Boys and men stand around George Baker's dead mule in front of Oneida Baptist Institute. The mule was killed when two men on opposite sides of the Baker-Howard feud clashed and opened fire. Charlie Roberts intended to shoot George Baker, but missed and shot George's mule instead. Bystanders are dressed for Commencement Day at the Oneida Institute in 1915.
Image from University of Louisville Digital Collections. *If the photograph date is correct, this must have been a different George Baker, maybe his son or some other relative.
Barboursville, Ky., April 13. Five more murders resulted from the Baker-Howard feud. On Saturday George Baker was shot and killed by members of the Howard faction while on his way to town. On Sunday Al Baker and his brother went to Howard’s home, called the old man out and shot him to death, and then killed his wife and two children.
Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth, New Hampshire) Apr 13, 1898
Howard-Baker Feud Reopened.
BARBOURVILLE, Ky., June 4. — The Howard-Baker feud broke out again Thursday night, when Tom Baker shot and instantly killed Beverly White, a member of the Howard faction. They met on the highway several miles north of Manchester.
Naugatuck Daily News (Naugatuck, Connecticut) Jun 4, 1898
SIX MEN KILLED.
PINEVILLE, Ky., June 4. — (By Associated Press) — Six men have been killed in the past ten days in the Howard-Baker feud. Judge Brown will not be allowed to hold court on Monday, and has sent to the governor for troops. The governor has none to send, and the civil authorities are powerless.
The Massillon Independent (Massillon, Ohio) Jun 6, 1898
A Collision Is Feared Before Troops Can Come Upon the Scene.
MIDDLESBORO, Ky., June 10. — The news from the Howard-Baker feud in Clay county is startling. Howard’s party, 50 strong, has taken possession of the town of Manchester. The Baker following, consisting of 40 well armed men, have rendezvoused three miles from the town. Judge Brown is wholly unable to proceed with holding court. Although he expects troops sent by Governor Bradley it is feared the two parties will come into collision before the troops can arrive.
Eau Claire Leader (Eau Claire, Wisconsin) Jun 11, 1898
Trouble in Kentucky.
(By Associated Press.)
MIDDLESBORO, (Ky.), June 10. — The news from the Howard-Baker feud in Clay county is startling. Howard’s party, fifty strong, has taken possession of the town of Manchester. The Baker following, consisting of forty well-armed men, have rendezvoused three miles from town. Judge Brown is wholly unable to proceed with holding court. Although he expects troops sent by Governor Bradley, it is feared the two parties will come into collision before the troops arrive.
A company of State troops arrived at Rowland, Clay county, to-day and left in vehicles for Manchester, the site of the Baker-Howard feud, where Judge Brown is attempting to hold court. Judge Brown is with the troops and has warned the Whites and Howards, who are holding the town, that if a demonstration is made against the troops serious trouble will follow. The Bakers, who are surrounding the town, broke into a warehouse and secured six barrels of whiskey last night and a messenger from the scene this morning says they are all drunk and will attempt to follow the troops into the place. The State troops are new volunteers and are green, having only received their uniforms and guns a week ago.
The Weekly Gazette And Stockman (Reno, Nevada) Jun 16, 1898
THOMAS BAKER KILLED.
Principal in Kentucky Feud Is Shot from Ambush.
Thomas Baker, principal in the famous Howard-Baker feud, was shot from ambush and killed near his home at Winchester, Ky. Baker was alleged to have said there were four men in Clay County he was going to kill, after which he was willing to be hanged. Baker has a great number of friends, and the bloody war between his faction on one side and the Howards and Whites on the other is expected to result in other murders.
Carroll Sentinel (Carroll, Iowa) Jun 1, 1899
Troops to End a Feud.
Chicago, June 1. — A special to The Tribune from Frankfort Ky., says: One hundred troops will be sent to Manchester, Clay county, to aid the civil authorities in capturing and bringing to trial the leaders in the Baker-Howard feud that has been carried on with bitterness for several years, resulting in the killing of nine or ten men. Two of the Baker faction are now in jail, and when the troops attempt to arrest the guilty Howards more bloodshed is expected.
The Evening Democrat (Warren, Pennsylvania) Jun 1, 1899
Life in Kentucky.
Lexington, Ky., — June 3. — The Lexington battalion of the first regiment left this morning for Manchester, where the participants of the Baker-Howard feud will be tried. The troops are sent to prevent a possible outbreak during the trial.
All member of the battalion are dead shots. A gatling gun was also taken along. It is feared an attempt to ambush the troops will be made.
Daily Iowa State Press (Iowa City, Iowa) Jun 3, 1899
Image from Feuds of Clay Co., Ky on rootsweb. They authors provide a good amount of information that is worth reading.
Thomas Baker Killed.
Louisville, Ky., June 12. — The Howards and Whites have kept their word, and Thomas Baker, the recognized leader of the Baker faction in the Baker-Howard feud, is a dead man. He was shot through the body and instantly killed a moment after he had obtained a change of venue in his trial on the charge of killing one of the Howards. The killing was done in the Court House yard, with a battalion of militia all around at the time. The rifle shot was fired from a window in the house of Sheriff Beverly P. White, directly across the street from the Court House. White is one of the Howard faction.
Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth, New Hampshire) Jun 13, 1899
Manchester Courthouse - Clay County, Kentucky
May Be More Bloodshed.
Manchester, Ky., June 13. — Sheriff White has been arrested and charged with the murder of Tom Baker, who was the leader of the Baker faction in the Baker-Howard feud. The sheriff is under the same military guard that was sent here in a vain endeavor to protect Baker’s life, but Col. Williams has taken every precaution to see that his new prisoner, if found guilty, shall pay the penalty without the premature fate of his alleged victim. Nevertheless, blood for blood is the cry of Baker’s relatives, and those who know them say they are sure to get it.
Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth, New Hampshire) Jun 14, 1899
SHOT HIM DEAD.
Hidden Assassin at Manchester, Ky., Kills Tom Baker, Leader of a Famous Faction.
Manchester, Ky., June 12. — Tom Baker, the recognized leader of his faction, was shot and killed in the courthouse yard Saturday evening. The shooting was done after Special Judge A. King Cook had granted the Bakers a change of venue and the prisoners were to have been taken to Barbourville, bail having been refused. Manchester is wild with excitement. The Bakers and Howards have scores of friends in the country and there is no telling now where the trouble will end.
It has not been ascertained who fired the shot that killed Baker, but the consensus of opinion seems to be that it was fired from the house of Sheriff Beverly White, directly opposite the courthouse.
When the court adjourned Saturday afternoon Judge Cook had rendered his decision and there was no indication of trouble. The crowd was orderly and there was no visible excitement. At 5:30 o’clock the correspondent mounted his horse and set out for London. When about a hundred yards down the road from the courthouse the crack of a rifle was heard and a thin cloud of smoke hovered in the air behind the house of Sheriff White and the courthouse.
There was a sudden quiet. The lull was of short duration. A cry went up that Tom Baker was killed. It was true. Tom Baker lay dead flat on his back in front of the guardhouse tent. There was no need of sounding the assembly.
Instinctively the soldiers loomed up with fixed bayonets and charged across the street and surrounded the White residence. At the same time the gatling gun was hurried out and brought to bear on the place.
Meanwhile the wildest confusion prevailed. A rush was made for the courthouse, but the soldiers were already out and fearing a volley, the crowd hurriedly pushed down the hill again.
Up to the time the correspondent left Manchester no arrests had been made. It will be a difficult matter to ascertain who fired the shot, and the belief that it was aimed from the White residence is itself conjecture, though the position of the smoke seemed tell-tale evidence.
London Depot, Ky., June 12. — The Howards and their allies, the Whites, are in possession of the ground at Manchester in the Baker-Howard feud and few Bakers or Baker sympathizers are left to molest them. After Tom Baker, the head of the Baker faction, met his tragic death Saturday at the hands of an assassin whose deed stands alone the coldest-blooded in the history of Kentucky feudal wars, the state militia, under Col. Williams, with Wiley, Jim Dee and Al Baker, shorn of their arms, left over the mountain road for Barbourville, where there the charges of murdering Burch Storrs and Wilson Howard will be tried on a change of venue granted by Judge Cook.
Baker, when shot, was in his tent and within 75 feet of the assassin who fired from the porch of Sheriff Beverly White’s house, diagonally across the street. Baker told his wife that he was tired and would stand up for fresh air, and when he did so a bullet pierced his breast. Col. Williams sounded the assembly and the battalion of militia charged White’s house. They found the gates locked and the doors barred, but the boys in blue broke the locks and bars and found inside nothing save a stock of Winchester rifles.
Upon examination one of these guns was found to contain a freshly exploded cartridge, and it is this which sent the leaden missile through the heart of the fearless feud leader.
The people of this place and along the road to Manchester are wild with excitement. Sympathy for the Bakers is expressed on every side. The troops are powerless under Kentucky law to protect or execute the simplest duty, being subject to the orders of the county sheriff, who in this case is not in sympathy with their purpose. John G. White, of Winchester, Ky., a brother of Sheriff Beverly White, with two guards passed through here Sunday, going to the scene. It is stated that special Judge A. King Cook will order a special grand jury and attempt to indict the slayers of Tom Baker, but the fact that Judge Cook is not the regularly elected judge may delay this matter.
Barbourville, Ky., June 12. — Since the change of venue was granted at Manchester, Clay county, Saturday for the Baker murder trials to be held here in the Knox county courts, this city has been in a state of excitement. It will be impossible in this place, which has a population of between 2,000 and 3,000 inhabitants, with good officers, for such a tragedy to occur as that at the village of Manchester Saturday under the shadow of the court, when Tom Baker, the principal defendant, was shot dead while a prisoner of the court. As Tom Baker had killed William White, a brother of Sheriff Beverly White, of Clay county, and as the crowd saw the rifle fired from a window in the sheriff’s office at the time Baker fell dead into the arms of his wife it is thought that there may be another trial soon for a change of venue to this place.
Stevens Point Journal, The (Stevens Point, Wisconsin) Jun 17, 1899
Another Victim of the Feud
London, Ky., June 16. — News was brought here late Thursday night to the effect James Howard, a member of the celebrated Baker-Howard feud, was shot from ambush and killed near Manchester Thursday evening. Howard belonged to the White and Howard’s faction of the Baker-Howard feud and has been suspected of having fired the shot last week that killed Tom Baker while under guard in the courthouse yard.
Stevens Point Journal, The (Stevens Point, Wisconsin) Jun 24, 1899
Column of Courthouse at Manchester. Holes and chips off are result of a feud fight in which 5 were killed and a number wounded.
White Disperses Deputies.
Manchester, Ky., June 26. Sheriff B.P. White, Jr., is much disturbed over the turn of affairs in the Baker-Howard feud, because of the killing of Tom Baker while a prisoner in charge of the State troops and the determination of Gov. Bradley to call an extra session of the Legislature which will probably abolish the county of Clay. White had retained twenty-six men as deputy sheriffs, who usually did the fighting. These deputies have now been dispersed, it being the aim of the officials to quiet the town as much as possible until the danger is past.
Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth, New Hampshire) Jun 27, 1899
A Cincinnati paper comments on a remarkable coincident in the famous Baker-Howard feud in Kentucky. On June 2 1859, 40 years ago, Gov. Owsley ordered out the state troops to quell the feud between the Baker and Howard factions. ON June 2, of this year, Gov. Bradley ordered out the state troops for the same purpose. Forty years is long enough for any family row, and it is hoped that the end is in sight.
Stevens Point Journal, The (Stevens Point, Wisconsin) Jul 8, 1899
The Watterson idea of ending the Baker-Howard feud by letting the opposing families exterminate each other, is precisely the idea that some folks have of ending a street car strike. The public, however, has rights that both contestants are bound to inspect.
Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth, New Hampshire) Jul 25, 1899
The Feud in Clay County Settled.
Frankfort, Ky., July 28. State Inspector and Examiner C.W. Lester, Gov. Bradley’s special agent sent to Clay county to make an investigation of the Howard-Baker feud, has returned and filed his report with the Governor. He states that the feud is at an end and says that the presence of troops is not necessary. Neither does he recommend an extra session.
Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth, New Hampshire) Jul 29, 1899
London, Ky., Feb. 8. — Owing to the absence of witnesses for the defense, the trial of James Howard for the murder of George Baker two years ago, or of the results of the Baker-Howard feud of Clay county, did not begin.
Newark Daily Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Feb 8, 1900
These are the headlines from the full front page coverage in the Jan 31, 1900 edition of the Atlantic Constitution:
GOEBEL DYING OF ASSASSIN’S SHOT — HE HAS BEEN DECLARED GOVERNOR IN TAYLOR’S STEAD
Climax of a Dark, Well Laid Plot Stirs Kentucky to Its Very Center.
PROBABLY FATAL SHOT FIRED OPPOSITE THE CAPITOL
Senator Goebel Was on His Way to Senate Chamber in Company with Colonel Jack Chinn. Taylor Expresses His Regrets.
“They have got me this time,” said Mr. Goebel. “I guess they have killed me.”
PHYSICIANS ENTERTAIN NO HOPE
MARTIAL LAW WILL PREVAIL IN STATE OF KENTUCKY FROM SIX O’CLOCK THIS MORNING SO SAYS DECREE
The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Jan 31, 1900
JIM HOWARD TO HANG.
Convicted at Frankfort of the Murder of William Goebel.
WEPT WHEN TAKEN BACK TO JAIL
Howard and His Friends De—– Witnesses Who, It is Charged, Were in Goebel Conspiracy and Who Gave Evidence to Save Themselves.
Frankfort, Ky., Sept. 27. — James B. Howard, who has been on trial for the past ten days charged with being a principal in the assassination of William Goebel, was found guilty yesterday, the jury fixing his punishment at death.
The fact that the jury had deliberated all of Tuesday afternoon without reaching a verdict led to the belief that it was hopelessly divided, and this fact made the verdict shocking to Howard and those who hoped for his ultimate acquittal.
Howard did not lose his composure when the verdict calling for the extreme penalty of the law was read in the crowded court room. He glanced at his attorneys and smiled, but said nothing. After the jury had been discharged Howard was taken back to the jail, and here for the first time he betrayed emotion. He called for a pen and paper and wrote a ling letter to his wife, during which tears coursed down his cheeks. He was joined later by his attorneys, who spent a good part of the day in conference with him in regard to the motion for a new trial, which will be filed today, and other matters in connection with the case.
W.H. Culton, who is under indictment as an accessory to the Goebel murder and who gave damaging evidence against both Howard and Caleb Powers, was released on bail yesterday afternoon and his case was continued until the January term. His bond was fixed at $10,000, and his brother-in-law, E.E. Hogg, of Owsley county, and J.F. Halcombe and John Johnson, of Jackson county, became his sureties.
Howard and his friends are very bitter in their denunciation of witnesses, who, it is charged, were in the conspiracy to murder Goebel, and who have since been manufacturing testimony against others in order to obtain immunity for themselves.
Howard was represented by ex-Congressman W.C. Owens, of Georgetown, and Carl Little of Manchester. The prosecution was represented by Acting Commonwealth Attorney Williams, T.C. Campbell, of Cincinnati, and H.E. Golden of Barboursville.
“Jim” Howard as he is commonly known in the mountains, is a strikingly handsome man, 44 years of age, and would be one of the last to be pointed out by a stranger as the man on trial. He had the record, however, of being the leader of the Howard-White faction in the Baker-Howard feud in Clay county, in which numerous lives were taken.
He had killed George Baker, and was suspected of the assassination of Tom Baker, who was killed after the same fashion as the Goebel murder, and Howard’s friends believe that these facts had very much to do with the making of the verdict sentencing him to the gallows.
The trial of Henry E. Youtsey, of Newport, will be called next at Georgetown next Monday.
The Tyrone Daily Herald (Tyrone, PA) Sep 27, 1900
Two Dead and Four Wounded.
Lexington, Ky., Sept. 6. — One of the bloodiest encounters in the history of Kentucky feuds took place on Saxtons creek, in Clay county, and as a result two men are dead and four dangerously wounded. The fight occurred between the Griffin and Philpott factions, the former being allies of the Howards while the Philpotts were identified with the Baker faction in the famous Howard-Baker feud of three years ago.
The Newark Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Sep 6, 1904
HOWARD BEGINS SENTENCE.
Life Imprisonment for the Murder of William Goebel.
(Bulletine Press Association.)
Frankfort, Ky., Feb. 2. — James Howard, convicted of the murder of William Goebel, arrived at the Frankfort penitentiary today to spend the rest of his life there, unless some unexpected turn of fortune liberates him. He is one of the most interesting characters that ever crossed the threshold of the penitentiary and his arrival caused considerable stir among the people of this city in general and the prison officials in particular. After spending nearly six years in jail, standing three trials and fighting his case through the supreme court, Howard was defeated in his struggle for liberty and the supreme court confirmed the judgement of the Kentucky courts. Howard never lost his nerve for a single moment. He was as cheerful on his way to the penitentiary and upon his arrival as he was on the first day of his arrest and said he was confident that he would eventually be vindicated and liberated.
In many ways Howard is the most picturesque figure of the Goebel murder cases. The commonwealth represented him as the typical mountain feud fighter and dead shot who went to Frankfort to kill Goebel in return for a pardon for having killed George Baker in a feud. Personally Howard does not fill the idea of such a person at all. He would never have been taken for a desperate man from the mountains. He is handsome and of distinguished appearance, of fine physique and unusually graceful, with easy manners. He looks like a man of fine intellect and a student. Indeed, he has been a student for five years, as during his imprisonment he has devoted his time to perfecting himself in the law.
Howard was born in Clay county forty years ago. His father was a school teacher. Howard lived in the mountains all his life and early became an expert shot, like all Kentucky mountaineers. He was first a deputy sheriff of Clay county, then school teacher, lawyer, general storekeeper in the government revenue service and finally assessor of Clay county, which he held when he became involved in the Goebel trouble.
Howard is a victim of a Kentucky feud, whatever were the circumstances of the killing of Goebel. He was in Frankfort the day Goebel was shot, trying to procure a pardon for killing George Baker from W.S. Taylor, then governor of Kentucky. The prosecution maintained that he was to get the pardon for killing Goebel. Howard has maintained that in this seeming connection he was a victim of circumstances. The Baker-Howard feud broke out in 1897. The Bakers one day ambushed Jim Howard’s father and two brothers, killing the brothers and desperately wounding the father.
Jim Howard, as soon as he heard of it, mounted his horse and rode to the scene. He claims the Bakers tried to ambush him and that he escaped by using his horse as a shield. In the encounter he shot George Baker to death.
Howard was indicted for the murder of Goebel in April, 1900. He was then in Clay county, where he might have remained indefinitely, as the mountaineers are Republicans and would have afforded him protection against an army. But in the month of May Howard went to Frankfort and surrendered. His first trial resulted in a sentence of death, his second of life imprisonment, both being reversed. The third verdict was life imprisonment and was sustained by the supreme court.
The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Feb 2, 1906
This site has newspaper article images covering a variety of items, including this feud and others.
Here is some additional information about the William Goebel assassination and his rival, Governor Taylor.