ADAIR COUNTY NEWS
The Trial and Incarceration of Hezekiah Harmon, 1910.
(No previous mention of the incident which precipitated the trial was found in extant copies of the News.)
Adair County News, Wednesday, January 26, 1910
Got Ten Years
Quite a scene was created in the court-room last Saturday forenoon. Birdie Taylor, a girl about sixteen years old, the principal witness against Hezekiah Harmon, charged with having carnally known her, was on the witness stand. She refused after repeated efforts to answer questions and Judge Carter ordered her to jail, to be fed on bread and water, until she was willing to testify. The Judge also had the Sheriff, A.D. Patteson, to take care of her child and keep it until the girl consented to talk. She refused to give up the child and it had to be taken by force. In going to jail she fought and hallooed all the way. In the afternoon she was returned to the witness stand and gave in a manner her testimony. The case then proceeded and quite a number of witnesses were examined for the Commonwealth and for the defense. The testimony was all in Monday forenoon and the argument commenced, which was concluded in the afternoon, the case going to the jury about 3 o'clock. The case was argued for the State by Gordon Montgomery and A.A. Huddleston; the side of the defense was presented by F.R. Winfrey and James Garnett. The jury was out but a short time, rendering a verdict giving Harmon ten years in the penitentiary. A motion for a new trial will be made and if overruled an appeal will be made.
* * * * *
Adair County News, Wednesday, February 2, 1910
Circuit Court adjourned last Wednesday. Before leaving for Tompkinsville Judge Carter overruled the motion for a new trial in the Hezekiah Harmon case, and the case will now go to the Court of Appeals.
* * * * *
Adair County News, Wednesday, September 28, 1910
Hesekiah Harmon, a man about 72 years old, was convicted in the Adair circuit court some time ago for knowing a female under sixteen years old and was given ten years in the penitentiary. The case was appealed, and last week the Court of Appeals sustained the Judgement of the lower court. While the case was pending Harmon remained in jail here.
* * * * *
Adair County News, Wednesday, November 16, 1910
The Plan Flustrated
Hesekiah Harmon Furnished With Saws And
Expected to Leave the Jail on the Night of the 7th.
Sheriff Notified of His Intention.
Hesekiah Harmon, who is in jail, convicted of a heinous crime and sentenced to serve ten years in the penitentiary, had perfected a plan whereby he expected to leave the jail on Monday night, the 7th inst., but it failed to work.
Ed McEntire, who lives in the lower edge of the county, was in jail but his time expired on the 7th.
Some time during the day Monday Sheriff A.D. Patteson was called to the phone by a party, who would not give his name, and told that Harmon had saws in the jail and expected to escape that night. That the saws had been conveyed to him by his son, and that a buggy would be waiting for him when he got out. The sheriff and one of his deputies and the jailer went up and made a search.
Jailer [J.K.P. "Polk"] Conover remained on the outside of the cell while the others were searching the inside. While the search was in progress the jailer saw Harmon slip the saws from the place where he had them concealed, placing them in another apartment in the cell. This information was conveyed to the sheriff and the saws brought out.
When confronted with them Harmon said he had no idea as to how they came in the cell.
They were made of best steel and he could have soon sawed himself to liberty.
* * * * *
(Mr. Harmon was destined to serve but a short prison sentence. The Kentucky death record index states he died on March 4, 1912, in Franklin County, age 73. A descendant stated Mr. Harmon's remains were buried at Bear Wallow cemetery in an unmarked grave. His death certificate -- abstract below -- gives Campbellsville, Taylor Co, as "place of burial or removal." Quite possibly, the remains were sent first to Campbellsville for preparation, then taken to Bearwallow for burial. More information about Mr. Harmon and a photograph of his son, George Dudley Harmon, may be viewed at http://columbiamagazine.com/index.php?sid=16421
Death certificate abstract:
Certificate # 06709, deathvol 1912.
Hezekiah Harmon, male, white, marital status "don't know."
Date & place of birth: June 4, 1938, Adair Co., Ky.
Date & place of death: March 4, 1912, Franklin Co., Frankfort, Ky.
Age: 73 years, eight months.
Father's name & birth place: Wm. Harmon, West Va.
Mother's maiden name & birth place: Sarah Pennington, "don't know."
Informant: "Deceased before death," Frankfort.
Cause of death: Facial erysipelas.
Attending physician: E.H. Maggard, M.D.
Date & place "of burial or removal:" [Date and month not given], 1912, Campbellsville, Taylor Co. [See note above.]
Name & address of undertaker: [the given name is an initial, possibly an "L."] Graham, [the address appears to be] 312 Main.