The Ax Murder of Paradise Bottom

The Meade County jail, built from parts of the jail where Buck Padgett spent his last night.
Meade County’s Lapland has long been a center of stories of the bazaar and beyond.

The Witchcraft Suicide

This story like the last, takes place in the 1890’s in Meade County, just on opposite sides. Towards the end of the 19th century, half a decade after Leah Smock had left her earthly body, witchcraft was being whispered about in Lapland again.

In the late 1890’s a man named Buck Padgett lived with his family in Paradise Bottoms. Himself, his wife, and children all lived in a shack. He was known to be a hard worker, but because of his mean-spirited personality, he was not a liked man.  His wife and children were verbally and physically abused and pitied by their neighbors.

Old Buck was a firm believer in witches and demons. He believed that his wife was trying to hex him by putting Indian Turnips n his food. One day after visiting him family in Bullitt County, Buck sent his children on some errands. His wife was not the wiser that her fate had already been sealed. Once the children had left, Buck who was so afraid of demons, did something truly demonic. He went outside and retrieved his ax. In a daze he took that ax to his wife and ended her life.

It is said that Buck was overtaken by a force, because after seeing what had had done, he couldn’t live with it. He reached for his straight razor and slit his own throat. However, he did not cut deeply enough to cause his death but lost a great volume of blood. He was found later by his teen-aged son who told the Constable, who in turn sent for the Sheriff.  The Sheriff and Coroner waited until the next day to move him to the Meade County Jail. 

In the old cells, in that old jail that no longer stands in Brandenburg, Buck tried once again. He took the wounds that had been so carefully bandaged and opened them again. That night in jail he died of suicide, for the second time.

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