boy fled to a neighbor's house and gave the alarm. The neighbors immediately went to the house and there found the heroic little boy's mother dead, with her throat cut from ear to ear and her skull terribly mashed in three places.

Search was instituted for Buck's body, but it was not found till Wednesday. When found the body was frightfully lacerated and the head almost 


The scene of these two innocent persons, brother and sister, as they lay in their humble little hut, with their heads almost hacked off, was enough to raise the spirit of mobism in the hearts of the most tender-hearted, and a posse of men searched the country for Prewitt, and found him Wednesday night. He made no resistence, but denied the murder until brought before the little boy, who told him that he was the man who murdered his mother, and that he need not deny it. Prewitt then made a full confession of the whole affair.


He said that he was approached by Jim Tuesday morning and offered a large sum of money to kill Jarvis Buck, and he agreed to do it. That night he went to Jarvis Buck's house and persuaded him to go out after a drink of whisky. When about 100 yards from the house Jim Jones and Bill Simpson met them, and he then cut his throat with a case knife. As soon as he did this Jones rifled his pockets, pulled off his boots and took his hat. Prewitt and Jones then went to the house to kill the sister and her son. He cut her throat and Jones made


with the washboard. He said they tried to catch the little boy, but could not.

This is the sworn confession of Grand Prewitt. Jones and Simpson deny having anything to do with it, but Prewitt calmly talks of the affair as though it amounted to nothing more than a hog killing. 

Yesterday there was strong talk of mobbing Prewitt, but after he confessed the excitement cooled down. All three of the brutes were brought to town to-day and lodged in jail. The exam[in]ing trial will come off next Monday. At present there is much excitement over the matter, and the universal opinion is that all three will certainly be hanged. They are 


badly dressed, and judging from their appearance, they are capable of doing any kind of crime. They are poor and without influence or friends; so it is very certain that at least two of them will hang. The evidence is sufficient to convict Prewitt, apart from his confession, and there is strong proof against Jones, also. It is the most atrocious crime ever committed in the county, and the whole people are shocked.

The object of the murder was money. Buck had sold a horse a few days before for $60, and it is supposed that he had a little besides. Besides the money they took several articles of apparel and plunder of the house.

There is no danger of a mob now, as it is quite certain that they will be convicted in court in November. [2]

September 15, 2018

Beatty Wickliffe Kills Evan Warren, Boyle, 1889


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[July 23, 1889] -


Evan Warren Shot by Beatty Wickliffe, a Negro Hackman, at the C. S. Depot. Wickliffe also Shot by Warren. 

The Condition of Warren is Extremely Critical. 

A difficulty took place at the [Danville] depot Monday afternoon at 3:30 o'clock between Evan Warren and Beatty Wickliffe, in which both were probably fatally wounded. Warren was shot through and through twice. Wickliffe received a wound under the right arm and the ball has not been found. So many reports are current regarding the beginning of the trouble that we are not able to give them with any degree of accuracy further than as reported to a representative of the Advocate by Jno. Crouch, who says he saw a portion of the shooting. Said he: "The first of the trouble that I saw was after the first pistol shot was fired. I then turned around and saw Evan Warren with a pistol in his hand and Beatty Wickliffe running. In running, Wickliffe threw a negro boy on the railroad track and the incoming train came near running over him. The next I saw, Bob Mayo and Flem. Murphy had hold of Warren, having wrenched his pistol from him. My attention was then attracted by two pistol shots fired rapidly at Warren while he was held by the two parties mentioned. Warren was shot in the back. He then broke loose and ran and the third shot was fired at him by Wickliffe." Mayo claims that when Warren fired at Wickliffe they grabbed Warren to keep him from shooting, and that when Beatty Wickliffe shot they turned Warren loose. They claim they did not know that Wickliffe was near when he shot Warren. At this writing the doctors are working with the wounded men and both are regarded as dangerously wounded. This is a most unfortunate affair, and from the fact that Warren was disarmed and held while shot down, puts a bad face on the matter for those concerned in it. The difficulty was the termination of a quarrel which the parties had at noon, and in which only fists were used. 

At the time of going to press the physicians stated that Evan Warren's condition is not hopeless, but his wounds are such that his chances for recovery are one in a hundred. One of the balls passed entirely through the body, perforating the liver, while the other struck him squarely in the chest and lodged there. Wickliffe's wound is not considered dangerous. The ball entered the right arm pit and its course was checked after passing a short distance into the flesh. The ball has not been extracted, but the physician says it is near the surface. [1]

September 9, 2018

William F. Kennedy Kills Frank Johnson, Garrard, 1863


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[February 28, 1879] -

Among the large number of indictments found this Court is one against E. B. Kennedy, for killing a negro in 1865, and the old one against W. F. Kennedy for the murder of Frank Johnson in 1863, was taken from its long resting place in the Circuit Clerk's office and reinstated. [1]


[March 7, 1879] -

COURT ITEMS. -- On Saturday, the Grand Jury adjourned after finding more than eighty indictments. Among these was one against E. D. Kennedy, of Lincoln, for the killing of a colored man, named Wyatt Walker, thirteen years ago. Another against W. F. Kennedy, for killing Frank Johnson, sixteen years ago. The former was accompanied here by quite a retinue of gentlemen from Lincoln, who testified to his character as a peaceful and popular citizen ever since the fatal day when whisky branded him as a murderer. He was released in the sum of $7,000 to appear in April, by change of venue at the Lincoln Court. [2]

September 7, 2018

Thomas Purden/Purdon Kills Dick [?] (slave), Lincoln, 1864


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[July 20, 1865] -

Stanford Kenty 20" July 1865
To His Excellency Tho E Bramlette —

Your Petitioner Thomas Purdon would respectfully represent that in the fall of 1864, he was residing in the Town of Stanford where he was borned, and Just after dark it was announced, on the streets that horse theives were in a pasture adjoining the Town of Stanford attempting to catch two through bred race mares the property of W B Withers Mr Withers called upon Petitioner with others to assist him in protecting his property and in capturing the theives, and he together with others run under great excitement to the pasture when Petitioner was directed to gard one string of fence, whilst others entered the pasture and searched for the theives and others still, guarded the other sides of the pasture with the disign of capturing the theves if possible, Petitioner had only for a moment been stationed, at his post and was greatly Excited when in the darkness he thought he discovered some person advancing toward him up the fence, he was guarding; instantly he called out "hault" which was twice repeated and to no Effect as the person still advanced whereupon in the excitement of the Moment he fired, and unfortunately Killed Dick a Slave the property of Joseph McAlister, against whom Petitioner believes no suspicion could attend of Guilty intention to steal the horses aforesaid Petitioner statesd that at the September Term of the Lincoln Circuit Court last he was indicted by the Grand Jury of Lincoln for (Manslaughter) the Malicious Shooting and Killing of said boy — Now Petitioner states he was ^not^ guilty of Murderous intent in Killing said boy, That it was done in excitement of the moment, without any malice whatever, under the honest belief that said boy was the thief who was attempting to steal the two Mares aforesaid of W B Withers, all of which was by Petitioner acknowledged at the time of the Killling

James Smith Kills Robert Raines, Lincoln, 1861


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[March 21, 1861] -

Attorney at Law, 

Stanford, Lincoln County, Ky., 
March 21st 1861
Governor B. Magoffin 

Enclosed you will find the description of James Smith, who, about the ^last of^ Feby, in this County, killed Robert Raines — he has fled, and we desire you to offer a reward for his apprehension. The murder was a most unwarrantable one, and the person murdered a young man of great respectability and goodness.

Henry Harris kills [?] Isham, 1858


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[December 6, 1861] -

To His Excellency 
B. Magoffin 
Gov. of Kentucky,

Your Petitioner Robert. C. Harris would most respectfully State to your Excellency, that about the last of August 1858 he went a Security on the Bail Bond of Henry Harris in the Garrard Circuit Court who was charged with the Killing of a man by the name of Isham in that County.

Said Henry Harris was poor and without friends, and it being the opinion of many good citizens there that he was innocent, the Killing being done in a drunken melee about dark, and one of the party engaged in it left the Same night, and has not to my Knowledge been in the State Since. Henry was very drunk at the time the Killing took place, and he declared to me if he done the deed it was wholly without his Knowledge, never having had one word of difficulty with the man Killed, nor had at the time not So much as a pen Knife — The Killing was proven to be done with a large Knife.

Phillip Cormany Kills [?] Hines, Pulaski, 1859[?]


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[January 17, 1861] -

To the Govenor of the State of Kentucky The undersigned who was appointed by the court to defend and the Commonwealth atty state that Phillip Cormany was tried and convicted to the Penitentiary of Ky for the period of Seven years for the killing of a man by the name of Hines at the march Term of the Pulaski Circuit Court 1859 that he is now in said Penetentiary The proof and circumstances in the case a abundantly showed that he was a man of very weak mind approaching very nearly to Idiocy that he was greatly under the influence of Liquor at the time and when under the influence of Liquor he was bereft of what mind he had, that before the killing took place he had been very badly treated by two man Shellery and Lynn_ one had held him and the other had pissed on him Lynn had drawn a dangerous knife on him twice and made at him to thrust it in him that Just about the time he shot Hines (which was at the door of ^a^ drinking house where a good many persons were of assembled and drinking Liquor) that Hines Lynn walked to him where he was peaceably standing and slapped him in the face and ordered him out of the house Cormany went out and as he went Lynn followed him with his knife drawn and Just as Cormany passed out of the door he turned and fired and Hines fell the witness ^thought^ it was Lynn that fell the officer immediately arrested Cormany who asked what for: the officer said for killing that man. Cormany replied I told ^him^ if he drew his knife on him ^me^ again he ^I^ would kill him ^It was also proven that the Pistol with which he shot he had taken from me other means [...][...] Just a short time before the shooting^ we think it would be proper to pardon him Jan 17th 1861

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