Skip to main content

A Good Deed Well Done

On October 28, 1862 Confederate guerilla Champ Ferguson and 22 soldiers in his group captured unionist brothers, George and William Thrasher. As they were taking them to a place of holding, they happened across the farm of Washington Tabor. George said, “I looked up and saw Tabor coming up a lane on a horse. When he saw Tabor, Ferguson dismounted and went toward him, accusing him of ambushing and killing three of his men. Tabor got off his horse as Ferguson drew near. Ferguson soon brought Tabor up to where we were and he was pleading for his life. “Oh yes, said Ferguson, you oughtn’t to die. You have done nothing to die for!” - all the while getting his pistol out of his belt. While the old man continued to beg for his life, Ferguson shot him thru the heart. After a second shot was fired, Tabor fell to the ground."

According to George, after Ferguson had shot Tabor, one of Ferguson's men, Frank Burchett, said, “D--n him, shoot him in the head!” And with that, Ferguson put the pistol close to Tabor’s head and pulled the trigger. Ferguson then told George, “I’m not in favor of killing you, Thrasher, you have never been bushwhacking or stealing horses.” He said, “I have killed Wash Tabor, a D--n good Christian, and I don’t reckon he minds dying.”

Tabor’s body was left lying in the lane, as Ferguson and his men continued on their journey with the Thrasher brothers in tow. They had not gone more than a mile when they were attacked by Unionist Elam Huddleston and about 80 of his men. Ferguson had previously told his men that if any skirmish came up to be sure and kill the Thrasher brothers first. Luckily for them, during the excitement of the attack, George and William were able to slip off their horses and escape on foot.

At the conclusion of the war, Champ Ferguson was arrested at his home near Sparta, Tennessee and charged with the murders of 53 people. At his trial in Nashville, he admitted to killing Tabor, saying, “It was a good deed well done, and that Tabor’s death had been delayed too long as it was. I killed [Tabor] as a bushwhacker. He had killed three of my men three days previous. He was in front of his house when I shot him. He ought to have been killed sooner.” On September 26, 1865, the jury found Ferguson guilty. He was hung on October 20, 1865.

Thomas Washington Tabor was born around 1807 in Rutherford, North Carolina. He moved to Stockton’s Valley in the late 1820’s and married Julia Kelly, who lived in present-day Wayne Co. After his death, Julia and her children moved to Kansas.

Wash Tabor page at

Wash Tabor page at

On the morning when Tabor was killed, William, said, “...while we were eating breakfast, Ferguson sat down by me and asked me if I didn’t think he ought to kill me. I told him it would be hard to kill an unarmed man. Ferguson said, “No, it wouldn’t, and asked me if I didn’t think it would bring the War to a close much sooner if he killed all he took. I told him I didn’t know.”

Wash Tabor’s grave was recently discovered by Gary and Nancy Norris, some four miles north of Albany.


  1. I never knew it was misplaced!

  2. On his farm in Clinton County Kentucky.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Tornado at Beaty Swamps

Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, May 10, 1933, Beatty Swamps, TN ( also known as Bethsaida), a small rural community located in Overton County, Tennessee, approximately 6.7 miles from Livingston, was struck by an F4 tornado that completely devastated the community. The funnel, anywhere from one-half to three-quarters of a mile wide, destroyed every home in the community, and killed or injured virtually every single resident. Much of the area was swept clean of debris. This is the second deadliest tornado ever to strike Middle Tennessee.

There have been tornadoes that have gained greater notoriety, such as the Super Outbreak of April 3, 1974, but never has a tornado affected a community as completely as the one that struck Beatty Swamps.

According to the National Weather Service, it had been a humid evening in the rural Cumberland Plateau community. In nearby Allardt, the temperature that Tuesday afternoon had climaxed at 82 degrees, a warmer-than-normal reading for early May. …

Ode To A Mule

James Arness died today. Gunsmoke was every one's favorite TV show back when I was a kid. For years, at my house, we watched every single episode that came on the TV. There's isn't any need to explain the show because I am sure that most of you have seen an episode of Gunsmoke at one time or another.

When I heard that Mr. Arness has passed away, I went online, because I wanted to read some quotes from the TV show - more specifically, I wanted to read some dialogue between Festus, played by singer Ken Curtis (Sons of the Pioneers), and the rest of the cast. Festus had a way of speaking, but he always spoke the truth and what he said always made sense, well in a Festus-sort-of way, I guess.

So, I went online to do that, and well, one click led to another click, and then another and another, and before I knew it, I found myself on YouTube, and that's when I heard, for the first time in many years, this beautiful story that I want to share with you.

If you paid close atte…

Long Live The Goat Man

(This photo was made in the 1950's as the Goat Man passed through my town)
Charles McCartney was born on July 6, 1901. In 1915, at age 14, he ran away from his family's Iowa farm. He eventually wound up in New York, and was soon married to a Spanish knife-thrower. When she got pregnant they tried to make it as farmers, but bad weather and the Great Depression wiped them out. About the same time, he experienced a religious awakening. A man on a mission, he hitched up his team of goats to a wagon and took to the open road with his wife and son. His wife made goatskin clothes for him and his son to wear as a gimmick during their travels, but she quickly grew tired of the road and returned to Iowa, taking their son with her.

Charles McCartney looked like a goat. He smelled like one, too because he rarely took a bath. You take a fellow who looks like a goat, travels around with goats, eats with goats, lies down among goats and smells like a goat and it won't be long before peop…