Transcribed by Ron Holt and used here with permission
 

The SOMERSET PARAGON
Somerset, Ky., Thursday, April 2nd, 1896.

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Mrs. Hammonds Given Her Liberty.  Testimony Indicates An Attempt To Use The Power Of The Government To Satisfy The Spite Of Man Against Man.  Trial Before Commissioner Curd.  The trial of Mrs. J.A. Hammonds, of near Stanford, under charge of detaining mail, was begun last Thursday afternoon before Commissioner Will C. Curd, and continued until a late hour that night, and the result was that the warrant was dismissed and Mrs. Hammonds set at liberty.
  The whole facts of the case as we learn them seem to be as follows:  The husband of Mrs. Hammons and Geo. P. Bright of near Stanford, have had trouble with each other, and the result is they are bitter enemies, and there is a $10,000 suit now pending in the Lincoln Circuit Court against Geo. P. Bright, the plaintiff being Mr. J.A. Hammonds, he charging that Bright perpetrated a slander against him. It appears from the evidence in the trial against Mrs. Hammonds here that this man Bright was the man who first conferred with U.S. Mail Inspectors and put them upon the trail of Mr. Hammonds, who was postmaster at Hubble, charged guilty of tampering with the mails, Bright explained that he had been having some correspondence with Dr. Taylor of Mintonville, who is also charged with being an enemy of Hammonds, and that his letters to and from Taylor had shown evidence of having been opened.  The Mail Inspectors, a Mr. Moore and a Mr. Leatherman, sent two decoy letters to the Hubble post office, and it was afterwards discovered by the inspectors that the letters were tampered with.  They charged Mr. Hammonds with opening the letters.  This he denied but stated to them that no one but himself and his wife had access to the post office.  This being admitted, it was believed by the Inspectors that Mr. Hammonds himself was the guilty one, so they stated, and told him to make his arrangements at once to go to Lexington to be tried for detaining U.S. mail.  A short time prior to this, the Inspectors had a talk with Mrs. Hammonds alone, and she denied knowing anything of the letters having been opened or detained, and that she did not do it, and when the Inspectors again went into the post office, and told Mr. Hammonds that his wife denied the charge, they then ordered Mr.
Hammonds to get ready to be their prisoner, and stated to him the penalty for those who detained or interfered in any way with the mails.  Thereupon Hammonds asked permission to have a talk with his wife, and he did go and talk to her, and on his return he reported that she had acknowledged to opening the two letters. The Inspectors then went with the husband to Mrs. Hammonds at the residence and found her in tears.  She was so wrought up that at first she could not talk to them, but soon became calm enough to tell them that she had opened the letters, and the she had done so because she could see from the writer's address as shown on the envelope, and the address in handwriting were proof to her, that the letters were to and from Dr. Taylor and George Bright, the well known bitter enemies of her husband.  She said that she believed they were concocting a scheme to injure her husband and that she opened the letters because she believed that she might learn something by which or from which she could protect her husband, and proof showed that one of the letters contained three dollars in cash, but that she had returned them to the letter, and of course this was positive evidence that she did not intend to injure anyone, nor did she desire to rob the mail, otherwise she would have taken the money and appropriated it.  After Mrs. Hammonds confession, the Inspectors of course dropped the charges against her husband, and she was then notified to come to Lexington by a certain time to answer to a charge of tampering with mail, but afterward telegraphed her not to come, as there was no Commissioner to try the case.  A warrant was afterwards placed in the hands of Deputy U.S. Marshall C.C. Gillispie, and by him she was brought to Somerset.  Mr. Gillispie stated when he arrested her she claimed that she had received a letter from her sister in Casey County to the effect that George Bright had sent an attorney to confer with Dr. Taylor, and warned her that her family believed that these two enemies of Mr. Hammond were conspiring to injure him.  She then opened the letters in order to discover what schemes they were working, in order that she might save her husband.  Following are the points urged by Attorney O.H. Waddle, for an acquittal in the Hammonds case; "That the proof was not sufficient to show technical guilt, and if the proof was sufficient to show technical guilt, she was trapped into the commission of the offense by Geo. P. Bright, for the sinister purpose of affecting the litigation pending between him and her husband for the purpose of laying a foundation so as to secure the cooperation of the postal authorities to forward his nefarious purpose, being thus unwillingly made the tools of Bright.  Further, that there was no evidence showing the commission of the offense charged by Mr. Hammonds except her admissions, and that these admissions had been obtained from her after the threat to arrest her husband, and in her husband's presence was presumed by the law to be coercive, and could not be considered in determining the question of guilt or innocence.  Further, that conceding everything claimed by the Government, that whatever wrong had been done by Mrs. Hammonds, was done on account of her extreme affection for her husband and to protect him from what she believed to be the machinations of his enemies."  Commissioner Curd, in rendering his decision, said in substance that up to a certain point the Inspectors believed that Mr. Hammond was the guilty one, but they changed their minds after Mrs. Hammond confessed, and thereupon charged her with the crime.  As this confession was made in the presence of her husband and under coercion of that fact and the belief that he was to be arrested, he could not believe her guilty.  If she did do any wrong it was merely technical, as she meant to do nothing only to discover that which would save her husband.  The Commissioner was impressed with the evidence that his scheme had been inaugurated as a persecution.  He then dismissed the warrant and both Mr. and Mrs. Hammond went to their home free.  A house full of rather elderly people of this city, who had remained to hear the trial, heartily applauded the decision of Commissioner Curd.  Mrs. Hammonds is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. M.G. McClure, of Mintonville, as good, honorable, industrious and respectable people as can be found in the State of Kentucky, and they are pious, devoted members of the Christian Church, and are above the average in intelligence and culture.  Mr. McClure was born and raised in Pulaski County, being a son of the late John McClure of the north end of the county, and his mother was a Hubble, related to all the families of this and Lincoln Counties of that name, all of whom are among the best people.  Mrs. Hammonds mother was a daughter of the late Isaac Surber, who lived and died near Buncombe, this county, and she through her father was related to all the Surber families of Boyle, Lincoln and Pulaski counties, all of whom are spoken of as eminently respectable people, good citizens and Christians.  By her mother she is also related to the large family of Bishops, who are equally as good in every particular.  In short, the writer knows hundreds of members of the above named families who are related to Mrs. Hammonds and they are just, good people, as far from being dishonest, as any families of the country, and, knowing the reputation of the families related to her, as well as that of herself, we cannot believe that this lady ever intended to do any wrong.  Enough if, she did open the letters, as she said she did, she certainly did that which was very thoughtless, and that which no one, under any circumstances, ought to do, and which is an act that is not permitted by law at all, and ought not to be.  We believe that everyone who heard the trial agrees with these opinions as expressed, and many do not believe that she has done any wrong at all except to (unreadable).  J.A. Hammonds was raised at Hammonds Store, west of Mintonville, and is, we know, related to some of the best people of Russell, Casey and Lincoln counties.  He has been living at Hubble, near Stanford, for several years, and we have talked to some of his neighbors lately who have known him for a long time, and they speak of him in the highest terms, give him the character of a good citizen and say that he can give bond for any amount that might be required of him, under any circumstances, and we know that these neighbors are reliable, first-class people.


Less One.   Somerset has one saloon less than she has had for some time.  Somerset has lost nothing in this transaction.  If every saloon were closed it would be a blessing to our people morally, socially and as a matter of business.  Our people have been paying from $75,000 to $100,000 annually into the saloons and have purchased unto themselves drunkenness, debauchery and crime.  If the people's money was not spent for whisky and beer, it would be used in buying dry goods, groceries and homes.  The saloon is the enemy of every legitimate business.  The old chestnut about whisky making a town is too stale and too absurd to deceive the people any longer.  The men who are drawn to a town by its whisky will leave very little money with anybody but the saloon keeper.  Everybody knows that a crowd of ragged and dirty and drunken loafers around a barroom add nothing to any business or the town except the whisky business.  Not long since a laboring man, a citizen of Somerset, with a wife and children dependent upon him for support, was, on Saturday evening, paid $1.20 for labor he had done.  He went to the butcher and bought 20 cents worth of steak, and then went to the barroom and spent the dollar for drink.  By this time his thirst was raging and having no more money, he brought his steak and tried to sell it for more drink.  Yes, we could do without our saloons. 
A Day.

Circuit Court.  The case against John Holsomback charged with shooting young Lewis, was set for next Saturday. The case against Mayor Griffin and Clerk Wheelock, charged with changing records, was dismissed on account of defect in the indictment. Sam Frazer was acquitted of the charge of horse stealing.Wm. Haste, charged with the murder of Wesley, acquitted.  The grand jury was dismissed Thursday after having found about 70 indictments.  Burdine was found guilty of being in an affray and fined $5.  for carrying concealed deadly weapons he was fined $25. 
W.G. Raney was fined $25. 
Larkin Floyd, assault, one cent and costs. 
The following persons were impaneled as special
grand jury last Monday, and found indictment against Wm. Allen for attempting rape near Burnside:  J.P. Doss, S.O. Gover, Sim Hicks, Chas. Soule, G.A. Soule, H.C. Soule, F.H. Vickery, I.B. Powell, Craig Ashurst, Bruce Gover, Geo. Richardson and J.E. Bash, I.B. Powell being made foreman.  Julius Buchanan, one of the jury in the case of Pat Doody, after the testimony had been taken, was found to have a bad case of measles, and the jury was discharged, the case being continued to next court.  The evidence in the case against Bill Allen charged with an attempt of rape is very strong.  His intended victim is little nine year old Lula Hail, daughter of Henry Hail.  She tells a straightforward story, and Allen deserves prompt punishment.  The case has not been given to the jury yet.

Republican Convention.  Pursuant to a call of the State Central Committee and the Congressional Committee of the Eleventh District of Kentucky, a mass convention of the Republicans of Pulaski County is hereby called to meet at the courthouse in Somerset on Saturday April 11, 1896, at 1 o'clock p.m., for th epurpose of electing delegates to the Congressional District Convention, to be in London, Tuesday, April 14, and the State Convention to be held at Louisville or Lexington, April 15.  Pulaski County is entitled to twenty-nine delegates to each convention.  All the Republicans of the county are
earnestly requested to attend the mass convention.  Napier Adams, Chairman. 

Mrs. Fuson Again.  Mrs. Mollie B. Fuson, the pretty bird that once flitted so gaily up on the breezes at Somerset, and hypnotized persons, all the way from the aged and infirm down to mere youth, from business men to farmers, from merchants to spouters of legality, and so on, is now under arrest at Cincinnati for playing her newest and most variegated attempts at deceiving the persons of that sex most easily enchanted by beauty's personification.  Coming down to plain talk, Mrs. Fuson is in jail, and from present indications it is judged by some that she ought to be there.  It seems that she has been figuring largely in her various methods of so called "speculation" which amounts in manner and kind to something near akin to peculation if the reports in the newspapers are correct.  One of her maneuvers seems to be to employ persons, for instance, a man and his wife, to canvass for her, promising them a fair salary, with the understanding that they are to furnish means amounting to even hundreds of dollars, and promising them a good per cent of the proceeds.  After working for her for some time, the persons are unable to find their salaries or any of the money advanced.  Mrs. Fuson has also been playing other new schemes, one of which was the attempt to blackmail a young man with whom she had been very intimate, and is said to have caused the fellow to commit suicide not long ago, and it is on account of her doings in that case of blackmail that she is said to be under arrest now. 

Sheriff's Sale For Taxes.  By virtue of taxes due the State of Kentucky and County of Pulaski, I will, on Monday, 30th day of April, 1896, at the Courthouse door in Somerset, offer for sales the following property: (Read: Name, Acres of Land, Amt. Tax and Cost):
Burdine District.
Adkins, Geo. R., 28, $3.30
Angel, Polly A., 340, $6.48
Burdine, G.W., 30, $0.90
(names missing)
Hargis, James, 75, $2.67
Hargis, Wm. P, 65, $3.00
Hargis, Catherine, 50, $2.45
Jackson, James F., 20, $3.31
Mize, Wm. M., 250, $7.54
Price, Jouce, 100, $4.25
Mize, M.G., 300, $7.55
Price, A.M., (by B.F. Price), 100, $2.90
Sears, W.G., 40, $4.87
Wells, Jesse O., 265, $4.24
Whitaker, John O., 50, $3.51
Whitaker, Silas, 8, $3.28
Whitaker, Dan R., 25, $3.37
Whitaker, Geo. A., 175, $5.60
Whitaker, Elizabeth, 100, $2.90
Whitaker, Nancy B., 50, $2.45

Dallas District
Burdine, Jeremiah, 120, $2.90
Cash, John H., 200, $11.26
Cash, heirs, 50, $2.45
Eldridge, A.J., 60, $5.24
Floyd, Harriett, 10, $2.45
Hawk, Sampson, 134, $5.09
Lawrence, W.T., 50, $4.85
McKinney, James W., 140 (bal) $3.03
McAlister, J.H. Jr., 50, $3.96
McKinney, Fanny, 190, $11.45
Owens, William, 100, (bal) $3.85
Pointer, William, 100, (bal) $4.77
Ping, E.N., 205, (bal) $7.19
Pitman, A.M., 25, $3.73
Pointer, Elsberry, 25, $3.73
Russell, Wm. H., 55, $5.75
Russell, Josiah, 140, $6.68
Smith, Kesiah, 4, $2.22
Smith, J.M. 115, $7.67
Simpson, A.L. Sr., 187, $5.97
Simpson, A.L., Jr., 4, (bal) $2.70
Shiplett, Rebecca, 100, $3.34
Taylor, Harvey, 50, $3.12
Woodall, William, 2, $3.28

Colored List - Dallas District
Carson, Clark, 50, $4.40
Evans, Morris, 5, $3.19
Gilmore, Margaret, 50, $2.67
Gilmore, Skinner, 70, $4.40
Same, Administrator Evans Estate, 23, $2.45
Gilmore, Napoleon, 5, $3.22
Smith, Josiah, 5, $3.14
Slaughter, James, 18, $3.22

Parkers lake, Barren Fork and Eagle Districts
Jones, Isaac, 50, $3.31
King, Linda, 100, $3.34
King, David, 150, $5.74
Keith, Geo. S., 100, $3.96
Kidd, Jones M., 100, $3.96
King, Elijah, 50, $3.51
Love, Martin, one town lot, $3.60
Miller, Mathew, 50, $2.45
Marler, Iven, 100, $3.96
Miller, Richard, 100, $3.96
Meadows, Thos, 100, $2.90
Neal, Preston, 100, $4.85
New, Geo. S., 50, $3.51
Perry, Richard, 100, $2.90
Perkins, Lewis, 50, $3.51
Perry, William, 150, $4.40
Perkins R.D., 50, $3.51
Peterson, J.C., 5, $3.28
Patrick, Geo. W., 240, $3.29
Perkins, C.W., , $4.40
Powell, Roland, 100, $3.96
Roberts, Mary, 250, $4.24
Bowlin, Jesse, one town lot, $3.15
Bryant, Wm. H. 174, $4.85
Bryant, Howell, 50, $5.11
Barnett, Robt., 50, $3.51
Cooper, E.W., 100, $2.63
Corder, Chas., 100, $4.53
Freeman, Lee, 1,000, $12.02
Foster, Zorel B., 50, $3.73
Gooch, S.D., one town lot, $3.60
Gibson, Steve, 50, $3.28
Hughes, Jesse jr., 50, $3.50
Helton, Wm., 200, $5. 17
Hight, Guley, 190, $3.79
Higginbotham, 940, $15.40
Hammock, John, 50, $3.96
Hanley, Manassa, 100, $3.96
Hughes, K.T., 59, $3.86
Holt, Lifus, 50, $2.45
Jasper, Wm., 200, $6.64
Rose, Milford, 40, $3.42
Roberts, Lewis, 6, $7.54
Strunk, T.J., 200, $4.85
Stephens, Thos. 100, $5.30
Swalu, Thos. 150, $4.85
Shelton, Robt. R. 75, $3.73
Strunk, George E., 50, $3.51
Thomas, Iven, 170, $3.68
Thomas, Wm. H., 50, $3.96
Tucker, A.J., 190, $3.51
Underwood, John, 50, $3.64
Vanover, Heut, 25, $3.96
Vanover, Samuel, 75, $3.51
Vanover, John, 50, $4.85
Vanover, Eli, Sr., 50, $2.90
Waters, Samuel, 200, $3.44
Watson, Heus, 100, $3.42
Wilson & Creekmore, ?, $5.44
Young, Samuel, 40, $3.42

Burnside District
Choate, L.B., one town lot, $4.69
Conner, J. Mat, one town lot, $2.90
Heath, F.C., one town lot, $4.40
Hardgrove, C.C., 8, $3.15
Hail, Henry G, one town lot, $5.49 (possibly Hall, Henry G.)
Huffaker, Mike, 2 town lots, $4.40
Johnson, Mrs. R.V., 67, $5.58
Kennedy, Frank, 20, $2.24
Lee, Mary J., 40, $2.45
McGee, Mrs. J.D., 5 town lots, $7.37
New, Daniel, 12, $3.33
Pitts, Benjamin, 4.5, $2.67
Phillips, James H., one town lot, $4.15
Smith, Alex, by Geo. Gibson, 50, $3.79
Smith, Jane, one town lot, $5.13
Taylor, Mrs. E.R., 1 town lot, $3.58
Taylor, Jesse P., 18, $4.40
Volinger, Chas., 1 town lot & 25 A, $4.62
Wilson, W.R., 40, $4.85

Sloans Valley District
Barnett, S.V., 20, $3.28
Bowlin, A.J., 100, $3.96
Bryant, W.A., 40, $3.32
Bowlin, John, 40, $3.31
Bray, William, 250, $5.75
Ballou, A.J., 100, (bal) $2.44
Calhoun, E.M., 90, $4.85
Cook, W.G., 50, $4.18
Corder, James, 150, $4.40
Golson, James, 50, $3.51
Hall, J.W., 27, $3.96
Hollers, Levi, 350, $10.40
Hyden, R.D., 55, $4.85
Lewis, W.T., 170, $10.16
Lewis, Levi T., 76, $3.88
Morrow, J.M., 50, $3.73
Maxwell, W.H., 40, $3.51
McKee, Wm., 100, $3.96
Nevels, G.M., 178, $7.54
Nance, William, 160, $3.14
Roberts, Henry, 200, $10.10
Rutherford, Wm., 80, $3.96
Roberts, Josh B., 75, $3.73
Sloan, J.M., 220, $8.68
Sloan, C.W., 8, $3.96
Sloan, W.H., 10, (bal) $3.40
Sloan & Helton, $3,700, $11.95
Tacker, Johnson, 169, $3.53.

Colored List South of River
Ingram, James, 50, $4.96
Martin, Joseph, 150, $4.40

(Note: above Sheriff Sale image difficult to read, errors possible, if not probable)

Not since 1848 has this vicinity had a President who came from south of the Ohio River, and from that part of the country west of the Mississippi we have never had a President to come.  Those sections have for half century been mere servants of the rest of these United States.  How much longer will the West and South endure such state of affairs?  If we do not demand our rights and fight for them we are sure not to get them.  Just so long as the East and North are permitted to have things their own way, just that long will they claim the loaves and fishes, and the right to guide the destinies of this Nation and to both Democrats and Republicans of the South, will be given only left over cold potatoes and ice water.

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