Last Saturday, Christmas day, a pistol shot rung out on Main street.
A Sudden confusion ensued. Men rushed wildly to the spot of the fatal quarrell, and soon the announcement was heard along the street that "a man had been killed."
It was about 2 o'clock in the afternoon. The streets were filled with people, some going to the matinee, some attending to business, some seeking pleasure, while others were searching the cup of intoxicating joys.
Mat Amos, colored, and J.A. Reach, white, met at the corner of Main and Ninth streets opposite the Phoenix hotel. A word or two passed, a blow or two, a shot and the tragedy was over.
Reach was hurried off to jail. Crowds of people stood on the corners discussing the matter. It was rumored that the negroes were mad with indignation and threatened reach.
That night affairs became more quiet and the killing was little discussed. Monday morning the court house yard was thronged with people to hear the trial. It was postponed til 2 p.m. AT the appointed hour the City court room was again filled to overflowing. Judge Brasher called the Court to order. The attorneys for the prosecution entered a motion for a continuance which was granted, and the case was set for Thursday morning at 9 o'clovk Two versions of the killing are given by witnesses which cross each other at right angles.
To do all parties justice we give both below.
Reach was standing on the street in front of Wilson's confectionary. Amos approached him and accused him of reporting him (Amos) to the police for shooting a fire cracker on the street. (It seems Amos had been arrested a short time before for this offense.) Reach denied the charge, Amos called him a G-d d-m liar. Reach still denied it. Amos then with a violent oath again called him a liar. Reach had his hands in his pants pockets and Amos was holding his (Reach's) left hand with his right. Reach again denied it when Amos struck him and followed it up with another blow. Reach staggered back, Amos pressing towards him. He then drew his revolver and fired. Amos leaped high in the air and fell. The bullet pierced the body where the third rib joins the breast bone. In eight minutes he was dead. Other witnesses will testify that Reach walked up to Amos and opened an old grudge about some work and without provocation drew his revolver and shot the colored man dead. The dead man was an attache of Holland's Opera House. He ws a good looking mulatto and was said to be about as full of grit as anybody. He has figured in several fights. Witnesses will testify that just before the killing he spoke of reach and said he was going to ship him. His step father, Harrison Helm, came over from Columbia, Tenn.., Monday to take the remains there for interment. Reach is also well known in this city. He is a stone Mason, and several years ago was shot in a row by one Blizzard. He has a wife and several children. It was rumored that he had figured in several shootings scrapes but his friends claim he is a quiet, inoffensive man. However, witnesses will testify that he had threatened Amos' life. Saturday morning he had a row with Gus Breathitt in Wilson's confectionery and was put out by the latter. It is said that he then attempted to draw his pistol but was prevented. We have found it almost impossible to get at the facts, but those given above will be about the line of evidence developed in the trial. Hon. James Breathitt has been employed to assist County Attorney Payne in the prosecution, while the defense is represented by R.W. Henry.
Hokinsville New Era
Dec 1886

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