Ketchum-Webb-Smith Family Archives

"Memphis Daily Appeal," February 3, 1860

DISTRESSING HOMICIDE - It becomes our painful duty this morning to record the occurrence of another distressing homicide in this city, and we make the announcement with a pang of regret, the poignancy of which we have rarely felt to the same degree, even though the record had marked the death of a cherished friend. James L. Webb, an old citizen of Memphis, well known as the senior member of the firm of Webb & Rawlings, lost his life suddenly about six o’clock last evening at the hands of Thos. B. Mynatt, also an old citizen and for some time a deputy under Sheriff R. L. Smith. Without wishing here to express any other feeling than that of regret in view of the calamity, it will be expected of us that we will state the material circumstances connnected with the unfortunate affair. At a late hour last evening, Mr. Webb and Mr. Mynatt engaged in a conversation in reference to some business matter, in front of Mr. Webb’s office, near the corner of Main and Union streets. It is said that during the conversation, which commenced in a friendly tone, Mr. Webb questioned Mr. Mynatt’s word, whereupon Mr. M. struck him with his fist. Mr. Webb then retreated a few paces when Mr. Mynatt drew back and presented a heavy, single barrel pistol. A moment or two elapsed when Mr. Mynatt fired, the ball from the pistol entering the right side of the face, above the jaw bone, and ranging up and back and becoming embedded in the brain. Mr. Webb fell and expired in an instant after the report of the pistol. Mr. Mynatt at once placed himself in the hands of Officer Mallory, and was put in prison. An inquest was held upon the body by Esq. Horne, and the testimony of the eye-witnesses to the occurrence recorded with the above statement. Mr. Mynatt was in the employ of the deceased for a long period in the capacity of book-keeper, but we presume the association had no connection with the painful result of last evening. The deceased was well known in this community, and highly respected by all who knew him. A large and interesting family are called to mourn his loss. The deceased was about forty-five years of age, and also has a family in this city.


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