Posts Tagged ‘Murder’

Shocking Murder — Seven Persons Butchered and Burnt in the Night

June 11, 2012

Shocking Murder — Seven Persons Butchered and Burnt in the Night.

ST. JOSEPH, May 22, 1856.

Last night one of the most diabolical and terrible murders occurred within four miles of this city, that ever shocked a community or outraged humanity.

Mr. Jacob Friend, with his wife and five children, resided in a neat cabin, embowered by ancient forests, upon the border of the beautiful lake which lies just below our town, and cultivated, in a quiet, but profitable way, a piece of land which he had reclaimed from the wilderness. — The banks of the lake are dotted with these simple habitations, and neighbors were all around him, but his house was not visible to any in consequence of the intervening foliage. The hall of a man or the barking of a dog, could, however, be distinctly heard.

Young Barada was there last evening, and left them all in the enjoyment of health and happiness. This morning a young lady was passing, and found the house and its inhabitants in ashes.

The news spread like wild-fire, and in a few hours many from our city and neighborhood were on the spot. The natural question with every one was, how so many persons could have been burned in one room.

The cabin contained but one room, about sixteen feet square, with two doors, a window and a fire-place. The window and the fire place were in the opposite ends, and the two doors in the opposite sides. One either side of the window, with their feet towards the doors, had stood the beds in which the family slept. From where the beds stood, egress was easy and convenient through the window and doors.

It was hardly possible, then, that seven persons — a man of forty-five, a woman of forty, a young man of eighteen, a girl of sixteen, and three small children, could have been burnt from fire originating in the fire-place. There were too many ways of escaping. Nor for the same reason could they be burned to death, if the fire had been communited to any part of the building. The conclusion, then, before any examination, was, that murder, most foul and unnatural, had been busy with his bloody knife, before the fire was ignited.

This conclusion was confirmed by silent evidences which lay around. There in the corner, near the fire-place, was a skeleton, and there, just in front of the fire-place, was another; and where the beds had stood, were all the others — a large one with the smallest clasped in its arms, and the rest clustered near. These were evidently the mother and children. Those near the fire-place, the father and the son. By one of the latter was a large knife; and by the other, a three pronged pitchfork, with points extremely sharpened and in front of the house a revolver was found.

The jury of inquest are now sitting. — They have arrived at no further conclusion, as yet, than that it was a horrible murder. They will take measures — indeed are doing so already, by examination of witnesses and the weapons found — to trace the murderers. God grant that they may be found and brought to justice. This is the sentiment and prayer of every good men in our country.

No event has ever given our community so serious a shock. Our people have been always noted for their liberality, and personal security. It has been unusual to fasten the doors at night, and sometimes in summer, even to close them. — There are not five houses in a hundred with locks upon them. They, nearly all, have the strings always hanging out. — This horrible midnight assassination, therefore, has been more startling than an earthquake, and the whole country are aroused. There must have been more than one engaged in this fiendish work.– They will be traced, I have no doubt. If “murder will out,” then this must certainly be soon developed. I will inform you of further discoveries. Mr. Friend was a good, industrious and prosperous man. —

As I was told to-day by a neighbor, his excellent character and upright deportment made him enemies among the reckless and dissipated. It is said he had a dispute with one of this class, a short time since, about a hog. It was also thought that he had several hundred dollars in gold saved up. What induced the murder, therefore, must have been jealousy, hatred or cupidity; or, perhaps, all.

Allen County Democrat (Lima, Ohio) Jun 7, 1856

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Gone to Heaven, with a Little Help from Strychnine

April 23, 2012

A CRAZY MOTHER.

She Murdered and Laid Out Four Children and then Killed Herself.

At Chicago, last Saturday morning, Mary Syeboldt, aged thirty-five years, wife of Caspar Syeboldt, a baker, murdered her four children and then committed suicide. The story of the crime is one of the most remarkable in the police annals of Chicago and ranks with any of the Borgia sensations. At 5 o’clock Saturday morning Caspar Syeboldt arrived home after working all night and was met at the door by his wife. She was dressed in a new chemise trimmed with lace and blue ribbons, purchased especially for the awful occasion. She acted strangely and could scarcely stand.

“Come in, Casper: come in,” she said, waveing her hand, “and see our little children. They are all dead, gone to heaven, Casper. See how pretty they are. Every one has got nice flowers for the angels.” For a moment the husband was stunned and thought his wife crazy. He hurried to the bedroom and there a strange sight met his eyes. Laid out as for burial were the four children. Matilda, aged twelve; Anton, aged seven; Annie aged two years and six months, and the baby Agnes, aged less than four months. They were dressed in white trimmed with blue ribbon and in their hands boquets of fresh flowers.

All were stone dead except Matilda, and she was just breathing. Mrs. Syeboldt followed her husband into the room so full of death and said: “Yes, I sent them all to heaven because God wanted them.” Casper Seyboldt was stupefied, but at last recovered sufficiently to realize the awful deed and then hastened to summon a physician. The latter could do nothing for the dying girl. Attention was then turned to Mrs. Seyboldt, who was in convulsions. She managed to tell that she gave the poison to her children first, laid them out and then prepared herself for death, taking the remnant of a large does of strychnine. She died in great agony shortly after 7 o’clock, and was laid out beside her children.

Letters written by Matilda, the oldest, shows that the poisoning was arranged by her and the mother. Here is an extract:

“I will tell you the story of our trouble.. My mother was always sick, you know, and thought of dying often, and thought how, if she were dead, we would be treated, and so thought it best for us all to die at once, and bought something to kill us. The baby first, Annie second, Tony third and I after, and then my mother. We did not suffer much and now we are all out of trouble.”

The Standard (Albert Lea, Minnesota) Jun 22, 1882

Lad of Seventeen Butchers an Octogenarian

November 28, 2011

Image from the University of Vermont website An Agricultural History of Hinesburg, Vermont – (Preliminary Research page)

New York Herald (New York, New York) Apr 27, 1869

THE BOY MURDERER IN VERMONT.

A Lad of Seventeen Butchers an Octogenarian.

Sketch of His Crime, Capture, Trial and Sentence.

WINDSOR, Vt., Dec. 23, 1870.
In the State Prison in this place is now confined, under sentence of death, a young man only nineteen. His crime, the murder of a defenceless old man in his own doorway, is justly considered one of the worst cases of homicide ever known in Vermont. His cool indifference and apparent carelessness of the consequences of his diabolical performance show an amount of depravity seldom found in one so young. This boy’s name is Henry Welcome, of French parentage, and his victim was Mr. Perry Russell, of Hinesburg, Vt. Mr. Russell was a well known and respected farmer, a member of the methodist Episcopal Church, of some considerable property and aged about seventy-six years.

THE MURDER
was committed on the evening of the 3d of October, 1868, about half-past eight. Mr. Russell and his wife, the sole occupants of the house, had retired to rest about eight o’clock, but half an hour afterwards were startled by a knocking at the door. Mrs. Russell told her husband not to open the door until he assertained who was there. Mr. Russell accordingly made inquiry, and was answered, “Joe Bushy, I want to come in.” Deceived by mention of a name with which he was familiar, he opened the door and was instantly felled by a blow from a heavy barndoor hinge, twenty inches in length, in the hands of Henry Welcome. His groans and exclamation, “O Lord!” aroused his wife from bed, who, coming to the spot, saw the young assassin standing over the unfortunate old man and raining a shower of blows upon him with the murderous hinge. Almost paralyzed with terror for her own safety, the old lady fled to the nearest neighbors, one hundred rods distant, and alarmed them, who proceeded in turn to the next house, and from there they all returned to the scene of the tragedy. The murderer had gone, but his victim was lying on the floor, where he had first fallen, in a pool of blood and breathing heavily. He lingered in an unconscious state until the next morning at ten o’clock, when he died. The surgeons in attendance found nine scalp wounds from one to three inches in length and a deep cut in the crown of his head. The murderer, after finishing his horrid work, ransacked the house for the plunder he expected to obtain, but could find nothing except a small black trunk containing notes, deeds and other valuable papers. This was afterwards found on an adjoining farm in a field half a mile distant, the contents taken out and strewed around. Welcome was induced to murder the old man in hope of finding a large sum of money, but in this he was foiled, as Mr. Russell had, a few days previous, deposited his funds, some $5,000 in United States bonds, in a bank at Burlington, a few miles from Hinesburg. He knew that Mr. Russell possessed this money, because he had at one time worked for him.

THE PURSUIT OF THE ASSASSIN
was active and successful. The services of N.B. Flanagan, an expert detective of Burlington, were immediately secured, and a reward of $1,000 was offered to bring the villain to justice. On the 5th of October, just two days after the butchery, he was arrested at Waterbury, Vt., where he had gone on the cars from Essex Junction, and he was taken to Burlington. On his way there he met the funeral procession of his victim and displayed the most astonishing indifference and utter coolness.

THE TRIAL.
After a preliminary examination before a justice he was committed to jail to await trial at the County Court. The following April his case came up, and a verdict of guilty was given. On a technicality of law he was allowed to appeal to the Supreme Court. Pending the session of that tribunal he was remanded to the State Prison at Windsor, the jail at Burlington not being considered sufficiently secure. The Supreme Court having confirmed the edict of the County Court, Welcome was sentenced “to solitary confinement one year in the State Prison at Windsor, and then to be hanged by the neck until dead.”

EFFORTS FOR COMMUTATION
of sentence to life imprisonment at hard labor were nearly successful. The Legislature in session last October were petitioned on two grounds, viz., the extreme youth of the prisoner and the dodge of insanity. The House of Representatives turned a willing ear to these petitioners, notwithstanding the fact that a much larger number of his own townsmen prayed that the extreme penalty of the law might be enforced in his case. They even went so far as to allow his lawyer to plead before them as a jury, as it were — a proceeding which has no precedent in the doings of of any legislative body. A committee was also appointed to visit him in the prison; and the result was that two bills were passed, one to commute Welcome’s sentence, the other to abolish capital punishment. Such summary action startled the people of the whole State tremendously. Protests arose from every quarter, especially from the clergy and the press. The Senate, however, to their honor be it said, refused to pass either of the bills. People breathed free once more. The efforts of a few false philanthropists to override the just and wholesome laws of the State, which have heretofore been rigidly enforced, have signally failed. In consequence of this extraordinary effort made to save one of the worst villains from his just deserts  great interests is manifested in this case. The people of Vermont feel that their safety lies in a vigorous execution of the law.

THE CRIMINAL
is now in close confinement, calm and quiet. He occupies his time mainly in reading the books furnished by the prison library. Although he takes no exercise, his health is excellent and he eats hearty meals. The chaplain of the prison visits him constantly, and it is to be hoped that the doomed young man will seriously contemplate his dreadful end, so fast approaching. The execution is to take place on Friday, the 20th day of January next.

New York Herald (New York, New York) Dec 26, 1870

[Excerpt]
WINDSOR, Vt., Jan. 19, 1871.

Henry Welcome, a lad of nineteen, who has been in close confinement in the State Prison in this place the year past for the crime of murder, is to be executed here to-morrow. This young man was born in Hinesburg, Vt. His father is a French Canadian and his mother an American. Though poor they were very respectable, and the mother, a professing Christian, trained up her family, consisting of eleven children, in the same pathways of virtue in which she herself had been instructed. But, alas, her pious teachings did not restrain Henry from an early career in the paths of crime. At a tender age he developed some very bad qualities; was idle, disobedient, ill-tempered and of a very revengeful spirit.

HIS FIRST EXPLOIT
which brought him into the clutches of the law, at the age of sixteen, was the hiring of a horse and buggy, which he ran away with. He was captured and lodged in the jail at the city of Burlington; here he remained awaiting trial until he was nearly seventeen years old. His case coming before the County Court, the jury brought in a verdict exonerating him, on account of his extreme youth, from any vile intent, more than a boyish scrape in running away with the team. He was accordingly discharged from custody and arrived home just three days previous to the night of the murder.

THE VILLAGE OF HINESBURG,
where the deed was committed is a mere hamlet, consisting of a few houses, church, store, tavern, &c., the central trading point and Post Office of the township of the same name. The population are almost wholly farmers. It is situated in the southern part of Chittenden county, about ten miles from Burlington, the county seat. The nearest railway station is Charlotte, on the Rutland Railroad, about five miles distant. One would suppose that in such a quiet, Christian and comparatively secluded community incentives to vice would be rare; but where is evil not found?
…..

New York Herald (New York, New York) Jan 20, 1871

The Gallows

WINDSOR, Vt., Jan. 20, 1871.
Henry Welcome, formerly of Hinesbury, to-day paid the awful penalty of death for the murder of an old man named Perry Russell, in September, 1869. This is the ninth execution for murder which has taken place within the boundaries of the State of Vermont.

Yesterday afternoon several people visited him, among them a reporter, to whom he made some further and interesting statements in regard to his early life. It seems that he left home at the age of fifteen, contrary to the commands of his parents, to go to Boston, and worked there a while. From this step he dates his commencement of a career of crime. He soon fell into the company of wicked men and lewd women, and from drinking he took to gambling, and then taking money in small sums from his employer, who, finding out these things, warned Welcome to desist or leave his employ, which latter course he immediately pursued, arriving home only a short time before he stole the horse and buggy.

During the afternoon he was calm, collected, ate well and slept some, being ever ready to converse with those who were disposed to see and talk with him. Last evening a special guard was placed at the door of his cell, who remained in attendance until he left the cell for the last time. The chaplain remained with him until eleven o’clock P.M.

THE CULPRIT’s STATEMENT TO THE CHAPLAIN.
Welcome appeared much broken down. Tears and sobs came from his bosom. He wrote a last farewell to his sorrow stricken family, which was extremely affecting. He did not appear to have as much fortitude as the time drew near. To the chaplain he made the following statement:

I hope that my sad end will be an effectual warning to all young people against disobedience to their parents, the use of strong drink and the choice of bad company. These things have been my ruin. May God save others from coming to my miserable end. I have no ill will toward anybody, and I ask forgiveness of all that I have wronged. My prayer is that god would have mercy on my soul and make my example of use to others. The Word of God and the hopes of the Gospel are now my only refuge, and the cry of my heart is to Jesus, “Lord remember me when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom.”

THE LAST PRAYER.
His last prayer in the cell before the chaplain left him was, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” During the latter part of the night he got considerable sleep.

THE NIGHT BEFORE THE EXECUTION.
Early in the evening some considerable excitement was caused by the attempted escape of a convict, who his in one of the shops, but was found, after a thorough search with a rope tackle for climbing the wall, and was incarcerated in the solitary cell. Also during the night two men were brought in, who were arrested by detectives Flanagan and Squires on the night express, suspected of being the burglars concerned in the Waterbury Bank robbery, which took place on Wednesday night. Notwithstanding these disturbances, Welcome slept quite well from two to four o’clock. He had conversation with the guard about the army, &c., which diverted his mind so that he was almost cheerful again.

This morning he partook of a slight breakfast, and the chaplain reached his cell about nine o’clock.

THE ERECTION OF THE SCAFFOLD
commenced about that time also. The noise of the hammers could easily be heard throughout the prison. It was the same one which had been used in former executions — a common gallows, two drops, with a fall of six feet six inches. From the platform, which is nine feet long by four feet wide, to the crossbeam is eight feet. The drop itself is four feet long and eighteen inches wide. The rope is common half-inch, and is the same that was around the necks of Cavanaugh, Ward and Miller. The gallows stands in the southeast corner of the prison, between the corridor and the wall.

VISITORS TO THE PRISONER.
During the forenoon quite a number of visitors entered the prison and watched the erection of the gallows with eager interest. At ten o’clock all reporters were given an opportunity by the Sheriff to see Welcome as he sat in his cell. He looked very bright, and talked with quite a degree of cheerfulness. In answer to an inquiry about how he had passed the night he replied, “Pretty well; I slept a little from two o’clock and ate some breakfast.”

“You look brightly,” said a reporter; “keep good courage. Its pretty tough, but keep up.”

“Yes,” said he, “I mean to.”

“Do you remember any one in Boston?” was then asked.

“Oh, yes. I remember Mr. Bates, lawyer, near Cornhill.”

“Do you want to send any word to him?”

“No; don’t know as I do particularly.”

“How about North street?”

“I have had enough of North street,” he said, with a smile and shrug of the shoulders.

“Well, goodby.”

And all shook hands with him and left the cell, only two friends and the chaplain remaining. All through this conversation he maintained a cheerful demeanor, standing erect, with folded arms. His is about five feet ten inches in height and of average form, with a rather pleasant face and black eyes.

PREPARING FOR THE FINAL SCENE.
As the hour of the final scene drew nigh the crowd around and in the guardroom of the prison augmented rapidly, and at half-past twelve there was a great press to obtain admittance; but none were allowed to go except those who had passes from the Sheriff or Superintendent of the prison. Among those present were the twelve legal witnesses selected by the Governor, and one or two friends or acquaintances of the deceased; also Dr. Robinson, a physician of Felchville, Vt., and Rev. Mr. Gadworth, a Baptist clergyman. The directors of the prison, Messrs. Hartshorn, Rice and Shedd, were there too. About noon the chaplain asked him if he would like anything to eat. He said he would like a cup of tea, which was brought to him. He then prayed for himself and the chaplain prayed with him.

THE DEATH MARCH.
At twenty minutes to one o’clock the death march commenced. The procession issued from the cell in order as follows: — The chaplain, Revs. Franklin Butler and Surrey, W. Stimson, Sheriff of Windsor county; the condemned, between Deputy Sheriffs Rollin, Amsden and Luther Kendall; the twelve legal witnesses, &c. Passing by his coffin, which stood near the scaffold, he ascended the stairs with tolerable firmness and stood upon the platform of the gallows. The persons upon the platform were the chaplain, the Sheriff, his deputies, Amsden, Kendall and Armstrong, and J.A. Pollard, Superintendent of the prison.

READING THE DEATH WARRANT.
The exercises commenced with the reading of a short passage of Scripture and prayer by the chaplain, when the death warrant was read by the Sheriff, after which he addressed the prisoner thus: — “Henry Welcome, have you anything to say why you should not suffer the extreme penalty of the law?”

THE CULPRIT’S LAST WORDS.
A moment of silence, and Welcome began: —

I cannot say much. Words are inadequate to express my feelings. I hope my situation and fate will be an example to others to keep out of bad company and low-bred places, and obey their parents and stay at home. Disobedience to my good parents has brought me here. I hope God will have mercy on my soul, for Christ’s sake. I have made my peace with God, and I want to caution young men, before these witnesses, not to touch liquor, for if they take one glass they will want another. I cannot say any more, my heart is too full.

These words were delivered in a trembling voice and with tearful eyes. After being placed on the drop, his hands and feet were strapped by Deputy Sheriff Amsden, and the noose adjusted around his neck.

A PRAYER FOR MERCY.
He then shook hands with the Superintendent, Sheriff and deputies; then he broke forth into a most fervent, touching and heartfelt prayer, his accents being quite distinct, although his whole frame was shaken with the violence of his emotions. He distinctly expressed his faith in Jesus and hope of full pardon for his transgressions, saying much in substance that was contained in his address. He particularly prayed for his poor mother; that he name might not be a lasting disgrace to her, and though dying so ignominiously in this world, felt confident in the hope of a blessed immortality. The chaplain then stepped and took his hand, speaking a farewell to him in tones inaudible to the deeply moved spectators.

THE BLACK CAP WAS THEN ADJUSTED,
and Sheriff Stimson said, in calm tones, “The time has now arrived when the extreme sentence of the law must be executed on you, Henry Welcome, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

THE LAST OF EARTH.
The spring was pressed by a deputy and at precisely two minutes before one P.M. the body of Henry Welcome shot downwards and his soul took its everlasting flight. In six minutes the pulse ceased to beat, and the prison surgeon, Dr. H. Clark, pronounced him dead. In twenty minutes the body was cut down and put in the coffin, to be burned within the prison walls. Thus the law is vindicated in Vermont.

New York Herald (New York, New York) Jan 21, 1871

Death at a Crossing

October 25, 2011

Image from the Oakland, IL Genealogy website

DEATH AT A CROSSING.

Levi Alsbury, an Old Veteran, Instantly Killed.

An old invalid soldier, Levi Alsbury, more familiarly known as “Button,” was instantly killed at 11:35 a.m. to-day at the Priest street crossing of the Illinois Central road, just east of the tray factory. He had been up town after some nails, and was returning to a new house in the fourth ward he was building, when he sat down on a log near the factory to rest. The Terre Haute and Peoria passenger train going toward the depot came along, and just before the train reached the crossing, Alsbury arose to cross over. The old man was subject to fainting spells and may have been suddenly attacked with a feeling of weakness as he arose from the log. The cow-catcher struck him and hurled him upward against the steam chest with great force, when the lifeless body dropped into the ditch. Nearly every bone in his body was broken. The body was removed by Coroner Perl to his office, where the inquest will be held this evening at 8 o’clock.

Mr. Alsbury was 48 years of age, and resided at 900 West Macon street. He leaves a wife and two children. Brice Alsbury, a son of his wife by a former marriage, was murdered at Kinney, Ill., a few years ago. Mr. A. served through the war as a member of Co. H, 63d Ill. Regiment and received a pension of $30 a month. His back pay received not long since was $1900.

It was T.H. & P. train 1, engine 4, that struck the man; Buchanan, conductor; George Winn, engineer; Jerry Ryan, fireman.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) May 14, 1887

KILLED BY THE CARS.

Levi Alsbury Struck Down By a T-H.& P. Train.

From Sunday’s Daily.

Levi Alsbury, a union ex-soldier, was killed at the Priest street crossing of the Illinois Central railroad a few minutes before 12 o’clock noon yesterday, by a Terre Haute & Peoria passenger train. He was struck by the pilot of the engine and his body was hurled a distance of nearly twenty feet. Alsbury had been up town to get a bundle of nails and was on his way to work on a dwelling which he was erecting in the Fourth ward, when he met his death. An inquest was held last night by Coroner Perl at his undertaking establishment on South Main street. The witnesses were John Sheeney, a bricklayer, George Winn, engineer, and Eugene Ryan, fireman on the engine of the train, and Mrs. S.J. Alsbury, wife of the deceased. Sheeney testified that Alsbury walked toward the crossing without looking down the track and was seemingly unmindful that the train was coming, although the engineer was sounding the whistle and the fireman was ringing the engine bell. The engineer testified that he sounded the station whistle at the usual place and subsequently sounded the whistle again to attract Alsbury’s attention. The fireman testified to the same fact. Alsbury did not discover his danger until he was on the track. Then he made a leap to get out of the way but was too late. He was struck by the top of the right side of the pilot and instantly killed. His neck, both arms and both legs, and his ribs were broken. The train at the time of the accident was running, according to the testimony of the engineer, fireman and Sheeney, not faster than six miles an hour.

The deceased was aged 48 years, and resides at 900 West Macon street. He leaves surviving him a wife and two children. He was the father of Brice Alsbury who was murdered at Kenney two years ago. Mr. Alsbury served in the union army during the late war as a member of Co. H, 63d Ill. Inf. He was wounded and lost a portion of the bones of his left arm. For this disability he was allowed a pension of $30 per month, and received back pay amounting to $1900.

Saturday Herald (Decatur, Illinois) May 21, 1887

EDWIN PHILBROOK, pension attorney, has received notice of a pension of $12 per month for Sarah J. Alsbury, Decatur, Ill., widow of Levi Alsbury, Company H, 63d Illinois Infantry.

Decatur Daily Republican ( Jan 15, 1890

Brice Alsbury’s Murder:

From Tuesday’s Daily.

Held for Trial.

Henry Teal, of Waynesville, was arrested on Friday for the murder of Brice Alsbury, upon a warrant sworn out by State’s Attorney Booth, of DeWitt county. He was taken to Clinton, and was given a preliminary hearing before Judge McHenry. The judge was of the opinion that Teal’s provocation for shooting Alsbury had a tendency to somewhat mitigate the enormity of the crime, and, on the plea of manslaughter, admitted him to bail in the sum of ten thousand dollars, for his appearance at the next term of the circuit court. Teal was released upon his furnishing the required bond. Wiley Marvel, John Teal and George B. Graham are his securities.

Saturday Herald (Decatur, Illinois) Mar 15, 1884

Murder Trial.

Henry Teal is on trial at Clinton before Judge Herdman for the murder of Brice Alsbury, at Waynesville, a year ago. Alsbury is well known about Mt. Zion, in this county, where his relatives reside. Attorneys Booth and Warner represent the People, and Dan Voorhees, of Indiana, and Lawyer Graham the defendant. A jury was secured last evening.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) Dec 11, 1884

SATURDAY last, at the second trial at Clinton, Henry Teal was found guilty and sentenced to one year at Joliet, for the murder of Brice Alsbury. Teal has applied for another new trial.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) Sep 7, 1885


LATE NEWS.

Henry Teal, for the murder of Brice Alsbury at Waynesville, Ill., more than a year ago, has been sentenced to one year’s imprisonment in the penitentiary of Illinois.

Oshkosh Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Sep 8, 1885

HENRY TEAL, who was found guilty of the murder of Brice Alsbury, was granted a new trial at Clinton, Thursday, by Judge Epler, on the grounds that two of the jurymen had previously expressed themselves as to Teal’s guilt.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) Sep 12, 1885


Teal Discharged.

Brice Alsbury, whose parents reside at Mt. Zion, this county, was injured at Waynesville, in DeWitt county, some years ago, and died. Henry M. Teal was indicted for the murder, and found guilty by a jury. He was granted a new trial and a change of venue to Havana. Yesterday State’s attorney Booth, of Clinton, entered a nolle in the case and Teal was discharged. Important witnesses have disappeared.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) Aug 7, 1886

Before the murder of Brice Alsbury:

YESTERDAY Brice Alsbury was arrested in Decatur on a state warrant charging him with having made an assault upon one James Houchens, at Waynesville, Ill., with intent to kill. The assault is alleged to have been made on October 17, since which time Alsbury has been skirmishing around for the benefit of his health. The prisoner was lodged in the county jail and the DeWitt county sheriff notified of the arrest.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) Dec 28, 1882

Gotta Shoot a Man to Start a Graveyard

August 15, 2011

PIONEER LIFE
IN THE
NORTH-WEST.
_____

A MURDER MOST FOUL.

The following sketch is from the pen of “Brick” Pomeroy, and was originally published in the La Crosse Democrat. It is so interesting, and so aptly illustrates life in the early times that I take the liberty of using it here: —

“It has been humorously claimed for the average frontier town, as a point in favor of its climatic conditions, that it was necessary to shoot a man for the purpose of starting a grave-yard. While this may be true of La Crosse, a ramble among the tomb-stones and monuments of Oak Grove Cemetery will discover the fact that it was unnecessary to resort to such an extreme measure as an inaugural, its identity was more clearly established by being the burial place of a murdered man.

“In the spring of 1852, a man named David Darst, came to La Crosse from Illinois, bringing with him in his employ, William Watts. Mr. Darst was a man of means, and his object in leaving civilization for the hardships of the frontier is unknown. However, he located on a piece of land in Mormon Cooley, and engaged in farming.

“On the 5th of June, 1852, six or seven weeks after his settlement in the Cooley, his body was found in the bushes by a man by the name of Merryman, stripped of every rag of clothing and tied to a pole which the murderer had used to carry the body from the shanty in which they lived. Merryman was attracted to the spot by the barking of his little dog. He came into town and reported what he had found, and a number of citizens volunteered to go to the Cooley to investigate the matter and try and arrest the murderer, if he could be found. Several parties were arrested but all proved their innocence to the crowd and were released. — On returning to town the man Watts was found with Darst’s clothes on his back — even to his shirt and underwear. He had all his household goods, money, two yoke of cattle and everything the man had. — He was arrested and, there being no jail, he was given over to the keeping of a Mr. McShodden, who kept him in his cellar, chained to a post. He evidently belonged to a gang of outlaws, as evidenced from letters received at the post-office for him both before and after his arrest.

“One evening he escaped. The whole plantation turned out to hunt him; boats scoured the river bank in all directions; men on horseback and armed searched the prairie. But they could find no trace of him. Parties of boys were also looking for him. About midnight he was found by the noise of a file he was using to get rid of his chains, by a party of these small boys and taken into custody. He afterward was furnished by his friends with a file and some iron-colored-paste. This he used in his “prison” and escaped a second time, and was not found for a long time. He was discovered as a hostler at the Ridge Tavern by a man who had been sent for the mail. The mail-carrier, without appearing to notice him at the time, on his arrival home reported him to the Sheriff, who immediately went out and secured him. A one-story stone jail had been erected by subscription after his first escape. He was incarcerated in this and made his exit through the roof of this institution. A new and stronger roof was put on the building, and a large quantity of stone put loose over the ceiling in such a manner that if he tried again it would fall on him and crush him.

“Watts confessed his crime. He said that Darst was lighting the fire on the morning of the murder, he struck him on the head with an axe. He had no other reason for the deed than that of securing the money and property of the victim. — At the funeral of Darst, which occurred the Sunday following the discovery of his body, the services were held in a small building on State street, with the murdered man in his coffin and the murderer in chains standing at the head. It was understood very generally, that as the funeral procession left for the cemetery, Watts was to be lynched. The Rev. S.C. Sherwin conducted the services, and, although more than one rope was in the hands of the party, such was his influence over the populace that he prevailed upon them to let law and order take their course.

“A few years afterward a party of gentlemen were attracted to the spot where Merryman’s dog had discovered to him the body of Darst by the same animal, and there they found the body of Merryman himself in the icy embrace of death.”

Indiana Progress (Indiana, Pennsylvania) Sep 8, 1881

This version from The History of LaCrosse, Wisconsin gives more details:

THE MURDER OF DAVID DARST.

A great many fights and fracases occurred about this time, but on June 3, 1852, one of the most deliberately-planned and cold-blooded murders ever chronicled was committed in Mormon Cooley, which greatly excited the entire community, and came near ending in the lynching of the accused. David Darst, it seems, had at a comparatively early day removed from Galena, 111., and settled on a claim out in Mormon Cooley. He built him a log hut, and, with two yoke of oxen, was soon in a prosperous condition for a settler of the times. In the spring of the year in which the murder was committed, there came up the river from Galena a young man named William Watts, who had known Darst previous to his removal hither, and seeking him out, proposed making a visit to his friend of former days. After remaining here a short time, accepting the hospitality of his whilom friend, Watts deliberately murdered Darst, and, stripping the body of clothing and valuables, hid it in a plum thicket that occupied a ravine near the house. The murderer dressed himself in the garb of the dead victim of his devilish covetousness, and yoking up the oxen, came into the village for the purpose of disposing of the plunder.

The same day that Watts came out of the cooley, Mr. Merriman, an old bachelor, who had a cabin not far distant, was riding up the ravine on horseback, accompanied by a dog, his daily companion, the keen scent of which detected the dead and decaying remains of the murdered host of Watts. The dog ran into the thicket and thence back to his master, manifesting the utmost concern, and betraying an anxiety that indicated something out of the usual channel. Mr. Merriman finally dismounted, and following the dog into the thicket, was nearly paralyzed and stricken dumb by the horrible sight which met his gaze. There lay his neighbor, stiff and stark and dead, his skull crushed and his throat cut, in the last stages of decomposition, and exuding an odor which was stifling. He at once gave the alarm, and hurrying to the village, startled the inhabitants with the story of what he had seen.

While this condition of affairs was rendering the village a scene of pronounced commotion. Watts was engaged in drinking and carousing, and when he had reached a condition of helpless intoxication, he solved the mystery which had surrounded the crime, and was arrested, narrowly escaping lynching.

An inquest was held over the remains of Darst, his murderer being obliged to confront the remains, and when moved to stand at the head of the coffin. During the funeral there were a number in attendance who had ropes concealed about their persons, and but for an eloquent appeal made by Elder Sherwin to let the law take its course, and not disgrace the village by mob violence, the prisoner would have been executed.

At that time the court house was finished, but no jail had yet been provided, and the stone basempnt on Pearl street, between Second and Third streets, was leased from Col. Childs for the confinement of Watts, who was guarded by a man named McSpadden, hired for that purpose. The prisoner was heavily ironed and safely kept for awhile, but the expense was very considerable, and a jail was built for the safe keeping of the prisoner and others who had been arrested for trifling offenses. In its construction the ceiling was made of joists spiked together, and the attic filled with pounded rock, to the end that a prisoner, if he attempted to bore through the ceiling would be deluged with stones. It was not long, however, before the prisoner dug out through the foundation walls, and when his escape was announced the public turned out to effect his re-capture. About midnight on the second day of the pursuit a party of boys engaged in the search heard the noise of some one filing in the prairie grass near Deacon Smith’s. The alarm was given, and Watts was re-taken and re-conveyed to jail, where he was heavily ironed. Notwithstanding this, and the further assurance endeavored to be secured by the Sheriff visiting him at all hours of the day and night, the prisoner eluded the vigilance, attempted and escaped once more.

Search was again undertaken, but with poor success, for awhile at least. He could not be found anywhere, and the officers and citizens were about giving up the search, when a stagedriver, who twice a week made trips to Hazens, out on the ridge, discovered that Watts was disguised and acting as a hostler at that place. Upon his return he detailed the whereabouts of the fugitive, who was arrested and brought back, and, obtaining a change of venue to Bad Axe County, was tried, convicted and sentenced to Waupun for life.

The account of Sheriff Elder differs materially from the above ; and that no factor or phrase of the horrible crime may be wanting, the statement of that gentleman is submitted substantially as follows:

In the spring of 1852, Watts and Darst came in from Peoria, 111., to Mormon Cooley. where the latter purchased a claim, on which former assisted him to build a cabin. Before its completion, according to an account of the crime furnished by Watts, he asked Darst for some money, which enraged the latter, who retorted that he (Watts) owed him $80; that he had kept him poor, and would not rest until he had ruined him. In the excitement of the moment, Darst made an assault upon his subordinate, who tried to escape, but, being headed off at the door and window, neither of which had been closed in, whereupon Watts seized an unfinished ax-helve, and swinging it around in a threatening manner, struck Darst a fatal blow under the ear. Being “then tempted of the devil,” as he protested, he rifled the murdered man of his money and carried the body part way up the bluffs, near to a point where the two had obtained stone to build a chimney. Upon returning to the house, he yoked up the oxen, and visiting the residence of the Kimball brothers, the three went fishing at the Chipmunk Creek. While driving the oxen, Watts met Mr. Merriman, the nearest neighbor of his victim, who enquired after Darst, with whom he had an engagement to join their teams in some work they had decided it was necessary should be done. »

Watts replied, “he has gone away for a few days, and says you are a d—d scoundrel, and wants nothing to do with you.”

This uncivil and uncalled-for speech on the part of Watts excited Merriman’s suspicions, who sought assistance and discovered the body of Darst. An alarm was given, and Sheriff Eldred arrested Watts and the two Kimballs, all three of them very much intoxicated. That night he locked himself, with the three accused, in Chase & Stevens’ office, and in the morning the Kimballs were horrified upon being informed of what was alleged against them. They at once proposed to “churn out the brains of that critter,” alluding to Watts, but were dissuaded from such an act by the Sheriff, and permitted to visit their families on parole, whence they returned in a few hours to stand trial.

Watts was confronted with the dead body of his victim, but gave no sign of guilt, and a cry was raised to lynch him. This, however, was not done, owing to cooler counsels, and the prisoner was turned over to a Mr. McSpadden, residing on Front street near the present ferry, who kept him in a room in his house, the outer door of which was made fast by rolling a pipe of liquor against it.

The prisoner escaped soon after, and was not recaptured until the following February, notwithstanding the offer of $200 reward for his apprehension, when he was retaken by Messrs. Kellogg and Wasson, and immured in the jail which had been constructed in the meanwhile, where he was manacled, shackled and chained to the wall for safe keeping until his trial, which took place in Crawford County, and resulted in his conviction.

The jail to which allusion is here made was a small one-story stone structure, extending four feet beneath the surface of the ground and abutting upon the rear wall of the court house, into which entrance was afterward made. It was not safe, and in after years was succeeded by the present compact and secure building. The account preceding was obtained from Mr. Eldred, who made the arrest of Watts in the first instance.

When the war broke out, Watts received a pardon, conditioned upon his enlisting in the service, which he did, and all subsequent trace of him was lost.

Mr. Darst lies buried in Oakwood Cemetery, where a plain tombstone relates that “David Darst was murdered by William Watts June 3, 1852.”

A most singular occurrence attended the end of Mr. Merriman. Just two years from the time in which his little dog was the means of enabling him to discover the dead body of Darst, he went wandering up the same ravine, and fell dead in the identical thicket whence he assisted in removing the murdered remains of his friend. The old man was missed by his neighbors, who instituted a thorough search for him, and, while passing through the little cooley back of the missing man’s hut, they encountered his dog. The animal again acted strangely, and scampered off to the thicket as he had done when Darst was missing, then returning and repeating this several times. The searchers finally followed the dog, and were led to the corpse of his master. It was thought that he met foul play, but an examination led to a verdict by a coroner’s jury that he had fallen down dead from an attack of heart disease, almost in the form hollowed out by the body of Darst two years before.

Thus ends the particulars of one of the pioneer murders committed in La Crosse after it became a county—certainly, one of the most cold-blooded and brutal the criminal annals anywhere record, and one whence escape from the usual penalties was comparatively easy. But the frontier settlements even then were too sparsely settled to admit of the expense of a cumbersome system of jurisprudence employed in older settled communities, and the first settlers were always a law unto themselves. But as time passed and the majesty of the law was established,the practice of holding one’s self responsible for his conduct became obsolete, and the redress of grievances was reserved to the courts, those agencies of civilization, and, so equitably have the scales of justice been adjusted, and so irresistibly right have questions arising thereunder been adjudicated, that if it is beyond the wisdom of man to avoid erring in all the affairs of this life, the practice of repetition in evils that have been decreed as such should have been abrogated years ago.

Title: History of La Crosse County, Wisconsin
Author: Consul Willshire Butterfield
Publisher: Western Historical Co., 1881
Pgs 395-400

Shot Outside the Cosmopolitan Hotel Just as the Bozeman Coach Arrived

August 23, 2010

Main St. - Helena, Montana 1872

A BLOODY ENCOUNTER.

John Hugle Shot Down in Front of the Cosmopolitan by Theo. Shed.

Particulars of the Tragedy.

Last evening about half past nine o’clock the sharp crack of a pistol in front of the Cosmopolitan Hotel was distinctly heard along Main street and was followed by the rush of the crowd to the place from which it came. Two hundred people gathered in front of the hotel a moment after the shooting, when Mr. John Hugle, traveling salesman of Greenhood, Bohn & Co., was found lying upon the sidewalk, weltering in blood, while his assailant, Mr. Theo. Shed, book-keeper of the same house, was also seen slowly rising, pistol in hand, from the sidewalk, on which he had fallen — knocked down, it is said, by Hugle, the moment the pistol was fired. By the side of the fallen men were seen the rearing and plunging horses attached to the Bozeman coach, which had just been driven up at the time of the shooting and were frightened to madness by the affray, while the driver — Charley Brown — with his foot upon the brake, was shouting to the running and excited crowd to keep away from the horses.

The wounded man was at once removed to the office of Dr. W.L. Steele, above Webster’s store, and Mr. Shed at the same moment was arrested by the night policeman Mr. Witten and taken to the county jail. A reporter of the INDEPENDENT on entering the office of Dr. Steele found the wounded man lying upon a reclining chair and bleeding profusely. He complained of strangulation from the blood accumulating in his throat. The bullet had struck him in the face about an inch below the left eye and passing through the nasal cavity to the right, came out just at the external orifice of the ear. Doctors Leiser and Steele were in attendance upon him, and considered the wound dangerous and serious, with chances in favor of recovery. The greatest danger is that inflammation will set in, which will reach the brain.

The pistol was so close at the time of the shooting that powder stains could be seen upon the face of the wounded man, and the smell of powder was upon his breath. After remaining about an hour upon the chair, he was assisted by his friends to a carriage and taken to the hospital, where, at lastest accounts, he was resting easily.

THE ENCOUNTER

From the many conflicting accounts of the fight we regard the following as the most reliable: Mr. Shed was standing upon the street in front of the Cosmopolitan Hotel, when suddenly Mr. Hugle was seen to advance towards him and seemed to have come from the hotel. Shed stepped back as his assailant advanced and was in front of Webster’s store when he raised his pistol. At the same instant Hugle dealt him a powerful blow. The report of the pistol and the blow were simultaneous and both men fell together.

Hugle evidently regarded his wound as mortal, and murmured as he was lifted from the sidewalk:

“My name is Hugle, and Theo Shed shot me.”

Shed was perfectly calm when arrested. When questioned by the bystanders as to what was the matter, he simply answered “Oh nothing; that man — pointing to Hugle — struck me and I shot him.” He declined to make any explanation as to the cause of the difficulty to the officer who arrested him, and maintained the same reserve at the jail when our reporter and others sought to interview him upon the subject.

ANOTHER ACCOUNT.

After the above was in type, another account of the difficulty, given by two or more parties who claim to have been spectators, was to the effect that Hugle walked up to Shed while standing on the street and tapping him on the shoulder, asked, “Are you hunting for me?” “Yes, damn you,” answered the latter, and fired at the same instant.

THE BULLET

Was a 38-calibre ball, and the pistol used is said to have been of the kind known as the “English bull-dog.” The ball, after passing through the head of Hugle, ranged across the street and struck the granite corner of the Dunphy Block, seventy-five yards distant, by the entrance of Levine’s tailor shop, knocking out a large piece of granite, and falling upon the sidewalk. It passed between J.F. Blattner and John Barless, who were standing in front of the shop at the time, narrowly missing them.

THE ORIGIN OF THE DIFFICULTY

dates back to some two years ago. Both of the gentlemen were employed then as now by Messrs. Greenhood, Bohm & Co., and we understand that the first trouble arose from Mr. Hugle inadvertently putting on a buffalo overcoat owned by Mr. Shed. The coat in wet or cold weather had been frequently used by employees of the store, and Hugle, who had but recently entered the employ of the house, having observed this, started to use the coat on a certain occasion, when Shed objected. Hugle at once pulled off the coat and apologized for putting it on. shed then stated that he could use it, but said he liked to be asked when such privileges were taken of his property. Hugle declined the proffer of the coat, and ever afterwards the two young men were enemies — never speaking, although employed in the same house. Both were what is known as “high strung;” but Hugle, who is a young man of fine physique and courteous and agreeable manners, never carried a pistol and was evidently not expecting a mortal difficulty at the time of the affray.

We were unable to learn the immediate cause of the tragedy last evening. Both Mr. Greenhood and the employees of his house, are ignorant of any recent trouble between the parties.

Helena Independent, The (Helena, Montana) Jun 24, 1882

The Cosmopolitan Hotel

Cosmopolitan Hotel image can be found at the Helena As She Was website, along with tons of other great photos.

CORONER’S INQUEST.

Substance of the Testimony of Witnesses Before the Coroner’s Jury in the Matter of the Death of John Hugle.

An inquest was held last evening over the body of John Hugle, the unfortunate victim of last Friday’s shooting, he having died during the afternoon. Nine witnesses were examined. At the request of the coroner, to whom we are indebted for the testimony, the names of the witnesses are not given.

The evidence was substantially as follows:

The first witness testified that at the time of the shooting he was standing in Webster’s store and saw the flash of the pistol. On running out he saw three men helping Shed onto his feet. Shed kept crying “He struck me first!” Someone standing by said: “Here is a man in the gutter!” Hugle was lying on his face. He was helped up and asked his name and replied, “I am John Hugle and that man shot me!” pointing to the spot where Shed was when he fell. He kept saying “The Shed shot me!” Witness, with the assistance of others, helped Hugle up to Dr. Steele’s office. When questioned Hugle said he was standing looking at the coach with his back turned toward Shed, and heard a voice say: “There is the S– — – b—-!” He turned and asked Shed if he meant him, when Shed fired.

Two physicians were examined, who both testified that, to the best of their belief, Hugle’s death was caused by the wound inflicted.

A Chinaman testified to having seen Shed with a pistol in his hand, after the shot was fired. He saw Hugle strike Shed, and then heard the report of the pistol.

Another witness testified that he was standing in the Cosmopolitan hotel when the coach drove up, and heard a pistol shot. Running out, he saw a man lying in the gutter, and with others helped him up. Hugle kept saying “The Shed shot me!” or “The Shed did it!” With others he assisted Hugle up into the doctor’s office.

The next witness said he was standing in the door of Webster’s store. He heard quick steps and supposed them to be those of passengers from the coach. Saw a flash and heard the report of a pistol. Saw one man fall on the walk and another in the gutter. After wards recognized the one who fell on the walk as Theodore Shed and the other as John Hugle.

The seventh witness testified to the facts stated by the preceding witness, and in addition said he saw the pistol in the hand of Theodore Shed while still smoking. He arrested Shed and lodged him in jail.

Another witness said he was in front of Webster’s, when the coach drove up. He continued: “I was walking down immediately behind Theodore Shed, a little to the right. John Hugle was standing looking into the coach, and when Shed was within about four feet of Hugle, the latter saw him and jumped toward him and struck him. Shed fired almost immediately after Hugle struck him. Hugle then staggered and fell into the gutter, bleeding badly from the head.” He did not see Shed fall, but heard him complain that his breast hurt him.

The last witness examined said he was in front of the Cosmopolitan when the coach stopped. Saw Hugle and Shed together. Hugle seemed to be going toward Shed, and Shed was backing. Was nearly behind Hugle. Saw pistol in Shed’s hand, heard the report, and was Hugle fall in the gutter and Shed fall on the walk. At first he thought Shed had shot himself, but on helping Hugle up saw he was bleeding from a wound near his nose.

The evidence being all taken, the jury, after deliberation, handed in the following verdict:

Helena Independent, The (Helena, Montana) Jun 28, 1882

Theo. Shed is said to be quite ill at the county jail. He has had an attack of hemorrhage, bleeding at the nose profusely, a complaint to which he has been subject for several years, it is understood.

Helena Independent, The (Helena, Montana) Jul 1, 1882

Theo. Shed’s Preliminary Hearing.

The preliminary hearing in the case of Theo. Shed for the killing of John Hugle began before the Probate Judge at the court house yesterday morning. Messrs. E.W. Toole and W.E. Cullen appeared for the defense, while District Attorney Lowry appeared for the prosecution, assisted by Hon. I.D. McCutcheon. Three witnesses were examined, but no new facts were elicited. Two or three important witnesses for the prosecution were yet to be brought into the court. One of these is a traveling man named Oberfelder, who was expected to be in Dillon last evening. Deputy sheriff Witten was sent after him early yesterday morning, and it will be two or three days before he will return. In view of this examination was adjourned over until Monday, the 10th inst., at 11 o’clock a.m. No evidence was introduced by the defense. Mr. Shed’s attorneys made an effort to have him admitted to bail pending examination, urging in that behalf the defendant’s poor health and the crowded condition of the jail, but Judge Davis held that under the circumstances such action would not be proper and so Shed was returned to jail to await the conclusion of the examination.

Helena Independent, The (Helena, Montana) Jul 8, 1882

SHED’S EXAMINATION.

It Was Concluded Yesterday Afternoon in the Probate Court.

The examination of Theodore Shed for shooting John Hugl was concluded in the Probate Court yesterday afternoon at 4:30. The evidence for the prosecution was concluded on Tuesday, and as it was the same in substance as that brought out at the inquest over Hugl’s body, we do not deem it worth while to publish it.

At convening of court yesterday morning evidence for the defense was introduced and was in substance as follows:

R.O. Hickman testified that he was a partner in the firm of Greenhood, Bohm & Co., and that he made his home in Virginia City. He said he generally came to Helena about four times each year, sometimes remaining here two months at a time. Witness said he had known the accused — Theodore Shed — as book-keeper in the employ of his firm for about three years. Said Shed’s character for sobriety, integrity and quietness was good. Did not know anything derogatory to the accused’s character as a peaceable man. Said Hugl had been in the firm’s employ for about five years. Had never heard anything against him except that he went on a spree occasionally. Mr. Greenhood had been requested last fall to discharge Hugl but did not do so.

C.P. Van Wart testified that on the evening of the 23d of June he walked up Main street about 9 o’clock in company with Shed. Their conversation was in regard to witness borrowing Shed’s horse to ride out to Tarleton & Breck’s ranch the next day. They stopped at Kessler’s and had some beer. Shed said he had an engagement to meet a friend at the Cosmopolitan and they walked down that way. Shed went into the hotel and witness stood looking at the Bozeman coach which had just arrived. While looking at the coach he heard a blow and then a shot. Turning around he saw Shed lying on the sidewalk and breathing hard. Witness asked Shed if he was shot and Shed answered, “My breast hurts me; I have been struck.” At first he thought it was Shed who was shot. He had known Shed several years and had always found him a peaceable, quiet gentleman.

William Simms testified that he had lived in Helena 13 years and had known Shed that long. He never knew anything derogatory to Shed’s character, but knew him as a peaceable, law-abiding citizen.

P.M. Atwood testified that on the night of the shooting he was standing in front of the Cosmopolitan hotel shortly after 9 o’clock, at the time the Bozeman coach came in. Hugl stood about four feet to the right of witness and Shed about three feet to his left. As soon as Hugl saw Shed he ran at him and struck him a hard blow on the breast. Shed staggered and immediately shot Hugl. Saw Hugl fall and witness first turned his attention to him. Then looked and saw Shed brushing the dust from his pants. Shed complained that his breast hurt him. Witness believed Hugl was the aggressor.

Samuel Schwab testified that on the evening in question he was in the office of the Cosmopolitan, sitting at the desk writing. Shed walked in and inquired for Max Oberfelder, a guest of the house. Told Shed that Oberfelder had gone away. Did not know whether Shed saw Oberfelder or not. When Oberfelder came in he told him Shed had called to see him, and Mr. O. then went to look for Shed. Pretty soon the Bozeman coach drew up in front and witness went to the door, when he heard some one remark: “Theo. Shed had shot somebody.”

J.W. Thompson testified that he had been book-keeper in the employ of Greenhood, Bohm & Co. for 18 months. Had known defendant as head book keeper for that firm. A revolver was kept in the cash drawer at Shed’s desk and Shed always put it in his pocket when he started home at night and would return it to the cash drawer in the morning.

Shed usually left the store at about half past nine o’clock, sometimes going straight home and sometimes taking a walk first. On the evening of the 23d of June Shed left the store shortly after nine o’clock. Said he was going to the Cosmopolitan to see Mr. Oberfelder. Shed then turned around to the cash drawer, took the pistol and put it into his pocket, and then left the store. The pistol belonged to Shed. It was a Colt’s six-shooter, 3-inch barrel, and was longer than a “bull-dog” pistol. Shed had carried the pistol about a year.

Tong Ling (Chinaman) testified that on the evening of the 23d of June he saw Hugl strike Shed after the coach came in. Hugl and Shed met again when Hugl hit Shed again.

Shed shot Hugl and Shed was taken off by a policeman. Saw Shed carry a pistol in his hand after the shot. Saw Hugl fall in the gutter and Shed fall on the sidewalk.

This closed the testimony for the defense.

There being no question as to Shed shooting Hugl, counsel then submitted argument on the question of admitting Shed to bail. Judge Davis decided that as no conclusive evidence had been produced as to Shed’s act being premeditated and with malice, he would therefore admit him to bail in the sum of $6,000 to appear at the next term of the district court for this county. Court then adjourned.

Shed had no difficulty in securing the required bond.

Helena Independent, The (Helena, Montana) Jul 13, 1882

Territory vs. Theodore Shed; defendant arraigned upon indictment for murder in the first degree; defendant to plead on November 18.

Helena Independent, The (Helena, Montana) Nov 17, 1882

Court Proceedings.

In the case of the Territory vs. Theodore Shed, it was ordered that the defendant be admitted to bail in the sum of $8,000.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) Nov 18, 1882

THE SHED TRIAL.

The Evidence All In — Nine O’Clock Monday Set for Hearing the Argument of Counsel.

The evidence in the Shed case (the accused being on trial for the killing of John Hugl) was all taken yesterday. The jury, as selected, is constituted as follows, to wit: Benjamin Benson, J.J. Ferrell, T.L. Hodge, O.C. Bundy, M.L. Geary, R.E. Sherry, A.F. Burns, David Blacker, N.A. Mattice, Robert Barnes, S.P. Kinna, and John Morris.

The evidence introduced by the prosecution contained no new features, although ten witnesses were examined, namely: Wm. Schollar, P.W. Atwood, N.H. Webster, W.L. Steele, Milt Witten, Geo. Jones, C.P. Van Wart, Romeo Reneuer, Herman Gans, and Mr. Blatner. The whole testimony of these witnesses may be summed up in a few words:

That Theodore Shed shot John Hugl, and that the affray took place on Main street almost in front of the Cosmopolitan Hotel. One of them testified that at the time the shot was fired Shed had his left arm raised as if to ward off a blow; another, that he heard a blow, and then the report of a pistol; and all, that after firing, Shed fell back upon the walk, while Hugl also fell.

Fourteen witnesses were called for the defense. T.J. Lowry testified that he had known the defendant for about seventeen years — in fact, ever since he (Shed) was quite a boy. He had always had the reputation of being a quiet and peaceable man, and also a very courteous one.

W.A. Chessman, W.K. Roberts, C.K. Wells, A.G. Clark, Major Davenport, Mr. Hartwell, L.F. Evans, R.C. Wallace, and Mr. Stanly testified substantially the same as Mr. Lowry, having known Shed from twelve to seventeen years, and always as a quiet and peaceable man.

Mrs. James McEvily had been acquainted with Mr. Shed for six years, having lived near him. He was not a strong man, and his health was not very good. While living neighbor to her he had had several attacks of hemorrhage of the lungs. Did  not know how violent these attacks were, but remembered having sent her boy for a doctor when Shed was taken with hemorrhage.

Michael Kelly testified to having been on Main street at the time of the difficulty between Shed and Hugl. Was within twenty or thirty feet of them, standing upon the sidewalk, He heard a shot and saw Shed fall. He ran to pick him up, but another gentleman got there first. Judged, from Shed’s appearance, that he was stunned. Asked Shed if he was hurt, and he replied, “He hit me.” A policeman then came up and took charge of Shed. Witness knew Mr. Hugl in his life time. He was about twenty-five years old, and probably five feet ten and a half inches high. He weighed probably 155 or 156 pounds. He was a strong man, there was no question about that. On cross examination Kelly stated that Shed fell at the instant the pistol flashed, and perhaps slightly before.

Dr. Steele testified to having known Shed for ten years, and that his reputation was good, he having never heard anything against him. Was acquainted with Shed’s physical condition. It was not very good. His chest was weak, and he had been addicted to hemorrhage of the lungs. After the difficulty with Hugl, Shed was coughing and spitting up blood. A stout muscular man, by striking him, would do him great bodily injury.

Mrs. Shed, (wife of the accused) testified that her husband’s physical condition had not been good for the past four or five years. In reference to the pistol spoken of, her husband always brought that home from the store with him. When he got home he would place it in the drawer, and in the morning would return it to his pocket. At night he always came home from the store after nine o’clock, and sometimes it was past ten o’clock.

This closed the testimony, and, as it was almost 4 o’clock in the afternoon the judge decided to postpone further proceeding in the case until Monday (to-morrow) at 9 o’clock, a.m., and court adjourned till that hour.

Helena Independent, The (Helena, Montana)Nov 18, 1883

NOT GUILTY.

The Jury in the Shed Case Acquit the Defendant of the Charge of Murder.

All of yesterday’s session of the district court was occupied in hearing the argument of counsel in the Shed case. The proceedings were opened at half past nine o’clock by I.D. McCutcheon, for the prosecution. Mr. McCutcheon spoke for half an hour, and was followed by E.W. Toole, for the defense, who spoke for an hour and twenty minutes, and he, in turn, was followed by Col. Sanders for the defense in an address of over an hour. An adjournment was then taken until two o’clock p.m., at which time Col. Johnston closed for the prosecution, and the case went to the jury at about half-past four o’clock.

The plea of the defense was that in shooting Hugl the accused acted entirely in self-defense. Ordinarily an assault without some deadly weapon is not held to be sufficient cause for killing an assailant, as in order to establish the plea of self-defense it is necessary to show that the accused was in danger of great bodily harm; but in this case, although Hugl displayed no weapon, it was asserted by the defense (and the testimony introduced by them established it as a fact) that Shed’s physical condition was such that a blow from a strong man (as Hugh proved to be) might prove fatal, and would at any rate probably result in great bodily harm. The testimony of the defense went to prove that Shed was weak about the chest, and was afflicted at times with hemorrhage of the lungs; also that Hugl was large, active, and powerful. It was proven also that Hugl was in the act of striking Shed (had probably already struck him) and that he and Shed both fell when the fatal {SHOT} was fired. After the affray Shed was troubled with his chest and with spitting blood, which went to prove that Hugl, although unarmed, actually was able to do Shed great bodily injury, and in fact had already done so — and at the time the shot was fired he was following Shed up in an aggressive manner. These facts once proven, any measure for defense became justifiable.

Judge Wade, in his charge to the jury, made this point clear, and instructed that if the jury found that the deceased was the aggressor and that the defendant had good reason for believing himself to be in danger of great bodily harm, and if the jury believed that he did think so, then they should acquit. This same point was covered by several separate charges in the Court’s instructions.

The jury retired at about half-past four o’clock, and court took a recess until a verdict should be arrived at — which was within about three hours, when the jury brought in a verdict of not guilty.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) Nov 20, 1883

Main St. Looking South - Helena Montana

Theodore Shed before the shooting:

Kiyus Saloon.

Those who delight in pure liquors and fine wines at reasonable prices should give the old established “Kiyus”, on Main street a call. Col. Shed, the proprietor, is known throughout the West for the superiority of his brands, and the remarkable fact that none but pure liquors are dispensed at this bar. It will also be seen by reference to his advertisement in another column that he has reduced his price to the hard times standard, of twelve and a half cents a drink. The “Kiyus” is therefore the place to obtain elegant beverages at reasonable rates.

The Helena Independent — 16 May 1876

Col. Shed, of the famous “Kiyus,” returned yesterday from a visit to Brewer’s Springs, visibly improved in health and appearance.

The Helena Independent — 30 Jul 1876

Theo. Shed has sold his interest in the trader’s store at the Missoula post to D.J. Welch of Williams & Co.

Helena Independent, The (Helena, Montana) Nov 4, 1877

Theo. Shed sold out his interest in the sutler’s store yesterday to Williams & Co. It is Theo.’s intention to return to Helena.

Helena Independent, The (Helena, Montana) Nov 6, 1877

Mr. Theodore Shed arrived here yesterday and has again taken charge of the Kiyus. There will be opened next Saturday an oyster department in connection with this establishment.

The Helena Independent — 22 Nov 1877

The head of the monster bear recently slaughtered by Theo. Shed while out hunting on Beaver Creek was on exhibition in Greenhood, Bohm & Co.’s counting room last evening. It was a formidable looking affair.

Helena Independent, The (Helena, Montana) Oct 20, 1881

A handsome nugget pin was won in a raffle at White Sulphur Springs last Monday by Theo. Shed.

Helena Independent, The (Helena, Montana) Feb 12, 1882

Philly Boy Kills for Candy

July 19, 2010

A Boy Murderer

PHILADELPHIA, March 11, 1878.

A very remarkable crime was committed in this city this evening. A boy of twelve years, with a precocious fiendishness which could scarcely be equalled by Jesse Pomeroy himself deliberately and in cold blood shot down and instantly killed a young playmate and companion of his own age. The affair has created the greatest excitement in the neighborhood in which it occurred, and hundreds of volunteers are helping the police to capture the youthful assassin, who cannot long evade arrest. The circumstances of the crime, as told by the young lads who witnessed it, seem to be as follows:

Robert McAdams, aged 12 years, whose parents live on a small street called Cambria street, near Lehigh avenue, was playing with six or eight other boys on Broad street, near the avenue, shortly after six this evening. McAdams had a piece of candy, which he was munching, when one of his playmates, Charles Parkman, aged 12 years, demanded a piece of the candy. McAdams refused. Thereupon Parkman said that if he did not give him some he would shoot him. McAdams still refused, and laughed, not dreaming apparently that Parkman was earnest in his threat.

Parkman then, without further warning, deliberately drew from his pocket a small, cheap revolver, and advancing close to his little companion, placed the muzzle near his forehead and fired. The boy dropped to the pavement and died almost instantly, with a bullet in his brain. The young assassin dropped his pistol and fled as his victim expired, the youthful witnesses having been too nearly paralyzed with surprise and fear to interfere.

Parkman, the boy murderer, has not yet been captured, but he probably will be before morning. He is said to have a very bad reputation in the neighborhood and to be generally regarded as a bad boy. His parents are neighbors of the McAdams people, and both families are respectable people in humble circumstances.

The Daily Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Mar 15, 1878

Divine Command Leads to Death Before Vengeance

July 12, 2010

Lutheran Church (Image from http://www.parkersprairie.net)

KILLS WIFE AND CHILDREN

Minnesota Farmer Says He Received a Divine Command.

FERGUS FALLS, Minn., Feb. 4. — William Ruckheim, a farmer, aged thirty-five years, murdered his wife and four children and shot himself last night at Parkers prairie. He was found dying when his son went to the farm today. Ruckheim is believed to have been temporarily insane.

Saying that he had received a divine command to proceed to a certain graveyard, where he and his family were to exhume several bodies, using only their bare hands, partly explains the tragedy. Unless this command were carried out before Easter, Ruckheim said, he and his family would be dragged to death.

After examining the graveyard and finding that it would be impossible to perform the task on account of frozen ground Ruckheim said he killed his family to escape divine vengeance.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Feb 5, 1910

1905 Effington, Otter Tail Co., MN - State Census

William Ruckheim, who was from Germany, wife Bertha, daughters Martha and Elza, and son, Albert. All are listed in the Minnesota death records index as dying on Feb. 4, 1910.

Joseph Damon – A Murderer Swung Twice

June 21, 2010

AN EXECUTION.

A man named JOSEPH DAMON, was executed at Mayville, Chautauque county, New York, on the fifteenth ult. for the murder of his wife.

He walked from the jail to the gallows, ascended the scaffold unassisted and with a firm step, and remained calmly seated there, while a sermon was delivered by a clergyman. He then rose and addressed the assembly in a speech of about thirty minutes, being for the most part a repetition of previous statements, that witnesses had sworn falsely, and that if his wife came to her death by his hands he must have been insane, as he had no recollection of committing any act of violence toward her.

Having shaken hands with the officers and gentlemen on the scaffold, the halter being adjusted and the cap drawn over his face, he was swung off, but the rope slipping from its fastness on the beam above, he dropped upon the ground with but little or no injury to himself. —

He merely observed that he wished they would loosen the rope around his neck as he “wanted to breathe once more.”

The sheriff complied with his wish, and Damon re-ascended the scaffold, and, during the adjustment of the rope the second time, he intreated, “that is be done quick.”

He was then swung off the second time, and thus, with a few struggles, closed the career of Joseph Damon. It is stated that about fifteen thousand persons witnessed the execution!

The Peoples Press (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Jun 5, 1835

Fredonia, NY (Image from http://imagesofwny.com)

OLD TIME HANGINGS.

Executions In Those Days Caused Much Interest — Witnessed By Large Crowds.

The executions of the present are very different from those of 75 or 80 years ago. In those days the affair was public and always attracted large crowds. In the Jamestown Journal of last week, was a description of the hanging of Joseph Damon at Mayville on May 15, 1835, as told by the late Henry S. Aiden, shortly before his last illness, he being an eye-witness to the affair:

Mr. Aiden was then a boy about 14 years old and like hundreds of others was early on the ground to see and hear all that took place. It became a holiday for the people of Chautauque county. From every point of hte compass came wagon loads of men, women and children, all hurrying to reach Mayville. Not one in that crowd by look or tune showed any sign of the solemnity of the occasion.

A wagon, containing a coffin was backed up to the jail door. At the appointed time with a slow step Mr. Damon, attended by officers, came out and was helped to a seat in the wagon. The state guards had been called out for the occasion and were drawn up in two lines, one on either side of he wagon with a band, consisting of fife and muffled drums.

When all was in readiness the musicians played what has since been known as Damon’s March and led the way to the scaffold, erected on the hillside near the present site of the high school building. The guard formed a circle about the scaffold and stood with fixed bayonets. Rev. Sawyer preached the funeral sermon from Prov. 11:19. Mr. Damon listened with marked attention and at its close made some remarks, warning the young to abstain from intoxicating drink.

Assisted by Sheriff Saxton and other officers the prisoner was led up four or five steps and placed on the trap, the rope adjusted and the trap sprung. The falling of the body followed by the cry: “You have hung me once, now let me go,” unnerved the boy of 14 years and when the rope was again adjusted he could bear the sight no longer and turned his face away.

While he was being jostled about in the crowd which he said was the largest he had ever seen, he heard two men discussing the scene. One remarked that he thought it a pretty poor place for women and children. The remark was overheard by a woman who snarled in a not very pleasing tone:

“I have just as good a right here as you have.”

The crowd dispersed, the first execution in the county completed, and the last public execution in the state.

The body was turned over to three men who represented the family and who started in a two-horse wagon for some point in the northern part of the county.

Eight miles from Mayville the three men became thirsty and stopping at the John West tavern refreshed themselves with a liberal supply of whiskey.

LeRoy Gazette (LeRoy, New York) Jun 22, 1908

The first murder trial to be held in the county did not come until 1834, more than thirty years after the first settlement, and was one of the last trials to be held in the old court house. On the 24th day of April, 1834, Doctors Walworth and Crosby, of Fredonia, were called to the residence of Joseph Damon, about three miles from the village. There a terrible tragedy had been enacted. The wife of Joseph Damon was found on a bed with face, hair and pillow on which she lay stiff with her clotted blood. The blood smeared fire poker, which then stood near the fireplace, was unmistakable evidence of the instrument used to commit the horrible deed.

Damon’s trial occured on September 22, 1834. Judge Addison presided, with Hon. Philo Orton, Thomas B. Campbell, Benjamin Walworth and Artemus Herrick, judges of the county court, as associates. Samuel A. Brown, district attorney, and Sheldon Smith, of Buffalo, appeared as counsel for the People, while the prisoner was defended by James Mullett and Jacob Houghton, of Fredonia. Damon was convicted, and sentence of death was pronounced at the oyer and terminer held in March, 1935.

On the 15th of May following, a gallows had been erected in the open field at Mayville, on the west declivity of the hill, not far from the present Union school building. The sheriff, William Saxton, called out the Two Hundred Seventh regiment of the militia, with William D. Bond in command, to serve as a guard on this occasion. A public execution took place; men, women and children from all part of the county came to witness the scene on foot, horseback, and in wagons, the day having been made a general holiday; the number of spectators was estimated at from eight to fifteen thousand. When the drop fell, the fastenings of the rope broke away, and Damon fell to the ground.

He then appealed to the sheriff to postpone the execution, but public sentiment had not reached the deep aversion to legal public executions, and the rope was readjusted and the hanging was completed. This was the last public execution to take place in Chautauqua county.

Title: Legal and Judicial History of New York, Volume 3
Authors: Lyman Horace Weeks, John Hampden Dougherty
Editor: Alden Chester
Publisher: National Americana society, 1911
Pages 305-306 (Google book LINK)

Accused of Murder; Let Off the Hook

June 14, 2010

Distressing Affair.

A short time since we were called upon to notice a serious affair which transpired near the line that divides this state from Pennsylvania, and it now becomes our painful duty to relate another, which has occurred in the same vicinity, of a still more distressing and bloody nature. From all we have heard of the transaction, we believe the following statement to be correct.

On Thursday, the 25th March, Mr. Scott, a deputy sheriff of the county of Warren (Pa.) went to the house of Mr. Jacob Hook, (about four miles from the village of Warren,) for the purpose of arresting him on a charge of perjury; but Hook refusing to go with him, Mr. Scott returned to the village and procured five men to go with him to arrest Hook & bring him away by force. It was evening when they reached the house, the door of which they found fastened, and on demanding admittance, Hook desired to know who was there, and when informed, he told them to keep away, and that if they entered he would be the death of them. Upon this, the officer pushed against the door with such force as to break it suddenly open, and he fell on the floor — two men followed close upon him, when a gun, loaded with four or five leaden slugs was discharged at them, three of which passed through the arm of the second man, (Mr. Perry G. Sherman,) and entered the body of the third, (Mr. ____ Wallace,) who fell and expired without uttering a groan. The accidental falling of Mr. Scott when the door flew open, was undoubtedly the means of saving his own life.

It being dark, the deceased and the wounded man were immediately taken to a neighboring house, and three men stationed to watch the house of Hook during the night. It appeared that he did not know until morning that he had killed any one; as he was observed to come to the door in the night with a candle, and remarked that he believed he had wounded somebody, as there was blood on the steps. He was secured the next morning.

Hook is an old bachelor, and there was no person in the house with him, except a woman whom he kept. He is said to be worth twenty thousand dollars. For justice sake, and the reputation of the county of Warren, we hope he will not be suffered to escape the punishment which his crime justly deserves.

N.Y. Censor.

The Sandusky Clarion (Sandusky, Ohio) Apr 14, 1824

River Rafts Warren PA (Image from http://wiki.cincinnatilibrary.org)

From the Venango Deomcrat.

LAW INTELLIGENCE.

The trial of Jacob Hook, for the murder of Caleb Wallace, came on in the Court of Oyer and Terminer of Warren county, on Wednesday morning the 2d inst. and continued until Sunday evening. It was an interesting trial and produced considerable legal discussion, and the facts, as they turned out in evidence, were much in the defendant’s favor. —

It appeared that Asa Scott, who had collected a party, among whom was the deceased, to arrest the defendant on the 25th of March last, had no legal authority to arrest him. —

That defendant had expressed great anxiety and apprehension of danger that evening, on the arrival of the party who were some of them armed, believing that most of the party were inimical to him — that he had warned and entreated them not to attempt to take him, that he would resist them if they attempted to break open the door; that about 9 o’clock at night the party broke open the door, and immediately a gun was discharged in the house, and Caleb Wallace, who was one of the party, received the principal part of the contents in his breast and died immediately.

The legal discussion turned principally upon the validity of a warrant issued by a justice of the peace without stating an offence upon the face of it, and a general deputation given by the sheriff of the county to Asa Scott, to serve precepts directed to him.

The charge of the Court closed about sundown on Sunday evening, and the jury in about an hour returned a verdict of “not guilty.”

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Jun 23, 1824

Allegheny River - Warren, PA

From the Cranford Messenger.

TRIAL OF JACOB HOOK.

At the court of oyer and terminer which was held at Warren last week, came on for trial the indictment of Jacob Hook, for the killing of Benjamin Wallis; and after a hearing of several days, the case was submitted to the jury, who after retiring and consulting about twenty minutes, returned a verdict of not guilty.

The circumstances of the case, as we have hear them stated, were thus. A warrant to arrest Hook had been issued by a magistrate, directed to the sheriff; which had not been delivered to the sheriff for execution, but to Asa Scott, the coroner of the county, and who acted, also, sometimes as a kind of deputy to the sheriff. He went on the 25th of March to arrest Hook, who lived about four miles from Warren. Hook would not allow him to arrest him, denying his authority, and alleging the whole proceedings to be an illegal attempt to injure and ill-treat him by a combination of persons hostile to him, of whom he stated Scott to be one; but that he would submit to the arrest of the sheriff, or of the constable. Scott went back to Warren for assistance, and returned to Hook’s after dark with several persons in company and found his house locked.

After informing Hook of the object of their coming, and demanding admittance, and he refusing, they broke open the door; and in the doing of which a gun was fired by Hook, as was understood, and Wallis killed, and another of the company wounded. Upon the trial the court decided that the deputation under which Scott professed to act was illegal, and gave him no authority to execute the warrant against Hook, even if the warrant was good, to which there were several objections raised, but which the court thought unnecessary to decide.

The case then resolved itself into an unauthorised attempt of several armed persons to break open and enter Hook’s house against his will, after dark — and upon the illegality of the attempt, and the legal right of Hook to resist it, (the moral right could not come in question,) we understand the acquittal took place.

The case excited great interest not only in the county, but elsewhere. There were seven counsel for the prosecution, and for the defendant six; among whom were Mr. Baldwin, of Pittsburg, and Mr. Farrelly, of this place.

The Sandusky Clarion (Sandusky, Ohio) Jul 7, 1824

FRANKLIN, Pa. June 15.

Suicide. — On Wednesday morning last, a man named Jared Dunn, a very respectable citizen of Warren county, put an end to his existence by hanging himself in his own barn.

It appears he was subject to a weakness of mind when anything troubled him, from an injury he had once received in the skull; and had the misfortune to be called on the jury in the case of Jacob Hook, for life and death, who was acquitted, but some of his enemies had the imprudence to cast reflections on Mr. Dunn as to the decision of the jury, which is supposed to have been the cause of his committing this horrid act.

He has left a wife and seven children to mourn his untimely end.

Democrat.

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Jun 30, 1824

Trial of Jacob Hook.

It has already been stated in the papers, that Jacob Hook, a rich man in the western part of Pennsylvania, who committed a most bloody murder a few months since, has been tried and acquitted. His acquittal was received with great amazement by the public, although the anticipations of some were realized.

The New-York Censor, published in Chautauque county, explains the matter by stating that ‘the most abominable corruption was exhibited at his trial, and which reflects nothing but disgrace on the judge and jury who tried him.

As a serious confirmation of this, we have to state, that one of the jurymen, a Mr. Jared Dunn, who has heretofore been considered a respectable man, committed suicide on the morning after the trial. He was heard to say, before his death, that he had been guilty of perjury by means of bribery, and that he might as well die as live. On being asked how much money he received, he replied that he had received no more than the rest of the jury. Mr. Dunn’s wife found a sum of money which she could not tell how or where he received.

It is currently reported that Judge Moore, who presided at the trial, also received a large sum of money from Hook; but this, by some, is not believed.

Hook, since his trial, appears haughty and impudent. We should not be surprised if the effusion of blood did not stop here.”

N.Y. Eve. Post.

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Jul 7, 1824

Among the earlier settlers and most enterprising lumbermen of the county was Jacob Hook, better known, perhaps, as “Jake Hook.” He emigrated either from Boston or Main somewhere about the year 1798, bring with him, as his stock in trade, a package of the bills of some bank that had failed so recently “down east,” that Jake had time to circulate his bills here before the failure became known. This served to start him; and eventually, by dint of sharp bargains and hard work, rolling saw logs, digging mill-races, and other speculations appurtenant to a lumber country, Jake arrived to the dignity of owning more mills and running more lumber than any other man in the county.

In connection with some of his speculations, the charge of perjury had been fastened upon him, and he had made himself extremely obnoxious to many of the citizens. A party attempted to arrest him for trial, and he killed one of them in the affray, — was tried for his life, but escaped by an informality in the legal proceedings.

The following is from the New York Censor, copied into the Conewango Emigrant of 21st July, 1824.

“It was proved on this trial that seven men, headed by one Asa Scott, went to the house of Hook, about 4 miles above Warren, on the left bank of the Allegheny, between sunset and dark on the 25th March, for the avowed purpose of taking Hook to Warren that night. They all admitted that they intended to use force, if necessary. One stated that they meant to take him at all events. These persons were inimical to Hook with one or two exceptions, and had with them one or two loaded rifles. On arriving at Hook’s they found his door fastened. One of the company endeavored to prevail on him to surrender; but he refused, alleging that he feared to trust himself with such men.

“About 9 o’clock, Scott and his followers went to the house and demanded admittance; but he persisted in stating that he considered himself in danger, and that he looked upon them as a mob. Scott also stated, that on his demanding admittance, Hook informed him, by a token peculiar to a particular society, that he was in danger, and that he (Scot) assured him that he would be safe. Scott immediately burst open the outer door with considerable violence; and almost at the same instant a gun was fired off within the house, by which one of the assailants (Caleb Wallace) was killed, and another wounded. On the trial, the counsel for the prosecution attempted to show that Scott was a deputy sheriff, and had a legal warrant on Hook for perjury. The court, however, on examining the deputation under which he pretended to act, decided that it was void, and gave him no authority.”

Hook was acquitted on that ground.

He had always been at sword’s point with the Warren people, and this affair had no tendency to heal the breach.

He died about 1829 or ’30.

Title: Historical Collections of the State of Pennsylvania
Author: Sherman Day
Publisher: G. W. Gorton, 1843
Pages 648-649
(Google book LINK)

Conewango Creek - North Warren, PA (Image from jenn1872 picasweb.google.com)

ERROR to the Common Pleas of Warren county.

This was an action on the case by Silas Lacy against Lewis Arnett and r.S. Orr, for maintaining a mill-dam in the Conewango creek, a short distance above its confluence with the Allegheny river, whereby the plaintiff’s lands were overflowed.

The mills and dam was of a temporary character, intended for driving a saw-mill. In 1818 or 1819, they were owned by James Arthurs; and Jacob Hook was the owner of the land now vested in the plaintiff, and in respect to which this action was brought.

James Arthurs testified that, at this time, “Hook asked me, one day, what I’d say, if he’d pull down that dam some day, or what I’d give him for the privilege of attaching the dam to his land, and of the water; I told him I would give my horse, saddle, &c.; he said, It’s a bargain, and I gave them to him.”

Title:  Pennsylvania state reports, Volume 33
Author: Pennsylvania. Supreme Court
Publisher: West Pub. Co., 1859
Lacy versus Arnett et al. – Page 169

Jacob Hook owned all the land along the creek, including the entire site of Glade City, before 1816, though he lived at his saw-mill across the river in Mead. This mill, which had five saws, was one of the largest mills on the Allegheny River at that day. In 1819 he built the large barn now standing on the farm of Guy C. Irvine. He died at Pittsburgh in 1827, while there on business. At that time he was one of the most extensive of the lumbermen in the entire State. He owned also a quarter interest in the old Pittsburgh bridge. He was a brother of Orren Hook, who will be mentioned in a later page. The family came from New Hampshire. He was a bachelor, and at the time of his death was in the prime of life. Another brother, Moses, owned his mill after his death, and later still transferred it to Orren Hook, who in turn operated it until it went down. The property is now known as Wardwell’s, and it is the center of quite an oil field.

H I S T O R Y OF WARREN COUNTY PENNSYLVANIA
Edited by J.S. Schenck, assisted by W.S. Rann;
Syracuse, N.Y.; D Mason & Co., Publishers; 1887
CHAPTER XLVIII. HISTORY OF GLADE TOWNSHIP.

Borough of Warren PA

A FEW REMINISCENCES
Of Warren’s Early History by an Old Resident.

Some Historical Data Which Will be of Interest to the Present Generation — Personal Reminiscences by the Late James H. Eddy, who Remembered When Warren was a Village of a Half Dozen Buildings.

The first jail was built of hewed logs, was located about where Hon. W.M. Lindsey’s house now stands on Market street, and had a yard adjoining it, surrounded by a palisade of oak logs set on end in the ground, sharpened at the top and about twenty feet high. Capt. Asa Winter and his son Elihu cut the logs for the jail and palisade on Tanner’s hill and hauled them down with oxen. Capt. Winter then owned and occupied the farm this side of North Warren now owned by the Hon. L.D. Wetmore.

Daniel Jackson was said to be the first white settler in Warren county. When he first came here, he camped on Jackson Run where he built his mill about 1794 or 1795. About the only mill irons then used, were the end of the dog with a socket for a wooden bar, a very few light ones for the carriage, and the saw, all other parts of the mill were taken from the forest. Jackson was a great hunter, lumbered a good deal and ran lumber cut at his mill, down the river to Southern markets. As far back as I can recollect, John King, father of Hon. R.P. King, was lumbering and farming, and was a river man canoeing goods and provisions up the river to Warren from Pittsburg the nearest source of supplies.

Joseph Mead, father of Boon Mead, was farming Mead’s island and the farm adjacent below Warren. About 1818 or 1819 James Stuart and Robert Arthur built a mill near where Bartch Bros. Wagon shop now stands, between Liberty and Market streets, and ran the dam across the Conewango creek from that point to the island. I ran across that dam many times, barefooted, when a boy, while they were building it and afterwards. Both Stuart and Arthur afterwards sold out and went to Illinois. Lathrop G. Parmlee came to Warren and started a store in the bar room of a hotel kept in the Daniel Jackson house where the rear part of the Citizen’s National Bank Building stands.

Parmlee must have been very early for leaves from the day book kept by him through the months of January and February, 1815, were lately found in the garret of Chas. Dinsmoore’s house by carpenters making repairs. Parmlee afterwards opened a store below where the Carver House now stands. Lathrop G. Parmlee was the father of Hon. L.T. Parmlee, and G.N. Parmlee. Arichibold Tanner was in business very early and built the store now occupied by Andrew Ruhlman, for a ware house where supplies from Pittsburgh were received and stored for himself, and the public generally until called for.

In early days no attorneys lived in Warren, but came from Meadville to attend Court here, finally two attorneys came to Warren, rented a little building where the Exchage Block now stands, of John Hackney, and prepared to practice law. To occupy their time they wrote for and edited a little paper published here, and at one time in the paper reflected somewhat upon Archibold Tanner. A few nights afterward a little cannon heavily loaded was shot off next to their office, tearing away a good share of that side of the office; the next day the attorneys left the town and the people were without legal counsel for some time.

Jacob Hook purchased a mill at an early day at what is now called Wardwell, enlarged it and put in five saws and carriages, a remarkable enterprise for those days. As early as I can recollect, Jacob Hook was the most extensive lumber manufacturer in this vicinity. I pulled an oar on one of his rafts from his mill to Cincinnati in 1830.

What is now the principal part of Cincinnati was then corn fields. Hook owned about all of the land along the river from Warren to Corydon, including some of the finest of the Kinzua flats. He was an energetic, able man, engrossed entirely in his business, but was continually annoyed by a class of mischief loving practical jokers who exerted themselves much more in attending to other peoples business than in their ow avocations.

In March of 1824 or thereabouts, Mr. Hook had been brought to Warren as defendant in some frivolous litigation every day in the week until Saturday, and a warrant was issued for his arrest on Saturday, on some far-fetched complaint so as to fill out the week. When the officer went to Hook’s mill late on Saturday, Hook not relishing the prospect of lying in jail over Sunday, said he would appear on Monday, but would not go that night. Deputy Sheriff Asa Scott summoned a posse to take him; Hook locked his door and threatened to shoot them if they broke in. The posse broke in the door; Scott being first, fell headlong when the door gave way. Hook fired a slug or bullet which passed above Scott, through Perry Sherman’s arm, and then through the body of Caleb Wallace, instantly killing him.

Hook was arrested, and tried for murder in a house on the corner of 5th and Market streets where the house of William Scott is now located.

Several other boys and myself took seats upon the beams of the house over the heads of the people attending the trial, and were attentive spectators during the whole trial. My father rode horseback to Pittsburg to employ an attorney to defend Hook. He secured the service of Henry Baldwin, afterwards Judge Baldwin, and paid him three hundred dollars in gold for attending the trial. The warrant was irregular, had no seal after the magistrate’s name, and Hook was acquitted. Public opinion was quite strongly in Hook’s favor. Judge Jesse Moore presided at the trial with associates Connely of Brokenstraw, and Hackney of Warren, grandfather of A.T. Hackney, upon the bench.”

PERRY D. CLARK.

The Evening Democrat (Warren, Pennsylvania) Apr 25, 1894

Glade, Pennsylvania (Image from http://explorepahistory.com)

An Old Landmark Gone.

One of the old landmarks of this section is being torn town. The old Hook barn, known as such 60 years ago, on the Andrew Irvine farm is being removed to what was known as the Chapman farm on the Little Glade Run. This barn was built by Jacob Hook in 1819, on the road leading from Glade Run to Warren. It was built some years before the one on the Struthers farm. Andrew Irvine bought the property in 1835 and built the house now occupied by Guy C. Irvine. At the time the house was built it was the only one between the bridge and Glade Run and the land surrounding was nearly all covered with woods.

OLD TIMER.

The Evening Democrat (Warren, Pennsylvania) Jun 4, 1894