A Killing in Lexington Missouri




In the early morning hours of Sunday July 13, 1930, 21 year old Virgil Bullard and his 3 brother-in-laws began a trip into town. Lexington Missouri was about 4 miles southwest of the farm they lived on. Traveling down the dirt road they soon passed by one of their neighbors’ farm and the owner, Irvan Menaugh came out to the road and stopped them. A few days earlier Virgil had borrowed a team of mules with a threshing outfit from Irvan. Along with the mules he also borrowed some new collars for a span of mules. He had returned them all the day before. Standing by the large wagon, Irvan began to accuse Virgil of swapping the new collars and harnesses with some old ones. Virgil stated that he had left the new collars in the wagon when he returned them all. “No, you didn’t,” Menaugh said. “There were two old collars in place of them, and besides you called my wife a d— and I am going to kill you!” Irvan then pulled out his gun and fired one shot from the .38 caliber revolver. The bullet struck Virgil, penetrating the skull above his right eye. The 3 other men in the wagon, Mitchell Lee Willard aged 32, Leonard Hughes aged 17 and Douglas Hughes (my Father) aged 15 tried to get Virgil into town to the Doctors as quickly as possible The Doctor tried to save him but he died a short time later.


It took the police 7 hours of hunting the Menaugh farm and the surrounding area to locate Irvan. They found him hiding in some bushes on his property. He was immediately arrested and was held on the charge of first degree murder.


According to family stories, Charley Hughes, the father of 20 year old Nellie Hughes Bullard, went down to the courthouse in Lexington with his shotgun and tried to get into the jail to kill Irvan. He was very distraught as Virgil had not only left behind a young wife but she was also pregnant. Because Charley was a well known and respected Horse and mule breeder and Horse Trainer in Lafayette County he was not arrested for his actions.


From what I have been able to learn Irvan Menaugh was found not guilty and was released.


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