The Pardon of William Smoot

Contributed By: Bob Raisor

A copy of a pardon issued by President Grant to William Smoot,  David Cox and Simon Margoyles.

They were convicted under what is believed to have been the Enforcement Acts after the Civil War.
William Smoot, was tried and was acquitted in the killing of a U. Marshall in Owenton in the 1870s.
The case drew the attention of the New York Times and of course the Courier Journal because of the unfairness of the verdict. A photo of William Smoot and his sister, Julia Ann Smoot Raisor can be viewed here.




The Klan in Owen and Henry Counties

This report appeared in the New York Times of September 10, 1874 

The Kentucky Ku Klux Klan

Official Report of the Owen County Outrages 
The Deputy United States Marshal's Detailed
Account of Them and of his Own Peril

Gen. E. H. Murray, United States Marshall for Kentucky, has forwarded to 
the District Attorney the report, given below, of the troubles in Owen 
County, that State, which his deputy, Willis Russell, has prepared, and has 
indorsed it as follows: "I appointed Willis Russell Deputy United States 
Marshal upon information that he was a reliable man, and charged him with the 
duty of which he speaks. An examination into the facts, aside from his 
report, made by me in person in the region of country named, convinces me 
that he is a reliable man; that his report is worthy of every consideration; 
that he has done his duty and no more. Violations of the laws to begin with, 
an evasion of arrest by those charged with crime before the courts, and a 
systematized resistance to the officers of the law, is the cause of these 
disturbances." The following is the report:

Monterey, Ky., Sept. 1.

Gen. Eli J. Murray, United States Marshal, Louisville, Ky.:

Dear Sir: In obedience to your request for a detailed statement of the late 
difficulties in Owen, Henry, and Franklin Counties, and also of my actions as 
a Deputy United States Marshal, I have the honor to submit the following 

I live at Monterey, in Owen County, Ky., and was born and reared near that 
place. About the year 1870 bands of armed men, disguised and masked, began 
committing depredations in the vicinity of Monterey and Gistville, two small 
villages, the former being in Owen and the latter immediately opposite, in 
Henry County. They were known as Kuklux, and were in the habit of visiting 
the houses of citizens, disguised as stated, in the night-time, and 
inflicting summary punishment, without charge, reason, or excuse. The parties 
thus visited by them were mostly poor colored men, living in humble cabins, 
but they would sometimes attack a white citizen of the poorer class. 
Sometimes they would kill the parties whom they visited. Sometimes they would 
whip their victims severely, and occasionally burn the houses in which they 
lived. They would give no reasons for their conduct, but contented themselves 
with these summary proceedings without explanation. About the commencement of 
these difficulties, four men, George Hoover, John Robinson, ----- Lockart, 
and Benjamin Moreland, came to me and told me that they belonged to the 
Kuklux, and solicited me to join their party. I asked them what their object 
was, and they told me that they had organized for the purpose of driving the 
negroes from the State. They proposed to give me an office if I would join 
them, saying that, as I had been four years in the Southern army during the 
late war, I would make a good officer, and they therefore desired my 
services. They also stated that they had made a similar proposition to a Mr. 
Wash. Jones, who lived in the same locality. They said their organization was 
composed of good, reliable men, and that their object was not only to drive 
the negroes from Kentucky, but also all Radicals who were in favor of 
negroes. I told them that I did not want to engage in anything unlawful; that 
I had just returned from the army, and I wanted to try and make some money 
honestly and get a start in the world; that I did not believe their 
organization was either lawful or meritorious. I advised them to withdraw 
from the Klan, and told one of them especially that he had a family to 
provide for, and he could employ his time more profitably than in Kuklux 
raids. At this time I was acting as clerk in a country store in the upper end 
of Owen County. They requested me not to say anything about their proposition 
to me. They would occasionally visit the store and purchase material from me, 
telling me that they were getting the goods for the purpose of making gowns 
and masks. A short time afterward the Kuklux made a raid in the neighborhood 
above me in Scott County. It was made against the negroes who live in and 
about the village of Stamping Ground. They ordered all the negroes they saw 
to leave the country within ten days; if nor, they would kill them all and 
burn their houses. They shot and killed an old negro man and wounded several 
others. The negroes at one place returned the fire, killing one of their 
party, who was left by them on the road. When the mask was removed from his 
face, the next morning, he was ascertained to be a man named Foree, a school 
teacher near Harper's Ferry, in Henry County. This raid created quite an 
excitement throughout the community, especially in the immediate vicinity 
where it occurred. Many persons approved of the raid, while others, myself 
being one of the latter, denounced it as cruel and uncalled for. I remarked 
that I thought Foree deserved no pity, and that if the negroes had killed the 
entire party it would have been perfectly right; that the negroes had been 
attacked without any reason, and it was their right and duty to defend 
themselves. I soon found that my remarks had given offense, especially to 
those who I knew belonged to the Kuklux Klan. Some of them advised me to be 
careful about what I said. Some tried to convince me that it was a good 
thing, and said they would not have supposed that a reel soldier like I had 
been, would be opposed to it. I continued, however, to denounce it in severe 
terms, and I soon found that I had gained the enmity of the Kuklux. Men who 
were really opposed to the organization began to be afraid to talk about 
them, not knowing at what moment they might be attacked themselves. Learning 
that Gov. Stevenson was distributing arms to the malitia for the purpose of 
suppressing outlaws in Kentucky, at the suggestion of several reliable 
citizens I wrote to the Governor asking permission to raise a company of 
militia, to be ready in case of an emergency. The Governor answered 
immediately, and authorized me to organize the company, stating that he would 
send an enrolling officer to muster them in. The company was partly formed 
when I received intelligence from Frankfort that we could not get any arms, 
and consequently it was disbanded.

Shortly after this I went to Gratz to reside. Gratz is a small village in the 
lower portion of Owen County, on the Kentucky River. I think it was in the 
Spring of 1872 that I went there to reside. During all this time the Kuklux 
continued their depredations, and I continued to denounce them. I found that 
they were mainly composed of trifling, ignorant, depraved men and thoughtless 
youths, who had been induced to join by the persuasion of the leaders. These 
youths are, many of them, of good families; hence such terrible efforts to 
shield them. I finally began to hear that these men had threatened me; and if 
the Fall or Winter of 1872, about 11 o'clock one night, a squad of them, 
armed, mounted, and disguised, rode up to the house where I was boarding in 
Gratz, and called for me. I looked at them through the window, and saw that 
they were armed and disguised, and refused to come out. I knew one of the men 
by his voice, I refer to John Onan. When they found that I would not come out 
to them they rode out a short distance to the edge of a little wood near the 
house, and halted. Several citizens of the town having come up at this time, 
the squad of Kuklux commenced firing on them. They then rode away. 
Fortunately no one was shot by them in the difficulty. Not very long after 
this a party of them went to a cabin on the farm of W. M. Bourne, in Henry 
County, where an old negro man named Jordan Mosby and his family resided. 
They shot and wounded his son, who was about eighteen years of age, and he is 
consequently paralyzed for life. None of his assailants have been punished, 
although he recognized the men who shot him, and some of them were arrested. 
Shortly after this they attacked an old man named Williams, who resided near 
Guestville, in Henry County. Williams was sixty-five or seventy years of age. 
He had borne an excellent character all his life, and what they could have 
had against him no mortal can tell. They wounded him terribly in the arm. He 
was a brave man, and returned their fire, and, it is said, wounded Bill 
Smoot, who was, no doubt, the leader of the party. Smoot has never denied it. 
This Bill Smoot is considered the leader of the Kuklux Klan. He is a terror 
to the community. Several years ago he killed a man named John B. Roberts at 
Gratz. This constituted him a hero in his own opinion, and ever since then he 
seems to take great pride in being considered a desperado. Hence he became a 
prominent character in this organization, whose name is a terror throughout 
the State.

After Williams sufficiently recovered, he went to Frankfort and applied to 
Gov. Leslie. The Governor promptly offered rewards for the apprehension of 
Williams' assailants, and sent them to me through the hands of W. H. Walker 
at Monterey. One of the parties implicated by Williams was Harvie Grubbs. On 
the Monday following the Governor's proclamation I arrested Grubbs at 
Guestville. Bill Smoot was there at the time and ordered Grubbs not to go 
with me. I got between Smoot and Grubbs, and drew my pistol and forced Grubbs 
to go. Smoot that night gathered together a band of fifteen or twenty men, 
armed with shot-guns and pistols, and followed me all the way to Newcastle, 
intending as they afterward said, to kill me, together with two young men 
whom I had with me as guards. I got to Newcastle, however, before they could 
catch me, and placed the prisoner in jail. I then went to Eminence, expecting 
to take the first train for Frankfort. I had not been in Eminence, however, 
but a few minutes when Smoot and his party came in after me. They stated 
there that they intended to kill me. I was in the hotel with the two young 
men when Smoot and his men came up. I remained in the hotel at the request of 
the Town Marshal, as he said it was our only means of escape. The Marshal 
sent our horses out on the Frankfort Road, and after dark we slipped out, got 
our horses, and rode them to Frankfort that night. The next morning I called 
on Gov. Leslie and told him all the circumstances of the case, and asked him 
if something could not be done with Smoot and his party. The Governor replied 
that it was certainly an outrage, but under the existing circumstances he 
could do nothing, as the Legislature had virtually tied his hands. He told 
me, however, to return home, and I should not be molested for making the 
arrest. Grubbs was shortly afterward released from jail, I know not for what 
reason. I don't know whether he has ever been tried yet.

After leaving Frankfort, and while on my road to Monterey, Smoot and his 
party came out on the road a few minutes after I had passed, expecting to 
catch me. They came down the road and stopped at a house near Monterey, and 
stated that they intended to kill me, and both of the men who were with me, 
in retaliation for the arrest of Grubbs, who was then in jail.

In July, 1873, the Kuklux murdered a colored man named Lewis Wilson. Wilson 
was a peaceable, inoffensive negro, and resided on the farm of Mrs. Mason 
Brown, in Owen County. They went to his house in the night, broke open his 
door, and immediately shot him dead. There were seventeen men in this gang. 
It was about two miles from Gratz, and I could hear the report of their guns 
while they were shooting him. After murdering Wilson they set fire to his 
house and burned it to the ground. Wilson, in his dying declarations, 
mentioned the names of several of the party whom he recognized. I am 
confident that Wilson was killed simply because he had offered to lend me a 
horse to assist me in taking Grubbs to Newcastle.

After the murder of Wilson, the Governor offered a reward of $500 each for 
the apprehension and conviction of the seventeen men engaged. A correspondent 
of the Courier-Journal was sent to Owen County, who informed me that he had 
had a conversation with the Governor, and that the Governor desired me to 
catch those men, if possible. One of the parties engaged in this raid, a boy 
about eighteen years of age, confessed that he was one of the gang, and gave 
the names of nearly all the parties engaged. I then arrested one of the 
parties mentioned by the boy, when he also made a confession. I took him 
before Judge Roberts, the County Judge of Owen, where he hade affidavit to 
all except four of the party. On the following day I arrested three of them 
and took them to Owenton and placed them in jail. The others, hearing of 
this, went into the woods, and three of them were shortly afterward taken out 
to Indiana by Bill Smoot. A short time afterward the Governor of Kentucky 
gave me a requisition and sent me to Indiana after them. I caught one of 
them, John Onan, who was at the time with Bill. I took Onan before Judge 
Roberts, and he confessed that he was in the gang who killed F. Wilson, and 
made oath to three more. The following day after I returned with Onan I 
arrested Henry Triplett, who likewise confessed and gave the same names as 
Onan. One of these men was admitted to bail, and two were sent to the 
Louisville Jail for safe-keeping (having previously escaped from the Owenton 
Jail.) Onan was tried in November and acquitted. He did not introduce any 
proof in his own behalf. Two of this accomplices turned State's evidence, and 
two witnesses were also introduced who proved his confession. Yet he was 
acquitted. He was, however, held to bail for burning the house after being 
acquitted of the murder.

About this time I was appointed by you as United States Deputy Marshal, and 
have been acting in that capacity ever since.

A short time after the murder of Wilson a man came to me and told me that he 
belonged to the Kuklux, but said he was tired of them, and said if I would 
promise not to molest him that he would expose their proceedings and their 
objects to me. I promised him that if he would keep me posted in regard to 
their movements that I would not molest him. He then told me that there was a 
gang of fifty organized on Twin Creek, whose object was to drive the negroes 
out of the country. He stated that their regular meetings were on every 
second Saturday night in each month. On one Tuesday he came to me and told me 
that they had called a meeting for the following Thursday night, for the 
purpose of going to the house of Wm. Plasters and killing him that night and 
burning his house, and that they were then to come on to Gratz and kill me 
and burn Gratz, and then go down to Brown's Bottom and kill all the negroes. 
I notified Plasters of the danger, and he got out of the way and came to 
Gratz that night. The Klan went to Plasters', and not finding him at home, 
tore up nearly everything in his house. Finding that the citizens of Gratz 
were prepared for them, they did not come to that place, but went on to 
Owenton, and stopping at Walker's Hotel, called for me, and told Walker to 
tell me if I did not stop arresting Kuklux they would hang me to the highest 
tree in the woods, and then left. I then sent word to the leader of this gang 
if they did not disband I would have every one of them arrested. After that 
they kept themselves and their meetings quite secret.

In February you sent a squad of soldiers to Owen to act in conjunction with 
me. Since then I have made several arrests. I arrested Jim Oskins, John Onan, 
Billy Walston, Wm. Razor, Fielding Douthitt, Reuben Clements, Joseph Hoskins, 
and Wm. Smoot. On the way to Louisville Wm. Smoot made his escape. The other 
prisoners were all held to bond for their appearance at the October Term of 
the United States Court at Louisville.

About this time Bluford Woods, one of the men who had turned State's evidence 
at the trial of Onan, was either run off or killed. I think he was murdered, 
as he has not been seen or heard of since.

Last May James M. Walker was shot and cruelly murdered by Wm. Smoot and John 
C. Smoot in the Town of Owenton He was quietly walking down the street, 
anticipating no trouble whatever, when the two Smoots commenced firing at him 
out of Hill's Hotel. The detachment of soldiers had been removed from Owen 
County the day previous, as everything was quiet at the time and it was 
thought they would no longer be needed. The next day these two Smoots, for 
whom I had writs of arrest, came into Owenton and inquired of a little boy 
from Monterey if the soldiers were gone. Being informed that they had gone, 
the Smoots then replied that they had some work to do. They said that there 
were writs against them from the Federal court for shooting a ----- negro, 
and that they expected to leave the country, but before they left that they 
intended to fix some ---- white men who had been instrumental in having the 
writs issued. They carried this threat into execution by killing Walker that 
same evening. While the Smoots were firing at Walker, at least forty of their 
klan were yelling all over town, and several of them fired at Walker from the 
court-house yard. He was literally riddled with bullets. After this murder 
they reloaded their pistols and leisurely walked out of town, remarking that 
they had killed one of the ----- Radical dogs, and that the balance had 
better look out. The Sheriff of Owen County was in town with three Deputies, 
and could easily have summoned a sufficient posse to have arrested them, but 
made no effort whatever. The Town Marshal did attempt to make the arrest, but 
the Smoots and their klan drew their pistols and forbade him making the 
arrest, saying if he attempted it they would kill him. Seeing that the civil 
officers did not intend to molest them, and fearing that some of them would 
waylay the road and shoot me, I dispatched to you for a squad of soldiers, 
which was immediately sent. Having writs against those men I scoured the 
hills in search of them, but the country being mountainous and rough, and 
they having so many allies to carry them news, I found it impossible to 
arrest them. The soldiers were withdrawn about the 1st of July. As soon as 
they had been again withdrawn, the Kuklux became more boisterous than ever. 
They made a raid on an old man named Hayden, living on Elkhorn, and 
threatened to come into Monterey and burn the town. At a Masonic barbecue 
given at Monterey some two months since, one of the party (Green Barr) 
slipped up behind Charles Walker and attempted to shoot him in the back, and, 
but for the timely interference of a friend, would have murdered Charles 
Walker, as they did his brother, a few weeks before, at Owenton. On election 
day this same man, Green Barr, came into Monterey and fired out of a small 
piece of woods at Henry Triplett. Triplett had no intimation of it until Barr 
commenced firing at him, and the only reason that can be assigned is that 
Triplett is a witness against the Kuklux who are indicted in the United 
States Court. After the shooting, Barr immediately galloped away. Ever since 
then Barr has been living around in the woods with the Smoots, making threats 
that they intended to kill Triplett and myself, and all others who had 
rendered me assistance. I could hear of them mustering their forces, riding 
the road with double-barreled shotguns, and I was advised to leave Monterey 
by nearly all my friends, but there were some who desired me to stay, saying 
that they had given me assistance--that if I left the Kuklux would kill them. 
I summoned a few young men to stay with me, expecting every day to be 
attacked by the Klan. On Saturday, Aug. 22, the day set for the trial of Barr 
and Triplett, Barr sent me word by the Constable that he was coming to town 
with a hundred men.

I could hear them firing their guns around Monterey that morning, and 
believed from the signs that they were coming. About 1 o'clock, five or six 
men rode into town armed with pistols, all of whom were well-known Kuklux. 
They were led by County Attorney Perry, who also was armed with two pistols. 
Perry is said to be one of their leaders. He has been known to say in his 
public speeches that he did not like to prosecute them, as he had nothing 
against them, but his oath compelled him to prosecute them. George T. 
Mefford, one of the men who helped to murder James M. Walker, was also in the 
crowd. He is a noted Kuklux, and has been known to command them. When these 
men came into town a boy came running in and said that there were fifteen or 
twenty men out on the road, with shot-guns, among whom were Green Barr, one 
of the Smoots, and Sim. Margoyles, another notorious Kuklux. I then believed 
that they meant to kill me, and went over to Tucker's Hotel, where Tom and 
Charles Walker were, and then started to go over to the house where the 
balance of my guards were. We had to pass Hardin's store, where this man 
Mefford was standing. We noticed him with his hand on his pistol, and just as 
we got to the corner of the store he made an effort to draw it, when both of 
the Walker boys fired. Mefford then ran up the street in the direction of my 
quarters, and we followed him. During this time William Hall, one of the 
gang, fired at me with his pistol. After the shooting Mefford mounted his 
horse, behind some one, and left town. He went in the direction of his 
friends, who were all along the road between Monterey and Owenton. There were 
two citizens who started to leave town when the shooting commenced. They went 
over the hill, expecting to get rid of this party on the road, but they say 
they ran into quite a number of armed men in the bushes.

The whole thing seemed to me to be a deliberate plan to murder me. Else why 
so many armed men known to be Kuklux of the severest stripe! Mr. Perry has 
given a version of the affair, in which he says that he was shot at by some 
one in Monterey. I append the affidavit of several citizens of that town, 
marked Note A, to show the falsity of his assertion. I also append the 
statement of the two magistrates before whom the cause was pending, showing 
that although the case was set for tr5ial against us for shooting at Barr, at 
10 o'clock A.M., and we had a right then to have demanded a trial, that we 
consented to postpone it till 2 o'clock, for the prosecuting witnesses to 
come in, which they failed to do. Said statement is marked Note B.

On his return to Owenton, Mr. Perry swore out writs for myself and the two 
Walker boys. The Police Judge of Owenton who issued those writs has 
acknowledged that he himself was a Kuklux. The Sheriff then came to Monterey, 
and stopping at the edge of the town, told a citizen that he had writs for 
myself and Tom Walker, and that he was coming to take us. This citizen said 
that he did not think we would surrender, as the road was lined with Kuklux, 
and remarked that some men who were then with the Sheriff, and acting as his 
posse, had been spotted as Kuklux for the last year. He said he thought we 
would be foolish to surrender to such men.

When the Sheriff came into town I showed him my authority as Deputy United 
States Marshal, and told him all the circumstances. He replied that he did 
not doubt my authority, but said he could not recognize it. I then refused to 
surrender; and, although I was perfectly willing to have undergone a fair 
trial, it would have been death for me to have surrendered at that time. The 
next day the Sheriff came with a posse of over thirty men, most of whom, 
without any authority, had volunteered their services to arrest me. At least 
twenty-five of those men were notorious Kuklux, and known to be such by the 
Sheriff. The notorious Mose Webster, with six men, was also operating against 
us on his own responsibility, without any authority whatever. William and Jim 
Hoskins were also operating against us with sixteen men, without any 
authority whatever. Jim Hoskins and five or six of his men were under 
indictment in the Federal Court for Kukluxing. Bill Smoot was also operating 
against us with eighteen or twenty men, without any authority. Smoot was 
under indictment in the Federal Court for Kukluxing, and also in the Owen 
Circuit Court for the murder of James M. Walker. The Sheriff at the time had 
a search-warrant in his pocket for the arrest of Smoot. Dick New also had 
twenty men acting without orders. Some of these men had been dodging the 
officers of the law, and had not been seen before that time for more than a 

About this time the State troops arrived; they said they had come to arrest 
all parties concerned. A young man told them that if they wanted to catch 
Smoot and his men they were only a few hundred yards off; but they made no 
effort to arrest them. They also had an opportunity to have arrested Hoskins 
and his men, but they failed to do so. I think they were acting under 
instructions of the Sheriff. There were over a hundred men besides the State 
troops after us, and had you not opportunely arrived with your forces they 
would doubtless have murdered us all.

About two months since Henry Triplett, an important witness against them, was 
taken by force out of the field where he was at work, and taken by the Klan 
into the bushes, where they kept him for several days. One of the party who 
helped to take him was under indictment in the United States Court. His 
half-brother, Monroe Christopher, heard of it and went and recaptured his 
brother. A short time after this I sent Monroe Christopher and my brother, 
Wm. Russell, to Lockport with written authority to ascertain if any of the 
parties for whom I had writs were in that vicinity, and to arrest them. Jim 
Hoskins, who was under bond, in the Federal Court for Kukluxing, went before 
a magistrate and obtained a writ for their arrest for carrying concealed 
deadly weapons. After this writ was issued, they were set upon by a band of 
Kuklux, with Hoskins at their head, under the pretext of arresting them. 
Monroe Christopher was badly wounded by a shot from Jim Hoskins, and William 
Russell had his skull fractured by a stone thrown by William Hoskins; they 
were both left for dead on the streets. They were afterward picked up and 
taken to Gratz, where they are now both lying in a very critical condition. 
The Kuklux knew full well that Christopher and Russell were sent to Lockport 
by me, and all this was done to prevent them from making any arrests or 
effecting any discoveries.

So far as the last difficulty between Barr and others is concerned, I desire 
to say that I never contemplated making any resistance whatever to the civil 
authorities. I never contemplated injuring Mr. County Attorney Perry in any 
manner whatever. His charge that I had threatened him is entirely false. If 
he had come to Monterey quietly and done his duty, without bringing an armed 
body of Kuklux who were bent on my destruction, I do not believe there would 
have been any difficulty whatever. Instead of that, he came armed to the 
teeth with a band of cruel outlaws who had repeatedly threatened my life, and 
even then we only acted on the defensive.

More than 100 men have been killed, wounded, or driven away from that portion 
of Owen and Henry Counties lying on the Kentucky River by the Kuklux in the 
last three years. These have been mostly colored people, although some white 
men are included. Among the number I will mention Sam Crew (colored) and 
family, James Bourne (colored) and family, John Dickerson (colored) and 
family, Wallace Dickerson (colored), Jordan Mosby (colored) and family, one 
of his boys being shot; Levi Fishback (colored), Al. Towles (colored) and his 
brothers and mother, Thornton Dunlap (colored). They killed four colored 
people on Sand Ripple in Henry County. They have also driven away several 
white men, among whom are Richard E. Williams (also wounded), William 
Plasters, C. M. Lindall, W. H. Walker, and all his brothers except James M. 
Walker, whom they murdered. They also drove away an old man named Hiles and 
his family.

The majority of the people are all good citizens, and are at heart violently 
opposed to those Kuklux, but they are under a reign of terror, and are really 
afraid to express their opinions, not knowing what moment they will have to 
pay the penalty. Whenever the country is ridden of these pests it will be as 
flourishing a community as it was before the ku klux klan organization. In 
conclusion, I would respectfully state that ever since my appointment I have 
tried to do my duty fearlessly, faithfully, and impartially. Under your 
instructions I have been careful to keep entirely in the bounds of my duty, 
and feel confident that I have done so.

The foregoing is a reliable statement of the difficulties and their origin, 
although many minor incidents have been omitte4d which I deem immaterial. 
Hoping that the time may soon arrive when the country will be entirely 
relieved from these annoyances and troubles, I remain, with great respect,


Deputy United States Marshal.

The item below is from Covington's newspaper The Ticket, of 11/16/1875. 
On Saturday [11/13/1875] Judge Emmons sentenced the three Ku-Klux, Smoot, 
Onan, and Meffert, who has [sic] been found guilty of "conspiracy to injure 
Willis Russell while engaged in the lawful discharge of his duty as U. S. 
Marshall, and endeavoring to execute this conspiracy by persuing him with 
armed bands of men bent upon his death." Smoot was sentenced to five years 
in the penitentiary, Onan to three years, and Meffert, who was recommended 
mercy was not sentenced, the Judge stating that he would bear in mind his 
present physical condition caused by severe wounds, and sentence him as 
lightly as possible, in a short time. A. W. Hall, who was indicted with the 
other three, was found not guilty. Counsel for the defense asked court not 
to send the prisoners to Frankfort penitentiary, on account of family, etc., 
but the request was overruled.

Mefford - Walker

Contributed By: Don Johnson

Geo. T. Mefford sued Tom Walker and another where the Owen County Grand Jury accused Thomas M. Walker, Willis Russell, William Graves, Charles Walker and John Wilson of the crime of willfully and maliciously shooting and wounding another person with the intent to kill said person unlawfully.

 The Grand Jury said that (these men) in the said County of Owen on the ___day of August A.D. 1874, with force and arms feloniously did willfully maliciously and unlawfully, and not in the necessary self defense of them or either of them, shoot at and wound George Mefford with guns and pistols, said guns and pistols being deadly weapons loaded with powder and leaden balls or other hard substances, which guns and pistols the said Thomas M. Walker, Willis Russell, William Graves, Charles Walker and John Wilson there and then held in their hands, thereby inflicting upon the person and body of the said George Mefford one and more severe and dangerous wounds, with the felonious intent him the said George Mefford thus and there to kill and murder, but of which shooting and wounding the said George Mefford did not die.

Contributed By: Don Johnson to the KY-Feud Mailing List

Smoot - Walker Feud

Owen Circuit Court
Geo. T. Mefford  Plaintiff
Vs.    Petition
T. M. Walker, Jr.   Defendant

The defendant T. M. Walker presents this his petition in the above styled action which has been commenced in the Circuit Court for Owen County, Kentucky, and states that the plaintiff George T. Mefford is a citizen of the State of Kentucky and was so at the commencement of this action - that this petitioner is a citizen of the state of Indiana - that the matter in dispute exceeds the sum of $500.00 exclusive of costs - that this suit is one in which there can be a final determination of the controversy so far as it concerns him without the presence of the other defendants as parties in the case.  He says further that he has reason to and does believe that from prejudice and local influence he will not be able to obtain justice in this State Court.
The petitioner therefore presents this his petition and affidavit for the removal of this suit into the next Circuit Court of the United States to be held in this the Kentucky district, and he here and now offers to execute bond with good and sufficient surety for his entering in such Circuit Court of the United States for the Kentucky District copies of all process, pleadings, depositions, testimony and other proceedings in this suit, and doing such other appropriate acts as by the laws of the United States are required to be done for the removal of the suit into said United States Court.  He therefore prays that this Court accept said security and proceed no further in this suit.
T. M. Walker

T. M. Walker says that the statements of the foregoing petition are true.
T. M. Walker

Sworn to before me by T. M. Walker this May 11, 1875
Jo C. Revill
Clk Owen Cir Ct.

An identical petition was filed by Willis Russell dates May 11, 1875 also.



Willis Russell, Thomas M. Walker, Charles Walker, James Russell, Thomas Wilson, John Wilson, William Graves and Henry Triplett

Owen Criminal Court
September Term A.D., 1874

The Grand Jurors of the County of Owen in the name and by the authority of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, accuse Willis Russell, Thomas M. Walker, Charles Walker, James Russell, Thomas Wilson, John Wilson, William Graves and Henry Triplett of the Crime of Murder Committed in manner and form as follows, to=wit: The said Willis Russell, Thomas M. Walker, Charles Walker, James Russell, Thomas Wilson, John Wilson, William Graves and Henry Triplett in the said County of Owen on the 10th day of August A.D. 1874, with force and arms feloniously did willfully and maliciously and with malice
aforethought and not in the necessary self-defense of them or eithers of them, shoot and wound John  Smoot with guns and pistols deadly weapons loaded with powder and leaden balls or other hard substances.  Then and there, thereby, inflicting upon the body and person of the said John Smoot one and more mortal wounds and this shooting and wounding then and there
with the felonious intent to kill and murder him the said John C. Smoot and of which said mortal wounds as aforesaid inflicted the said John C. Smoot did then and there languish and immediately thereafter die.
Contrary to the form of the statue in such cases made and provided, and against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth of Kentucky
        W. Montfort
 Commonwealth Attorney


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