The Musterfield Murder

Watauga Crime

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The Musterfield Murder

Page prepared by Faye Moran

As an aftermath of the Civil War, say about 1870, there turned up in several of the more secluded sections of the Southern mountains "men with a past." Whence they came and whither went, no one knew. Among these was a man who called himself Green Marshall, who suddenly and without invitation put in an appearance on what is now universally and enthusiastically called Hog Elk, just east of the Blue Ridge, but still in Watauga County. He lived in the family of young Troy Triplett. Together they came to Boone one day and had a quarrel near the court house. Later on that day they left town together, and when they got half a mile away the quarrel was renewed at the old Muster Ground and Marshall stabbed Triplett, wounding him so hadly that Triplett died several days later at the house of Henry Hardin, one mile east of Boone. Marshall hid that night in the house of a colored woman named Ailsey Council, her home being beyond the ridge in rear of Prof. D. D. Dougherty's present home, almost south of Boone, ultimately escaping for a time, but being caught later near Hog Elk. He was tried and convicted of manslaughter and served his sentence. No one knows where he came from nor where he went after his term was up. It was remarked after this murder that Marshall had never been seen without an open knife in his hand. Luke Triplett, the dead man's father, put up a rough mountain rock in the shape of a rude slab, four feet high and twelve to fourteen inches broad, on the spot on which his son bad been stabbed: He had chiseled on the stone his son's name and a rude effigy, showing the outline of a man's form and a wound from which blood was apparently flowing. It stood there several years, but disappeared. It is said that the blood from the real wound changed the color of the vegetation on which it had fallen for several years.

Sources:

The History of Watauga County North Carolina with sketches of prominent families, John Preston Arthur, Copyright 1915.