Tragedy in Ouachita City

The Ouachita Telegraph
Friday, January 21, 1876

The quiet little village of Ouachita City witnessed a very exciting occurrence last Saturday, the result of which was the death of Mr. W.R. Reese at the hands of Mr. R.W. Manning.

Mr. Manning has a family, consisting of a wife and two children. Mr. Reese was a widower, living alone in Ouachita City. For some time, it appears, Mr. M. suspected Reese of improper relations with his wife, and the result was a separation four or five months ago, Mrs. M. keeping the children. Mr. Manning was in Monroe last week, and, hearing that his wife had returned to Ouachita City from Mississippi whither he had carried her and the children, went up to Ouachita City. Arriving there, he made known to friends that his purpose was to get his children and take them away, saying that he would not interfere with any one, but intended to have his children. Reese, hearing
of this through Mr. Davidson to whom Manning made his purpose known, said that before Manning would get the children “there would be war,” and that Manning must deposit $25 in responsible hands for the children’s support. This threat was told to Manning, who was greatly affected at Reese’s intervention, as Reese was known to be a fearless, dangerous man, full of fire and unyielding. Manning retired to a saloon in town and sat down in the back room. Reese came to the front door of the saloon, and took a position in the doorway, looking outward, with a derringer in his hand, his arm hanging down. Manning, it seems, was informed of Reese’s movements, and very naturally inferred that Reese intended to attack him, if not to kill him. Leaving his seat in the back room, accompanied by a friend with whom he had been conversing, Manning started out of the saloon, and, walking on, came immediately up in Reese’s rear, when he aimed a pistol at Reese’s head and discharged a ball into his brain. Reese staggered, exclaimed “O Lord!” and fell. Manning stepped up to Reese as he lay, and discharged his pistol a second time, the ball entering at the inner corner of Reese’s left eye. Reese lived a few minutes and expired; Manning went off to a neighbor’s and
staid (sic) till Monday, and then went to Farmerville where he surrendered himself for trial.

To Mr. J.T. Swan, living near Ouachita City, we are indebted for the above particulars. Mr. Swan informs us that public sentiment fully justifies Manning. His domestic troubles as well as the overbearing disposition of Reese have inclined the entire community to sympathize with Mr. Manning.

Mr. Reese was a man of strong will, passionate and violent when angered. He seldom drank, and on the occasion of his death was cool sober. He leaves a little daughter now at school in Monroe, for whose loss of an only parent the pitying hearts of all will sorrow.

NOTE: The Friday, January 28, 1878 issue of the Ouachita Telegraph reports that Mr. Manning was released by Judge Lewis on grounds of self-defense.


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