Archiver > CUMBERLAND-RIVER > 2000-06 > 0960866381

From: "Nancy Jonckheere" <>
Subject: [CRR] RE: Baker/White feud
Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2000 23:19:41 -0400

The Baker/White feud, also known as the White-Baker War had to do with the
Clay County Whites. As far as I know, it never involved the Whitley Whites
except perhaps by accident (supposedly a Whitley White was shot by mistake,
but I have never been able to prove it). I don't know a lot about it but I
have heard a little about what got the whole thing going, years earlier.

The Clay County Whites are descended from Hugh Lowery White who headed the
KY militia for quite a time. He's also not to be confused with Hugh Lawson
White, senator from TN who ran for the presidency against Martin Van Buren.
To say that these Whites were a colorful lot is quite an understatement.
They were kind of the J.R. Ewings of nineteeth century KY. Hugh's son John
Daugherty White was the only Whig Speaker of the House. He committed
suicide (shot himself in the head). Hugh himself also committed suicide
(hanged himself in 1857 at the age of 80) in the same house in Richmond KY
where his son died (now owned by I think, the library there) because the
ghosts of two slaves he'd killed were chasing him. But at least a part of
the White-Baker thing goes back even farther.

In Mercer County (can't remember the exact date but in the neighborhood of
1828), Gen. Hugh White had invited a number of people to a party at his home
there (he had a number of homes in KY). Two of the guests were Gov. Sam
Houston and his bride. The story goes that Sam caught the General trying to
play a little hanky-panky with his wife and flew into a rage. He challenged
Hugh to a duel, but got antsy about the whole thing and took a shot at the
general a few hours early. The Mercer records show that Houston was
arrested and charged with attempted murder. Whether Hugh was wounded
slightly is open to debate. This is where it gets interesting. The sheriff
was a man by the name of Baker who also couldn't stand Hugh White. The
story is that he threw Houston out of jail, thanked him for trying to kill
White and told him to never come back to KY. The Mercer records say no more
about it, but the charges were never dropped and Houston never was tried.
Houston went back to TN, resigned as governor, let his wife divorce him and
went to live with the Indians for a while, all before heading to Texas.
Anyway, the story is that the Whites never forgave the Bakers and hated them
to such an extent, that they blamed any Baker, claiming they were all in it
together. This was a hatred past down through the years until it's violent
surface in SE KY in roughly the 1880's.

I would like to stress that none of the Whitley Whites are related in any
way to the Clay County Whites. This way, I don't have to disown them. But
it's got everything to make a great, money, politics,
violence, and even ghosts!

Nancy Jonckheere

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