Posts Tagged ‘Kentucky’

Kentucky Feuds: Bailey – White

February 16, 2010

Image from the book: Days of darkness: the feuds of Eastern Kentucky – by John Ed Pearce (Link below with book image)

Commenter, M. White, asked for information regarding those that killed Bev White, (what happened to them,) and below is what I was able to find. I found no newspaper articles about the trials/outcomes for: John Bailey’s father, William Bailey, or his brother, James Bailey, or the sheriff, Perry, that are named in one or two of the articles.  Based on the outcome of John Bailey’s appeal, I would guess they all got off scott free.

NOTE: The Whites were involved in the Howard-Baker feuds, which I posted about here. Now, in that post, a Beverly White was killed by Tom Baker. That is a different Beverly White. There were several with that name living in that area, all related, I am guessing.

NOTE: Several of the news articles have Bev White’s name listed as Beverly D. White, instead of Beverly P. White.



Bev. P. White Has Located Near Lexington.

Lexington, Ky., May 5. — (Special)

Bev. P. White, the famous sheriff of Clay county, is now a resident of Fayette county, having recently located here.

White resigned his position as sheriff of Clay county on April 1st by an agreement with the authorities of that county, and at first intended to take up a home in Clark county, but changed his mind and has secured a lease in the Dabney Carr farm, on the Winchester Pike, eight miles from Lexington.

Sheriff White was one of the leaders in the bitter feuds of Clay county, and his resignation and departure from the county was one of the results of the recent all around agreement reached to abandon bloody warfare and engage in peaceful pursuits. He says he will next year buy him a farm and he may enter the ranks of trotting horse breeders.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) May 6, 1901


Posses Searching for Alleged Kentucky Killer.

Lexington, Kentucky, April 8 —

A posse of citizens, armed with high-powered rifles, scoured the mountain districts of Clay and Knox counties, for John Bailey, Clay county farmer, who, late Thursday, scored a point in a lifelong feud between his family and that of B.P. White, wealthy farmer and coal operator of Barbourville, by shooting and killing White as he landed from a train, near Barbourville.

Meager reports reaching Lexington, today, indicate that friends of both families are arming and a battle is feared when the feudists on the White side attempt to take sides with the searching posse.

Marion Star, The (Marion, Ohio) Apr 8, 1921

Shot Dead.

Mrs. Edward Baute of this city received word last Friday that her father, Beverly White, was shot and killed by John Bailey, of Clay County.  The shooting occurred at Heldrick Depot of the Cumberland and Manchester Railroad shortly after Mr. White arrived at the depot.  Bailey is said to have opened fire without a word being spoken.  The shooting was the outgrowth of a family feud which started twenty-five years ago.  Mr. White moved away from the scene and had not been back since that time.  Bailey had been captured and is in jail at Harlan.  Feeling against him is high.  Mr. White was one of the wealthiest and most respected farmers in Central Kentucky.
Somerset, Ky., Friday April 15, 1921.

Pulaski News Apr 1921 (LINK to Ky Kinfolk, where article was posted)


William Lee Shot Dead by Bart Reid, Former Army Officer, Who Is Said to Have Given Offense by Talk about Indictment of Lee’s Brother — In Family War of Many Years.


State troops were called out here tonight to stop a threatened outbreak following an affair today in which William Lee, of upper Knox County, was shot and killed by Bart Reid, former army officer.

Lee is said to have threatened Reid because of statements the latter is alleged to have made in connection with indictments returned against Jim Lee, his brother, charged with shooting Josh Faulkner last week. It was feared that Lee’s friends might try to avenge the killing.

Old Feud Feared.

LOUISVILLE, Ky., June 7. —

Reports reached here today that the Bailey-White feud had broken out afresh in the vicinity of Barbourville, Ky., today and that one man had been killed.

Another report from Frankfort said Governor Edwin P. Morrow had been asked to send state troops to the scene of the trouble.

Meanwhile John Bailey, who on April 7 was credited with renewing the feud of twenty years between the Baker and White families when Bevereley White was shot and killed in Knox county, remains in jail in Louisville. He was brought here, authorities say, to remove him from the jurisdiction of friendly court influences at Mt. Vernon, which the state said it had reason to believe, would have released him on motion for bail and habeas corpus proceedings.

Reports of a second renewal of the feud are widespread, but verification is difficult owing to meager lines of communication.

The Bridgeport Telegram (Bridgeport, Connecticut) Jun 8, 1921

Soldiers Keep Disorder Down At Mt. Vernon

John Bailey, Jr., Alleged Slayer of Beverly White, Goes To Jail.


MOUNT VERNON, Ky., Aug. 22 —

Bailey-Lee and White rival clansmen numbering 100 are under arms here today for the opening trial of John Bailey, Jr., alleged slayer of Beverly White.

A detachment of the London cavalry troops, K.N.G., are camped on the court house grounds, dispatched here by Governor Morrow, upon request of the Mount Vernon authorities who fear trouble before the trial ends.

No trouble occurred yesterday. Incoming trains brought reinforcements of the opposing factions and many other feudists are arriving this morning.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Aug 22, 1921

Armed Men Flock To Feudist’s Trial

MOUNT VERNON, Ky., Aug. 22. —

With twenty-five National Guardsmen from London and twenty special deputy sheriffs on guard, the Rock Castle courthouse presented a martial appearance, when the trial of John Bailey, Jr., alleged slayer of Beverly White, was called here today. Approximately 100 members of the Bailey-Lee clansmen factions, in the most bitter mountain feud that has torn eastern Kentucky in recent years and which is said to have resulted in a score of killings in almost as many years, were present for opening of the trial.

Major James L. Dillon, in charge of the guardsmen, has issued warning to the clansmen against carrying concealed weapons during the trial.

The killing, for which Bailey is to be tried, occurred on April 7 last at Heidricks Station.

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) Aug 22, 1921


Baileys and Whites Face Each Other Today.


Force Prepared To Preserve Order During the Trial of John Bailey for Murder.

Mt. Vernon, Kentucky, Aug. 23 —

Baileys and Whites sat facing each other in the drab circuit court-room of Rock Castle county, today.

Had they met under different circumstances, everything might not have been so calm.

But here automatic guns of the state troopers helped to inspire a respect for the law and to frown on feud methods of settling conspiracies.

And the enmity of the member of the feud factions was masked behind expressionless faces.

Court routine took its customary monotonous course. Attorneys for John Bailey, accused of the murder of Beverly White, asked for continuance of the trial on account of a witness. Circuit Judge B.J. Bethurum appointed a special bailiff, to be accompanied by two soldiers, to arrest four missing witnesses.

The Whites and Baileys left the court-room and went their respective ways. The London cavalry troopers and twenty special deputies kept a center course. Realization that the slightest dispute, even between minor members of the clans might precipitate a general clash, kept the troops vigilant to keep the factions apart.

Every person entering the court-room was searched. But the warning of Major James Dillon, commanding the troops, had been heeded. Weapons had been left in the rooms.

A few knives were collected.

Marion Star, The (Marion, Ohio) Aug 23, 1921


Mount Vernon, Ky., August 22.–

With twenty-five national guardsmen from London and twenty special deputy sheriffs on guard, the Rock Castle county courthouse presented a martial appearance as the case of John Bailey, Jr., alleged slayer of Beverly White, was called for trial here today. Bailey’s case was brought here on a change of venue from Knox county, where the slaying occurred. Approximately 100 members of the Bailey-Lee clan and the Whites, opposing factions in the most bitter mountain feud that has torn eastern Kentucky in recent years, were present for the opening of the trial. The troops and special deputies were summoned to keep down any possible flare up of the feudal spirit that in the last few years has caused a number of deaths on both sides of the mountain war and which in the last quarter of a century has resulted in possibly a score of killings.

Judge B.J. Bethurum, who is conducting the court here, asked for special guards for the courtroom.

Major James L. Dillon, in charge of the guardsmen, has issued warning to the clansmen against carrying concealed weapons during the trial.

The killing, for which Bailey is to be tried, occurred on April 7 last at Heidrick’s station near Barbourbille.  Bailey was with his father, William Bailey; a brother, James Bailey, and a deputy sheriff named Perry, took to the woods but surrendered two days later and was taken to the Harlan county jail. Later he was transferred to Mount Vernon and then to Louisville and finally granted bail at Mount Vernon. John Bailey was indicted on the charge of wilful murder and for this he is to be tried. His father, brother and Perry have been indicted on the charge of conspiracy to murder Beverly White and their cases already are set for this term.

Although the best of order is being kept here by the state troops and special deputies, the White and Bailey-Lee clans present somewhat the appearance of wrestlers preparing to leap at one another. The Whites have made the Rock Castle hotel headquarters for their adherents, while the Baileys and Lees are putting up at a boarding house. On the street one seldom sees a member of one clan on the same side with members of the other.

When court hour approached this morning, according to officials, there was no indication of a continuance of the case.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Aug 23, 1921

Mountain Feud Calls For Drastic Measures

Mount Vernon, Ky. —

The first day of the John Bailey murder trial, growing out of the Bailey-White mountain feud, was productive of nothing more than the search of every person who entered the court room for weapons. Soldiers and deputy sheriffs stopped each clansman as he entered the door. None resisted the search and no weapons were found except a few pocket knives. Even the women were not exempt from search.

When the case was called both the commonwealth and the defense asked for a continuance because essential witnesses were absent.

The prosecution asked for attachments for four and the defense for nine material witnesses. Circuit Judge Bethurum appointed Sheriff Walker to deputize two soldiers and bring them into court, and adjourned court until Tuesday.

The sheriff was also ordered to establish a censorship of telephone wires and instructed to prevent the transmission of any messages which might inform the missing witnesses of his order.

The Kingsport Times (Kingsport, Tennessee) Aug 23, 1921

More Jurors Are Needed in Trial

MOUNT VERNON, Ky., Aug. 23.–

With eleven men in the jury box and no more available for duty until they can be summoned by Sheriff Tip Langford, the trial of John Bailey, mountain feudist, charged with murder of Beverly D. White of Versailles, was adjourned this afternoon until 9 o’clock tomorrow morning. The sheriff and his deputies spent the afternoon and night summoning a special venue of one hundred men, ordered by Judge Bethurum from which to obtain a jury.
Bailey tonight was free under a new bond executed this afternoon before the county clerk.

Logansport Morning Press (Logansport, Indiana) Aug 24, 1921


Mount Vernon, Ky. —

Watt Norton died last night, after having been shot by James Winstead at Norton’s home, ten miles from here.

Winstead is a bondsman for John Bailey, on trial for slaying Beverly White. Winstead surrendered and is in the county jail, charged with murder.

The tragedy is the renewal of an old quarrel growing out of a suit to locate a roadway across Norton’s farm.

The jury to try John Bailey was completed before the noon adjournment of court today.

The Kingsport Times (Kingsport, Tennessee) Aug 26, 1921

Reports of Civil and Criminal Cases Decided by the Court of Appeals of Kentucky– Volume 195
Authors    Kentucky. Court of Appeals, Kentucky. Supreme Court
Publisher    S.I.M. Major, 1922

You can read the whole appeal record at this Google book LINK, starting on page 485. It gives the testimony of both sides. Evidently, Watt Norton lived long enough to tell others what happened.



John Bailey, mountain feudist, who has been on trial here for more than a week, on Wednesday was found guilty of murder and sentenced to imprisonment for life.

Bailey shot and killed Beverly D. White, last April. The tragedy was the outgrowth of a feud of 20 years between the Bailey and White families, whose kin and clansmen gathered here in large numbers for the trial.

State troops guarded the courthouse.

Eau Claire Leader (Eau Claire, Wisconsin) Sep 2, 1921


Precautions Taken as Kentucky Feudists Go on Trial


Baily Family Accused of Plot to Kill B.D. White

FRANKFORT, Ky. — (By Associated Press)

Thirty Kentucky national guardsmen and three commissioned officers, armed with pistols, rifles and two machine guns, today went on duty at Barbourville to guard the Knox circuit court during trial of members of the Bailey family on the charge of conspiring to murder Beverly D. White of Versailes.

White was killed by John Bailey, who now is in jail at Danville, Ky., awaiting final disposition of his life sentence by the court of appeals.

Orders for the guardsmen to proceed to Barbourville were issued here. This is the third time that the militia has been called out in connection with the Bailey-White feud.

Lima News (Lima, Ohio) Dec 6, 1921

In 1922 John Bailey had trouble with Beve White and shot and killed him. He was tried in Rockcastle Co., KY and was sentenced to Life in prison, but after only 1 year, his brother Jim got him out of prison.

Trouble continued between the 2 famlies for several years . On May 2, 1927 Beve Bailey was waiting to board the train at Rodonald Station, though he knew the Whites were going to be aboard, he boarded anyhow. Someone threw Beve a pack of Cigarettes and when he bent over to get them , a Jim Lyttle , brother in law to the Whites, shot Beve 3 times in the back. Beve returned fire, hitting Jim Lyttle in the shoulder. Beve then walked a few steps, sat down and asked for a smoke and then died.

With Beve Bailey now dead, that only left John and Jim and on March 30, 1931 they killed each other in Harlan. So I suppose you can safely say that the feud between these two families, whose boys used to be the best of friends and got in an argument over trading horses lasted from 1915 to 1931. As the Baileys and the Whites had trouble between them until they were all gone.


Note: This article is written based on facts from various newspaper articles on the troubles between the 2 families.

Posted on Rootsweb by CuzSmith – LINK

This is the book where I found the Feud Counties Map: Google Book Preview LINK

The following newspaper transcription can be found at TNGenWeb – Hancock Co. under the Hopkins surname HERE.

Sheriff J. H. Blair had a run in with George Lee and Bev Bailey, in the office of the County Judge Howard, in Harlan, last week, when Lee refused to surrender his pistol to the sheriff.

Lee and Bailey had some trouble with Chief of Police Pearl Noe, early in the day, when they drew their weapons on the officer and later forced him to go to the court with them.

When the sheriff came into the office, Judge Howard suggested that the men be searched, to which Lee objected, and when he reached for his front pocket, as if to draw a gun, Sheriff Blair grabbed his hand and stuck him, finally taking from him two large revolvers.  Lee and Bailey were then remanded to jail, in default of a peace bond of $5,000.00 each.

Lee shot and killed Neal Christian, a deputy sheriff, at Wallins Creek, two years ago.  Bailey was mixed up in the White-Bailey feud, in Knox County. several years ago, in which six or seven men were killed, including two sons of John C. White.

The Corbin Times-Tribune Oct 24, 1924



Bev Bailey was shot and killed in Clay County Monday morning in what is reported to have been a resumption of the old Bailey-White feud of long standing, according to information received here.  Bailey, whose brother John Bailey killed Bev White sometime ago, was shot about ten times.

The Pineville Sun May 5, 1927



Reports Reach Here That Bev Bailey is Shot to Death On Train by White Boys

Monday Morning


Reports have reached here that Monday about 9 o’clock, at Roadon- ald, Ky., four miles out of Manchest- er, in Clay county, on the C. & M. railroad, a shooting affray occurred between Bev Bailey and three White boys, in which Bailey was killed.  This is considered an outbreak of hard feeling which has existed be- tween the Bailey and White families for a number of years.  About five years ago two or three members of the White family were killed by the Baileys, and the feud since that time has been quiescent until the out- break Monday morning.

Details of the shooting are lacking, it being said that  John  C. White, Jr., J. E. White, Jr., and another White were on the train as it came from Manchester to Barbourville, and at the Roadonald station, the shooting took place, with Bev Bailey, who was at the station, being killed.  As to the number of shots fired and who started the fray, it is not known.

The report is that on the excursion train the day before, when some thousand Clay countians visited Cumberland Gap and the Pinnacle, Bev Bailey stuck his pistol in the ribs of one of the White boys and made some threats.  No fight occurred, however, on the train.

One of the train officials said that the coach in which the White boys were riding, was shot up consider- ably.

The Corbin Times, May 6, 1927

The Beloved Fannie Dugan

October 17, 2009
The Fannie Dugan (Image from Portsmouth Public Library)

The Fannie Dugan (Image from Portsmouth Public Library)

The inspiration for this post was the 1874 article entitled An Appeal, written by the widow of Capt. John McAllister, pleading with the public to not allow the Fannie Dugan‘s new competition to run her out of business, as this steamboat was her sole source of income since the death of her husband. It turns out the Fannie Dugan was one of the most popular steamboats running in the Portsmouth area during the 1870’s.


The Mountain Belle leaves for Catlettsburg, every day at 2 o’clock. She was purchased a few days since, by John McAllister, from the Big Sandy Packet Company — price $15,000.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Aug 6, 1870


Frank Morgan and Capt. McAllister of the Mountain Belle, have gone to Cincinnati to get an outfit for their new boat, the Fannie Dugan. They will return Wednesday.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jan 6,  1872


The Fannie Dugan was presented with a new bell by Thomas Dugan.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jan 27, 1872

Thomas Dugan (Image from Portsmouth Public Library)

Thomas Dugan (Image from Portsmouth Public Library)

Some background on where the Fannie Dugan got her name:

(I) Thomas Dugan. grandfather of Dr. Thomas (2) Dugan, of Huntington, was born, according to one tradition, in Ireland, and according to another in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When a young man he removed to Portsmouth, Ohio, where he engaged in mercantile business, later becoming a leading banker of that city. He was president of the Farmers’ National Bank of Portsmouth, and loaned the money with which the site of the city of Huntington was purchased. He married Levenia Mackoy, born in Kentucky, and they were the parents of two children: i. James S., of whom further. 2. Fannie, became the wife of J. C. Adams, a prominent citizen of Portsmouth, and died in 1885, at the age of thirty-two years, leaving two children : Earl and William, now engaged in the manufacture of fire-arms and fire-works in Portsmouth.

Fannie Dugan (Image from Portsmouth Public Library)

Fannie Dugan (Image from Portsmouth Public Library)

The steamer “Fannie Dugan” was named in compliment to Mrs. Adams, and her father, Thomas (i) Dugan, gave two hundred and fifty dollars for the silver to be used in casting its bell, and also presented the piano to form part of its equipment. At the time of his death, a sudden one occurring in 1873, ‘”IS ^^’^s in the prime of life. The old Dugan residence still stands in Portsmouth, on the corner of Chillicothe and Eighth streets, and is one of the finest specimens of colonial architecture extant. Mrs. Dugan died in 1894, in Huntington.

West Virginia and its People (1913)
Author: Miller, Thomas Condit; Maxwell, Hu, joint author
Volume: 2
Publisher: New York, Lewis Historical Pub. Co.


The Fannie Dugan, on her second trip out, broke a camrod and returned to this place on one wheel, where she is to remain until the ice thins out.

The new and elegant steamer Fannie Dugan has purchased a beautiful Valley Gem piano of D.S. Johnston.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Feb 17, 1872


Capt. John McAllister, and not Jack as we erroneously stated, is sick, but recovering slowly.

Capt. Jack McAllister has sold out his interest in the Fannie Dugan at the rate of $24,000 for the boat, and has purchased the Mountain Belle for $10,000. Capt. McAllister has refitted and refurnished the Belle, and will leave here with her for Pittsburg next Monday, the 22d. We wish Capt. Jack abundant success.

The Fannie Dugan brought 400 barrels of malt from Pomeroy last Monday.


The Mountain Belle refurnished and refitted, will leave the city, at the foot of Market street, on Monday next, for Pittsburg and return. Parties having goods to ship to any way landings, or through to Pittsburg, are requested to ship by the Belle.

First class accommodations for passengers.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jul 20, 1872


Captain John McAllister is prostrated at his residence in Springville, Ky., but hopes are entertained of his recovery.

Captain Jack McAllister has sold his interest in the Mountain Belle To Robert Cook, and purchased an eighth interest in the Fannie Dugan from his brother. The Dugan has been repainted, and with Captain Jack on the roof, is running in the Portsmouth and Cincinnati trade.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Oct 19, 1872


Capt. John McAllister is still confined to his bed.

The Fannie Dugan has returned to her Portsmouth and Guyandotte trade.

The Mountain Belle is doing a thriving business just now, and Capt. Ripley is looking up freight industriously. Capt. Jack McAllister is on the roof, and the Belle is a good boat to travel on or ship by.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Oct 26, 1872


Death of Captain John McAllister.

CAPTAIN JOHN McALLISTER, of Springville, Ky., and well and favorably known as a steamboat captain, died last Monday morning at 8:40 A.M. Captain McAllister had a host of friends on the river and shore, and his loss is one that will be felt by a large circle of friends and relatives.

He was a native of Lewis county, Ky., and was forty-eight years of age at the time of his death. About the year 1864 he purchased the Portsmouth and Springville ferry and removed to the latter place. He afterwards owned the steamers Jonas Powell and Mountain Belle, and last fall built the sidewheel steamer Fannie Dugan, which he commanded at the time he was taken ill.

Although a resident of Greenup county, he took a deep interest in the growth and business prosperity of our city, and by his liberality and enterprise he provided Portsmouth with excellent up-river packets, and did much to increase the trade of the city in that direction. The deceased always bore an irreproachable character, and was a man of generous impulses. The remains were taken to his old home, in Lewis county, on Tuesday for interment.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Nov 9, 1872


THE Fannie Dugan has taken the fancy collar off her pipes and looks as large as the Great Republic. She blew out a cylinder head last Wednesday on her up trip, and returned here for repairs.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Apr 5, 1873


Ten couple of Guyan lads and lasses came down on a pleasure trip on the Fannie Dugan last Wednesday. They danced all night, and enjoyed themselves hugely. Clerks, Simon Balmert and Robert McAllister, joined in the Terpsichorean excitement.

Quite a change has been made in the steamer Fannie Dugan. Mr. James Bagby, for many years connected with the commercial interests of Portsmouth, and at present in the mercantile business just across the river, has purchased of Mrs. McAllister, widow of the late Captain John McAllister, one half of the boat, at the rate of $24,000. He has placed Captain Jack McAllister on the roof, and under his command the merchants and traveling public will find the Fannie Dugan the steamer to patronize. These gentlemen have done much to keep up the wholesale trade of Portsmouth and Ironton, the boat having been built under the immediate superintendancy of Captain McAllister to meet the demand for a strictly local freight and passenger packet. So long as they give satisfaction, they are entitled to the entire patronage of shippers at this place and points on the river between here and Guyau.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jul 12, 1873

Charleston WV Capitol 1870 (Image from

Charleston WV Capitol 1870 (Image from


A Cheerful Lunatic Writes us a Letter — He finds out how far it is to Gallipolis.

Monday, in the evening,
May 26, 1873.

EDITOR TIMES — Thinking it would interest your readers, I have concluded to write you a few lines  about (we keep the type standing of all letters up to this place. It don’t fail once in ten thousand times — EDITOR,) a pleasure trip on the Fannie Dugan to Charleston and return. I seat myself to the task. (A large reward offered for a correspondent who will stand up and write us a letter. — ED.)

Through the kindness of Capt. Wm. Ripley, several young folks were invited to take passage last Saturday evening, and at 6 o’clock we rounded out and were soon steaming up the beautiful river. At Haverbill, Ironton, and elsewhere, others came aboard. The distance from Portsmouth to Gallipolis is ninety miles, and from thence to Charleston, sixty-four miles.


After supper the table was cleared and music, with its voluptuous swell, set many happy lads and lassies tripping the animated toe, which same continued to trip until midnight, when, to avoid mutilating the fourth paragraph on the Mosaical tablet of stone, fond pillows were pressed, and placid sleep, nature’s uncopyrighted and unpatented panacea, was poured upon the weary sons and daughters of Terpsichore.


I had forgotten to observe that at Ironton the gentlemanly and accommodating wharfmaster, W.G. Bradford, and lady got aboard, spoke kindly of you, and complimented the TIMES very highly.

We reached Gallipolis Sunday morning at 9 A.M., and taking a Kanawba pilot, departed at 10 A.M. The Kanawba is a meandering stream, interspersed with beautiful islands and Sunday fishermen. Very few towns on the river from Point Pleasant to Charleston. Landed at Charleston at 4:30 P.M.


Charleston is the capital of West Virginia, and if a man don’t care what he says, it is a beautiful city. The population is liberal, and about one-third of it is negroes. The streets are thirty feet wide and two feet deep. Gorgeous mud holes adorn the principal streets, and the delicious musical concatenations of whippoorwill and frog produce an endless chain of discord at all hours.

The artistic crossings are sawed logs raised a foot above the streets, and the dull monotony of smooth carriage riding is broken by the logs and the mud holes. Only one Charlestonian was out riding last Sunday with his dulcines. His buggy was upset, and when his hat was fished out of a mud hole he gave two negroes three dollars to take it home in a wheelbarrow. They have their sidewalks in their cellars. The State House is a magnificent old-fashioned mammoth building, a cross between a hospital and a penitentiary, and is romantically situated in a clover pasture, with no pavements or sidewalks, and in wet weather the Reps go over on stilts or in dugouts. The pious Charlestonians don’t drink wine, ale, beer, or even whisky, on Sunday, but Boggs, (everybody has heard of Boggs,) keeps a soda fountain on Front street, and “flies” are great things to get in a glass of soda water, especially when the soda man hears you wink.


We left Charleston at 4:30 P.M., nothing of importance occurring between that place and Gallipolis, except the assiduous love-making of two Portsmouth gentlemen to a brace of Gallipolis damsels. It is hinted that certain young ladies of this city should not trust their fickle lovers away from home, especially when the Gallipolitian senoritas are in their company.

Captain Ripley and Simon Balmert, Clerk, were attentive and obliging, and it was hereby resolved that as long as the Fannie Dugan is officered by them, passengers will be pleased, freight will be cared for properly, and the bird of the period, the goose, will be dizzily elevated. The steward set tempting tables, and after midnight Sunday night dancing was renewed, and everybody reached Portsmouth happy.

The Fannie Dugan is the first sidewheel steamer that has been to Charleston for many years, and made the run from Gallipolis to Charleston and return in less time than ever made before by any boat.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) May 31, 1873


MRS. McALLISTER, widow of the late John McAllister, has purchased the one-eight interest in the Fannie Dugan, owned by Mr. Robert Bagby. Capt. McAllister will continue on the roof, and no more accommodating boatman ever walked the roof of an Ohio river steamboat than Captain Jack. The Fannie Dugan will be off the docks and resume her trade the early part of next week.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Aug 9, 1873


THE Fannie Dugan has temporarily quit the trade. The logs, rocks and bars of low water were too thick for so good a little boat. She leave this evening on a special trip to Cincinnati. Passengers will take in the Exposition Monday and return the same evening.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Sep 20, 1873


MRS. McALLISTER has repurchased J. Bagby’s interest in the Fannie Dugan, and the gallant Capt. Ripley is on the roof and will look after the interests of the steamer. Capt. Bagby will superintend the new wharfboat and attend to his store on Second street.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Nov 29, 1873


Capt. A.J. McAllister will go on the roof of the Fannie Dugan next Monday, and Mate Gray and the old Steward will ship with him. This gives the Fannie her old crew again.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Dec 27, 1873


An Appeal

To the Merchants and Manufacturers of Portsmouth, Ohio, and elsewhere in the Portsmouth and Guyandotte trade, and the traveling public:

PAINFUL as is the necessity of making an appeal of this kind to you, under the circumstances I am compelled to do so, for reasons which appear herein. My late husband, Capt. John McAllister did more in his day to build up a trade between Portsmouth and the cities and towns along the river from this place to Guyandotte then any other man on the Ohio river. That his action tended largely to increase the wholesale trade of the city of Portsmouth, I think none will deny. He built the Fannie Dugan as a first class packet, which has worked in the interests of the Portsmouth and Guyandotte trade when no other boat has done so. Upon the death of Capt. John McAllister he left me the Fannie Dugan and the trade he had built up, my only means of support for myself and children.

Since his death a new boat has come in, making an effort to drive me out of the trade, or in the event of my staying to run me in debt and take away my only means for supporting my family. The action of her owners is hardly fair, when the clerk of the new boat when he sold his interest in the Fannie Dugan sold his good will in this trade. While his ingratitude to my late husband could be passed by, his effort to deprive me of my only income does not certainly recommend him to the people of Portsmouth, who knew my late husband so well, and remember him as only a clerk who has obtained the greater part of his money by the kind-heartedness and generosity of the dead man whose widow he is wronging.

While the name of the opposition boat should make citizens feel proud of her, the action of her officers and owners is too expressive of the motive that led them to adopt the name, and hence such as to lead the shippers of the city to give the matter some consideration. They are men able to make their living, and with a new boat it would be more creditable in them to build them a trade from Portsmouth to elsewhere than to attempt to wrest it from a woman.

I have aimed to deserve your support, and the means necessary to spend in an effort to save my boat from being crowded out, have been invested in a large and commodious wharf-boat, for the better preservation of freight shipped to and from the city. This I have only cited to show the merchants and business men of the city that nothing has been left undone to further their interests and the interests of shippers along the river.

As it is used against me by the opposition that I have only to blame myself because I would not put my boat in the Portsmouth and Pomeroy trade, I would say that the proposition was carefully considered, and at the advice of experienced business men and river men, it was made plain that a boat in that trade would lose money to begin with.

I have been thus plain in presenting these facts to you because I have felt the effects of the late panic, and have lost several hundred dollars by the partial failure of one who had all my earnings in his possession. I hope, then, those to whom I appeal will pardon me for so doing when my reason for it are so well taken, and that they will continue the liberal patronage heretofore extended to me, which I shall aim to deserve.

I have secured Capt. A.J. McAllister to command. He has done much to extend the trade of Portsmouth in the past, and will do all he can in the future, having served in the Portsmouth and Guyandotte trade for many years. The clerk, Simon P. Balmert, is a resident of Portsmouth, is accommodating and reliable, and known to you all, and needs no recommendation at my hands.

In conclusion, if the opposition, with their new boat, want to gain laurels, I put it to the gallant gentlemen of Portsmouth if they had not better try it in another field, and if they are successful the hand of scorn wouldn’t be pointed at them, and it couldn’t then be said, “Oh! they only succeeded in defeating a woman.” In the days of chivalry men fought men, have they degenerated so far that women will be called upon to defend themselves from those who should be their protectors?


The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jan 10, 1874


RIVER NEWS. The Rankin has taken the place of the Fannie Dugan, and the latter is now running in the Cincinnati and Manchester trade.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Sep 19, 1874


MRS. CATHERINE McALLISTER, Mrs. Nannie Thomson, and Miss Lennie McAllister, went up to Huntington on the Fannie Dugan last Saturday, had a very pleasant trip, and returned Monday morning.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jan 22, 1876


AN excursion party went up on the Fannie Dugan last Friday. Mr. and Mrs. John Thompson, Mrs. Nan Thomson, Mrs. Catherine McAllister who chaperoned Miss Lennie McAllister, and Miss Helen and Kate Morton were the guests immediately from Springville. Miss Nannie and Sallie, daughters of Capt. A.J. McAllister, accompanied by Miss Pet Thomson, got on the boat at their home, above Springville.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Feb 19,  1876


The steamer Fannie Dugan will extend her trip to Pomeroy to-day, with the genial Balmert and Bob McAllister in the office, and Capt. Jack on the roof. It is hinted that a grand excursion to Parkersburg is contemplated next Saturday, but of this we are not certain.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) May 13, 1876


The colored population of the city will give a picnic at the grove opposite Ironton, next Tuesday. The Scioto and Fannie Dugan will convey passengers. There will be a vast crowd present.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jul 29, 1876

City of Ironton (steamer) (Image from

City of Ironton (steamer) (Image from

Important changes have taken place in the Portsmouth and Pomeroy Packet Co.’s  line, since last report, the new steamer City of Ironton taking the place of the Fannie Dugan, the Dugan in place of the Scioto, and the Scioto daily from Huntington to Pomeroy. There is no change in the crews. Capt. Jack McAllister commands the Dugan, with Will Waters clerk, Capt. Geo. Bay commands the City of Ironton, with Mr. Fuller in charge of the office.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Feb 28, 1880


Marine Midgets.

The Fannie Dugan is out now, and ready for her run. The boat has been overhauled, repainted, and presents a fine appearance.

The Scioto, which has been running in the place of the Fannie Dugan, will resume her former trade, from Huntington to Pomeroy.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Nov 20, 1880


THE Bay Brothers are making regular time with their Portsmouth & Pomeroy packets, the B.T. Enos and Fannie Dugan.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Feb 4, 1882

St. Johns River Map - 1876 (Image from Wikipedia)

St. Johns River Map - 1876 (Image from Wikipedia)

Departure of the Fannie Dugan for Florida.

The staunch and reliable Ohio river packet, Fannie Dugan, has been sold by her owners to Capt. C.B. Smith, who will take her to Florida, in a short time, to run in the St. John’s river trade. The Dugan made her last trip from Pomeroy Saturday evening, starting Sunday morning for Cincinnati where she was delivered to her new owner, and put upon Capt. Coffin’s ways, to be repaired before taking her long trip to the South. The price received is understood to be $7,500, which is considered an extra good sale.

The Fannie Dugan was eminently a Portsmouth boat, having made this city the lower terminus of her tri-weekly trips ever since she was built in 1871. In that year her hull was constructed at Ironton, the machinery and cabin being added at our wharf. Her original owners were Capt. John McAllister, Frank Morgan, S.P. Balmert and Capt. “Jack” McAllister, the latter gentleman acting as her Captain from that time until the sale last week. The cost of putting her upon the river was about $20,000 and for more than ten years she made profitable trips from Portsmouth to Huntington, or Guyandotte, and return. The Dugan always made money for her owners — the net earnings during many busy seasons of her career being $1,000 a week. She was a fast boat, well furnished and manned, and was very popular along the route. Numerous changes were made in her owners ?p during the time she was in the trade, Messrs. George and William Bay, S.P. Balmert, William Jones, Wash Honshell and H.W. Bates, of Riverton owning her at the time of the transfer — the two last name gentle men having the controlling interest.

It is understood that no boat will be put in the place of the Fannie Dugan until the completion of the Bay Brothers’ Louise, now being finished at Ironton.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jun 17, 1882

Railroad Wharf on St. Johns River - Florida (Image from

Railroad Wharf on St. Johns River - Florida (Image from

CHARLES W. ZELL has returned from his trip to Florida, greatly pleased with what he saw and experienced. He was at Sanford, and saw the Portsmouth men who are working there, and says they are greatly pleased with the country and have made up their minds to remove their families and make it their home. He was on the Chesapeake, and saw Captain and Mrs. Maddy. The Fannie Dugan was run into by an ocean vessel and sunk, and is a total loss. An attempt will be made to get our her machinery and put it into a sternwheel boat.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Feb 27, 1886


Read an account of:



A good article with pictures:

c.2005 by Virginia M. Cowart  LINK HERE

(note: if the above link doesn’t work, try THIS ONE and just scroll down)


A great collection of steamboat photographs can be found here:

UW La Crosse Historic Steamboat Photographs LINK

Specifics about the Fannie Dugan (including picture) HERE (same site)

An Ohio Pioneer Woman’s Obituary

October 16, 2009

pioneers river

From the TRIBUNE.

DIED — December 31st, 1870, Mrs. Martha Alford, re???? of Esquire R.B. Alford, late of Portsmouth. Mrs. Alford was born in Mason County, Kentucky, about the year 1797, the precise date not known. She came to Portsmouth in the spring of 1812, consequently she has resided in Portsmouth and vicinity nearly fifty-eight years.

Her father’s family emigrated from Maryland to Kentucky in 1793, while the Indians were yet prowling along the banks of the Ohio, watching for an opportunity to decoy boats within their power, so as to murder and scalp the defenceless emigrants and plunder their boats of whatever they contained. However, the boat containing the family of Griffith Jones ran the gauntlet in safety without any thing more serious happening to them than a false alarm or two and hearing an occasional war whoop or a yell from the infurate savages.

Mrs. Alford was born into the Methodist church and always lived a consistent member of that denomination, and was a truly exemplary christian mother in Israel. In order to have cicar conception of her christian character it is necessary to go back a little and see under what circumstances she became a christian.

Her father joined the Methodist church before the revolutionary war under the preaching of the first founders of Methodism in America. When such preachers as Freeborn, Garrettson and Abbott, and other of lesser note were carrying every thing before them with their powerful preaching. His house was always the preacher’s home.

A rude log cabin, perhaps it generally was, yet the weary “itinerant,” with his horse and saddle bags, always found a welcome home at the house of Griffith Jones. So that Martha, the youngest child of a large family, as was said above, was literally born into the Methodist church. As to how well she performed the duties of a christian, all those who were acquainted with her can testify.

She was twice married. The first time to a man by the name of Lodge, who died early with the consumption. She had three children by her first husband who inherited their father’s disease and all died soon after coming to maturity. She had no children by her last husband, consequently leaves no descendants.

She was the last survivor of a large family, who flourished here in the early settlement of Portsmouth. Some few of the Glovers and Joneses yet remain amongst us.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jan 7, 1871

Shooting at the Commercial Hotel, Berea, KY

October 10, 2009

For commenter, Randolph Baker, who said:


From what I can find, Jarvis Store seems to be in Knox Co., KY. I wasn’t able to find any articles about a Sam Baker being shot and killed in that location. SORRY! What I did find is the following:


Ends in Killing of One Man and Fatal Wounding of One.

Berea, Ky., March 7. — Samuel Baker was shot and killed and Marcus B. Bowlin, proprietor of the Commercial Hotel here, was fatally injured in a three-cornered fight in the hotel today. Baker and a brother, Burnam Baker, raised a disturbance and when Bowlin tried to quiet them, Burnam Baker, it is alleged, shot the hotel keeper. Bowlin ran to a rear room where his wife handed him a shot gun. He then returned to the lobby of the hotel and shot Samuel Baker dead. Burnam Baker was not injured and left the place before officers arrived. His capture is doubtful.

Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio) Mar 7, 1910



One Dies, Another Is Fatally Injured and Third Makes Escape.

BEREA, Ky., March 7. — In a three-cornered affary [affray] in the Commercial Hotel here today, Samuel Baker was shot and killed and Marcus B. Bowlin, proprietor of the hotel, was fatally injured. Baker and a brother, Burnam Baker, raised a disturbance and the hotel man interfered. Burnam Baker escaped.

The Indianapolis Star (Indianapolis, Indiana) Mar 8, 1910

Kentuckiana Digital Library has some  newspapers online.  One of the papers there also printed one of the short mentions that I have quoted above.

Below are the census records I found which appear to be the Sam and Burnam Baker mentioned in this incident:
Name: Samuel Baker
Home in 1900: Berea, Madison, Kentucky
Age:     17
Birth Date: Feb 1883
Birthplace: Kentucky
Race: White
Ethnicity: American
Gender: Male
Relationship to Head of House: Son
Father’s Birthplace: Kentucky
Mother’s Name: Jennie
Mother’s Birthplace: Kentucky
Marital Status: Single
Residence : Berea Town, Madison, Kentucky
Household Members:
Name     Age
Jennie Baker 57 widowed
Carrie Woods 33 daughter
Burnam Baker 21 son
Pearl Baker 19 daughter
Samuel Baker 17 son


Name:  Burnam Baker
Age in 1910: 27
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1883
Birthplace: Kentucky
Relation to Head of House: Head
Father’s Birth Place: Kentucky
Mother’s Birth Place: Kentucky
Spouse’s Name: Cora
Home in 1910: Paint Lick, Garrard, Kentucky
Marital Status: Married
Race:     White
Gender:     Male
Household Members:
Name     Age
Burnam Baker 27 (his age seems to be off here)
Cora Baker 23 wife
Pearl Baker 4 daughter
Ruth Baker 2 daughter
Sam Baker 2/12 son

NOTICE: Burnam has a baby boy, named Sam Baker, possibly named after his deceased brother? Census’ are usually taken about June, the shooting was in March, and the baby was about 2 months old.

Name: Harry B Baker (using the name Harry now?)
Home in 1920: Clear Creek, Monroe, Indiana
Age: 41 years
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1879
Birthplace: Kentucky
Relation to Head of House: Head
Spouse’s Name:     Lota Z
Father’s Birth Place: Kentucky
Mother’s Birth Place: Kentucky
Marital Status: Married
Race: White
Sex: Male
Image: 668
Household Members:
Name     Age
Harry B Baker 41
Lota Z Baker 32 (born Indiana, must be different wife)
Pearl Baker 13 daughter
Ruth Baker     12 daughter
Harry C Colman 10 step-son
Samuel J Baker 9 son
Keneth M Colman 8 step-son
Robert B Baker 3/12 son
W H Wells 43 boarder
Gertrude Wells 28 wife


Name: Burnam Baker
Home in 1880: Brandy Springs, Garrard, Kentucky
Age: 1
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1879
Birthplace: Kentucky
Relation to Head of Household: Son
Father’s Name: Joe
Father’s birthplace: Kentucky
Mother’s Name: Jennie
Mother’s birthplace: Kentucky
Marital Status: Single
Race: White
Gender: Male
House Number: 13521183
Household Members:
Name     Age
Joe Baker     36
Jennie Baker 36 wife
Baker Baker 3
Burnam Baker 1
Lena Woods     7 step-daughter
Mary Gorden 8 servant/housekeeper


NOTE: It doesn’t look like Burnam Baker was ever tried (or at least not convicted) of the shooting. That might explain why I can’t find anything else on this shooting.

One more thing, there was another Sam Baker, born in 1882 KY, who also died in 1910, only in April, according to several family trees on Evidently, he had a son born in 1910, also named Sam. I think they were in Knox Co., KY, so maybe that is the Sam Baker that was killed in Jarvis Store.

Not only that, I ran across ANOTHER Sam Baker who was murdered in 1909, but I can’t find the source again, although I think it was on as well.

I just might think twice before naming a son, Sam Baker, lol.

If you know more about this incident or these people, additional information would be appreciated.

Robert Haskins: A Confederate Soldier

October 6, 2009
Fort Pillow (Image from

Fort Pillow (Image from


A Letter That Was Never Delivered.

After Twenty-two Years of Separation an Old Soldier Finds a Clew to the Whereabouts of His Family.

FRANKFORT, Ky., December 8. — In January, 1862, and for about two months previous thereto there lived in this (Franklin) County, near the Shelby County line, a farmer named Robert Haskins. He had a wife and one son, and owned about seventy-five acres of land. In June of that year he enlisted in the Confederate service under Captain Ed. Bell, and left at once for the scene of action. Nearby all of his neighbors also enlisted, on one side or the other, and there were very few left in that vicinity, and consequently the wives and children of the absent soldiers were not in absolute safety from the thieves and deserters who were constantly roaming about. Haskins’ wife becoming more alarmed than the others, decided in October to leave her home and go to Estill County, where she had a cousin living. Her nearest neighbors being wives of Federal soldiers, she did not confide her purpose to them, but wrote a short letter to her husband telling him of her departure, her reasons for going, her destination, etc., and trusted it to the care of one John Bremer, who was home on a furlough at that time and who was a member of the same company as Haskins and lived in the same part of the country. Bremer was made prisoner before he reached camp, and was kept in prison over a year, and the letter, of course was never delivered. When Haskins came home to visit his wife in February, 1863, he found his house deserted, and no one could tell him of the whereabouts of his beloved helpmeet and his little boy. He made every possible inquiry for her, but finally gave up in despair and returned to the army a heartbroken man. At the close of the war Haskins wandered aimlessly about for nearly two years, and finally settled down to keeping a small grocery store in Pleasant Hill, Missouri, and there he stayed till about two weeks ago, when he decided to visit “Old Kentucky” once more. After spending some days with relatives and old comrades-at-arms in other parts of the State, he landed last Saturday in the vicinity of his residence in 1862, and yesterday evening he met J. Bremer, who has been living in the edge of Shelby County since 1867. Bremer, in talking over “old times,” remembered about the letter given him by Mrs. Haskins, and, strange to say, had preserved it, and after searching for some time among some old papers, found it and delivered it to the dumbfound Haskins, after having it in his possession twenty-two years. Mr. Haskins came to Frankfort early this morning on his way to Estill County in search of his wife and son. Mr. Haskins was dangerously wounded at the battle of Fort Pillow, Tenn., in April, 1864, and all his friends (Bremer among the rest) in Kentucky thought he was killed, and he says that is the reason Bremer made no effort to see Mrs. Haskins or himself. He feels almost sure that he will find his son alive and well, though he doubts very much whether his wife is still living. He looks to be about fifty-five years old, and his hair and beard are almost white. He did not know that his wife had a cousin in Estill County, and, of course never thought of looking for her there. His is a strange case and one hard to believe, but he says every word of the above is Gospel truth.

Marion Daily Star (Marion, Ohio) Dec 10, 1884


I have no evidence this man below (in fact, I don’t think it is him) is the one written about in the above article. IF it is the same person, I don’t think the account is entirely accurate. This Robert Haskins below appears to have been married to someone else, although not until 1877 or so, and he lived in Henderson Co., KY. If he had remarried, I am not sure why he would be out searching for his wife and son.

I found no census record with him listed in Missouri either. There is one Robert Haskill, from KY, living in Missouri, but not the location mentioned in the article.

U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865
Name: Robert A. Haskins
Side: Confederate
Regiment State/Origin: Kentucky
Regiment Name: 4 Kentucky Mounted Infantry.
Regiment Name Expanded: 4th Regiment, Kentucky Mounted Infantry
Company: B
Rank In: Private
Rank In Expanded: Private
Rank Out: Private
Rank Out Expanded: Private
Film Number: M377 roll 6

From the website, The War For Southern Independence in Kentucky:

4th Regiment, Kentucky Infantry Mounted

The Kentucky 4th Infantry Regiment was organized at Bowling Green, Kentucky, in September, 1861, and became part of the Orphan Brigade or Louisville Legion. Its members were recruited in the counties of Barren, Henderson, Union, Owen, Scott, Green, Jefferson, Taylor, Franklin, Estill, Nicholas, Davies, and Trigg. This unit had 213 men disabled at Shiloh, then was active at Baton Rouge and Jackson. The 4th took an active part in the Battles of Murfreesboro and Chickamauga and saw action in the Atlanta Campaign. During the fall of 1864 it was mounted, aided in the defense of Savannah, and ended the war in North Carolina. It reported 12 killed, 49 wounded, and 8 missing at Murfreesboro, lost twenty-one percent of the 275 engaged at Chickamauga, and totalled 335 men and 251 arms in December, 1863. Few surrendered on April 26, 1865.


Here is the only other Robert Haskins I can find that served on the confederate side:

U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865
Name: Robert Haskins
Side: Confederate
Regiment State/Origin:   Kentucky
Regiment Name: 10 (Johnson’s) Kentucky Cavalry.
Regiment Name Expanded: 10th Regiment, Kentucky Cavalry (Johnson’s)
Company: F
Rank In: Private
Rank In Expanded: Private
Rank Out: Private
Rank Out Expanded: Private
Film Number: M377 roll 6


If anyone has any knowledge about Robert Haskins, please leave me a comment. Thanks!

Kentucky Feuds

July 23, 2009

Bourbon State Feuds 1


As Sicily is the country of the vendetta in Europe, so Kentucky is the home of the feud in our own country. There have been almost innumerable quarrels of this description in the Blue Grass State. Just now these family shooting bees are attracting attention owing to the recent outbreak between the Bakers and Whites, who are killing each other off as fast as they can.

The story of the feud is a long one and to one unacquainted with the ties of kinship which nowhere else bind so tightly as in old Kentucky, it seems ridiculous that people should go gunning for one another over such a simple cause. To the Kentucky mountaineer, born and bred as he is with an exaggerated sense of family rights, it is terribly real. First, last and all the time he will fight with his family if it becomes embroiled with any other. For good or ill and for life or for death he obeys the call to arms whether sounded by a dying relative or by one craving for vengeance. The Gallic adage “Look for the woman” applies to this quarrel. Whoever would find her, however, must go back 56 years, and it is said that something like 3,000 graves for the filling of which she is more or less directly accountable will be crossed on the way. The feud that cost Tom Baker his life the other day began in 1842, when another Tom Baker, a promising young doctor, moved with his wife from Virginia to Kentucky and settled in Clay county. Soon after his arrival he had, or thought he had — nobody knows or cares which now — reason to be jealous of one John Bates, a neighbor. So Dr. Baker used a shotgun or a rifle — nobody is sure about that, either — on John Bates, and the result was that as Bates lay dying on the ground he cursed Baker and called upon the Whites to avenge the murder. The doctor fled to parts unrevealed, but he left behind a baby son, who was the father of the Tom Baker just killed. From the crime of the jealous husband there grew up a widespread feud. At first involving only two families and one town, it spread through the mountains until now it has many names and fills with implacable enmity the members of scores of families. In Perry and Leslie counties it is known as the French-Eversole feud, in Harlan county as the Howard-Turner feud, in Letcher county as the Lee-Taylor feud, and in Clay county as the Howard-Baker feud. They are all branches of the same evil tree, and every one of them is green and vigorous. Occasionally there is a truce between this or that pair of factions, but most of the time it is bloody war.

The original reason has been forgotten in most cases and the different feuds have no connection at this late day as far as the present antagonists are concerned.

The famous Hatfield-McCoy feud was more the product of West Virginia than of Kentucky, but some of the participants lived on the Kentucky side of the line, and, in spite of the effort of Governor Wilson of West Virginia to reclaim them for trial, were held by the Kentucky authorities. Pike county was not good ground for a feud, a fast over which three of the Hatfields are brooding while serving life sentences at Frankfort. Another of the gang ??? in jail before trial. The McCoys were almost exterminated, and as the Hatfields are out of the way there is something like peace on the waters of ?ug Fork.

Bourbon State Feuds 2

The Rowan county feud was one of the bloodiest, most brutal and most stubborn. Unlike most of these feuds, it flourished in a county penetrated by a railroad, and most of its battles took place within sight of that agent of civilization. Beginning with an election quarrel between two striplings of the Tolliver and Martin families, in 1884, it raged during three years of terror. Craig Tolliver, a young, blue eyed giant, led the Tolliver faction. The Martins had friends, but lacked leadership, and were almost exterminated. The Youngs were drawn into the quarrel as friends of the Tollivers, and the Logans were marked for destruction as friends of the Martins. That was Craig Tolliver’s blunder, and led to his overthrow. As usual, the forms of law assisted rather than hindered the crimes.

The Harlan county, or Lee-Taylor feud, which has been a source of trouble to more than one governor of Kentucky, and which has cost the lives of at least six men, has been recently settled, and without the aid of the state militia. For the first time in many years the citizens of that county are resting easy and without fear of being killed. On June 17 the Lee and Taylor factions of the feud, which includes a large part of the population of that county, marched to Harlan courthouse and surrendered their arms and agreed to return to their homes once more as peaceful citizens.

Bourbon State Feuds 3

This is the logical result of the work of the law abiding and respectable people of that section. Some days before they organized at the county seat and marched in a body to the homes of the leaders of the factions. Here they pleaded with both the Lees and Taylors to return to peaceful pursuits and to bury their differences with their dead.

They were told what a reputation they were giving the county, and what the inevitable result would be should the governor be forced to send troops to quell the disturbances.

After much persuasion both sides agreed to surrender their arms. When the factions met at Harlan courthouse, the county seat, there were stirring scenes. Men who have been trying to kill one another for years grasped hands. Tears of joy could be seen trickling down the faces of many of the rough mountaineers.

An unmerited atmosphere of romance has been thrown about these feuds by fanciful writers. The plain truth is that they were remarkable only for brutality. Most of the killing was done from ambush. All sorts of treachery was practiced. Open fights rarely occurred, unless one side had big odds and the other side couldn’t get away. Human life simply had no value, and there were hundreds of men in the mountains ready to accept employment as retainers for any man who was able to pay them for committing murder and to put up money to protect them afterward.

The North Adams Evening Transcript (North Adams, Mass.) July 13, 1899

Colonel Wilson’s Talisman

July 22, 2009
Rabbit's Foot (Image from

Rabbit's Foot (Image from

A Rabbit’s Foot.

Col. Charles Y. Wilson, Kentucky’s state agricultural commissioner, has a rabbit’s foot with a history to it, which he intends to present to the next speaker of the house of representatives, with the request that it be handed down in the direct line of succession each subsequent term of the legislature. The rabbit had but three legs, and was caught in the cemetery at the dead hour of midnight by a one-legged man.

Before he got it the whole neighborhood had been praying for rain to save the crops. But when he took the rabbit’s foot in his hand, rubbed the rubbed the fur and made a few mystic signs, to his astonishment in a short while the great clouds began to pour a deluge of water over the thirsty land. Col. Wilson had it tipped with silver for a talisman to be suspended as a watch charm and used by the speaker of the house, like the magical ring in the “Arabian Nights.”

Indiana Weekly Messenger (Indiana, Pennsylvania) Dec  25, 1889

Notable Kentucky Feuds

July 21, 2009

notable feuds 1899

In the mountains of Kentucky, where many years ago sturdy Scotch immigrants made themselves homes, the only law is the law of the clans, as strong today there as it was in the Highlands five hundred years ago. Let a man be killed in a dispute over a stolen shoat, a $20 buckboard or a paltry raft of logs — and they kill men there for just such things as these — his kinsmen kill his slayer, and thenceforth every ready rifles keep merrily popping until one or the other of the families is practically exterminated.

Such a feud is that now being waged  between the Bakers and the Howards, which, in fourteen months, has cost six lives and has caused the authorities to decide on sending into Clay county a special judge and prosecuting attorney, under a strong state guard, to bring the murderer of “Tom” Baker to a far different justice than that vowed by his widow, who, over his body, pledged her young sons to avenge their father’s death.


Bloody as has been the Baker-Howard feud, there are others still more bloody in Kentucky history, feuds that have numbered their victims by the dozens, says The New York Herald. A feud begun, in troops of two and threes, with rifles ready, the participants have scoured the mountains in search of their enemies, ready with murderous weapons as soon as some turn of the road brought their foes into view.

The first feud of importance in Kentucky was the Hill and Evans vendetta, which began in 1829 and continued for more than twenty years. The leaders were practicing physicians and they became enemies over a dispute over slaves. It was probably the most terrible feud ever known in the United States, for the members of the two families would fight wherever they met. Dr. Oliver P. Hill was the leader of one faction and Dr. Samuel Evans led the other. Their bloody battles terrorized the citizens of Garrand county. Altogether twenty-seven men were killed.

One of the first feuds to start after the war was the Strong-Amy feud, in Breathitt county, Capt. “Bill” Strong and John Amy being the respective leaders. This feud lasted thirty-five years, and one man a year was killed. The two forces met in a field one moonlight night, and when the firing was over there were five dead men and several badly wounded one.

The Howard-Turner feud in Harlan county was the next important feud. In this thirty men were killed and much valuable property was destroyed by fire. The feud ran for ten or twelve years, and no man was punished until Wilson Howard, one of the leaders, killed a man who did not belong to either faction, and was hanged for the crime. This broke up the feud.

More on the Harlan County, KY feuds can be found HERE.


Another feud that cost the state a great deal of money was the Martin-Tolliver feud, of Rowan county. Craig Tolliver was the most desperate man that ever led a feud, and he terrorized the people of Morehead and Rowan counties until they were afraid to call their souls their own. After the state had spent more than $1000,000 in efforts to put down lawlessness, Gov. J. Proctor Knott gave it up, and told Boone Logan, then a young lawyer of Morehead, that the people of the county would have to be all shot before he would do anything more. Logan mortgaged his home and bought $500? [hard to read] worth of rifles and ammunition and armed one hundred of the most determined men in Rowan county.

He then swore out warrants for the arrest of Tolliver and his men. They began shooting at the posse which had gone to serve the warrants. Logan had secreted his men around the hotel in which the Tollivers had taken refuge and had posted many of them along the road that Tolliver would be likely to take when he left the house. The firing became so heavy and bullets entered the plank hotel so rapidly that Tolliver and his men ran out and tried to escape only to be caught in a crossfire. Three Tollivers, including Craig, were killed and several others wounded. The rest left the country and the feud was ended., after twenty-three men had been killed.

Then came the French-Everitt feud of Perry county, with Fulton French at the head of one faction, and George Everitt, a brother of Judge H.C. Everitt of the Clay county circuit court, at the head of the other. This feud raged for ten years, and thirty-eight men died with their boots on.


The last, and in many respects, the worst feud Kentucky has experienced, is the Baker-Howard feud, which is now being waged so furiously. It has been stated that a feud between the Bakers and Whites existed over half a century ago, but this is untrue. The present vendetta began only a little more than a year ago. Three months ago only the county of Clay was affected. Now the counties of Perry, Jackson, Owsley, Laurel and Breathitt are involved, and there is no telling how far the war will spread unless vigorous measures are quickly taken.

The attempt to assassinate Jason W. Bowling, at Bogtown, last week, when the assassins mistook “Chris” Jackson, brother-in-law of “Tom” Baker, for him because he was riding Bowling’s horse, has aroused the largest and most powerful element of mountain fighters of any one incident of this feud. Jason Bowling is a leader among his people, and has always been opposed to the manner in which the White family has conducted the affairs of Clay county. He owns a farm near Bogtown, and last week received reliable information that he would be the next man killed by the Whites and Howards, and that one of their spies would call upon him in a few hours to find out just where he could be found. Sure enough that evening one of the White faction came to his house, ostensibly on other business, and then rode away. He had not gone more than 300 years before Bowling saddled his horse and rode away to London, some ten or twelve miles distant, where he stopped at the home of Christopher Jackson, whose young wife was Iby Baker, “Tom” Baker’s oldest sister. Here he was joined by his half-brother, “Andy” Baker of Jackson county, who was in the thirty-five-year war in Breathitt county between Capt. “Bill” Strong and “Wash” Amy. “Andy,” during that long war, was shot at twenty or thirty times, and carries a bullet in his leg, while a forty-five caliber ball went through his left lung.

From “Andy” Baker he received pledges of the support of all the Deatons, Burtons, Sandlings and Bakers in the upper counties. All the families named are closely related by blood and marriage to Bowling and have been for years known as expert fighters.

To give still greater strength to the brothers of “Tom” Baker, the powerful Philpot family is beginning to take sides against the Whites and Howards. The Philpots and Whites, while Republicans, belong to separate factions, and the Philpots have been the “outs” so far as county offices are concerned, for so long a time that there is much feeling between the followers of the two families. In one voting precinct in this county, every voter is either a Philpot or kin to one.

They are rich, and at the same time desperate men, having been engaged in numerous pistol and rifle battles. It is said of the Philpots that no man ever shot at one of them and lived to die a natural death if he remained in Clay county. The Philpots are friendly to Gen. T.T. Garrard and his sons, and this fact is not pleasing to the White and Howards. While General Howard has taken no part in the war, his sympathies are with the Bakers, and he may yet be dragged into the feud in a more active way.


On the other hand the Whites and Howards have not been idle. They have go more and better guns than they had last year, and have added to their stock of ammunition smokeless powder cartridges, which will render bushwhacking much safer than it was with the old-fashioned black powder. It was smokeless powder that was used in killing “Tom”Baker, and the same kind was used when the attempt to kill him on his own porch was made a month ago.

Not satisfied with the smokeless powder, the Whites and Bakers have secured a supply of explosive bullet cartridges, which, when fired into an enemy, produce such an ugly wound that it resists all surgery. Never before in the history of mountain feuds in Kentucky has a war been carried on with such terrible and scientific weapons, and to this fact is due the great loss of life already chronicled.

The men doing the principal fighting on the White and Howard side are those who have been sworn in as deputies of Sheriff “Bev” White. Among them are George, “Chad” and “Doc” Hall, who were the most reliable fighters on the French side in the noted French-Eversole feud of Perry county, which most the lives of seventeen Eversoles and nearly as many of the French faction. It is the presence of these three men, clothed with the authority of the law and armed to the teeth, which causes Judge H.C. Eversole to be afraid to hold court without a strong body of state troops present.


On of the saddest features of the feud is the desperate condition in which it left Mrs. “Tom” Baker and her eleven children. The oldest, “Jim,” is in jail at Barbourville, charged with the murder of Wilson Howard and Burch Stores, while the other ten boys, who range in age from fifteen years to one year, are at “Tom” Baker’s old home. Their mother received warning that the Whites and Howards have threatened to blow her house up with dynamite and to kill the children, and one of the opposing faction is said to have declared that “we won’t rest until we exterminate the whole Baker brood.”

It was the mother’s wish to have her children admitted to the Masonic Widows’ and Orphans’ Home in Louisville, but thus far no arrangements have been made.

Mrs. Iby Jackson, sister of “Tom” Baker, had to leave Clay county two months ago. She had carried a pistol to kill “Jim” Howard for killing her father in what she considered cold blood, and she was warned that she would be shot from ambush if she did not leave the county.

— Louisville Letter.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin)Jul 8, 1899


In THE BOY WITH THE U.S. CENSUS BY FRANCIS ROLT-WHEELER, which can be read online at the Project Gutenberg website, is a chapter entitled,  A BLOOD FEUD IN OLD KENTUCKY, which mentions the Baker-Howard feud.

Love and Shotguns: A Tale From the Baker-Howard Feud

July 20, 2009
Christopher Jackson 1899

Christopher Jackson

Iby Baker

Iby Baker



Christopher Jackson and Iby Baker Joined in Wedlock After Many Weary Months of Trials and Tribulations — From Prison to Altar.

One of the romances of the Baker-Howard feud culminated in the marriage of Tom Baker’s oldest sister, Iby, to Christopher H. Jackson, son of W.S. Jackson, of London, Ky., and a brother-in-law to Cooper Eversole, son of Judge Eversole.

Young Jackson is descended from Gen. Jarvis Jackson, who came to Laurel county when it was settled., ninety years ago, and who gave to the county the site of the town of London. The county hadn’t the money to put up public buildings so the general told the magistrates that he would build a courthouse and a schoolhouse if they would deed the town lots back to him., which was done. He built a substantial brick house, which stood until torn down a few years ago to make room for a modern building, and the old Laurel academy, as the school was called, is still standing, a fine old-fashioned brick structure. When Iby Baker was of school age her late father, George W. Baker, who was murdered by Jim Howard, was a prosperous lawyer at Manchester, and he also made much money in other ways. As Iby was his first girl and exceptionally bright and pretty, he determined to give her a good education. He therefore sent her to Laurel academy, and while a pupil here she met and loved the rather good-looking scion of the house of Jackson, and whose wife she eventually became, after trials enough to test any woman’s love. When he first began flirting with Iby Baker, Chris Jackson was a young married man, but the pretty bright face and the vivacious manner of the belle of Clay county made him forget the woman he had sworn to love, and his heart whent out to the mountain lassie. Iby soon became infatuated with him, but, learning that he was already married, she determined to become an old maid school-mistress. She procured a school in Leslie county, and it was not long until she was regarded as the best woman teacher ever seen in Hyden. It had required strong men to handle the wild mountain boys, and this delicate girl was worried lest she could never manage them.

She soon showed them., however, that she was mistress of the situation. Simmie Webb, a big boy known as “master of the school masters,” came to school the third morning after she took charge with a wicked-looking 45-calibre pistol buckled around him. She told him to unbuckle the pistol and put it away in her desk. Instead, he attempted to draw the weapon, but before he could loosen it in the holster he was gazing into the muzzle of an innocent-looking 38-calibre held in the steady right hand of the school mistress. He then unbuckled the pistol and handed it to her, belt and all. This cowed the bully of the school, and from that moment until she closed the session she was supreme ruler, and the worst boys were as docile as lambs.

While in school work events were taking place at London which ultimately had a marked effect on the pathway of her life. The man who loved her and the man she worshiped was arrested for forgery and indicted on several counts. His father was claim agent of the Louisville & Nashville, and Chris was charged with making out bogus claims against the company and forging the names of section bosses and foremen to them. His father appeared to have been a tool in the hands of the son, but the jury on the two counts tried against Chris found him guilty on both and fixed his punishment at four years in the penitentiary. When her husband left prison the first Mrs. Jackson filed suit for divorce, and it was granted, for under the laws of Kentucky a husband who becomes a felon forfeits all marital rights, provided the wife want to take advantage of the law.

As soon as he was free to marry again he wrote from the penitentiary at Frankfort to Iby Baker, telling her all the facts, protesting his innocence, and asking her if she would marry him when he had served out his time. The sight of a letter from him, convict though he was, rekindled all the fierce love she had for him when she was a schoolgirl, and she cried tears of joy to know that while he might be in the clutches of the law, he was yet free to make her his wife. She answered his letter, telling him that her heart had always belonged to him, and that she would bestow her hand also as soon as he was released from prison. He made a model convict, got many months off his sentence for good behavior, and was released two months ago.

In the meantime he and his mountain sweetheart had kept up a loving correspondence, and when he came back from the penitentiary one of the first things he did was to make Iby Baker his wife. They are living happily in a pretty cottage on the side of a hill just south of the London courthouse. She is an accomplished musician, and she plays on the piano that graces the “front” room the old pieces he used to love so well, and she sings for him sometimes the old songs she sang when it seemed he would forever be lost to her. She never mentions the dark chapters of his life to him, and it seems that her one desire in life is to make her husband happy. It was into this cozy, happy home that Chris Jackson was brought one night recently suffering from gunshot wounds he had just received at the hands of bushwhackers, and it was here that his pretty little wife bandaged his wounds and nursed him. But the loving wife sheds many bitter tears these days, since her brother, Tom Baker, was killed, for she believes her husband, for whom she waited so long, is “marked” by the Whites and Howards, and that his days are numbered.

“Yes,” she said a few nights ago, “I am in constant dread, for I am certain that Chris will be brought to me some night, the victim of the cowardly assassin’s bullet.”

Daily Iowa State Press (Iowa City, Iowa) Aug 4, 1899

Baker-Howard Feud

July 20, 2009
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.

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



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


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

Tom Baker

Tom Baker

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

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


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.

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


No Trial.

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

William Goebel (Image from the Atlantic Constitution article)

These are the headlines from the full front page coverage in the  Jan 31, 1900 edition of the Atlantic Constitution:


Climax of a Dark, Well Laid Plot Stirs Kentucky to Its Very Center.


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.”



The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Jan 31, 1900



Convicted at Frankfort of the Murder of William Goebel.


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

scales of justice

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.