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Scott County Historical Society

Scott County, Virginia


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The Kingsport Times




Slayer Lodged in Jail at Gate City; Wounded Man Taken to Hospital

John Barnett Gives Self Up to Sheriff Palmer After

Shooting Creed and Will Frazier, Claiming

He Feared Three Fraziers Were After Him. One is Unhurt.

By Staff Correspondent

GATE CITY, Va., Sept. 20óWill Frazier is dead, his father, Creed Frazier, is thought to be mortally wounded, and John Barnett is in jail here charged with the shooting.  The tragedy occurred shortly after three o'clock this afternoon near the Clinch River, about three miles west of Speers Ferry, Va., and on a road hear the home of Barnett.

     Barnett surrendered to Charles Palmer, Scott County sheriff, about five o'clock, at the river bridge at Speers Ferry, after having told a friend that he wanted to give up instead of facing the cruel justice at the hands of an angry mob, of which he seemed to have had a great dread.

     At 6:30 o'clock this evening, the elder Frazier was still alive and preparations were being made to take him to a Kingsport hospital. Very little hope is held for his recovery.  The body of his son was being brought to the McConnell undertaking establishment at 6:30 o'clock.

     The shooting is said to have been the climax of a ten year squabble among Will Frazier and Barnett.  Scott Countains declared that on numerous occasion, the two had had quarrels and fights and had an argument every time they met.


     The only story of the tragedy this afternoon was told by Sheriff Palmer, who gained all his information from Barnett, who is confined in a very secluded cell of the jail here. A dispute over a recent timber purchase is thought to be responsible for the shooting this afternoon.  The Fraziers were operating a saw mill near the river.

     Barnett's story, as told by Sheriff Palmer, is as follows:

"I was "standing near my home and saw Creed Frazier, Will Frazier and Roy Frazier (Roy Frazier is a younger son) walking down the road single file. Creed and Will were armed and I thought they were coming to get me. I fired at Creed.  He fell. I fired again and Will fell. Creed seemed to be trying to get up, but Will lay still. I guessed he was dead and if he hadn't been, I suppose I would have shot Creed again. Then Roy threw up his hand and shouted, John, don't shoot me. I have been trying to keep down this trouble all day.' "

     Approximately an hour after the shooting, Telegraph Operator Wagner, at the railway station here, received this message from the operator at Speers Ferry:

"Some man shot and killed Creed, Will and Roy Frazier. Get Sheriff Palmer and tell him to bring his high-powered rifle." A short message followed. "The man who did the shooting was named Barnett."

     Sheriff Palmer, with Mr. Jennings driving immediately departed for Speers Ferry, where already a large crowd had gathered. At the east end of the bridge, Sheriff Palmer stopped. Charles Robinette came to him and whispered that Barnett wanted to surrender. The sheriff ordered the crowds back and as he stood on the end of the bridge, Barnett calmly walked across and handed him two guns, a 45.90 Winchester rifle and a .38 caliber Smith and Wesson pistol.

     "You won't let them get me, will you sheriff," Sheriff Palmer quoted Barnett as saying.

     "No, I'll take you to Gate City and put you in a safe place in the jail," the sheriff assured him.


     Creed Frazier, thought to be dying, was former sheriff of Scott County, being succeeded by Sheriff Palmer. He is one of the best known citizens of  the county, well respected and liked.  His brother, George Frazier, is police sergeant at Kingsport while another brother, Mahone, resides near Speers Ferry and is interested in the saw mill business.  Creed Frazier's home is about four miles west of Gate City.

     Will Frazier was about 30 years of age. He leaves a widow and four children, his wife having been Ethel, Stokes.

     Barnett is 29 years of age. He is married and has several children.  His wife was formerly Lola Sloan.

     Newspaper representatives arriving here from Kingsport found Gate City the scene of much excitement.  Barnett had previously been locked up and Sheriff Palmer decided best not to let anyone see the prisoner due to the strain under which the latter had been placed.

     Excited crowds were gathered about in spots and it seemed that feeling was running high.  An ambulance from McConnell's establishment had been sent to take the wounded man to the hospital.  It Was expected that the body of Will Frazier would be taken to his home near Speers Ferry.

     Expressions of regret concerning the tragedy were heard on all sides. Sheriff Palmer stated that he was stunned when he received the terrifying message from Speers Ferry. Wagner, the operator, expressed himself as being shocked. Due to the excitement at the time and pending the outcome of Creed Frazier's injury, no attempt was made to arrange funeral for the dead man. As to court action against Barnett, Sheriff Palmer intimated that preliminary hearing will possibly be waived. There is also a possibility that a special session of grand jury will be called to try Barnett.

     At 7:30 o'clock this evening, Creed Frazier was being removed to the King's Mountain Memorial Hospital, in Bristol. A short stop was made here and it was reported he was talking and appeared to have revived somewhat.


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