December 9, 2015

William Fain Kills Jesse Hilton, Rockcastle, 1892


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


Thank you to John Lambert, descendant of Jesse Hilton, for bringing this case to my attention.


[June 10, 1892] -

Another bloody murder occurred in the eastern part of this [Rockcastle] county this week. Bill Fair shot and killed Jesse Helton. Fair, who was drinking, went to Helton's house carrying with him an old banjo. Helton was not at home, but arriving a few minutes afterwards, found Fair playing the banjo and children dancing. Helton abhorred a banjo and ordered Fair to desist, which he refused to do so. Helton then ordered him to leave the house and upon his refusal to do so Helton took him by the shoulder and pushed him through the door. Fair drew a 44 revolver and sent a ball through Helton's bowels, which caused his death the next day. The dead man was married and had always been a peaceable man. I have been unable to learn the reputation of the slayer. Fair was arrested at Livingston Sunday night while attempting to board a train, was jailed here [Mt. Vernon] and preliminary trial held Wednesday and bond placed at $2,000, which the prisoner was unable to give. [1]


[September 16, 1892] -

In the case of Wm. Fair, the young man who killed Hilton, in June, the jury gave a State's prison term of 17 years. This case will likely go to the court of appeals. [2]


[September 23, 1892] -

Bill Damerel, who got two years at last term of court, was taken to Frankfort last Thursday. Fain, who was given 17 years for killing Jesse Hilton, has taken an appeal. [3]


[December 31, 1895] -

For numerous and sundry reasons, which he gives, Gov. Bradley pardoned Wm. Fain sent from Rockcastle for murder. He had served three years of his sentence of 17 years. [4]


[January 1, 1896] -


Gov. Bradley Announces a Pardon for a Convict and an Appointment.

FRANKFORT, Ky., Dec. 25. -- Gov. Bradley Tuesday afternoon presented William Fain, a 17-year man from Rock Castle county, with a Christmas gift in the shape of a free and unconditional pardon. Fain was brought here about three years ago, and has been a most exemplary prisoner.

The governor has appointed Hon. Roland C. Burns, of Ashland, to act as special judge at the March term of the Pike circuit court in place of Hon. L. J. Crawford, of Newport, declined. [5]


(excerpt from a list of pardons made by Governor Bradley)

[May 26, 1896] -

William Fain, Rockcastle, manslaughter, 17 years, good character. [6]


[1] Excerpt from "Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. June 10, 1892. Page 2. LOC.

[2] Excerpt from "Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County." Semi-weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY.  September 16, 1892. Page 2. LOC.

[3] Excerpt from "Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County." Semi-weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY.  September 23, 1892. Page 5. LOC.

[4] Excerpt from "A Local Nature." Semi-weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. December 31, 1895. Page 1. LOC.

[5] "Christmas Gifts." Richmond Climax, Richmond, KY. January 1, 1896. Page 4. LOC.

[6] Excerpt from "Vindicated!" Daily Public Ledger, Maysville, KY. May 26, 1896. Page 1. LOC.


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