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History of Livingston County
from The History of Caldwell and Livingston Counties, Missouri. 1886
Murder of James Gordon - Miscellaneous Cases of Homicide, Including D.
Morrison, Festus Joyce, Geo. Cross, "Nigger Sam," Thos. M. Boyles,
Thos. K. Conn and Thos. Florence - The Case of Wm. Curtis, - Killing of Henry
Gamble - Newton J. Eads - Green Shepherd - The Attempted Robbery of the People's
Bank and Death of Smith Rambo - Miscellaneous Tragedies and Casualties -
Suicides - Killed by the Railroads.
An incident of note in the history of the county prior to the Civil War was
the killing of James Gordon by Henry Martin, on the 6th of April, 1858. Both
were farmers and the heads of families and both were of near middle age. Martin
was a poor man and lived 10 miles northeast of Chillicothe. Gordon was a farmer
in easy circumstances and resided only a few miles northeast of town. There was
a bad feeling between the two, and this was the cause of the tragedy.
At the time of the tragedy circuit court was in session and both men were in
town. They met and quarreled. In the evening Mr. Gordon and his hired man, named
Musselman, started for home, both on horseback, Musselman carrying a plow. Soon
afterwards Martin and one or two companions also left for home, on horseback,
riding rapidly. It was charged that they were in pursuit of Gordon. About one
mile north of town they came up with Gordon and Musselman and the quarrel was
Presently Martin jumped from his horse and drawing a pistol fired and shot
Gordon from his saddle, killing him outright. Martin and his friends alleged
that just prior to the shooting Gordon had ridden up and drawing a knife said to
Martin, with an oath, "I'll cut your heart out." The dead man was
found with a half open knife clasped in his hand. Martin hastened home. The
alarm was given and the sheriff with a considerable posse went out and
arrested him at his house, meeting with no resistance, and brought him to
One of the sheriff's posse was Chas. H. Mansur, then a young lawyer
without much experience or business. On the road from Martin's house to town the
prisoner retained Mansur as his counsel. The preliminary examination before a
Chillicothe magistrate resulted in committing Martin to jail to await the action
of the grand jury. The jail at Chillicothe being insecure he was sent to Linneus
for safe keeping.
A few days thereafter, matters having been arranged with the five brothers of
the prisoner, Mr. Mansur went to Linneus, sued out a writ of habeas corpus before
Judge Florence, of the Linn county court, and on account of some informality in
the commitment proceedings the prisoner was discharged. Martin had friends on
the ground, who as soon as he was released, and before he could be rearrested,
furnished him with a good horse and saddle, some money, and a razor with which
to shave off his long heavy beard. Under their directions he went east on the
Bloomington road a short distance, then turned northeast and finally reached
Minnesota, where he halted and made a new home. In a year or more his wife and
family joined him. He was never apprehended.
There was great indignation throughout the county at Martin's escape. A party
in Linneus followed and tried to overtake him, and had they done so it would
have gone hard with him. In Chillicothe not only the accused, but his counsel
was greatly denounced, the latter for his shrewd efforts in behalf of his
client, which efforts it was considered were unjustifiable under the
circumstances. This was the first murder case in which Mr. Mansur was employed.
In the habeas corpus proceedings Col. Mansur was assisted by Hon.
Jacob Smith, of Linneus.
During the war there were two cases of homicide in Chillicothe. September 6,
1864, D. Morrison was killed at the military hospital by Frank Bradford and
others. Morrison was shot through the shoulder and hand and in other portions of
August 2, 1868, T. J. Garr shot and killed Festus Joyce on the southeast
corner of the square. The killing was altogether justifiable. Joyce, who was a
large stalwart Irishman, was intoxicated and made a violent and unprovoked
attack on Garr. The body of Joyce was buried in the old Catholic cemetery, south
of the railroad track. Garr was never arrested.
Jacob Crouch shot George Cross, September 4, 1865, in Bull & Cooper's
dramshop, in Chillicothe.
January 27, 1866, a negro named Sam was shot and killed by Wm. Jourdan, a
mile and a half east of Spring Hill. Sam had served in the Federal army; Jourdan
had been a Confederate soldier. The two were riding in a sleigh homeward from
Chillicothe, and both were under the influence of liquor. Each was relating his
military experience, and Jourdan referred to the fact that his brother James had
been killed while in the Confederate service. The negro then spoke up and said,
"Yes, Bill, and I killed him. I am the very man. He was wounded and leaning
against a tree when I came along and bored a hole through him and he dropped
dead." This reply of the negro's, made in a half boastful, half insolent
manner, greatly enraged Jourdan, and drawing his revolver be shot Sam through
the breast and he died in the sleigh. The body was taken out at and buried from
Thos. Hoy's; at the time of his death Sam was in the employ of Wm. Hill. The
negro's story was wholly untrue; it is not probable that he was ever under fire.
His drunken boast, however, cost him his life. Jourdan left the country and was
Thos. M. Bayles was shot and killed by Constable Wm. H. Dudley, in
Chillicothe, December 24, 1867. Bayles was a young man and was under arrest for
stealing clothing. The constable was taking him to jail when he attempted to
escape. Refusing to halt when ordered, the constable shot him down.
September 28, 1872, Thos. Fox, a policeman, shot and killed Thos. K. Conn, in
Hale's saloon, Chillicothe. Conn was a well-to-do business man, the projector of
the additions to the town bearing his name, and was well known. He was, however
a man of violent temper, and between him and Fox there was a feud existing. On
the occasion of his death Conn was in the saloon and had been drinking to some
extent. Fox was present and Conn made a savage attack upon him, striking him on
the head with a heavy whisky bottle, inflicting severe cuts and bruises. The two
men clinched and during the struggle Fox shot his antagonist. Notwithstanding
all the facts indicated that Fox had acted in self-defense, he was indicted and
tried. Conn's widow saw to it that he was vigorously prosecuted, but on his
trial, in June, 1873, he was acquitted.
On the 14th of August, 1875, George F. Bell killed Thomas Florence, in the
southern part of Fairview township, near the Carroll line. For some time Bell
had suspected an illicit intimacy between his wife and Florence, and had warned
the latter to keep off his premises. Bell went to Chillicothe and purchased a
pistol. Secreting himself near his house on his return, he soon saw Florence,
who came to the house, believing, no doubt, that Bell was absent. Florence was
at the well when Bell came upon him with his revolver, and at once fled, Bell in
pursuit firing rapidly. At last Bell got in a dead shot and Florence fell. In
October Bell was indicted in this county, but on being arraigned he took a
change of venue, and his case was sent to Carroll county, where he was tried and
On the night of July 27, 1878, Charles Powell, a young man living in
Chillicothe, was stabbed and mortally wounded in a house of bad reputation kept
by a Mrs. Aull, in the southeastern part of town. At the time four other young
men were in the house, two of whom were Wm. Curtis, and a man named Stoner. At
first Powell stated that Stoner did the stabbing, but soon charged Curtis with
the deed, and there being certain corroborating evidence, the latter was
arrested, and in September following was indicted for murder in the first
degree, Powell having died from his wounds.
In February, 1879, Curtis was tried at Chillicothe, and the jury disagreed.
Although the fact of the disagreement is indisputable, and everywhere admitted,
yet, through the neglect of the clerk to record it in due form, it nowhere
appears among the records of our circuit court. The only further entry in the
records of the cause after the jury had retired was made March 11, when the case
was continued. As a matter of fact, the case was continued after the jury
disagreed, but the records do not show it. For anything they show the jury was
never discharged. At the May term, 1879, Curtis was convicted of murder in the
second degree and sentenced to ten years in the penitentiary. He appealed to the
Supreme Court, and that tribunal reversed the decision and granted him a new
trial. (See 70 Mo., p. 594. )
In the meantime a new circuit judge had been elected, and the newly elected
judge, having been the former prosecuting attorney, declared himself
incapacitated to try the case, and ordered the election of a special judge.
Jonas J. Clark was selected as such special judge. A change of venue was taken,
and in June, 1881, the case came before Judge Clark at Kingston, Caldwell
county. When the case was called Curtis' attorney moved for the prisoner's
discharge, on the ground that the record did not show but that the first jury
was still trying the case, or else had acquitted the prisoner, and that his life
and liberty were being placed in jeopardy the second time, in violation of the
State and Federal constitutions. Judge Clark sustained the motion and the
prisoner was discharged. The judge was widely criticized for his opinion, but it
would seem to be grounded in law and precedent.
The case attracted a great deal of attention at the time of its final
disposition, and the decision was the subject of much comment among the lawyers.
It can hardly be understood that a mere bawdy-house brawl should have attained
such distinction. Of course, Curtis was not discharged on the real merits of the
case; the question of his guilt is not settled, and under the circumstances
never will be.
September 10, 1876, John A. Wingo shot and killed Henry Gamble, at Mr.
Caldwell's house, near Spring Hill. Both men were drunk at the time. That day
they were hunting together and were friendly, and there had been no
previous quarrel between them. Returning from the hunt in a drunken condition
they repaired to Caldwell's house. Wingo went in the house and lay down on a
lounge. Gamble and Caldwell were outside, both seated, and began talking
together about, Wingo, in a maudlin way. Wingo overheard the conversation and
started up, swearing that nobody should talk about him in that way. Going out of
doors he accosted Gamble who, without rising, fired at Wingo, wounding him in
the legs. Wingo then shot and killed Gamble. It was a matter of some controversy
as to who shot first, but it was finally concluded that Gamble did.
Wingo was arrested and indicted for murder in the second degree, and twice
tried. Upon his first trial, January 25, 1877, he was convicted and sentenced to
the penitentiary for ten years; on appeal the Supreme Court reversed the
judgment and remanded the case for a new trial. (See 66 Mo. Reports, p. 181.) On
the second trial, May 29, 1878, Wingo was again convicted and sentenced to the
penitentiary for ten years; but Judge Broaddus, before whom the case was tried,
granted a new trial. The case was then continued from time to time until
Prosecuting Attorney J. M. Davis entered a nolle prosequi and the
prisoner was discharged.
On the evening of October 6, 1877, Jesse Offield shot and killed his cousin,
Newton J. Eads, in Jackson township, west of Spring Hill. The two were grandsons
of James Hicks, Sr. Offield had at one time been in charge of Mr. Hicks' farm,
but had been removed and his place filled by Newton Eads; the latter was
unmarried. An ill feeling had grown up between the two cousins. Offield's mules
had trespassed on Hicks' premises, and Eads had turned them out.
The same evening Eads and a young relative started to attend a party in the
neighborhood. Their route lay in the direction of Offield's house. Offield was
lying in wait with a gun, and when Eads and his companion came near called out:
"Who turned my mules out?" Eads answered, "I did." Offield
rejoined, "I'll give you turning mules out," and fired. Eads fell, and
exclaimed, "Jesse, you have killed me." Offield, who had come up near
the prostrate man, said, "I don't care if I have," and passed on. He
afterwards declared that Eads had made a motion as if to draw a revolver, but no
weapon was found on Eads' person. The latter made his way back to his
grandfather's and died the next day.
Offield secreted himself for several days, but was arrested and indicted. In
May, 1878, he was tried and convicted of murder in the second degree and
sentenced to 15 years' confinement in the penitentiary. Judge Broaddus set aside
the verdict and granted another trial. The latter came off in February, 1879,
and all the evidence went to prove a guilt of murder in the first degree;
but the judge's instructions compelled the jury to acquit the prisoner, and he
was released, the jury believing him guilty in the first degree, but a
conviction to that extent being impossible under the circumstances.
On Christmas, 1883, Lewis Waller stabbed Green Shepherd in an altercation at
a dance of colored persons in Chillicothe. Both men were negroes. The wound
caused Shepherd's death, and April 19, 1884, Waller was convicted of murder in
the second degree and sentenced to 99 years' confinement in the penitentiary.
The verdict has been recently affirmed by the Supreme Court.
At about 11 o'clock on the night of the 21st of June, 1873, four
men went to the house of Maj. Sidney McWilliams, President of the People's Bank
of Chillicothe, who lived a little way outside the corporation lines and
attempted to get possession of his person, in order to get the keys of the bank
and rob it. The Major was forewarned and fore-armed. He had a number of friends
in his house. A brisk fire was opened between the robbers and the inmates of the
dwelling. The ringleader of the robbers, Smith Rambo, a farmer residing in this
county, was killed on the spot, and his followers fled but were afterwards
The particulars of this incident will be best understood by the following
statement: A few days before the attempted robbery, a young man named J. W.
Brunk, who had been in the employ of Rambo and had lived in his neighborhood,
came to Maj. McWilliams' house and told him that Rambo and certain others, who
were named, had formed a conspiracy to rob the bank, and that the time fixed
upon to do so was the next evening. Brunk said that he himself was included by
Rambo in the party that was to engage in the robbery, and he gave all the
particulars of the plan. He said that Rambo was to come up to the house of an
acquaintance near town, apparently on a social visit, as he was to bring his
wife with him. This was for the purpose of proving an alibi after the
deed was done. At a certain hour in the night he was to come up to town, meet
his confederates, accomplish the robbery, and return to his friend's house in
good time before morning.
Rambo did come up at the time stated by Brunk; but some accidental
circumstance prevented the carrying out of his plan that night; so the matter
Brunk again posted Maj. McWilliams in regard to the time of the postponement
and the change of plan for that occasion; and everything happened as he
indicated, except that something again caused Rambo to postpone the time.
Maj. McWilliams, after full consultation with a few trusty friends, planned
his mode of meeting the emergency. He had learned from Brunk that Rambo and
three confederates, namely, Jim Manso, Geo. Monroe and Brunk himself were to go
out to the Major's house a short time before midnight; that one of them was to
rap at the door, inquire for Maj. McWilliams, ask an interview on business, and
when he came to the door, seize him, menace him with weapons, disarm him if
armed, and take him and his father-in-law, Mr. J. H. Ware, prisoners; that Rambo
was then to take McWilliams and Ware, securely bowed, down to a secluded part of
the town, while Mrs. Ware, and her daughter, Mrs. McWilliams, should proceed to
the bank with the other three men and bring the money from the vaults; the
inducement for them to do so being that in case they did not come with the money
or in case they made an alarm in town, McWilliams and Ware would be shot by
Seven men were stationed at McWilliams' house, well armed, namely: Joseph
Cooper, cashier of the People's Bank; Wm. B. Leach, assistant cashier; W. H.
Gaunt, Ben. Grant, J. H. Ware, Maj. McWilliams and a colored man who was in the
Major's employ at the time. Other citizens were stationed in the vicinity.
The plan was, that when the robbers came McWilliams was to appear at an upper
window and hold parley with them. Meanwhile the blinds of a window on the first
lower floor were to be opened from within, and Brunk was to enter by mounting a
box outside for that purpose. Then circumstances were to govern the further
A few minutes past eleven o'clock the four men came, and Brunk acted as
spokesman. Rambo was thoroughly disguised; he had on a gum coat; an old piece of
coarse tow cloth was tied about his neck; he wore a dark colored slouch hat,
instead of the light straw hat which he had worn during the day; his face was
blackened with common blacking; and besides all this he had a dark veil drawn
over his face. His accomplices said that he tried every way to avoid going with
them to the house; but they insisted that he should do so, and finally he
reluctantly consented. When he did go, he skulked under the portico, so as to be
out of sight of McWilliams, although the night was dark and he could not have
been detected through his disguise.
When McWilliams appeared at. the window in answer to the summons of Brunk,
the other three men outside moved off a short distance, but Brunk came up to the
lower window which he had previously selected as the one he was to enter; the
window blinds were thrown open and he hastily entered. Immediately upon his
entering firing began. The first shots were from the inside. The robbers,
however, returned the fire, and Manso and Monroe fled, but Rambo was shot down
dead, three balls at least having entered his person, one in the upper part of
his breast in front, one in his side near the arm, and another in the upper and
back part of his head.
When the firing began, the other parties who were stationed at convenient
points with horses, rode hastily up toward the scene of action, and by some
mistake were fired upon by those who had been defending the house. Fortunately,
the mistake was discovered before anybody was seriously hurt although one man,
Hon. W. A. Jacobs, got a slight bullet wound in his foot.
Before morning a large number of the citizens of Chillicothe were apprised of
the event that had occurred, and another posse of competent men went in
search of the two robbers that had escaped. Monroe was found at home in bed, his
home being about four or five miles south of Chillicothe - and he was arrested
and brought to town, and was of course lodged in jail. He confessed of having
been engaged in the attempted robbery, and gave an account of it, which
substantially confirmed the statements of Brunk.
Rambo was in town a considerable part of the day previous to the robbery; but
in the evening started out in his wagon. It was ascertained the next day, that
he unhitched his horses in the woods about a mile and a half or two miles south
of town, where the wagon and one of the horses were found. The other horse he
rode on his robbing expedition.
Rambo was a farmer and lived in the south part of the county, about eight or
ten miles southeast of Chillicothe, where he owned about 400 acres of land. He
had, however, been in pecuniary difficulty for three or four years, and the
general opinion was, that when his affairs came to be settled he would be a
bankrupt. It was supposed that this condition of affairs induced him to engage
in the desperate undertaking in which he lost his life. He was a large, portly
man, with a well formed head and intelligent, though sinister-looking face. He
was 54 or 55 years old.
He left a family of the highest respectability, for whom the deepest and
sincerest sympathy was felt. The deed of the father worked no attainder; his ill
fate has not been remembered against his posterity, nor his shame made a part of
Manso and Monroe were indicted, pleaded guilty, and were sentenced to the
penitentiary. Each served his time, returned to the county, and has ever since
conducted himself in an upright, honorable and exemplary manner, winning the
respect and esteem of the community.
As long ago as February 14, 1861, an Irishman named Patrick Monroe, a
railroad laborer by occupation, was found dead in an unoccupied house at Utica.
The coroner's inquest decided that the man died from drunkenness and exposure.
In a general drunken row at Utica, in April, 1861, another Irishman named Pat
Kelly received injuries at the hands of Mike Holland and others, from which he
A man supposed to be Elijah Gregory, of Mercer county, was killed by the cars
on the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad, west of Chillicothe on the night of
September 10, 1862, during the war. He was seen in town the previous day and
evening, and was last observed walking westward on the railroad drunk and
A young man named James Minor, was killed on the farm of Wash Ryan, a mile
and a half south of Chillicothe, August 8, 1876. The boy went to water a horse.
He tied one end of a stout rope about his own waist and the other end about the
animal's neck. The horse ran away and dragged the boy to death. When the body
was found it was nearly naked, and was terribly broken and mangled. The rope was
drawn so tightly about the waist that it was with great difficulty cut loose.
February 16, 1879, a young man named Reuben Ulman (or Ool-man) aged 17 years,
was out hunting in Rich Hill township with two younger boys, William and Oliver
Wilson, aged 12 and 10 respectively. While the boys were on John Brown's farm,
young Ulman prevailed on Willie Wilson to allow him to shoot at the latter's
hat. At the discharge of the gun, the barrel jumped from the stock, and flying
backwards was driven entirely through Ulman's head, killing him instantly.
Little Oliver Wilson withdrew the barrel.
Hugh Jones fell off the bridge across Shoal creek at Dawn, on Christmas Eve,
1879, and either killed himself outright, or died from his injuries and exposure
together. He had been drinking in the village an hour or so previously,
and it was believed that he was intoxicated when he met his death.
Charles Holcomb was killed by lightning, near the widow Blackwell's, July 31,
About the first of December, 1880, the remains of the body of a lady, aged
about 50 years, were found two and a half miles southeast of Chillicothe. From
all the evidences, the hogs had dragged the body from where it was first
deposited, which was under some brush and shrubbery, and had devoured the
greater portion of it. The flesh was nearly all stripped from the bones; but
there were some scattered gray hairs clinging to the skull, and from these and
some pieces of clothing, an old shawl, etc., the remains were fairly identified
as those of an old or middle-aged lady who had been begging in the neighbor-hood
a few weeks previously. Some persons believed she had been murdered; but others
concluded that she had crawled into the brush to sleep and had frozen to death.
Her name and identity were never discovered.
Following are some cases of suicide in Livingston county within and including
the past ten years. It is believed that this is a complete list up to January 1,
Joel Jackson. - A stranger, named Joel Jackson, hung himself in Myer's
wood pasture, a mile north of Chillicothe, September 24, 1876. He had no money,
no friends, and no prospects of either.
An Unknown Man, who was seen a short time prior to his death, walking
on the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad track, deliberately laid his head across
one of the rails and allowed a freight train to run over it. This suicide
happened six miles east of Chillicothe, or half a mile west of Medicine tank, on
the 23d of April, 1880.
Alonzo Hood. - January 8, 1880, a young man, 17 or 18 years of age,
named Alonzo Hood, shot himself on the sidewalk along Calhoun street,
Chillicothe, and died almost immediately thereafter.
Lorenzo Lieber. - About February 1, 1880, Lorenzo Lieber committed
suicide by cutting his throat with a razor in the manger of his stable, at
Utica. The body was not discovered for several days afterward, and in the
meantime the family of the suicide were making every effort to find him.
Cris Bertelson was another suicide who deliberately laid his head on a
rail of the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad track, and was decapitated by a
passing train. The date of this incident was October 10, 1881.
On the 19th of May, 1884, Rev. Robt. H. William son, pastor of the Baptist
Church at Chillicothe, committed suicide in a pasture lot near town, by taking a
deadly dose of prussic acid.
Mr. Williamson was a gentleman of fine talents and a superior order of
intellect. He was a graduate of one of the best Eastern universities, of a
theological school, and of two medical colleges. It is said that he had entered
the ministry first as an Episcopal clergyman, but afterward gave up his orders
and was received into the Baptist Church. He had lived in Pennsylvania,
Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa before coming to Missouri, and his last
charge before coming to Chillicothe was at Moberly. He took charge of the church
at Chillicothe in August, 1883.
Not long after his arrival in this county Mr. Williamson was married to a
lady named Sarah Jamison, of McGregor, Ia., who came to Chillicothe to have the
ceremony performed, and who had previously visited her betrothed here. Soon
after her marriage, which was in November, Mrs. Williamson left for her
brother's residence in Michigan, where she passed the winter, returning to
Chillicothe in the early spring, when the pair went to housekeeping in the
About the first of the month of May word came to Chillicothe that Mr.
Williamson was a bigamist; that he had a lawful wife and daughter then living in
Massachusetts, and that he was a fraud and an imposter. He had previously
asserted that he had been married before coming to Missouri, but declared that
his first wife and his child were dead, and that he was a widower.
The news, therefore, that the first wife was living was received with great
astonishment and with regret. The deacons of the church at once met, called Mr.
Williamson before them, and informed him of the serious charge that had been
made against him. He seemed to be greatly surprised and deeply mortified, but
solemnly declared that when be contracted his second marriage be honestly
believed that his wife was dead, as she had deserted him in Wisconsin, and he
had never heard from her until then. As proof of his honesty he referred to the
fact that he had not changed his name or sought in any way to conceal his
identity. He declared that he was willing to make any reparation in his power,
and would resign his pastoral charge at once if it was desired. The deacons did
not take final action then but informed the pastor that they would confer with
him again. Mr. Williamson at once went to the parsonage, but without saying more
to any one repaired to his laboratory, and selecting a small vial of hydrocyanic
acid, he walked to the western part of town and in a little green pasture in the
suburbs, he took the fatal dose. His body was discovered by lad named Broaddus.
There was no mistaking the cause of the death. By the faint odor as of peach
blossoms, the nature of the poison was determined, and in the dead man's pocket,
in his own handwriting, was found the following note, addressed to his wife: -
My Dear Wife: I have just heard to-day news that will be distressing to you, as it was terrible to me. It is that my wife, who left me several years ago, and whom I supposed and regarded as dead, is still living. Darling, forgive me if I have done you any wrong in not telling you all before our marriage. I married you in good faith, and you are my only true and lawful wife in all sincerity. I can not bear up against the disgrace to you, to the church, and to myself. I have been most fearfully wronged. I do not care to live. I leave all to you, to do with as you please. I had hoped to spend many happy days with you before I died, but that is not to be. God bless and keep you. O, what a sad ending to our blissful expectations! Ever your true husband,
P. S.- I had not the heart to tell you face to face; you looked and felt so
The coroner's jury found a proper verdict; the body was decently buried, and
the last wife of the dead man left for Omaha soon afterward. Since, she has
returned and visited the grave of him she loved so well. The first wife never
put in an appearance.
A man named Robert Kidwell, living in Chillicothe, took an overdose of
morphine and died on the night of December 29, 1884. He bought the poison at a
drug store the previous day; after retiring and near midnight, he rose and took
the drug; he then lay down by his wife, who in a short time discovered that
something was wrong, but the man died in spite of all medical aid and
assistance; he was 31 years of age, and left a wife and child. It was supposed
that his poverty, which was very chill indeed, and his miserable condition in
life generally, caused him to take his own life.
Since the completion of the railroads through the county the following
persons, among others, have been run over and killed by the cars. In most
instances the parties themselves have been to blame: --
James Stapleton was killed by the cars on the track of the Hannibal
and St. Joseph Railroad, a mile east of Wheeling, near the Linn county line, on
the night of May 7, 1870. No blame attached to the railroad in this case.
John Austin was run over by some cars of the Wabash, St. Louis and
Pacific Railroad, near the Bedford depot, September 1, 1881 and instantly
killed. The coroner's jury severely censured some of the railroad employes and
charged them with causing Mr. Austin's death.
Charles A. Merrill fell between the cars at Chillicothe and was run
over and killed, July 24, 1883. No blame was attached to the railroad.
Nathan McGuire, a young man, with many friends and admirers, and just entering upon promising manhood, jumped from a train on the Wabash Railroad, April 13, 1885, and was killed. The coroner's jury so found, and threw no blame or censure on the railroad. Young McGuire met his dreadful fate by his own heedlessness, but of course his death is to be deplored.