MINGO COUNTY, W.Va. — With America just hours away from selecting its next President in what can only be described as a tiring and much too long campaign season, there may be some folks out there who would be tempted to wager with their BFFs regarding the results. If this is you, we would strongly suggest that you reconsider betting the results of this election with your friends — partly because it’s illegal, but importantly, because it could get you killed!
On November 8, 1904, Americans in all 45 states went to the polls to select the next President and while voters in West Virginia – and the country as a whole – selected Theodore Roosevelt, the people of Mingo County, West Virginia, cast their ballots for a New York Democrat you’ve probably never heard of: Alton B. Parker.
In addition to selecting national leaders, Mingo County voters were also faced with a number of choices for local offices — and it is regarding this point that our story turns tragic.
According to contemporary newspaper reporters from November 1904, Will Kirk and Walter Dingess, lifelong friends in the community of Dingess, West Virginia, “had wagered a sum on the election of a man on the local ticket, and Dingess demanded his money. Kirk refused to hand it over, and [Dingess] then pulled a gun and shot Kirk three times in the breast.”
Monterey, Virginia’s Highland Recorder, reported, “One bullet passed completely through the heart, producing instant death.”
The moral of this story — regardless of how sure you are regarding the 2016 election, it’s probably a safe bet not to make any wagers!
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