News Articles - Jefferson County, Kentucky
The Langston City Herald Langston City, O. T. (Oklahoma Territory) May 11, 1895 [Submitted by Dale Donlon]
KILLS THEM BOTH
Husband Shoots His Faithless Wife and Lover
One of the Victim is the Son of Kentucky’s Governor
St. Joseph Herald
Louisville, Ky., May 4 – A separate undertaking establishments in this city lie the bodies of tow of the most prominent people in the state of Kentucky. One, that of Archie Brown, son and private secretary of Kentucky’s chief Magistrate, the other that of Mrs. Fulton Gordon, prominent because of her remarkable beauty and excellent family connections.
The story is a sad one, and has caused one of the greatest sensations this city or state has ever been called on to chronicle.
The following telegram was found in Mr. Brown’s pocket and is no doubt a direct cause of the double murder:
“Louisville, Ky, April 28 – To Archie D. Brown, Governor’s private secretary, Frankfort, Ky. Don’t write any more. Come Tuesday. Meet me at S.
(signed) P. M. C”
Upon receipt of the above telegram Mr. Brown came to Louisville and proceeded to the appointed place which is an evil resort at 1025 Madison street, where at 12:35 today, the tragedy occurred.
At noon, Brown, with Gordon’s wife, knocked at the front door of Lucy B. Smith’s Mansion street house. They were admitted by Mattie Mattingly, a colored woman, and immediately repaired to the upstairs front room, which had previously been engaged.
Gordon Makes His Appearance
Thirty minutes later a rather tall, dark haired mad knocked at the door of the house and was admitted. This was Fulton Gordon. He engaged the front lower room, saying a woman would join him shortly. The man closed all the doors and a few minutes later a commotion was heard above, followed by a succession of pistol shots. Then there was a hurried movement down stairs as Mrs. Gordon fled from the scene. A few more shots rang out and she fell dead on the porch in the rear yard.
Gordon left the house immediately and a few minutes later Brown’s corpse was found in the upstairs room. Policemen Reilly and Lapaille rushed down Walnut Street and saw a man running for a buggy tied to a post at the corner of West street.
“The man was bloody,” said Officer Reilly, “and I immediately jumped at the conclusion that he was the murderer. I ran and grabbed him just as he was in the act of jumping into the buggy. He had already untied the horse when I arrived.”
“Gordon, for it was he, said to me then: “I shot both of them. I caught them in the act. They are both dead. I shot, too. Come with me and I’ll show you where they are.”
“Gordon was as pale as a ghost and was evidently very weak, Lapaille, myself and Gordon walked to the house. Just as we got inside the door Gordon staggered and was about to fall, when I caught him. He was in a fainting condition and somebody dashed water in his face. I also summoned an ambulance and as soon as that arrived we sent Gordon to jail.”
Both Fought Like Tigers
Never was there a more sauguinary battle than the one fought on the second floor of Lucy Smith’s house. Gordon had little difficulty in getting into the room as the entry was left unlatched.
As soon as Gordon gained entrance a desperate duel evidently began. Brown had a 38-calibre revolver which was found empty after the tragedy. Gordon must to have had two pistols, six bullets pierced Brown’s body and three that of Mrs. Gordon.
The bed on which Brown and Mrs. Gordon lay was covered with blood, showing that one or both had been shot while in that position, or in the struggle one or more of the wounded had fallen there.
Gordon, himself, was covered with blood, most of which, doubtless, was the result of contact with his wounded antagonist. What part, if any, Mrs. Gordon took in the encounter her husband only is in a position to say.
Two bullets were embedded in the door, several went through a window, three are buried in the wall and two in the ceiling the walls are smeared with blood. The dingy carpet on the floor is saturated with gore and the furniture was badly broken in the fray.
Brown’s body presented a horrible appearance, being covered with blood. There was no clothing on the body except a pair of knit drawers and a pair of socks. The undershirt had been removed and the wounds were plainly visible. There were three gunshot wounds in the breast, one of them being over the region of the heart. There were two wounds in the head, one being in the center of the forehead, and there was another in the center of his stomach and another in the right arm. The features were distorted.
Mrs. Gordon’s body was found on the cellar door, face downward, clothed only in a chamise and a skirt. She had been in her stocking feet. Her hair was loose and was hanging about her head in a tangled mass. Her bosom was covered with blood and her skirt was bespotted with it. Her hands were tightly clinched and her face was smeared with blotches.
Gordon In Jail
Gordon is in jail and no one is allowed t see him. He is unhurt but is suffering from nervous prostration. Gordon stated that he tried to kill himself after shooting Brown and his wife, but the cartridge failed to explode and his hand was nervous.
On his way to jail he stated to the officer that he had suspected the couple for some time, and about a week ago his suspicions were confirmed. Ever since he had a kept watch on his wife, and today learning that she and Brown were at a house on Madison street, he went there and the tragedy followed.
Tonight the coroner’s jury returned a verdict of justifiable homicide. Gordon’s case will be tried tomorrow.
Governor Brown arrived at 5:30 o’clock and is stopping at the Gelt house. The governor is completely prostrated by the sad affair.
Young Brown’s body will be taken to Henderson tomorrow morning for burial. The remains of Mrs. Gordon are at Wyatt’s undertaking establishment on Fifth street, and young Brown’s body at King’s undertaking establishment on Jefferson street. Mrs. Gordon was Miss Nellie Bash of this city, and her family is one of the best known and most prominent in this state. Her mother was once state Liberian at Frankfort, and her grandfather was Judge Zachariah Wheat, chief justice of the court of appeals of Kentucky, and one of the most learned and distinguished of Kentucky jurists. Gordon was at one time assistant manager of Palmer house at Chicago.
The Daily Herald; Brownsville, Texas;
December 19, 1893
Boycotted A Corpse
A Louisville Lawyer’s Wife Must Get Pauper Burial Because An Old Debt Is Unpaid
Louisville, Ky., Dec. 15 – A sensational story of the outrageous acts of the undertakers of Louisville in boycotting a corpse came to light today, and the Funeral Director’s Association is being severely criticized on all sides. On Sunday morning the wife of J. Owen Brewster, a lawyer, died suddenly of heart disease. Mr. Brewster went to the undertaking establishmentof C. Miller’s Sons and asked to have the body prepared for burial. Brewster is indebted to C. Miller’s Sons in the sum of $52 for services rendered at the time of the death of his father two years ago. No part of this debt has been paid. Miller refused to perform the service until the debt was paid. Brewster said he would then secure the services of another undertaker. Miller answered that if he did he would stop the funeral in the street, and added that the Funeral Directors’ Association, which comprises every firm or establishment in the city, would boycott Brewster until the debt was paid.
The stricken husband left and went to see several undertakers. All refused to prepare the body for burial, but finally, away uptown, he found Mrs. D. Box, a woman undertaker. She removed the body from the room on Jefferson street, near Third, where the Brewster’s lived, to the house of Brewster’s mother at 2428 Bank street. Here the body was placed on a cooling board. The body had not yet been embalmed, and before this was done Mrs. Box received word of the boycott, and refused to have anything more to do with the case and called her assistant away.
Brewster went to see some attorneys today, and several of the agreed to become security for the payment of the bill, realizing the extent of the outrage, and also that the body had not long to remain unembalmed in the Brewster home. Brewster went with his securities to the establishmen of Schoppenhorst Bros. and asked them to take charge of the body. They said they could not until the previous bill had been settled, or until C. Miller’s Sons gave their consent. The latter is still withheld.
This afternoon the stricken husband, himself sick with the grip at the time of his wife’s death, called at the City Hall and invoked the services of the city undertaker. He furnished a pauper’s coffin, and tomorrow the body will be buried. Brewster declared this evening that as soon as the burial had taken place he would begin suit against C. Miller’s Sons and against the Funeral Directors’Association for $50,000 damages in each case. The action of the undertakers is considered an outrage, and those who have heard of it are very bitter in their condemnation. (transcribed as written by D. Donlon)
Wisconsin State Journal September 25, 1883
KENTUCKY CAN SPARE THEM.
(Jefferson Co. ) Louisville, Sept 19.—The Ford boys, who slew Jesse James, were hissed and hooted in a variety theater at Louisville, and they declare they will never again go to Kentucky. [Submitted by Barb Z.]