Shotgun Argument: Violent Deaths In Kentucky, 1878
A Bloody Record Over Which Lovers Of Peace May Ponder

Author Unknown
The Louisville Commercial - 1878

Editor's Note: On Dec. 31, 1878, the Louisville Commercial newspaper published a day-to-day account of all the recorded violent deaths which had occurred in Kentucky for the year 1878. It was indeed a violent time, not only in Eastern Kentucky, but in other areas of our state as well.

January 1878

14th - John Robertson stabbed John Harlis, Lebanon. Wife killed John Snow, Allen County, axe. Dave Hall, Beaver Creek, gambling quarrel. Citizen shot Louis Hall, Beaver Creek; had murdered his cousin.

16th - Henry Hufnagel, officer, shot John Welsh at Covington. Mob shot Tom Tavner (colored) in Fayette County.

22nd - Lucy Stepp (colored) shot James F. Jordan at Richmond; he clubbed her for circulating false reports.

25th - James Wolfe killed John Brooks with a rifle at Hopkinsville.

February 1878

1st - Hiram Hooper shot Obediah False at Vanceburg.

5th - George Ballard (colored) shot John Giner (colored) at Paducah.

11th - Antisbrother shot James Smiley at Grayson; an old grudge.

15th - Weedon D. Gay shot James Anderson at Mt. Sterling; quarrel about real estate. James Anderson, Jr. shot Ben Myers at Mt. Sterling; jealousy.

16th - Beve Oldham shot Wm. Cooley in Fulton County; quarrel.

20th - George Jenkins killed Pat Gilroy at Henderson. Stabbed to death because he failed to complete a ditching contract.

21st - Joseph Frazer shot Colonel Joseph M. Harks at Lawrenceburg; quarrel.

March 1878

5th - John Park (colored) stabbed George Franklin (colored) at Somerset; quarrel.

12th - Mike Ely shot at Hustonville; election row.

15th - William Coleman (colored) shot Cask Davis (colored) at Frankfort; gambling quarrel.

25th - Clay Clelland shot Jim Turner at Salvisa; quarrel about 15 cents.

27th - William Barnes shot John Stephens in Menifee County, because Stephens accused him of intimacy with his sister and whipped him for it the night before.

29th - William Hogan mashed the skull of his child near McKinney.

31st - Charles Cook and William Brackett killed William Marlow and his wife near Louisville; cut off their heads and burned them, because they were witnesses against them.

April 1878

1st - Dick Bryant (colored) stabbed Aleck Johnson at Covington for calling him names.

2nd - Henry T. Betts shot Sanford Powell at Rogers' Gap; drunken quarrel.

3rd - Clay Clelland shot Jim Turner near Harrodsburg, because he dunned him for 15 cents that he owned him.

7th - Henry Noel shot Isaiah Gabbard at Corinthville; old feud.

8th - Posse shot Thomas Michael in Breathitt County, escaping arrest. Thomas Watson and wife killed their child at Brookville.

9th - Harrison Keety stabbed James Stewart; drunken dance at Bear Creek.

10th - Charles Trust kicked his sick grandchild to death at Whitesburg.

11th - Wm. Allen killed George Alexander in Kentucky, opposite Leavenworth, Indiana, with a fence rail, because he broke the engagement of marriage with his daughter.

15th - Luther Lee killed George Rogers with treadle at Lexington, because he talked about his wife.

17th - Thomas Warner stabbed Daniel Warner near Bergen; quarrel about accounts.

21st - John Shannon, policeman, shot Edward Smith (colored) at Lexington for fast driving. Thomas Eubank killed Bud Warren with a hoe in Buffalo; quarrel about the profits and sale of illicit still. Bud Warren killed Thomas Eubank with a hoe at Buffalo: quarrel about division of profits of an illicit distillery.

26th - Mob shot Asa Roark in Allen County; revenge for act done during war.

May 1878

13th - Joe Lewis (colored) shot Joe Thompson at Sadieville.

20th - Jim Young stabbed ____ Gibson at Hayden's Corner; quarrel at funeral. Colored man shot Dan Jackson (colored) at Negro festival, Herverytown. Hezekiah Hensley shot John J. Evans at Mt. Sterling; grudge.

22nd - David Thornburg killed Samuel Gray in Floyd County; family feud.

24th - James Dugan shot Mary Meagher in Louisville; she was his mistress, and he was drunk.

25th - Enoch Wolsey, Jr. shot John Muse at Somerset for talking about him.

26th - Henson shot Ebenezer Renfroe at Dallas; grudge.

27th - John Corns stabbed Frank McAllister at Greenup. Freeman Farris (colored) shot Robert Land at Lancaster; drunken quarrel.

29th - Mattie Thurman (colored) killed her child at Harrodsburg.

30th - M. F. Clark killed, with a hoe, Dan Switzer near Stonewall; quarrel about a team.

31st - Dannecke shot in a house of prostitution at Livingston.

June 1878

4th - Asa Gordon killed Samuel Preston, with a spoke, in Clay County, because he struck him with a switch.

6th - Mrs. Andy Carlisle choked her child in Larue County. Jack Atherton threw his child on its back, breaking it; also killed his 13-year-old child with a hatchet in Larue County. T. B. McMurray shot William East at Hickman; drunken quarrel. William Howard shot Ed Collins in Mason County; quarrel.

12th - H. Helton shot Edward Cox in Menifee County.

16th- Henry Hammer shot Simon Givens at Danville for calling him insulting names.

18th - Please Overstreet (colored) stabbed Lewis Mays at Hampton.

22nd - Wm. Hicks and Lee Arnold both shot in melee at Mt. Vernon, Kentucky. James Bowman stabbed James Davis near Richmond, because Davis accused him of stealing his wood.

23rd - John Harris stabbed John Moore at Harrodsburg; quarrel.

24th - Abbott Watson cut George Willett near New Haven; quarrel.

26th - J. Garthey (colored) stabbed David Thomas (colored) at Filmore.

July 1878

1st - Wm. Martin shot Thomas Jones near Lexington; quarrel.

2nd - Joe Webster cut Ben Finney (colored) at Walton; Webster was on a drunken spree.

4th - Everett Lilley, 18, stabbed Thomas Lilley, 20, his brother, at Owenton; quarrel about working in tobacco.

11th - George Meece shot John R. Gardner at Stephenburg; previous quarrel.

13th - Tom Douglas (colored) killed with an ax by his brother on Logan Creek; jealousy. Henry Priesthoff cut Joseph Flitter at Covington; quarrel. Walter Kavanaugh (colored) stabbed John Reed at Lancaster; drunken quarrel at a dance. William Smith shot Nathan Douglas in Nelson County; quarrel at a Negro dance.

14th - Jacob Doutman shot Corbin Freebuck near Cynthiana; quarrel.

17th - Kiser brained _____ Overton with a hoe in Grayson County.

24th - George Hall shot David Simpson at Mt. Sterling; feud.

25th - Sam Lancaster (colored) stabbed James Button at La Grange; quarrel. Dan Morgan killed Tom Blankenship and brother near Maysville, trying to get into Morgan's establishment without paying.

26th - Wm. Farmer killed, with a rock, a German at Sulphur Springs; quarrel.

27th - George Hume shot Hick Burns in Anderson County; quarrel about 95 cents.

August 1878

3rd - Wm. Gordon, Mace Gordon, and J. M. Thompson shot Dune Roach near Frankfort; quarrel about election of magistrates.

6th - James Bowling stabbed Millard Kennedy at Grayson, because he beat him wrestling.

10th - Unknown shot George Anderson near Leesburg.

12th - John C. Hiser cut Frank Gatewood (colored) at Winchester; drunk and took the Negro for a Negro he had a grudge against.

15th - H. N. Holdsworth shot Phillip Arnold at Elizabethtown.

16th - Reuben H. Gale shot James Overty in Robertson County; feud about a woman. Joe O. Bailey shot Sam O. Field at Lexington; scuffle for a watermelon; pistol accidentally went off. Kid Barker shot Wm. Carl in Butler County; quarrel.

18th - Dennis Mohon shot Philip Hoog near Louisville; stealing grapes from Archbishop McCloskey.

21st - Lot Walker shot Pat Nolan at Virginia Point; quarrel.

22nd - Duke Fleming killed Sarah Wright (colored prostitute) with loaded cane at Cynthiana; died 29th.

26th - George, Albert, and Wm. Ratliff shot J. W. Riggs and J. W. Luttrill for rape of Mrs. George Ratliff on 22nd at Princeton. Tom Reegon and B. Tweedy killed Mrs. Lucinda Johnson (prostitute) at Elizabethtown.

28th - Thomas Hughes stabbed Elijah Fraley, brother-in-law, near Sandy Hook; quarrel.

30th - Ann Logan (colored) killed her child by drowning at Cynthiana.

September 1878

6th - James Drake shot Patrick Ryan near Lexington; quarrel about right-of-way over Drake's land.

7th - Bart Simmons shot James White in Clay County. A Negro killed John Bailey at Monticello in a quarrel over wages.

9th - Roderick killed near Lorretto; mistaken for somebody else.

17th - Three tramps killed Mrs. Kassender at Sterling Run; raped to death. Jerry Little cut ____ Cockrell at Jackson; feud.

19th - Jim Coney killed, with a stone, Henry Jenkins near Sandy Hook.

23rd - Robert Richardson killed Martin Harlow near Kingston, with a pitchfork; quarrel.

25th - John W. Cabbell stabbed Frank J. Harrison near Lebanon; quarrel about $1.25.

29th - John Carney killed Tom Anderson with a boulder at Covington. Fannie Pitman (colored) killed her child at Frankfort.

October 1878

1st - Del Graves stabbed Myron Potts at Lexington. Jerry Burnett shot Wm. C. Burnett, his nephew, at Kingston; quarrel about wagon wheels. Martha Hedges (colored) cut, with a knife, ____ McKinney at Brush Creek; wanted to rape her. Thomas Staten shot John Daniel at White Sulphur Springs.

3rd - Mrs. Kane shot her son at Stanford; accidental, fooling with a pistol.

4th - Unknown shot Thomas Stewart and Miss Annie Stewart near Richmond.

8th - ______ Catron shot _____ Lewis at Somerset; family quarrel.

9th - C. C. Bonte shot Pete Hamilton in Mercer County; quarrel about money matters. Mr. Deering was shot in Allen County.

11th - Neal stabbed Mrs. Gebhardts at Burk City; she interfered in a quarrel between Neal and her son.

12th - _______ killed John Russell (colored) at Georgetown; quarrel. Bose Powell killed Henry Royce by stabbing near Richmond. Dick and Alfred Stewart killed Martha Stewart near Richmond.

14th - William Smith shot Robert Saunders near Richmond; gambling quarrel.

15th - Isaac Durham shot Alex Shipman (colored) at Harrodsburg; trying to arrest. John Redman shot Nat N. Smith near Duck Creek; quarrel about business matters.

19th - Jason Little killed his wife in Breathitt County.

21st - Marshal Maddox shot Henry Adams (colored), trying to arrest, at Shelbyville.

22nd - David Yates (colored) shot Charley Wright (colored), brother-in-law, at Buffalo; quarrel. ____ Newton shot _____ Chafflin at Scottsville, because he ran off with his wife.

November 1878

8th - H. C. McGee shot Jason Metcalf at Cynthiana; political quarrel.

10th - Edward Clark (colored) shot Henry Clark (colored), his brother, at Henderson; accidental.

11th - Owen Bradley stabbed Lewis Lee (colored) at Lexington; quarrel about money. Taylor Clarke shot James Osborne in Menifee County; old grudge.

16th - Matt Tuffes killed _____ Hood with an ax near Riverton. Will Bartlett Love killed Thomas Jones in Pendleton County; saloon quarrel.

17th - ____ Berry killed at Flemingsburg.

18th - Rioters shot John Thompson and George Howard at Mt. Sterling, Kentucky.

21st - Emmet Snodgrass shot Jim Bethuram at Mt. Vernon.

22nd - Thomas Parsons shot James Bryant in Spencer County; grudge. Wm. Porter shot Jas. T. Neal at Shelbyville, because he was an important witness in a horse thief case.

23rd - Joseph James shot _____ Sanford (colored) at Uniontown.

25th - Frank Turner killed, with a knife, Samuel Todd near Williamstown; brutal murder.

26th - Gang of outlaws shot Wm. Freeman and Daniel Freeman at Jackson; political quarrel.

27th - Member of the Allen gang shot Judge I. W. Burnett at Jackson, trying to prevent the rescue of Jason Little, a murderer. Mob shot Tom Little at Jackson, Breathitt County troubles.

December 1878

1st - John Kimbrell killed his wife with a hoe in Estill County, because she wouldn't pick up potatoes.

3rd - James Tudor stabbed John Waremoth at Richmond; drunken quarrel.

4th - _____ Steffin stabbed Chancey Neil in Trimble County; quarrel about a woman.

6th - A mob shot Jerry Little and Gambrill on Lost Creek, Breathitt County.

10th - Susan Randall killed her child at Harrodsburg.

14th - Harvey McCorn shot John Hall at Kelley's Station; private quarrel.

15th - Goddard killed Goddard, brother, in Robertson County; quarrel.

16th - John Lillis shot Led Armstrong, boys, at Bagdad; accidentally.

19th - Jim Craig shot and cut the throat of Overton in Grayson County, for gathering corn that Craig had attached. Charles Campbell cut James Hawkins' throat, from ear to ear, at Nicholasville, because he said the grass-widow Campbell wanted to marry had a husband.

24th - Evan Vanmetre, in a difficulty at Glendale, received two slashes with a knife in the hands of an antagonist, one reaching from the right shoulder to the left hip; the other laying open the bowels.

25th - (Christmas Day) John Hester and Sam Ford killed Lige Short (colored) at Franklin, for threatening Hester's life. Wm. Collins killed Geo. Jones at Sharpsburg; quarrel. In an affray between John Suns and Wilson Miller, while both men were under the influence of liquor, at Maysville, the former had his throat cut. At Shannon, James Chanslor attempted suicide by shooting himself in the head. He was intoxicated at the time. At Mt. Sterling, Joe Wyatt stabbed ____ Gensis just below the first rib, making a dangerous wound. A Negro and a Mr. Williams got into a fight at White Plains, which the Negro was getting the better of, when Williams' son, a boy about 14 years old, came to his father's aid, and putting a pistol to the Negro's head, fired, blowing off the back of his head and killing him instantly.

26th - John Smith, a Negro man, while drunk, crawled into a barn near Glendale, and when found, was frozen to death. Stewart Myers and the Carson brothers met at Crab Orchard, and after exchanging angry words, drew their pistols and commenced firing at each other. Both sides were reinforced, and some 30 or 40 shots were exchanged, shotguns taking a prominent part. Myers fell, his shoulder literally shot to pieces. Dave Carson was also severely wounded, while a number of others were more or less hurt.

27th - At Elizabethtown, two Negroes, John Wallace and Bob Taylor, got into an altercation, during which Wallace used a pistol and put a ball into Taylor's stomach.

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