December 23, 1888
Location: Massachusetts Paper: Worcester Daily Spy

 

THE BIG KENTUCKY FEUD

Another Chapter in the Famous French-Eversole War

KILLING OFF THE WITNESSES

Running Fight Which Terminates Fatally for Two Brothers
The courts Guarded by State Troopers Upon Appeal of District Judge

Louisville, Ky., Dec 23-Information has just reached here that four more men concerned in the noted, French-Eversole feud have been killed in the mountain region north of Cumberland Gap. With the killing of Joseph Eversole, the leader of one of the factions, together with Martin Coombs, a friend, on May 3, last the, The French side obtained a decided advantage. When Judge Lilly, early in November opened court at Hazard to hear, the murder cases involved in the feud he summoned and received a company of the Louisville legion of state guards to protect him. The case of Frank French, the leader was continued and the other went over on a change of venue to be tried on Dec. 3, at Hindman, Knott County and the troops were recalled. Judge Lilly begged that they be sent with him to Hindman, and when refused he at firs declined to hold court, but finally called a session for Dec.10. As the prisoners were being taken to Hindman the guard was attached by Friend, who had come out with a band supplied with arms at his store in Hindman. Repulsed by the guard, French gave up his design of taking away the prisoners and seems to have determined to murder the witnesses instead. On the evening of Dec. 3, just after court had been called to begin the trials, there was a great outcry and running in the street. Three men were in an excited chase after fugitives. As they turned down a side lane>

THE RATTLE OF SHOTS

was heard and the two men in front fell. One of them reeled a few feet and fell in a heap on the stones. The pursuers ran around the back way, jumped on their horses and came dashing through the crowd in the principal streets, waving their hats and shouting curses on their enemies. They were greeted with a volley of stones and a number of pistol shorts, but escaped unhurt. There was a short pursuit, but if there has been an organized effort to capture them it is not known. They were recognized as "Red Mule" Smith and Lewis and Lile Hayes, all of the French faction. When the fallen men were reached they were found to be John and Andy Sloan, Brothers and principal witnesses against the French side in the trials. John Sloan was dead with eight bullets in his breast. Andy lay among the stones gasping. He had a leg and arm broken and a ghastly hole through his lungs. He lived until morning and it was learned by questions and signs that Smith and his companions had tried to provoke a quarrel with himself and brother. When they turned away their tormentors, followed and the chase began, ending in their murder. Richard Vance and another man, whose name  is not given both important witnesses against the French side, have also been orders away since the trials at Hazard. What Judge Lilly did with the cases is not known as the report comes by mail from the upper neighboring town. It is said that Clabe Jones, sheriff of Hindman, happened to be in range of the shots fired by Smith's and Hayes' men, and received a flesh wound. Dec. 16, Isaac Coombs, known as "Shooting Mike" went from Knott county to the home of Hoop Davis, a neighbor in Breathitt with a threat of murder preceding him. When Coombs came in sight Davis, without a word, shot him dead. Whether they were involved in the feud is not stated.