February 19, 2017

Fountain Young Kills Nathan Trusty, Casey, 1871


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This case and several of the articles below were sent to me by Jessy S. Thank you! 

See also:  Buck Merritt Kills John Johnson, Pulaski, 1882.


[December 8, 1871] -


CASEY CIRCUIT COURT. -- The Winter session of the Casey Circuit Court opened on Monday, 27th ult., with Judge Fox on the bench and Maj. M. H. Owsley for the Commonwealth. The docket was much larger than usual, being upwards of seventy appearances, with a number of old cases hard to compute. Among the distinguished bar-tenders we noted R. P. Jacobs, Jno. S. Vanwinkle, Danville; Robert Lusk, Lancaster; J. W. Alcorn, Wm. H. Miller, R. J. Breckenridge, Jr.; and Robt. Blain, Stanford; John Belden, Lebanon; J. E. Hays and Boyle Stone, Jamestown; Cols. Adams and Wolford, McD. and Jesse Fogle, John D. Page, R. B. Pittman and Andy Williams, Liberty; lawyers enough to throw Paradise into confusion, much less a city like Liberty. Up to this writing the Court has sentenced one man, Nathan R. Thomas, to two years in prison, for resisting a civil officer; fined another, Leroy Napier, one thousand dollars, for striking a woman; and will perhaps pass the death sentence upon the third, Fontaine Young, for murder. [1]

January 7, 2017

Mt. Vernon Town Marshal Kills George W. Gentry, Rockcastle, 1910


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This case and the majority of the articles below were sent to me by Mitch Harris. Thank you! 


[July 21, 1910] -


At Mt. Vernon Shoots and Fatally Wounds a Prominent Saw Mill Man Today

Special to The Advocate.

Mt. Vernon, Ky., July 21. -- At 10 o'clock this morning, E. R. Ferguson, town marshal of Mt. Vernon, shot and fatally wounded George W. Gentry, a prominent saw-mill man. The tragedy occurred on Main street in this city. Some days ago the marshal arrested one of Gentry's boys on a minor charge and when he met the officer this morning, Gentry slapped him in the face. Ferguson drew his revolver and fired a charge in his abdomen. The ball passed entirely through his body. Physicians say there is no chance for Gentry to recover. The marshal is 37 years old and Gentry about 50. Both have families. The shooting caused considerable excitement in town. [1]

December 12, 2016

Freedmen's Bureau School Burned by Arsonists, Boyle, 1866


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[August 24, 1866] -

Danville Aug 24, 1866

[?] Col. R. E. Johnston
Chief Supt. Six S. Dist.


I have the honor to report that a building built and used as a Freedman's Schoolhouse and owned by a Freedman named Jackson Davis was destroyed by fire last night in this town.

I have today initiated inquiries but have been unable to learn who were engaged in this outrage. There had been considerable excitement during the day, caused by the arrest of a Freedman charged with poissoning [sic] a man. During the evening this man and three others escaped from the jail which added to the excitement and probably led to the perpetuation of this outrage. At present I can merely inform you of the fact but hope in another report to give fuller information. The building was probably worth about $250.00. Will you please advise me what steps to take in this case. [1]


[August 31, 1866] -

JAIL STAMPEDE -- FOUR PRISONERS MAKE THEIR ESCAPE. -- Our town was thrown into a hubbub of excitement on Monday night by the report of fire-arms in the proximity of the jail, and a rumor spreading to the effect that the prisoners had made a stampede. Upon inquiry we learn that Mr. Williams, the jailor, about 7 o'clock on the night above-mentioned, went to the prison cell for the purpose of giving the inmates their supper. He opened the door partially and handed in some four places of provisions to one of the prisoners, and was engaged in passing in the remainder, when James Slaughter, one of the prisoners, sprang to the door, caught hold of it, and though vigorously resisted by the jailer succeeded in opening (it opened on the inside), simultaneously with which action he presented a pistol at the head of the jailer, exclaiming: "Resist and you die." Mr. Williams, letting go the door, ran his hand in his pocket for his weapons as Slaughter and three other prisoners ran rapidly out the door into the street. Williams drew his pistol, and, aiming at them, was just in the act of shooting when his wife and two or three other ladies, who had entered the passage on their way to attend a town exhibition, ran in between him and them, and thus momentarily prevented his firing. He ran quickly to the door, however, and fired three shots at the party as they ran out on the pike. Fearing, then, that the remaining prisoners might make an escape likewise, he ran back in the passage with both his pistols presented, and secured the safety of the remaining six. Mr. Williams thinks he must have wounded some escaping party, as they were but a few steps from him when he fired. The names of the prisoners who escaped were James Slaughter, indicted in the Garrard Circuit Court for murder, Holman Crawford (m.c.) indicted for larceny, George Washington (m.c.) indicted for larceny, and Lee (m.c.) imprisoned on suspicion of poisoning. It is believed that the pistol in the possession of Slaughter was given him by some of his friends who recently visited him in the jail. None of the party have yet been retaken. -- Danville Gazette. [2]


[August 31, 1866] -

FIRE. -- A small schoolhouse near the creek within the limits of the town was burned about 12 1/2 o'clock Monday night. It was occupied by negroes, we are informed. -- Danville Gazette. [ibid]


[1] Kentucky, Freedmen's Bureau Office Records, 1865-1872, NARA Publication M1904, Roll 94, Danville Letters sent Jun 1866 - Sept 1867, vol 3. Page 18, Image 25.

[2] Excerpts from "State News." The Courier-Journal, Louisville, KY. August 31, 1866. Page 1. Newspapers.com.

December 11, 2016

Freedman Lynched on Christmas Eve, Boyle, 1866


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[December 27, 1866] -


Rencounter Between a Vicious Negro and a Constable -- The Officer Wounded -- The Negro Hung by the Populace.

[Special Correspondence Louisville Journal.]

Christmas eve has come and gone, but not without making an item of history for Danville. Yesterday evening about five o'clock the quiet of the town was abruptly broken by the discharge of a pistol at the corner of Second and Main streets, which attracted to that point an immense crowd of excited persons, of both colors and both sexes, to ascertain the cause of the irregularity. 

It appears that a negro man, Al. McRobards, had made a huge effort take the life of W. A. Harne, an officer of the law. He shot at Harne twice, both of which took effect, though not afflicting a serious injury. The officer finally succeeded in getting the best of the negro, with the aid of a large club, and with the assistance of some other constable, lodged him in jail. This, I supposed, would be the last of the matter until legal investigation could be had, judging from the quiet that prevailed in a few moments after the prisoner was secured, and seeing that all were again enjoying the usual Christmas hilarities.

But in this conjecture I, at least, was disappointed; for scarcely had the "god of dreams" encircled me before the full tones of the Court-house bell aroused me from my dreamy rest, at twelve o'clock precisely--which was a premonition that "Judge Lynch" had business on hand. I did not go to see, but concluded to bide my time, and so I did until this morning. The judge, with his officers, went to the jail and took the negro "aforementioned" and hanged him by the neck until dead on a large elm tree in the old Presbyterian church-yard, at the west end of Main street, Danville, Ky. This boy was a desperate fellow, having made several attempts before this to kill several persons, and did slay a negro at South Danville a few days since, for which crime had not been punished. Everything is now quiet in "Little Britain."

A pleasant holiday to you, Messrs. Editors.    J.W.D. [1]


[January 5, 1867] -

Danville, Ky., Jan'y 5, 1867.

Captain R. E. Johnston
Chief Supt. Six Sub Dist. Ky.


I have the honor to furnish the following report of the murder of a Freedman at Danville Boyle Co. Ky. Dec 24th 1866.

Al. McRoberts a Freedman, was in Danville on the 24th inst having in his possession a pistol carried by authority of Thomas P. Young a Police Judge of this town, to protect himself against one W.A. Harness an officer of Boyle Co. who had threatened to kill him. He was shot on the Street by Harness who demanded his pistol. McRoberts refused to deliver it to him, and after some words had passed shot at Harness three times, without inflicting serious injury. McRoberts was arrested and taken towards the jail followed by an excited crowd, who advised Harness to kill him. On the way to jail Harness beat him severely with a large cane while he was being led along the street. On arriving at the jail, Harness took a pistol and deliberately shot him, inflicting a serious perhaps fatal injury. This occurred at about 5 P.M.   At 10 P.M. a party went to the jail and took McRoberts to the outskirts of the town and hung him. The farce of an inquest was played the next morning, with no attempt to learn any facts about the case, and a verdict rendered simply stating that the man McRoberts came to his death by hanging by some parties unknown. On the 27th inst. W. A. Harness was arrested by the civil authorities and held in $50.00 for his appearance at the next term of the circuit court, to be held in Feb. next.

Very Respectfully,
Your Ablest Servt.
W. R. Roume  [2]


[1] "Judge Lynch in Danville." The Courier Journal, Louisville, KY. December 27, 1866. Page 2. Newspapers.com.

[2] Kentucky, Freedmen's Bureau Office Records, 1865-1872, NARA Publication M1904, Roll 94, Danville, Letters sent Jun 1866 - Sept 1867, vol 3. Page(s) ?-85, Images 58-59.

December 5, 2016

Regulators Hang Man in Baptist Churchyard, Lincoln, 1870


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[April 10, 1870] -

One of Judge Lynch's Band Shot.

On Tuesday night last a negro horse thief named Fox, while walking along the road with another negro near Crab Orchard, was arrested and hung in the Baptist church yard. Next day the citizens were talking the matter over, and a man named Winston Owens remarked that he could name six of the party who did the hanging. On Thursday morning, between 2 and 3 o'clock, a party of men went to the hotel, where Owens kept bar, and called for whisky. He told them he would give them the key to the saloon, but would not go down stairs himself. The men then said they would make him come. Owens then took a double-barreled shot-gun, loaded with buckshot, and emptied both barrels into the crowd. The crowd quickly left the hotel, and next morning blood was found on the pavement. It was afterward ascertained that the crowd intended violence toward Owens, and that a man named Platt or Hyatt was dangerously wounded in the bowels, and will probably die. [1]


[March 25, 1871] -

73. Negro hung by mob at Crab Orchard, Lincoln County, April 6, 1870.


[1] "One of Judge Lynch's Band Shot." The Courier-Journal, Louisville, KY. April 10, 1870. Page 1. Newspapers.com.

December 4, 2016

Mob Raids Garrard County Jail, Hangs One Prisoner, Garrard, 1876


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[January 28, 1876] -

A difficulty occurred in the Barber shop of Chas. Prince, colored, of Lancaster, one night last week, between a white man, named Yeakey, and a negro, named Floyd Pierce. The negro was knocked down and shot at twice. The white man was severely cut with a razor, on the side of the neck. [1]


[February 4, 1876] -

The white man, Yeakey, whose neck and face were cut by a negro man in Lancaster, some days ago, is still in bed, but is some better. The negro who cut him, was tried for the offense and acquitted, after which, he left for parts unknown. Although he got off clear from the charge of guilt, he is said to be of a mean and dangerous disposition. [2]


[February 5, 1876] -

The Lancaster Killing.

Henry Yeakey, of Lancaster, Ky., died two days ago from the effects of a wound in the throat inflicted on the 22d ult by Floyd Pierce, a negro. At the time mentioned Yeakey took a razor from Pierce and, after cutting him with it, fired a pistol at him. Pierce succeeded in regaining the razor and with it cut the throat of Yeakey. The latter remained alive and, for some time, it was thought he would recover. He finally died, but whether Pierce, who was arrested, tried and released on the charge of maliciously wounding him, will now be tried for manslaughter, remains to be seen. [3]

November 6, 2016

Former Rockcastle Judge Gunned Down on Church Steps, Lincoln, 1876


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[April 27, 1876] -


Horrible Murder of Judge John A. Carson by John Smith at Crab Orchard Last Sunday -- The Murderer in Jail and Mob Violence Expected--Political Points.

[Correspondence of the Courier-Journal.]

STANFORD, KY., April 26, 1876. -- On Sunday morning last, about 11 o'clock, Judge John A. Carson was assaulted at the Baptist-church door in Crab Orchard, by John Smith, and shot to death. One of the witnesses states that Smith was observed standing at the church door as the congregation was assembling for worship, and when Judge Carson was seen approaching Smith crossed the street to his shop, entered it and remained a few moments, when he came out and recrossed the street, coming up behind Carson, and just as Carson reached the door Smith drew a pistol, and, without warning, shot him in the back. Carson turned and cried for help, receiving a second shot in the breast, he then begged piteously for mercy, seeing no help at hand, and, receiving a third shot, fell. A Mr. Foly rushed across the street and caught Smith, who hurled him away, and, presenting his pistol at him, made him retreat. Smith then turned and shot Carson, while prostrate upon the ground, bleeding and dying, twice more. One chamber of his revolver failed to fire, he stood over his dead victim and snapped his pistol several times. The congregation inside of the church heard the shots and screams and dying groans of the murdered man, but feared to go to his assistance. After snapping his pistol several times and failing to fire the remaining load, Smith cooly pocketed it and walked across the street, and stood calmly and apparently unconcerned until arrested, when he told the officer that Carson had "talked about him and had to die for it, and had as well die then as at any time." The officer placed him in jail here Sunday night, and to-day the grand jury (which has been in session several days) has the case under consideration. Great excitement exists about Crab Orchard especially, and mob violence is expected. The jail is guarded at night by citizens, summoned by the jailer.

As an atrocious, fiendish and unprovoked murder, this has no parallel in the annals of Lincoln county. And this is not alone the opinion of your correspondent, but the outspoken judgment of every one who has heard the particulars of the tragedy. No sort of justification or excuse can be offered for the assault and murder -- not even the plea of insanity. The malice of Smith was shown a short time ago, when the deceased called upon him in his shop to assess his property for city revenue. Smith responded by seizing a hatchet and attempting to kill him.

Smith has heretofore borne the character of an industrious mechanic, of sober and peaceable habits, but morose and unsociable. He is about thirty-five years of age.

Judge Carson was aged seventy, has kept a hotel in Crab Orchard for a number of years, is very extensively related in this part of the State, and was pious, inoffensive and generally beloved. He has four sons in the 'drumming' business, two (John F. and Zack) in Louisville, and two in Cincinnati, all of whom are well known in the State, and deservedly popular as salesmen.

Our circuit court is still in session, and, having disposed of the Aug[den] Bridgewater case, nothing of importance in the criminal line remains to be done, save the trial of Smith, which we learn will not take place this term. [1]

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