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Indiana Progress

All Five Must Hang


The sentence of John Barnard, Sr.,, Anderson Barnard, Elisha Barnard, John Barnard, Jr., and Clint Barnard, of Hancock county, Tenn., condemned to death for the murder of Henley Sutton, near Sneedville, on January 11 last, was affirmed by the Supreme Court, which sentenced the defendants to be hanged on the 22nd of December next.

The first three prisoners are brothers and the other two are cousins, and the crime for which they will suffer death was the result of a feud that had existed for several months previous to the murder between Sutton and John Barnard, Sr. The two had some difference concerning a real estate trade, and when some hogs belonging to Surron one day appeared with marks of mutilation Sutton at once suspected Barnard.

He made threats and Barnard armed himself in anticipation of trouble. Sutton, who conducted a distillery several miles distant from Sneedville, left the latter place n the evening of the tragedy, and while riding along was met by the five men. He was shot through the heard and death was instantaneous. The body was soon discovered and John Barnard, Sr., was arrested pn suspicion. The arrest of the others soon followed, and at the May term of the Hancock county Circuit Court they were arraigned for trial. The proof was conclusive that the party concealed themselves in the bushes along the road and murdered Sutton.

Elyria Democrat

In the case of the five Barnards sentenced to be hanged for murder in Hancock County, Tenn., Governor Taylor has granted an absolute pardon to John Jr., and Elijah Barnard; commuted to five years in the penitentiary the sentence of Clint and Anderson Barnard, and to ten years that of old man John Barnard Sr.

Decatur Daily Despatch -


Tennessee Murderers Camped in the Mountains Fully Armed

Knoxville, Tenn. Jan. 1—At the last term of the Tennessee Supreme Court held in Knoxville five Barnards were convicted of the murder of Henry Sutton and sentenced to be hanged. The case attracted wide attention, especially as in a few weeks all were pardoned by the Governor of this State. A few days ago three of the Barnards and Bill Fugate, who boasts of having killed six men, went to the house of Sampson Williams, father in law of the murdered man, with the determination of killing him. Fortunately he was away.

On his return he fled to Sneedville, the county seat for protection. The Barnards are camping at a distillery near Williams’ house with homicidal intent. The county officials are taking steps to arrest them, and this will lead certainly to a bloody battle. The scene of the trouble is miles away from a telegraph line and in the heart of the Cumberland Mountains.

Freeborn County Standard

John Barnard, of Hancock county, Tenn., was fatally shot by Tilman Sutton, who in turn was immediately shot and killed by a brother of Barnard.

Steubenville Herald -

Children Burned To Death

Sneedville, Tenn., April 30.— Mary, Lula and John Hatfiled were burned to death in a mountain cabin about five miles from here. Their mother, who is a widow, had gone to a neighbor’s house, locking the children in the house.

Humestown, Iowa

On the 2d typhoid fever was reported to be raging with deadly effect in Hancock County, Tenn. Whole families had been affected and many people have died.



The Rev. Charles Kesterson is an odd Kentuckian who has been on both sides of the law. His father was one of the early pioneers of Hancock County, Tenn., and his mother was an Indian, being a member of the tribe of famous Malungeons. The Rev. Mr. Kesterson is 7 foot 8 inches tall, though he claims when in the prime of manhood he was over 8 feet tall. His weight is 309 pounds, and he is 73 years old.

When lawlessness was at its height, the Rev. Mr. Kesterson was the terror of that country. He never heard the whistle of a locomotive or say the iron monsters till a year or so aga, when he went to Knoxville. It is claimed by many of his neighbors that he has killed at least seven men. The old preacher denies this. He acknowledges the errors of his youth, but says that he never killed so many. Cincinnati Enquirer...

Middletown Daily Argus
7/24/1897 [NY]

Another Tennessee Killing Middlesboro, Ky., July 24— David Cody shot and killed James Davidson in Hancock County, Tenn., who had arrested Tony Cody at Manchester, Ky., for killing James Mullins at a Baptist meeting. The Mullins family are known as moonshiners and the Codys as desperadoes. All factions are armed and trouble is suspected.

Sedalia Missiouri
Daily Democrat
October 7, 1872

A Man buried by Lightening But Not Killed

The Jonesboro (East Tennessee) Flag is responsible for the following extraordinary statement;

Mr. John Mullens who resides on Newman's Ridge, in Hancock County, Tenn., while engaged in working in his field with his sons, there came up, suddenly, a violent thunder storm--so suddenly that a portion of those working in the field had not time to reach a shelter from the storm. Mr. Mullens, being some distance from the others, was struck by a lightening bolt, and literally driven into the soft earth of the field. His sons, not far distant, seeing him covered with dirt. They dragged him forth, and one exclaimed, "Oh! he is dead!" Immediately the old gentleman, who was a man of large frame and powerful constitution, raised himself, shook the dirt from his locks and replied to his son, "No, I'm not dead!"

He was carried to his residence, and the proper medical aid rendered, and he soon recovered from the severe shock, a remarkable monument of escape from instant death. His clothing was rent into shreds and swept from the entire body, while his shoes was literally torn to fragments. Two or three red streaks on his body were all the signs that were visible of the terrible element that prostrated him. He was, of course, knocked senseless, and so remained until his sons released him from his untimely grave.

Sept 9, 1924
Middlesboro Daily News


Madisonville, Ky. An age-old heirloom in the family of John T. Mullins, residing on the headwaters of Carr's Fork west of here on the Knott county border is an old fashioned bread tray that was hewn and carved out of a huge lynn tree in the pioneer days, as near as can be estimated, 120 years ago by his aged grandfather Henry Mullins, of the first and pioneer settlers of that section and which was handed down to the present family.

Washington Post
July 26, 1910

Heeding Revelation, He Found Pot of Gold in Caverns
From the New Orleans Times-Democrat

Thomas L. Rodgers who gives High Point, North Carolina as his home address publishes in the latest issue of the Rogersville Herald, at Rogersville, Tenn., what he avers to be a true story of how he recently discovered 90,000 in gold coin in a cave near the Clinch River in Hancock County, Tenn.

It was there he spent his childhood and he states that in a dream it was revealed to him that in the rock house cave in a lonely moutain spot near his childhood home was stored a large amount of gold. Rodgers tells that so thoroughly impressed was he with the dream that he left his North Carolina home and explored the cave. He tells that in a great room, not unlike a theater, he discovered an old kettle turned upside down. Scattered in the chamber about it were old bayonets, canteens, and other evidences that it was used as a place of refuge during the Civil War. Near the kettle was a skeleton, and on a piece of slate beside this skeleton was carved this inscription;

“The first white man reading these lines will find $90,000 in coin under this kettle. Take this money, bury this body in a lonely spot on to p of Copper Ridge, and peace shall be yours the remainder of your days.”

Rodgers, who describes himself as now an old man, avers that he carried out the wish expressed on the inscription, and with the gold in his possession returned to North Carolina. He states that he published his experience in the Rogersville paper that the friends of his childhood might know of his good luck, declaring that he had been a poor laboring man up to that time.

Middletown Daily Argus
July 24, 1897 [New York]

Another Tennessee Killing

Middlesboro, Ky., July 24— David Cody shot and killed James Davidson in Hancock County, Tenn., who had arrested Tony Cody at Manchester, Ky., for killing James Mullins at a Baptist meeting. The Mullins family are known as moonshiners and the Codys as desperadoes. All factions are armed and trouble is suspected.

Daily Iowa State Press
January 23, 1899

Deadly Feud

Battle Between Virginia and Tennessee Families Ends in Several Being Killed and Injured.

St. Louis, Jan. 23.–A special to the Post-Dispatch from Nashville, Tenn., says;

On a line between Lee County, Va., and Hancock Co. Tenn., a section remote from the telegraph, a battle occurred between 20 members of the Eddy family, of Virginia, and the Ramsey family, of Tennessee. The battle lasted several hours, during which a number of men on both sides were killed and injured. A quarrel of long standing resulted in the fight, particulars of which are not at present obtainable.

Newark Daily Advocate -
8/6/1900 [Ohio]

Four men were mortally wounded as the result of an election tragedy in Hancock county, Tenn., the victims being Sheriff John Lamb, Telman Collins, Wiley Brewer and Whitten Gibson.

Daily Citizen [Iowa]

Nashville, Tenn., May 5--- A special from Bristol, Tenn., tells of a double shooting in the mountains of that region resulting in the immediate death of one man and the mortal wounding of another. The tragedy occurred at the distillery of Washington Lindsay, which is on or very near the Virginia and Tennessee line. Deputy Sheriff Mullens, of Hancock county, Tenn., went to the distillery to arrest a man named Roy for a small offense. Mullens was accompanied by his son, a lad of 15 years old. A row ensued over the attempted arrest when Lindsay, the distiller, shot Mullens through the body. The boy, seeing his father fall, drew a pistol and shot Lindsay, killing him instantly.

Lorain County Register
4/11/1896 (Elyria, Ohio)

In Mulberry Gap, Tenn., a cloudburst drowned Mrs. Urah Anderson, aged 70, her daughter-in-law, Olly Anderson, two grandchildren, Charles, aged five years, and Hattie, aged 18 months, and Mary Fleener, aged 19.


Fatal Explosion of Boiler at Saw Mill
Near Kyles Ford, Tenn.

Special to The Washington Post.

Jonesville, Va., April 4-- A boiler at a saw mill on Elijah Catron’s farm near Kyles Ford, Tenn., exploded this morning killing seven men instantly.

The dead are: Elijah Catron Thomas Livesay Andrew Livesay Two sons of Andrew Johns Two unknown men.

The explosion was caused by low water in the bioler. The bodies were horribly burned and mangled.

Kyles Ford, Tenn
R Box 24
Dec 19, 1923

Dear Santa Claus old Friend

thought I would write you as Christmas is almost here I am But a little Boy only 2 years old and as cunning as a pet pig I know if you could see me you would say I was a cute little Fellow. I like to Ride a Round with my dad, and if you will send me some Christmas toys I will always love santa claus .

Lee Roy Weston

Kyles Ford, Tenn.
Dec 18, 1923
R. No2, Box 26

Dear Santa Clause

I am a little Boy 8 years old and I want you to send me somethings for Xmas i want some candy and some oranges and some apples and a little rubber ball and a little toy pistol and a littly toy train and it full of candy, don’t forget your little friend James Nichols.

Dear Mr. Santa Claus good bye.

Kyles Ford, Tenn
Dec. 5, 1923

Dear Santa Claus

I am a little boy 7 yers old and i want old santa to Bring me something i would Be Blesed with anything you wish to Bring me. i wamt me some candy and oranges and anything you want to bring. i wish santa Clause wold Bring me a Pair of shoes so this is written By thair little cheridens.

Joe Anderson
Kyles Ford, Tennessee
R F D No2 Box 7

Kyles Ford, Tenn
Dec. 6, 1923

Deair Santa Clause.

I am a little girle 10 years old I have no papa and my mama is poor and cant Buy me nothing for Xmas I hope you will if you dont get me something i wont have nothing I wish you would Bring me a pretty heir Bow I have pretty yellow heir it is curly it is to my waist and I have no pretty Bow to put on it and Bring me a pretty doll and some candy and Bananas to rate By a friend of those little children.

Ida Anderson
Kyles Ford Tenn.

Sandusky Daily Register

Bad Whiskey Causes Trouble

Knoxville, Tenn., Nov 29--Several young men, after filling themselves with bad whisky at Bostwick’s distillery , near Kyles Ford, started on the rampage. Deputy Sheriff Lawson availed himself of the opportunity, it is said, to settle an old grudge against a young man named Neal and made a plunge at him with a large knife, breaking the point in Neal’s arm. Neal pulled a revolver and fired five shots, killing Lawson instantly. Neal gave himself up and is now in the Sneedville jail.

His Son Bit Him

Paintsville, Ky., May 8--Magoffin County has another case of hydrophobia. Amazon Coal, the father of Joe and Tom Coal, who went mad a short time ago, has gone mad. In trying to hold the boys when they had a fit Joe bit him on the arm. The man is now raging wild, hallooing for Joe and Tommy all the time. The boys were bitten by a mad dog.

Hornellsville Weekly Tribune
[New York]


There are a singular race of people in South Carolina called the Redbones. Their origin is unknown. They resemble in appearance the gypsies, but in complexion they are red. They have accumulated considerable property and are industrious and peaceable. They live in small settlements at the foot of the mountains and associated with none but their own race. They are a proud and high spirited people. Caste is very strong among them. They enjoy life, visit the watering places and mountain resorts, but eat by themselves and keep by themselves.

When the war broke out several of them enlisted in the Hampton legion, and when the legion reached Virginia there was a great outcry among the Virginians and the troops from other states because we had enlisted Negroes. They did not resemble the African in the least, except in cases where Africans had amalgamated with Indians. This intermixture, which is common in the Carolinas, produces marvelous results. It takes the kink out of the hair of the African, straightens his features and improve him in every way except in temper---Interview with Senator Hampton.-------------

Dr. Hoyt Subject of News Article

In his column, “Over Ohio,” in the Columbus Sunday Dispatch magazine section, Dan Clancy had a note about a man familiar to many Highland Countians, Dr. W. M. Hoyt. It reads as follows:

“Medicine Man; Dr. W. M. Hoyt, 84, of Grove City (Franklin County), a physician for 55 years who practiced from 1912-1963 at Hillsboro, recalls a night call he made to treat a sick papoose among the Indians living in the Carmel neighborhood, a dozen miles southeast of Hillsboro, in 1920. He learned that none of the Indians at that time had seen a train or seen a town larger than Hillsboro, which then had a population of 4, 365; Many had never seen an automobile until Dr. Hoyt drove his into their settlement. Some 70 to 100 part-Indians still live in the area.

Union Bulletin
Walla Walla, Wash.,
Thurs Sept. 5, 1957

Final Rites Are Held for Wallowa Man

Wallowa--Services were held at the Christian Church Tuesday for Thomas Garfield Wolfe, 77, a resident of Wallowa County for 63 years, who died in the Enterprise Hospital Aug. 28. The Rev. James Sinclair officiated and burial was in the Wallowa cemetery.

He was born in Sneedville, Tenn., July 11, 1880 and came to this area at age 15. He farmed in the Wallowa Valley until his retirement.

He is survived by his wife, Cora; two granddaughters, Mrs. Harley Hart of Klamath Falls and Mrs. Margaret Thomason of Wallowa; and several nieces and nephews.

Veteran Moonshiner Caught

Knoxville, Tenn., --July 27.--(Special)

Newton Legore, a veteran moonshiner of east Tennessee has been arrested at Sneedville and bound over to court on the charge of violating the internal revenue laws. He is 54 years old and has been a moonshiner for thirty years, but this was the first time that he was ever arrested.

Tennessee Man Dies At 110

Sneedville, Tenn. [AP]---Howard Mullins, born when the Civil War was several months old, is dead at 110.

Mullins, a retired farmer died at his home in the Panther Creek section in Hancock County Sunday night. He was born Oct. 28, 1861, and was believed to be the county’s oldest residenct.

Among Mullins’ survivors are two sons, both in their 80s, who live here. They are Burkett and Eugene Mullins.

He also leaves his widow who was his second wife and a daughter, Mrs. Stella Collins, Baltimore, Md.



When the revenue Officers Come to Arrest Her She Says, “Take Me”

From the Atlanta Constitution:

Betsy Mullens is the largest woman in Tennessee. She lives in a little log house on top of Newman’s Ridge, in the mountains of Hancock County, where she earns a living by the sale of illicitly distilled whiskey in open defiance of the government officers, who have time and again been sent to arrest her, but have never been successful. Her avoirdupois is about 540 pounds, and this accounts for the woman never having bee arrested. It was in the fall of the year just passed that I visited the Mullens home, in company with the revenue officers from Knoxville.

The place where she lives is sixteen miles from the railroad, and by no means easy of access. As you near the foot of the ridge where the woman lives you can see her cabin on the top.

A conveyance cannot wend its way to the home, and those who wish to see the largest woman in Tennessee, and one who has caused more talk than any other woman in the state, have to leave their conveyance behind and make it on foot up the steep mountain side. Approaching the house, the first thing out of the ordinary which attracted my attention were four mounds in the back yard, which, upon inquiry, I learned, were the graves of her husband and three sons, the latter having given up their lives in mountain fights and had been buried in the yard, where the mother could turn from her bed in the little house and gaze at the spots which contained beneath their grassy sod all that was mortal of those who were so near and dear to her.

For years the woman has been bedridden. Not that she is sick, but her immense size is such that she is unable to walk or move around like other people. Her husband was for years an invalid, and the family was without visible means of support until Betsy conceived the idea of selling whisky. There are any number of illicit stills in the mountains near by, and just across the line in Kentucky, and with their operators Betsy made arrangements for her supply of “mountain dew.” It is brought to her in stone jugs, and from her bedside she can reach down and pour out any amount of whisky which the patrons of her place may desire. In open defiance of the law has Mrs. Mullens carried on this method of liquor selling for years.

The federal grand jury has indicted her time after time, and officers have been sent to arrest her, but that was all. They would come to her bedside and serve the papers, but could not take her to court or to jail. Her size baffled them. It would take half a dozen strong men to carry her out of the house and when the outside was reached they would not be able to get her to the road at the bottom of the ridge, as it is impossible to get a wagon to the top, where her cabin is located. Every time the officers call at the house she simply laughs and says, “Take me if you can.” The officers cannot take her and that is the end of it.

In Mrs. Mullens will be found the personifications of ignorance. Her knowledge of the world is confined to a radius of three miles of her home. She was born near the place where she lives, and has never been of off the ridge. Never saw the little county town of Tazewell, the county seat of Tazewwell county, and has never seen a railway train, although she is at present nearing the fiftieth milestone of her monotonous life. She delights in having visitors call to see her and talks interestingly. During all the years that Mrs. Mullens has been confined to her bed she has seen her three sons and husband pass to the beyond.

She could not attend the funeral services at the little church, which is situated several miles from her home, and the funeral services if such they might be called were held in the rooms where the mother and wife lay on the bed, and their bodies were laid to rest just outside the door in the back yard, where she could witness the interment. The woman takes her misfortune good naturedly, and says that she will continue the sale of whisky until her time to die has come, and then she too expects to be laid to rest beside the bodies of her husband and sons in the little plot in the back yard, known as the family burying ground of the Mullens family.

Massilion Independent


Why Mary Mullins Sells Moonshine Whisky With Impunity

Once again Mary Mullins is driving the revenue officers of Tennessee to desperation. She is making moonshine whisky and selling the same and doing both openly and defiantly. A dozen warrants have been issued for her arrest. A dozen revenue officers have started out to serve them and conduct Mary in triumph to jail. Mary invariably has received warrants and officers in person and with hospitable welcome. “The warrants are correct.” she invariably says “I am guilty as charge. I am yours. Take me.”

And not an officer yet has been found who was capable of taking her at her word or taking her in any other way. For the fact is Mary tips the beam at 690 pounds, and, furthermore, she has so outgrown the width of any door in the house in which she lives that to get her out of doors would involve a technical tearing down of the house over head. This the revenue officers have no authority to do. So they merely walk around Mary in dumb despair. They are absolutely helpless to enforce the law. Mary’s fat cheeks quiver with the husky chuckles which with her pass for a laugh and urges the minions of the law to do was the law directs.

“Why don’t you do your duty?” she asks in her fat, wheezy voice. “I’ve been selling moonshine right along. Goin to do it ag’in too, soon’s you uns gits out er sight. Why don’t yon take me: I’m all yourn–about 700 pounds of me. Take me along with you now.”

Thus does Mary tantalize Uncle Sam’s excise men until they go off in despair, leaving Mrs Mullins mistress of the situation.

It is on a lonely mountain in Hancock County, Tenn., that Mrs. Mullins has her abode. She has lived there all her life, and never has seen even so much as a village.

Daily City Citizen

Three Drowned

Nashville, Tenn., April 19–While crossing Clinch River, near Kyle’s Ford a boat became entangled in net lines and was overturned. The occupants–an unknown woman and two little girls were thrown into the stream and drowned. It is believed they were from the flooded district.

Trenton Times

A Woman and her Children Drowned

Nashville, April 19— A canoe while crossing Clinch River, near Kyle’s ford, was overturned. It’s occupants, an unknown woman and two children, were drowned.

The Newark Dail Advocate
June 29, 1896

A Rooster Attacks a Babe

Chattanooga, June 29----- The 3-year old son of S. P. Surgher at Kyle’s Ford went into the barnyard. The little fellow was attacked by a large game rooster, and in trying to get away stumbled and fell. The bird pecked the child’s face and thrust it’s spur into the little one’s throat, severing an artery. When the mother arrived on the scene the rooster was still striking the child with his spurs, and the little fellow was unconscious. The boy nearly bled to death.

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