December 22, 2014

Man Stabbed During Arrest Attempt on Election Day, Rockcastle, 1888

Previously:

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

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[August 10, 1888] -

George Nichols, a constable at Skaggs voting place, attempted to arrest a boisterous man when Jeff Nichols, a brother, struck the officer in the breast with a knife. Damage was slight. Others interferred, Jeff was knocked down and had a knife thrust under his shoulder blade, from which he will likely die. Party is under arrest. [1]







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[September 10, 1889] -

Sad State of Affairs in Rockcastle.

(To the Editor of the Interior Journal.)

MARETBURGH, Sept 5.-- If you will allow me space in your valuable paper I will give your readers a few pointers as to the present condition of affairs in this county, politically speaking. Eight years ago democratic supremacy was completely overthrown and the republicans took hold of the helm and began to direct the ship. All went well for a while and everyone seemed well pleased with the outlook, but ere long the predominating party began their tyranical rule, which has gradually grown worse until to-day our county is in a deplorable condition. In order that your readers may fully understand the situation I will narrate a few instances where party affiliations have apparently governed the grand jury and the courts of this county, the grand jury being almost wholly republican. To begin with we will tell of an election melee that occurred at Skagg's Creek voting place last August, in which Jeff and George Nichols, two brothers, became involved (Jeff a democrat and George a republican,) and finally came to blows, when Will McKinney, another republican, ran up and knocked Jeff down with a club, while a third man, a republican, stabbed him twice, each time inflicting a dangerous wound, from which he came very near dying. The grand jury, on the following September, indicted Jeff Nichols, for what I cannot say unless it was because he didn't die, which has been pending in the courts of this county until the present term, when it was defeated by a hard rub here last Tuesday.

Another difficulty which occurred on the same day between Mitchell Norton, democrat, and George Pitman, republican, in which Pitman watched the public highway for Norton until the latter returned home from Mt. Vernon, late in the evening, and accosted him with leveled revolver, demanding of Norton why he had so treated his son that morning. (Norton had challenged the boy's vote because was only 19 years old.) Norton jumped off his horse on the opposite side and taking a revolver from his saddle-bags, went around on him and began firing with Pitman, when Pitman shot once or twice and took to his heels. Norton was indicted and Pitman was allowed to go Scott free.

We will now give a few characteristics of the county officials, who manage the campaign in the Mt. Vernon precinct. In August 1888 the democrats were better organized than usual and early in the morning began to run in lively the "stray votes," which frightened the enemy very much, and in order to check the party in the minority, Jailer Arnold gave John Proctor, that gallant warrior of the republican ranks, a "huge" pistol and he took his stand by the window where the voting was done in order to intimidate the democrats. County Judge Colyer is a thick-headed, prejudiced "hill Billy," who cares nothing for the peace and happiness of his constituents, nor anything else that tends to advance the interest of the county, which he has been the instigator in burning into disrepute. His doubtful deeds are too numerous to mention, yet we feel it would be doing him an injustice not to mention one or two of his rulings in regard to Rockcastle's terror, John Proctor, whom Colyer has had at his command, ready to do his will during his whole official career. One, of which our people all know, was the causing of Proctor to be appointed a deputy jailer here at a circus last fall, in order that he might be an officer of the peace, when the town had a marshal who had appointed four others to assist him on that occasion. The result of that appointment was the probable fatal stabbing of the marshal by Proctor. The last official act in making appointments was that of Proctor to the office of constable to act as a protector for the people of Mt. Vernon. The results of that appointment have been read the world over. Wade Purcell, a promising young man, though unfortunately a democrat, received a fatal shot on election day, from which he was buried three days afterwards. To hope for the conviction of one of the cut-throats is simply useless. The present grand jury stood 14 republicans and 2 democrats and from the present outlook one would naturally conclude that Proctor will never be indicted, yet the time will soon come when the tyranical rule of the present will be overthrown and a better day may be expected for Rockcastle.

A CITIZEN. [2]


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[September 20, 1889] -

I know nothing personally of the trouble between the Nichols brothers, that he mentions but I am credibly informed that Jeff cuts his brother George without just cause and was knocked down before he could make the second lick and is no doubt to-day thankful for it. The man who cut him after he was down did wrong, I have no doubt, as he was indicted, but fled the country before arrested. All there is of the Norton-Pitman matter is, they had a row on their way home from the election in which shots were exchanged. For this both were indicted and Norton's name coming first on the docket his case was called and tried and he acquitted or a hung jury, I am not sure which. It was developed during this trial, owing, to the contradictory nature of the evidence, that Pitman could not be convicted and with the consent of Norton (the parties in the meantime having become friendly) the case was either filed away or dismissed. [3]











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[1] 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/


[2] "Sad State of Affairs in Rockcastle." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. September 10, 1889. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1889-09-10/ed-1/seq-2/

[3] Excerpt from "John Proctor's Defense." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. September 20, 1889. Page 4. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1889-09-20/ed-1/seq-4/

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