December 10, 2017

Judge Denny Kills Man That Had Threatened Him, Garrard, 1883

Previously:

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

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[November 29, 1883] -

TO SAVE HIS LIFE.

How George Denny, Jr., Shoots and Kills J. H. Anderson, at Lancaster,

After Being Warned that the Latter was Patrolling the Street in Front of His Office

For the Purpose of Executing Public Threats of Vengeance Made Against Him.

Awful Scenes Behind a Closed Door on a Dark Stairway, Where a Life Went Out.

GRAPHIC DETAILS OF THE AFFAIR.

(Special to the Courier-Journal.)

LANCASTER, KY., Nov. 28. -- The loud, sharp report of a shotgun broke the stillness of this town a little after 4 o'clock this afternoon. The report came from the south side of the Public Square, and two men were seen engaged in a death struggle in the door at the bottom of the stairs leading to the law office of Denny & Tomlinson. One of the men was Judge George Denny, Jr., the well-known, prominent lawyer and politician of this place, and the other was James H. Anderson, also a citizen of this town. Anderson's right hand grasped a revolver, and a shotgun with one barrel empty was lying at Judge Denny's feet. It was evident that the shot which had been heard had done no damage, and that the men were struggling over the pistol in Anderson's hand. Mr. J. H. Brown, the County Attorney, was present, and for a moment tried to part the combatants. He did succeed once in getting hold of the pistol, but it was immediately wretched from him by Anderson, and almost simultaneously the two men backed into the stairway, a steep, dark and narrow one, and the door at the bottom was closed, leaving Brown on the outside. Probably a hundred axious and excited people had now reached the vicinity, and once Brown put his hand against the door behind which the two men were struggling, when some one called out to him to look out, and at that instant the report of the revolver was heard in the stairway. This was followed in a few seconds by another, and that by another and another, until five shots had been counted by the breathless spectators. Every one was asking himself the question, are the two men shooting each other to death, or it only the work of one, and if so, which? After the fifth shot there was quiet in the stairway, and two men walked up and pushed open the door.

THE DEAD BODY OF ANDERSON

was lying against it. They picked it up and laid it out on the pavement. His right hand still clutched in a death grip the pistol to which he had clung so tenaciously and not a chamber had been discharged. There were four ghastly wounds on his person; one in the head, one in the neck, and two in the left breast. Dr. F. O. Young, who was present in the crowd, made a hurried examination, and announced that life was extinct. Either of the three last mentioned wounds was fatal. Mr. W. G. Dunlap, who had rushed up the stairs as soon as the door opened, returned in a moment with the information that Judge Denny was unhurt. Town Marshal Easton arrived and to him Denny surrendered. The body of Anderson was conveyed to his home, and shortly afterward Judge Denny, accompanied by his law partner, Mr. R. H. Tomlinson, was taken before County Judge W. E. Walker and his examining trial set for Friday, the 30th inst. Until that time he was committed to the custody of Sheriff Higgenbotham and a guard.

The cause of this terrible tragedy dates back to last Monday night, and the particulars, as I gather them from reliable sources, are as follows:

On Monday night Judge Denny and Mr. Anderson were in the public room at the Lancaster Hotel, when Anderson began to use insulting and offensive language toward Judge Denny about his connection with some suits in the Federal Courts concerning the electrion riot at Bryantsville last August. His remarks became so abusive that Judge Denny finally asked him what he meant, to which Anderson responded by saying if he did not like it he could take it any way he G-d d--d pleased. Judge Denny got up and

LEFT THE ROOM,

and as he had on one or two former occasions had sharp words with Anderson, though they afterwards became friendly, he resolved that he would quit speaking to him, and so announced publicly, in order that Anderson might hear it. Anderson did hear it, and it seems to have incensed him. He has been drinking considerably for several days, and this afternoon he began to curse and abuse Denny at various places in town. He let it be known that he was armed, and announced his intention of settling the matter with Denny. Four or five persons went to Judge Denny and warned him that Anderson would attempt to kill him, and he had better be on his guard. Anderson passed in front of the office several times, and seemed to have a fondness for staying in that part of the town. Judge Denny remained in his office till the afternoon, until shortly after 4 o'clock, when he was compelled to go down. As he went down the stairway, armed with a shot-gun and revolver, Anderson passed in front of the door. Mr. Tomlinson, who was with Judge Denny, urged him to go back, and he would probably have done so, but at that moment his wife came to the foot of the stairs and called him. He went down, and reaching the door, saw Anderson standing a little to the right, facing him, with his right hand in his pocket. Mrs. Denny, who was standing with her little daughter between him and Anderson, spoke to her husband and asked him what was the matter. He said to her, "Get out of the way." Again she asked him what was the matter, and again he said to her, "Get out of the way." She then turned, and seeing Anderson, spring into a store door at once. Anderson started toward Denny, who was still standing in the doorway,

DRAWING HIS WEAPON

as he went. Denny attempted to throwdown his gun and fire, but the weapon was discharged before it reached a level, and the [charge] passed over Anderson's head. The latter, with the pistol presented, rushed at Denny, who, finding that he could not use his gun, dropped it, seizing Anderson's right hand with his left the two men closed in that awful struggle which resulted so disastrously to Anderson. After the door closed on them in the stairway, Denny drew his own revolver, and still retaining his hold on the weapon of his foe emptied the five chambers at Anderson, four of the balls taking effect.

Judge Denny is well known throughout the State as an able lawyer and a prominent Republican politician. He served a term as Judge of this [Garrard] county, and also a term as Commonwealth's Attorney for this district. He is now an applicant for the United States District Judgeship in Dakota. He is about thirty-four years of age, and has an interesting family, his wife being a daughter of the late Hon. George W. Dunlap, of this place [Lancaster.

James H. Anderson was a young man about twenty-eight years of age, and belonged to one of our best families. He began life with bright prospects, but had become addicted to drink. When sober he was a very pleasant gentleman; in his cups he was disposed to be quarrelsome. He leaves a young wife and two bright little children. His wife is a daughter of H. Clay Jennings, one of our most prominent and substantial citizens. His widowed mother survives him, and she and his wife are both prostrated with grief over this unhappy affair.

JUDGE DENNY'S STATEMENT.

I called at a late hour this evening on Judge Denny and asked him if he desired to make a statement of the affair for the readers of the Courier-Journal. He answered that he was perfectly willing to do so, and premising his remarks by saying that he deeply regretted having to take a life to save his own, he made the following statement:

"On Monday night last I went to my law office to meet my partner, Mr. R. C. Tomlinson. We stayed there some time, and when we left crossed over to the Lancaster Hotel. Mr. Tomlinson went on home and I entered the public room. James H. Anderson, Wm. Arnold, James Hamilton, John Marrs and a number of others were sitting around the stove. I sat down back of them. Anderson noticed me and at once began to talk about my bringing suits in the United States Court. He referred to the Bryantsville election riot, and asked me if I was going to bring a suit against the men who killed the negroes. I told him I had been employed for that purpose and intended to bring the suits. He then began to use rough and insinuating language toward me. Some of the gentlemen present tried to change the conversation, but he persisted in talking about me. Finally I said: "Jim, what do you want a difficulty with me for? What have I ever done to you?" He said: "By G-d are you mad about it?" I said: "I don't like it, and want to know what you mean." He then said: "You ought to understand it, but if you want to get mad about it, take it any way you G-d d--n please." I said: "All right." He then said to some one else that he wanted to

BULLDOZE ME.

I said: "You can't do that, as I shall bring any suit I think proper." He continued to talk about me and said he was a fine pistol shot, and that he had killed all those negroes at Bryantsville. Finally I got up and left. On Tuesday I didn't see him. This morning as I went to my office I walked on the opposite side of the street to avoid meeting him. I had made up my mind not to speak to him. He had attacked me several times before, and I felt that I had borne much from him. As I went to my office this afternoon just as I reached it I met him. He tipped his hat to me and said, in a tantalizing way, "Good evening, Mr. Denny." I did not speak nor look at him, but walked on up in my office. In a little while my brother-in-law, W. G. Dunlap, came into the office and told me Anderson was cursing me on the street and I had better be on my guard. Then other gentlemen came up to the office and told me the same, among them, Mr. J. H. Brown, County Attorney, who studied law with me. One of the men told me he knew Anderson was armed. One of the gentlemen told Mr. Tomlinson hat Anderson was watching my office door to raise a difficulty when I came down. Mr. Brown told me that a friend of mine had sent him to tell me that Anderson was watching in front of my office

TO KILL ME

when I came down. I had some business on the street, but would not go down, because I wanted to avoid a difficulty. Finally I was compelled to go down to see Mr. Wm. Kerby, and arose to go. Mr. Tomlinson asked me to wait a minute. He went down, and I know he was looking to see if Anderson was in the vicinity. He came back and the County Attorney with him, and we all went down together. When we got within four or five steps of the bottom Anderson passed, walking slowly in front of the door. Our steps on the stairway attracted him, and he looked out from under his hat toward me. Tomlinson said, 'Hold on,' and I stopped. He then said, 'Go back to the office.' I said, 'No: I can't be made a prisoner in my own office; I must go down.' But I was just on the point of yielding to his entreaty when my wife and little daughter came to the foot of the steps, and my wife spoke to me saying, 'I want to see you a minute.' I went down, carrying a shot-gun which I had brought from the office. As I reached the doorway I saw Anderson standing to the right, with his face toward the door, nervously clutching his pistol in his right hand pants pocket. My wife and child were between me and him, and it was so awful a moment for me. I knew the crisis had arrived in my life when

I MUST KILL OR BE KILLED.

I feared Anderson would shoot, and hit my wife or child, and I said to her, 'Get out of the way.' She said to me, 'What in the world is the matter?' I said, 'Get out of the way.' She asked Mr. Tomlinson, 'What does all this mean?' He said nothing. She then turned, and seeing Anderson stepped into a store door. My little girl was slow in following her, and before she had hardly gotten out of the way Anderson started hurriedly toward me, drawing his pistol. I tried to throw my gun down on him, but my elbow struck the door-framing and the weapon discharged, the contents passing over his head. He rushed on toward me, and I tried to pull off the other barrel, but it wouldn't go. I dropped the gun and caught his pistol with my left hand. Brown caught at the pistol, but if he caught it, Anderson quickly wrenched it from him, and we two engaged in the struggle. I backed up the stairway two or three steps. I was trying to prevent his shooting me, and in the struggle hurt my left hand severely. Finally seeing that I couldn't hold his weapon much longer, I drew my pistol, and, putting it against him, fired until he fell." Mrs. Denny, who listened to the latter part of her husband's statement, said to me:

"As I turned from my husband at the office, I saw Mr. Anderson with a terrible expression on his face, and his hand on his pistol. I knew then what was the matter, and ran in at the store door. As I went in, Mr. Anderson started toward my husband." [1]






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[November 30, 1883] -

Another fearful tragedy has occurred in Lancaster, resulting in the death of a well-known citizen. On Monday last Judge Geo. Denny, Jr., late Commonwealth's Attorney in our Judicial District, and a gentleman widely known as a Republican politician and an able prosecutor at the bar, had some trouble with James H. Anderson over a law-suit. It is said that Anderson, who was under the influence of liquor, insisted upon a settlement of the difference by a fight, but Judge Denny appreciating his condition and desiring to avoid trouble, withdrew. On Wednesday afternoon, at about 4:45 Judge Denny attempted to leave his office for his home, in response to a call from his wife, when he saw Anderson approaching rapidly with a pistol in his hand. He had been warned that Anderson was on the look-out for him, and was therefore prepared to meet him, being armed with a shot-gun and pistol. His first attempt to use his gun proved a failure, when Anderson rushed upon him in his office door, which in the struggle was closed on the combatants. A brief struggle followed, when five shots were heard, and in a short time Judge Denny came out unharmed, and Anderson was left dead on the floor, with pistol in hand, and not a chamber discharged. Judge Denny surrendered to the authorities and his examining trial will take place on Friday. Mr. Anderson is a son of the late Clayton Anderson, and was a brave man, possessing many noble qualities. But for his unfortunate habit of drinking to excess, the trouble would most likely not have ended in the fearful tragedy we have recorded. Mr. Anderson leaves a young wife (a daughter of H. C. Jennings) and two bright children, a widowed mother, and a large circle of relatives and friends to mourn his untimely end. 

The following is Judge Denny's statement of the trouble and its unfortunate termination, furnished a representative of the Courier-Journal for publication. The other side will no doubt be developed at the examining trial to-day, (Friday).

"On Monday night last I went to my law office to meet my partner, Mr. R. H. Tomlinson. We stayed there some time, and when we left crossed over to the Lancaster Hotel. Mr. Tomlinson went on home and I entered the public room. James H. Anderson, Wm. Arnold, James Hamilton, John Marrs and a number of others were sitting around the stove. I sat down back of them. Anderson noticed me and at once began to talk about my bringing suits in the United States Court. He referred to the Bryantsville election riot, and asked me if I was going to bring a suit against the men who killed the negroes. I told him I had been employed for that purpose and intended to bring the suits. He then began to use rough and insinuating language toward me. Some of the gentlemen present tried to change the conversation, but he persisted in talking about me. Finally I said: "Jim, what do you want a difficulty with me for? What have I ever done to you?" He said: "By G-d are you mad about it?" I said: "I don't like it, and want to know what you mean." He then said: "You ought to understand it, but if you want to get mad about it, take it any way you G-d d--n please." I said: "All right." He then said to some one else that he wanted to bulldoze me. I said: "You can't do that, as I shall bring any suit I think proper." He continued to talk about me and said he was a fine pistol shot, and that he had killed all those negroes at Bryantsville. Finally I got up and left. On Tuesday I didn't see him. This morning as I went to my office I walked on the opposite side of the street to avoid meeting him. I had made up my mind not to speak to him. He had attacked me several times before, and I felt that I had borne much from him.As I went to my office this afternoon just as I reached it I met him. He tipped his hat to me and said, in a tantalizing way, "Good evening, Mr. Denny." I did not speak nor look at him, but walked on up in my office. In a little while my brother-in-law, W. G. Dunlap, came into the office and told me Anderson was cursing me on the street and I had better be on my guard. Then other gentlemen came up to the office and told me the same, among them, Mr. J. H. Brown, County Attorney, who studied law with me. One of the men told me he knew Anderson was armed. One of the gentlemen told Mr. Tomlinson hat Anderson was watching my office door to raise a difficulty when I came down. Mr. Brown told me that a friend of mine had sent him to tell me that Anderson was watching in front of my office to kill me when I came down.

I had some business on the street, but would not go down, because I wanted to avoid a difficulty. Finally I was compelled to go down to see Mr. Wm. Kerby, and arose to go. Mr. Tomlinson asked me to wait a minute. He went down, and I know he was looking to see if Anderson was in the vicinity. He came back and the County Attorney with him, and we all went down together. When we got within four or five steps of the bottom Anderson passed, walking slowly in front of the door. Our steps on the stairway attracted him, and he looked out from under his hat toward me. Tomlinson said, 'Hold on,' and I stopped. He then said, 'Go back to the office.' I said, 'No: I can't be made a prisoner in my own office; I must go down.' But I was just on the point of yielding to his entreaty when my wife and little daughter came to the foot of the steps, and my wife spoke to me saying, 'I want to see you a minute.' I went down, carrying a shot-gun which I had brought from the office. As I reached the doorway I saw Anderson standing to the right, with his face toward the door, nervously clutching his pistol in his right hand pants pocket. My wife and child were between me and him, and it was so awful a moment for me. 

I knew the crisis had arrived in my life when I must kill or be killed. I feared Anderson would shoot, and hit my wife or child, and I said to her, 'Get out of the way.' She said to me, 'What in the world is the matter?' I said, 'Get out of the way.' She asked Mr. Tomlinson, 'What does all this mean?' He said nothing. She then turned, and seeing Anderson stepped into a store door. My little girl was slow in following her, and before she had hardly gotten out of the way Anderson started hurriedly toward me, drawing his pistol. I tried to throw my gun down on him, but my elbow struck the door-framing and the weapon discharged, the contents passing over his head. He rushed on toward me, and I tried to pull off the other barrel, but it wouldn't go. I dropped the gun and caught his pistol with my left hand. Brown caught at the pistol, but if he caught it, Anderson quickly wrenched it from him, and we two engaged in the struggle. I backed up the stairway two or three steps. I was trying to prevent his shooting me, and in the struggle hurt my left hand severely. Finally seeing that I couldn't hold his weapon much longer, I drew my pistol, and, putting it against him, fired until he fell." Mrs. Denny, who listened to the latter part of her husband's statement, said to me:

"As I turned from my husband at the office, I saw Mr. Anderson with a terrible expression on his face, and his hand on his pistol. I knew then what was the matter, and ran in at the store door. As I went in, Mr. Anderson started toward my husband." [2]


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[November 30, 1883] -

So far as we have been able to gather the facts, the killing of Mr. J. H. Anderson by Ex-Com'lth's Attorney Denny, was to say the least, a most unnecessary act. Had the busy-bodies who ran and told Denny of alleged threats taken a more lawful mode of procedure, they would have deserved better of the public. None of the facts as we see them, justify Denny in opening fire upon a drunken man, who, at the time, was making no attack on him. 

LATER. Our reporter put a somewhat different spin on the killing over the reports received here and makes out a better case than even the attorney for Mr. Denny does in the Courier-Journal. The whole thing grew out of the fact that Denny was to bring a civil suit in the U. S. Court against Anderson and others, alleging that they had killed the two negro men in the Bryantsville election riot. Anderson claimed that Denny caused the wives of the men killed to remove to Ohio in order that they might bring suit. [3]




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[November 30, 1883] -

Hon. Geo. Denny, Jr., shot and instantly killed James H. Anderson (familiarly known as "Little Jim") in his necessary self defense Wednesday afternoon. Anderson has bourne the reputation for a number of years as being a boisterous and dangerous character when under the influence of liquor and has constantly appeared as chief in numerous riots and altercations that have occurred in our community. The last riot in which he participated and which finally led to his death indirectly, occurred at Bryantsville at the last election. Judge Denny had been engaged to prosecute the rioters. A few evenings ago Anderson attacked Denny, indulging in very abusive and insulting language against him. Denny paid no attention to the insult. On Wednesday Anderson became intoxicated and while in this condition told quite a number on the streets that he intended to kill Denny. He hung around Judge D.'s office three or four hours in the afternoon, laying in wait to kill him. On coming down from his office to attend some business he met Anderson at the door with his pistol half drawn whereupon Denny attempted to shoot him with his shot-gun. The gun from some unknown cause was discharged, the load of buck-shot passing several feet over Anderson's head. Anderson then drew out his pistol and ran into Denny's door in pursuit. Judge D. caught the pistol in his left hand, dropped his gun and drew a revolver from his pocket, shooting Anderson four times, any one of which would have proved fatal. During the scuffle that ensued the door was closed and Anderson's body fell out. Denny was justified in killing him. The trial is set for to-day (Friday). The whole community sympathizes with the Judge in this unfortunate affair. Anderson was buried Thursday at the family burying-ground on the Lexington road. [4]




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[November 30, 1883] -


STATE INTELLIGENCE.

The Day After the Denny-Anderson Tragedy at Lancaster -- The Dead Man's Funeral.

...

[Special to the Courier-Journal.]

LANCASTER, Nov. 29. -- There are no new developments of importance in the Denny-Anderson killing. Knots of men were gathered on the streets at an early hour this morning discussing the details of the affair. The tragedy is greatly regretted by every one. It is the first homicide that has occurred in Lancaster in several years.

At 2 o'clock this afternoon occurred the funeral of James H. Anderson, the remains being interred in the family burying ground, about one mile from town. The funeral procession was quite a large one. Anderson was widely connected in the county. Great sympathy is expressed for his family. 

The examining trial will take place to-morrow. Judge Walker, being a relative of Judge Denny, will not preside. It is likely that Police Judge Isaac Singleton will conduct the investigation. Mr. J. H. Brown, County Attorney, is a witness in the case, and will not prosecute. Mr. Robert Harding, the efficient County Attorney of Boyle county, will take Mr. Brown's place, and represent the State.  It is said that other attorneys have been employed for the prosecution, but it is not known who they are. Judge Denny will be represented by Hon. W. O. Bradley, H. C. Kauffman, R. H. Tomlinson and Sam M. Burdett, of the local bar. Several attorneys, among others A. E. Wilson, of Louisville, and W. H. Miller, of Stanford, have to-day by telegraph offered their services if needed. ... [5]



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[November 30, 1883] - 

In a desperate hand-to-hand encounter at Lancaster, Judge George Denny, Jr., shot and killed James H. Anderson. The latter, it appears, was the aggressor. Denny is a prominent Republican politician and is now an applicant for a United States District Judgeship in Dakota. [6]




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[December 4, 1883] -

Lancaster.

Nothing has been developed in the Denny trial to change our opinions expressed in the first report of the tragedy and the testimony that has been elicited so far has been of such a character as to strengthen our convictions. Hugh Smith, Dan Collier, Yantis Middleton, W. G. Dunlap, Ben Pherigo, Wm. Hays, Ann Anderson, (col) and John Marrs testified for the defense this morning. The most important witness for the defense was John Marrs, who was with Anderson at the Lancaster Hotel on Monday night previous to the killing and saw Anderson several times during the day he was killed and was with him only a few minutes before Denny shot him. He states that Anderson used very abusive and sarcastic language towards Denny at the hotel; that he tried to turn the conversation (but in vain) and that he finally left the public-room; that he passed the door, looked in and hearing Anderson still abusing Denny, passed on. He saw deceased on the morning of the 28th, with whom he had a conversation, in the course of which deceased remarked that he had met Denny and that the d--n s-n of a b---h refused to speak to me." Saw him again after dinner and told him he intended to shoot Denny, at the same time patting his pistol said, "If I had had this he would never have spoken to me again, or any one else." Marrs advised him to drop the matter and behave himself. Saw deceased pass and re-pass Denny's door several times and look in at the steps leading to the office; saw him lean against Lillard's store window within a foot of the door leading to the stair-way, and when Mrs. Denny came up he stepped from this point to the pavement towards the third post of shed in front of the building against which he leaned; heard Mrs. Denny call her husband to come down. Just then Marrs went into his father's store and first shot was heard. This afternoon Jno. Miller, Gabe Greenlief and J. H. Brown testified. At the present writing Brown is testifying. He states that he came down from Denny & Tomlinson's office, passing Denny at the door, holding a shot-gun in his hands; passed out and stopped on the pavement in front of Lillard's. Mrs. Denny spoke to Judge about the mail; saw Anderson start towards Denny with pistol in hand; Denny fired gun, missing him; Brown grabbed Anderson as he went into the door; was unable to hold him; sprang out backwards to pavement and drew his pistol; saw Denny fire first shot, which took effect in Anderson's side; door closed and heard three more shots. [7]



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[December 7, 1883] -

The examining trial of Judge Geo. Denny for the killing of James H. Anderson (an account of which was given in these columns last week) was called last Friday morning. County Judge W. E. Walker being related to Judge Denny declined to try the case, and the defendant was taken before Esquires J. S. Robinson and Jack Dunn, who held the examination. County Attorney J. H. Brown was an eyewitness to the killing, and refused, because of this, to prosecute. Mr. Robert Harding, the able young County Attorney of Boyle, appeared for the Commonwealth. He asked for a continuance until the afternoon, that he might see the witnesses for the Commonwealth. The case was called again at 1 o'clock, and the attorney for the Commonwealth moved the court for a continuance because of absence of witnesses. After considerable argument, pro and con, the continuance was granted until Saturday morning at 9 o'clock. The court met pursuant to adjournment, and the Attorney for the Commonwealth asked time until Mr. Jno. Yerkes, of Danville, who had been employed to assist in the prosecution, should have time to get here. Mr. Yerkes arrived about noon, and at on o'clock the case was again called, and the examination proceeded. On motion of the Attorney for the Commonwealth the witnesses were put under the rule, Mr. Tomlinson, the law partner of Mr. Denny, being excused.

The first witness introduced by the Commonwealth was Hugh Logan, who said: "Knew Jas. H. Anderson; knew Judge Denny; saw part of the difficulty between them Wednesday evening; was standing at Hemphill's corner; saw Mrs. Denny come up to the door to the stairway leading up to Denny's office. About that time saw Anderson pass by and look up in the door-way. He went on by and stopped close to the third post under the shed in front of Sergus' store, counting from S. Marrs'; he turned around and looked towards the door; Mrs. Denny stood at the door a short time; Judge Denny was standing in the door with a gun in his hand when Mrs. Denny was there, didn't see him when Anderson passed by. In a short time Mrs. Denny stepped into Sergus' store, and I heard the gun go off. I didn't see Anderson start towards Denny until after the gun was fired. I saw Denny where he stepped back in the door after the gun was fired. Anderson then started towards him and began drawing his pistol, saw him go in to the door, and heard the shooting. Anderson was standing with both hands in his pockets, didn't see Anderson doing anything before the gunshot was fired. Anderson stooped down and st___ as he went __ the door. Heard Anderson say that day that he and Denny had had some trouble, that he was only in fun, but he heard that Denny was mad, and that he could take it as he d--n pleased.

Chas. Peacock, W. A. Arnold and Wm. Borden were then introduced and swore to about the same material points as did Logan. Borden and Arnold said Anderson was leaning against the third post, with his hat rather down over his eyes. Arnold said that Anderson got a pistol from him that day about 1 o'clock. These three witnesses testified that Anderson did nothing before Denny's gun went off. Arnold testified that he went to Denny's office and told his partner, Mr. Tomlinson, not to let Denny come down that Anderson was drunk and he feared he would raise a row. Dr. F. O. Young was introduced, and testified that there were three wounds in Anderson's body and the left side of his face, and two in the left side of his breast, any one of which would have been fatal. Here the Commonwealth rested.

The defense then introduced several witnesses who testified that they were acquainted with Anderson's character for peace, &c., and when he was drunk that he was a quarrelsome, dangerous man; some said he was a brave man. W. S. Walker, for the defense, testified that he was in Denny's office on Wednesday evening and heard threats that Anderson had made conveyed to Denny. He afterwards saw Anderson on the pavement in front of Denny's office. Jas. Herring, for defense, testified that he was in Spratt's bar-room on Wednesday evening, and heard Anderson say, "Geo. Denny would not speak to me to-day when I met him; I was not armed then, but I am now. He is a d--n big black s-n of a b---h. He shall never speak to me again. I will blow his d--n brains out." I told W. A. Arnold and other gentlemen of this, and told them to go and tell Denny. The Court then adjourned until Monday morning at nine o'clock, at which time Alonzo Hay was introduced for the defense, and testified he was in the office of the Lancaster Hotel on Monday night before the killing. Anderson and Denny were in there; that Anderson was drinking and talked very roughly, cursing the Republican party; that Anderson was talking to Denny about some law suit; said that "the only way to keep Denny was to give him a contingent fee." Anderson said that he had killed all the negroes in the election riot at Bryantsville. Denny didn't say anything except answer direct questions. Saw Anderson again on Wednesday at Spratt's bar room, he was drinking. 

B. F. Pherigo for defendant testified. Saw Anderson day of killing, he was intoxicated, and seemed to have no regard for anybody, but knew what he was doing. W. G. Dunlap, introduced for defense, testified. Am a brother-in-law of defendant, saw Anderson in Marrs' confectionery about 2 o'clock on the day of the killing, and heard him threaten Denny; he (Anderson) said, "I met Denny and he refused to speak to me. I have heard that he is mad, but I don't care a d--n what he does." He said, "If anybody brings me before the U. S. Court, I will have his heart's blood before night," that "the man who was at the bottom of the U. S. Court affair was laying low and not saying anything, but I know who he is." I told Denny that Anderson was making some threats against him. Hugh Smith, for the defense, testified: Heard Anderson say in Marrs' store, between 2 and 3 o'clock on the day of killing, "I will kill any d--n s-n of a b---h, black or white, that will have me arrested in the U.S. Court." I told Judge Denny that Anderson was armed, and I thought he had better watch him. Anderson said, "the man who is instituting the suits in the U.S. Court is laying low."

Ann Anderson and Wm. Cook, for the defendant, heard Anderson make threats against somebody, but called no name. J. W. Miller and G. S. Greenleaf for defense testified that they had each conveyed the threat that Herring had heard from him to Denny.

Yantis Middleton for defense testified: Saw Anderson about 5 minutes before the killing; he had a pistol in his hand under his coat. Jno. S. Marrs for defense testified: Was at the hotel on Monday night before the killing, and heard the talking between Anderson and Denny. Saw Anderson at my brother's store on day of killing, he said, "I have heard that Denny is mad at me; when I meet him I am going to tip my hat to him." I saw him again about 3 o'clock, at my father's corner, he said, "Don't you think I met that d--n s-n of a b--h and he wouldn't speak to me?" He put his hand on his pistol and said, "If I had have had that he wouldn't speak to me or anybody else again." I again saw him just before the killing, he came up to my father's store, passed Denny's office door and looked up the stairway, and stopped and leaned up against the window just beside Denny's office door. Mrs. Denny came up to the door and he went over near the outer edge of the pavement. Mrs. Denny called to Denny, I then went into the store and heard the shot, I didn't see Denny at all. Anderson was drunk and staggering when I saw him just before the killing.

J. H. Brown testified: Saw Greenleaf on day of killing, he told me to "tell Denny that Anderson was waiting to kill him." I told Denny; I then went down and saw Anderson on Marrs' corner, and tried to get him to go away. I went back in the office (Denny's) and came down in a short time and saw Anderson coming up from Spratt's bar room. I went over there, and I and three other men got Anderson to go back to the bar-room with us. Anderson said, "There is one d--n man in this down who wouldn't speak to me; if he does I will send him to his vault." I went back to the office and told Denny that Anderson was away. Denny picked up his mail and started down, Mr. Tomlinson after him; when I went down Denny was standing in the door, Mrs. Denny and her little daughter on the outside. I went outside on the pavement; Mrs. Denny asked for the mail, and then asked Mr. Tomlinson "What does this mean?" She then stepped into Sergus' store and Anderson started at Denny, drawing his pistol; he was standing out on the pavement between the 2d and 3d posts. After Anderson started at him, Denny's gun went off and he stepped back into the stairway; I ran in and grabbed Anderson's pistol, he jerked it from me and pointed it at me, I jumped out, after the 2d or 3d shot the door was closed.

R. H. Tomlinson testified. Am law-partner of Denny. The first information that I had of any trouble I heard Hugh Smith telling Denny that Anderson had threatened him. W. A. Arnold then came up in the office and told me that Anderson was waiting down there to raise a difficulty with Denny, and not to let him come down; I told Denny. About night, when we were ready to go home, I saw a gentleman across the street whom Denny wanted to see. I told Denny, and went down to see if Anderson was out of the way. I didn't see him, and went back and told Denny; we both then started down, Denny in front, when three or four steps down I saw Anderson pass the door and I asked Denny to go back; we started back, when Mrs. Denny called her husband. He then went down and I followed him; when I got down Mrs. Denny was standing outside; Denny was standing with one foot on the step outside. When I first saw Anderson he was standing out on the pavement behind Mrs. D., looking directly at Denny. In a short time Mrs. D. stepped into Sergus store, and Anderson started towards Denny, attempting to draw his pistol; Denny's gun went off; Denny had the gun in his hands when he came down the steps; when the gun went off I went back up the steps; couldn't see what was going on at the bottom of the steps, nor who was doing the shooting inside. Here both sides announced themselves through, and the argument of counsel began. Messrs. S. M. & B. M. Burdett for the defense, and Mr. John Yerkes for the prosecution spoke Monday evening; W. O. Bradley for the defense and Robt. Harding for the Commonwealth spoke Tuesday morning. The case was given to the Court about 11 o'clock Tuesday. The Court, after deliberating a short time, decided that it was a clear case of self-defense, and the prisoner was discharged. Great sympathy is felt throughout the community both for the family of the deceased and Judge Denny. [8]


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[December 7, 1883] -

Geo. Denny, Jr., was acquitted Tuesday morning. He was tried before Squires Robinson and Dunn, who returned a verdict within five minutes after retiring from the court-room that it was a clear case of self-defense and ordered the defendant discharged from custody. [9]




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[December 7, 1883] -

The Magistrates' court promptly acquitted Judge Denny, but the Grand Jury is yet to wrestle with the case. We learn that public sentiment is about equally divided in Garrard, as to Denny's guilt or innocence. [10]



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[December 14, 1883] -

Said a gentleman who has himself been a citizen of Garrard county: "Lancaster is the banner Kentucky towns for killing. At top of the same flight of stairs at whose base Anderson was killed by Denny, stood one of the young Evans and shot down five of the Hills as they attempted to force their way into his father's office to murder the old man; directly on the opposite side of the street the father of young Anderson was killed; in the store in which Mrs. Denny took refuge when the fight began between her husband and Anderson, Anderson's brother died by a bullet. [11]




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[February 15, 1884] -


The Grand Jury has adjourned after finding 32 indictments. The case of Geo. Denny was investigated but no indictment was found, the opinion prevailing that he had acted in self-defense in killing James Anderson last November. [12]






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[1] "To Save His Life." The Courier Journal, Louisville, KY. November 29, 1883. Page 1. Newspapers.com.

[2] Excerpt from "Our Neighbors." Kentucky Advocate, Danville, KY. November 30, 1883. Page 1. Newspapers.com.

[3] Excerpt from "Local Matters." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. November 30, 1883. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1883-11-30/ed-1/seq-3/

[4] Excerpt from "Garrard County Department." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. November 30, 1883. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1883-11-30/ed-1/seq-3/

[5] Excerpt from "State Intelligence." The Courier Journal, Louisville, KY. November 30, 1883. Page 3. Newspapers.com.

[6] Excerpt from Column 1. The Evening Bulletin, Maysville, KY. November 30, 1883. Page 2. Newspapers.com.

[7] Excerpt from "Garrard County Department." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. December 4, 1883. Page 3. LOC.

[8] Excerpt from “Lancaster.” Kentucky Advocate, Danville, KY. December 7, 1883. Page 1. Newspapers.com.

[9] Excerpt from "Garrard County Department." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. December 7, 1883. Page 3. LOC.

[10] Excerpt from "Local Matters." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. December 7, 1883. Page 3. LOC.

[11] Excerpt from Column 3. The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. December 14, 1883. Page 4. LOC.

[12] Excerpt from "Garrard County Department." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. February 15, 1884. Page 2. LOC.


See also:

- Excerpts from "Local Matters." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. December 4, 1883. Page 3. LOC.

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