February 15, 2018

George Saunders Killed in Saloon, Lincoln, 1879

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Click here for a list of my other Pulaski/Rockcastle/Laurel County KY articles

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[September 1, 1879] -


CRAB ORCHARD.

George S. Saunders, a Troublesome Character, Killed in the Bar-room of the Harris House by

W. S. MYERS AND ASHER HARRIS.

(Special to the Courier Journal.)

STANFORD, KY., Aug. 31. -- George S. Saunders was killed at Crab Orchard last night. He was five times shot and once stabbed, and died immediately. W. S. Myers, who did the shooting, went at once to Lancaster and surrendered himself, and was brought here today and is now in custody. Asher Harris, who is supposed to have done the stabbing, has not yet been arrested, but is expected to surrender himself to-morrow. The killing was done in the bar-room of the Harris House, no persons being present except Myers, Asher Harris and Saunders, and the immediate circumstances are not known. There had been ill-feeling between the parties for some time, and during the afternoon previous to the difficulty Saunders is said to have gone to the Harris house and behaved badly, and threatened to kill  Myers, who lives at the house, and is a son-in-law of old man Harris and a brother-in-law of Asher.

Saunders has been a troublesome character in this county for some years past. He has been regarded as the worst of the Crab Orchard outlaws, and there are numerous indictments for felonies pending against him. A Rockcastle county jury acquitted him last spring of the murder of Geo. Middleton, of color, when it was the unanimous opinion of every body in the county that he was guilty. He is supposed to have been the ringleader in the robbery of Buchanan's store in December, 1877, and was strongly suspected of connection with the party who set fire to the Harris House last Thursday night and of robbing the post-office at Crab Orchard last Friday night.

Myers was some years ago Marshal of Crab Orchard, later Deputy Sheriff, and for the last few years has been engaged in farming and in assisting to keep the Harris House at Crab Orchard. Myers' trial is set for next Wednesday. [1]



February 12, 2018

Rev. George Middleton Assassinated Through Church Window, Lincoln, 1876

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[December 1, 1876] -

A negro man named George or John Middleton, after attending a festival at Crab Orchard week before last, was shot at and wounded while sitting in his cabin the same night after the festival. The shot was fired through the window, and took effect in his breast, but the wound is not thought to be fatal. No clue can be found to the dastardly would-be-assassin. [1]




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[January 26, 1877] -

Sam Humber and James Banks, two negroes, charged with the murder of Geo. Middleton, a man of color, at Crab Orchard, some months since, have been in prison here ever since the examining trial. They were brought before Judge Lytle, of the County Court, yesterday, on a writ of habeas corpus, asking for bail, or a full discharge from custody, which was refused them by the examining Court. After hearing the proof and arguments of counsel, Judge Lytle refused bail to the prisoners, and remanded them back to jail. [2]




February 4, 2018

Railroad Telegraph Operator Assassinated, Boyle, 1904

Previously:

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This post also contains articles about the killing of Grant Ingram by Pulaski County Jailer Hines at the Somerset Jail in March 1905. 




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[February 5, 1904] -


ASSASSINATED

AS HE SLEPT ON A TELEGRAPH TABLE.

DEPOT OFFICE IS ROBBED

After Operator W. B. Rucker Had Been Killed Through a Window.

Danville, Ky., Feb. 4. -- (Special.) -- W. B. Rucker, night, telegraph operator and ticket agent at the Queen and Crescent depot in this city, was found dead on a telegraph table with a bullet hole in his head at 11:20 o'clock to-night by passengers who had come to board the train for the South.

The ticket office drawer was broken open and all the money was missing. Rucker had some change in his pocket, and it is evident that the robbers paid no attention to his valuables.

He was shot through the window while lying asleep on the table. This is shown by a bullet hole through one of the window panes.

It is not known who shot Mr. Rucker, or how much money was secured from the ticket office drawer.

There is evidently an organized gang of robbers at work here. Within the past week attempts have been made to rob the Farmers' National Bank, the Boyle National Bank and the post-office.

Mr. Rucker was about twenty-five years of age. He was married about a year ago to Miss Daisy Boyd, of Derry, Ky. He came here from Paint Lick. [1]




January 28, 2018

Nick Morrison Kills William Gooch, Lincoln, 1873

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[February 12, 1873] -


A Put-up Highway Robbery in Boyle County -- The Williamson Murderers, Etc.

(Correspondence of the Courier-Journal.)

SHELBY CITY, KY., Feb. 11.

On Thursday evening last, George Gooch and William Timberlake were in our town determined to get outside of as much nitro-glycerine whisky as possible, and, after imbibing numerous potations, they started to their home in Millidgeville, four miles south. When they had proceeded about half a mile they were brought up standing by three highwaymen. Two of them, with revolvers presented, stood guard while the third went through Gooch and Timberlake to the tune of $125 for the latter and $10 for the former. The robbers then bade them move off, which Timberlake did promptly and in good order, but Gooch was anxious for a fight (?) with the robbers, and remained behind cursing and defying them. On the next day Timberlake caused the arrest of Gooch and the finding of Timberlake's pocket book and papers with $27, all of of which was identified. It falls terribly heavy on Gooch's father and family, who are respected and esteemed as good citizens, well known in this community for years. [1]



January 17, 2018

Dan Kyle Kills Railroad Clerk E. W. Prentiss, Pulaski, 1876

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[March 24, 1876] -

Last Thursday morning a Mr. Prentiss, the "head clerk" on Smith's work, on the C. S. Railway, was very severely, if not fatally, cut in the abdomen, by a negro named Dan. Kyle. Kyle ran off, but was subsequently captured at King's Mountain, and brought back to this place [Somerset] and lodged in jail Thursday night. Since the above has been put in type, the unfortunate man has passed into another world -- his death occurring last Monday evening, inflammation having set in. We learn that his home was in Virginia. His remains were deposited in the cemetery at this place [Somerset], last Tuesday evening. Rev. J. R. Peeples and Elder D. Wilburn, visited Mr. Prentiss just before his death, and prayed and sung with him. He was asked if he was a christian, to which he replied in the negative, but he had been brought up in a religious family, of the Episcopalian Church. -- [Somerset Reporter.

We were well acquainted with the deceased for several years and can testify to his many virtues. Always unassuming and polite, his death by the hands of a worthless negro, was to us a very great surprise. Mr. Prentiss was from Norfolk, Va., and comes from a time honored family, whose hearts will be wrung at the news of his untimely death. --[Editor Interior Journal. [1]







January 15, 2018

Wesley McFerran Kills Railroad Hand, Pulaski, 1874

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[October 9, 1874] -

Wesley McFerron, who was brought to our town [Somerset] from Mt. Vernon, one day last week, upon a warrant for stabbing a railroad hand in our county [Pulaski], a few months since, made his escape from the guards and is now running at large. [1]



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[September 24, 1875] -

Wes. McFerrin, lies in jail under a charge of killing a negro on Cummings' work. [2]


January 10, 2018

William Austin Hanged for the Murder of Betsy Bland, Garrard, 1882

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[January 24, 1882] -

Our Lancaster correspondent gives an account of another horrible murder in Garrard. The devil seems to have been turned loose again in that county. [1]



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[January 24, 1882] -

The blood had scarcely dried on the axe which murdered the Wilmot family, before the tale of a most brutal murder, scarcely less bloody than its predecessor is brought to our ears. The victim this time is Miss Betsy Bland, aged 85; the murderer, is Wm. Austin, a young man about 24 year old. Jos. Bland, an old widower, lives about one-and-a-half miles from town, near the Danville pike. His sister, Miss Betsy, kept house for him. For about three months, Wm. Austin, a grand-nephew of theirs, has lived with them, helping about the work on the small farm. He is a wild, drunken fellow, and altogether his reputation is not of the best. Friday, January 20th, Jos. Bland came to town on business, and remained till about 5 o'clock. Austin also left home and was seen last (previous to any knowledge of the murder,) at Herring's still house, which place he left about 4 o'clock, for home. As a party of men were returning from town, they were met by Austin at the mouth of a lane leading to Bland's house, and he told them Aunt Betsy (as she was familiarly known,) had been murdered. At first they laughed at his story, but were finally induced to go to the house where they found the old lady lying on the floor with her head nearly severed from her body. They did not disturb it, but hastened back to town to inform her brother and the officers. As soon as they were notified, Sheriff Higginbotham, with Marshal Singleton, and a posse, went out to the scene of the murder, where they encountered Austin standing in the door, apparently very much affected. Suspicion had already pointed to him as the murderer, and when a little scrutiny revealed stains of blood on his pants and boots, he was arrested and put under guard. The Coroner not being convenient, Esquire Boyle, who is the nearest Magistrate, was summoned to hold an inquest. The Court was in session till near 10 o'clock, P. M., at which time sufficient circumstantial evidence had been obtained to confirm the suspicion that Austin was the murderer. The Court adjourned, how ever, without a verdict till next day. In the meantime, Austin's pants and boot had been taken from him. After supplying him with these articles from Mr. Bland's wardrobe, he was mounted behind the Sheriff, brought to town and lodged in Jail. Had the citizens been fully convinced of his guilt it is quite probable an attempt would have been made then and there to administer justice on a speedier plan than the one by which that article is usually obtained. The body of Miss Betsy was still warm when the officers arrived, which, with the fact that she had made a fire in the stove for the purpose of getting supper, goes to prove that she was killed only a short while before. Her head and face bore several deep gashes from an axe, three of which, beside the lick across the neck, which severed the vertebra would have been instantly fatal. Her face also bore marks of a boot heel as if the wretch had stamped her. When the Court of inquest convened the next day, several witnesses were examined as to the relative time of Austin's being seen on the way home, and his first appearance after the murder. All this testimony strengthened the chain of circumstantial evidence which, with the addition of another link furnished by his clothing has bound him so closely that his life will no doubt pay the forfeit. When his pants were produced in Court, besides the blood on the legs, the right hand pocket was found to be bloody. An inspection of the boots revealed clinging to the heel of one of them several long gray hairs which corresponded exactly with the hair of the murdered woman. Austin told several tales in regard to the blood on his clothing. One was that when he opened the door his aunt in her death struggle threw the blood on him -- another to account for the blood and gray hair on his boot, was that he caught a rabbit on his way home, put his foot on its head and pulled it off, the blood spurting on his boot, He did not produce the rabbit, however. But one reason can be given for the perpetration of such a cruel murder. It was generally known that Miss Betsy kept some money in the house, never less than fifty dollars, and some time more. This she kept in the drawer of a sideboard, the keys to which she carried. The keys were found lying on the floor near her. The drawer had been forced and it is presumed, robbed as but about two dollars were found which in his haste or purposely, the murderer had left. No money was found on Austin, with the exception of twenty-five cents, which he proved by a negro to have been paid him that day. Austin was not brought into Court Saturday, whether from an apprehension of a mob or not, I don't know. But there was a crowd in town and excitement was very high. A leader could in a few moments have organized a mob, but whether he could have got hold of Austin or not, is another question. Beside putting Austin in a cell, no other precaution against a mob has been taken. The fact that Circuit Court convenes today, and that the Grand Jury might attend to his case as it deserved, may have something to do with preventing an outbreak of popular indignation. [2]


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