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BRISTOW - CASEY FIGHT

Narrator: Wm. Bristow of Hamilton, Missouri

Wm. Bristow farmer is a nephew of Judge Wm. Bristow who was a participant in the killing at Hamilton of John Casey and son John in 1864.

He tells the story thus: Judge Bristow was sitting in a Hamilton Store (The story told by others say it was the Kemper store located on the present picture show site). The elder Casey came in pretty drunk. He began to swear at the Northern Army and the Federal supporters, swinging his arms wildly. Finally they got over Bristow's head. He held a knife. Bristow first thought he just was talking generally but finally he said "Do you happen to mean me?" Casey replied, "Yes, if you want to take it that way." There upon, the Judge knocked the elder Casey down. Casey arose and went into another store (other Narrators say it was the Buster Saloon and Grocery across the street and across the tracks).

A little later, young Casey came in the first Store and pulled out his revolver, saying to Bristow that he would get anyone who struck his father. Both men got on their feet in a quarrel. The Store had two doors on east and west. The Old Casey entered now by the east with his knife. "I reckon he'd have cut Uncle's head off if it hadn't have been for his silk handkerchief around his neck, " Mr. Bristow said. At the same time both the Judge and Young Casey shot. Casey's shot went wild. Bristow's shot killed Casey. Then Judge turned around to settle the Elder Casey and saw him lying on the ground - shot seriously by some bystander - he never knew exactly who it was. Old Casey died the next day.

Years after - a story goes that a stranger introduced himself to Judge Bristow with the remark that he saved Bristow's life on the above occasion.

After the double death in the Casey family, the Caseys moved nearer Gallatin. Judge Bristow's work often took him to Gallatin but he always feared to go, for a Bristow-Casey feud arose out of the killing. For a long time the Bristows carried guns when in the Casey neighborhood; but the ill feeling gradually disappeared and no further harm came of it.

This version varies somewhat from the version p. 194 in History of Caldwell-Livingston Counties 1886.

Interviewed July 1934.

 

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All photos are copyright KingsCross Farm, 1997 & 1998
All written material other than reference material copyright KingsCross Farm 1998