The Result of a 10 cent Bet

The records on this case are spotty at best, only the court records. But the Barretts were related to the Bunch line, Marcella Barrett being Granville Bunch’s first wife. Her niece, Lucy Fidella “Delly” Owensby, was Granville’s second wife, and this Thomas Barrett would have been Marcella’s brother, and Delly’s uncle. I did not find where he was buried at, but I know Delly’s parents are buried in the Hoover-T. Glass Cemetery, about halfway between Randolph and Wisdom, off of Hwy 640.
Thomas Barrett, Jr. was listed in the 1850 Monroe Co., KY Census with his wife Clarissa (nee Skerlock), and an infant child. Sometime after 1850, he located somewhere near the village of Randolph, where the following incident took place. In my notes, it is curious that Gilmore Hay and Thomas Barrett, Sr. and wife all relocated to Missouri, and were there in the 1870 Census, though not in the same county.

The accused, Gilmore Hay, was 19 years old when this incident occurred.
“The said Gilmore Hay on the 26th day of December 1857, in the county of Barren, did unlawfully, maliciously with malice aforethought, feloniously killed and murdered one Thomas Barrett by then and there shooting said Thos. Barrett with a pistol loaded with a leaden ball and powder by shooting said Barrett in and through the thigh from which death ensued.
“This incident happened somewhere near Randolph, according to witnesses.
“Thomas Barrett states that he was present when a difficulty occurred between his son and Gilmore Hay. That it was the 26th of December last in Barren Co. That his son and Hay bet a dime – Barrett shooting at a paper. That Hay won the dime and his son paid him the dime. That his son wanted to bet again and Hay refused.
“There was a struggle and Hays gun fired, shooting Barrett through the thigh. this was the shot from which Barrett died on the 8th of January.”
In the depositions, it was stated that one of the witnesses heard Hay make the comment that he would rather be in the coffin as Barrett, because Barrett had a wife and child. By studying the 1850 Census, East Fork Precinct, I found that Gilmore, in the house of his father, Peter Hay, lived next door to the Thomas Barrett, Sr. family, and one can assume from there that Hay and Barrett probably grew up together. I also gathered from some of the witness testimony that young Barrett was a drinker, and was rather ornery when he drank, often being a bully. Hays’ gun was not fired intentionally, only misfired from a nervous gesture when Barrett cuffed Hay rather hard under the chin after having a heated argument over whether or not Hay should take the bet again.
The verdict was written on the outside of the court docket:
“We the jury find the accused Gilmore Hay not guilty of the charge of Murder = guilty of the offense of Manslaughter under the charge within Indictment and fix the period of his confinement in the Jail and penitentiary of this state at 2 yrs /s/ BF Davis, foreman.”

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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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