August 30, 2012

Gunfight between Nortons and Arnolds, Rockcastle, 1906

Previously:

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

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[January 8, 1906] -


GENERAL MIXUP.

Members of Two Kentucky Families Fight, With Serious Results. 

Cincinnati, Jan. 8.—A report reached Mount Vernon, Ky., late last Friday night that in a general fight between the Nortons and Arnolds, near Sand Springs, four miles south of there, big Jim Arnold and son was killed instantly and Mrs. Arnold shot through both arms.  The parties are related by marriage and had been in town attending court, there being a suit pending to get control of a grandchild of Arnold, whose daughter had married a Norton.  Trouble was anticipated before the parties left town.  There was some forty or fifty shots fired.  All county officers went to the scene. [1]





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[January 9, 1906] - 

In what is said to have been a general battle between the Norton and Arnold factions in Rockcastle county, “Big Jim” and Harlan Arnold were instantly killed, and Mrs. Arnold was shot in both arms.  About 40 shots were fired.  Mitchell, James M. and Horace Norton, Albert Hamlin and J. L. Cooper are under arrest and their trials set for to-morrow.  The trouble arose over the possession of a child of Joe Norton, who married an Arnold and from whom he had been divorced. [2]









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[January 12, 1906] - 


FIGHT. -- In what was a general fight, between the Nortons on the one side and the Arnolds on the other, near Sand Spring, four miles South of here last Friday evening.  “Big” Jim Arnold and son, Harlan, were killed instantly and Mrs. Arnold shot in both arms.  As to how the trouble started we are unable to give any particulars, as the examining trial has not been heard, on account of Mrs. Arnold not being sufficiently able to come to court, and a second reason on account of the illness of the County Judge.  There had been bad feeling between the parties for some time, and the day on which the trouble occurred the parties had been to town attending court, there being a suit pending for the control of a grandchild of Arnold, whose daughter had married Joe Norton, a son of Jim Norton, but had separated and she was recently married again to Jim Barnes.  The Nortons all came in and surrendered themselves and are now under guard.  The examining trial has been set for next Wednesday. [3]















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[January 19, 1906] -


CONTINUED. – The examining trial of the Nortons for the killing of the Arnolds will come for a hearing to-day, having been continued from Wednesday on account of the illness of County Judge Bethurum.  Neither side has given, so far as we are able to learn, any thing like a full account of the tragedy, hence we shall not attempt to give any history of the trouble, until the matter has come before the court for trial. [4]











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[January 25, 1906] -


Held For Alleged Murder.

Vernon, Ky., Jan. 25. – Lee, Joe and Horace Norton and Levi Roberts were held in $4,000 each.  Mitchell Norton in $2,000 and Albert Hamlin in $1,000 for the killing of Jim and Harlan Arnold and wounding Mrs. Arnold.  J. M. Norton and Lewis Cooper were dismissed.  All furnished bond. [5]









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[February 16, 1906] - 

The grand jury Wednesday returned indictments against James Mitchell, Joe, Lee, and Horace Norton, Albert Hamlin, Levi Roberts and Louis Cooper, charged with murder for the killing of Jim Arnold and his son, Harland.  The bond of each of the parties was fixed at $6000.00.  James and Mitchell Norton and Albert Hamlin gave bond Wednesday, and we understand that bail will be arranged for the others to-day.  In the examining trial neither James Norton nor Louis Cooper were held over and the bonds fixed for Mitchell Norton and Albert Hamlin were $2000 and $1000 respectively.  Now that the bonds for each of these parties be fixed at $6000, it seems to be the general opinion that they are exorbitant. [6]













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[June 1, 1906] -

The case against the Nortons, Roberts, Cooper and Hamlin charged with the killing of Jim and Harlan Arnold was called Tuesday.  All of Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday and yesterday morning was spent selecting a jury.  Immediately after the jury had been selected and were ready to begin taking evidence, an affidavit was filed by the Commonwealth, that on account of sickness of one of the witnesses, who would not be during progress of trial able to appear and testify, asked for a continuance which was granted.  The defense was very anxious that the trial should go through and the asking for a continuance on the part of the Commonwealth came as a great surprise to them. [7]













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[April 12, 1907] -

The jury returned a verdict yesterday afternoon of two years in the case of Joe Norton for the killing of James and Harlan Arnold.  The case went to the jury about 3 o’clock Wednesday and yesterday morning about 10 o’clock, the jury announced that they wanted to report, at which time it seemed to be hopelessly hung there being six for acquittal and six for conviction ranging from five to twenty one years.  The jury was returned to the room, to reconsider the case, reporting again at 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon with a compromise verdict of two years.  While we have no report from the defense as to what action will be taken, but we take it that the case will be appealed. [8]













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[June 28, 1907] -


The case against Lee Norton et al for the killing of Jim and Harland Arnold was called yesterday and both sides announced ready.  Both sides have also announced ready in the case against Rufus Spires for the killing of Colonel Lovings.  The Norton case will be tried first, if a jury can be secured from the regular panel, if not the Spires case first. As separate trials have been asked for in the Norton case, the Commonwealth has elected Levi Roberts for trial at this time. [9]











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[July 16, 1907] -

Levi Roberts and Horace Norton were each given six years in the penitentiary by a jury in the Rockcastle circuit court.  They were charged with killing "Big Jim" Harlan. [10]







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[September 13, 1907] -

Horace Norton and Levi Roberts were taken to the penitentiary at Frankfort Saturday by Deputy Sheriffs G. S. Griffin and John Robins, to serve a sentence of six years each, rendered at the June term of the Rockcastle Circuit Court, for complicity in the killing of James and Harlan Arnold.  The case had been appealed but had not been acted upon by the Court of Appeals, but the boys thought it best to go and be serving their time rather than staying in the Mt. Vernon jail for several months and then after all probably the case be affirmed. [11]














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[December 13, 1907] -



The case against Lee Norton charged with the killing of James and Harlan Arnold was continued to the March term of court.  [12]






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[April 10, 1908] -

Capts S. D. Magee and E. S. Leslie, guards in State prison, Frankfort, brought Joe and Horace Norton and Levi Roberts, who are serving sentences there for the killing of James and Harlan Arnold, here Sunday to testify in behalf of Lee Norton, whose case went to trial Wednesday for the shooting and wounding of Mrs. Arnold widow of James Arnold, at the same time.  [13]












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[May 15, 1908] -

This pathetic story told of Rockcastle people, we clip from a Frankfort paper:

"Carrying a baby only a few months old in her arms, a young woman, hardly more than a girl, who said she was only nineteen years old, Friday called on Acting Gov. W. H. Cox, seeking a pardon for her husband, Horace Norton, now serving a six year sentence in the penitentiary.

The woman said she was married when she was only sixteen.  She came to Frankfort to try to get her husband out of prison.  She told the acting Governor that her husband's brother had killed a man in a difficulty in Rockcastle county and her husband had been convicted as accessory and given a six years' sentence.  The Governor took no action in the case and told Mrs. Norton that he could not release her husband.  She has taken up the matter with the Board of Prison Commissioners." [14]











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[July 3, 1908] -


The case against Lee Norton charged with the shooting and wounding of Mrs. James Arnold, at the same time her husband and son were killed by Joe Norton, was called Monday but passed over until yesterday it being necessary to summon a special venire, of seventy-five men to get the jury.  The following jury was selected and the taking of evidence was begun yesterday before noon.  The case will go to the jury today.

The following are the gentlemen who were selected to try the case:  Jason Robinson, Frank Adams, Ike Herron, J. C. Phillips, Louis Owens, A. P. Chandler, J. E. Craig, Sam Rose, W. M. Lunceford, Willis Bustle, Joe Bullock, and R. G. Shearer. [15]












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[September 25, 1908] -


Joe Norton, serving a two years sentence for the killing of James and Harlan Arnold, was released last Tuesday.  His time would have been up in about a month. [16]








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[1] “General Mixup.” Palestine Daily Herald, Palestine, TX. January 8, 1906. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86090383/1906-01-08/ed-1/seq-2/


[2] Excerpt from "Locals." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. Jan 9, 1906. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052021/1906-01-09/ed-1/seq-3/

[3] “Fight.” The Mount Vernon Signal, Mount Vernon, KY. January 12, 1906. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86069561/1906-01-12/ed-1/seq-3/

[4] “Continued.” The Mount Vernon Signal, Mount Vernon, KY. Jan 19, 1906. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86069561/1906-01-19/ed-1/seq-3/

[5] “Held For Alleged Murder.” The Paducah Sun, Paducah, KY. January 25, 1906. Page 8. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052116/1906-01-25/ed-1/seq-8/

[6] Excerpt from "Local." The Mount Vernon Signal, Mount Vernon, KY. February 16, 1906. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86069561/1906-02-16/ed-1/seq-3/

[7] Excerpt from “Circuit Court.” The Mount Vernon Signal, Mount Vernon, KY.  June 1, 1906. Page 4. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86069561/1906-06-01/ed-1/seq-4/

[8] The Mount Vernon Signal, Mount Vernon, KY. April 12, 1907. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86069561/1907-04-12/ed-1/seq-3/

[9] Excerpt from "Circuit Court." Mount Vernon Signal, Mount Vernon, KY. June 28, 1907. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86069561/1907-06-28/ed-1/seq-2/


[10] Excerpt from "In Neighboring Counties." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. July 16, 1907. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052021/1907-07-16/ed-1/seq-2/

[11] Excerpt from "Local." The Mount Vernon Signal, Mount Vernon, KY. September 13, 1907. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86069561/1907-09-13/ed-1/seq-3/

[12] Excerpt from "Circuit Court." Mount Vernon Signal, Mount Vernon, KY. December 13, 1907. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86069561/1907-12-13/ed-1/seq-3/


[13] Excerpt from "Local." The Mount Vernon Signal, Mount Vernon, KY. April 10, 1908. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86069561/1908-04-10/ed-1/seq-3/

[14] Excerpt from "Local." The Mount Vernon Signal, Mt. Vernon, KY. May 15, 1908. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86069561/1908-05-15/ed-1/seq-3/

[15] Excerpt from "Circuit Court." The Mount Vernon Signal, Mount Vernon, KY. July 3, 1908. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86069561/1908-07-03/ed-1/seq-3/

[16] Excerpt from "Personal." The Mount Vernon Signal, Mount Vernon, KY. September 25, 1908. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86069561/1908-09-25/ed-1/seq-3/

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