Montgomery County Illinois History


Zanesville Township - In the year 1853, Andrew Nash and a man by the name of Lockerman had an altercation brought on by the too free use of whisky, during which the former stabbed the latter in a very brutal manner. Lockerman died immediately, and Nash, becoming alarmed, fled the country. Detectives were placed on his track, and succeeded, after several weeks diligent search, in finding him in Arkansas, where he was arrested, brought back to Carlinville, tried and sentenced to be hanged. A petition was put in circulation by his friends, praying the Governor to commute the sentence to imprisonment for life, which was accordingly done, but before the prisoner was made aware of this step in his behalf, a mob, or rather the appearance of a mob, gathered about the jail one night, which so frightened the poor fellow, that, rather than fall into their hands, he hanged himself with a sheet, which had been twisted into a rope and made fast to a beam overhead.  Source:  HISTORY OF BOND & MONTGOMERY COUNTIES, ILL. 1882 PAGE 867


Andrew J. Nash the defendant in this case by this his petition represents to the Honorable presiding Judge of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, including said County of Montgomery, that he cannot as he verily believes have an impartial and fair trial in said County of Montgomery, for the reason that the minds of the inhabitants of said County are prejudiced against him. That the knowledge of this fact, and the existence of such prejudice, did not come to him until the morning of the 10th. day of the present month, and after the adjournment of the Circuit Court in and for said County of Montgomery; that he was at the same time that said fact was made known to him, informed that the States attorney for said Circuit had left said County, so that notice of this application could not then and there be given to him. He therefore prays that the venue of this case be changed to some County where the cause complained of does not exist.


It is hereby ordered and directed that the venue in the above cause be changed to the County of Macoupin. You are to remove Andrew J. Nash from the Jail of Montgomery County to the common jail of Macoupin County, Ill. Charles Emerson, Judge of the 17th. Judicial Circuit, IL.






The editor of the following pamphlet was not called upon to take down the confession of AJ Nash until late in the forenoon of Monday preceding his execution. The process of taking the confession from the lips of the speaker was necessarily slow, as it was wished to have every statement in the words and forms of expression that should be entirely pleasing to him. The mode pursued was, first to hear his statement of an event, and then to write it down as near as possible in the language he used, then to read it over to him and let him point out whatever the writing varied from what he had stated.

After being shut up with the prisoner one day, it was seen to be a matter of impossibility, to have this pamphlet ready by the day of execution, unless assistance were obtained in transcribing the matter for the press. A friend generously offered his valuable assistance, to whom the public are indebted for what ever corrections of errors in grammar have been made.

The labor of taking the confession in the prison was not completed until late on Wednesday evening. Since which time, we have both been busily engaged in transcribing.

The limited time not having permitted, we have made not attempt at making the following pages in the least worthy the dignified title of a literary production.

Thus the time of publishing might have been deferred, but then on of the principal objects of the confessor’s consenting to make this statement, would have been defeated, that of selling the pamphlets the better to enable his family to pay several debts he had left for them to liquidate.




I was born February 14, 1809, at Clover Bottom, Davidson county, Tennessee. My Christian name was given me by Gen. Jackson himself. While yet innocent child, my parents migrated to the State of Illinois and settled near Carmi, on the Wabash, in White When I had attained the age of 11 or 12 years my father died of a chronic affection), and only one short year intervened his death and that of my mother. The occupation of my father was that of a farmer; he pursued it unremittingly up to the time of his decease. Throughout the circle of his acquaintance he was known, and highly respected as the possessor of excellent business qualification, and enviable social and moral habits. After my father’s death, my mother, assisted by my brother, five years older than myself, conducted the business of the farm. I lived with them till the death of my mother, after which sorrowful event, I went to reside with my eldest brother, who was married. There I remained about one year, when I left him and went to reside with my brother-in-law, Mr. McCowan. With Mr. McC. I remained until I was about 15 years old . During these golden hours of my youth, I engaged with a gleeful zest in all the innocent amusements common to childhood; at the same time I thus enjoyed myself innocently, I purchased not my enjoyment with the neglect of my duties as a farmer’s boy.

It is a common assertion, that the youngest children are always favorites: I am the youngest of eight children. Whether the truth (If there is any,) of the above assertion extends beyond the family circle, I am unable to say; however it is, I was so fortunate as to gain the confidence and esteem of all my youthful associates, and I was universally a favorite among them. My parents were blessed with eight children, four daughters and four sons. All my brothers have died a natural death.

About the year 1824, I left the home of my brother-in-law, Mr. McC., and went into Clay county, Illinois, where being thrown for the first time in my life, entirely n my own resources, I began to ----- for a livelihood. For the first two years of this, to me new life, I was very unsettled, having lived at various places in the county. Here, being associated with young men of wild, rakish dispositions, and having no person to place any restraint on my conduct, I became somewhat dissipated; but I have no recollection of ever having been intoxicated more than twice, before I married my first wife.

In 1826 I engaged to work for Mr. Misenheimer, living in Clay county, who carried on extensive farming operation, was the employer of many workmen, and also kept a tavern on a the public road leading from St. Louis to Vincennes. At this tavern I resided two years, during which time I succeeded in making myself beloved, not by the members of the family alone, but by all with whom I became acquainted. Notwithstanding, I was considered by many somewhat of a rowdy, yet this consideration did not depreciate the value of my services; but in consequence of my being an extra hand in point of industry, honesty and fidelity, I could obtain two or three dollars more per month for my labor, than most other day laborers. While living at this place, I became acquainted with my first wife, Mary Misenheimer. She was a niece of Mr. Misenheimer, and in consequence of her mother being dead, and her father having married a second wife, she had left home and lived with her uncle. We were married the 7th September 1828 and removed immediately afterward to the vicinity of Hillsboro, Montgomery county, Illinois, where I erected a dwelling, and improved a small farm, which I afterwards sold to my father-in-law, Mr. Misenheimer. After selling my farm as above, I rented land for about two years from my father-in-law.

While living here, I was engaged in the first fight I ever had in my life. In 1830, Mr. Shirley and Mr. Grantham were candidates for the office of justice of the peace. On election day there was considerable excitement in the minds of the people, who were indulging freely in the use of spirits, as they usually did in those days on all similar occasions. As I was passing along the street, a man by the name of Dover I responded with a opposing hurrah for Shirley, whereupon Dover reiterated inquiringly, “You don’t go for Shirley, do you, Nash?” I answered him in the affirmative; he then replied “You are a d---d----, and I can whip you.” At this I told him “Clear me of the law, and I’ll whip you.” He said I was clear. I immediately struck him a blow with my fist which felled him to the ground, but he almost instantly sprung to his feet, grappled with and threw me, then gouged both my eyes so severely, that I could scarcely see for three or four weeks. During the scuffle, I bit off his little finger, and injured him otherwise so seriously with my fists, that he was compelled to cry enough, and I released him. We were afterwards summoned to appear before Esquire Rountree, who fined us three dollars each, which fine our friends paid for us. I resolved after this fight, never to involve my self in a like difficulty; however, I was not fortunate enough to keep, unbroken this resolution, for subsequently I had occasion to be in town, when a man by the name of Long, of Longbranch, who had brought some horses there to race, met me; as I was walking up street from Blockberger’s tavern, and addressed me thus—“I’ve been offering one hundred dollars to any man who’ll whip me.” I replied that I would whip him for nothing. With that we engaged, and continued beating each other until our friends interfered, and separated us. shouted “Hurrah for Grantham!”

In the winter of 1831, I removed to the vicinity of Farmington, St. Francois County, MO, and bought a small farm which I sold the following fall. While I remained there, I was respected by all who knew me, and nothing worthy of mention occurred, except two fights. The first occurred at a card table; four men were engaged in the game, while I was keeping count for them, when a man by the name of Williams, a notorious fighter in that neighborhood, came in and swore he “could whip anything in the house.” I told him to go away for these men were playing for money; he replied, “I’ll be d----d if I can’t whip you.” Those who were in the house not wishing any disturbance, put him out—while I remained in the house, he with his friends kept hammering and shouting at the door until I told those with me to let him in, for I would soon satisfy him; they did so, and I knocked him down and he cried enough—we shook hands and called for something to drink; while we were drinking he said he could whip me, whereupon I put down my glass and felled him the second time, and finally succeeded in making him cry enough. I suffered him to get up; after he had gained his feet, we discovered that a small piece of his ear was gone—but whether or not, I bit it off I cannot say, for I do not recollect biting him.

The second difficulty originated a short time after this while I was attending with many of my neighbors, a husking party at Mr. Madkins. During the evening we were jesting with each other, as it customary at such parties, and I with others was jesting old Mr. Madkins, concerning an affair he had had with some man’s wife; he became angry. I told him I would say no more about the matter; afterwards while justly engaged in husking corn, he threw and ear at and struck me on the forehead. Some one told me to knock him down. I told Mr. Madkins that I did not wish to inure him, as he was old enough to be my father. His nephew then remarked that he would whip me. I told him to shut up or I would settle with him soon; immediately a Mr. Burnet, son-in-law of Mr. Madkins, said that he would whip me; to this, I replies, that I would not engage him there, but if he desired to fight and would come to town, I would meet and whip him there, on any day he might see proper to appoint. He accordingly set the following Saturday. At the appointed time I was on the ground, so was my antagonist, but he declined fighting; I then sprang upon a stump near by and crowed. Things passed off peaceably until towards night, when the brother of Mr. Madkins began to boast of what he would do if he were young. I told him it was fortunate for him that he was not a young man; at this. His son stepped quickly up behind me, struck me down, which he repeated twice and dealt a fourth blow, which missed me. I sprang to my feet, seized him, threw him to the ground, and bit two or three of his fingers so severely that he shouted to the bystanders to take me off.

After remaining in the vicinity of Farmington about one year, I removed to the lead mines at Lamote, Madison county, Missouri, where I worked the greater part of one year in the mines. Here I became addicted to horse racing, by which evil habit I lost the greater part of $400, which I had brought with me to that place.

I now came to the narration of a portion of my eventual life, the very recollection of which give me much mental anguish; and were this not my dying confession—were I not in duty to God and man bound to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth—were I not desirous of holding up to view the corrupting influences which have conspired to bring me to my present degraded position that others may see them and take warning thereby; I say, were it not for these consideration, I would willingly withhold this great error of my life from publication to the world. Unfortunately for me my wife’s sister accompanied us to Missouri; here, on a certain occasion, during the absence of my wife, the imprudent conduct of my sister-in-law led to the establishment of an illicit intercourse between us, which was continued remitingly, for some time, not, however, at my solicitation. Three children were the fruits of this unlawful cohabitation. For this criminal ----- I have a most profound regret, and while I consider her conduct very culpable, I do not wish to exonerate my self from blame, as well as the guilt of producing the most intense suffering in the bosom of one of the most affectionate of wives.

This affair came very near separating me from my wife, and was a source of continual disturbance, until my sister-in-law and I told the truth in the case to my wife, who forgave me, and never after alluded to the matter in my presence.

In the fall of 1835 I left Missouri and returned to White county, Illinois. Shortly after my return I went to Greenup, in Coles county, now Cumberland, to attend to some business, where I learned that a man by the name of Lynch had whipped an old man twice that day. When I saw the old man who was bleeding profusely, I remarked, as anyone would, that it was a shame to abuse an old man in that manner. This remark caused an altercation between Lynch and myself, when his brother –in-law, Joseph Bright, interfered, by saying that he could throw me down. We grappled: I took him with a side trip, and threw him with out any difficulty; he arose and said that I could not do that again; I took him by another hold and threw him a second time. When he arose the second time he came toward me and shook his fist threatingly in my face, saying at the same time, that he would whip me. I told him that I could whip him with more ease than I had experienced in throwing him at which he drew off his coat and advanced toward me. I dealt him a blow which knocked him into the fire-place of the grocery in which we were at the time. He cried enough, and I supposed the difficulty was terminated. At this time I was not aware that Bright and Lynch were brother-in-laws. As I was leaving town that evening, in company with a large number of persons on horseback and while we were passing the same grocery in which I had the difficulty with Bright, Lynch, who was standing in the door of the grocery, said that he could whip any man in the crowd. I paid no attention to the banter, and was about to ride away, when lynch remarked angrily, “there’s Nash, God d---n him, I can whip him.” I told him if he wanted me he could have me, and dismounting my horse, approached him. My friends held him; he struggled to get at me until he became considerably fatigued. I requested my friends to let him come on, they did so; I struck him a blow on the head with my fist which brought him to his knees, we rolled and scuffled for some time. He bit me and injured me considerably otherwise, yet with one strong effort, I hurled him into a puddle of muddy water, where I soon succeeded in making him cry enough. We then arose and made friends; but a few days afterwards, when I was again in the grocery, he said he could whip me. I replied that I could whip all such men as he, that he only whipped drunken men. At this, he remarked that if he fought me again he would do it with the intent to kill me, at the same instant he sized a piece of plank, dealt a blow at my head which I warded off with my arm, and instantly grasped a rifle that was standing against the wall of the grocery; with this I struck him a heavy blow across the head, the stock cutting his head very severely.

We were arraigned before the Magistrate and both fined’ but the citizens, in consequence of Lynch’s notoriously quarrelsome disposition, paid my fine for me.

In January, 1836, I moved to Leach’s mill, Wayne co, and hired to Mr. Leach, who carried on a very extensive steam distillery and flour mill, for $300 per year, to superintend his business, while living here, I sold a horse on credit, to a man who lived in Sangamon county. I went thither to receive payment, but on my arrival there, I learned that my debtor had gone to Fulton county, where after much difficulty, I succeeded in find him. While in this county I stopped at an old acquaintance, Mr. Higgins. Here I became acquainted with a Mr. Israel, grocery keeper and notorious character in the neighborhood in which he lived. Among my acquaintance of this place were two boys, brothers, both excellent performers on the violin. Having become very well acquainted in the neighborhood, I received one evening, an invitation to attend a wedding. One of the above mentioned boys was there for the purpose of making music for the party. After the performance of the marriage ceremony and those gentlemen and ladies, so disposed, had joined in the dance, and all appeared in the height of enjoyment and happiness. Israel staggered in, beastly intoxicated, and ordered the violinist to perform such tunes as he wished or he would destroy his violin. As no one manifested any respect for Israel, the boy did not wish to be controlled by him; however, he was considerably frightened and came and told me. I advised him to let Israel destroy the violin, if he wished, as it was an easy matter to compel him to pay for it. The boy remarked that the violin was a present from a brother who was now dead, and that no amount of money could induce him to part with it. While we were thus conversing about the matter, outside the door of the house, the boy having stepped off a few paces from me, Israel just then came up behind him, and knocked him down. I asked him what he did that for. He inquired of me if I took it up? To which I answered that I did. Immediately he struck me a blow which brought me to my knees, as I was getting up I saw him draw a dirk about six inches long. I shouted to those who sere gathering around, that he had a knife; I ran to a pile of wood near by, seized a stick, with which I struck Israel and felled him to the ground, then in company with others re-mounted our horses and rode off; -----of this company had been previously whipped by Israel. Col Stillman sent me word not to leave, that it should not cost me a cent. That it was something in which all the neighbors heartily rejoiced; but as I had settled my business there, I returned home.

Among my acquaintances in the neighborhood of Leach’s Mills, was one Mr. Parker, a native of the State of New York. I had become acquainted with him before my removal to Missouri, to which State he accompanied me, and I left him there when I returned to Illinois. He was a man of very intemperate habits, and I had frequently taken care of him whilst in a state of intoxication, because I desired to see him prosper. One morning he came to me and said that he intended to return to New York, where his relatives resided. On the day preceding this conversation, I had received $20, which I placed in the breast pocket of a new cloth coat, which cost me but a short time before, $25. I hung the coat up in the sitting room of my house, with the money still in the pocket. The conversation above alluded to took place in the kitchen while I was conversing with my wife and niece. I advised Parker to return to his native State, as I thought he would probably live more happily in New York, among his relations and old acquaintances, and do better than he was doing at the Mills. He went into the sitting room, and returning in a few moments with his overcoat on, bade us good bye. A few moments after, I thought of the money I had carelessly left in the coat pocket, and on repairing to the room in which I had left it, in order to get and put it away, I could not find my coat. After my wife and self had searched for it, we concluded that Parker must have taken it with him, as his old patched coat was left there. I immediately got my horse and pursued him; after going a short distance I overtook him told him he had taken my coat, and I wished him to return it to me. He exclaimed in apparent astonishment, “Have I got you coat?” I replied that he had, and it would be best for him to five it up to me immediately, as I felt convinced that he could not have been deceived, as he was a much larger man than me, and it was with much difficulty that he could get it off. He gave back the coat. All the money I found in the pocket, after which I told him I never wished to see him again, nor should he again cross my threshold.

He however returned to the neighborhood and some one told him I accused him with stealing my coat and money, which accusation I never made. When informed of what I had not said, he swore that he would kill me at sight. There had been erected a grocery and gambling house near the mill, and happening in there one day shortly after the affair with Parker, I met the gentleman himself. He asked me to drink with him which I did. Some conversation passed between us in which he bantered me for a horse race. I told him my horse could outrun any horse he had or could get; but I would not race with him, as he had no money, and I did not race with a man for nothing. Our conversation had ceased, when I lay down in the doorway; while in this position, Parker came towards the door with the intention, as I thought, of going out; but as he passed, he kicked at my head, and sent my hat out into the yard. I sprang to my feet, and asked him what he wanted, to which he answered that he was ready for anything that I whished; at this, I sprang toward him and knocked him down with my fist. He arose and drew a pocket knife; but I did not apprehend any danger, until he had cut me twice on the head, and once on the breast. I then drew a pocket knife I had, and cut him on the shoulder, when some persons took me away from him. I told those who stood around, if they would take away his knife, I would put up mine. After he was deprived of his knife, he exclaimed, “I will kill him,” and ran for an ax that was lying near by. As he was raising it, I threw a mallet that I had found near by, which brought him to the ground and ended the difficulty. After this I was placed under a guard of three men, by the constable; but I escaped from the guard, and while running one of them fired a shot after me, which did not touch me. I fled to Montgomery count, to remain until after court; not because I feared any harm in a court of justice, but for the reason that I did not wish to defray the expenses of a law suit. While I was at Hillsboro, Parker came there and sent a Mr. Busann to request that I should come and see him—that he desired to renew our former friendship, as I had assisted him when he was unable to help himself. I went; we made friends and I returned to Wayne county, and remained there until the following January when I removed to Hillsboro. My father-in-law had promised to give me 40 acres of land and assist me in building a house’ but he died before any deed was made, and there being many heirs, I got nothing from the. I rented land of Mr. John S. Hayward for the period of two years, during which time I was brought to reflect seriously on my past conduct, and felt the necessity of making preparations for a future life. While my father and mother lived, they taught my infant lips to a prayer daily; but when I was thrown a penniless orphan on the cold, callous hearted world, without the protecting care of those dear ones to whom I am indebted for my very existence, bad company and its corrupting agencies rendered the influence on my conduct, of those early impressions, less and less potent; but never in my wildest moments, has their influence been entirely withdrawn. Often, after any misdeed, would memory recur to the kind admornitieties of my parents and cause me to reflect; and frequently have these reflections led me to pray to God that he would enable me to pursue a new life, and forgive my past sins and transgressions. But these influences were transitory, and when I mingled again with my old wicked companions, they were entirely forgotten. At this time two of my brothers had lately died, and a revival of religion had commenced in the neighborhood. One of my family, my wife’s brother, became deeply anxious for his soul’s salvation; the conversed with me on the subject of religion, and desired me to attend the meetings that were then progressing. At first, I was inclined to make light of the subject before him, and as he was only a boy, I jested with him concerning the matter; but his firm determination and earnest piety, caused me to think more seriously on the subject, and I resolved to accompany him to a meeting the following evening. A few months after this, I obtained a hope that my sins were forgiven through the merits of the Savior. I was then immersed and became a member of the Missionary Baptist Church. I tried to lead a pious life until temptations surrounded me, that, unfortunately, I could not resist. While living on the farm of Mr. Hayward, a man by the name of Johnson rented the farm of my late father-in-law, and as my hogs had been raised on that farm they still frequented the place. His fences were in a bad condition, and consequently my hogs were frequently in his corn field, when he would set his dogs on them and injure them very severely. I requested him several times to desist from injuring my hogs, but he paid no attention to my request. I was heartily tired of disturbances, and made these requests that I might settle the affair without any difficulty. Afterward in town, I met Johnson, told him I wished to avoid all difficulty but if there must be one he might be assured that it would be a sever one. Still desirous of preserving peace, I told him that I would take a part of my hogs and secure them in pens, and as I was a poor man and unable to keep all my hogs enclosed, the remainder I would sell to him for ten dollars less than any two persons he might select, should say they were worth. To this proposition he remarked, that he did not know but that he would take them, but that he must see his wife about it first. I told him I would call at his house as I went home that evening. I accordingly called, and inquired of him if he had concluded to purchase the hogs; he replied, that he believed not; I then told him that he must ease having his dogs chase and injure my hogs, or there would be some difficulty.

A short time after this instance with Mr. J., I went to assist Mr. John Kirk to drive some mules to Mr. Cress, where I found two of my best hogs lying in the road with their ham strings cut; in a moment I was extremely angry, and while in the heat of passion returned home as quick as possible, snatched down my rifle, but fortunately reflection came with timely aid and I determined not to injure any person’ but would shoot Johnson’s dog at the first opportunity. After I had reached the spot where the hogs were lying, I determined not to interfere with J. or his dog’ but would drive, if possible, my disabled hogs home, and do the best I could with them. As I was driving them past J’s house, I saw him thrust his head out the door and laugh; this again aroused my anger; I walked up to the gate in front of the door and demanded of him payment for the hogs he had disabled. He replied that he had nothing to do with my hogs; at this moment I discovered his dog lying in the shade of a tree. I raised my rifle to my shoulder and shot him dead. Johnson ran back into the house and seized his rifle, while I re-charged mine, he declared that he would shoot me, but his wife and children clinging to the gun prevented him; not successful in his attempt with the gun, he relinquished his hold of the weapon, ran and grasped an axe; I leveled my rifle and told and told him if he did not lay down the axe I would shoot him, he obeyed, and the difficulty ended, and I went home with my hogs. Afterwards I was returned by Johnson to the grand jury, and they found a true bill against me.

After this difficulty I removed to Macoupin county, and rented a house at Honey Point, and purchased of John Perkins 12 acres of corn, for which I gave him a horse. He attempted to cheat me out of the use of the house, by inducing his uncle to claim it, over which affair we had a dispute, which resulted in fisticuffs. There was no other difficulty noteworthy, until Henderson Hall and Henry Dickerman, relatives of Perkins, expressed a desire to whip me. When on a certain day, as Dickerman, Hall and myself were riding together, they bantered me for a fight. I told them I was rather too wise to engage to fight them bother, when the matter was dropped until we reached Hall’s house, where Dickerman dismounted, but Hall rode on 50 or 60 yards with me; when I past him some distance, he hallowed after me, and said that he could whip me and that I durst not come back to him. I replied to him, that if I came back he would not fight. I rode back, however, and he dared me to dismount. I alighted; simultaneously he raised an axe which he had concealed behind his person; I ran around my horse to avoid the blow, he pursued me, and while thus running in a circle, and I being more active on foot than he overtook and dealt him a blow with my fist, that brought him to the ground, and while engaged in repeating my blows, Dickerman ran up behind, and struck at me with a knife; but it only passed through my clothes and produced a trifling scratch on the back of my shoulder about four inches in length; I seized the axe, frightened both of them into the house, mounted my horse and rode home.

Hall and I subsequently became friends. I sent word to Dickerman that a fair fight would give me satisfaction; but every time I saw him thereafter, he would take his knife from his pocket and commence whittling. Things passed off thus, for some time, when on going in Carlinville one day and stepping into the post office for the purpose of getting a letter. I met Dickerman in the door, with his knife out whittling, as usual’ I seized a fire shovel and struck him. He instantly repaired to the office of the Justice of the Peace and sued me, erroneously as Andrew H. Nash. I employed John M. Palmer to defend me, and he succeeded, by showing that I was not the man named in the summons. New proceedings were immediately commenced against me before the same justice, Mr. Samuel Keller, a jury was empanelled; but Mr. Palmer cleared me the second time.

For a period of nearly two years, nothing worthy of a place here, transpired in my history. Occasionally I was engaged in a drunken brawl. I had been in the habit of taking intoxication drinks all my life, but never to excess, till the autumn of 1840, about the time I removed from Hillsboro to Macoupin county. I was then, in the portion of country in which I resided, a stranger, and fell into the company of those who were habitual drunkards; still I must admit that upon this period, I had scarcely ever been involved in a difficulty, that intoxication drink was not to a greater or less extent, the cause of it.

On the 1st of July, 1848, I was in Carlinville. I had been visiting Queen’s grocery, and as a natural consequence, was much intoxicated, when Col. Anderson, now deceased, called me to one side and said, “Andy, I wish you to join the Sons of Temperance.” So this humane request, I made some frivolous answer; that they would not have me as I had no money to pay my initiation fee. The Col. Remarked that I was too good to be throwing myself away in this disgraceful manner, that I was just the man they wanted. At this juncture, Mr. Lofton stepped up and said that he would assist in paying the initiation fee that he desired very much that I should join, and Dr. Woods, who had joined the party, also joined with the other in soliciting me to become a Son of Temperance, and saying that they would pay the dues in the division. I still persisted, by saying that if they would permit me to have the spree out; I would then turn my serious attention to the matter. This remark did not in the least shake their friendly importunities; they continued their solicitation until I was finally induced to take a sensible view of the matter. I reflected that my best friends were here using every exaltation to make a respectable man and good citizens of me, and those very exert tin in my behalf, were the outpouring of a purely disinterested friendship, a friendship that was not prompted by motives of self interest. I then gave them permission to lay my proposition before the division; whereupon, Col Anderson and Maj. Lofton, each advanced a dollar on the petition, and I was initiated shortly afterwards at the next meeting. I remained a strict and conscientious observer of the ruled and regulation of that order, for eighteen months, during which time I had no serious quarrel with any person. I abandoned horse racing, at the same time I ceased drinking, and becoming thus qualified for the pursuit of an honorable occupation. I turned my attention to farming, exclusively, in which business I was equally successful with my neighbor farmers.

I never had accumulated property as rapidly as I did during this period of my reform; but these golden moments of my existence were to be dimmed by the withdrawal of the smiles of that kind being that had for years with me withstood the keenest blast of adversity.

On the 9th of December, the companion of my bosom was snatched from me by the rude grasp of death. A more kind and affectionate partner never blessed any husband; she had clung faithfully to me, through all my adverse circumstances—never wavered, nor shrank from the discharge of her duty when all was not sunshine; but on the contrary, she seemed to gather energy from despair itself, and redoubled her efforts to comfort me when misfortunes were thickest around me. These kindnesses were not passed unheeded by me; I saw she lived for me and mine, and I trusted her with all the kindness that I could command. I was painfully alive to the conviction that she was often mortified at my conduct, and I am aware that my intemperate habits, and reckless mode of life, were the cause of much grief and anguish to her, for which I am truly sorry, and pray Almighty God to fore give me. I was left with one daughter, grown. She was in the habit of visiting her neighbors rather too often; though this is customary with girls of her age; I spoke somewhat unkindly to her one morning concerning the impropriety of it, and on returning from town the following evening, I found that she had left home and gone to Mrs. Tennis’. This almost determined me in discontinue house-keeping, having had the bills advertising the sale struck; but my friends dissuaded me, advising a second marriage, and a continuance of my then profitable business. Soon after, reconciliation between me and daughter was effected; she returned home and on 14 of February 1850 was married to Mr. James Outlaw, a very worthy young man.

In the meantime, In consequence of domestic troubles, I resumed horseracing, and in the fall of 1849 entered a race to be run in the vicinity of Hillsboro, in which I got into a difficulty with a Mr. Allen of the latter place. The trouble grew out of a dispute as to which party was winner, both contending for the stakes, when Allen, being on the point of striking me, I presented a pistol at him, from which he ran back and attempted to wrest a gun from the hands of a man standing near, in which, however, he was not successful, and the difficulty was finally settled without farther trouble, with the exception of my going returned to the grand jury, but they released me.

Once while attending at Pap’s town, near St. Louis, during the same season, the recollection of my domestic difficulties came near making me resolve never again to return home; in my anger I forgot the sacred pledges I had made as a Son of Temperance, the violation of which was a forfeit of my word and honor—and thus recklessly relapsed into all the follies and vices attendant upon the use of intoxicating drink. After remaining at Pap’s town about two weeks, I returned home, and during the summer of 1850 I attended several races, among others, one in Bond county. Messrs Black and Pitman made up the race, and I having carefully trained Black’s mare for the turf, she was successful in bearing off the stakes. This chagrinned the unsuccessful party, as they boasted considerably that there was no man able to enter a horse on that track that great many horses. One that makes the most vivid impression on my mind at present, took place at Newburg, in Macoupin county. Messrs, Miller and Matty made up the race, and on the day it came off, Mr. Sharp and myself was chosen judges at the starting point of the race, and Jesse Potts and Bill Duncan were selected judges at the polls. Mr. Sharp and myself had no difficulty in deciding at one end of the course, but the judges at the other found it more difficult; at first, each was obstinate in deciding in favor of the party for which he was chosen, but finally, after a good deal of bickering and some angry words, they decided the race against Miller. Miller refused to abide by the decision and told Potts not to give up the stakes. I walked up to Miller, and advised him to give his consent for Potts to give up the money, and as an inducement I told him I could take his horse and win a race against Matty any day; but he still persisted that the stakes had not been fairly won, and should not be given up. But Potts seemed convinced that the money belonged to Matty, and accordingly paid them over to him; immediately Miller struck Potts, which was the signal for a general melee, each one seemed to strike the person next to him, with a whip, club, stone, or whatever came first to hand. It was something almost surprising to me, that I took scarcely any part in this general fight, and to the fact of occupying rather the place of a disinterested spectator than an active participant, I am led to attribute the resolution I then formed, of never engaging in nor attending another horse race while I lived.

To relate minutely all the circumstances of the many horse races I have attended, and the quarrels and fights in which I have been either a principal or subordinate actor, would fill a volume of no small dimensions. I only intend to give a brief, but truthful account of the most dangerous encounters I have had during a life that had been marked by recklessness, and a determination never to yield tamely to an insult, that almost bordered on madness. Many of the affrays that are not mentioned here took place when I was so much under the influence of ardent spirits, that I never had any distinct impression of what actually did take place; and as I do not wish to leave anything stated here that is not strictly true, I have thought best to omit them altogether.

It may seem singular that a man of my stature should have been engaged in so many difficulties, and in nearly every one conqueror; I never was shipped but three times in a fair fight. I once fought with a man at Wilmington, Green county, named Bledsoe, who carried off the laurels from the field, if any were to be won at such places.

Thus had passed my life until the fourth of July, 1851, when I committed the deed for which I am now immured within the gloomy walls of a prison, and for which I expect in a few days to offer up my life.

The first time I recollected of having seen Alexander Lockerman was at a horse race in Montgomery county, in the summer of 1850; but during the time the race continued, my attention was principally occupied with the horses, and towards evening I was most of the time in the company of my old companions, so that I do not remember of having spoken to him during the whole day, or even ascertained his name.


(Andrew J. Nash is six feet high, rather spare build, but muscular and compact form, and weights from 145 to 160 lbs., and before he was afflicted with rheumatism, was very active, so much so, that he could jump over an ordinary eight rail fence, without any difficulty. His hair is rather fine, and thin on his head, and of a dark brown color, approaching to black. His eyes are light gray and deep set in his head.)

In the spring of 1851 he rented some land of Mr. Henry Snow, and came with his family to live within a quarter of a mile of my house. We soon, being such close neighbors, and as I supposed, mutually pleased with each others’ society, became very intimately acquainted. We frequently neglected our business when either of us wished to go from home in order to go and return together. IN consequences of this intimacy, Lockerman related many difficulties he had, and from his relation of them, I had concluded that when his anger was aroused, he was a dangerous man towards those by whom it was provoked; but at this time, I had not the remotest idea that our friendship would ever be interrupted, or, at least, that we should ever have any difficulty, or I should have shunned his company. Whenever I was in company with him, I took his part, when others present were inclined to impose on him, and used my best endeavors to remove him from the company of those with whom he would be likely to have difficulty. We were in Carlinville a short time before his death and in the course of the day happened to be standing near where Bob Hankins was boasting of his money and horse, and a Mr. Philpots was boasting of his horses; Lockerman approached them and said something about a fine horse he had. I saw Philpots was intoxicated, and apparently considerably excited, and when in such a condition, I knew he cared but little what he did. Being apprehensive that Lockerman might get involved in a quarrel, I called him to me, and told him that Philpots was a fine man when sober, but when drunk he had not a bit of sense, and if he wished to avoid a disturbance, he had better keep out of his way. He replied, “I do not care, for I can whip Philpots.” However after some conversation together, Lockerman went with me to where I kept my stable horse, and thus I succeeded in removing him from danger.

On the morning of the 4th of July, 1851, I arose at my usual hour, and felt unusually depressed in spirits. I ate but little breakfast. After breakfast my boys harnessed their horses and went into the field to plow. I thought a little exercise would relieve the gloom that oppressed my mind, and went and walked around my stable and other lots, but feeling but little relief I continued my walk out to the lane, and was there leaning over the fence, with my head resting on my hands, when Mr. Ward, a school teacher in the neighborhood, came passing by; I conversed with him a short time, and then went a short distance to a field where Henry Snow and Alexander Lockerman were plowing. After some important conversation with them about other matter I purchased Lockerman’s crop for forty dollars, for the payment of which he gave my note to Mr. Henry Snow for eighteen dollars, and promised to pay Mayfield, a merchant of Zanesville, Montgomery county twenty two dollars. The whole transaction was in the most friendly and agreeable manner. Mr. Snow, in a laughing, good humored way, said he had a jug of liquor there, and asked up to take a drink; we taken a horse to Alderson’s shop to get him shod, that the horse did not stand very quietly and Alderson commenced beating him when he (Lockerman) jerked the horse loose, took him away and refused to let the smith shoe him. Alderson demanded the pay for shoeing the horse, when he threw down ten cents to him and refused to pay anymore, whereupon Alderson seized his gun and threatened to shoot him. I told him not to raise a fuss, as Alderson and myself were not on very good terms; I had once insulted his wife and therefore it would not take much to raise a disturbance between him and me; besides, I told him I did not know that either of us could whip him for he is a very able bodied man. I saw him carry an anvil further than any man I ever saw lift at –and saw him win money off of Philpots at it. He replied, I will bet any man I can carry it further than he can. I told him not to bet his money for there was a plenty of men who would bet with him. He said “let us go down to the shop and I will show you that I can carry it furthest.” We went to the shop and told Alderson our business; they carried the anvil and Alderson out carried Lockerman. I said “Alex, he had beat you, aint he?” he replied in the affirmative. From thence we went back to the grocery, I do not remember whether we took anything to drink this time or not. Lockerman asked me to loan him half a dollar, for he had a notion to shoot with the boys. I let him have the money and told him he had better try the gun they were shooting with before he made a bet for they might have the sights set to suite themselves; he then made arrangements with some person and went out to shoot. Mr. Hunter was in the grocery, and told me to come and take a seat by his side, he wanted to talk with me; I sat down; he said he wanted my stable horse to run against Cal. Sharp’s mare; thought I could see what he wanted as soon as he spoke, and told him I did not wish to run my horse, as his season is only just ended but I could beat Sharp’s mare, if that was all he wanted, with my mare. He asked me if I would let him keep mine if he succeeded in making up a race. I told him I would not, for I always kept my own races, but if he would make up a race in the manner I told him, I would take it off his hands. He said he wished to get a horse that could beat Sharp’s. I replied, I did not think that hard to do for I did not consider her a racer. Just then Lockerman came in from the shooting match and came up to us as we sat down and accosted us with, “I can whip both of you.” I said I had had two or three fights in my life, and had always got whipped, so I quit it. He turned and went out of the house again, but in a few minutes returned, came up to us again, who were still setting in the same place we had been when he went out before, he walked up to us and addressed me with, “I have a notion to whip you;” I asked him what credit would it be to him to whip me; I did not believe he would whip any body. Hunter and I got up, and Lockerman and Hunter made an arrangement to run their horses.

Lockerman borrowed another quarter of a dollar from me, but whether he made any bets either at the shooting-match or at the race I cannot say, as I took no part in either. He and Hunter run the race and Lockerman won the race, but in consequence of the girth of his saddle breaking he was thrown from his horse. No person had gone to his assistance when I ran up to him and inquired if he was hurt. He said no, but he would not have been thrown there in the street for a hundred dollars. I said, “If you are not hurt it makes not difference, for we do not expect to marry in this town no how;” he laughed and said no. I observed to him that the pad of his saddle was out; he replied, “It is Snow’s saddle, and I don’t know what I shall do about it. “ I told him we would take it into the saddler’s shop and get it nailed in again; he said he had no money; I told him I had money, and that while I had he had; so he took up one part of the saddle and I took up another and went to the saddler’s shop and told the saddler to fix the saddle and I would pay for it.

When the mare threw Lockerman she ran off towards home. From the saddler’s shop we went to the grocery to wait until the saddle was mended. As we were passing between the two places Lockerman remarked to me, “If any body laughs at me for being thrown I will whip him.” I replied, “Be careful and not raise a fuss, for they will say we came here for that purpose.” He responded, “D----- them, I can whip their town.”

We went into the grocery, and had been there but a short time when Wm. Snow came in and told Lockerman that his mare had run against a post and killed herself. I felt very sorry at my friend’s loss, for at the time I thought Snow was telling the truth, but after Snow had plagued him as long as he wished he told him his mare was not hurt. We all laughed over the matter, and I told Lockerman it was his treat; he said he would treat if he had any money; I told him I would loan him a five franc piece; he called all up to drink, but none drank besides him, Snow and myself; he handed the five france piece to Harp, who returned the right change back to Lockerman, which was eighty cents. Lockerman then counted down the same as a dollar and a quarter, and said “Nash, here’s your money.” I took it up and told him it was not right, and put it down again on the counter; he and the grocery keeper then counted it over again and said it was right. I picked up the money and thought I would say no more about it. He said to me. “Nash, I have made a quarter of a dollar off of you.” I replied, “You have been acting the rascal with me all day”, he rejoined that if I fooled with him he would whip me; I told him it took a man to whip me; he said he could tied his hands to his a---- and whip me; I told him he lied, and struck him on the nose with my fist which caused his nose to bleed considerably, and made him stagger back towards the wall of the grocery. The people crowded in between us—nothing was said or done by either of us for a few moments—I turned around and sat down in the corner of the grocery. Some person present said. “Alex, d----him, whip him—I wouldn’t take it; Alex replied, “He is and old man, I do not wish to hurt him.”

I sat in the corner and said nothing, but thought the whole crowd was against me. When his nose had begun to stop bleeding Lockerman came towards me and said, “G---- D----- it Nash, what did you do that for? I sprung to my feet and told him leave me or I would hurt him and that d---- bad. He replies, “d--- him, I will whip him now. Lockerman was pulling off his coat when Harp, the grocery keeper ordered him out of his house. They all went out but me and I walked round behind the bar where Harp was and picked up a piece of pine and commenced whittling. I hear persons outside the door tell Lockerman to whip me. He swore he could whip four of him. Wm. Snow told him to come away and say no more and settle it in the morning, that Nash was drinking and would as life kill a man when he was drunk as not. Lockerman, replied “d--- him I will take my knife out and cut him up.”

During this conversation outside, I approached close to the door on the inside, and when I heard Lockerman make the last threat I walked out of the door with my knife in my hand and at the same time said “you will cut me, will you? Snow cried, “Run Alex he has got a knife.” When I got close to him I saw that he had no knife, but I was so close to him I had either to turn and run or cut him. We both struck at the same time, he struck me with his fist on the side of the head, too high up to knock me down, but the blow raised a considerable knot on m head. I cut him on the left arm, we came together again and he struck me just above the left nipple, I cut him in the same arm again, he then kicked me on the small of the back which hurt me very severely, made me stagger, and partially took away my eye sight; I then struck him a third time with my knife, but in consequence of my partial blindness I know not where I struck him until the testimony of the witnesses was given in my trial before the justice of the peace at Hillsboro, in 1853.

After I had given the third blow Lockerman turned and ran, I turned after him, not to hurt him, but to see if I had hurt him. When I was him sinking down I hollowed to those around to call the d---Doctor to him, and turned around and walked to near the grocery door and sat down. Harp remarked, “Nash, you have killed him.” I replied, “I expect I have.” He said, “You had better leave, they will take you.” I replied, “I believe I will,” and told him to “take the d--- knife; I want to see it no more.”

I went and unhitched my horse, mounted him, gave two yells to let them know I was off and road away as fast as my horse could go. I went home, did not get off my horse, told my wife and daughter I had killed Alex Lockerman, they commenced screaming and crying. I turned away and rode off in a gallop past Henry Snow’s far, went down into the timber, laid down and went to sleep.

When I awoke the chickens were crowing for day. I scarcely knew where I was’ but in a moment the recollection of the deed I had done, came back upon my mind with stunning force. I mounted my horse, rode home and awoke my son John, who informed me that Lockerman was dead and laid out. I took my mare, and hid her in Snow’s pasture, where the brush concealed her. My son told me that there had been a company of men in pursuit of me. The next day I had serious thoughts of committing suicide. A day or two after, news reached me that some persons intended to hail me or shoot me, which made me form a determination never to give up. I concealed myself in different places in the bushes for thirteen days, at the expiration of which time; I got Ed Miller to go off with me. I started out one night just after dark, with twenty dollars in my pocket, fifteen dollars of which I got from Miller, with three changes of clothes. The first night’s travel brought us to Silver Creek, where we laid down and slept about one hour, when we arose, about daylight, mounted, and rode ten miles further, to Mr. Forsythe’s, where we got our breakfast. Miller was acquainted with the family, and introduced me as Buck Tacket. We remained at Mr. F.’s till noon, when we mounted again and rode until we reached the vicinity of Highland, Madison county, where I commenced inquiring for two mules. We continued to ride until after dark, and then stopped for the night at a man’s house in St. Clair county, whose name I did not ascertain. I there made inquiries concerning a couple of mules, and after breakfast on the following morning we resumed our flight, riding that day to Middleton’s Ferry on the Kaskaska river, where Miller and myself parted. My feelings at this moment were indescribable. I had left my wife and children, now I had parted with the last friend I had on earth, and was going forth among strangers, with no ray of glittering hope to cheer or urge on my footsteps, but with a crushing weight of guilt on my conscience, bearing me down, all seemed dark and dismal around me, even the sun appeared not to shine with its accustomed splendor. In this desponding state of mind, I had traveled but a shot distance, when suddenly turning an angle in the road, I discovered directly ahead of me a number of persons on horseback, armed with guns, which sight caused me to start with apprehension; but on closer examination, I found they had hounds, which fact convinced me that I had been undesirably alarmed, as I was almost confident the persons were deer-hunting. I traveled on the main road all day, when on the approach of night, I took a by road and reached a house about two miles from Pinkneyville, where I stopped, together with a blacksmith from Pinkneville. We breakfasted and started off together the following morning. I made inquiries of the blacksmith concerning two mules, and told him I wised to go through Grand Coate Prairie. He accompanied me some distance, pointed out the route to me, and turned off to Pinkneyville. I suppose I traveled, that day, some forty of fifty miles, and stopped at the house of a man they called Devil Jack Hughes. His house was situated on a small stream, Buckcoo. Mr. H had traveled much in the States of Arkansas and Texas, and was prepared to give me any information I desired concerning these countries. After breakfast next morning, Mr. Hughes ferried me across the Buckcoo in his canoe, and then swam my horse over. He told me that I had better cross the Mississippi river at Grande Tour. I reached the Mississippi bottom at about 11 o’clock that forenoon, the river was so high that the whole bottom was inundated, and made a vast sheet of water about four miles in width. I urged my mare into the water, through which she sometimes swam, and sometimes waded, until I had gone about half a mile when I was no longer able to discern the blazes on the trees, which were to indicate the traveled road. When I first entered the bottom, I saw but little prospect of being able to proceed any further with any degree of safety to myself and horse, so I turned back and ascended the bluff, where I found a road, apparently leading up the river. I followed the direction of this about half a mile, when I came to a farm house where the people were engaged in harvesting, took my dinner, and gave a young man fifty cents to show me the way to the ferry. When I arrived at the ferry the boat was on the opposite side, I hoisted a signal to let them know I wished to cross, but it was nearly night before the ferryman came to take me over, as the boat was rowed by seven or eight stout men, we were not long in gaining the opposite shore. I obtained lodgings at the ferryman’s house. Mr. Hood, the ferryman, treated me more kindly and hospitably than I ever before was entertained. One circumstance showed to me the great difference between the habits and customs of people living in Free States and those of the slave States. Riding so much, my feet became scalded and much swollen, from perspiration and the chafing of the stirrups; I asked Mr. H. for some water that I might bathe them, he immediately ordered a little Negro to get some water and wash my feet. I had always been accustomed to waiting on myself, and felt positively ashamed to have any one do that for me which I could have done so easily for myself. Next morning after breakfast, Mr. H. went about a mile and a half with me, to show me the right road to the mountains. After riding about three or four miles, thinking myself beyond the reach of pursuers, I stopped and had my horse shod, after which I took any road that led in the direction of Arkansas, not having any desire to make choice of them. In this careless manner, I traveled until I reached the Chaque Bluffs, on the St. Francois River, which I crossed, into Arkansas, and took the road that lead down Croly’s Ridge, in a southerly direction.

The first of my arrival in Arkansas I called at the shanty, which was a good specimen of Arkansas dwellings, and asked lodging for the night. The land lady (for she was the only one at home,) told me that I could stop, but must attend to my horse myself, as her husband had gone to Gainesville, to attend a trial of three men for murder.

Next morning I left this abode of domestic felicity, went to Gainesville, saw the prisoners, and then took the road for Texas. I crossed the Arkansas river a short distance below Little Rock, then directed my course of the Red Lands in Texas, and going over into the Colorado, returned, after remaining there a month or two, to Arkansas. While in Texas I pricked cotton for fifty cents per day.

On my return to Arkansas I stopped at Frank Nash’s, my brothers’ son living in Mannielle prairie, Poinsett county; here I sold my mare to my nephew, who promised me that he never would part with her. I told my relatives here that I left Illinois on account of a difficulty I had, and then went down to St. Francis county, Arkansas, where my sister’s children lived. At this time I passed for a single man. This impression was created by answers I gave my nieces to questions as to where my wife and children were, I told them that my wife was dead, and they did not ask me whether or not I had married a second time.

There happened to be a grass widow stopping at the house at which I was; in consequence of my showing her some attentions, we became very intimate, and I might have married her without doubt had I not, after thinking the matter might be carried too far, told then I had a wife and family in Illinois, and that I had left there in consequence of having killed someone.

While at this place I had a very severe attack of winter fever, which confined me to my bed for six weeks, during which time I wrote Frank Nash to come after me; he came with two horses and took me to hi home, near which, having recovered my strength, I erected a grocery. Whilst I was engaged in this business a man came from Mississippi to this neighborhood and brought with him a large number of negroes. One day I was invited to a log rolling, where I talked a great deal about how the work should be done, although I had scarcely ever rolled a log to a heap in my life, but in consequence of my bragging I was appointed captain of the party. Things progressed amicably till on of the negroes belonging to the Mississippian attempted to wrest a hand spike from one of the white men. I stepped up and delt him a blow on the mouth which sent him staggering to the ground. The master of the Negro, who was present, said he was glad I had treated the negro in the manner I did, and stated further that he wished I had taken a stick and give him good whipping. I told him I had been raised in a free state and was not accustomed to whipping with sticks. Subsequently this negro frequently came around my grocery for the purpose of getting whisky, but as it was contrary to law I did not let him have it until his master told me to let his negroes have liquor when ever they whished it.. One day several white men and this same negro were at my grocery drinking, and fearing that this negro would get drunk, I ordered him home, but he did not go. Towards evening I closed my grocery, went to the house and took the negro with me. I had been in the house but a few minuets when some one informed me that the negro had gone down to the grocery. I went down immediately, when I discovered the negro skulking off into the bushes, and on examination found that he had forced open the door, left the tap of a whisky barrel leaking, and had taken a bottle of brandy. I went out into the thicket and listened for some time, when hearing something flapping among the bushes. I advanced a few steps further and saw the Negro setting down with the bottle beside him, busily brushing away the mosquitoes. I sprang upon him, but did not intend to injure him when he arose with me, and struck me a blow on the breast that staggered me, whereupon I drew my knife and cut him on the back of the head. When he saw the blood flowing he called to his master for assistance, as he with two or three other men was standing near the grocery. I told his master what I had done, for which he tanked me, saying that he was the worst slave he ever had, at the same time he granted me permission to five the negro five hundred lashes. I replied that I would have nothing to do with whipping a man that was tied.

The only difficulty I had with a white man, while keeping grocery, was with a Dr. Varner, who was a terror to the whole neighborhood; having killed his brother-in-law, and shot at his son-in-law. Varner had been getting liquor of me ever since I had engaged in the business, and never had paid me a cent, so that his bill, by this time, had amounted to $12.50. One day, sending his boy to get his jug filled, I told the boy that I would fill the jug that time, but the next he must bring the money. Subsequently, while at a public gathering, where candidates for office were speaking, the Doctor came to me and inquired why I refused him credit, saying that he did not serve patients in that manner. I told him that I had never solicited hi services. Nothing more about the matter was said until towards evening, when the Doctor, having repeated his cups rather too often, again broached the subject. I reminded him of his neglect to pay me, that he was now indebted to me to the amount of $12.50 for liquor, he gave me the lie, I knocked him down, and as he was rising I felled him the second time, and when he was attempting to draw a pistol or knife on me, I told him not to draw a weapon on me, for he would not treat me as he had treated his son-in-law. He directly left the meeting and went home. The next time I saw him, he had a pair of very black eyes. After having lived in this place about five months, I gave up all my property into the hands of my nephew, and again started for Texas. I traveled to Memphis on foot, took a steamboat there for New Orleans, where, after my arrival, I was taken sick. I remained in the city about two weeks, and then took passage on board a boat for Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. We had come up the river to within fifteen miles of New Madrid, where on account of sickness; I disembarked at Anderson’s wood yard, and boarded with a widow lady named Flood, who kept a family grocery. I was sick when I reached her house, and during my stay, she treated me with the kindness of a sister. I remained there about five weeks, for which time she not only persisted in charging me nothing, but also offered me two dollars, which she insisted on my taking, to bear my expenses back to my friends in Arkansas, and had I wished, she would have freely given it to me. Persons thru kind are rarely met with in this uncharitable world, and such kindnesses come as refreshingly on the care worn spirit as the bright, green oases break on the sight of the weary, thirsty traveler of the desert.

From this place I traveled to Memphis by steamboat, whence I walked three or four miles into Arkansas, but having become extremely weak from my recent sickness, I paid a young man ten dollars to take me to my nephew’s. I remained there some time, until I recovered my health then bought a jack and went down into St. Francis county, where I remained until I was arrested by an order from the Governor of Arkansas. During my residence in Arkansas, I had kept a correspondence with my friends in Illinois, who had led me to expect I should find no difficulty in being cleared, when tried by a jury of my countrymen. I wished to return to my wife and family, and live an honorable and peaceable life. Had I wished to avoid being taken, I might easily have done, so, for I had many friends where I was living, who told me I should not be arrested unless I wished it; besides, I had an intimation that I was about to be arrested, several days before the officer came. On the 12th of July, 1853, the Sheriff of Poinsett county came, and he, with Davidson, Cradlebaugh and Thomas, of the same county, took me prisoner. The people, who were present when I was taken, would not suffer the officer to place any irons on me. I was not fettered until I arrived at Memphis, nor handcuffed till I came to Alton, whence I was taken to Hillsboro and lodged in jail in that place, on the 18th of July, 1853. I was tried before Esquire Eccles, and committed to jail for murder. I lay in jail two months, during which time I was treated very kindly by Mr. McConnel, the county jailor. I was found guilty of murder by the grand jury of that county, at the next session of the circuit court in that county; but by the assistance of my able counsel, Messers. Rice & Davis. I took a change of venue to Macoupin county, whither I was remanded, and then lodged in jail until the next term of the circuit court of that county. In consequence of the supposed insecurity of the Macoupin county jail, I was taken by the Sheriff of that county and placed in the Morgan county jail, at Jacksonville, where I remained seven months, throughout which time I was humanely treated by the jailor, Mr. Washington Padget. From this place I was again remanded to Carlinville, to stand trial at the next sitting of the circuit court for the county of Macoupin, in April, 1854, when I was found guilty of murder before the grand jury, and notwithstanding the able and eloquent efforts of my counsel, Messrs. Murray & John L. McConnel, and John M. Palmer, I was found guilty of murder by the petit jury. On the 4th day of May, Judge D. M. Woodson passed sentence of death upon me.

Since sentence was passed upon me, I have had a great deal of time for reflection, this would with all its frivolities and allurements has been shut out from me, and I have been led to think over the course of life I have pursued, and while I have been making this confession, I have felt that I stood on the verge of eternity, and in the presence of a just God in whose awful presence I must soon appear to answer for all I do or say. I cannot conclude without returning my heart felt thanks to Messrs James and Robert Davis, and E. Y. Rice of Hillsboro, for their able professional service in my defense, and to Mr. McConnel for his many kind acts to me while lying in jail in Hillsboro, and to many others in Montgomery who did all in their power to alleviate my sufferings; to Mr. Padget the jailer of Morgan county, and to his excellent and sympathizing family, to Dr. Dunlap for his professional service during my illness in prison; to Mr. Mark Castle, and others, for their kind attentions. To Mr. John M. Palmer of Carlinville, I am under obligation that the longest life could never fully absolve. From my first residence in that county he has shown himself my friend, and when in the severest distress and forsaken by friends and acquaintances, the ardor of his friendship has remained unabated. To Mr. McDaniel, the jailer, B. T. Burke, the sheriff, L. F. Palmer, John Trible, C. E. Dairymple, and many others in Macoupin county, I return my sincere thanks for their kindness to myself and family, and hope that when a poor degraded husband and father shall have suffered the penalty of the law, their sympathies will be extended to a heart broken widow and children. With this I commend my soul to Almighty God, with a firm reliance upon his mercy and goodness.

This is to certify that Andrew Jackson Nash acknowledged in our presence this day that the foregoing is his true confession.



Carlinville, Ill, June 22, 1854

Source:  Macoupin County GenWeb Project

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