The Boneyard


"Ken McCutchan is a life-long resident of Vanderburgh County, Indiana, descended from pioneer families that entered the area in the early 1800s. He is veteran of WWII, having served with Army Corps of Engineers in both North Africa and Europe. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Composition and Modern Language from the University of Evansville, a certificate in French Language and Culture from the Sorbonne in Paris, and an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree from the University of Southern Indiana. His other books include: The Adventures of Isaac Knight, From then Til Now, Saundersville, An English Settlement, At The Bend in the River, and Dearest Lizzie. Mr. McCutchan's books may be purchased at Willard Library in Evansville, IN.
Christmas Morning at Gabtown   

by Kenneth McCutchan

At the crossroads known as Earle, Indiana, where the popular Hornet's Nest Restaurant stands today, there was once a thriving little community.

It boasted a small hotel, two grocery stores , two taverns, a wagon shop, a doctor's office, a lawyer's office, and the Earle Post Office. The place was always colloquially called Gabtown because it was where the people on the surrounding farms could come to get the latest gossip.

The Hornet's Nest stands today on the site of the somewhat infamous Lapsley's Saloon.

Set down in the midst of a very devout Methodist community that abhorred the drinking of alcoholic beverages in any form, Lapsley's Saloon was looked upon as an evil den of vice and corruption.

However, it was not uncommon for a number of the good Methodist fathers to secretly slip off now and then for a little nip at Lapsley's, unbeknownst to their wives and the preacher.

Several of them were partaking of a bit of holiday cheer on Christmas morning, 1877, when a fight broke out between two of the patrons, the resident physician, Dr. Thomas Worrall, and James Grimwood.

In the melee that followed, the combatants knocked over the stove and finally ended up grappling outside in the snow. They were promptly arrested by the local constable and hauled off to the lockup. The constable happened to be James Lapsley, the proprietor of the saloon.

The good Methodist gentlemen who were present were soon very sorry they had been there and considerably embarrassed when their sins were discovered by the publication of their names as subpoenaed witnesses at the trial before the justice of the peace, Squire Kinlock McJohnston , one of the most devout members of the McCutchanville Methodist Church.

They probably also got hail Columbia at home when their wives found out where they had been on Christmas morning.

As for Grimwood and Worrall, Dr. Worrall was found guilty of starting the fight and was sentenced to a few day in jail. While serving his term he wrote a pamphlet which he later had printed and distributed widely. It was titled The Gabtown Martyrdom.

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