Missouri and Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of Missouri, the Ozarks region, and surrounding area.

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Location: Missouri

I'm a freelance writer specializing in the history of the Ozarks and surrounding region. I've written sixteen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Wicked Women of Missouri, Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri, and Show-Me Atrocities: Infamous Incidents in Missouri History.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Jake Killian

A week or so ago I mentioned the fact that Granby produced a lot of desperate characters during its heyday as a mining town in the mid to late 1800s. One of them was Jake Killian. In fact, all the males in the whole Killian family were a bunch of hard cases. I have an article about the Killians that will be published in a future issue of Wild West Magazine. So, I don't want to steal my own thunder by going into a lot of detail here, but here's a brief version of their story. The Killian family moved from Arkansas to Granby during the mid 1850s. The father, Cy Killian, got beat to death with a whiffle-tree by a drinking buddy on the streets of Granby in the late 1850s. During the Civil War, an older brother of Jake named Mart was taken from a jail in Carthage and strung up to a tree near Spring River by bushwhackers who rode down from Barton County to avenge an outrage on a Lamar saloonkeeper's wife. Jake himself was shot and blinded in one eye during the war while wrestling a fellow soldier named Norton for a gun after getting into a dispute over a card game. After the war, Jake killed William Lake, owner of a traveling circus, when the circus came to Granby in 1869. In 1873, another of Jake's older brothers, Ben, got into a row at a similar traveling show in Granby, and an innocent bystander was killed during the ensuing gunplay. Two years later, Jake's younger brother, Thomas, and two other men killed one of the citizens who had served on the grand jury that indicted Ben Killian for murder. Then in 1878, Jake Killian was killed by William Norton, the same man who'd blinded him during the war, on the streets of Empire City, Kansas (now part of Galena), when he went there in search of revenge. So much for the Killian family.

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