Introduction

In the city of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, during the year of 1882, a young Lizzie Nutt and Nicholas Dukes decided to spend the rest of their lives together. She was the daughter of a prominent local politician, while he was an up-and-coming lawyer. They occupied the upper classes in a city poised to profit massively from a coal boom, where a number of industries were already flourishing and a social scene dating to the late 1700s was firmly in place.

Uniontown then had around 4,000 residents—a city big enough to serve as the county seat, but still small enough to support a healthy swirl of gossip.

The couple was thought to have been happy until Dukes wrote a letter to Captain Adam Nutt, the father of Lizzie Nutt, on December 4, 1882. Dukes’ claims about Lizzie’s behavior with both himself and other men infuriated the Captain. His reaction and its consequences would place Uniontown in the national spotlight for months to follow.

Ultimately, this broken love affair—tangled with codes of conduct and honor—would result in some of the most sensational events in Fayette County’s history.

The Home of A.C. Nutt