November 4, 2014

Man Stabs Another in Argument at Mill, Pulaski, 1881


Click here for a list of my other Pulaski/Rockcastle/Laurel County KY articles


[July 22, 1881] -

Our friend, Bartel, the jeweler, is again in trouble. Last Sunday he was out on the street with an air-gun, pointing it promiscuously, and asking, in the language of the small boy, every one to give him a "lief." Finally George Sandifer, a sort of performing monkey and harmless nuisance, told him to shoot. Bartel immediately did so. George dodged behind a thick board. The ball penetrated this and buried itself in Sandifer's skull. The wound was, however, slight, and George now wears ball in a handsome gold setting with his and Bartel's names engraved thereon... Buck Colston and Joe Reynolds went to a distillery Saturday night. They drank together, and left in the best of good humor. A short distance from the house, however, they quarrelled and fought. They are both seriously stabbed ...... W. L. Whittaker was stabbed and instantly killed by one Bolsen, at Langford's Mill, Saturday evening. The occurrences above detailed afford abundant scope for moralizing, but we have come to the conclusion that moralizing is useless and that the hangman's noose and the striped suit are the most convincing of all sermons. If the murders and assaults were malicious, then our county is disgraced, and has no remedy save in a stern and severe execution of the laws. It is truly an unfortunate fact that two men were killed and two dangerously wounded within the short space of twenty-four hours. It is certainly remarkable if both death-blows and both wounds were inflicted in self-defense. There used to be a theory in the days of chivalry that God always befriended the right, but that theory was exploded years ago, and it is a matter of universal experience that daring, unscrupulous villains and murderers are never harmed, and that in the vast majority of cases it is the peaceful and law-abiding citizen who suffers. In our deliberate judgment God does not interfere in the quarrels of men, and the fact that a man has committed a murder does not necessarily argue that he is a much-suffering saint, driven to this dire extremity by necessity. Our officers owe to their own and their county's fair fame that these offenders be severely punished. [1]


[July 26 1881] -

W. L. Whittaker, was killed in a fight with Bal Bolten in Pulaski county. [2]


[July 29, 1881] -

Buck Bolston, who shot Whitaker, gave himself up to a Justice of the Peace, and was brought to town for trial to-day. [3]


[August 5, 1881] -

The trial of Bolton, for the murder of Whittaker, took place last Wednesday. The facts are developed on the examining trial are briefly as follows: A feud had been existing between the two parties for many years. Whittaker came by Bolton's mill, and cursed Bolton as he passed. A row ensued. Whittaker left, but soon returned armed with a pistol. He started into the mill; Bolton stopped him; Whittaker drew his pistol out and was about to strike Bolton; the latter drew his knife and stabbed him, and he fell dead. Bolton was held over to answer at the Circuit Court on bail of $500. [4]


[October 21, 1881] -

SOMERSET. -- The trial of Mullany for killing Durham resulted in a hung jury, as did the Troxdell-Russell murder case. Bolton, for killing Whittaker, got four years. The trial of Carter, charged with the murder of Russell, is now progressing. [5]


[October 26, 1881] -

Sheriff Tate, of Pulaski, took to the penitentiary Wednesday Tandy Bolton, for killing Whittaker, and Jim Mullaney for killing Bill Durham--each to serve out a sentence of two years in the penitentiary. [6]


This murder was also referenced in the following two articles: 


[August 6, 1907] -


Brothers, Uncles and Cousins Die in Separate Quarles.

London, Ky., Aug. 6. – Late yesterday evening Lum Whitaker, who belongs to a prominent family was shot and instantly killed by J. W. Woodall near Bernstadt, this county, over a game of cards.  This is the sixth tragedy to occur in that locality within the last few years, in which one of the Whitaker family was killed.  Each of the five who have been killed heretofore were either brothers, uncles or cousins of this man.  There has been no family feud in that neighborhood and each tragedy was the result of separate and distinct cause.

About 15 months ago Ray Whitaker was killed by Robert and James Barnes who now stand indicted for murder.  Henry Whitaker was killed about four years ago by John FarmerElihua Whitaker was shot while riding a canoe in the middle of the Rockcastle River five years ago by James Mize and instantly killed.  Mize was sent to the penitentiary for life and got out on parole a few months ago.  Only a few years further back W. L. Whitaker was shot from ambush and killed and Fox Baton was charged with the crime.  About the same date William Whitaker was killed by William Mize.

Friends of the murdered man say that the killing of Lum Whitaker was entirely without provocation.  A posse is searching for Woodall. Late last night news reached here that the posse had surrounded the house of Woodall's brother, where the fugitive is hiding, among the hills of Pulaski County, and were expecting to bring the prisoner to London today. [7]


[December 2, 1908] -


They Are Being Pursued in Mountains by Sheriff's Posse.

LEXINGTON, KY., December 1. -- A sheriff's posse is searching the mountains in Laurel county to-day for William Tyree and Robert Barnes, who are charged with the murder last Sunday, of William Barnes and Mrs. Emma Taylor.  The double murder was the result of a long-standing family feud between the Whitaker, Mize and Barnes families, in which many people have been slain on both sides.

According to the story told by Barnes's granddaughter, Tyree and Robert Barnes appeared at the home of William Barnes on Sunday, and, without giving William Barnes a chance for his life, shot and killed him.  Mrs. Taylor appeared on the scene with a shotgun, but before she could fire she received the contents of a gun fired by Robert Barnes.

The men then made their escape to the mountains.

Many Killed in Feud.

LEXINGTON, KY., December 1. – At least a dozen persons have been killed during the last five years in the Whitaker-Barnes feud.  Among the deaths in the Whitaker, Mize and Barnes families and their relatives were the killing of William Whitaker by Tom BoltonElisha Whitaker by James MizeWillie Whitaker and John Farmer, who killed each other; Harvey Mize killed his wife and dangerously stabbed her brother, Ray Whitaker; Lum Whitaker was killed by J. W. WoodallRoy Whitaker by two of the Barnes boys; Julius Warren, who married a Whitaker, killed James Arnold and his son, Harland Arnold.

The wife of William Barnes, one of the victims of Sunday's tragedy, was a Whitaker.  Most of the victims of the feud have been of the Whitaker family. [8]


[1] Excerpt from "Pulaski County." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY.  July 22, 1881. Page 2. LOC.

[2] Excerpt from "State News." The South Kentuckian, Hopkinsville, KY. July 26 1881. Page 2. LOC.

[3] Excerpt from "Pulaski County." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. July 29, 1881. Page 2. LOC.

[4] Excerpt from "Pulaski County." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. August 5, 1881. Page 2. LOC.

[5] Excerpt from "Local Matters." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. October 21, 1881. Page 3. LOC.

[6] Excerpt from "Notes of Current Events." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. October 28, 1881. Page 2. LOC.


[7] “Six Are Victim.” The Marion Daily Mirror, Marion, OH. August 6, 1907. Page 4. LOC.

[8] “Murderers At Large.” The Times Dispatch, Richmond, VA. December 2, 1908. Page 1. LOC.


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