The story of the killing of Thomas Lindsey by Isaac Ballew
Published 10:41 am Friday, February 24, 2012
In March 1893, Thomas Lindsey approached the foot of Glassy Mountain with a fully loaded wagon. His 14-year-old son, Fleming, who had brought an extra ox to help pull the heavy wagon up the mountain, met him there.
As they started up the mountain, Isaac Ballew overtook them on horseback.
“Have you killed any more of my hogs?” Thomas Lindsey asked, as Ballew passed.
With an oath, Ballew assured him that he had not killed any of his hogs.
Lindsey jumped down from the wagon, threatened to pull Ballew off his horse, then threw a rock after him when he rode away.
Farther up the mountain, Ballew met them again, but this time had a gun on his shoulders. Young Fleming got out of the wagon to check the harness on the lead ox as Ballew came closer to the wagon, cussing at his father.
Lindsey jumped out of the wagon and told Ballew to go away. Ballew accused him of throwing the rock before. Lindsey reached into the front of the wagon, lifted out his gun with his left hand and pulled it to the cocking position, since he was left-handed.
Ballew fired at Lindsey and rode off down the road.
Lindsey fell with a wound to the left arm and the shot penetrating his heart. He died immediately.
Charles Lindsey, who lived about 200 yards away, heard the shot and came running. He and Fleming loaded the body on the wagon and carried it to his house.
Ballew had just left Charles Lindsey’s house, where he had picked up a gun he had left there earlier in the day. He was on his way to meet his wife at Josh Lindsey’s house. Having told Charles of his earlier meeting with Thomas Lindsey coming up the mountain, Charles warned him to stay clear of Thomas.
Just as Ballew was crossing the road, he met Thomas Lindsey again. This time, Lindsey got out of the wagon very angrily and threatened to shoot Ballew three times. On the third threat he reached into the wagon for his gun. Ballew fired just as Lindsey pulled his gun into cocking position.
Ballew didn’t wait to see if he had killed Lindsey as he rode off. He did, however, go to Greenville that night and surrendered himself the next morning.
Shortly thereafter, a jury needed only a few minutes to return a verdict of not guilty by reason of self-defense.