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Stanley Nelson: “1,400 miles from the Llanada Plantation” | Opinion

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During the winter and spring of 1870, newspapers across the country were covering a sensational story – a 24-year feud between two Black River planters in Louisiana had come to a bloody conclusion.

In Harrisonburg, seat of government for the parish of Catahoula, a mob surrounded the sheriff’s home, forcing him at gunpoint to flee with his family and guests, before killing two of his three prisoners, Colonel Charles Jones and his son, Willie. A third prisoner, Jones’ other son Cuthbert, escaped the crowds, traveled to New Orleans hiding in the hold of a steamboat, and told a newspaper about the horrific early hours of the morning of February 28, 1870, when his father and brother were murdered.

Willie Jones was the sixth and last person killed in a feud that began in the late 1840s. Over the decades, rumors that a dozen or more men died in the deadly conflict have been put forward, but they were not true.

Friendly to each other by the early 1840s, relations between Colonel Jones and General St. John Richardson Liddell had quickly collapsed.

One of the two men’s first friends remembers leaving his home in New Orleans to visit his plantation in the parish of Catahoula – Blue Cane – in Larto. The man recalls attending parties at both Jones’ Elmly Plantation and Liddell’s Llanada. Jones and Liddell both seemed to get along well during these events of the early to mid-1840s.

But according to Liddell’s brother-in-law Francis D. Richardson, the two never really loved each other. Richardson said that Liddell and Jones “first met at a dinner at a gentleman’s house, where the other toasted while reflecting on female virtue … Liddell, who was seated near a window open, threw his glass of wine “.

“Here,” Richardson wrote in a letter, “the arrow has entered.”

Later came the infamous confrontation between Jones and Eliza Nichols, a woman he had called immoral and adultery. With Liddell present outside Elmly’s house from Jones, Eliza demanded an apology. Jones refused and insulted her again.

She immediately shot in the face. When he turned to run, she shot him in the back. For reasons still unclear, Jones believed – or chose to believe – that Liddell shot him in the back although both Eliza and Liddell said that Eliza was the only shooter.

Why would Jones insist that Liddell shoot him? Was there more to the story regarding the hatred Jones felt for Liddell? We may never know.

REPUTATION OF PROBLEM

But we know they were different types of men. Liddell was determined and nodded, but reserved. Jones was calculating, violent and confrontational.

Nathaniel C. Hughes, who edited Liddell’s Memories of the Civil War in a book, wrote that Jones “had a reputation for relating him to troubles in Monroe, Louisiana and Kentucky. Even the relationship between Jones and his wife was strained. “In March 1849 Laura obtained a judgment against Charles and had their property separated. ”

For a quarter of a century Jones threatened to kill Liddell, and in mid-February 1870 he did just that – with his sons Willie and Cuthbert – overseas from St. Mary’s landing off Jones on the Black River. .

The three men surrendered to Sheriff Oliver Ballard, 26, in Harrisonburg. Two weeks after Liddell’s murder, a mob rushed to Sargent House, Sheriff Ballard’s home, and murdered Colonel Jones and Willie.

In New Orleans, Cuthbert reunited with his mother, who had been in Europe. Soon after, he joined her and her surviving siblings and traveled to Germany.

Liddell’s son, Moses “judge” Liddell, had attempted to kill Colonel Jones before the mob attacked Sargent House, but Jones, shot twice by the judge, survived. The judge was subsequently implicated in the murder of Colonel Jones and Willie.

Justice Liddell, who was 25 in 1870, was just a toddler when the famous feud began. Cuthbert Jones, 19 when his father and brother were shot dead by the mob, was not yet born when the feud erupted.

No one has ever been convicted in the six murders linked to the feud.

Yet these two young men would live the rest of their lives in the shadow of the war between their fathers.

APPOINTMENT OF JUDGE LIDDELL

The judge had married and left the parish of Catahoula shortly before the end of the bloody feud. As a teenager, he had fought in the Civil War.

Subsequently, in 1868, Judge married Isabelle Semple in Wilkinson County, Mississippi. The couple moved to Girard along the Boeuf River in the parish of Richland where the Liddell family owned a large piece of land.

He was living there when he learned that Charles, Cuthbert, and William Jones had killed his father.

In Richland Parish, Judge became a lawyer and entered politics. He attended the Democratic State Convention in 1876 and served as chairman of the Democratic Executive Committee before his election to the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1878.

He practiced law in Rayville and Monroe, but in 1887 he traveled to Washington to meet with President Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, who appointed him to the Supreme Court of the Montana Territory.

On December 24, 1887, the Ouachita Telegraph to Monroe reported:

“Hon. MJ {Judge} Liddell returned from Washington City last Saturday. He was “booked for a territorial (judge) appointment and has the strong support of the Louisiana delegation.” President Cleveland could not bestow his trust and favor on a better man or a more loyal Democrat. Judge Liddell also fills out the bill for ability and fitness. ”

‘OUR FRIEND AND BROTHER’

Three years after his appointment, Judge died on October 4, 1891.

According to The Livingston company in Montana:

“Judge Moses J. {JUDGE} Liddell died at his home in Bozeman on Sunday morning from a virulent anthrax and subsequent heart disease. The funeral took place Monday afternoon and the remains were interred in Bozeman cemetery.

“Judge Liddell… a son of the famous General Liddell” was “47 years old. He leaves behind a wife and a son.

“He came to Montana in April 1888 as appointed from President Cleveland to serve as a judge of the Sixth Judicial District. When the judges of the state were elected in 1889, he was defeated for the post by Justice Frank Henry of that city. From his retirement from the bench until his death, Justice Liddell successfully engaged in the practice of law. ”

In 1891, shortly after the judge’s death, the Montana Bar and the State Supreme Court honored the judge with a resolution, noting:

“While it pleased the Supreme Judge of the universe to call among us our friend and brother, while he was still at the meridian of his virility and at the zenith of his power and utility as a citizen and lawyer.

Be it resolved that the death of Justice Liddell, the State of Montana has lost one of its noblest and best citizens, the Bar has lost a member who, whether he is on the Supreme Bench or that he exercised the profession he loved, was at the same time a lawyer, a scholar, a patriot and a gentleman, insensitive to prejudice and intrepid in fear, always just and always affable.

Be it further resolved, that the members of the bar of this honorable court, which the deceased has so skillfully presided over, and of which he was more recently a member, hereby express to our late brother our warmest sympathy for this great sadness and grief.

Be it resolved that these resolutions be circulated in the records of this tribunal and that copies be provided to the widow of the deceased and to the county newspapers of Park and Gallatin. ”

For 130 years, Judge Liddell’s body rested in Montana, 1,400 miles from Catahoula Parish and where he grew up, his father’s beloved Llanada plantation along the Black River in the outskirts of Jonesville.

“SPIRIT OF RECONCILIATION”

Judge and her siblings, as well as the children of Charles Jones, grew up in the shadow of their fathers’ war. The sons were so intertwined that they felt compelled to stand up for their families.

When the judge shot and wounded Colonel Jones from the deck of the Governor Allen steamboat in Harrisonburg, he told Captain Sinnott, “Sir, I know I violated your rules in what was done. The only excuse I have to offer is that I saw the man who murdered my father.

This incident happened just days before a crowd pulled past Colonel Jones and Willie outside the Sargent house. The judge was part of this crowd.

The Ouachita telegraph, like other newspapers, tried to make sense of the tragedy and pleaded for an end to the feud, writing that “at every stage of this deplorable tragedy we find grounds for regret and too much grounds for censorship .

“Alas! For Colonel Jones and for General Liddell, and for the sons of both, that they had not taken the advice of the spirit of conciliation, and buried with the past all the circumstances and the good which could possibly have had. tendency to wake up again the bad blood which so long and so violently existed between them.

Cuthbert Jones, the other surviving face of the old feud, learned several languages ​​during his time in Europe and was later appointed by US President Grant to a high post in Tripoli, Libya. He later returned to the United States for the first time in years and challenged a congressman to fight the official’s remarks about the Jones family and the Jones-Liddell feud.

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