The Pernicious Scoundrel

Paschal Craddock

Eugene Newman was a local author for the Glasgow Times in the late 19th century, whom most of us in the local history field have come to know under the pen name “Savoyard.” For those not familiar with that name it is taken from the name of a small community in the corner of the 3 counties of Barren, Metcalfe, and Hart, and is a neighbor to the more well-known Jeffries Auto Salvage. Now, as familiarity would have, “Savoyard” entertains us to this day with his articles that have been left for our perusal. I have used him here to continue on a story that, perhaps, does not belong on the Urban Legends of Barren, but I felt perhaps some of you would like to know the fate of the Sheriff who walked John Hamilton to his execution, as his own story is, if nothing else, showing how respectable authority figures can sometimes not be what they seem.
Savoyard published an article in the Times in 1898, re Paschal D. Craddock, in which he referred to that former sheriff of our county as “being the most pernicious scoundrel Kentucky ever produced.” And I believe he may have something there. At this time I would like to produce the evidence to this statement, and I will let you the reader decide.
As a witness in the John Hamilton trial, Craddock stated that the skull, bones, pistol, clothes, saddle, etc., that were produced in court had been kept by him (Note – Craddock was the Sheriff). He remembered having seen Hamilton wearing overhauls like the ones presented, they were tied behind the back with a string. He had met Hamilton on the 26th of June (1817) at the end of Clark’s lane. He stated Hamilton carried an umbrella over him but was not wearing the overhauls at that time. He stated also he had seen Sanderson on 1st June and one time after that, and had learned that Sanderson was a doctor.Craddock had the book that was found in Sanderson’s pocket and found the bill.
William Daniel Tolle was another famous local author for the newspaper that for many years used the pen name “Ellot.” In the 1920s he wrote an article on the infamous Sheriff, and added some interesting details – with a little variation on the life and Times of Paschal D. Craddock. He is the one who gave us the deathbed confession of a man named King, claiming to have been eyewitness to Craddock murdering Dr. Sanderson, which I shared in the last post. The following is an excerpt, where Tolle continues his tale:
“From the life of Paschal D. Craddock, then Sheriff of Barren Co, it seems not improbable that he was the murderer of Dr. Sanderson. At about that time he deposited in the bank $10,000 in US currency (the amount stolen from Dr. Sanderson), and he lived in the years following in a distant part of the state (Louisville), where he gave himself up to a life of crime and violence.” Tolle also stated that Craddock’s body was found in a hog pen a few yards from the house, gnawed and mutilated by beasts.
Another local author, C.C. Simmons, quotes further evidence of Paschal D. Craddock and his questionable life after leaving Barren Co., taken from the magazine section of the Louisville Courier Journal, dated June 8, 1941, by Howard Hardaway, captioned, “Out of the Wet Woods Come Towering Stories.” The title relates to the swamp that once half-circled the southeastern section of Louisville, where Craddock was mobbed. Here follows what was shared by Hardaway, through Simmons:
“The ghost of Pascal Craddock still wanders of nights along the scraggly hedgerows that yet mark the otherwise forgotten meanderings of ancient lanes. Children and grandchildren of the freed slaves who settled the Petersburg section along Newburg road will tell to this day of having personally met the ghost of rascally old Pascal Craddock. In the 1820s Bashford Manor, then the Hunley farm, extended from Bardstown Road southward and eastward well into the tangle of Wet Woods. The Hunley who then owned the estate, a bachelor with no known relatives, began in his old age to distribute his means. But bachelor Hunley died before disposing of the central portion of the estate and the Bashford Manor residence… and it remained untenanted for 8 years after his death.
“8 years after the death of Hunley, the stranger, Pascal Craddock, appeared on the scene, claiming to be the son of Hunley’s half-sister. A skilled lawyer and the reputed possessor of unlimited gall, Craddock moved in and established undisputed possession of the estate. During the years from 1828 to 1861 farmers of the neighborhood suffered heavily from the disappearance of horses, cattle, and now and then a valued slave. After 23 years of such thievery (with Craddock alone strangely free from such losses) the suffering farmers began to smell a rat. 30 of Craddock’s neighbors sent him a signed notice to clear out of the country within a month. Craddock ignored the warning. The following night after the month was up, Craddock received a message that a crony living several miles away wanted to talk with him on urgent matters.”
This led to his demise, which I will share in the next post, taken from a well-known national newspaper.


About Gclee

I am a long time genealogy and local history hunter from Barren Co., KY. I have many stories to share that may be of interest to other local genealogists and history buffs. I enjoy this as a hobby and hope I can be of encouragement to others. I also hope everyone enjoys my stories as much as I have enjoyed learning about them.
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4 Responses to The Pernicious Scoundrel

  1. Karen Jorgensen says:

    Thank you for this interesting article.
    Could you please tell me if this is a picture of Pascal Craddock?

    • Gclee says:

      The picture was generously passed to me via internet by a descendant of the Craddock family. It is certain that it IS Paschal Craddock. Feel free to save to your pictures, if you are interested.

  2. Karen Jorgensen says:

    Thank you very much. So how would you suggest that I attribute this photo?
    Also, I am new to your excellent blog and I’m wondering how to search it for specific surnames?

    • Gclee says:

      The photo was from a Craddock descendent and I would probably credit it that way. As for a surname search, I have tagged a few surnames if there is lengthy mention in an article, or the name is in more than one article. Otherwise, I’m not sure if a regular internet search would pull them up or not.

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