April 3, 2014

Reverend Kills Man For Having Affair With His Wife, Laurel, 1894



[May 25, 1894] -


Mrs. Laura J. Faulkner sends us the following:  "John Collins from Bird Eye mines, was shot through the head and instantly killed 1 1/2 miles South of this place about 6 o'clock P.M. Monday, by William Stott.  An inquest was held last evening.  No arrest was made.  Stott has disappeared."  The murderer accused Collins of stealing his wife. [1]


[May 25, 1894] -

Wm. Stott, of Bird Eye, Tenn., shot and killed John Collins near Lily, Tuesday.  Stott had married a young lady named Walker whose family lived near that place.  His wife had some misunderstanding with him and threatened to leave and go to her father's.  Collins was an Englishman, 60 years of age, and was boarding with the family and offered to take the young woman home, to which I am told Stott agreed. After he left Stott followed on the next train.  He went to where Collins was 1 1/2 miles from Lily, called him out of the house and told him he had nothing against him, but wanted to have a talk with him.  When Stott got an opportunity he pulled a pistol, placed it to Collins' head and blew his brains out.  This is the best information I can get, and, althought the grand jury has not acted on it, the case seems to be a very bad one. [2] 


[May 29, 1894] -

There were 71 indictments returned this court, of this number 19 were for concealed weapons and 14 for selling liquor.  Indictments for murder were made against Alex and Sim Tuttle, for killing young Williams; Pate Whitley, for killing a colored woman a few years ago; Wm. Stott, for killing John Collins at Lily; Robert Jackson, for killing Ed. Chestnut; Eb. Moran, Sam Warnack and C. Godsey, were indicted for manslaughter.  This was for shooting the negro, John Ely, who was trying to make his escape while under arrest.  Wm. Harkleroads, Jr., was indicted for manslaughter for shooting Bob Dees, about a year ago.  Sam Broughton, of near Hazel Patch, was indicted for incest.  The only murder that has been tried this court was against Pate Whitley and he was sent up for 16 years.  This is the only conviction.  Several visiting attorneys are present. [3] 


[September 25, 1894] -

There came near being a jail delivery here [Stanford] Friday night. C. B. Vivian and Robert Lawrence, charged with breaking into and stealing goods from an L. & N. car at Livingston, John Beldon, held for shooting Mr. Wilcher in this county, and Rev. Wm. Scott, sent here from laurel for safe keeping, till his trial for killing Collins, occupy the same cell, and that night they succeeded in unlocking and breaking four locks and getting out of it. The tug then came to get outside and they were working for dear life next morning when Col. Bibb, deputy jailer, flushed the covey. One of the prisoners had put him on the alert with reference to the job and he was enabled to frustrate their plans. Two saws, one a regular burglar, four keys and two files were found in their cells, which the men claim were made out of hoop iron, &c., found in the cell after Odie Paul left. This story is not believed, however, and some outside parties are suspicioned. Rev. Wm. Scott, the Northern Methodist man-slayer, claims that he was not in the plot, though it is said that he sung "himes" [hymns] all night to drown the noise of the saw. Col. Bibb has separated the men and doubled the locks and is confident that they will have no further chance to escape. [4]


[October 26, 1894] -

The Rev. Wm. Stott was returned to jail here [Stanford] Tuesday by the sheriff of Laurel.  He was here for safe keeping about six months and on his trial at the present term of the Laurel circuit court, was given 99 years for the murder of a man named Collins, who, he claims, took his wife from him. When Stott found out the state of affairs he went for Collins, who departed for a safer clime, leaving the woman behind.  Like a Nemesis, Stott followed him for 50 miles or more and overtaking him sent his soul unprepared into eternity, a rather malicious and unpreacherlike performance. The jury sympathized with him in the loss of his wife, but thought he carried the matter too far in the pursuit of his victim, hence their heavy verdict.  The condemned is a Northern Methodist preacher and a man of more than ordinary attainments.  The other prisoners, Vivian and Lawrence, from the same county and who are also in jail here for a long time, were given seven and eight years respectively for breaking open and stealing from an L. & N. car near Livingston. [5]


[January 23, 1895] -

Court of Appeals of Kentucky.


Jan. 23, 1895.

Appeal from circuit court, Laurel county.

“Not to be officially reported.”

William Stott, convicted of murder, appeals.

*141 H. C. Eversole, C. R. Brock, and N. S. Reid, for appellant. W. J. Hendrick, for the Commonwealth.


At the May term, 1894, of the Laurel circuit court, the appellant, William Stott, was indicted for the offense of murder, being charged with the killing of John Collins. At the September term, 1894, of said court, the defendant was found guilty of the charge, and his punishment fixed at confinement in the penitentiary for life. A motion for a new trial was overruled, and judgment rendered on the verdict. An appeal to this court has been taken, and a reversal of the judgment is asked by the appellant.

Appellant insists that the court erred in instruction No. 2, in the use of the word “satisfied,” instead of “believe.” The latter word should have been used, but we would not be inclined to regard that as a fatal error.

Appellant also insists that the court erred in refusing the instruction offered and asked for by defendant. It is as follows: “The court instructs the jury that if they believe from the evidence that, at the time the defendant shot and killed the deceased, John Collins, if he did so shoot and kill said Collins, in sudden heat and passion, not in his necessary, or to him reasonably apparent necessary, self-defense, then the jury will find the defendant guilty of manslaughter, and fix his punishment at confinement in the state penitentiary for a period of time not less than 2 nor more than 21 years, in the discretion of the jury.” The proof in the cause conduces to show that the accused had, on the day before the killing, received, from sources which it was reasonable that he would rely on, information concerning actions and statements of the deceased in relation to defendant's wife which would naturally excite and arouse the fiercest of passions; and the evidence tends to show that the defendant became very much excited and angered, and so continued all the time up to the killing. We are of opinion that the lower court erred, to the prejudice of the defendant, in refusing to instruct the jury on the subject or law of manslaughter. The judgment of the lower court is reversed, and cause remanded, with directions to set aside the judgment, and award the defendant a new trial, and for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. [6]


[February 8, 1895] - 


Sheriff F. P. Elliott, of Laurel, came down Wednesday and took back with him to London, Rev. William Stott, who was granted a new trial by the court of appeals.  Stott, it will be remembered, killed John Collins, near Lily, four alleged intimacy with his wife and a Laurel county jury gave him 99 years in the penitentiary. [7]


[February 26, 1895] -

For Safe Keeping.-- Sheriff Frank Elliott and Deputy Charles M. Randall, of Laurel, placed three prisoners in jail here Sunday for safe keeping.  William Stott, who was here before, was one of them.  The court of appeals, it will be remembered, gave him a new trial for the murder of John Collins, but his case was not reached at the term just ended.  The others are Robert Jackson, who got a life sentence for killing Ed Chestnut, and Alex Tuttle, who was tried for the killing of Speed Williams, but who had a hung jury.  Jackson was given a new trial by Judge Clark, because it was afterward ascertained that one of the jurors in the case was a relative of the man he killed.  All of the prisoners are white men. [8]


[March 15, 1895] -

The following was composed by Rev. William Stott, who was sent up for life by a Laurel county jury for killing John Collins, who had been intimate with his, Stott's wife.  The court of appeals gave him a new trial and he is now in jail here.

See the prisoner, weak and weary,
Sitting in his darkened cell,
Lengthened nights and days so dreary,
Oh! the anguish, who can tell.

Oh! the sorrow of the moment,
Memories fill his heart so drear,
Thinking of his sad misfortune,
Copious fall the silent tear.

Friendships now must all be severed,
Parting from the ones he loves,
All his hopes of freedom fettered,
Yet he dreams of Heaven above.

Childhood fancies flee before him,
All bright hopes, that now are vain,
Will they ever come to cheer him?
Will he ever hope again?

Years may pass, and in his prison,
Will those memories cheer his heart,
They will come to him in visions,
Sweetest peace to him impart.

Yes, their sacred presence ever
Will be felt, tho' never seen,
Whispering hope, and parted never,
Always present in his dream.

Farewell father, farewell mother,
Farewell friends, where ere you be,
Farewell sister, farewell brother,
In your prayers remember me. [9]


[June 4, 1895] -

ACQUITTED.-- At the last term of the Laurel circuit court, Wm. Stott was convicted of the murder of the man, who stole his wife, and given 99 years in the penitentiary.  The court of appeals granted a new trial, Stott was brought here for safe keeping and last week taken to London to face for a second time a jury of his peers, which decided that he was guilty of no crime and he went free.  Robert Jackson, who also had a life sentence passed on him for murder, got a hung jury this time, with 11 for acquittal.  There is never any telling what a jury will do. [10]


[1] "Killed Near Lily." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. May 25, 1894. Page 5. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1894-05-25/ed-1/seq-5/

[2] Excerpt from "London, Laurel County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. May 25, 1894. Page 1. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1894-05-25/ed-1/seq-1/

[3] Excerpt from "London, Laurel County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. May 29, 1894. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1894-05-29/ed-1/seq-3/

[4] Excerpt from "City and Vicinity." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. September 25, 1894. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1894-09-25/ed-1/seq-3/

[5] Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. October 26, 1894. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1894-10-26/ed-1/seq-3/

[6] Stott v. Commonwealth, 17 Ky.L.Rptr. 308, 29 S.W. 141, Ky. (1985). Retrieved from Westlaw.com.

[7] "To Be Tried Again." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. February 8, 1895. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1895-02-08/ed-1/seq-3/

[8] "For Safe Keeping." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. February 26, 1895. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1895-02-26/ed-1/seq-3/

[9] Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. March 15, 1895. Page 1. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1895-03-15/ed-1/seq-1/

[10] "Acquitted." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. June 4, 1895. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1895-06-04/ed-1/seq-3/


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