Col. Armistead M. Swope and Col. William Cassius Goodloe were born and reared in the same section of Lincoln County, Kentucky. Goodloe was from a aristocratic family while Swope had a humble upbringing.
As young men they became attorneys and desirous of becoming leaders in the Republican party in Kentucky. Resentment between the two men grew and it heightened when President Chester A. Arthur appointed Swope to the position of Internal Revenue Collector, resulting in his move to Lexington.
They met at various political gatherings including a stormy Republican State Convention in Louisville, May 1, 1888. The purpose of the meeting was to appoint delegates to the National Convention coming up in Chicago. Swope and Goodloe were again at odds.
A Pulaski county delegate stood and protested against his county casting their vote for Col. Swope as he had moved to Fayette County and was no longer a county resident.
“I don’t want your vote,” Swope retorted. “Don’t do like my county did, instructing delegates to vote for one man and then voting for another.”
Col. Goodloe, Swope’s nemesis, replied, “I think it is ill words coming from the gentleman from Fayette County to complain of his treatment at the hands of the delegates, as twenty-one out of twenty-three Fayette County delegates don’t speak to him when meeting on the street and nine-tenths of the republicans in Lexington do not speak to him.”
Swope was much offended by the statement and sought out Goodloe at his hotel without finding him. He was persistent and located him the following month at the Phoenix Hotel in Lexington, denouncing him bitterly. “I will not fight you because I know you are armed and I am not,” Goodloe replied.
Swope removed his coat and turned his pockets inside out in an effort to convince Swope that he was not armed. The two men broke off the meeting with the understanding they would meet again, each man arming himself for the encounter.
Col. William Cassius Goodloe was the nephew of Marcellus Cassius Clay, Kentucky politician, minister to Russia and prominent anti-slavery crusader. Clay gave his Bowie knife to his nephew with the admonition, “If you don’t use this on Swope the next time you see him, you are not a Clay.” The elder Clay used the knife a few years earlier to fend off six brothers, killing one, who attacked him while he was making a speech for the emancipation of slaves.
Several friends of Goodloe and Swope, with the interest of the people at heart, talked with them individually and received permission to intervene in their behalf. Swope and Goodloe selected two men each as their representatives and in a meeting they decided the two combatants should discontinue the offensive language they were using against each other.
At their suggestion Col. Swope wrote a formal message in which he withdrew the statement that raised Goodloe’s ire at the hotel. Col. Goodloe, in turn, wrote one withdrawing his utterance at the Louisville Republican Convention. Both of the men continued carrying arms however. Swope carried a Smith & Wesson revolver while Goodloe carried his uncle’s Bowie knife, in that attacks by honorable men almost always come at close range.
Things went well for a while but it was actually a lull before the storm. The two had a deadly meeting the following year. Col. Swope told an associate several days before that he still feared that an encounter between the two would bring death to one of them.
“If it should happen, I prefer to be the one slain rather than be the slayer,” he said. “Goodloe has a large family that is dependent on him. I don’t have anyone.”
On November 9, 1889, Col. Swope entered the Lexington post office and took his mail from his box. He noticed chief postal clerk H. C. Swift through the open post office box and asked him a question and they spoke through the opening. Col. Goodloe had just entered the post office to retrieve his mail that happened to be next to Swope’s box. As he waited, Goodloe’s patience was soon replaced by irritation.
“You are obstructing me from getting my mail,” he soon said sarcastically after waiting, perhaps unnoticed, by Col. Swope. Copyright 2018 Jadon Gibson
Editor’s note: Swope and Goodloe, both armed and dangerous, react aggressively in the conclusion soon at bereaonline.com. Gibson is a freelance writer from Harrogate, TN. His writings are both historical and nostalgic in nature. Don’t miss a single segment!
A Voice for God – a voice for good
The good Lord in Heaven has been so good to me.My mother took me to a dentist in Cumberland, Kentucky, when I was about seven years old and had two wisdom teeth pulled. I can’t remember much about it but I remember well a visit to a dentist in about 1955 when we lived in Wheelwright, Kentucky. As I recall the dentist wasn’t a permanent resident but came to the office on certain days.
“Okay, we won’t even have to numb it,” he said after examining my teeth. “It’s just a few cavities to fix here in front.”
He almost killed me! Not really, but it certainly felt like it. It went on and on and the pain was excruciating. Although it abated it was bothersome for several days. In retrospect I suspect he didn’t have any medication to numb my mouth or he was trying to cut his overhead or he was a sadist.
I’ve seen many dentists since then and they have been exceptional in their practice. Dr. Mize in Rolla, Missouri comes to mind and another young dentist there was not only great, he went
beyond the norm. In addition to working pain-free with his drilling and filling he did another exceptional service. Regarding my two front upper teeth, one was noticeably longer than the other. He corrected that as well. I’d include his name but don’t recall it.
Since we moved to Harrogate, Tennessee in 1985 I’ve seen five dentists and they’ve all been excellent. Kudos to Drs. Chuck Tompkins, Mark Russell, Cordell Tolliver, Melvin Donesky and Brent Pursifull. Their service has been great… nearly painless dentistry. Thank God for that!
As for medical doctors, Dr. Robert Hall, a Caney Junior College graduate like myself, was superb as I was growing up. Drs. Karl Dietrich in Columbia, Missouri; E. A. Stricker and D. F. Andreasson in Rolla, Missouri; and Drs. George Day and John Michael Robertson in Harrogate , have been very proficient and all possessed amiable dispositions.
This past history readies me somewhat for my current visits. My height and weight is good and we run regularly hich keeps my body fit. I have no bad habits but my balance has become worse and worse. Secondarily I have periodic intermittent pains at different parts of my body. It’ll be in one place one time and then another, or sometimes two places another time.
Drs. Thea Cross, Eapen and DeLair have kept me busy with blood tests, PET scan, MRI, ultrasound and two biopsies. A telling result indicated I have a bothersome bone spur on the fourth vertabra of my neck and two other concerns. If you care to you can say a prayer or two for this country boy from the mountains that’ll be kind of you. I have several other visits upcoming.
The doctors and technicians have been excellent and their treatments have been on target and nearly pain-free. Absolutely everyone at St. Mary’s/Tennova have been great and cordial except for Peyton Manning. Just joking! There’s a life-size facsimile of Manning in a busy part of the hospital and when we pass we say “Hi Peyton” and naturally he can’t answer.
We are fortunate to be covered by insurance through my wife’s employment, a Godsend for folks when they need it.
My good Lord in Heaven has been so good to me and He will be good to you if you accept Him in your heart and thank Him for His blessings. Thank you Lord for all You do for me.