Everything for Your Home's
Beauty, Comfort & Convenience 384-2123
704 Jamestown St, Columbia
Dr. Ronald P. Rogers
Support for your body's natural healing capabilities
Click here for details
Click here for information
Real Estate & Auction Co.
Duo County Telecom
Now Available Through
Your Cable Service!
GUN & PAWN
What's Going On
Info about the
Janice Holt Giles
and Henry Giles Society
Columbia Gas Dept.
GAS LEAK or GAS SMELL
24 hrs/ 365 days
270-384-2006 or 9-1-1
Call before you dig
Directory of Churches
phone numbers and more
for churches in Adair County
Find Great Stuff in
Antiques, Help Wanted,
Autos, Real Estate,
Legal Notices, More...
Revisiting Classic Story: An Adair Co. war/Burton-Harmon feud
They've long since buried the hatchet. This story by a great grandson of Charles Harmon White, first appeared on CM on 2006-01-01 at 10:23:46
Click to An Adair CO, KY war: The Burton-Harmon Feud, for original post with photo; OR click on headline for this post with very minor edits.
By Jason Harmon
An admirer and servant of Adair County History
Many famous family feuds were fought in Kentucky. The most notable was of course the Hatfield's and McCoy's in eastern Kentucky. In southeastern Kentucky the Bakers and the Whites spilled a lot of blood in the Clay County War.
Adair County had several feuds
Adair County had several of its own feuds. One of the memorable ones happened in the Snake Creek area. The dispute was between the families of Dudley Harmon and John Britt Burton.
John Britt Burton and Dudley Harmon were in-laws. Dudley was married to Sarah Ellen Bryant and the couple had 4 sons sons who included, Charles White Harmon, Jesse Washington Harmon, Franze Harmon and Gordon Walter Harmon.
John was married to Dudley's sister in-law, Sallie Bryant and had nine children and their elder sons included, Leo Burton, Oliver Burton and Milton Burton. Dudley was a blacksmith by trade. He suffered a heart attack and died in 1921. Sarah Ellen was now a widow and had to take care of her young family on her own. Sallie Burton became ill not long after the birth of her youngest son and died in the fall of 1923.
He struck it rich in Indiana in Real Estate
John left Adair County shortly after his wife's death and went to Indiana and struck it rich in the Real Estate business, leaving the kids behind in the care of his wife's family in Adair County. John would often return to Adair County to visit, but he maintained his home in Edinburgh, Indiana. After some time has passed it was becoming apparent that John Britt wasn't willing to take his younger children to Indiana. This began a strong anomisty between the two families.
Toad Harmon had disrespect for John Britt Burton
Charles White Harmon, who was more commonly know as "Toad Harmon," had a distinctive disrespect for his Uncle John Britt Burton and his older first cousins.
In about 1925 Toad Harmon followed his first cousin, Leo Burton, into a barn and hoped he would easily be able to whip Leo Burton in a fight. Leo had seen Toad Harmon following him and led him into an ambush in his own blacksmith shop.
Toad was caught in own trap
Toad Harmon locked the doors after entering the barn and was ready for a showdown between the cousins.Toad had know way of knowing that Leo's brothers, Oliver and Milton Burton were waiting for him and the barn and It was Toad Harmon that actually suffered an extreme beating.
Syrenius Burton was a sympathiser and cousin of the John Britt Family. In about 1927, he was ready for retribution against the Harmon Clan.
Syrenius Burton caught Toad Harmon on Square
He caught Toad Harmon celebrating a festival on the Adair County Square. he was sitting behind Toad Harmon and noticed that Toad was attempting to lift a wallet from the person sitting in front of him. Syrenius picked up a rock and shattered the skull of Toad Harmon.
Toad's younger brother had even less love for John Britt Burton and he sought revenge for the beating that his brother took at the families blacksmith shop.
In the late 20's Jesse Harmon caught John Britt Burton on one of his visits to Adair County and he decided to confront him about his brother's beating. Their conversation quickly turned to the animosity between the two families. Many hateful words were exchanged between the two men and John Britt Burton eventually dishonored the name of the Harmon family by using some very harsh words and it was all that Jesse Harmon was willing to stand for. Jesse Harmon raised the barrell of his shotgun and shot John Britt Burton in the face.
John Britt Burton raised two bricks
John Britt Burton was fortunate enough to have enough time to raise two bricks in front of his face and save himself from being permanently disfigured. This was a frightening awakening for John Britt Burton and he urged his children to stop this foolish quarrel.
Many lives lost in feud
Like many of the senseless and famous families squables, both sides lost lives of their children and grandchildren over time. In the years to come John Britt Burton would lose his grandson, Milton Burton Jr. in a knife fight in Edinburgh, Indiana. Dudley Harmon's son, Gordon Harmon would die bitter and tragically of the dispute in 1966. Franze Harmon died young and still full of his life in 1952. There was never a clear winner in all of the fighting and both sides lost more than they gained.
We've now buried the hatchet
By our current generation, I am happy to report that both sides has buried the hatchet. John Britt Burton and Dudley Harmon's family both now attend church together and only a few remember their past aggressions.
They have all been gracious enough to admit that the long feud was an act of senseless violence and should have never happened. They may have buried the proverbial hatchet, but both sides keep one eye open when they see one of the opposing family members in the room.
I am a great grandson of Charles White Harmon.
This story was posted on 2017-07-31 08:41:49
Printable: this page is now automatically formatted for printing.
Have comments or corrections for this story? Use our contact form and let us know.
To sponsor news and features on ColumbiaMagazine, please use our contact form.
More articles from topic Local History:
Patent for the Triplett and Scott repeater carbine
Triplett & Scott repeater carbine invented by Adair Countians
ACHS Class of 1967 will hold 50th year reunion Sat 5 Aug 2017
17th President of Bank of Columbia joins list of great leaders
Mike Watson: 65 years ago, Adair Co. Sesqui-Centennial Observed 13 Jun 1952
Adair Heritage Association meets quarterly - next 19 Jun 2017
JIM: Emery Bennett & Mollie Jeffries & auto business in Columbia
BJ Fudge: Were Prices Creek, Big Creek churches moved from namesake creeks?
110 Years Ago Today- The Gradyville Flood (7 Jun 2017)
Invasion of Normandy--D-Day, 6 June 1944--Operation Overlord
View even more articles in topic Local History
Click for Info
Bank of Columbia
If You're Thinking of Selling,
Let Us Do the Yelling
Principal Broker & Auctioneer
Burton Real Estate
& Auction Service
Call Us For Appraisals
Click for Listings
On This Site
or Click Here
The Best of
Local Stories of
The Greatest Generation
Order Book or e-Book
See who's celebrating
Birthdays and Anniversaries
Special Events List
ColumbiaMagazine.com content is available as an RSS/XML feed for your RSS reader or other news aggregator.
Contact us: Columbia Magazine and columbiamagazine.com are published by D'Zine, Ltd., PO Box 906, Columbia, KY 42728.