Van Gundy Family Tree

Notes for Nimrod Neaves HUFF

The Sullivan, IL, newspaper carried the story of the tragedy resulting in his death:

Nimrod Huff Crazed by Drugs and Drink, Kills Sheriff Fleming and Takes Own Life

Friday afternoon of last week trouble originated at the home of Perry Bland that terminiated in double murder at the farm residence of Rufus Huff, west of Sullivan.
Nimrod Huff, who was crazed by hard drinking and 'dope' after an attack upon Ada Sipe with a corn knife, eluded the officers and went to the home of his father.
Sheriff Fleming, being informed that Huff was at his father's home in the country, got a car and accompanied by Deputy Sheriff C.H. Bristow and Chief of Police John Tolley, went to Mr. Huff's residence with a warrant for the arrest of the son.
Nimrod Huff took a bottle of whiskey with him and in spite of his mother's pleading and tears, he kept on drinking and kept a shot gun in his possession, insisting that he was going to town. The family tried to keep him at home. John Taylor was passing and Huff called to
him and got in his buggy to come to town. Just at that time the sheriff and his deputy arrived, passed the buggy and stopped and the officers alighted and walked toward the buggy. The lights were flashed and a shot was fired which struck Sheriff Fleming, covering almost his entire body. He fell and expired in a short time. One shot struck Policeman Tolley. Deputy Sheriff Bristow dropped flat to the ground and the next shot passed over his head. Nimrod Huff then escaped into the corn field. After the elapse of about thirty minutes he was heard to call and the report of a gun followed. His brother, Roger, went to him and Dr. Davidson and others went from where the dead sheriff was lying. They ascertained that Huff had placed the muzzle of the gun against his side and fired the shot that ended his own life. The particulars are brought out in the testimony given below:


Friday about 4 pm, Nimrod Huff in a rage and intoxicated condition went to the home of Perry Bland on East Jackson street. He went to the kitchen as was his custom to call on Miss Ada Sipe, a domestic in the home of Mr. Bland.
He was heard to say 'there's going to be trouble.'
He carried in one hand an old, rusty, dull corn knife, with that he struck at her face, she threw up her arm to ward off the blow and caught the lick on her right arm. She was struck a lick on the back of the head and another on the forehead. She caught the knife in her hand, he bit her hand to force her to let go. Miss Sipe in the meantime ordered the police called. Mrs. Bland & Mrs. Fults both phoned for the officers. After the attack on the girl, Huff left the house and went around the block swearing he would clean out the whole bunch, meaning those living in the block. On returning from his trip around the block, he went upon Mayor Pifer's porch and sat down. Mrs. Pifer remarked to him that the police were coming. He slapped himself on all his pockets and said, 'I have got nothing. I can whip him with my fist.' He also said 'Ada cut herself.'
He saw the policeman coming and walked towards the Presbyterian church, when Tolley got south on Washington street to the house to the southeast corner of the intersection of Jackson & Washington, Huff was about 200 feet ahead of him by W.L. Hancock's.
Ada Sipe's father lives near Cushman. She has turned a deaf ear to parents and others offering her good advice.
She worked for Mrs. Bland about 2 years ago, but at that time she was out too much of nights and Mrs. Bland would not keep her.
She went away, after being away several months, came back and begged to be taken in, saying she would do better, which she did. She claims that for about three months, she has been trying to get ride of Huff's attentions, then he would become enraged at times and force his attention upon her and make threats.
The corn knife was found, after the trouble, behind a trunk on the porch.
Dr. Lawson was called and took 2 or 3 stitches in the gash on the girl's wrist. None of her wounds were serious.
The substance of C.H. Bristow's evidence before the coronor's jury; information near 4 pm Friday came to the Sheriff's office that the sheriff and police were wanted at Perry Bland's. The Sheriff being out of town, his Deputy C.H. Bristow started there. At the
street he got into a buggy and was driven to near there when they got to Jackson street, they noticed people looking West, and also saw policeman, John Tolley to the west and drove to him. Tolley got in the buggy, but Bristow alighted and got in one back of them and the parties all drove to the school house where a crowd was collected. They inquired if anyone had Nim Huff, and could get no information from anyone. They drove around the school house, one going in one direction and one in the other direction. As he disappeared, they went back to Blands to ascertain what was the matter.
The police and sheriff had been called there once or twice before, not to make arrests, but to quiet things.
At the Bland house, they found that Ada had a cut on her arm, her wrist bitten, a bad place on the back of her head, and she told them she was cut on the top of her head with a corn knife.
Ada Sipe told them she would swear out a warrant for Nim. Mr. Bristow got a warrant of Atty. J.K. Martin and taking Justice of the Peace Siple with him where Ada Sipe was, she acknowledged it and Bristow took it to the Sheriff, who had then returned to his office.
The corn knife was also delivered to the sheriff.
Ada Sipe in the meantime told the officers that Nim Huff had called her up 3 times but would not tell where he was. She asked the Central girl she said, and was told that she thought he was on Line 49, the same line VanGundy's are on. The Sheriff, the Deputy, and the Chief of Police went to VanGundy's residence and learning that he had not been there, and that they know nothing of him; the officers returned to Sullivan. It was reported that one of the Van Gundy boys was taking their car out of the shop to take Nim Huff out of the
county. The officers then hired another car and driver to start in pursuit. Before they got started they heard he was at his father's residence in the country sitting on the porch. 'We went there and just before we got to the house, we saw the buggy in the road. I think Mr. Fleming said to throw the lights on them so we said stop and he stopped the car and he and I jumped out about the same time. He was in the back seat and I was in the front seat; we started back towards the buggy; we had the flash lights and had them lit. We took three or four steps and the first report Mr. Fleming said, 'Oh, my God, I am hit' or a remark to that effect. Just that quick I dropped to the ground and held there. Mr. Fleming staggered back and died; my opinion at first was that he laid down to keep out of the way of the shooting. I found out differently afterwards; the second shot was imemediately after the first and about that time there was several hallooing. Mr. Huff and Roger were both hallooing, not to shoot, and Mr. Huff ran to Mr. Felming and I got up and went back to where he was, and we worked with him for quite a while.'
Mr. Bristow had Mr. Flemings gun and the two shells they found in the road in his pocket. He testified that he had heard three shots fired, two at the wagon in the road and one in the corn field later.
Mr. Bristow was about three feet from Sheriff Fleming when the shots were fired and didn't know Nim had a gun until the first shot was fired and never saw anything when he got out of the car, nor heard a word spoken by any of the other parties, until after the shots were fired and they hallooed, don't shoot. It was dark at the time. Mr. Bristow gave as his opinion that they were about 50 feet from the buggy where Nim was when the shots were fired, and thought he recognized him by the light of the car, but did not notice a gun.
The sheriff did not say anything after he was shot and lying in the road. It seems to me he lived about one-half hour after he was shot.
'I was trying to get through over the telephone and Central wouldn't answer; we could't get any telephone service at all.'
Mr. Bristow says there were two men in the buggy when they passed but did not know where the third one was. He did not know whether the shots were fired from the buggy or the ground.
Ben Cochran testified that after he had worked with Mr. Fleming some time, he turned his car and started to town for a doctor. He met Dr. Davidson at the railroad and they went back to the scene of the tragedy. A couple of minutes after he got back he heard a shot to the northeast of them, someone said, 'Nim has shot himself.' He called just before he shot. Roger Huff asked for a lantern and went to him.
Roger Huff testified that Mr. Van Gundy told him that Nim was in trouble with a girl. That was just as the 5:30 train was going through. 'When I got home at 6 pm, Nim was on the porch with some whiskey and a shot gun. Mother was there crying, trying to get the gun from him. I tried to keep him from going to town, just then John Taylor came past, Nim hallooed to him; I pinched my father saying, Keep Nim while I talk to John Taylor. We, Taylor and I tried to keep him at home. His mother snatched the whiskey but he got it again. The car came up and I tried to get the gun. He leaped over the horse's head and jerked the gun to this shoulder.' Roger, his father and mother soon after the shooting went to Mr. Fleming and helped care for him.
The Jury in the inquisition over W.M Fleming were Dr. J.F.
Lawson, C.E. McPheeters, F.A. Reese, John A. Webb, M.S. Mattox and
W.S. Harris.


The Jury found that Warren M. Fleming came to his death by a gun shot wound fired from a shot gun in the hands of Nimrod N. Huff. Said death occurred about 7:30 Sept.5, 1913 in front of the residence of W.R. Huff.
The Jury that held the inquisition over the body of Nimrod N. Huff was F.E. Pifer, W.L. Hancock, A.N. Woodruff, Grover Hines, Dennis Landers and A. Gifford.
They heard that he came to his death by shooting himself."

Copyright 2010 by BJ Van Gundy

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