Editor’s note: This arti­cle is a com­pan­ion piece to anoth­er arti­cle writ­ten by Harry, The Colored Paupers Graveyard, which doc­u­ments the his­to­ry and shame­ful con­di­tion of an impor­tant part of Clark County’s his­to­ry. In the inter­est of his­tor­i­cal accu­ra­cy, we have cho­sen to leave anachro­nisms such as the words “col­ored” and “pau­per,” as well as oth­er poten­tial­ly awk­ward or painful language. 

Little is known about the men and women buried in the Colored Paupers Graveyard.  Some were born into slav­ery.  Most lived des­per­ate lives of pover­ty.  Some suf­fered from alco­holism or drug abuse.  We know that at life’s end, they did not have the resources to pay for a bur­ial cof­fin.  For many, that life would end in violence.

Regardless of their unfor­tu­nate plights, these poor souls deserve to be remem­bered in some way.  Society did lit­tle for them when they were liv­ing, and after death, their final rest­ing place has become a for­got­ten wilderness.

Most of the sad sto­ries below only speak of their last days, because those are the only sto­ries we have.  They were gleaned from death cer­tifi­cates, cen­sus data, and from local news­pa­pers of the time. 

Floyd Gheens

Henry Holt shot Floyd Gheens near the Burns Avenue cross­ing of the C&O Railroad.  The two men fought over a woman named Mary Utley, whom both had been court­ing.  Gheens, shot in the bow­els, lin­gered sev­er­al days before dying at his home on Mary Bell’s Alley, July 12, 1911.  His death cer­tifi­cate, which spelled his name “Ganes,” states that he was “a stranger here, have so lit­tle known.”

Henry Broadhurst

Henry Broadhurst was born in Clark County, the son of Ben Broadhurst and Nancy Quisenberry.  Henry was a bach­e­lor and worked as a farm­hand.  He died of Bright’s dis­ease on February 26, 1912.

Lena Johnson

Lena Corns, under the influ­ence of cocaine, stabbed Lena Johnson to death at a house where they both lived on Church Alley, October 11, 1912.  Witnesses said Johnson was on top of Corns on the bed, try­ing to stab her with an ice pick.  Corns grabbed the hand hold­ing the pick, pulled out a pock­et knife, opened it with her teeth, and stabbed Johnson eight times.

Albert Brooks

Will Ackles killed Albert Brooks with a razor on December 22, 1912.  The mur­der, said to have result­ed from a quar­rel over a two-dol­lar debt, occurred at the rail­road camp of Sturm & Dillard, about 7 miles from town.

Henry Bennison

Henry Bennison was described as “a strong negro work­ing at a rail­road con­struc­tion camp.”  He was mar­ried and worked as a camp cook.  Bennison died of pneu­mo­nia on December 26, 1912.

Didley Dee

Walter Wilson slashed Didley Dee sev­er­al times with a knife at the rail­road camp of George Brothers on January 18, 1913.  Witnesses said Wilson act­ed in self-defense.  The alleged killer remained at large.

Joe Shepherd

Joe “Big Boy” Shepherd was want­ed for the mur­der of Deputy Sheriff George Hart on November 24, 1912.  Months lat­er, offi­cials attempt­ed to arrest Shepherd at Wilson’s rail­road con­struc­tion camp.  Shepherd man­aged to make his escape but was wound­ed in the shoul­der by the fire of the offi­cers.  His body was found sev­er­al weeks lat­er, part­ly sub­merged in water near the mouth of Red River.  It was thought that he died about February 6, 1913.

John Davis

John Davis was a rail­road labor­er from Georgia who passed away on June 14, 1913.  Davis suf­fered a leg wound­ed while work­ing and died of tetanus.

Clay Wilson

Two men, Clay Wilson and Roy Burley, were killed in a tun­nel cave-in on the L&N rail­road on April 4, 1913.  The tun­nel was being con­struct­ed near Raker’s, about 9 miles from the city.  Wilson was buried in the Colored Paupers Graveyard; Burley was buried in Shelbyville.

Will Gains

Will Gains was a labor­er liv­ing on Maple Street in Winchester.  He was found dead on June 26, 1913.  The coro­ner con­clud­ed that he died of heart fail­ure brought on by alco­holism.  His wife’s name was Nancy née Didlake.  His father was Frank Gains.

Charley Jackson

The body of Charles Jackson was found beside the L&N rail­road tracks near the ice plant.  He had been shot through the head short­ly before he was found on July 20, 1913.  The dead man had been involved in a crap game that end­ed in a quar­rel.  He had worked at the Gibson con­struc­tion camp.

Charlie Jackson

For the third con­sec­u­tive Sunday there was a mur­der at one of the rail­road con­struc­tion camps.  Matt Jackson shot Charlie Jackson mul­ti­ple times on July 27, 1913.  The trou­ble start­ed dur­ing a dice game and a quar­rel over 35 cents.  The vic­tim had only arrived at camp the day before he was killed.

Thomas Edgington

Thomas Edgington was a rail­road work­er from North Carolina.  He died of tuber­cu­lar menin­gi­tis on August 17, 1913.

Jim Preston

John Owens shot and killed Jim Preston at the Sturm & Dillard rail­road camp, September 7, 1913.  The quar­rel arose over a woman.  Preston was recent­ly from Jellico, Tennessee.

M. M. Mosely

M. M. Mosely, who also went by “William” or “Judson,” was shot and killed by James Marshall, the night tele­phone oper­a­tor at the North Cabin Station on the L&N Railroad, December 7, 1913.  Mitchell claimed Mosely banged on the locked sta­tion door.  When Mitchell opened the door, Mosely rushed in and Mitchell shot him.

William Moody

Marie Moody killed her hus­band, William “Flunkey” Moody, on December 9, 1913.  He was seen going up the street with anoth­er woman.  When he returned to their home on Maple Street, she shot him five times with a .32 cal­iber pis­tol.  Both had come to town two or three months before to work in the rail­road camps.

Will Jones

Jesse Miller shot Will “Euchre” Jones at the Sturm and Dillard rail­road camp.  Jones died on December 26, 1913.  Miller, who claimed self-defense, was lodged in the coun­ty jail.

George Cofer

George Cofer was a 30-year-old rail­road work­er from Georgia, who died of a bro­ken back caused “from fall down steps.”  His death on January 22, 1914 was ruled an accident.

Sunny Jones

A man, thought to be named Sunny Jones, was struck and killed by a C&O train, July 25, 1914.

Ed Brooks

Railroad gang fore­man C. B. Peck shot and killed Ed Brooks.  Brooks cursed Peck and drew his pis­tol, but Peck fired his shot­gun first.  The shoot­ing took place near the city lim­its, September 20, 1914.

William Turner

A rail­road work­er named William Turner died of expo­sure, December 24, 1914.  The death cer­tifi­cate stat­ed he “froze to death.”

Martha Dodge

Martha Dodge, a 34-year-old house­keep­er, passed away on March 31, 1915 from the effects of neuras­the­nia.  Martha was the wife of Rev. Green Dodge.  She was born in Fayette County to par­ents Richard Morris and Hanner Moore.

Will Jones

Will Jones was shot and killed by a per­son unknown at a rail­road camp on April 18, 1915.

Charles E. Clone

Charles E. Clone passed away July 15, 1915 of cap­il­lary bron­chi­tis at the age of 10 days.

His par­ents were Thomas Clone and Nannie Taylor of W. Washington Street in Winchester.

Davis Chick

After get­ting off the C&O pas­sen­ger train and being pur­sued by offi­cers, Davis Chick, of Knoxville, Tennessee, was shot and killed, August 24, 1915.  Death cer­tifi­cate gave his name as James Chick.

Emma Virginia Botts

Emma Virginia Botts was a daugh­ter of Will Hays and Laura Botts.  She died on September 10, 1915 of “sum­mer com­plaint,” anoth­er name for acute diar­rhea in chil­dren.  She was aged 1 year, 9 months, and 10 days.

Clark baby

A female child arrived still­born on December 25, 1915 to par­ents Archie Clark and Berthie Gratts, who resided in Hart’s Bottom, Winchester.

Mae Alice Fields

Mae Alice Fields was just over a year old when she passed away on January 1, 1916 from con­vul­sions that fol­lowed a bout of bron­chi­tis.  She was born in Winchester to par­ents Silas Fields and wife Julia Jouett, who lived on Bell’s Alley.

Arthur Johnson

A dyna­mite explo­sion bad­ly injured Arthur Johnson at a rail­road con­struc­tion site near Sloan, 14 miles from Winchester.  Johnson had been attempt­ing to thaw out dyna­mite frozen by the cold weath­er.  He was tak­en to Dr. J. H. Tyler’s in Winchester, where he died on March 1, 1916.

Paul Wilkinson

Paul Wilkinson, a for­mer slave, suf­fered a frozen foot which result­ed in sep­tic poi­son­ing.  He died on February 10, 1917, in the coun­ty jail where he had gone to seek help.

Willie Green

While intox­i­cat­ed, Reuben Clark opened fire on Asa Allen at a rail­road camp near Mina.  He wound­ed Allen and bystander Willie Green.  Allen sur­vived, but Green was tak­en to the hos­pi­tal in Winchester where he passed away on April 17, 1917.  Green, who was born in Montgomery, Alabama, died of peri­toni­tis that result­ed from his wounds.

George Kennedy Harvey

George K. Harvey was only 3 days old when he per­ished as a result of a pre­ma­ture birth on October 16, 1917.  His par­ents, Milton and Laura Botts Harvey, lived on Second Street in Winchester.  Milton was a carpenter.

R. C. “Arcey” Banks

Arcey was the bach­e­lor son of Levi and Georgia Ross Banks of Conecuh County, Alabama.  He was one of the many young men, of the Deep South, who were recruit­ed by the rail­road com­pa­nies to work on the new L&N rail line that ran from Winchester to Ravenna.  He passed away from the effects of bron­chop­neu­mo­nia on March 9, 1918.

Bud Candy

Bud Candy was born in Lancaster, Kentucky.  He was liv­ing on Pearl Street in Winchester, when he died of pneu­mo­nia on January 25, 1920.

Charles Nelson

Charles Nelson died at his home in Poynterville on May 25, 1920.  Nelson, “one the most high­ly respect­ed negroes of Winchester,” was found in his bed, an appar­ent sui­cide.  Nelson had been born into slavery.

Robert Guy

Robert Guy was a bar­ber liv­ing on Bell’s Alley in Winchester who had been born enslaved in Clark County.  He died on July 22, 1920 of sup­pu­ra­tive arthri­tis.  Guy was a wid­ow­er; he had mar­ried Frances Grimes in 1879.

William Guy

William Guy died of heart dis­ease at the Clark County Hospital on October 29, 1920.  He was born in Winchester to Edward Guy and wife Harriett Reed.

Paul Evans

Dick Green shot Paul “Slick” Evans in the abdomen at a rail­road con­struc­tion camp near Red River.  Evans died the next day at Dr. Tyler’s hos­pi­tal in Winchester, November 25, 1921.

Dave Moore

Clay Lena Sims stabbed her sweet­heart, Dave “Snake” Moore, near the rail­road depot.  He died ear­ly the fol­low­ing morn­ing at his father’s home in Bucktown, March 17, 1923.

Roy Moreland

Roy Moreland was found shot to death at the rail­road camp at Raker’s, about 5 miles from Winchester on March 29, 1923.  Workers had just received their month­ly pay and Moreland’s check was stolen.

Henry Bonner Jr.

Henry Bonner was only two days old when he died on February 5, 1924.  He was the son of Henry Bonner and Sylvia Watson of Alabama.  The cause of death was list­ed as “pre­ma­ture birth.”

Henry Bonner

Henry Bonner was the son of Lucius Bonner and Lucy Young.  Henry’s father was a Civil War vet­er­an; he served win Company G, 86th Infantry Regiment, U.S. Colored Troops.

Henry Bonner mar­ried Sylvia Watson; they were both natives of Alabama.  In 1920 the cou­ple and their four chil­dren lived on Kerr Alley in Winchester.  The cen­sus list­ed his occu­pa­tion as “street work­er.”  He passed away on June 24, 1925 from the effects of tuberculosis.

Lawson Vowel

The man­gled body of Lawson Vowel, a rail­road work­er, was found beside the L&N Railroad near Raker on November 16, 1927.  He acci­den­tal­ly fell from the train and was run over.

Sarah Elizabeth Bybee

Sarah Elizabeth Bybee lived for only 13 days before she died of a gas­troin­testi­nal dis­or­der on October 1, 1928.  Her par­ents, Walter Bybee and wife Lara Harvey, lived on Third Street in Winchester.

  • Harry is a Mt. Sterling native who has lived in Clark County since1999. He has a pas­sion for the past and has researched and writ­ten exten­sive­ly about the his­to­ry of this area.