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Archiver > KYWOLFE > 2003-02 > 1046220635

From: Norma Adams <>
Subject: [KYWOLFE-L] News from 1887 - Violent Crime
Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2003 19:50:35 -0500

WARNING: This is a gruesome story. But it is part of history. - Norma


One of a Family Killed And Three Others Wounded

Two of the Actors in the Bloody Drama Arrested in Wolfe County

Catlettsburg, Ky., March 9 -- Intelligence has just been received here of
the most atrocious crime ever committed in the annals of the State, which
occurred in the adjoining county of Lawrence.

Some days since Samuel Smith, a lad of sixteen years, had a slight
difficulty with Stephen Hammond and family. Yesterday he repaired to the
Hammond household, on Cat's Fork, and after killing old man Hammond, shot
his wife three times and his son and daughter once each, mortally woulding
the three. The wounded are suffering excruciatingly and there are no
possible hopes of their recovery. After this wholesale slaughter of an
entire family, young Smith immediately left for parts unknown, but the
neighbors are in hot pursuit, and should the indignant people get their
clutches on him he will furnish a matinee for Judge Lynch. This is one of
the most diabolical crimes ever committed in Eastern Kentucky, and the
greatest excitement prevails in the neighborhood. The denizens are
thirsty for revenge and declare that the perpetrator shall be hunted
down. It is next to an impossibility for him to escape.

The above special dispatch to the Cincinnati Enquirer appeared in the last
Thursday edition of that paper. On Sunday last, just afther the
benediction had been pronounced in the Presbyterian Church and the
congregation dismissed, two young men passed and one inquired of the crowd
still assembled about the church, "Will this road lead to Campton?". As
they were on the throughfare leading to the capitol city of Wolfe, one
gentleman answered, "Yes, Sir, if you follow it far enough."
Another gentleman standing by observed, sotto voice, "You had better be
careful how you talk; that man on the left looks like he would
shoot." The pedestrians passed on, and about six hours later three horse
men, armed with double barreled shotguns rode into town on the West
Liberty Road. They stopped and inquired if two young men, walking, had
passed? They were answered in the affirmative and interrogated as to the
reasons for the pursuit, when one of the trio detailed a story
corroborating the above. The three men left town, going in the direction
of Campton. Subsequently Boone Byrd, of Grassy, secured a shotgun, and
went on to join the pursuing party.


Just as the above was put into type the announcement was brought to this
office that the two men had been captured and were in town. the HERALD man
sought out one of the guards, W. M. Bowling, a nephew of Hammond's who gave
the following detailed account of the terrible tragedy. Sampson Smith, on
Monday, preceding the murder, knocked down and beat a young son of
Hammond's, aged about 16 years and then gave himself up to a
Magistrate. he had his trial before Squire Adkins and a jury, and was
fined $100. Just as soon as the verdict was announced, the prisoner pulled
his pistol and shot Mrs. hammonds three times. Old man Hammonds then
turned towards his wife, when Emanual Hatton caught him, and throwing him
across the yard fence, cut him twice. Elijah Smith then rushed upon
Hamonds and inflicted three more knife wounds. Neal Hammonds, another son,
upon trying to assist his father, was knocked senseless by a blow from a
club in the hands of Elijah Smith. Miss Lizzie Hammonds went to the
assistance of her mother, when Sampson Smith turned and fired five shots at
her, only one of which struck her, which lodged in her left side. Failing
to kill her in this way, he pulled his knife and then cut her in the left
side and on the arm. The would in the side was four inches in length,
while the other cut laid the flesh open from the wrist to the elbow. In
her efforts to defend her person from the thrusts of her assailant, Miss
Hammond grabbed the knife. Each time it was wrenched from her by her
antagonist and each time the knife left a furrow filled with
blood. Sampson then turned upon the small boy he had attacked the day
before and cut him three times in the back. Bowling stated that five men
were engaged in the affray, viz.: Sampson, Elijah and Henry Smith,
brothers and Emanuel and Bill Hatton. The last two named, it is thought
escaped in to North Carolina while Henry Smith is supposed to have gone to

The two prisoners brught to this place, Elijah and Sampson Smith, were
captured at the residence of ex-Assessor Smith, of this county, who is
their uncle and one of the best citizens in the county, on Sunday
night. The posse making the capture was composed of John L. Napper,
(claimed to be a detective) and W. M. Bowling, from Lawrence County,
assisted by Sheriff G. T. Center, D. S. Tom Tutt, Jailer Geo. Drake and
Mike and Boon Byrd. Jailer Drake and Napper left with the prisoners
Monday evening and intended taking them via Mt. Sterling and Catlettsburg,
to Louisa, in Lawrence County.


In an interview with the prisoners while here, Elijah denied nearly all the
details given above and made a statement totally at variance with the
foregoing. He stated in substance that his brother did have a fight with
young Hammonds; that subsequentl the elder Hammond met him and told him he
might prepare to have the matter settled next day, and that on the day of
the trial the Hammond party came there with clubs and knives, prepared for
any emergency. Just after the trial, while several of both parties were
standing the the yard, the elder Hammond passed by and pushed his brother
to one side; that his brother asked if he intended an offense; that
Hammond stated he could take it as he pleased; that then some one struck
Hammond and the fight became general, a man named Hatton taking his
brother's part. He moreover stated that Bowling and Napper had greatly
magnified the affair, as only the senior Hammond was killed, while the
others were but slightly injured and would recover, whereas Napper and
Bowling claimed all were dead but the young lady. He also claimed that the
Hammond party outnumbered them, and were the aggressors in the afair of the
8th inst.


from - Middletown, Ohio
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