Welcome to my genealogy blog. Ancestors I Wish I Knew is a combination of genealogical information and stories about individuals in my family tree. The focus is on those from my Cochrane, Eitelbach, Merrett, Minarcik and Richards lines and their descendants.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

#58--Harlan Turner--The Gun Fight in the Goose Saloon

The theme this week is about someone in your family who is a Black Sheep, a person who is a troublemaker and outcast in their family.    Well practically everyone in my family seems to be very, very well behaved, so I did not have many individuals to pick from.  After looking over a couple of likely prospects, I decided that I would blog about my great aunt’s husband, Harlan Turner.   I did not know much about him, except that he married my Aunt Gert Hannah in Butler, Missouri on April 4, 1890.   Then they divorced 9 years later.

Harlan was born Morgan County, Kentucky on February 27, 1857 to James and Elizabeth (Trimble) Turner. The 1860 and 1870 census describe him as living at home with his parents in Kentucky.  In 1880 Harlan is living in Valley, Linn, Kansas.  He is described as a farmer and a partner in the farm. When he arrived in Butler, Missouri is a mystery to me.  However, I got more information about him from the Butler newspaper.

Imagine my surprise to read that he was involved in a gun fight in a saloon  in Butler. Compared to
the size of most of the articles in the paper, this was a much longer article so I suspect it was a big story in Butler.  As I read the article, this is what seems to have happened.  Harlan Turner and his friend, J. W. McVeigh had spent most of the day from noon to early evening drinking in the Goose Saloon.  About 7 o’clock they began to hit each other over the head and in the face with their hats.  To avoid further trouble, the bartender closed the bar, and Turner and McVeight left, and went their separate ways.

Later in the evening they both returned and their gun fight ensured.  The bartender, Robert Plummer,
described the incident as follows:

Harlan Turner was tried in Circuit Court in Butler .  A variety of witness testified as
to what they had seen and Turner testified indicating that he shot McVeigh in self-defense. After describing an verbal interaction with McVeigh, Turner said the following:

After defense rested, the jury began its deliberations about 8 o'clock in the evening and returned a verdict of not guilty 15 minutes later.  

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