I have discovered that Hickman County politicians in 1837 had a rather more, ah, direct method of determining who got
elected than mere elections.
Here it is:
The following is taken from an 1837 issue of
the North Carolina Standard newspaper:
"A most bloody and shocking transaction took place in the little town of Clinton, Hickman
Co. Ken. The circumstances are briefly as follows: A special canvass for a representative from the county of Hickman, had
for some time been in progress. A gentleman by the name of Binford was a candidate.
The State Senator from the district, Judge James, took some exceptions to the reputation of Binford, and intimated that if
Binford should be elected, he (James) would resign rather than serve with such a colleague. Hearing this, Binford went to
the house of James to demand an explanation.
Mrs. James remarked, in a jest as Binford thought, that
if she was in the place of her husband she would resign her seat in the Senate, and not serve with such a character. Binford
told her that she was a woman, and could say what she pleased. She replied that she was not in earnest.
James then looked Binford in the face and said that, "if his wife said so, it was the fact --he was an infamous scoundrel
and d----d rascal". He asked Binford if he was armed, and on being answered in the affirmative, he stepped into an adjoining
room to arm himself; He was prevented by the family from returning, and Binford walked out. James then told him from his piazza,
that he would meet him next day in Clinton.
True to their appointment, the enraged parties met on the streets the following day. James shot first, his ball
passing through his antagonist's liver, whose pistol fired immediately afterwards, and missing James, the ball pierced
the head of a stranger by the name of Collins, who instantly fell and expired.
After being shot, Binford sprang upon James with the fury of a wounded tiger, and would have taken his life but for a second
shot received through the back from Bartin James, the brother of Thomas. Even after he received the last fatal wound he struggled
with his antagonist until death relaxed his grasp, and he fell with the horrid exclamation, "I am a dead man!"
Judge James gave himself up to the authorities; and when the informant of the editor left Clinton,
Binford, and the unfortunate stranger lay shrouded corpses together.
And what happened to Judge James? According to an article in the New
Orleans Bee newspaper, Judge James was tried and acquitted, the death of Binford being regarded as an act of
out John's other unique views
on Hickman County History
by clicking on these links.
Hickman Co. at War
January 18, 2007
COLUMBUS SCRAPBOOK:THE BATTLE OF BE-RU-MO-DO by John Kelly Ross, Jr.
[Reprinted from 2-27-92 Hickman County Gazette]
Author’s Note: After the end of his second term, President Ulysses S. Grant and his wife spent two years traveling around the world.
Both the governments and the peoples of Europe and Asia considered this former Union general to be one of the greatest
heroes of this century. Grant was especially popular in Japan. In the July 1895 issue
of the Century Magazine, I found an English translation of the story of the Battle of Belmont taken from an 1880 Japanese
biography of Grant.
In Japanese all foreign names must be written in a special set of phonetic characters. Some
English "letter" sounds do not exist in Japanese and different ones must be substituted. When
the Japanese was literally translated back into English, Ulysses Simpson Grant became Yu-rish-es-u Shi-mu-son Gu-ran-do and
Belmont was transformed into Be-ru-mo-do!
This book was also
written in the style of traditional Japanese biographies of great military men. Grant was transformed into
a classic Japanese mythic hero with all the proper Confucian virtues. The Japanese author also tended to
mix together different battles and seemed to be a little uncertain about the details of Western Kentucky's geography.
"On the 1st day of the 9th month [September 1, 1861] he [Grant] was again promoted to the Shikicho [Director
in General] of the whole army. He, being greatly encouraged, put his headquarters in the place called Kairo
[Cairo], and watched the movements of the Southern soldiers. The force of Gurando Kuen [Grant, Mr.], being
like the splitting of bamboo, or the ascending of a Ryo [dragon] into the clouds, on the 6th of the 9th month, leading his
great army, he approached the fort of his enemy. His movement being like the beating of great waves against
rocks, or the scattering of small fish by a Shachihoko [shark], with the shout "Yei, Yei!" advanced.
The Southern army, with the hope of making the Northern army into small dust, defended themselves; but the Northern
army was not at all afraid, and continued to attack the Southern army, and at once to scatter them. They
leaving their defense, fled in disorder toward Berumodo [Belmont]. Kuen [Mr. Grant] in one battle almost
got possession of the city of Bachuka [Paducah], near the mouth of the Teneshi [Tennessee River]. From
the time of this victory the throats of the Ohio and the Teneshi [Tennessee] were occupied by the Northern army, and became
a convenient place of transportation for them.
[This is a rather confused description of Grant's
occupation of Paducah after General Polk seized Columbus. No battle took place of course.]
On the 5th day of the 11th month of the same year, he was sent to attack Bachuka [Paducah] again, and on the
following day, leading the whole army, he left the camp at Kairo [Cairo] and moved toward Berumodo [Belmont].
The Southern army made preparation at a critical place, and put a great army in Coronbiya [Columbus], on the eastern
bank of the Mississippi, and a great armory, and waited to beat and break the Northern army from the sideway.
Kuen [Mr. Grant] being not at all afraid, on the 7th day of the same month arrived, commanding three thousand one hundred
men. Seven thousand and more men of the Southern army, raising the whole wave, appeared at once, trying
to get ahead one of another; and putting forth their guns in a row, and glittering their swords' points, began to attack.
The Northern army met them, beating and being beaten. Their rushing blood made, as it were, a scarlet
rain, and for a time there was no sign of decision.
The artillery began to fire, and the sound of
the cannon could be compared with nothing; and it struck down the camp of the Northern army, and several hundred men fell
dead with their heads in a row. The usually courageous Northern army began to waver; the Southern army
continued to attack. Gurando Kuen [Grant, Mr.] whose courage had no rival, on account of the confusion
of his men determined to retreat at once; and leading his men began to retreat, driving out his enemy near at hand, and firing
at the enemy from a distance. He thus broke them with his utmost power; and the great Southern army, although
its energy was like the power of an angry tiger, left two cannon and fled. The Northern army captured two
hundred men and opened the siege, and returned to a war-ship.
movement and spirit-like operation of Kuen [Mr. Grant] at this time made one doubt whether he were not the second advent of
Washinton [Washington]. Even Naporeon [Napoleon] I. would have been far from a rival to him.
Both enemy and friend admired him. The Southern army from this time gave up the idea of pursuing.
In this battle the Southern army lost 632 men, dead and wounded. The Northern army lost 25 men less
than the Southern army."
Well, all in all, this account of the Battle of Belmont
is still better than some I have seen written for the tourists. And a lot more interesting!
Editor's Note: Some of you asked for more history on the website. John Ross, our Hickman County Historian is
chock full of stories and local lore. If you have questions about local history, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
I am sure John will have an answer in due course.