Monday, March 15, 2010

Kansas Shootings and Murders.

On August 25, 1867, Richard Bump and Vincent Davis were assaulted on Upton creek, the former was killed, shot down by parties from the opposite side of the creek discharging a load of shot into the body of the man, whom it was supposed the assailants had taken for other parties who were peddling goods through the country. Davis was also wounded but not fatally, and taking the lines from his dead companion drove to the Elk creek settlement. The murderers were pursued, captured and brought back to Elk creek, where they were given a preliminary trial before J.N. Hagaman, the father of J.M. Hagaman, and were held for murder. But they were not permitted to live for further justice, but were taken from the custody of the sheriff and ere the night had been spent were dangling from the limb of a tree, dead.

The consensus of opinion was that these two Jewish peddlers, Edward Zachareas and Richard Kennup, had been lying In wait for two other parties who also had wares to sell, and mistook Bump and Davis, who were good citizens just returning from a buffalo hunt, for the men they had been lying in wait for, for two days. Money was their supposed object.

On July 11, 1868, J.N. Hagaman was murdered by William Harman, After some litigation over a calf they had agreed to settle the matter of ownership by turning the cow into the herd on the principal that the calf would find its mother. J.N. Hagaman, who was herding the cattle on the Thorp place, had received orders to not let any of them go as the deputy sheriff, Bowen, had come to take them, and had deputized Harmon to go with him to attach the cattle in accordance with the decision of the court. An eye witness related to the author that after skirmishing a few moments while on their ponies, he saw Harmon ride up to a fence and pick up a club that almost seemed made for the occasion. His assailant struck Mr. Hagaman over the head with this weapon, killing him almost instantly. After a number of trials and the lapse of a number of years the case was dropped.

Harmon with his wife lived at Manhattan and while he was supposed to be incarcerated had his freedom. The result of his crime going unpunished was a laxness of the law in those days, when people seemed a law of themselves.

The Carmichael murder case occurred at Glasco, Marsh 7, 1872. Carmichael was a cattle man who lived at Abilene, but had been wintering stock near Glasco. He with his herder, Lewis, became involved in a quarrel with David and Hamilton Dalrymple, over some feed, and met in Glasco to arbitrate the trouble, imbibed too freely and the result was a fight, with a deplorable sequel. David Dalrymple was shot through the heart and expired instantly and Hamilton Dalrymple received a wound in the knee.
Carmichael received wounds from which he died a week later. Lewis was shot through the neck, but recovered. A bystander by the name of Worden, received a gunshot wound in the shoulder

George D. Bennett, County Assessor in 1861, but later a notorious horse thief, was caught and hung near Wathena on Sunday, August 14, 1864. His depredations in connection with a gang of thieves and murderers had been numerous and aggravating. He committed an outrage during the winter of 1863-4, barely escaping being caught by leaving the state. When he fled his wife remained at Elwood. A few days before his final capture he was seen lurking around his place. The citizens, determined to make him pay the penalty, found him in his hiding place in a hay mow, and took him to Wathena, where preparations were made to hang him. He proposed if the men would not hang him, he would tell where a valuable stallion, that had been stolen from a Mr. Rogers, could be found. He attempted to escape but was shot and severely wounded by four or five bullets. There was no delay, he was strung up at once and left hanging for some time. On the following day his remains were buried in Bellemont cemetery.

In 1872 Charles Brinton came, and purchased the D. C. Coleman claim east of Almena. Brinton was the man who killed Cross, a suspected horse-thief. Cross came about the same time that Brinton did. Just before the Fourth of July, 1872 Cross rode to Hays, a distance of 100 miles to get some provisions and when he came back he had a different horse saying that he had traded. Nothing was thought of this until the fifth of July when a stranger came to Jim Hall's place looking for a stolen horse which corresponded with the one that Cross had said he traded for. When the came Cross was not at home so they went looking for him, and, when Cross saw the four men coming for him, all armed, he began to run and was not seen until July seventh, when Mrs. Hall saw him in the timber near the house. C. Brinton and Walter McGavan got their guns and started after him and found him in a tree and Brinton shot him down, shooting him fifteen times before he died. Cross was well liked and Brinton had but few sympathizers, and what few friends he had, soon deserted him and he left the county in 1877. His whereabouts was never known. It has been said that he spent the last years of his life in an insane asylum at Lincoln, Nebraska, but this was never verified.

John Landis was born in Allen county, Kentucky, October 28, 1827. He was a veteran of the Civil War. He came to Norton county in 1872 and homesteaded on the Solomon near where Edmond now stands. Landis was always active in political happenings of the county, and while he had a host of friends, no public man is without enemies, and he was no exception.

On September 2, 1878, Mr. Landis was shot in the back while talking to an emigrant. The assassin was hidden in a clump of willows a few yards away. He died September 4, 1878. J. E. Morris who was coroner at that time, empaneled the following jury: W. P. Crevlin, E. Fisher, Dey Smith, John Diffenbach, John W. Bieber, F. M. Duvall. They brought in a verdict that John Landis had been shot and killed by parties unknown to them, but recommended the arrest of Dr. Wm. Cummings and Henry Grandy. William Hepler made the complaint charging them with the murder. The same day Major Dannevik made the same complaint against E. R. Worthington. Worthington proved an alibi and was dismissed. No attention was paid to his arrest as it was not thought at the time that he was the guilty one. Grandy was arrested but Cummings escaped. Grandy's trial lasted from Sept. 27 until October 3. Over 100 witnesses were examined, but the case was dismissed on account of lack of evidence. All during the trial feeling ran high against Cummings and about 65 of his friends, and enemies of Landis, were seen on the Solomon, and when Jack and Pat Conarty went after him his friends refused to surrender him until I. N. Cope and J. W. Langford came to Norton and secured an agreement from J. R. Hamilton, Wm. Simpson and W. E. Case that Cummings should not be mobbed.

Cummings preliminary was held and he was discharged because of lack of evidence.

During his trial his friends were present, armed to the teeth, and about 50 colored friends of Landis (because Landis was a personal friend of John Brown in the Border warfare) attended the trial, all armed, to see that the murderer did not get away unfairly. County Attorney Beaumont was assaulted after working until midnight on the case during the trial. He was struck in the back with a rock; he fell, and his assailants, believing him killed, ran away. The same day Justice Oliver, who presided at the preliminary, was warned that he would be killed, but nothing of the kind happened. In May 1880, M. W. Pettigrew then had Dr. Cummings rearrested upon complaint of T. D. LaRue, because of the discovery of new evidence, but at the trial LaRue did not appear. The jury disagreed and the next term of court the case was dismissed, thus ending one of the most exciting murder trials in Western Kansas.

Charles Manus was shot by Wyatt in 1879. The trouble started over the Landis Murder. Manus was a friend of Landis and Wyatt a friend of Dr. Cummings, and there was some argument over the trial. The next day they met and quarreled and after leaving Manus, Wyatt turned and shot Manus in the back of the neck killing him instantly.
Wyatt was convicted of murder in the first degree in 1880 and sent to prison, where he died. Wyatt was the first murderer sent to the penitentiary from Norton county.

On December 8, 1884, A. W. Ashcraft, a constable, attempted to arrest one Voght, at Humboldt. on a warrant charging him with violation of the liquor law. Voght resisted arrest and was killed. Ashcraft was exonerated.

On November 23, 1885, J. W. Browning shot and killed A. A. Earle in front of what is now the Hotel Thomson in Iola. Earle lived at Bronson where Browning had been selling organs. Earle charged Brownin with the ruin of his daughter and forced him to come with him to Iola to be delivered over to the officers to stand trial for the crime. From the Iola depot they drove to the hotel in an omnibus. Earle got out first, and as he did so Browning shot him twice, killing him instantly. Browning was tried and acquitted, claiming self-defense. He immediately left the State and has not since been heard of by any of his old associates.
On July 9, 1896, the body of Della Hutchison, a young girl, was found in a pond some miles east of Humboldt, nude and shockingly mutilated. Jacob S. Rogers, a farmer living near, was convicted of the murder, the testimony showing that he was the father of the girl's unborn child, the concealment of the lesser crime being the motive for the perpetration of the greater one. Rogers was sentenced to a term of twenty-one years in the penitentiary.

On July 4, 1898, Byron Cushman was shot and killed by J. W. Bell at Humboldt. Both of the men were said to have been intoxicated. Bell was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to the penitentiary for ten years.

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