Thompson Morris

The Free Press
Cartersville, Georgia
May 29, 1879, Pages 2, 3
Transcribed by:  

The Kingston Tragedy.
The Killing of the Morris Brothers Last Friday.

[Several articles concerning the shooting of Thompson and Joseph Morris by the town marshal of Kingston, John T. Burroughs can be found on pages 2 and 3 of this issue.  See the Cartersville Express May 30, 1879 for more information.


The Cartersville Express
Cartersville, Georgia
May 30, 1879, Page 2

The Killing at Kingston.

The fatal 23rd!  A sad day for Kingston!  I will endeavor to give a sketch of the tragedy that occurred last Friday, at half past 11 a. m., and what I state is from the mouth of witnesses who say they saw the difficulty.  I did not see it and am thankful that I was not present.  The Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian Sunday schools, of Acworth, had a picnic at Rogers’ Island, nearly a mile from town.  The morning train arrived with three coaches well filled with ladies, gentlemen, maidens, youths and children, as good-looking, well-behaved party as I have met in many  a day, all happy and pleasant.  They were met at the depot by a considerable number of our citizens and Sunday school scholars from our schools here, and all started at once for the island.  Every one seemed to have a happy face and little dreamed before night their pleasure would be changed to sorrow.  The citizens of Kingston regret it as much as our good friends at Acworth.  I appeal to the generous public not to cast the blame on Kingston or the Sabbath schools.

The men engaged in the difficulty had no connection with the schools, and only came along to avail themselves of the cheap rate and have a little recreation.  At the island, when all were about ready to partake of their dinners, the sad news was announced that two men, Thompson and Joseph Morris had gotten into a difficulty, and that both were fatally shot. The Morrisses were brothers, and the elder, Thompson, was the marshal of Acworth.  It seems that the two Morrisses and some other friends remained in town and got to drinking, and Thompson, became a little boisterous and fired off his pistol.  John T. Burrough, the marshal of Kingston, took two men with him and went to the party and notified Mr. Morris that he had violated one of the town ordinances and must go before the council or pay a fine of one dollar.  After some words he paid the fine, and Burrough and his party went to the depot.  In a few minutes the other party followed, and Thompson Morris told Burrough he wanted to see the mayor. Burrough pointed him out as he was walking along the sidewalk.  Morris said: “Call him back.”

“No, I will not.  If you are dissatisfied call him back yourself.”

Some words passed and Morris slapped Burrough’s face.  Burrough drew his stick, when Morris said. “If you hit me that stick I will kill you,” at the same time making a motion to draw his pistol, and Burrough made an effort to get his pistol.

Morris got ready first and snapped at Burrough’s breast.  Burroughs fell back a step or two and fired.  Two shots were exchanged, when Joseph Morris made at Burrough with a knife, and Burrough fired at Joseph.  Burrough fell back across the track and fired the fourth shot at Thompson, and attempted to fire again but the cylinder would not revolve.  By this time Morris had emptied his pistol and both of them charged Burrough with rocks and run him between the Couch and Huson houses and he made his escape up the alley back of the Couch house to his residence and procured another pistol, returned and was met by some person who told him he had killed both of them.

After the Morrisses pursued Burrough to the far corner of the hotel, a distance of about one hundred yards, they attempted to return and both fell about the same place, near the front corner.  Thompson died in about thirty minutes, having been shot through the heart.  Joseph lingered until six o’clock, the femoral artery having been cut.  The remains were put on the same train with the excursionists and returned to Acworth.

Joseph Morris had the reputation of being a clever, steady, hard working young man, and the other was a clever man. but rather desperate when under the influence of liquor.  Burrough was cool, and conscientious in the discharge of his duty in collecting the fine, and, in defending his life, he had one ear clipped.  Burrough is out but will come in whenever required.


Another account of the murders is given on the same page told from “the Acworth side.”  Here is an excerpt:

“Thompson Morris, the father of the unfortunate young men, is a very respectable, worthy and highly esteemed citizen of Cobb county, largely and respectably connected.  Thompson Morris, Jr., one of the unfortunate and elder son, was the marshal of the town of Acworth—a high toned gentleman, a faithful and efficient officer.  Joe Morris, the other victim, was a very peaceable young man—sober, industrious and of a high standing—ever good humored, generous and kind; never had a difficulty with others in his life on his own account; was not drinking when the difficulty occurred; indeed, was never known to drink at all; did not have a pistol, nor never was known to carry one in his life; never carried anything more than a common pocket-knife and had always been free from dissipation….The father of the unfortunate young men was in Cartersville at the time and did not reach Kingston for some hours; on his arrival found Thompson dead and Joe sinking rapidly.  The father approached the dying son in tears, and said, “My boy what have you done?”  The boy replied, “Father I did nothing before I was shot, but asked the man not to shoot my brother.”  These words and words of like character, were Joe Morris’s dying words.”


GO TO: Text Site Map
Bartow GenWeb Regulars:
Coordinator & webmaster:  Arlene Woody
Asst. Coordinator & Proj. Leader:  Jane Thompson
Web developer & Transcriber:  Jan Sherrouse
Newspaper Project:  Laurel Baty
Historical Resource:  Carolyn Ward
Auditor:  Jean Taylor

Bartow GenWeb Coordinator:   
Georgia GenWeb State Coordinator: Vivian Saffold

          ©2002 - 2010 Arlene Woody

Last modified: January 21, 2008