May 29, 2013

Landlord/Tenant Argument Over Trespassing Sheep Ends in Fatal Stabbing, Rockcastle, 1913



The following photo was provided by Russell G. Thompson, who says, "This is a photo of my cousin Henderson Holt & his wife Agnes "Aggie" Browning.  It came directly from the the granddaughter of Henderson Holt."

Henderson Holt and Agnes "Aggie" Browning Holt


[June 19, 1913] -

Wealthy Land Owner is Fatally Stabbed  

Harry Bowman in Helpless Condition from Knife Wound

(Special to The Herald).
WINCHESTER, Ky., June 18.--At the place of "Uncle Welcome" Mullins late yesterday afternoon, at Cruise, in Laurel County, Mr. Harry Bowman, one of the best known and wealthiest men in that section, was fatally stabbed by Henderson Holt, who made his escape.  Bowman received a stab in the abdomen, which penetrated the bowels.

Col. R. R. Perry, of this city, and his brother, Salathiel Perry, of Anderson County, were at Cruise on a fishing trip, and they, with the assistance of the aged innkeeper and his wife, administered to the dying man until the arrival of four physicians who were summoned from Livingston and East Bernstadt.  Bowman was alive last night, but in a hopeless condition.

Bowman has been in Winchester frequently and was very popular on account of his jovial temperment.  He was also well liked by dozens of Clark County hunters and fishermen, who make annual visits to the place of Mullins, at Cruise.

He was for many years a member of the firm of Bowman & Cockrell, with headquarters at Livingston, and was the owner of hundreds of acres of acres of mountain lands and valuable live stock.

The difficulty occurred on the veranda of the Mullins home.  Holt was a tenant of Mr Bowman's.  He made his escape following the stabbing and has not been apprehended. [1]


[June 20, 1913] - 

H. W. Bowman, a prominent business man of Livingston, was stabbed by Harrison Holt at Cruise Ferry, six miles East of Livingston Monday, from the effects of which Bowman died Wednesday morning at 4 o'clock.   The burial will take place at Richmond today, the Knight Templars in charge.  The trouble as given to us, started over some sheep  belonging to Bowman which had jumped into Holt's corn field and eaten some corn.  Holt demanded damages which Bowman agreed to pay but refused to pay the amount asked by Holt, which he (Bowman) thought to be exorbitant.  After a few short words passed the story goes, that Holt pulled his knife and began cutting on Bowman, cutting him twice in the abdomen, either incision of which would have proven fatal, as in both instances the bowels were badly cut.  Bowman is said to have struck Holt over the head wit his pistol after Holt had cut him once, but when he struck the pistol fell to the ground.  Bowman then turned and remarked to Welt Mullins and his wife and daughter, who saw most of the trouble, that he was killed.  He also said to Holt, "you have killed me" to which Holt, is said to have replied: "G-- D-- you that is what I intended to do."  Holt made his escape and so far has not been apprehended.  Bowman leaves an aged mother, one sister and two brothers. [2]


[June 20, 1913] - 

Died of His Wounds.

Harry W. Bowman, who was stabbed at Cruzes Ferry in Rockcastle county, Monday, died Wednesday of his injuries and his body was brought here an interred in Richmond Cemetery this afternoon at 2 o'clock.  He and a tenant named Harrison Holt had some words over stock eating down some corn and it is reported that Bowman drew his pistol and that Holt rushed in and stabbed him.  Holt took to the woods and has not yet been apprehended.  Mr. Bowman was for years the senior member of the mercantile firm of Bowman & Cockrill, which did an extensive business at Livingston.  He was a gentleman of means and a clever man and good citizen.  He was a first cousin of Mr. L. T. Wilson, city collector of Richmond. [3]


[June 28, 1913] - 


WINCHESTER, Ky, June 27.--Governor James B. McCreary has offered a reward of $200 for the arrest and conviction of Henderson Holt, the man who stabbed to death Harry Bowman, well known lumber and livestock dealer, at the place of "Uncle Welcome" Mullins, at Cruise, in Laurel County.  Bowman was well known here and was popular with sportsmen who stopped at the Mullins place on summer outings. [4]


[June 29, 1913] - 


(Special to The Herald.)
WINCHESTER, Ky, June 27-- Henderson Holt, who stabbed and killed Harry Bowman, of Livingston, two weeks ago, was arrested and taken to the London jail Friday.  The arrest was made Thursday night by Thomas Clark and John Henley, in Jackson County.

Clark and Hensley will receive a reward of $500 offered by Bowman's brother, Charles Bowman, and if Holt is convicted they will receive $200 offered by the State.  Holt did not resist arrest, declaring that he stabbed Bowman to save his own life.

The tragedy occurred at Cruise, Laurel County, at the place of "Uncle Welcome" Mullins, where many local sportsmen visit each summer.  Col. R. R. Perry and his brother, Mr. Salathiel Perry, of Lawrenceburg, who were camping at Cruise at the time and were on the scene immediately after the stabbing was done, will probably be the chief witnesses. [5]


[December 6, 1913] - 


WINCHESTER, Ky., Dec. 5. -- The jury in the charge against Henderson Holt, charged with the murder of Harry Bowman, a wealthy land owner, which was tried in the Laurel County Circuit Court at London this week, rendered a verdict this morning acquitting Holt.  Bowman was well known here.

The killing took place at the home of "Uncle" Welcome Mullins, at Cruise, in Laurel County.  Holt claimed self-defense.  The trouble arose over Bowman's sheep getting into Holt's corn field.  Holt was a tenant on one of Bowman's farms. [6]


[1] "Wealthy Land Owner is Fatally Stabbed." Lexington Herald, Lexington, KY. June 19, 1913. Page 2.

[2] Mount Vernon Signal, Mount Vernon, KY. June 20, 1913. Page 3. LOC.

[3] "Died of His Wounds." The Richmond Climax, Richmond, KY. June 20, 1913. Page 3. LOC.

[4] "McCreary Offers Reward For Murderer of Bowman." Lexington Herald, Lexington, KY. June 28, 1913. Page 1.

[5] "Murderer of Harry Bowman Captured." Lexington Herald, Lexington, KY. June 29, 1913. Page 6.

[6] "Hott Acquitted of Murder of Bowman." Lexington Herald, Lexington, KY. December 6, 1913. Page 1.



Rusty Thompson said...

W. Henderson Holt moved to Michigan with his family after his acquittal for murder. He died in a farming accident in Reading , Hillsdale Michigan, on Dec. 2, 1917 when he fell off the front of a hay wagon, and hit his head on the ground amongst the team of horses. it is thought that he may have been kicked by a horse as well.
His obituary is in the Reading Hustler, Reading Michigan, Wed. December 5, 1917. Source: Library of Michigan, State of Michigan, Death Certificate , No. 182. Henderson Holt was my 1st cousin one time removed. I have copies of the above sources for anyone who wishes to email me at

Rusty Thompson said...

I have a photo of Henderson Holt and his wife Aggie Browning. Feel free to contact me for a copy.

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