May 11, 2014

Former Deputy Sheriff Shoots Man in Head, Man Survives, 1908



[April 27, 1908] -


Former Deputy Sheriff David Clark shot Elza Langford four times at Mt. Vernon, twice in the head, once in the shoulder and once in the arm.  The participants had been enemies for some time.  A few months since they met at Orlando and emptied their revolvers at each other, doing but little damage.  They met in the office of County Judge Bethurum Saturday when hostilities were again opened.  It is not known who fired the first shot.  Clark surrendered.  Langford was a bad citizen and had given the officers and good people of Rockcastle much trouble. [1]


[May 1, 1908] -


On last Saturday ex-deputy sheriff. D. G. Clark and Elza Langford met in the law office of Judge L. W. Bethurum and resumed hostilities which have existed between them for several months.  As to how the trouble started we shall not attempt to detail, except that several months ago they had a slight difference at a church near Orlando, later they met at Orlando and each emptied his pistol at each other, Langford receiving a slight wound in the arm.  Friends interceded and both parties agreed to let the past be the past, and to stop all hostilities, which it was hoped by everyone would be carried out, as both men are not afraid, and each has a strong following. But unfortunately, they met and but little provocation being necessary the trouble was renewed, Langford falling seriously wounded, one shot taking effect in the head, another in the shoulder and another in the arm, however the one in the head is the only one of any consequence.

Langford, who was thought to be mortally wounded was as soon as possible taken to the jail residence, no one believing that he could live but a few hours, being unconscious and from the range of the bullet it was known that the same had entered the brain or a part of it, as the bullet split and one half had come out only a short distance from where it entered.

Dr. H. V. Pennington, head of the Pennington Infirmary, London, rode into town just a few moments after the trouble occurred.  Knowing his reputation as a surgeon, Dock Langford, a brother of the wounded man, at once called him to see his brother.  A consultation was held with the local physicians and it was decided that without an operation death was sure, which it there was one chance out of many against him for recovery.  At 8 o'clock the operation was begun and before 12 o'clock, the patient was thoroughly at himself, resting fairly well and the physicians felt sure of his recovery, not withstanding the fact that he had lost more than two ounces of his brain.  While he suffers intensely with his head most of the time and is very restless at times, yet each day show slight improvements and the physicians believe that he will be able to pull through, although there are many chances against him.

Should Langford recover, it will certainly make Dr. Pennington, who has always made surgery a specialty, and enviable reputation in this county.

Clark at once surrendered and was under guard until Monday when he was released on bond of $2000.  His examining trial is set for tomorrow week. [2]


[May 1, 1908] -

Loses Part of Brain and Lives.

London, Ky., April 27. -- With two bullet wounds in his head, a part of his brain lost, and numerous pieces of bone removed from his skull, Elsy Langford wounded in the battle at Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle county on Saturday still lives and the doctors say he has a chance to recover.

Langford was shot four times, twice in the head and twice in the shoulders, by former Deputy Sheriff David Clark.  For some time he was thought to be dead, but finally showed signs of life.  Dr. H. V. Pennignton of London, a surgeon, happened to be in Mt. Vernon at the time.  With the assistance of Drs. Paugh, Lovell and Southard, he performed unusual and delicate operation of taking the bullet from the brain.  The ball had entered the forehead, ranged down and split in two.  One piece came out and the other lodged against the back skull.  Soon after the operation the patient rallied became conscious and may recover.  Langford is about 39 years old and is married. [3]


[May 15, 1908] -

Elza Langford, who was shot three weeks ago, was taken to the Pennington Infirmary, London, yesterday.  He seems to be doing fairly well.  The change was made in order that Dr. H. V. Pennington who performed the operation and has the case in charge may be able to see him every day. [4]


[June 16, 1908] -

Reports from London indicate that Elza Langford, who was shot at Mt. Vernon by a man named Clark, is doing no good. [5]


[August 28, 1908] -

Dr. H. V. Pennington was down from London to see his patient, Elza Langford who is rapidly recovering from wound received in the head some weeks ago. [6]


[December 18, 1908] -

The indictment against D. G. Clark for the shooting at Elza Langford, at Orlando, several months ago, was quashed, and the case again referred to the grand jury. [7]


[December 17, 1909] -

D. G. Clark for shooting and wounding case reduced to assault and battery and defendant fined $50. [8]


See Related: Election Day Shootout Involves Sheriff, Causes Langford/Mullins Feud, 1897-1899


[1] "Fatal Shooting in Rockcastle." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. April 27, 1908. Page 3. LOC.

[2] "Shooting Affray." Mount Vernon Signal, Mount Vernon, KY. May 1, 1908. Page 3. LOC.

[3] "Loses Part of Brain and Lives." The Hartford Republican, Hartford, KY. May 1, 1908. Page 4. LOC.

[4] Excerpt from "Personal." Mount Vernon Signal, Mt. Vernon, KY. May 15, 1908. Page 3. LOC.

[5] Excerpt from "In Neighboring Counties." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. June 16, 1908. Page 4. LOC.

[6] Excerpt from "Personal." Mount Vernon Signal, Mt. Vernon, KY. August 28, 1908. Page 3. LOC.

[7] Excerpt from "Circuit Court." Mount Vernon Signal, Mt. Vernon, KY. December 18, 1908. Page 3. LOC.

[8] Excerpt from "Circuit Court." Mount Vernon Signal, Mt. Vernon, KY. December 17, 1909. Page 2. LOC.


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