December 5, 2013

Over One Hundred Men Hunt Slayer of Berea Town Marshal, 1914



[August 24, 1914] -


Armed Posse Scouring the Hills In search of Two Other Brothers Said to Be Implicated


Wife of Wounded Constable Says She Heard Ambush Plans Discussed

BEREA, Ky., Aug 24.-- The armed posse that has been scouring the country since early yesterday morning in search of John Hopkins, Jr., and Henry Hopkins, believe the fugitives are located near Mt. Vernon, in the Cropper Creek region, though a capture has not been effected.

As the result of the killing of John Collins and the wounding of Leonard Watkins, from ambush early yesterday morning at about 2 o'clock, as the party rode along the lonely road leading from Berea to Richmond.  Andrew Hopkins, 21 years old, and his father John Hopkins, have been arrested and placed in the Madison County jail charged with premeditated murder.  An armed posse of about sixty citizens and deputy sheriffs are scouring the hills in the vicinity of Cropper Creek in an effort to locate John Hopkins, Jr., and Henry Hopkins, sons of John Hopkins, who are said to be implicated in the murder.

The shooting occurred within a few hundred yards from the Louisville & Nashville Railroad depot on the Berea-Richmond pike.

Immediately after the killing occurred, Captain V. G. Mullikin, of this city was called by the Berea authorities and left soon after in an automobile with his two bloodhounds, King and Dink.  He arrived at Berea at 4:15 o'clock.  The dogs were taken to the scene of the killing and soon picked up a trail.

By a round-about road the dogs led the posse which had been formed to the Hopkins home, about a mile from the depot.  In a field of cow-peas that surrounded the house, the tender foliage had been recently broken down it is said.  After being released the dog dashed across the field, entered the back door of the house, and "treed" Andrew Hopkins on top of a center table in the front room.

Two Brothers Escape

Both Andrew Hopkins and his father John Hopkins were placed under arrest by Captain Mullikin and turned over to the Berea authorities.  Henry Hopkins and John Hopkins, Jr., both sons of John Hopkins, who were seen near the place of the killing about midnight, were not in the house.  It is said they secured a mule and escaped in the direction of Cropper Creek.  Another posse was organized and sent out in search of the brothers.

John Collins was 24 years old and has been in Berea about two years.  He is survived by his wife and four children.  The funeral arrangements have not been completed though burial will possibly take place Wednesday.

The shooting occured about 2 o'clock Sunday morning when John Collins, town marshal of Berea, and Leonard Watkins, a constable, accompanied by another man were returning from out in the county where they had been looking for negro chicken thieves.  It is declared by Watkins that they saw four or five men lurking in the bushes by the side of the road and suspecting trouble, brought the horse to a standstill.  Before they could get out of the buggy to investigate they were fired on, a charge from a heavily loaded shotgun entering the left temple of Collins killing him instantly.  Watkins was also struck in the leg.  He was not seriously wounded.

Driver is Unhurt

The boy that was driving the two officers, and whose name they did not know, leaped over the back of the horse and escaped without injury.  Owing to the short range at which they were fired on the buggy caught fire and the back curtain burned out.  The horse was also struck by one of the bullets.

After John Hopkins had been arrested it was learned by Captain Mullikin and the Berea authorities that Henry Hopkins, one of the brothers who escaped on the mule, had previously threatened the life of the town marshall and had sent him a message to the effect by one of his younger bretherin.  

Several years ago, Henry Hopkins was arrested by Collins and afterwards sentenced to the county jail.  He escaped but was later captured at Mt. Vernon and returned to Berea by Marshal Collins.  It is said that Hopkins then threatened Collins by telling him he would kill him the first time he had an opportunity.

Plot is Overheard

Mrs. Watkins wife of the wounded constable declared she overheard several men back of the depot Saturday night discussing a plot to ambush some one.  With the view of avoiding a homicide, if possible, the woman notified Mrs. Collins of the plot, urging her to inform her husband and have him arrest the men before they could put their plans into effect.

Marshal Collins and Watkins had gone out in the county earlier that day and could not be located.  Mrs. Collins was so worried over the incident that she sat up all night waiting for her husband's returned, and declared she heard the shots that killed him.

About dark, Mrs. Watkins said she watched the depot from her home and saw the men, whom she had overheard earlier in the day, leave the depot in the direction of the Hopkins home.  She said she recognized them as John Hopkins and his three sons.

The trail of the mule on which it is said the brothers escaped was followed by the dogs only for a little way.  About 500 yards from the barn they found a blanket that had been lost it is believed by the brothers.

Dink, one of the dogs that assisted in trailing the men is being trained by Captain Mullikin exclusively for criminal work, and Mr. Mullikin believes that in a few months Dink will be one of the greatest criminal detectives in the state. [1]


[August 26, 1914] -


Sheriffs of As Many Counties and Special Deputies Trailing Suspects

(Special to The Herald.)
STANFORD, Ky., Aug. 25.-- Four sheriffs, with posses aggregating almost a hundred armed men, are scouring the hills this side of Brodhead, Rockcastle County, up and down Copper Creek endeavoring to capture Henry Hopkins and John Hopkins, Jr., who are charged with assassination of Town Marshal J. A. Collins, of Berea, Sunday afternoon.

The sheriffs, with their special deputies, rendezvoused at Brodhead at 4 o'clock this afternoon and planned their campaign.  Gathered at Brodhead were Sheriff J. G. Weatherford, of Lincoln County, with a force of a dozen special deputies; Sheriff Curt Robinson, of Garrard County, with the same number; Sheriff Van B. Benton, of Madison County, with a large force, and Sheriff Cam Mullins, of Rockcastle County. [2]


[September 2, 1914] -


FRANKFORT, Ky., Sept. 1. -- An offer of $200 reward for the arrest of Henry Hopkins and William Hopkins wanted in Berea for the murder of John A. Collins was made today by Acting Governor McDermott. [3]


[1] "John Hopkins and Son Arrested for Murder of Collins." Lexington Herald, Lexington, KY. August 24, 1914. Pages 1 and 3.

[2] "Four Posses After Slayers of Collins." Lexington Herald, Lexington, KY. August 26, 1914. Page 1.

[3] "$200 Reward For Arrest of Collins' Slayer is Offered." Lexington Herald, Lexington, KY. September 2, 1914. Page 6. 


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