As part of my writing on the life and political career of Adam Huntsman, I’m researching the Presidential election of 1840 that saw Andrew Jackson’s Democratic party suffer its first Presidential defeat to the Whig party. William Henry Harrison of Ohio and running mate John Tyler of Virginia rode the crest of an unprecedented wave of campaign enthusiasm into the President’s House. Five years ago, a band called They Might Be Giants actually created their own version of a campaign song from that election. It’s kind of catchy after listening to it a few times! (The lyrics “Van is a used up man” refers to the incumbent President Martin Van Buren.)
I’m taking advantage of a 30-day trial subscription to genealogybank.com and came across this newspaper article dated November 20, 1859 about a pre-Civil War fight between Fielding Hurst and M. Ledbetter on the streets of Purdy, Tennessee that involved pistols, horse shoes, and sticks! (Hurst is the subject of my book Hurst’s Wurst: Colonel Fielding Hurst and the Sixth Tennessee Cavalry U.S.A.)
“A difficulty occurred between two of our citizens on last Wednesday night. M. Ledbetter snapped a pistol at F. Hurst, Esq., at the distance of about six feet, and Hurst afterwards fired twice at Ledbetter at the distance of about twenty paces, and one of the balls entered a chair in close proximity to Ledbetter.
Brickbats, horse shoes, sticks and bottles were thrown in wild confusion during a sort of running fight, which continued for several minutes. Much excitement prevalled, and some of our citizens done splendid dodging and running; in the latter list was found leading the way, one of the editors of this paper–we mean the one who lives in town. There was an old grudge between the parties, but we forbear comment.”