The following article is from the June 28, 1928, issue of the Mountain Eagle (page 1, columns 1 & 2):
Ed Stratton, 41 years old, was shot and instantly killed by Morgan Collier, 32, Sunday night at 6:40 while seated in the Day Hotel of this city. Stratton was a conductor on the "Short Dog" passenger train of the L. & N. railroad, and had been conductor on the local train between McRoberts and Hazard since that train was put on. Collier was a fireman of the L. & N. but not on the same train.
The Mountain Eagle
WHITESBURG, LETCHER COUNTY, KENTUCKY.THURSDAY, JUNE 28, 1928
Railroad Man Shot to Death at Whitesburg
Ed Stratton, Conductor on "Short Dog," is instantly Killed
in Hotel By Morgan Collier, Who Escapes In Automobile
A few minutes before the shooting took place, Collier walked into the hotel and talked for a short time with Stratton and two women who were seated with him at a table, Mrs. Bertha Collier, former wife of Collier, and Mrs. Lou Day, her sister. What was said is not known.
Collier walked out of the hotel, asked Curtis Lewis to take him up the road a short distance in the latter's automobile. Lewis refused, and Collier took the automobile by force. Then he drove it in front of the hotel, left the engine running, got out, walked into the hotel, fired five shots into Stratton as the latter still sat at the table with the two women, walked out of the hotel, jumped into the car and sped away.
One bullet took effect in Stratton's left cheek, coming out behind his ear; another entered just over his heart; another, in his right side, piercing his lung; another, in his neck; and the fifth, in his hip, apparently as the man fell from the chair. All of the bullets passed through the body except the one which entered his hip.
Several people were eating in the hotel at the time of the shooting. Miss Margaret Collins, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John D. W. Collins, received a slight scalp wound from one of the stray bullets. Mrs. Nannie Day, proprietor of the hotel, screamed as Collier turned to leave the room. He told her that he was not going to hurt her. These were the only words he spoke, so far as anybody can recall, while he was in the room the second time.
Mr. Lewis's car was found a few minutes after the shooting, by the side of the road at the mouth of Pert creek. It had not been damaged. Collier is supposed to have taken to the hills there. He has not been found by officers.
Stratton did not speak after the first shot was fired, but he did try to rise from the chair, witnesses say. When he fell in the floor, a revolver lay by his side. Either of the four of the shots would have caused death, it is said.
Collier is a member of one of the most prominent families of this county. He had been divorced only a short time from one of the women accompanying Stratton. It is said that the two men had been having trouble on several different occasions.
Stratton, who was widely known in eastern Kentucky, lived at Neon. His widow had been in Phoenix, Ariz., for some time for her health. His home was originally at Danville, Ky., and he has several relatives there at Lexington. The body was prepared for burial by J. L. Lykins of the Ideal Furniture company.
Joe McGuire, chairman of the Order of Railroad Conductors, took charge of the body and took it to Lexington on the afternoon train Monday. He was assisted by Jack Smith of the Brotherhood. Stratton was a Shriner, and a group of Shriners escorted his body to the train from the Ideal store. Hundreds of friends came to see him at the store Monday. The body was claimed by a sister when it reached Lexington.
The following article was submitted by Kate Riley and is from the June 25th, 1928, issue of the Lexington Herald (page 1):
Lexington Herald[Special to The Herald]
Monday, June 25, 1928Page 1
Railroad Man Shot to Death at Whitesburg
Ed Stratton, L. & N. Conductor, is Instantly Killed in Hotel by Morgan Collier, Fellow Employe
Slayer Escapes in Auto; Fled to Virginia, Belief
Mrs. B.T. Jones, of Lexington, is Sister of Slain Man
Whitesburg, KY., June 24.-- Ed Stratton, 45 years old, a passenger train conductor on the Eastern Kentucky division of the L. & N. railroad and for more than 20 years an employe of the company, was shot to death tonight at 6:48 o'clock by Morgan Collier, 32, another railway man, while seated in the dining room of a hotel here.
Collier shot four times, killing Stratton almost instantly. Following the shooting he walked from the building and drove away in his automobile, which was parked nearby. He had not been located late tonight, and it is believed that he has crossed the state line into Virginia.
According to witnesses, Stratton was seated at a table in the hotel with two women, said to be Collier's former wife and her sister. Collier entered the dining room and approaching the table, spoke to Stratton and the women. He then left the room, but returned a few minutes later. Entering the door he pulled a pistol and began shooting. Stratton was killed as he sat in his chair.
Stratton, who is widely known throughout eastern Kentucky, lives at Neon in Letcher county. His regular run was between Neon and Hazard. He was off duty today, no train being run on Sundays.
Among those who survive Mr. Stratton is a sister, Mrs. B.T. Jones, of 391 Virginia avenue, Lexington, and his body will be sent to Lexington early Monday morning, arriving there about 2 o'clock Monday afternoon.
Others surviving him are his widow, Mrs. Stella Stratton, who is at present in Phoenix, Ariz., for her health; a second sister, Mrs. A.J. Rigdon, of Laveland [sic], Ohio; a son, Bennie Stratton, of Danville; two brothers, John Stratton and Isaac Stratton, of Danville; and one half-sister, Mrs. John King, of Dekalb, Illinois.
Funeral arrangements will be announced after the widow and other relatives have been communicated with.
Letcher County, KY, Genealogy