ASSASSINATED – Policeman R T Thurman Slain – Looks Like Murder Most Foul – 18 September 1914

The following information was gathered from several newspaper accounts of the era.

“Robert T. Thurman, policeman of Glasgow, was murdered between 12 and 1 o’clock Friday morning (18 September 1914) on West Main street, about a half block from the Courthouse Square. The killing occurred near the House store. Thurman received a telephone message to go to North Glasgow and make an arrest, as parties were drunk and disorderly. He was then returning with two prisoners when he was shot. He fell unconscious and the prisoners made their escape. It is said that the groans of the dying man could be heard on the square, and that two men were seen to kick him and curse him after he had been shot and was lying on the ground. He was shot just below the heart. The shots aroused citizens, who found the officer and carried him to the Murrell Hotel, where he breathed his last a few minutes later.
“Attempts were made to assassinate the officer several months ago, since which time all kinds of rumors have been afloat and many of his friends have predicted he would meet a violent end. Nothing in the history of Glasgow has so aroused the people as the murder of this young officer.
“Robert Thurman was 35 years old, and was formerly marshall of Burkesville and Edmonton, Ky. He was a member of the Methodist church. He had killed two or three men, but was always acquitted on the grounds of self-defense. Two or three years ago, he shot and killed Bud McCandless in Edmonton, while marshall of that place. McCandless had previously killed Judge George H. Pierce, one of the prominent men of Metcalfe county, in a desperate shooting affray.
“More than one year ago, ‘bootlegging’ became so open in Glasgow that something drastic had to be done. Accordingly, the City Council of Glasgow, headed by Mayor J.S. Leech, met and employed Mr. Thurman, with the understanding that he would try to arrest every violator of the law. He was a stranger here, and therefore could have no “favorites”, and within a few weeks he had arrested and convicted 25 persons. This of course, made him many enemies, and the threats were frequently heard that they would kill him. Interested persons offered him large sums of money to leave, but these he refused and stayed at the post of duty.
“A court of inquiry was held Saturday to investigate the murder of Policeman Thurman, and sufficient evidence was brought out to cause the arrest of Milton Mansfield and Louie Pace, two well-known young men of Glasgow. Pace is a printer in the Times office, and Mansfield is a young man well-known around town. Their examining trial was called Saturday afternoon, but continued until Monday, and was again postponed until Thursday.
“Mr. Thurman was to have been married Sunday to an estimable young woman of this city. He is survived by a brother, of New York, who wired to hold the body until he arrived. He was a widower and was the father of two children – one a daughter of sixteen and the other a son of eleven years.
“Thurman was a man absolutely without fear, and had made a splendid officer here. It has been believed for some time that he was marked for assassination by the lawless element, who feared and hated him greatly. The prediction was frequently made that he would be killed, and he was warned of his danger often, but paid no attention to these warnings. A few months ago, an attempt was made to assassinate him, but failed on account of his not walking into the trap set. The dead man was friendly, polite, genial and rather a handsome man, showing little of the fighting man that he really was.
“Two thousand people viewed the remains in Jewell’s undertaking establishment Saturday, and the crowd finally became so great that it was necessary to close the doors. Yesterday, there was equally as large a crowd in town. The most tragic affair ever occurring in Glasgow, the community is profoundly moved, and it is everywhere predicted that the end is not yet.
“The remains were taken to Clinton county, Sunday afternoon, and will be interred in the family burial ground in that place.”

According to funeral home records from Jewell Undertaking and Furniture Dealers, now maintained by Hatcher and Saddler Funeral Home, Robert T Thurman was buried the 22nd of September 1914 near Albany, in the Thurman family cemetery on Malone Ridge, in Clinton County. He was shown in the records as 37 years old, a policeman, widower, born Kentucky, resided Glasgow, and was a son of Turner Thurman and Betsy Riddle (they both born Kentucky). Dr J W Acton was the presiding physician and noted that he died of gunshot wounds. He was assisted by Dr J S Leech. The city paid all the costs of the burial.

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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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