The following is an article that was saved by my grandfather, Clifford Lounsbery STRONG, b. 9/12/1872 in Ludlow, KY. (He grew up in Cincinnatti, then moved to New Era, near Portland, Oregon.)

I don't know exactly how the Captain Strong mentioned in the article was related to my family, or if my grandfather knew the family, or if he saved the article simply because of the name Strong. He saved a lot of articles about Strongs that I don't know, but this is by far the most interesting incident.

I don't find the Strongs mentioned in this news article listed in "Dwight's History of the Strong Family"



The Famous Kentucky Feud Leader Found Dead




Had Shaken Hands With Calahan, His Enemy in Mountain War That Cost Fifty Lives.

Special Dispatch to Commercial Tribune

LEXINGTON, Ky., May 9. - Captain William Strong, the famous leader of the faction that bore his name in the Strong- Amos and Strong-Calahan feuds which have cost more than fifty lives in Breathitt County, was found on the roadside near home, ten miles from Jackson, Ky., this morning, with seven bullet holes in his body. two weeks ago he met Ed Calahan, leader of the opposing faction, in Judge Day's office at Jackson, where they made peace, shook hands and declared the feud at an end.

In conversation with your correspondent a few days ago, Captain Strong said he was at peace with all the world, and hoped his declining years would be free from strife. He was 72 years old, was a Captain in the Federal army, serving under General Woolford(sp?), the famous cavalry leader of Kentucky. Strong's friends are the most powerful and influential citizens of Breathitt, and a large number of them searched this afternoon and tonight for traces of his murderer.

A Famous Battle

After the war the Amos family and their friends tried to exterminate Strong and his friends. They beseiged(sic) Strong in his house for three days, when Strong's nephew, at the head of a dozen or more old soldiers, came to his rescue. A few nights afterward Strong and his men met the Amos faction in an open meadow in the moonlight. A fierce battle ensued, which resulted in the death of one Amos and the wounding of several more. Only one of Strong's men was wounded.

The Last Skirmish

The next day the Captain received word from the Amos family that they intended to kill him. He came to Jackson and advised with the circuit Judge and county officials as to what he should do. They told him they were powerless to protect him and it would be better for him to try and protect himself.

Accordingly, the Captain secured twelve or fourteen on whom he could fully rely and, arming them well, he set out to meet his enemies. They met one moonshiny night in October, 1870, in an open meadow belonging to Rayburn Burton. The Amos crowd outnumbered the Strongs two to one, and nearly half his men were old soldiers. The same could be said of Strong's men, as nearly all of them had served under him in the war. They began firing on each other at a distance of 200 yards. For awhile both parties advanced until the firing became so heavy that each side retreated slightly. Then Captain Strong rushed out in front of his men and urged them to come on and charge the Amoses. They quickly responded and in the charge which followed Al Amos fell dead, shot through the heart; Robert Amos fell dangerously wounded in the leg, which was broken, and William Sandlin was shot through his hip seriously. Several others were slightly wounded.

The feud ended by the Amos family removing to Kansas after several more of their men bit the dust at the hands of Strong's supporters.

Captain Strong then bought his old home place with the proceeds derived from the sale of cannel coal, and had lived there ever since. He was never indicted for any of the killings, as it was plain to the authorities that he was fighting to save his life.

The Strong-Calahan Feud

It seems that shortly after the war and after Captain Strong had gone to work to pay for his home the kuklux began to terrorize the community. It was generally conceded that the clan was composed chiefly of young men who were not old enough to enter the army at the breaking out of hostilities between the States, but who had grown up with a deepseated prejudice against the Unionists. Captain Strong was considered a leader among the ex-Federal soldiers, and was a strong Republican. He was outspoken against the depredations of the kuklux, and is credited with having organized an antikuklux party, which did much toward putting down the clan.

The Captain, when he was told by persons who pretended to be his friends that Ed and Sam Calahan were at the head of these regulators, denounced them. Then the talebearers went to the Calahans, who are Democrats, Ed being Chairman of the County Committee, and told them what Captain Strong had said about them.

A Crisis Precipitated

This brought on the feud between Captain Strong and the Calahans, and when Tom Barnett, who was known to be a friend of Strong, was found murdered Strong's friends declared the Calahans were responsible for Barnett's death, and not long after that Tom Sizemore, a friend of the Calahans, was found on the roadside, dead, with a bullet through his heart.

County Judge Day and several of the leading lawyers and citizens of Jackson decided to use their influence toward bringing about a settlement of the trouble between Strong and Calahan. Accordingly, warrants were sworn out by them against Captain Strong and four or five of his leading friends to make them keep the peace, and similar warrants were sworn out for the Calahans and their friends.

Both sides were cited to appear here on the same day, and last week they came in, each side under heavy guard, summoned by Sheriff Tom Deaton. The men met in Judge day's office, and, on comparing notes, Captain Strong and the two Calahan brothers found that they had all been victims of talebearers, and they shook hands and promised to bury the hatchet and let bygones be bygones, and returned to work on their farms and in their stores.

The Captain; a Sketch.

The Captain was 5 feet 8 inches high, had cold, blue eyes set wide apart under a full, strong forehead; had black hair and full beard sprinkled with gray; had an erect carriage, and weighed abut(sic) 145 pounds; had remarkably small with hands and feet, and wore a No. 6 shoe. He was as active as a man of 35.

He was the son of Colonel Edward Strong, of Virginia, who emigrated to Kentucky early in the century and settled on the farm occupied by Captain Strong, where he was born in the same house in which he lived until his death. Captain Strong's great-grandmother, Susan Calahan, was one-fourth Cherokee Indian by blood, and the Indian characteristics cropped out largely in the Captain. He had the high cheek bones and a slightly reddish color of the skin, and the straight erect form of the Indian. His courage was phenomenal. He did not know what fear was.

His War Record.

He enlisted the Federal army at Irvine, Ky., early in the war, joining Company D, Sixth Kentucky Cavalry, under Colonel Munday. He served as Corporal in that company in the Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee campaigns of General George Morgan, and was with that commander when he captured Cumberland Gap. He was discharged on March 24, 1864, at Camp Nelson, Ky., but he immediately returned home and recruited, with others, the Three Forks Battalion of Kentucky State Troops. He was then made Captain of Company K, of the Fourteenth Kentucky Cavalry, Colonel H. C. Lilly, this being part of the Three Forks Battalion. He served with distinction under General Wolford(sp?) and was mustered out July 17, 1865.

Beginning of the Feud

Returning to his home near Crockettsville, in Breathitt County, where he had bought a little farm, he began the mining of cannel coal, which he shipped by flatboat down the Kentucky River to Clay's Ferry and Brooklyn, and he sent several cargoes to Frankfort. While engaged in this business, in which he earned enough money to pay for his farm and buy adjoining lands, he became involved in a dispute with a family called Amos, several members of which had been his companions in war. Wiley Amos was the father, and his grown sons, John, Al and Robert, incurred Strong's displeasure by stealing, so Strong alleged, several shoats from the Strong hogpen.

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Last update - July 2, 2003