Family Histories

Family Histories for the Rose and Kirkpatrick Families

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - The Death of William "Billy" Kirkpatrick

William Kirkpatrick was born in Newton County, Georgia in 1839, one of eight children of John and Liddy (Hall) Kirkpatrick.  His father appears to have been a farmer who received land in the land lotteries in Georgia in the 1830's.  William and his siblings are listed among the children attending the "poor school" in Newton County in the 1850's.  The family moved from Newton to Calhoun County, then on into Alabama.  When the Civil War began, he enlisted in Abel's Artillery at Bainbridge, Georgia, in May of 1862, and was wounded at the Battle of Ocean Pond, Florida.  After the war he married Sarah Carter and they settled in Shelby County, Alabama where he had a farm, and later in life, was a mail carrier.  He and Sarah had thirteen children. 

On September 29, 1913, Billy's two youngest children, brothers Jesse and Connie, had an argument over a crop jointly owned by them.  The clash was heated enough that Jesse left the family home and went to his brother Joe's house to spend the night.  Connie apparently went to a neighbor's house and borrowed a shotgun to protect himself in case his brother returned.  The next morning Jesse, learning that Connie had a gun, also secured a shotgun and walked home.   As Jesse approached the house, Connie appeared on the porch and opened fire.  Just as Jesse fired back, Billy ran from the house and got in between his two sons in an effort to stop them from shooting.  Jesse's shots struck his father in the abdomen and chest, and he died several hours later.

Jesse and Connie were both arrested, Jesse being charged with his father's death, although it was eventually ruled an accident.  Jesse remained in Shelby County, marrying and fathering at least one son, and working at what appears to be odd jobs until his death in 1940.  Family stories say that Connie left Alabama for Texas after his father's death, although there is little evidence to back that up beyond a 1920 census record in Tarrant, Texas for C.B. Kirkpatrick, born in Alabama in 1894, living in a rooming house.  In fact, there is a wanted poster for Connie (for assault with intent to murder) that is dated more than a year after his father's death in Shelby County - is this for his role in Billy's death or some other incident?  He is said to have come to his brother Joe when he returned to Alabama, cash in hand, hoping to persuade his brothers and sisters to forgive him.  No further records have been found for Connie, so I don't know if he was arrested and imprisoned or where he ended up.  One of the family mysteries that I would love to solve.  I have to believe there was bad blood between the brothers prior to this incident for them to be willing to actually shoot (and possibly kill) one another. 

Billy was buried in an unmarked grave at Pelham Cemetery in Pelham, Alabama.  Sarah lived until 1928; she is also buried in an unmarked grave at Pelham Cemetery.


  1. Wow, what a story! It would be fantastic to learn the rest of it! Thanks for a "good read."