May 23, 2017

One Regulator and Several Occupants Killed in Attack on Residence, Pulaski, 1868

Previously:

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

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Updated: Sept. 2017. Added July 12, 1895 article based on information from anonymous commenter.

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[September 23, 1868] -

TERRIBLE AND BLOODY AFFAIR IN LINCOLN COUNTY.

Tragical Result of an Old Feud.

Two Men and One Woman Killed.

The Full Details of the Tragedy.

CRAB ORCHARD, KY., Sept. 20, 1868.

To the Editor of the Louisville Courier:

A year or two since an unfortunate difficulty occurred near this place at a meeting-house, in which men named Anderson and their friends upon one side, and the Adamses with their friends upon the other, were engaged. In this fracas a man named Simms, son-in-law of the elder Adams, was killed and several others on each side were shot or otherwise wounded. A trial at the time of each party resulted in an acquittal of all concerned. A short time after this as the elder Adams was returning home from Lancaster he was assassinated by being shot from his buggy by some one stationed in a church near the road side.

The most deadly enmity has existed ever since between the belligerents, and many men have been suspected by the Adamses ex particeps criminis to the murder of their father. Among the the number accused, or who was thought by the Adams family to have been concerned in his death, was a man named Cummins, who lived near the Lincoln and Pulaski county line, beyond this place eight or ten miles. Threats have been made, we learn, by the Adames, upon Cummins, and last night it culminated most tragically. It seems, from what we can learn, that two of the Adames, together with three or four of their friends went to the house of Mr. Cummins, at night -- demanded admission, which was refused; and thereupon Rodney Adams broke down the door and as he entered was shot dead. The [assault?]ing party then fired, killing a young lady, daughter of Mr. Cummins, and also shot and killed Cummins. They shot at Mrs. Cummins also, but missed. It is not known whether any others of the assaulting party were injured or not. It is reported that the party took young Adams away from the house, and carried him to a house on the wayside, and left him, and that one of the party told the landlord that there was a dead man, his brother, and he wanted him to stay there until morning; and after putting a pillow under his head, he stooped down and kissed him. This is thought to be young Mack Adams, the only brother of Rodney, except a small boy.

We cannot vouch for the truth of this latter statement, but give it as we heard it. It may be proper to state that the community doubt that Cummins had anything whatever to do with the killing of the elder Adams.

The story, true or false, of Cummins having a hand in the death of J. Q. Adams, certainly did not, nor does it, excuse this party in assaulting a whole family, and [striking?] down an innocent girl, who certainly was guilty of no wrong, unless they deemed it wrong to be the child of a suspected man. There is but one remedy for these multiplied evils which daily teem the press, and it is for the "halter" applied to the culprit's neck by the slow and uncertain forms and process of the law, or if need be, to quell it by the hands of an outraged community.

We know nothing of the real facts in this case beyond what we have attempted to give from hearsay; but if  it be that this midnight assaulting party perpetrated these bloody deeds without cause amply sufficient for their justification, our community owe it to themselves, to the State, to the world of law and order at large, and especially to the stricken survivors of this afflicted family, to search out to the bitter end the perpetrators of this most hideous and diabolical outrage, and see that justice, stern and inflexible, is meted out to each and every one of them.  M. [1]


[I have been unable to find newspaper articles detailing the meeting-house killing, or J. Q. Adams' death in or about February of 1866. Please email me if you have any.]




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[September 28, 1868] -


THE KU-KLUX.

Fiendish Murder of a man and his Daughter in Kentucky.

Correspondence (Plato, Ky., Sept. 21) of the Chicago Tribune.

On last Saturday night, the 19th instant, some eight or ten Ku-Klux visited the house of a citizen of Pulaski county, Kentucky, by the name of Stephen Cummins, and in an engagement with him killed him and his daughter. He killed one of them dead on the ground and wounded another, who I have learned has since died. The one killed dead on the ground was one Rodney Adams, of Lincoln county, Kentucky. The crowd of Ku-Klux were from Crab Orchard, Kentucky, and vicinity. After they had killed Cummins, his daughter was lamenting over her dying father, and they shot her, putting the pistol almost against her person. Just before they left they went into the house to see if Cummins was dead. His wife was lamenting over her dead husband, and they ordered her with an oath to dry up or they would shoot her, and then turned to Cummins, where he lay dead on the floor, and shot him again, remarking that there was one d--d Abolitionist out of the way. I am informed that they had sent Cummins word that they were going to come and kill him if he did not leave the country. I suppose, then, he was prepared for them. I understand that they wounded his little son at the same time.

The same crowd of fiends have been committing such and like depredations in different parts of the country for the last twelve months. They are all returned rebel soldiers, now called Democrats. [2]



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[October 1, 1868] -

Some days ago a band of men, headed by one Adams, went to a man's house in Pulaski county for the purpose of killing him. Cummins, the man whom they intended to kill, shot one of the band (Adams) and killed him. The band then fired upon the house, killing Cummins and his daughter, wounded his son, and fired at Cummins' wife. The murderers escaped, all except Adams, whom Cummins sent to judgment, and followed him there to testify against him. Adams' punishment is certain by a Judge who hears all kinds of testimony. The chances are that the other parties will go unwhipped of justice. The good people of Crab Orchard, after this affair, met to resolve that the murderers don't live there, and deny also that any Ku-Klux stay about their little town. These Orchardists may be right, but we expect we could find men who say they know the members of this gang who are committing this devilment, and that they do live in, and around, and about Crab Orchard. Let us tell that good people, that the thing for them to do is to catch one of these rascals, hunt up the evidence against him, take him and it into court, convict and hang him, and then there will be no further need of resolutions to the effect that Crab Orchard is a quiet and peacable village. [3]


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[April 11, 1871] -

"22. Mob attacked Cumins's house in Pulaski County; Cumins, his daughter, and a man named Adams killed in the attack, September 18, 1868." [4]


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[July 12, 1895] -


MRS. CUMMINS' HEARING. 

Charged With Having Caused the Death of Her Husband. 

LINNEUS, Mo., July 12. -- Mrs. C. G. Cummins is having her preliminary examination to-day on a charge of having caused the death of her husband by drugging him to obtain the money on a $2,000 insurance policy on his life. On the morning of July 4 C. G. Cummins was found dead in bed with his clothes on. His wife was arrested soon after charged with poisoning him, and an inquest held over the corpse. As no poison was found the Jury returned a verdict that he died from causes unknown to them, but that they believed his wife had chloroformed him.

Mrs. Cummins is a fine looking woman, about 35 years, is well educated and was once a school teacher and elocutionist. She has traveled extensively. The motive the prosecution presents for the alleged murder was to obtain the $2,000 life insurance Cummins was carrying in his wife's favor and had taken out since their marriage on June 7, she paying for the policy.

C. G. Cummins was a successful shoe dealer of this citv. and had lived here nearly twenty years. He came from Kentucky and left there partly on account of a feud between the Anderson and Adams families, in which his family had taken sides, and which resulted in the death of his father, brother and sister. 

Mr. Cummins had told some brother Odd Fellows, they claim, that his wife was trying to kill him, but he lived with her after that, and in spite of the alleged warnings of his friends stayed at home the night of July 3 and was found dead the next morning. He had not removed his outer clothing for ten nights, and had slept very little during that time, as he claimed he was afraid he would be killed. He also alleged that he once detected her attempting to give him something she had in a spoon. [6]



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[1] "Terrible and Bloody Affair in Lincoln County." Louisville Daily Courier, Louisville, KY. September 23, 1868. Page 3. Newspapers.com.

[2] "The Ku-Klux." Quincy Daily Whig, Quincy, IL. September 28, 1868. Page 2. Genealogybank.com.

[3] Excerpt from "Letter From Lexington." Cincinnati Daily Gazette, Cincinnati, OH. October 1, 1868. Page 4. Genealogybank.com.

[4] See Partial List of Ku-Klux Activities in Kentucky, 1867-1871

[5] George C. Wright in his book Racial Violence in Kentucky, 1865-1940 includes this killing in Appendix A "Victims of Lynchings," where it lists Cummins', Cummins' daughter, and Adams' race as black, however I suspect all three were white, based on the lack of mention of victims' race in any of the above articles, the overall tone of the editorial commentary in Source 1, as well as genealogical reports I've seen online of the Adams family and the Cummins family.

[6] "Mrs. Cummins' Hearing." St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis, MO. July 12, 1895. Page 3. Newspapers.com.

Additional articles relating to the 1895 murder of C. G. Cummins by his wife in Missouri include:
- “Wife Arrested for Murder.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis, MO. July 6, 1895. Page 1. Newspapers.com.
- "Looks Bad For Her." The Sedalia Democrat, Sedalia, MO. July 7, 1895. Page 1. Newspapers.com.
- “Brought Here for Analysis.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis, MO. July 7, 1895. Page 9. Newspapers.com.
- “Mrs. Cummins Held for Murder.” Kansas City Journal, Kansas City, MO. July 14, 1895. Page 2. Newspapers.com.
- Excerpt from Column 3. Chariton Courier, Keytesville, MO. July 19, 1895. Page 3. Newspapers.com.
- “Odd Fellows Take Action.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis, MO. July 21, 1895. Page 1. Newspapers.com.
- “She May Die.” The Leader-Democrat, Springfield, MO. July 24, 1895. Page 1. Newspapers.com.
- Excerpt from Column 4. Chariton Courier, Keytesville, MO. October 11, 1895. Page 3. Newspapers.com.
- Excerpt from Column 6. Chariton Courier, Keytesville, MO. October 25, 1895. Page 3. Newspapers.com.

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

“Note: George C. Wright in his book Racial Violence in Kentucky, 1865-1940 includes this killing in Appendix A "Victims of Lynchings," where it lists Cummins', Cummins' daughter, and Adams' race as black, however I suspect all three were white, based on the lack of mention of victims' race in any of the above articles, the overall tone of the editorial commentary in Source 1, as well as genealogical reports I've seen online of the Adams family.”

I just wanted to add some evidence to the assertion that the Cummins family was white. My 3rd great grandfather was a Cyrus G. Cummins. He left Kentucky to escape the feuding, only to ultimately be murdered by his wife (see the source below).

As far as I can tell, that whole particular side of my family is white.

Thank you so much for your blog, by the way. It has been a tremendous help in tracing that side of my family and I am endlessly fascinated by their lives in and deaths since finding the information you’ve made available.

—MRS. CUMMINS' HEARING. Charged With Having Caused the Death of Her Husband. LINNEUS, Mo., July 12. Mrs. C. G. Cummins is having her preliminary examination to-day on a charge of having caused the death of her husband by drugging him to obtain the money on a $2,000 insurance policy on his life. On the morning of July 4 C. G. Cummins was found dead in bed with his clothes on. His wife was arrested soon after charged with poisoning him, and an inquest held over the corpse. As no poison was found the Jury returned a verdict that he died from causes unknown to them, but that they believed his wife had chloroformed him. Mrs. Cummins is a fine looking woman, about 35 years. Is well educated and was once a school teacher and eloevtionist. She has traveled extensively. The motive the prosecution presents for the alleged murder was to obtain the $2,000 life insurance Cummins was carrying in his wife's favor and had taken out since their marriage on June 7, she paying for the policy. C. G. Cummins was a successful shoe dealer of this citv. and had lived here nearly twenty years. He came from Kentucky and left there partly on account of a feud between the Anderson and Adams families, in which his family had taken sides, and which resulted in the death of his father, brother and sister. Mr. Cummins had told some brother Odd Fellows, they claim, that his wife was trying to kill him, but he lived with her after that, and in spite of the alleged warnings of his friends stayed at home the night of July 3 and was found dead the next morning. He had not removed his outer clothing for ten nights, and had slept very little during that time, as he claimed he was afraid he would be killed. He also alleged that he once detected her attempting to give him something she had in a spoon.—

Publication:
St. Louis Post-Dispatch i
Location:
St. Louis, Missouri
Issue Date:
Friday, July 12, 1895
Page:
Page 3

Dora said...

I'm glad something I posted has helped you with your research in some way or another. Thank you for letting me know about this about Cummins' son. I'd like to add this article to the post since it mentions the death of his family members in Kentucky. If you would like me to add your name as credit to the post just let me know. Thanks again, Dora

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