Butler  County,  Kansas



At home Near Rose Hill


Clarence Williams was arrested by Sheriff Schad yesterday afternoon near Rose Hill, charged with killing his brother-in-law, Guy Crab. He was brought to this city last night and placed in the county jail. It is understood that his plea will be self-defense.

Ida Crabb, the wife of Guy Crab, who was killed, filed a petition for divorce yesterday morning through her attorneys, Adams & Adams. Three hours later it was learned that Crab had been shot and instantly killed by Mrs. Crab's brother, Clarence Williams. In her petition for divorce Mrs. Crab alleged that her husband had assaulted her. At one time she says, he threw her to the floor and beat her.

Immediately upon receipt of the news that a shooting had occurred, Sheriff Schad and Coroner McCollister left for the scene. The body of Guy Crab was brought to this city last night about 8 o'clock and is at Gill's undertaking parlors.

Sheriff Schad, in regard to the shooting, said last night: "From what I have heard, the man Crab had threatened to kill his wife on several different occasions. About three weeks ago he came to Wichita and until Friday night lived with his mother, Mrs. John Crab, at 1517 South Mosley. Friday night he told her of his intention to return home and kill his wife. He set out on foot. The man's sister, Miss Millie Crabb, hitched a horse and drove to the home of her sister-in-law. She told her of her brother's threats to take his wife's life. Clarence Williams, a brother of Mrs. Crab's, has been living with his sister since her husband left home. Nothing was seen of Crab at the home near Rose Hill until Saturday morning. He arrived there late Friday night, however, and slept in the hay loft of his barn. In the morning when Williams went to hitch a team of horses, he saw Crab appear from the loft. They passed the time of day and Crab told Williams that he was going into the house and kill the entire family." The household consists of Mrs. Crab and three children, aged 9, 7 and 6 years. "Williams tried to persuade Crab not to do anything like that. Crab insisted and started toward the house. Williams stepped in front of Crab to stop him. This evidently made Crab angry and he struck Williams a terrific blow in the breast. Williams drew a 45 caliber revolver and shot Crab dead.

"When the coroner and myself arrived at the house, Williams was in the upstairs portion of the Crab residence. He came down stairs and I placed him under arrest."

Williams was placed in a cell at the county jail upon his arrival here. He had nothing to say when a reporter for the Eagle called. His attorney, George W. Adams, talked for him. He said: "There had been trouble between Mr. and Mrs. Crab several times prior to about three weeks ago. At that time Crab left his home and came to Wichita. He had been known to threaten the life of Mrs. Crab numerous times and he undoubtedly left Wichita for his home with the intention of killing her. He met Williams Saturday morning near the barn at the Crab residence and told him of his intention to murder Williams' sister and the three children. Williams tried to persuade Crab from his purpose and when the latter turned his steps toward the house. Williams stepped in front of him. Crab, who was a big man, weighing about 280 pounds, struck Williams and nearly knocked him off his feet. Williams is a little man and will not weight more than 120 pounds. In self-defense he drew a revolver and shot Crab. Afterward Williams gave himself up to the officers.

In his cell at the county jail Williams does not seem worried over the shooting but is very reticent. He has nothing whatever to say. On the entire trip to Wichita Sheriff Schad said the prisoner made but few remarks. After the shooting Williams notified neighbors of the affair and made no attempt to escape.

The body of Crab was taken by neighbors to a rear room of the Crab residence, where it was when Coroner McCollister arrived. The bullet with which he was shot entered the left temple and came out at the back of his head. Sheriff Schad brought the revolver to Wichita. Two loads were found to be missing, although there is but one wound in the dead man.

H. A. Baker and Sherman Craig, neighbors of the Crabs, accompanied the body of Guy Crab to this city. Mr. Baker was seen last night at Gill's undertaking parlors. He said: "There was considerable trouble at the Crab home about three weeks ago and some prior to that time. There is no doubt but what Mr. Crab returned home Friday night for the purpose of murdering the entire family. He met Williams just as the latter had come from the house, to harness a team. The two had always been good friends and they spoke pleasantly. When Crab announced his intention of killing his wife and started toward the house, Williams stepped in front of him to bar Crab's progress. The latter struck Williams and he drew a revolver and shot Crab. I was notified of the shooting and went at once to the Crab home. Clarence Williams has always borne a good reputation in the neighborhood where he lived."

It is said that when Crab first met Williams in the yard to the rear of the house, that he said: "I'll kill my family and then myself."

Coroner McCollister said: "From what I have heard, Crab arrived at his home Friday night with the avowed intention of killing his wife and family. He slept in the barn all night and was first seen by Williams when he appeared in the yard early Saturday morning. He made a threat to kill Williams' sister and Williams tried to persuade him to return to Wichita. Instead, Crab insisted and made a move to go to the house. Williams stepped in front of him and Crab struck him. Williams produced a revolver and shot Crab through the head, killing him instantly. So far as I could see, there was but one shot fired."

The inquest over the body of Crab will be held Monday morning at 10 o'clock at the court house. Funeral services will be held Tuesday afternoon from the home near Rose Hill.
(The Wichita Daily Eagle ~ December 13, 1903 ~ Submitted by Lori DeWinkler)




Once In the Back


"Have the coat and vest belonging to Guy Crabb any bullet hole in the back?" is the question that arose at the coroner's inquest yesterday when it was discovered that there was another bullet in the back of the dead man.

It was first thought that the wound made in the back was from the body coming in contact with nails in the boards on which it was brought to the city, but Dr. Clark, in his testimony at the inquest, stated that it was made by a bullet the same size as the one making the wound in the head. The person who made the stretcher afterward testified that the nails were driven in and clinched.

After hearing part of the testimony in the case yesterday, the inquest was continued until Wednesday at 10 o'clock, for several reasons. Mrs. Johns, the sister of the dead man, who went out to the home on Friday night for the purpose of warning Mrs. Crabb that her husband was coming, was unable to appear at the inquest owing to the fact that she is suffering from a collapse. Another reason is that the 8-year-old son of Mrs. Crabb, who saw the men talking at the barn, is wanted to give testimony. The coat and vest are also wanted for examination and, as they were left at the home in the country, it was impossible to get them here yesterday.

A great many opinions are now being expressed as to which shot was fired, first, and the fact that the man was found lying on his back makes it conclusive to some persons that the wound in his back was. The bullet making this would could not be found, and it is probable another examination will be made in the morning. Dr. Clark said he was unable to state the course of the bullet, but he was satisfied the wound was made by one. He also said that in a wound of the kind it is very difficult to find the bullet, as it may have glanced and lodged in an entirely different direction from which it entered.

Williams says he does not remember whether he fired once or twice.

The inquest began yesterday at 11 o'clock and was adjourned at 4. The first witness called was H. A. Baker, a neighbor of the Crabbs, who lives about a mile from the Crabb home, and who was one of the first to reach the scene of the tragedy. He said he has known Guy Crabb for the past thirty years, and Mrs. Crabb for about thirteen years; that he knew of no unpleasant relations existing between them and, as far as he knew, Crabb never had any difficulties with his brother-in-law, Williams, but seemed to be on excellent terms with him. He said the last time he saw Crabb alive was in Wichita, about three weeks ago. He testified that he was called to the Crabb home shortly after 9 o'clock on Saturday morning and that when he arrived there he saw Crabb lying on the ground, apparently dead. He said: "The body was lying on its back about fifty feet from the barn, the arms were out-stretched at the sides, with the hands about twelve inches from the body. John Baker and Bruce Sherwood were there when I arrived." He said that he helped carry the body to the house, but that nothing was done until the arrival of the coroner. When asked if he saw Williams at the barn when he arrived, he said he saw neither he or Mrs. Crabb until about 1 o'clock. He then saw Williams and asked him how he did it, and Williams replied that he had shot him. He was asked if he saw the revolver Williams had used, to which he replied: "I did not see the revolver until I was sent for it by the sheriff, and when I asked for it his sister went into the pantry and got the gun. He stated that he had had no further conversation with Williams other than that given.

When cross examined by Attorney George Adams, he gave the distance from the house to the barn and from the fence to the barn also, and told where the body was lying. He said the dead man had on a brown coat and vest, which the coroner helped to remove, but stated that they did not remove the shirt and undershirt. He stated that he brought the body to Wichita in a spring wagon, leaving there about dusk. The body was placed on two boards, which were nailed together with three cleets.

John Baker, who lives a half mile from the Crabb home, was the next witness called. He said he had known Mr. and Mrs. Crabb for the past seventeen years and always thought Crabb to be a man of mild temper and a peaceful neighbor. He said Williams came for him a few minutes after 9 o'clock and said: "I have killed Guy." When he asked how, Williams said he had shot him. He then asked Williams why he had shot Crabb, and Williams said that Crabb had come out there and told him he was going to kill the whole outfit, and that he had met him out at the barn and tried to persuade him to return to the city, but Crabb struck him and he then drew the gun and killed him. Baker said Williams did not say how many shots he fired. He said he noticed blood on the shoulder, coat collar and hat of the dead man, but did not notice any on the back of the coat.

B. H. Sherwood was the next witness called. He lives about one-fourth of a mile from the Crabb home and was the first person to arrive on the scene after the tragedy. Nellie Crabb came for him and he arrived there a little after 9 o'clock. He said he had heard no report of a revolver. He also testified that the body was lying on its back about fifty feet from the barn. He said he did not go near it until Baker came. He said he had no talk with Williams until he started to town with the sheriff. When the body was taken to the house, Sherwood made the stretcher of two boards, nailing them together with three cleets. He said the nails were driven from the bottom and then clinched and the body placed on the other side, so the wound made in the side could not have been made with the nails.

Nellie Crabb was the next witness called. She is a cousin of Crabb's and was at their home when the shooting occurred. Her home is in this city and she was there on a visit. She said Crabb came to Wichita about three weeks ago and stayed at his mother's. She said she had never heard him make any threats about Mrs. Crabb and that she knew nothing of the difficulties between he and Mrs. Crabb. The witness stated that on Friday afternoon she started out to the Crabb home and on the way there met Mrs. Crabb and her brother, Clarence Williams, on the way to Wichita. She told him she was going out to their place and they said for her to go on, that they would soon be home. Nothing was said by Mrs. Crabb concerning the divorce and the witness said she did not know she had gone to Wichita for that purpose.

When questioned about the shooting, the witness said she had heard no report and the first she knew of it was when Clarence said he had killed Guy. She said: "Mrs. Crabb was just starting for her mother's home with her children when Guy was killed and I did not know he was there." She said Mrs. Crabb was going to her mother's for the protection of herself and the children from Crabb, whom she had been told was coming out to kill her and the children and set fire to the home.

The inquest then adjourned until 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

Nellie Crabb was called again in the afternoon. She testified that Mrs. Crabb and Williams returned shortly after dark. They had supper and then all went out to unhitch the horse, and they looked for Mr. Crabb, as they had been warned he was coming and feared he was somewhere about the place.

She said they did not go to bed until very late; that she sat up until 3 o'clock, and that she did not get up the next morning until 9.

Mrs. George Farrar was next called. She is a sister of Clarence Williams, and said Williams and Crabb had always been the best of friends. She said her sister had told her of the trouble she had been having with Crabb, but that she had no idea of getting a divorce when she started to town Friday afternoon. "Mrs. Crabb had decided to get a peace bond to protect herself and the children, as Mrs. Crabb, Guy's mother, had told her Guy had threatened to come out and settle the whole family and burn the house. I told her to see the county attorney, as I thought him the proper person to go to. When she returned she said she had sued him for a divorce. They returned," continued Mrs. Farrar, "about dark and as Mrs. Crabb entered the house, Mrs. Johns, Crabb's sister from Wichita, arrived and went into the parlor with me. She said she had come to warn us that Guy was coming and that he had threatened to leave no clod unturned to harm Ida and the children. She said her mother was sick and unable to come and had sent her instead. She said she had borrowed a horse and buggy and come. She said Guy had left town and was on his way there. We told Mrs. Crabb and wanted her to take the children and go to her mother's, but it was dark and we were afraid to have her start. We thought Guy was somewhere about the place. We sat up late and Clarence was the first one up in the morning. He fixed the fire and went out after coal; he was gone about an hour. They decided to send Mrs. Crabb and the children to her mother's, and Clarence went out to hitch up the horse, which he afterward tied out in front of the house. I went out to put a bundle of clothing in the buggy and as I went back I saw Clarence and Crabb at the barn. They appeared to be having a conversation. I hurried into the house to get sister started; she was not ready, and I went again to the buggy. I saw the men again; they had moved a few steps toward the house and Clarence had his hands up as though he were trying to prevent Guy from coming to the house. He appeared to be pushing Guy. I went back and started my sister.

"I knew she would not see the men, as she is near-sighted. She got in the buggy but was afraid of the horse, and I got in to help her. We had just started when we heard Mrs. Johns scream. Mrs. Crabb asked, excitedly, 'What's that?' and we both got out and ran back to the house. Mrs. Johns was crying, and she asked Clarence, 'Why did you do it,' and he replied, 'Because I had to.' This was the first I knew what had happened."

Sheriff Schad was called next as a witness. He said that in conversation on the way back to Wichita, Williams said that he saw Crabb when he went out to hitch up the horse, and that Crabb said, "Howdy do, Clarence; how are you?" He returned the greeting and when he came back, after tieing the horse out in front, he met Crabb going toward the house. He said he tried to persuade him to go back, and that Crabb said "he was going to kill the whole d--n outfit." In the meantime Guy struck him and he shot him.

Dr. Clark was then called and gave the result of the examination of the body. As has been previously stated, he said he believed Crabb was shot in the head first. The inquest was then continued until 10 o'clock Wednesday morning.
(The Wichita Daily Eagle ~ December 15, 1903 ~ Submitted by Lori DeWinkler)




Funeral services over the body of Guy Crabb, who was found shot at his home, near Rose Hill, will be held this afternoon at 1:30 o'clock from the home of his brother, thirteen miles southeast of Wichita. Interment will be made at Branson cemetery, in that locality.
(The Wichita Daily Eagle ~ December 15, 1903 ~ Submitted by Lori DeWinkler)




Mrs. Farrar Faints


"Guy Crab came to his death from a bullet fired from a 45 caliber Colt's navy revolver in the hands of Clarence Williams, and we find that the act was one of justifiable homicide."

Such was the verdict returned by the jury yesterday morning at the continuation of the coroner's inquest at the court house. The session began shortly after 10 o'clock and the room was filled with spectators. The question of there being any bullet hole in the coat and vest was solved when they were produced and shown to the jury. There was a bullet hole in each near the center of the back of the garments. These holes corresponded to those in the dead man's shirt and underclothing and were undoubtedly made by a bullet.

J. H. Baker was first called and he identified the coat and vest as the ones which he assisted the coroner to remove from the dead body of Guy Crabb Saturday morning. He described the manner in which they were removed and also testified that there were no nails in the boards on which the body was placed that could have made the wounds on the back. He said that the coat and vest were removed without turning the body over, and they were laid on the floor in the room with the body. When he went out to the country after them the day before they were found hanging in a wardrobe in the same room.

Mrs. Minnie Johns, a sister of Guy Crabb, who resides at 1517 South Mosley, was the next witness called. She said that for three weeks prior to her brother's death he lived with her and her mother at 1517 South Mosley. When questioned as to the difficulties between Crabb and his wife she said: "I had heard from both my mother and sister-in-law that Guy had had trouble with his wife, but he never discussed the matter with me. I noticed that he was in a depressed mental condition over the trouble though he never said anything to me about it. About 2:30 Friday afternoon he left the home on South Mosley. He had a talk with mother lasting about 20 minutes, after which he left the house. He said nothing to me about where he was going. Mother worried about Guy's going and wanted me to go and warn Mrs. Crabb that he was coming, so she would not be taken unawares. Mother said that he had threatened to kill himself and Ida."

"I had no fear whatever," she continued, "that Guy was going to do any harm to his wife and children, but I knew how frightened Mrs. Crabb would be so I thought it best to let her know he was coming."

Mrs. Johns said she arrived at the farm about 7:30 Saturday night, immediately after the arrival of Mrs. Crabb and Clarence as their horse was not yet unhitched.

"I told them that Guy was coming out," said Mrs. Johns, "and that I had come to let them know. I went out because mother asked me to, not that I had any fear that Guy would harm them. I never heard Guy make any threats. All that I heard him say was that he was discouraged and guessed he would not go back home. I went on into the house and told Maud Farrar that mother said Guy had threatened to kill himself and Ida. Maude, Nellie Crabb and Clarence went out to look for Guy as they thought he might be on the place. The three were gone about 10 minutes. We had supper about 8 o'clock and all stayed up and watched for him to come. Mrs. Crabb seemed worried but I did not apprehend any serious trouble. I retired about 1 o'clock and left Clarence, Maude and Nellie down stairs. I arose about 6:30 o'clock in the morning and the rest of them were up. Clarence I think, had not been out doors except after coal. We had breakfast about 7, after which he went to the barn to do the chores. When he returned to the house Mrs. Crabb asked him if he had been to the barn, and if he had looked in the coal house. He stayed at the barn about a half hour. Nellie told me the night before that Clarence had a revolver, but I did not know where he kept it or whether he had it in the morning or not. He returned from the barn and went up stairs, where he was followed by Mrs. Crabb. They remained up stairs about 20 minutes and returned together. Clarence then went to the barn to milk and I did not see him again until he told me what he had done."

"The evening before we had talked of sending Mrs. Crabb to her mother's but we were afraid to have her go as it was so dark. As we took Mrs. Crabb to the buggy my little nephew said that he heard a shot and some one said: 'Oh, no.' Mrs. Crabb did not hear the remark. My sister-in-law, Maude, myself, Nellie Crabb and the children went out to the buggy, which consumed probably 30 seconds time. The horse was very wild and we had a hard time getting them started. I helped Mrs. Crabb in and as they started I saw Clarence coming from the barn. He was almost to us. I turned and my little nephew said: 'Father was there and there was a shot fired.' I rather doubted this and turned to Clarence asking him if Guy was really there. He said 'Guy is dead.' I screamed and said, 'You ought not to have done it,' and Clarence replied 'I had to; Guy struck me and was coming to the house to kill the family.'

"I do not know whether Guy was armed or not. I saw Clarence when he returned from Baker's. He seemed cool and collected and said nothing further to me. He went up stairs and stayed until the officers came, about three hours later. Brother Dan was present when Clarence came down stairs. Clarence seemed cool and quiet. I have known him about ten years and he and Guy were the very best of friends."

Lloyd Crabb, the 9-year-old son of the murdered man, was the next witness called. He said that he saw Clarence go to the barn adn later bring the horse and buggy to the front and hitch it and about 25 minutes after Clarence returned to the barn he heard two shots. This was before they went out to the buggy, and he told Mrs. Johns before Clarence came up.

"I was in the house door," he said, "and the rest of the folks were in the room. I heard two shots, one right after the other. This was shortly before we went to the buggy."

Can C. Crabb, Guy Crabb's brother, was the last witness called. He said that as far as he knew the relations existing between Crabb and Williams were exceedingly friendly.

"I arrived on the scene about 10 o'clock," he said, "and my brother was lying on the ground in the barn lot. I did not assist in the removal of the body and did not see Clarence Williams until after the officers came. I spoke to Clarence and he said: 'Guy struck me on the breast and I shot him,' He said he did not know how many times. I removed the shells from the gun and handed them to Sheriff Schad. Clarence was sitting on the organ stool and he said: 'Guy said he was going to the house to kill the whole d--n outfit.' There was no weapon found in the barn lot. The sheriff said he searched."

This finished the evidence and the jury went out about 11:45. A large crowd remained in the room. Clarence Williams went over to where Mrs. Farrar and Nellie Crabb sat. He kissed his sister and sat down beside them engaging in a little conversation. Mrs. Johns and her brother also shook hands with him. His sister, Mrs. Farrar, seemed very nervous and after the verdict was given she fainted.

Williams was conducted to the county jail, from which he will be released this noon unless a complaint is filed against him. It is probable that no complaint will be made as the family of Crabbs are on such good terms with him, and although grief stricken at the tragic death of their brother, do not lay undue blame on Williams.

The verdict was returned by the jury about 1:20. They stood five for acquittal and one against until the last ballot was taken. The names of the jurors are J. F. Litell, M. J. Widdoes, A. L. Johnson, Jacob McAffee, J. C. Kirk and W. P. Parr.
(The Wichita Daily Eagle ~ December 17, 1903 ~ Submitted by Lori DeWinkler)


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