OH THE HEARTACHE CAUSED BY STRONG DRINK
Around 1908-1910, Obie Butler was planning to marry Sissy Ellis, daughter of Rev. John Ellis. With help from his neighbors, Obie held a house raising and erected a rail fence around the yard. He had been married previously and had several children. Upon completion of the log cabin, Obie decided to have a party there in celebration. As he left his house for the party, his children said, "Daddy, where are you going?" He replied, "I'm going to hell."
Some of the party-goers brought along some moonshine, and nearly everyone partook as the jar was passed around. As the party progressed, drunkenness increased.
Miss Ellis, her dad and Onie Phillips decided to leave. Obie thought she was leaving with Onie, so he started shooting at them. One bullet shot out a lock of Miss Ellis' hair as she ran down the path. John Headon saw Obie shoot Onie Phillips and try to kill Miss Ellis, so he shot Obie. Obie' s brother (maybe Allen), in turn, shot John Headon. When the shooting was over, three Rafter men lay dead, one being draped over the rail fence.
Someone went to tell John Headon's wife that her husband was dead. Although filled with fear, she and their little boy took the horse and sled, got his body and took it home. Where John’ s blood seeped into the floor, there was a dark stain as long as that house stood. Vinie Debety Shaw lived at that house in later years and says no matter how much they bleached and scrubbed, that stain remained.
Rev. John S. and Mary Self got Rach Roberts to stay with their children while they attended the interment of the slain men. Upon lowering of Obie's body, Dove Self Butler stepped up to the grave and said, "There lies the best Butler of the name, and I married one of that family." You could hear many in the crowd saying, "Then I'd hate to see the worst one!"
Following the burials, Rev. and Mrs. Self went to the Phillips home for dinner where many neighbors had carried in food. There was a large crowd there, but only a few folks had gone to console the Butler family.
Later, some of the party crowd teased Rev. Ellis about running away on that fatal night. He admitted, "Yes, I ran…I ran like a turkey! I'd have been killed if I hadn't."
Note: Rev. John Ellis was the third husband of Dovie Self Miller Butler Ellis, daughter of John J. Self and Lydia A. Waters Self. Rev. Ellis married Dovie on November 30, 1913. Obie Butler was a brother to Allen Butler, Dovie's second husband. Dovie's first husband was Sam Miller.