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A coroner's inquest was held and the verdict was that death had been caused on the morning of the 8th between nine and ten o'clock by accidental drowning while attempting to cross Whitebreast Creek at Mulkey's Ford.
A FATAL RUNAWAY.
On the 24th of December, 1870, Dr. William Covington, of Pleasantville, started from home in a buggy driving a pair of spirited horses, to visit a patient in the family of Mr. Hunter, north of Pleasantville. About a half mile from home he met with an accident which cost him his life.
It appears that the team run against a fence and threw the doctor out with such violence as to produce fatal injuries. When found he was lying across some rails of the fence which had been partially demolished, and two or three rails lay across his body. When found he was still alive but unconscious. He was taken home and that night died. One of the horses was severely injured in the runaway and the vehicle was totally demolished.
On Saturday night, February 7, 1867, the office of the county treasure r at the court-house, was entered and robbed of all the money in it, which amounted to over forty thousand dollars. The burglars in the first place broke into Mr. Reed's blacksmith shop and helped themselves to all the tools they required. They entered the treasurer's office through a window which was very insecurely fastened. By the side of the door of the vault they removed a few bricks which enabled them with the aid of a chisel to reach the bolt and drive it back. The safe in the vault was purchased in 1866 at a cost of sixteen hundred dollars. The burglars broke the knob from the door of the safe, cut into the lock, opened the door and took the funds. The most that was taken belonged to the school fund of the county. Mr. Dan. Smick, of Knoxville, lost over $1,600 which he had placed there for safety. A portion of the funds was owned by the State.
The robbery was discovered about eight, o'clock Sunday morning and caused a great deal of excitement among the citizens all day long, hundreds visiting the court-honse. Prompt action was taken to find the robbers. Different persons were sent out to spread the news and put the officers of the law on the watch.
The board of supervisors of the county were called together immediately. Lake Prairie township had been paid her share of the school fund, and Mr. Kruck drew out $600 Saturday evening for Liberty township. In Mr. Cunningham's absence some two or three thousand dollars were wrapped up and placed in a pigeon hole in the vault, and that the burglars failed to get. The following in round numbers are the losses to school fund, State, County and city: State, $3,000; county, $1,000; Knoxville, $200, Knoxville school fund, $3,500; whole loss of school fund, $35,000. The reasons the loss to the city was so small was because so few had paid their taxes. The loss fell heaviest upom Mr. Smick, for his $1,600 he got by hard knocks at the anvil.
The knob was first broken off and then a portion of chilled iron under it cut out. Heavy blows were next struck exactly in the right place to loosen the bolts or break the fastenings, so heavy as to break the steel face of the sledge used. Both of these operations which we have imperfectly described
had the effect to loosen the bolts; chisels were then used to pry open the doors, which unfortunately was accomplished. The burglar or burglars seemed to know just exactly what was requisite to do in order to accomplish their object. The one who made the safe could not have gone to work any more scientifically or with more complete understanding of what was necessary to be done.
DEATH BY DROWNING.
Mr. Gibson Shook, of the vicinity of Wheeling, Marion county, lost his life by accidental drowning in the Des Moines River near Bennington on Saturday night, April 11, 1868.
He was returning home with his team, and at a place where the road runs near the edge of a steep bank of the river, he missed the track, owing to the darkness, and the horses, wagon and driver were all precipitated into the deep current of the river, some fifteen feet below.
The body of the drowned man was recovered the following Monday a short distance below the place where the accident occurred, and pieces of the wagon were scattered down the river for a distance of two miles.
Mr. Shook was a man of about 28 years of age, the father of a family, a man of good character and habits and well respected in the community where he lived.
On Monday, February 22, 1869, Mr. Frank Buckley, who lived near Coalport, went out into the woods to cut some timber. He did not come home at night as was expected, and his wife after waiting some time became alarmed, and having secured the services of some of the neighbors went in search of him. At about ten o'clock they found him lying dead in the woods about a mile from his home.
It seems that he had cut a tree which, in falling, struck another tree and knocked off a limb which fell on his head and killed him.
Mr. Buckley was a man about forty years old and left a wife and five small children.
MURDER AND SUICIDE.
Some time in the year 1867, George W. Shafer, of Red Rock township, was married to Sarah Yearns, daughter of J. B. Yearns, who resided some three miles north of the village of Red Rock. During the year 1869 they separated; the trouble being that Shafer was a trifling fellow and not supporting his wife properly, she left him and returned to live with her father.
On Saturday evening, February 6th, while Mr. Yearns was at Knoxville on business, Shafer went to the house of the former with the apparent purpose of inducing his wife to live with him again. This she refused to do. It appears that a dispute ensued between Shafer and the family and that Shafer struck Mrs. Yearns on the head with a club and drove all the folks out of the house except his wife and child.
Shafer then asked his wife again if she would live with him. She answered: "Never!" Then drawing a revolver he declared that she should never live with another man; and, after saying this, he placed the revolver to her head and fired, killing her instantly.
He then took a blanket from the bed, spread it on the floor, drew up the
dead and bleeding form of his murdered wife and placed it on the blanket; he then placed the baby beside her and then laid down himself beside the two and cut his own throat with a knife.
It would seem that he had planned the whole matter before going to the house and intended to give the whole affair a romantic appearance of tragedy. This was indeed a case of madness and there was a horrible coolness and method in it.
At the time of the tragedy Mr. Yearns was a member of the board of supervisors and was at the county seat attending to some official bus
TWO VICTIMS OF PASSION.
Two persons living in Knoxville township, west of the city of Knoxville, got into a difficulty some ten years ago. One was named Samuel Brown and the other one was an Irishman named Daniel Maloney. Maloney finally grasped a neck-yoke and struck Brown on the head inflicting inju ries from the effects of which he died.
Maloney was indicted and his case came up before the District Court in November, 1869. A continuance was granted and when it came up again in the following March the defendant was granted a change of venue to Jasper county.
Maloney was afterward convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to a term of five years in the State prison. This sentence he has long since served out and has been released.
MURDER-TWO MEN SHOT.
A brutal murder was committed Monday evening, September 15, 1873, at the house of Mr. Keeton, about two miles west of Red Rock.
A feud of long duration existed between one party consisting of two disreputable persons by the name of Williams and another party consisting of William Eutsler and Mr. Keeton. The origin of the feud was some ecandal about the wives of Keeton and Horry Williams.
On the day of the altercation the Williamses in company with one Anderson went in a wagon to the house of Eutsler and requested the latter to go with them to Keeton's house, pretending that the old difficulty was settled and wanting to talk the matter over together.
When the three arrived at Keeton's house, Eutsler went in and invited the latter out into the road. Keeton went out and Horry Williams immemediately began to quarrel with him, calling Keeton a liar, using insulting language with reference to his wife and flourishing a revolver. Keeton told Williams if he would lay down his revolver he would whip him and with this remark returned to the house. Just as he reached the door Horry Williams fired at him, the shot taking effect and Keeton fell dead. One of the Williamses then fired at Eutsler, wounding the latter in the hip.
After the shooting the ruffians drove rapidly away. They were pursued and arrested, and upon examination Williams was released on bail of $8,000. He was afterward tried and sentenced to a term of twenty years imprisonment, but before being taken to Ft. Madison escaped from the officers.
Two brothers named Robert and James McKay lived near Bussey in Liberty township.
On Saturday, October 9, 1875, the two brothers had a quarrel and James, the younger, inflicted a wound upon the person of his brother from the ef fects of which he died in a few hours.
The accounts which were given at the time and are still given of the af fray are very conflicting and unsatisfactory. One story is to the effect that Robert McKay was pursuing his brother with intent to commit bodily injury, while another story is to the effect that James was too intimate with his brother's wife.
James McKay was arrested by the proper authorities and held for trial.
ANOTHER MURDER AT RED ROCK.
What is said to have been the tenth murder at Red Rock was committed on Sunday, August 12, 1877. The victim was Marv. Williams, brother of Horry Williams, who, prior to his incarceration in the State prison, had figured so extensively in the criminal courts of the county. The person who committed the deed was T. R. Buttery. It seems that the two had come into the possession of a saloon and there was a dispute as to the ownership. Williams claimed that he was a full partner while Buttery asserted that he was simply a clerk. After having vainly tried to settle the matter by reason they met on the fatal Sunday afternoon and proceeded to adjudicate the matter with revolvers. Buttery got in his argument first with the result as before stated. Williams was shot in the region of the heart and died immediately.
On Sunday Morning, June 11, 1876, Charles Hannan of Knoxville township, was drowned in the Des Moines River near Amsterdam. He, with two others, were bathing in the river about one mile below Horn's Ferry. While trying to wade across the river he became cramped and called for assistance. Frank Horn went to his assistance and endeavored to help him but was grasped about the body by the drowning man in such a way he could render no help. Both men were carried down the stream into deep water and sank together. In order to save his own life Horn was compelled to unfasten the grip of the drowning man and leave him to his fate. Hannan was a young man twenty-one years old, the son of Mr. Richard Hannan of the east part of Knoxville township.
SECOND TREASURY ROBERRY.
At 8 o'clock on Tuesday evening, October 10, 1876, it was discovered that the county treasury was robbed. The city was aroused by the ringing of the fire-bell, and the intensest excitement prevailed.
The treasury office is on the ground floor of the court-house, and at the time of the robbery a citizens' meeting was in progress in the court-room above for the purpose of electing a night watchman. The treasurer, R. M. Faris, was in his office for an evening's work on his books, and some fifty men were at the meeting in the room above. The first that Mr. Faris suspected anything wrong was the entrance into his office of two masked men. The manner of procedure on the part of the robbers is thus narrated by Mr. Faris:
"At about 7:30 the men came in at the door; the man who came in first presented a revolver and demanded that I should open the safe. He walked
behind the counter and came up to me. I grabbed the revolver with my left hand and pulled it down. I told them I would not open the safe. They said if I would open the safe 1 should not be hurt but if I did not they would kill me. I told them I wold die before I would open it. One of them searched my pockets and got the key to the vault, they then locked the office door and unlocked the vault. One of them then pushed me into the vault and both presented revolvers and ordered me to unlock the safe; I refused. One of them then put up his revolver and drew from his breast a large knife, he made a feint at me with the knife and made a slight cut in the lappel of my coat over my heart and then by a similar stroke made a cut in the right lappel, then I consented to open the safe. They then took the money and having locked me in the vault departed. I remained in the vault until rescued by the night-watch. I think the amount taken was from $12,000 to $14,000. The robbers asked ine 'how much is there in the safe, $20,000? I answered, 'no, not half of it.' One of them then said, 'we expected to get $20,000.''
Mr. Faris says that he was in the vault about forty minutes.
Citizens to the number of many hundred assembled as soon as the alarm was sounded and organized a meeting. Larken Wright, B. A. Mathews and J. F. Greenlee were appointed a committee to send telegraph dispatches in various directions. W. M. Stone, T. J. Anderson, G. K. Hart, J. T. French and C. J. Amos were chosen a committee and authorized to give directions in general for the public safety.
Messengers were sent in every direction and the board of supervisors were notified of the robbery.
Detectives were employed and every effort was made to capture the robbers, but to no avail until the citizens of the county began to settle down in the belief that their money was gone and the robbers would never be captured. In the mean time, however, the officers were diligently at work and two of the robbers, Brannan and Barkus by name, were apprehended and brought to Knoxville, November 30, 1876.
Brannan was followed to St. Louis by Treasurer Faris, and Sheriff Hawk of Jasper county, where he was captured at a hotel in company of a female, not his wife; Miss Flanders by name. From some statements made by Miss Flanders and also from some documents found, one John Barkus was implicated in the robbery; the latter was traced to Atchison, Kansas, and arrested. Upon the return of the officers with the prisoners Brannan's house was searched and fifteen hundred dollars of the stolen money were found; over three thousand dollars were found on the person of Brannan at the time of his capture.
It was ascertained from the prisoners that Horry Williams, who had killed Keeton and escaped from the officers when under sentence to a term of twenty years in the penitentiary and who had been sought for in vain, was in the county at the time of the robbery and taken part in it.
Braunan and Barkus were tried at the next term of the District Court and sentenced to a term in the penitentiary, and the two, in company with a third prisoner, the said Miss Flanders, were in charge of an officer on their way to Fort Madison, when they came very nearly effecting their escape. They were, however, thwarted in the attempt and were safely lodged in the penitentiary, where they are still engaged in serving out their terms of imprisonment.
Horry Williams was arrested in March, 1877, at Mineral Center, about