Madison County - Genealogy Trails





Crimes and Murders




Sebastian Van Vickie

Murder In Missouri

The Murder in Madison County

Used A Shot Gun

Slaying of Woman Admitted by Youth    

Youth Confesses Slaying Woman      

Brace of Murders Cages

Yount's Wound Was Fatal   

The Robert Gray Murder   

Robert J. Watson Murder Trial   

John Duncan Murder Confession

A Dead Man Identified   

John Dunn, Sr.   

Valentine Heifner   

Juvenile Arrested For Slaying   

Post Master Indicted   

Got His Man

Mrs. White Gets Verdit for $200

The Midnighter Assassin

Carroll W. Hicks   


Judge Robinson   

Murder Convict Paroled   







Sebastian Van Vickle   


A man named Sebastian Van Vickle, who has lived in the neighborhood of St. Charles, Madison County, some four years, was arrested on the 18th ult., charged with the murder of his step-father, John S. Bess, in Missouri, some five years ago.


On the officers' undertaking to arrest him, he snatched a pair of heavy end irons, and was about to strike down the officer who arrested him, when the latter discharged a revolver at the prisioner, and shot him inthe jaw, inflicting a not very serious wound, however,


He was started for Missouri next day.




Daily Iowa State Register - March 8, 1866





Murder in Missouri   



St. Louis, August 18. --  A special to the Herald from Fredericktown, Missouri, gives an account of a brutal murder here yesterday.


The dispatch states Philip Scholl, somewhat intoxicated, while driving some oxen home, hurrahed for Grant, whereupon Thomas Mathews, a young man, connected with some of the influential families in the country, shouted for Greeley, and said he could whip Scholl or any other Radical in the country.


Scholl doubled this, and they commenced punching each other, but were separated.


Subsequently Mathews struck Scholl, and immediately fired two shots at him from a pistol.  Scholl then knocked Mathew down with  his fist and began beating him, but died almost instantly, being shot through the head.  After Mathews was knocked down he stabbed Scholl with a dagger.  


Mathews is represented as a quarrelsome man, and had twice before during the day drawn a piston on other men.  He was arrested.  






The Murder in Madison County   


Our readers will recollect the notice of the summary execution of a man named Abraham W. Smith by a mob, at Frederictown, in Madison County, Missouri, on the 6th day of August; that the ringleaders in this outrage escaped and were still at large.


Of the number was a man name John Sinclair, who was accidentally seen and recognized on the streets of St Louis lately.


A warrant was immediately procured for his arrest, and Justice Butler, on an examination of the case committed him to jail, where he will remain until he is removed to Madison County.


Sinclair as said to have been the principal in the affair -- to have tied the rope around the man's neck, and to have help to swing him up.


Eight or ten of the mob are now in jail, and if justice is done them, they will share the fate of the criminal whom they executed.



New York Herald - October 16, 1844



Used The Shot Gun   


A Quarrel in Madison County Results in a Murder


Special to the Republic


Fredericktown, Missouri, November 5. --  In this (Madison) County this morning Carroll Hicks shot and killed Jas Jordon.


Some time ago the former accused the latter of stealing timber, which Jordon denied, and gave Hicke the lie.  Hicks told Jordon he would meet him and settle it and the day was set for today.


According to agreement the two met in an old field near Hicks' place, 10 miles south of this place.


Hicks came prepared, having a double barrel shot gun.  When the two met face to face Hicks pulled down on Jordon, the load taking effect in the left breast.  Jordon fell and expired in two minutes.


Hicks then jumped the fence and started in the direction of home.


There were three witnesses to the killing.  Jordon came to the county from Dunklin County a year ago.  HE was a married man and about 28 years old.  Hicks is also married and is about 30 years old.  His reputation is said to be bad.


The Coroner and Sheriff and his deputies have gone to the scene of the murder this afternoon.


St. Louis Republic -  November 6, 1889



Slaying of Woman Admitted by Youth    


Confession at Los Angeles Tells How He Slew Her and Hid Body Near Missouri Town


Los Angeles, December 9.--(AP)--A 16 page confession relating how he killed Mrs. Emma Cole late February in Fredericktown, Madison County, Missouri, when he lost his temper because she annoyed him, was in the hand of authorities who arrested Amos M. Lewis, alias Theodore Dunn, 19 year old Hotel kitchen boy, today.


Lewis was arrested yesterday on a minor charge while at his work.


He readily confessed, police said, as they questioned him about the slaying of Miss Eugene Vance, 55 years old cleaning shop operator, whose body was found in a field here Monday night.


He Worked Near Shop


Police said that Lewis' place of work was located not far from the little cleaning shop Miss Vance owned.  He denied connection with the Vance killing, and later police said he had no part in it.


In his statement, Lewis was quoted a saying his true name was "Amos Monroe Lewis," and that until the time of the killing of Mrs. Cole he had lived with his parents in Fredericktown.  The victim was his father's first cousin.  HE was arrested here under the name of Theodore Dunn.


On the day of the tragedy, Lewis said he rented an automobile from the Dale Thompson agency and drove to Pevely, Missouri, to get Miss Cole, who had written Lewis' parents she was leaving her husband and wished to live with them.  In Pevely, he said he met Mrs. Cole and her husband and that Cole gave her a $200 check saying "Don't come back."


"About fifteen miles out of Peverly."  Lewis statement read, "she began to annoy me and made advances.  I lost my temper and started chocking her.  She struggled and slapped me and tried to get away.  Suddenly, I found her dead and I drove off on a side road and put the body there.


"I knew I had to have money to get away, so I searched the body and found about $300, which I took."


He said he threw Mrs. Cole's belongings into a mine shaft and drove to Flat River, Missouri.  He was traced to Memphis and then to Sardis, Tennessee.  Lewis said he wandered through Texas and "bummed" his way here, working in hotels when his money gave out.


Police said they captured Lewis through a letter he wrote to an acquaintance, Leland Neely of Henderson, Texas, where Missouri authorities had traced the fugitive.  Lewis said Mrs. Cole, about 55, had induced him to influence his father, Charles Lewis, to allow her to live at his home.


Joplin Globe, December 10, 1931, page 4




Youth Confesses Slaying Woman   


Los Angeles, December 9 (A.P.)--A 16 page confession relating how he killed Mrs. Emma Cole last February in Fredericktown, Madison County, Missouri, when he lost his temper because she annoyed him was in the hands of authorities who arrested Amos M. Lewis, alias Theodore Dunn, 19, hotel kitchen boy today.


Lewis, arrested on a minor charge while at this work, was recognized by police as the youth wanted for the Missouri killing.  He readily confessed, they said.



The San Diego Union:  Thursday Morning, December 10, 1931, page 8




A Brace Of Murders Caged   

Smith, who shot Drown, the engineer of the  steamboat Chicago, a short time since, at Peoria, Illinois, is now confined in the jail at Princeton.  His trial will take place next week before the Circuit Court of Peoria County, for murder in the first degree.


John Sinclair, who was committed to jail in St. Louis upon a charge of being one of the ringleaders of the mob that hung Abraham Smith, in Madison County, Missouri, on the 5th of August has been taken back for trial.

Sun – October 15, 1844 




Yount's Wound Was Fatal   


He Was Shot Six Weeks Ago by M. Mullimeanx at Marquand, Missouri


Special to The Republic


Marquand, Missouri, March 14 -- Mr. W. C. Yount, a prominent merchant, died at his home in Patton at 7 o'clock this morning.  His death was the result of a pistol shot at the hand of a drunken man named Mullineaux, some six weeks ago.  


In his efforts to expel Millineaux from his store, Yount incurred the enmity of the rowdy who, on reaching the outside, turned and shot Yount through the chest.  


The best medical talent Southwest Missouri could afford has been called into requisition, but without avail.  Careful nursing, together wit his splendid constitution, has been the means of prolonging his life.  


Mr. Yount was a young man of sterling business qualities and of unblemished character.  It has often been said he had more friends than any man in the county.  


About two years ago he married a Miss Schenimann of Cape Girandeau, whom he leaves with a baby only a few weeks old, besides hosts of friends, to mourn his departure.  


The murderer is confined in Fredericktown jail.



Sunday, March 15, 1896

St. Louis Republic (St. Louis, MO)  Volume: 88  Issue 261  Section:  Part Four   Page: 34






The Robert Gray Murder    




Looking for Arsenic


A Fredericktown Doctor Brings a Man's Stomach to St. Louis


Dr. W. W. Kemper of Fredericktown arrived in the city last evening for the purpose of having an analysis made of the stomach of  one Robert Gray, who recently died down there.  The facts in the case are reported as follows:


On July 30, Robert Gray, a farmer, living four miles north of Fredericktown, was taken suddenly ill.


Physicians were called, but they could do the sufferer no good, and he expired in a few hours.  The doctors cold not define the disease, and they were at a loss to account for the sudden death.


A few days afterwards it was learned that the day before Gray died his wife had purchased 25 cents worth of arsenic from the town druggist, saying she wanted to us it in preparing some hog cholera medicine.


Gray had been married to the woman about 20 years and during that time they had separated on two or three occasions.


A one time Mrs. Gray went to Illinois, living with a young farmer.  Formerly of Madison County, for six months or longer.  She returned to Gray and the couple got along very well until a few months ago, when they had another falling out and Gray commenced selling the stock, prepararatory, as he said, to going to Colorado.


The young farmer with whom the woman is said to have spent the time in Illinois, has also, it is said, been seen around Fredericktown in the past few weeks, and these facts all taken into consideration led the authorities to believe there had been foul play.


The body was exhumed and the stomach has been brought here to be analyzed.  If the examination gives evidence of arsenical poison the authorities will be immediately notified and the matter thoroughly investigated.




St. Louis Republic - August 14, 1890 



On Trial for Murder   


Special to the Republic


Fredericktown, Missouri, August 10. --  Circuit Court commenced in special term today to try Mary J. Gray for the murder of her husband, Robert Gray, in August last with strychnine.


Sheriff Coloway was ordered to summon a special venire of 150 men and court took a recess until Wednesday morning.



St. Louis Republic - August 11, 1891



The Gray Case Cont'd


Several Witnesses Give Damaging Testimony Against Defendant 

Special to The Republic 


Fredericktown, Missouri, August 15.--In the Gray case today seven witnesses testified for the State, making a chain of circumstantial evidence very damaging to Mrs. Gray.   


J. N. Tatem was the first witness.  He had known defendant and her husband seventeen years, and their relations as man and wife were not very agreeable.  Each of them had left home and remained away some time.  Mrs. Gray at onetime left home with one Reuben Thorpe and went to Illinois, remaining away several months.  Gray had left home and gone to New Orleans.  Witness was at Gray's home during his last sickness, and saw how he acted.  He was very restless, complained of his throat and stomach, and suffered much from attempts to vomit.  Gray also suffered with twitching of the muscles and spasm or convulsions.  Cross-examined, witness said that he had seen Gray and his wife in one difficulty and started to interfere, but others came up and witness went home.  Witness was present when the grave was opened and the stomach taken from the body of Gray, to be taken to Dr. Ludeking of St. Louis for analysis.


Edward Perringer had known defendant several years, was at Gray's home several  times during his last illness.  Gray seemed very restless, complained of soreness of his throat and continued sick stomach; was up and down and walked out in the yard; sat in a chair, but had frequent attempts at vomiting.


Edward Gott had sold Mrs. Gray about eight grains of arsenic about the 28th of July, which was only two or three days before Gray's death.  Defendant told witness that she wanted the arsenic for the hogs.


John Turley was present when defendant bought the arsenic, heard her say it was for hogs, and that the hogs were sick.


J. P. Gabriel as passing Gray's residence about the time of his death and was called in.  Gray was raised to a sitting posture when Gabriel entered, but immediately laid down and turned on his face and died, giving evidence of strong contractions of the muscles or convulsions.  On cross-examination Mr. Gabriel testified that Mrs. Gray did not manifest symptoms of grief at her husband's death.


Dr. Kemper was called to see Robert Gray about July 28, 1890, found him with considerable fever, sore throat and tenderness on pressure over the stomach; gave patient bismuth, tincture of aconite and chlorate of potash, visited patient again and found him in a critical condition; high fever, restless, with attempts at vomiting; gave bismuth, opium and acetate of lead, all the medicine left for Gray would not have poisoned a man; was at the Coroner's inquest on the body of Robert Gray; Helped to take the stomach from the body and Dr. Newberry took it to Dr. Ludeking of St. Louis for analysis, afterwards visited the grave of Gray and helped to take from the body portions of the liver, kidneys and small intestine, which were also sent to St. Louis for analysis by Dr. Ludeking.  Cross-examined, witness rehearsed his statement of the case, but did not materially vary from his former statement.




Sunday, August 16, 1891

St. Louis Republic (St. Louie, MO) Volume: LXXXIV Issue: 22345 Section: Part Two Page: 14



The Gray Case Cont'd


Another Day's Testimony - The Defence Begins at Last 

Special to The Republic


Fredericktown, Missouri, August 18.--William Hamlin, one of the most important State's witnesses, testified today in the Gray murder trial.  Witness was acquainted with and  as a neighbor to the Grays.


Witness had a conversation with defendant on July 26, 1890, at the garden fence in front of Gray's house in which defendant told witness if he should see Dr. F. R. Newberry to tell him to come out and see Gray



The defendant requested witness to purchase for her a dime's worth of arsenic.  Said she had lived in hell long enough and she hoped hell may roast her if he did get the contents, that she would empty a capsule and give it to him.


Defendant told witness that if he did not want to give the arsenic to her on his return from town, he could either leave it at a small tree near the garden fence or at the spring and she would get it and he must say nothing about it, for he would be as deep into it as she would.  


No name was mentioned in this conversation, but witness was talking to defendant about Robert Gray.  I did not purchase any arsenic for the defendant.  I advised her not to use any arsenic on him, for the doctor would detect her in the act.  She said she had not used it and she was not going to.  That is would be better to leave him than to use it.


Dr. Frank G. Vifong of St Louis, Missouri, testified as an expert.  Have practiced in St. Louis City Hospital, have seen cases of arsenical poisoning; the symptoms of arsenical poisoning are vomiting, purging, abdominal tenderness, often agonising pains in stomach; pulse becomes weak, respirations not effective; patients have sometimes had wild expression of eyes, is sometimes rational to time of death, mouth dry, restriction of the throat with thirst.  In response to a hypothetical question, Drs Nifong, Newberry and Kemper stated as their opinion that Robert Gray came to his death from the effects of arsenical poisoning.


Alexander B. Parsons was introduced on the part of defendant, and testified to having heard a conversation between his father and Robert Gray about fifteen years ago, in which Gray said he (Gray) used arsenic all the time.  Cross-examined, witness admitted to having been convicted in the United States District Court for passing counterfeit money.


Jos. S. Kaggs was also introduced and testified on the part of the defendant.  Witness testified to having heard Robert Gray say he used arsenic.  On cross-examination by State Attorney Robert A. Anthony witness admitted to having been convicted in the Madison County Circuit Court of stealing a steer and serving a term in the Penitentiary.




Wednesday, August 19, 1891

St. Louis Republic (St. Louis, MO)  Volume: LXXXIV Issue: 22348 Page: 2




The Gray Case Cont'd


Testimony All In, and It Will Go to the Jury Today 

Special to The Republic


Fredericktown, Missouri, August 21.--The Gray murder trial was resumed today.  


Juror Woodmancy having sufficiently recovered.


Susan Myers, the first witness called for the defence, testified to the finding in one of Gray's coat pockets a package containing a white powder supposed to be arsenic.


Cross-examined.  I am a sister of defendant; found the package in Gray's pocket that was hanging in the smoke house.  I found it about a week after defendant was arrested.  I did not know that Gray used arsenic for hogs.  Defendant never told me she had purchased any arsenic for the hogs.


Mry F. Gray, the defendant, testified that she purchased arsenic at Christopher's Drug Store on July 28,1890, to it home and gave it to the hogs, have been using arsenic for hogs for about fifteen years.  I never asked Hamila to purchase any arsenic for me.  I never gave any arsenic to Robert Gray, my husband.  I first learned that he was suffering from a loathsome disease about ten years ago.  The day I went to town that I got the arsenic I went at Bob's request to purchase a pint of whiskey for him.


Charley Gray, a 12 year old nephew of defendant, testified that he was with the defendant when she purchased the arsenic at the drug store.  Saw his aunt give the hogs the arsenic in a bucket of swill.


Counsel for defence offered in evidence the package found by Mrs. Myers in Gray's coat pocket, which concluded the evidence for the defence.


Edward Gott, the druggist, who sold the defendant the arsenic, was recalled on the part of the State.  The package found by Mrs. Myers was shown witness, and he testified that the paper was similar to that in which the arsenic was wrapped that he sold Mrs. Gray.


Charles Thorton was recalled on the part of the State and asked if he had ever advised defendant to run away.  Witness replied that he had not.  Mrs. Gray cried out:


"Oh, Charley! you lie, you know you did," and broke out crying, which was the first time since her arrest that defendant has ever manifested any feelings.


Judge James D. Fox delivered to the jury their instructions and argument was commenced at once.


The case will be given to the jury in the morning.




Sunday, August 23, 1891

St. Louis Republic (St. Louis, MO) Volume: LXXXIV Issue: 22352 Section: Part Two  Page: 14



The Gray Case Cont'd


Gone To The Jury 

The Gray Case at Fredericktown Now Awaiting A Verdict


Special to The Republic


Fredericktown, Missouri, August 22.--In the Gray murder trial today E. D. Anthony, assistant counsel for the State, made the opening argument.


He spoke about two hours, carefully reviewing the testimony in a calm and dispassionate way.


He was followed by Judge W. N. Nolte, counsel for the defence.


Prosecuting Attorney Anthony made the closing argument.


He spoke for about five hours, during which time the defendant twice insisted upon leaving the court room.  He closed the case this evening at 9 o'clock with a very able presentation of all the testimony and surrounding circumstances and a stirring appeal to the jury that their verdict be founded upon the evidence in the case.


The jury was sent to their room at 9:30 o'clock.


A verdict is not expected until Monday morning.





Sunday, August 22, 1891

St. Louis Republic (St. Louis, MO) Volume: LXXXIV Issue: 22352 Section: Part Two  Page: 14



The Gray Case Cont'd


Not Guilty 

The Verdict Rendered by the Jury in the Gray Case


Special to The Republic


Free, Missouri, August 22.--Shortly before midnight last night the jury in the Gray murder case returned a verdict

of not guilty.


Judge James D. Fox discharged the prisoner, who immediately started for her home four miles south of town, a free woman.


Public sentiment is strongly against the verdict.



Saturday, August 23, 1891

St. Louis Republic (St. Louis, MO)  Volume: Old Issue: 22351 Page: 7



Robert J. Watson Murder Trial   


For The St. Louis Pilot


Fredericktown, Missouri, October 3d, 1856--


Dear Sir:  Through some in advertence or other I have omitted to keep you posted up, as to what is going on in our town.


For the last month our hither to quiet place has been all showing to the pending of the Phillips trial.  You and your readers are already aware that Robert J. Watson, of New Madrid County, came to his death last December in said county--that Sullivan Phillips, Presley Phillips and John L. Ross were indicted by the Grand Jury of that county for killing Judge Watson.


The first as principal in the first degree, and the others as principals in the second degree, or as aiding and abetting Sullivan.


Owing to the excitement then existing in that county, the defendants applied for a change of venue, which was granted, to Madison County.


At the last March term Sullivan and Presley Phillips continued their causes for reasons known to the law.


Dr. Ross, the nephew of Presley Phillips, went to trial, a jury was summoned, and nearly all the evidence on the part of the State was given an, when one of the jurors sickened and died.--The Court then dismissed the surviving eleven, and the case was continued until the  September term of the Court.


On the first Monday in September ult, Sullivan Phillips was brought to the bar, announced himself ready for trial (a reverence being granted at the March term,) a jury was ordered, and the whole month, save a few days, was consumed in the examination of the case;



On last Thursday it was submitted to the jury, who retired, and after an absence of about twenty minutes returned a verdict of not guilty.  


The counsel on the part of the prosecution are Robert A. Hatcher, the Prosecuting Attorney of this Judicial Circuit, General Watkins, General Noell, General Beal, Major Golfier and Mr. Clover, of St. Louis, who has been imported for the purpose of more effectually prosecuting Dr. Ross and Presley Phillips--a big team, as we term it down here, a six horse intellectual team.  The counsel for the defence are Mr. K. S. Blannerhassett, of St. Louis, who has shown himself on the occasion to be onr of the most able criminal lawyers in the Union.


In the cross-examination of a witness he can not be excelled; he completely tore asunder--not the cobweb act of testimony of Shultz and Shelton, the two principal witnesses for the prosecution--but to all appearances a matted and dove-tailed piece of testimony, impenetrable and impervious to anybody and everybody, except a legal mind.  Mr. B. won for himself great laurels in the conduct of this cause.  


Major Wright, of your city, made a very effectual speech for the defense; Judge Bullock, of Kentucky, also made a great effort for the defence.  The other counsel for the defence are Green W. Davis, Esq, of Jackson, Missouri, then whom there is not a more profound lawyer in the State; General Thomas B. English, of Jackson, a boss fame is co-extensive with the State; Mr. Frizzell, of Poton; Mr. Moor, of Cape Girardeau; Charles H. Daws, of the same place, and D. M. Fox, of Fredericktown.


On Friday morning last the defendants, Dr. Ross and Presley Phillips, moved to set aside the severance made at the last term and declared themselves ready for trial jointly.


It has taken the sheriff and his deputies some time to get  a jury; however, this afternoon the panel is completed, and consists of the following persons, to-wit:  Abel T. Huot, Daniel B. Sinclair, John Ragsdale, Andrew J. Buckner, Lyander Ashlock, Joseph Loyd, Elijah Cripon, William H. Martin, Patrick Proffit, Schuyler Wineburgers, William H. Bigger and John T. Hade.


The witness, Shelton, is now on the stand.  It is thought that the witnesses still have been examined ere the close of next week.


There is no doubt of their acquittal; the great surprise is why the Circuit Attorney has not entered a nolla proeeqed.  


I forgot to mention the Hon. Sam Caruthers' name amongst the distinguished counsel for the defence.  


Expectation runs high, because Mr. Blannerbasset is announced as one of the counsel who is to argue the cause now pending.


The Court House will be filled with the elite and literate, to hear the gifted and able jurial.  


When the result is know here, I will drop you a few lines.


Yours, ke,  X



Saturday, October 18, 1856

Weekly St. Louis Pilot (St. Louis, MO) Volume: 3 Issue: 39 Page: 1




John Duncan's Confession




The following is the substance of a confession  made by John Duncan, who was executed at St. Michael's, Madison County, Missouri Territory, on the 5th,  for the murder of  J. Stephens, wife, and two sons.


It appears that he was horn in Albemarle County, Virginia, January 14th, 1800, and was raised in Summer county, Tennessee,  from whence he went to Madison county in September last.   


On his arrival he learned that one Stephens had been suspected of stealing money, but as there was no proof could not be convicted—With a view to extort a confession several plans were devised by persons of the neighborhood, such as flogging, all of which did not meet the views of Duncan, who said that a better way would be to build a fire and roast his feet until he confessed, or dig a grave and threaten to bury him alive. Upon further reflection, however, J. Duncan thought of a more effectual method to correct the evil, which was to "put Stephens I out of the way,'" as he expressed himself.


This plan seemed to meet the views of the others concerned, but they did not wish to get into difficulties, and intimated to Duncan that whoever would render such a service to the neighbourhood would be well rewarded by a handsome purse which would be made up by the regulators. This was sufficient for him, and he proceeded to Stephens' house.


Here we have to detail one of the most hellish deeds, probably to be found on record:


"When I arrived at Stephens', and went: into the house, I determined not to kill  him. After having set a while, Stephens enquired if I had come to look at his land?  I answered yes.   He then took hold of my gun, and observed that he would set her in the room until we should have returned.   I told him no, perhaps we might see something to shoot.  We then started to view his land, in the direction of Mr. Fulton's.   


Soon after we had started, in company with his little son, the dogs treed a rabbit.    Stephens cut a hole to twist out the rabbit—I concluded to kill him.  Stepped back for that purpose, about ten feet, and cocked my gun, but my heart failed me, and I concluded not to do it    Stephens then stopped up the rabbit, and the little boy went to the house for an axe.   


We then proceeded to look at the land.   After walking some distance near together, (but I walked behind) I presented my gun and shot him.   He fell instantaneously, and cried '0 Lord!' I replied lo him with an oath,   that I had come three hundred miles for the express purpose of ending his days.    I then struck Stephens  with the barrel of my gun, I put her down, and took Stephens's gun, and struck him several times with her, after which I cut his throat.    I then went to the branch and washed off the blood, and loaded my gun.    After having killed Stephens, I reflected that his wife and children were in the way to my getting his money, and believing that he had a large sum, as David L. Carruthers had  frequently told  me that Stephens must have fifteen or sixteen hundred dollars.    


I determined first to kill the elder boy, who returning with the axe.   I went to him, and with him to the tree where the rabbit was.  After setting to the tree I desired the boy to hold his head at the hole at which the rabbit went in.   He did so: when I struck him with the axe on the side of the head several times; which killed him.


I then went to Mr. Stephens house and told Mrs. Stephens that Mr. Stephens wanted her to go the corner of the land for the purpose of being a witness.    Mrs. Stephens started immediately with me, followed by her youngest child, a boy.    We proceeded on through the woods, some short distance from the plantation, when I snapped the gun several times at her.—She at that time turned about, and said, "0 Duncan don't do that ".   I then knocked her down with my gun, and cut her throat.    


I then caught the young child and cut his throat.  


I then, as before, went to the branch and started to the house, with the determination of killing the two little girls.    


On the way I saw Warren, Stephens's son   and paused for some time whether I would kill him or not, I concluded that I would not; but would go to the house, take what money I could find, and make my escape.     


On arriving at the house I told the little girl that her father wanted his money, and sent word to her to send it by me.   


The girl and myself searched a chest, and I found and carried off sixty-eight dollars; which is, to the best of my recollection, all that is material."


Woodstock Observer - June 19, 1821

A Dead Man Identified   

Joplin, Missouri, August 2. -- The man who is believed to have been murdered and then placed on the Kansas City Southern tracks here early yesterday morning has been identified as A. G. Bell, a minor of Bonne Terre, Missouri. He was 32 years old.

His widow lives at Marquand, Missouri, Ana Strange, who was found intoxicated near the body after it was struck by the train, is being held by police.

Monday, August 2, 1909
Kansas City Star (Kansas City, MO), Volume: 29 Issue: 319 Page: 3

John Dunn, Sr.

In 1831 there occurred two murders, which were not investigated by the courts. They are closely connected with the history of the family of John Dunn, Sr., which has in itself all the elements of a tragedy.

John Dunn, Sr., was an early settler, and a case which created great interest came from Madison County on a change of venue.

1888 History of Southeast Missouri

Valentine Heifner   

On February 1, 1834, Valentine Heifner shot and killed Peter Chevalier, in the town of Fredericktown.

He was arrested and brought to Jackson for trial. The case was ably managed on both sides. The attorneys for the defense were John Scott and N. W. Watkins. The prosecution was conducted by Circuit Attorney Greer W. Davis, assisted by Johnson Renney. They were the four ablest lawyers in Southeast Missouri at that time. The jury returned a verdict of manslaughter, and the penalty was fixed at thirty days' imprisonment and 8300 fine.

A new trial was secured with the same result, except that the imprisonment was increased to three months.

1888 History of Southeast Missouri

Juvenile Arrested For Slaying

Fredericktown, Missouri (AP) – Madison County authorities say a juvenile has been arrested in St. Louis in connection with the slaying of a 70 year old woman who was beaten and stabbed to death.

Authorities declined to release the suspects name or age.

Keith Bespain, a deputy sheriff, said the suspect was arrested in St. Louis Tuesday shortly after the victim’s car was discovered by St. Louis authorities.

Rudy Robinson’s body was found by a neighbor Tuesday in her home in Fredericktown. She had been bound and gagged and was lying on the living room couch.

Authorities said the woman had been dead three to four days.

Earlier, authorities said they had been told that the car was being driven in Fredericktown Tuesday by a long haired man.

The Daily Standard (Sikeston, Missouri)
Wednesday, November 30, 1977

Post Master Indicted   

J. H. Rutherford, postmaster of a village in Madison County, near Fredericktown, is under indictment on a charge of embezzling $675.00 in post office funds.

Ripley County Democrat
December 22, 1916,    Image 1

Got His Man   

Sheriff J. T. Wells returned on Wednesday of last week from Chester, Illinois. with William Rader. He was left in the Fredericktown jail.

Rader was arrested by Sheriff at Chester and held for Sheriff Wells, until requisition papers were secured from Governor Gill.

He is charged with assault and battery.

Fair Play
April 9, 1921,    Image 8


Mrs. White Gets Verdict for $200   

Fredericktown Democrat News

Mrs. Nannie White, proprietress of the Commercial Hotel, was given a verdict for $200 damages against the Farmington Times, in the St. Francois County Circuit Court Tuesday of this week.

Several weeks ago the Times published an article headed “This Was Not Jesse James,” which charged that Mrs. White overcharged a party of high school girls who spent the night at the hotel. The article contained several other statements which Mrs. White considered libelous, and she immediately brought suit against the paper for $10,000. Davis and Davis were employed as her attorneys.

The trila lasted all day Tuesday. Practically all the charges of the plaintiff were admitted by the defense who contended that an article published in the Times after the first article was discovered to be false was a retraction and apology and constituted full reparation for any injury done Mrs. White. O. L. Munger and B. H. Marbury were attorneys for the newspaper.

It developed at the trial that Reverend O’Rear, pastor of the Methodist Church at Farmington, carried the first rumor to the Times and gave origin to the story that will cost the paper at least $500 when all costs are paid.

It is believed that the retraction published in the paper is the only thing that kept the jury from awarding Mrs. White much heavier damages. The jury was unanimous.

Iron County Register
June 17, 1920, Image 1

The Midnight Assassin    

With a plenty of ill desire and no good marksmanship – seems to be prowling the capital of Madison. Says the Fredericktown News: “A mysterious shot was fired in this city last Saturday night.

Leslie Jones was writing in Honorable B. B. Cahoon’s law office about 11 o’clock. He states he had the front door closed and back door open when some one fired a shot from the back door; the bullet went through the stove pipe and buried itself in the window casing; from the position in which he states he was sitting the bullet missed his head only a few inches. Mr. Jones says he has no enemies that he knows of.

The affair is shrouded in mystery.”

Iron County Register
June 17, 1897, Image 1

Carroll W. Hicks   

Who was tried in the Madison County court last week for the killing of James Jorden, resulted in Hick’s acquittal.

The plea of the defense was, justification in self defense.

Marble Hill Press
April 9, 1891


About a month ago, Dr. Fleming and Mr. E. Alright, of Madison County, each, had a horse stolen, and since that time Sheriff Lampher has kept a sharp look out for the thieves.

His efforts culminated on the 10th inst. in a successful midnight descent upon the house of Mrs. Miller – a woman not the prototype of Caesar’s wife, -- living upon Castor River, where two of the horse thieves were enjoying the blessing of “tired Nature’s sweet restorer,” all unconscious of impending danger.

The woman of the house reluctantly admitted the sheriff and his posse, and due time John Sing and John Frank were arrested and safely conveyed to Fredericktown, where, upon examination, the latter person gave testimony inculpating two other lovers of horse flesh named respectively Jack Sink and Peter Sink. They, too, were then apprehended, and the quartette are now enjoying the hospitality of the St. Francois County Hotel, whither they were conveyed for safe keeping.

A special term of the circuit court to be convened in Fredericktown on the 9th ult., will judicially determine their guilt or innocence.

Iron County Register
June 21, 1877

Judge Robinson   

Will hold a special term at Fredericktown on the 9th of July, to try the case of Rickman, charged with the murder of Mack.

Iron County Register
June 21, 1877

Murder Convict Paroled   

Under a Jefferson City date line of December 15th, appeared the following special:

“M. K. Holly, convicted in St. Francois County in May, 1918, for murder in the second degree, and sentenced to the Penitentiary for ten years, was paroled today to Senator Charles J. Belken of Fredericktown.

Holly was convicted of killing an Austrian miner in a free for all fight between foreign miners and some residents of the county.

The Farmington Times
December 19, 1919



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