Chapter 17 - Dark Deeds.

    Crime, like every vice, has always, more or less, disgraced the annals of every community, and without entering upon a relation of minor actions, or misdemeanors, that have occurred, from time to time, it is intended here to only give an account of a few of the more important events of that nature that have transpired.

    The records of a community are so seldom preserved for posterity that the task of getting at all the facts is a difficult one. Could we have access to that book where time records the acts of man, it would be an easy task to write a true history of the past. But when in antiquarian research, we are compelled to rely in part upon the memory of the living, treacherous at the best, ofttimes known only to the relator by tradition, it becomes an arduous task, and is often, by the force of circumstances, inaccurate. Memory cannot always be relied upon, especially in reference to dates, and hence the accounts herein have been taken mostly from the files of the papers of the county, supplemented by such facts as have been gleaned from the conversation and relations of the older settlers.

Murder of Arnest Herrlitz.

    The first murder committed within the limits of Richland county was that of Arnest Herrlitz, in the spring of 1859. Herrlitz lived alone in a little log cabin in the town of Dayton. He was a married man; but a short time previous he and his wife had separated, and he had commenced proceedings in the circuit court for divorce. On the fatal evening, in the spring of 1859, he was sitting in his cabin, when he heard some one at the window as though they were trying to effect an entrance. He went to the door for the purpose of showing in whoever it was, and just as he opened the door, the cowardly assassin shot him. He did not see who did it, but lived long enough to go to his brother's, a half mile distant, and relate the particulars, when death relieved his suffering. 'Squire Durnford was employed to look up the facts and enough was learned to lead to strong suspicions, but not enough to justify the arrest of any one.

Murder of Benjamin Sutton.

    This was the next crime of importance committed in Richland county. Benjamin Sutton, was an elderly man, but recently returned from the seat of the "war between the States," then raging, having been a member of the 11th regiment of Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. He was engaged in keeping in a small grocery or saloon at Port Andrew, in Richwood township, and while engaged in sweeping off the sidewalk in front of his place of business, about 8 o'clock, on the morning of the 4th of December, 1862, was shot by an assassin with a rifle.

    It seems, from the evidence in the case, that Milton Hubanks had a quarrel with Sutton, said to have grown out of the treatment of Sutton's daughter by Hubanks, and out of this had sprung up a deadly feud, and Sutton had made many threats to shoot Hubanks on sight. On the morning in question, the latter concealed himself in the house of James Haney, within six or eight rods from Sutton's place, and locating himself near a window overlooking the door of that person's place, loaded his rifle with the intention of shooting him. It has been urged in extenuation that he was goaded on to this act by the threats of his enemy and the advice of some friends, on whom he relied, but whose warmth of feeling had warped their judgment. Here at the window, he waited until the old man made his appearance, and then deliberately taking aim shot him down, the ball passing through the abdomen, making a fatal wound. Sutton fell to the ground, and while lying there the dastardly assassin again shot him; this time the ball passing through the arm and entering the breast of his victim.

    Sutton lingered in great agony for some hours, in spite of the strong efforts of Dr. R M Miller to alleviate the pain, and died before the following morning.

    Hubanks was arrested and brought before a jury and they adjudging him guilty of manslaughter only, on account of the extenuating circumstances, he was sentenced for a term of four years to the penitentiary. After serving two years he was pardoned.

Killing of Edward Livingston.

    This sad affair occurred in the same neighborhood as the one just related. Livingston was a remarkably smart young man; a lawyer, and when sober, a gentleman of polished manners. One evening, while half drunk, he went to the house of an old man named Crozier, and attempted to get into bed with Mrs. Crozier. A violent quarrel and struggle ensued between him and Mr. Crozier, and during the encounter they got down upon the floor, when Mr. Crozier, who had succeeded in snatching a knife, stabbed the intruder fatally. The coroner's jury, at the inquest which was held over the dead body, exonerated Crozier from any blame and the case went no further.

Murder of Mrs. Wallace

    One of the most atrocious crimes, one that has seldom been paralleled anywhere, was committed within the limits of Richland county in 1868. A simple recital of the crime, and the swift, sure vengeance that overtook the fiend who committed it, is all that space will permit in this connection. The following account of the affair is from the able pen of Hon. J H Waggoner:

    "It was during the forenoon of Thursday, Sept. 24, 1868, that a floating rumor upon the streets of the village said that the body of a woman had been found near the house of Patrick Wallace; that her head had been eaten by the hogs, and her body otherwise mutilated by them. Soon afterwards word was brought that the wife of "Pat" Wallace had been murdered, and that he had discovered the body, after a night of care and anguish, brooding anxiously over the cause of her absence. An inquest was at once called, and justice Farlin and sheriff McMurtrey, accompanied by several citizens, made all possible haste to the scene demanding their official attendance.

    "All agree in the statement that a more revolting spectacle never met their eyes, and the record of a murder more horrid in its execution had never passed under their notice. Some of them were men whose form had stood in the red front of fierce battle, who had looked upon death in all its ghastliest shapes; some were men whose silvery locks betokened the snows of many winters that had settled there; all were accustomed to scenes and conversant with descriptions of terrible violence. But there the man of stoutest nerve and hardihood quailed like weak children at the terrible sight that lay before them.

    "A jury was impanelled, and the testimony of neighbors concerning the then mysterious affair duly taken. A physician was also called, who carefully examined the body and testified concerning the probability of death from the wounds inflicted.

    "The examination of the body disclosed a most horrid murder, terrible in its conception, but barbarous and fiendish in the execution. The head had been cut off, a deep gash cut into each side of the body, the flesh of one arm almost cleft from it, a fearful cut in the calf of one of her legs, and all these marks clearly indicated the use of a murderous ax as the weapon of her taking off. A little search soon brought to light this instrument, all clotted with blood and hair, and the blades of which (for it was a double bitted one) fitted in the gashes made in the body. Only the lower jawbone and teeth could then be discovered, although the skull was afterwards found, the certain marks of the ax deeply penetrating each side of it. The body where found --- a distance of twenty rods from the house, and toward the house of her father-in-law --- was tracked by the blood which streamed from the murderous, gaping wounds. Through a cabbage patch adjoining the house, over two fences and through the belt of woodland, until life was extinct or nearly so, had this much to be pitied woman almost bounded, followed by a fiend whose crime would shock the very demons of hell itself. Blood was oozing from her at every step, and precious life was being sacrificed at the instigation of a soulless wretch, lured on by the hope of possessing a few paltry dollars --- the hard earned dollars of another. On investigation, the little money of the victim was found to have been taken, and also a coat and pair of pantaloons belonging to the husband. With these facts brought before them, the jury at once rendered a verdict indicating the foulest murder and pointing out the perpetrator.

    "The testimony of the husband, relatives and friends, left no doubt as to the identity of the committer of the dark deed. This was John Nevel, a boy of about fifteen years of age, the son of a nice, quiet and respectable farmer who resided in the town of Dayton, about six miles west of the village of Richland Center. This lad had, within the past four years, developed a precocity in almost inconceivable depravity beyond degree, both in his inclination and actions, but, in all charity to the boy, let it be said that his mind was not well balanced, and some said that he was quite imbecile. Although guarded and surrounded by an honest, anxious father and friends during this time, he had committed all manner of depredations within his power, or that could suggest itself to a willfully wicked mind. He had the reputation of being troublesome, disobedient and ungovernable. Yet, until within a few days before committing the crime for which his life was the penalty, his deeds of sin and wickedness were mostly confined to petty thefts and disorderly brawls, of which many are reported.

    "But the crime which led to or suggested the final one was perpetrated the day before. In a fit of brutal devilishness, he committed an unmentionable crime upon a little girl of eleven years of age, the daughter of a neighboring farmer, and so inhumanly treated her that her life was endangered. This fearful exhibition of criminal propensity was enacted in the presence of the little brother of the innocent girl, and both he and his sister were threatened with death, if they should resist him, or divulge the shocking crime. Complaint was soon made, and a warrant issued for Nevel's arrest, but for some unexplained and unaccountable reason, its service was delayed. Had this warrant been served upon him immediately after its issue, and he taken into proper custody, the murder of the following day would have been prevented. But apprehending arrest, he was fleeing the county, and in his course --- the road to crime having opened to him its broadest avenues --- it was seemingly without remorse that he could perpetrate any deed or crime, no matter how devilish.

    "The murdered woman, Mrs. Anna Wallace, was the daughter of John Joice and wife of Patrick Wallace, all industrious, peaceable, respected citizens of the town of Marshall. The residence of Mr. Wallace was about four miles from that of Mr. Navel, the heartbroken father of the guilty boy, and about ten miles from the village of Richland Center. Mrs. Wallace was only about twenty years of age, and had been married only six months. Endeared to her family and friends by her virtues, her accomplishments and her winning manners, as well as the common interests of a nationality noted for its clannish love for one another, and of Church, her tragical death cast a gloom over the entire community, and brought tears to eyes unused to weep. That any life be taken, is enough to arouse the indignation of the coldest of humanity, but when to murder is added such diabolical atrocity and butchery, it seems as if every heart must be fired with hatred and thoughts of vengeance; the latent feeling will spring to the surface, and men will become brutes and worse than brutes, and do dire deeds that may prove the subject of life-long regret to them afterward.

    "From the testimony developed at the examination, it seems that Patrick Wallace, the husband, had gone to the Center early Wednesday morning, on business, and did not return until in the evening. Mrs. Wallace was alone, and had evidently, just concluded her morning work when the butchery took place. She had been trying to earn a little money by picking hops during the three or four weeks prior to the evening preceding the awful day, and had a small sum of money about her, the result of her praiseworthy industry. That morning, young Nevel had called at the house of John Wallace, Pat's father, which is about eighty rods from that of his son, and inquired if Pat had any revolver or other firearm to sell. Mrs. Wallace replied that Pat owned nothing of the kind, and that he had gone to Richland Center with a load of wheat that same day. Nevel had been seen a few miles from the neighborhood of the dire calamity, with blood on his face. He had been stopped and questioned about what he was doing and where he was going, and he replied that he had 'a scrape with a girl.' and was leaving the county. Having no suspicion of the real status of the case and the terrible tragedy, the questioner passed on, Nevel pursuing his way in a different direction.

    "At the close of the inquest the pursuit of the murderer was vigorously instituted. At noon of Thursday, twenty-four hours after the crime, John Barrett, constable; Sylvester Keplar, Benjamin Ewers and John Wallace, the father-in-law of the unfortunate victim, started in pursuit of this fiend in human shape.

    "In speaking of the pursuit and subsequent arrest, the testimony of Mr. Keplar, an eye witness and active participant, is given, as the best and most graphic picture of the scenes and incidents. He says:

    " 'We started about noon for the house of Nevel's father, and at Sylvan Corners, six miles distant we had word of the object of our search, John Nevel. He had purchased a little powder here and had inquired the road to Readstown. We followed in that direction, and when near Readstown. We learned that he had stopped there on Wednesday night and had attended a dance; had slept at the hotel, but had eat neither supper or breakfast there; he had left in the forenoon, first inquiring the road to Ferryville, a landing about eight miles below De Soto. He also made several inquiries about the State of Iowa, and said that he was going to that State, to attend school. He had bought a new hat and a knife at Readstown, and wore two hats from there to Ferryville. He had left Readstown, as has been said, in the morning, and also, made some inquiries respecting Towerville, the next village. On reaching the latter place, he stopped long enough to make the purchase of some crackers and a tobacco box.

    " 'He reached Ferryville landing about sundown, Thursday, having traveled from Wallace's there on foot, a distance of about forty-five miles, in a day and a half.

    " 'Before entering the town, he put on, over his own clothing, the coat and pantaloons he had stolen from Wallace's house, after the murder had been perpetrated. He went into the postoffice and there left his old straw hat and old vest, and going out obtained lodging at the house of Mr. George Copper.

    " 'We reached Ferryville about eight o'clock, just a few minutes after Nevel had gone to bed. He was still awake. Making known our business to Mr. Copper, we were shown to his bedside, and at once arrested him. We found the stolen property in his possession, and took charge of it; also a double barrelled pistol, some powder and caps, a couple of knives and other things he had bought on the road. We found but $4 in his possession, he having squandered the balance. Barrett and myself sat up with the prisoner during the night. We accused him of the crime, but he persistently denied any knowledge of it. His story was that he had bought the clothing of a man he had met between Pat Wallace's and Ewer's; had paid $5 for the articles, and on investigation had found some money in the pocket. When morning had dawned, Barrett went with the prisoner to the postoffice, and got the clothing he had left there, which he acknowledged were his. We had previously examined the vest and found blood upon it.

    " 'We left Ferryville, on our return, at 8 o'clock, Friday morning, and stopped at Towerville for dinner. Up to this time he had refused to make any confession. We had but four horses, (being horseback), and we let the prisoner ride and walk with us, alternately. However, after we had started from the latter place, Nevel riding Barrett's horse, I rode up beside him and commenced a conversation with him, exercising all my ingenuity to draw from him a statement of his crime. I was well rewarded, for within an hour's ride from the town, he confessed to me that he had murdered the woman. He said that he had shot her and then cut her with the ax."

    " 'This confession he afterwards repeated to the others of his captors, after some little hesitation. In reply to their numerous inquiries, which they propounded to him, he gave the particulars of the crime, which corroborated most of the facts, as elicited at the inquest, and further along entered upon a relation of the details in full.

    " 'He said, that after his conversation with the elder Mr. Wallace, which is given elsewhere, he went to Pat's house, knowing that Mrs. Wallace had been picking hops, and must have some money in the house, and he having a $5 bill, wanted it changed. This Mrs. Wallace, with her usual kindliness of disposition, was willing to do; but, in making the change for him, she brought her pocket-book to the door and he saw that she had some more money in it, and the demon of avarice took possession of him, and he made up his mind to kill her and get possession of it. The little sum for which this remorseless fiend was willing to shed the blood of an innocent woman, was not above $15 or $18.

    " 'He watched where she put the pocket-book containing the money. She then seated herself in a chair between the stove and the door, with her back toward him, he standing at the door. He then went on to relate, that when he cocked the pistol, to shoot her, he held his hand over the trigger, to prevent her hearing the click of the lock. Taking deadly aim at the unsuspecting woman, he fired. After he had discharged his pistol, the ball entering at the back of her head, she jumped up, looked at him intently for a moment, and started for her father-in-law's house, on a run. Seeing that she might live, he seized the ax, which was close to the door, and followed her. She had a little start ahead of him, and he told that he could not overtake her until she fell. He then, on coming up with her, struck her several times with the ax about her head and body. He was a little frightened by this time, and did not know how many times he did strike her.

    " 'Having cut and beaten her, with the ax, until he was sure she was dead, he returned to the house, secured the money and clothing, and started for the Mississippi river, with the intention of going into Iowa.

    " 'To test his sense of the horror of the crime, he was asked if he thought he would do the like again. He replied that he thought not. The question was then asked him, that if a friend asked him to help him by murdering some one, what would do. He said that he would help him.'

    "On Saturday the prisoner was brought to the county seat. The excitement, by this time, was intense, and the village streets were thronged with the relations and friends of his victim, the people of an outraged community. The preliminary examination was held at the courthouse. An immense crowd filled the edifice and many were unable to obtain entrance. But court was quietly opened, and counsel for both State and prisoner appeared. A motion, by the counsel of Nevel, to continue the examination until Monday was sustained. No other measure of importance transpiring, the court was dismissed. The crowd then quietly dispersed, and the prisoner was lodged in the county jail. This was about 2 o'clock. Soon after the examination, the funeral cortege passed through the streets. The train of buggies, wagons and pedestrians made the largest procession of the kind ever witnessed in the streets of the town. The almost insane husband, the nearly distracted relatives and friends of the deceased, presented a spectacle that thrilled the hearts of every onlooker. During the exercises at the cemetery, the village was almost deserted. At the grave the upper lid of the coffin was raised and the mangled neck of the corpse, with the bared jawbone and teeth, were all that could be seen. (The head was not found until the following Monday, when it was interred in the same grave with the body.) The sight of these ghastly remains was enough to chill the blood, and many turned away from the open coffin, with revenge stamped upon their lowering brows.

    "Up to this time, no demonstrations had been made, which looked to certain violence to the murderer, though fears were entertained by many, who, as was afterwards proven, had strong grounds for their belief.

    "From the grave to the courthouse square, about 4 o'clock, marched, with hurried and determined step, the people who had sustained the severe loss, and whose blood was aroused to a fearful fever by the terrible butchery. A consultation in the square, which lasted but a few minutes, resulted in a united and fierce rush for the door of the jail. The mob was well supplied with revolvers, as well as with ropes. The proper officers who met them at the door, warned them of their peril, and did all that men could do to stem the now furious tide that ebbed and surged around them, but in vain. All who sought to defend the law or protect the prisoner were swept aside, like the straw upon the incoming billow, by the intensely infuriated mob. The door was soon broken down, the prisoner seized, and, in less time than it takes to pen this sentence, the soul of the miserable wretch was launched into the "sweet subsequently," there to meet a fearful retribution before a just and omnipotent God. He was taken to a tree near by, his body swung in the air and all was over. Immediately after the consummation of the violence, the crowd slowly dispersed, wending homeward slowly, and quiet once more reigned supreme.

    "The body of the boy was taken possession of by the authorities, who immediately handed it over to the parent and friends of the family, and received burial from the hands of those who had loved and cared for him in infancy. His victim's and his own body lie, with but the fence between, in the cemeteries of Richland Center.

    "The ringleaders of this violation of the law, were afterwards indicted by the grand jury, but the sentiments of a large portion of the community being with them, the cases were never prosecuted and the matter was allowed to drop where it was."

Murder of Mrs. Coleman.

    During the month of July, 1882, the whole community was horrified at hearing of an atrocious murder of an old lady in the town of Akan. The following account has been compiled from newspaper files of that date and contain a full and complete history of the tragedy. It would seem that Mrs. Sabina Driskell, known more commonly by her first husband's name of Coleman, and who came from Butler Co., Penn., about 1878, and has been living with her son, Martin Coleman, on a farm on section 30, in the town of Akan, and known to the neighbors as the McDermott place.

    Martin owned a small farm of forty acres, on section 21, on which place he was building a house and had in some crops, (this place was about two miles from where he lived.) The son's story, as he related it, was as follows:

    On Wednesday, July 19th, he started for his farm, as usual, to work. Just before leaving the house, however, his mother requested him to go to the village of Excelsior, about six miles distant, to get some groceries which were needed. He made the remark that he did not want to lose a day from his work in the corn. She then told him that she would go up to the farm and work in the field while he went to town on the errand. This met his views and he started to his work, with the understanding that he should leave the hoe in a pile of lumber, so that he could find it.

    From his account it appears that he worked until noon, and then went to his uncle's, Michael Hernan, about a quarter of a mile from his own farm, to dinner, according to his usual custom. After dinner he started for Excelsior, as he had promised his mother he would. In going there the road took him by his home, and stopping there, found his mother had gone and the house locked up. He forced an entrance, by pulling out the staple in the door, which was fastened by a padlock. He went up stairs to get some money, which he had forgotten in the morning, and had left in his pants pocket, but finding it gone, he supposed that his mother had taken it, or put it away for safe keeping, so he did not worry about it. Not having any money, he did not go on to town to make the purchase contemplated, but waited for his mother to return.

    However, she did not return that night, and, in his account, he said that he did not think strange of that, but supposed that she had staid at his uncle's, as she had sometimes done before. In the morning he started out, and went to the uncle's place, and on inquiring found that she had not been there. On his arrival at his farm he found that she had been there and had done three or four hour's work in the corn, but could see nothing of either her, or the hoe, both having mysteriously disappeared. Thinking nothing of this he went back to his uncle's and borrowed a hoe, with which he worked until the dinner hour. On arriving there he seemed to be surprised at her continued absence, and told his uncle so, saying that he could not find her at all.

    In the afternoon, he went home and finding that she had not returned thither, during his absence, he instituted inquries among some of the neighbors, who, in reply, said that they had seen nothing of her. He now began to be alarmed at her prolonged absence. Toward evening Mr. Hernan, himself and some of the neighbors, took a lantern, and went out in search of her, going up on the ridge for that purpose, but found no trace of her.

    On Friday morning the search was resumed, and the following account of the events of the morning, are taken from the testimony of James Brady, given at the inquest subsequently held, and being the words of an eye witness, can be relied upon.

    In the words of Mr. Brady: "We commenced the search of her quite early, and I was placed in charge of the investigation, and placed the men, as I thought best, so as to take in a strip of about thirty feet wide."

    The party went all around the field, but without finding any trace of the lost woman. Brady then placed them across the ravine, from bluff to bluff, and the search was extended as far as Gorman's field. Young Coleman, or his uncle Hernan, then suggest that perhaps she had gone to Chicago. Brady then asked Martin if he had missed any of her good clothes, in the house. His reply was that he had not, and, what was more, probably could not miss them. The suggestion was then made to search the house, and investigate the matter there. The three went to the premises, leaving the balance of the neighbors engaged in the prosecution of the search, and giving them word to go on to Hernan's to dinner and to await there the return of the three.

    On their arrival, they went into the house, and after a rigid examination, Coleman declared that his mother's best clothes hung on a nail and were not missing. There was a tub on the floor, with some clothing in it, to soak, and it was remarked that a woman that left things in that shape, evidently left with the intention of an early return. Then it seemed first to dawn upon their minds that some foul play was, probably, at the bottom of the whole business.

    After a short consultation, the search was recommenced, and this time in dead earnest, and while carrying it on in Gorman's field, one of the owner's boys asked Martin if he had thrown any logs into a hole over there, pointing out a certain part of the land. This put them on the true scent, and under the guidance of the youth, the hole was sought for and found --- a hole evidently made by an upturned tree, and some logs found therein were discovered to have traces of blood on them, as were also some pieces of rock. After a prolonged search in every direction, a trail was struck, and followed up and the mutilated form of the murdered woman was found at the head of the ravine, covered with rocks and rotten logs, so that it was nearly hidden from sight.

    The head was bruised and cut as if with some sharp instrument, the clothing was torn, and quite a number of wounds were found on one arm and on the head. The body was carefully removed to the house of M. Hernan, and the coroner summoned and a jury impaneled before 'Squire Pucket, of Excelsior.

    Before many days had elapsed, in spite of the feeling to the contrary, a strong suspicion began to enter the minds of the majority of the people, that the unknown party who had committed the dastardly deed was no other than her son Martin, and that this was more than a common murder.

    The circumstances surrounding the case caused the officers to make the closest investigation. On searching the premises lately occupied by the accused and his supposed victim, they found the tub of water, before mentioned, to have the overalls and overshirt of the young man in it to soak. These garments were secured, and were dried, and on being submitted to chemical analysis, the marks of what was supposed to be blood was found to have been upon them. These things and many little incidents drew suspicion upon him and he left for other climes. Immediately upon his flight becoming known, sheriff Barron detailed marshal Spangler to pursue him and bring him back. He was followed to Lynxville, on the Mississippi river, where he had taken a boat, going north. After some delay he was followed, and in the course of the next day, was found near Lake City, Minn., at work for a railroad company near that place. He was arrested and brought back to meet his accusers and was lodged in the county jail. Next day he was brought before D L Downs, the county judge, for examination. The evidence being purely circumstantial, and not very strong, and nothing positively proving his connection with the murder, he was simply bound over in bonds of $1000, to appear at the next term of the court, to answer the charge.

    At the meeting of the court, no further evidence having been found against him, or any other parties, the district attorney entered a nolle pros. to be entered on the case; and the case dropped, leaving the punishment of the criminal to the just and sure vengeance of the great Tribunal, where all crimes must be answered for at last. Coleman, upon his discharge, left the country, and disappeared from the knowledge of the people of Richland county.

Killing of Ephraim Dockerty.

    The Richland County Observer, of Oct. 12, 1882, contains a graphic description of the next terrible tragedy, which occurred at Sextonville, in Ithaca town, Oct. 5, 1882, from which we quote, by kind permission.

    After relating, how that excitement ran high in that village, when the news of the event was received; how the whole community was shocked; the article in question goes on to state that this was the second case of the taking of precious life in the county in ninety days; and that this has no mystery attending it, as it was a clear case of murder in self-defense, or justifiable homicide. The Observer then goes on to say:

    "The particulars of this unfortunate affair, as we collect from reliable sources, are, that Ephraim Dockerty, the victim, some fourteen years ago, married a widow, who owned a farm near Sextonville, and who had a family of two sons, Arthur and Samuel, and one daughter. They have lived together all these years, the sons helping to carry on the farm, and at times working out. The family has, however, lived unhappily for years, and strife and contention have been rife and continuous between Dockerty and the boys.

    "During last winter, matters in the domestic circle became so unpleasant that some kind of a division of property was made between Dockerty, his wife and the boys. He was given a team and wagon, on the condition that he would leave and not return to molest them. He took his departure for Dakota some time during last April, and it was hoped that the family and neighborhood was rid of him for good. But the old saying, that "a bad penny always returns," proved true in this case, for about the latter part of September he returned to Sextonville. Here he talked hard, and made threats against the boys and the family, saying that he was going to stay with the family, and similar remarks.

    "He camped in the neighborhood for several days after his return, and did not visit the family until Sunday, October 1st. On that day he was seen to go there, and knowing that he was desperate, several men followed him to the house. None but the women of the family were at home. He made no disturbance, but asked for the youngest child, which he took into the street and played with for some time. He soon sent in for the child's clothes, evidently with the intention of taking it away. Mrs. Dockerty went out and took the child in her arms, when Dockerty took it from her by force. The other parties then interfered, rescued the child and returned it to its mother. Dockerty drew a revolver and made violent threats. In the meantime Arthur, one of the boys, returned, when some words passed between them, not very amicable, Dockerty threatening to take his, (Arthur's) life. The boy very quietly told him that he did not want any fuss, and that as he (Dockerty) was not welcome there, it would be best for him to leave.

    This advice Dockerty, finally took and went away, and quiet reigned once more. By the advice of friends, who were aware of Dockerty's desperate frame of mind, young Arthur Van Dusen procured a revolver with which to defend himself, if need be.

    "Nothing further occurred until Tuesday, October 5th, when Dockerty went to the place, put his team in the barn, and spent the afternoon quietly in the house. Samuel was at home but Arthur was absent. However, when the latter returned in the evening, his team being heated by travel, he wanted to put the horses into the barn, so the old man's team was taken from thence and tied to the wagon. This "riled" Dockerty up, and he arose and said he was going. The boys helped him hitch up his team and he got on his wagon to start. He turned to Samuel and said "you'll get scorched financially for this." Arthur spoke up and said that he "ought not to make such threats," whereupon Dockerty reached for his revolver, saying that he would shoot him. At this Arthur drew his revolver and fired, the bullet going through the old man's cheek. This apparently stunned him and he climbed from the wagon and tried to keep on the opposite side of it from the boys. The team, however, moved on and left the man and boy facing one another, within a few feet of each other.

    "Dockerty had his revolver up and the hammer half cocked. At this Arthur again shot, the ball taking effect in Dockerty's head, killing him instantly.

    "Arthur Van Dusen then went into town and telling the story of how it was done, delivered himself a prisoner into the hands of the officers of the law. The day following, an inquest was held before 'Squire Barnard, with a jury composed of prominent citizens. The examination was conducted by H A Eastland, for the State, and Oscar F Black on the part of the defense. The full facts in regard to the killing were brought out, and on reviewing them and investigating the matter thoroughly, they agreed on a verdict of justifiable homicide. The verdict seems to have met with universal satisfaction and approval."

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Richland County History
Richland Co., WI Page