June 4, 2013

Drunken Man Kills Another Over Insult, Rockcastle, 1883

Previously:


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[November 23, 1883] -

Last evening J. K. Polk shot and killed Mart Owen at Tabler's Commissary. This is said to be a most horrible and unprovoked murder. Owens was drinking considerably, and went to where Polk and some other men were sitting on a bench and spoke to the men, saying: "I can whip that man with the straw hat on."

This man was Polk. One of Owens' friends took hold of him, and he stopped and apologized to Polk for his language. He and Polk went off together towards the Commissary, Polk on foot and Owens on horseback. When they got to the door Polk went inside, and Owens got off his horse. His overcoat was lying across the saddle, and he pulled off his dress coat and laid it on the other and went in the house after Polk.

Polk, in the meantime, had got a shotgun, and as Owens came in at the door, told him not to come in, as he would kill him if he did. At this Owens retreated towards the door and go so that he could be seen from the outside, when Polk fired the whole load, striking Owens on the chin and went through his neck, cut the jugular vein and killing him instantly. Polk order his horse, got on, and rode up the grading toward Richmond. Polk is a man about thirty-three years of age, about five feet eight inches high, and will weigh about 160 pounds. He is of dark complexion, with dark hair and mustache. [1]




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[November 27, 1883] -

On Wednesday night J. K. Polk shot and instantly killed Mart Owens, Jr., at Tabler's commissary, on Roundstone.  Henry Mullins and Polk were talking together when Owens rode up with a pistol in his hand, and said: "I can whip the man with the straw hat on."  Mullins reached out and took the pistol from Owens, and Polk started toward the commissary.  Owens called him to stop as he had nothing against him, and didn't want to fight.  He rode up to Polk and put his hand on his shoulder, and they talked awhile and then went on toward the commissary.  Owens was riding on his overcoat and when they got to the door got off his horse and took of his dress coat, and threw it on his saddle.  By this time Polk had gone inside and pulled a shot-gun from under the bed, and seemed to be very much excited.  He was told to put the gun up as Owens did not mean anything.  Owens started to go in the house, but was told by Polk to go out and not come near him, at the same time presenting his gun.  Owens backed off from him, but had gone but a few steps when Polk fired.  The whole load of shot struck Owens on his chin and ranged down into his neck cutting the jugular vein.  The load did not come out.  Owens leaves a wife and two children.  He was a young man about 25 years of age, and was not known to be quarrelsome.  he was the son of Ashley Owens.  Polk is a resident of Harrodsburg, Ky., and has a family there.  He ordered his horse immediately after the killing and rode off in the direction of Richmond, and has not been seen since.  Telegrams have been sent to all points surrounding this place, to arrest him for murder. [2]










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[November 30, 1883] -

A telegram from Mt. Vernon to the Courier-Journal says: W. H. Polk, brother of J. K. Polk, who killed Mart. Owens last Wednesday, is in town to assure the authorities that his brother will be on hand to stand trial.  His only object in going away was to avoid a difficulty with a crowd of men whom he heard were coming to do him violence, and not to evade the law, as has been reported. [3]



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[December 1, 1883] -

John K. Polk, of Harrodsburg, who killed Mart Owens with a shot-gun in Rockcastle county, Thursday of last week, was a brother of Mr. Theodore Polk, formily [sic] of this city, and was raised here, making his home with Mr. Fielding Reddish. [4]




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[December 4, 1883] -

An Unprovoked Murder.

J. K. Polk shot and instantly killed Mr. Owens, Jr., at Tablers's commissary, near Mt. Vernon, a few days ago.  The murder is said to have been entirely unprovoked.  It appears that Owens, who was drinking considerably, went to where Polk and some other men were sitting on a bench, and spoke to the men saying, "I can whip that man with the straw hat on."  This man was Polk.  One of Owens' friends took hold of him and he apologized to Polk for his language and he and Polk went off together toward the commissary, Polk on foot and Owens on horseback.  When they got to the door Polk went inside and Owens got off his horse.  His overcoat was lying across the saddle, and he pulled off his dress coat and laid it on the other and went to the house after Polk.  Polk, in the meantime, had got a shot-gun, and as Owens came to the door and got so he could be seen from the outside, when Polk fired.  The whole load struck Owens on the chin and went through the neck, cutting the jugular vein and killing him instantly.  Polk ordered his horse, got on and rode toward Richmond.  Polk is a man about thirty-three years of age, about five feet eight inches high and will weigh about 160 pounds.  he is dark complected, with dark hair and mustache. [5]




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[December 14, 1883] -

John K. Polk who killed Mart Owens at Roundston, on Nov. 21, has delivered himself up. [6]



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[August 22, 1884] -

Judge Owsley, after mature deliberation and consideration of the evidence introduced, has granted a new trial to J. Knox Polk, who was given two years in the penitentiary for killing Owens. The decision is generally approved. Polk executed bond for his appearance at the next term of court in the sum of $2,000, with Jos. Houk, J. W. Moore and W. H. Polk as his surities. [7]





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[August 23, 1884] -

John K. Polk, formerly of this city [Frankfort], who killed Martin Owens in Rockcastle county last November, and was found guilty of manslaughter last week, in the Rockcastle Circuit Court, and sentenced to two years' imprisonment in the Penitentiary, has been granted a new trial. [8]




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[January 23, 1885] -


The trial of John K. Polk for the murder of Owens was continued till next August, two material witnesses being absent. [9]




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[March 12, 1886] -


At the Mt. Vernon special term, the case of the Commonwealth against John K. Polk for killing Mart Owens was given to the jury Tuesday morning without argument. They reached a verdict of acquittal in about five minutes. Henry Callan was given one year in the penitentiary for grand larceny. [10]




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[March 13, 1886] -


John K. Polk, a former resident of this city, who killed a man by the name of Owens in Rockcastle county two years ago, in self-defense, was acquitted on Tuesday, at his trial in Mt. Vernon. [11]






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[1] Excerpt from "Two Causeless Killings." Cincinnati Commercial Tribune, Cincinnati, OH. November 23, 1883. Page 3. Genealogybank.com.

[2] Excerpt from "Mt. Vernon Department." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. November 27, 1883. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1883-11-27/ed-1/seq-2/

[3] Semi-Weekly Bourbon News, November 30, 1883. Page 1. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86069872/1883-11-30/ed-1/seq-1/

[4] The Franklin Roundabout, Frankfort, KY. December 1, 1883. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86069848/1883-12-01/ed-1/seq-3/

[5] "An Unprovoked Murder." Semi-Weekly Bourbon News, Paris, KY. December 4, 1883. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86069872/1883-12-04/ed-1/seq-2/

[6] Semi-Weekly Bourbon News, Paris, KY. December 14, 1883. Page 1. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86069872/1883-12-14/ed-1/seq-1/

[7] Excerpt from "Mt. Vernon Department." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. August 22, 1884. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1884-08-22/ed-1/seq-2/

[8] The Frankfort Roundabout, Frankfort, KY. August 23, 1884. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86069848/1884-08-23/ed-1/seq-3/

[9] Excerpt from "Mt. Vernon Department." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. January 23, 1885. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1885-01-23/ed-1/seq-2/

[10] Excerpt from "Local Matters." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. March 12, 1886. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1886-03-12/ed-1/seq-3/

[11] The Frankfort Roundabout, Frankfort, KY. March 13, 1886. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86069848/1886-03-13/ed-1/seq-2/

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