The Legend of Dead Man's Hollow

I grew up in Corinth.  We often visited by aunt Annie Wright at her home on U.S. 25 at the foot of Fisher Hill.  When we passed the then thriving Fisher's Camp my parents would remark that the place had once been known as Dead Man's Hollow.  My sister and I would ask why.  We were given two different explanations.  Sometimes they said that during the days of the stagecoach robbers would hide at the head of the hollow and then swoop down on travelers on the old Lexington-Cincinnati road.  At other times they said that the name came from an event during the Civil War.  They said that a man was executed there.

I was discussing this legend with my cousin, Stella Glass Finley when she said, "That's no legend.  That was my great-grandfather."  I have tried to piece the story together from bits of information from various oral sources.  There may be some small inaccuracies, but the story in general is correct.  John "Jack" Beard was a Confederate sympathizer.  In fact, he may have served time in the Confederate army. Camped in the hollow was a group of Union irregulars.  They may have been part of the Home Guard, which was often poorly disciplined.  At any rate, they were camped there and drinking heavily when one of them said “Let's go get old Jack.”

They rode to John Beard's farm on Morgan Creek.  Somehow he was warned and hid in the attic.  Not finding him they were getting ready to leave when the leader randomly shot his pistol into air, piercing the ceiling.  Blood began to come through.  They forced Mrs. Beard to take a lamp and lead them to the attic where they found a wounded Jack Beard.

They dragged him from his hiding place.  Old timers said that many years afterward blood stains were visible on the stairs.  They took him to their camp in the hollow.  After a kangaroo trial they put him on a stump and shot him.  They then put the body in a sack and returned it to the homestead, dropping it in the front yard.  This long forgotten footnote needs to be preserved.  It is a sad reminder of the bitter divisions that plagued Grant county in the 1860's.


by Robert Shannon, as published in Footsteps of the Past, a special supplement to the Grant County News, October 22, 1998