A Georgia man with ties to Pulaski County is trying to get recognition for his grandfather, a Burnside magistrate and judge who was shot to death 100 years ago.
Jerry W. Campbell left his Rossville, Ga. home at 2 a.m. Wednesday and drove to Somerset, spending the day trying to find a place of honor for Judge Andrew Jackson Beatty. Beatty was assassinated in a Burnside courtroom on July 14, 1911.
“I would like to find a place for his picture somewhere,” said Campbell, a retired Methodist minister. “My mother (Marguerite Campbell) always wanted a father,” he said, noting Judge Beatty (her father) was killed four months and three days before she was born.
“I had one grandfather and I have always wondered what it would have been like to have two,” Campbell mused. He was unavailable for comment about whether he was successful in locating a place of honor for the slain Burnside judge.
Judge Beatty, 45, known as “A.J.” or “Jack,” died instantly from a .38-caliber bullet to the head, according to Campbell. Also killed during the courtroom shooting was Constable William Heath.
Campbell said a deputy sheriff and another man were charged with murder in the shooting incident. Both were convicted in Pulaski Circuit Court and one was sentenced to die in the electric chair. Edwin P. Morrow, who later would become governor of Kentucky, was part of the prosecution team in the murder trials. Circuit Judge B.J. Bethurum was on the bench.
The trials drew state and national attention. Campbell said one of the men had been arrested on a bootlegging charge and the other for some minor offenses. They reportedly were being brought before Judge Beatty for warrants to be issued when the shootings occurred. Campbell said both men were good friends of Beatty and Heath.
Beatty, whose official title was magistrate, was acting as judge, apparently in Burnside City Court. In those days magistrates had judicial powers and cities like Somerset and Burnside had courts.
Feelings were running so high in Burnside after the shootings that a double lynching almost occurred. The Sandusky, Ohio Star Journal reported in its July 15, 1911 edition that (the two men) were spirited away to Somerset when a mob attempted to lynch them for the alleged killing ... “
Magistrate Beatty was born in Jamestown, Tenn. He came to Pulaski County in the 1890s and married Caldonia (Callie) Barton, a girl from the Greenwood area. Callie served as postmaster at Greenwood after her husband was assassinated.
Jerry Campbell, son of Sam and Marguerite Campbell, was born at Alpine in southern Pulaski County on May 24, 1943. Marguerite was the youngest daughter of Judge A.J. and Callie Barton Beatty.
Sam Campbell was a postal carrier for the Alpine Post Office in the mid-1940s. He also worked in the Eastern Kentucky coal fields. The Campbell family left Pulaski County in 1945 to work in the Rossville, Ga. area.
Jerry Campbell is an author, having recently published a book “Who Me –– Angry?” a treatise on anger management. He is counselor and serves as chaplain at Kindred Hospital in Chattanooga, Tenn.