Sunday, December 4, 2011

"A Shooting Affray"

Robert Newton Turpin
Susan Ingraham is a fellow Turpin descendent.  Newt is her great-great-great grandfather and my great grandfather.  She has sent in the following on our common ancestor:
My maternal great-great-great grandfather, Robert Newton Turpin, certainly came to an unfortunate end, and the local newspaper told about it.
Robert (who was usually called Newt from his middle name) was born in 1821; married twice, he was the father of 19 children. Born in Virginia, he moved quite often, living in Indiana, Iowa, and eventually Nebraska.

In 1893, when he was 72 years old, Newt was involved in a dispute with another rancher. He was shot on May 11, died on May 18, and was buried on May 20, 1893, at Willowdale Cemetery near Bassett, Nebraska. He left behind his widow, Mary Ellen, with nine children, the youngest only a baby. Newt’s children from his first marriage to Sarah Elizabeth Lowery were grown by the time of his death, ranging in age from 29 to 50. Just a few months previously, his granddaughter, Josephine Amanda Porter, had married Michael James Mahoney in Heartwell, Nebraska. Josephine Amanda Porter was my great-grandmother.

Here’s how The Omaha World Herald told his story on page 1 of the May 12, 1893 edition:

“…Two Farmers Fatallay [sic] Quarrel Over Horses
NEWPORT, Neb. May 11 — …A shooting affray occurred today twelve miles north of town near the Niobrara River. A farmer named Lewis Goochoy had some horses stray during the night and on going to hunt them he found them in a pasture belonging to another man named Newton Turpin, an old resident of the river flats. Upon finding his horses grazing in the pasture he quietly drove them out of the open gate, but before he got started home, Turpin called out to him something he (Goochoy) could not understand as the wind was blowing furiously at the time, but when the man with the horses did not do as he was bid Turpin raised his gun and fired. [It is assumed that Turpin mistakenly thought that Goochoy was stealing Turpin’s horses.] Turpin’s gun was hardly raised before Goochoy pulled his own and fired, the shot taking effect in Turpin’s stomach. Goochoy came to town this afternoon and gave himself up to the justice of the peace. Both men have large families. Turpin is not dead yet.”

And nine days later:

“NEWPORT, Neb. May 20 — Newton Turpin, the man who was shot by Louis Goochoy May 11 on the Niobrara River north of Newport, died this morning from the effects of his wounds. Goochoy is under the…planage of the county officials today or until the coronor’s inquest can reach a verdict.”

Unfortunately, I do not know if Goochoy faced any consequences for shooting my great-great-great grandfather.


  1. Richard SwearingenJanuary 19, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Any positive ID or record of Mr. Goochey's first name? Please email your response:

  2. Yes, he was Louis Goochey and we can track him in the censuses. There are still descendents in Nebraska too. I believe my cousin Dick Turpin met a descendent of Louis at one point. :-)