December 10, 2017

Judge Denny Kills Man That Had Threatened Him, Garrard, 1883


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[November 29, 1883] -


How George Denny, Jr., Shoots and Kills J. H. Anderson, at Lancaster,

After Being Warned that the Latter was Patrolling the Street in Front of His Office

For the Purpose of Executing Public Threats of Vengeance Made Against Him.

Awful Scenes Behind a Closed Door on a Dark Stairway, Where a Life Went Out.


(Special to the Courier-Journal.)

LANCASTER, KY., Nov. 28. -- The loud, sharp report of a shotgun broke the stillness of this town a little after 4 o'clock this afternoon. The report came from the south side of the Public Square, and two men were seen engaged in a death struggle in the door at the bottom of the stairs leading to the law office of Denny & Tomlinson. One of the men was Judge George Denny, Jr., the well-known, prominent lawyer and politician of this place, and the other was James H. Anderson, also a citizen of this town. Anderson's right hand grasped a revolver, and a shotgun with one barrel empty was lying at Judge Denny's feet. It was evident that the shot which had been heard had done no damage, and that the men were struggling over the pistol in Anderson's hand. Mr. J. H. Brown, the County Attorney, was present, and for a moment tried to part the combatants. He did succeed once in getting hold of the pistol, but it was immediately wretched from him by Anderson, and almost simultaneously the two men backed into the stairway, a steep, dark and narrow one, and the door at the bottom was closed, leaving Brown on the outside. Probably a hundred axious and excited people had now reached the vicinity, and once Brown put his hand against the door behind which the two men were struggling, when some one called out to him to look out, and at that instant the report of the revolver was heard in the stairway. This was followed in a few seconds by another, and that by another and another, until five shots had been counted by the breathless spectators. Every one was asking himself the question, are the two men shooting each other to death, or it only the work of one, and if so, which? After the fifth shot there was quiet in the stairway, and two men walked up and pushed open the door.


was lying against it. They picked it up and laid it out on the pavement. His right hand still clutched in a death grip the pistol to which he had clung so tenaciously and not a chamber had been discharged. There were four ghastly wounds on his person; one in the head, one in the neck, and two in the left breast. Dr. F. O. Young, who was present in the crowd, made a hurried examination, and announced that life was extinct. Either of the three last mentioned wounds was fatal. Mr. W. G. Dunlap, who had rushed up the stairs as soon as the door opened, returned in a moment with the information that Judge Denny was unhurt. Town Marshal Easton arrived and to him Denny surrendered. The body of Anderson was conveyed to his home, and shortly afterward Judge Denny, accompanied by his law partner, Mr. R. H. Tomlinson, was taken before County Judge W. E. Walker and his examining trial set for Friday, the 30th inst. Until that time he was committed to the custody of Sheriff Higgenbotham and a guard.

The cause of this terrible tragedy dates back to last Monday night, and the particulars, as I gather them from reliable sources, are as follows:

On Monday night Judge Denny and Mr. Anderson were in the public room at the Lancaster Hotel, when Anderson began to use insulting and offensive language toward Judge Denny about his connection with some suits in the Federal Courts concerning the electrion riot at Bryantsville last August. His remarks became so abusive that Judge Denny finally asked him what he meant, to which Anderson responded by saying if he did not like it he could take it any way he G-d d--d pleased. Judge Denny got up and


and as he had on one or two former occasions had sharp words with Anderson, though they afterwards became friendly, he resolved that he would quit speaking to him, and so announced publicly, in order that Anderson might hear it. Anderson did hear it, and it seems to have incensed him. He has been drinking considerably for several days, and this afternoon he began to curse and abuse Denny at various places in town. He let it be known that he was armed, and announced his intention of settling the matter with Denny. Four or five persons went to Judge Denny and warned him that Anderson would attempt to kill him, and he had better be on his guard. Anderson passed in front of the office several times, and seemed to have a fondness for staying in that part of the town. Judge Denny remained in his office till the afternoon, until shortly after 4 o'clock, when he was compelled to go down. As he went down the stairway, armed with a shot-gun and revolver, Anderson passed in front of the door. Mr. Tomlinson, who was with Judge Denny, urged him to go back, and he would probably have done so, but at that moment his wife came to the foot of the stairs and called him. He went down, and reaching the door, saw Anderson standing a little to the right, facing him, with his right hand in his pocket. Mrs. Denny, who was standing with her little daughter between him and Anderson, spoke to her husband and asked him what was the matter. He said to her, "Get out of the way." Again she asked him what was the matter, and again he said to her, "Get out of the way." She then turned, and seeing Anderson, spring into a store door at once. Anderson started toward Denny, who was still standing in the doorway,


as he went. Denny attempted to throwdown his gun and fire, but the weapon was discharged before it reached a level, and the [charge] passed over Anderson's head. The latter, with the pistol presented, rushed at Denny, who, finding that he could not use his gun, dropped it, seizing Anderson's right hand with his left the two men closed in that awful struggle which resulted so disastrously to Anderson. After the door closed on them in the stairway, Denny drew his own revolver, and still retaining his hold on the weapon of his foe emptied the five chambers at Anderson, four of the balls taking effect.

Judge Denny is well known throughout the State as an able lawyer and a prominent Republican politician. He served a term as Judge of this [Garrard] county, and also a term as Commonwealth's Attorney for this district. He is now an applicant for the United States District Judgeship in Dakota. He is about thirty-four years of age, and has an interesting family, his wife being a daughter of the late Hon. George W. Dunlap, of this place [Lancaster.

James H. Anderson was a young man about twenty-eight years of age, and belonged to one of our best families. He began life with bright prospects, but had become addicted to drink. When sober he was a very pleasant gentleman; in his cups he was disposed to be quarrelsome. He leaves a young wife and two bright little children. His wife is a daughter of H. Clay Jennings, one of our most prominent and substantial citizens. His widowed mother survives him, and she and his wife are both prostrated with grief over this unhappy affair.


I called at a late hour this evening on Judge Denny and asked him if he desired to make a statement of the affair for the readers of the Courier-Journal. He answered that he was perfectly willing to do so, and premising his remarks by saying that he deeply regretted having to take a life to save his own, he made the following statement:

"On Monday night last I went to my law office to meet my partner, Mr. R. C. Tomlinson. We stayed there some time, and when we left crossed over to the Lancaster Hotel. Mr. Tomlinson went on home and I entered the public room. James H. Anderson, Wm. Arnold, James Hamilton, John Marrs and a number of others were sitting around the stove. I sat down back of them. Anderson noticed me and at once began to talk about my bringing suits in the United States Court. He referred to the Bryantsville election riot, and asked me if I was going to bring a suit against the men who killed the negroes. I told him I had been employed for that purpose and intended to bring the suits. He then began to use rough and insinuating language toward me. Some of the gentlemen present tried to change the conversation, but he persisted in talking about me. Finally I said: "Jim, what do you want a difficulty with me for? What have I ever done to you?" He said: "By G-d are you mad about it?" I said: "I don't like it, and want to know what you mean." He then said: "You ought to understand it, but if you want to get mad about it, take it any way you G-d d--n please." I said: "All right." He then said to some one else that he wanted to


I said: "You can't do that, as I shall bring any suit I think proper." He continued to talk about me and said he was a fine pistol shot, and that he had killed all those negroes at Bryantsville. Finally I got up and left. On Tuesday I didn't see him. This morning as I went to my office I walked on the opposite side of the street to avoid meeting him. I had made up my mind not to speak to him. He had attacked me several times before, and I felt that I had borne much from him. As I went to my office this afternoon just as I reached it I met him. He tipped his hat to me and said, in a tantalizing way, "Good evening, Mr. Denny." I did not speak nor look at him, but walked on up in my office. In a little while my brother-in-law, W. G. Dunlap, came into the office and told me Anderson was cursing me on the street and I had better be on my guard. Then other gentlemen came up to the office and told me the same, among them, Mr. J. H. Brown, County Attorney, who studied law with me. One of the men told me he knew Anderson was armed. One of the gentlemen told Mr. Tomlinson hat Anderson was watching my office door to raise a difficulty when I came down. Mr. Brown told me that a friend of mine had sent him to tell me that Anderson was watching in front of my office


when I came down. I had some business on the street, but would not go down, because I wanted to avoid a difficulty. Finally I was compelled to go down to see Mr. Wm. Kerby, and arose to go. Mr. Tomlinson asked me to wait a minute. He went down, and I know he was looking to see if Anderson was in the vicinity. He came back and the County Attorney with him, and we all went down together. When we got within four or five steps of the bottom Anderson passed, walking slowly in front of the door. Our steps on the stairway attracted him, and he looked out from under his hat toward me. Tomlinson said, 'Hold on,' and I stopped. He then said, 'Go back to the office.' I said, 'No: I can't be made a prisoner in my own office; I must go down.' But I was just on the point of yielding to his entreaty when my wife and little daughter came to the foot of the steps, and my wife spoke to me saying, 'I want to see you a minute.' I went down, carrying a shot-gun which I had brought from the office. As I reached the doorway I saw Anderson standing to the right, with his face toward the door, nervously clutching his pistol in his right hand pants pocket. My wife and child were between me and him, and it was so awful a moment for me. I knew the crisis had arrived in my life when


I feared Anderson would shoot, and hit my wife or child, and I said to her, 'Get out of the way.' She said to me, 'What in the world is the matter?' I said, 'Get out of the way.' She asked Mr. Tomlinson, 'What does all this mean?' He said nothing. She then turned, and seeing Anderson stepped into a store door. My little girl was slow in following her, and before she had hardly gotten out of the way Anderson started hurriedly toward me, drawing his pistol. I tried to throw my gun down on him, but my elbow struck the door-framing and the weapon discharged, the contents passing over his head. He rushed on toward me, and I tried to pull off the other barrel, but it wouldn't go. I dropped the gun and caught his pistol with my left hand. Brown caught at the pistol, but if he caught it, Anderson quickly wrenched it from him, and we two engaged in the struggle. I backed up the stairway two or three steps. I was trying to prevent his shooting me, and in the struggle hurt my left hand severely. Finally seeing that I couldn't hold his weapon much longer, I drew my pistol, and, putting it against him, fired until he fell." Mrs. Denny, who listened to the latter part of her husband's statement, said to me:

"As I turned from my husband at the office, I saw Mr. Anderson with a terrible expression on his face, and his hand on his pistol. I knew then what was the matter, and ran in at the store door. As I went in, Mr. Anderson started toward my husband." [1]

December 9, 2017

Samuel Douglass Killed at his Mill, Lincoln, 1860


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


Thank you to Julie for sending in the articles for this case.


[April 23, 1860] -

SHOCKING MURDER. -- We learn from the Danville Tribune that on Tuesday night last, Mr. Samuel Douglas, of Lincoln county, was found dead in his mill, three miles from Crab Orchard, near the turnpike leading from Stanford.  He had left his house, on that evening, for the purpose of attending to his mill, which was running, and a short time afterwards the attention of the family was attracted by the noise made by the mill, as if the grain had exhausted.  On going to the mill they found Mr. Douglas lying upon the floor, dead, his head much bruised as if by blows from a club.  A negro man of Mr. D’s had been arrested, charged with the murder.” [1]

November 26, 2017

Tom Cain Kills Hiram Tucker, Lincoln, 1878


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[August 9, 1878] -

MAN SHOT. -- The Barbecue at Squirrel Springs, near Hall's Gap Station, last Saturday broke up in a drunken row, in which Hiram Tucker was shot and probably fatally wounded. It seems that Tucker, who is disposed when drinking to be boisterous and troublesome, got into a fight with Frank Hooker. Both used pocket knives, but no serious damage was done further than the carving up of the fighters' clothes. While the fight was in progress Tucker was shot from the bushes by a ball from a large, square barrel navy pistol, which entered the little back of the shoulder and ranging downward to the dorsal part of the spine, produced paralysis of the lower extremities. It is alleged that the shot was fired by Thomas Cain, and although a warrant for his arrest was issued last Sunday and placed in the hands of the officers, we have heard of no attempt to bring him to justice. Dr. Steele Bailey, the physician called upon  to attend Tucker, says that the wound is a most dangerous one, and will no doubt prove fatal. [1]


[August 23, 1878] -

ACQUITTED. -- Frank Hooker was tried this week on a charge of shooting with intent to kill Hiram Tucker, and acquitted.

SLOWLY DYING. -- Mr. Hiram Tucker, who was shot so severely at Foster's Barbecue, is gradually sinking, and the end must soon come. We learn from those who have talked with him that he is perfectly resigned to his fate. His cowardly assassin, alleged to be Tom Cain, is still at large. [2]

November 25, 2017

Ansel Frederick Kills Thomas Hatfield, Lincoln, 1879


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[November 21, 1879] -

MALICIOUS WOUNDING. -- Gillis Frederick, charged with maliciously shooting Thomas Hatfield, six miles South of Crab Orchard, was lodged in jail here on Wednesday night. Hatfield is painfully tho' not necessarily fatally wounded. Ansil Frederick, charged with being an accessory, has not been apprehended. [1]


[November 28, 1879] -

ASSASSINATED. -- Thomas Hatfield, who was waylaid and shot by Gillis Frederick, near Crab Orchard, about ten days ago, died Saturday night from the effects of his wounds. He is spoken of as having been a very poor and inoffensive man, with a very dependent family to support. Frederick, as already reported, was lodged in jail here last week, but his brother, who was an accomplice, is still at large. [2]

November 17, 2017

Samuel Williams Kills Thomas Burns, Casey, 1876


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[May 26, 1876] -

MURDER. -- At a late hour last night, we learned that Sam'l Williams, a son of Rev. Logan Williams, of Hustonville, fell out and quarreled about a chew of tobacco with a man named Byron, in Liberty, yesterday. Williams, who was drinking, drew a pistol and fired, killing Byron instantly. Byron is said to be a very respectable citizen. [1]


[June 2, 1876] -

Young Williams, who shot and killed Burns, at Liberty, last Thursday, was indicted for murder by the Grand Jury of the Casey Circuit Court, which was in session at the time. 

The Sheriff of Casey county, Mr. Russell, together with a sufficient guard, passed through town last Tuesday night about 10 o'clock, having in charge the young man, Sam'l Williams, who stands indicted by the grand jury of the Casey Circuit Court for the murder of Burns. Williams was taken to the Lancaster jail for safe keeping, as the jail at Liberty is not a safe place for prisoners. The accused was safely landed in the prison at Lancaster. [2]

November 11, 2017

The Murder of Major James H. Bridgewater, Lincoln, 1867


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Related: Roll of the Hall's Gap Battalion

See also: Maj. James H. Bridgewater's page on - includes pictures and a summary of his life and career.


[June 8, 1867] -

LYNCH LAW IN LINCOLN COUNTY. -- Some four or five days ago a party of men at Crab Orchard undertook to lynch one James Bridgewater, but he succeeded in escaping from them. Thursday evening, about the time the cars arrived, Bridgewater rode into Crab Orchard, with about ten men, in search of one Birch who was said to be the leader of the lynching party. But before they succeeded in finding him, Birch had concentrated his forces and made another attack on Bridgewater, who being outnumbered had to beat a retreat, which he did very successfully. [1]


[June 9, 1867] -

Some two weeks ago a party of six or seven men, headed by a man named Steven Bruce [Burch?], undertook to regulate, reconstruct or reform one Major Jim Bridgewater, in the vicinity of Crab Orchard, Ky. This Major was in the Federal army, it is said, during the war, and mounted himself, it is asserted, without regard to expenses, rather too often to the cost of certain citizens in or near Crab Orchard. At any rate, considerable prejudice existed against him when he returned to the rosy paths of peace. The attempt to reconstruct him proved a failure, and no damage was done. The second act in the drama occurred on the 6th instant at Crab Orchard. Bridgewater in turn collected a party of about ten men, all armed with Spencer rifles, and made a dash into the town about train time. Bruce, and his friends, it seems, were on the alert, and gave the raiders a warm reception. Several volleys were fired by both sides. Fortunately, it is supposed, no one was hurt. Bridgewater's crowd soon broke and fled from the town. [2]

September 27, 2017

Father and Son Murder Witness Against Them, Hanged by Mob, Boyle, 1866


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[April 12, 1866] -

FOUL MURDER OF AN OLD LADY NEAR PERRYVILLE. -- We yesterday received the startling information that Mrs. Polly Bottoms, and old and highly respected lady, residing near Perryville, in Boyle county, was foully murdered on Tuesday night last, by a man named Bill Taylor. Our informant states that some time ago the murderer and two other men committed a robbery at the house of Mrs. Bottoms, for which two of the perpetrators, having been caught, were tried and convicted and are now undergoing sentence at the Frankfort penitentiary. Taylor, the guiltiest of the wretches, made his escape at the time of the robbery, and has been at large ever since. Recently he was recognized as one of the robbers by a little daughter of Mrs. Bottoms, whereupon he visited the house about 10 o'clock Tuesday night, and deliberately murdered the old lady. He could have had no other object in perpetrating this cold blooded deed than to silence an important witness against him. We fervently hope that speedy and terrible justice will overtake the unmitigated demon. [1]

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