I found several versions of the Paxton/Quigg feud and am posting here. My gggfather, Willam Walker married Mary Quigg and moved to Wheatland, Mo. ca. 1844.
Paxton, Quigg, - Feud
This story was given to me by a cousin, written by her grandmother. I have transcribed it the best I could, but also found a few discrepancies in it. I do not feel the statement is correct, about "John Wes Quigg being a rude and forceful character". Maybe his job as Sheriff of Hickory Co. at the time during the Civil War earned this reputation. But we have to look at what he was dealing with at the time. The Rebel guerilla’s literally plagued Hickory Co. at that time, burning homes, farms, killing a person just because heshe was there. Hickory Co. was not the beautifully pleasant and pristine area in the forest covered hills as we know it today.. Hickory county was still a tough Country in the 1800’s. First settled and named in the late 1830’s, settlement has trickled in until the close of the Civil War. The Breshears, one of the most numerous of the "Tribes" had come in 1859 in the person of Henry Breshears, the smith are his progeny. The Quiggs and the Paxtons were both from Kentucky, the hill country. Old Uncle Wes Quigg was the patriarch of the tribe. He was a rude and forceful character. The Paxtons were from the same country and the families had intermarried. The father of the Paxton tribe was a similar character as Wes. Life in Southern Missouri had been disjointed by guerilla warfare in the secession war although Hickory county was strongly federal and to this day votes strongly Republican. Men were tough and bragged about it. They carried guns and took their whisky straight. Even the women carried guns. Many smoked pipes and some drank. The Quiggs who chiefly lived in the central and northern part of the county, were looked on askance by the good church people. Some of them were atheists, some became Mormons and finally the most of the clan wound up as hard shell Baptists. The trouble between the families started when Ira Quigg, none too accountable for his actions because of mental deficiencies, was alleged to have insulted the wife of Sigle Paxton who was his cousin. Paxton thrashed Quigg with his fists outside of a "shindig" that was in progress at the time. Ira Quigg threatened revenge. FAMILIES WEREN’T AROUSED OVER THE FIGHT Ira Quigg may have insulted the wife of Paxton but if he did so he was scarcely to be held accountable for his actions. Paxton was, however, within his rights in thrashing him and the Quiggs were not aroused over the brawl. The threats of Ira Quigg kept Sigle Paxton nervous and whenever he was in town and likely to meet him, he kept his hand near his gun. One day he happened to meet Ira who reached for his back pocket, Paxton did not wait to see what was coming out but shot first. The jury returned a verdict of justifiable homicide, but the Quiggs were angry. They contended that Paxton shot Ira knowing he was unarmed. He was in fact found to be unarmed by the coroner but Paxton had no way of knowing this. A little while later Paxton and another man were out in a boat on the Pomme de Terre river setting a trout line. They had just gotten across the stream and Paxton was standing up. A rifle shot rang out and Paxton fell forward into the water , a bullet hole in his forehead. The other man leaped from the boat and tore out through the woods as if the devil were after him. He had not seen who fired the shot or where it came from. This put both clans up in arms. Blankets were put over windows at night, men cruised in groups through the town on Saturdays. Everyone feared his neighbor and the young men talked of what they were going to do to their foes. Who actually shot Sigle Paxton was never known. Some thought it was a Quigg from California who was visiting his relatives and who left precipitately for California after the affair. Flight when one is sure to be suspected anyway, is no proof of guilt. Others were sure that it was Uncle Wes Quigg although he had an alibi from a neighbor who had stopped to talk to him as he was plowing at the time of the shooting. Meanwhile neutral townspeople dodged into doors or peeked from behind posts when parties of Quigg and Paxton men appeared. SPRINGFIELD LEADER Wednesday June 21, 1893 Sigle Paxton Assassinated in Hickory County and Died Instantly. Enos Quigg Arrested on Suspicion. Supposed Cause of the Trouble. The Dead man formerly in Springfield jail for safe keeping. Sigle Paxton while fishing at the Slick Rock ford, on the Pomme de Tarre river, about ten miles below Hermitage, in company with his brother -in-law John Crates, was shot and killed Monday morning by an unknown assassin in ambush. A shot from a Winchester rifle struck Paxton below the ear, passed through, and came out in front below the jaw, and he died instantly. Its is claimed that two more shots were fired at Crates but he was untouched. The murder is supposed to have grown out of the fact that sigle Paxton killed Ira Quigg, brother of Enos, at a rally in Wheatland during last fall when C. L. Pinkham, candidate for congress on the People’s party ticket, spoke to a large crowd. Paxton was a Third Party disciple while Quigg was a Republican. The trouble was caused by Quigg making an alleged criminal assault on Patton’s wife about six months previous to the killing. About three days after Paxton heard of it he met Quigg at the Knights of Labor meeting, about five miles north of Wheatland, and whipped him in a fist fight. On the day Mr. Pinkham spoke at Wheatland, Paxton opened fire on Quigg in the street, discharging five pistol shots at him, each taking effect and he died instantly. Paxton was immediately arrested and jailed, He waved preliminary examination, was indicted for murder in the first degree in the November term of Hickory County Circuit Court and placed in Springfield jail for safekeeping. A short time before the May term of court he gave $10,000.00 bond and was released. At the May term of court, after the jury deliberated sixteen hours, he was acquitted and returned home. It was reported that he contemplated moving to some Western state. It is understood that suspicion rests on Enos Quigg and he has been arrested on charge of murdering Sigle Paxton. The Paxtons claim that there has been various threats against Sigle, but Enos Quigg, the party who has now been arrested, is said to be a quiet inoffensive man and has never been heard to make any threats whatever. The Paxtons and Quiggs are related to each other and it is feared that the bitter feud will result in more trouble. Enos Quigg is about 35 years old, has a family, and is respected well-to-do farmer in Hickory County. He is a native of that county and this is the first time he was ever charged with a crime. Shortly after the war his father John Wesely Quigg served two terms as sheriff of Hickory County and served as a creditable officer. NOTE: Discrepancy John W. Quigg was aged 39 years when the Civil War began, and served in the Missouri State Militia in 8th Regiment, Company "I". John became disillusioned with the Militia, and got out when his enlistment was up, John was thinking of the job as Sheriff and Collector of Hickory Co. John W. Quigg succeeded George S. Selvidge as Sheriff and Collector of Hickory Co. Mo., Selvidge only served a few months after he was appointed Sheriff and Collector. John W. Quigg held this position from October 15, 1863, until November 3 ,1868. (Ref. Wilson's History of Hickory Co.) William Q. Paxton, proprietor of the Humansville Roller Mills, is the uncle of Sigle Paxton the murdered man.