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Hancock County, TN

The Washington Post

August 5, 1900


Two Killed in Election Difficulty

 Sneedville, Tenn. Aug, 4----Election day in Hancock County, a remote county of East Tennessee, resulted in two men being killed and two fatally wounded. The dead are John Lamb, deputy Sheriff, and Telman Collins. The wounded are Wiley Brewer and Whitten Gibson. Brewer was candidate for Justice of the Peace. The difficulty arose over the election.


New York Times

Oct. 27, 1889


Three Brothers and Two Cousins to die at the same time


 Nashville, Tenn. Oct. 26.---The sentence of John Barnard, Sr., Anderson Barnard, Elisha Barnard, John Barnard Jr., and Clint Barnard of Hancock County, condemned to death for the murder of Hensley Sutton, near Sneedville, on Jan. 12 last, was to-day affirmed by the Supreme Court, which sentenced the defendants to be hanged on the 22nd of December next.

The first three prisoners are brothers and the other two are cousins, and the crime for which they will suffer death was the result of a feud that had existed for several months previous to the murder between Sutton and John Barnard, Sr. The two had some difference concerning a real estate trade, and when some hogs belonging to Sutton one day appeared with marks of mutilation, Sutton at once suspected Barnard. He made threats, and Barnard armed himself in the anticipation of trouble. Sutton, who conducted a distillery several miles distant from Sneedville, left the latter place on the evening of the tragedy, and while riding along was met by the five men. He was shot through the heart and death was instantaneous. The body was soon discovered and John Barnard, Sr. as arrested on suspicion. The arrest of the others soon followed, and at the May term of Hancock County Circuit Court they were arraigned for trial.

Some of the ablest lawyers in East Tennessee were employed on each side and the trial attracted much attention. The defendants were found guilty of murder in the first degree, and was sentenced by Judge Brown to be hanged on July 12 last. They appealed to the Supreme Court, which to-day affirmed the judgment of the lower court. the prisoners claimed that they accidently met Sutton, and that he attempted to shoot John Barnard, Sr., who shot him before he could discharge his rifle, which he had already cocked. They denied that they had concealed themselves in the bushed beside the road, as charged by the State. The proof, however, was conclusive, and the Supreme Court, which gave the testimony and argument most careful consideration, so held. The five men received the announcement of the decision with more or less emotion, and were not disposed to discuss the result with those who mentioned the matter to them. They will be taken back to the Hancock County Jail where they will remain till the day of execution.

Within the past few days there have been numbers of murders in Hancock County, and the law-abiding people there feel that this decision of the Supreme Court will have a salutary effect. It is possible that the condemned men may appeal to Gov. Taylor for a commutation of their sentence. The execution of the five men will, under the law, be private.