Family Histories

Family Histories for the Rose and Kirkpatrick Families

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mystery Monday - What Happened to Connie?

Connie Kirkpatrick (a male) was the youngest child of my husband's great-grandfather.  The Kirkpatricks were farmers in Shelby County, Alabama in the early 20th century.  In September of 1913, Connie and his brother, Jesse, were arguing over a crop that they jointly owned.  The argument lead to the death of their father, William, the next morning.

From an article in the Montgomery Advertiser, dated 9/30/1913

                                  FATHER IS KILLED WHEN SONS SHOOT
                                                 BIRMINGHAM, ALA.  

Sept. 20 - A special from Helena, Ala., says:  William Kirkpatrick, 66 years old, prayed fervently Saturday night that the differences between his two grown sons might be settled amicably.  Early Sunday morning he was shot to death when he stepped between Jesse Kirkpatrick, and Conny Kirkpatrick, the sons.  The contents of a shot gun in the hands of Jesse Kirkpatrick intended for the brother, entered the chest and abdomen of the aged man.  Death followed in less than two hours.
The brothers are said to have had a dispute Saturday morning over a crop jointly owned by them.  Jesse Kirkpatrick left the house, going to the house of a brother, Joe Kirkpatrick.  Conny Kirkpatrick is said to have gone to the house of a neighbor and borrowed a shotgun.  The brother is said to have borrowed a shotgun also and returned to his home.
As he neared the house it is said, Conny Kirkpatrick fired upon him.  Just as Jesse Kirkpatrick returned the fire, the father rushed from the house, ran between the brothers, and dropped mortally wounded.  The two brothers were to have been brought up for preliminary hearings today. 

From the Southern Christian Advocate, dated 10/2/1913

Tragedy Occurrred Near Pelham Sunday Morning
Kirkpatrick Brothers

Helena, Ala., Sept. 29 - Early Sunday morning Jesse Kirkpatrick shot and almost instantly killed his father, William Kirkpatrick, at their home near Pelham, a short distance from Helena.
It is alleged that two brothers, Jesse and Conny Kirkpatrick, had a dispute Saturday morning over a crop jointly owned by the two, when after a little clash between the two boys, Jesse was forced to leave home to avoid further trouble.  Jesse went to his brother Joe's house to spend the remainder of the Saturday and Saturday night.
It is further alleged that Conny went to a neighbor's house and borrowed a shotgun to use on Jesse in case he returned to his father's home.
Having learned of this fact, Jesse also secured a shotgun and being very hungry, not having anything to eat since breakfast Saturday morning, started back home Sunday to get some breakfast.
When he came near the house his brother, Conny discovered him and sprang out on the front porch and opened fire on him.  The father rushed out to quiet the two boys, when the return shot from Jesse's gun aimed at Conny, struck the father in the chest and abdomen, causing his death in less than two hours later.
Mr. Kirkpatrick was 74 years of age and has been a prosperous farmer of Shelby county for a number of years.
The saddest feature of the tragedy was the fact that the aged father prayed most earnestly Saturday night that the differences between his boys might be satisfactorily settled.
Mr. Kirkpatrick leaves a widow and a family of several grown boys and girls - Birmingham Ledger.
Jesse Kirkpatrick, who is charged with firing the fatal shot that killed his father Sunday morning near Pelham, was arrested by Deputy Sheriff Oscar Cox Sunday and brought here and lodged in jail.  Conny Kirkpatarick was also arrested but made bond in the sum of $1,000.

*William was actually 71 when he died; his age was given as 66 and 74 in the articles.

 The death was eventually ruled an accident.  According to a family story shared with me by the granddaughter of their brother, Joe, Connie left Alabama for Texas because his siblings blamed him for their father's death.   She said that he did return at some point, offering brother Joe money for his forgiveness, but Joe was not moved and didn't ever forgive his brother.

I'm not sure if this is actually true or just a family story - we don't find Connie on any census records in Alabama after 1910 when he is still living in his parent's home.  To support the story that he moved to Texas, there is a C.B. Kirkpatrick, born in 1894 in Alabama, living in a rooming house in Tarrant County, Texas in 1920.  Many of the Kirkpatricks moved to Texas from Georgia and Alabama after the Civil War, so he may have gone west intending to find family, however, none of them settled in Tarrant County.  I have found a number of "C" Kirkpatricks in Alabama, but haven't made a direct connection with any of them.  However, there is this poster that shows Connie was in Shelby County, Alabama a year after his father's death:

 The date on the poster is more than a year after William's death.  I don't know if this poster has to do with the death of William or this is a separate incident.  This is where the brick wall appears in Connie's life.  I have not found any records for Connie after this date.

Jesse married and had a son named Jesse, born in 1929.  In 1940, he was living with his brother Odie, also divorced, in a rooming house in Calera, Alabama and working as a farm laborer.  He died later that year at the age of 48.

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