Category Archives: Features

Pearl Bryan didn’t deserve it! conclusion

Jadon Gibson

Alonzo Walling went on trial for the murder of Pearl Bryan on May 20, 1896, following the conviction of his accomplice Scott Jackson. Walling became Jackson’s worst enemy after they were captured, pointing out evidence sufficient to hang Jackson.

“One night a bunch of us dental students were drinking at Wallingford’s Tavern and Scott asked the group what poison would be the quickest in killing someone,” Walling told detectives. “The students mentioned three alternatives, hydrocyanic acid, prussic acid or a large dose of cocaine. He chose cocaine because he could buy it legally without a prescription and it was accessible right around the corner at Koeble’s.” Continue reading Pearl Bryan didn’t deserve it! conclusion

Pearl Bryan didn’t deserve it! part eight

Jadon Gibson

Scott Jackson and Alonzo Walling turned on each other as more evidence surfaced against them. They were both trying to save their own skin. The detectives were able to piece the case together and were sure the two were in it together. The detectives learned that Pearl’s head was thrown in the Ohio River although Louis Ross and Sam Phister, students at the Ohio Dental College, said it was commonly felt at the school that her head was thrown into one of the large furnaces at the school. Continue reading Pearl Bryan didn’t deserve it! part eight

Pearl Bryan didn’t deserve it! part seven

Jadon Gibson

Pearl’s cousin, Will Wood, was arrested not long after the apprehension of Jackson and Walling. He proved to be a wealth of information for the police, providing more incriminating evidence against Scott Jackson and his activities that led to her death.

Wood was a medical student in South Bend, Indiana where he met Jackson prior to his transfer to Cincinnati. Wood’s parents lived in Greencastle as did Jackson’s mother.

After interrogating Jackson, Walling and Wood, the investigative team had a good idea of what happened but still needed to gather evidence for the prosecution. Continue reading Pearl Bryan didn’t deserve it! part seven

Pearl Bryan didn’t deserve it! part six

Jadon Gibson

Cincinnati Police Chief Deitsch ordered three of his best detectives to find and arrest Scott Jackson after getting the lowdown on the Pearl Bryan murder. Jackson was a student at the Ohio Dental College in Cincinnati, Ohio, at the time and they learned he lived in a boarding house at 222 West Ninth Street in the city.

He wasn’t in his living quarters so two of the lawmen took positions watching the street outside and the other went to Legner’s Tavern after learning it was one of his regular hangouts. Continue reading Pearl Bryan didn’t deserve it! part six

Pearl Bryan didn’t deserve it! part five

Jadon Gibson

Pearl Bryan’s former beau Scott Jackson made some sudden changes in his life in summer of 1895. He was trying to escape responsibility.

He dropped off the face of the earth as far as Pearl Bryan was concerned. She had difficulty in finding where he was and when she eventually did he wouldn’t see her or answer her messages. He had transferred from the Indiana College of Dentistry to the Dental College of Ohio, in Cincinnati.

Several weeks later she wrote Scott saying in parlance of the day that she “had made a discovery.” News that she was pregnant didn’t beckon a red letter day for Scott. He wasn’t ready to change his lifestyle or to have a regulated life. Continue reading Pearl Bryan didn’t deserve it! part five

Pearl Bryan didn’t deserve it! Part 4

Jadon Gibson

Sheriff Plummer and detectives Crim and McDermott felt they were “on a roll” and went to the home of Pearl Bryan’s parents outside of Greencastle, Indiana. It must have been between two and three o’clock, yet after a moderate delay they were welcomed in and taken into “a sitting room.”

The sheriff had a small carrying case with the clothing that Pearl Bryan was wearing the night of her murder. He opened it and removed the skirt. Continue reading Pearl Bryan didn’t deserve it! Part 4

Pearl Bryan didn’t deserve it! Part 3

Jadon Gibson

Sheriff Plummer felt strange. Traveling overland by train, tracking down leads to an inane murder back on his home turf… it was totally different from his duties leading up to this point in his police work. Upon arriving in Greencastle, Indiana, he and the two Cincinnati detectives, Crim and McDermott, set out for the Louis and Hays Department Store, hoping to solve another piece of the puzzle. Who was the deceased young lady who was found in his jurisdiction and what else could they learn to solve her atrocious murder. Continue reading Pearl Bryan didn’t deserve it! Part 3

Pearl Bryan didn’t deserve it! Part 2

Jadon Gibson

Saturday morning, February 1, 1896, was a busy morning one for Sheriff Jake Plummer of Campbell County, Kentucky . A young lady had been found brutally murdered in his jurisdiction, near an orchard just outside of Fort Thomas. Detectives Crim and McDermott, investigators from Cincinnati, showed up to assist, initially scouring over the crime area for clues.

News of the horrific murder traveled quickly and gawkers soon were entering the area. The Covington officers expelled the curiosity seekers and began searching for the head of the deceased woman as she had been decapitated. It could not be found. Continue reading Pearl Bryan didn’t deserve it! Part 2

Pearl Bryan didn’t deserve it!

Jadon Gibson

Colonel John Lock’s farm was located in the country outside of Fort Thomas, Kentucky. It was just becoming daylight on February 1, 1896, when young James Hewling noticed something lying beside the old wagon road.

He looked closer and found it was a woman. She didn’t look right. The sixteen year old lad said later he didn’t think much about it at first. Continue reading Pearl Bryan didn’t deserve it!

Young girl writes of 1800’s trip to the mountains

Jadon Gibson

Gen. O. O. Howard, of Gettysburg fame, is given much credit for the founding of the burgeoning Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tenn.. The general and his close ally, Dr. E. O. Guerrant, founded many schools and churches in the mountain area.

Here is a letter written by Grace Guerrant to her sister, Anne Guerrant, during a trip with her father to the mountains in the late 1800’s. Continue reading Young girl writes of 1800’s trip to the mountains

Daniel Boone’s courtship and marriage, conclusion

Jadon Gibson

Seventeen year old Rebecca Boone rode to her wedding to Daniel Boone behind her father on his horse, sitting on a second saddle called a pillion. The dark-haired, dark-eyed beauty wore the finest that the frontier afforded in that day.

Weddings were important events in the backwoods so they were celebrated by nearly everyone living in the area for miles around. Daniel Boone and his party, astride their mounts, came upon a group of well-wishers. They reveled in firing their weapons in the air, covering the wedding party with smoke and causing one or more to nearly fall from their horses. Continue reading Daniel Boone’s courtship and marriage, conclusion

Silent Crimes Need to Become Less Silent

Jeff Rubin

April is Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time that places the spotlight on two issues I find disturbing, both for the nature of the crimes and the helplessness of the victims. That’s why the recent report on child maltreatment released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children’s Bureau got my attention. The report cites Kentucky as the second highest state in the nation for child abuse. Disturbing as that may be, it’s only the tip of the iceberg when you include domestic violence or abuse that includes the elderly as well as the young. Continue reading Silent Crimes Need to Become Less Silent

Cowboys and Indians

Jadon Gibson

I grew up playing “Cowboys and Indians.” It was natural I guess because there were so many western movies for youngsters to see, heroes like Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, the Durango Kid and others. The admission price was low and for a nickel we could get a candy treat.

The cowboys were always portrayed as the good guys while the Indians seemingly had little redeeming value except for the occasional sidekick such as Tonto. Continue reading Cowboys and Indians

An Answered Prayer on the Borderland

Jadon Gibson

Rufus Branson built a rude cabin for his young family not far from Boonesborough in the late 1770’s. It sat a little ways back from the Kentucky River, nestled in a little valley with cliffs jutting up in front and in the back.

Branson was able to maintain a friendship with the Indians for several years. The native Americans learned that he could be trusted, resulting in Branson and his wife feeling secure in an insecure environment. When Indians came by his home, Branson offered them food from the larder where it was stored. Continue reading An Answered Prayer on the Borderland

Cherokee Bill’s wild life led to hanging

Jadon Gibson

There’s been added interest in Cherokee Bill who was twice sentenced to hang by the hanging judge, Isaac Parker. His real name was Crawford Goldsby, the son of an Alabama black man who served in the Union Army during the Civil War. The senior Goldsby was a Buffalo soldier, a name given to the black cavalrymen by the Indians with whom they fought. He had to flee from Alabama after returning from the war to keep from being hanged. Cherokee Bill’s mother was a mixture of Indian, African and white ancestors. Continue reading Cherokee Bill’s wild life led to hanging

The Hanging Judge, conclusion

Jadon Gibson

Judge Isaac Parker, the famed hanging judge, lost much of his authority toward the end of his service on the bench at Fort Smith, Arkansas in the late 1800’s.

Congress enacted a law in 1889 giving the Supreme Court the right to review important criminal cases. Convicted felons could petition the president to change their sentence or ask their trial judge to be retried. Judge Parker seldom granted a new trial. Continue reading The Hanging Judge, conclusion

The Right to be Heard and the Opportunity to Make a Difference

Jeff Rubin

“A nation is judged based on how it treats it’s least, it’s last, it’s littlest” is a quote attributed to many authors over the years, from Henry Ford to Harry Truman to Mahatma Gandhi, among others. It remains a good yardstick by which to measure so much of what is happening in our country today. That’s why I’m so impressed by what our young people are doing in response to the tragedies that have taken place in Florida, Kentucky, and too many other communities across the country. Continue reading The Right to be Heard and the Opportunity to Make a Difference

The Hanging Judge, part 3

Jadon Gibson

Judge Isaac Parker was born in Ohio and practiced law in Missouri after being admitted to the bar. He served during the Civil War and later was elected to Congress by his constituents in the Show-Me state of Missouri.

Parker was an outspoken advocate of increased rights for women and Native Americans in his day. In 1875, Judge Isaac Parker was appointed to the federal bench in Fort Smith, Arkansas, with jurisdiction over Continue reading The Hanging Judge, part 3