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November 24, 2017

1868 The Hanging That Never Was - Killed Holden Saloonkeeper - Escaped Before Hanging

(Texas Hanging picture) - James Dwyer Escaped  Before His Hanging Date of Destiny
Holden Saloon Keeper Murdered Over $1.50 Tab
The first man ever sentenced to death by a court in Cass County was James Elijah Sprague, who was tried in Cass County in July 1875, for murder. The trial took place before Hon. Foster P. Wright, then presiding as circuit judge. Sprague was indicted in the Johnson County Circuit Court for the killing of James Dwyer, on the 23d September, 1868, in a saloon at Holden. 
Holden Missouri Saloon Would Have Looked Similar
After his arrest and incarceration in Johnson County, Sprague broke jail and went to another state. He was re-arrested and took a change of venue to Cass County, where he was lodged in the jail. He escaped jail again and was subsequently re-arrested and confined in the Davies County jail. He made his escape again, and being re-arrested was sentenced to a term in the penitentiary of this state. After the expiration of this term he was re-arrested and remanded to the Cass County jail, to answer the charge of murder before mentioned. The evidence disclosed that Sprague had incurred a bill amounting to about $1.50 for drinks in a saloon and that the saloonkeeper Dwyer, demanded payment, whereupon Sprague drew a revolver, shot and instantly killed Dwyer. 
David Nation (In 1874 He married Carrie Nation), Esq., appeared for the defense, and James Armstrong, then prosecuting attorney for Cass County, for the state. 
David Nation, attorney, husband later, of Carrie A. Nation. David Nation, Esq. In 1874 Carrie Gloyd married David Nation, a widower with children who was nineteen years older than she. David Nation was a journalist for a Warrensburg newspaper. He was also a lawyer and preacher. Carrie also lived in Holden, MO. When her only child was born on September 27, 1868, Carrie named her Charlien after her husband. Only six months later, Charles Gloyd died. Carrie sold land her father had given her as well as her husband’s books and medical equipment and built a small house in Holden, Missouri. There she lived with her child and mother–in–law. From May 1871 to July 1872 Carrie Gloyd attended school to earn a teaching certificate at the Normal Institute in Warrensburg, Missouri. She taught in Holden for four years.
The jury promptly brought in a verdict of guilty, and on the 19th of July, 1875, Judge Wright passed sentence on the prisoner and sentenced him to be hanged on Friday, September 3, 1875. The venerable judge delivered a most impressive sentence which was listened to by a large audience and at its conclusion was so overcome, that he bowed his head and wept like a tender-hearted woman. There were few dry eyes in the court room, although no possible doubt of the prisoner's guilt was entertained. The prisoner amidst the vast throng seemed to be moved the least of all. He was pale but not tremulous. He seemed to have mastered all his emotions — all his nerves for the occasion, and sat there with his eye fixed upon the court, but undismayed. It was afterwards said that, as he left the court room, he uttered in a suppressed, whispered tone, words to the effect that he would never be hung! The words proved strangely prophetic. The man who had broken jail so often before, seemed destined to escape once more, at a time too, when escape was more important to his safety than ever. The arrangements for the execution had partially been completed, when on the 29th of August, before the day appointed, Sprague, sure enough was missing — had again broken jail and escaped! He has never been seen or heard of since.
State of Missouri – Criminal Proceedings (after release from Prison)
The true northerner., July 23, 1875, (Paw Paw, Mich.
August 4, 1875
Sprague: J. F. Brookhart, M.D., Harrisonville, Cass County; opposes pardon for Sprague, sentenced to hang

August 16, 1875
Sprague: J. R. Sasseen, Harrisonville, Cass County; clemency for J. S. E. Sprague
August 23, 1875
Sprague: James Armstrong, Harrisonville, Cass County; opposes clemency for Elijah James Sprague (or James Elijah Sprague); Armstrong was prosecuting attorney against Sprague, who committed murder in Holden, Johnson County
November 24, 1875
Criminal CasesCass County: telegram, S. H. Rodgers, sheriff, Harrisonville; reward offered for James Sprague, sentenced to hang September 3, murder of James Dwyer, Holden, Johnson County; escaped from jail

James Dwyer

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