JOHNSON HOLDING HIS PISTOL CLOSE TO A SHADE TREE TOOK DELIBERATE AIM AND FIRED – SULLIGENT MURDER

Sulligent street

L. D. Byrd Killed. Early Thursday morning even before the sun had risen far above the eastern horizon, the alarm at the telephone rang out and “Hello what is wanted” went from the operator at this place. But how unexpected and how shocking was the reply which came from Sulligent. “Mr. Byrd was shot and instantly killed a moment ago by Burley Johnson of near this place.”

It seems that an old grudge had been cherished between them for some time past, and they were evidently expecting trouble as both were armed and when the fatal combat occurred. It also seems from the best information we can get that Mr. Byrd was using every means possible to escape, when they met for the last time. Details are meager here, notwithstanding the affray occurred Thursday morning.

According to our information, Mr. Byrd, when seeing that he must meet Johnson, said to his nephue that Johnson was hunting trouble and so saying left the side-walk, giving to Johnson the right-of-way. They had not proceeded far when Johnson holding his pistol close to a shade tree took deliberate aim and fired. He continued to fire until he had fired five shots, four of which took effect, Mr. Byrd fired two shots, neither of which took effect. Johnson succeeded in making his escape. Source: The Lamar Democrat Vernon, Alabama  07-23-1898, transcribed by Barb Carruth.

“Lucian David Byrd, son of John K. and Elvira Moore Byrd, was born September 26, 1861, near Detroit, Alabama. Later, the Byrd family moved to Splunge, Mississippi. On November 27, 1878, he married Mary F. Collier who died when their son was born. Their children were Lillian Byrd, who married R.C. Paul, and Haston Byrd, who married Donnie G. Nichols.

Later, L.D. Byrd married Lula Duncan Guthrie. They had five children, but only two lived: Gertrude Byrd, who married Byron Woods, and Annie Mae Byrd, who married Jake Green.

In the early days of Sulligent, this family moved to the new town where Mr. Byrd established a mercantile business. He owned farm land where the Hyster Company now stands. Through the years this land has been called the

Byrd Place. The old Byrd home is still standing on Vernon Street in Sulligent.

L.D. Byrd was a strong leader in First Baptist Church from its beginning. He was a charter member and soon was elected church clerk, a position he held for eight years. Many times, he served on church committees and often was sent as a messenger to the Sipsey Baptist Association. When he died on July 21, 1898, the church lost a valuable member.” Source: First Baptist Church Sulligent, Alabama 1890 – 1990 Our Heritage Our Hope a History of 100 Years, written by Mrs. Virginia Woods Gilmer.

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