Notes from the Clay County War

I’ve been in the special collections section of the Berea College archives. Until recently, this school had a large number of files associated with my family and the 100-year feud in Southern Kentucky. Apparently those files are now in Manchester, the County Seat.

Still, I found some interesting tidbits in the New York Times:

From April 18, 1898. The Bakers, who refuse to be arrested without their guns, stage a bloody retaliation against the White faction.

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From June 11, 1898. The Howards take downtown Manchester with 50 men, while the Bakers assemble their own crew.

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From June 3, 1899. The state prepares for all-out war after Bad Tom Baker is gunned down outside the Manchester Court House.

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From July 18, 1899. On the eve of a large-scale battle between several factions involved.

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From July 22, 1899. Tempers run high and battle lines are drawn. However, everyone in Clay County agreed upon one idea: the outside media was not welcome. Notice it was the sheriff who assaulted the reporter.

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From Oct 26, 1899. Near the end of the year, the Courts could no longer keep up with the bloodshed in the area. The Governor began calling for unilateral powers to quell the violence. He was not granted those powers.

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