MURDERS, ASSASSINATIONS AND ROBBERIES
Assassination of Scott D. King
One of those cold-blooded assassinations which sometimes shock the world for its cool and deliberate fiendishness, was the murder of Scott D. King, by a relative named John Lester. The act was committed in Lafayette County, but the trial, conviction and hanging was performed in Henry County, brought here on a change of venue. The motive seemed to have been, from the testimony, the securing of property. It was even said that his own mother came near being a victim to his hellish cupidity and passion. The principal witness was a John B. Horton, whom Lester approached with a proposition to murder King. At first he seemed willing, and the character he bore was none too good, but his coward heart failed him. He, like a sleuth hound, dogged Lester's steps until he claimed, and Lester afterward admitted, that the latter had committed the murder. Horton turned state's evidence, thereby saving his own neck as an accessory. The body of King was found and the excitement ran so high, especially as it was rumored and believed that his mother, too, was to have been a victim, that Judge Lynch was in a fair way to become judge, jury and executioner. He was brought here on the 9th day of June, 1846, and after a fair and impartial trial was convicted and sentenced to be hung. He was executed in the south part of the town the gallows having been erected very near if not upon the spot where the depot of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas railroad now Stands. This was the first hanging in Henry County. Lester had decoyed King into the woods and when he got him there, stepped behind him, and without warning struck King a violent blow on his head with a club crushing the skull and producing undoubtedly almost instant death. The condition of his head showed that the blow would have killed him had no other been struck, the fiend, however, did not intend to leave anything to a chance recovery, and beat his victim until his death was sure. John B. Horton left the country, and the next heard of him he had killed a man in Virginia, and was arrested, tried, convicted and executed, in that state.
The trial of Lester commenced on June 9, 1846, before Judge Foster P. Wright, being an adjourned April term. The jury was as follows: William H. Cock, foreman; Mason C. Fewell, Mark Funk, George Gutridge, Archibald C. Legg, William Goff John C. Rayburn, Valentine Bell, Peyton S. Banister, James F. Nichols, Charles B. Bradford and Phillip Elkins.
The jury, after four days' trial, brought in a verdict of murder in the first degree, and on Saturday morning, June 13, 1846, Judge Wright sentenced him to be hung on Friday, July 31, 1846, which sentence was duly executed at twelve o'clock that day.
The Execution of Patterson
[From the Clinton Advocate]
Friday, July 22, 1881, came at last - it came all too soon, no doubt, for the condemned man. A full, fair and an impartial trial had; two stays of execution had been granted by the supreme court to permit a full investigation of the proceedings in the lower court; the governor had been appealed to by his counsel, and they had made the last effort they could to save him from the scaffold, but there was now no hope. He must expiate his crime and answer to the law for the life of his victim. "Whoso shedded man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." There is no vengeance in it. It is the strong arm of the law taking hold of him who disregards the law, that society may be protected and men be secure in their persons and property from those who would assault or despoil them. Least of all was there vengeance in this case. Thirteen years before the clime had been committed, men's passions had cooled and no one was crying for his blood. No friend of the murdered man was in court to prosecute. There was 110 one near who had any feeling against the accused; no one who felt any interest in his victim or even knew him. There was no one to prosecute except the officers of the law; no prosecuting witnesses in anger and heat to color a tale for effect. It was a dispassioned trial, if ever there was one, and resulted in a verdict of guilty. John W. Patterson paid the penalty of his crime on the scaffold today. The morning light had hardly beamed in the eastern sky, when the crowds began to pour into town to witness the hanging. And here let us remark that while the prosecution of John W. Patterson was calm and dispassioned, and there was no unseemly demand for his conviction, yet it bespeaks to our mind a depraved and diseased condition of society that brings together such a crowd to witness his execution. What is it they come to see? What motive prompts them to come? The law will take its Course, and its offended majesty be vindicated by the proper officers and their necessary attendants. There is no need of others.
The Closing Scene
At II o'clock Captain G. W. Armstrong assisted by Lieutenants Kitchen and Scott, marshaled the Patterson Guards in the courthouse square, and marched them over to ,the jail, and formed there in two lines in front. The condemned man was brought out by the sheriff, assisted by Deputy Elliston and others, and was placed in a carriage between two deputies and driven to the place of execution west of town, on an open space across the creek, opposite the woolen mill, where the gallows had been erected, the guards, numbering about fifty armed men, attending close to the carriage during the journey, and the immense crowd following and going with it.
The prisoner was taken at once to the scaffold, and Rev. Mr. Pierce read a selection from scripture and offered an appropriate prayer, after which the death warrant was read. He then shook hands with his attorneys, McBeth and Fyke, and several others on the stand. A couple of straps were then put around his legs, and arms pinioned behind his back. The black cap was then drawn over his eyes. He shook hands with Sheriff Hopkins, and immediately after the sheriff cut the rope, and the trap fell at 11:49, and at one minute past 12 he was pronounced to be dead.
The physicians attending were Schilling, Boyer, Land, Jr., Hardiman, Stewart and Jennings. The prisoner manifested no concern but bore up throughout the trying ordeal with stoic indifference; made no remarks, but expiated his crime in silence. May the lesson not be forgotten by those who witnessed the execution or may read of it.
A Brief History of the Crime
During the last days of November or the first of December, 1868, a man was found lying dead on the prairie in Leesville Township, near Cole's store, in this county, with two wounds on his head and his throat cut. The wounds had the appearance of having been made with the pole of a hammer or hatchet, and the throat as having been cut or haggled with some dull instrument. The body was found by Isaac, son of J.R. Halford, some distance from the main road, out in the high grass. A sack and a part of a blanket were found near the body, more or less bloody, the sack being marked "Hezekiah Patterson." The body was recognized by Mr. Henry Bradley as a man who had stayed at his house the night previous, and who gave his name as Clark.
The Murdered Man
James G. Clark was a resident of St. Clair County. Some time in November Mr. Clark took a trip to St. Louis, it is said to get money to pay an indebtedness upon his farm. He went to St. Louis, returned to Sedalia, and there bought some lumber and employed James W. Patterson with his team to haul his lumber to his farm. With the lumber, some chairs and a sofa, the pair leave Sedalia in an old government wagon, with a broad tire and covered. The first we hear of them is in this county, some twelve miles southeast of Clinton. Here they stopped on the banks of the Tebo for the night. Mr. Clark, not being well concluded to stay indoors if possible, consequently he went to a house near by and got permission to stop for the night with the family. Next day they took up their journey. Mr. Clark, not being well, was lying on the lumber and happened to fall asleep. Patterson saw this, and to carry out, as he afterwards confessed, a determination to kill him and secure his money, took up a hatchet, crept towards him and dealt him a blow with the pole of the instrument on the head, crushing in the skull. A second blow was given, and to finish the man effectually, his throat was struck with the edge of the hatchet a time or two. He went on a piece, turned out of the road and drove out in the prairie, threw the body out, drove back into the main road and passed on to Brownington. Here, at the store of Doyle & Avery, Patterson unloads his wagon, sells a chair or two and returned to Sedalia, as he averred.
A day or two after the body is found, recognized and suspicion directed to the driver of the broad-tired wagon, which was traced to and from the body, and had been noticed afterward going north toward Sedalia. A company of some six men started upon this clue to hunt up the murderer. They went to Sedalia, found the wagon in the wagon yard and identified it as the one seen on the highway. Shortly afterward the wagon team and driver were seen to pass up the street and stop at a blacksmith shop. The sheriff was found, a warrant for the arrest of Patterson issued, and the arrest made. Upon being arrested he demanded the cause of his arrest. Mr. Hornbeck and the party told him it was for the murder of Clark. He denied the charge, but said that his partner had been out there. Upon further conversation he admitted that he had been out there and that his partner had killed Clark, and that he had tried to prevent it. The party then took charge of the prisoner and started for Clinton. As they were riding along, two by two, Hornbeck remarked that he (the prisoner) might as well confess, as there was a clear case against him. Patterson replied that he had tried to pray, but that he could not with a lie in his mouth, and that he might as well tell the whole truth, whereupon he gave a detailed account of how it was done. He stated that he saw Clark with two bills, which he took to be $500 bills, but they afterward proved to be only $50 bills; that when he saw them he determined in his mind to kill Clark and have them. He accordingly laid plans for the consummation of his intentions. The night they camped on Tebo's banks he intended to commit the deed and throw the body into the stream. The opportunity came the next day as the victim lay asleep, and was taken advantage of with the results as stated.
Patterson was brought to Clinton and placed in the county jail, and an indictment for murder was brought against him. He was brought to trial and a change of venue taken to Morgan County. Here he succeeded in breaking jail and making his escape, and for nearly twelve years succeeded in eluding justice.
The Manner of His Rearrest
The father of Patterson died in Jasper County some eight years ago, and in settling up the estate the administrator found among the papers a letter from John W. Patterson, from Illinois. A correspondence was the result, which led under the stimulant of a reward, to this rearrest in August last, in Livingstone County, Illinois, where he was living under the assumed name of John Williams. When he found that he was fairly captured, he said:
"I am your man; there is no use in denying it, for the folks out there know all about it."
He was brought back to Clinton, indicted by a grand jury, tried, convicted and sentenced to be hung at the April term of the circuit court. A report came that a man in Granby, Newton County, had made a confession upon his death bed several years since that he had killed Clark. Upon the strength of this, the statement, word was sent to the prosecuting attorney of that county who, upon inquiring, found that such a confession had been made. Information to that effect was sent to T.J. Lingle on Wednesday night. Thursday morning Judge McBeth went to Jefferson City to confer with the governor, but he positively refused to interfere. Thus the last hope for a release faded from his view. It is very doubtful, however, whether he built very largely upon a respite, knowing so well his guilt. When told of the governor's decision he simply remarked, "that settles it."
On the Brink He Steals a Watch
Although his days had been numbered, and the time set for his execution, yet it seems not to have given him any serious concern for the hereafter, or caused him to amend his conduct. The ruling passion was still strong in the face of death, as the following incident shows:
One of the attendants at the jail some time since missed a watch that he had left hanging near Patterson's cell. A few days ago Patterson desired to send a small box of things to his wife. He had the box nailed up, and requested that it should not be opened, but his wish was disregarded and the box opened, and in it was found the missing watch. In a note he had stated that the watch was given him by his cell mate, and he sent it as a present to his infant son. One of Patterson's fellow prisoners stated that Patterson had fastened a crooked pin to a stick arid hooked the watch in.
Sometime in June, Patterson wrote what he claims to be his last words. He must be a hardened wretch, indeed, who can pass into eternity with so palpable a falsehood upon his lips. His several confessions, voluntarily made, and fully corroborated by the evidence, leaves no shadow of a doubt in the minds of any one as to his guilt. Had there been another guilty of the crime, and in his power, as was this so-called partner, he would certainly have made an effort to have had him traced up, but singularly enough he seemed never to have thought that by finding this man his own innocence would be established. The following is:
Clinton, Missouri, June 1881
Having been asked a good many times since my rearrest last August, why I did not have any plea to make in my own behalf, I will just say here in answer to all such questions, that I was caught foul in the first place, without any show for my life, and that I have been under disadvantages ever since, and consequently I thought it would be of no profit to me in any way, shape or form in my present trouble, for I could not back up what I might say with evidence as required by law, for I have had no witnesses in my behalf and have had no show to get any, and considering that I am behind the bars where no man is supposed to tell the truth I have thought it best to keep still and say nothing. Nevertheless, I will state a few facts which I know to be the truth.
In the first place I will call the minds of the people back to the beginning of this trouble of mine (in 1868). In 1868 I left home in Jasper County, Missouri, (my father having just moved into this state in the fall of 1868) to make a trip to Sedalia on purpose of getting some boxes of household goods belonging to my parents, (the goods having been shipped through by rail). Next morning after arriving in Sedalia I met this man Clark, who was looking for some one to haul a load for him. When I found out what he wanted I refused him. But I wanted to get my wagon repaired before going home, and after I ascertained that three or four days would elapse before I could get the work done on the wagon; then I chanced to meet Clark on the street again and he insisted that I haul the load for him. While I was considering the matter this partner of mine (spoken of in the testimony at my trial) he spoke up and said if I would let him have the team he would make the trip, as he was out of work and it would give him employment and help to make expenses for me while waiting to get my wagon fixed. He suggested that I could stay in town or go to my brother's in the country until he returned with the team.
And, being young and entirely inexperienced in the ways of the world, having always remained pretty close at home and under the influence of honest, upright and religious parents, and supposing also that everybody else was as good as their word, and this man (a so-called partner), who was a man I chanced to overtake on my way to Sedalia soon after leaving home. He asked me to let him ride; said he was traveling looking for work, he being near my size and about my complexion with short hair, while I at that time wore mine long and curled under at the bottom. His name I have forgotten, and he making me some very fair promises as to what he would do, when he would come back, his own charges, etc., I at last consented to let him take the team and make the trip, and expenses, if he could, in part until I could get my wagon repaired. So he loads up with lumber, a lounge-bedstead and two chairs (but no fishing tackle, as indicated in the evidence) and off he starts in company with this man Clark, what his Christian name was I do not know, for I never heard of it as I know of until my rearrest. How long he was gone with the team I don't remember now, but I was anxious to see him when he returned. When I met him on the street he said he had put the team in the stable and the wagon in the yard, and after going to the stable, finding the team all right, we then went to the hotel and registered our names; (name of hotel I have forgotten) after supper he said to me that he believed that he would go to Illinois on the first train that came along, which, I believe, was between nine and ten o'clock that night; and that is the last that I have seen or heard of him since; and between supper and train time he told me all about the trouble he had been into, giving me the full particulars of the crime; what he done it for, how he done it, and what he done with the body, and also the load and that he had dropped a letter in the post office at or near the place that he left the load, stating in the letter to my father about what time I would be at home. (As I had directed him to as soon as he got through with his load and mail it at the first post office when he had an opportunity to do so.)
He said he thought he was detected when he seen a man cross the creek near where he was seen after throwing the body from the wagon, that some man was watching him when he run back next morning to get the sheep skin, after that he said he had no fear, and if I would keep still that he would give me big money, that he would pay me well for it. He told me he seen the man pay for the lumber, and thought he had big money with him. He then gave me the pocket book that was found in my possession next day. What it contained I do not know; all that I know of its contents is what the witnesses testified to on the stand. The next day I was arrested, taken up stairs in a building. The parties that arrested me searched me and found the pocket book. They kept me over night in that room under guard. They had made frequent remarks during the night of a mob, which I think was enough to make anybody's hair stand on end; and once they all jumped to their feet and looked from one to the other and said the mob had surrounded the house, and as like as not try to break in, (so they all expressed themselves) and then there was several words passed in regard to a mob while on the road from Sedalia to Henry County, which was just previous to the time that I made the confession to them, and according to the best of my recollections of my experience at that time I was in the right mind to have told almost anything that I was asked to tell; ignorant of the consequences, and the result was that I related the circumstances of the crime just as they were detailed to me but two evenings before, only placing myself in the stead of the real criminal.
It seems a strange mystery to me now why I did so, unless through fright; and then after the examination at the squire's, I heard them speaking or, for something about a mob, and which would be the best, that is, the safest road to go from there to avoid coming in contact with the mob, apparently talking as though they expected the mob at any time almost. And after starting for Clinton (it being then late in the evening) they took me off of the road some distance to stop over night, in order to baffle the mob, they said. I heard them say, one to another, that if the mob didn't find us that night that we would have no need to fear the next day. And, come to find out, there was no mob out at all. A strange memory, I think, that the witnesses could not recollect that anything was said about a mob, except once (that was in Sedalia), while they can remember the particular points so well, even to one man who goes so far as to say he recognizes me as being the same identical person that he spoke a few words to twelve years ago, and another man testified that I, while on the train between Sedalia and Clinton last August, drew a large pocketbook, or wallet, I believe he called it out of my pocket, saying at the same time that was all I got from my father's estate. Now, I think, that reasonable common sense will tell anybody that I had no such thing with me at the time, after they consider what my circumstances was then - being away from home when arrested and not been seen home since - I could not help telling the sheriff of Illinois, that he put a false addition to what he ought to have said, which if he had not done it, his evidence would have been worthless, in a manner, in behalf of the state - that wherein he testified that I said, "I did it, and the people there know it, and there is no use in denying it," this much of the statement is false. And Mr. Kehn's the railroad man's statement about drawing the wallet out of my pocket, is also false. And there is other points of evidence of the same character, that I could mention, but I consider this is sufficient to show the people that I have had no fair show for my life. That in the first place they scared a confession out of me, and one that suited them, on and at the trial there was more added to it, apparently in order to be sure to convict me, or at least it seemed so to me. I admit that I did wrong, and was to blame, more or less, in making the confession as I did, but I done it under restraint, although the witnesses had not the idea or impression that they did not try to influence me in that day. I have also seen, and that to my sorrow, since the beginning of this trouble, that I did wrong in not exposing the man while I had the opportunity - I mean to say while he was to be had. But I was young at that time and entirely inexperienced in the ways of the world; never had been in any trouble before where the law had to have anything to say. I was like all other boys, easily led astray and this has proved a sad experience to me, and not only sad to me but it is a sad affair to my bosom friend, my wife, and doubly sad to me on her account.
Now the thought may rise in the minds of some people why did he get married while in such circumstances? I admit that I done wrong in getting married and by so doing draw a good woman into shame and sorrow as I have done. But then let me reason the case to some extent; In the first place I am happy to say I had no evil principles or intentions, not inclined or disposed to become a renegade or outlaw, but, on the contrary, I was raised under honest, upright teachings and being so inclined it was my desire to settle down and make a good citizen of myself if I could. And considering that I had implements put into the jail to effect my escape with twelve years ago (by who, I know not) and having been home twice since my escape to visit my parents, the first time about four or five weeks after my escape, the second time about four years after; this last time I remained in Carthage with my parents over a week, and there was never any reward offered for me, or any stir made after me that I ever heard of and having lived in the same neighborhood in Illinois, undisturbed nearly ever since my escape. I naturally concluded that I never would be disturbed, and the best thing I could do would be to seek for myself a good companion and settle down and have a good home of my own as comfortable as I could under the circumstances, which I believe I did with some honor as a citizen and neighbor. (As evidence in my trial goes to show.) Thank God I had honor enough about me to make my living by the sweat of my brow, or in other words by hard work. Now I think I have said enough to explain my trouble from beginning to ending, as this statement will show, and, as I have stated above, it seems useless for me to say much in self defense, for I am behind the bars where people are all considered false. Although I have made a true statement, as best I can, people may not believe it, but I wanted the people to have a true history of the circumstances of this trouble before it is too late for me to write it. Whether believed or not they are my dying words. And the way the matter stands now I have no hopes of a future happiness in this world, although I have a wife and child in Illinois who long for my return; and allow me to say she is a true wife and a pleasant companion, and very dear to me, but my hopes for a future time in company with them is blasted, and as it were, like the dews of the morning vanished from sight.
Now, wishing everybody well, I bid adieu to all.
The Murder of Mills
This was a cold blooded murder, yet not one premeditated. It was the result of a high temper, violent and ungovernable, and it wrecked the homes and lives of two families.
On Monday morning, October 10th, 1870, John W. Adkins, a well to do farmer, shot and killed a neighbor by the name of Mills. Mr. Adkins had some trouble about his hogs, and without examining into the matter took it for granted that Mills was the trespasser, merely from the fact that he resided near Mr. Adkins' home and passed through a lane near his (Adkins) house. His hogs had been dogged and otherwise ill treated, and he had found them shut in his barn only a day or two before. Meeting Mills and his son on the morning above referred to, on their way to work hauling rock, Mr. Adkins, who was on horseback and armed with a shotgun, stopped Mills and accused him of being the aggressor. Mills denied all charges. Adkins cursed Mills and grew more violent as his anger increased, and told Mills if he thought he could fool with him he was barking up the wrong tree, and cocked his gun. Mills did not seem much alarmed, but picked up a piece of rock in the bottom of his wagon, and then threw it down. He rose, however, from his seat and faced Adkins, saying men who threatened had better look out for themselves. The latter immediately fired. The load of shot took effect in his side, just above his heart, and Mills fell, and caused his almost instant death.
His son and a family of movers going by, who had stopped on hearing the loud talk and angry words were witnesses of the appalling crime. The movers were brought to town and gave their evidence, and then were permitted to proceed on their journey. Mr. Adkins went to his house and then fled from his home forever. A little while afterwards he was traced to Arkansas, but he was never arrested and has not again been seen in Henry County. He sent a deed of forty acres of land in Henry County to the widow of his victim; since which time he has not been heard from. He was never followed or prosecuted. His own family also remained here, and left the murderer to himself. A rumor was current a few years ago that he had married in that state, but no one seems to have taken the trouble to find out. Just why he escaped the punishment justly deserved for his crime is hard to tell. Justice in this case was different from that in the case of Patterson. He was hanged years after, punished for his crime, and no one connected with his victim had a hand in securing for him his just deserts.
Assassination of James H. Edmondson
One of the most deliberate and cold blooded assassinations that has happened in this or any other country, was the shooting of James H. Edmondson, on the night of September 26, 1869, at Calhoun, Henry County. Of this assassination little is to be said, for little is known outside of the appalling fact. Mr. Edmondson had closed his store, and gone to the house, and having occasion to go out, did so. While but a little distance from the house, which was on the east side of the public square, he was hailed by some one with, "Is that you, Jim?" He did not catch the words at first, but said, "who's that?" The words came back, "Is that you, Jim?" in a muffled voice, and he answered, "yes." The word had scarcely left his lips, when the person fired a load of buckshot, striking him on his side and hip, and as he turned and raised himself received another charge in his shoulder and neck, and he fell prostrate. The firing had alarmed several and doors were flung open, but the second shot followed so closely upon that of the first that no one could get out before the murderous work had been completed. The groans of the wounded man soon brought others besides his family, and he was carefully carried in and laid on his bed. Beyond the above remarks, which he was hardly able to utter, he made no sign, and soon the soul of James H. Edmondson had been wafted on spirit wings to his Maker. He did not recognize the voice, and nothing definite has ever been known.
The work of death was on the public square, near the northeast corner. The murderer ran across the square, and crossed the railroad just south of the square and in the southwest corner of the town; beyond that he could not be traced. Edmondson had received no less than twenty-one buckshot, any one of which would have killed him, besides being grazed with others. The above number was found in his body, and whoever the murderous wretch was he meant to be sure of his work. Some time afterward a man by the name of Thomas A. Spotswood was arrested for the murder. Suspicion was strong against him, but the evidence was lacking. His trial was short and he was discharged. Over thirteen years have passed since this terrible tragedy took place and nothing reliable has yet been discovered as to who was the assassin, yet the belief has in no wise abated with many that Spotswood was the man.
Thus was a young man in the prime of life, with large family connections and a host of friends, taken off to appease the hatred of some fiend in human form.
Rape and Judge Lynch
In July, 1870, a Miss George, while on her return from picking berries, was stopped on her way home in broad day light, by a negro named John Sears, supposed to have had some Mexican blood in his veins. Sears drew a large knife and swore he would kill her, and in her fright he accomplished his hellish purpose. She was on a visit to her brother-in-law in Calhoun. She succeeded in getting home and told her sister. She instantly went to her husband and related the story, who gathered his neighbors and started a hunt for the criminal. He was tracked to near Clinton where he was captured and put in jail the same night. The next morning Judge Lynch gave his decision that the miscreant should be hung, and although the sheriff objected and stated he was not the judge whose orders he obeyed, the representatives of Judge Lynch gave the sheriff to understand that it was their business to obey orders and John Sears was taken to the court house yard and hung to a tree, the lynchers waiting around the doomed villain to see that he was done kicking before they left. The crime was heinous and the punishment just, swift and terrible.
The Bullet's Fatal Work
Williamson Gave Up His Life
The cause of the death of John S. Williamson was something of the nature of a family quarrel, and yet it was not. An uncontrollable temper and a fierce tongue were the moving causes which produced the fatal result. John S. Williamson and John G. Clark were both young men, and the latter was a suitor and aspired to the hand of Miss Williamson, a sister, in marriage. The Williamson family did not approve of the match, and John seemed to be particularly and determinedly opposed to it. It is hard, even at this day, to get anything like a history of this sad affair. Neighbors and friends on both sides will not talk about it, and others reply, "well, yes, I remember the affair, but really I don't know anything about it only from hearsay." Well, can you give us what you know? "Yes, but really I didn't know anything; there was some objections to Clark waiting upon Miss Williamson, and there was some feelings, but really I didn't know anything about it. I heard something of the kind, etc."
It will be seen from such guarded expression that there was little to be found out, and what objection the family had to Clark will not be given even by those who know, whether from fear, policy or friendship, is a matter which the writer cannot explain. The above is the substance of some half a dozen enquiries to learn the true facts. Outside of these the writer interviewed many others, whose chief reply was, "Well, yes, I remember the circumstance, and if you will go to such a one he can tell you all about it." That person was found but all he knew was simply nothing, but such a person could give the information, and at least a half dozen were interviewed.
The facts were simply that the young men were not on good terms, The victim was opposed to Clark as a brother-in-law, and he used one night at a neighbors, where Clark was in the habit of visiting, some very abusive language in regard to Clark. Whether Clark was there or came in after is not stated, but Clark came, the language about him he soon learned of and he informed Williamson that it must be settled. A few days after, in company of two young men, he went to the field where Williamson was stacking hay. Williamson was on the stack and Clark rode up and demanded a retraction of the language above referred to. This Williamson refused to do, and Clark drew his pistol, as also did Williamson. Two or three shots were fired by each when Williamson fell, shot through the body, just over his heart and below his left shoulder. Clark escaped unhurt. Williamson was taken home and lived but a few hours. It was said that the young men who accompanied Clark had no idea of a fatal termination of their visit, but expected that Williamson would retract and went as witnesses to settle the quarrel. The principals, however, took the matter in their own hands, and the end proved disastrous. Clark was arrested, or gave himself up, was duly indicted and put in jail a short time. He was, however, in poor health, and was released on giving bail in the sum of $15,000. He lived but a short time dying of heart disease before his final trial.
This is the substance of all the writer gleaned or could gather of this sad and tragic affair, and this was submitted to a party who knew, or was supposed to know as much about it as anyone, but who disclaimed all but hearsay knowledge, but said that the above was about the facts of the case as he had heard. The shooting and death of Williamson occurred in January 1872.