The Morning Herald, p.1, Saturday, April 20, 1901: "BRADLEY KILLED BY NICHOLAS "Blount Bros". Saloon on North Mill Street Scene of Encounter:

 "Shortly after 5 o'clock yesterday afternoon in Blount Brothers' saloon, No. 11 North Mill Street, W. D. Nicholas shot and instantly killed Owen Bradley. Nicholas is a well known young attorney, and Bradley was a familiar figure in local turf circles.

 "The tragedy caused considerable excitement in the downtown district, happening as it did early in the evening and in the business portion of the city. The body was removed to Wiehl's undertaking rooms, where Coroner Molloy held an inquest.

 "Trouble had existed between the two men for a long time. Jealously on the part of Bradley aroused over a woman is said to be the direct cause of the tragedy.

 "According to statements, Bradley during the day had made threats against the life of Nicholas. These threats were communicated to Nicholas in a note from a woman, yet it seems that the meeting was accidental on the part of the latter.

 "The movements of Bradley which led up to the tragedy, so far as can be learned, are that he started after Nicholas, having a newly purchased revolver on his person. He hired a night hawk [?] and drove to various points in the downtown district. Wilson's stable on Mill St. was stopped at, then Jaubert's saloon. At this place, Bradley entered and inquired where Nicholas could be found. He was told that he frequently visited Blount's place, two doors South. Bradley then borrowed a quarter to purchase a drink in Blount's--he rarely went there, and it is supposed that the twenty-five cents was wanted in order to afford an excuse for going there.

"Bradley entered Blount's place and called for a glass of beer. Lewis Laws, the bartender, who was in the rear part of the saloon, arose and went to wait on Bradley. The beer was set before him. At this juncture Nicholas came in through the Mill Street entrance. He saw Bradley, went up to him, touched him on the shoulder and said 'I guess you are looking for me.' The shooting then commenced. It appears that both drew their pistols simultaneously. Nicholas emptied his weapon, a Colt's 38-calibre. The shots were fired in rapid succession, and evidently too fast for Bradley to return, for his weapon, when found, did not contain an empty chamber.  

"Five shots were fired at Bradley, four of them taking effect. The first bullet entered the left side, passing through the body. Bradley then turned, and the remaining bullets struck him as follows: One in the arm pit and two in the arm. One ball sped wide of its mark, broke a glass in a partition and imbedded itself in the wall at the end of the saloon. Bradley fell with his head towards Mill street. In falling his legs became entwined about a slot machine, overturning it. His weapon fell by his side. Nicholas then left the building and went towards the Court House, intending to give himself up. At Cheapside and Short street, he was met by Detective Jenkins, who placed him under arrest and later took him to the county jail. A Herald reporter visited him there, where he made the following statement:

" 'I went to Blount's place, not knowing that Bradley was there. I frequently go there. When I entered, I saw Bradley. Everything happened quickly. I merely shot in self-defense, as the testimony will show. I had to kill or be killed. The affair is a very unfortunate one, but it was unavoidable. Bradley had threatened me. These threats came to my ears. I am sure that the trial will prove I shot in self-defense." 

"Shortly after 6 o'clock Dr. P. H. Molloy, Coroner, held an Inquest at the undertaking establishment of J. H. Wiehl & Son. But two witnesses were examined. J. S. Blount said substantially:  

" 'Bradley entered looked in the back room as if seeking Nicholas. He went to the bar and ordered a glass of beer. I then saw Nicholas, but did not see him enter. Heard one of the men say, 'I guess you are looking for me.' Both drew pistols. I do not think Bradley fired. I heard four or five shots in rapid succession. The men were about four feet apart.' 

“W. M. Blount said in substance: ‘I was in the back room and had started for the front as Bradley was standing at the bar. I passed him and met Nicholas entering the bar. They were nearly together. I saw a gun and at the same time heard him say: ‘I guess you are looking for me.’ Bradley turned, threw his hand down for his revolver and I saw Nicholas fire. I went on towards the front. I heard four or five shots.’ 

“The following verdict was then returned by the jury: 

“We, the jury, find the body before us to be that of Owen Bradley, and from the evidence we find that he came to his death on the afternoon of April 19, 1901 in the saloon at No. 11 N. Mill street owned by Blount Brothers. We find that he came to his death from pistol shot wounds in the body, said pistol being fired by the hand of William Nicholas. 

“Frank B. Sloan, W. T. Waley, J. C. Milam, J. S. M’Donald, D.B. Levy, J. M. Kennedy. 

“William D. Nicholas is about thirty years of age. He is a practicing attorney, having an office with C. K. Oldham, the real estate man. His father, Captain W. DF. Nicholas, a former Sheriff of this county, and at one time Cashier of the Second National Bank. He resides with his mother on West Third street. His reputation has always been considered good, he being an especially peaceable citizen. 

“The scene of the tragedy has always been looked upon as one of the best conducted saloons in the city. The affair yesterday was the first trouble of any kind ever reported from that place.

“Owen Bradley was unmarried and in his thirty-ninth year. He was born in Lexington, his father being O. W. Bradley, a native of Madison county, who died about six years ago. Owen Bradley has been quite a well known horse trainer, and in that line was very successful. During his turf career he handled such horses as Major Tom, Roseland and Mary Hanson, which he sold for $3,500 as a yearling. Roseland he disposed of for $10,000. Up to the time of his death, he owned several two-year-olds in connection with Mr. Gus Straus. His four brothers are William, John, George, and Thomas, all being engaged in the horse business. 

“Bradley killed one Brice Jenkins about ten years ago, but was acquitted. He is well known in police circles, having been arrested several times. In September last he was arrested for shooting at without wounding, and also January 15 on the charge of discharging firearms in the city. 

“The funeral service over the remains of the late Owen Bradley have not yet been announced, but will probably be held this afternoon.”


The Morning Herald, p.1, Wednesday, April 24, 1901:

“W. NICHOLAS WAS CLEARED            Self- Defense Established, Details of Remarkable Tragedy Told. 

“W. D. Nicholas had his examining trial before Judge F. A. Bullock yesterday for the killing of Owen Bradley. After hearing the testimony and the arguments of counsel, Judge Bullock discharged the defendant, declaring it as his belief that no petit jury would convict him, a plain case of self-defense having been shown. 

“The testimony developed that for more than two years enmity had existed between the two men because of jealousy. About two years ago the men fought at the Cincinnati Southern Railway depot. Bradley after this, it is alleged, became violent in his threats toward Nicholas, who remained away from the subject of the jealousy almost continuously. 


“At one time finding Nicholas, he wanted to kill him and was only restrained by force, Nicholas making his escape through a window in the second story of the house. The feeling of Bradley toward Nicholas was such that on one occasion, Bradley, accompanied by three other men, passed the street in front of Nicholas’ home with a shotgun, threatening to take his life. They did not desist until a messenger was sent for the police. The men never met again until Friday last. On that day, Nicholas sent a note to a person which was received in the presence of Bradley, and a man named Billy Williamson. Insisting upon knowing its contents, the person read a portion of the note to Bradley. He became furious, came to town and bought a pistol.



“Going back to his home, he tested the shooting qualities of the pistol by discharging it into the ceiling of his room. The pistol lost favor with him because it did not shot fast enough for him. He declared his intention of going to hunt up Nicholas and kill him. The woman wrote two notes, which she sent at different times by different messengers to B. B. Wilson’s stable on Mill street, informing Nicholas of Bradley’s threats, and advising him to leave town. These warnings made Nicholas feel very uneasy. Believing that he ought to be armed he borrowed a large pistol. He obtained this on his way down town from his mother’s home after dinner. He wandered about the streets, going to the Court House to see Sheriff Bosworth, to whom he related his troubles. He started to go to the police station, but concluded not to go. After walking about some time he went to the library and spent an hour. He went to various places after that, finally entering Blount’s saloon on Mill street, where he met Bradley.



“During this time, Bradley who had telephoned for a ‘night hawk’ and forced the woman to accompany him, was driving around looking for Nicholas. He drove first to Wilson’s stable. He then went to Gus Jaubert’s saloon, and inquired for him, and was told he might be found at Blount’s place. He took some drinks and borrowed a quarter of a dollar, that he might go to Blount’s place and buy a glass of beer. While he was standing at the bar, Nicholas came in. Seeing Bradley, he walked up to him and said ‘I understand you are looking for me.’ Bradley replied with an oath that he would kill him. The shooting instantly began. Nicholas fired the first shot. Five more shots were fired in rapid succession by Nicholas, Bradley backing from his antagonist. When his cartridges were exhausted, Nicholas went into the next room. Bradley then standing, leaning against the wall limp, and presently fell dead against a penny slot machine in the room. Nicholas then went to the Court House to surrender, but was overtaken and arrested by Detective Jenkins.



“Nicholas, in his testimony, stated that Bradley fired one shot at him and exhibited burns on his hand. Bradley’s pistol, when produced in court, had one cartridge shell empty. Capt. Reagan stated that when he picked it up in the saloon and when he put it away in a drawer at the police station not a cartridge had been discharged. 

“Capt. McMaury Kemper had made an able plea for the defense, and County Attorney Kimball had made a vigorous argument against the doctrine that the communication of threats was justification for taking human life. Judge Bullock declared that it was not necessary for a man to swear out a peace warrant in order to protect himself, that he did not think this was a case where a jury would ever convict the prisoner, and, therefore, ordered him to be discharged.” 

1911 Lexington City Directory lists as "Wm D." residing at 440 W. Third St. (residence of mother), and gives occupation as lawyer.  

Records of Lexington Cemetery give date of interment and age at death, 54 years old. Date and place of death unknown, no indexed Kentucky death certificate; unable to locate obituary. Buried in Lexington Cemetery.  

Assume died unmarried and without issue.

 Note by Laurance Van Meter:
W. D. Nicholas [Sr.] (1836-1892) had been a sheriff of Fayette County, and John Stonestreet VanMeter (1845 ± - 1904), uncle of Will Nicholas, Jr., (one of the shooters) had been Fayette County Attorney during the 1870s.  [W.D. Nicholas [Sr.] father of Will Nicholas married Elizabeth Mason VanMeter (1848-1912). John Stonestreet and Elizabeth Mason VanMeter were children of Solomon VanMeter (1818-1859) out of his first wife, Elizabeth Stonestreet (d. 1848±).  

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