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Crime & Community Blotter - Somerset-Pulaski County: August 1921

Updated: Sep 9, 2021

Looking back 100 years! The articles and news bites in this blogpost examine the safety and security challenges our community and leaders experienced a century ago.

These posts are provided for community learning and enrichment purposes. All source links are included and we encourage readers to explore the achieves at the Pulaski County Public Library, in person or online.


Thursday, August 4, 1921

Tenders Resignation

"Prohibition Agent L.C. Winfrey tendered his resignation which took effect last Saturday. Mr. Winfrey has made a good official and has held this position many years, and it is with regret that many of his co-workers learn of his resignation."

Feese, R.M. (1921, August 4). Tenders Resignation. The Commonwealth, page 1. Retrieved from

Four Wrecked

"The Ford runabout occupied by Will Crawford and DeForrest Young ran into a telephone pole on College Street about nine o’clock last Friday night. The machine was considerably damaged and the occupants escaping with only minor bruises and cuts. It was stated that some kind of “peculiar mixture” caused this Lezzie to 'cut up' like this."

Feese, R.M. (1921, August 4). Four Wrecked. The Commonwealth, page 1. Retrieved from

R.M. Feese, Editor and Owner.


Thursday, August 11, 1921

Election Day Shooting

(a duel)

"About the only trouble reported on election day was a shooting affray between Harvey Whitaker and John S. Dugger, at Skipp, this county. It is said the trouble did not come up over the election, but was the result of a grudge. Whitaker and Dugger quarreled and engaged in a pistol duel resulting in Dugger being seriously wounded in the abdomen while Whitaker received only minor injuries in the hand and shoulder. Dugger was conveyed to the Somerset hospital where he died late Tuesday night. When Sheriff Weddle went after Whitaker to place him under arrest it was reported he had escaped into another county."

Feese, R.M. (1921, August 11). Election Day Shooting. The Commonwealth, page 1. Retrieved from

R.T. King Killed

"Mr. R.T. King 55 years old, a former employee at the Ferguson shops and a farmer, residing two miles west of Somerset, was called to the door of his residence last Thursday night by two unidentified men and killed. The men rode up to the house and after the shooting rode away. The assassins escaped and have not been found. Mr. King’s son first went to the door and the visitors informed him that they wanted to speak to his father. When the latter appeared, two shots were fired and Mr. King fell mortally wounded, dying in a few minutes. Members of the family have been unable to establish a cause for the killing."

Feese, R.M. (1921, August 11). R.T. King Killed. The Commonwealth, page 1. Retrieved from

Damaging Fire

"The elegant two-story residence of Rufe Ashurst on East Mr. Vernon Street was destroyed by fire last night about midnight. The origin of the fire is unknown, but Mr. Ashurst is of the opinion someone must have been prowling around and dropped a lighted match on the back porch. The blaze was breaking through over the back hall door from the back porch when first discovered by the family, all who barely escaped, clad in their night clothing. The fire department did heroic work in saving a portion of the burning house and protecting adjoining property. Only a very small amount of household furniture was saved. The building is almost a total loss. The property was insured for $3,000, which is not 50 percent of the total loss to Mr. Ashurst."

Feese, R.M. (1921, August 11). Damaging Fire. The Commonwealth, page 1. Retrieved from

Floyd Arrested

"Velmer Floyd was arrested Tuesday for misbehaving at Jonab Stargle’s in the Catherine community, a few days ago. He is out on bond. His trial is set for Saturday, August 13th, 1921."

Feese, R.M. (1921, August 11). Floyd Arrested. The Commonwealth, page 4. Retrieved from

Killing in McCreary County

"A report from McCreary County states that K.D. Anderson was killed. Two other men, and Anderson and Angel, were seriously wounded in a fight a Rock Creek voting precinct on election day. (…) It is said the fight came up over a magistrate’s race and that a man by the name of Walker is charged with the Killing. No arrests have been made."

Feese, R.M. (1921, August 11). Killing in McCreary County. The Commonwealth, page 4. Retrieved from

R.M. Feese, Editor and Owner.


August 18, 1921

Ford Car Wrecked

"The Ford car belonging to and driven by W. H. Ping and E. C. Ballenger’s overland collided on College Street about (illegible) o’clock Saturday night in front of Park (illegible). Mrs. Ping and little daughter who were riding on the front seat with Mr. Ping were the most seriously injured. Mrs. Ping receiving sever cuts and bruises about the head and the little girl also was cut about the face. The other occupant of the Ping car on the rear seat by the driver escaped without injury. The injured were given attention at the College Street infirmary. Mrs. Ballinger who was riding with her husband received a slight scalp wound and was conveyed to her home. The cause of the accident was not fully determined but it was stated by some who saw it that the two cars were passing between a parked car and a telephone pole when the Ping car almost or did strike the pole, it suddenly struck the Ballinger car and was (illegible) Mr. Ballinger’s car was only slightly damaged. Mr. Ping’s car was badly damaged."

Feese, R.M. (1921, August 18). Ford Car Wrecked. The Commonwealth, page 1. Retrieved from

License Tag Stolen

"Some unscrupulous person or persons who needed an auto license tag very badly, stole from the Ford car of Everett Humble, parked just north of the square, Saturday evening, his tag, No. 139315, from the rear of the car. The tag had been removed and the bolts carefully replaced. Mr. Humble reported the matter to officials."

Feese, R.M. (1921, August 18). License Tag Stolen. The Commonwealth, page 1. Retrieved from

Offer Reward for Assassin

"In addition to the $200.00 reward offered by Governor Morrow, Crescent Lodge No. 60 K. of P., Somerset, has offered a reward of $200.00 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the death of R.T. King at his home near Somerset on August 4th."

Feese, R.M. (1921, August 18). Offer Reward for Assassin. The Commonwealth, page 1. Retrieved from

Chief of Police Issues Warning

"Chief of Police W.O. Fitzpatrick issued last week a circular to auto owners in Somerset warning them that they must comply with the city ordinances regulating speed, cut-outs, parking, traffic rules of turning, stopping , etc. this is the best step towards safety first we have observed recently in Somerset. It is now up to the Chief and his patrolmen to make good on this move and the citizens will watch the result with interest.

The streets, public square and avenue about Somerset have become very much congested by the large number of motorists, some of whom apparently are very careless and unless speeding is stopped in the city limits, some disastrous results are bound to follow. During the past week there were two autos wrecked in Somerset and fortunately no one was killed but four or five have been seriously injured. Every citizen should cooperate with officials in assisting to curb violators of traffic laws and report all violations to the proper officials.

Two of the greatest menaces to public safety is speeding and persons driving cars while under the influence of liquor. Either makes it dangerous for most careful slow drivers."

Feese, R.M. (1921, August 18). Issues Warning. The Commonwealth, page 1. Retrieved from

Court At Mt. Vernon

"Circuit Judge B.J. Bethurum and Commonwealth’s Attorney W.N. Flippin opened the August term of Rockcastle Circuit Court at Mr. Vernon Monday. The next term of court in Pulaski County will be the third Monday in October."

Feese, R.M. (1921, August 18). Court At Mt. Vernon. The Commonwealth, page 1. Retrieved from

R.M. Feese, Editor and Owner.


August 25, 1921

Thieves at S.S. Convention

"Thieveries have been reported from various sections of the county to personal property left in parked autos. The latest is reported from Bradleys Chapel last Sunday afternoon when thieves entered a Buick car and carried away one pair of gent’s driving gloves, some small tools, and unscrewed the handle from one of the back doors and carried that off and ransacked the pockets and toolbox of the car. This practice should be condemned by all law-abiding citizens. Conditions are really getting serious when a person is obliged to place a guard around his car when he is attending religious services. Some officer of the law should attend each public gathering and arrest any person caught pilfering. A person has no more right to climb into a parked car of another than he has to walk in and take a seat in your best room without an invitation. It is a shame and disgrace that Sunday religious services are getting to be fertile soil for thieves who go to these places hoping to escape being detected."

Feese, R.M. (1921, August 25). Thieves at S.S. Convention. The Commonwealth, page 1. Retrieved from

Still Found Near City

"A still of small capacity was found Sunday afternoon in Sulpher Springs Hollow, just north of Columbia Crossing over the Southern railway, according to reports from Officers West, Bash, Sheriff Weddle, and Deputy Calhoun. It is said some boys started fishing in this neighborhood and were fired upon by unknown parties, and a call was sent in for officers with above results. Officers fired several shots at someone leaving the vicinity where the still was found. No arrests were made."

Feese, R.M. (1921, August 25). Still Found Near City. The Commonwealth, page 1. Retrieved from

Many Disturbances

"Police report many disturbances in and around Somerset. (illegible) arrests are made but when the (illegible) are brought to trial the accused are released without punishment. Some of the breaches named are free for all fights, husbands whipping wives, bootlegging, moonshining, thieveries, drunk and disorderly conduct. Patrolman report that conditions in Somerset are many times worse than the average citizen realizes and that some concentrated effort must be made to reduce crime in Somerset and Pulaski County. Officers say they can not get the support of the best citizens and that when arrests are made (illegible) can not be secured strong enough to convict, or something is lacking somewhere. It has been suggested that all law-abiding citizens hold a public meeting and pass resolutions and appoint committees to assist officers and see to it that the law is enforced in Somerset and Pulaski County."

Feese, R.M. (1921, August 25). Many Disturbances. The Commonwealth, page 1. Retrieved from

Increase Salaries

"At the regular meeting of City Council Monday evening the following schedule of salaries for city officials was adopted:

Mayor raised from $25 per month to $50

Chief of Police from $60 to $150, and 10% of bonds and fines

Police Judge from $75 to $100

City Attorney remained the same - $25 month"

Feese, R.M. (1921, August 25). Increase Salaries. The Commonwealth, page 7. Retrieved from

R.M. Feese, Editor and Owner.


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4 commentaires

29 août 2021

I love this, so interesting, always was history buff, very interesting that I have heard the same comment about crime and such in the modern day!!!

Jr Grigsby
Jr Grigsby
29 août 2021
En réponse à

Thanks, Bill. I think we are going to post a monthly (historical) newsletter. I'm excited to learn more about the community and watch the trends over a century!


25 août 2021

Appears they didn't value the City Attorney much. I'll just leave that comment right there.

Pepper Owens
Pepper Owens
25 août 2021
En réponse à

Looks like it. I'm sure it was a part-time gig.

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