Garfield County, Oklahoma Genealogy Trails


HON. H. W. PATTERSON KILLED – Having First Shot His Slayer Fatally, All Due To Newspaper Personalism

Hon. R. W. Patterson, register of the US land office, South Enid, Okla and City Marshal Williams shot and killed each other Wednesday evening and J. L. Eisenberg, publisher of the Daily Wave, was slightly wounded. Isenberg and Paterson for some time have been at swords points over certain articles that have appeared in the Wave.

In Wednesday nights Wave appeared an article that was especially objectionable. About 7 o’clock Eisenberg and Patterson met on the street and warm words followed, when Eisenburg drew a knife. At the same time Patterson drew his revolver and just as Paterson fired the marshal stepped between them and was shot through the body. Williams, as he was falling, shot Patterson, killing him instantly. Isenberg is now at home.

Patterson was a resident of Macon, Ga. before receiving his appointment here, and was one of the most popular democratic appointees within its borders. Williams recently killed two men here and had a shady reputation. Eisenberg is an old newspaper man having published papers in Colorado, Kansas and the territory.
(Hamilton News Press, Marion County, AL, July 4, 1895 - Submitted by Veneta McKinney)

Claimed to Be Booth

An Oklahoma Suicide Said He Was Man Who Shot Lincoln
Enid, O. T., Jan. 19 – Daniel E. George, a wealthy resident of the territory, who committed suicide here, announced himself on his deathbed to be John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Lincoln. He stated that he successfully eluded the officers, after shooting Lincoln, and since remained incognito. His statement caused a sensation and an investigation was made. Surgeons examined the body and stated the man to be of the age Booth would be at this time, and announced that his leg was broken in the same place and in the same manner as that of Booth after jumping from the president’s box in Ford’s theatre after the assassination.
All the time George received money regularly from unknown sources and telegrams arriving Saturday ask that the body be held for identification. It is claimed that one telegram came from the address: “George F. Smith, Colfax, Ia.,” the same source as the mysterious money remittances. Smith is mysterious to everyone in Oklahoma. Upon his arrival in Enid Sunday, he commanded that no other persons be allowed to view the remains and promised to return for the body later.
Mr. Smith was asked if Mr. George had ever confided any of his life’s history to him, to which he answered: “Well yes to some extent. He had had a past. He may be Booth, I don’t know.”
George committed suicide in the Grand avenue hotel by taking poison. No reason for the suicide is known.
George maintained to his attendants that he was Booth, and his general appearances closely resembles that of the murderer of Lincoln.
History states that Booth was killed in a Virginia barn and that his remains were burned with the building. (Abilene Daily Chronicle, Abilene, Kansas, Monday, January 19, 1903, page 1)


Former Convict Sought as Slayer

Blackwell, Okla., Dec. 30 (AP) – Bruce Potter, Kay county attorney, said tonight he was convinced Earl Quinn, alias Earl Howard, former Missouri convict, was the slayer of the Griffith sisters, found shot to death on the highway south of Tonkawa Sunday.

Potter said Quinn was in Tonkawa the night before the crime and that “evidence was very damaging against him.” Quinn has not been seen since.

Potter revealed a woman held at Tonkawa was Quinn’s wife and that Mrs. Quinn “talked,” but he refused to go into details.  (San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco, California), Wednesday, December 31, 1930, page 17)

Capture Suspect Here in Killing of Two Teachers

Trailing Woman to Omaha Leads to Arrest of Earl Quinn, Ex-Convct – Sisters Murdered Last December – Earl Quinn, 30, an ex convict sought since December as a suspect in the slaying, near Tonkawa, Okla., of Jessie and Zexia Griffith, Blackwell, Okla., school teachers, was captured in Omaha early yesterday and taken to Kansas City.

Quinn, seized here, readily admitted his identity, Kansas City detectives said, but denied having any connection with the slayings.

“Well I’m glad the chase is over,” Quinn told officers. “I’m not guilty of it – whatever they are accusing me of – it’s a bum rap and I can beat it.”

The arrest here resulted from a tip received by George Rayen and William Robeen, special investigators for the Kansas City chief of police. They received a tip that Mrs. Quinn was leaving Kansas City last Wednesday night for Omaha and they drove here, arriving ahead of the train.

Thursday night, they said, Mrs. Quinn went to Council Bluffs and remained at a rooming house there until midnight. She then came over to Omaha by cab, meeting Quinn at the Union Station. His arrest followed. Mrs. Quinn and her husband were returned to Kansas City by auto.

A man hunt for Quinn had been in progress since the bodies of the two young sisters were found beside highway No. 77 near Tonkawa, Okla., last December 28.

A murder charge was filed against Quinn after an investigation in which officers said a net of circumstances connected Quinn with the slayings.

The sisters spent the Christmas holiday at Blackwell with their parents Early the morning December 28 they started in a new coupe for their schools. Mrs. Zexia, the older sister was home economics director at the Warner school of agriculture and the other taught music in the Noman public schools.

At sunrise, farmers near Tonkawa discovered the bodies. The young women had been shot. Their car was missing but was found blood stained 20 miles away.

Potter said investigation disclosed Quinn had paraded the highway in that section supposedly in search of a bootlegger “he planned to highjack” and that a button in the sister’s car apparently was torn from a vest found in Quinn’s Tonkawa lodgings.

Rewards exceeding one thousdand dollars had been offered in the case. (Omaha World-Hearld, Omaha, Nebraska, Saturday, May 16, 1931, page 1)

Quinn Guilty, Jury Decides; Given Death

New Trial Asked After Conviction for Slaying Two Girls

Newkirk, Ok., Oct. 3 (AP) – Earl Quinn, 27 year old ex convict, Saturday was sentenced to death by a Kay County District Court jury which found him guilty of the brutal slaying of Jessie Griffith, young Blackwell school teacher, on a highway south of Tonkawa last Dec. 28.

Jessie, 25, and her old sister, Zexia, were shot to death after Jessie had been attacked.

The jury deliberated seventeen hours and ten minutes after hearing more than ten days of evidence.

Quinn returned to his cell shouting condemnation of his wife, Mrs. Jean Quinn whom he charged planted the death pistol to which officers said she led them March 25.

The sisters were killed as they were returning from a holiday vacation with their parents in Blackwell to schools at Norman and Warner. The State claimed their car was halted by Quinn, representing himself as a prohibition officer and that Zexia was shot through the neck. The girls were driven to a lonely spot where Jessie was attacked then killed. The wounded sister, struggling to aid Jessie who shot dead by the killer.

The defense attempted throughout the trial to fasten the crime on others and prove that Quinn at the time of the killing was in Kansas.

Quinn blinked rapidly as the verdict was read, but his face showed no emotion. His widowed mother, Mrs. George Quinn, Kansas City, dropped her head on her son’s shoulder. He pushed her back gently and patted her on the arm. She walked with him to the elevator, her eyes filled with tears. As Quinn was taken to his cell his mother walked alone to her hotel.

Wife Breaks down

The wife, who Quinn accused of being a “maniac,” staggered from the courtroom crying hysterically. As she reached the corridor she staggered and was caught by a stranger.

“Oh, what will become of us?” she cried hysterically

Buster Quinn, young brother of the condemned man, escorted her to a hotel. There James S. Mathers, defense counsel said doctors were summoned to treat her. The family left at night for Oklahoma City.

Mr. Mathers immediately applied for a new trial and stay of judgment. His application will be heard by John S. Burger, presiding Judge, Oct. 9. (Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Sunday, October 4, 1931, page 1 and 2)

Earl Quinn Will Make His Plea for New Trial

Newkirk, Ok., Oct. 8 (AP) – A new trial will be asked Friday by Earl Quinn, condemned to die for a brutal school teacher murder.

His attorney, James Mathers, is prepared to cite nearly 100 alleged errors in the trial which resulted in Quinn’s conviction and death sentence for the killing of Jessie Griffith, slain with her older sister, Zexia, on a motor trip last Dec. 28.

Mr. Mathers said he would seek to have the jurors who tried Quinn asked if they read newspapers or separated. He also alleges admission of improper State testimony.

The motion for new trial will be heard by John S. Burger, District Judge. (Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Friday, October 9, 1931, page 5)

Earl Quinn Sentenced to Death on June 20

Enid, Ok., March 24 (AP) – Earl Quinn’s motion for a new trial in the Griffith sisters slaying was denied Friday by District Judge J. W. Bird and Quinn was sentenced to die in the electric chair on June 20.

He was convicted a few weeks ago by a jury which assessed the death penalty for the murder of the younger sister, Jessie, slain with Zexia Griffith on a road near Tonkawa Dec. 28, 1930.

A previous death sentence was reversed by the appellate court and Quinn was retired here on a change of venue. (Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Saturday, March 25, 1933, page 5)

Second Death Sentence of Earl Quinn Stayed

Oklahoma City, OK., June 1 (AP) – The second death sentence of Earl Quinn for the slaying of Jessie and Zexia Griffith, Blackwell school teacher sisters, Dec. 28, 1930, was stayed by Governor Murray Thursday to permit consideration of a second appeal.

The execution date, originally set for June 20, was deferred to Sept. 29.

Quinn obtained a reversal on his first appeal and a change of venue from Kay to Garfield County, where he again was convicted and sentenced to death. He presented an alibi defense. (Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Friday, June 2, 1933, page 14)

Supreme Penalty Paid

Earl Quinn Put to Death for Murder of School Teachers

State’s Prison, McAlester, Okla., Friday, Nov. 24 (AP) – Earl Quinn one time alcohol runner, was put to death in the electric chair here early today for the killing of Jessie and Zexia Griffith, school teacher sisters, nearly three years ago.

Quinn denied his guilt to the last and declared he was not given a fair trial. (Oregonian, Portland, Oregon, Friday, November 24, 1933, page 4)