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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rough and Tumble Fight, With Bowies

Major Benjamin Truman reprinted a newspaper account of a fight involving two feuding families in The Field of Honor. The event occurred in Shelby, North Carolina, on January 7, 1884:
A terrible and fatal knife combat took place about fifteen miles from here this morning. For some years past a vendetta has existed between the Lepaugh and Runyan families, both of which have large connections. Philip Lepaugh was this morning driving his wagon to a saw-mill, when Craige Runyan, accompanied by his father and brother, made an attack upon him. They pulled Lepaugh from his wagon and cut and hacked him with bowie-knives, inflicting some terrible wounds. They left him for dead in the road. As they were fleeing, the wounded man's two sons-in-law came up, and he urged them to follow his murderers and avenge his death. They immediately galloped after and overtook the Runyan party. A desperate hand-to-hand conflict ensued. G. McSwain and Reuben and Joseph Runyan were soon lying in the road with ghastly wounds. Masters McSwain and Craige Runyan were the last two to stand up, and they cut each other literally in shreds. The former, early in the conflict, had his left eye cut from the socket. Some farmers came up in time to see them grovelling in the road cutting at each other, although they had not strength to stand up.

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