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Murder of sheriff candidate kindles feud

August
03
1898

On this day in 1898, the Colorado County Feud began. This murderous quarrel between rival local factions was ignited when Larkin Hope, a candidate for county sheriff, was shot and killed by an unknown assailant. Jim Coleman, a family friend of Sheriff Sam Reese, was immediately suspected. He was never charged. Less than a year later Reese was killed in a gun battle on the Columbus Street where Hope had died. Stray bullets killed Charles Boehme and wounded a boy named Johnny Williams. Even though evidence suggests that Reese had provoked the fight, his sons vowed to get revenge. In five more gunfights between May 17, 1899, and May 17, 1907, five more men were killed and several others wounded. No one was ever convicted of the killings. The feud also had a direct effect on the economic well being of Columbus. In 1906 the citizens voted to turn the administration of the city over to the county and Columbus remained unincorporated for twenty years.

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