PART II:  1881-1899

The earliest surviving run of newspapers from Barry County begins in the 1890s, but earlier Barry County items survive in other newspapers.  Here are stories of crime and punishment from Barry County and its vicinity, transcribed from microfilm available through the State Historical Society of Missouri.  The Society has begun a project to digitize its microfilm of Missouri's historical newspapers, and images of some of the original articles may now be available online.  Ad images are from the Society's microfilm, either scanned from a paper copy or clipped from the online digital image.

In transcribing the articles, I have occasionally corrected minor spelling errors.  I find the errors distracting when I am reading and find annoying the constant use of "sic" to indicate the error was in the original.  It is also time consuming to sort out their typesetting errors from my typing errors.  It is easier just to correct them all.  I have not corrected proper names, and I have generally kept the original article's eccentricities of capitalization and punctuation.

Highlights of the transcribed articles include:  

27 January 1881, Peirce City Weekly Empire

If rumors prove true, Sheriff Hudson, of Barry county, plays as leading character in a little dramatic exercises.  A few days ago Rev. J. A. Sartin, late candidate on the Republican ticket of that county for Representative, was in Cassville, where he met and shook hands with the said Sheriff, who invited him to one side.  When to themselves, Sheriff Hudson presented a revolver, which, by virtue and authority of the office which the people of that county elected him to fill, he is permitted to carry, and demanded to know if Rev. Sartin had been circulating the report that he (Hudson) had used whisky at the late election.  Mr. Sartin told him that he did not remember that he had put himself to any trouble to circulate such report, and requested the sheriff to put away his firearms as he well knew he did not intend to shoot.  The Sheriff, of course, did not know whether it was true or not, and took Rev. Sartin's word for it.  Perhaps the Sheriff had heard that Betsey Jones told Patsey Smith that Jane Rodabough suspicioned that her aunt Jerusha Jane really thought that Rev. J. A. Sartin had told somebody that he had heard that some of the voters of Capps Creek township believed Sheriff Hudson used whisky at said election.

It has been common chat that whisky was used at Capps Creek, that Sheriff Hudson was there and one voter has gone so far as to say that another said he drank from Hudson's bottle, and this is the first denial we have heard.

10 February 1881, Peirce City Weekly Empire

Sheriff Hudson endeavors to pervert our statement concerning his "difficulty" (the Democrat puts it) with Rev. J. A. Sartin.  We did not say the pistol was presented under color of his office, but that his office permitted him to carry such an instrument.  The Sheriff gives us to understand that he does not settle his "difficulties" by newspaper controversy, but that he has a way of his own.  That is just what we charged, and the admission was doubtless inadvertantly made.  The Democrat admits there was a Hudson-Sartin "difficulty" but does not inform its readers what it consisted in.  Our readers are prepared to believe the statement of the EMPIRE until some one is ready to give the facts which may contradict us.  Our address, as usual, will be found at the head of our editorial columns, and subscription remains at one dollar per year.

16 June 1881, Neosho Times

Robbery at Washburn, Mo.

A dispatch to the St. Louis Republican says the dry goods store of W. K. Bayliss, at Washburn, Barry County, Mo., was broken into at an early hour on the morning of June 9th and the burglars succeeded in blowing open a safe, in which they found $2,000.  They then broke into E. J. Mooney's store, in which is also located the post-office.  The thieves here found $1,000 worth of stamps, mostly threes, and stole the entire lot.  No one was sleeping in the place at the time, and the burglars had every opportunity to carry out their thievish designs.  Six hundred dollars of the money stolen was in gold, mostly $20 pieces.  A considerable portion of the amount lost is said to belong to other parties than Mr. Bayliss, in whose hands the funds were placed for safe keeping.  Soon after the discovery of the robbery was made, two men were seen hurrying in the direction of Eureka Springs.  The officers are in pursuit, and every effort will be made to catch the rascals.

14 July 1881, Peirce City Weekly Empire

Erskine's Latest Capture.

Special to the Globe-Democrat.

Eureka Springs, Ark., July 5. -- An important capture has been effected by detective Frank Erskine, employe of the Frisco line.  On March 10th the stage from Seligman to Eureka Springs was stopped by highwaymen, and the passengers robbed.  Different parties were arrested, but proved to be the wrong ones.  In the meantime Erskine took the trail and followed the robbers through Missouri, Indian Territory, Arkansas and Kansas.  On June 20, at Severy, Kan., he captured Doc Thomas.  Having secured Doc, he hurried over to Granby, Mo., and took in Marion Thomas, a brother of Doc's.  He then brought them to this place.  Neither of the brothers was aware of the other's capture.  To-day Doc made full confession.  Then he learned for the first time that his brother was in jail with him.  Detective Erskine has proved himself a terror to evil-doers.


According to the Peirce City Weekly Empire of July 28, 1881, the case against Doc and Marion Thomas was dismissed for lack of evidence.

13 October 1881, Peirce City Weekly Empire

A telegram yesterday from Vinita announces that Rev. J. A Sartin had caught the thieves and taken possession of the horses recently stolen from Wm. Withers, near Plymouth Junction, and they were expected in this city this morning.  A number of farmers were in to see if their suspicions of certain parties were correct, but the party had not arrived. [From Monday's daily.]

We learn that Rev. J. A. Sartin got possession of Mr. Withers' horses and captured two of the thieves in the Indian territory.  He offered a reward of twenty-five dollars after arriving in the Nation in order to obtain assistance, and after their arrest was forced to wait for the money as he did not have it with him. [From Tuesday's daily.]


3 November 1881, Peirce City Weekly Empire

Detective Work.

Detectives as a rule do not desire anything said through the press as to their manner of conduct, nor as to the many schemes laid to bag their game.  Now and then, however, the reporter strikes a rich lead and cannot resist the temptation to record a good one.

Accounts have already been given of the loss and capture of some horses belonging to Uncle Billy Withers, near Plymouth, Barry county, and the arrest of a couple of the thieves by Rev. J. A. Sartin of the same county.  The arrest of these two led to information as to the other parties implicated, and gave their names and residences.  Some days ago Mr. Sartin visited Kansas for the purpose of arresting one of the parties, and while conversing with a gentleman on the streets of Oswego, he observed a man across the street whose maneuver was suspicious, and Sartin inquired of the gentleman with whom he was conversing if he knew the man across the way, and was told that he didn't.  Sartin remarked that the young man was either a thief or was looking for one, and he was going to learn which.  He gave the brim of his hat a jerk down over his eyes, threw his right hand under his coat towards the hip pocket, and started across the street.  The stranger then started up quickly, Sartin pursuing until they were both doing their best licks.  The chase was continued about a half mile, when the man in the lead dodged into a lumber yard, and laid down between two piles of lumber, drawing a board over him.  After a brief search he was found in that condition and was hauled out by his boots.  He at once began to declare that he never stole the horse.  Sartin told him there was no use in denying.

He then said, Martin ______ stole the gray mare.

Sartin asked him then how came he to have anything to do with her.

He said he traded her for a certain other horse and that he had sold the latter at such a price.

Here was the capture of a thief and his admission to having sold the property and also the name of the thief who had first stolen a horse, of which Mr. Sartin had never learned of.  The young man was turned over to proper authorities and Rev. Sartin proceeded on the trail of the man he had gone to capture.

He was not long locating his whereabouts, but the woman of the house forbade an entrance.  A search warrant was obtained, and with a couple of police who stationed themselves at the door Mr. Sartin ascended a flight of stairs.  At the top he was met by a man with a revolver conveniently about him, who answered the description.  Both stood a moment and then a shove sent the young rascal to the foot of the stairs, where he was caught and firmly held by the officers below.

Thus the fourth arrest was effected within about 30 days from the time of the stealing of the horses, and a very hot trail to others.

Now as to the pay for these valuable services, the citizens of Barry should respond promptly and liberally.  No single individual can be expected to go to the necessary expense of a month's travel, and take all the exposures and risks consequent, unless he shall receive handsome pay in return.  The Barry county court, if we remember correctly, some time ago made an order for the appropriation of fifty dollars for the arrest and conviction of every horse thief, and so far as we are informed, that order has not been vacated.

But that is hardly enough.  Neighbors would find it to their interest to offer, and pay, very liberally for the capture of every horse thief.  We believe they will do it.


Reverend John A. Sartin of Capps Creek Township was a farmer, Methodist preacher and bounty hunter.  He was born in Webster County, Missouri, on August 5, 1847, and married Sarah J. Goodnight of Barry County on July 19, 1869.  At the age of 15, he joined Company H of the 8th Missouri State Militia Cavalry (Union) at Lebanon and served in the Civil War.  The 8th MSM was active all over Southwest Missouri, which may be what brought him to Barry County.  In 1868, he founded the Shoal Creek Circuit of the Methodist church in Barry County.  He ran for state representative of Barry County in 1880.

Sartin's ad "Hunting Strays" ran in the Peirce City Weekly Empire April 28, 1877.  In the fall of 1876, he collected the reward for capturing Crawford, the killer of Dr. Holladay at Corsicana.  There is a biography of him in the Biographical Appendix of Goodspeed's 1888 History of Barry County (reprint), page 189, but it does not mention his activities as a bounty hunter.  Sometime after Goodspeed's was published in 1888, Sartin moved to Benton County, Missouri, where he was elected state representative in 1892, 1894, 1902 and 1906.  According to undocumented internet sources, he died in Benton County June 5, 1930. The photograph is courtesy of M. J. Sartin, a great grandchild of Reverend Sartin.

26 January 1882, Peirce City Weekly Empire

On Friday night a week ago, a number of women were camped near Cassville, when a number of men gathered in that vicinity and made the night hideous by whooping and firing pistols.  The Exeter Republican says that while Wm. Anderson was drawing his revolver from his pocket it was discharged, taking effect in the back of a man named Weaver.  The ball entered under the left shoulder blade and ranged up.  The ball did not pass out and has not been found.  Notwithstanding the ball was .50 caliber, and passed through a dangerous place, the man is reported as doing finely, with a fair show of recovery.

28 January 1882, Miner and Mechanic, Neosho

Shooting at Cassville

The Cassville Democrat of the 21st says:  On Friday night of last week a camp of disreputable women established themselves on the Peirce City road at the north end of the lane between Porter and Townsend, and a lot of foolish fellows about town went out there, and Mr. Weaver got severly shot in the back near the spine, close to the middle of the left shoulder blade, the ball ranging through the left lung, and probably lodging in the front part of the lower left chest.  Several pistol shots were fired, as they say all for mischief, without any ill feeling being up; and it is claimed that the shot was entirely accidental.  Be that as it may, Mr. William Henderson has been arrested for doing the shooting, and his preliminary trial set for the 28th inst., before Esquire Lee, as it is thought by that time Mr. Weaver will be well enough to testify, as he now appears to be getting along wonderful well.

28 January 1882, Miner and Mechanic, Neosho

Shooting Scrape on Roaring River

There was a little one-sided pistol matinee at Eagle Rock, in Barry County, on Monday, January 12th, in which Moses Farwell shot Jasper Smith, a blacksmith, in the bowels, probably with fatal effect.  From Mr. D. D. Ames, who was in that neighborhood about the time of the shooting, we learn that a dispute arose in regard to a whisky debt of 15 cents, which Smith couldn't or wouldn't pay Farwell, when the latter drew his revolver and shot him, as stated.  Farwell has given himself up to the authorities.  He claims that Smith tried to stab him with a knife, and that he used his pistol in self-defense.  Smith was still alive at last accounts.

4 February 1882, Miner and Mechanic, Neosho

Lawyer Harbison of Neosho passed through here yesterday on his way home from Eagle Rock, this county, where he has been looking after the interest of his client, Mr. Moses Farwell.  Mr. Farwell, it will be remembered, is the man who shot Smith at Eagle Rock last week.  Mr. Harbison informs us that the ball produced only a flesh wound and the man will soon be entirely well.  The case was laid over until Circuit Court. -- Exeter Republican.

11 March 1882, Miner and Mechanic, Neosho

One of the saddest tragedies that was ever enacted in Barry County overwhelmed our people on Monday last.  Many of our readers will remember that while Andy Hopkins was Sheriff of this County about four years since, in attempting to arrest a son of Mr Rowley of Washburn, he shot the young man who resisted arrest.  Right here the Rowley family charge the violation of a mutual arrangement with regard to the arrest.  Hopkins always denied any such understanding and claimed that he had been compelled to kill young Rowley or leave his official duty undone.  Several months since the father and ex-sheriff stood quarrelling for an hour with cocked pistols in hand, each fearing to shoot, lest he should himself be a dead man.  After much altercation they finally agreed to cease the quarreling and to never speak to each other again unless a fight was wanted.  On Monday afternoon a number of persons were gathered in Dr. Long's saloon.  Hopkins and Napoleon Rowley, a brother of the murdered man, were among the number.  Hopkins invited all to drink with him.  Rowley declined to do so, but said nothing.  Hopkins in turning to the stove said he knew d__d well that he would not drink with him.  Rowley, after this remark had been repeated, replied that he would not drink with a man who killed his brother.  Rowley soon drew his pistol and fired on Hopkins who was unarmed and who siezed Rowley around the waist to prevent any further shooting.  Old man Rowley heard the shooting and ran in pistol in hand.  Some one caught his arm and knocked up the pistol, the shot striking the ceiling.  The altercation soon ceased when Hopkins was found to be shot in two places, one in the lungs and the other in the bowels of which he died on Wednesday at 11 o'clock A. M.  The old man and Napoleon were both arrested but the old gentleman was soon released.  Mr. Hopkins had many friends who regarded him as one of Barry County's best citizens.  This is indeed a lamentable affair. -- Star Beacon.


According to Goodspeed's 1888 History of Barry County (reprint), pages 73-74, ex-sheriff Hopkins was shot to death in Long's saloon at Washburn in February, 1882.  He is buried in the Washburn Prairie cemetery, and his tombstone says he was born May 10, 1845 and died February 28, 1882.  His killer, Napoleon Rowley, was acquitted.  The Star Beacon was published at Seven Star Springs, a short-lived town in southwest Barry County near the McDonald County line.  For an account of the killing of Columbus Rowley by Sheriff Hopkins in 1877, see Part I.  The image of Sheriff Hopkins as a young man is courtesy of Carolyn Carder, a Hopkins descendant.

3 August 1882, Peirce City Weekly Empire

With a Dirk Knife, in the
Hands of a Woman.
The Widow Roark Her Victim.

Panacea Republican

Last Sunday morning in the broad light of a beautiful day about 11 o'clock, a bloody affray occurred about ten miles from this village, in the vicinity known as the "Willow Branch," in which one person lost her life by the murderous knife, in the hands of a neighbor woman, and another came very near meeting the same fate.

The news reached town Monday afternoon that one Mrs. Campbell had stabbed and killed another woman named Roark, both widows.  Early Tuesday morning a Republican reporter accompanied by Mr. Al Bush started for the scene of the murder to glean the facts in the case together with particulars and details.

The reporter arrived too late to get a view of the dead woman (she having been taken away for internment a few hours before his arrival) began with his partner, to make a tour of the premises.

The dirk used by Mrs. Campbell was not seen, it being in possession of the Justice who held the inquest.  Upon examination of the spot where the row was, the reporter saw plain signs of a conflict of some kind.  No club or other weapon was seen, but upon closer inspection the grass was seen to be bespattered with blood, and when the thick grass was seperated by using a cane, there exposed to view a pool of clotted blood.  The very spot where the wounded sank down and her heart's blood flowed out tricking down forming the crimson pool.

The house in which Mrs. Roark lived with her two daughters, Sarah and ------, is situated about three hundred yards from the Campbell mansion in the same field or enclosesure, of about 30 acres, and belongs to the Campbell farm.  Mrs. Roark's son rented the house of Mrs. Campbell, his mother having moved in with him.  He moved last summer or fall, leaving his mother in possession of the house.  The witnesses on the side of the defendant claim the time for which Mrs. Roark's son rented the house expired last March, and that defendant had several times notified the tenant to vacate the house which was not complied with.  The other side claim that the defendant's son's consent was given for their mother to remain in the house until fall, when nothing further was said about it until the day previous to the murder.  However that may be it has no bearing particularly on the case.  The cause of the murder.  It seems that on Sunday morning in question Mrs. Campbell's cow went down to Mrs. Roark's tobacco patch which is situated just West of the house a few rods and outside of the enclosesure, and was trampling upon it, when Sarah Roark drove her away with the dog; the cow returned and again was driven away by the dog. Soon after this occurred Mrs. Campbell and her daughter, Sarah started to the spring for a bucket of water.  The spring was situated a few rods directly West of the Roark house and on the outside of the fence or encloseure. The Campbells in going to and from the spring for water, usually went down a path leading directly through the corn field to the Roark yard, then turning abruptly across the yard over the fence to the spring beyond.  It was along this path that Mrs. Campbell and her daughter went that morning for water soon after the dogging.  They had passed on their way to the spring, procured a bucket of water and had returned to the yard. Then the row occurred that culminated in Sunday morning's tragedy. A quarrel ensued among the women about the dogging of the cow, and what followed is better told in the statements of the witnesses interviewed by the reporter; these were Mrs. Roark's daughter Sarah, the girl referred to below who received the murderous gash of 3 or 4 inches just above and back of the base of the left ear, and Mrs. Campbells two daughters, Elizabeth and Sarah; the last was the one who accompanied her mother for the water, and was a witness to the whole scene. Sarah Jane Roark's statement, to a reporter was as follows:

"On Sunday morning Mrs. Campbell's cow came down into our tobacco patch trampling upon it.  We drove her away with the dog.  She returned and we again set the dog on her.  Soon after this Mrs. Campbell started for the spring, passing through our yard, and over the fence.  As she got over the fence she exposed to my view a six inch dirk knife.  Kept the knife in her hand all the way to the spring and back into the yard.  Her daughter Sarah was with her and carried a bucket of water.  When she was near the house she accosted my mother who was sitting in the door, with the question: Mrs. Roark has my cow been in your tobacco patch? My mother replied:  Sarah (meaning me) turned the cow out with the dog.  Mrs. Campbell then said:  I don't want my cow hurt.  I then said to her:  Our dog won't hurt your cow.  Mrs. Campbell then replied:  I don't want my cow dogged.  I replied:  I'll dog her again if she goes back in the tobacco.  I then ordered her out of the yard three times and my mother ordered her out several times.  To this she paid no attention but to remark:  I'm in my own yard and will say what I please.  I then stepped into the yard and asked her what she was going to do with the knife.  She replied:  I'll do what I please with it.  I then moved round out of the sun into the shade nearer to her some eight or ten feet, when she jumped at me and struck at me with the knife cutting a gash on my head 3 or 4 inches long and clear to the bone, (here the wound was unbound and the gaping slit exposed to the gaze of the reporter.) I then struck her over the left eye with a stick, which I had been playing with.  I then called my mother who run out and shoved me back laying her hand upon Mrs. Campbell's shoulder saying:  Francis let her alone.  Mrs. Campbell's daughter Sarah also shoved me back at the same time my mother did.  Then Mrs. Campbell started around toward my mother with the knife in her hand, and made a thrust at her with it.  When she struck her I saw mother sink to the earth.  As mother was falling I heard her say:  Sarah let her alone.  Then she gaped once or twice, a tremor and all was over.  My mother was dead.  The doctor said she was stabbed through the heart.  Sarah Campbell then took her mother by the arm and said:  Mother come on.["]

Elizabeth Jane Pierce, Mrs. Campbell's oldest daughter, was at home when the row commenced.  She was sitting in the yard and could see down to where the trouble was.

Elizabeth's statement to the reporter:  "I was at home on the morning of the murder and was sitting out in the yard.  Heard Mrs. Roark's Sarah give my mother the lie three times, from where I was sitting in the yard.  Saw Sarah Roark run out in the yard with a club in her hand.  Saw Mrs. Roark and her youngest daughter run on into the yard and all three fell to beating my mother.  Heard no more words until after the cutting, then heard Sarah Roark call to me and say "run here mother is killed."

Mrs. Campbell's youngest daughter, Sarah, who was with her mother, said: "Both Mrs. Roark and her daughter Sarah Jane, gave my mother the lie.  Saw Sarah hit my mother with a club, and then all three of the Roark women commenced to beat her.  Didn't know of any one being hurt until I got home.  Heard Sarah Roark hollow to my sister Elizabeth to run here mother is killed.  I run and pulled Sarah off my mother.  Didn't know any body was hurt."

The reporter inquired of Sarah Jane Roark if there had been any trouble between the two women previous to the murder.  She said there had been some words the day before it occurred, about the rent.  Said her mother had applied to Mrs. Campbell for the use the house until fall.  Mrs. Campbell said "I have nothing to do with the house, my son has the management of that." The son was consulted and he gave her mother his consent to remain in the house until fall.  Nothing more was said about the house until the day before the murder.  "That day Mrs. Campbell ordered my mother out of the house, and threatend her with the law if she did not go.  Mother's reply to this was:  Pop your whip.&nbps; Nothing more was said until the row.["]

The reporter having gleaned the above particulars and the statements of two principal witnesses to this deplorable murder -- deplorable, the more, because the sex that should be the peacemakers and decry murder and kindred crimes has fallen to a level with the red, scarlet-handed murderer -- started back to town arriving aobut 7 o'clock p. m.


On July 5, 1894, the Cassville Republican listed murders in Barry County over the past dozen years.  According to this article, this incident occurred in McDonald Township and resulted in a two year prison sentence for Mrs. Campbell.  See below.

14 September 1882, Carthage Banner

Deputy U. S. Marshal Betts received a telegram last night from Seligman to the effect that the hack carrying the mail between Seligman and Eureka Springs was robbed yesterday morning between the two towns.  The mail bags were rifled, and passengers searched and their pockets emptied.  No further particulars.  The government officials will ferret out the robbers.

28 September 1882, Carthage Banner

The name of the Eureka Springs stage robber is Jim Payton.  He was arrested in Barry county, near the Arkansas line, by Constable Smith, of Eureka Springs.  He was taken before Commissioner McLane Jones, of Springfield, by Deputies Betts and Roper.  Payton was committed to jail in default of $1,000 bail.  The chain of evidence against him appears strong.

26 October 1882, Carthage Banner

Arrested for Robbing Mails.

Special to Daily Banner.

SPRINGFIELD, MO., Oct. 20. -- Yesterday Postoffice Inspector Geo. W. White and Geo. W. Porter arrested one James G. Hilliard, deputy postmaster at Seligman, Barry county, Missouri, on charge of robbing the mail, and brought him to this city, where he was arraigned before United States Commissioner McLane Jones.  Hilliard admits his guilt and on a sworn statement says he filched from the mails as follows: On Oct. 4th, $40 from a registered letter mailed at Seligman, by S. J. McClurg, and addressed to J. B. Wear, Bougher & Co., St. Louis; $17 from a letter mailed at Rockdale, Ind., by J. H. Dybord, and addressed to Jas. Hopper, Seligman; on Oct. 13th, he also embezzled a letter mailed at Eureka Springs addressed, Mrs. Carrie Chandler, Seligman, which letter contained no money; $8 from a letter mailed at Waterboro, S. C., by John A Jones, and addressed Capt. James M. North, Seligman.  Hilliard's bond was fixed at $2,000 which he failed to give and was committed to jail to await his trial before the U. S. District court at Jefferson City, next March.

7 July 1883, Miner and Mechanic, Neosho

Wm. King was shot and killed in a saloon at Seligman by the keeper of the house, Mark Hurst.  An old grudge is given as the cause.


On July 5, 1894, the Cassville Republican listed murders in Barry County over the past dozen years.  According to this article, no indictment resulted from this killing.  See below.

8 December 1883, Miner and Mechanic, Neosho

William C. Black, age twenty-three, quarreled with Robert Brown at a church, three miles north of Cassville, on Saturday night last, when Black struck Brown, and the latter returned the blow by stabbing Black with a knife in the breast, four times, from which death resulted before a surgeon could arrive.  Brown fled, but has since been arrested near Rocky Comfort, and lodged in the Cassville jail.  The parties were outside the church, with others, drinking whiskey.  Another deplorable instance of the terrible effects of intoxication.


On July 5, 1894, the Cassville Republican listed murders in Barry County over the past dozen years.  According to this article, Brown was acquitted of this killing.  See below.

27 March 1884, Neosho Times

The Roberts Trial

The Roberts murder case was tried last week at Cassville.  Roberts shot and killed Bratton at a country dance, in December 1882.  Bratton had been called by his brother, who was a constable, to aid in the suppression of a disturbance out of doors.  From the version of the constable and other witnesses, the case seemed a remarkably strong one against the defendant, who was pictured by them as a rioter resisting a peace officer and killing one of his posse.  This would be murder in the first degree.  We learn from the Cassville papers that Roberts was found not guilty, after a long, hotly contested trial, the prosecution having been vigorous, and able.  Such results upon such a state of facts would be a disgrace to any community, but the other side must be understood before we can form any just opinion as to the correctness of the verdict.

George Hubbert, Esq., of our city, who led the defense and closed on that side with a speech, which the Cassville Democrat characterizes as one of "consummate cunning and ability," informs us that the witnesses for the defense presented quite a different picture and justified Roberts.  Instead of being a rioter he was trying to quiet a fuss between others when the constable, being misinformed as to who were the disturbers of the peace, rushed out and beset Roberts, without asserting any authority as an officer, and called his brother, the deceased, to his aid, although he knew him to be an enemy to Roberts.  The deceased had long been furiously jealous of Roberts' attention to his sweetheart, a Miss Utter, and had, on former occasions, virtually driven him away from her, threatening to kill him if he found them together again.  At the dance the girl and Roberts were seated together, talking, when Bratton came in.  He showed jealousy and anger, and the girl cautioned Roberts, reminding him of previous threats.  Bratton contrived to get Bratton out, through another man who began the fuss that Roberts was trying to quell, when the Brattons assaulted him, the deceased first striking him, with a pair of metal knucks in the face, and saying he would kill him.

The theory of the defense was:  Roberts was acting as a peacemaker; the constable was misinformed as to his role and attempted to arrest him, which, being without warrant, was unlawful; Bratton, having designs on the life of Roberts, found him where he thought he could carry out his threats under cover of a peace officer's authority, and attempted to do so; the defendant only exercised what under the circumstances was his natural right of defense.  The jury decided the position well taken, under the evidence, and that settles it.

8 May 1884, Neosho Times

Wholesale Thieves.

At last two of the midnight marauders who have been helping themselves to Newton county horseflesh in a rather cool and self-reliant manner have in the language of the Arkansaw philosopher "bit off more than they could chaw."  That they were in the business to make money and that they were old hands is evident from the way they conducted their operations, and if they had not accidentally been discovered would have made their last big haul a success.  On the night of April 29, a pair of fine dun mares, belonging to a Mr. Shirley, of Ritchey were stolen.  The next morning after the theft Mr. Shirley, Horace Ritchey, Charley Vinout, Gid Barbee and others started out to look for the thieves.  They tracked them to the Granby ford of Shoal creek where they had been compelled to turn back on account of high water.  They then followed them to Galena Kas., but the rascals were evidently at home there, for although the searchers were sure they went into that town they could find no trace of them nor could they find that they had slipped away, and nothing more was heard of the missing stock.  A few days ago Mr. Sam Trower, of Ritchey was at Seneca and while there noticed some parties shipping 5 horses and a mule to Tulsa, I. T., two of which he identified as the stolen [horses] of his neighbor Mr. Shirley.  He went home that evening and told Mr. Shirley where to find his horses and that gentleman telegraphed the authorities at Tulsa to arrest the men with the stock.  When the marshals tried to arrest the parties they concluded to get away if possible and tried to escape.  The officers fired on them killing one, the other escaped, whether wounded or not no one knows.  A boy at Tulsa says the name of the dead man is Sam McClinton, but he shipped the horses from Seneca under the name of W. S. Wallace.  Mr. Shirley accompanied by Mr. Geo. Walcott went down to Tulsa, and identified his horses and took them home.  The other stock is still in the hand of the officials at Tulsa.  Their description is as follows:  One black mare 14 hands high, little white on top of neck.  One bay mare 14 hands no marks or brands.  One light bay mare, 14 1/2 or 15 hands high in this order and very stiff.  One sorrel mule, 15 hands high with stripe down back and across shoulders, in good order and shod all around.  Parties who can throw any light on the ownership of the stolen stock can address the U. S. Marshal at Tulsa post officer I. T.  We are indebted to Sheriff Byrd for the above facts, he having received a letter from Mr. Walcott announcing the capture.

10 May 1884, Miner and Mechanic, Neosho

The Marshal of Tulsa, I. T., Recovers
Six Head of Stolen Horses, and
Shoots one of the Thieves.

A span of valuable claybank mares, was stolen from Mr. Shirley, living one mile east of Ritchey, on Wednesday night of last week, during the big storm.  Mr. Shirley offered a reward of $50 for his team and sent their description on postals in every direction.  On Tuesday of last week Mr. Trower a R. R. bridge man, saw the team with some other horses and mules on the freight going west.  He learned they had been shipped at Seneca and were in charge of two men.  On Monday last, a dispatch was received by Mr. Shirley that his mares and the other stock had been run to Tulsa and that the thieves had crossed the Arkansas river and gone into camp there.

Mr. Shirley, George Walcott and Sanford H. Ritchey, at once took the train for Tulsa.  The thieves had six head of horses and mules, a good wagon and complete outfit of cooking and camping apparatus.  When the Ritchey party reached Tulsa the thieves had moved out into camp about 4 miles north of Tulsa.  The marshal and his assistant started in pursuit but they had broken camp.  After a run of about 25 miles they were overhauled.  The marshal raised his rifle, and ordered the men to throw up their hands.  One of them jumped out of the wagon and commenced firing on the marshal, shooting him through the left wrist, and sending another pistol ball through his horse's head.  The marshal in return finally sent a ball through the thief's body, killing him on the spot.  The other thief had thrown up his hands when the fight opened, saying he was unarmed, but slipped off and the marshal reported, escaped, while the fight was in progress.  The body of the dead thief was brought to Tulsa and buried there on Tuesday.  It would not be surprising if the cayotes [sic] were picking the bones of the other thief, for the marshals in the nation are wicked marksmen.  Nothing was found on the body of the thief buried at Tulsa to indicate the name of the thief.  So he died a cruel death in a strange land, unhonored and unsung.  He was a man 5 feet 8 or 9 inches in height, had dark auburn hair, mustache, and goatee, stern determined face, sharp features, light steel grey eyes, protruding teeth, scar above right eye, and weighed 160 pounds.  Wore snuff colored overcoat, with black velvet cuffs, blue pants, and no. 6 boots, a 6 oz double case Waltham watch inscribed inside the case J. R. B.  He gave his name at Seneca as W. B. Wallace, and his companion's as Johnson.

Mr. Shirley recovered his mares, and in company with Sanford Ritchey and George Walcott returned home on Wednesday night.

The other horses found in custody of the thieves and now in charge of the marshal at Tulsa are described as follows:  one bay mare, 5 years old, slight collar mark on top of neck, 15 hands high, white on left hind foot.

One black mare, 5 years old, small white mark in forehead, white collar mark top of neck, round body, 14 1/2 hands high, old shoes.

One dark bay mare, 7 or 8 years old, small white [mark] in fore-head, white collar mark, white on left hind foot, new shoes behind, heavy square hips, 15 hands high.

One light bay, or yellow, mare mule 15 1/2 hands high, black mark across shoulders and along the back, collar mark, saddle mark, breeching and trace mark, new shoes.

15 May 1884, Peirce City Weekly Empire

Mr. W. T. Lecompte returned last evening from Tulsa, I. T., where him and Mr. Trotter had been to look after some stolen horses which had been captured from a couple of horse thieves at the place on Monday.  They found six good horses and one mule in the hands of the marshal there which he had taken from two men, and also the remains of one of the thieves which the marshal had killed in attempting to arrest them, the other one making good his escape.  Two of the horses belonged to a man at Richey [sic] who was there and took charge of them, and two more was the property of Wm. Lipe, who lives six miles north of Cassville, these being the two Messrs. Lecompte and Trotter were after.  They took charge of them and Mr. Trotter will arrive here about Monday with the horses.  The other two, one mule and a horse, have not yet been claimed and are still held by the marshal.  The two thieves were traveling in a two horse wagon and had camped at Tulsa the night before they were captured, and about an hour after they had taken their departure the marshal received a telegram from Ritchey giving a description of the two horses in their possession, upon receipt of which the marshal started out in pursuit of the campers, and overtook them about eleven miles west of Tulsa.  He rode up to the wagon and told the men to throw up their hands, when one of them pulled his gun and fired at the marshal, the ball striking the horse's head and taking effect in the marshal's arm.  The marshal also fired about the same time, his ball passing through the body of one of the thieves killing him instantly, the other jumping out of the wagon and making his escape while the marshal was getting out from under his horse, which had fell on him when shot.

29 May 1884, Peirce City Weekly Empire

It turns out that Marion Burks and a fellow by the name of Walters were the parties who stole Lipes' horses that were recaptured down in the Nation week before last, where the man Walters was killed and Burks made his escape.  Sheriff Goodnight and Bert Talbert got information that Burks had an Indian wife in the Nation near Maysville, and that he was probably at home, and on last Sunday started in that direction and Monday succeed [sic] in capturing him at home without much difficulty, and hurried him up to Bentonville, Ark., where they took the cars and landed him safely in jail here the same evening.  Burks made a full confession about stealing Lipes' horses, and all about how he and Walters did when the Marshal got after them in the Nation, and how Walters was killed. -- Cassville Democrat.

3 July 1884, Peirce City Weekly Empire

A Fearful Crime.

Springfield Daily Journal.

The little town of Washburn in Barry county was last week the scene of one of the most dastardly crimes of which it is possible to conceive.  Years ago an old man and his wife took a little four year old girl to raise and educate.  The little girl was an orphan and she found a comfortable home.  The old man whose name was Siebe Johnson, had a son, Arthur Johnson, who studied medicine.  The girl grew up to almost womanhood beneath the roof of the only home she ever knew, when the devil in the form of the young doctor enticed her from the paths of virtue and so persecuted her that she left home and determined never to return.  A few months ago Mrs. Johnson took sick and begged the girl to return home again to wait on her.  She finally consented and did return only to find herself the victim of the young doctor's attentions.  The effects soon made themselves apparent and one day last week the doctor attempted to conceal the evidences of the guilt by adding the infamous crime of abortion.  He administered a dose of medicine to the girl under the operation of which she sank until he believed he had murdered her, when he proceeded to take a dose of poison himself.  When the condition of the doctor and his patient was discovered, Dr. Harris was sent for and the lives of both saved.  As soon however as Doctor Johnson became conscious and was aware that the poison had not been permitted to do its perfect work, he reached under this pillow and drawing a navy pistol leveled it at Dr. Harris and commenced blazing away at him.  Dr. Harris did not stand upon the order of going and escaped from the room of the would be murderer unhurt.  Doctor Johnson was at once arrested and had a preliminary trial Saturday, as a result of which we have no doubt he was bound over to await the action of the grand jury.

25 October 1884, Neosho Miner and Mechanic

At Exeter, Mo., on last Monday, at the public school two Hudgepeth boys and Frank Overton, betweeen the ages of sixteen and seventeen years got into a difficulty at the ball ground during recess.  One of the Hudgepeths and Overton got into a fist fight when the other Hudgepeth came up behind Overton and stabbed him in the right side wtih a knife, making a cut three inches in length, from which the bowels protruded.  Both the Hudgepeths were lodged in jail, their father refusing to go their bail.  Overton was sinking on Tuesday and is probably dead.

19 March 1885, Peirce City Weekly Empire

Capt. J. M. Patterson arrived last evening from Cassville, Barry county, where he has been attending Circuit Court.  He says a shooting match occured at Purdy yesterday.  Bill Bradley mustered up a little ill feeling toward A. M. Laster.  The latter got a little mad also, and a drink of Whiskey and a couple of "chaws" of tobacco failed to effect a compromise.  Bill said no man could drink a jug of whiskey lower than he could.  Laster said he had never had such a insinuation cast at him and he would not "take it," consequently they both flew to arms and five or six shots were playfully passed between them before perfect and secure friendship could be effected.  Captain Patterson says it is vaguely rumored that both will be "jerked up" for carrying concealed weapons, though their numerous friends claim that no such dread consequences can certainly ensue.  The Captain says that this movement to have the boys indicted probably orginates from the fact that the old time settlers are prejudiced against the use of new fangled weapons like pistols, preferring the good old rifle.  If they are indicted they will probably come clear on the ground of malicious prosecution. -- Springfield Herald.

9 June 1885, Joplin Daily Herald

Cassville Democrat:  Off and on, for the last seven years, there has been a man in Roaring River township, going under the name of J. J. Johnson, but later information goes to prove that this man Johnson, is the real James Cummins of the James brother gang.  He had invested in some real estate down there, by buying a claim and swapping the claim for the old chair factory place.  He also acted as a deputy constable, in that township, for some time.  Some time ago he left rather suddenly, but before leaving, he told some one down there, that if he never came back they could have a horse and several other things to keep, that he left with them.  We don't doubt but what his information is correct, as we have questioned several parties from that locality about the matter and they are all of the same opinion.


Apparently there is some factual basis for this story.  Jim Cummins of the James gang later published an autobiographical account of his life as a Civil War guerrilla and outlaw.  Without providing any details, the book mentions that he lived under the name Johnson in Barry County and later in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  One edition of the book is online here.

10 June 1885, Joplin Daily Herald

A Serious Affair

Washburn, Mo., June 6 -- There was a serious shooting scrape a half mile west of this place Saturday night between 10 and 11 o'clock in which three men were seriously wounded, one fatally.  Report says the men, Ed Rider, Ed Leach and Blunt Stains, were all drinking during the evening, but it appears there was no quarreling between them before the shooting occurred.  Leach says that Rider remarked to him:  "Leach, G_d__ you, you carry a pistol and call yourself a shooter, but you are a d__d coward and afraid to shoot.  I have shot before and expect to shoot again," and with that he began shooting at Leach, who was sitting on the edge of a bed in which his wife and child were lying.  Leach fell back on the bed and threw up his legs and the first shot from Rider's pistol struck him in the calf of the leg.  Leach then got up off the bed and began firing at Rider who ran behind Stains, and Leach shot them both twice each -- Stains by accident in the shoulder and ranging down into the lung, and in the arm between shoulder and elbow and Rider in the side, shattering a rib, and in the shoulder as Rider was shooting, ranging down and lodging in or near the spine.  Rider is fatally wounded and the doctor says he cannot live.  Stains and Leach will probably get well.

12 June 1885, Jasper County Democrat, Carthage

In a shooting scrape last week at Seligman, Barry county, Missouri, between two men, named respectively Rider and Leech, both were severely if not fatally wounded and a man named John Blunt, who happened to be present was killed.

8 January 1886, Joplin Daily Herald

Arrest of a Supposed Murderer.

Seligman, Mo., Jan. 6 -- A. J. Weaver of this place was arrested here yesterday on a warrant charging him with murder in the first degree.  The supposed murder was committed at Kingman Kansas on the third of August last and has so far baffled all efforts at solution.  The facts in the case are briefly as follows:  Sherman Rumley, a young man employed at the livery stable in Kingman, was last seen in company with Weaver and two other parties.  Just after dark on the evening of August third the quartette left town and went up the railroad in the direction of a brick kiln just outside of the city limits.  Here all trace of Rumley is lost, though every effort has been made by the citizens of the place to find some clue to his whereabouts.  Detectives have been at work on the case unceasingly, and from the conduct of Weaver at the time and subsequent remarks they have a strong chain of evidence against him and two other parties not yet known to be under arrest.  Weaver was formerly a hotel keeper at this place.  He was considered here an inoffensive sort of man.  The arrest has caused quite a ripple of excitement here.  The parties making the arrest were armed with a requisition from Governor Marmaduke.

26 January 1886, Joplin Daily Herald

Peirce Empire:  The friends and relatives of Long, Burchette and Weaver, of Barry county, have received the announcement by telegraph that the three men named were hung in Kansas by vigilantes.  The parties were charged with murder.

22 July 1886, Peirce City Weekly Empire

Murdered on Capps Creek,
Barry County,
And Their Bodies Exhumed,
from a Blind Ditch.
Edward Clum Placed Behind the
"Another Man's Wife" and
Lead to the Most Shocking Crime Recorded
in Barry County.
Thursday, July 8th.

A colored man came to the city this morning and reported that J. J. White and a daughter of James Bowe had been murdered a week ago last Thursday, on a farm formerly owned by the widow Murphy.  

Mr. White came from Rochester, New York, about a year ago.  Since then he lost his wife and Ella Bowe had been engaged to keep house for him.  This morning a colored man came to town and stated that on Thursday a week ago he was in a field with a wagon, saw White and the girl walk down the road, then Ed. Clumm passed after them with a shot gun.  Soon a couple of shots were fired and Clumm returned, put in new cartridges, and ordered the colored man to go and get a load of straw.

The wagon was driven to the bodies, which were thrown in, straw was burnt over the pools of blood on the ground and the bodies carried away, and the colored man claims to not know where the bodies were buried.

Officers have gone out again to make further investigations, and are of the opinion that a murder has been committed.


The community was thrown into a fever of excitement yesterday afternoon by the news of a double murder committed July 8th, on the old Wallace place in Barry county, five miles south of Peirce City, the victims being Mr. J. J. White, a farmer about forty-five years of age, and Miss Ella Bowe, the daughter of James Bowe a farmer living near by.  The first news of the affair was brought to this city by Willis Dehoney, a colored man who worked for White and Ed Clum, the supposed murderer.  Dehoney came into town horseback and told city marshal Chappell and Capt. F. S. Stellhorn about it.  It was kept quiet and papers were at once issued for Clum's arrest and given to Chappell and Stellhorn to go and make the capture, which was done without trouble.  Clum was found on the farm attending to his work as though nothing had happened.  He was brought to this place at 3 p. m., and lodged in the calaboose and a telegram sent to the Sheriff of Barry county to come and take charge of the prisoner.  But few knew or suspected that any such thing had happened, and when Clum appeared on the street in charge of officers and handcuffed, the news spread like a prairie fire, and nearly the whole town turned out to view the prisoner.  White and Clum are both well known and many were loth to believe the charges to be true, yet, White had not been seen for some time which was thought by some to be strange, as he usually drove in once or twice a week.  The history of the case as related by Dehoney, who was an eye witness to the act of Clum, is as follows:  On Thursday, July 8th, at nearly sundown, Dehoney was mowing some lodged wheat about one fourth of a mile from the house.  He had finished and called Clum, who had a gun, to come and help him load it on a wagon, which he did.  After Dehoney had started to the house with his load, Clum walked along straight towards the house while Dehoney had to drive around to avoid ditches.  When Dehoney was some seventy yards away he looked back and saw Clum in the act of firing his gun[;] he looked in another direction and heard the discharge of both barrels close together; he looked and saw him in the act of putting more cartridges in the gun and saw him shoot twice more and reload a second time, then Clum throwed up his hand and halloed to Dehoney to stop, and told him to drive around there quick which he did and down behind a bank in the field a short distance from the creek he saw White and Miss Bow lying near together and both dead.  Clum ordered Dehoney to throw off some of the straw down the bank with which Clum covered the bodies.  Dehoney was ordered to drive around to another place and come down near the bodies and to take the team from the wagon and go to the house, and not to unharness the horses.

After dark the team was hitched up to the wagon again and the bodies put on the load and hauled about one hundred and fifty yards to a blind ditch, near where it emptied into the creek.  Here the ditch was uncovered, the rocks taken out of it and the bodies thrown in together [with] some straw and some of White's clothing, which Clum brought from the house, and then all covered up with rocks and dirt about three feet in depth.  Clum kept Dehoney with him and he assisted in the burial, and was present yesterday when the bodies were exhumed.  Dehoney, who appears to be an inoffensive sort of man, says that he did not dare to tell it before, that Clum told him if he ever told it he would shoot him dead, and he had not dared to go anywhere until he complained of needing medicine and was allowed to come to town, and gave away the crime

About fifteen months ago White and his wife came to this place from Rochester, N. Y., and bought the farm where he was killed.  About one year ago Clum came also from Rochester and was known in this community as a brother of Mrs. White, who about four months ago was taken sick and lived but a short time and was buried in the cemetery here.  Previous to Mrs. White's death Miss Bowe had lived with her as help, and since that time she has visited there, and the report was that she and White were to marry soon.  Clum was a widower, or so understood.  Since his arrest Clum has made statements which if true are astounding.  He states that the Mrs. White who died was his wife. That White ran away with her from Rochester, and took some of his money which bought part of the farm, and that he traced them up and came here.  No one has heard of it before.  He also stated that Mrs. White was poisoned when she died.

These stories are almost beyond belief.  It is unnatural.  They always got along well together, rode to town together often, and were old soldiers together in a New York regiment.

If their relations are as stated by him, that with the story that he (Clum) was smitten with Miss Bowe, and that White had or was working to alienate her affections from him, may have caused him to commit the horrible crime.

Whether he suspected that they were out there in the field together, and that he was looking for them, is not known.

The bodies were badly decomposed and hardly recognizable.

The straw that was first thrown over the bodies was burnt to hide the stains of blood.

White was shot in the forehead and Mis Bowe in the back through her vitals.  Over thirty large shot holes were counted in her back.

A justice of the peace ordered a jury last night and will hold an inquest today.

Bert Talbert came in from Cassville last night, and departed with Clum to place him in the county jail.

The colored man was placed in the hands of Barry county officers last evening, and will be present at the inquest.

A lady by the name of Vassar, who has been keeping house for White and Clum, is still on the premises, and a lad of hers is believed to have witnessed the murder.

The remains will be interned in the cemetaries near this city this afternoon.

5 August 1886, Peirce City Weekly Empire

In Regard to the J. J. White

The following letter received this morning by Depot Policeman Dumont explains itself:

Fairport, N. Y., July 26, 1886.

J. F. Dumont.

Dear Sir and Comrade. -- Your letter directed to Adj't E. A. Slocum Post 211 G. A. R., duly received, asking information in regard to Ed. Clum, and such other information.

E. F. Clum joined this Post about 2 years and a half ago; was a member of the 9th H. A. Co. B.  J. J. White joined this Post at the same time, and was also a Lieut. in Co. B, H. A.  E. F. Clum was dismissed from this Post by court martial Sept. 27, '85, for conduct unbecoming a gentleman and soldier.  J. J. White was also dishonorably discharged from this Post for like conduct.  White's crime was riding at a furious rate through the streets of this village in company of Mrs. Clum, the wife of Ed, who was notoriously bad; both in a beastly state of intoxication, and endangering the lives of pedestrian[s], for which said White was fined by our village justice.  Clum's crime consisted of coming to a family camp-fire of the Post in a state of intoxication, using the vilest of obscene language in the presence of our wives and daughters, and nearly breaking up the gathering.

This couple were the worst specimens of humanity that ever visited this village.  Clum's wife was a common prostitute and kept a notorious bad place, and the authorities hunted them out of town.

We were grossly imposed upon when we took those two men as members of our Post.  Something like a year ago White ran, or went away with Clum's wife, and soon after we learned that Clum's wife was dead.  Whether they passed as man and wife, I do not know.  This Clum lived in Rochester and lived in the family of H. Hermon, a butcher, for whom he worked.  A few months ago Clum came to Fairport, and said he was going west to live; told me he was going to try to lead a different life.  He censured me for being to[o] hard on him, as I was president of the court martial that dismissed him from the Post, and asked if there was any relief for him; I told him there was none.  Since then I did not know of his whereabouts until I saw the accounts in the papers of the murders.

S. J. Kelsey was commander of this Post at the time Clum was mustered.  He is at home now sick, and feels very bad that he should be personated by such a bad man as Ed Clum.  The two men in appearance is very different.  Clum is a thick set man from 5 ft 4, to 5 ft 6, red face, light moustache, sometimes wears a little tuft of goatee under the lip, light hair and rather thick short neck.

J. J. White's wife committed suicide in this village about 2 years ago.  She was a highly respected lady, and was one of a very highly esteemed family, but the poor broken hearted woman could endure life no longer with such a brute for a husband and her reason fled, and suicide to end her sorrows, resulted.  J. J. when notified of her death was traveling on the road for some firm, and when he came home went at once to the Clum residence and indulged in a drunken debauch, much to the disgust of all our citizens who knew these facts.  The intimacy between White and Clum's wife had been going on for a long time, apparently with the approval of Clum, for I never heard of his making any remonstrance.  I will procure a picture of Kelsey if I can and send you.

You have no doubt got the original Clum and the world can well get rid of such a vile nest as these people were.

The parents of Clum and White reside in Macedon P. O., Macedon center, N. Y.  They are respectable people, and this occurrence brings additional sorrow to the families.

Yours in F. C. & L.
John F. Huntington, Adj't.

To J. F. Dumont, Depot Marshal, Peirce City, Mo.

P. S. -- A man by the name of E. Bronson, working for the firm of Huntington, Dwyer & Hunter, R. R. contractors, now working on a R. R. contract, 30 miles from Kansas City, in Missouri, knows all about Clum and White; lived in the house with Clum sometime before he came to Fairport.  Huntington, of the firm is also well acquainted with the parties and knows their history complete.  They have worked on R. R. work together.  Any further information will be cheerfully given.

Yours, &c.
J. F. H.

Wickedness of White and Clum
While Residents of
New York.

The Monroe County (N. Y.) Mail of July 29th gives further character of J. J. White and Ed. Clum:

Edward Clum's father, Ferdinand Clum, who is a well-to-do farmer, and his mother now live in the village of Lincoln, town of Walworth, and the old gentleman is a leading member of the Methodist church.  He feels very badly over his son's actions, and much sympathy is felt for him by his neighbor.  Young Clum was wild even when a boy and his parents had little authority over him.  He finally settled on a farm near the village of West Walworth.

Six or eight years ago J. J. White lived with his wife and family about two miles from Clum's home.  His parents now live about one mile south of West Walworth.  His father, John T. White, is respected in the community as an honest, upright man, and is a farmer in good circumstances.

Between White and Clum a singular friendship arose.  There was no outward similarity between the men.  Clum was a coarse and ignorant man, while White was educated and gentlemanly in good society.  White was about 15 years older than the other and seemed to use the less intellectual man as a tool.  White was undoubtedly the slick villain, while Clum stood the blame for much where both were equally guilty.  Although White at one time bore a fair reputation, keeping his hands apparently clean, yet he afterwards became more detested and feared than was his rougher friend.  It is believed that had Clum shot White at Walworth a few years ago a jury could not have been found to convict him of murder.  About five years ago White bought property close to the village of West Walworth, where he and Clum took up their residence.  From this time the tongues of gossips wagged with greater freedom, and sturdy villagers, averse to hearing ill of their neighbors, were forced to acknowledge the truth of much that was said.  White was always partial to ladies' society, but his intimacy with Mrs. Clum was particularly bare-faced.  Clum apparently took no steps to protect his wife, and his inactivity excited the disgust ofthe neighbors.

White's wickedness fell nowhere with more severity than on his own wife.  He did not neglect or beat her, providing at all times sufficient means for the household.  She felt deeply, however, the results of his perverseness, but her remonstrances appeared to have been without avail.  There is little doubt that the insanity which afflicted her two years ago, and which resulted in her committing suicide, mention of which was made in the Mail last week, was caused by her husband's sins.

Last spring while Clum was at his parents' home in Lincoln he received a telegram that his wife was dying in Missouri.  The old people, wishing to keep him away from White, tried to persuade him not to go, but as usual he was not governed by advice of older and wiser persons, but went to see the wife who had deserted him.  She died soon after his arrival, and he remained with White.

The statements extensively published that the murder was committed with a view to obtaining the estate, the men being brothers-in-law, is without foundation.  The men were not related.  Undoubtedly, in the opinion of those who knew the two men, the trouble was over the girl.  White was a fine looking man, while Clum had none of the attractions which captivate a woman's heart.  The former, as usual, was the more successful in his suit, and it seems that Clum, engraged and jealous, fired the shot, killing White and Miss Bowe, when seated side by side.  The slave at last rebelled and destroyed the master, and possibly in Clum's mind the long standing account against White has been settled, although the former pays with his life for his revenge.

White left a son and two daughters at West Walforth.  The son, Warley White, has just sold out the little village store, and gone, it is believed, to Farmington for the threshing season.  Warley White is married, and is spoken of in the highest terms.  His father paid him a visit during the past year.  Clum has no children.  The general sentiment is that White brought his terrible fate upon himself by his misdeeds, and there is little regret felt by those acquainted with the circumstances, at his sudden end, although much pity is felt for his relatives.


The Circuit Court convenes at Cassville on the second Monday in September, when it is expected that Clum will be tried.

21 April 1887, Peirce City Weekly Empire

Confesses to Killing J. J.
White But Denies Shoot-
ing Ella Bowe.

CASSVILLE, MO., April 15th, 1 p. m. --- Clum is now on way to scaffold.  At times he breaks down, and again, braces up.  He confesses to the killing of J. J. White, but positively says he did not kill Ella Bowe; and says that the negro, Willis Dehoney shot her.  He says he did not kill Ella Bowe, and will not confess it to gratify the public mind.  Clum retired about ten o'clock last night and slept well during the night.  At about eleven o'clock today Sheriff Hailey read him his death warrant which he received in a business-like manner.  This morning Sen. Bridges, his attorney, visited him and he completely broke down.  There is a large crowd here; estimated at from seven to ten thousand; very orderly, and everything quiet.

CASSVILLE, MO., 3:30 p. m. --- At precisely 2:38 p. m., Ed F. Clum was swung off and died without a struggle.  He bid his friends goodbye, and said he was willing to die and pay the penalty of his deed with his life; that his sentence was just and righteous.

The crime for which Ed Clum was tried and convicted, was committed five miles south of this city on July 8th 1886, the victims being J. J. White, a farmer, about forty-five years of age, and Miss Ella Bowe, daughter of a farmer living near by.

The first news of the murder was brought to this city by Willis Dehoney, about a week after the murder, who was an employee on the farm.  A warrant was issued, Clum was arrested and brought to this city, and afterwards placed in the hands of the Barry county Sheriff.

At the September term of the Barry county court, Clum was tried for the murder of Ella Bowe and sentenced to be hung.  The facts as developed at the trial were about as follows:

On Thursday, July 8th, at nearly sundown, Dehoney was mowing some lodged wheat about one fourth of a mile from the house.  He had finished and called Clum, who had a gun, to come and help him load it on a wagon, which he did.  After Dehoney had started to the house with his load, Clum walked along straight towards the house while Dehoney had to drive around to avoid ditches.  When Dehoney was some seventy yards away he looked back and saw Clum in the act of firing his gun[;] he looked in another direction and heard the discharge of both barrels close together; he looked and saw Clum in the act of putting more cartridges in the gun and saw him shoot twice more and reload a second time, then Clum throwed up his hand and halloed to Dehoney to stop, and told him to drive around there quick which he did and down behind a bank in the field a short distance from the creek he saw White and Miss Bow lying near together and both dead.  Clum ordered Dehoney to throw off some of the straw down the bank with which Clum covered the bodies.  Dehoney was ordered to drive around to another place and come down near the bodies and to take the team from the wagon and go the house, and not to unharness the horses.

After dark the team was hitched up to the wagon again and the bodies put on the load and hauled about one hundred and fifty yards to a blind ditch, near where it emptied into the creek.  Here the ditch was uncovered, the rocks taken out of it and the bodies thrown in together [with] some straw and some of White's clothing, which Clum brought from the house, and then all covered up with rocks and dirt about three feet in depth.  Clum kept Dehoney with him and he assisted in the burial, and was present when the bodies were exhumed.  Dehoney says that he did not dare to tell it before, that Clum told him if he ever told it he would shoot him dead, and he had not dared to go anywhere until he complained of needing medicine and was allowed to come to town, and gave away the crime.

About fifteen months before the murder White and his wife came to this place from Rochester, N. Y., and bought the farm where he was killed.  Six months afterwards Clum came also from Rochester and was known in this community as a brother of Mrs. White, who was taken sick and lived but a short time and was buried in the cemetery here.  It developed on the trial that Mrs. White was the wife of Clum, and had deserted him to come west with White.  Previous to Mrs. White's death Miss Bowe had lived with her as help, and since that time she had visited there, and the report was that she and White were to marry soon.

Last Hours with Ed. F. Clum

From our correspondent who was with Ed Clum to the last moment and to whom he confessed to the killing of Ella Bowe, we learn some additional details regarding his last moments.  Rarely, if ever is it our province to record the exhibition of such nerve and brave determination to meet a terrible fate as was exhibited yesterday by Ed F. Clum.  He gave all the instructions in detail as to the disposition of his body and effects.  He made particular request that his body should be buried at some later period in Peirce City cemetery and that his wife should be taken up from the lot of J. J. White and buried by his side; he wanted to be there because on memorial day, when soliders' graves were decorated, perchance comrades would drop a flower on his.  When all things were ready, Clum left his cell and entered the hack that drew him to the scaffold; he conversed freely about the surroundings that met his view, wanted to see the location of the cemetery, and it being pointed out, inquired if the newly opened grave was intended for him; on being told it was, he smiled and said he would soon be there, and at rest.  He conversed freely upon all matters up to the very time of his execution, and never quivered in a muscle.

The statement and confession made some four weeks ago to the representative of the EMPIRE, and yesterday on the scaffold reaffirmed by Clum just a few moments before the drop fell, as to the mode and manner of killing Ella Bowe, should forever set at rest any suspicion of the participation of the colored man, Willis Dehoney, in the killing of Ella Bowe, as Clum told our reporter in just so many words, that he, and he alone, was guilty of the murder, and was willing to atone for the act with his life.

Our correspondent is under many obligations to Sheriff Hailey for courtesies extended, and all the arrangements for the execution so perfectly carried out, reflect great credit on Sheriff Newton L. Hailey.  At the moment the drop fell, Ed. F. Clum was a dead man.

21 July 1887, Fountain & Journal, Mt. Vernon, Missouri

W. O. Evans, ex-county clerk of Barry Co., was shot from the roadside last week and killed by a party whom he states in his dying moments was one Steve Webb, his brother-in-law.  Evans was an influential man and his assassination is to be lamented.  Webb denies the charge.


On July 5, 1894, the Cassville Republican listed murders in Barry County over the past dozen years.  According to this article, no one was convicted of this killing.  See below.

3 December 1887, Miner and Mechanic, Neosho, Missouri

James McCaslin Assassinated in Barry Co.

A special to the Springfield Leader of the 28th ult., says:  Saturday the 25th inst., James McCaslin of White River township Barry County was traveling along the road near the old Sellers farm, on White River, about 20 miles southeast of this place, near the Arkanas line, was waylaid and killed by one James Hambrick, a neighbor of McCaslin.  It is said that an old grudge existed between the two men, and that about a month ago they had a quarrel, but separated without doing bodily harm to either.  It is also said that a spark of jealousy had been nurtured until it has been kindled into a good sized flame, and is reported as another cause for the killing.  Hambrick told his wife that he killed McCaslin and she told the people.  The murderer has departed for parts unknown, but it is hoped that he will be captured, and brought to speedy justice.  Our people deplore the killing of this man, as well as any other man, and hope very soon he may be brought to punishment.  Parties were this morning after a coffin for McCaslin.


On July 5, 1894, the Cassville Republican listed murders in Barry County over the past dozen years.  According to this article, Hambrick had not been caught.  See below.

19 September 1889, Peirce City Weekly Empire

Attempts to Hide The
Body in a Pond.
And Then Throws It In A
Privy Vault.
The Mother Then Makes a Full

Monett Daily News.

Yesterday about noon, while Maggie Bly of Peirce City, was washing at Mr. McKinney's she gave birth to a child.  She immediately stabbed it in the abdomen with a pair of scissors, wrapped it in her apron and took it to the pond north of the bank intending to throw the body in.  The appearance of two little boys frightened her, when she went to the privy of the Lindell hotel and threw the child in the vault.  Being crazed with pain she started for Peirce City.  Her excited appearance caused Marshal Vandergriff to suspicion something wrong and on questioning her he became satisfied that she had made [a]way with her child.  After searching for the body and questioning the woman she admitted having thrown the body in a vault, and afterward admitted that she had stabbed the infant with a pair of scissors.

The woman was taken before Esq. Ash, who empannelled a jury who found her guilty of murder of her child and she is held to answer.  From the pain, the shock to the nervous sytem and the mental excitement she is now lying in a critical condition and her recovery is doubtful.


On July 5, 1894, the Cassville Republican listed murders in Barry County over the past dozen years.  According to this article, Bly was acquitted of this killing.  See below.

2 January 1890, Peirce City Weekly Empire

Murder and Death.

Cassville, Dec. 25. -- At a dance at the residence of Steve Ruddick's, near McDowell post office, Jake Gregory shot at Norman Hogan and missed him.  The bullet struck Dan Griffith and killed him.  Gregory had not been captured at last accounts.

13 February 1890, Peirce City Weekly Empire

Cassville, Mo., Feb. 7. -- [Special] N. L. Haily Sheriff of this county, returned from Washita, I. T., with Jacob Gregory, who has been wanted here since the 25th day of last December, for the murder of Adolphus Griffiths on Flat creek.  Immediately after the shooting Gregory departed and though heard of was not definitely located until a few days ago when Sheriff Hailey received word from E. S. Stubblefield, near Washita, that Gregory could be found when he went and Wednesday made the arrest.

Gregory seems to be quite despondent and manifested deep regret that Griffiths was shot, though he has nothing to say relative Hogan, the man shot at.


On July 5, 1894, the Cassville Republican listed murders in Barry County over the past dozen years.  According to this article, Gregory was acquitted of this killing.  See below.

1 March 1890, Neosho Miner and Mechanic

Attempted Assassination at Washburn.

A. A. Johnson of Washburn, a bad egg when filled with red eye, has terrorized the citizens of that locality, and thus avoided arrest.  On Sunday night last the frequent reports of Johnson's pistol cleared the streets, and sent all the good citizens indoors.  Heretofore Johnson has sent for Winter Frost, who is his brother-in-law, when he got into trouble, although, on account of family troubles he has repeatedly threatened to kill him.  Frost is a merchant at Seligman, six miles from Washburn, and on Tuesday received a dispatch from Johnson to come to Washburn.  He did so and was met at the door by Mrs. Mary Moore, a sister-in-law.  He inquired where Johnson was, and being told he was in the other room, started to follow Mrs. Moore into the room.  As soon as the door was opened it revealed Johnson with a double-barreled shotgun, which he cocked, saying as he did so, "There's the G-d-- man I'm after," and raised the gun to his shoulder.  Mrs. Moore was to[o] quick for him though and knocked the muzzle of the gun up and prevented Johnson going out of hte room until Frost had time to escape, which he did without any unnecessary delay.

17 March 1892, Neosho Times

Saturday morning a murder was committed near Golden, Barry county.  Cale Brown shot and killed Henderson Phillips.  The two men got into a quarrel over a disreputable woman, named Celia Phillips.  Brown was promptly arrested and placed in jail.

24 March 1892, Peirce City Weekly Empire

Henderson Phillips Shot From His
Horse. He Never Spoke Again.

Cassville Republican.

For several years past no names have been more familiar or appeared upon court dockets oftener than the Phillipses of White River.  First on one hand and then on another they have been brought up,and the notoriety ____ has made the names of Henderson, Harve and Celia Ann Phillips known to old and young.

Now one of them is no more.  Henderson has gone where law suits are unknown and no appeals entertained from the decision.  The report of his murder Saturday, brought Sunday by his brother Harve, created some talk with but little surprise.  From him but little could be learned save that Caleb Brown had shot and instantly killed his brother and that Brown and Celia Ann were under arrest for the murder.

Sunday night Sheriff Goodnight went to White River and Monday safely lodged the prisoners in jail.  He was assisted by Deputy Constable Vaio Ham--on.

An interview with Brown elicited the following:

"I am 30 years old; was born in Benton Co., Mo., Sept. 12, 1861.  I came to Barry from Saline county in April, 1890, and worked for Charles Grubbs near Cassville for some time.  Last fall I went to White River township where I got acquainted with the Phillipses and during the big snow hired to Ann to work on the farm.  Henderson didn't like my being there and told Ann I couldn't stay there without putting him under the sod, or he would kill me.  About two weeks ago he (Henderson) hid behind a tree and sent John (his second boy) to raise a disturbance.  I wasn't there.  He shot Ann's dog at her door.  He saw me coming across the field with Ann's little _____ Frassy, and met me.  His first words were, G-- d--n you, do you ______ Ann setting her dog on my children?  I said, No, sir, I don't.  She hasn't set the dogs on your children.  He put his hand on his pistol and I looked him in the eye and said, Hen, don't you undertake that at all.  He took his hand from the pistol when I told him I didn't want to hurt a hair of his head and wanted him to go away and leave me alone.  Will Widdick came up about this time and I again told Hen I didn't want to hurt him or get hurt.  He said, By G--, cowards are what shoot, brave men don't shoot!  I told him I didn't want to hurt him and went to the house.  In a short time he came to the house and called me out when he said Ann had not treated him right but wanted to drop the whole matter.  I said I had nothing to drop if he would leave me alone.

"Friday, the day before the killing John passed back of the field and shot twice, and about 300 yards from the house shot again.  When he came up I said, John, what in the world does this mean.  You don't mean to have a shooting scrape with me, do you?  He says, Oh, no!  I said, Well, then, pass on and act like a gentleman.  I don't want any trouble with you.  As he got off about 50 or 100 yards he shot and hollered, then went toward home and shot three times more.  After he had gone I was in the yard cutting wood when Ann said, Yonder they come, all of them armed.  I looked up and saw them -- two boys and four or five women.  The women called to John, who was ahead waving a pistol, Crowd him!  The G-- d--n s-- of a b---- won't shoot.  When they said that I picked up my gun and stepped down to the road and said, John, don't come here.  Don't crowd me for I don't want any trouble with you.  He took a tree on me and stood there.  I didn't crowd him but stood in the yard a while and then went in the house.  After fooling around a while they went home.

"Saturday morning me and Blake Allen were standing in Ann's yard and looking across the field saw three of the Phillips.  Henderson came up and passed on toward Golden, the others remained there until he was out of sight.  Just before Henderson reached us I told Blake he would crowd me.  Blake said, No, I will ride off with him and will stop any trouble, so he started off a little ahead of Hen, who soon overtook him, and went to Golden with him.

"Some time after his daddy passed John came along with a shot gun, remington and pocket pistol, going toward Golden.

"After dinner Ann said we had better burn the brush where we had been at work in the morning.  She said, Caleb, there is a big trouble up from John going up with his gun.  If they get drunk they will do you up; you had better take your gun out.  I said, No I _______ leaned it against a bush.  I was down kindling a fire when Ann discovered Hen and said he was coming and not to have any trouble if it could possibly be avoided.  I said I wasn't going to have any if I could help it.  By that time Hen was even with me and jerking off his hat, yelled, Four rows of teats by G-- and holes punched for more!  Ann started for the house and Hen charged her with his pistol drawn.  About twelve feet from the house she took a tree and kept telling him to go away, that she wanted no trouble but would never take what she had taken.  He whirled back on me and said, There is the G-- d--- thieving son of a b---- that I want.  I was about forty steps from the house.  He had his pistol out and as he got forainst [sic] me he threw it down and I shot him.

"John rode up with Hen and when I shot Hen, John threw his gun on me but Ann threw her gun on him and made him put it down.  John went home and told them I had killed his daddy.  They got their guns and came back.  The boys came up and I told them to let me alone and they went to their daddy.  Hen did not speak after he was shot.  He was shot in the left breast and arm, the arm being broken.  Fifteen shot entered his person from hip to shoulder."

An inquest was held under 'Squire M. H. Robert's supervision and Brown and Mrs. Phillips were arrested.  The jury was composed of W. R. Bryan, Wm. Phillips, Joe McCullough, Parish Martin, Wes Roberts and William Henson.  The preliminary hearing is set for tomorrow before 'Squire Roberts who will hold court at this place.

Celia Ann Phillips,

who is under arrest as accessory to the crime, was born in Burlington, Iowa, and says she is 27 years old, though she looks much older.  Her maiden name was Hunley and was first married to Smith Booth of this county, and later to Harve Philips, from whom she was divorced, but remarried and was again divorced.  She has three children.  Her reputation was not limited to Barry county.


On July 5, 1894, the Cassville Republican listed murders in Barry County over the past dozen years.  According to this article, Caleb Brown and Celia Phillips received 10 years in prison for this killing.  See below.

The life of William Henderson Phillips has inspired a novel by a descendant, J. K. Phillips, Jakie Creek. Legacy of An Ozark Outlaw.

7 July 1892, Cassville Republican

Tom Burnett of Seligman Shot
and Killed

Before Monett's first tragedy is decided by the law she has a second to her credit.  Last Friday morning Sheriff Goodnight was informed that he was wanted in Monett, a murder having been committed, and he at once obeyed the call.  The details as related by the Leader are as follows:

About 10 o'clock Thursday night a dastardly tragedy was enacted at the intersection of Broadway and Fifth streets, this city, which has few parallels in the annals of crime in Barry county.  The victim was Thomas Burnett, a young man about 24 years of age, and his slayer is Joseph Vernon, aged about 25 years.  The weapon used was a 38-calibre Smith & Wesson revolver.

The particulars of the tragedy have been difficult to obtain, and the cause which led to it is still kept in the dark, for some unknown reason.

At the time already stated Burnett and a friend, Bill Powers, were standing on the sidewalk near Brockman's news depot.  Vernon and a companion, Bud Bly, known as "Budwiser," approached them from the direction of the Attaway hotel.  When near, Vernon wanted to know of Burnett and Powers if they were looking for him.  They replied they were not.  Several times the question was repeated and each time in a more insolent manner, and the last time in a way that prompted Powers to strike him, the blow knocking him off the sidewalk into the gutter.  The negro scrambled to his feet and in doing so staggered into the street.  Meantime his hand was thrust into his hip pocket, and by the time he had straightened up he proceeded to open fire upon the two young men, firing two shots.  Powers was out of reach as, after striking Vernon, he had run behind Brockman's news depot, but Burnett was less fortunate and received the second shot through the chest.  The ball went through the muscles of the left arm, entered the body between the fifth and sixth ribs, and going directly through passed out between the fifth and sixth ribs.  After being shot Burnett turned and ran around the news depot and fell in the alley against Campbell's confectionary store, a distance of perhaps 75 feet from where he received the deadly messenger.  He could not have lived more than a few minutes as he was dead when found.  The body was at once taken up and removed to Raupp's undertaking establishment where it was properly cared for and remained until yesterday afternoon.

After doing his awful work the negro ran across the street toward the hotel corner and in attempting to cross the gutter fell.  He was quickly surrounded and captured by a number of persons who had been attracted to the spot by the shooting.  His pistol, which had fallen out of his hand, was found by John Such in the gutter.  Such started up Fifth Street with the pistol and near Bond was overtaken by Mr. John Gillies, who took charge of him and the pistol.  At first it was believed Such was guilty of the shooting but that idea was dispelled by the statement of Bud Bly, who was positive that Vernon was the murderer.

About 11 o'clock Thursday night Esq. J. F. Bedford proceeded to hold an inquest at the mayor's office, in order to ascertain the facts and a jury was impaneled as follows:  C. M. Swetman, R. M. Smith, J. W. Campbell, R. C. Wilson, Walter Dodd and W. H. Floreth.  Witnesses were examined until 4 o'clock Friday morning, when the inquest was adjourned until 9 a. m.   At that time the examination of witnesses was resumed and continued until nearly 4 o'clock p. m., when the case was given to the jury.  A verdict was promptly rendered that the deceased came to his death by a pistol shot in the hands of the prisoner, Joe Vernon.

The feeling for a time against the negro was intense and it would have required very little effort to have organized a first class lynching party, but the advice of the more conservative prevailed.

The father of the murdered man, who lives near Seligman, was notified and arrived yesterday.  He left last night for home with the remains where they will be buried.

Yesterday morning Marshal Hammock carefully searched the prisoner and found in the right leg of his pants a pair of half-pound brass knucks.

The prisoner came here from Lebanon three or four months ago, and has been employed as a waiter at the Attaway hotel.  Mr. Attaway speaks of him as a quiet, peaceable negro.  Street report says he has been in the Texas pentitentiary and that he had killed a man before coming here.  Whatever may have been his character heretofore, the chances are his neck will pay the penalty for this crime.

At the inquest, W. H. Powers, who was with the deceased, and William Bly, who was with Vernon, testified as follows, as given by the Eagle:


W. H. Powers being duly sworn testified as follows: Last night about 9:30 o'clock, the deceased, Tom Burnett, and I were standing in front of Brockman's stationery store in Monett.  A colored man known by the name of Joe, and another colored man called Budwiser, came across towards us from the east.  The deceased said to me, "Let us go up the street," starting north.  Joe then said to me, "I heard that you were hunting for me."  I told him I was not.  He and Bud then both came up near me.  Bud started back toward the Attaway hotel.  Joe kept standing near me.  He repeated his question to me several times if I was hunting for him.  At the same time putting his right hand in his right hip pocket, I saw something shining in his hand which I took to be a pistol.  He then dropped his hand at his sides and turned his side to me.  I hit him with my fist.  He staggered off the sidewalk, south about one-fourth aross the street.  He drew his pistol which I saw in his hand.  I jumped in between Brockman's store and the building immediately west of it.  I saw the flash of his pistol as I jumped.  The blaze came toward me.  I passed out between the buildings north, went west towards Hillard's livery stable, and passed around past Campbell & Wilson's grocery and went home.  I never saw deceased after he started north until I saw him dead later that night.  The deceased boarded at my father's and he and I were on the best of terms.  Joe and myself had had some trouble last Saturday night at the Attaway hotel.


William Bly being duly sworn testified as follows:  I was in Haggerty's saloon June 30th about 9:30 p. m.  Tom Burnett and Wm. Powers came into the saloon and Burnett asked me where Joe Vernon was.  I told him I thought he was asleep.  I went over to the Attaway hotel and found him asleep and woke him up, and said let us go to bed, somebody is looking for you.  He asked me who it was, and I told him.  He went into the house and came out and remarked that he could not find his key and could not get his pistol.  We went over to Brockman's store.  Joe asked Powers if he was looking for him.  Powers said he was not.  He repeated the question several times.  He kept putting his hands into his hip pockets.  Powers struck him with his fist and pushed him into the street.  At that I ran toward the Attaway hotel and as I ran heard the report of a pistol.  I do not know just where it was or who fired it.  As I got to the door I looked around and saw the flash and heard another report.  It was midway between Brockman's and William's stores.  It was Joe Vernon here who fired the gun.  I saw the gun in his hand by the light of Haggerty's saloon lamp.

Sheriff Goodnight, accompanied by Deputy Sheriff Howell and Constable Lowder of Monett and T. D. Steele of this place, safely landed the murderer in jail, where he awaits circuit court, having waived a preliminary hearing.

The deceased was a son of Steve Burnett of Seligman, who took the remains home for burial.

Tuesday morning the prisoner was called upon at the jail, but declined to make a statement.  When asked who struck the first blow, he referred to Power's testimony at the inquest, and in reply to the query, "When Powers struck, you pulled your gun and shot, did you?" he promptly replied, "No, sir, I didn't."

Joseph F. Vernon is a well built negro about 5 feet 11 inches in height, and weighs 160 pounds, crippled in one of his hips.  He does not remember where he was born but was taken to Lebanon, Mo., when a year old, which place had been his home to the time he went to Monett except some six or eight years spent in Springfield.  He is bright and intelligent and will not be easily led into making statements in advance that may be used to the detriment of his case.

27 September 1894, Cassville Republican

Joseph Vernon, who has been held in custody for over two years, for the killing of Thos. Burnett, son of Steve Burnett of Seligman, at Monett, June 30, 1892, was last week acquitted of the charge of murder and turned loose.  A brief history of the case is as follows:

On the night of June 30th, 1892, W. H. Powers and Thomas Burnett were standing on 5th Street, Monett, just west of the Attaway Hotel, when Joe Vernon went up to them and asked Powers if they were looking for him (Vernon), and after an altercation Powers struck Vernon with his fist and knocked him off the sidewalk into the street, and as Vernon got up he began to shoot in the direction of Powers and Burnett.  In a few moments Thomas Burnett was found dead some 75 or 80 feet north-west of where the shooting occurred.  Vernon was arrested and brought to this jail; took a change of venue to Lawrence County; was brought back upon a new indictment; took another change of venue, this time to Stone County, where he was acquitted.

24 November 1892, Cassville Republican

F. D. Lindenbar, who came from Springfield to Monett a few days ago and commenced work on the switch yards, got into a drunken row at a house of ill fame on Tuesday night last, and shot a man by the name of Langley.  He was committed to jail by 'Squire Bedford of Monett and brought down here by Constable Swartzel this morning.  He lives near Springfield, Mo.  Langley it is thought cannot recover.

1 December 1892, Peirce City Weekly Empire


Monett Leader.

Last Tuesday night between ten and eleven o'clock, on the flat south of the depot a shooting affair occurred which will doubtless prove fatal to one of the participants.  Four men were implicated, whose names are F. D. Lindenbower, Chas. R. Langley, H. F. Dustin and Al Daggett.  Langley was the victim and Lindenbower did the shooting.  The ball entered the right side just above the hip and lodged against the skin on the left side.  He was taken to the Midland hotel, and Dr. Dusenbury was called to attend him.  He is in a critical condition and the doctor thinks his case is a hopeless one.

After the shooting, Deputy Sheriff Howell, who heard the shot, proceeded to the spot to investigate.  He found Langley suffering greatly and his companions preparing to place him on a stretcher.  Lindenbower approached Howell and informed him that he had done the shooting and desired to be taken into custody.  Dustin and Daggett made no statement.  They were, however, arrested next day and held.  Daggett was released on Thursday as there was no charge against him.  Dustin is still in custody, and will be held unless he can give a $1000 bond.  Lindenbower was taken to Cassville yesterday by Constable Swarzel in default of a $2500 bond, fixed by Esq. Bedford.  The preliminary trial is set for December 2.

The cause of the tragedy is not fully known.  The four had been out "on a lark," and were under the influence of liquor.  Langley says, in a statement made before Esq. Bedford, that the only cause for the shooting was his refusal to divide his money with the party.  He had given them some but they wanted more.  Dustin first had the pistol and threatened to shoot, but Lindenbower becoming impatient told Dustin to give him the pistol and he would shoot and taking the pistol fired.  Langley threw up his hands and ran a hundred yards or more and sank down, where Mr. Howell found him.

Lindenbower tells nearly the same story, except that they had a dispute about some money and Langley thrust his hand behind him as though he were going to draw a revolver.  He then fired in self-defense.

All parties are comparative strangers here.  All claim to be railroad men.  Al Daggett was train called for a short time.  Dustin claims to be a brakeman.  Lindenbower and Langley had been here only a few days and had no employment.  The latter has but one hand.


On July 5, 1894, the Cassville Republican listed murders in Barry County over the past dozen years.  According to this article, Langley died, and Lindenbower and Dustin were tried for the crime and acquitted.  See below.

14 December 1893, Cassville Republican

The Majesty of the Law Confronts
the Slayer of Pyatt

"Ten Years in the penitentary," is the sentence of the jury at Neosho, that weighed the evidence in the case of State vs. Robert Bruce Alfrey of Rock creek charged with the murder of Grant Pyatt at Eagle Rock last fall.

The testimony was quite even and about as follows:  Alfrey, Pyatt and others were at Eagle Rock spending the day, and had been drinking some.  Alfrey and Pyatt got to discussing a wrestle between them.  Alfrey says Pyatt wanted to bet he could down him, while others said that Alfrey offered to bet $10 to $1 that he could throw Pyatt.  But whoever started it, when it came to the kind of hold they should use they couldn't agree and when Alfrey said he had named back hold in his challenge and offer to bet Pyatt $10 that he (Pyatt) hadn't got $10, Pyatt called him a liar and got knocked down by a blow on the nose.  A difference amongst the witnesses again appears here.  Some say that when Grant got up he had a rock about the size of a hen egg in his hand; others say he had the $2 bill that he was going to bet.  At any rate he made for Alfrey and received a death blow from a knife which severed his liver and in less than an hour he was a corpse.

When sober, Mr. Pyatt was a good hearted, clever man, but when drinking he became reckless.

Mr. Alfrey came from Kentucky to this state and with this exception had always conducted himself properly since coming here.  In Kentucky he had some difficulties and is credited with shooting two men there, one of which he does not deny.

The State was represented by L. Beasley, prosecuting attorney of Barry county, T. D. Steele of Cassville, W. Cloud of Pierce City and J. H. Pratt of Neosho.  The defense was conducted by George & Landis of this place assisted by Joe Cravens of Neosho.

5 July 1894, Cassville Republican

Hung to a Telegraph Pole

Thursday night Monett was the scene of another murder, the second within a fortnight.  No less a murder because accomplished by a mob of excited men, avenging the death of a friend, than if committed by an individual.

Hewett Hayden, a negro in the custody of Marshal Wm. Holland of Neosho and Assistant R. H. Smith, was being conveyed to Cassville, being under arrest for the murder of Robert Greenwood, a grandson of the late Judge Greenwood, formerly of this place, and a cousin of Mrs. T. D. Steele and Mrs. Helen C. Hobbs.

Upon reaching Monett the friends of the deceased, to the number of sixty or seventy, boarded the train, and when a short distance out, it was brought to a standstill, Hayden was taken from the Marshal and hung to a telegraph pole, one shot being fired into the body.

Sheriff Goodnight and Prosecuting Attorney Beasley went up the next morning, but no definite information could be secured as to the crowd.

Coroner Jeffries held an inquest over the remains and brought in a verdict that the deceased came to his death at the hands of unknown persons.

The killing of Greenwood was brought about by the differences between the whites and blacks.  The blacks thought they had been run over too much and decided to make a stand.  Arming themselves, a number seemed to put themselves in the way for trouble and soon found it, and pulling their pistols George Macklin and Marshal Young fired them, the former shooting Greenwood through the bowels, from which he died.

Hayden was in the crowd and though he did not do the shooting, the sentiment was strong enough to launch him into eternity.  The remaining negroes are still at large, though Sheriff Goodnight located two in Newton County last week and thinks they will be caught.


The Work of Mobs.

The acts of the friends of Greenwood in summarily executing the negro Hayden, near Monett, Thursday night, is deplored by all who desire the supremacy of law and order.  It always is.  It again forcibly illustrates the danger of hot headedness and the crimes that may be commited by a few too ardent leaders.  Hayden denied the shooting in which he was supported by the verdict of the jury in the coroner's inquest.  It is no doubt true that he was in the crowd of negroes, one of whom killed Greenwood, but the testimony showed that Maclin and not Hayden was the murderer, and this too before a caputre had been made.  A sad mistake was made but it cannot be said that there was no excuse for it.  THE REPUBLICAN has repeatedly pointed out to what we were drifting and asked for a better enforcement of the laws.  Murder after murder has been committed in the county and never but one legal execution, and but few convictions.  Attorneys have gone to unusual and uncalled for efforts to acquit or secure the pardon of accused whom they must have known were murderers under the law and dangerous in the community.  While it is proper that a client's interest should be protected, there is a limit beyond which the safety of society is endangered.  The safety and good name of the county should be paramount to the liberty of any criminal.

The difficulty with which convictions have been secured has licensed murder and felonious assaults, and jeopardizes the safety of the people.  How few there have been is shown by the record of the past twelve years which is as follows:

1882.  Sheriff Andy Hopkins killed by Napoleon Rowley at Washburn.  Acquitted.

1882.  Mrs. Campbell of McDonald township stabbed Mrs. Roark to the heart, in a quarrel.  Convicted and given two years in the penitentiary.

1882.  Thos. Brattin of this place was shot by Jim Roberts, while at a dance at W. W. Russel's, four miles north-west of town.  Acquitted.

1883.  William King was killed by Mark Hurst.  No indictment found.

1883.  In a boy fight at the Black school house north of town, William Brown stabbed Billy Black, killing him almost instantly.  Acquitted.

1884.  Hezekiah Allen of White River was waylaid and shot down by Jim Smith, who died of sickness in jail.

1885.  Feb. 14th.  J. R. Roberts was killed by Jeff D. Harbin at Washburn.  Some time afterwards Harbin's body was found on the railroad track badly mutilated by a passing train.  Supposed by many to have been murdered and the body placed on the track.

1886.  About July 12th, Ed F. Clum of Capps Creek Township, being jealous of J. J. White, over his attentions to Ella Bowe, shot and killed both of them.  Convicted and hung.

1886.  August 28th, one mile above town, Wm. A Picket shot his sleeping wife with a musket, death resulting instantly.  No indictment found.

1887.  In May, A. J. Dye and J. Morris of Ash Township, quarreled over a cow, and Morris was killed by Dye.  Acquitted.

1887.  While returning from Exeter to his home on the Washburn road, at night, Wesley O. Evans was shot from his mule by some unknown person.  No conviction.

1888.  A man by the name of Hamrick assassinated McCaslin of White River Township.  Hamrick left the country and no conviction followed.

1889.  In September, Maggie Bly of Monett was tried for the murder of her child and acquitted.

1889.  Jacob Gregory shot and killed Charles Griffith of McDowell.  Acquitted.

1891.  At a dance in Monett in February, John Hendrix was shot while sitting by a girl, by some one in an adjoining room.  James C. Lane was charged, indicted, tried and fined $100 and sentenced to 90 days in jail.

1892.  In March, Caleb Brown picked a fuss with Henderson Phillips of White River Township, and shot him from his horse.  Brown, and Celia Ann Phillips as accessory, were given ten years in the penitentiary.

1892.  A friendly wrestle ended in the disembowelling of Grant Pyatt by Bruce Alfrey in the fall of 1892.  Alfrey got ten years.

1892.  On June 20th, Jos. Vernon (colored) shot and killed Thos. Burnett of Monett.  The case has been dragging along ever since and has gone to Stone county on a change of venue.

1893.  Charles Langley was murdered and Fred Lindenbower and H. F. Dustin arrested.  Tried and acquitted.

1894.  The infant child of Mrs. Addie Hays was put out of the way and the suspected parties have flown.

1894.  June 21st Robert Greenwood was shot by Geo. Maclin, who is still at large.

The record closes with the death of Hewett Hayden, June 28th, at the hands of a mob, the natural sequence of the non-conviction of red-handed murderers.  Honest sentiment is respectable in its place but when it sets aside law, creates a lack of confidence in it, and jeopardizes the lives in a community, mob violence reigns and a second murder is committed to avenge the first.  With this repetition of the lynching of 1872 we hope that the citizens of Barry will realize the importance of enforcing the law, saving the reputation of their county.

15 November 1894, Cassville Republican

Robbers Loot the Frisco Train Near

MONETT, MO., Nov 12. -- The St. Louis and San Francisco passenger train No. 1, due here at 7:55 p. m., was held up and the express car robbed 3 miles east of this city at 7:30 o'clock this evening.  An Associated Press correspondent was a passenger on the train and an eye witness to the bold and successful robbery which was committed in a deep and lonely cut.  At Verona, 6 miles from here, two masked men boarded the tender of the engine and concealed themselves until the heavy grade and deep cut were reached, when they sprang from their hiding place, covered the engineer and fireman with Winchesters and commanded them to stop the train.  The order was promptly obeyed.  Climbing over the tender into the cab the bandits marched the engineer and fireman to the baggage car and commanded them to open the door.  Messenger Chapman by this time was aware of the robbery and refused to comply, when in a loud tone of voice the bandits, now six in number, threatened to blow up the car with dynamite, and with true determination and in regular Bill Cook syle, produced a stick of dynamite and were just in the act of putting it to use, when Engineer Stevenson called to the messenger and implored him to open the door, which was done.  The bandits entered the car, plundered it and in full view of the terrified passengers clamored up the hill and made their escape.  It was a successfully planned hold-up which required just fifteen minutes.  When the train came to a sudden stop the clear report from a Winchester rang out upon the air and every passenger on the train knew what it meant.  A second later four bandits, who wore red bandana handkerchiefs over their faces joined their pals at the express car and the job was begun.

"No shooting goes," exclaimed the leader.  "Heads back there, heads back there," continued the leader and those who dared to look out of the car windows obeyed without a second warning.

Conductor Wrightman hastily passed through the train and warned the passengers to conceal their valuables.  Women and children were panic-stricken and men hastily concealed their watches and money.  The passengers took refuge under seats, behind doors and even in the Pullman sleepers in the rear of the train.  After fifteen minutes of terrible suspense at the muzzle of a gun the engineer and fireman were marched to the cab of the engine and commanded to back the train a quarter of a mile from the scene of the robbery.  A second report from a Winchester was a sign for the engineer to pull out his train and the robbery was at an end.

Messenger Chapman succeeded in hiding all the money save $200 in currency, which he handed over to the robbers.  Two of the gang climbed the hillside and joined the gang in waiting in the woods.  As they ascended the rocky hillside the gleaming barrels of their guns were plainly visible which terrorized the passengers.  The train pulled into Monett 20 minutes late and the news spread like wild fire.  A posse was formed but for want of a leader failed to pursue the bandits who are supposed to be none other than the Bill Cook notorious gang.

In the express car were two safes, a small one used for local purposes, and a larger one with a time lock.  The messenger's keys were taken from him and the small safe was opened.  The contents, supposed to be about $200, was taken.  The large safe which contained a large amount of money was undisturbed, the robbers probably realizing that they could not force the door open.  After getting their money they climbed out of the car, apparently satisfied, and ran away in the darkness.  The passengers were not molested.

This evening about 6 o'clock two unknown men passed through Verona on grey horses and they are thought to be the bandits.  One of the men is a large man, weighing 170 pounds, while the other had the appearance of being a youth of 20 years.  They did the work like experts.

Some of the railroad men are of the opinion that the men were a detachment of the notorious Cook gang, it being less than 100 miles from their accustomed haunts and robbing in the Territory of late has proved fruitless from the fact that no money is carried on the trains in that country.

Messenger Chapman is the same man who was in charge of a car robbed in the Territory a short time ago.  He says they did their work very much the same as that done by the Cooks.  Had the train proceeded as far as Seneca it would have been guarded from that place forward by deputy United States marshals, but the authorities had not thought the Cooks would venture so far from the Territory.

For over a year Lawrence County has been suspicious of a gang of crooks, who made headquarters somewhere near Aurora, and last winter the people of Aurora felt satisfied that something was going to happen long before the Mound Valley robbery took place.  The banks of the city placed Winchesters in their buildings and were ready for an attack.  After the Mound Valley robbery some of those bandits wandered into Lawrence County and the Aurora officials had a pitched battle with a suspicious fellow who refused to be arrested.  The storm center of late dropped down towards Seneca and no uneasiness has been expressed in Lawrence County for several months.


The Cook gang was a short-lived sensation in eastern Oklahoma (Indian Territory) in 1894 before its members were killed or captured.  Like the James and other gangs before it, it was blamed for every crime committed anywhere close, and it probably had nothing to do with this robbery.

About February 22 or 23, 1895, the same Frisco train was robbed again, this time just east of Aurora.  The Purdy train depot was also robbed, the same night or next night.  The Monett robbery was committed by six men with rifles and dynamite and the Aurora and Purdy robberies by two men with pistols, but some press accounts attributed all the crimes to Jake Jones and James Thorton who were killed or captured soon afterwards by a posse in McDonald county, Missouri.  Press accounts of their capture are here and here.  The newspaper stories are interesting insofar as they show the extraordinary efforts made by the railroads to stop these crimes.  Railroad detectives from Alabama and Arkansas are said to have tracked Jones and Thornton for 57 days to effect their capture.

9 May 1895, Cassville Republican

Mrs. Snodgrass Lays Low Her Hus-
band's Mistress.

From I. B. Preston of Roaring River, who returned through Monett, Tuesday night, we learn the following particulars of a tragedy at Monett in which Mrs. Frank Snodgrass, a lady of good repute, mortally wounds a woman of immoral character.  For some time past Mr. Snodgrass and this woman, whose name we have not learned, have been maintaining illicit connection.  A few weeks since they went to Ft. Smith and were followed by Mrs. Snodgrass, who there discovered them and a separation resulted.  Since that time Mrs. Snodgrass has nursed her wrath and, securing a pistol, bided here time to wreak venance upon her husband's seducer.

Monday night was the time.  The woman returned to Monett and joined Snodgrass in a walk up the street.  Mrs. Snodgrass was on the alert and, with a determination not born of doubt, swiftly followed the guilty pair.  Frank discovered her and thinking discretion the better part of valor, darted into a saloon and escaped; but his consort was not so fortunate, for, though running, Mrs. Snodgrass gained upon her and a bullet from her pistol was yet swifter and passed through her bowels.  The wounded woman continued her flight, however, for some time before succumbing.  Our latest report is, that she is still alive but not likely to recover.

20 July 1899, Cassville Republican

A Good Indian.

Referring to the indian killed at Monett The Eagle says:

"The coroner’s inquest brought out a number of points regarding the dead man but nothing positive regarding the manner of his death. It was found that his name was W. H. Connor, that he was an Osage Indian and that his home was in Pawhuski, I. T., to which place the body was shipped Monday evening. Connor came to Monett Thursday evening from Eureka Springs in company with a woman, not his wife, and a girl seven or eight years old. The same night of the next morning two men arrived from Seligman, one a short, thick set man dressed in a brown suit, the other tall, with one leg and walking on crutches the small man claiming to be the husband of the woman who accompanied the indian. The woman and the little girl left on the Friday morning train claiming that their destination was Afton, I. T. The indian and the two men remained in town all day Friday and were seen together at various times in the saloons and on the streets. They were heard conversing together and with what the parties voluntarily told it was learned that the woman was of a loose character and that she had secured from the indian all the money he had, which amounted to fifty or more dollars and that the indian had pawned his watch for $5.00 in order to get money to pay his bills. The three were last seen together about 8:30 p.m. About 10:20 the city marshal and W. S. Brite saw the indian asleep in a chair in front of the Attaway Hotel. The marshal awakened him and suggested that he go to his hotel. He made no objection but arose and went toward the depot. They watched him until he had gone past the Star restaurant.

"This was the last seen of the man until about twenty-five minutes later when he was found by the crew of the switch engine, lying beside the track.

"Between the time when he was last seen on Fifth street and the time of his discovery by the railroad boys, freight train No. 40 came in from Arkansas but the testimony of the engineer was that the train was running very slow and that no one was seen on or near the track.

"The two strangers who were with the indian during Friday were seen to leave Monett in an empty car about one o’clock Saturday on train No. 32, east bound.

"Thus the mystery remains unsolved. About twenty-five minutes of time is unaccounted for. Who was with Connor after he left Fifth street? How came he down in the south end of the "Y"? How was he injured? Time may solve the mystery."


William H. Connor was a noted Osage Indian from Pawhuska, Indian Territory.  He was a half-breed, educated by the Jesuits at Osage Mission, Kansas, and sometimes served as a translator and guide for parties traveling the territory.  The above photograph of Connor in Indian dress was taken by G. W. Parsons in Pawhuska in the early 1880s and bore the caption "Educated Indian."  Connor was reportedly the author of the constitution of the Osage Nation in 1881, but some years earlier nearly sparked a war among the Plains Indians when he helped scalp the chief of the Wichitas.  The photograph at right was taken sometime in the 1890s in Independence, Kansas, and probably more closely resembles Connor's appearance at the time of his death in Monett.  For more on Connor's life, see this website.  The photographs and article transcription are courtesy of Bruce Hamm, a great, great grandson of Connor.

Barry County Crime And Punishment Part I:  1865-1880.

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