Comer's Camp Uprising

Campbell County 


Flagg Spring 


Full Particulars of the Convict Revolt 


An affray resulting in the probable death of three men and seriously wounding of another occurred at Comer’s Camp, opposite New Richmond, O., on the morning of the 26th inst.  About 8 a.m. Oscar Marshal took a squad of convicts up the grade, a half mile above the camp, to work.  While replacing a pad under the back of one of the mules with his back to the convicts, a convict by the name of George McLaughlin struck him a fearful blow with a shovel from behind, felling him to the ground and fracturing his skull.  While McLaughlin continued to beat Marshal over the head and body, a Negro convict joined him and both continued to beat Marshal with their shovels while he lay weltering in his blood.  The guard, Dudley B. Wilson, had been attempting to fire at the assaulting parties but his gun missed fire.  At his second attempt however, he succeeded and at the crack of the gun McLaughlin, the Negro, and another convict who was standing between the guard and McLaughlin fell, the two former mortally wounded and the latter with two slight wounds not considered dangerous.

 The weapon used was a breech-loading shotgun loaded with buckshot.  McLaughlin was shot in the head, the shot penetrating the brain.  He died on the 27 inst.  The Negro is still living but cannot possibly recover.  Dr. Boneer of California, the physician for the camp and Dr. Kincaide of New Richmond were the attending physicians.  Esquire J. V. Jolly was notified of the death of McLaughlin by George C. Everett, State Inspector of convicts who had been advised of the trouble by Mr. Comer and who came to investigate the case

 A jury was impaneled and the foregoing facts are in accordance with the testimony taken at the inquest.  The following report was made by the Jury:

 We, the jury, find that the dead body now before us is that of George McLaughlin, and that he came to his death by a gun shot wound at the hands of Dudly B. Wilson, by being shot through the brain and various other places, and that the said Wilson was in the official discharge of his duty and was in now way responsible for the shooting.

            John M. Lawson

            J. G. Lindsey

            Asa Henderson

            Robert K. Pickens

            Richard Griffith

            P. D. Nelson

McLaughlin was sentenced from Franklin county, for a term of five years, January 6, 1886 for robbing some parties near Frankfort, on board a circus train.  He was a desperate character and had been very closely watched by the guard.  He attempted to kill the guard at Greenwood Mines shortly after sentence.  He had only been at Comer’s Camp a month.  The misfortune that has overtaken Mr. Marshall is regretted by all.  He is a very quiet man and is said to be kind to his men.


From the Kentucky State Journal of June 2, 1887.