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Murder and MadnessThe Myth of the Kentucky Tragedy$
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Matthew G. Schoenbachler

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813125664

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813125664.001.0001

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The Politics of Murder

The Politics of Murder

(p.136) (p.137) Chapter 6 The Politics of Murder
Murder and Madness

Matthew G. Schoenbachler

University Press of Kentucky

The news of the murder of Solomon Sharp spread quickly in the early morning hours of November 7, 1824, causing a sensation “deep beyond description”, a gloom among the townspeople “of the deepest cast”. The first to suspect the young man was Joel Scott, even before he was aware of Jereboam Beauchamp's connection to Anna Cooke. Well before Beauchamp was brought back to town, the murder of Sharp was becoming politicized. Whether or not Beauchamp's murder of Sharp had political causes, it certainly had political consequences and in fact became, as one nineteenth-century biographer asserted, “not merely ... a private but ... a public calamity”. The partisan implications of Sharp's death only fueled the speculations that the murder was in fact a political assassination. Investigating the possibility of a conspiracy, the grand jury concluded that there was no evidence that Beauchamp had had an accomplice.

Keywords:   Jereboam Beauchamp, Solomon Sharp, murder, Joel Scott, Anna Cooke, political assassination, conspiracy, grand jury

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