Ambush in Bloody Tangipahoa: The Buzzy Breland Bushwhacking
This chilling story was reported in The St. Landry Clarion newspaper on January 30, 1909. Other versions of this story were reported in newspapers nationwide at the time. The man identified here as “Buzzy Breeland” is not a direct-line ancestor of mine, but I think he may have been a distant cousin of my Breland great grandfather, Cicero M. Breland, who at the time of this incident lived about 45 miles away from where it happened. This type of violence happened often enough in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana in the late 1800s and early 1900s that newspapers coined the phrase “Bloody Tangipahoa” as a shorthand reference to it. Buzzy Breland’s father, John Paul Breland, was killed in an earlier “Bloody Tangipahoa” incident, in 1897.
“BLOODY TANGIPAHOA” RUNS WITH BLOOD OF WOMEN.
Horrible Assassination, In Which Man and Two Women Are Murdered–Mother’s Pleading Saves Young Baby.
Independence, La., Jan. 23.–The most horrible and most diabolical crime that was ever perpetrated in this parish transpired last night about 8 o’clock between Tickfaw and Genesee. Buzzy Breeland, his wife and stepdaughter were foully shot to death by persons in ambush. Breeland lived near Natalbany, and was on his way home from moving his wife and stepdaughter, who was the wife of Joe Everett, who was killed at Little Zion Church Jan. 19.
Breeland gave his dying declaration to Wibur Nesom and E.B. Ellzy, of Tickfaw, and others, to the following effect:
He and his wife had gone out to Little Zion Church to move his stepdaughter, Mrs. Joe Everette, to their home, and just as he was nearing Genesee, his wife and stepdaughter behind and he ahead of the wagon, driving a cow, two persons fired on him from ambush. Thinking he was dead, they halted the wagon and were about to shoot the women when they begged them not to kill the baby. Then one of the assassins took the baby from its mother’s arms and put it on the ground and deliberately took aim at the poor defenseless women and shot the brains out of one and filled the body of the other full of buck shot. Both women were instantly killed. Breeland gave the names of Avery Blount and Garfield Kinchen as being the parties who committed the awful crime.
Breeland said that Blount came back before leaving and looked into his face to make sure that he was dead, but that he succeeded in affecting to be dead and lay there until about 8:30, when he heard someone coming. A party of young people from Independence had been to a party at Hammond, and were on their way back when suddenly their horses came to a stop, seeing an obstacle in the road and smelling the blood. Marian Baham and Alponse Faust, two of the young men in the party, got out of their buggy to ascertain what was in the road, when they discovered it was a buggy, and when they made a further examination, they were horrified when they saw Mrs. Breeland was lying back in the wagon with her head blown to pieces and brains scattered all over the buggy, and Mrs. Everett was lying over on one wheel, with her body perforated with buckshot. They then heard the cry of the little baby, about three months old. Then they heard the groans of Breeland and discovered that he was in a dying condition, but was able to talk. Breeland told them his story. They then immediately went to Tickfaw (and) persons came back with them to give assistance.
Among the rest were Mr. Nesom and Mr. Kelly, before whom Breeland made his dying declaration. Breeland was then taken to Natalbany to give him medical aid, but just as they were taking him out of the wagon he breathed his last. He lived about two hours after he was shot, being rational up to the moment he died.
Sheriff Saal was immediately notified and was on the scene this morning with several deputies.
Coroner George Sanders proceeded at once to hold an inquest and the following were sworn in as jurors: John Wascom, Captain Reed, P.D. Kemp, F.A. Albey and Dr. W.H. Brent, who rendered their verdict, but would not disclose publicly who committed the crime. The Jury gave their verdict in full to Sheriff Saal. The latter immediately placed Avery Blount under arrest. The other party is supposed to be Garfield Kinchen, who has not been apprehended. Sheriff Saal sent out a large posse, who are now in search of the other party to the crime. Garfield Kinchen is a brother to Ben Kinchen, who was mixed up in the killing of the Everetts, and Mrs. Joe Everett being the wife of Joe Everett and Mrs. Breeland and Mrs. Joe Everett being the main eyewitnesses to the Everett killing, is supposed to form a basis to the motive for this bloody and most inhuman slaughter.