Bloody Island was a sandbar located in the Mississippi River between St. Louis, Missouri, and East St. Louis, Illinois. During the 1800’s, it technically didn’t belong to either state, so men traveled there to settle disputes without the interference of the law. Believe it or not, many of these duels were between the movers and shakers and great politicians of the era. Today, Fact or Fiction takes a look at a few of the most famous of these duels. As always, the facts are stranger than the fiction, so listen carefully!
“Bloody Island.” The Stack County News, 7 May 1875.
“Days of Dueling in Old St. Louis.” St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat, 23 Apr. 1911.
“The Ghosts of Bloody Island.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 19 July 1897.
Baldwin, Carl. “Bloody Island: St. Louis Dueling Ground.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 4 Mar. 1975, pp. 31.
Bassford, Homer. “Robert E. Lee, as Army Engineer, Kept the Mississippi From Shifting Its Channel Away From St. Louis.” The St. Louis Star and Times, 13 May 1933, pp. 9.
“Illinois Legislature.” Sangamo Journal, 4 Feb. 1851.
Johnston, Kelsey. “Abraham Lincoln’s Duel.” American Battlefield Trust, 2020, www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/abraham-lincolns-duel.
Linzee, David, and Nick Openlander. Infamous St. Louis Crimes & Mysteries. Palmerston and Reed Pub., 2001.
Neels, Mark. “‘Barbarous Custom of Dueling’: Death and Honor on St. Louis’ Bloody Island: Fall / Winter 2010: The Confluence.” Lindenwood University, The Confluence, 2010, www.lindenwood.edu/academics/beyond-the-classroom/publications/the-confluence/all-issues/fall-winter-2010/barbarous-custom-of-dueling-death-and-honor-on-st-louis-bloody-island.
“Some Famous Duels.” St. Joseph News-Press, 30 Oct. 1894.
“Southern Illinois Scene of Many Duels in 1800’s.” Centralia (Ill.) Sentinel, 12 Apr. 1964.
State. “The Age of Political Duels.” Missouri State Seal, 2020, https://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/education/dueling/political-duels.
Vulich, Nick. “Duels of Bloody Island, Missouri.” Gruesomemurders.com, 4 Feb. 2020, www.gruesomemurders.com/2020/02/duels-of-bloody-island-missouri.