July 27, 2014

At Least Two Killed in Adams-Laswell Feud, Rockcastle, 1887

Previously:

-----------

[July 26, 1887] -

The Adams and Laswells, living in the eastern portion of the county, between whom there has existed a family feud for sometime, met at Brush Creek, a station on the K. C. road, Saturday evening and opened fire upon each other, one faction on each side of the creek.  They kept up the firing for some minutes, exchanging probably fifty shots.  No one was hurt, so far as can be learned.  It is expected that they will meet again soon and bloodshed is likely to be had any day, as there are men on each side who have been under fire before, and when aroused are not slow to use fire arms or other weapons when the occasion arises.  Up to this writing no arrests have been made or writs issued. [1] 








---

[July 28, 1887] -

War seems to be imminent between the Laswells and Adams on Brush Creek, over the intimacy that has existed between one of the women and a man of the different families.  No blood has yet been spilt, but both parties are prepared for it. One of the Adams was called up the road a short distance from his house, being told that a woman had sent for him.  After going a few hundred yards some one attempted to shoot him from the bushes, but the gun snapped and failed to fire.  Adams ran back and armed himself, but thought it best not to return to the spot. [2]






---

[July 29, 1887] -

No further trouble is reported from last week's seat of war at Brush Creek.  All the parties concerned have resumed their usual avocations and everything is quiet at present, though trouble is looked for at any time between the parties who had a pitched battle, a few days since, at the above place. [3]






---

[December 6, 1887] -

Hades has broken loose on Rush creek, in the eastern part of this county about ten miles from Mt. Vernon, as will be seen from the items below. [4]




---

[December 6, 1887] -

Granville Adams, a son of John Adams, was shot and killed on Rush creek, this county, Friday night, while returning home from Flat Rock church, by Wallace Laswell.  Sometime ago Adams eloped with Laswell's wife, but returned after a few week's absence, since which both men have been going heavily armed and it has been expected one would be killed.  Adams was walking home with Mrs. Laswell and two daughters of James Townsend, when Laswell and a boy named Jim Lunsford overtook or met him, when Laswell fired five shots at Adams, each taking effect in his body killing him instantly.  Laswell escaped, but has since been seen and claims the killing was in self defence and it is thought he will surrender.  James Townsend, Frank Harlow, and Jim Lunsford were arrested Saturday and will be held for examination as accessories.  Laswell and Adams both have many friends and the excitement of the affair is liable to bring on more trouble. [4]




---

[December 6, 1887] -


Another tragedy occurred in this county Sunday.  On Brush creek, but a short distance from where Wallace Laswell killed Granville Adams, Friday night, Babe Sammons shot and killed Garrett Hampton.  It appears that Mrs. Sammons had been to the burial of Gran Adams and was on her way home with some other persons and had stopped at Bud Abney's. In the crowd was Garrett Hampton.  There had been trouble between Sammons and Hampton heretofore.  Sammons with a party were on the hunt of Wallace Laswell, and in passing the Abney residence saw Hampton.  Sammons dismounted, and drawing his pistol opened fire.  Hampton fell dead, three balls having pierced his face and head.  Frank Hampton, who was in the house, escaped by falling between two beds.  Sammons mounted his horse and up to this writing has not been arrested.  Hampton was unmarried. [4]





---

[December 6, 1887] -

Granville Adams, of Mt. Vernon, Ky., eloped some time ago with the wife of Wallace Laswell, and afterwards returned with her. Friday night while Adams was returning from church with Mrs. Laswell, Laswell overtook them and shot and killed him. [5]







---

[December 7, 1887] -

A ROCKCASTLE FEUD.

A Man Named Harlan Fired Upon, and so Seriously Wounded That He Can Not Recover.

MT. VERNON, Dec. 6., -- [Special.] -- Lunsford, Townsend, and Harlan were discharged from custody after a preliminary examination. All three were supposed to have been implicated in the killing of Granville Adams, last Friday. Townsend remained here in town, and Harlan, giving bond for appearance for carrying concealed weapons, upon which charge he was re-arrested, started home with the rest of the party, including the witnesses. He was riding on horseback with James Merrick, Harlan riding behind. Upon crossing the railroad, near Orlando, they came upon a party of ten or fifteen men, all armed. The women, who were witnesses at the trial, were passed and saluted, and going on a few steps they discovered Harlan, and immediately opened fire upon him. One ball struck James Merrick in the arm, producing an ugly wound, but the remainder of the shots went wide of the mark. Harlan then jumped from his horse to run, when several volleys were fired and he fell mortally wounded. One leg was broken, and his back and head were literally filled with bullets and buckshot. He was removed to a neighboring house and medical assistance summoned, but it is not considered possible that he can live.

This morning Sheriff White and a posse repaired to the scene, and the report has just reached here that they were forced to leave the vicinity, and are now engaged in recruiting men to aid in making arrests. The whole country is alive with excitement, men are reported as going heavily armed all through that section known as Brush creek, and it is impossible to get particulars with any degree of accuracy until several hours after their occurrence.

This makes the fifth man killed and shot at in this trouble, which is confined to that particular locality, and it is not probable that it will end until at least a dozen are disposed of. No politics or Kukluxism figures in the matter, and it is purely a neighborhood war.

Laswell, the slayer of Adams, is still at large, but County Judge Collier informs your correspondent that he (Laswell) sent him word yesterday that he would come in to-day or to-morrow and surrender. [6]



---

[December 9, 1887] -


No further arrests have been made of the parties concerned in the Brush creek killings.  Sheriff White was down in that region Monday and talked with several of the parties concerned, but says he had no writs for their arrest.  Laswell, the slayer of Adams sent word for Judge Colyer that he would come in and surrender, but up this writing (Wednesday night), has not done so.  Probably if that part of the county is not interfered with they will solve the problem among themselves by extermination.

James Townsend, Frank Harlow and James Lunsford, who were arrested and held for trial, charged with being accessory to the murder of Granville Adams, had an examining trial Monday and were acquitted.  Immediately after their release Townsend and Harlow were rearrested on writs sworn out by some of Adams' friends, charging them with selling liquor, at various times.  Bonds were given and both men released.  In returning home Harlow rode behind James Merricks on the same horse.  When they reached a point near Orlando they met a party of Adams' friends who opened fire at Harlow.  Merricks received a bullet through his left arm.  Harlow jumped from the horse and ran, when another volley was fired at him, one ball striking him in the left shoulder, two went into his leg, breaking both bones below the knee; another struck above the knee, ranging upward.  The party rode off and Harlow was carried to a house near by and a physician called, who cut several balls from his body.  He will probably die. [7]











---

[December 9, 1887] -

When killings take place like the recent ones on Brush creek, the whole county in which they occur is, by those living outside its limits, or at a distance, who are unacquainted with the facts, thought to be entirely lawless, but such is not the fact in this instance at least.  The trouble is confined to a locality or neighborhood of but a few miles square and is an old feud of long standing. [7]





---

[December 13, 1887] -

Wallace Laswell, the slayer of Granville Adams, came in Thursday, surrendered and is now in jail.  Examining trial set for to-day, Monday. [8]




---

[December 13, 1887] -

Coroner Prewitt has been on Brush creek hunting up witnesses in the late murder cases.  But few have obeyed the summons served upon them.  Several have been arrested and brought in.  Young Lunsford, who was with Laswell, is reported to have been killed by the Adamses in Jackson county while fleeing the country. [8]




---

[December 14, 1887] -

from the account in the Signal, published at Mt. Vernon:

"Sheriff White and Deputy Baker were on the ground Tuesday morning, but no arrests were made. The report that they were driven out was without foundation. They met and conversed with several of the Adams party, who treated them courteously, but gave them to distinctly understand that all who were in any way implicated in the killing of Adams must leave the country or take the consequences." [9]



---

[December 16, 1887] -

Drs. Lovell and Davis, assisted by Drs. Benton and Jennings amputated the wounded leg of Frank Harlow, who was so badly shot on Brush creek last week.  The physicians say there is but little chance of his recovery. [10]




---

[December 16, 1887] -


Everything quiet on Brush Creek at this writing, but don't know how long it will remain so. [10]





---

[December 16, 1887] -

The preliminary trial of Wallace Laswell, charged with the murder of Granville Adams began Monday and ended Tuesday morning.  The evidence went to show that Laswell had gone to the church where Adams was, but did not enter, but went down the road and came back through a railroad cut meeting Adams and opened fire on him.  Laswell claimed and testified that Adams had out his pistol first, but did not fire.  Adams' pistol was found on his breast with all the loads intact.  Laswell was admitted to bail in the sum of $500 which he gave and was released. [10]





---

[December 20, 1887] -


Frank Harlow, whose leg was amputated last week on account of a gun shot wound, is yet alive. [11]





---

[December 20, 1887] -

All is quiet on Brush creek." Since Laswell gave bail it is thought he has left for other parts.  Sammons, the slayer of Hampton, has made good his escape. Other concerned in the recent shootings have either left or are in hiding, as none of them can be found by the officers. [11]




---

[January 6, 1888] -

The examining trial of Andy Mason, charged with participating in the Brush Creek troubles, is in progress. [12]



---

[January 10, 1888] -


Andy Mason, charged with being implicated in the murder of Hampton, was acquitted before Judge Collier last Thursday. [13]





---

[January 17, 1888] -

It is believed by many persons living on Brush Creek that but a short time will elapse after court has adjourned here until trouble will be renewed by the different factions to the feud in which several have lost their lives and others seriously wounded. [14]




---

[January 20, 1888] -

Wallace Laswell was admitted to bail in the sum of $1,500 for killing Granville Adams on Bush creek.  It will be remembered that at his examining trial his bail was placed at $500.



About 70 indictments have been returned. A good batch have been found against the parties to the Brush creek killings and it is expected the officers will make it warm for the residents of that fighting locality. [15]




---

[February 17, 1888] -

Frank Harlow, the man shot all to pieces during the Brush creek troubles, is able to be around on crutches. [16]



---

[August 7, 1888] -

After a lull of seven months Brush Creek again comes to the front with a shooting scrape. The friends of the candidates for sheriff met there to distribute liquor, etc., to the voters. A row came up over the matter. About 50 shots were fired. Abe Drew fell during the battle with a bullet in his shoulder. This is the vicinity where so much excitement was caused last January, when three men were killed and a number wounded, from which several of the participants fled the country. No arrests so far. [17]






---

[August 10, 1888] -

All quiet on Brush Creek. [18]



---

[August 17, 1888] -


SHOT FROM AMBUSH.


A Tragedy of Eight Months Ago the Probable Cause of Another Killing.

Mt. Vernon, Ky., Aug. 16. -- (Special.) -- Trouble has broken out afresh on Brush creek, this county, where so much excitement was created last January, when Wallace Laswell shot and killed Granville Adams, on account of an alleged intimacy between Adams and Mrs. Laswell. Frank Hanion was also shot during the troubles and lost a leg. Other parties concerned in the difficulty had to leave the country. This evening between sun-down and dark, as Laswell was returning from Brush Creek station in his wagon he was fired upon from the roadside. Three shots took effect in the back and one in the breast. The wounds are thought to be fatal. The parties who did the shooting are unknown, but suspected. Officers are to go to the scene early in the morning.

The ball is again opened, and the war news within the next few days from Brush Creek is liable to be of a stirring nature. [19]





---

[August 18, 1888] -

Mount Vernon, Ky.--Trouble has broken out afresh on Bush creek, this county, where so much excitement was caused last January when Wallace Laswell shot and killed Granville Adams. Thursday evening Laswell was ambushed and mortally wounded. [20]


---

[August 21, 1888] -

Wallace Laswell, while returning with his wagon from Brush Creek station last Thursday evening, was fired upon from the roadside by unknown parties.  Four balls entered his body; three struck him in the back and one in the breast.  It was thought at the time that the wounds were fatal, but he was alive and getting on fairly Saturday evening.  It will be remembered that Laswell is the man who killed Granville Adams near Brush Creek last January, over an alleged intimacy between Laswell's wife and Adams.  A regular war existed in that neighborhood for two months afterwards between  the Laswell and Adams factions, in which a man named Sammons lost his life and a number of other persons more or less dangerously wounded.  Some of the parties concerned left the country and have not returned.  Laswell afterwards surrendered and after lying in jail a month was granted bail.  His trial is set for September court.  More serious trouble was expected after Laswell was ambushed, but no further developments are reported. No arrests. [21]







---

[August 24, 1888] -


Laswell, the ambushed man, is on the road to recovery. No further developments in the matter. [22]



---

[August 31, 1888] -


Two parties have been fired upon from the roadside while returning from Brush Creek Station during the week. Nobody hurt. [23]




---

[December 28, 1888] -


Joe Reynolds, David Carter and Theo. Parker, who left Brush Creek some time since on account of the Adams-Laswell feud, have returned. [24]





---

[December 23, 1890] -


Result of a Serious Row.

MOUNT VERNON, Ky., Dec. 23.--At Brush creek, nine miles east of this place, on Friday evening, five persons were wounded in a general row. Jack Baker received a ball in the left breast, ranging upward and lodging under the shoulder-blade; Andy Mason had his wrist shattered from a ball; a son of Mason got a furrow plowed across his head just over his left ear; John Angline received a similar wound, and Angline's wife was shot in the back.  How the fight came up no one here has been able to learn.  All the parties are related by marriage to each other. [25]



---

[September 15, 1891] -

In the Rockcastle circuit court last week, W. H. Mize was given five years for killing Wm. Mink and in the case of Wallace Laswell for killing Granville Adams there was a hung jury.  Hon. R. C. Warren prosecuted in both these cases. [26]






---

[September 29, 1893] -

Circuit Court.--The case of Wallace Laswell for killing Granville Adams in 1887; the defendant was acquitted. [27]



---

[December 11, 1896] -

We are authorized to announce

WALLACE LASWELL

As a candidate for Sheriff of Rockcastle county, subject to the action of the Republican party. [28]




-------------------

[1] Excerpt from "Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. July 26, 1887. Page 1. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1887-07-26/ed-1/seq-1/

[2] Excerpt from "Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. July 28, 1887. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1887-06-28/ed-1/seq-2/

[3] Excerpt from "Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. July 29, 1887. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1887-07-29/ed-1/seq-2/

[4] Excerpt from "Mt Vernon, Rockcastle County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. December 6, 1887. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1887-12-06/ed-1/seq-2/

[5] Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. December 6, 1887. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86069394/1887-12-06/ed-1/seq-2/

[6] "A Rockcastle Feud." The Courier-Journal, Louisville, KY. December 7, 1887. Page 1. Newspapers.com.

[7] Excerpt from "Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. December 9, 1887. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1887-12-09/ed-1/seq-2/


[8] Excerpt from "Mt Vernon, Rockcastle County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. December 13, 1887. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1887-12-13/ed-1/seq-2/

[9] Excerpt from "In and About Kentucky." The Courier-Journal, Louisville, KY. December 14, 1887. Page 4. Newspapers.com.

[10] Excerpt from "Mt Vernon, Rockcastle County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. December 16, 1887. Page 1. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1887-12-16/ed-1/seq-1/

[11] Excerpt from "Mt Vernon, Rockcastle County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. December 20, 1887. Page 8. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1887-12-20/ed-1/seq-8/

[12] Excerpt from "Mt Vernon, Rockcastle County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. January 6, 1888. Page 1. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1888-01-06/ed-1/seq-1/

[13] Excerpt from "Mt Vernon, Rockcastle County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. January 10, 1888. Page 1. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1888-01-10/ed-1/seq-1/

[14] Excerpt from "Mt Vernon, Rockcastle County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. January 17, 1888. Page 1. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1888-01-17/ed-1/seq-1/

[15] Excerpt from "Mt Vernon, Rockcastle County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. January 20, 1888. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1888-01-20/ed-1/seq-2/

[16] Excerpt from "Mt Vernon, Rockcastle County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. February 17, 1888. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1888-02-17/ed-1/seq-2/

[17] Excerpt from "Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. August 7, 1888. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1888-08-07/ed-1/seq-2/

[18] Excerpt from "Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. August 10, 1888. Page 1. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1888-08-10/ed-1/seq-1/

[19] "Shot From Ambush." The Courier Journal, Louisville, KY. August 17, 1888. Page 2. Newspapers.com.

[20] Excerpt from "Telegraphic News Items. Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA. August 18, 1888. Pa
ge: 3. Genealogybank.com.

[21] Excerpt from "Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. August 21, 1888. Page 1. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1888-08-21/ed-1/seq-1/

[22] Excerpt from "Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. August 24, 1888. Page 1. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1888-08-24/ed-1/seq-1/

[23] Excerpt from "Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. August 31, 1888. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1888-08-31/ed-1/seq-3/

[24] Excerpt from "Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. December 28, 1888. Page 1. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1888-12-28/ed-1/seq-1/

[25] "Result of a Serious Row." The Evening Bulletin, Maysville, KY. December 23, 1890. Page 1. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87060190/1890-12-23/ed-1/seq-1/

[26] Excerpt from "City and Vicinity." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. September 15, 1891. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1891-09-15/ed-1/seq-3/

[27] Excerpt from "Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. September 29, 1893. Page 1. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1893-09-29/ed-1/seq-1/

[28] Excerpt from "Announcements." Mount Vernon Signal, Mt. Vernon, KY. December 11, 1896. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86069561/1896-12-11/ed-1/seq-2/

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