About 4:30 yesterday we heard the report of a pistol on the west side of the public square; we went to the door and looking out, saw a crowd gathering, and upon inquiry learned that Col. W. C. Falkner had been shot by Mr. R. J. Thurmond. In answer to the question as to the cause of the shooting, we were told that there was no known cause -- but Col. Falkner was standing on the pavement in front of, or near Alexander & Co.'s store, when Mr. Thurmond met up with him, and pointing his pistol at Col. Falkner's head, fired, without any apparent provocation.... Mr. Thurmond was arrested soon after the shooting by Capt. Rutherford, and lodged in jail. If he had any cause for committing the act he has made no statement of it so far as we know, but has kept it to himself. It is well known, however that an old feud existed between the parties that neither one had any love for the other. But as the matter will no doubt undergo legal investigation, we do not propose to make any comment upon it one way or the other.
Col. Falkner and Mr. Thurmond were two of our wealthiest and most prominent citizens, and the unfortunate affair is deplored by all good. citizens.
Further details from a dispatch sent to THE MEMPHIS APPEAL:
Col. Falkner had no weapon on his person, not even a pocket knife. C. M. Thurmond offered to make any kind of bond for his father, but the Sheriff told him there was not enough money in the United States to keep his father out of jail. Col. Falkner was placed on a wire mattress and carried by a score of men to the residence of Dr. Carter, all of whom were loud in execrating the atrocious crime.... His head was frightfully bruised from the fall on the pavement. It was a heart-rending scene to see men of iron nerve weeping over the sufferings of their friend who had been murdered in cold blood. The yard was thronged all night with men begging and pleading to see Col. Falkner. A strong guard was placed around the jail, by order of the Sheriff, to prevent the jail, by order of the Sheriff, to prevent the friends of Thurmond from rescuing him. Last night the jail was guarded by Thurmond's paid hands. The indignation at Falkner's murder has been intensified by the false and slanderous dispatch in THE AVALANCHE, charging that Col. Falkner was intoxicated and made the first demonstration. It is understood that the dispatch was sent by a friend or relative of Thurmond's. But this falsehood will be exposed on trial, as it will be shown that Col. Falkner was sober all day, had drunk nothing and made no demonstrations, as he had told his family and friends on all occasions that he was determined to have no difficulty with Thurmond.
© 2004, by Melissa McCoy-Bell. All rights reserved.