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 of Webster Co., KY

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Webster was established in 1860 from Henderson, Hopkins and Union.
31 July 1904-17 Feb 1905 extracted by Patience Northern from The Last Public Execution in America by Perry T. Ryan CHAPTER 22

PREVIOUS DEATH SENTENCES IN DAVIESS COUNTY

A total of three men have been sentenced to be legally hanged by judgments of the Daviess Circuit Court, but none have been electrocuted.

The first public hanging was conducted on November 1, 1854. Curtis Richardson, who was part Indian, was convicted of murdering William Lanifer on Christmas Day of 1853. A fight began when Lanifer slapped Richardson's hat from his head; Richardson then stabbed Lanifer. This hanging occurred about fifty feet south of what is now the intersection of Ninth and Breckinridge Streets in Owensboro. Richardson reportedly had seen a hanging in nearby Hawesville, Kentucky, and had stated, "I'll die like that someday." When Richardson was transported to the scaffold, he was taken from the county jail in the back of a wagon, where he sat on his own coffin.

On February 17, 1905, Roy Green, a seventeen-year-old black man, was privately hanged for using a plank to beat to death James Coomes, a native of Webster County. Green also thrust a pointed stick through his victim's throat and robbed him of some $28.00. This incident occurred July 31, 1904. Green's arrest was based upon circumstantial evidence, including Green's presence with the victim on the day of murder and blood which was washed from his clothes that night. A manhunt for Green went as far west as Oklahoma. After committing the murder, Green visited a sister in Evansville for a week and then traveled to Louisville, where he was arrested. Green confessed to his crime while he was being transported from Louisville to Owensboro, stating robbery was his motive. His arraignment was conducted on a train at Union Station, where he was immediately transported to Henderson for safekeeping. He was tried on September 1. Ben D. Ringo was the Commonwealth's Attorney, and he was assisted by County Attorney LaVega Clements. Green did not take the stand in his defense. An appeal to the Kentucky Court of Appeals was denied on January 13, 1903. The gallows was erected on the north side of the County Jail, and a wooden fence measuring twenty feet high denied admittance to the general public. In 1905, the law permitted only fifty witnesses to be present at a hanging, but it was reported that several hundred men and women sought a view from the knot holes of the wooden fence which surrounded the gallows. While on the scaffold, Green gave a full confession, stating, "Mind what your mothers tell you and leave whiskey out. Don't do as I have done." He was pronounced dead by Dr. S S. Watkins and Dr. William Little. Although the Court of Appeals rendered an unpublished opinion in this case, it can be found at Green v. Commonwealth, 26 Ky.Law.Rep. 1221, 83 S.W. 638 (1904).


13 May 1933 Kentucky Death certificate #15249 of Messilon H. COMBES: white male married. age: 80 yrs 3 mos 6 ds. occupation: farming. Spouse Mrs. Lenora Combs. born: 72 Feb 1853 (appears as 72) Hopkins Co., Ky. died: 13 May 1933 Webster Co., Ky of brights disease. buried: Clay [Webster Co] Ky 14 May 1933 by -- FRANKLIN of Clay Ky. son of Wm COMBES born Hopkins Co. & Mary CRAIG born Hopkins CO.. informant: Mrs. Jesse SKINNER of Clay Ky. filed 1 july 1933 J. T. GRANT registar (Combs Researcher Debi Houser)
Important: All Records collected for this county may not have been added here; see also our Combs Research List Archives.

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