Connick Bell Knifed by John Strader in Fourth District
A tragedy occurred at Campbell’s store in the Fourth district of Anderson county Sunday resulting in the death by stabbing of Connick Bell, aged 20 years, son of R. A. Bell at the hands of James Strader, son of Erb Strader.
The wounded man was rushed to Lincoln hospital by his brother-in-law Dr. M. G. Harrell of Knox county, where he died 12:30 o’clock Monday morning. The remains were buried in the New Gray cemetery at Knoxville Tuesday.
Strader came to Clinton Monday and surrendered to Sheriff Smith. He was allowed bond by Esq. John F. Miller in the sum of $2500 to appear Wednesday morning for preliminary hearing. Tuesday afternoon R. A. Bell swore out a warrant before Esq. Rutherford for Strader and the accused was again arrested and sent to jail without bail till the hearing next morning. Mr. Campbell was out and under $2500 bond for his connection with the tragedy. He is proprietor of the store where the killing occurred and also a brother-in-law of Strader. Sheriff Smith and Deputy Swanner making the arrests.
Wednesday morning at 11 o’clock a large crowd assembled for the preliminary before Justices Rutherford and Miller. The state was not ready for trial and a recess was taken till one o’clock, when it was agreed to postpone the trial till Friday morning at nine o’clock.
The real facts of the tragedy will be brought out at the preliminary trial. There are various stories related as to how it was caused. One version in brief is as follows:
Bell was en route for an afternoon visit beyond Bull Run and had stopped his buggy in front of Campbell’s store to buy tobacco. While in the store Strader got in the buggy and drove down the road. Bell called him to come back and a quarrel ensued. Bell passed to the rear of the store to get a drink of water from a spring in the yard. It is claimed Strader met Bell in the rear room on returning and the encounter took place. Bell was found lying on the floor terribly gashed. His heart was exposed and food fell from his stomach. It required near eighty stitches to close the wound.
The deceased is survived by his father, three brothers and five sisters to mourn his untimely death. He was well known to the young people of Clinton, having spent last Fourth of July here where he participated in two ball games.
The preliminary hearing was conducted at the court house Friday morning and afternoon before Esqs. Rutherford and Miller.
The case is prosecuted by Reuben Cates of Knoxville and James H. Underwood of Clinton. For the defense are Col. C. J. Sawyer, Jas. B. Burnett and Judge Jas. H. Wallace, all of the local bar.
Several witnesses were examined during the morning, which was followed by argument of counsel. In the afternoon Burnett and Cates made the closing speeches.
Strader was bound to circuit court in $7,500.
Anderson County News, August 17, 1912
[Transcribed with no corrections to spelling, grammar or punctuation from a scan of the microfilmed original at the Clinton Public Library.]