January 3, 2015

Man Shoots Another Over Small Disagreement, Pulaski, 1882


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


[December 12, 1882] -

Buck Merritt, the willful murderer of John Johnson, at Eubanks Station, if our correspondent's report of it is true, has been captured and lodged in jail at Somerset. [1]


[December 14, 1882] -

Buck Merrett, who so brutally murdered Wm. Johnson at Eubank's, Pulaski county, recently, has been captured and placed in jail at Somerset. [2]


[April 20, 1883] -

The criminal docket is unusually large, there being four murder cases, three for robbery, and one for forgery. The murder cases are as follows: Tom Conley, for killing Gooch at Eubanks Station; Logston for killing Phillips; Buck Merritt, for killing Robinson, and the negro Coyle, for killing another of his color named Lewis Owens, in this place last Christmas. [3]


[April 27, 1883] -

The trial of Buck Merrit, a young man charged with the murder of Robinson, was commenced Wednesday morning.

As the testimony developed, the case against Merritt for the murder of Robinson is a very bad one. All the witnesses agree that he walked up behind his victim (who was drowsy and staggering from intoxication) and shot him, without any cause or provocation, except that he said that Robinson had told a lie on him. But he had no words or quarrel with Robinson and pretended to be friendly at the time of the killing. Merritt is about nineteen years old. [4]


[May 1, 1883] -

Merritt was convicted and will be sentenced to the penitentiary for life. Ten of the jury were for the death penalty. [5]


[May 8, 1883] -


Buck Merritt Goes to Penitentiary for Life for Killing Wm. Robinson.

SOMERSET, KY., May 8. -- A few days ago Buck Merritt, a worthless, drunken scamp, and Wm. Robinson, of near this place, went to Ewbank's station and got drunk. Just after dark they started home. When a short distance from the station a neighbor saw Merritt suddenly drop behind Robinson, draw a pistol, and fire. Robinson cried out: "Oh, Buck, you have killed me," and fell dead. Merritt was arrested the next day and brought to this place and put in jail. There were strong fears at first of his being lynched. His trial commenced last Friday, with Col. T. Z. Morrow attorney for the defense. The testimony for the defense failed to show a single reason to justify the murderous deed. Yesterday, when he was sentenced for life to the penitentiary, he burst into a hoarse laugh and said: "I don't care a d--n what you do with me." [6]


[May 8, 1883] -

Sheriff will leave Tuesday morning for Frankfort, to take Frank Johnson and Buck Merritt to the penitentiary, the former a negro, for chicken stealing, sentenced to two years and the latter for murder, sentenced to life imprisonment in the penitentiary. [7]


[May 9, 1883] -

[Special to the Courier-Journal.]

FRANKFORT, May 8. -- Sheriff J. H. Watson, of Pulaski county, brought to the penitentiary to-day W. R. Merritt, sentenced for life for murder, and Frank Johnson, colored, sentenced for two years for stealing chickens. Merritt's case is part of the bloody history of a murdering family. Seven or eight years ago Merritt's mother was accused of killing a man, and the testimony of one witness would have convicted her. Fountain Young, the reputed father of Merritt, killed this witness and thereby secured the release of his mistress, but brought a life sentence to the penitentiary upon himself. Three of Merritt's cousins were afterward arrested, among others, for the killing of a woman. After remaining in jail for over a year, they were finally discharged for want of evidence to convict them. Merritt himself is a notoriously bad character. His crime was killing a man with whom he had quarreled, while the latter was helplessly intoxicated. The jury at first stood eleven for hanging and one for life imprisonment, the latter penalty finally prevailing. [8]


[May 17, 1899] -


H. W. Hall, Manslaughter; W. K. Marritt, Murder; Harmon Barlow, Attempted Murder, and Chas. Williams.

FRANKFORT, Ky., May 17.-- Acting Gov. Worthington granted pardons Tuesday to the following convicts, now serving terms:

H. W. Hall, sent from Harlan county for 21 years for manslaughter.

W. K. Marritt, sent from Pulaski county in 1883 for life for murder.

Harmon Barlow, sent from Hart county for two and a half years for shooting with intent to kill.

Charles Williams, colored, sent from Fayette county for three years for malicious shooting and wounding.  He has consumption, and Prison Physician Tobin recommended his pardon. [9]


[May 19, 1899] -

Worthington pardoned H. W. Hall, of Harlan, sent up for 21 years for murder, and H. K. Merritt, of Pulaski, convicted for life. [10]


[1] Excerpt from "Local Matters." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. December 12, 1882. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1882-12-12/ed-1/seq-3/

[2] Excerpt from "All Over the South." The Courier-Journal, Louisville, KY. December 14, 1884. Page 2. Newspapers.com.

[3] Excerpt from "Pulaski County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. April 20, 1883. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1883-04-20/ed-1/seq-2/

[4] Excerpt from "Pulaski County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. April 27, 1883. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1883-04-27/ed-1/seq-3/

[5] Excerpt from "Pulaski County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. May 1, 1883. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1883-05-01/ed-1/seq-2/

[6] "A Wanton Murder." Cincinnati Post, Cincinnati, OH. May 8, 1883. Page 3. Genealogybank.com.

[7] Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. May 8, 1883. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1883-05-08/ed-1/seq-2/

[8] Excerpt from "News Over The State." The Courier-Journal, Louisville, KY. May 9, 1883. Page 4. Newspapers.com.

[9] "Four Convicts Pardoned." Daily Public Ledger, Maysville, KY. May 17, 1899. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86069117/1899-05-17/ed-1/seq-2/

[10] Excerpt from "Pulaski County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. May 19, 1899. Page 1. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1899-05-19/ed-1/seq-1/


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