Kentucky Feuds – State of War Continues

One more article about the Baker-Howard-White feuds:

BEV. WHITE’S TOUGH DEPUTIES FALL OUT AT MANCHESTER, KY.
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State of War Still Continues — Town in a State of Intense Excitement — Howard Faction Keeps the Baker’s and Their Friends Out of the Place — Sheriff White Purchasing Ammunition.

London, Ky., June 19. — News of a fight at Manchester between Sheriff Beverly P. White’s numerous deputy sheriffs has just reached this place. Prior to the convening of court at Manchester, Sheriff White swore in 25 desperate characters as deputy sheriffs. Saturday night after they had received their pay several of them got drunk. They met at the upper side of the town and fired off their pistols almost continually until a late hour.

This morning “Bill” Holland, the negro deputy, was missing and it developed that he had been so badly beaten during a fight in which several shots were fired that he is confined to his bed. Holland says Dave Chadwell undertook to get a bottle of whiskey away from him and he struck Chadwell, knocking him down. This angered Chadwell’s friends and he was beaten over the head with the butts of pistols until he was almost dead.

The town is still in a state of intense excitement and the Howards and Whites a hundred and fifty strong keep the Bakers and their friends out of the place. A courier arriving here says he heard after leaving Manchester that Andy Baker and Jason Bowling with a number of friends had come into Clay county and were at Bowling’s house at Begtown. This is where Chris Johnson was attacked by members of the Howard-White faction Friday night and it is feared that Bowling’s house will be the next scene of a battle between the warring factions.

Sheriff White has just returned to Manchester and it is reported that he has secured a large amount of ammunition and a number of guns with which to equip more men in case Governor Bradley attempts to send court there to try him and others on the charge of murdering Tom Baker. John Whitmore, whose horse’s throat was cut at Manchester has arrived here. He says the Whites deny most emphatically that Tom Baker was killed by any of them. Sid Baker and Hiram Bolin, the body guard of John G. White, accompanied him home to Winchester to-day and returned here this afternoon, leaving for Manchester later. It develops that Judge Eversole is related to James Bowling, who is now in the feud and this further complicates matters, allying the judge with the Baker faction. Judge Eversole has gone to Lesile county to hold court. Instead of going via Manchester, which is the usual route, he went via Richmond several miles out of the way. Court is to begin to-day but he cannot reach there before Tuesday. Cale, Robert and Dee Baker are still at the home of Chris Jackson, who will recover from the wound received Friday afternoon at Begtown.

Naugatuck Daily News (Naugatuck, Connecticut) Jun 19, 1899

UPDATE: The Feudin’ Never Seems to Stop:

KENTUCKY OUTLAWRY.

Five Men Killed in the Philpot-Griffin Feud.

Louisville. July 18. — A special from London, Ky., tells of a report reaching there of the outbreak of another feud in Clay county, by which five men lost their lives yesterday. The dead are said to be: Robert Philpot, Ed Fisher, Aaron Morris, Jim Griffin and Hugh Griffin. These fatalities resulted from a pitched battle fought near Little Goose creek, three miles from Manchester.

The feud dates back nearly two years. On Christmas, 1897, James Philpot was killed by Aaron Morris, but before he died he shot and killed William Bundy, a friend of Morris. The Morrises and Griffins were closely affiliated. Since then the feeling between the two factions has been very bitter, and it has been aroused recently by the White-Baker hostilities. The Philpots, which are the strongest faction in the mountains, numbering about 750 voters, openly espoused the cause of the Bakers, while the Griffins took sides with the Whites.

The story that reaches here from Manchester is to the effect that Rob Philpot was arrested yesterday by Deputy Sheriff Wash Thacker. It is said that while Thacker was taking Philpot’s bond the latter was shot from behind by a member of a crowd that had gathered. This precipitated a general fight with Winchesters and revolvers, which was participated in by George, Granville, Robert and Peter Philpot and Ed Fisher on one side, and Aaron Morris, Hugh, Jim and Green Griffin on the other. The battle raged fiercely for ten or fifteen minutes. When it was over it was found that the five men mentioned above had been killed outright, three of the belligerents were seriously wounded, while Pete Philpot was the only one on either side to escape injury. Granville Philpot is said to be one of the most seriously wounded. He is a Union veteran, having lost a leg at Stone River; is an ex-member of the Kentucky legislature, and is said to have killed three or four men. Ed. Fisher was about 23 years old, but was said to have killed three men.

The situation in Manchester is deplorable. The place is in a state of terror, scarcely any one daring to venture out of doors. Business is suspended and the residents are momentarily expecting a renewal of hostilities.

Tyrone Daily Herald (Tyrone, Pennsylvania) Jul 18, 1899

Five Men Are Slain in a Pitched Battle
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FEUDISTS AGAIN AROUSED
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Philpot Griffin Broil is Revived by the White Baker Hostilities
Their Respective Followers Engaging in a Mortal Combat.
——

[Excerpt]

The story of this battle caused consternation here, notwithstanding the fact that serious trouble has been expected to break out among the mountaineers of Clay county ever since the assassination of Tom Baker several weeks ago. An effort was at once begun to secure deputies to go to the seat of the trouble and attempt to restore quiet, but there had not been enough responses to make up a force that would command respect.

Newark Daily Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Jul 18, 1899

FEUD SPREADING

Kentucky Factionists Gathering and Another Outbreak Feared.

London, Ky., July 19. — The Clay county feud is growing to gigantic proportions. Monday’s battle in which three persons were killed outright and several were mortally wounded is believed to be the beginning of a series of battles.

Armed Philpots have gathered from all sections, 100 strong. The opposing clans, the Morris, Griffin and Chadwell families, are said to be only two miles away fifty strong.

Ed Fisher, who was mortally wounded Monday, died yesterday. Robert Philpot was reported dying last night, but this morning he was not yet dead.

——-

Frankfort, Ky., July 19. — Governor Bradley has taken no action in the Clay County matter. He favors calling an extra session of the legislature as well as sending troops.

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London, Ky., July 19. — Details of the ferocious fight between the Philpot and Griffin factions show that Aaron Morris, William and Green Griffin were instantly killed, and Hugh Griffin, Ed Fisher and Robert Philpot were mortally wounded. The dead men were buried at Island Branch graveyard and the wounded conveyed to the homes of their friends.

Messengers from Manchester report the situation more threatening than ever, because of the spread of the feud to families not heretofore directly concerned. The Chadwells and Barnetts are said to be joining the Griffins and Morrises, while the Philpots, in themselves the strongest faction, are gathering their followers from neighboring districts in expectation that their antagonists who were worsted in Monday’s battle, will seek an early opportunity for revenge.

——-

Clay County Officers Criticized.

Frankfort, Ky., July 19. — Governor Bradley received full official particulars concerning the Clay county battle. The governor is more than every worried over Clay county affairs, but has not decided on any plans with reference to the latest outbreak. There is very severe criticism of the Clay county civil authorities in state official circles, and it is hinted that some of the judicial authorities in that district will be made the subject of rigid investigation by the legislature.

Newark Daily Advocate (Newark, Ohio) July 19, 1899

Both Factions Have Quit Work to Prepare for the Tremendous Struggle About to Take Place

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Arms Said to Have Been Received From Louden — Victims of the Fight the Other Day Escorted to Their Graves by a Heavily Armed Guard.

—–

LONDON, Ky., July 21. — Clay county appears to be alive with armed men; both sides to the feud have suspended all labor and are assembled in their respective neighborhoods. Preparations for war go on. Arms are said to have been received from this point and taken to Clay county. It is believed they were for both sides.

Judge W.L. Brown, London, who has tried many mountain feud fighters, says that he regards this as the most serious trouble Clay county has ever had, and he expects to hear of a desperate fight.

Hugh Griffin and Aaron Morris were laid in the same grave. Harvey Griffin was placed beside them. The funeral procession escorted the corpses to the burial grounds under a heavy guard, armed with Winchesters.

The Philpot-Morris feud can be traced back over eight years. It began in the Pigeon Roost fight, in which the Philpots and Fishers were engaged with a number of alleged followers of Morris. On election day I.B. Philpot was killed, and a young man named Nicholson, a clerk in the pension department at Washington, who had come home to vote, had a leg shot off. George Cole, who last year killed Marshal Roach at Barboursville, and is now a fugitive from justice, was riddled with bullets. Several others were wounded. Sam Philpot, who figured prominently in that fight, was wounded at the battle of San Juan hill.

The next fight was about six years ago. One of the Stuarts and Maj. Jack Downey, of the Chadwell-Stuart forces, were killed. The Stuarts are alleged allies of the Chadwells and Griffins in the present feud. Joe Nance and John Bowling were sent to the penitentiary on account of their participation in this battle, but were afterward pardoned.

The next engagement was four or fives years ago, when Tim Philpot, Ed Fisher and others on one side were engaged by the Chadwells and George Thompson on the other. Thompson was killed, and both Tim Philpot and Ed Fisher were indicted and tried, but they were acquitted.

One other fierce but short battle occurred at Dripping Springs, Clay county, in which Dave, Hugh and Joe Bowling lost their lives at the hands of the Hamptons, who are now in the Morris-Griffin ranks. Others were wounded.

The next battle was fought on Horse Creek, at a saloon, a year ago. In this fight James Crow Philpot shot and killed William Bundy, and was in turn killed by Aaron Morris, Bundy’s son-in-law. Morris was sentenced for 21 years, but on a new trial he was acquitted.

It is charged that the Whites, of the Howard-White-Baker feud, assisted him.

As a result of last Monday’s battle four men, Hugh Griffin, Aaron Morris, Harvey Griffin, of the Morris side, and Ed Fisher of the Philpot faction, have been buried. Two others will probably die.

Lima Daily News (Lima, Ohio) Jul 21, 1899

LONDON, Ky., Sept. 5.

Deputy Sheriff Wash Thacker was found dead on the roadside on the road to Manchester where it is supposed he was shot from ambush. He had recently testified against the Griffins.

Butler County Democrat (Hamilton, Ohio) Sep 7, 1899

KILLING DUE TO KENTUCKY FEUD.

Deputy Sheriff, of Clay County, is Slain From Ambush.

BARBOURSVILLE, Ky., Sept. 6. — [Excerpt]

…Later details of the killing of Deputy Sheriff Thacker, of Clay county, give the surmised reason for his assassination. Thacker had served as deputy sheriff of Clay county for fifteen years, and it was believed he was a favorite. No threats against his life had come to his ears and he felt perfectly secure in the discharge of his official duty. Since his murder it is recalled that he was a witness of the Morris Philpot fight and that his testimony in court was favorable to the Philpots. Sheriff Beverly White’s zeal in pursuit of the murderers with an armed posse of fifty men would seem to indicate that the White faction has no sympathy with the criminal.

Fort Wayne News (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Sep 6, 1899

FEUD ON IN EARNEST AGAIN.

One Faction in Kentucky Making War on Women.

LONDON, Ky., Sept. 11. — The opening of war between the Griffin and Philpot factions in Clay county began last night. The house of Widow Chadwell, wife of Evan Chadwell, brother of Deputy Sheriff Dave Chadwell, the leader of the Griffin faction, was fired into from all sides. She escaped by throwing herself on the floor. All the cattle, hogs and dogs were killed and a notice was posted on her door giving her twenty-four hours to leave or be killed. It was done by a body of horse-men whom the Griffins say were Philpots. The jail here, which has two Griffins in it, is heavily guarded by men with Winchesters.

A rumor is also current here that a battle was fought yesterday in Clay county resulting in killing four men and wounding seven. The rumor locates the battle on Red Bird creek, eighteen miles from Manchester. There have been several killings there of late and the battle may have been either between the Markums and Roberts or the Sizemores and Ashers, which four factions are at war with each other.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Sep 12, 1899


Slain from Ambush in Kentucky.

Wash Thacker, a deputy sheriff of Clay County, Ky., has been shot from ambush and killed. A mule on which Bob Smith, who accompanied Thacker, was riding, was slain, but Smith lay motionless on the ground for a couple of hours, feigning death, and thus escaped assassination.

Bessemer Herald (Bessemer, Michigan) Sep 16, 1899

Fear Serious Trouble.

Pittsburg, Ky., Sept. 27. — The situation in Clay county is very serious. The trial of the Griffins, Chadwells and Barnetts for the killing of Wash Thacker was again postponed. Two bands of 40 men each of the Philpots went to Manchester, all heavily armed. An unexpectedly large force of Griffins are near that town well equipped with Winchester rifles. The jail is being guarded by a large force, as the Griffins claim that the jail will be attacked and an effort made to lynch the eight inmates, members of their faction. Law-abiding citizens of Clay county are clamoring for troops.

Newark Daily Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Sep 27, 1899

Kentucky Feudists Tried.

Manchester, Ky., Oct. 2. — The trial of seven Griffin feudists for ambushing Deputy Sheriff Wash Thacker and Jim Smith of the Philpot faction has been held. Eddy and Floy Chadwell, Sol, Jim and Tom Griffin were held without bail, and Charles Burnett, Dan Hampton and Anderson Griffin were discharged.

The Wellsboro Agitator (Wellsboro, Pennsylvania) Oct 4, 1899

KENTUCKY FEUD TRIAL TO-DAY.

LONDON, Ky., Oct. 22. — The Clay County Circuit Court opens to-morrow at Manchester. Five feudists, Eddie and Floyd Chadwell, and Sol. Jim, and Tom Griffin, will be tried for the killing of Deputy Wash Thacker of the Philpot faction.

Gov. Bradley has troops in readiness to go to the protection of the court immediately upon the request of the Judge.

Since the last term of court twenty men and one woman have been shot and there are only five indictments.

The New York Times (New York, New York) Oct 23, 1899

The Clay County Trouble.

Manchester, Ky., Oct. 26. The grand jury impaneled here at the term of court with began Monday has a big task before it. There are 12 murders besides the assassination of Tom Baker to be investigated. The jury has returned true bills against Sol, Jim and Tom Griffin, charging them with the murder of Sheriff Wash Thacker, and Eddy and Floyd Chadwell, charging them with complicity in the crime. Eddy Chadwell confessed that the plot was made and executed by the Griffins to revenge the advantage Thacker had given the Philpots by his testimony against the Griffins after the battle of July 17, in which four Griffins and one Philpot were killed. The town is full of witnesses and feudists. Judge Eversole did not arrive, and C.B. Little is holding the court.

The Trenton Times (Trenton, New Jersey) Oct 26, 1899

INDICT KENTUCKY MURDERERS.

——-

The Regular Judge, However, Fails to Appear in Court — Armed Feudists Await Further Developments.

Special to The New York Times.
MANCHESTER, Ky., Oct. 25. — True bills of indictment, charging Solomon and Jim and Tom Griffin with the murder of Deputy Sheriff Wash Thacker in Clay County on Sept. 4, and against Eddy and Floyd Chadwell with complicity in the crime, were returned by the Grand Jury here to-day. The regular Judge, H.C. Eversole, for some reason has not arrived as yet, but he sent word to two members of the bar to elect a special Judge and go ahead with the court. Judge C.B. Little was chosen, and a Grand Jury empaneled.

The Grand Jury has its hands full, there being about 10 killings and assassinations to investigate, all of which have taken place since the last term of court, in June, and this in addition to the killing of Tom Baker, which Judge Eversole has promised Gov. Bradley to investigate. Troops are being held in readiness at Lexington, and it is believed by members of the bar that Judge Eversole will not come until the Governor agrees to furnish him with military protection. In view of this fact, Judge Eversole’s instructions to try unimportant matters until he arrives is being disregarded, and Judge Little will take up the cases as they are reported by the Grand Jury.

It is now believed that the assassin who killed Tom Baker while he was a prisoner will never be found. Sheriff White, from whose house the fatal shot was fired, is seriously ill and has left the business of his office with his deputies. Commonwealth’s Attorney Isaacs has also failed to appear. He sent word that he would be compelled to be absent during the term because of sickness in his family. In Perry County, County Attorney Turner and B.B. Golden of Barbourville will represent the Commonwealth.

The Griffins and the Philpots are on hand in force, all heavily armed. Every one appears in the best of humor, and they mingle together telling jokes. Valentine G. Philpot came near causing a riot yesterday by stating that he told the farmer who came up with his two-horse wagon and offered to haul off the dead after the Philpot-Griffin fight on July 17, that he only wished they could finish out a load for him.

The Griffins heard of this remark and there was a rush to arms, but through some agreement the matter was settled and no blood spilled. The report that Pete Philpot, the boy who shot three Griffins in the big fight, had been shot yesterday, is untrue. “Tom” Whittamore, a Philpot sympathizer, is dead, the reports to this effect having been confirmed.

Gov. Bradley will be requested to place the whole county under martial law by the citizens who hope to have an end put to the feud at once, but this plan is not considered practicable by the Chief Executive.

The following is a list of the people killed in the Philpot-Griffin feud since the last term of the Circuit Court:

July 6 — James Stubblefield, Deputy Sheriff, killed while attempting to arrest Mart Smith. Smith escaped.

July 17 — Aaron Morris, Harvey Griffin, Green Griffin of the Griffin faction, and Ed Fisher of the Philpot faction, killed in pitched battle. Several other men wounded. Philpot tried and cleared.

Sept. 2 — Bill Lewis, Deputy Sheriff, killed while trying to arrest Mart Smith. Smith again escaped.

Sept. 4 — Wash Thacker, Deputy Sheriff, killed while riding along the road with Jim Smith, a friend. Jim, Tom, and Sol Griffin and Eddy and Floyd Chadwell arrested, and are to be tried for the crime.

Sept. 5 — James Robertson, Philpot sympathizer, assassinated. No arrests.

Sept. 28 — Eli Taylor, a juryman in Philpot cases, assassinated. No arrests.

Sept. 6 — [maybe meant to be Oct 6?] Henry Marcum, a Griffin feudist, assassinated. No arrests.

Oct. 23 — Tom Whittamore, friend of Philpot’s, assassinated. No arrests. Simon Philpot assassinated at Pigeon Roost. No arrests.

One woman was shot and seriously wounded, having been mistaken for a Philpot, and the homes of a number of the factionists riddled with bullets at night.

The New York Times (New York, New York) Oct 26, 1899

Banished From Clay County.

London, Ky., Nov. 7 — Dave Chadwell, father of Eddie and Floyd Chadwell, who are accused of complicity in the murder of Deputy Sheriff Wash Thacker, has been run out of Clay county. He was shot from ambush and almost killed two weeks ago and afterward notified to leave the county. He did this, going to Corbin, but on Sunday he was warned that he was still too close to Clay county to please the Philpots and advised to go farther. Consequently he has removed with his family to Winchester.

The Trenton Times (Trenton, New Jersey) Nov 7, 1899

TROOPS ORDERED OUT

Corbin, Ky., Dec 11. — Governor Bradley ordered the company of state guards just organized here, into service to protect Floyd and Eddie Chadwell, who killed Town Marshal Hartford Saturday night. The town is crowded and an attempt to lynch them may be made.

The two Chadwells are feudists from Clay county, sons of Dave Chadwell, one of the leaders of the Griffin faction in the Philpot-Griffin feud. They said, “We just wanted to show how we have fun back in Clay.”

An attempt at rescue may be made by Clay countians.

The Daily Review (Decatur, Illinois) Dec 11, 1899

 

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5 Responses to “Kentucky Feuds – State of War Continues”

  1. lw Says:

    better than hatfield mccoy feud

  2. kellieanniewilliams Says:

    A great collection of articles. Thank you!

  3. GenieBeanie Says:

    Aaron Morris was my husband’s great-great-grandfather.

    • K Tapley Says:

      I have an old bible with Aaron Morris, Hugh Griffin and the other Griffin that were murdered during the feuding listed. It was hand written in this bible back in Early 1900’s. It’s a treasured piece of history!

  4. Kathi Lunsford Tapley Says:

    I have a bible belonging to a great great uncle Joe Griffin. Written in this bible are the Griffins who were killed in the pitched battle!

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