1. Home
  2. Cemetery Listings
  3. Census Extracts
  4. Images
  5. Links
  6. Obituaries
  7. Reports
  8. Timeline / Notes
  9. Transcriptions
  10. Wills

Report of Constable Duff


Of Constable Duff, of Upper
Township in Regard to the
Arrest of McClure and
His Deputies at Green-
Wood, on the
15th Inst.

Fort Smith, Arkansas
January 24, 1874

Editors Independent:

As the Little Rock Republican, of 21st inst., contain an article over the Nom d' plume of Republican, which pretends to be a statement of the Greenwood affair, in which Sheriff McClure and two of his deputies were arrested by me, and in which my name is used in no very complimentary terms. I beleave, through your columns to reply, in the first place, I pronounce the above mentioned statement, a perfect tissue of falsehoods, from beginning to end.

The following is the true statement of the case, so far as I am concerned, or has came within my knowledge.

On the sixth day of January, 1874, I received from C. P. Swift, Justice of the Peace, a warrant of arrest for J. H. McClure, Sheriff of Sebastian county, on a charge of threatening to "kill and murder David A. McKibben," President of the Board of Supervisors of Sebastian County.

On the 7th of January 1874, I received four other warrants from said Justice for the arrest of J. H. McClure, R. W. McClure, John Patterson and Horace H. Fellows, charged with intimidating the Board of Supervisors of Sebastian county, on the 5th day of January 1874.

It was currently reported here at that time, that one of McClures Deputy's, who had been in town on the 6th, that if we intended to arrest John H. McClure, we had better bring men enough to do it. D. A. McKibben, President of the Board of Supervisors directed me to summons a sufficient number of men, as a posse to aid me in making the arrest, and to remain and protect the Supervisor's court, during its session, from interruption or intimidation.

I summoned a number of men, and with about thirty good men, including my Deputies, summoned without regard to political party. I went to Greenwood. I had been informed that McClure had about twenty or thirty armed men concealed in his store and in the Court house at Greenwood, determined to resist the execution of the process, which I had and to prevent the court from sitting if his bond was not approved.

Upon this information, I determined to make a night march of it, and enter Greenwood at an early hour in the morning, which I did, and with my posse surrounded both the court house and McClure's store. McClure was in the upper room of his store, myself and William Falconer, one of my Deputies. Henry Williams, another Deputy, and Dr. Frayser went up the side steps, to where there were two doors. Falconer went to one door, and I went to the other and knocked I had previously knocked at the lower front door, and received no answer. Some person opened the door which Falconer had knocked at, we inquired for Mr. McClure, stating that we had warrants for his arrest. Some one opened the door and saw Falconer standing there: he then slammed the door shut to, and at that time a shot was fired within the room where the person had been, and when Falconer opened the door again some person was going down the inside stairs.

We found in this room, one of McClure's brother-in-laws, Mr. Morris, whom we asked if it was McClure that went down the stairs, to which he made an evasive answer, and said "If there is going to be trouble here, for God's sake let me out." I told him that I had a writ for McClure, and that if he would surrender there would be no trouble. I then called and said, "McClure, if you are down there, come up, I've got a writ for you, and if you will come up and surrender, there shall be no harm done to you." Falconer then said, come up we intend you no harm, I will protect you at the risk of my life, as Duff and myself are both your friends, we will see that you are not harmed." Falconer offered to help him up stairs—McClure came up, and I shook hands with him, and McClure, laid his pistols on the table, and surrendered. During this time there were some three or four shots fired on the outside of the house.

I was about to read the warrants to McClure but he said "if you have them it is all right," and about that time Dr. Bennett came up stairs and I had the writs in my hand, and he asked me to let him see them. I gave them to him and he read them aloud and McClure said "that is quite satisfactory." I then asked McClure where Fellows and Patterson were, that I had a writ for them also. He told me, and asked me not to take too much of a crowd with me. I took me deputies Rounds, Joe Swift, Henry Williams and Constable Morris of Centre Township with me and arrested Jno. Patterson and Horace Fellows.—They said when arrested that they epected to be arrested for what they had done but not at so early an hour that if we had come at a late hour in the day, we could have seen some fun. When they saw the force I had, they said that it was well I had brought so many men, that at a late hour no ten or fifteen men could or would have taken them, that they would have given us a little fun. After this I arrested W. R. McClure, J. P.; brother of John H. McClure, and his family being sick, I took his recognizance to appear before C. P. Swift, J. P., to on the 10th of January 1874 to answer.

I told McClure, Patterson and Fellows, that I should send them to Fort Smith, and they could choose from my posse the men that they wished to go with them, which they did and came to town. After they had gone, I heard that some persons were intending to follow the prisoners and to kill them, and I immediately sent some of my posse to aid those who had the prisoners, in defending them and it was the party who "the man in the Republican" says, tried to assassinate McClure and his deputies.

After McClure and his deputies left for Fort Smith, with their guard, quite an additional number of my posse being business men, were sent home.

During the day (Jan. 8, '74), I heard that quite a number of McClure's friends were gathering to attack my party, now reduced to myself, D. A. McKibben and Mr. Ferguson, Supervisors, and three Deputies, Swift, Rounds and Williams, and five posse, and believing that the report was true, fifteen or twenty men, who had come from other parts of the county, came to me and volunteered to aid us in protecting ourselves and the court. I accepted their aid and took the necessary precautions to prevent the anticipated attack, which was done in a gentlemanly and quiet manner.

William Falconer left Greenwood before McClure did, and went to his home, and was not there during my stay at Greenwood. As to the men in my party being drunk, I pronounce it to be an unmitigated lie. There was not one man in our party that showed any evidence of being under the influence of liquor, and I afterwards learned that he obtained it from a person who attempted to get through my pickets, (during my night march to Greenwood) to apprize McClure of our approach, but was stopped by the pickets and kept until we moved on, and he went with us. This man and another who went with us—who were McClure's friends, were the only persons that I saw drunk.

William Falconer, who went with me, was one of my deputies, and behaved himself in a courteous and gentlemanly manner, I have been an officer in this county for the past six years, and have always found not only Wm. Falconer, but his Brothers, also the "Wheeler Boys"—John and Bill—and others who, like them, have been called Bushwhackers and Rebels, ready and willing to aid and assist me or any other officer in enforcing the laws—a compliment by the way, which I cannot pay to some of my so-called Republican friends—who are now persecuting, me and other Republicans, for doing our sworn duty on this occasion, as will appear from the following notice from McClure, which I am satisfied was dictated by one of his tall friends:

Sheriff's Office
Sebastian County, Ark., Jan 16 1874

C. Duff, Deputy Sheriff:

Sir—Your appointment as deputy sheriff under me is hereby revoked from and after this date, for conduct unbecoming an officer, gentleman, and a Republican.

J. H. McClure, Sheriff

I desire it now distinctly understood, that although I am a Republican, elected by Republican votes to the position of township constable, I am not constable for the republican party alone, but for the whole people; and that if warrants or other process are placed in my hands to serve, be it against Republican or Democrat, I, will serve them, without fear, affection or "partiality," regardless of the terrific roars of the "Bull of Bashan."

In conclusion I desire to extend my sincere thanks to the men who went with me and aided me in this affair, for their gentlemanly and courteous conduct while with me, and that I am ready at all times to bear testimony to the abeerful and prompt aid extended me.

C. Duff, Constable
Upper township