Mayhem and Murder
Within the quiet streets and the settled homes one never knows what can be lurking. Here we look at the dark side of in and around Johnson County. Like many other counties, Johnson County had its share of trouble. Blue denotes newly added items. Also be sure to check out the Ky pages of "Executions Before Lethal Injection."
September 1878 - Elliot County saw a stone as a murder weapon as Jim Conley killed Sam Jenkins near Sandy Hook.
August 28, 1878 - 18 years ago, last Tuesday, Charles Collins was hanged at this place (Maysville - Mason Co.) for the brutal murder of the Cobb family. The execution took place about noon on the road leading from East Maysville to the Flemingsburg pike. Those he had killed and robbed included: Francis Cobb, Sr. age 70 and his two sons George age 15 and Abijah age 17 on July 24, 1861. Also, injured were other members of the Cobb family
October 1884 - Harlan County reports that George Burkhart was waylaid by brothers John and Dick Gross. George was married to the sister of the Gross brothers. No reason for shooting was given. George was said to have a full recovery.
June 1885 - Physical recovery may have followed the shooting the past October but forgiveness was not on the mind of George Burkhart. June 17th saw the revenge killing of John Gross. George was still at large.
June 1885 - The stories of mishap, mayhem and murder carried far in reporting. It was claimed that Talt Hall and another desperado were involved in a shootout with Frank Sayer over Hall's indiscretion with Mrs. Sayer. Hall then at the coroner's inquest fought with would be juror Claiborne Jones. This second incident left two dead and several injured.
June 1886 - A small boy fishing caught site of more than big fish in Big Caney Creek near Quicksand. The boy called for help who pulled up the body of Joshua Robbins, 78. An inquest was made into the death as the coroner found that the head had a small gash about an inch and a half. It was determined that this was the cause of death. What could not be determined was the fact of how the gash came about and where were the pants of Joshua Robbins?
August 13, 1888 - Found Murdered Mt. Sterling, KY - August 12, Joe Lewis, charged with the murder of Miss Auxier in Morgan County last spring, at which time he evaded the officers, returned to his home three weeks ago and announced he would turn States evidence, after which he disappeared suddenly. Yesterday his body was found with two bullet holes in the back of his head, evidencing he had been killed. He had been dragged 100 yards and thrown over a precipice twenty five feet high. Dave and Al Lewis, his cousin and his brother, aged nineteen and twenty one respectively, are charged with the crime and have been arrested. It is now believed they are concerned with the girl's murder.
The Atchison Daily Globe, Atchison, Kansas
February, 1892 - January 30th: The SIZEMORE murder trial consumed the time of the criminal court yesterday. The testimony was all in by three o'clock and Mr. Charles NELSON opened on the part of the State. The argument will be concluded this morning. The trial of James SIZEMORE for the killing of Cicero JOHNSON, in May, 1891, recalls some interesting events that occurred in the dark days of terror that prevailed in the north-eastern counties of East Tennessee immediately after the close of the war.
April 12, 1904. Pike County Shootings. Williamson, W.Va. In a blind tiger across the line in Kentucky and only a few miles from here, Sid Harris, of Williamson, shot and killed Will Ross, also of this city. The shooting was the result of a fight over a woman. Harris escaped. Rudolph Sword shot and killed Will Bradford in a county store four miles east of Pikeville, in Pike County, Ky., yesterday evening. Six years ago Bradford it is alleged, ran away with Sword's wife. She lived with Brafford about five months, it is said and then returned to her husband. She has since been living with her husband. Yesterday Sword and Brafford met for the first time since Sword's wife returned to her home. Sheriff Will Smith, of Pike County, and a posse of 15 deputies pursued Sword and ran him to cover in a coal bank. Sword fired all but one of his remaining cartridges at the posse. With the last bullet Sword ended his own life by shooting himself in the temple. None of the missiles fired at the posse took effect. Today the sheriff went out to hunt on his farm and while climbing over a fence 10 miles east of this place his gun accidentally discharged. The shot penetrated his left breast, and the reports are conflicting as to how serious the wound is. Smith is one of the wealthiest men in Pike County. - Enquirer. firstname.lastname@example.org KCHS
November 30, 1911 Murder case to be tried In the Greenup co
criminal court Monday the judge spent the greater part of the afternoon in
making his charge to the grand Jury there are several important cases to be
tried at this term of the court the case of the commonwealth against a man
by the name of Kirk who is charged with killing a C&O operator some
time ago at Russell, KY. The case of Henry Robbins who it will
be remembered is charged with having killed a aged man named John
Evans near his shanty boat at Elgington, KY. will be brought up at the
December 1925 - The holiday season was anything but calm and bright for the this family. Reese Greenslate, step father of the deceased, in what was termed self defense, killed Hall after having inflicted two knife wounds to the elder Greenslate. As Mrs. Greenslate pulled her son, Charles Hall off her husband, he reached for the shotgun and fired one single shot into the bowels of Hall. Charles had the reputation of being a "bad man." At the inquest Mrs. Greenslate testified that the shooting occurred in order to save the life of Mr. Greenslate.
Feb 22, 1926 Drunk on Jake Pikeville Ky Attempting to make peace between three men who are alleged to have been enraged in a drunken brawl in the store of Ken Gillespie on Greasy Creek, Clarence Kinney, 22, was shot in the back of the head Sunday night and died almost instantly. Fred Justice, one of the participants in the altercation, was arrested Sunday night by deputy Sheriff J, M, Robinson and lodged in jail here on a murder charge. Justice was married only recently. His father was killed in an election quarrel 25 years ago. According to the witness Justice, Gillespie and another man had been drinking Jamaica ginger (known as Jake) They were drunk when they started to quarrel among themselves. Justice is alleged to have drawn a piston and shot twice one of the bullets glancing Kinney and the other hitting him in the head. Ernie Justice, one of thirteen men who escaped jail here in an outbreak Thursday, returned today and was locked up to serve the remainder of a sentence for violation of the liquor laws. Justice said he visited a sick sister at Elkhorn and had nothing to do with the jail break except to walk out after other prisoners broke the bars. Two other previously escaped returned voluntarily.
May 20, 1926 - Murder in Magoffin Charged with Murder in connection with the fatal wounding of a woman whom he is alleged to have attacked with a knife on May 6, Samuel Miller, 28 years old, was taken into custody last week by Ashland police. He was captured at the Chesapeake &Ohio passenger station and lodged in the Ashland jail. Miller was returned to Magoffin County, Kentucky, to answer a charge of murder. He is alleged to have slashed the throat of Mrs. George Josephs on Licking River, inflicting fatal wounds on May 6, during the course of a violent argument with the woman's daughter. The same day she is alleged to have been attacked by Miller. Mrs. Josephs gave premature birth to a child. The child is reported to have died soon after birth and the mother succumbed to her injuries two days later. Miller was arrested by Patrolman Robert Hallis, Ashland police officer and Special C & O officer, Jack Allen of Prestonsburg. He was returned to Salyersville the next day after the arrest in charge of Deputy Sheriff Joe Wireman of Salyersville. The cutting occurred twenty-five miles of Salyersville near the head waters of Licking river.
May 20, 1926- Lynch in jail Officer George W. Spears of Van Lear was here last Saturday having in custody Lon Lynch who he had arrested that night on a charge of attempted rape on a nine year old girl. Lynch is said to be 46 years of age and the father of four children and has been employed at Van Lear. He has been estranged from his wife for about four years and is said to be a hard worker with a good reputation in the past.
May 20, 1926-Johnson Men on Trial in Lawrence Co. Garfield Spradlin, Jackie Booth and Walter Osborne were charged in the killing of Bert Preston at Chestnut last year are being tried in Louisa this week. The killing occurred just over the county line in Lawrence County. The above named men with another man named Meek went to arrest Preston and a fight resulted in the death of Preston. Many witnesses from this country are attending the trial. The court elected to try Jack Booth first and his case in now being tried. At the last term of the court there the defendants will al be tried together and resulted in a hung jury
June 24, 1926 LEE DOLLARHIDE SHOT - Lee Dollarhide was shot in Van Lear last Sunday afternoon by Policeman George Meddings. Dollarhide escaped from the Jailer here last fall while being held on a felony charge. Meddings went to arrest him Sunday afternoon while Dollarhide was in a drunken condition. Dollarhide shot at the officer who returned the fire wounding Dollarhide in the arm. Dollarhide is now inside the county jail.
July 15, 1926 Evaded, Caught and Tried - Henry Cook who was charges with the murder of Jesse Caudill near White House, this county, two years ago, was tried at this term of the Johnson County Circuit Court and was given a sentence of two years in the penitentiary. The Evidence in this case was concluded and the case argued by attorneys Monday and given to the jury Monday evening. After deliberating all night and part of the morning Tuesday, the jury which was composed of Johnson County men, reached a verdict Tuesday morning. Cook and "Beedie" Meek were together when the killing took place. Meek was arrested soon after the killing and tried and was given five years in the penitentiary for his part in the crime. Cook made his escape and has eluded arrest for the past two years, traveling from different of the country under assumed names. Caudill was shot from a passing freight train and instantly killed by a bullet which passed thru his head. Meek testified at the trial that Cook fired the shot with his (Meek's) pistol. At the trial of Cook he testified that Meek was the man who did the shooting, thinking that Caudill was Shade Cantrell who claimed that he had killed Millard Meek, a relative of "Beedie" Meek. The evidence in this case was very conflicting and was hard for a jury to come to a conclusion. The sentence given Cook is considered light by many.
July 15, 1926 Prestonsburg, Ky. July 8 Fathers Foe Slain- When Bill Whitaker, 40 years old failed to shoot down his brother in law Jesse Hale, 35, after exchanging about 30 shots with him in a pistol duel on Brushy Fork of Licking River, Magoffin Co., his son, Sam Whitaker, 19, coolly asked for his father's weapon challenged Hale to come on out in the open and put a bullet in his Uncles heart with one shot, according to reports heard here today.
July 15, 1926 300 Jurors summoned The case of the Commonwealth against James Foster for the killing of Attorney J K Wells last February, is on trial this week in Johnson County Circuit Court this week. It was called Tuesday and Wednesday morning and the effort was made to get a jury but after many were examined only two were temporarily accepted. Judge Bailey ordered the Sheriff to summon three hundred additional men from which a jury will be selected to try a case. Floyd Bryd of Lexington, Attorney Ed Picklesimer of Pikeville and Blair Harrington, of Paintsville, are representing the the defense while John Waugh and Edgar B Hager of Ashland are assisting Commonwealth attorney Jno. W. Wheeler in the prosecution. Court adjourned Wednesday morning until the Sheriff could bring in an extra 300 men from which to select a jury and the court will convene Thursday morning as The Herald goes to press the jury has yet to be selected.
July 15, 1926 Stapleton Showdown The case of Clyde Stapleton charged with the killing of Herbert Stapleton last year, was called for trial on Monday, and eleven of the jury were accepted and a citizen for jury was being examined and indicated to the court his feeling in the matter and the jury already selected were disqualified and dismissed, and the case continued until the October Court
July 22, 1926 Special Judge to preside this week. Judge W R Shackelford, of Richmond, Ky., arrived here Monday to preside in the trial of Manual Fitzpatrick and Frank Caudill charged with the murder of of Bud Brown, while they were serving on the police force of Paintsville in August 1924. A special venire of one hundred men from Johnson County was summoned to be selected for jury service.
July 22, 1926 Slayer gets severe penalty- The case of the Commonwealth against Jim Bradley of Magoffin Co was called for trial Monday evening when the taking of evidence began The case consumed all day Tuesday, arguments were made and the case given to the jury late Tuesday evening. The case was tried before Judge J F Bailey and it is said to be one of the most revolting murder cases ever tried in Johnson County.
July 29, 1926- Verdict Unusual- In the murder case of the Commonwealth vs Fitzpatrick and Caudill a most unusual verdict was returned by the jury. W. L. (Bud) Brown was murdered right outside of town in 1924. But has justice been done?
August 19, 1926-Man, Disarmed, Shot After Row Prestonsburg- Aug 11- After Kelly Chaffins 25 of Garrett, made a truce with Gold Howard 23, of Mid, Magoffin County and had laid aside his revolver to take a drink with his enemy a few moments before, Howard drew his pistol and shot and killed Chaffins late Sunday afternoon on Salt Lick Creek, two miles west of Hueysville. this county, a report received her today advises. The alleged slayer fled into the hill. He had not been apprehended as of yesterday. Chaffins and Howard engaged in an argument several days ago, and when Howard saw Chaffins Sunday he called him a vile name, the report said Chaffins drew his revolver threatening to kill Howard. Beat to the draw Howard is said to have begged for his life. The other relented. They shook hands. Chaffins placed his revolver on the ground beside him as he turned to take a drink. As Chaffins turned his adversary drew his weapon and fired three times each bullet taking effect in the victim's head, the report says. Chaffins did instantly. Within a radius of 100 yards of the spot on which today’s shooting took place four others have occurred the past year. The victim was unmarried. He is survived by his parents and several brothers and sisters. The body was buried near Garrett.
Aug. 19, 1926 Hubert Green Shot Hubert Green, 26, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Willie Green of the Tom Creek Section was accidentally killed near the home of his father Monday Afternoon.
Sept. 16, 1926 Murdered Arthur Leslie, age 22, a son of Myrt Leslie of Hager Hill this county was found lying on the road dead by the side of his car Saturday night and Mushroe Smith it is said is charged with the crime. The body was found sometime after midnight.
Sept 23, 1926 Smith Not Caught Shug Bayes and Harvey Maynard were acquitted at the examining trial held in Paintsville last Saturday which grew out of the killing of Arthur Leslie on Saturday night, Sept 11. Bayes and Maynard were with Mushroe Smith at the time young Leslie met his death and were arrested shortly afterwards and placed in the Johnson County jail to await an examining trial. Witnesses at the trial testified that Smith killed Leslie hitting him behind the ear with his fist. Smith made his escape after the killing and has not yet been apprehended. The examining trial was held before County Judge Butcher, but testimony at the trial was not sufficient to hold the young men.
Oct 3, 1926 TWO ARRESTED ON MANN ACT CASE Whitesburg Man and Woman in Whitesburg Jail on her Husbands Compliant John Combs, proprietor of the Silver Moon Taxi, and Daisey Halcomb, wife of Henry Halcomb of this city, were arrested in Virginia on a warrant sworn out by her husband, charging violation of the Mann Act. The defendants were taken to the United States Commissioner Combs, this city, and later put in Whitesburg jail.
October 6, 1926 OSCAR DANIELS KILLED News from Pikeville say officials are searching for Robert Newsome, nineteen year old son of Quillen Newsome, of Robinson Creek, Pike County, who is charged with the murder of Oscar Daniels, seventeen. The shooting occurred at Drift, Floyd Co., Tuesday night of last week Sheriff John Moore said. According to the story learned by the Sheriff, Newsome was drunk and taunting Daniels. He ended by shooting the lad five times, the sheriff learned. A relative of Daniels went to Pikeville and secured a warrant for the arrest of Newsome. Daniels was shot at 9 o'clock on Wednesday and died Wednesday morning. Daniels was a Johnson Native. This was the second homicide at Drift. Lat Lavis of Pikeville, was fatally shot while on a business trip to that place. The Paintsville Herald
Oct 21, 1926 - The conviction are in.. The trial terminated today with the conviction of Gabe Wright who killed his half-brother Lee Wright. Later Fred Justice was given a nine year sentence for shooting and killing Fred Justice at Gillespie and Greasy Creek last winter. The trial for T M Hunt, a merchant and wealthy land owner is still underway charged with burning the school on Island Creek.
Nov 4, 1926 Officer Slain- Tom Blackburn, town marshal of Garrett was shot and killed almost instantly while trying to arrest a negro at a drinking and gambling part. The negro was wounded by Deputy Verley Banks and brought to jail. The sheriffs were called to the scene in regards to another shooting earlier in the day. All involved refused to give their names.
Nov 6, 1926 Brain shot out he still lives. Bernie Salyer age 36 of Ivyton, Magoffin Co was shot from ambush last Wednesday and he was brought to the Paintsville Hospital where an operation was preformed in an attempt to save his live. Part of his brain and skull were blown away with a shotgun in the hands of his assailant. The operation was successful and he is now able to speak to friends. He described the man who shot him and says he knows him but can not speak his name. He recognized his wife but when asked to speak to her he could not. In fact he can not speak his own name. It is one of the strangest cases ever reported from the Paintsville Hospital. He is suffering from a form of motor aphasia and until other parts of the brain are able to supply that portion lost from the wound he will be unable to speak or remember names, attending physicians say. He converses will all who visit his room; says he knows the relatives when they call but cannot speak the name of a single one of them. Efforts will be made to locate the guilty party who sot him by the description he has given the officers. He says he knows the man well but can not speak his name. A portion of his skull and brains are gone but the man is doing well after his operation and the case is being watched with a great deal of interest by the attending physicians.
Nov. 11, 1926 Negro Killed Man at Van Lear Wednesday Callie Harris, colored, shot and killed Joe Szymanski, a foreigner at Van Lear last Wednesday night. Reports say that Szymanski was going to the home of a sister in law of Harris when Harris shot him in the back. Harris was brought to the county jail and will be indicted at this term of the Johnson County Circuit Court.
Nov 15, 1926 Louisa Truman Ferguson, 21 years old was killed by Bill Coffey at Wheeler Schoolhouse near Skaggs. He was shot three times. The pie social was no longer jovial once the shooting commenced. Ferguson knocked him down and when Coffey rose he fired in the crowd as he dashed for safety. Ferguson fell, shot thru the temple and twice through the body. He died Instantly. Coffey was from Eliot county and is said to have escaped from three jails, fled into the hills. The victim is the son of Joe Ferguson of Arizona and Mrs. Hannah Ferguson of Skaggs, this county. He was buried in the Holbrook Cemetery near Skaggs today. Nov, 18, 1926 The Paintsville Herald
Nov 18, 1926 Negro gets 10 years in Pen for Killing "Pole" Chas. Harris sent to Pen For killing Joe Symansky over Colored Woman Joe Harris a colored man of Van Lear, who shot to death Joe Symansky a t that place a few weeks ago was sentenced to ten years in the penitentiary when tried in court last week. Symansky was a Pole and both men were miners employed at the Consolidation Coal Company of Van Lear. The testimony showed that the negro and pole had quarreled over the affections of a negro woman who was at the house of another Nero miner and the shooting followed which resulted in Symansky death.
Nov 18, 1926- Court in session. The second week of court has been a busy one. John Ratliff was given one year in the penitentiary for breaking into the home of A E Auxier on Johns Creek. The murder of Herbert Stapleton by Clyde Stapleton continues. The case of Callie Harris has been called and should be completed by Thursday.
Nov 25, 1926 Court News Johnson County- John Ratliff given one year in the penitentiary for breaking into the home of A E Auxier. Brack Wilson one year fro converting property. Charles Harris ten years fro murder. Many stiff fines for violation of the whiskey laws also assessed.
Dec 16, 1926 A reward of $100.00 has been offered by the County of Johnson for the arrest and delivery to the jailer at Paintsville of Vincie Pack and Deb Justice in Castle Murder
Jan 13, 1927 - Throat slashed Sunday night Bill Whitaker of Mid was fatally wounded while in a dispute with a man by the name of Nealy. Whitakers throat was cut severing the esophagus. A doctor was summoned immediately and after taking a few stitches directed relatives to take him directly to the hospital. He was taken to the Stambaugh Bros. Hospital in Martin, Ky where it was reported that he died the following morning. Details are lacking as to the the nature of the trouble between the two men.
Jan 13, 1927 - Mort Coffee who lives on Pricy was shot last Friday Afternoon by Press Triplett or his son. One ball took effect in the stomach, coming out in the hip and the other took effect just under the eye. The men had not been on good terms and been having trouble over their children. Mr. Coffee was taken immediately to Caney and was put on the train for Jackson. He died before the train arrived. He is survived by his wife and six small children.
Jan 20, 1927 - Prestonsburg Coal Brawl Bill Whittaker of Mid, Magoffin Co was taken to the Ashland hospital Monday evening in a serious condition as a result of a fight late Saturday with a neighbor, John Nealy over coal. Whittaker’s throat was slit and he was stabbed several times. Neally's skull was fractured. Both may die. The trouble arose when the two men quarreled which Neally had dug for Whittaker and which, it is said had not been delivered after the roof of the small mine where he had been working had dropped. When Whittaker had asked Nealy to clean out the debris and deliver the coal, the latter replied that he had done so once and did not propose to do so again. Whitaker threw Neally to the ground and was beating him in the head with a rock when the stabbing was done. Bill Whittaker is the father of Sam Whittaker who is alleged to have shot and killed his Uncle Jesse Halem while Hale while he was engaged in a gunfight with his father on Licking river Magoffin Co last fall.
Jan 20, 1927 -ONE DEAD THREE SHOT IN MAGOFFIN FIGHT Licking River Section In Magoffin County Scene of Bloody Shooting Three men were shot, one dying instantly in a fight which occurred on Salt Lick, a tributary of Licking River. Kelly Allen was instantly killed, his brother, Ed Allen was slightly wounded when an altercation arose between Elliot Salyer who is a son in law of Byrd Allen and had a lawsuit over the possession of the house which was owned by Allen, but had come to some kind of agreement, and all the Allen's were moving into the hose with Salyer. Some trouble rose between the elder Allen and Salyer, and Salyer shot Allen. Kelly Allen ran to aid his father and was shot, dying instantly. The other son ran up and was wounded but not seriously. After the fight Salyer made his getaway and has not been apprehended tho he is reported that he intends to give himself up within the next day or two.
March 3, 1927-Moonshine Still Captured at Hager Hill- Glen Blevins was captured near Hager Hill, three miles from Paintsville late Thursday afternoon with a complete still and cooper worm. He was arrested by the Sheriff H B Adams and Deputy Sheriff Grant Daniel and brought to town and was tried before judge Jno. W. Butcher. He was bound over to await action of the Johnson County Circuit Court which will convene here next week. A part of the still was found in his possession and the rest at his home. At the time the still was found no moonshine was found in his possession. But a short time before whiskey had been made in the outfit it was said. It is reported that the still was made by soldering two galvanized wash tubs together with a round hole cut in the top of the tub. It was a very crude affair but capable of brewing the deadly liquid called whiskey. It is claimed that whiskey made in a galvanized vessel is a deadly poison in many instances creating many internal disorders which prove fatal. This is a sample of what people who follow these practices of making moonshine take into their system.
March 10, 1927 - Woman Shot in Neck Dies Mrs. Adam Wireman of Magoffin county was brought to the Paintsville Hospital one month ago with a gunshot wound to the neck died at the hospital last Friday and the remains were taken back to Magoffin County last Saturday for Burial.
March 10, 1927 - Mine Supt. Killed by Track Layer Albert Nichols a mine superintendent of the Royal Collieries Company of Offutt five miles below Paintsville was shot and killed last Sunday afternoon by Charlie VanHoose. Offutt citizens who were in Paintsville Monday say there was no trouble and that VanHoose was under the influence when the shot was fired. They said the men were friendly during the day and that they can not account for the shooting.
June 23, 1927 THREE KILLINGS SUNDAY
Aught and Bill Blizzard and Lackey Salisbury lose their lives in Floyd Co.
Three men were killed in this county on account of shootings,
Bill Blizzard was shot and instantly killed near the Water tank at Garrett, this county, early Sunday morning and his brother, Aught Blizzard was mortally wounded in the same fray by Jonh Dyer of of Hueysville two miles below Garrett.
On Turnken Creek, a few miles from Maytown, Lackey Salisbury was shot a fatally wounded by his brother Tobe Salisbury while they were wrestling for possession of a revolver. He died early Tuesday morning in the Beaver Valley Hospital, where he had been taken for an operation in attempt to save his life.
According to reports of the slaying at Garrett, Dyer was followed down the railroad from the Barney-Goodwin mine to the spot near the water tank by the Blizzard brothers, and was attacked by them. It was said that he was struck by a brick or stone and that he fired after one of the brothers seized him. Aught Blizzard was shot thru the heart, dying instantly. The other was rushed to the hospital at Martin, where he died Sunday.
Another version of the affair says that dyers was shooting at Burness Hall before he shot the others and that Dyer did not shoot in self defense. A statement made here states in contrast, that Hall first saw Aught Blizzard holding Dyer from behind.
The brothers were taken to Estill, where both bodies were buried in the same grave Tuesday afternoon.
Dyer surrendered to Sheriff Kendall Moore and came here Monday morning. He was admitted to bail in the sum of $5,00 on the same day and after waiving examining trial Wednesday was released on bond for his appearance before the grand jury at the September term of court.
Word received here says that the shooting of Salisbury occurred when he attempted to wrest from the hands the weapon from his brother.
August 11, 1927 Pipeline Forman and Floyd Man in Pistol Duel Both Die From Wounds Saturday morning, Aug 6, 1927 at 1 o'clock, Earl Mayo of this County, son of Bill Mayo and night watchman on the dither and William Graham Holt of Huntington, W Va., and superintendent of the Pipeline crew for United Fuel and Gas Co., engaged in a pistol duel which resulted in the death of both men. The trouble arose over a misunderstanding over the wages Mr. Mayo was to receive. He thought he was to receive $4.00 a day but was paid $3.50 a day. Mr Holt was shot once in the left side and died on the way to town where he was being rushed for treatment. Mr. Mayo shot three times was killed instantly. Mr Holt was 47 years old, was a Virginian having been born near Straton, Va. He had been in the employment of the United Fuel and Gas Co. for twenty years and was held in high esteem. Messrs. W S Kelly and John Sublett of Huntington shed tears when they reviewed his remains at E P Arnolds undertaking establishment and gave personal attention tot he selection of a casket and grave clothes, asking Mr Arnold to send the bill to the company who would defray all expense. Mr Holt leaves a widow and two children. It seems he was universally liked. Earl Mayo was37 years of age and is well known here where he was reared and has relatives. His funeral also in charge of E P Arnold & Co was held near Auxier Sunday and burial in Stratton Cemetery. Rev. P O Adkins, Methodist minister of Auxier was in charge and a large attendance was out. All regret deeply this unfortunate affair that adds two more violent deaths to Floyd county's already long list for 1927. We are informed that United Fuel and Gas Co. will also defray Mayo's funeral expenses.
Aug 25, 1927 Court News
The Johnson Circuit Court is still in session this week and will probably
continue over into next week The time being consumed in trial of criminal
Mushroe Smith, age 22, was given 13 years in the penitentiary by a jury in court last Saturday. Smith was charged with the murder of Arthur Leslie last September. The charge was manslaughter.
The murder occurred at night last Saturday during a drinking party the proof showed. The boys were said to have been good friends, Leslie was found dead by the side of his car at Hager Hill the morning after the two with others had been at a party and a short time later Smith was arrested and charged with the crime.
After the jury had returned the verdict attorneys for Smith announced that an appeal would be taken.
The case of the Commonwealth against John Elliot Blevins, and his two sons, Arnold and Glen, charged with the murder of "Shug" Bayes some time ago was called to trial but the case was passed over till the November term of the court.
The case of the Commonwealth against Mrs. Harkins Montgomery and her son Jesse Russell charged with the murder of Harkins Montgomery, was also called for trial but passed until the November term of court. Russell shot Montgomery, his step father on Coon Creek, in Magoffin County. The wounded man was brought to the hospital where he died. The death having occurred in Johnson County give the Johnson Circuit Court jurisdiction over the case and the trial will come up at the November term
Montgomery made a statement before he died charging that the stepson fired the fatal shot and that his mother, Montgomery's wife, was party to the killing.
Sept 1, 1927 George W. Stacey Attacks Conley's What ill-fated feelings can cause a man to attack not only one man but also the mans' aged father? George W. Stacy is now in jail for shooting members of the Conley family. Read all about it here!
Sept 22, 1927 Seco Charged with Killing of Jailer
Whitesburg - Sept 19- A warrant charging murder of Fess Whitaker, jailer
of Letcher Co who was killed in an automobile accident Sunday was issued
today against Cicero Seco. Seco was said to have been the
driver of an automobile which ran into Whitaker's car forcing the machine
off the embankment. Whitaker's neck was broken in the fall. Monroe Sexton
was seriously hurt and Mrs. Sophie Sexton, driver of the machine was
The Paintsville Herald
Oct 6, 1927 ~ OSCAR DANIELS KILLED News from Pikeville say officials are searching for Robert Newsome, nineteen year old son of Quillen Newsome, of Robinson Creek, Pike County, who is charged with the murder of Oscar Daniels, seventeen. The shooting occurred at Drift, Floyd Co., Tuesday night of last week Sheriff John Moore said. According to the story learned by the Sheriff, Newsome was drunk and taunting Daniels. He ended by shooting the lad five times, the sheriff learned. A relative of Daniels went to Pikeville and secured a warrant for the arrest of Newsome. Daniels was shot at 9 o'clock on Wednesday and died Wednesday morning. Daniels was a Johnson Native. This was the second homicide at Drift. Lat Lavis of Pikeville, was fatally shot while on a business trip to that place.
Oct. 6, 1927 Escapes in Car Add Hitchcock of West van Lear, died at the Paintsville Hospital at seven o'clock last Thursday morning from wounds inflicted by Henry Conley of Hager Hill, Wednesday night in a street carnival being operated near the city limits of east Paintsville. It is reported that both men were drinking and had trouble in the afternoon. Hitchcock was attending the carnival and was under the influence of moonshine whiskey it was alleged. Conley appeared on the carnival grounds and went directly to Hitchcock and without a word dealt him a terrific blow in the back of the head with the butt of a heavy revolver. Hitchcock fell unconscious. While he was down it was alleged that Conley placed his knees on the unconscious man's breast and struck him time and time again with the butt of the revolver. Conley then made his way to his car which he had left running and escaped. Conley, it is said, accused Whitaker of stealing his whiskey. Hitchcock was picked up and taken to the Paintsville Hospital for examination and it showed his skull had been crushed and he died the next morning without regaining consciousness. Add Hitchcock was the son of Milt Hitchcock of Van Lear Junction. Conley was the son of the late German Conley who was killed at his home at Hagar Hill a few years ago by Charlie Blair. As in most cases in this section, moonshine whiskey was a direct cause of the killing. Hitchcock is survived by his parents and several brothers and sisters. Funeral services were held Friday and internment took place in the family cemetery. The Paintsville Herald
Oct 13, 1927-FOUR MEN DEAD TWO MORE DYING According to the news reaching here from Beaver Creek in Floyd county, four men are dead and two fatally wounded as result of gun battles staged in that section last Sunday afternoon and night. Bill Lou Osborn, chief of police in Martin and his son, Joe Ed Osborn are two of the slain men, two Mullins brothers of Jacks Creek were also killed. Felix Flanery, 35 years of age, a farmer of Buriek Branch, it is said, was angered because Bill Lou Osborn had shot and wounded his uncle, Hi Bradley, while attempting to arrest him a week before, and came to Martin County Sunday, Hunting for Osborn and opened fire on sight, killing the older Osborn and fatally wounding his son, Joe Ed. After the youth was shot down, he raised up on his elbows and shot Flanery. He then collapsed and died twenty minutes later. Flanery is in the hospital paralyzed by a shot thru the chest and spine. Wes Hall said to have killed the Mullins brothers is not expected to survive a wound in the chest and body, according to reports received here. Officers of Floyd County are investigating a report that Wes Hall staggered into the home of a relative late Sunday night and said he had killed Jim Roe Mullins and his brother. "I guess I am done for too," Hall is reported to have said. He made no further explanation of the shooting. Bill Lou Osborn was 50 years old and the father of twelve children and is well known in Johnson County. He was known as a fearless man and had slain many men in his time, mostly while on duty as an officer. An unprecedented amount of deaths from violence are reported each week from Beaver Creek each week.
Oct 13, 1927 - Court is now in Session Court in session Frankfort, Ky., Oct 14 - Four men given sentences ranging from five to 17 years on murder sentences while a fifth, given a 10 year sentence for criminal attack, was granted a new trial by the Court of Appeals today.
W D Haywood, a constable for Carter County who, it is charged shot into a speeding automobile killing Martha Yahaus, must serve a 17 year sentence given by the court. Evidence given at the trial indicated that Haywood was under the influence of liquor when he fired the shot.
Elmer Tipton, a 17 year old lad must serve 10 years as a result of the killing of Hood Moss, in a drunken Brawl in which Topton, it is charged, struck Moss over the head with a broken bottle. The case was appealed from the Estill Circuit Court.
Garfield Spradlin and Walter Osborn, constable and deputy constable of Lawrence Co., must serve five years each as a result of the killing of Bert Preston. The Officers with two other en were indicted in the slaying of Bert Preston which resulted from a shooting scrape when they went to arrest Preston. Testimony showed the officers opened fire.
Oct 15, 1927 - Irvine, Ky Hung Jury in Conley Murder Trial After five hours of deliberation, the jury in the case of Calvin Conley, charged with the murder of Calloway Morris October 1 at Ravenna railroad station, reported it was unable to agree and was dismissed. Conley will be tried again at the nest term of the Circuit Court. The last ballot of the jury was reported at being 10 for acquittal and 2 for conviction. The commonwealth asked for the death penalty while Conley's defense was on the "unwritten law." The shooting occurred when Mrs. Conley and Morris alighted front a train in the Ravenna Station and were met by Conley. Stray bullets from Morris' gun killed deceive Henry Brown. Mr. and Mrs. Conley were injured.
Dewey Victor given a 10 year sentence charged with attacking a woman was given the right of a new trial as the court held. the that the Greenup court erred when it did not let the estranged husband of the woman testify, as he was charged with aiding and abetting the crime.
November 24, 1927 Court In Session The case of the Commonwealth against Charles VanHoose was tried last week for killing Albert Nichols. superintendent of the mines at Offutt, this county. The Killing occurred last summer.
Van Hoose was employed at the mines and brought evidence out had trouble with a son of Nichols a few days prior to the killing, and when Nichols went to the pump house on the day of the killing VanHoose was there and was drinking and the killer took place. Nichols was shot in the back, the ball coming out of the front after it pierced the heart, killing him instantly. Vanhoose was given fifteen years in the penitentiary for the murder which is considered very light considering the nature of the crime.
At the trial of the case Attorney Ed Picklesimer of Pikeville and Attorney Milford Arms of this city had charged the defense while the Commonwealth's attorney Jno. W. Wheeler and Kirk & Wells represented the prosecution.
Ora Preston a native of Lawrence County, was tried last week with disserting his family and given the limit of the law, five years in the penitentiary.
Herbert VanHoose was given two years for detaining a woman.
Special Judge John Hopkins of Prestonsburg is now hearing the evidence in the case against Glen Blevins for the murder of Shug Bayes at Dawkins last April. John Elliot Blevins and Arnold Blevins are charged with aiding in the murder. John Elliot Blevins is the father of the two boys. The jury has been secured and the taking of evidence started Tuesday morning. The Blevins are being defended by Attorney Jack May of Prestonsburg and Attorney Milford Arms of this city. The prosecution is represented by Commonwealth's Attorney Jno. W. Wheeler, assisted by Attorney Daughtery of Pikeville and Blair Harrington of Paintsville.
The case of Clyde Stapleton charged with murder of Herbert Stapleton a few years ago was set for trial this week, also the cases of Ben, John and Brown Mollett who killed a Mr. Stephens and shot Kelley E. Patrick of Offutt a few months ago, and the case of Deb Justice who was indicted in connection with the killing of Mrs. Harry Castle by her son-in-law, Vincie Pack, were all set for trial this week but were continued until the Blevins cases are disposed of.
Juries at this term of the court are disposed to do their full duty as jurors and good citizens and are assessing heavy fines to all classes of violations and the court is fast clearing the docket of all criminal cases. The juries and the court officials should have the solid backing of every peace loving citizen of the county in their efforts to put down crime. Such terms of court will soon make Johnson County one of the most peaceable in the state. This can easily be done by rigid enforcement of the law and without showing and mercy to the habitual criminal or killer.
We commend Judge Bailey for the firm handed methods he has used in the present term of the Johnson County Circuit Court and the good people of the county should speak a word of encouragement and lend him their aid in his efforts to suppress crime in the county.
January 19, 1939 - Prestonsburg Woman indicted for shooting a distant relative. A murder charge was returned in the case of Shirley Newsome for the murder of her fellow kinsman, Chester Newsome. He was shot once in the head.
February 16, 1939 - Dewey Salisbury, an ex- Floyd Co sheriff was shot and killed on the eve of special grand jury investigation in the mysterious disappearances of witnesses.
June 13, 1940 - A beer parlor fracas at Hill Beer Parlor has left Ralph Castle dead and Clyde Akers in custody. The fatal shot severed a major artery in the thigh of Castle. Akers did not resist arrest and pleaded self defense
September 21, 1939 - Sambo's Place was the scene of death that took the lives of four people at Cannel Coal Gap. Three were injured including two children.
January 30, 1941 - A gun with a history of murder and mayhem is in possession of Oscar Oppenheimer of Paintsville. The gun, a snub-nosed .38 colt is said to have belonged to John Dillinger. The gun is host to four notches on the handle. The significance of the notches were unknown but widely speculated. The gun is said to have been found at little Bohemia, WI at the scene of a battle between the Dillinger gang and the FBI.
February 19, 1942 - The murder trial of the Commonwealth against Ernest Adkins for the murder of Russell Ward on January 3rd, had been set for February 24. At the trial the first jury was hung. In the second court case Adkins was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 6 years in the penitentiary.
April 30, 1942 - A proclamation has come forth that "malicious and willful starting of forest fires that might damage or impede the war effort will be considered deliberate acts of sabotage" will be classified under the war laws and will be punishable by the death penalty. This was signed by Governor Johnson.
August 6. 1942 - Landrum Hall is slain in Tomahawk. Suspects are in custody.
March 1943- Grand Jury called to investigate the death of Woodrow Sparks, 28, of Van Lear. The person alleged with this crime was Alonzo Daniel also from the Van Lear area. The incident occurred while the men were in the same vehicle together. The incident was in regards to politics. Alonzo Daniel forced the other men out of the car and once they reached Paintsville they notified Police. Police chief W. Bailey took over once the car had been driven into town by city councilman Hannibal Wheeler. The body was taken to the Paintsville Furniture Undertaking Department were it was revealed that Sparks died of a gunshot wound. Daniel was picked up by later by Sheriff Lester Adams of Van Lear. The Grand Jury was composed Roscoe Blanton, Flem Lemaster, Ferris Barnett, Jesse McCarty, William Fannin, Albert Arrowood, John E. Preston, J. Melvin Hall, Garfield Baldridge, J. H. Smith, Tobe Dixon, and Oscar Salyer.
August 1943 - Commonwealth attorney J. H. Cooper called this the most heinous crime ever to be committed in Johnson County and asks for the death Penalty for the justice of Woodrow Sparks. Alonzo Daniel defense stated it was self defense. The others in the car stated that was not the case. When the gavel came down the jury consisting of John Childers, J. H. Colvin, D. J. VanHoose, Ross McFadden, Charles Davis, Roy Colvin, Mrs. Ernie Salyers, Otis Richmond, Fred Stambaugh, Jess Caudill, Effie Ward and Leander Blair guilty of murder. Penalty - eight years in prison. The defense said it would appeal.
August 1945 - Wolf Pen Hollow lost its Sunday morning tranquility to the murder of Willie Childs. Childs was a Alabama man of color who was residing in Johnson County. Being held pending the inquest is Lodie Baxter, also a man of color.
September 1945 - A family quarrel turned tragic as Frank Patrick died of knife wounds. Mr. and Mrs. Ham Patrick were the parents of both the victim and the the one who had killed Frank. Jasper Patrick, just returned from the Army wielded the knife that brought sorrow and tragedy to the Patrick family.
February 1946 - Dewey Castle, the son of the late Joe Castle is charged with willfully murdering Leslie Castle, a veteran of WWII. Leslie was the son of the late Elijah and Sarah A. Castle. The accused man waived his right to trial pending the outcome by the Grand Jury. Leslie Castle, 31 was found critically wounded within 125 yards of the home of John Castle. The discovery was made by Mrs. Castle and her daughter in law, Mrs. Ulysses Castle who live on Liddy Branch near Nippa after hearing cries of a person calling for help. Ulysses Castle took the injured man to the home of Beecher Music where Leslie Castle died shortly after. The coroner's inquest showed that deceased was stuck at the base of the skull with an unknown weapon and had died of a skull fracture. The uncle of Leslie, Harrison Castle testified and identified Dewey Castle as being the last person with Leslie having had dinner at deceased's home.
A forty all man jury found Dewey Castle guilty and was sentenced to life in the penitentiary. Punishment was swift and just. The defendant was represented by Ed King and William Johnson. The Commonwealth was represented by J. B. Clark, Commonwealth Attorney assisted by J. L. Harrington.
July 1946 Charles Lewis Jr. has been cleared of any charges in connection with the death of the unknown assailant to the Lewis home. While breaking into the Charles Lewis home Edward "Ape" Hazelwood was killed. He had to be identified by his fingerprints which once finished by the FBI it was determined that the Negro man was from Lebanon and had prior convictions for breaking and entering.
December 1946 - Four years in the war, a Purple Heart, and a combat infantryman. All these skills that let him survive the horrors of war did not save him from the fate that awaited him Early Sunday morning. Victor Honeycutt was found unconscious with a fatal skull fracture. Few leads were left to follow.
November 1947 - Tragedy tore at the hearts of the Preston home in Huntington when for reasons unknown Carl Preston took his life and shot his wife. At age 71 it is thought that it was due to failing health and despondency.
July 1948 - Henry Conley and Susan Conley Page, killed in a shooting array on Lick Fork Road near Rte 23. Injured at the scene was Forest Conley, brother of the two, George Page, husband of Susan and Cpl Homer Howard of the Kentucky State Police. The incident occurred when Howard and Patrolman Benjamin J Music tried to intercept the vehicle after being told of a disturbance along Jenny's Creek. Hearing shooting Music and Howard waited at the intersection and stepped forward as the vehicle approached. Thus began the shooting. The shooting took place at the same place where German Conley had been killed by Charlie Blair several years before. Trial is pending the outcome of Howard's injuries.
July 1949 - Eastern Kentucky stunned by the unsolved murder of Muriel Baldridge in Prestonburg.
June 1950 - Shots rang out in early June and when all was quiet Charles Wells and Robert Whorley lay dead. The incident occurred as a union dispute over the hauling of coal. The man with the gun was a union member by the name of Elmer Farley. In critical condition in the aftermath was Major Thompson. Wells was the son-in-law of Lando Daniels of Johnson Co., and husband of Hazel Daniels Wells. He was the son of Ben and Rebecca Whitley Wells. The incident which took place in Logan certainly cast a dark shadow of mourning over the skies of Johnson Co. The reason this took place was that the three men approached Farley and asked him not to work on non-union work days and not to use his own truck to deliver coal. Wells was the union president at this time.
April 1955 - Recovered from the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River was the body of Arthur "Pete" Castle. Loren "Short" Hensley was charged with this crime when his own wife testified that he had threatened Pete. She went on to testify to the Grand Jury that her husband had been with the deceased man and had come home with blood on his trousers. His only statement to his wife at the was, "It's over." He was bound over for trial by Judge Radcliffe based upon the grand jury findings.
December 1958 - Murder and Mayhem reigned this year with the murders of Virgie Fugate Cantrell and Mrs. Evalena Stamper. Who perpetrated these crimes against these two woman and who robbed the local hardware store? What was the motive and who was involved? What did Trooper Jack Music find on an old cedar chest which was no longer a hope chest? The complete history of this murder can be found in the articles, "Corpse in a Cedar Chest, Police Dragnet and A Cedar Chest is Not for Hope" Experience the murder as it happened in these well written articles that document the full history.