Tag Archives: Breathitt County KY

Curt Jett, the wild dog of the mountains

“Curt Jett was a member of the Hargis clan in the Hargis-Cockrill feud. Once he was under sentence of death, but the Kentucky Court of Appeals reversed the verdict and he accepted a life term without appeal. That was for the killing of James Cockrill, July 20, 1902, near the courthouse at Jackson. He claimed […]

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He wanted people who ate at his house to have what they wanted

“The home of Nathan Noble was known far and wide for the ample room, good living, welcome cheer and forest hospitality. The entertainment was noble, majestic and grand in its services and welcome in its invitation. A stranger never left the cabin door of these mountaineers hungry, unless it was destitute of food or the […]

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Bloody Breathitt Finds Its Scapegoat

In the past, violent death had been a divider, but now it was a uniter. Bad Tom Smith had been a “feudist,” but as part of an affair in another county, and it was probably a relief to many that the crime of passion for which he was hanged was unconnected to past power struggles. Unlike so many killings before it, Bad Tom Smith’s execution was a civically consensual, apolitical killing. Almost no one questioned it as a legitimate form of violence.

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