When a reporter killed in the Capitol

Bloody Capitol steps

The press and politicians have always had an uneasy relationship. But, it was deadly once inside the U.S. Capitol.

Louisville Times reporter Charles Kincaid wrote a story on Kentucky Congressman William Taulbee cheating on his wife while in Washington. The scandal was enough for Taulbee not to seek a third term and become a lobbyist.

Taulbee and Kincaid became enemies over the next three years with Taulbee often bumping the reporter when passing. The two finally came to blows on Feb. 28, 1890 and were separated by House doorkeepers. Taulbee warned Kincaid to arm himself. So, Kincaid went home for his gun and returned to shoot Taulbee on the east staircase of the Capitol. Taulbee died on March 11. Kincaid was later acquitted of charges on the grounds of self-defense.

The enduring part of the tale is Taulbee’s blood is still splatted on the stairs 132 years later. Marble is very porous and stains are hard to remove. And in this case, it remains a reminder not to mess with the press.

About Rick

Rick Snider is a native Washingtonian, long-time journalist and licensed tour guide since 2010.
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