The Death of Wash Tabor
From Trial Transcripts, July - September 1865
The trial opened 11 July 1865 in Nashville, TN when Champ Ferguson was indicted on two counts: first, beign a guerilla; second, murder. The indictment included murder of fifty-three persons not including the murders of Van Duvall and John Hurt near Champ's old home in Clinton County, KY on or about the 1st of May, 1865.
Testimony of George D. Thrasher and his brother, William, concerning the death of Wash Tabor:
"My brother, WIlliam, and myself," said George Thrasher, "were captured by Ferguson and his men in October, 1862. There were twenty-two men in Ferguson's group. They were being carried prisoners through Mr. Tabor's farm, when I saw the old man coming up a lane. Ferguson dismounted and went towards him. Tabor was on a horse, but got off when Ferguson got up to him. Ferguson soon brought him up to where we were, and Tabor was pleading for his life. "Oh, yes,' said Ferguson, 'you oughtn't to die, you have done nothing to die for,' all the while getting his pistol out of his belt, and while the old man was begging for his life, he shot him through the heart and in the body. He fell after the second shot, with his head leaning over a little hill."
Frank Burchett said, 'D--n him, shoot him in the head,' at at this Ferguson put his pistol down close to the old man's head and again shot him. Ferguson then looked up at me and said, 'I'm not in favor of killing you, Thrasher, you have never been bushwhacking or stealing horses. I have killed old Wash Tabor, a d--n good Christian, and I don't reckon he minds dying.' About this time, Tabor's wife and daughter came up from the house, screaming and crying."
"We left Tabor's body lying in the lane, and had not gone more than a mile further when we were attacked by Elam Huddleston with about eighty of his men. Ferguson had told his men if any skirmish came up to be sure and kill us first, but in the chase I hid behind a tree and got away."
William Thrasher's testimony:
"On the morning on which old Mr. Tabor was killed, while we were taking breakfast, Ferguson sat down by me and asked me what old man Zachery's sons said about their father being killed. I told him they said they intended to kill the fellow who did it. He wanted to know who they thought did it, and I told him, 'Fayette Allen'. He said they need not blame Allen with it, that he was the man that killed him and was responsible for it."
"While I was a prisoner, Ferguson asked me if I didn't think he ought to kill me. I told him I thought it would be hard to kill an unarmed man. Ferguson said no, it wouldn't and asked me if I didn't think it would bring the War to a close sooner if he killed all he took. I told him I didn't know."
"Ferguson took all the money my brother and I had with us, also some blankets and things we had drawn from the Government. We both belonged to the 18th Kentucky Calvary. During the excitement after Huddleston's attack, I jumped off my horse and ran and got away."
"Elam Huddleston and I belonged to the 12th Kentucky Calvary and to the same company when we went into service. Later on, Huddleston went off from the regiment and made up a company of his own."
From Champ Ferguson's statement:
"I killed Boswell Tabor as a bushwacker; he had killed three of my men a few days previous. He was in front of his house when I shot him. He ought to have been killed sooner."
No one knows why he called him "Boswell" instead of "Wash", which was how the witnesses referred to him.