MEMORIES OF CAMPBELL COUNTY HISTORY
From Campbell County History
News - July 1997
William Foster Hopkins had been
a well known Cincinnati defense attorney for half a century when he
published his memoirs in 1970 under the title "Murder is my business."
Foss, as he frequently was called, explained on page 166 how his
father, nicknamed the Governor, introduced an interest in law to both
Foss and his brother as they grew up in the 1910s in Newport Kentucky.
days I remember? One that played a large part in my decision to become
a lawyer was the Saturday the Governor came in, hot and sweaty, from
his (train) run and said, Boys, I've been thinking about it all the way
from the train yard. Get ready. As soon as I've had a bath, we are
going to take the trolley to Fort Thomas. There's something there I've
been meaning to show you..."
Off to Fort Thomas on the little green streetcar we went: me, Rob, and
the Governor. At the end of the line we got off. He led Rob and me
straight into a dark and dusty but cool little store that sold just
about everything. He fed pennies into the kaleidoscope for us, told us
to look in, and there - flickering before our very eyes - unfolded
quick segments of the Pearl Bryant (SIC) drama. She was the country
girl who had come to visit two college students in Cincinnati, the last
trip she would make on the face of the earth. Her body, minus its head,
had been discovered later in the vicinity of the store in which we
stood. The two students later accused of doing her in were convicted,
and subsequently hanged in the courtyard of the Newport Courthouse.
After looking at the pictures, we went out back to where they had found
her body. Later, on another day, the Governor took us to the courthouse
basement, where was displayed the noose which had yanked her two
convicted murderers from this world straight into the next. And,
several times after that, Rob and I rode bikes to the end of the
trolley line where, with shovels, we dug, looking for the lady's head.
We never found it.
There was nothing ghoulish about the Governor's motive for taking us
there. He was passing the bits and pieces of his dream of the law along
to his sons. I never forgot it. ...."
Daniel Carter Beard - photo did not appear in newsletter
Used with permission from Northern Kentucky Views ( http://www.nkyviews.com/kenton/kenton_folks.htm)
Another man who published local memories was Daniel Carter Beard. He
was born in Cincinnati in 1850 and grew up in east Covington in the
1860s to become a major force in establishing and leading the Boy
Scouts of America, . The following observations regarding the Newport
Barracks during the Civil War appear in his Autobiography "Hardly a Man
is Now Alive" which was published in 1939.
by adult males for protection, one day I ventured over to Newport and
visited the barracks. The troops were drawn up as if for dress parade,
the field officers with gold epaulets and the privates with their brass
fish scale epaulets. Captain Horn's regimental band was led by the big
drum major, with a tawny beard reaching to his waistline. In front of
the troops was the fife and drum corps, and in front of them were two
men. Not only had their buttons and stripes been cut off, but they were
hatless and half of their heads were shaved, They had only their shirts
to cover their bodies, which, for want of buttons, were open at the
throat and wrists. The fife and drum struck up that direful but
splendid marching tune, "The Rogues March."
They marched those poor devils round and round the parade grounds in
front of the troops, who stood at attention with arms reversed, that
is, each gun had its butt in front and the muzzle pointing to the
ground, as was the custom at funerals. Then they marched them to the
barrack gates, where the culprits passed by the guard without giving a
password, and the sentinels, in place of a challenge, reversed their
pieces and came right about face, standing with their backs turned.
After the men slunk down the street the band struck up a quickstep, as
it does when returning from a funeral. I do not know what crime the man
had committed, but I do know that in those early days of the war
soldiers were not allowed to willfully or thoughtlessly lower the moral
standing of their regiments.
Toward the latter part of the war, however, I saw no one drummed out of
the army. On the contrary, on more then one occasion I saw men fired
upon who were trying to drum themselves out. Once when we were playing
opposite the Newport barracks a wild-eyed, bareheaded soldier sprang
over the barracks fence, dashed down the bank across flotilla of loaded
coal barges and made a beautiful swan dive into the river. When his
head came up for air there was a corporal's guard on the barge with
rifles aimed at the fugitive. He obeyed the order to about-face. All
this was done amid a shower of bullets, which evidently were intended
to intimidate the deserter, but which also intimidated and scattered
the boys, who were directly in the line of fire. ..."
The above books present excellent reading for anyone interested in
Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky history. Materials for this
article are used under the fair use provision of the copyright law for
non-profit educational purposes.