May 9, 2014

Wife Kills Drunk Relative, Husband is Killed a Year Later, 1907-1908



[October 2, 1907] -


Mt. Vernon, Ky., Oct. 2. -- Lee Wiggins was killed near Broadhead last night by Mrs. Clell Smith. It is claimed that Wiggins, in company with Josiah Wiggins, a cousin, stopped at Smith's house intoxicated and came to blows.  Smith parted them and was knocked senseless with a pistol.

Mrs. Smiith fired a shotgun and almost instantly killed Wiggins.  Smith and his wife were arrested.  Before reaching Smith's house, it was said that one of the two men had fired three shots into the home of George Hopper and Hopper fired his shotgun at them.  Shortly afterward they carried Wiggins' body along the road by Hopper's house.  Hopper came to town early this morning and surrendered under the impression that he had done the killing and remains in jail awaiting investigation. [1]


[October 4, 1907] -

Lee Wiggins was shot and killed at the home of Clell Smith, who lives near Brodhead, Sunday night by Smith's wife.  Wiggins who was a brother-in-law of Smith, had gone to the latter's house under the influence of whiskey.  A difficulty arose between them when Wiggins drew his revolver, struck Smith over the head, as reported to us, was attempted to shoot Smith when Mrs. Smith grabbed the shot gun firing, the entire load entering Wiggins' stomach killing him instantly.  Mrs. Smith and her husband were arrested by deputy sheriff John Robins, and brought here Monday and lodged in jail to await their examining trial which is set for to-day.  One amusing fact connected with it is that a short time before the killing Wiggins had passed the residence of John Hopper, firing several shots into the house to which Mr. Hopper promptly responded with a double barrel shot gun, and when the body was carried back a little later by Mr. Hopper's home, he was sure that he was the one who had fired the fatal shot and early the next morning he was in Mt. Vernon to surrender himself to the officers, and was lodged in jail.  Hopper came to Rockcastle only a few weeks from Franklin county. [2]


[October 4, 1907] -

Last Sunday night about 10:30, Lee Wiggins was shot and instantly killed by his sister-in-law, Mrs. Clell Smith, at the latter's residence near here.  Bad feeling had existed between Wiggins and Smith for a long time and Sunday night Wiggins, while drunk, entered Smith's house and began quarreling with him when Mrs. Smith grabbed a shot gun and emptied the contents into his breast.  Wiggins' wife and Smith's wife are sisters.  Smith and his wife immediately went to Mt. Vernon and surrendered to Jailer Jarrett. [3]


[September 17, 1908] -

Clell Smith, a farmer who lived six miles west of Mt. Vernon, in Rockcastle county, was assassinated one day last week in the woods where he had gone with his team to haul wood.  The inquest showed that Smith had been shot in the left side with a shotgun by unknown parties. [4]


[September 18, 1908] -

The Brodhead correspondent to the Interior Journal says:--"Last Friday morning about 8 o'clock McClellan Smith, a farmer living near here, was found dead upon his wagon, which was loaded with wood, his body filled with shot of different sizes.  The coroner's jury was unable to fix the crime upon any one.  There are several out of the way mysteries surrounding the case, none of which will be investigated except from mere curiosity.  Smith was a very good man in his way, but wanted to be a "bully" among his relatives, for which he was disliked by them.  Hardly a year ago Lee Wiggins, a cousin and brother-in-law of Smith was killed in the latter's home. Smith's wife confessed that she did the killing but said it was in self defense, and was not prosecuted.  It is the general impression that Smith did the killing himself.  A few weeks ago Smith, with a shot gun, killed five hogs belonging to Sam Wiggins, another cousin.  Last Thursday evening Smith and a brother of Sam Wiggins had a sharp quarrel over a debt.  Both quit, saying it would be settled later on.  When Lee Wiggins was killed, a brother of his remarked that he would kill Smith before the year ended.  Between the cousins it is hard to say, and it may never be known who is guilty." [5]


[September 22, 1908] -

Mrs. Clell Smith, whose husband was killed from ambush several days ago, has caused the arrest of Will and Sam Wiggins and Andy Crank, all cousins of Smith, as being implicated in the murder.  They were placed in jail Friday.  Sunday Attorney C. C. Williams and others from Mt. Vernon, were here going over the ground where Smith was killed and gleaning such evidence as they could. [6]


[September 25, 1908] -

Sam and Will Wiggins and Andy Crank were discharged on the charge of killing Clell Smith.  The wives of these three men were also implicated, but likewise discharged.  There was no direct evidence, all being circumstantial.  Smith was found dead on his waggon, his body filled with shot and because of former trouble and threats, all eyes turned toward Wiggins and Crank as being the guilty parties, following with their arrest. [7]


[1] "Came to Blows and She Fired Gun." Paducah Evening Sun, Paducah, KY. October 2, 1907. Page 4. LOC.

[2] Excerpt from "Local." Mount Vernon Signal, Mt. Vernon, KY. October 4, 1907. Page 3. LOC.

[3] Excerpt from "Brodhead." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. October 4, 1907. Page 1. LOC.

[4] Excerpt from "Kentucky Kernels." The Hazel Green Herald, Hazel Green, KY. September 17, 1908. Page 4. LOC.

[5] Excerpt from "Local." Mount Vernon Signal, Mt. Vernon, KY. September 18, 1908. Page 3. LOC.

[6] Excerpt from "Broadhead." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. September 22, 1908. Page 2. LOC.

[7] Excerpt from "Local." The Mount Vernon Signal, Mount Vernon, KY. September 25, 1908. Page 3. LOC.


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