Murder in Boyd County, KY – January 7, 1873

CFS Member Marcia (Hasson) Hovenden’s second great grandmother was Sallie Ball Devore Bevin.  Sallie Ball Devore Bevin’s Father was John Carter Ball and her 3rd great grandfather was first married to Julina Witten Clay.  She was Marcia (Hansson) Hovenden’s 3rd great grandmother. So Julian Witten Clay was Warren Devore’s Mother-in-law even though Julina died in 1866.  John Carter Ball married Ann Wilson but she died in 1870.  He married his third wife in 1879 about a year after Warren’s death.


Boyd County Kentucky Newspaper, Microfilm # 78-0018, Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort Kentucky. “Big Sandy Herald”, Catlettsburg, Kentucky, 1868-1874, incomplete runs.

“MURDER. About 2 o’clock Christmas evening our town was startled by the information that Warren DeVore, living on D street, near Winchester, a usually quite citizen and a wagon maker in this place, had shot and killed his brother-in-law, James Ball. Ball and three other men by the name of Moffit, Roe and J. Korean were boarding with DeVore, and the entire party that morning had imbibed whiskey quite freely. Mrs. DeVore thinking if she could get hold of the only bottle of Whiskey left in the house she might get them sobered up, and being told where it was by Roe, went upstairs to get it, passing the room where her husband was lying on the bed, sick and vomiting from the effects of the liquor. DeVore asked her what she was talking to that man so long about in the hall below, and she replied that it was the whiskey. DeVore then asked her “Howwould you like me to shoot you?”, or something to that effect, when she turned to go down the stairs, and fired the pistol, whether to frighten her or whether he shot at her is not known, though the former supposition appears more reasonable as the ball entered the wall in a different direction fro which she was going. On regaining the first floor she told the men below what had occurred, and her brother, James Ball, said he would go up and try and quiet him. A few minutes after going upstairs another report of the pistol was heard, and on Roe and Moffit going up they found young Ball lying in the corner of the room and DeVore on him. The first exclamation of DeVore was that Ball had shot him, and the blood upon his face and nose being badly bruised, it was supposed that such was the case. After pulling DeVore off the then fatally wounded man, the blood was wiped from his face and his nose appeared to have been mashed as though he received a sever blow. Upon turning to Ball it was found that his life was fast ending away and he was unable to speak, the fatal ball having entered near the heart.

In the meantime DeVore had slipped on his shoes and coming down the stairs, told his wife that he had killed her brother, and she had better go up and see to him, but in the same breath ordered her to bring him a pan of water that he might wash. She requested a girl to bring him a pan of water and started up the stairs, when he again threatened her life, a second time she made an effort to go up when her repeated his threat. After washing himself he crossed the street to his father’s residence and no one being in the house but his mother he told her what he had done, declaring that it was forced upon him, and after gettin his overcoat fled to the woods and is now at large. –Ashland Journal

Copied and transcribed 21 July by Linda (Biven) Shields