July 6, 2014

Murder of Tom Collins and James Thomas Shiplett, Rockcastle/Pulaski, 1889



[August 23, 1889] -

Tom Collins, a desperado of Rockcastle county, was found dead near Dyer's mill, in Pulaski, with a bullet hole through his head.  A revolver with an empty chamber was clutched in his hand creating the supposition that he was killed in a fight with some unknown person. [1]


[August 23, 1889] -

It was at first thought that Tom Collins, who was found dead last Sunday near Line creek with a pistol ball through his head, a pistol in his hand and a bottle of whisky by him, had committed suicide, but a coroner's inquest found it to be murder. William McGraw has been arrested charged with committing the dead. Examining trial to take place to-day (Thursday) before 'Squire Renner. [2]


[September 3, 1889] -

William McGraw is in jail here in default of $1,000 bail charged with the murder of Tom Collins, who was found dead two weeks since in the southern part of this county. [3]


[September 17, 1889] -

Jasper McGraw, William McGraw and Sylvester Robins, charged with killing Tom Collins, are yet in jail, unable to give the $1,000 bond. [4]


[December 24, 1889] -

In Pulaski county, just across the line at Dyer's mill, Friday evening, Thos Shiplet was shot and killed by Killis Price.  Price in company with two other men had been in the neighborhood of the mill during the day and had been drinking.  They had fired off their pistols near Shiplet's store.  Shiplet, not to be intimidated, got his pistol and fired twice in the air, while the parties were firing a few hundrewd yards up the road.  Shiplet afterwards took a sack of corn down to the mill and was there assisting in grinding it, when the party rode up.  Price walked up to Shiplet, laying his hand upon his shoulder, asking "What did you mean?" Shiplet put his hand on Price's shoulder and replied, "What did you mean?"  Price drew his pistol and fired, the ball taking effect in Shiplet's breast, who staggered a moment and fell, expiring in a short time.  Price surrendered next day and was taken to Somerset.  There has been a grudge between the Shiplets and the McGraws, brother-in-laws to Price, who are in Mt. Vernon  jail, charged with having murdered Tom Collins, who was found dead by the road side on Line creek some four months since with a bullet through his brain.  Shiplet, it is charged by the McGraws' friends, took a prominent part in ferreting out the slayers of Collins and it is thought that this had something to do toward bringing on the above tragedy.  Shiplet leaves a wife and six children.  Price is married and has three children. [5]


[March 18, 1890] -

Circuit court adjourned Saturday after one week's session. Among the case disposed of were the following: John Proctor, for shooting at Editor Cress, acquitted; James Townsend, for shooting Sam Anglin, dismissed; James Palmer and Bill Austin, charged with burglary, acquitted.  A number of cases, incluing three murder cases, were continued to next court, among them Wallace Laswell for killing Granville Adams, Tom Race, for killing Baker, at Conway; Sylvester Robbins, Jasper and Wm. McGraw, charged with killing Tom Collins, who was found dead on the roadside near Line Creek some months since.  Jasper and Robbins gave bond in the sum of $1,000.  Wm. McGraw has not been able to give the $500 and yet remains in jail.  Several indictments were found by the grand jury, but the number is not near so great s in the past, probably owing to the bad condition of the road and the inability of witnesses to attend. [6]


[October 21, 1890] -

The Somerset court closed at midnight Saturday, after a busy session of 12 days, during which court was held till after 10 o'clock nine of the nights.  Six men were sent to the penitentiary, including A. M. Price, for the murder of Shiplett, seven years, and Thomas and Charles Jones, father and son, three years each for killing Bud Ping. There was a hung jury in the cases of Doolin and Cope for killing young Watson, who disturbed a church gathering. [7]


[1] Excerpt from "News Condensed." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. August 23, 1889. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1889-08-23/ed-1/seq-2/

[2] Excerpt from "Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. August 23, 1889. Page 1. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1889-08-23/ed-1/seq-1/

[3] Excerpt from "Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. September 3, 1889. Page 1. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1889-09-03/ed-1/seq-1/

[4] Excerpt from "Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. September 17, 1889. Page 1. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1889-09-17/ed-1/seq-1/

[5] Excerpt from "Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. December 24, 1889. Page 1. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1889-12-24/ed-1/seq-1/

[6] Excerpt from "Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. March 18, 1890. Page 1. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1890-03-18/ed-1/seq-1/

[7] Excerpt from "City and Vicinity." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. October 21, 1890. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1890-10-21/ed-1/seq-3/

[8] Entry for James Thomas Shiplet. Died 20 December 1889. Findagrave.com


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