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Big Windy, KY made news in the early 1900s

Some incidents at Big Windy, 1898-1909. Big Windy location is specified as near Milltown, and news of the day backed up the story of it as a tough section of Adair County.


A front page news piece about a brutal murder in October 1930 gave the location of Big Windy as "near Milltown on the Greensburg Road." A brief article in the June 18, 1902 News about the arrest of a Big Windy resident charged with bootlegging disdainfully referred to the area as "a locality where soiled doves, whisky and crap shooting form one tribune haides."

Almost three decades before the murder mentioned above, Big Windy made the News in the spring of 1903. It seems that on the morning of Sunday, April 12, a gang of men commenced a crap game early and kept the bones rolling until around three in the afternoon. At that time, a hot dispute arose between two unrelated men named Smith over the princely sum of twenty cents -- about six dollars in today's money. One Smith drew his pistol and fired; the other Smith dropped, instantly dead. Beyond that, the News wryly observed, "It is impossible to get the particulars," but went on to state, "This is the second man killed at 'Big Windy' in the last five years."

The following week, the Ozark community newsletter reported that Jack Waggener, on a return trip from the Portland section, had passed Big Windy almost immediately after the shooting "and saw the remains of the murdered man." And, added the scribe, "Jack said the gambling ground was worn as hard and smooth as a school playground."

In the late summer of 1909, another man named Smith "seriously cut" a Mr. Carter a Big Windy. Again, a game of craps brought up the difficulty; the participants were "contending for the ownership of the dime. Several days after the incident, Smith remained on the lam. In the same edition of the paper, Gradyville correspondent W.M. Wilmore, reported that Mr. Carter was "improving and bids fair to recover..."

Another considerably less tragic set to -- a "drunken brawl," as the News so bluntly put it -- had played out in that area several years earlier. In early September 1898, "some workers from Columbia" tangled with kinsmen Bill and Finis Leach. The paper, giving no details of the precipative event, wryly commented "Honors were even in the imbroglio, but the disgraceful affair will be remembered by the acquisition to the principals of black eyes and bruised faces."

The following year near the vernal equinox, another difficulty arose in the vicinity when "---- Hurt "got drunk and tried to take the ball-room" at a dance given by Aaron Smith, a resident of Big Windy. Smith asked Hurt to keep quiet but the latter elected not to heed the request. As a result, "Smith used his knife freely, and [Hurt] is now laid up for repairs."

This story was posted on 2019-10-06 05:21:44
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