Washington Genealogy Trails

Cowlitz County

Genealogy and History

Crime News

Saturday, February 16, 1889 - The Eugene City Guard (Eugene, OR)

Mrs. Gubleman is charged with the crime of murdering her infant child at Woodland.

Seattle, May 25-Sheriff Studebaker of Kelso had practically decided tonight not to return William Horner, alleged murderer of Mrs. Fred Bassett and her two children, to Cowlitz county where the crime was committed. [Check out the deaths page for more information]

He fears a lynching might be the result. He has received a telegram from his business partner at Kelso declaring the people of Cowlitz county would surely lynch Horner if he returned there. The message advised that Horner be taken to Vancouver, Wash.

The telegram read:
"If Horner is brought back to Kelso now he will be lynched. Take him to Kalama or Vancouver. Crow here means business."

Strange parallels in the deaths of the three at Kelso and the death of Fred Bassett while on a hunting trip with Horner two years ago are said to have contributed to arouse Kelso citizens.
Bassett was killed while on a deer hunt with Horner. On his return Horner explained that Bassett accidentally killed himself. Horner was not held. Later, Horner began living at the Bassett home with the widow and her children. Recently they moved from the home at Republican to a place near Snoqualmie. About two weeks ago Horner, with the Bassett family started southward in a Ford car. On this trip Mrs. Bassett's ranch was deeded to Horner. At Kelso she and her children were shot and instantly killed while they slept in a tent.

[May 26, 1918, Oakland Tribune, Oakland Calif.]

Fugitive Convict's Companion Captured At Kelso, Wash; Mail Bandit Is Believed to Be in the Same Vicinity
Pyron Tells of Escape of the Pair From Guards While On Train Bound North to McNeil's Island Prison
Portland, Ore., June 13-The manhunt for Roy Gardner, mail bandit, continued today in the woods and swamps in the Castle Rock-Kelso region.
Following the capture of Norris Pyron, Gardner's pal, late yesterday it was confidently believed today that Gardener could not be far off.
The officers still are without any definite indication, however, as to Gardner's whereabouts. Reports that he was surrounded in a swamp near Kelso, Wash., thus far have produced nothing more tangible than "reports." Nothing in the way of actual proof that he is there has been brought to life.
Pyron's capture was unsensational. It was a bloodless victory for W.A. Pratt of Kelso, civilian member of one of the small posse divisions which are working all through the wild country.
Pyron stayed Saturday night at the home of F.L. Stocks, near Kelso. Stocks didn't know he had given shelter to the notorious visitor, since Pyron had modestly retired to the barn, until his son Nelson phoned to Kelso and notified the authorities that Pyron was following the course of the Cowlitz river.
Direction of Pratt's posse was changed to this supposed trail and shortly after the posse picked up Pyron's trail, following it through the heavy timber and up along the tracks. Pratt moved forward alone, while two of his companions stationed themselves as lookouts atop a box car on a siding.
Pratt noticed a movement in the tall grass a short distance along the spur and challenged the waving alfalfa.
"Come out," he called, "and come with your mitts up."
"I'm coming," walled a tremulous voice. "For God's sake, don't shoot-I'm not Gardner."
Pyron had a fully loaded .38 caliber revolver, but fight was far from his mind.
"I left Gardner just after we be-- it," Pyron tremblingly declared. "I didn't want to escape, but Gardner made me. Then he told me that he'd kill me if I didn't resist capture. I didn't want to fight, so I turned around and ran away from him in the dark."
Pyron showed by his manner that Gardner's fast company was distasteful to him. He gave an account of the escape.
"My guard and I went into the smoking compartment." he said. "While we were gone, Gardner told me he and his guard went into the washroom, where Gardner stuck him up with a concealed gun. He had his shackles on his guard when I got back to the stateroom, and it was easy for him to pull the same ting on my guard.
"He made me go with him and we struck north. When he told me we would fight if overtaken, I couldn't stand it. I left him and came back toward Kelso."
Pyron was lodged in the Kelso jail last night and probably will be taken on north McNeil Island penitentiary today, where he will serve a long term for counterfeiting. [June 13, 1921, Oakland Tribune, Oakland Calif.]

Castle Rock, Wash., June 12-Norris H. Pyron, counterfeiter, who escaped from a train here early today while being taken to McNeil's island prison, was recaptured last today. He offered no resistance. No reports have been received regarding Roy Gardner, mail robber, who escaped with Pyron. [June 13, 1921, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta Georgia]

Editor's Murder Laid To Political Fight
Kelso, Wash., June 20-Police today were confident that the murder last night of Thomas Dovery, publisher of the Cowlitz County News, was the outgrowth of a bitter political struggle here.
He was slain by a bullet which was fired through his neck at close range. His collar was soiled by powder burns. The bullet severed the jugular vein and it was apparent he died instantly. There was no evidence of a struggle. [June 20, 1925, Oakland Tribune, Oakland California]

(Photo:Left, Thomas Dovery, Right, A. Ruric Todd, Bottom, office of Weekly News)
Kelso, Wash., July 10. This town has a population of 8000 citizens and two mayors. It is a river port, hauling goods of all description, not excluding booze.
A quiet village to look at but to live in, right now, it's not quiet at all. Threats of murder, Detectives, Mysterious persons. And the two mayors-
One day Thomas Dovery, editor of the Cowlitz County Weekly News, told somebody that he planed to publish an expose of the booze traffic through Kelso.
Two hours later Dovery was found murdered, shot down in the street.
News of his murder reached A. Ruric Todd, who had left the town when the people had removed him from the mayor's chair on charges of graft. Todd hurriedly returned to Kelso with the avowed purpose of avenging the death of Dovery, his close friend. The first thing he did was to set himself up as "mayor."
Nat Smith, who was elected in his place, rules the city hall and supposedly the town; but Todd, whose offices are in an apartment, claims he is rightful mayor and that he's running the town. He has appointed officers from treasurer down to dog catcher and intimates that he'll use force if it's necessary to win recognition as mayor.
In the meantime detectives have found $75,000 worth of booze abandoned on a barge; and they have traced a $200,000 shipment over which Dovery is supposed to have been slain.
What will happen when Todd actually makes a bid for the mayor's chair, and what will happen when detectives find out who killed the editor are questions that are keeping this town awake.
There is talk of who may be next-and some believe martial law may be the only solution of Kelso's trouble. [July 11, 1925, The Helena Independent, Helena Montana]

Seattle, March 10.-The Seattle Times reported today that A. Ruric Todd has filed two damage suits for $100,000 each as a sequel to the slaying of Thomas Dovery, an editor in Kelso, June 19. Todd was formerly mayor of Kelso. Todd's suits, filed yesterday in the Cowlitz county superior court, named five former councilmen as one set of defendants, and State Senator Barnes Superior Court Judge McKenney and T.H. Fisk, a lawyer, as the others.
The plaintiff, who was accused of criminal libel in connection with his comments on the killing, alleged conspiracy to ruin his reputation. [March 11, 1926, The Helena Independent, Helena Montana]

Sheriff C.B. Dill of Kelso, Cowlitz county, Washington, was at Governor Erickson's office yesterday securing an order on requisition papers for two men, Wesley Flinn and Ellis Crawford, charged with grand larceny at Kelso, to enable him to take them from the jail at Great Falls, where they were lodged, and return them to Kelso for prosecution.
The men went with a constable, George Homan, according to the requisition papers, to serve a search warrant on I.D. Fleming, suspected of dealing in booze. They seized 720 quarts of beer and Homan made a return to the court of only 80 quarts, the papers said and is in jail at Kelso, awaiting prosecution.
Flinn and Crawford fled the state and were arrested at Great Falls, and held for the Washington authorities. They are accused of stealing liquor valued at $250 [October 10, 1929, The Helena Independent, Helena Montana]

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