February 12, 2018

Rev. George Middleton Assassinated Through Church Window, Lincoln, 1876


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


[December 1, 1876] -

A negro man named George or John Middleton, after attending a festival at Crab Orchard week before last, was shot at and wounded while sitting in his cabin the same night after the festival. The shot was fired through the window, and took effect in his breast, but the wound is not thought to be fatal. No clue can be found to the dastardly would-be-assassin. [1]


[January 26, 1877] -

Sam Humber and James Banks, two negroes, charged with the murder of Geo. Middleton, a man of color, at Crab Orchard, some months since, have been in prison here ever since the examining trial. They were brought before Judge Lytle, of the County Court, yesterday, on a writ of habeas corpus, asking for bail, or a full discharge from custody, which was refused them by the examining Court. After hearing the proof and arguments of counsel, Judge Lytle refused bail to the prisoners, and remanded them back to jail. [2]


[November 2, 1877] -

James Banks was tried for murder and acquitted. [3]


[November 2, 1877] -

James Banks, charged with the murder of George Middleton, another colored man in Crab Orchard, last Winter, was acquitted. The circumstances of the murder were most atrocious, Middleton having been shot through a window while in church. We understand that strong measures will be taken to find out who is the guilty party. [4]


[December 7, 1877] -

Crab Orchard's Big Robbery.

ARREST OF SAUNDERS, JAMES, PAYNE, BROADUS, AND THREE NEGROES, CHARGED WITH THE CRIME. SAUNDERS, BROADUS AND PAYNE ALSO CHARGED WITH THE CRUEL MURDER OF GEORGE MIDDLETON, &c., &c. -- Last Saturday night the store of Mr. Jno. Buchanan, at Crab Orchard, was broken into and robbed of goods, hogs, clover seed, and other valuables to the estimated amount of seven or eight hundred dollars. This produced great excitement, even in that town, that ought by this time to have gotten used to almost any thing, and some thirty odd citizens joined the next day in search for the stolen goods. They were, however, unsuccessful, and on Monday Capt. T. G. Moore, a man of great courage and nerve, was appointed special deputy to work up the case. That night, with a posse of picked men, he began the search, guided by his own convictions with regard to the robbers, and in the course of the night found nearly all of the goods on the farm occupied by George Saunders, hid under the cliffs and in corn shocks. Various circumstances united in connecting the said Saunders, W. R. James, and two negroes with the robbery, and they were accordingly arrested by Town Marshal W. T. Saunders, who delivered them to Judge Arch Carson, and asked that another Marshal be appointed, as he had personal reasons for not wishing to serve. This was done, but it seems that the guard failed to disarm Saunders, who came and went as usual. The next day some good citizens, seeing that Saunders was disposed to be demonstrative, asked Judge Carson to have his weapons taken from him. At this he grew very defiant, and swore that he would not suffer the humiliation; but William and James Dillion are men of grit, and Saunders was soon disarmed and put in a room under guard. During the scuffle, it was evident that Saunders' friends was ready and willing to render him assistance, and several citizens who feared trouble, telegraphed to Judge Lytle for a posse of men to be sent to there at once. The Judge acted immediately, and sent out two squads, one under Sheriff Hickle, on horseback, and another under Special Deputy L. M. Lasley, by the train, then leaving. We were among the latter, and the two parties arrived about the same time. The prisoners were quietly taken in charge, and, acting under the orders of Judge Lytle, prepared to be brought to Stanford. All the prisoners, save Saunders, were tied, and when his turn came he caught up a poker and attempted to brain the Sheriff. He warded it off, however, and seizing his prisoner, who was making for the door, swung to him, while a number of guards brought down their guns. The room was crowded with guards, Saunders' friends, and citizens, and for a time the excitement was intense. The coolness and bravery of such men as Sam Baughman, Capt. Frank J. White, Rube Harris, R. E. Barrow, and others, soon restored quiet, and upon the special request of some responsible gentlemen who vouched for his good behavior, the Sheriff agreed not to put the ropes upon Saunders. In the meantime, Dave Payne was arrested, the whole party were put in a wagon and brought to town. A portion of the posse was left at Crab Orchard, under the gallant Lucien Lasley, to bring in other suspected parties, and see that the witnesses int he case were not intimidated. They remained all night and returned to town next day bringing a number of witnesses and another negro, who is expected as a party to the stealing. While at Crab Orchard, some new facts developed, showing that Saunders, Bud Broadus, (who was arrested Wednesday, charged with resisting officers) and Dave Payne are guilty of the murder of George Middleton, negro, for the killing of whom two negroes were tried and acquitted last court. W. H. Miller, Esq., employed especially to prosecute the case, thereupon swore out a warrant, and the whole party was taken before Judge Lytle on the charge of murder. Neither case was ready for trial, and both were postponed till ten o'clock Saturday. The Judge promptly ordered the men to jail, and a heavy guard was employed to protect it as there were fears that the friends of the parties, and their number is large, would attempt their rescue. But the prisoners are safe now, and it would be folly for their friends to try to do otherwise than let the law take its course. We are not able, nor would we if we could, say as to the guilt or innocence of the accused, but hope that justice will be meted out and the guilty parties either suffer the rope or the penitentiary. [5]


[December 13, 1877] -

STANFORD, KY., Dec. 12. -- The trial of Geo. Saunders for the robbery of Buchanan's store at Crab Orchard on the night of December 1 was concluded to-day, and the accused held in $4,000. W. P. James (white), James Banks and Sam Humber (colored), for the same offense, waived examination, and were held, the first in $2,000, and the others in $1,500 each. To-morrow David Payne, Bud Broddus (white) and Jim Banks (colored) will be placed on trial for the murder of the negro Joe Middleton at Crab Orchard last December. This murder has been wrapped in mystery until now; but to-morrow is promised some State's evidence, and other hearts will bleed. [6]


[December 14, 1877] -

The trial of George Saunders has been in progress here [Stanford] since last Saturday. He and W. R. James, and two negroes named Jim Banks and Sam Humber, are now in custody, charged with robbing John Buchanan, in Crab Orchard, last Saturday night a week ago. We sent you the particulars of the affair as far as we had them up to the date of your last report. The offence was committed on Saturday night a week ago, December 1, but news of it and the unsuccessful search by the citizens of Crab Orchard for the thieves and the stolen goods did not reach us until Monday. On the evening of that day Deputy Sheriff Lasley, (a special deputy for the purpose,) summonsed a posse from round about Stanford and went up to make another search. This party was more fortunate than the former one and found all of the missing things besides a good many more which had been overlooked in making out the list of large and more valuable articles. The above named parties seemed by the circumstances to be pointed out as the perpetrators of the crime and were accordingly arrested and turned over to the custody of the civil officers of Crab Orchard, but it was thought best by the officers of the county to bring them down to Stanford for trial. Another posse under Deputy Sheriff Hinkle went up and brought them here and lodged them in jail on Thursday. A strong guard kept watch during the night. Friday a posse went up to Crab Orchard for the witnesses who were brought down and the trial began on Saturday. Objections were made by the prisoners to Judge Lytle's presiding, he accordingly retired from the bench, and Squires W. R. Carson and John Cash were summoned to preside. Separate trials were demanded and granted by the Court, and the case against George Saunders was taken up first. In this the Commonwealth is represented by Judge M. C. Saufley, W. H. Miller and County Attorney F. F. Bobbitt; the defendant by Col. T. P. Hill, R. M. Bradley and Breck Jones. Some fifteen or twenty witnesses for the Commonwealth have been examined and the evidence is voluminous and altogether circumstantial. The examination of the witnesses for the Commonwealth has not yet been concluded; it is, therefore, impossible to give you anything like a complete statement of the case yet. The trial will perhaps take several days longer.

The trial of Geo. Saunders, Bud Broaddus and D. C. Payne, charged with the murder of Geo. Middleton, in Crab Orchard, about one year ago has been continued until to-morrow. Middleton was shot by some unknown parties while in a negro church attending a festival. Jim Banks and Sam Humber were arrested, indicted and tried for the crime, but were acquitted. Since the robbery of Buchanan's store and the arrest of the above named parties, warrants have been issued against them charging the commission of this offense. A warrant was also issued against Geo. Saunders yesterday charging him with stealing several head of cattle from a Mr. Stone. 

LATER. -- After an examination of four days, the trial of four days, the trial of George Saunders, was completed today, (Wednesday). The evidence was very conclusive, and he was sent on to the next Grand Jury, and bail fixed at $4,000. W. R. James and the two negroes then waived an examination, and the bail fixed, the former at $2,000 and the two negroes at $1,500 each. The parties will be unable to give bail. The murder case against George Saunders, Bud Broaddus, Davy Payne (white), James Banks and Sam Humber (colored) will commence tomorrow. There are two cases against Saunders yet for cattle-stealing. All is quiet, but twenty men with needle-guns are constantly kept on duty to meet any emergency. [7]


[December 14, 1877] -

Crab Orchard Robbery, &c.

The bottom has at last been knocked out of all kinds of lawlessness in this county and guilty parties are either fearing that justice may overtake them or have fled from the wrath to come and sought shelter in other States. Except that a guard of twenty men armed with needle guns patrol the streets and stand in readiness for any emergency, Stanford is again comparatively quiet, and all fears of an attempt to rescue the prisoners have vanished. Since our last report, however, affairs have been particularly squally. On Friday morning of last week, news reached here by reliable authority that a body of men, (the friends of the prisoners) were arming themselves at Crab Orchard for the purpose of coming here and first demanding that the men accused be brought back to Crab Orchard for trial, and in the event that the County Judge refused this demand, to take them from the jail by force. Judge Lytle, on hearing this, ordered about one hundred men on duty and telegraphed at once to Governor McCreary for a supply of arms and ammunition. It was also learned that the witnesses in the case had been held at Crab Orchard and not allowed to answer the summons against them. A posse of 17 armed men under Deputy L. M. Lasley and Capt. F. J. White were accordingly sent to bring them in. We were of the number, and after taking in charge all the witnesses around Crab Orchard, rode into town. We found everything quiet there and but few people on the streets. No resistance whatever was made, and the object of the party was easily accomplished, and the witnesses put in wagons and brought to town. While in Crab Orchard we took especial pains to interview men and women, sympathizers on both sides of the contest, to learn the true state of affairs. The general opinion seemed to prevail that there was more excitement over the matter in Stanford than was either necessary or sensible. We learned though while there that there was no doubt about the proposition to come here and take the prisoners, and it would have been attempted had not cooler heads prevailed. Our posse was treated very kindly, and it returned to Stanford with all the witnesses desired except a colored girl named Hannah, who, it was understood, had been gotten out of the way because she knew too much. A party under L. M. Lasley that had preceded us saw the girl at George Saunders' house, but was prevented by Will Saunders and others from going in the house, they asserting that the girl was not there and unless Lasley had a search warrant they did not intend that the ladies should be frightened by the armed guard. In this connection we will say that with the exception of this rather suspicious circumstance, Mr. W. T. Saunders has deported himself with great good sense and decorum during the matter, and has added much to himself in the opinion of the public as a straight forward gentleman. The robbery case was called on Saturday morning, when each of the prisoners demanded a separate trial. The case of George Saunders was first called, and on the fourth day the examination of witnesses was concluded, the defense advancing no testimony. The prisoner was ably represented by Col. T. P. Hill, R. M. Bradley, Esq., and Breck Jones, Esq., and the Commonwealth could not have had more faithful representatives than W. H. Miller, Esq., Judge M. C. Saufley and County Attorney F. F. Bobbitt. The case was argued in all its varied points, and at 3 o'clock, Wednesday, submitted to the Court. The proof, though in the main circumstantial, was very conclusive, and the Court could not do less than send him on to the next Grand Jury. The question of bail was then argued, and the Court taking in consideration the grave nature of the offense and the ability of the prisoner to give it, fixed his bail at $4,000. The other prisoners, W. R. James, white, Jim Banks and Sam Humber, colored, were then brought into Court and, through their attorneys, waived examination and were sent on, James under bail of $2,000 and the two negroes at $1,500 each. None of the parties will be able to give it. The result of the trial is most satisfactory to all law abiding citizens, every one seemed to feel that old Lincoln is on the dawn of her redemption and that order and law is again to bless her dear old hills and valleys.

Yesterday morning the trial of the murder case, for the killing of George Middleton, colored, against George Saunders, Bud Broaddus and David Payne, white, and Sam Humber, colored, was called. The counsel for the prosecution having discovered that no case could be made against Broaddus and Payne, they were discharged but immediately arrested on a charge of malicious shooting. It will be remembered that after the killing of George Middleton, and after he was laid out, that a number of shots were fired into the building in which the corpse was, several balls going through the coffin and one into the person of Willis Harris, colored. It is for this shooting that they are held and Saunders is also included in the warrant. Their case will be called at 9 o'clock to-day. But back to the trial of yesterday. The discharge of Broaddus and Payne, and the disposition of the negro, Humber, to squeal, left Saunders alone on the murder charge. Several negroes were introduced who knew comparatively little, but when Henry Dollins was sworn he let the cat out of the bag, and from that to the end of the trial the testimony was direct and convincing. He saw Saunders with others at the church, and they got him to try and get Middleton out, but failing, returned to tell Saunders that he would not come. Then Saunders remarked that he would kill the scoundrel and immediately he heard a shot and Middleton fell. Didn't see Saunders shoot, however. Jim Banks, the negro who was tried at the last Term of the Circuit Court for the same murder was then called and testified that he went on the night of the murder with the party, among whom were Saunders, Ben McRoberts and others, to the Church for a little fun, as they expressed it, the fun being to take Middleton out of Church and whip him, all hands being masked and armed either with buggy whips or switches. Arriving at the Church and not succeeding in getting Middleton out Saunders said he could fix him and then went to the window and fired the deadly shot. Then all hands ran. Humber was next brought in and his testimony was corroborative of the above. All of them swore that Saunders threatened to kill them if they ever divulged who did the shooting. At the conclusion of Humber's testimony Judge Saufley announced that the Commonwealth would rest her case her and Col. Hill, Saunders' counsel, having nothing to offer, the case was given to the Court, which immediately decided to send him on without bail to the next Term of the Circuit Court. Saunders was thereupon taken to jail where he will cogitate over his crimes and misdeeds till next April. Justice has been rather slow in his case, but it has come at last and outside of his immediate circle of friends there will be but little sympathy felt for him. There are three more cases against him, one for malicious shooting and two for cattle stealing, but the Commonwealth has let up on him for the present. Verily, the transgressor has a hard road to travel.

During the excitement of the past few days, incident to the arrest and trial of the accused parties from Crab Orchard, our town has presented a lively appearance. [8]


[December 14, 1877] -


The Parties Charged with the Crab Orchard Outrages Hold to Answer -- Desirable Conclusion to a Series of Disgraceful Crimes -- Personnel of the Prisoners. 


(Correspondence of the Courier-Journal.)

STANFORD, KY., Dec. 12. -- As telegraphed you, the trial of the parties charged with the latest of a long series of outrages at Crab Orchard came this afternoon to a sudden and much-desired end. After nearly four days spent in the examination of Commonwealth witnesses, the defense declined to introduce any testimony, probably for the very good reason that they had none, and the argument for the case began. Short and able speeches were made by W. H. Miller, Esq., Judge M. C. Saufley and County Attorney Fountain Fox Bobbitt for the Commonwealth; and by Col. Tom P. Hill, R. M. Bradley, Esq., and J. B. Jones, Esq., for the defense. The result was that Geo. Saunders was held to answer the charge of burglary in the sum of $4,000. Robert James was then brought in, waived an examination and had his bail fixed at $2,000. The two negroes, James Banks and Sam Humber, likewise waived an examination and had their bail fixed at $1,800 each. None of the parties have given the required bond, and it is not likely that they will, as this is only the first step on the hard way that opens up for these transgressors.


for which these parties have been held to answer the certain indictment of the next grand jury, which will be impaneled the third Monday in April, has been already laid out in extenso before the readers of the Courier-Journal. Aside from the fact that it was the straw that broke the long-burdened back of pubic patience -- that it was the capstone to a disgraceful monument to the submission of a vast majority of good men to an indignant minority of very mean ones -- there is nothing in the Crab Orchard robbery to lift it above the common run of wholesale burglaries. On Saturday night, December 1, the grocery and provision store of John Buchanan, a very old and upright citizen of Crab Orchard, was broken open, and shoes, clover seed, tobacco, wheat and freshly butchered hogs to the amount of $800 taken therefrom. On the next morning a posse of citizens, of whom the prisoner, George Saunders, was one, made a faint attempt to find the stolen plunder, but failed. The people all over the county were aroused by the long continuance of such outrages, and on Monday morning Capt. T. G. Moore was appointed a special deputy to continue the search with a posse taken largely from this place. Late that night Deputy Lasley found the stolen plunder hid in corn shocks and under a bluff on Saunders' farm. The hogs had in the meantime been cut up and prepared for salting. Circumstances not necessary to detail here pointed to George Saunders, W. R. James and the two negroes, James Banks and Sam. Humber, as the guilty parties, and on Tuesday they were arrested by Will Saunders, Town Marshal of Crab Orchard and a brother to one of the accused. He turned them over to Judge Carson and had another Marshal appointed to take charge of them, as he naturally felt a delicacy in acting under the circumstances. The arrest of Saunders amounted to little more than an obsequious invitation to favor the court with his presence if agreeable to himself, as he continued to cary his arms and had the freedom of the town, and used it to the extent of being quite demonstrative of his objection to the indignation offered him. He even went so far as to present a pistol to the nose of old man Buchanan, the man robbed, and informed him that he was not to open his mouth about the affair. An effort to disarm Saunders led to a trial of physical strength, in which he was finally overpowered, but his friends collected in considerable numbers, and made so open threats to avenge the mistreatment that the little guard telegraphed to Stanford for aid, which was promptly sent in two detachments, one on horseback and one on the train. Both parties arrived about the same time and determined to put an end to the difficulty by tying the parties and bringing them to the county jail. All submitted quietly except Saunders, who attempted to brain the Sheriff with a poker, and was given moral support by his friends, who cried out, "Don't tie him, don't tie him." For a few moments matters took on a squally look, but upon Saunders promising to submit, and some respectable citizens pledging themselves for his good behavior, he was allowed to come to the jail unmanacled. They were all safely landed here, but Saunders continued very defiant for several days.

At the same time the above parties were brought down, David Payne was arrested and brought with them, and, as there were threats against the witnesses in the case, Deputy Lasley and posse remained behind and arrested a number of witnesses and brought them to this place [Stanford]. Threats were openly and freely made by the friends of the accused that they would be rescued, and County Judge Lytle at once put a large body of citizens on guard, and procured needle-guns from Frankfort to add to their efficiency. This had the desired effect, and though they hung around town for several days and talked very largely, the friends of the arrested [.... fold in paper, cannot read two lines....].


At the November term of the Circuit Court the two negroes above-named as charged with the recent robbery were tried for the murder of George Middleton, at Crab Orchard, in December of last year, and one of them acquitted. Middleton was one of the best citizens of Crab Orchard, and greatly respected by the better class of both whites and blacks. He had great influence with the latter, and had refused on several occasions to allow them to be made the tools of the Saunderses, Tuc. Ballard and the others of the disreputable band that controlled affairs about Crab Orchard. Either this fact or his knowledge of some of their criminal acts made him obnoxious to these men, and they were on the lookout for an opportunity to put him out of the way. Middleton had built a church at Crab Orchard, and on several different occasions gave festivals to assist in paying for it. On one of these occasions the two very disreputable negroes, Jim Banks and Sam Humber, mentioned above, created a disturbance, and Middleton had them arrested. Shortly after, in December of last year, at a similar festival in the church, after several suspicious attempts on the part of Banks and Humber to inveigle Middleton out of the building, he was fired upon through the window and mortally wounded. A few nights after the shooting, twenty or more shots were fired into the room where the friends were sitting up with Middleton's corpse, several of the balls passing through the coffin and the dead body in it. Banks and Humber were indicted and tried for the offense, though Tuc. Ballard swore before the grand jury investigating the case, that he knew the negroes were innocent of the shooting. Banks was cleared and Humber released without trial. The murder of Middleton remained a mystery, save in the suspicions of a few; but while working up the recent burglary evidence was stumbled upon that implicates Geo. Saunders, Tuck. Ballard (killed in Richmond), David Payne, Bud Broaddus, Sam Holmes, the fugitive murderer, and others, as the perpetrators of the cowardly and bloody deed. The case will come on for trial to-morrow, and some startling developments are promised.


Geo. Saunders, held for the burglary in the unusual bond of $4,000, and to be tried for the murder and two or three thefts of stock, is a mere youth in appearance, and not yet twenty-one years of age, and had run off with and married a Miss Rebecca Stephenson, only three or four weeks prior to the commission of the burglary for which he is held to answer. He is a brother of the notorious Walter Saunders, ex-Sheriff of the county, and is the identical youth who was cracked over the head by marshal Edwards, of Richmond, last August, an affair that led to the killing of Walter Saunders and Tuc. Ballard when they came to his rescue. He is a very bad egg, and from present indication will get his dues either in the penitentiary or on the gallows.


who is held for the robbery only, is a fine subject for a Murphy orator to expatiate upon. He is of a good family, and is connected with some of the wealthiest and most prominent people in the State. Nature endowed him with a bright mind, which education further polished, but whisky brought him to poverty and disgrace. He has been until his arrest the Crab Orchard correspondent of several papers, and furnished the Cincinnati Enquirer with its special in regard to Grove Kennedy’s exploits of the past summer.


is an illiterate man, rough and vicious, but a fine gun and silversmith, and could cut out of the old trap of a jail here with a fine-tooth comb were other obstacles removed.


is a handsome fellow, with an eye piercing and bright as that of a bird of prey, and follows agriculture as an avocation and deviltry as a vocation. He is married, and his wife, a sister to Wiatt*, the Rockcastle-county murderer, is doubly to be pitied. [9]

[*not sure who this refers to? Ben Wiatt who killed Harriet Clark in Crab Orchard in 1873?]


[December 21, 1877] -

Three of the Lincoln county criminals are now in the Louisville jail for safe keeping until the April term of the Circuit Court, viz: Sam. Holmes, Geo. Saunders, and Jim Banks. [10]


[December 21, 1877] -

We gave you in the last Advocate a brief resume of matters connected with the exciting preliminary trials at this [Stanford] place up to Thursday, the 13th. On that day, the two negroes, Humber and Banks turned States' evidence, and the result was that the murder of the negro, Geo. Middleton, was charged upon Geo. Sanders, in connection with Tuck Ballard (who was killed at Richmond), and Ben McRoberts, a fugitive from justice. -- Saunders was held without bail to await the action of the grand jury, and has been sent to Louisville for safe keeping. On Friday, the 14th, Bud Broaddus, Dave Payne and Will Carson were acquitted of the charge of malicious shooting, and thus ended the exciting trials of the week that will be long remembered in Stanford. The law abiding people of Lincoln have asserted their authority, and they will maintain it at every hazard. [11]


[March 22, 1878] -

CIRCUIT COURT. -- It is but little over three weeks till [Lincoln] Circuit Court, and then comes the tug of war. There are five murder cases to be tried: Holmes, for the murder of Sheriff NapierSaunders, for assassinating the colored preacher, MiddletonMorrison, for the murder of young Gooch, two years ago; Jerry Brown, colored, for the murder of Mr. John Engleman, and William Oakes, for assassinating 'Squire Petre. The prisoners at Louisville, and the one at Richmond, will be brought here, and we understand it is the intention of the authorities to employ a guard of a sufficient number that will serve during the whole trials. These will be armed with the needle guns and pistols, and will be on hand at all hours. We incline to the opinion that this will be a much better arrangement than for the Sheriff to have to hunt up a special guard for each day and night, and besides it will be infinitely more satisfactory to the public generally. Of course there is no great fears of any attempt at rescue, but forewarned is forearmed, and our officers are going to profit by the experience of the past. Affairs are in good shape in this county now, and it only remains for the Jurors in the coming Court to remember their oaths and punish the offenders to the full extent of the law. We have heard of a number of cases where Juries, through fear or favor, have acquitted criminals, or what is nearly as bad, hung, and allowed the murderer to go at large. Don't let this be repeated, but show the officers you are for a full execution of the laws by doing your own duty. [12]


[April 26, 1878] -

Will Carson, who has been indicted at this Court for being an accomplice to the murder of the negro, George Middleton, in December, 1876, was arrested and kept under guard until Friday night, when he sued out a writ of habeas corpus, and was released on a bond of $5,000. Mr. Peyton Embry is his surety. [13]


[April 26, 1878] -

We understand that George Saunders, who is indicted for assassinating an inoffensive old negro while the latter was in a church at Crab Orchard, and for several other felony charges, will apply for a chance of venue when his cases are called. He is afraid that a Lincoln jury will deal out more than justice to him, and he wants to go where there is not so much feeling against persons of his ilk. He is also opposed to Garrard, Boyle and Casey. [14]


[April 27, 1878] -

Some excitement was produced to-day by the announcement of the intention of a negro belonging to the Crab Orchard band to turn State's evidence. A committee of the grand jury, the prisoner and a guard of fifteen went to Crab Orchard to exhume the body of a man whom the prisoner alleges was murdered for his money and horse in August, 1876. The negro showed the place where he said the body was hastily buried, but, after digging, nothing was found. The prisoner still says his story is true, and he is corroborated by others. He says he dug the hole and helped bury the body, and that it has been removed. [15]


[August 30, 1878] -

BUD BROADDUS. -- A couple of Owensboro policemen surprised Bud Broaddus in bed three miles below that place last Thursday night and captured him. He must have given bail there for his appearance, as he has not been delivered to the authorities here. Slowly but surely the good work goes on. [16]


[September 20, 1878] -

same vs. George Saunders for killing a negro named Middleton. (This case comes here [Rockcastle] by change of venue from the Lincoln Circuit.) [17]


[October 4, 1878] -

The two cases against George Saunders were continued at the instance of the defendant. [18]


[October 11, 1878] -

The Lebanon Times says Geo. Saunders "is said to have been one of the parties in the Richmond difficulty." Yes, and he is said to have been at the other end of the pistol that killed poor old George Middleton in the church at Crab Orchard, and he wasn't far off when Buchanan's store was robbed, and was around when many other innocent tricks were performed by the Crab Orchard crowd. [19]


[January 10, 1879] -

ATTEMPT TO BREAK JAIL. -- Geo. Saunders, who is confined in the jail at Richmond on charges too numerous to mention, grew tired on Sunday last of the restraint that he has been forced to undergo for the last thirteen months or more, and made a bold stroke for liberty. By means of a false key, which he had filed to fit the lock of his cell, he got into the prisoners' walk, and with a little change in the same key, got outside the cage. He was in a fair way to make his escape, but his plans were fortunately discovered in time by the jailer, who removed him to another cell and relieved him of all substances likely to aid him in a further attempt to free himself. It is said that George is getting desperate because his friends do not assist him to liberty. [20]


[April 25, 1879] -

GONE. -- Bob James, the alleged partner of George Saunders in his raid on Mr. Jno. Buchanan's store some eighteen months ago, has also, we learn, taken the Western fever, and has gone no more to return until the indictments against him are forgotten. He was given money by his friends while out on bail before, to leave, but he got as far as Louisville, and looking on the wine while it was red, became intoxicated, and when he sobered up, found that he had scarcely enough money to take him back to Crab Orchard. His bail is $500 and his bondsmen are No. 1, in ability to pay. [21]


[May 2, 1879] -

The case against George Saunders is set for Saturday next; there are also, several other cases that have not been disposed of. [22]


[May 2, 1879] -

The Sheriff of Rockcastle, with a guard went up to Richmond yesterday for Geo. Saunders, whose case is set for trial at Mt. Vernon, to-morrow. [23]


[May 9, 1879] -

On Monday, the selection of a jury was begun in the case of the Commonwealth vs. George Saunders, charged with the murder of George Middleton, colored, in Lincoln county, in the year 1876, which case was brought here [Rockcastle] by change of venue from the Lincoln Circuit. After eighty-three jurors have been examined, the jury was completed, the Commonwealth having in the meantime, exhausted six challenged, one more than she was entitled to, and the defendant eleven challenges. The testimony on both sides was completed Tuesday evening. Wednesday morning was spent in wrangling over the instructions and the afternoon was consumed by part of counsel in their arguments. It is expected that the case will be given to the jury at noon to-day (Thursday.) [24]


[May 9, 1879] -

NOT AGREED. -- George Saunders' case for the murder of the colored man, Middleton, was given to the jury at noon yesterday, at Mt. Vernon, but they had not agreed on a verdict up to adjournment last evening. [25]


[May 16, 1879] -

OUR [ROCKCASTLE] CIRCUIT COURT. -- Adjourned last Saturday morning. There were but few causes of interest tried; the only one being that of George Saunders, the result of which, your readers have no doubt heard. [26]


[May 16, 1879] -

ACQUITTED. -- Contrary to the expectation of nearly every one in this county, the Rockcastle Court and jury acquitted Geo. Saunders of the murder of the negro man, George Middleton, which occurred two or three years ago, in a Church in Crab Orchard. The case against him for robbing John Buchanan's store, in which a change of venue had also been obtained to Rockcastle, was continued, Judge Randall in the kindness of his tender old heart, reducing the bail in it from $2,500 to $1,000. Saunders, under guard of the Sheriff and a posse of ten, was brought here and lodged in jail last Saturday. His brother went to work at once to make the required bail and succeeded in getting Jas. Henry Tucker to go on the Rockcastle bond with him and C. C. Colmisnil. But the trouble was not through with that, for the Court records here showed that for an assault on Henry Perkins, with intent to commit robbery, a $500 bond was necessary to secure his freedom, for stealing four hogs from John Buchanan, $500 more, for stealing seven cattle from John Stone, $1,000, and for resisting arrest, resisting officer, and carrying concealed weapons, $250 additional. The latter amount of $250 had previously been secured by Mr. Hiram Roberts, but he yesterday withdrew from the bond, leaving the amount of bail yet to be secured $2,250. Strenuous attempts have been made to raise this, but Saunders has acquired such an unenviable reputation that, although he has relatives who could make a bond of several times the amount wanted, they refuse to come to his aid. It is astonishing to those who do not know the true inwardness of affairs to observe the great sympathy aroused in Saunders' behalf in Rockcastle. The Sheriff and several of the officers of the county are outspoken in their belief that Saunders is a persecuted individual and ought to be relieved of further embarrassments; and it is said that the jury who went through the face of listening to the evidence were of that pig-head class who would have acquitted him on the evidence of one sorry white man, even though five hundred good negroes had sworn that they saw Saunders commit the deed. Knowing this state of affairs, we trust that our Commonwealth's Attorney will have the forethought to resist any attempt at a change of venue to that county of the other indictments here. Justice is all we claim, but this can not be obtained where every body is for acquittal, guilty or not guilty. Should Saunders succeed in giving bail and would go forth from the prison walls, that have held him for eighteen months, with an honest determination to reform and make a man of himself, he will be met with kind assistance and sympathy; but, if on the other hand, he should continue the bent of his former ways, our citizens, who are tired of law-breaking and law-breakers, will soon show him that the days for such deeds are past and will not be permitted to return. [27]


[May 23, 1879] -

THE SAUNDERS MATTER. -- It is not my desire to engage in a discussion with the editor of this paper. His course has generally met the approval of all law-abiding, fair minded citizens. The people of Rockcastle county admire him for his fearless and outspoken condemnation of lawlessness, and to that fact may be attributed a great degree, the quite respectable circulation which the Interior Journal has attained in our county. Justice to the good name of our people, demands, however, that I should notice as editorial in last week's issue. I allude to the article commenting on the result of the trial of George Saunders for the murder of the negro, Middleton, which trial was had at the recent term of our Circuit Court. The writer of the article was evidently misinformed as to the facts in the case, and did not understand the "true inwardness of affairs" quite as well as he imagined. This must be true; for I would be slow to believe that the writer, or his informant could be prompted by any sinister motive to cast a reflection on the people of this county. Although many persons may have believed that George Saunders was guilty of the crime with which he was charged, still it is the policy of the law to presume the innocence of all offenders, and no right-minded jury will find a man guilty of murder unless he is proven guilty, and by the testimony of reputable witnesses. In the case of George Saunders, the Commonwealth simply failed to establish his guilt, though thirty witnesses were sworn for the prosecution. The assertion made by the writer of the article referred to, that the jury were organized to acquit, had no foundation in fact. To say one acquainted with some of those composing the jury, the assertion that they would violate their oaths, would have no other effect than to excite a ridicule for the man who made it. We sincerely trust that the vigilant Commonwealth's Attorney for the Eighth District will allow no more of Lincoln county's criminals to have changes of venue to this county. We do not want them here. But if they come here, and no better class of witnesses can be produced against them than in the Saunders case, rest assured that our jurors will turn them all loose. And it makes no difference whether the witnesses are white or black. A good negro will be believed here just as readily as a good white man. Perjurers, no matter what their color, will obtain no credit. [28]


[May 30, 1879] -

STILL IN. -- George Saunders has not succeeded in getting his rich relatives to come to his assistance yet, and we understand that the move is now to get Judge Owsley to reduce the amount of bail. It is not likely to succeed, however. [29]


[June 6, 1879] -

REDUCED. -- Judge Owsley and Commonwealth's Attorney Denny, without the shadow of evidence that George Saunders is any less guilty than he was thought at the time he was indicted, have laid their heads together and reduced his bail in this county to one half the former amount. We of course do not pretend to say that Saunders is guilty of the many evil deeds of which he is accused, and sincerely hope he is not, but if he was guilty then, he is now, and to a man up a tree, it looks like there has been too much policy shown in the matter, or the bail would not have been fixed at a higher figure when the people were excited over the Crab Orchard revelations, to be reduced when that excitement had in a measure subsided. [30]


[June 20, 1879] -

OUT ON BAIL. -- George Saunders, who has been confined in jail since December 4th, 1877, on various and sundry charges, gave bail on Tuesday, and now breathes again the air of Crab Orchard. A man named Salter, from Boyle, whom we understand is his uncle, went his security for the remaining $1,250, the bond of $1,000 in Rockcastle and $250 in Garrard, having been previously given. Mr. Salter, we learn, extorted a promise from Saunders, that he would in the future, shun bad company, let whisky alone, and endeavor to make a man of himself, the penalty of his failure being an immediate return to prison. Saunders has it in his power to redeem himself in a measure, but whether he will or not, remains to be seen. [31]


[July 11, 1879] -

CAME TO TIME. -- George Saunders came to town Monday, according to promise, and gave an additional bond of $300 on a case of grand larceny in Garrard, with A. C. Tucker, as security. It is somewhat singular that the papers in this case were not sent here some time ago, but then there are many singular things in this world. Saunders behaved himself in a becoming manner while here, and we learn that he has acted well since his return to Crab Orchard. [32]


[August 30, 1879] -

George Saunders Killed in Saloon, Lincoln, 1879 


[October 3, 1879] -

JAIL MATTERS. -- Jim Banks, who was jointly indicted with George Saunders and Bob James for the robbing of Mr. John Buchanan's store in 1877, and who has been held in jail here ever since, has been released by order of the Circuit Court of Rockcastle, whither his case had gone by change of venue. Banks, who was in the employ of Saunders, claimed that he was present at the robbing as the teamster only, and he was held more as a witness against the other parties than any thing else. Saunders' case having gone to a higher Court, and Bob James having skipped out for a more congenial clime, Banks was no longer needed, hence his release. [33]


[1] Excerpt from "Local News." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. December 1, 1876. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1876-12-01/ed-1/seq-3/

[2] Excerpt from "Local News." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. January 26, 1877. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1877-01-26/ed-1/seq-3/

[3] Excerpt from "Our Neighbors." The Kentucky Advocate, Danville, KY. November 2, 1877. Page 2. Newspapers.com.

[4] Excerpt from "Local News." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. November 2, 1877. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1877-11-02/ed-1/seq-3/

[5] "Crab Orchard's Big Robbery." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. December 7, 1877. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1877-12-07/ed-1/seq-3/

[6] Excerpt from "Stanford." The Courier Journal, Louisville, KY. December 13, 1877. Page 4. Newspapers.com.

[7] Excerpts from "Lincoln County." The Kentucky Advocate, Danville, KY. December 14, 1877. Page 2. Newspapers.com.

[8] "Crab Orchard Robbery, &c." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. December 14, 1877. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1877-12-14/ed-1/seq-3/

[9] Excerpt from "Lincoln County." The Courier Journal, Louisville, KY. December 14, 1877. Page 2. Newspapers.com.

[10] Excerpt from "Local and Personal." The Kentucky Advocate, Danville, KY. December 21, 1877. Page 3. Newspapers.com.

[11] Excerpt from "Lincoln County." The Kentucky Advocate, Danville, KY. December 21, 1877. Page 2. Newspapers.com.

[12] Excerpt from "Local News." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. March 22, 1878. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1878-03-22/ed-1/seq-3/

[13] Excerpt from "Circuit Court." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. April 26, 1878. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1878-04-26/ed-1/seq-3/

[14] Excerpt from "Local News." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. April 26, 1878. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1878-04-26/ed-1/seq-3/

[15] Excerpt from "Stanford." The Courier Journal, Louisville, KY. April 27, 1878. Page 2. Newspapers.com.

[16] Excerpt from "Local News." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. August 30, 1878. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1878-08-30/ed-1/seq-3/

[17] Excerpt from "Rockcastle County News." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. September 20, 1878. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1878-09-20/ed-1/seq-2/

[18] Excerpt from "Rockcastle County News." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. October 4, 1878. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1878-10-04/ed-1/seq-2/

[19] Excerpt from "Paragraphs Wise and Otherwise, culled from Logan's Kentucky News in C.J." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. October 11, 1878. Page 1. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1878-10-11/ed-1/seq-1/

[20] Excerpt from "Local Matters." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. January 10, 1879. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1879-01-10/ed-1/seq-3/

[21] Excerpt from "Local Matters." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. April 25, 1879. Page 3. LOC.

[22] Excerpt from "Rockcastle County." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. May 2, 1879. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1879-05-02/ed-1/seq-2/

[23] Excerpt from "Local Matters." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY.  May 2, 1879. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1879-05-02/ed-1/seq-3/

[24] Excerpt from "Rockcastle County." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY.  May 9, 1879. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1879-05-09/ed-1/seq-2/

[25] Excerpt from "Local Matters." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. May 9, 1879. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1879-05-09/ed-1/seq-3/

[26] Excerpt from "Rockcastle County." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. May 16, 1879. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1879-05-16/ed-1/seq-2/

[27] Excerpt from "Local Matters." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY.  May 16, 1879.  Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1879-05-16/ed-1/seq-3/

[28] Excerpt from "Rockcastle County." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. May 23, 1879. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1879-05-23/ed-1/seq-2/

[29] Excerpt from "Local Matters." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. May 30, 1879. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1879-05-30/ed-1/seq-3/

[30] Excerpt from "Local Matters." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. June 6, 1879. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1879-06-06/ed-1/seq-3/

[31] Excerpt from "Local Matters." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. June  20, 1879. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1879-06-20/ed-1/seq-3/

[32] Excerpt from "Local Matters." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. July 11, 1879. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1879-07-11/ed-1/seq-3/

[33] Excerpt from "Local Matters." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. October 3, 1879. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1879-10-03/ed-1/seq-3/


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