Combs, Richard "Tallow Dick"
Richard Combs, a barber, was from Beattyville, KY, born around 1864. He was one of the ten men initially charged with complicity in the murder of William Goebel in 1900. Richard Combs was lodged in the Georgetown, Ky jail [source: 1900 U.S. Census]. R. C. O Benjamin was Combs' lawyer.
While on his deathbed, Goebel had been named Governor of Kentucky following a very controversial and contested governor's race. Richard Combs and Mason Hockersmith were the only African Americans linked to the murder; there was testimony during the trial that two Negroes had been hired to kill Goebel. W. H. Watts, a Negro janitor of the Adjunct General's Office in the Kentucky Executive Building, also testified in the case [it had only been since 1872 that Negro testimony was accepted in a Kentucky court].
Goebel had won the Democratic nomination for governor in 1899, was shot and mortally wounded January 30, 1900, while outside the Kentucky State Capitol Building, and he died February 3, 1900. A senator from Kenton County, KY, he was sometimes described as ruthless, at other times as a reformer. As a reformer, he pushed for a number of changes, including more rights for women and Negroes, and he wanted to do away with lotteries and pool halls.
For more see William Goebel in the Kentucky Encyclopedia; "Goebel suspects indicted," from Frankfort, KY in the New York Times, 04/19/1900, p. 1; "Prison cell for Powers," New York Times, 08/19/1900, p. 1; The First New Dealer, by U. Woodson; and V. Hazard, "The Black testimony controversy in Kentucky, 1866-1872," The Journal of Negro History, vol.58, issue 2 (April 1973), pp. 140-165.