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Brindle Ridge: The Rigsby Connection 1903

Rigsby Home
Submitted by without prejudice Kate Cain Rigbsy Bynum

Purr Andrew Rigsby, along with his first cousin William Robert Rigsby nicknamed “Jack”, son of Robert Thomas Rigbsy and Elizabeth Catherine “Cat” Murray, had become involved in an argument with three men while visiting Winstead’s Camp in Mount Vernon, Kentucky (see photo in Photos section). The three men left before Purr and Jack, so they could lie in ambush along the road. When they come by, Greeley Lear fired his gun and instantly killed Jack. Purr jumped from his horse to the ground so he could return the deadly gunfire. Purr killed one man. The others ran down the road with Purr chasing them. Soon, Armp Roland fell dead, a twenty-one year old victim to Purr’s smoking gun. Soon, a trail followed. My great grandfather Watt Rigbsy said his mother and father (Purr and Lucy Rigbsy) hitched up the horses and wagon to go to the trial each day for several weeks.

Purr never served a jail sentence, for he was judged innocent on self-defense.

Greeley Lear. On the other hand, served nearly seven years for murdering William Robert “Jack” Rigsby . He swore that he would kill Purr when he got out of jail. (Greeley Lear & Purr Rigbsy was both around thirty years old.)

At this time, Mrs. Maggie Lear’s home was the community post office and barber shop. As Greeley was released from jail, he spread word that he still had a grudge against Purr to settle.

Days later, Purr went to the post office, got his mail, and chatted with the postmaster. He’d been seen by Greeley, who was getting his hair cut. It is said that he jumped up from the barbers chair and grabbed his gun, and said, “I’m going to kill Purr Rigsby.” Running into the post office part of the building where Purr was talking, Greeley yelled ‘Purr, turn around”! When he did, Greeley shot Purr in the chest. Purr then ripped open his coat, pulled out a gun he’d hidden there, and shot Greeley in the bowels. Greeley was taken home by some friends as Purr rode home on his horse and went to bed.

With little advancement in medicine in the rural areas, surgery could not be preformed. The local doctor merely shook his head and said both men would die. Some reason’s given to support this was the hot, dry weather which usually caused wounds to become rotten. The old doc was half right; Greeley Lear did die and was buried near Armp Roland. Purr, however, survived and carried Greeley’s bullet in one of his lungs until he died, nearing his ninety-ninth birthday.

Purr Rigsby is buried at the Brodhead Christian Church Cemetery in Brodhead, Kentucky
Paris Greeley Lear is buried at John Moss Cemetery in Hiatt area of Brindle Ridge, Kentucky

Written By: a Great Great Grandson of Purr Rigbsy

Kate Cain-Rigbsy-Bynum’s note: Article appeared in the Mt Vernon Signal Ky., newspaper October 8, 1897. Man being charged with William Robert “Jack” Rigsby's murder was Greeley Lear.Armp Rowland was a cousin to Greeley Lear, and they were both raised by their grandmother. Greeley Lear’s tombstone says he died March 17, 1903. This might have been a "family" type feud since so many Lear's married with Rigsby's. There is rumor now that the argument might have started over a 'dog."