Labette  County

Newspaper Items


Chetopa, Dec. 4 - An accident involving three cars near here yesterday resulted in the death of J. W. (Jake) Boelens, 50 year old Labette County sheriff. Three other persons were injured.

The highway patrol said Boelens car collided with an auto driven by William Rogers, 17, Dearing, Kan. Rogers and a companion, Merl Whitwer, 17, Coffeyville, suffered injuries described as not serious.

Undersheriff Dale McBride of Oswego, a passenger in Boelens car received, a fractured arm and facial lacerations.

A third auto was forced into the ditch at the accident scene. It was driven by Bobby Lee Nading of rural Oswego. Neither Nading nor this wife was injured.

The highway patrol said the accident occurred on a hill as Rogers attempted to pass the Nading vehicle.

Boelens, a Democrat was elected sheriff in 1948 and was re-elected without opposition in this year's election. (El Dorado Times, Monday, December 4, 1950)


He Murders Two Men at Oswego, Kansas - Particulars of the Crime

Sheriff Franklin, of Labette County, accompanied by Mr. Huges, arrived in the city on Sunday, on the 4 a.m. train, having in charge a prisoner by the name of John Bagby, who murdered two men in cold blood on the fair grounds, near Oswego, on Saturday afternoon. The particulars as near as can be ascertained, are as follows: John Bagby, who is a resident of Howard County, Kan., attended the fair which was held near Oswego, and became intoxicated. A difficulty arose about a swing between the prisoner and some other persons in which two policemen interfered to put a stop to the disturbance. As near as we can learn, the names of the policemen are Hogset and Westfall, the latter being a special policeman and the former on the regular force. Hogset attempted to arrest Bagby when he drew a large pocket-knife and plunged it into his bowels, cutting an awful gash and letting his bowels completely out. He fell to the ground and expired almost immediately. Westfall then stepped up and tapped Bagby on the shoulder, and said, "You're my prisoner." He at once struck him several times with the same knife cutting him in the abdomen in a horrible manner when he turned to run away; but before he got out of his reach bagby dealt him two more blows on the back which penetrated his lungs and felled him. At last accounts Westfall was alive but beyond all possible hope of recovery.

The bystanders then closed in on Bagby, who was secured and taken to the jail, followed by an immense crowd who yelled and hallooed all kinds of epithets against him and made an effort to take him and hang him up without a judge or jury and it was with the greatest difficulty that they were restrained. On arriving at the jail the prisoner was hurried in and the door quickly closed and an extra force of men stood guard and had it not been for the efforts of Mr. Bettes, who addressed the crowd and advised them to let the law take its course they would have hung him then and there.

The jail being insufficient to protect the prisoner, a piece of strategy was resorted to get him aboard of the train to bring him to this city. While the crowd was clamoring for and demanding the release of the prisoner, whom they took to the depot, followed by the crowd, which was determined to have him and it was only when they found out their mistake in the absence of the crowd, the authorities took the murderer and in a roundabout way, brought him to the railway track hailed a freight train and put him aboard. He was taken to Parsons and then transferred to the passenger train and brought to this city. (Inter Ocean, October 9, 1874, page 3)


The Slayer of the Parsons Policeman Under Lock and Key

Parsons, Kas., Dec. 4 - Jim Cummings the man who shot and fatally wounded Policeman Kyser here Thursday night was captured at Altamont this morning. He was seen entering the town early this morning with a muffler tied over his head, he having lost his hat in his efforts to get away from here last night. Dick Kyser, a brother, of the policeman was the first to see him make his appearance and having been notified by wire of the shooting and given a description of the man recognized him at once and notified the marshal of Altamont, who, together with several men effected his capture a short distance from town, he having hurried away only taking time to buy a hat.

When the posse approached him he drew a revolver and warned all to keep at a safe distance but there being too many for him to cover with his pistol an advantage was gained over him and he was compelled to surrender.

Kyser, the policeman who was shot is still alive but experienced a great deal of pain and is gradually sinking. The excitement runs high here, and should Kyser die the culprit will stand a chance of faring badly. (Kansas City Star, December 4, 1886)


Parsons, Kas., Aug. 2 - The people have been undertaken to raise bell to be used in paying off the mortgage on the home of the late John Van Horn, the policeman who was killed while on duty last Friday evening. The mortgage once comes due, and Van Horn's widow is unable to pay it. (Kansas City Star, August 3, 1899, page 7)


Marshall J. D. Jones returned this morning from Ft. Leavenworth, where he went yesterday to deliver the deserter into the hands of military authority. Upon his arrival he was handed a copy of the Sun, in which was published E. P. Murphy's account of the arrest and his determination to contest the reward. Mr. Jones became indignant and this morning, while in conversation was a Sun reporter, gave his side of the story. Mr. Jones claims authority for every step he has taken and in substantiating his claims quotes the military law on the question. 

He said: "I have had the United States warrant in my possession for over a year and when I found this fellow, no matter if he had been in the hands of a United States Marshall I would have taken him and delivered him to Ft. Leavenworth."

He said in reference to the charge that Mr. Murphy made against him alleging that he took the man deliberately without authority and saying that a deserter must be accompanied by a soldier. "One look at military law, will show Murphy's ignorance, look here," he then produced the law which read:

"Under section 6 of an act of Congress approved January 18, 1898. Any civil officer having authority under the laws of the United States or of any State territory or district to arrest an offender is authorized to summarily: arrest the deserter from military service of the United States and deliver him into the custody of the military authority of the government."

"Once more," said Mr. Jones, "read this," and he handed the reporter a telegram from General Leoughorrough, of Ft. Leavenworth, which read: "Bring deserter here, reward covering expenses is $50."

"No," said Mr. Jones, "I am not through with the case yet. I have been attacked and accused of stealing a reward that belonged properly to another man. I have had that warrant for over a year, I shadowed Roberts all day Sunday and I was not sure that I knew him. When he was a boy I knew his mother well but had forgotten this fellow. When Murphy placed him in jail and his identity was discovered, I fully appreciated the kindness done to me by Murphy and intend to reward him for it, but now since he has done me the injustice he shall not have a cent for his trouble. And that isn't all, here is another piece of law that I shall enforce if this matter is run too far," and he produced the following:

"Every person who conceals any person, knowing him to be a deserter, or who refuses to give up such person on the demand of any officer authorized to receive him, is liable to punishment by imprisonment and fine to be enforced by any court of the United States have jurisdiction." (Parsons Sun, submitted by Ann Baughman)

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