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Lawrence County, Ohio
Genealogy and History
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Crime News

State Penitentiary List
of Lawrence County inhabitants.

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Harley Beard

Harley Beard, Who Did Chores for Ironton, O., Farmer, Captured in Chicago
TELLS STORY TO POLICE
Says He was Abused and Slew Employer and Latter's Sister
BARES LIFE TRAGEDY

Somewhere along toward the end of the third chapter it is the usual thing for the bound-out farmer's boy of juvenile fiction to mutiny against the tyranny of his employer, vanquish the tyrant in a hand -to-hand encounter, and flee to the city to make his fortune.
Harley Beard, who has been “doing chores for his keep” since he was thirteen-a matter of six years-landed in Chicago yesterday with just such an episode behind him and his own third chapter closed.

A few hours after he was locked up in a cell at the detective bureau and his real life story, in form of a confession to a triple murder, was in the hands of the police. Just about the time Harley reached the city the long distance operator succeeded in establishing a connection between the sheriff's office in Ironton, O., and Chicago police headquarters.

Warning Comes from Ironton, O.
Look out for Harley Beard, warned the voice of the Ironton end of the wire. “Likely as not he's headin' for Chicago. He killed Bob Massey and Bob's sister and mother on the farm out to Greasy Ridge. Folks say he has relatives, named Gay or Davis, at 1331 West Madison street, in Chicago.”
Detective Sergeants Ullmetcher and Fox were sent to the West Madison street address. They found neither Gays nor Davises, but the name D. E. Day on the door of the third floor front flat sounded promising. A woman opened the door.
“I am his sister,” she said when the detectives asked for Harley. “Yes he's here.” She raised her voice. “Harley, there's someone here to see you.”
Boy Tries to Hide Identity.
From the dining room came a slender boy an inch or two above five feet in height, sun tanned and clear-eyed. He sized up his visitors shrewdly.
“There isn't any Harley Beard here,” he said, “My name's Day.”
“I know who you are,” Ullmeicher answered, ”and you know what I want of you. Tell me what happened before you killed the Masseys.”
The boy looked quickly toward the door, through which his sister had just passed. “Have you told her?” he demanded. The detectives shook their heads. “Don't then-and I'll tell you everything
While his sister was preparing luncheon in the kitchen, singing at her work, the boy whispered his first confession. Subsequently he repealed it.
Boy Slayer Tells Life Story.
“I've been an orphan since I was twelve and I've been kicked around a good deal since then,” Harley said. I've been in an orphan asylum in Warren county, O., and except for the time I was there and a couple of months I spent with my sister, I've been doing farm work.
“A year ago I went to work for my brother-in-law's father, old Sam Day, at Greasy Ridge. The Masseys over on the next farm wanted me to come to work for them and I did. That was last September.
“Bob Massey was a hard man. But I don't believe in fighting and we didn't have any trouble. When he yelled at me I just kept quiet. I never got more than a dollar at a time from Bob and didn't keep track of what I did get, figuring he was honest and would pay me all that was coming to me when the time came.
Start of the Fatal Quarrel.
“Wednesday night Bob and I were nailing a board on a gate near the house. He'd been cursing and swearing at me and all at once he hit me on the face with the head of a hatchet-not hard enough to knock me down, but it hurt.
“You've been getting gay with my sister, he said. “Say, if I thought you'd been bothering her like she says, I'd just take this here hatchet and cut your head off.”
“I knew what Bob meant. Mary, his sister, had started it. She was about 45 years old. She made up a lie about me to get revenge.
“Well, I just took Bob's abuse and said nothing. A while later, when we were going into the house, he struck at me again. I picked up the stake and let him have it. The first time I hit him he fell, but I gave it to him again.
Kills the Two Women.
“I ran into the house. Mary grabbed me by the arm. I broke away, ran back, and got the stake and let her have it too. The old lady, Mrs. Massey, she came up. I thought I might as well make a good job of it, and I hit her too. Then I changed my clothes and started away. Mary and her ma was moaning. I couldn't stand that, and so I went and got a razor that Sam Day gave me and cut their throats.”
Outwardly the boy was unmoved as he described the work he had done with the haystack stake and razor, but when he was asked if he raced the horse on the way to Gallipolis he was stirred to protest.
“No, sir! Not a long ride like that!” he said. It would have been cruel.”
Harley said he had been struck by a falling limb several years ago and since had suffered from pains in his head.
Dispatches from Gallipolis describing the crime do not tally with Harley's story. The dispatches say Mary Massey's hands were tied behind her back when her body was found and that there were indications she had been the first of the family to die.
[The Chicago Daily Tribune, Saturday, May 16, 1914]



Boy Murderer Held on Two Indictments
Ironton, O., June 11- Berkley Flemings, 19, today faced two indictments by the Lawerence county grand jury, both of which charged him with first degree murder in the deaths of his half-brother, Culberton Stewart, 25, and of his mother, Mrs. Emma Flemings, 38. The indictments were returned late yesterday by the Grand Jury, which was recalled by Judge E. E. Corn, after the arrest of young Flemings last Sunday and the announcement by Police Chief John F. King, that the boy had admitted both his half brother and mother but claimed self defense in one case and accidental shooting of the other. The bodies of both "Cub" Stewart and Mrs. Emma Flemings, which were found in shallow graves on the Flemings farm  near here were buried late yesterday. [Lima Daily News, Jun 11, 1913]





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