Constance is Invaded by Lawbreakers

"Fishing Club" Has Big Cocking Main and Enthusiastic Spectators


 Afterward Fire Revolvers


 Angry Citizens in Pursuit


 Sheriff Hume is Notified, but so Far As Is Known, Did Not Arrive from Burlington In Time


 The peace and quiet of the little village of Constance, Ky., just across the river from Anderson's Ferry and within hailing distance of Cincinnati, was disturbed to its very depths Saturday night when a gang of Ohio and Kentucky "sports" and thugs invaded the precincts of the little town, pulled off one of the biggest cock fights in the history of Kentucky, and in their wild midnight revelry began firing off pistols, which resulted in a posse of indignant citizens running armed through the town, seeking out the miscreants.

 Constance has heretofore lived up to its simple, suggestive name, but Constance was inconstant Saturday night and permitted itself to go on record as the scene of one of the greatest acts of lawbreaking in the history of the Blue Grass State.

 For several days workmen had been busy constructing at the eastern limit of the town an oblong stilted frame structure, windowless, its interior carefully shielded from prying eyes without.   Constance looked on and wondered, but Saturday night, Constance knew why this building had come so suddenly in its midst.

 In Constance they say that a man known as "Doc" leased the ground upon which this building stands, that he pays $85 a year for the use of the ground, that it is leased for five years with the privilege of extending it to ten years, and that it was to be the headquarters of the "Duck Island Fishing Club."

 Saturday night, as darkness began settling over the quiet Kentucky valley, an unusual travel set in toward the erstwhile unknown hamlet.

 Men alighted from street cars at Anderson's Ferry and making their way to the public launch moored on the Ohio side, crossed the icy river and stole through the streets of Constance to the building.

 When the door was quickly opened to admit some of these pilgrims, a flash of brilliant light flooded the frost-covered road and indicated a well-lighted, inviting interior. 

 Automobiles pulled up before the strange building, and while their occupants went inside, the cars stood by the roadside, their lamps shining like huge eyes along the country road, much to the amazement of staid Constance.

 At a garden in Anderson's Ferry it was said tickets for admission to the "session of the fishing club" could be purchased.  The tickets were there, but they were not for sale unless a "member in good standing" recommended the would-be purchaser to the barkeep.  They also had membership tickets for $10 per.  The barkeeper was willing to show these to his inquirer.  But the little oblong piece of cardboard, shaped like a race track badge and prominently lettered "Duck Island Fishing Club," could not be purchased unless a worthy "Duck Islander" was on hand to personally recommend the applicant.

 At the mysterious building whither the many "fisherman" were all wending their way one met with the same proposition.  You entered the small front door and found yourself in a vestibule, separated from the "fishing" apartment by a frame partition seven feet high.  On one side was the ticket office; on the other, another door with an adjustable gambler's peep cut in the center.   Here was the same condition.  A personal; recommendation only could secure a membership into the mysterious "fishing club."  If you got obdurate and insisted that the ticket man come over with the necessary pasteboard and "be a good fellow," the gambler's peep would open and then the man known as "Doc" would appear, suave and gentle, and tell you there was nothing doing, not even if you paid $100 for a ticket.

 Meanwhile, over the board partition could be seen constant wreaths of tobacco smoke curling toward the ceiling and with subdued murmur of many voices coming from the interior arose the constant din of innumerable chanticleers, crowing, and anxious to get at each other.

 Constance has no town marshal.  Maybe Constance never imagined it would need police protection.  But Constance is in Boone-co, and Boone-co. has a Sheriff, one B. B. Hume by name.  This worthy enforcer of the law was telephoned at 9:30 p.m. at his home in Burlington, and was told of the conditions existing in Constance.  He stated over the wire to a Post reporter that "he would come at once."  Burlington is only eight miles away.  It takes one hour to make the trip, and Sheriff Hume is noted as the owner of some of the fastest horses in the Blue Grass State.  Two hours elapsed.  No horses hoofs had been heard on the Burlington Pike coming into Constance, and the Sheriff was evidently still many miles away.

 Meanwhile, as midnight approached, the "fishermen" began leaving their important "session," and stole in small groups through the quiet streets to the launch and back to Ohio.  Automobiles appeared before the little frame building and then darted from the door into their cars and were whisked away at full speed.

 One car stopped in the town and the number was obtained.

 Constance was again beginning to resume its normal quiet, although an unusual number of men were treading along its frosty streets, when suddenly from the direction of the "fishing mains" four shots were fired in rapid succession.  A Post man was nearing the launch at the time and had just stepped into the cabin, when four men from Constance, bareheaded and in their shirt sleeves, came running down the bank, the glint of their revolvers shining in the moonlight.

 "Where are they?" cried the foremost man as he boarded the little launch.

 "Who?" ask the Commodore, stepping before the door of his cabin.

 "The men who fired those shots," replied the other, excitedly.  "Someone shot right in front of my house, scaring people and rousing the neighborhood! I'll give him some lead if I find him!" and a corroborative growl came from three natives assembled in the background.

 The Commodore soon convinced them that none of his passengers could have fired the shots, the anchor was lifted and the good ship started back to that dear Ohio.

 Three men sat in the darkened cabin and talked of their experiences at the "fishermen's meeting."

 "Great sport," said the one

 "Yes," replied the other, "Never saw so many fighting cocks in my life."

 "Must have been a hundred," said the third.

 "Too many for one night," ventured the first.  "They'll have to pull some more fights off tomorrow night," and the three mused into silence as the boat ground on the Ohio shore.


Kentucky Post, Monday, December 19, 1910