Articles & Stories

Combat In Craw: Kentucky

Guardsman Mortally Wounded

Riot At Howser's Saloon Between Soldiers And Civilians In 1909

By James E. Allen - 2010

Company D, 2nd Kentucky Infantry Regiment was organized at Salyersville, Magoffin County, Ken-
tucky, in 1908 by Captain Ernest H. Atkinson. The Kentucky Infantry, at that time, was under the direction of Philip P. Johnston, who was tendered his position of Adjutant General of Kentucky by Governor Augustus E. Willson in December 1907. Adjutant General Johnston was commissioned Major of Artillery while serving in the Confederate Army during the Civil War in the Stuart Horse Artillery.

John Brown, 1881-1948, was a soldier in Company D, 2nd Kentucky Infantry when the Company went to encampment at Camp Bell near Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky. He was pallbearer on September 5, 1909, for Sgt. Ingram Tate of Company M from Somerset, Pulaski County, Kentucky. Sergeant Tate was shot and killed on September 4th in the Craw section of Frankfort at Howser's Saloon. (Photo courtesy of James Allen.)

W. T. Sherman Power, son of James Power and Nancy Jane Blair Power, moved to Wenatchee, Washington, in the early 1900s. His nephew, John W. Brown, stayed in Sherman's home in 1909-1910 and did carpenter work there.
(Photo courtesy of James Allen.)






The first encampment for Company D was at Camp Bell from August 31 through September 6, 1909. Camp Bell was located on Belle's Point close to Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky. It was on the other side of the river and down river adjacent to Lock No. 4. Walking access from the camp into Frankfort was available by the railroad bridge into the downtown section.
There was a section of Frankfort which was located between the "Old State Capitol" building and the river which was called Craw. One of the businesses in Craw was Howser's Saloon owned by E. W. Howser.
On Saturday night, September 4, 1909, there was a riot at Howser's Saloon between soldiers and civilians. An extra edition of The Frankfort News dated September 6, 1909, reported the incident as follows:
The headlines read, "Two Killed and Three Wounded In Craw."
"Ingram Tate, a Sergeant of Company M from Somerset, Pulaski County, Kentucky, was shot and killed in Howser's Saloon; Jeff Cook, a civilian of Frankfort was killed; and William Nickels, Alex McNally, and Ed Miller, civilians, were wounded. Investigation of the Saturday night battle is being made by civil authorities and Col. J. Embry Allen of the 2nd Kentucky. The coroner of Franklin County, Lyman Graham, says he will hold inquests on the bodies on Tuesday, September 7th.
"Joe Nickels was charged with murder, and Joe Kinkead was charged with being an accessory to murder of Sergeant Ingram Tate. It was reported that Joe Kinkead pushed Tate out of the door, after he was shot by Nickels. He collapsed on the walk and was carried across the street by other soldiers to another saloon where he died.
"After the shooting of Sergeant Tate, other unknown soldiers came to Howser's Saloon with their Springfield rifles. They claimed they were fired on by someone in the building. The soldiers returned fire. Some of the bullets went through the building, tearing through the two outer walls and several partitions. Probably 50 bullet holes are to be found in the building with most of the windows shot out.
"City Judge Polsgrove reached the scene shortly after Tate was shot. Soldiers were shooting into the building. There was talk of burning the building in an effort to get the slayer. Judge Polsgrove and Colonel Allen went into the trouble, and they assured everyone that the guilty men had been arrested. After getting the scene quieted down, only enough soldiers were left to preserve order. The soldiers also guarded outside the jail where Nickels and Kinkead were lodged.

The funeral of a Kentucky State Guardsman, Sgt. Ingram Tate, was held at Camp Bell just across the river from Frankfort next to Lock No. 4. The pallbearer, second from left with the black hair, is John Brown of Salyersville. John Brown said the guardsman was killed on Saturday night, September 4, 1909, in a place where liquor was sold. After the killing, many guardsmen got their rifles and riddled the building with rifle bullets. The service for Sergeant Tate was held on September 5, 1909, and was conducted by Rev. Dr. C. R. Hudson, who is shown standing at the end of the casket.

(Photo courtesy of James Allen.)

"After entering the building, Judge Polsgrove and Colonel Allen found Jeff Cook, a civilian who had been hit by a rifle bullet and killed. The bullet taken from Alex McNally, who was wounded, appeared similar to the .38 Smith & Wesson bullets that killed Sergeant Tate.
"William Nickels had been shot in the left side and survived. Ed Miller received a wound in the hand.
"On Sunday, September 5th, a service was held for Sgt. Ingram Tate of Company M of Somerset at Camp Bell. His body was sent out by train the same day to his hometown.
At the funeral service at Camp Bell on that Sunday afternoon, the regiment was in battalion formation on three sides of a square, the fourth side being filled by citizens of Frankfort. In the center was the body in a plain, but handsome black casket draped by the American flag. The regimental band in front played a funeral march as the hearse arrived with the casket.
"The service was conducted by Rev. Dr. C. R. Hudson of the Christian Church. The soldiers stood rigid with their hats on their left breast.
"Arriving in a carriage was Governor and Mrs. Willson and Adjutant General P. P. Johnston. They were seated in front of the citizens."
The photos accompanying this article belonged to John Brown, a member of Company D from Salyersville. He was a pallbearer for Sergeant Tate.
After returning to Salyersville from the encampment at Camp Bell, John Brown left traveling by train to Wenatchee, Washington.

Company D, 2nd Kentucky Infantry from Salyersville, Magoffin County, Kentucky, lined up for this photo at Camp Bell, Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky, in 1909.

(Photo courtesy of James Allen.)

In Wenatchee he stayed with his uncle, W. T. Sherman Power, who had located there around 1905. John worked there at carpentry and came back to Kentucky in the latter part of 1910. John Brown, my grandfather, was born in 1881 and died December 24, 1948, in an auto wreck on Patrick Gap Hill, eight miles south of Louisa, Lawrence County, Kentucky, on US HWY 23.
W. T. Sherman Power was a brother of John Brown's mother, Mary Power Brown. Mary and Sherman's father was Corporal James Power who served in Company I, 14th Kentucky Infantry, Union Army, in the Civil War. An older brother of James Power's was Captain John Power, also of Company I.
Another brother of James Power was Holloway Power, the first county judge of Magoffin County who served in that capacity from 1860 through 1866.
Thanks to Bob Patrick who furnished some of the information about this incident which I had not previously been able to find.

James E. Allen, 447 Kentucky Street, Salyersville, KY 41465, shares this article with our readers.

To view stories such as this one and many others with accompanying photos, subscribe to The Kentucky Explorer.