Fisher and Willie: Ill-fated Sons

In my last post of the Daugherty series, we left Byrd, his two sons, and Pryor Bunch rooted to the spot across from Daniel Britton Daugherty, Robert Lowe, and possibly a few others. If you recall, Robert Lowe reached into his jacket pocket, and I imagine that gesture put the other men on edge, their hands near a pistol. Lowe pulled out a piece of paper, slow and easy, and shook it unfolded.

“I got a warrant for arrest,” he said.

The “warrant” was for Willie Daugherty. I’ll address that later. Before I get ahead of myself, I think a little knowledge about Byrd’s sons might be warranted (pun intended).

 

Fisher

Fisher was the oldest of the two. He was born in July 6 1890 (or ’91), likely in Anderson County, Tennessee. He was short and slender in stature with blue eyes and dark brown hair. His draft registration in 1917 indicates he had a “lame leg.” I didn’t find any service record. He married Luvernia (or Louvernia) Carroll in Anderson County, Tennessee, on December 16, 1916. They had at least four children.

From the information I gathered, Fisher worked a fairly steady job in the timber industry between 1910 and 1917. His draft registration claims he was as a logger in Shea, Campbell County, Tennessee. Shea was established around 1872 but no longer exists. The Shea Brothers began a logging camp in the town in 1913. (Shea will appear again in a later post.) Fisher’s 1922 death certificate lists his occupation as “miner.”

1912 – Logging in Polk County, Tennessee, loading logs onto steam engine’s railroad flatcars. U.S. Forest Service.

One might think the name Fisher is unique, that no one in the world, especially in East Tennessee mountain towns, had that name. But two Fisher Daughertys were born only a few months apart in 1891, and lived in close proximity. The Fisher who is not Byrd Daugherty’s son was born April 28, 1891 to Thomas Daugherty and Linda McGhee Daugherty. His whereabouts were mostly in Campbell County, Tennessee.

The only reason I mentioned this little factoid is because a “Fisher Dougherty” was the victim of a shooting incident in 1916. I only found a few news sources, yet I believe the Fisher Dougherty in this article is Byrd’s son. The incident allegedly happened as follows:

In the sweltering mid-August of 1916, Fisher Daugherty and his cousin Barton Dougherty were out on the town to see either a show or the circus in Oneida, Tennessee, late on a Tuesday night. They were having themselves a good old time, drinking and galivantin’. As the night wore on, they became dog drunk. We all know that liquor – especially late-night liquor – makes a person do curious things. The cousins hopped on a train and headed home to Rosedale, Tennessee.

 

The train stopped at the railway station but Barton couldn’t find his hat. I imagine he looked high and low for that hat, searching seats and aisles and floors. After he exhausted his search, Barton accused Fisher of taking it, and he demanded it back. In my mind’s eye, I wonder if Barton saw some kind of mischievous grin on Fisher’s face, and, given that expression, Barton assumed he had it. Maybe the hat was expensive. Perhaps it was a gift or heirloom from an ancestor. Whatever the reason, that hat was valuable to Barton – so much so that he’d want to kill for it. The cousins argued. In the heat of this squabble, Barton took an automatic and shot Fisher three times. Fisher was badly hurt and taken to Knoxville General hospital. Though the prognosis was grim, he actually survived.

I can’t be 100 percent sure that this Fisher is Byrd’s son. I’m really just assuming and guesstimating. The story, though, is quite Flannery O’Connor-esque. Whether he is or not, I’m still related to both Fishers and this Barton.

 

Willie

Byrd’s other son at the scene was William “Willie” Daugherty. He was born on either July 28, 1895 or July 23, 1896. He was short with a medium build, had blue eyes, and light-colored hair. He married Rachel Carroll on September 24, 1915 in Anderson County, Tennessee. I found no source that indicates they had any children.

Willie worked various jobs. In 1910, he worked on the family farm. His draft registration in 1917 indicates he followed his brother in the logging industry. His 1922 death certificate lists his occupation as “miner.”

Now we’ve come full circle to Robert Lowe, who held the piece of paper he deemed as a “warrant,” in order to “arrest” Willie Daugherty. The charge? Willie Daugherty was a deserter of the United States Army during World War I.

According to the Tennessee State Library and Archives’ “Records of Ex-Soldiers in World War 1 (Anderson County),” Willie Daugherty enlisted in the Regular Army (RA) at Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia, on June 13, 1917, approximately eight days after he registered. He was first in Company B, 11th Infantry, then in HQ Company, 11th Infantry. He deserted from the latter as a Private 1st Class on March 21, 1918. He was 21 years old. Incidentally, the 11th Infantry headed to France in April 1918.

Image from Wikipedia. Members of 1917 Fort Oglethorpe Class. Who knows? Maybe Willie Daugherty or Robert Lowe are among these men.

I’m certain his desertion stuck hard and thick in Robert Lowe’s craw. I’m certain it gnawed at his psyche and dropped like a rock in his gut. Robert Lowe served in World War I and received an Honorable Discharge. He enlisted in the Regular Army at Ft. Oglethorpe as well, about a month after Willie Daugherty, July 13, 1917. He was first in Company L, 17th Infantry then in Company B, 5 Ammunition Train. He was discharged March 28, 1918 on a Surgeon’s Certificate of Disability (SCD). He “was reported 25% disabled . . . in view of occupation.” But – we’ll dive into Robert Lowe’s tragic life a little later.

We might take another look at Willie Daugherty. I hope what I’m about to write doesn’t excuse his desertion in the eyes of the reader. Certain sources offer a little doubt about Willie’s aptitude and competence. For one thing, according to the 1910 census, Willie was fourteen years old and couldn’t read or write. His brothers, Fisher and Bobbie, the latter of whom was a year younger than Willie, could both read and write. Willie signed his name with a “X” mark on his draft registration card in 1917. Fisher signed with a signature. Other things we’ll dive into later might also give pause about Willie’s faculties. But, let’s you and I get back to the situation at hand.

We are nail-biting spectators at the moment watching something like a Spaghetti Western standoff. We’ve discovered the background Byrd Daugherty and his sons, Fisher and Willie. The eyes of the other side burn with bitterness and anger. These men were puffed up with a sense of power. They seemingly had an upper hand.

Join me in the next post of this Daugherty series where we’ll learn about that other side with Daniel Britton Daugherty.

**Featured image from Wallpaperflare.com – altered

Sources Used:
  • Anderson County, Tennessee. 1915. Record of Marriages. Vital Records, Ancestry.
  • Anderson County, Tennessee. 1916. Record of Marriages. Vital Records, Ancestry.
  • Find-a-Grave. Susie Bullock. 2011. Fisher Daugherty. Sept 7.
  • Find-a-Grave. 2011. Susie Bullock. William “Willie” Daugherty. Sept 7.
  • Shown, Pamela. n. d. “Descendants of William Daugherty.” Genealogy.
  • State of Tennessee State Board of Health . 1922. Fisher Daugherty Death Certificate. Bureau of Vital Statistics, Anderson County: Family Search.
  • State of Tennessee State Board of Health. 1922. Willie Daugherty Death Certificate. Bureau of Vital Statistics, Anderson County: Family Search.
  • Tennessee Electronic Library. Newspapers.com Southeast Edition.
  • Tennessee Military Records. World War I (1917-1918). Family Search. Jan. 2018.
  • Tennessee State Library and Archives. Tennessee World War I Veterans, Anderson County.
  • Tennessee State Library and Archives. Records of Ex-Soldiers in World War 1. Anderson County: Tennessee State Library and Archives. p. 36, 91.
  • TnGenWeb. Tennesseans in World War I. USGenNet.
  • United States Armed Services. 1917. Fisher Daugherty Draft Registration. Anderson County: Family Search.
  • United States Armed Services. 1917. Willie Dougherty Draft Registration. Anderson County: Family Search.
  • United States Armed Services. 1917. Robert Low Draft Registration. Anderson County: Family Search.
  • United States Federal Census. 1900. Thirteenth Census of the United States. Census, Rosedale, Anderson County: Family Search.
  • United States Federal Census. 1910. Thirteenth Census of the United States. Census, Rosedale, Anderson County: Family Search.
  • Washington State Digital Archives. World War 1 Service Glossary. Aug. 2022.
  • Wikipedia. 11th Infantry Regiment (United States): World War I. Wikipedia. Updated Aug. 23, 2022.
Newspapers:
  • Anderson County News. “Tragedy In Tenth: Barton Shoots Fisher Dougherty His Cousin at Rosedale,” August 19, 1916. Murder and Mayhem in Campbell County.
  • The Knoxville Sentinel. “Anderson County Man Shot by His Cousin.” August 17, 1916. Newspapers.com.
  • The Journal and Tribune. “Slayers of Three Ordered Taken to Chattanooga Jail for Safe Keeping After Bail is Denied by Justices.” April 13, 1922. Newspapers.com.
  • The Journal and Tribune. “Bail is Argued, Decision Kept.” April 25, 1922. Newspapers.com.

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