Missouri and Ozarks History

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

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I'm a freelance writer specializing in the history of the Ozarks and surrounding region. I've written fifteen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Bushwhacker Belles, Wicked Women of Missouri, and Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Killing of Toby Carey

In the chapter on James-Younger gang member Hobbs Kerry (also spelled Carey) in my Ozarks Gunfights book, I mentioned that Hobbs's brother Toby was killed on July 15, 1870, by a man named Bennett during a row over a card game at a “cyprian camp” near Granby. I recently ran onto an article in the Springfield Leader that sheds a little more light on the topic.
Citing the Neosho Investigator, the Leader says that the incident happened on a Saturday (which, if true, would mean it happened on July 16, not July 15) at a place called Shipman's Ford on Shoal Creek during a "scene of disgraceful, lewd, drunken debauchery." Bennett, Toby Kerry, and several other young men had joined "a party of prostitutes" on the creek and were engaged in playing cards and drinking whiskey. "With such elements," according to the Leader, "quarrels were inevitable." When Bennett and Kerry got into a dispute over a game of cards, several of the young men drew revolvers, and the two principals in the argument began firing at each other from six paces away.
Kerry was shot first in the hand and then in the breast, after which he tumbled into the creek dead. Kerry's friends fired several shots at Bennett as he turned and fled through a cornfield. He was seen on horseback the following Monday morning as his friends were trying to get him out of the territory, and it was reportedly confirmed at that time that one of the shots fired by Kerry's friends had struck him in the leg, shattering the bone. At last report on Monday, a party of men from Granby were in pursuit of Bennett, and Kerry was buried at Newtonia the same day.

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