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Mike Watson: George W. Lawless, Wildcat killer

By Mike Watson

' How long has it been since a “wildcat” was last seen in this area? I do not mean the blue & white type, but an old-time wild cat, as they were called. A varmint of note more than a century ago, they were not unknown in more recent years, much like the bears of this and last year. Here is an old tale from the Adair County News of 1921:

An Old Story — George and Henry Lawless, who many years ago lived in the Eastern portion of Adair County, followed trapping for a living and they generally went together when they started for game.

One day they were on Sulphur Creek, and walking along the bluff, Henry in the lead and George ten yards behind.


Suddenly a wildcat jumped from a bushy tree and lit on George's shoulder. He did not call his brother to arrest him from the claws of the animal, but instead he reached up and caught the cat by his hind legs, swinging him around his head a few times, he dashed the animals brains out against a sapling.

Looking at the cat for a minute, he said, “I let you know, sir, I am a wildcat killer.” Henry was the only witness to the occurrence, and in his lifetime delighted in telling it. — Adair County News, 8 November 1921, page 1

I'm fairly sure this is the George Lawless of the wildcat story::

George W. Lawless, private, Company G, 6 KY Cavalry, Civil War, U.S. Army, enrolled 20 July 1862 at Neatsville, Adair County, age 25, mustered into service 20 July 1862 at Louisville. Service Record has “on detached service with 13 KY Cav from Aug 1 1863 to May 1 1864”. Mustered out of service 6 September 1865 at Louisville. George W. Lawless filed for invalid pension in 1884, his widow, Elizabeth Lawless, filed for pension in February 1903. “Mr. Geo. Lawless died at his home, near Watson (Adair County), Jan 9th.”— Adair County News, 28 January 1903, Knifley letter

George W. Lawless, age 23, born Tennessee, farm laborer, was located on the 1860 Adair County federal census, with wife, Elizabeth, and daughter, America F. Lawless.

George W. “Lolis” was listed in the 1890 Adair County veterans census, resided Watson post office in Casey Creek precinct. “G.M. Lauless, Co G, 5 KY Cav” buried Mt. Carmel Cemetery, Adair County, military marker.

- Mike Watson


This story was posted on 2017-09-26 15:47:55
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