Mt. Vernon Signal

MT. Vernon Signal

Clay Co. was the scene for murder
often, as these articles tell us.



Reprinted with permission from the Mt. Vernon Signal

The following articles were
submitted by: Vicky White

The Governor is Determined to Restore Peace in Clay County
Regardless of Cost Frankfort, Ky, June 18
Gov Bradley has not the power to declare martial law in the county
of Clay, where a reign of terror exists as the result of the
assassination of Tom Baker last Saturday, but he intends to
restore order there, regardless of cost. The governor received
a letter Friday afternoon from Circuit Judge Eversole denying
that he had as reported adjourned court at Manchester because
of the fear of personal violence. The judge says that court was
adjourned because he realized that justice could not be meted out
with affaris in such chaotic condition. He says that he will hold a
special session in Clay within the next few weeks. The troops will
probably be sent back then. If order can not be restored and those
under indictment tried a special session of the legislature would be
the only remedy. Under the present Kentucky law the governor cannot
even appoint a special judge until the regular judge has refused to sit
and the circuit clerk notifies him that the members of the bar have failed
to elect. In Clay county the circuit clerk is a member of the White
faction, and if Judge Eversole should decline to sit he would practically
have the selection of his successor. If an exta session were held the
county of Clay would either be abolished and divided up among
adjoining counties or the governor would be given power to appoint
special judges at will and special grand juries from other counties to
go to a lawless county and investigate and find the indictments.
The governor Friday night declared to be false the special dispatch
sent out from Lexington Thursday that he was equipping soldiers in
Eastern Kentucky to go to Harlan county. The condition there is
much better than it is in Clay county.
MRS TOM BAKER She will take her Children and Settle in the
Indian Territory-A Peaceful Outlook in Clay County R.B. Lucas of
Manchester who is here as a delegate to the democratic convention
says the BAKER-HOWARD feud is at an end. He says that Mrs Tom
Baker has decided to go to her father who is a prominent farmer in Indian
territory. She will take her children with her. Dr Lucas declares that the
men who have been corraled and armed in the mountains have laid down
their weapons and returned to their homes and to their work. A better and more
secure feeling prevails throughout the terror stricken section.
Everybody now appears to be satisfied to let the law take its course and
the members of to have peace. Leading citizens who have taken the factions
are disposed no part in the feud are now edeavoring to get the Howards, Bakers,
Philpots, Whites and others involved in the fighting to agree that
they will do all in prevent further bloodshed. These men are said
to take their power to kindly to this idea and when each faction is
one of its side will receive harm at the hands of the assured that no
enemy it is thought peace will be permanently restored.


1899, Rockcastle Co A SHOOTING AFFRAY
A Pitched Battle on the Streets of McKee
Senator William Clark Shot Three Times London, Ky Aug 29..
Reports from Jackson county say late Saturday evening at
McKee a pitched battle took place between two of the wealthiest
families in southeaster Kentucky. The fight was between James
Hayes and his four sons on one side, and Senator William Clarke,
Sherman Leadford and others. The battle occurred on the streets.
Senator Clarke was shot three time. There is no hope for his
recovery. One of the Hayes boys had the contents of a double
barreled shotgun emptied into him. He will die. Bad blood had
existed between the families for a number of years. Clarke is
the present senator from the Seventeenth senatorial district.
It is feared that this will develop into one of the worst feuds in the mountains.


The following articles were all
Submitted by: Cindy Crawford
[email protected]

The Prosecution Concluded its Testimony by Introducing Four Witnesses Baker claims alibi!
BARBOURVILLE, KY, AUG 5, Year not stated---In the Jim Baker trial the prosecution
concluded its testimony by introducing four witnesses. A.B. Howard testified
that he was wounded at the time his son William was killed. As they were
riding along the road they were shot at by persons in ambush. He rocognized
Tom Baker and some one whom he thought was Jim. James Robinson, who
was working at Baker's house when the killing occurred, testified that soon after
shots were fired Tom and Jim came home greatly excited. Just before the
shooting he said Tom went down the road in the direction whence the shots
came, with what he thought to be a gun. Robinson testified in the examinging
trial that Tom and Jim were both at home when the shots were fired. Now he
claims that he was forced by the Barker's to swear to a lie as they threatened
to him him. Fuller Barrett had testified twice before that Tom and Jim were
at home when Wilson Howard was killed. This time he swore that he in company
with Jim and Tom and Wiley Baker were together in the road when Howard
came up; that Tom fired and Burch Storr fell dead and Bill Howard was wounded.
Jim Baker fired and there was a fusilade of bullets. He said the Baker's forced
him to swear false the first two times. Barrett was indicted with the Baker's for
the murder, but after his indictment had been canceled by the commonweath
he turned state's evidence. He is a first cousin to Tom
Baker. The defense claims to be able to prove alibi.

A body of Mounted Men, With Winchesters and Revolvers Are on the
Way to Clay County London, Ky Aug 6--- A force of about 15 mounted
men, armed with Winchesters and Colt's revolvers and a good supply of
ammunition, passed between here and Pittsburg Thursday night going in
the direction of Clay county. They were members of the Griffin faction and
it is supposed that they have joined those who have gone into Manchester to
attend the examining trial of Green Griffin, which is set for Friday. Green is to
be tried for the killing of Edward Fisher in the big battle of two weeks ago in
Clay county. There is not telling whether trouble will occur or not.

The Testimony Closed
BARBOURVILLE, Ky., Aug 6--The testimony has closed in the case
against James Baker for killing Wilson Howard. The witnesses for the defense
testified that Tom and James Baker were at home when the killing occurred.
Argument commenced Friday. The case will be given to the jury Saturday evening.
The case against Wiley Baker will then be called. Although many feudists are
here there are no disturbances.

London, Ky Aug 12, (1899) It is reported here that Dave Chadwell has
been shot from ambush near his home in Clay county. Chadwell is deputy
sheriff and is said to belong to the Morris-Griffin faction."

AUG 25, 1899

London, Ky, Aug 19, Surprise was created here by the reappearance of
circuit Clerk Daugh White and Deptuy Felix Davidson from the west, and
especially after it was rumored in Clay county Davidson would never again
be seen alive. It is said that the Whites are apprehensive of their
safety, since Wiley and Jim Baker's release from jail on account of the
disappearance of Jim Beverly and Carlo Baker.

Sept 8, 1899

News comes from Clay county that deputy Sheriff Thacker was shot and killed
and the mule on which Bob Smith who accompanied Thacker was riding along
the road was slain. When the mule fell dead Smith lay motionless on the
ground fro a couple of hours by the side of Thacker, feigning death and
thus escaped assassination. At the time Thacker was killed he was on his
way to where one of the Griffins lived about six miles from town to make an
arrest. Thacker had testified in court for the Philpots against the
Griffins in the Philpots against the Griffins in the Philpot Griffin
killing on July 7. The Philpot faction are up in arms and it is reported
that they have sworn vengeance against the Griffins. Thacker is the man
who was taking Robt Philpot's bond when the battle took place between the
Philpots and Griffins on July 17. Thacker waskilled with a quarter of a
mile of the scene of the Philpot and Griffin battle and within one hundred
yards of where Dave Chadwell the Griffin faction 
leader was shot from ambush two weeks ago. Thacker belonged to the
Masonic order. The Philpots swear extermination of the Griffins.

OCT 27, 1899

London, Ky Oct 23, Caly county circuit court opened Monday at Manchester.
The fuedists Eddy and Boyd Chadwell and Sol, Tom and Jim Griffin will be
tried for the killing of Deputy Wash Thacker of the Philpot faction. Gov
Bradley has troops in rediness to go to the protection of the court
immediatley upon request of the judge. Since the last term of court 20 men
and one woman have been shot and there are only four indictments

Too Winchesters to Court
London Depot, Ky Oct 24..Court convened at Manchester Monday morning for
the trial of the Clay county feudists. All factions were on hand, heavily
armed. The records of evidence against James and Sol Griffin, who are in
jail there charged with the murder of Deputy Sheriff Wash Thacker have been
stolen from the county judge's office. It is believed this was done by the
Griffin faction to prevent indictments being returned by the grand jury.
About 60 of the Philpot faction armed with Winchester were on hand to
prosecute the Griffins

OCT 27, 1899

In Clay County Tuesday Dan parker and Thomas Whitmore were fired upon from
ambush while on their way to Manchester. Whitmore was killed but Parker
was only slightly wounded and escaped by falling from his horse and
feigning death

Manchester, Ky Oct 29, ..Four additional indictments were made at
Manchester Fridy in the case of the Philpots against the Griffin feudists.
They are Green Griffin, Sam Brown, Charles Barnett and Dan Hampton. This
makes eight in all with probablitity of more. No outbreak has occurred as
yet. Circuit Judge Eversole is expected at Manchester Monday with two
companies of state troops

Manchester, Ky Oct 31...Another murder is reported in this county growing
out of the Philpot-Griffin feud. Mark Hall a renter living on Geo
Philpot's farm was shot and killed. Hall did not belong to the feud, and
it is believed he was mistaken for one of the Philpot's. Green Griffin
escaped from jail Sunday night


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