One time it did not pay to be Shy – 2 May 1870

The Commonwealth of KY, Barren Circuit Court, Greeting. Whereas information was this day given by RA Turner on oath that John Shy was guilty of Felony on the 24th Inst. in Barren Co, KY, stabbing the said RA Turner with the intent to kill. This information to command you forthwith to arrest the said John Shy and bring him before a Justice of the Peace of Barren Co to answer the Charges and further to be dealt with according to Law. Signed this 24th day of April 1870. Robert Hindman, JPBC.

The Commonwealth of KY to the Jailor of Barren Co.  You are commanded to receive into the Jail of Barren Co Eli Shy and him safely keep until discharged by due course of law, he having been held by us on examining court for trial in Barren Circuit Court on the charge of Felony and is allowed to give Bail in sum of $500 for default of which he is committed to jail.  Signed 26th day of April 1870 – RW Clayton, JPBC; Robert Hindman, JPBC.

State of KY – Barren County.  At an inquisition taken near the corporate limits of the Town of Glasgow in the county aforesaid on the 2nd day of May 1870 before JB Thomas, a Justice of the Peace for the county aforesaid – Eli Shy late of said County then and there hanging dead.  Upon the oaths of WT Evans, BS Peden, James Depp, JB Lessenberry, JH Montfort, Jno Smith, WJ Bettersworth, FA Richardson, Robert Webb, AB Crutcher, NB Cheatham, and CE Carden good and lawful men of the County aforesaid who being sworn and ordered to enquire into the part of the Commonwealth when there and after what manner the said John Shy died.  Eli Shy and John Shy came to their death do say upon their oaths that the said John Shy and Eli Shy on the 2nd day of May 1870 were forcibly taken from DB Denton the jailer of said County by a party of armed men in the night from the part of said County and came by said body of armed men near the Corporate limits of the Town aforesaid in the County aforesaid, and hanged upon trees by ropes until they were dead.  The names of said armed men are unknown to Deputy.

DB Denton being first sworn states that about 2 and one-half o’clock on the morning of the 2nd day of May 1870 that a body of armed men demanded of him as jailor for the County aforesaid John and Eli Shy who were placed in his custody as jailor aforesaid and he refused to release them up.  The said party of armed men when hearing this forced open the jail door and carried off the said Shys and hung them by the neck near the town of Glasgow.  He did not know any of the men engaged in the removal of said Shys from the jail aforesaid.

It appears from the report of a Jury of inquest and sworn evidence of David B. Denton, Jailer, taken before said Jury that the said John Shy and Eli Shy were forcibly taken from the custody of said Jailer by an armed band of men and the said John and Eli Shy were hung by said armed men until they were dead.  /s/ JW Scrivener, foreman of the Grand Jury.

John and Eli Shy were sons of John Shy of New Roe, Allen Co., KY.  New Roe is a small community in western Allen Co., about 12 miles from Franklin, south of Hwy 100.  They were two of 9 known children.

When the 2 men were taken from the jail, they were taken out the Old Bowling Green Rd., about 3 miles from the Square, and hanged in the backyard  of a house that was at one time owned by a Justice of the Peace of earlier times.  The Shys were not the only ones hung in this location, and until about 20 years ago, one of the hanging trees still stood.  I have been given to understand that about 9 people in all were hanged at this location, one of them a woman.


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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