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Walla Walla County

Genealogy and History

Crime News

These are presented in loose alpha-order based on the surname of the first criminal mentioned.

Thieves Hanged at Walla Walla – A Vigilance Committee has been making sad havoc among horse thieves, gamblers and blacklegs in the vicinity of Walla Walla.  Last week it was reported that they had hung fifteen of the rascals.  It seems, however, by latest accounts in the Daily Mountianeer, that only eight were actually hung, among the number being Doc. Reed, Nigger Jim, one McKenzie, Tom Reeves, Chas. Wilson and Joe Petit.  This raid of the Vigilantes had caused a general stampede among the horse thieves, and about one hundred left Walla Walla Valley on short notice, under the impression that the climate there was getting rather too warm for them.
[Oregon State Journal (Eugene City, OR) - Saturday, April 29, 1865]

From Walla Walla we learn of a horrible crime attempted by a former resident of Milton, of this county.  It seems that his wife was the recipient of considerable money from her father, a wealthy man living in Missouri – he invariably took possession of all such remittances, and squandered among a low class of fellows who congregate at grog shops and saloons.  At last she advised her father as to the disposition made of the funds, and the remittances stopped.  She cooly informed her liege as to how matters stood, and for her pains he broke and smashed all the household furniture, and she took refuge at a neighbors.  A couple of days after this happened he met his wife talking on the street with another lady, cooly drew his revolver, shot her twice in the body, and would no doubt have succeeded in killing her but for the pluck of her lady friend who picked up a shalila and with a well directed blow felled him to the earth – as soon as he came to he gave the ladies leg-ball,  but was soon after arrested, and now awaits trial in Walla Walla jail.  It is thought the woman will recover.
[The East Oregonian (Pendleton, OR) – Saturday, October 13, 1877]

Charles Besserer, editor of the Walla Walla Watchman, shot and probably fatally wounded a man named Kleber at Walla Walla one day this week.  At a preliminary hearing Mr. Besserer was exonerated, the justice finding that it was justifiable homicide.  From the evidence it appears that Kleber attacked the editor in his office, and also threatened to kill him at night.
[The Eugene City Guard (Eugene, OR) – Saturday, September 8, 1883]

Walla Walla, W.T., Nov. 29 – The trial of Mrs. Brewster, the woman who was arrested in August last, on a charge of poisoning her husband, by giving him whisky containing strychnine, at Wallula, was finished this afternoon.  The jury returned a verdict of acquittal and Mrs. Brewster was liberated.
[Grant County News (Canyon City, OR) – Saturday, December 6, 1879]

Charles Clark, a convict at Walla Walla, Washington, jumped on the brake beam of a car and tried to escape, but the guard put two balls in him and he fell to the ground, seriously but not dangerously wounded.
[October 12, 1889, Reno Evening Gazette, Reno Nevada - Submitted by S. Williams]

Bound Over – Ward Douglas, the insurance agent, arrested at Walla Walla charged with the crime of rape was held to await the action of the grand jury in the sum of $2,500 which he readily furnished.
[The Eugene City Guard (Eugene, OR) - Saturday, January 11, 1890

Another Murder
The dispatches tell us of another horrible murder committed near Walla Walla, being the sixth within the past four months. The murder took place about 12 miles from that city, as is supposed on Sunday night. The murdered man’s name is George B. Hager, and it is supposed that he was killed for his money.
He was cut to pieces and his body burned by having cord wood piles upon it and saturated with coal oil after which the cabin he lived in was fired. He was known to carry considerable gold around his body in a belt. He had but recently located and was just on the point of starting for San Francisco to get married and bring his wife back with him. He was formerly a purser on a steamer between Portland and San Francisco. He was in Walla Walla on Saturday and proved up on his land claim at the land office. He then had 40 $20-pieces with him. The murderers are suspected.
[The Eugene City Guard (Eugene, OR) – Saturday, June 19, 1880 - JD - Sub by FoFG]

Johnny Hammond, aged 18, and a girl named Taylor, much younger, ran away from Walla Walla to Pendleton lately to get married.  The two kids were followed up by the girl's mother, who spanked her erring daughter and took her home.  The boy was jailed on a charge of abduction.  
[Grant County News (Canyon City, OR) – Thursday, August 16, 1888]

W. E. Hardesty left this county last week for the Palouse country.  He forgot he was owning Mr. Switzler $300.  Bill sent deputy Sheriff Taylor up to Walla Walla to remind him of the fact.  Dave found him near Walla Walla, interviewed him and got the money, notwithstanding he had got out of the state.  Dave’s a brick.
[The East Oregonian (Pendleton, OR) – Saturday, November 24, 1877]

Governor Semple commuted the death sentence of Mary J. Pyle and John Hern, the Walla Walla incendiaries and murderers to imprisonment for life.  
[Grant County News (Canyon City, OR) – Thursday, September 27, 1888]

From a private letter to Mr. Webb we learn that a man by the name of Chas. F. Newland was poisoned near Filton on Monday last.  The coroner has gone to investigate.  Full particulars next week.
[The East Oregonian (Pendleton, OR) – Saturday, February 9, 1878]

Last week we mentioned the fact that a man by the name of Chs. F. Newland had died under suspicious circumstances near Schellworth’s saw mill near Walla Walla.  Since then Dr. Dickerson, coroner, held an inquest and post mortem examination over the body.  The verdict of the jury was that he came to his death by poison administered by one Frank Noble.  A warrant of arrest was issued immediately and placed in the hands of an officer, and Noble arrested.  At the time the coroner left he was undergoing an examination before a magistrate, the result of which we have not learned.
[The East Oregonian (Pendleton, OR) – Saturday, February 16, 1878]

A. J. Thomas and wife, the supposed murderers, are returned to Walla Walla for safe keeping until the fall term of court, as their attorney procured postponement of the case to that time.  
[Grant County News (Canyon City, OR) – Saturday, June 26, 1880]

Robert Waddingham, who was convicted of “rolling” and robbing a man at Walla Walla last Spring, and who was sentenced to ninety-nine years imprisonment, has been pardoned.  His conviction was somewhat due to the Vigilante pressure, and there was some doubt of his guilt.
[The Daily Mountaineer (Dalles, OR) – Friday, November 17, 1865]

MURDER – The *Mountaineer* says that on the 24th of February a farmer by the name of Charles Ward, who lives on the Walla Walla river, was shot and mortally wounded, at Walla Walla by a man named McAlliston. It appears that McAlliston was trying to shoot a man by the name of Charley Walker when Ward interfered and was himself shot.

[Willamette Farmer (Salem, OR) – Saturday, March 9, 1872 - JD - Sub by FoFG]

DIED – Charles N. Ward, who was shot by Wm. McAllister, at Walla Walla, Feb. 24th, has since died of his wound. McAllister is in jail, to await the action of the grand jury.
[Willamette Farmer (Salem, OR) – Saturday, March 16, 1872 - JD - Sub by FoFG]

Indians Hanged
Pendleton, Jan. 10,  Vis Walla Walla, Jan. 11.
The execution of White Owl and Quit-a-tumpa, for the murder of George Coggan near Cayuse Station, last July, took place this afternoon.  Both were reservation Indians, last Summer.  Thursday and Thursday night were passed by the Indians in chanting death songs and bidding their friends good bye.  The ceremonies at the gallows were conducted according to rites of the Indian religion.  Both White Owl and Quit-a-tumpa refused to have anything to do with the Catholic priests, or to received other spiritual consolation.  They were attired in clothes given them by the whites, and their faces were gaudily painted.  Both made short speeches from the scaffold confessing that they did the shooting, but refused to acknowledge the justice of their fate.  They continued, singing death chants until the drop fell at 2:45 a.m.  The fall dislocated their necks, and both died without hardly a struggle.  After hanging for seven minutes they were pronounced dead.  The bodies were cut down and delivered to the Indians for disposition.  The bodies will be buried to-morrow.  Considerable demonstration will be made over the body of Quit-a-tumpa.
A detachment of the First Cavalry, under Maj. Jackson, and a number of citizen volunteers were stationed outside the jail enclosure during the execution.  The military will remain at the agency until after the hanging of Aps, which will take place next Friday.  Considerable uneasiness is felt as to the result of the execution, and it is not known but that the Indians profess great friendship, but many believe it only assumed.

The execution to-day was witnessed by about 100 persons, including 10 Indians.  A great crowd collected on the outside of the jail enclosure and on surrounding housetops. Everything passed off quietly.  It is hoped the hanging will prove a salutary lesson to the Indians. 
[The Eugene City Guard (Eugene, OR) – Saturday, January 18, 1879, JD - Sub by FoFG]

Stories with No Names:


An unusual incident occurred in Walla Walla, Washington Territory, which illustrates the manner in which so many men on this Coast mysteriously disappear and are never again heard of by their relatives in the East. Recently the Sheriff of Walla Walla received on the same day two letters from parties in the East, each enquiring for a long lost brother. The Sheriff was compelled to convey the unwelcome information that one of the lost brothers had been hanged the week before for the murder of the other lost brother.
[April 6, 1884, Nevada State Journal, Reno Nevada - Submitted by S. Williams].

A jury has been empaneled to try White Owl and Quit-a-tump for the murder of Geo. Coggan.  Lassater and Mix of Walla Walla appear as their attorneys.
[The East Oregonian (Pendleton, OR) – Saturday, November 9, 1878]



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