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.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Alonzo Fagg

Holcombe's 1883 History of Greene County contains a brief account of the killing of Alonzo Fagg by Samuel Means in 1879. It seems Fagg was walking home along South Street in Springfield with another young man when Means came out of an alley, chased Fagg a short distance, and stabbed him to death with a knife when he caught up with him. Both men were reportedly under the influence of liquor, but supposedly there had been no prior argument between them, which seems hard to believe.
The interesting thing to me, however, about the account in the county history is that it says that both men came from "highly respectable families." Based on my research of the Fagg family, I'm not sure "highly respectable" would be the term that would come to mind if I were trying to describe Alonzo and his kin. Fagg's father, James H. Fagg, for instance, was a merchant in Springfield during the Civil War era, and he had a whole series of run-ins with the law during those years involving minor offenses like selling liquor without a license, selling liquor on Sunday, gambling, and so forth.
The real black sheep of the family, though, was a brother of Alonzo's named J. P. Fagg. J. P.'s first serious scrape with the law came in 1875 when he tried to rob a businessman in Springfield of a large sum of money by tossing a cannister of chloroform into a room where the man was sleeping. The plan backfired and he was arrested and convicted of attempted grand larceny. And that was just the beginning of his criminal career. However, in defense of Holcombe's county history, I have to add that some of J. P.'s more notorious escapades happened after 1883.


Anonymous Bob said...

If I recall correctly, there was a character named Pink Fagg who was involved in scrapes in Carthage & Peirce City, then ended up in the federal prison in Fort Smith for a robbery in Indian Territory. Any connection to this bunch?

March 3, 2009 at 5:02 PM  
Anonymous Bob said...

A Google search for "Pink Fagg" shows that J.P. & Pink were the same person and gives details on some of his escapades. My recollection of the robbery in I.T. was incorrect. Pink went to prison in Arkansas for manslaughter committed in Fort Smith.

March 5, 2009 at 5:37 AM  
Blogger Larry Wood said...

Yes, J. P. Fagg's full name was Joel Pinkney Fagg. He was known familiarly as Pink and officially as J. P. And you're right that he was involved in scrapes in Carthage, Peirce City, and Fort Smith in addition to the stealing charge in Springfield.

March 7, 2009 at 11:32 AM  

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