Green Golden and F.W. Golden charged for conspiracy in the killing of the Governor of Kentucky

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William Justus Goebel

The governor-elect of the Commonwealth of Kentucky  was gunned down on January 30th, 1900 while walking to his inauguration.

Governor-elect William Goebel lived to take the oath of office but died four days later on February 3nd. Goebel is the only governor in American history to have been killed while in office.

Two Goldens were charged among many others with conspiracy to kill the Democrat governor-elect. It is believed that all of the conspirators were Republicans.

There were two Democratic candidates in the race. Republican candidate William S. Taylor defeated both, and received just over 2,400 more votes than did Democrat Goebel in the popular vote.

Allegations of voter fraud however threw the election into the legislature where three Goebel appointees certified that he had won the election after their review.

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The two Goldens were charged with conspiracy to murder: Green Golden and F.W. Golden. These Goldens were not alone however as a fairly large number of others were also charged.

From the Grand Jury Indictment:

“The grand jury of the county of Franklin, in the name and by the authority of the commonwealth of Kentucky, accuse Caleb Powers of the crime of being accessory before the fact the willful murder of William Goebel, committed as follows, viz: The said Caleb Powers, in the said county of Franklin, on the 30th day January, A. D. 1900, and before the finding of this indictment, unlawfully, willfully, feloniously, and of his malice aforethought, and with intent to bring about the death and procure the murder of William Goebel, did conspire with W.H. Culton, F.W. Golden, Green Golden, Jno. L. Powers, John Davis, Charles Finley, W.S. Taylor, Henry Youtsey, James Howard, Berry Howard, Harlan Whitaker, Richard Combs, and other persons to this grand jury unknown, and did counsel, advise, encourage aid, and procure Henry Youtsey, James Howard, Berry Howard, Harlan Whitaker, Richard Combs and others to this grand jury unknown, unlawfully, willfully, feloniously, and of their malice aforethought, to kill and murder William Goebel … on the 3d day of February, 1900, but which of said last above mentioned persons, so as aforesaid, actually fired the shot that killed the said Goebel, is to this grand jury unknown; against the peace and dignity of the commonwealth of Kentucky.”

Because the Grand Jury was unable to determine who actually fired the shot that killed the governor-elect then all of the conspirators except one Caleb Powers went free.

Source:  The Southwestern Reporter, Vol. 61, page 747, West Publising Company, January 1901. // This book is available for free download from Google Books.

This video does not discuss the Goldens, although that bears greater research to determine their role. This video does discuss how Kentucky almost fell into its own civil war, with the assassination being a probable plot of Kentucky government officials.

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