December 16, 2017

Joseph Ferrell/Ferrill Killed in a Melee, Lincoln, 1874


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


[October 2, 1874] -

A shooting affray occurred in Milledgeville on Sunday evening. The facts seem to be that a man named Ferrel was behaving boisterously in the village generally, and finally made an an attack on Mike Ely, in the presence of his family. Ely fired upon him, wounding him in the leg with small shot. In the melee, it is said, other parties fired and wounded Ferrel mortally. He died last night at the house of Clint Helm, near Knob Lick creek. [1]


[October 9, 1874] -

The facts developed in the trial of the parties accused of the murder of Ferill at Millidgeville last week fully warranted the judgement of the court. Though Ferill was upon the aggressive during the day, and violated the peace and good order of the village the killing could easily have been averted had the parties whom he maltreated placed that reliance in the strong arm of the law which it warrants, and have had him promptly arrested for his disorderly and brutal conduct towards unoffending citizens. We must rely more upon the laws of the land, and promptly cause the arrest of all evil-doers--those who are guilty of the slightest misdemeanors as well as the perpetrators of the most shocking crimes--and depend less upon our strong arm and well loaded revolvers and shot-guns for protection. So long as we are cursed with the prolific parent of the crime, whisky, in our midst, making blood-thirsty savages of peaceable and orderly citizens, we must enforce the law against those who patronize this fountain of crime and thus become law-breakers. Hang murderers, imprison homicides, and promptly punish all minor offenses, is our motto. Desperadoes must be punished -- but it is not necessary that everybody turn executioner to insure their punishment! [2]


[October 9, 1874] -


Ely, Gresham, and Hall Held to Answer in Bonds of $1,000 Each.

The examining trial of Mike Ely, Wm. Gresham, and Feland Hall, charged with the murder of Joseph Ferrill, at Milledgeville, in Lincoln county, on Sunday, the 27th inst., took place at Stanford on Friday and Saturday last, before Magistrates W. R. Carson, of this district, and D. Lamme, of Hustonville district, and resulted in a verdict of manslaughter, and the prisoners held to answer in the sum of $1,000 each. Gresham gave bond with Geo. W. Carter, jr., and Geo. Benedict, sureties. Ely gave Geo. W. Carter, jr., surety, and Hall gave Wm. Foster and Wm. Gresham, sr., sureties. The bonds were accepted by the court and the prisoners released. Hon M. C. Saufley, Capt. W. G. Welch, and R. C. Warren were for the defense, and County Attorney Bobbitt, Col. Frank Woolford, of Liberty, and Jacobs & Rodes, of Danville, for the prosecution. Speeches were made by Saufley, Warren, Woolford, Rodes, and Bobbitt. [3]


[October 9, 1874] -

Mike Ely, Feland Hall, Jr., and Wm. Gresham, who were arrested for killing Jos. Ferrill, had an examining trial in Stanford, which was commenced on Friday last, and completed on Saturday. The inquiry resulted in their being held in $1,000 bonds each to appear before the Lincoln Circuit Court for further trial. They each gave the required bail and were released. The examining Court were Darius Lamb and W. R. Carson, Esquires. [4]


[October 22, 1875] -

But few cases have been disposed of up to to-day, as the time has been mainly taken up by the trial of Ely, charged with the murder, about a year ago since, of a man named Ferrel, at Milledgeville, in this county. The trial occupied about three days, and up to the hour of going to press the jury is still out. [5]


[October 29, 1875] -

Ely, whose case, on a charge of murder, we mentioned last week, was acquitted--the jury remaining out only a short time.  The cases of alleged particeps criminis, Hall and Gresham, were continued. [6]


[December 10, 1875] -

The cases of Bridgewater were all continued until the regular April term. Also the cases of Hall and Gresham. [7]


[April 21, 1876] -

The cases of the Commonwealth vs Grisham and Hall, charged with killing Ferrel, at Milledgeville, some time ago, were continued at the present Term of the Court. Mike Ely, one of the three men charged with the killing, was tried at the last Term of the Court, and acquitted. [8]


[April 28, 1876] -

Sixty-two indictments were returned by the Grand Jury, mostly for misdemeanors.

The trial of Wm. Grisham, charged with the murder of Jos. Ferrell, at Milledgeville, some time since, has occupied the Court for the last three days. A great deal of testimony against the accused was elicited, and we understand that some tall swearing has been indulged in. The defense was ably represented by Messrs. Hill and Alcorn, and Saufley and Warren, and most masterly prosecuted by Commonwealth Attorney Denny, assisted by Col. Breckenridge. At half past six o'clock, last evening, the case was given to the Jury who, after retirement, reported that it was likely that they would finally agree, and at half past seven, they were dismissed by the Judge to appear again this morning. Grisham was detained in Jail last night. [9]


[May 5, 1876] -

OFF. -- As we had no Sheriff last Tuesday, Jailer Tom Buford, with his guard, started off to the Penitentiary at Frankfort, on that day, with Bridgwater, Gresham and Yancy. After entered the cars, chains were placed around their legs to insure their safe arrival. Bridgwater was demure and crest-fallen, and seemed as tho' all hope had fled from his heart of gaining his freedom again. Gresham took in the situation at a glance, and will have two years in which to brood over the killing of his fellow man. Gus Yancy, wore the same dont-care-a-continental tinker look, which always accompanies him, and went off with a smile of apparent complacency, amid the good-bys of a score or more of his colored race who had gathered at the depot, as usual. [10]


Related: One Killed, Five Injured in Election Day Row, Lincoln, 1878


[1] Excerpt from "Lincoln County News." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. October 2, 1874. Page 3. LOC.

[2] Excerpt from Column 2. The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. October 9, 1874. Page 2. LOC.

[3] "The Ferill Murder." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. October 9, 1874. Page 3. LOC.

[4] Excerpt from "Lincoln County News." Kentucky Advocate, Danville, KY. October 9, 1874. Page 2.

[5] Excerpt from "Court Items." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. October 22, 1875. Page 3. LOC.

[6] Excerpt from "Court Items." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. October 29, 1875. Page 3. LOC.

[7] Excerpt from "Court Items." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. December 10, 1875. Page 3. LOC.

[8] Excerpt from "Circuit Court." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. April 21, 1876. Page 3. LOC.

[9] Excerpt from "Circuit Court." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. April 28, 1876. Page 3. LOC.

[10] Excerpt from Column 3. The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. May 5, 1876. Page 3. LOC.


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