When Love Killed A Man

By Stephen D. Bowling

A strange story appeared on page 4 of The Richmond Climax in Madison County, Kentucky on March 11, 1896. It related a reported strange incident from Breathitt County that, when read carefully, defies almost all logic. The article was brief but was straight to the point:

“News has just reached here from Frozen Creek, Breathitt County, that Thompson Phipps was taken from the house of John Miller by a crowd of regulators, tied hand and feet across a salt barrel, and beaten so severely that he is now in serious condition. Phipps, it is alleged, had been claiming a large share of Miss Miller’s time, which it is said angered her other admirers.”

Thompson G. Phipps, was born in 1872 and raised in Morgan County. His parents, William and Mary Ann (Rose) Phipps were prominent members of the community. He married his cousin, Josephine Rose, about 1891 in Morgan County and the couple had at least one daughter, Rosa Lee Phipps, born in 1892. They separated and for a time he moved to Frozen Creek in Breathitt County. It was there that he became acquainted with the Miller family and it was there that the assault detailed in The Richmond Climax occurred.

The whipping was so severe, that Thompson Phipps did not recover. He returned to his family in Morgan County where he died on October 16, 1898, near Sellars. He was 26. He is buried near relatives in the Salem Cemetery in Morgan County.

The tombstone of Thompson C. Phipps who died seven months after being assaulted by several Breathitt County vigilantes.

In 1900, John Miller and his wife Lucinda (Banks) Miller were still living in the Frozen Creek Precinct. Their daughter, Christine Miller (age 17), was living at home and was unmarried. Exactly what happened between her and Thompson Phipps is not known, but the result was a Frozen Creek tragedy.

No charges were ever filed and the names of the “admirers” of Miss Miller who assaulted Thompson Phipps are not known. The issue was written down as an example of “justice” in the annals of Breathitt County history.

© 2022 Stephen D. Bowling


About sdbowling

Director of the Breathitt County Public Library and Heritage Center in Jackson, Kentucky.
This entry was posted in Breathitt County, Murder and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to When Love Killed A Man

  1. Jennie says:

    Justice many times is just plan evil


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s