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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Thriller Thursday: Edward Scruggs Shoots William Tillett

Republican Banner, 12 October 1869, page 3

The Tennessee Agricultural and Mechanical Association held a fair in Nashville on 18-23 October 1869. On the last day, there was a shooting in the amphitheater.

Republican Banner, 24 October 1869, page 1

Although the Republican Banner reported that Tillett shot Scruggs, Edward Scruggs actually shot William Tillett. The wound was apparently serious enough to get Scruggs charged with attempted murder. Scruggs' trial began on 3 December 1869.

Nashville Union and American, 4 December 1869, page 1

My 3rd-great-grandfather Joseph Tarkington testified at the trial. He was listed in the newspaper as Joseph Sarkinton, but I cannot find any other evidence of the existence of a Joseph Sarkinton. William Tillett knew Joseph Tarkington for almost his entire life, and I think they were related (William Tillett was the great-grandson of William Tarkington). Even if Joseph Tarkington's testimony was similar to that of William Tillett and Sawyers (presumably Willis), I still wish more details about it had been published in the newspaper.

Edward Scruggs was convicted and sentenced to three years in the penitentiary, but a motion to continue was made.

Republican Banner, 20 February 1870, page 4

On 30 March 1870, the motion for a new trial was argued.

 Nashville Union and American, 30 March 1870, page 4

On 6 May 1870, as Edward Scruggs was riding home, someone shot at him. Although he was wounded near his knee, it was just a flesh wound.

Republican Banner, 8 May 1870, page 4

I wonder if this shooting was related to William Tillett's shooting. Perhaps someone wanted revenge.

In September 1870, the prosecutor dismissed the charges against Edward Scruggs.

Republican Banner, 8 September 1870, page 4

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