Sedgwick  County,  Kansas

TAILOR KILLS INSPECTOR AND SHOOTS HIMSELF

Wichita, Kan., April 6---Bargel K. Stanley, about 60 years old, known for more than 20 years in Wichita as "Stanley the tailor," is in a critical condition here, following a shooting escapade in his place of business this afternoon in which Gail F. Braden, chief inspector for the fire department, was killed.

Police Inspector Ancel I. Edison said Stanley shot and killed Braden witha small-caliber pistol and later turned the gun on himself.

Assistant Fire Chief Elgin Wood, with Braden in Stanley's shop at the time of the shooting, escaped by smashing a plate glass window in the front of the shop.

Stanley defied police for almost an hour despite tear gas and bullets which were poured into the tailor shop.

Wood said Stanley had been warned repeatedly about the condition of his shop and upon the occasion of the last warning had been given until today to clean it up. Braden and Wood went to the establishment this afternoon for a final inspection. Wood said Stanley at the time was waiting on a customer and as soon as the customer left he picked up the gun and started shooting. (Joplin, Mo., Globe ~ Friday ~ April 7, 1944)

EDGAR T. BROWN MYSTERIOUSLY DISAPPEARS

Edgar T. Brown, a prominent real estate broker, of Wichita, Kansas, disappeared very mysteriously on the 19th of last January, and nothing was heard of him until his return last Tuesday. When he came home his wife failed to recognize him at first, thinking he was a tramp. He was a walking skeleton, ragged and insane, and not in a condition of mind to give any account of his whereabouts during his absence of six months. (Richmond Conservator, (Ray County, MO) July 25, 1889, submitted by Lisa Smalley)

SMITH'S FRENZY

A Negro Desperado's Double Crime

Williams Andrews, an Old Enemy, Mortally Wounded

An Aged Colored Man Also Shot Through The Heart

Two Murders Occur in a Kansas Sunday School

The Criminal Escapes But Subsequently Gives Himself Up---A Mob Formed but Does Nothing---A Police Official as Blackmailer---Miscellaneous Criminal Gatherings

SEDAN, KAN., Sept. 27---At Cascade school house about twelve miles southeast of this place, while Sunday School was in session yesterday, Simon Smith, a colored man, stepped into the house and after looking around the room drew a revolver and commenced firing at William Andrews, also colored, against whom he had an old grudge. One of the shots missed Andrews and struck Benjamin Williams, an old colored man, just above the heart, killing him almost instantly.

After Smith had fired four shots at him Andrews succeeded in getting his own pistol out when Smith ran out of the house.

Andrews was shot in the stomach and in the right lung and his recovery is doubtful.

THE MOB DID NOT GET HIM

Smith, after riding a number of miles into the territory, concluded to return to the state and give himself up, which he did at Canaville, just across the line.

When it was learned at Cascade that Smith had given himself up a mob of colored people was formed and proceded to Canaville, but the deputy sheriff who had Smith in charge eluded them and safely landed his prisoner in jail here this morning. (Kansas City Times, September 28, 1886, transcribed by Lori DeWinkler)


A Wichita Saloon Keeper Arrested For Killing His Mistress

Wichita, Kan., March 8---Five years ago Mrs. Clara Higginbotham deserted her husband and four small children at Muscatine, Ia., and eloped with Daniel O'Leary, a saloon keeper. After wandering all over the west from Seattle, Wash., to Miami, Tex., the couple arrived in Wichita two months ago and O'Leary purchased a saloon. Yesterday he beat the woman and this morning at 5 o'clock she died, with symptoms of poisoning. O'Leary is under arrest, and a post mortem examination and inquest will be held tomorrow.

It is believed the woman either committed suicide or was poisoned by her paramour. (Kansas City Times, March 9, 1893, transcribed by Lori DeWinkler)

BLOOD IS SHED ON CHURCH STEPS

Walter Scott Murders His Wife and Commits Suicide at Wichita

Wichita, Kan., April 7---A horrible tragedy occurred on the steps of the Lincoln Street Christian Church as the congregation was walking out of the church after the services about noon today. On the sidewalk in front of the church Walter Scott fired a bullet into the brain of his wife and she fell at his feet a corpse. While the people stood aghast at the terrible deed Scott placed the muzzle of the revolver in his mouth and sent a bullet crashing through the roof of his mouth into his brain, and he fell dead almost within reach of the body of his wife. At the sight of the bloody tragedy two or three women fainted. Both bodies were taken to an undertaker's. When Mrs. Scott was shot she was walking out of the church with her brother. Mr. and Mrs. Scott were married about two years ago. She was 17 and he was 19. They separated about a year ago, she going to her father's house and he going to Kansas City. Scott returned to Wichita a week ago. He went to church today, and as he walked out asked his wife if she would return to him, and upon refusal sent a bullet into her brain. (Inter Ocean Newspaper, April 8, 1895, transcribed by Lori DeWinkler)

WHISKEY CAUSED A MURDER?

Wichita, March 1---William F. Carroll, 58 years old, a former Wichita policeman, was called to the door and shot to death at his home north of the city at 9:30 o'clock last night. The murderer has not been apprehended.

Sheriff Simmons found eight gallons of whiskey in the Carroll home. He believes the murder was the result of a quarrel over "moonshine." (Kansas City Stary, March 1, 1920, transcribed by Lori DeWinkler)

MURDER TRIAL OF J. V. CUNNINGHAM BEGINS AT WICHITA, KANSAS TODAY

Special to the Register

Wichita, Kan., May 19 - The trial of J. V. Cunningham of Abilene, Tex. Begins here tomorrow and he and his attorneys are here. A large number of his Texas friends arrived last night. Cunningham is charged with murder, he having several weeks ago killed a circus manager named McMahon here. The defense will be that Cunningham acted in self defense. (Fort Worth Morning Register, May 20, 1897, page 4)

GUILTY OF WILLFUL MURDER

Special to the Kansas City Times

Wichita, Kan., Sept. 5 - Jake Tobler, colored, aged about 25 years, was today in federal court found guilty of murder in the first degree for the killing of Cass and Goodyhuntz, two cattlemen, three years ago, one mile west of the Sac and Fox agency in the territory. The two men were on their way from Vinita to Fort Reno after cattle and had camped under a tree and while asleep were shot dead. Jake and Joe Tobler, brothers, were arrested soon after at Eufaula. Soon after being arrested they confessed their quilt and on their persons was found revolvers belonging to one of the murdered men, and in their possession the horses belonging to the men also and they told where some other things might be found which proved true. The jury was out fifteen minutes. (Kansas City Times, September 6, 1888, page 2)

HAS BEEN THERE BEFORE

Woodruff Implicated in a Kansas Murder Mystery Similar to the Cronin case

Wichita, Kans., June 21, Informer Woodruff who has figured so prominently in the Cronin mystery, was a hack driver here and went under the names of both Woodruff and Black, his real name, however being Frank Bellman, the name Black being borrowed from his stepfather.

Before coming here he was mixed up in a murder mystery at Winfield, which has never been unraveled and which at the time was conjectured to be a "removal" of an obnoxious individual by some secret society. One night in April 1887, Mr. William B. Van Cleare, a carpenter of Winfield was heard calling for help. It was found he had been shot through the body and he died in a few days. Before his decease however he made a statement to the effect that on the night on which the shooting occurred he was alone in the house and answered a call at his door, when he was immediately shot by a man he could not recognize.

The inquest lasted a week and among the witnesses was a detective who asserted that this man Black or Woodruff was implicated and that secret society troubles caused the murder. Black was brought before the jury and through the guilt could not be fastened up on him it was generally believed that he knew about the affair. (Wheeling Register, June 22, 1889, Page 1)

HOLD MAN FOR PART IN MURDER

Charged with driving Men Who Shot Wichita Detectives

Harvey Willis, 30 years old, said to be a drug addict is being held for investigation at police headquarters. He was arrested Monday night in connection with the murder of W. H. Ballard, a detective and the wounding of another detective in Wichita, Kas., the night of July 29.

The arrest of Willis, was made upon the request of S. W. Zickafoose, chief of police at Wichita.

According to the police, Willis admitted driving the car in which Charles Bledsoe and Harry Baird, who the police say have confessed to complicity in the murder, rode from Wichita to Kansas City after the shooting. Baird it is said, has admitted firing the shots which killed the detective. Willis will be taken to Wichita. (Kansas City Star, September 1, 1920, page 7)

CHARLEY JENNISON KILLED A MAN IN HIS SALOON

Charley Jennison, who keeps a saloon in West Wichita, shot and killed a man in his saloon on Sunday night last. In the fray, Jennison was wounded in the neck and left arm. We did not learn the particulars of the affair. (The Wellington Banner, Wednesday, September 25, 1872)\


THE TRAGEDY AT LAZETTE

Nothing perhaps since the horrible disclosures of the Bender grave yard, has so startled the public mind in this part of Kansas, as has the tragedy which was enacted in Wichita on the night of the 24th of December - when just before the dawn of the Christmas morn, her citizens were roused from their slumbers by the alarming cry of fire to find that a fiendish murder had been committed, and a building in the very heart of the city had been fired to conceal the crime. Fortunately for Wichita, the night was still, not a breath of air was stirring, and though the light pine building was closely sandwiched between others of the same combustible material, yet the fire was subdued with the loss of the one building - the adjoining ones having been torn down. Almost as soon as the fire was discovered, it began to be whispered through the gathering crowd that a human being was being consumed in the flames. In confirmation of the horrible suspicion, the seemingly inanimate body of Arthur Winner, one, of two young men, who occupied the second floor of the burning building, was picked up at the foot of the outside stairway and carried across the street, when it was discovered that he was seriously wounded in the side and on the head while his left arm bore the imprint of human fingers, looking as though the limb had been clutched by some one to whom expiring agony lent superhuman strength. And now when the flames have lapped up the frail blind of pine siding, the horrible spectacle of a human body roasting in the flames is disclosed to view. It burned and crackled and emitted its sickening effluvia till scores were driven from the scene. Falling to the first floor, it was rescued, a charred trunk of what had a few hours before been a living breathing human being. No one recognized the remains; but McNutt the partner of Winner, was missing and this may be his body. Winner tells a story of an attack by some one who entered their room late at night, who struck him the blows that produced his wounds, and avers that McNutt was in bed at the time. He (Winner) escaped from the room - he does not know how - and became conscious only when his wounds were being dressed. To the rear of the building a few paces McNutt's passback was found, a paid up life policy for $5,000.00 and an envelope in which he had the previous afternoon received (as he had stated) $500.00. A coroner's jury began an investigation and suspicion fastened upon Winner who was at once arrested and left in charge of an officer. At the Southern Hotel, where he had boarded up to the time of his arrest, he was pointed out to us - but we failed to trace the features of a murderer. He is quite young and rather prepossessing in appearance. McNutt was from Kansas City, where he left a young wife a few week ago. Another man, who is said to have left Topeka on the 24th to join McNutt and Winner is said to be missing, and were we to give the many different theories we heard advanced while in Wichita, soon after the murder, we would take more space than we have to spare. But it is certain that the whole affair is involved in a mystery, which it will take time to disclose. While this tragedy was being enacted in Wichita, murder was committed at Lazetts in Cowley county. From the Courier and eye-witnesses of the bloody affair, we gather the particulars which we give in brief. At a masquerade ball given by the citizens of Lazette on Christmas eve, W. S. Osborn introduced his friend Thomas Rucker to Miss Della Coats, who refused to dance with Rucker unless he removed his mask. Upon turning to leave her, he met Osborn who made an insulting remark and invited Rucker out to fight. They left the house and in the melee that followed, Osborn was struck to the heart and died almost instantly. Rucker was arrested, and now lies in the Winfield jail, awaiting trial on the charge of murder. Osborn but a short time since came from Joplin, Missouri and was a comparative stranger in Lazette. Rucker has a mother living at Burlington, Missouri. (The Sumner County Press, Thursday, January 8, 1874)

A TALE OF HORROR - CONFESSION OF J. W. McNUTT THE WICHITA MURDERER

We have heretofore to our readers the details of the Wichita Christmas tragedy from time to time as we have been able to obtain them. Since the arrest of J. W. McNutt he has made a confession involving himself and Winner in the perpetration of one of the most revolving murders upon record. We give the sickening and horrid details of the confession as follows:

I was born in the State of Missouri, on the 22d day of April 1842 am 31 years of age, was married to my present wife last October, have no children, nor do I wish any, for the legacy that I should leave them would not be of a very desirable character - that which Cain left his descendants. By trade, I am a painter, worked at my trade in Kansas City for several years before I came down to this place, met Winner last May, we were a good deal together. He proposed several ways by which we could make some of that desirable article - money, but I would not listen to him, as I was afraid to bring disgrace upon my family. Among other things he proposed that we should organize a band of bandits and go over the country, plundering and robbing. He related to me some of the most diabolical crimes I had ever heard, saying that he was the author and that he had never been under any inconvenience with the law, that the law was a farce, and a man with common sense and a little cheek could elude and defy it at pleasure. But I would not go in with him. I told him I was no rogue and would not be one for any amount of money. He laughed at me and called me chicken hearted. At last, toward the close of September he proposed to me the crime that was perpetrated here last December. I would not listen to him at first, but finally in an evil moment I allowed him to talk it up to me, and he painted it in such glowing and fine colors that I began to feel interested in it, and after awahile was carried away with the intoxicating thought that Might yet be worth some money, and not have to be a dog all my life. We talked up the best mode for the accomplishment of our object. I had my life insured in the sum of $5,000 but as it would not be paid unless to some near relative and one whom we could trust, it was decided that I had better marry the woman with whom I was then living and we would be sure of not losing what we committed crime for.
It took us a long time to decide where we could best accomplish our object. At first it was decided that Kansas City would be the best place and we even went so far as to engage a store on Main street, where we could hang out our sign as painters and by this means be enabled to have on hand a large stock of oils without attracting or exciting suspicion. But one day, an unlucky day for us both, Winner said that he had found a much better place, a city where we could execute our plans in daylight without being bothered with the law; a place where men were killed every day in the week and that place was Wichita. He showed me several pieces in the newspapers about murders that had been committed, and in them it stated that the offenders were allowed their liberty. We came down to this place and opened out our shop in a small frame building on Main street, over a millinery shop. We worked at our trade a number of weeks and built up quite a business. I tried to persuade Winner to give it up, but he would not. Not knowing who we could get for our victim delayed us for a long time. A citizen of Wichita would not do, as it would create such a sensation that some of the facts might come out. At last Winner went to Kansas City, saying that he had a friend who was looking for a job and would bring him home and use him, and that we could finish him up the same night. He was gone about a week and said that he had made arrangements with a painter by the name of Sevier, to come down and work for them and that he would be down the next evening. I went to the depot to meet him, but he did not come. We received a letter next day, stating that he had no money, and the pass Winner gave him would not answer. We sent him the money by mail and for fear that he would not get it, telegraphed also. He came down on the 12:30 train next evening. Winner met him at the depot, and brought him up to our room where he slept. At this time we had about thirty gallons of benzene and twenty gallons of coal oils. Sevier appeared like a very clever good hearted fellow; my heart failed me so that could do nothing but Winner was in his element he knew just how to do everything and do it well. We began to prepare him for death by giving him brandy to drink of which we had a large supply. After he had drank about a quart we mixed ether with the rest as it would not leave any deposit in the stomach. When he was so thoroughly unconscious that he could do nothing we were prepared to do the bloody work which Winner's hand itched to perform. Winner poured down his Sevier's throat about a pint of ether which he had brought from Kansas City. We then placed his head in an iron pot filled with benzene and set fire to it. We watched him as his head began to simmer and crackle like burning meat, but as he was unconscious I do not think he felt any pain. When his features were burned and disfigured beyond recognition we laid him in the bed, which was saturated and driping with oil. Our next operation was to fix up Winner so that it would give the public the impression that some one had tried to murder him as well as myself. I took a bunch of flesh between my thumb and finger and run the blade of a pair of scissors through and cut it open, we then opened one of Seviers veins and took out about a quart of blood which Winner spread over himself, and thus made himself look as though he had lost a good deal of blood. I then took my departure, leaving my vest and empty pocket book at the back of the shop, and left on the train for Atchison and from there went to Missouri. I escaped detection on the train by riding between the baggage car and locomotive. Ever since then I have been in Missouri. I knew nothing about the development until two days before any arrest, when I read the verdict of the jury in the Journal of Commerce. I do not know what Winner did after I left but I am sure he must have acted his part well as he is a most accomplished rogue. This is all I know of the affair. I tried my best to persuade Winner to give up the thought of the crime but could not succeed. I told him it would not succeed especially a Wichita for the officers are too sharp and vigilant more so than any other city I know in the West. Don't know how the officers found out where I was. J. W. McNutt (The Sumner County Press, Thursday, March 5, 1874)

TRIAL OF ARTHUR W. WINNER

Verdict of the Jury - Murder in the First Degree

We had intended to publish the testimony given in this case, and were prepared to lay before our readers, last week, so much of it as had been developed up to the time of going to press, but deferred doing so at the request of Judge Campbell. An examination of the evidence since the close of the trial, convinces us that in publishing it we could give nothing more than the public received through the columns of the Beacon last February. In fact, the publication of the evidence taken at the trial just closed could not fail to convince the most casual reader that the examination before the coroner's jury was more full and in every particular clearer than that upon which the jury brought in their verdict of guilty on Friday night.

The trial and conviction was one of the most remarkable on record, the evidence being purely circumstantial. There was no one fact developed which of itself would show guilt on the part of the accused, but an array of facts and circumstances, pointing in one direction and all intimately connected, were brought out by the testimony and presented in such manner as to leave no doubt of the prisoner's guilt.

As we could not publish the testimony during the progress of the trial, it may not be out of place to give a brief history of the case as developed through the testimony published by us last winter, and the evidence given before the court and jury.

On the morning of the 25th of December, 1873, a two-story frame building on Main street, known at Meach's building was destroyed by fire. The first, or ground story, was occupied by Misses Fardy & Hanley, milliners and dressmakers. The second story, the stairs to which went up the rear of the building, was occupied by McNutt and Winner, painters. When the fire broke out, Winner was found lying near the bottom of the stairs, in his night clothes, in an apparently helpless condition. He was picked up and taken to the millinery store of Mrs. Stires, on the opposite side of Main street, when it was found that he had received a bruise on his head sufficient to break the skin and cause the blood to flow freely and a slight wound, as if made by a sharp instrument, on one side just above the hip. Being questioned as to how he came there, he told a story of how he had been struck with a knife while lying asleep in bed, how that he jumped up and attempted to make his escape and was struck on the head with some heavy weapon; and how he fell and knew no more until he was picked up at the bottom of the stairs.

The building burned so rapidly that in a few moments after Winner was taken care of, the second floor fell in, when it was discovered that the body of a man was in the flames. After the fire had been subdued sufficiently to admit of it, the body was taken out of the ruins, but so burned and disfigured as to be past all recognition, but it was generally supposed to be that of McNutt. Stories were at once in circulation about the latter having received a package of money, (in fact, Winner stated that McNutt had been paid $500 the day before) about a quarrel between the two and about a stranger being seen to follow Winner.

An inquest was held, a long and tedious examination had, in which the coroner, sheriff and county attorney spared no trouble to probe the matter to the bottom, and are the jury was dismissed it was pretty well established that a crime had been committed, and that Winner knew all about, if he was even not a participant in it. It was ascertained that Winner had visited Kansas City a short time before the fire, that while there he had engaged a painter by the name of W. W. Sevier, or "Texas", to come to Wichita and work for their firm that Winner had come as far as Topeka with Sevier, where the latter took the train for Wichita, while Winner remained at Topeka until night; that Sevier was put off the train on account of not having a ticket; and returned to Topeka and that he telegraphed to McNutt for money and that Winner sent the money to him, at the same time telegraphing the fact; that Sevier left Topeka on the 24th of December for Wichita; that on the arrival of the train Winner was at the depot, where he met a man answering to Sevier's description, who stepped off the train, that while Winner was at the depot, McNutt purchased a gallon of turpentine and an ounce of laudanum, and that from the time Sevier left to take the train at Topeka, no trace of him could be discovered. It was also ascertained that McNutt had a policy on his life, the premium on which fell due in January and that Mrs. McNutt had written to her husband begging him not to enter into the scheme proposed by Winner. McNutt was afterwards captured in Ray County, Missouri and was brought back to this city where he waived an examination and was committed for trial.

These facts were fully developed before the coroner's jury, and sufficiently so at the trial to convince twelve men, perfect strangers to the personal knowledge whatever of the case, that Arthur W. Winner had been guilty of the murder of W. W. Sevier.

The prisoner had the benefit of able counsel, being defended by Messrs. Adams, Tucker and Harris. They did everything that could be done to convince the jury that their client was innocent of the crime charged, and so far as faithfulness to their trust is concerned are deserving of all praise. Mr. Sluss, county attorney, conducted the prosecution, with a fairness to which no exception could be taken by the defense, and Judge Campbell presided with dignity, railing with impartiality and clearness of judgment.

The trial commenced on Wednesday 27th, and closed on Friday June 5th. During its progress the court room was filled with spectors, a large number of whom were ladies and on Friday night when the verdict was rendered, the ladies were present in unusual force.

Winner, all through has appeared light hearted, indeed, careless, seemingly taking as little interest in the proceedings as the most indifferent person present.
When the verdict was being read and while all others were listening to it with the greatest attention, he alone preserved an air of careless indifference, as if he was the last person who could be affected by it. Upon his return to the room where the prisoners are confined, he was asked by McNutt what the verdict was, when he replied, "O, cremation in the first degree." His whole course has shown him to be either one of the most childish of men, or a most cold-bloodied, heartless wretch, with strong will, perfect command of himself and a determination that knows no obstacle to the accomplishment of his designs and under that placid, innocent looking countenance and that air of careless light hearted indifference, he carries a spirit of fiendishness which would stop at no crime, however atrocious. (The Sumner County Press, Thursday, June 18, 1874)

BLOODY WORK - Hill & Stewart

We are again called upon to chronicle a most brutal outrage. The quiet neighborhood of Clearwater was the scene of this last most desperate and cowardly act. The following are the particulars as near as we could obtain them from Mr. Stewart, the wounded man and his wife, also from part of the evidence given at the preliminary examination before Justice Jewett. On last Wednesday evening one John Hill, with two other parties went to the grocery kept by John Stewart on the west side of the Nenescah, near Clearwater and asked for a drink of water and some tobacco. He also procured some whiskey and when he again asked for drinks, Mr. Stewart, thinking he had already drank enough refused to sell him more. Hill made several threats and said that Stewart must treat, which he did. Hill then became more boisterous, and his two comrades endeavored to persuade him to leave with them but he continued his threats to Stewart and fired two or three shots through the ceiling. His two comrades then left, and he took Stewart by the throat and was choking him when Stewart's wife stepped upon the scene and implored him to desist. Hill used very abusive language to her, and told her to get back to her place, and that he would not hurt her husband though he had asserted before that he would shoot him.

Hill then left the store, got on his horse, and asked for more whiskey which was given to him by Stewart. Taking the glass he threw it to the ground and then demanded more, which was refused. Stewart went in, closed the door and Hill shot two or three times through it, at the same time demanding admittance, and then fired through the window the shot entering Stewart's arm about two inches below the shoulder joint. At this juncture Mrs. Stewart left the house followed by her husband wounded and bleeding when this fiend again rode upon him, struck him on the head a number of times with his revolver breaking it in several pieces and inflicting ugly wounds. Stewart, who had by this time grown weak and feeble, was still followed and badly beaten his wife in meantime pleading for the life of her husband and occasionally placing herself between him and this fiend in human shape and was almost run over by the horse. Mrs. Stewart finally left her husband to go across the river for assistance and had not gone far when she saw him prostrate upon the ground and Hill riding his horse over him. This was his last act and he then returned and ransacked the houses, though no money was obtained, as constable Brown afterwards found all that was left in the house. Hill was arrested by constable Brown and brought to this city. A preliminary examination was commenced before Judge Jewitt on Monday and the case was continued until next Monday.

Dr. Fuley assisted by Dr. Mann excised the arm, taking out about five inches of shattered bone, and from them we learn that the ball entered about two inches below the shoulder joint passed entirely through the arm and lodged somewhere in the cavity of the chest. Mr. Stewart is now lying in a critical condition at the poor house. Hill's assault was a most cowardly and brutal one. Such incarnated devils should be given the butt end of the law. (The Sumner County Press, Thursday, June 18, 1874)
 

  Back to Index Page

Copyright © to Kansas Genealogy Trails' Sedgwick County host & all Contributors
All rights reserved