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 Henry Eckert Youtsey

Henry Eckert Youtsey

Birth
Campbell County, Kentucky, USA
Death 2 May 1942 (aged 68)
Cold Spring, Campbell County, Kentucky, USA
Burial Southgate, Campbell County, Kentucky, USA
Memorial ID 53360709 · View Source
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Alleged Political Conspirator. A key figure in the 1900 assassination of Kentucky Governor William Goebel, for which he served 18 years in prison. Henry Eckert Youtsey was born in Cold Spring, Kentucky. He studied law in Cincinnati and around 1898 became a clerk in the State Auditor's Office in Frankfort. A staunch Republican, Youtsey was reportedly incensed when Democratic State Senator Goebel contested his loss to William S. Taylor in the 1899 Governor's race, as it was believed that the Democrat-controlled legislature would rule against Taylor. Witnesses would later testify hearing Youtsey express his desire to eliminate Goebel. On January 30, 1900, Goebel was shot by a sniper in front of the State Capitol in Frankfort; he died on February 3, four days after unseating Taylor as Governor. Youtsey emerged as a suspect early in the investigation and on March 27 he was arrested while trying to leave Frankfort disguised as a woman. He initially told police he had acted as a liason between Governor Taylor and those who plotted Goebel's death. Republican Party officials suggested that Youtsey acted alone and invented the conspiracy theory to avoid the death penalty, but by June 1900 sixteen men had been indicted for murder and complicity, including Taylor (who escaped arrest by fleeing to Indiana). Three would stand trial, including Kentucky Secretary of State Caleb Powers, accused of masterminding the plot, and alleged gunman Jim Howard. Both were convicted, with Howard sentenced to death (subsequently commuted to life imprisonment). At his own trial in October Youtsey faked insanity (as he later admitted) and had to be brought into the courtroom strapped to a cot. The prosecution maintained he had access to Powers' office next to the State House, from where the fatal shots were supposedly fired; he had used his key to let Howard enter, and had supplied the ammunition. A number of witnesses placed him at the scene, some claiming they saw him holding a rifle. He was found guilty of conspiracy and sentenced to life. Youtsey never appealed the verdict, though he later turned state's evidence and was a prosecution witness at Powers' 1903 retrial, which resulted in another conviction. It was ultimately concluded that due process in the original trials was corrupted by partisan tactics. In 1908 and 1909 Governor Augustus E. Willson pardoned everyone convicted of or indicted for Goebel's murder - everyone but Youtsey, who Willson personally believed was the shooter. He remained in prison another decade, serving as a volunteer chaplain. Youtsey was paroled in December 1918 and pardoned by Governor James D. Black the following year. The rest of his life was spent quietly in his native Cold Spring. While it appears certain that Youtsey had a role in the assassination, precisely what it was - messenger, gunman's accomplice, or the gunman himself - will probably never be known.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
  • Added: 7 Jun 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 53360709
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Henry Eckert Youtsey (14 Sep 1873–2 May 1942), Find A Grave Memorial no. 53360709, citing Evergreen Cemetery, Southgate, Campbell County, Kentucky, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .