All submitted and transcribed by J.S.
Plymouth Pilot, Vol 1, No 49 (Plymouth, Marshall County,
IN) 20 Oct 1851
A man named John M. Bennett, in Ripley county, in this State, is to be hung on the 5th of December next, for the murder of Wm. Maddox by administering him arsenic while professing friendship. After effecting the deed, he prostituted the wife of his victim.
Plymouth Pilot, Vol 1, No 49 (Plymouth, Marshall County, IN) 24 Dec 1851
EXECUTION OF BENNETT
John D. Bennett was executed at Versailles, in Ripley county Indiana, on the 5th inst. for the murder of William Maddox by poisoning.
The prisoner, to his last moment, denied the charge, and
declared his innocence. He charged the crime on the wife of Maddox,
but admitted his illicit intercourse with the woman, and that he
remained some time with her after he knew that she had perpetrated the
horrid crime. It is probable that she may have administered the
poison, but here can be but little doubt that he was partipscriminus.
The Wabash Courier, Vol 23, No 30 (Terre Haute, Vigo
County, IN) 17 Mar 1855
SENTENCED TO DEATH
We learn from the Fort Wayne Times, that sentence of death has been passed upon Benjamin Madden, George Keefer, and Samuel Romaine, convicted of the murder of John Dunbar. The scene was a solemn one and the Judge was much affected. Madden and Romaine wept, Keefer who had hitherto been indifferent, was down cast and trembling. The Court asked the prisoners if they had anything to say why the sentence of the law should not be pronounced upon them. Romaine and Keefer had nothing to say; Madden, who was lying upon a Buffalo robe, desired to make some remarks, but was prevented by extreme suffering from rheumatism so as to be unable to stand or walk. The sentence of the Court was, that Benjamin Madden and George Keefer should be taken to the jail from whence they came and therein confined until Friday the 27th day of April next, when they should be taken to an enclosure as near the said jail as possible, and hanged by the neck until dead, and that Samuel Romaine should, on the 15th day of June next receive at the hands of Sheriff a life punishment. After which the prisoners were removed.
Weekly Reveille, Vol 37, No 46 (Vevay, Switzerland County, IN) 9 May 1855
A REVOLTING SPECTACLE
HANGING OF TWO MEN AT FORT WAYNE
Fort Wayne, Ind., April 27
Two men were executed in this city to day. Their names were George Keefer and Benjamin Madden. Both were young, but no doubt suffered guilty. Several months ago, they, in connection with another person, committed one of the boldest murders ever penetrated in the country. An old man from Morrow, Ohio was here on a visit to his son. These men became aquainted with him, and supposing he had a large amount of money with him, agreed to murder him for the money. They first drank with him until he became pretty well intoxicated, and then, in one of the most public streets, and directly opposite a church where people were going in continually, they murdered him about seven o'clock in the evening. They killed him by beating him with clubs. They then robbed him of all the money he had, only some sixteen dollars.
The execution was attended with considerable excitement, owing to rumors that there would be attempts made to rescue the prisoners. Two military companies of the city were under arms, and a strong police force placed in service by the Sheriff. Notwithstanding the executions took place according to law, privately in the jail yard, thousands came from the surrounding county, to witness, if possible, the fulfillment of the sentence of law. As early as seven o'clock, wagons loaded with men, women and children, came pouring into the city, which soon prevented the gay appearance of a holiday. The crowd, to the number of some two thousand, gathered about the jail, but there was [here is a piece of paper covering the column of the scan, so I will continue past that] The prisoner did not wait for this, but as soon as the rope was adjusted, stepped off himself. The rope came near breaking again, one strand giving away.
Most of the crowd lingered about the jail until long after the execution was over, many evidently disappointed in not being able to witness it. The third person connected with the murder has already been convicted, but at his own request his execution was deferred by the Judge, who sentenced him to a later day. He is in jail awaiting his fate.
Plymouth Banner, Vol 4, No 5, (Plymouth, Marshall
County, IN) 19 Apr 1855
WHOLE FAMILY MURDERED!
A MAN, WIFE AND FIVE CHILDREN
Yesterday evening, about dark, a report reached town that a WHOLE FAMILY were discovered buried under the flour of the cabin which had been occupied by the Hubbards, who are now in jail charged with the murder of Boyles. The awful news spread reapidly over town, and in half an hour or less, the Coroner, with a jury and thirty or forty citizens, had started for the place. We immediately set about finding the truth of the story, and are indebted to Mr. James Wilson for what follows. Yesterday (Tuesday) morning Mr. Wilson and M.I. Thomas, constable, provided with a warrant started down the canal to arrest the wife of Hubbard, whom late developments rendered it highly probably that she was an accomplice in the murder of Boyles. They proceeded to Mr. Gardiner's works, five miles west of town, where they found the woman and arrested her. Mr. Loveland suggested to Mr. Wilson that suspicions were entertained that the Hubbards had murdered a whole family last fall.
As soon as Mr. Wilson heard this, he in company with Mr. Loveland, went to the house of Mr. Fisher, where they ascertained that some time in September last, this Hubbard family went to board with a family by the name of French, who then lied in the cabin since occupied by the Hubbards. This French family consisted of SEVEN persons, the father, mother and five children. They were a very poor family that had been living in the neighborhood six or seven years, and were will known by the neighbors. During last summer, the old man French had raised a small patch of corn and some garden stuff, the whole of which together with the furniture, was not worth over fifty dollars. Sometime in October, Mr. Lewis, a near neighbor, went to the cabin of French to purchase his corn.
He was met at the fence in front of the cabin by the Hubbards, and was told that the night before, Mr. French's brother had come along with a wagon, and taken Mr. French's whole family away with him, and had started for Illinois, and that they had purchased all their things, including the corn, garden and furniture. A day or two afterwards, Mr. Stearnes Fisher went over to enquire if the Frenchs needed any assistance, and was met in the same way by the Hubbards, and was told the same story.
No suspicions were entertained at the time that foul
play had been used, and nothing occurred until after the body of
Boyles had been found and the Hubbards were arrested. It then began to
be thought these monsters had murdered the whole family. On hearing
these statements, Mr. Wilson determined to go and search the premises.
He then went down to Gardner's work an procured a shovel and pick and
tr5ied to get some one to got with him. No one, however, believed the
story, and so no one volunteered to go. While they were talking Mr.
Thomas came up and he and Mr. Wilson proceeded to Hubbard's and found
the door locked. They drew the staple with the pick, and entered the
house. They found the floor raised, and some dirt removed. Mr. Miles
Morgan, constable, had been there a short time previous searching, and
had discovered a piece of skull bone and had gone away. They then
proceeded to dig away the dirt and soon discovered the body of an
infant, very much decayed. They immediately left and came up to town
and got the Coroner, who summoned a Jury, consisting of Stearns,
Fisher, J. Lewis, D. Brooks, F. Loveland, M.W. Stober and Dr. J.W.
Jellison, who at once proceeded to the place which they reached about
seven o'clock last evening.
In the presence of a large company, they proceeded to examine the place where the infant had been discovered, and horrible to relate, found seven bodies, consisting of the ENTIRE FRENCH FAMILY! There skulls were all broken in, and the legs of the old man French and his wife were broken, so that they could be doubled up and forced into the hole, which was three or four feet deep! They were laid in a heap, the father and mother at the bottom and the children on top. The babe was about fifteen months old, and the oldest child about fifteen years old. There were three girls and two boys. The children were much decayed, but the parents were still sound, and were easily recognized by those who had known them.
There is not the least doubt but what the Hubbards are
guilty of the wholesale and damning murder. It is almost too horrible
for belief, but facts are as above stated, and the conclusion is
irresistable. The Hubbards are all in jail. Mrs. Hubbard will be
examined today. There seems to be no other motive than the obtaining
what few worldly good this poor family possessed, which were not worth
over fifty dollars! Wabash Gazette
Weekly Indiana State Sentinel, Vol 15, No 32 (Indianapolis, Marion County, IN) 27 Dec 1855
EXECUTION OF HUBBARD
In the Wabash Gazette of the 19th, we find a very long account of the execution of John Hubbard, in that place, on the previous Thursday, for the murder of Aaron French, his wife, and five children, in March last. The most we can do is to give a brief synopsis of the occurrences. At an early hour of the day the town and its approaches were crowded by a dense throng of men, women and children, who had come to witness the dreadful scene. The law requires that all executions shall be private, but in consequence of the fence around the enclosure being very low the execution was to all intents and purposes a public one. It rained hard all day, but this did not disperse the crowd a cool their ardor. Before the hour appointed for the execution, the crowd became very boisterous and began to call out in a loud voice, "Bring him out!" "Put the roper around his neck!" "String him up!" "Hang the d----d old scoundrel," &c,&c.
At about half past two the prisoner mounted upon the scaffold and looked very pale and haggard. The prisoner was attended by two Baptist ministers - Rev. Messrs. Skinner and Townsend. Mr. S addressed the crowd in behalf of Hubbard and at his request. He said the he (H) had been a very wicked man - a Sabbath breaker, a profane swearer, a drunkard, a gambler, &c, but that he was not guilty of the murder of French and his family. During the time Mr. Skinner was speaking the prisoner would frequently bow in token of assent to what the preacher was saying. He made frequent ejaculations - such as "Lord Jesus, have mercy upon me," "I trust in thee, dear Jesus," "I hope I shall soon be with thee, Jesus."
After Mr. Skinner had done spreading in Sheriff proceeded to adjust the rope around the prisoner's neck. All things being made ready, the Sheriff took hold of the lever attached to the bolt under the trap-door, and told him that he had two minutes to live. At this moment the stillness became intense and every eye was riveted upon the prisoner, who stood alone in full view of almost every part of town. Every muscle of his body seemed to quiver, and several times it appeared that he would sink down. He told the Sheriff that his knees were growing weak and that he could not stand. His ejaculations were about the same as before! At the expiration of one minute, Mr. Skinner took him by the hand and bade him good bye. He charged Mr. S. to have a care over his poor widow when he was gone. Mr. S. assured him that he would, and that he would also fulfill all the promises that he had made him. Then the Sheriff, Elder Townsend, and one or two others two leave of him. Last of all came the Deputy Sheriff, Mr. Thomas, and took the prisoner by the hand and said "good bye, Hubbard;" the prisoner said "good bye Thomas. I forgive you." As their hands parted the trap-door feel instantly, and the wretched murderer was suspended between the heavens and earth, a dying man. He fell about four feet, but his neck was not broken, nor did the noose draw very tight around his neck. His pulse continued to beat for sixteen minutes. Some one counted forty motions of the breast, like breathing. There was, however, but little motion of the body after the twist of the rope came out. There was a slight drawing up of the feet several times, which gave a tremulous motion to the suspended body. After about twenty-five minutes he was pronounced dead, and the Sheriff then admitted all but minors to go into the enclosure and see him. After being suspended three quarters of an hour the body was cut down and carried into the jail, and the people dispersed.
About five hundred persons are said to have gone into
the enclosure and touched the body of Hubbard as he hung from the
scaffold. A minister asked one person why he wished to touch the body
and was answered that he did so as a charm against witchcraft. After
the body was cut down the rope by which he had been suspended was cut
up into many pieces and divided among the simple. Some of these were
carried away as mementos, others as preventives of "ague" and other
The separation of Hubbard from his wife was very affecting and several of fthe bystanders shed tears. While getting ready to go upon the scaffold, he said he was prepared to meet his God - that when a child his mother had had him baptised and she was a good woman. In walking down stairs he said that in his death the Know Nothings would dose a friend, and the Pope of Rome an enemy.
Hubbard was almost to the last very bitter in his expressions towards the witnesses who testified against him. His age was almost fifty-eight years, and he said he was born in England. There can be no doubt but that he was a hardened villain, and had been engaged in a long career of crime. His wife remains to be tried for a participation in the same horrible murder.
Crawfordsville Review (Crawfordsville, IN) 25 Apr 1857
THE PUTNAM CO. WIFE MURDER
The Putnam Banner of Tuesday contains the following letter from Hon. A.D. Hamrick:
Manhattan, April 10th, 1857.
Mr. Editor: One of the most painful and heart-rending tragedies occurred in our midst this morning that nay community was ever called upon to witness. A young lady, Mrs. Martin Mullinix, wife of Greenbury O. Mullinix and daughter of one of our neighbors, David Sublet, who has been raised in our midst, was murdered, as is universally believed, by her husband, ot[sic] whom she had been married but barely three weeks. The neighbors in the vicinity were first alarmed by the screams of the family at his father's where he ran after the fiendish deed was entirely consummated. Several of the neighbors and citizens of our little town immediately repaired to the scene, and all who witnessed the sight declare it to be the most heart rending scene ever recorded. There she lay on the floor weltering in her own blood, with the whole of the upper part of her forehead and front of her skull mashed it.
On examination two other wounds were found upon her
head, eight of which would have caused her death. The one in front is
believed to have been made after she had fallen to the floor and
was weltering in her blood. The jury supposed the weapon was a new
large iron shovel which he had recently had made, but it looked to me
as if he had taken an axe in both hands and struck her with all his
force. The skin and skull were so broken in that you could almost
inset your double fist. You may think that to see a young and
beautiful woman murdered and mangled would be a sight not to be
desired, but you can form no conception of it unless you had witnessed
Daily State Sentinel (Indianapolis, Marion County, IN) 30 Apr 1857
On the morning of the 10th instant, in Putnam county, Indiana, Mrs. Martha Ann Mullinix, wife of Greenbury O Mullinix, was found at her own house, in the last agonies of death, her skull being broke in three places. She was a very lovely young woman, and had been married only three or four weeks. Her husband is charged with the murder, and is now in the Putnam county jail awaiting his trial in the Circuit Court. Great excitement prevails in the vicinity of the horrid occurrence.
Indianapolis New (Indianapolis, Marion County, IN) 26
EXCITEMENT IN JENNINGS COUNTY
A MURDERER HUNG
GREAT CROWD IN ATTENDANCE
HE DIES GAME
At thirty-five minutes past one yesterday afternoon, in Vernon, Jennings county, George W. Sage paid with his life the penalty of an atrocious crime.
On the 17th of March last, this man Sage went to the house of his near neighbor, William Todd, eleven miles south of Vernon, and finding that both Mr. and Mrs. Todd were away, robbed the house, and in cold blood attempted to murder the three children there, two little girls aged respectively six and nine years, and a little boy not two years old. He beat their heads with a brick until he deemed his slaughter of the innocents complete, and then deliberately walked off about after a mile to where his cousin was building a house, and there engaged in a pleasant chat with some of his acquaintances, until he was arrested on suspicion of having committed the horrid crime.
The two elder children recovered from their injuries; the youngest, Willie F.G. Todd never recovered from the injuries received. Sage was arrested, tried before Judge Berkshire, in the circuit court of Jennings county, about the 20th of March, found guilty and condemned to be hanged, which sentence was carried into execution yesterday.
Sage was a man thirty-five years of age, and about five feet ten inches in height. While by no means an intellectual man, his appearance did not indicate that lack of intelligence which has been atrributed to perpetrate a crime of such magnitude. The first impressions conveyed by a hasty glance would be those of a man of no decided character, weak and vaccillating in purpose, but not decidedly bad.
From all points of the compass the people poured out in dense masses to be present at the execution. Although it was understood the execution was to be private, such is the morbid feeling of curiosity on these occasions that thousands assembled for the bare purpose of being present in the town at the town of the execution. From early dawn they began coming, on foot and on horseback, in all sorts of conveyances. Far down the roads could be seen long lines of buggles, wagons and troops of riders hurrying frantically, to the show.
The gallows was a most admirably constructed engine, erected under the supervision of Sheriff Dickson. It was situated in the court house yard, and was surrounded by a high enclosure of rough boards, which shut out the tragedy form the sight of the eager crowd.
Sage is reported to have slept well, eaten his last breakfast with a good appetite, and conversed cheerfully with those about him. He was led from his cell under strong guard, accompanied by his spiritual adviser and the Sheriff. At his appearance the excitement among the vast crowd of spectators was almost uncontrollable. The masses surged too and fro, in the endeavor to get a look at the criminal. Women scrambled and fought for good positions, and fathers held up their children that they might see the doomed man. He walked with head erect and eyes straight in front, looking neither to the right nor the left, to the place of execution, entered the enclosure, and mounted the gallows with a firm step.
HE MAKES A SPEECH
On the scaffold, Sage made a short speech, in a cool and collected manner, with no perceptible tremor in his voice. He protested his innocence of any premeditated murder, but admitted he had gone to Mr. Todd's to rob him. He wanted the money to make a payment on some land purchased in Illinois, which was about to be forfeited. The little children caught him in the act, and he thought he must kill them to insure his own safety. He repented of what he had done, and hoped in meet everybody in heaven.
THE FALL OF THE DROP
The last consolations administered to the wretched man, at thirty-five minutes past one o'clock the drop was sprung. A dull, sickening thud was heard as the rope arrested the body in its downward fall of five feet, and the body of George W. Sage hung dangling in the air. The neck was evidently broken by the fall, as there was not violent struggling, only a slight muscular contraction visible. After hanging for about fifteen minutes, the body was examined, pronounced dead, cut down and delivered to the wretched father, who was in waiting outside.
Evansville Journal, Vol 18 (Evansville, Vanderburgh
County, IN) 2 Nov 1867
MURDERER HANGED - A MOB BREAKS INTO THE JAIL AT FRANKLIN, AND HANG TOW MEN - THE CONTESTING OF GENERAL McGINNES' ELECTION DISMISSED
[Special to the Evansville Journal]
Indianapolis, November 1 - Milton White, the murderer of David Hoppas, expedited his crime on the gallows at Anderson at twenty-five minutes before the three o'clock this afternoon. There was a crowd of eight or ten thousand people outside the enclosure, all of whom expressed great satisfaction at the prompt execution of a man without a friend. About one hundred persons were admitted within the enclosure. His spiritual adviser, a Catholic clergyman, was present, and prayed with him. He made no speech on the gallows, but at the close of the religious exercises the drop fell. His neck was broken in two places. The surgeons declared him dead in eighteen minutes. In twenty-seven minutes the body was cut down, and not being claimed by any relative, was delivered to the priest for burial, by whom it was buried under the supervision of the Sheriff.
The execution took place on the county grounds, one mile from the jail, to which the prisoner was drawn seated on his coffin, with a rope about his neck. He declared his innocence to the last, and accused a worthy citizen of the murder, but confessed to having murdered another man some years before.
Our County Commissioners have dismissed the contesting of General McGinnis's election. The Democracy have appealed to the Circuit Court.
The entire number of applications for the benefits of the Bankrupt Act thus far filed a the Clerk's office of the United States Court for the District of Indiana, is 142 an average of only about one and a half for each county in the State.
Rev. Dr. Burt delivered a highly entertaining and
instructive lecture at the Opera Hall this evening. Subject,
Indianapolis, Nov 1 - John Patterson and a man named Hatchell, in jail at Franklin, Ind. the former accused of the murder of David Lyons, at Greenwood, Ind., and the latter supposed to be an accomplice of Patterson, and also accused of committed a murder in Kentucky, were forcibly taken from the jail last night by a mob and conveyed to Schofield's woods, near the town, and hung. Hatchell nearly succeeded in making his escape while on their way to the place of execution, but was fired on and captured. At the first attempt to hang Hatchell the rope broke, and another was procured and the deed completed.
The Journal's correspondent says an inquest is being held today at the court house, but that there is little excitement in consequence of the affair.
Milton White, the murderer of Hoppas, at Anderson, Indiana, in June last, was executed to day at 2 o'clock. In answer to the Sheriff, as to whether he had anything to say before execution, replied, nothing.
Evansville Journal, Vol 21 (Evansville, Vanderburgh
County, IN) 28 Mar 1870
BEAT HIS WIFE
Ben Sawyer, a negro whose face is not unknown to the police, indulged in the luxury of beating his wife on Saturday afternoon. They live in the old building between the Journal Office and Water Street. The excitement they occasion in their "little quarrels," together with an occasional belligerent "prayer meeting, " is a great nuisance.
Ben drew the blood pretty freely from his wife's head,
and escaped on some outward bound steamer, before the police could
Daily Wabash Express, Vol 20 (Terre Haute, Vigo County, IN) 3 Feb 1871
Evansville, Feb 2 - Ben Sawyer, a negro desperado, killed his divorced wife Lizzie with a sad iron this morning about 11 o'clock, breaking her skull in there different places. The murder was committed on board the steamer G.W. Thomas, of which she was chambermaid, at the wharf in this city, Sawyer was arrested about one o'clock, while on his way to give himself up.
Terre-Haute Weekly Express (Terre Haute, Vigo County, IN) 31 May 1871
A few weeks ago, Ben Sawyer, an Evansville negro, with intellectual powers little superior to those of an untrained dog, killed his wife.
On last Friday, at 11 o'clock a.m. the State of Indiana, by the hand of the Sheriff of Vanderburg county, killed Ben Sawyer, by choking him to death, or breaking his neck.
Between the State of Indiana and Ben Sawyer "honors are easy."
Indianapolis News (Indianapolis, Marion County, IN) 27
A considerable portion of our space is given today to matters pertaining to the Logansport murderer, Jerome Brooks, whose execution took place at Delphi today. The punishment seems to have been a just and proper one in this case, and we should be glad to see retribution follow the murderer in all cases with equal promptness.
JEROME BROOKS, THE LOGANSPORT MURDERER
INTERVIEW WITH THE CONDEMNED MAN
[Special Correspondence Evening News] Delphi, Oct 26, 1871
Tomorrow I purpose sending you a special dispatch containing an account of the execution of Jerome Brooks, who with his accessory, Charles Carr, murdered Asher W. Slater, at Logansport, last April. This will be the first instance in which the death penalty has been inflicted in Carroll county. The little village of Delphi, its county seat, will no doubt be thronged with thousands from this whole region. And the public sentiment of the place is about evenly divided as to the execution - while not a few are open in their expressions of approbation that retributive justice, embodied in the ghastly instrument of the gallows, has overtaken the perpetrator of this atrocious deed.
The length of time which has elapsed since the commission of the murder for which the condemned man will suffer the severest punishment of the law, justifies a brief recital of that event. On the night of the 21st of April last, Jerome Brooks and Charles Carr, by preconcerted plan, entered the grocery store of their victim, Asher W. Slater, at Logansport, and Brooks handling him a bucket, asked for some molasses. While Slater was in the act of drawing this and was stooping down before the hogshead, Brooks struck him a blow on the head with a heavy oak dray pin, that felled him insensible to the floor. Carr, rushing up afterward, hit him again with great force, which made his death more certain. Slater, when struck the first time, gave utterances to one groan, and sand into unconsciousness. The murderers rifled his pockets and the money drawers of the store, and escaped by different routes. The motive which actuated Brooks and Carr was the possession of the old man's money. The deceased was in the habit of buying up section hands' time on the railroad when they were short of cash and the pay car having been in on the previous day, it was thought that he had considerable money about his house. Yet in their haste and alarm the perpetrators of the crime secured $150, which they divided on the succeeding day. The booty was concealed in a wood pile and was found by the officials according to their directions after they confessed the deed. Their arrest, confession and confinement in the Logansport jail and indictment by the Cass county Grand Jury are still fresh in the minds of the public. A change of venue was granted them for trial in Carroll county, where the two were arraigned before Judge Biddle in the Circuit Court. Carr, pleading guilty to the charge of murder in the second degree was on the 2d of August sentenced to imprisonment for life, and is now incarcerated in the State Penitentiary at Michigan City. Brooks' trial began on the 21st of August. He was ably defended by Judge David Turpie during its continuance to the 31st of the same month, when the jury returned, after a short deliberation, a verdict of guilty; and sentence of death was then passed upon the criminal, to be executed October 27. The above is merely a brief outline of the facts in this tragedy as they have already been made public. The youth of its perpetrators excites a feeling of pity, the harmless character of its victim created universal horror, and the mercenary motive that prompted it renders it the cool, deliberate weighing of so many pounds of silver against so many "ounces of blood."
BROOKS AND CARR
who have been boon companions for a long time at Logansport, had there been schooled in the doggeries, billiard saloons and haunts of vice.
Although neither of them had ever been found guilty of open violation of the law, their reputations were generally admitted to be not altogether spotless. The predictions as to their ultimate fall were uttered by most of the good people of their native city. Carr claimed to be under twenty-one year of age, and, as he himself writes his partner, even as the latter stares death in the face, was the "lucky one," getting off with a life of toil in the penitentiary.
Jerome Brooks is above the medium stature, with a thick, muscular body. His face is not a striking one. His forehead, medium in hight[sic] and narrow, the eyes a dull blue and high cheek bones give the picture of a poor mortal destitute of hope and determined to be reckless and careless to the last. He wears a short beard all around his face, and a mustache adorns his upper lip, not so black as his hair, which is very dry and coarse. During his imprisonment here and at Logansport he had been seemingly indifferent to his fate. Several of the ministers of this town have called on him, but were received with coldness. When he was urged to prepare to meet death he would reply that he was all ready for it and knew when he had to die.
Through the kindness of John K. Fry, the Sheriff of Carroll county, your correspondent was permitted to see and converse with the doomed man for upwards of three hours.
A word as to Sheriff Fry - There are some silly rumors afloat that he would resign on account of this painful duty devolving upon him for performance. Such intimations he assured us were without any foundation. He also states that tomorrow none save the twelve citizens of this county, provided for in the statute upon this subject, and a few peace officers of Carroll county, with the two representatives of the papers of Delphi, will be permitted to witness the execution. Satisfied that this is the law upon the subject he proposes to stand by it faithfully.
When your correspondent approached the door of the cell,
over which guards were kept all the time, Brooks stood behind the
grating and had nothing to say. But upon stating our intentions and
after some other conversation he came to the aperture and the
INTERVIEW WITH THE CONDEMNED MAN
Reporter - You made a confession of your guilt, Brooks?
Brooks - Yes, they'd never have found us out if we hadn't. Nine of the citizens of Logansport came to us and Colonel Bringhurst showed us a paper with their names signed to it, assuring us upon their solemn oath, that they would be as lenient with us as they could be and would do all for us to make the punishment less severe if we would only confess that we did it, and then, when Carr confessed it, they turned right around and used it against us. I tell you I'll haunt old Bringhurst, if ghosts can come back to this world, him and his whole family. [The prisoner here gave the names of the nine citizens.]
Reporter - Did you confess also?
Brooks - They never came to me, but I acknowledged I did it nine days after Carr had confessed.
Reporter - Don't you think you had a fair trial?
Brooks - No. They didn't give me a single witness for my side, they didn't give me the lawyer I wanted. They gave me Judge Turpie. There were several witnesses who swore to out and out lies. Bob Denbo and Abe Johns and all of them swore me down. They said they saw me the night of the murder. They wouldn't have know me if they had. They wouldn't have known me. I had on boots that came to my knees, an overcoat that reached to these, and a cap drawn down over my eyes. I passed several persons and they didn't know who I was.
Reporter - What induced you to commit the deed?
Brooks - Carr planned the whole thing. He used to say it would be a good thing to go through the old man, and then afterward to laugh it over. He tried to get a couple other fellows into it at one time. I always said no. But Carr used to steal lard and butter from the steam bakery where he worked and sell them to old Slater, and in this way he got an idea that he had money. Slater used to buy up the railroad men's time, and the pay car had been in on the previous day. On that night, the 21st of April, he took me into a saloon at Logansport, and we took a glass of cider and whisky, and then agreed to go to rob Slater. We went to our house, and my sisters coaxed me to not go down town. How I wish I'd had minded them! But we dressed ourselves as I told you, got a couple of oak dray-pins and went into the store with a bucket, and I called for molasses, and when the old man was drawing it, I struck him once and began to search him, while Carr went through the drawer. I don't thing that he would have died, but Carr, saying "You haven't got the nerve to strike him again," death him another blow, and then we both ran. At half-past 9 o'clock that night we both met at my house, and thought no one knew it. On the next day we divided the money, about $152, and hid it in a woodpile. On the afternoon of that day we were arrested and were taken to jail. I confessed it tow weeks afterward; I couldn't sleep till I did, I could hear the old man's groan and see his eyes looking at me in everything.
Reporter - Can you give me a little account of
your past life?
Brooks - A year ago I was just as good a boy as any in Logansport. The officers told me that they arrested me because I kept company with Carr. But last Christmas I lost my place and got discouraged, everybody seemed down on me, and I tell you when any one feels that way he don't care what he does. And when I was in jail at Logansport every one was telling me the mob was coming to hang us, and the officers were always twitting about wheat we had done, and that we'd be strung up for it until I got completely hardened. And now they can do their worst; they can't more than kill me, anyhow. If they'd only served Carr the same way that they treated me I wouldn't care, for it is hadn't been for him getting me drunk I never would have done what I did.
Reporter - Do you think you are prepared to die?
Brooks - I don't care to live, I have nothing to live for, all I care aobut is my mother and sisters. I have a brother too, who works in Cincinnati. Christianity and me ain't good friends. If a man's going to be a Christian, he must be one in himself. It won't do any good to have some one come and talk to you and pray for you. There's very few good Christians in this world. They talked so at Logansport to my mother and sisters, and made them quit coming to Sunday school and church, when it wasn't their fault.
Reporter - Are you going to have a minster with
Brooks - I don't know whether I will or not; I haven't made up my mind. I'm ready to die now.
After some further conversation he shook me by the hand and bade me good by, telling me to write just what he had said. I have left out the few oaths that dropped from his lips, but otherwise it is as I took it while he was speaking. His language is rough and coarse, but his manner of speaking is not of the braggadocio, reckless style. It is rather that of a man despairing life and bracing up to meet his terrible fate with all the strength of mind and courage he can summon. In proof of this, Sheriff Fry said that when he took him to the court room to received his sentence he trembled all over and could hardly speak. But when he read to him, on the 14th of October, a week ago last Saturday, Judge Turpie's letter stating that Governor Baker had refused to interfere with his execution, he said: "We'll, I am prepared to die. I knew I must and will meet it like a man." On our taking leave he can me a letter from Carr, which he said proved that "Governor Baker had made up his mind before Judge Turpie had laid the matter before him, as the date of the letter, October 8th, would show." The following is the original letter:
Michigan City, October 8th, 1871.
I Now set down to write you a few lines as I now have an Opportunity, I would have written Before, but I am not allowed to write only Every two weeks, I wrote home twice which was my place to do or I would have wrote before. My mother told me In her letter that the Governor would not changed your Sentence. It is pretty hard, but if it has to come try and meet It, and be Prepared for It. wont Stratton or Turpie do anyting for you? If we had Taken Strattons advice we would have been all right, although I cant grumble much I consider my self pretty Luckey, and I hope You will come out all right yet. you Have no Idea how I feel Every time I think about it. Jerome I suppose You would Like to know something about this Place but I can not tell you much a bout It, this Is the size Letter we have to write, I see charley west every day. he works in The Cooper Shop [Here follows some account of his companions in the Penitentiary-Rep] Direct your letters to Charles Carr michigan city In care of charles Wayne. C. Carr, Convict
The impressions conveyed by the entire interview, though they cause a natural feeling of commiseration for Brooks' fate, also made the deep guilt of his crime more apparent. He recognizes the justice that deprives him of his left for the welfare and good order of society, but thinks that Carr, begin the instigator, ought to share the gallows with him. He claims that the intention was to stun Slater with a blow, rob him, and make of with the booty. But, under the influence of the liquor, he didn't know he had killed him. He denied that, when taken to a picture gallery in Logansport, and seeing Salter's picture, he said to Carr, "there's the old s--- of a b--, now," but he did say "there's the old guy, now." He claims that Carr is older than he is, and must be at least twenty-four instead of under twenty-one years of age.
These views, freely expressed by the condemned man, are
not given as those your correspondent, but as those of Brooks. GAD
Indianapolis News (Indianapolis, Marion County, IN) 27 Oct 1871
HANGING OF JEROME BROOKS AT DELPHI
THE BROOKS EXECUTION - INCIDENTS OF THE AFFAIR
Delphi, October 27 - 10 o'clock a.m.
[Special Dispatch to the Evening News]
Considerable excitement has been created since Monday last in this place by rumors of an attempt which was made by the friends of Brooks, for his rescue. Mayor R.M. Allen issued a proclamation, under date of October 23, for the quiet and safety of the citizens of the city. All places of business have been closed by this order since half-past nine o'clock a.m. All persons who are found upon the streets, sidewalks or alleys after this hour, unless known to the police to be out on legitimate business will be arrested and subjected to fines of not less than five nor more than fifty dollars. It also calls for aid and assistance from all the good citizens. It is currently believed that this order will effectively prevent any disorder of any kind, and to back up this manifesto forty stand of arms were shipped from Lafayett yesterday and were distributed to the police and peace officers.
A bevy of lady visitors, some of them acquaintances of
the condemned man, visiting him in his cell yesterday, but the
ministers of the gospel who called were treated very cooly, while the
careless indifference as to a preparation for a future life is still
The scaffold has been completed at the southwest corner of the Court House. It is built within a little enclosure, 12 by 16 feet, 10 feet high and covered at the top. The fatal drop is three and one-half feet. It is so arranged that you pass to the platform of the scaffold through the Sheriff's window. Six steps are made in the ascent. The twelve citizens are selected and a few peace officers, who, with the proper authorities, alone will witness the execution.
The town is full of strangers, and the pressure will be great to catch a glimpse of the prisoner as he passes from the jail to the Sheriff's office, a distance of a square and a half, as this will be the last that will be seen of him by the people until is dead body is carried from the fatal enclosure.
12m. Jerome Brooks has been executed. He manifested the same indifference maintained from the first. He was brought upon the scaffold at half-past ten, when prayer was offered by Rev. G.L. Stevens.
Sheriff Fry asked the prisoner if he had anything to say. His answer was, "No, sir, I am ready." He then shook hangs with all present.
The Sheriff led him on the drop, when the prisoner taking hold of the rope, said, "My blood shan't be on no other man's hands only my own," and placed the noose over his head.
At seventeen minutes to eleven he was launched into
eternity. He died without a struggle. No excitement.
A dispatch had previously been sent to Governor Baker, requesting a reprieve for twenty-four hours. The Governor replied, refusing to stay the course of the law. G.H.M.
Indianapolis Journal, Vol 2, No 60 (Indianpolis, Marion
County, IN) 23 Nov 1872
HANGING OF THE MURDERER, THOMAS CAMP
[Special Telegram to the Indianapolis Journal]
Princeton, November 22, 1872
Thomas Camp was hung for he murder of John Riley Bilderback, in the jail yard at Princeton, Gibson county, Indiana, at 2 o'clock today. He was advised early in the morning by Rev. T.G. Beharrel that his sentence would not be changed, and if he had any hopes they must be relinquished at once. the sheriff of Gibson county gave him the privilege of fixing the hour of his execution, which he did, viz: at 1 o'clock. He had the counsel and advice of two other ministers, Rev. John McMaster and Rev. J.T. Phillips, to whom he had made his confession, which will now be made public. He would not change any part of his confession, but expressed a willingness to enter into eternity with that as his "dying" record.
Just before he led to the scaffold he was asked if he desired to communicate anything further. He answered "no."
On the scaffold Rev. Mr. McMaster read the fifty-first Psalm, and Rev. T.G. Beharrel offered a prayer, after which each of his spiritual advisers gave him the parting hand and the parting word. The Sheriff gave him an opportunity of making any remarks he desired to make. He stepped forward on the gallows and said: "My friends, I once acknowledged that I was guilty of murder," alluding to the case of Bilderback, "but that was not true. I did not kill hm, although I aided in it." He then stepped back and was led to the drop. His arms and legs were pinioned, the black cap drawn over his head, and he fell. With a few struggles, all was over - the soul of Thomas Camp was in eternity.
Indiana State Sentinel, 20 Feb1878, page 6
THE NIGHT BEFORE - A CONFESSION OF THE CRIME - A REVIEW OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE MURDER
[Special Correspondence to the Sentinel]
[I have included bits and pieces of this full page article. Using the source available, one can ready the full article if you so choose.]
Madison, Ind, Feb 15 - John W. Beavers was hung in the court yard at 12 o'clock today for the murder of John W. Sewell, of Indianapolis, on the night of November 3, 1877.
The crime for which Beavers was hung was one of the most cold-blooded murders on record, and certainly could not have been otherwise than premeditated, as he had ample time to think it over. He had been in correspondence with John W. Sewell, of Indianapolis, for some days in reference to the purchase of some property in Ripley county which was in the hands of the murdered man. Beavers made a proposition to buy it, and the offer was accepted, and to close the bargain, Beavers sent for Sewell to come down here and sign the papers and receive the money. Beavers met him at North Vernon, and together they started for the place of Saturday afternoon, November 3. About 11 o'clock that night a Mrs. Gray, a woman living near Liberty church, in Republican township, about 14 miles from here, discovered a bright light in the church, and giving the alarm the neighbors soon gathered around, and entering the church found a fire had been built in the center of the floor, and that the body of a murdered man was in the fire. The flames were hottest near the head of the man, and a hole had been burned through the floor at that placer, and his face was so badly burned as to be unrecognizable. He presented a most repulsive picture, with torn clothing, covered with clotted blood, while all around him were evidences of struggle. Near his head was a limestone weighing five or six pounds, and this was covered with blood and hair. The skull of the murdered man was found to be fractured in several places, and it was evident that his murderer intended to make a thorough job of it when he began. Nothing was found on his person express receipt made out in the name of Walker, and a receipt for a load of coal. Word was brought to this city the next morning, and shortly before noon Coroner Matthews repaired to the scene and held an inquest. At this time the identity of the victim was not known, and it was only after several days that it was discovered, and only then when John W. Sewell Jr, of Indianapolis, came down and recognized the remains of his father. Surrounding the body of the murdered man a large crowd naturally assembled, and in this crowd, was Beavers, who stepped up and after taking a look at the corpse, remarked, "Somebody gave him a hell of a thumping." His actions excited the suspicions of several present, and he was asked to explain his whereabouts on the night of the murder, but he could give no consistent account of himself, but said he was in several places, in all of which he certainly could not have been. He was then arrested by Constable Smith for the murder, but maintained the utmost composure, seemingly being either confident of acquittal or having no care for his fate. Messrs. Kirk and Smith were employed to defend him, but the evidence was so clear against him that the jury returned a verdict of murder in the first degree and fixed death as the punishment. This was on the 18th of December, and Judge J.Y. Allison pronounced the death sentence in the presence of a crowded court room. When Beavers heard the sentence, it is said, he turned pale, dropped his eyes and compressing his lips trembled slightly. This, however, was but momentary, and soon recovering himself he maintained a stolid composure and walked from the court room to his cell as if he were following the ordinary avocations of life. From that day until the last moment he preserved the same composure, which, however, may be accounted for by the fact that at no time has he expected to be called upon to pay the death penalty, as only a few days ago he refused to have his photograph taken, as he said he expected to escape, and he did not want his pictures to be following him around the country. During his confinement he made two attempts to escape, both of which came very nearly being successful, but were frustrated by the vigilance of Sheriff Nugent and his assistants. He has repeatedly said that if it became necessary for him to died he would die "game," and that he would not hesitate a moment but would walk upon the scaffold and adjust the rope as if it were an everyday occurrence with him. This was said when he not only had hopes of escape, but when he and his attorneys thought either the supreme court would grant him a new trial or the governor would commute his sentence to imprisonment for life...
THE MOTIVE FOR THE CRIME
When Mr. Sewell came to North Vernon he had $137 in money on his person and the deed for this property, which was signed and ready for delivery to Beavers as soon as he paid a certain sum of money. Since the occurrence Beavers is said to have acknowledged that his only motive in the murder was to gain possession of the money Sewell had with him and the deed to the land. It was simply a desire to possess these that actuated him to commit one of the most atrocious murders of modern times. He inveigled the victim into the church on a pretense that he wanted to further examine the papers, and when once in there he availed himself of the opportunity of murdering him by beating him over the head with a huge club while his back was turned...
He received calls last night from his father in law, Mr. J.H. Davis, his sister in law and a brother in law, and also from his two children, a girl about 8 years of age and a boy 5 years old. When the children approached the cell in which their father was confined, he evinced considerable emotion, and clasping them in his arms, kissed them passionately and said, "Ada, don't you know me?" Neither of the children recognized their father, and they were evidently afraid of him, as they shrank back and were anxious to leave the place. He also received a visit from his sister, Mrs. Gordon, of Saluda township, this county...
John W. Beavers was 36 years of age, about medium height and compactly built, weighing about 155 or 160 pound. He had dark hair and cold, sinister looking steel gray eyes, which were constantly in motion, seldom being fixed on one object for any length of time. In conversation he evinced restlessness, dwelling for a moment on one subject and then on another...
Beavers had been closely shaved before the execution, and was dressed in a plain suit of black. His father in law staterd that he had supported the children since January 1874 and that Beavers had not been with his family since that time. During that month, when Mr. Davis was coming from Lafayette with the children, officers boarded the train, and Beavers seeing them, jimped from the cars, and had never lived at him since that time. His wife died three years ago, February 3, and was considered a most estimable woman by all who knew her.
John W. Sewell Jr, the son of the murdered man, wrote a letter to Sheriff Nugent requesting the privilege of adjusting the noose around the doomed man's neck. His request was of course, refused. W.P.W.
Indiana State Sentinel, 6 Mar 1878, page 3
[Special Dispatch to the Cincinnati Gazette]
Madison, Ind, Feb 24 - After the execution of John W. Beavers, it will be remembered, his remains were deposited in the vault in Springdale cemetery; but under cover of night, for fear of body snatchers, they were taken by a relative to his farm in the lower end of the county. The farmer not arriving home until after midnight, hid the body in the hay in his barn, intending to inter it on the morrow. Sleeping after his midnight journey until morning, the farmer hurriedly arose to find a terrible confusion on his farm. His hired man, in going to feed the cattle by the early starlight, found hid in the hay the coffin contained Beavers' body and was nearly frightened to death. His horror was frightful, and he woke the echoes with his yells. After the matter was explained quiet was restored, the body was carried to New Liberty churchyard, to be buried beside his poor dead wife. This poor boon was not allowed him, however, for a mob of neighbors residing near the church were there and angrily refused to let the body in interred, and it had to "move on." It was taken to still another quiet country churchyard to find rest, but active runners had aroused the neighborhood, and the residents for miles around flocked on horseback and foot to prevent the sacred resting place of their loved and lost ones from being desecrated by the vile corpse of an executed murderer finding sepulcher there, and again the body was refused burial. The wagon containing the remains moved away, and it was not until Tuesday night, five days after the execution, that the bloated and disgusting corpse found a resting place in an unknown grave in the woods.
Indiana State Sentinel, 8 Jan 1879, page 4
THE TRIO COMPLETE
MERRICK SENTENCED TO HANG WITH ACHEY AND GUETIG - MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL OVERRULED
During the forenoon session of the Criminal Court Merrick's attorneys made a statement to the effect that. owing to a variety of circumstances, the had been so far unable to completer preparations for the introduction of their motion for a new trial. and asked further time. Several postponements had already been made, at their solicitation, until the patience of the Court had become well-nigh exhausted. Judge Heller gave the attorneys until 5 o'clock p.m. to file their motion and proceeded with its consideration. At the hour appointed Merrick was brought in, and the motion filed. The principal reasons urged for a new trial are, first, the refusal to grant a change of venue, the defense believing they had not had, and could not have had, a fair trial in a community so prejudiced against the prisoner as they attempted to show Marion County to be. Second, that the State should have elected upon which of the counts she would try the prisoner, which had not been done. Merssrs. Logan, Falkenburg and Fiebleman, counsel for the defense, spoke in favor of the motion, and Messrs. Elam & Mitchell, in behalf of the State, against. The arguments were brief, the prisoner's attorneys seemingly realizing the weakness of their cause, and those for the State having little to reply to. As soon as the argument was finished, the prisoner was ordered to
STAND UP AND RECEIVE SENTENCE
Judge Heller propounded the usual question as to whether the prisoner at the bar had anything to say why the sentence of the law should not be pronounced against him, to which Merrick replied that her had nothing to add to what his attorneys had already spoken. The Judge then sentenced William Merrick for the murder of Julia A. Merrick on the 14th day of September last, to be hanged by the Sheriff of Marion County until dead, on the 29th day of the present month. The sentence, like that it Guetig's case, was received in silence. Merrick took it very cooly, as though the result of the motion, was not expected. He is the same stoical, unfeeling wretch that he has been from the first, and seems indifferent to his fate. After sentence irons were placed upon his wrists, and the officers escorted him back to Jail. Hs[sic] he was leaving the Court room some profane acquaintance of his accosted him with
"Well, Bill, you've got your dose at last?"
Merrick made no audible reply, but smiled grinily and passed on. At the jail last night Jailer Reynolds reported him as appearing to be in his usual serene state of mind. A formal notice of appeal to the Supreme Court was made, but it is generally understood that the case will not reach that attitude. The attorneys would like to take it there if it could be done without introducing the evidence, which is as clear as crystal for conviction. They will scarcely find technical errors sufficient to take their case up, and will not do so unless they can. It is therefore altogether probable Mr. Merrick will complete the trio Jan 29. The court room was full, and general satisfaction at the ruling of Judge Heller is expressed The whole proceeding occupied only an hour and a quarter.
Indiana State Sentinel, 29 Jan 1879, page 4
THE SUPREME COURT REVERSES THE DECISION IN THE GUETIG CASE
At about 10 o'clock a.m. yesterday the unanimous opinion of the five judges of the supreme court of Indiana in Guetig's case was filed with the clerk of that court. A number of friends of the condemned, and many idlers were there, awaiting the decision with breathless anxiety. The moment after the document came into the clerk's hands its contents became known. The ruling of the court below had been reversed, and Louis Guetig was to have a new trial. The news spread like a prairie fire over the city, and by the time the News was upon the street in the afternoon, with the decision in full, ninety-nine hundredths of the downtown people knew of the result, and the subject was the theme of conversation everywhere. The moment Guetig's attorneys, who were there, knew the contents of the opinion, they hurried to the jail to notify their client. Exultant themselves, they fancied Guetig would be pleased with the news they brought. He was called into the cage when the following conversation, in substance ensued:
"Well, Louis, the supreme court has granted you a new trial, and you will not die yet." to which he replied:
"I don't care a cuss; I may as well be hung Wednesday as any other day."
The reply was delivered in a nonchalant devil-may-care style, indicating supreme indifference as to what became of him here or hereafter. The reply somewhat dampened the ardor of the sanguine young attorneys.
The following is the [partial] text of the opinion of the court:
7 623 Louis P. Guetig vs. the State. From the Marion criminal circuit court. Cause reversed. Opinion by Biddle, J.
The appellant was indicted for murder in the first degree, alleged to have been committed in killing Mary McGlew, purposely and with premediated malice. Upon a plea of not guilty, and a trial by jury, he was convicted and sentenced to suffer the penalty of death. Numerous exceptions were reserved in the record, but such questions as have been discussed before us arose under a motion for a new trial...
Indiana State Sentinel, 24 Sep 1879, page 5
FOLLOWED HIS VICTIM
LOUIS GOETIG MEETS THE FATE HE SO RICHLY DESERVED, BUT MEETS IT LIKE A MAN
THE MURDERER OF MARY McGLEW MOUNTS THE SCAFFOLD, STEPS OFF, AND DIES
Early Friday morning a large crowd assembled around the jail to witness the execution of Louis Guetig, though they knew how impossible it was for any but invited guests to witness the execution. The sheriff furnished the doomed man a hearty breakfast, which he ate with gusto, remarking at the same time that he would die with more show of bravery than any other man had ever displayed in Marion County.
At 8.15 a.m he was taken into Charley Reynold's room , where he remained with his mother, Uncle Henry and other relatives, and Fathers O'Douaghue and Seiler, for some time. He had then given up all idea of living. He said he was not afraid to die, but would meet death like a man.
During the forenoon he was closeted with his family and his priests. To them Guetig said he was anxious to become a member of the church, and as he had already forsaken Belle Ray, as announced in the Sentinel of yesterday, the priests waiting upon him. The scene in the body of the jail was an affection gone, as the young man, so soon to depart this life, stood among weeping and mourning friends, and bade them good-bye forever.
At 11.40 George Guetig, the brother of Louis, appeared at the outer gate, and as soon as his identity was established, was admitted to the today of the jail, where he saw his doomed brother. At 11.50 a.m. however, a separation necessarily took place, as at 12 o'clock Louis Guetig was to hang.
At this time there were at least 225 men within the jail yard, and within the part set aside for reporters about three dead beats to each genuine newspaper man.
A MAN OF NERVE ON THE SCAFFOLD
Exactly at 11.50 a.m. Sheriff Pressley and Chief-of-Police Travis appeared and mounted the streps to the scaffold, on the rear part of which were seated the mayor, county, city, and other officers, and some others who had no business there. Following the sheriff and chief came Fathers O'Donaghue and Seiler, bearing the crucifix and the sacred emblems of the church.
Immediately behind them was George Geutig, the brother before spoken of, and behind him, was the doomed youth accompanied by Deputy Sheriff Reynolds. Guetig walked with a firm step, and showed not a particle of weakness. Charley Reynolds has been through the mill before, but he did not look as if he enjoyed the job before him. Louis Guetig was clad in a new suit of black, with snowy white shirt front and neat black tie, embroidered slippers and nice striped stockings. When he mounted the scaffold he was very pale - much paler than usual; but he soon recovered his color, and appeared to be the most self possessed man in the yard. Immediately upon reaching the platform he took a seat between the two priests, with whom he knelt, and as every had was uncovered the last prayers of the church were repeated, and it is not exaggeration to say there were few dry eyes in the assembly. The prayer over, the tree arose, and the priests took seats while Guetig stood up. Here was manifested the only show of nervousness; yet it could not really be called nervousness or fear, for he stood up and looked over the crowd, recognized his acquaintances with a tacit smile, though at the same time he appeared to think that if any one supposed he was going to "weaken" in the common sense of the term, they would be mistaken. He glanced over the crowd before him with a sarcastic expression - an expression that indicated no fear, but it did indicate determination. That he fully realized the position in which he was placed was manifest from the fact that he was uneasy, and kept shifting his weight from one leg to the other while Sheriff Pressley read the death warrant. The reading of this document, which is a long one, required about three minutes. and during the reading not a sign of anything but impatience was noticed upon Guetig. He kept shifting his weight from one leg to the other, yawned once and coughed twice, but no other sign was made, with the exception of wiping his mouth with his white-gloved hand. During the reading of the warrant Sheriff Pressley was visibly affected; he appeared to feel the gravity of the duty devolving upon him, but there was not the slightest evidence of a desire to shift the responsibility. In reading he frequently hesitated, and his voice showed signs of emotion, but he continued to the end. His manifestation of the feeling of humanity was in marked contrast to the appearance of the boy who stood before him, apparently indifferent to what was being read. At the conclusion of the reading of the death warrant, Sheriff Presslery said: "Have you anything to say before the execution of the order of the court?" Very unexpectedly to all present, he said, "I have," and taking a step forward, drew a sheet of paper from behind him, and began reading. He read in a clear tone of voice, without the slightest sign of a tremor, and neither did the paper show any sign of trembling, as the Sentinel reporter stood within a very few feet, and watched carefully. There was probably not another man in the audience who could have read as firmly.
His address was as follows:
At last, my friends, the time set apart by the law has arrived forme to say farewell, not only to you who have gathered about me at this moment, but to all the world besides. You will, therefore, believe the last utterances of a dying man, when he informs you that he deeply realizes, but without complaint, the solemnity of this hour, fraught with the greatest change that can come to mankind in this restless life. Gentlemen, if there be any here that I have injured in any manner or any way, I hope you will forgive me. I will now suffer death, the debt of Mary McGlew, and I hope that all my friends and all my foes will forgive me. Farewell.
He then dropped his manuscript before him, but evidently
his words came from the heart:
"If there be any whom in the past I have wronged in any manner I crave forgiveness, and if possible, their friendship in that other life where sorrow never comes."
SHAKING HANDS FOR THE LAST TIME
As quickly as he had finished reading he handed the manuscript to Jailer O'Brien and then began shaking hands with the men on the platform and bidding them good-bye. He kissed his brother, who immediately burst into tears and left the trying scene. This was the most trying feature of the entire performance. He then finished the hand-shaking, and looking down at the representatives of the press who were standing immediately in front of the scaffold, stepped upon the fatal trap.
Drs. C.S. Boynton, W.H. Wishard, W.E. Jeffries, W.M. Wands, C.E. Wright and P.J. Watters were in attendance, and Drs. Watters and Jeffries were appointed to feel his pulse.
THE DEATH DROP
At 11.59 he was handcuffed with his hands behind him, and had his legs pinioned with green cord, while another cords of the same kind was tied around his body and arms. The rope was then adjusted about his neck by Sheriff Pressley, and still there was no show of feeling upon the part of the doomed man; he only closed his eyes as the rope passed over his face. The white cowl, furnished by Jeff Davis, of Bamberger's was then put on, and as the Court House clock made the first stroke on the hour of 12, Sheriff Pressley pulled the lever, and Guetig's soul was launched into eternity.
HE DIED HARD
He died hard, and although his neck was broken by the fall of five feet, he drew his legs up, and there was spasmodic actions of the diaphram and muscles surrounding the respiratory organs no less than 18 times. The following is the record of the pulse and heart beats:
1st minute, 76 in pulse, both arms
2nd minute, 120 in right and 84 in left
3rd minute, 146 in right and 140 in left
4th minute, 164 in right and 156 in left, irregular
5th minute not counted; indistinct
6th minute, quiver of pulse
7th minute, 75 in both arms
8th minute, 68 in both arms
9th, 10th, 11th, indistinguishable; the shackels being just over the pulse nerves
The last 3 minutes the pulsations of the heart were between 60 and 70.
12th minute, 40 heart beats
13th minute, indistinguishable
14th minute, no pulsation
At the end of 16 minutes he was pronounced dead by Coroner Wishard, and at the end of another minute Officer Durham cut the rope, by the order of the coroner, not, however, until after the handcuffs had been removed; and before he was placed in the handsome rosewood and velvet mounted coffin the other bindings were removed. The people were then notified to leave the inclosure, and Undertaker Weaver took charge of the remains and delivered them to his friends.
Father O'Donaghue said the Guetig received the sacrament at 6.30 a.m. yesterday, at which time a change was noticed in him, but not as much as ought to have been expected in consideration of the enormity of his offense. The excellent - nay, extraordinary - control he had over his feelings prevented any one from noticing how much he did feel.
Jasper Weekly Courier 18 May 1883
Buck Stout, who brutally murdered Taylor Dunbar, at Darlington, Montgomery County, last October, has been senteneced to be hung on August 8.
Indiana State Sentinel, 15 Aug 1883
THE MURDERER OF TAYLOR DUNBAR, HANGED AT ROCKVILLE
HE APPEARS INDIFFERENT TO THE LAST AND DIES WITH A SMILE ON HIS FACE
HIS VICTIM'S WIFE WITNESSES THE EXECUTION - HE PROFESSES SORROW - THE CRIME - STATE NEWS
Execution of Buck Stout, the Murdered of Taylor Dunbar - Firm to the Last - His Speech on the Gallows - Mrs. Dunbar Witnesses the Hanging
Special to the Sentinel:
Rockville, Ind, Aug 8 - At 1 o'clock the soul of Joseph W. Stout, alias Buck Stout, was launched into eternity. The execution took place in the yard of the County Jail.
At an early hour this morning the people began to pour
in from the surrounding country, and all trains came in heavily
Long before the hour of execution this little city was packed with men, women and children, and thousands crowded around the Jail all day.
The doomed man retired at 9 o'clock last night, and he slept soundly until midnight, when he roused up only for a minute, and again went to sleep not again waking until he was called at 5 o'clock, when he arose and dressed himself in a neat black suit. At 5 o'clock his barber came and shaved him, after which breakfast was served, which he ate with a good appetite.
At 8 o'clock this morning the McCune Guards filed into the jail yard with fixed bayonets to preserve order, they having been ordered out by the Governor.
Promptly at 12.55 the march to the gallows was taken up.
Sheriff John R. Musser and Joel Stout, an uncle of the doomed man, led
the way, followed by John R. Courtney, his attorney, and Rev. S.K.
Fuson, his spiritual adviser. Then came the prisoner, accompanied by
William Houghkirk and S.L. Goode, the Wardens who have been with him
night and day since his sentence.
The prisoner, on reaching the stairs leading to the gallows, walked steadily up and stood just back of the trap while the death warrant was being read. After the prayer by Rev. Fuson, Stout stepped upon the trap and surveyed the faces before him, which numbered over 150. He read:
"I have told my story. It was not believed. I have suffered greater punishment than I deserve. I am sorry for what I have done. " My friends and my lawyer have done all that could be done for me. The prosecution has been awful against me. I forgive everybody as I would be forgiven. I am willing to fill the demands of the law, and may the Lord have mercy on my soul."
Sheriff Musser then adjusted the noose. As he did so the prisoner looked around at him with a very pleasant smile on his face, which showed he did not realize what was before him. The cap was then drawn and the trap sprung, the body dropping six and a half feet with a dull thud, instantly breaking the neck. Not a motion or struggle of the body was perceptible.
The examining physicians were Dr. L.L. Whitesides, of Crawfordsville, and Drs. J.F. Cross and J.A. Goldsburg, of this city. At 1.30 life was pronounced extinct, and the body was cut down.
Mrs. Taylor Dunbar, wife of the man that Stout killed, was present and witnessed the execution in a cool and unaffected manner, never flinching or taking her eyes off of the prisoner from the time he came on the scaffold until he was cut down. She was the only lady present.
PARTICULARS OF THE MURDER FOR WHICH STOUT WAS HANGED
Special to the Sentinel:
Rockville, Ind, Aug 8 - The crime for which Joseph W. Stout today paid the penalty with his life was as follow:
Taylor A. Dunbar was a grocer and huskster at Darlington, Montgomery County, and had a good reputation in that locality. Joseph W. Stout, the murderer, was also a resident of Darlington, and had always been regarded as a worthless fellow, without principle and a man upon whom no dependence could be placed. Dunbar left Darlington Friday, November 24, 1882, on his regular trip, accompanied by Stout who carried his gun with him for the purpose of hunting. Her rode along with Dunbar for three miles and then took to the woods to hunt, Dunbar following the pike until his wagon became disabled. Hearing the firing of Stout in the woods, Dunbar went over where he was. He is supposed to have left his team about 11 o'clock in the morning, and as he did not return the suspicion of Nathaniel Booker, a near resident, was aroused, and he, in company with his son, began a search. Booker's attention was attracted to an open grassy space in the dense woods by the howling of Dunbar's dog, and upon reaching the spot found the body of Dunbar, the features so bloody as to be barely recognizable. There was evidence of brutal treatment with the butt of the gun, and the head was pierced by bullets in two places - one shot blowing out both eyes and the other severing the caratod artery. After committing the crime Stout went to Indianapolis, where he was arrested at the Zoo. He never winced when charged with the murder, and did not appear to realize the magnitude of the crime. He was taken to Darlington, and in the Justice's office, he acknowledged that he killed Dunbar: that he alone was responsible for the crime, and that he killed him for what money he might find on his victim - between $25 and $40 and a silver watch.
After Stout's preliminary he was committed to the Crawfordville Jail. His lawyer, John R. Courtney, feeling that public sentiment was against the prisoner, asked a change of venue to this city, where the case was tried before judge James E. Heller. At the close of his trial, which was a long and very expensive one to Montgomery County, the Jury brought the verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree; and Judge Heller sentenced him to hang on August 8, 1883. Stout received his sentence with indifference an hour after requesting Judge Heller to shorten the term one week, but this request was refused. A motion for a new trial was overruled and the case was appealed to the Supreme Court, the defense holding the the Judge's instructions were practically, "Here is a guilty man; hang him." The Supreme Court considered the case in special session and affirmed the death sentence. The Governor likewise refused to interfere.
Daily Wabash Express (Terra Haute, Vigo County, IN) 13
Jan 1884 - transcribed by J.S.
Mr. John Anderson, of this city, shot his wife because she made the best argument in a domestic debate. He then shot himself twice in the head, but, as might have been supposed, he could not drive a bullet through his skull.
Daily Wabash Express (Terre Haute, Vigo County, IN) 22
HOW IT WILL BE CELEBRATED IN POSEY COUNTY
Preparations have already been commenced for the hanging of the murderers, Anderson and Snyder at Mount Vernon, on the 25th. The hanging will tak[sic] place in an enclosure in the rear of the jail. An inclosure 24x2s is being erected, the walls of which will be twenty feet high. To this none will be admitted except officials, representatives of the press and those possessing cards from the sheriff. It is expected, however, that a vast concourse will be assembled around the jail door to obtain a last look at the doomed men as they are being taken to the gallows. The scaffold is so constructed that both traps will be sprung at the same time.
Both manifest penitence and pray constantly, Snyder being especially devout. It is said they can pray eloquently. Snyder regrets exceedingly that the hanging is not public, as he desires to speak from the gallows and address the young men of Mount Vernon principally. The relatives of the unfortunate young men are only allowed the visit the jail on Sundays. During the week, however, numbers call, through curiosity mainly, to take a look at the prisoners. It is certain Governor Porter will grant no state clemency, and the hanging will positively take place at the time appointed. It is the intention of Sheriff Hays to hang the men as near the hour of noon as possible.
Daily Wabash Express (Terre Haute, Vigo County, IN) 13
A DOUBLE MURDER
AN OLD COUPLE MURDERED AND BURNED UP IN THEIR HOME - A YOUNG FARMER ARRESTED FOR THE CRIME
A double murder was committed in Coal Creek township at a small farm house about ten miles west of this city the other night. The victims were an old farmer named James McMullen and his wife. Last Thursday morning it was discovered that the house had been burned to ashes. None of the neighbors had discovered the fire. On examination the bodies of Mr. McMullen and wife were found, but so badly burned that it was impossible to discover any marks of violence or any clew[sic] to the murderers. it was known that Mr. McMullen had collected between $400 and $600 that day and that the money was in the house Wednesday night. Suspicion rested on John Coffey, a young farmer, on account of his peculiar conduct on the night of the tragedy, as he came home that night wearing a pair of boots two sizes two small for him, and other articles that were recognized as belonging to McMullen. He was at once arrested and placed in the hands of Ben Swank, a careless old farmer, to bring him to jail. As it was midnight, Swank took him home and locked him into a room upstirs[sic], expecting to take him to the jail in the morning. When morning came it was found that the prisoner had escaped through the back window. The entire Horse Thief Detective association was called out to scour the country, and late last night Coffey was arrested near Snoddy's Mills, about twenty miles from the McMullen house, brought to this city early this morning, and taken to Coal Creek township for a preliminary examination. Fully 100 people from the city drove out to attend the trial, and the excitement runs high in that township tonight. A good corps of police are with him. If he acknowledges the crime it will be hard work to save him from lynchers. There have been four murders in this county within thirty days.
Daily Wabash Express (Terre Haute, Vigo County, IN) 15 Jan 1885
THE CRAWFORDSVILLE FIEND
Special to the Commercial Gazette
Crawfordsville, Ind., January 13
At 4 o'clock this afternoon John Coffey, the young man in Coal Creek township, and who full confession is published in today's Tribune, was brought before Judge Britton for hearing. The court appointed Paul & Humphreys as his attorneys at his request. The clerk read the indictment found by the grand jury against him for the murder of James McMullen and wife and the burning of the house containing the bodies, all of which he listened to comparatively unconcerned. When asked by the judge, "Are you guilty or not guilty?" his prompt and firm answer was , "Guilty."
William Shuler and James Cunningham, who murdered
William Layney three weeks ago, were also brought in, but Shular's
father has some money and plenty of lawyers to quash both
indictments. Shular is to have Senator D.W. Voorhees the last three
days of his trial to help him out. The judge, will perhaps, pass the
death sentence on Coffey this week.
Bloomington Progress, Vol 18, No 47, Bloomington, Monroe County, IN 21 Jan 1885
It is difficult to understand how a man can coolly commit a murder for the paltry sum of $14, and it would seem that the climax had been reached in the Fedder case, but Montgomery county, in this State, carries off the premium for brutality by furnishing a man who killed two persons and burned the house for 25c! The Crawfordsville Journal says:
John Coffee, the man who murdered James McMullen and wife and then fired their dwelling Wednesday night a week, was captured Saturday night near Stringtown, twenty-five miles from where he committed the deed, and brought to Elmsdale, near the place of the murder. Coffee's statement was that on last Wednesday evening, after supper he made up his mind to go over and kill James McMullen and wife, knowing that Mc. had sold some hogs that day, amounting to $150, and that they must have the money in the house. McMullen was about forty years of age and his wife much younger.
"They were sitting by the stove in the kitchen," said Coffee, "and talked for an hour, when Mrs. Mc. went to the west room to make a bed. I picked up a stick of wood and hit McMullen a hard blow. He grabbed a chair; I hit him again. This finished him. I then went in search of the money. At the door I met Mrs. McMullen. She saw what I had done. I asked her for the money, or I would kill her. She said there was no money in the house, only twenty-five cents in a little tin box, which I got. She then offered to run off with me and get married if I would not hurt her, and go and collect twenty dollars from one of the neighbors. When I first killed the man I set fire to everything in the kitchen and by this time the fire had got started. I thought I had better kill her and leave. I hit her a lick with the same stick of wood, knocking her to the floor. I then left the house, taking a pair of pants and boots, and left the bodies to burn, and I think she was not dead by the blow I gave her."
This is Coffey's own statement of the terrible crime. He
relates it in a firm resolute way, and does not seem to realize the
enormity of his crime or care. He is twenty-four years old, and was
only a farm hand employed by one of the neighbors.
Daily Wabash Express (Terre Haute, Vigo County, IN) 29 Jan 1885
James Dennis, the man accused of helping John Coffey to commit the double murder in Cole Creek the 7th of this month, has had a long preliminary trial of four days before Justice J.W. Ramsey, at Crawfordsville, which resulted in Dennis being bound over to court. The people in that neighborhood still think there is another connected with that murder who has not yet been arrested.
Indianapolis New, Indianpolis, Marion County, IN 26 Feb
HANGING OF WIEBERN WARTENA
AT RENSSELAER, JASPER COUNTY, INDIANA, TODAY, FOR KILLING JOHN DREGER - AN ACCOUNT OF HIS HEINOUS CRIME
Special to the Indianapolis News.
Renssealer, Ind. February 26 - At an early hour this morning the streets of Rensselaer were lined with men, mostly strangers, who had come to see Wiebern Wartena hanged. They walked restlessly back and forth and a few went to see the condemned man, who lay on his bunk in the jail cell entirely covered up, no speaking to or recognizing any one. One thousand people were on the ground and witnessed the execution. About 11.30 the lucky parties posessing tickets were admitted into the inclosure, and at 11.40 the sheriff, closely followed by the prisoner, supported by deputies, appeared at the east door of the jail and immediately proceeded to the scaffold. This was a fine specimen of killing machines, and the father of the one upon which John w. Coffee was recently hanged at Crawfordsville.
The prisoner looked up at the rope which was so soon to
break his neck, but manifested no particular emotion. The sheriff then
told him he could speak. Wartena faced the crowd, and in a wild and
gesticulating manner said he was not guilty and asked God to have
mercy on his accusers. He spoke partly in broken English and partly in
Rev. B.F. Ferguson then prayed for him in English and one of his countrymen in Dutch. During all this time the condemned man held up his hands.
The sheriff adjusted the rope; at 11.5- the black cap,
was drawn over his eyes, and at 11.52 the trap was sprung. The body
swung round a few times, he drew up his legs once or twice and then
remained perfectly still. Sheriff S.E. Yeoman did his unpleasant duty
in good order. Everything worked with precision. At 12.26 the body was
cut down and taken to the cemetery for burial.
None of Wartens's relatives were present. Yesterday he was baptized in the Catholic faith.
While pursuing his vocation as trapper on the Kankakee river, a little below a place called French Island Landing, in Jasper county, late in the afternoon of the 30th of October, 1884. Lorenzo Brainard was just rounding a fallen tree with his boat when, to his horror, he beheld the dead body of a man, face upward, lodged against the drift wood. Terribly frightened, he rowed two miles further up the river and notified Dutcher, another trapper, of his ghastly discovery. The two men at once descended the river to a small shanty where lived Claus A. Vehrs, and Brainard told him what he had seen. Vehrs got a horse and rode to DeMotte, a small railroad station, and told 'Squire Fairchild that a dead man had been found in the river. It now being dark, nothing could be done until morning, when Fairchild and others proceeded to the river with a wagon and found the body where Brainard had left it. The body had been in the water twenty-two days, but was at once recognized as being that of John Dreger, a young farmer, who had lived a short distance east of DeMotte. He had lived alone, being a widower. As soon as it was attempted to take the body from the water two heavy iron pumps were found tied to it weighing some seventy pounds. The body was taken to DeMotte, where an inquest was held.
That deceased had been murdered was evident; bruises were plainly visible about the head and an ugly gash in the neck. Among the witnesses summoned to the inquest was Wiebern Wartena, a Hollander, who had settled in Dreger's neighborhood in the summer of 1884. During the summer he had fished for a living. While the physicians dissected the body he stood very near it, and with perfect indifference watched them until they had finished. He said he had never seen the body there. Wartena was the last man seen with Dreger and his actions on the day of the inquest, while going to dinner, being very suspicious, he was arrested and taken to jail., where in a few days he made a full confession of his horrible crime, in substance as follows:
On the afternoon on the 8th of October, 1884, Wartena arranged with John Dreger to borrow a light wagon, take his team, Wartena having neither, and go to the Kankakee river, four or five miles away, and get some fish, which Wartena said he had caught, and put them in a live box.
The pumps, he said, he wanted to sink his net with, and he provided a gun also, as they might find some game. Dreger, who was about the only friend Wartena had in the neighborhood, came along, and Wartena, with his pumps and gun, being ready, climbed in the wagon and they drove off. As they neared the river they had to pass through a stretch of country covered with underbrush and willow trees, the roots of which grow on or near the surface of the ground forming great tussocks. Dreger, being a little careless, drove against one of those willow-clumps just as they came to the river and broke the coupling-pole of the wagon. He at once jumped out to see what was the matter, and Wartena seeing his chance, seized his gun and struck Dreger a terrific blow on the head and felled him to the ground. The stroke broke the gun stock, leaving a long, sharp splinter, with which Wartena stabbed his victim in the neck, making the gash referred to. He then took the halters form the horses and tied the pumps to Dreger's back and rolled him into the river. The body sand from view.
Next day he took possession of all Dreger's personal
property, amounting to about four hundred dollars, saying he had
received a check for $400 from Holland and had paid Dreger $375 for
his property; that Dreger had gone to Chicago to cash the check and
promised to send Wartena the balance $25, which he feared Dreger would
never do. While at dinner on the day of the inquest he hid the broken
gun and Dreger's clothes and all other evidences of the crime as far
as possible. He hid the clothes so well that after he had pointed out
the exact place where they were buried, it required several hours'
search before they could be found.
On this confession he was arrested and indicted and on the 10th day of January 1885, Wartena pleaded guilty to the charge of murder in the first degree, and on that plea was sentenced to hang May 15. This judgment was reversed by the supreme court May 12, on the ground that a man may not waive trial by jury in a capital case. At the October term 1885, he was tried on a plea of not guilty, his counsel testifying that he thought him insane. After a trial of nearly five days his case was given to the jury, who, after being our twenty-four hours, on Sunday, November , returned a verdict of guilty. On the 10th he was sentenced to hang February 26, 1886.
In the same vicinity, several years ago, a young man
name James Cotton was murdered and his shanty burned to the ground,
and his remains were found in a charred mass. As to who committed the
deed remains as yet a profound mystery.
Greencastle Banner, Greencastle, Putnam County, IN 4 Mar 1886
A LEGAL HANGING AT RENSSELAER
Wiebern Wartena was hanged at Rensselaer, Friday, for killing John Dregger. A large crowd of morbidly curious people thronged the streets of the little city from early morn. Only those with tickets were admitted to the enclosure. The culprit was let to the scaffold at 11.40 by the sheriff, the prisoner being supported by two deputies. When told that he could speak, Wartena faced the crowd, and in a wild and gesticulating manner said he was not guilty and asked God to have mercy on his accusers. He spoke partly in broken English and partly in Holland Dutch. The trap was sprung at 11.52, and he died comparatively without struggling. At 12.26 he was cut down and taken to the cemetery for burial. The crime which Wartena thus expiated was one of the most brutal on record.
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