Roger Southerland Shares BC History: Butler Co. Badness
Kentucky Genealogy and Biography Volume 3 (Battle-Perrin-Kniffin 1885 2nd edition) records that in 1870 Mr. Veachel Flener removed to Flenersville, “of which place he was the founder and proprietor.” Eleven years later, for their March 16, 1881 edition, a reporter for the Breckenridge News, in Cloverport, submitted the following story. Enjoy this snapshot of our past. All spellings were preserved.
BUTLER COUNTY BADNESS
An Attempt to Assassinate Mr. Vetchel Flener, a Prominent Tobacco Buyer
Special Correspondence Breckenridge News.
Morgantown, Ky., Mar 11. Mr. Vetchel Flener—and founder of the little village of Flenersville, in this county—a prominent tobacco buyer, and citizen of personal worth as well as a man of considerable means, was in town today hunting the protection of the law, an article that seems to have become exceedingly scarce in this section of late years.
Mr. Flener’s trouble, as gathered from his own lips, was about this:
Wednesday night of last week, not far from midnight, he was aroused from his sleep by someone calling to him from the gate of his yard. Supposing that it might be some belated person with a load of tobacco for him, he arose and went to the front door in his night clothing. Opening the door and looking out he saw a crowd of persons—he supposed there were half a dozen of them—at the gate, who called to him to come out to them. As he was not dressed, and barefooted, he declined to go.
At this, a person standing in the shadow of the wall at the side of the door thrust a pistol almost into his face and fired. Fortunately the ball barely grazed his cheek and lodged in the facing of the door. On this demonstration, Mr. Flener did not delay in the order of his going, but went at once, and precipitately, into his bedroom, first slamming-to the front door and turning the key in the lock. Instantly the gang outside separated, a portion going to the rear hall-door and the remainder staying in front, and, thinking probably that he was in the hall, began firing through both doors. The result was the serious wounding of one of the scoundrels at the front by the bullet of one of his comrades at the rear, the ball passing through both doors and finding its billet (lodging).
The cries and groans of the wounded man were distinctly heard in the house, and were quickly followed by the hurried stampede of the entire lawless set. The next morning, leaning against the fence near the gate, where they left it in their hurried flight, Mr. Flener found a loaded rifle, which was readily recognized as the property of one of his neighbors. This clearly gave away the object of the would-be assassins. It was known that Mr. Flener was to receive and pay for a large quantity of tobacco on the ensuing day (Thursday), and they no doubt imagined that the money was in the house, and it was evidently the intention to call him out, murder him, and then pillage and perhaps fire the house. Fortunately their plans came to naught, as described above.
Mr. Flener is satisfied that he knows all who were engaged in the lawless proceeding, and seems to be equally confident that, unless he leaves the county, or receives special protection from the authorities, that they will take his life before the time for the meeting of the next grand jury. The affair has caused considerable excitement, and the villaius (villains) must be ferreted out and punished. Should any thing more develop itself I will keep you fully posted. –Veritas
Mr. Veritas was also sent to cover the infamous house fire tragedy which killed Wiley Embry and seven of his children near the Renfrow community. That event occurred January 28, 1881. As yet, no further recordings of the Flener case either in local courthouse records or from Mr. Veritas have been found.
Mr. Flener (1847-1917) and his wife Anthaline (1846-1911) are buried in the Daniel Morgan Smith Cemetery near the communities of Flener and Brooklyn.
Roger shares his love of Butler County history with Beech Tree News' readers.