We Were Here

Terrell trial received national attention in late 19th century
January 29, 2013, February 5, 2013, February 12, 2013, February 19, 2013, February 26, 2013 and March 5, 2013
by Konrad Stump, contributing writer to The Logan Daily News

This was a six part series written for the Logan Daily News by Konrad Stump. For ease of reading, I have omitted the 'teaser' at the end of each column and Konrad's email address. It is presented here otherwise unedited. At the end of the page, you will find extra information that I have provided about the trial and the people involved in this story. Please note that the personal opinions expressed in these columns are Mr Stumps and not my own.



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Part One
“Saturday afternoon about 4 o’clock, the news got to Logan, and from that moment on for a year, the community was in a state of frenzy. They have not got over it yet, nor have they ever been satisfied that the mystery of the crime was unraveled. To this day they gather in crowds when the subject is broached — To this day the men who were on the jury are pointed out as notorious characters.”
— The Hocking Sentinel, Feb. 19, 1886
As William Inman and his family have stood trial over the past year, and the events of that night get hashed over and debated in the courtroom and in the newspapers, another murder gets called to mind.
It was a murder that rippled through Hocking County and received national attention, one that journalists would harken back to throughout the following decades when the county experienced something similar.
Many agreed it was the worst crime Hocking County had ever seen, and did see, for a long time. On a summer afternoon over 130 years ago, on a large but remote farm in Gore, the Weldon family was murdered.
John Weldon lived with his sister Susannah McClurg and her daughter Nancy Hite on a farm in Gore. It was a Saturday afternoon like any other when a neighbor boy, the son of a Mr. Sweezy, came to borrow a saddle from John Weldon.
The front door was open, so he went in. Seeing no one inside, he came back outside, and it was then that he saw the body of Nancy Hite in the grass. He ran home and told his family what he had seen. They rushed to the Weldon house and gave the alarm so that other neighbors rushed to the site. It was then that the bodies of Susannah and John were discovered. They had laid undiscovered overnight. .
That same afternoon, William V. Terrell, a boy of 18, went to Cline’s saloon, got drunk, and pulled a revolver on another man. He was arrested and put in jail.
Upon awakening from his drunken stupor, he told the police about the murder of the Weldon family. However, he stated that he merely sat by and watched as another man, Joe King, murdered the family.
Though King was arrested, William’s claims were disregarded, and Joe later proved an alibi for the time of the murders.
As the country follows the William Inman trial, I will continue to follow the progress of the trial of William Terrell.
We will hear testimony from his mother, his sisters, the man he accused of the crimes, and other neighbors in the Gore and Logan areas. The verdict will be given and Terrell sentenced. We will follow what happened to William, what became of his family, and what developed in regards to the Weldon estate.
First, let’s look at the key players.
John Weldon’s father, also named John Weldon, had come to Perry County from around Lewistown, Pa., near the turn of the 19th century. He married Ruhama McKee in 1823, and the next year Ruhama gave birth to Susannah. Two years later, Ruhama gave birth to John.
The family lived on a farm in Perry County until 1830, at which point they moved to Hocking County. Here Susannah and John grew up, their father passing away June 12, 1838.
John never married, but Susannah married twice. Her first marriage was to Stewart Hite, but he passed away a few years after their marriage. He left her with one child, Nancy.
Newspaper accounts stated that Nancy was 16 when she died, but her tombstone says she was 14. Susannah married W.A. McClurg in 1865, but he also died a few years later. In 1870, Susannah and Nancy were living with John and Ruhama. Friends of the Weldon family described them as an “industrious, frugal and economic family. Unassuming and somewhat reserved in their manners, they made no enemies.”
William V. Terrell, the youngest child and only son of John and Mary (Taylor) Terrell, was born in 1859 in Gore, and had lived his entire life there.
His parents and his sisters were well-liked and well-respected in the community, and the family had been good friends with the Weldon family.
The Terrell and Weldon families lived less than a mile apart. William’s parents had tried to instill in him habits of industry and economy, and he regularly attended Sunday school at the M.E. Church “at old Gore.”
He attended the public schools there, but never really took to it. He was described as “wayward” and “rebellious.” At the time of his arrest, it was noted that William could barely read or write more than his own name.
As he grew into his teens, he began to associate himself with disreputable characters, including the man he accused of committing the Weldon murders, Joe King.
William had been in trouble with the law before the Weldon murders.
Earlier that year, he was arrested for stoning the furnace store in Gore, but the charges were dropped given the promise that William change his ways.
About a month before the Weldon murders, William fired two shots at men riding past a store in Gore. He was charged nine dollars for this, borrowing money from John Weldon to pay the fine. It was stated that William often borrowed money from John, and it was believed the cause for the murders was John refusing to lend William more money.
Part Two
“My name is William Terrell, am 18 years old, live at Gore, am a coal hauler, been working at home lately, was paid off last winter.”
So began the statement William Terrell gave the police after his arrest for his suspected involvement in the murder of John Weldon, John’s sister Susan McClurg and her daughter Nancy Hite.
According to William, he’d left home to go to old Gore and met Joe King on the road. Joe said to him, “let’s take a walk,” and they crossed the creek and went through Starr’s Woods.
They saw John Weldon coming down toward the creek, and Joe asked William if he thought John Weldon had any money. William told Joe he suspected John did have money.
When they got within 10 steps of John, Joe pulled out a revolver and shot at him four times in quick succession. After John was dead, Joe told William he was going to the house. William followed behind him and sat on the fence while Joe went into the house and murdered Susan and Nancy.
According to William’s testimony, “When he came out — he came out at the back door — he said ‘let’s go’— I don’t know what I said, am positive nothing was said by either of us about the killing of these people.” The men parted ways at the creek, and Willliam said he did not see Joe again until they were both arrested.
According to the newspaper report, William was “rather good looking, young, regularly featured, large brown eyes, good forehead, black hair, and pleasant and good-natured in his address and appearance… He seemed self-possessed and told his story with a great deal of composure and assurance.”
I highly disagree with any assumption that William was developmentally disabled. I’ve read The Hocking Sentinel describe someone as a “friendless, deformed girl,” so they would have openly stated anything out of the ordinary. If anything, his misbehavior in school and his problems learning were probably the result of a boy with above-average intelligence lacking challenge.
Joe King did provide an alibi for the time of the murder, and around 50 people reported seeing him in Logan that evening, but since the bodies were not discovered until the next day, the time is debatable. Joe had been in Gore for about six months, but was out of work for three months leading up to the murder. He, like William, was in the habit of hanging around Cline’s saloon.
As opposed to William, who said he had $20 on him when he came to town the day after the murders, Joe admitted he asked around for work a few hours before the murders, borrowed money for food, and asked another man if he had any money Joe could have.
And, as opposed to the composure William demonstrated during his interrogation, Joe was described as being “considerably excited, frequently drawing long, heavy breathes. His voice quivered and several times he protested he was innocent.” Though Joe’s demeanor could be an indicator of his guilt, William’s composure and lack of emotion could be indicative of a personality disorder.
In William’s statement, he said John Weldon threw a corn cutter at Joe and that it struck him in the back. However, the statement doesn’t mention the corn cutter actually cutting Joe. Joe showed his back to the police and there was no sign of him being struck. He also showed his feet and there was no sign of any sores or cuts. He did note that he had large feet.
The basis for the belief that at least two men were involved in the murders was that there were two tracks of footprints. The prints were both barefoot, and one was large and one was smaller. William was 18 years old at the time, and Joe was 30 years old.
While the men were in jail awaiting a hearing, a mob gathered at the scene of the murders with the intent to march on Logan and hang them. As the excitement continued to grow, William and Joe were taken by escort to the train station and put on a train to the jail in Lancaster. As time wore on, the excitement subsided, and William and Joe awaited the completion of the coroner’s inquest.
From the testimony given during the coroner’s inquest, one thing is clear: William Terrell was there when the Weldon family was murdered. However, it is also clear that he was not alone.
Thomas Cherry, in his testimony, stated that the smaller footprints in the field stopped on the hill at a place where the struggle between the murderer and John Weldon could be seen, but the larger footprints continued to the place where John’s body was found. Casts were made of the footprints, and one of them showed a scar that corresponded to a mark on William’s foot.
Both William and Joe refused to testify at the inquest, and were sent back to jail. William had apparently wanted to speak with his father before he said anything in court.
Marshal Deishley testified that he’d seen both William and Joe in Logan the night after the murder. William was drunk and tried to give him money several times. The marshal said that William took Joe aside and spoke to him in a whisper. Joe approached the marshal and asked him to get William to stop drinking for fear he might get in trouble. Joe also stated that he and William were intending to leave the country.
The marshal found Joe in the back room of Sower’s around 11 p.m. the night after the murders, and Joe looked scared and started for the door. The marshal caught him by the arm, and he asked if he was under arrest, to which the marshal said ‘Yes.’
Joe then said, “I am innocent.” According to the marshal, “I had said nothing to him as to why I arrested him.”
The coroner’s inquest examined 40 witnesses, and afterwards a preliminary trial of William and Joe before a magistrate was set for the next day.
Part Three
“Terrell looked cool and composed, and calmly surveyed the court room when he came in. He was perfectly self-possessed and pleasantly recognized those of his acquaintances sitting near. He didn’t seem to be interested in the proceedings until Dr. Heyde began to detail the wounds.”
So began the preliminary trial of William Terrell for the murders of the Weldon family. Samuel H. Bright served as Terrell’s attorney and called the witnesses.
John Roby testified about searching Terrell’s house and finding a pair of pants with blood on them, the pants then being shown in court. John Roby said, “I asked Terrell to tell who his accomplices were. Felt that he was too young a man to be guilty of such a horrible crime. He didn’t tell me but whispered to Deishley.”
A few other witnesses were called, mostly reiterating what they’d previously said to the police. One of the others was George Deishley, the marshal who arrested Terrell and Joe King. He noted that when he arrested Terrell, he had money on him and that the money was stained with blood.
At that point the state rested. The court ordered that Terrell be remanded to jail and held without bail until the meeting of the grand jury. After Terrell was sent back to jail, the court reconvened the hearing of King, which was put on hold during Terrell’s hearing.
Many witnesses were called in King’s defense, all proving that he was in Logan for much of the night of the murders. However, the state was unsatisfied by witness testimony in that King’s whereabouts between the hours of 6 and 8 p.m. could not be confirmed. The one testimony that placed King outside of Logan was that of Mac Montgomery, who lived “down near the canal bridge.” He testified that on the evening of the murders, at about 6 p.m., he saw a man run down the street toward the railroad. On the Thursday before the preliminary trial began, Montgomery visited the prisoners in jail and identified King as being the man he saw.
According to the statement Terrell had initially given police, “It wasn’t sundown when we got to the creek. It was about dusk when I got home, I live three-quarters of a mile from the creek, where we parted.” The murders occurred in June when the sun would have set later in the evening, nowadays around 8 p.m.
It was the defense of King himself that swayed the jury, though everyone had more or less convicted Terrell in their minds, given his confession to being present during the murders. King was released and never again prosecuted for the murder of the Weldon family.
According to The Hocking Sentinel, “King’s statement was remarkably full and precise in every particular. He seemed to be feeling the humiliation of idleness and was anxious to find work. He had an air of truth in his statement that carried the conviction that he is innocent of this crime, his misfortune being in the fact that he was known to and had been in company with the villain Terrell.”
As anyone could see from the above excerpt, the papers of the times were also not completely unbiased. Personally, I believe Terrell’s statement holds much more truth than King’s. Terrell’s statement is extremely detailed and precise, and no part of it appeared to be refuted.
In my last column I quoted George Deishley’s statement about arresting King. However, in King’s testimony during court proceedings he claimed the exchange between he and Deishley never occurred. It seems odd to me that the marshal would remember the events incorrectly or that he would give false information. And while Terrell had been in scuffles before, The Columbus Journal sent a correspondence to The Hocking Sentinel stating that King had a history of criminal activity in Columbus.
It is my belief that William Terrell was telling the truth in his statement about King, and that King committed the murders and got away with it. Though Terrell would go down in history as the murderer of the Weldon family, doubt would later be cast on King’s innocence, and people remained convinced that even if Terrell did commit the murders, he did not act alone.
Part Four
“The entire distance was a constantly increasing funeral procession. On arriving at our destination, we found a large concourse of people assembled in the grove, near the church, where some preparations had been made for religious services.”
A friend of the Weldon family wrote these lines to The Hocking Sentinel on the occasion of their funerals. The funerals of John Weldon, Susannah McClurg and Nancy Hite were not held until almost a month after they were murdered. They were held at Fellowship Church in Green Township and preached by Rev. J.H. Robb.
John was laid to rest in Webbs Chapel Cemetery, while Susannah and Nancy were laid to rest in Otterbein Chapel Cemetery. Rev. J. Iles closed out the services. The friend who recalled being there noted, “As we looked and listened we were carried away to our country home, where we used to meet with the many earnest Christian farmers and their families, in church and in grove and a few times in our lives we have listened to such men as bro’s Robb and Iles, eloquent, earnest men that live as they teach.”
After the funeral services, everyone went to the home of William Williams, where they were served lunch. Interestingly, after that, everyone went down to the river to witness three baptisms.
A few days after the funerals, the belongings of John and Susannah were put up for sale. The items were put up for sale separately, with John’s being sold off first. There was a high interest in the items with many bids being placed, and each item seemed to be in demand and selling for its full value.
An onlooker noted to The Logan Republican, “The neighbors seemed to feel as though they were again going through the ceremony of interring the victims and as they touched the clothing and handled the various pieces of furniture that their late neighbors had so often used, it was evident that thoughts of sadness and a mingled feeling of indignation towards the perpetrators of the terrible crime and respect and sorrow for the departed pervaded the entire community.”
A few days after the sale, two incidents occurred which showed that the community was still very much enthralled by the murders. One afternoon a group rushed to the courthouse to see a bloody garment that was found near Gore, and the people believed it to belong to the murdered Weldons. Particulars were not given, though it was noted that more about the incident could be found out from Jack Floyd, but it turned out the garment did not belong to the Weldons. Shortly after that, the sheriff went out to Gore to find a bloody garment that had been reported out there. The sheriff determined that garment also didn’t belong to the Weldons.
While all of this was going on, William Terrell was in the state penitentiary in Columbus. Though people would visit him and try to get the truth about the murders out of him, he steadfastly stuck to his initial statement to the police. He spent his time smoking and playing with “a deck of old, greasy cards.”
Joe King, the man Terrell claimed committed the murders, had left Hocking County for Columbus, and authorities were unable to locate him for a time. Though a more feverish initial belief that Terrell committed the murders had existed, over time the people of Gore began to suspect that King was involved and that Terrell couldn’t have acted alone. More people had come forward to say they saw Terrell and King together in the neighborhood on the night of the murders. One man was positive he saw King get off the train at Webbs Summit that evening. The Hocking Sentinel did note, though, “Many of the things told are mere rumor and should be taken with a great deal of allowance.”
When a reporter with The Hocking Sentinel visited Terrell in jail two months after the murders, the reporter asked what Terrell thought of his current predicament. Terrell replied that he did not think it was dangerous and that the court would not convict him. He maintained that King was the guilty party.
Eight months after the murders, Terrell’s trial for the murder of John Weldon got underway. At the time, Terrell’s father was deathly ill, so he did not appear in court. His mother and sisters, however, did appear. After a morning session where Judge Wright delivered a charge to the jury, an afternoon session was held in which Terrell’s mother and sisters came into a packed courtroom to witness the proceedings.
At five minutes after 2 p.m., Terrell was brought into the courtroom by Sheriff Acker and took his seat next to his counsel. He looked composed but pale, was a bit taller than when he was sent to prison, but he didn’t appear to have lost any weight. The Hocking Sentinel noted, “An occasional smile plays over his features as he recognizes the countenances of some familiar acquaintance. He is cleanly and neatly dressed and has nothing in his manner to excite against him the suspicion that his hands are gory with the blood of a murdered family.”
Part Five
The problem William Terrell’s counsel faced during his trial for the murder of John Weldon was in the selection of an impartial jury. The counsel performed a rigid examination on every potential juror to ensure that they had not formed or expressed an opinion on the case.
Counsel for Terrell also strove to exclude his statements to the police at the time of his arrest and afterwards. The reasoning for this was so that they might have a chance of winning their case, but also to defeat the prosecution.
These proceedings were going on eight months after the murders, and many in the community believed the prolonged interval was because Terrell’s counsel was attempting to drag out his conviction. However, they claimed it was because the prosecution was not ready for trial, a viewpoint The Hocking Sentinel appeared to agree with.
The trial was set to begin then, but a mistake in the record caused the trial to be postponed. The record merely stated that the trial would be set for “next term,” but did not specify a date, an exact date being required to hold the trial. Though Judge Wright recollected that the first day of the new term was the set date for the trial, he was bound to go by what the record stated.
As a result, the counsel for Terrell was granted the option for a continuation. Terrell’s counsel instead asked for a change of venue, presenting articles from The Hocking Sentinel which they claimed were sensational and written to sell papers. The judge, however, dismissed this claim, believing that no newspaper could influence a sworn jury of Hocking County men. He also did not believe that violence would ensue if Terrell was acquitted.
Judge Wright denied the request for a change of venue, and Terrell’s defense took the option of a continuation. The trial was then set for the first day of the next term.
And the trial did go on as scheduled. The first witness called was Levi Sweazy, the neighbor boy who had discovered the body of Nancy Hite, then ran home. He recalled hearing commotion the night of the murders: “I was at the house the morning before I discovered the murder. I heard a screaming and hallowing towards the Weldon house. Heard dogs barking also. I told our folks I thought John Weldon was caught or lost some way, or hurt. Heard the screaming first. It was about sundown, I was standing in our yard at home.” He believed this was around 6 p.m., but he was estimating.
George Deishley was called and stood by what he said about Terrell’s statement and the arrest of Joe King. Terrell’s mother Mary was called and spoke of his education, saying, “He went to school all his life until he was 15 or 16 years old. I had told him of the great use of education, he said he was bound to have a good education and did try, but could not learn. He would take his dog and go away to himself, he was very much opposed to companionship with other boys as his playmates.”
There had been blood found of Terrell’s clothing. Terrell’s mother’s testimony, which the writer for The Hocking Sentinel noted “left the firm impression that its truth was unquestioned,” gave a potential explanation for the blood. Mary Terrell testified William “has always been troubled a great deal in warm weather with nose bleeding, when he was overheated it would bleed very profusely, sometimes two or three times a day. It would bleed at night, see marks on the bed. He would spit the blood over the floor and walls.”
Terrell’s sister Sarah also testified to his nosebleeds and his dependency, stating, “William has always been at home, he was subject to bleeding at the nose, it would bleed sometimes two or three times a day, then once a week, it bled at night, he would spit it out on the floor, found it on the bed clothing, it would make him weak and sick.”
After a month of hearing witness testimony, the jury reached a verdict. For genealogical enjoyment, here are the names of those on the jury: Nicholas Davidson, John M. Shaw, Charles Spencer, Thomas J. Siddons, Noah Hockman, Henry Conrad, Nelson Karshner, Jesse Francis, Joseph Inboden, John Pettit, Ashahel H. Evans and George L. Rider.
Terrell was convicted of murder in the second degree for the killing of John Weldon. He was sentenced to the Ohio State Penitentiary for life.
Terrell would have to stand trial separately for the murders of the two women, the court deciding on the following term. After Terrell’s conviction, there was a lot of talk about exhuming John Weldon’s remains for another examination.
Part Six
After his conviction for the murder of John Weldon, William Terrell was sentenced to life in prison and was sent to the Ohio State Penitentiary. An article that appeared in The Hocking Sentinel a month later suggested that Terrell was enjoying his time in the penitentiary.
He was working in the copper shop shaving hoop poles. His health appeared to be strong, and he ate more than many of the other inmates. As to his countenance, it was reported that, “Other persons sit at the table and the tears run down their cheeks, whilst Terrell grins and eats and seems unconcerned as though no trail of blood was on his hands and no crime rested on his conscience.”
Supposedly, while other inmates were forbidden to speak to each other, the rule was suspended for new inmates and as Terrell was new he was permitted to speak. The paper does not give its source, so there’s no indicator that the source was reputable, but it was reported that Terrell had been discussing his involvement in the Weldon murders. He allegedly stated that there were three people involved including himself, giving the name of one of his accomplices, but not the other. He also allegedly claimed that Joe King had nothing to do with the murders.
While Terrell was beginning his life sentence, the body of John Weldon was being exhumed from its resting place in Webb Summit Cemetery. It had become apparent from witness testimony during the trial that more wounds had been inflicted upon Weldon than were examined during the post mortem examination.
Two weeks after the exhumation, it was reported that the skull of John Weldon could be seen at the office of Drs. Willige &Hyde. The reporter for The Hocking Sentinel was shown the skull. About its appearance, the reporter noted, “It is well-shaped but remarkably thin in structure. It is translucent and in many places thinner than common writing paper, showing light or shade through the thickest parts.”
Though The Hocking Sentinel described the shape and appearance of the skull, and though it did note the various wounds inflicted upon the skull, it did not provide an explanation for how the new examination impacted the case against Terrell or how it might help apprehend his accomplices.
The details were to be saved for the court. However, it appears that after years of postponements, a trial for the murders of Susannah McClurg and her daughter Nancy Hite was never held. At one point Terrell was even brought from Columbus to Logan and put in jail to await his trial. The trial never taking place may have been in part because of the difficulty in figuring out who would get the inheritance.
The question of the inheritance hinged upon which of the women was murdered first. It was generally accepted that John Weldon was the first person murdered. If Susannah had been murdered first, then her estate would have passed to Nancy, and from there it would have passed to her father’s family, the Hites. But if Nancy were murdered first and Susannah second, then the inheritance would go to the Weldon relatives. It would not be until after Terrell died that the courts decided that Nancy was killed last and the Hites the rightful heirs to the Weldon estate.
Six years after the Weldon family was murdered, Terrell’s mother was shot and killed by a man named Morgan Richards. Terrell was visited in the penitentiary afterwards under the hope that hearing of his mother’s murder might induce him to reveal more about the Weldon murders. However, nothing more was revealed during the visit.
Not long after his mother’s murder, though, Terrell’s physical and mental health began to deteriorate. He was eventually confined to the insane asylum at the penitentiary and was said to lie “half uncovered” and “in a listless state.” While in the asylum, he became ill with consumption.
Even in a poor state of health, as well as on his deathbed, Terrell stuck by his initial statement and said that he merely “sat on the fence and saw the killing.” Two of his sisters were with him when he passed away, and afterward they brought his body back to Gore with the plan to bury it beside their parents in Otterbein Chapel Cemetery.
When they arrived at the cemetery they found a mob had gathered to keep them from burying Terrell’s body in the cemetery. Though Terrell’s sisters pleaded for the people of Gore to allow them to bury his body in the cemetery, a hole had to be dug on the Terrell property and his body buried within.
I would never consider myself a religious person, but I like what the writer for The Hocking Sentinel had to say about the people of Gore refusing to let Terrell’s body be buried in the cemetery. The writer stated, “In death all men are equal. Jesus Christ pardoned the thief on the cross, and gave his own life for his persecutor’s salvation.” I also enjoy that the writer noted, “This is Christianity in the nineteenth century!”
What mattered wasn’t Terrell himself, but the people who loved him before his trial and doubtless loved him throughout. Burying his body in the cemetery may have seemed offensive to the relatives of the Weldon family, but I believe we cannot know our place in the world, and all we can do is offer compassion and understanding.
I am lucky enough to not speak from experience, but as an observer, I believe there is some good in everyone, even those who kill other people. Though I believe Terrell did not commit the murders for which he was convicted, the devotion of his mother and sisters throughout his trial shows that someone saw good in him, that someone loved him. Who is to say that what was done to the Weldons should have been done to Terrell? I don’t know, but it’s not for us to decide.

Konrad Stump has family ties to Hocking County and his column stems from his genealogical research.
Extra information about this event:

A HORRIBLE DEED.
There has been no crime for years more devilish in conception, or more sad in its results, than the murder of the Welden family by William V. Terrel on the afternoon of Friday, June 22, 1878.

A beardless youth only eighteen years of age, but old in sin, has given to Hocking County the darkest page of her history — a deed for which the angry demands of justice would require his own life blood and then not be satisfied, while he has gained for him- self an infamous notoriety by carving this bit of history which has placed him among the foremost villains known to any history. Born and reared in a sober and industrious family, and surrounded by the influence of an enlightened community, William Terrel voluntarily placed upon his own forehead the brand of Cain and made himself an outcast to the world.

The Welden family, consisting of John Welden, aged about fifty-one years, Mrs. Susanna McClurg, his sister, aged about fifty- three, and her daughter, Miss Nancy Hite, aged about eighteen, lived on a farm not far from the village of Gore. William V. Terrel lived with his father's family in the immediate neighborhood, and had been, to all appearances, a friend of the Welden family. No one witnessed the deed but the assassin and his victims, so that the ''whole truth" will probably never be told. The supposition, however, as evolved by the trial, and the one on which the prisoner was convicted, is that Terrel, on very slight provocation or none at all, accomplished the murder of the family alone. The deed was committed late in the afternoon, but was not discovered until the afternoon of the next day. The body of John Welden was found in a cornfield, the probable scene of his murder, several rods from the house, with bullet holes in his body and wounds made by a corn- cutter. The bodies of the two women were found near the house with unmistakable evidences of having been killed with an ax which was found lying near one of them. Through the efforts of his attorneys Terrel was tried first for the murder of John Welden and was convicted of murder in the second degree, for which he is now serving a life-sentence in the State's prison at Columbus.

It is supposed his only provocation for this most heinous crime was the refusal of Mr. Welden to loan him money as he had been in the habit of doing. The circumstance which led to a suspicion of Terrel's guilt was his telling of his own accord the story of the mur- der, but in which he implicated an associate of his as the assassin.
HISTORY OF HOCKING VALLEY
Inter-State Publishing Company
1883

A Triple Murder.
A Whole Family Brutally Massacred Near Logan, O.
An Unoffending Farmer, His Sister and Her Daughter the Victims.
The Govenor Applied to for Assistance to Save the Murderers from the Mob.
Special Dispatch to the Cincinnati Gazette
Logan, O., June 25

A most terrible tragedy occurred six miles from Logan, Friday evening, on the farm of John Weldon. A neighbor, upon going to the house on Saturday afternoon upon an errand, disovered the dead body of Miss Hetty, a daughter of Susan McClurg by her former husband, with its face downward, at the front gate. He immediately gave the alrm, and upon further search they discovered the body of Mrs McClurg, the mother of Miss Hetty, in the rear end of the yard. Further investigation discovered the dead body of John Weldon in a cornfield, about 600 yards from the house. Weldon had three bullet holes in his throat and his bowels and one in his heart, and a terrible gash around the neck and head. Mrs McClurg, his housekeeper and sister, had her head severed from her body, and Miss Hetty had a gash across the top of her head. The spectacle, as witnessed to day and last by thousands of spectators, was simply hideous and terrible.

The perpetrators of the crime are supposed to be one William Terrel and Joseph King, boys of about nineteen years of age, and residents of that community. Last night Terrel, while here and in a state of intoxication, was arrested for drunkeness and disorderly conduct and sent to jail. As soon as he was in a condition to have an examination, he plead earnestly with the officers to release him, saying that he would give them five dollars. The foul deed had not at that time been disovered. When it was, they held Terrel on suspicion. King was arrested upon the advice of Terrel, who afterward made a confession. He stated that he and King were the parties, but he was not guilty as he had no hand in it. He went merely upon the proposal of King to see what he intended to do. King asked him to walk up to Weldon's, and asked him if Weldon was not in good circumstances and had plenty of money. He said "Yes". They contiunued their walk until they came to Weldon's corn field where he was at work. With out any words whatever, King pulled out his revolver and shot him. Weldon started to make his esape, when King followed, over taking him and finishing him with a corn cutter that was in the firld on a stump. King said, "D--m you, I'll finish you or will have me hung." He then went to the house and dispatched the women with an ax.

King denies that he was there; says he can sustain an alibi by proof that he was here in Logan at the time of the wurder, which, from all evidence, occurred about 6 o'clock friday evening, as the supper table was ready in the kitchen. Not much stress is placed upon the statement of Terrel, as he seems to have been the leader, and probably the only one who perpetrated the crime. Great exitement prevails. Our streets are thronged with people, and fears are maifested that a party of Vigilants will be here tonight from that vicinity. The jail is guarded by the citizens. Preliminary examination will be held to-morrow at 9.

An Appeal to Gov. Young.
Gov. Young left Columbus yesterday evening at 4 o'clock. At that time he had heard nothing of the murder. When he reached Cincinnati he received the following dispatch:

Columbus, O., June 24
Gov. Thos. L. Young, Cincinnati:
Following telegrams received from Logan, O.
Rodney Foos.
Two men charged with horrible murder, confined in jail here. Excitement is so great our citizens think jail should be guarded to-night to prevent threatened riot. May we use the militia for that purpose? Can you send us help by special train this evening?
[Signed] G W Bohm, Mayor of Logan
S W Bright, Capt Logan Guards

The Governor immediately sent the following answer:
Cincinnati, Jun 24, 1877
Mayor of Logan, O.,
You have ample authority under the statute to call upon the local militia to assist in preserving the peace and for the protection of life and property. You must use your discretion as to the necessity. I have no authority to send you troops because you think they may be needed. Telegraph me here at Gibson House if a riot takes place. Thomas L Young, Governor
-Cincinnati Daily Gazette
June 25 1877
Shocking Murder in Hocking County.
A horrible triple murder occurred near Gore, Hocking county, about six miles from Logan, on last Friday evening, bewteen five and six o'clock, but was not discovered until the next day. John Weldon, an old bachelor, residing with his sister, Susan McClurg, and her daughter, in a house located about one mile and a half from Gore, were brutally murdered, the first named while at work in a corn field near the house, by being shot four times in various parts of the body and finally dispatched with a corncutter. The two women were immediately after murdered at the house by being horribly butchered with an ax.

We do not care to occupy our space with the shocking details of the tragedy. One Wm. Terrell, aged 19, who lived in the neighborhood was arrested the same evening in Logan for drunkeness and who being lodged in jail confessed participating in the murder and implicating one Joseph King as particeps cr??,who was also arrested. Robbery is supposed to have been the object of the murders, as the murdered man had recently sold his wool, besides having made a sale of some cattle and sheep, and it was generally supposed that he had money about the house. Later developments indicate that King was not concerned in this hellish crime. He is known to have been in Logan at 4 o'clock on the day of the murder and again at 8 o'clock on the same night. Terrell says the murder was committed between 6 and 7 in the evening.
-Athens Messenger
June 28, 1877
The Hocking Tragedy
Trial of Young Terrell for the Murder of the Weldon Family
Special Dispatch to the Cininnati Gazette.
LOGAN, O., May 28, 1878

The trial of William V Terrell for the murder of the Weldon family on the 22nd of June last was fairly begun today. The full partiulars of the horrible tragedy by nwhich three innocent and unsuspecting citizens of this county were brutally murdered with a refinement of butchery that is almost without a parallol in the history of crime, were given in the Gazeette of the 26th of last February. Since last June Terrell has laid in the jail at Logan, the first attempt at a trial being had last February, when the case was postponed to the present term of court, owing to the fact that the counsel for the State had not set a "day certain" for the trial, as contemplated by the statute.

The trial will probably last for some days. Each side has summoned nearly a hu8indred witnesses. Judge Silas H Wright, of Lancaster, presides. The prosecution is conducted by Messrs. Alex. H Wilson.Prosecuting Attorney; H L Wright, S Weldy, of Logan, and Hon. C N Olds, of Columbus; the defense by Messrs. John Friesner, W S Friesner, and Col C H Rippy, all of Logan.

The town is filled with people, the Sentinel folks are issuing a daily paper, and the most intense interest is felt in this and the adjoining counties.

Terrell is a smooth faced, good looking youngster, only a little over nineteen years of age, and with no evidence of the criminal in his makeup. His mother, careworn and broken with grief from the recent death of her husband, a most worthy man whose death was hastened, if not directly caused, by the situation of his son, accompanied by her two daughters, is always present by the side of the prisoner during the session of court, and pays far more attention to the proceedings than he does. In fact, Terrell is about the most unconcerned looking person in the courtroom. Apropos of the prisoner's nonchalant appearance, a countryman was in court the other day and took Deputy Sheriff Davey, who was seated on a table, for Terrell, gave him a good look, and went out of doors expressing the opinion that "that fellow's countenance gave him away every time."
Athens Messenger
July 4 1878

A Logan correspondent says, that the physicians who examined the body of John Weldon, exhumation of which on Thursday last is elsewhere noticed in this column, found lodged in the neck a piece of a five-eighth inch chisel, two inches in length. This fact has created intense excitement about Gore and the vicinity of the muder, and has given rise to in-numerable theories.
The Athens Messenger
Thursday, May 20, 1880
The farm house near the village of Gore, this county, to which was attached a melancholy interest by reason of its having been the scene of the triple murder, several years since of John Weldon and his widowed sister Susan McClurg and her daughter, was destroyed by fire on Friday.
Terrell Tragedy
Arrest and Confession of the Assassin
Prelimenary Examination Before Magistrate
Intense Excitement And Threats Of Lynching
Possible Connection With a Triple Murder Several Years Ago
For Which Mrs Terrell's Son Is Now Serving A Life Sentence
Special to the Cincinnati Commercial.

GORE, O., December 29-Morgan Richards, the perperator of the cold blooded murder at this place last night, was arrested early this morning at farm house less than a mile from the scene of the tragedy, where he was employed as a farm hand. A heavy guard was placed around the house last night by officers to prevent the crowds from disturbing the tracks of the supposed route of the villan after the fatal shot. As soon as it was light in the morning, Constable Alltop and his assistants found tracks in the lot and followed them through fields, tracking the villain to the house of Ana Arnold, a neighnor farmer, on whose farm Richards was employed. Richards was found on the farm and resisted arrest. He was bound by the officers, and said if they would unbind him he would tell all about it. His revolver, a six-shooter, 32 caliber, was found with one chamber empty. He was placed in an express wagon and started to Logan Jail under charge of officers. A mob of seventy five men attempted to head off the express that they might swing the wretch to a tree, but by fast driving the officers eluded the mob. Richards is a man about twenty five years of age, of stout build, and was raised in this community.

A post mortem is now being held on the body of the dead woman by Coroner Heft and Dr Mans?. The ball entered the abdomen and produced instant death. The excitement is very great, and it is thought that before twenty-four hours have elapsed Richards' body will adorn a limb or lamp-post. It can not be learned at this writing what ground Richards had for his bloody deed. Further developments soon.

Morgan Richards, the murderer of Mary Terrell, when placed in the hands of the sheriff, confessed to the crime and said that an old grudge caused the deed. It turns out that Richards is a nephew of his victim, and has not been in friendly terms with the family for some years. The excitement is unabated, and Judge Lynch threatens to make an end of the wretch.

Mrs Terrell and her two daughters were seated around the fireside on last evening, about half past 6, when they were attracted by the barking of their little dog. Mrs Terrell, thinking a neighbor was coming on a call, went to the door and opened it, and fell dead, pierced by a thrity-eight long revolver bullet. The screams of the daughters were heart rending in the extreme, when a general alarm was given, arousing the community.

The assassin was, this morning, tracked to a neighbor's house, on an adjoining farm, and arrested, and confessed the deed, and was hurriedly taken to jail, with a mob of seventy-five resolute men in persuit, crying for his blood. He says he killed her on an old grudge, existing for years. In conversation with a reliable gentleman yesterday morning, Richards said that he knew who was in the Weldon-McClurg-Hite murder, and said that old heads planned it and young heads carried it into execution. It is the general impression of many that Richards killed Mrs Terrell to prevent her making a confession concerning the triple tagedy, and that he was hired to commit the deed. Another speculation is that he did it for notoriety. Mr Arnold, his employer, says he is an inveterate reader, and has taken full reports of the Guiteau trail daily, and at night would rehearse the incidents of the trial to the family very minutely as to Guiteau's sayings and antics. On last Friday he purchased a bull-dog revolver, remarking that it was of the same pattern with which Guiteau shot President Garfield. All sorts of rumors are rife. Fears of a well organized mob taking him from the jail tonight and hanging him are entertained.
-Cincinnati Commercial Tribune
Dec 30, 1881
Prelimenary Examination
Special to the Cincinnati Commercial
Logan, O., December 29
- A large and excited crowd surrounded the Court house this evening. Indoors the preliminary hearing of Morgan Richards, the confessed murderer of Mrs Mary Terrell, near Gore, last evening, is going on. Richards is a nephew of the murdered woman. He is a half-witted, irresponsible fellow, who imagines or claims in his confession that Mrs Terrell has tried to poison him. He states that she sent to Logan a short time since for medicine for him, and that half of it was medicine and the other half poison. He further states that he has had trouble with Mrs Terrell and other of his relatives, and that they are trying to kill him, and he concieved to get the start of them. He continues that he went to the residence of Mrs Terrell last evening at half past{} that{} the dog barked at him, and Mrs Terrell came to the door to quiet it, that when she appeared, he took aim at her and shot her in the breast, that he then turned and ran for home. The confession agrees perfectly with the facts. There is strong talk of lynching the murderer tonight. -Cincinnati Commercial Tribune Dec 30, 1881
The Hocking Sentinel
Jan 10 1884
Nearing the End
A Columbus telegram of the 4th inst., says: Terrell, the Hocking county murderer of the three members of the Weldon family, in 1877, who has been confined in the insane asylum at the penitentiary for some time, is now in the prison hospital and nearing his end. He has not eaten anything for a week, and is slowly wasting away. He can not live much longer. He always lies half un-covered and a listless state.
The Athens Messenger
March 17 1887
A correspondent says: Josiah Terrell, charged with the murder of an aged man in Meigs county, and confined in the Franklin county jail to prevent a trial at the hands of Judge Lynch, and who, soon after that murder occurred obtained a marriage liscense in Vinton county for himself and Miss Permedia Allman, living in Vinton township, twelve miles from McArthur, is a first cousin of the Terrell sent to the penitentiary for the murder of the Weldon family some years ago, near Gore, Hocking county. During the stay of this Josiah Terrell in the neighborhood of Miss Allman, he often talked of the murder of the Weldon family, telling how the killing was done, and that the sister of John Weldon was killed first.
Reprinted here with the permission of the author, Konrad Stump.

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