Washington County Executions
Feb 15, 1867
Ohio Genealogy Trails gratefully acknowledges the source of information above as coming from Rob Gallagher's website BEFORE THE NEEDLES
NEWS STORIES OF THE CRIME AND EXECUTION:
ANOTHER CONVICTION IN OHIO - A CAPITAL PUNISHMENT CASE.
The trial of Hansom Bumgardner, charged with the murder of John Thomas Eubank, has been the engrossing topic of conversation during the past week. Bumgardner was arrested in September last; he was brought to Marietta, and after a preliminary examination, was bound over for trial. An indictment was found against him by the Grand Jury at the October term of our Circuit Court, and the prisoner was arraigned for trial at the special term, which is now being held. The following gentlemen, well known and respected citizens of Washington County, composed the jury before which the prisoner was tried. David H. Merrill, Hiram Gard, Augustine Dyar, James Ward, Wm. Cole, George W. St. Johh, C. F. Stacy, John Henry, C. D. Ford, Augustus S. Curtis, R. D. Hollister, S. F. Seely.
According to the evidence adduced on the trial, Bumgardner hired Eubank, who was the owner of a four-horse team, to come from Virginia to Ohio ostensibly for the purpose of removing his (Bumgardner's) family to Burning Springs, back of Parkersburg. For this service Bumgardner agreed to pay Eubank $12 a day. Bumgardner's family were then living in Addison, Galia County. Eubank brought his team across the river at Belpre, and, accompanied by Bumgardner proceeded down the river road. On the night of September 13, they camped at Hill's Landing, in Belpre Township. They cooked their own supper, and slept in the wagon. About eight o'clock in the evening Bumgardner went to the house of Mr. Roger Hill, living near, and borrowed his skiff, saying he wanted to wash some clothes, and also saying they wanted to take a bathing. The next morning Bumgardner started with the team, and Mr. Roger Hill, observing that his partner was not with him, inquired as to his whereabouts. Bumgardner replied, "O he is gone!"--a literal fact, as it afterward turned out, though not in the sense Bumgardner intended it.
Five days afterward, on the 18th of September, the body of a man, with the head cut off, was found floating in the river, near Hockingport. It was taken ashore; a coroner's jury called, and no one being able to identify the body, it was buried. Soon after, Eubank's disappearanced excited suspicion, and the headless body was disinterred. After a thorough investigation, teh body was found to be that of John Thomas Eubank, it having been identified , by his brother and several persons who were acquainted with him, by the clothes he had on and by the general appearance of his body. A warrant was thereupon issued for the arrest of Bumgardner, who was traced to Pomeroy, and then to Addison, where his family had lived. He had taken his family on the wagon, and had gone westward. He was followed to Chillicother and thence to Frankfort, to Ross County, where he was arrested, and was soon after brought to Marietta and confined in jail. The evidence against the prisoner was wholly circumstantial, but it was of such a character as to leave no room to doubt that he was the murderer. The most damaging fact against the prisoner was the finding of some of Eubank's clothing in his possession. He was wearing the murdered man's boots at the time he was arrested. From the time Bumgardner left Hill's Landing, (the scene of the murder.) until he was arrested, he told nearly every person with whom he had any conversation, a different story as regarded the ownership of the team he was driving, and as regarded his destination.
As nearly as can be ascertained, the facts of the murder are simply these: On the night of September 13, after Eubank had gone to sleep in the wagon, Bumgardner took his life, either by shooting him in the head or cutting his throat, and then conveyed the body to the river, put in the skiff he had borrowered, run out into the river, cut the head off and then threw the body into the water. He had taken a stone weighing thirty-two pounds, and fastened it to the body with a trace-chain from the wagon, believing, no doubt, that this would forever keep the body of his victim at the bottom of the river. But the body came up again, and with it came the evidence upon which Hanson Bumgardner has been convicted as the perpetrator of the bloody deed. The trial commenced on Monday, 17th inst., and continued until Thursday night. The case was given to the jury about eleven and a-half o'clock Thursday night, and the next morning they handed in a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree. [Source: Cincinnati Daily Enquirer, Dec. 23, 1866, Transcribed by C. Anthony]
--Bumgardner, under sentence of death for the murder of Eubank, made an attempt to escape from the Marietta (O.) jail on Thursday evening. He filed his chains, and with the ball struck Peter Baker, the Deputy Sheriff, injuring him severely. He was shot in the face and shoulder by Deputy Hicks and after a desperate struggle was returned to his cell. [Source: Plain Dealer, December 31, 1866, Transcribed by C. Anthony]
EXECUTION OF HANSON BUMGARDNER.
He Confesses to Being in the Plot. Says He Was Not the Murderer.
Special Dispatch to the Cincinnati Gazette., Marietta, O., February 15: Hanson Bumgardner was executed to-day, for the murder of Eubank. This is the first exectuion in this county. He spoke over an hour, acknowledging a connection with the counterfeiters and robbers who murdered Eubank. He said he was in the plot to rob him, but was not himself personally guilty of the killing. He said his sins were pardoned. He acted without nervousness, yet sometimes with emotion.
The drop fell at one o'clock and forty minutes, and he died with but little struggling. The Sheriff's arrangements were perfect. [Source: Cincinnati Daily Gazette, February 15, 1867, Transcribed by C. Anthony.]
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