ADAIR COUNTY NEWS
The Adair County News, July 3,
AN OLD DUEL
Which was to be pulled off in Columbia.
In 1850 I was living in Columbia, doing business for Scott & Settle, dry goods merchants. During that year my employer, B.F. Settle, and J.D. Burton, better known as Diblow* Burton, had a difficulty, the particulars of which were in this way:
Burton accused Settle of forging his name to a note for one hundred dollars. Settle denied, but Burton persisted in his accusation and the parties met several times on the streets and perhaps there would have been blood shed but for the interference of friends; but the enmity didn't relax between them, so it finally culminated in a challenge sent by Settle to Burton which was accepted by the latter and the place of meeting was fixed and the weapons agreed on which were squirrel rifles and revolvers, the and the seconds chosen. William H. Saunders acted as second to Settle and Creed Hancock to Burton, and the late Isaac Caldwell, of Louisville, loaded the guns. The act not being legal, and a violation of the Statute of Kentucky, the matter was tried to be kept secret from the public.
One morning I went up to the old jail yard well, very early, for a bucket of water. I saw a crowd of men going in the direction of the old seminary**--I knew their mission.
I left the bucket of water and hastened on to the scene of action. When I arrived on the field the combatants were in position with rifles in hand and the seconds arranging to give the word for the fatal shots, whilst the combatants stood in death like silence and without motion from the body, waiting for the word to be given to fire.
Finally the word [was] given and Burton being quicker on the trigger than Settle, pulled first, but the gun failed to discharge its contents. Burton's gun snapped [and] Settle stepped back a few steps and said stop, stop!
Both men still kept their positions, waiting bravely and calmly for the second word to fire, but before the word was given to fire again, Henry Miller, acting deputy Sheriff under his father, Clayton Miller, arrived on the ground and arrested both parties, so ended the much looked for duel.
Settle left Columbia soon and went to Danville, Ky., and from there to California and I was told helped form and make the Constitution of the State of California. Burton went to Burkeville, Ky., and practiced law, or rather, tried to practice. He never did succeed in the profession, at the bar. He went from Burkesville to Louisville and got a position in a wholesale boot and shoe house and died there.
Time has wrought a great change in the citizens of Columbia since that time. It fill my bosom with emotion to think of the past and the changes in Columbia since the occurrence of which I write. I can recall but few persons who lived there fifty-one years ago:
Wm. H. Walker, Lewis Triplett, Wm. Stuart, J.D. Murrell, John and Robert Eubank, Mrs. Gum [Montgomery] Russell, Mrs. Jo Burton, [and] Mrs. C.J. Taylor, whereas the Caldwells, the Owens, the Wheats, the Gaithers, the Trabues, the Harrises, the Frazers, the Bakers, the Johnstons, the Mopes [sic; should be Mosses??] and the McBeaths ]and] the Montgomerys have all left Columbia, the most of them have gone to that country fro whence no traveler ever returneth.--P.H. Bridgewater, Cane Valley, Ky.
* Not certain the interpretation of this name is correct.
** Probably refers to the old Robertson Academy building, located on (present day) High Street.