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Submitted by Phil Winn
Below is a short history of a Garvin County killing. First is a short recount of the
incident by my Aunt, then two articles from local papers of the time.
A story about Pat Rich per Norma Sue Winn (daughter of Edgar Reason Winn and Susie Bergainer Rich)-
Grandpa Rich shot and killed a man named THOMPSON. He was taken into protective custody for his safety. A lot of people were screaming about a lynching. The sheriff stopped it by putting him in protective custody. I don't know for how long. The man he killed shot at him first. As a matter of fact, Grandma and Mama (Susie Rich), and maybe some of the other
kids were standing on the front porch when he shot at Grandpa. His wife (Thompson's) and daughter (Winnie) were with him. Anyway, Grandpa went back into the house, got his shotgun and shot the man, killing him and his horse
(or mule) that he had brought with him. His wife and daughter weren't hurt. I suppose his wife's testimony that her husband has shot at Grandpa first kept him from being charged with murder. Thompson's daughter, Winnie, was Mama's best friend. They always said that they wished they were sisters, but since they weren't, when they grew up they were going to marry brothers so they could be sisters. Winnie married Papa's (Edgar Reason Winn) brother Scott (Francis Scott Winn). She and Mama
stayed close. They used to visit us a lot when I was a kid. I am not sure when it happened. I never thought to ask Aunt Winnie when she was alive. I have narrowed it down to between 1906 and 1910. Somehow, I have the feeling that it was 1908. I can't explain why I think that, other than the fact that Mama was about 10 years old at that time and that just feels right. Of
course, I could be completely wrong.
Thursday Sept. 19, 1912
PAT RICH KILLS
Wednesday afternoon about 1:30 Hiram Thompson came to Rich's barn where he
had previously unloaded some hay without Rich's consent. It seems that
Rich's mules had destroyed some of Thompson's hay and Thompson had accused
Rich of stealing it. This is said to be what started the trouble. When Rich
saw Thompson in his horse lot near the barn, he asked him what he was doing
there and was told that it was none of his d--n business. When Rich told
Thompson to get out of there, Thompson replied "you d--n s-n ------if
you want me out come and get me out and pulled his horse around between
Rich and him, shooting at Rich with a 41 caliber colt pistol. Rich ran in
the house and got his shotgun and shot at Thompson, killing Thompson's
horse the first shot and probably fatally wounding Thompson.
Rich shot twice and it is not known which shot took effect, as only three
shots struck Thompson, one in the right side just below the breastbone, one
in the arm, and one just grazed the top of his head. Rich's gun was loaded with BB,s
Thompson leaves a wife and two children, while Rich is 54 years of age and
has a wife and eight children. Both families were present during the shooting.
Rich surrendered to Constable Phillips and was brought in and lodged in jail Thursday.
Rich is a hard working farmer and this is said to be the first trouble he has ever had.
Sept 20, 1912
SHOT AND KILLED
A deplorable tragedy occurred in the Northeast part of this county Wednesday
afternoon when Pat Rich shot and instantly killed Hiram Thompson, one of
the old-timers in this section. The tragedy took place just inside the county
boundary line between Purdy and Royal. Meager details of the tragedy only
have reached here, but enough is known to justify the statement that it was the result
of an old grudge or former misunderstanding in which bad blood was engendered.
Thompson was about 50 years of age and was well and favorably known,
especially to old-time stockmen. He has lived in this section many years.
Rich is also well known and has lived in this section for some time. Both
are men of family and both are good citizens, but just who was the
aggressor is not known at this time,nor are any of the particulars known
further than that Thompson died almost instantly. Officers went to
the scene of the crime yesterday and will probably return with Rich today.
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