In the Interest of Full Disclosure ~ OR ~ Pride Comes Before the Fall

Yesterday, family history pointed to a Samuel Clemens connection, which is pretty dag-gone good for this Hoosier girl. Before yesterday, my closest brush with fame was either A)That time I sort of won the spelling bee B) That time I saw a soap opera star in LAX. So, you know, being KIN to a great American novelist was pretty heady.

I had 24 hours of awesomeness, and then, THIS dropped in my lap today. Let me set this up by saying “Delk” is a family name:


Owens, Martin V. “Murder at Jamestown.” Jamestown, Tennessee, Sept. 10th. 

This little village was shocked Monday afternoon about 4 0’clock by the commission of a horrible murder. Lemuel Delk, David Delk Jr and James A. Taylor murdered Martin V. Owens by stabbing him several times in the back and twice in the neck with pocket knives. The murderers were all prominent well-to-do citizens, and trouble is feared because the Sheriff refuses bail pending a hearing before the judge. There has been talk of a rescuing party. The cause of the tragedy has not been learned. All the parties were drinking at the time. Owens leaves a large family in indigent circumstances. [Source: Chattanooga Daily Times, Hamilton Co., TN, Fri., Sept. 1885.]

A “rescuing party?!” Oh, David Delk, Jr.! This is awful! Read on:

Another untitled article ~

One of the most brutal and cowardly murders ever known in this section was committed at Jamestown on Monday evening last. As usual, wild cat whiskey was the cause. A lot of it was brought into Jamestown, on Monday, and its effect was very soon visible, a general fight occurring on the main street. A brother of the murdered man was in the fight, and in endeavoring to get him away, Martin Owens encountered the three men, Lemuel and David Delk and their brother-in-law, John Taylor. They immediately set on him with their knives, almost cutting him to pieces. The three men were immediately arrested, and are now strongly guarded in the Jamestown jail. The county officials of Fentress Co. have now a very good chance of proving their determination to put a stop to the lawlessness by leaving no stone unturned until the three murderers have met with their deserts. We cannot expect Northern men to come down here and settle among us, if in our county seats, where are supposed to reside most of the representatives of law and order of the country, the arrival of a few gallons of illicit whiskey should turn the town into a Pandemonium, and end up by brutally murdering, as usual, a man who had nothing to do with the fighting. We are informed by a Revenue Officer, that it is thought that the whiskey came from Pickett Co., and that most, if not all, the illicit stills in Fentress Co. have been broken up.

Well. Whoever wrote this report was probably NOT a great American novelist but wanted to be.

One more:

“Jamestown Letter.” Jamestown has had quite enough of bloodshed for a while, as I think. On the 7th of Setp., Dave DELK, Jr., Lem DELK, and John TAYLOR killed Martin OWENS by stabbing him five times in the back, twice in the throat, these being the fatal blows struck by John TAYLOR. They had their preliminary examination and were permitted to give bail in the sum of $10,000 each. They are now footloose till a further hearing.” [Source: Rugby Gazette, Morgan Co., Tn, Sat., 3 Oct. 1885, Vol. 5, No. 40] 


Records show Lemuel lived to an old age, no records for David Jr.

And why am I reporting this? David Delk, Jr. is my 2nd great grandfather. Not that far removed from me–after all, he’s my great grandmother’s dad. This would’ve made his daughter, my great grandmother, only 8 years old when her dad killed someone in cold blood, leaving a woman to care for children when there was no social security or welfare state. It’s like he murdered a family.

Awful. Just Awful.




3 thoughts on “In the Interest of Full Disclosure ~ OR ~ Pride Comes Before the Fall

  1. Well this is the same story in my family, my grand mother was the child of this delk but he was in prison so not his. What was the name of great grandmother. We might have the same maternal gggrand mother .? Foot lose meant FREE. They used language back then , not just words like you know what am saying. You know what I a saying.


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