Posted By: Doc Holliday at 10:05 am
Arguments were way more fun back in the days of horse and buggy. I figured William Tradewell tossed this bad boy up right at the intersection of East Tennessee and Main, the verifiable facebook wall of 1830s Tallahassee, knowing General Read would have to swing through the town square at some point. And what’s Read supposed to do after he sees it? Hammer in a “Quit Being Such a Bitch” sign right next to the first one? Cross out Tradewell’s last name and chisel in “Gaywell?” Go have sex with Tradewell’s wife? Fuck no. Read had to accept Tradewell’s invitation to a duel. Tradewell called him out on facebook and there’s no way Read was going to take that laying down. This had to have led to a duel, right?
Well I looked up the true story behind the sign, and it sounds like it would make an awesome movie. Relax Luther, it’s much worse than you think:
Tradewell was a member of the America conservative Whig party and slave owner in the Old South. Read was a rising star in the Democratic Party. Tradewell requested a duel with Read (via the sign) because of an ongoing fued between the two men and the political parties they represented. Read pussied out because he knew he was a poor shot with a pistol. Soon thereafter, another guy named Augustus Alston also challenged Read to a duel, but this time Read accepted. Even though Alston was a good shot, Read accepted the duel because Alston was a powerful “bulldog” of the dying Whig party. If Read was going to fight, he said he wanted to square off against this well-known Whig blowhard instead of Tradewell.
On the day of the duel, Alston misfired and Read killed him in one shot. The victory party that was already set up for the cocky Alston was quickly cancelled. Afterward, Alston’s sisters deemed the duel “murder,” and they had the bullet removed from their brother’s body and recast. They instructed their other brother Willis Alston to kill Read with the same bullet used to kill Augustus. Willis Alston approached Read at a public speaking event weeks later, threw off his disguise, and tried to stab Read. Alston was stopped by the crowd and Read grazed him with his pistol. A few weeks later, Alston, still on the loose, found Read and shot him in the back and killed him. Alston was arrested but escaped jail through bribes provided by his family.
A month or two later, Dr. Stewart of Tallahassee, a close friend of Read, learned that Willis Alston was living happily nearby. Stewart talked shit about Alston. Alston approached Stewart on horseback and demanded an apology. Stewart refused and shot Alston. Alston, while injured, returned fire and killed Stewart. Alston was tossed in jail again and he immediately began formulating his escape plan (using bribes and family connections). However, late that night, friends of Dr. Stewart formed a lynch mob and fired endlessly at Alston until he was killed.
“A Coward and A Scoundrel” coming soon to a theater near you, Summer 2012.
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