At the same time, we are opening the WWII exhibits: “Shelby County Heroes” at the VFW building and “Shelby County Home Front” at the museum building. We can always use volunteers to staff the museum during the day and on Saturdays. Contact Sharon Hackworth at 633-5473 to offer your time.
The Collections Committee received a remarkable gift from Elliott Igleheart. His collection, found in Shelby County, of arrow points, projectile points, pottery shards, clay pipes and stone tools dates from 10,000 BC. Both the Kentucky Heritage Council and the University of Kentucky Anthropology Department are working with us to catalogue and interpret the collection for you.
We are pleased to announce that we received $2,000.00 from donors within our membership to fund the University anthropologists’ work. Members are working now to prepare the collection to be sent to the University for cataloging.
Our Education Committee features the History Intern Program, three high school seniors are working several days a week with member volunteers who are introducing them to the history of Shelby County, John Graham has coordinated this program and we are very appreciative of that enormous effort.
A Henry County jury indicted Denhardt for “willful murder” on January 19, 1937, but he showed little alarm when he was advised of the indictment while he sipped a bottle of beer in a restaurant near the courthouse. The trial began on April 20 with Commonwealth’s Attorney H. B. Kinsolving Jr. of Shelbyville prosecuting for the state, assisted by J. Ballard Clark, a friend of the Garrs. Denhardt, in turn, was represented by Rodes K. Myers, John M. Berry Sr. of New Castle, and W. Clarke Otte of Louisville. Newspaper reporters from all over the country poured into Henry County and neighboring Shelby County to cover the trial. Several reporters made their home at the old Armstrong Hotel on the corner of 6th and Main streets.
On the evening of September 20, as Denhardt and Myers were crossing Main Street in front of the Armstrong Hotel, the Garr brothers and their father emerged from three different di- rections. Shots punctuated the air and the general went down, fatally wounded. The shots were determined to have come from the guns of E. S. and Roy Garr. to anthropology, collecting, restoration of historic buildings, and many other facets of our particular county.But two things are certain: First, Verna Garr Taylor was shot to death, and two, Gen. Henry H. Denhardt was arrested for her murder.
Tempers flared at the outset of the trial, and Circuit Judge Clarence C. Marshal even threw a punch at a Chicago Daily News photographer who had bumped him. He threatened to throw the photographer in jail but later apologized.
The all-male jury (no women were even called) consisted of 11 tobacco farmers and a filling station operator. Both sides pro- duced what they believed was compelling evidence. The summations of both sides ran several hours. Defense Council Berry stressed the in- consistent testimony of the com- monwealth’s witnesses, saying that the state “invites you to come here and guess away the life, liberty, and reputation of Gen. Denhardt.” Kinsolving punctuated the attack on Denhardt by declaring, “If you give him the death sentence, you won’t give him any more than he deserves.”
Ballard Clark, summing up for the prosecution said, “It’s either murder or suicide, and we know Verna didn’t kill herself. If he killed her, he killed her in cold blood.” The jury, after only a few hours of deliberation, told Judge Mar- shall that it was “hopelessly deadlocked.” An informal poll by the judge revealed that the vote was 7-5 for acquittal. But Denhardt’s troubles weren’t over. Kinsolving secured a docket date of Sept. 21, 1937 for a retrial. But the retrial was not to be.
To continue these programs, we need funds. Carrie Cotton is leading the planned giving program. We have professional people to help direct us in the planning of leaving a bit of our hard earned money to the Historical Society after our death. If we can grow our endowment fund, educational programming will be a reality now and in the future. Please talk to Carrie, an attorney with office in our own Casey House, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 220-1613, and help us to keep history alive in the future.
Most importantly, thanks go to our Board of Directors, who have worked determinedly and with great spirit, to move the Society toward its goal, making Shelby County history exciting and available to our communities.