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March 8, 2018

1897 September 23 Young Wife of Andy Stills Stolen and Outraged on the way to Knob Noster near Burtville

Newspaper clipping 1897
The Butler weekly times., September 23, 1897
Three Young Men Compel Andrew Stills to Give Up his Bride.
The Crime Was Committed Near Warrensburg, and the Names of the Young Men Charged With it are James Hull, J. N. McKeehan and Wesley Jackson.
Warrensburg, Mo., Sept. 15, 1897
News of what appears to be one of the most dastardly outrages that ever occurred in Missouri has reached this city. James Hull and J. N. McKeehan, two younger men living in Jefferson township, are under arrest charged with abduction, criminal assault and robbery. Wesley Jackson, who lives in Henry county, is wanted for complicity in the crime, and officers are scouring the country for him. Andrew Stills, a young, ignorant but honest boy who is is frantically searching the country for his stolen and outraged wife, and the indignant and excited people of the southeastern part of Jefferson township are giving him all the assistance in their power to find his wife, and prove the criminality of these brutes who abducted and outraged her "Andy" Stills, 20 years old and his wife, 16 years old, were married last April at Warsaw, where they lived until last week. Then they left Warsaw in a cart to go to Knob Noster, where his wife's sister, Mrs. Mayes, resides At Windsor, the horse which the couple were driving died and the young husband went about the town trying to get some one to take him and his wife and cart to Knob Noster. James Hull, J. N. McKeehan and Wesley Jackson were in Windsor Monday drinking and carousing. They offered to take Stills and his wife to Knob Noster and he paid them a dollar to do so. They tied his cart onto their buggy and he and his wife got into the cart and the three young men got into the buggy and drove out of town towards Knob Noster. This was about 9 o'clock Monday evening. Once out of town the three young men began cursing and using the vilest language. Stills asked them to stop and they told him to let his wife get in the buggy and ride with them, He finally consented on condition that they leave the back curtain of the buggy so he could see what was going on. No sooner did the three men get the woman in the buggy than they began to abuse her and make advances which terrified her. She screamed and her husband cut the cart loose from the buggy, jumped out and running around the buggy caught hold of his wife and pulled her out. The three men cursed them and drove on. Stills and his wife, deserted in the night in a strange country, built a fire and prepared to go into camp. About 11 o'clock the three men came to the camp and swore they would have the woman. The husband resisted, but was overpowered, and the three fiends carried the screaming woman to their buggy and drove off with her. The enraged and terrified husband fired after the buggy, one shot went through the buggy top. Then he rushed from one farmhouse to another imploring someone to go with him and rescue his wife, but the farmers were afraid that his story was trumped up to get them out where a gang might rob them and it was some time before the distracted man could get assistance. Once he returned to the camp and two of the young men came up and offered to take him to his wife. He went with them and a little ways from the camp they grabbed him, took his revolver and $5.50 of his money and left him, mocking at him in his despair. All that night long Still's searched the woods and hills for his lost wife. Almost crazed he was finally persuaded by kind farmers to take a little rest. To them he told his story, his straightforward manner and honest, boyish face convincing them of the truth of his statements. He told them that the young men were known in Windsor, and they notified officers Tuesday morning of the awful outrage This led to the discovery of the parties charged with the crime James Hull and J. N. McKeehan, sober now and trembling with fear, gave themselves up the constable of Jefferson township. Wesley Jackson his not yet been captured. Officers accompanied by Stills went to his home just across the Henry county line, but were met by the young man's father, who refused to let them inside. Finally he consented but a search of the premises revealed nothing, but the neighbors and still he says that while Jackson was parleying with the officers they saw the young man run out of the back door of Jackson's home and sped away through the cornfield towards the woods.
The community is intensely aroused. The young man's story is believed and the crime is pronounced the most dastardly and cowardly ever committed in Johnson county.
The wife has not yet been found, but squads of men and officers are looking for her and Wesley Jackson. Some people living near the place of the abduction say they heard a woman's screams on the night in question. The boys' defense, it is said, will be that the woman is a prostitute.
While he was at Windsor, Stills denied this with indignation and says no woman is more pure and virtuous than his wife. Investigation by farmers Gibson and O'Day led to the information that the young man and his wife conducted themselves properly while in Windsor and on the road, that she has three respectable married sisters in Warsaw and another in Knob Noster.

Sept. 16, 1897 Sedalia Democrat

Warrensburg, Mo , Sept. 17 
1897 Andy Stills' Wife Raped and Kidnapped Case Dismissed - MB nuts hot coon. la At. llls Abdartlon Caaa...

The outrage committed on the young wife of Andy Stills in this county Monday night by the three young men, Hull, Jackson and McKeehan, has aroused the citizen to a high pitch of anger. Jackson has not yet been found, and is supposed to have left the country. His accomplices are out on bail. The whereabouts of the woman  is still a mystery, and it is thought she has been murdered. A telegram from Warsaw, dated today, says she has not returned there, which disproves the story of young Hull that she bad bean placed on a train and sent to that place. From reports of citizens along the highway the boys took when driving away with their victim a terrible struggle must have been made by Mrs. Stills to escape with her life and honor, as they claim to have heard her scream and efforts to escape. The mutterings of farmers who came from that section to this city are ominous, and intimations of a lynching are frequently heard and even advised. Several friends of Stills and his wife have conveniently dropped over into Jefferson township and declare justice must be meted out to the guilty parties. If Mrs. Stills is not found alive and well, and McKeehan do not escape, there is great danger that the boys will not be permitted to stand trial.
andy_stills_wife_abduction_rape Link
The Latest in Regard to the Abduction Case. 
His Story of the Outrage Corroborated in Many Ways Other Side of the Case. 
Indignant with the sense of outraged outraged justice, the honest and law - abiding farmers of Jefferson township are leaving no stone unturned, unturned which may help to punish the men guilty of the dastardly outrage outrage alleged to have been committed committed Monday night, September 12, on the young wife of Andrew Stills by Wesley Jackson, James Hull and Jos. McKeehan, says a Warrensburg telegram to the St. Louis Post - Dispatch of Sunday. A reporter visited the scene of the crime, twenty miles southeast of Warrensburg. The community is aroused and excited. They are investigating every detail, and they assure one another and young Stills that justice will be done. Last Thursday sixty prominent farmers of Jefferson township went to the home of 'Squire Russell to see to it " that the three men charged with the outrage be held over on good bond. They were peaceable and quiet, and they accomplished accomplished their purpose. Hull, Jackson and McKeehan were bound over in the sum of $500 each on charges of abduction and highway robbery. It is thought that a charge of criminal assault will also be made when the wife of Stills is found. Investigations have so far failed to bring the missing woman to light. Hull and Jackson were seen with her in the woods near Burtville Thursday morning. 
Burtville, MO area
They claim to have sent her to Leeton with a young man named Birch Winfrey, with instructions to put her in care of a liveryman there by the name of Woods, who was to have taken her home to Warsaw. Investigations Investigations have developed that she has five married sisters, all of whom are poor but respectable. Stills is sick in bed and seems distracted over his trouble. He denies indignantly the stories told about his wife by the three defendants defendants and one or two young men of Windsor. He says his wife is just a little strip of a girl only 16 years old, and as pure and virtuous virtuous as any woman who ever lived. He has sent to Warsaw for witnesses to prove her character. In addition to the facts already brought out Stills' story develops that after the two men had come back and robbed him and again gone away one of them came back again to the wagon where he was lying and asked him if he was going going to have them arrested. Stills says he told him no, that he had no money and no friends and that all he wanted was his wife. To this the man said : .."Well. I just thought if you were going to have us pulled I'd take my knife and finish you while I am here. Stills tells a straightforward story, making no reservations and no hesitations. Everyone who has heard his story believes it. Then, too, he is corroborated in so many statements by farmers and their families living on the road along which the men passed and on which the crime took place. Mrs. Geo. . - Bowers heard a woman screaming; 'Let me go; let me get in my own seat." She also heard men cursing and yelling and another man's voice who seemed to be pleading "with them to stop doing something At the next house north, George Cooper heard a pistol shot and a woman's screams. Farmer Wiley heard a woman crying and shrieking. "Oh, God, save me! Help! and men cursing and yelling and singing. Mrs. Lucinda Swope heard a woman yelling and screaming" for help just as a buggy drove rapidly past her place. W. T. Gibson, one of the prominent farmers in the county heard the woman screaming and crying down the road, a quarter of a mile away, and then the woman's voice was drowned by men's voices singing and yelling. Others beard the woman "crying out for help. The three boys have very wealthy connections. They acknowledge having taken the pistol and $1.80 away from Stills, but say they belonged belonged to his wife and she sent them off after it. Of course,whole case now hangs upon the testimony of the woman and until she is found the case will rest. 
The Other Side. 
Prosecuting Attorney Nick Bradley returned last night from Jefferson township, where he went to investigate the Stills abduction and outrage story, says Saturday's Warrensburg Star. While Mr. Bradley would not say much about the crime, he said that he came back feeling that there was something in the tale related related by young Stills. This morning, however, two prominent farmers from that section section of the county came to Warrensburg and had a conversation with the prosecuting attorney which served to alter his opinion very materially, and he now believes believes there is considerable less in the affair than he did last evening. Mr, Bradley visited the houses along the road where the trouble is supposed to have taken place, and talked with the people who live in them. The inhabitants say they heard shots and shouts and screams, but from whom they proceeded they had no means of telling. A Daily Star reporter interviewed interviewed Dave and George Cooper, two farmers of Jefferson township, whose reputation for truth and varacity is as good as anyone in the county. The crime, if such it should prove to be, occurred in a half mile of where they live. Still came to Cooper's home at night and stated that some men had "stolen his woman," and wanted Mr. Cooper to help hunt the men. Mr. Cooper placed very little confidence confidence in Still's story, as it was "gauzy" on the face of it, so he paid no attention to it. He said that the accused parties were good citizens citizens and came of excellent families, families, and had all appeared and given bond for their appearance at the trial, when the case will be thoroughly ventilated Mr. Cooper further stated that Stills and his wife, he was satisfied, were a tough set, and that the woman woman had been seen since the occurrence occurrence in the brush in that neighborhood. neighborhood. There is no great excitement, no prospect of lynching and nothing, nothing, in fact, to raise any great hue and cry over. As near as the Star can ascertain the whole affair seems to be a bad case of jag, and a fake newspaper sensation of gigantic proportions. 
The latest in regard to the case is the following dispatch from Windsor, Windsor, dated the 19th: "Constable Hudson returned from White Sulphur Sulphur Springs today, where he had been to summon a witnesses in the Mrs. Stills abduction case, and reports that the missing Mrs. Stills has been at home with her mother since the abduction until 11 a.m. Saturday." 
Later Developments. 
The sensational story of the abduction, robbery, vilification, defilement, repeated outrage and unlawful detainment of Mrs. Andrew Stills, of Benton county, about which columns of double leaded and and scare head matter have been published, has been thoroughly exploded and proven to be a trumped up fabrication of the silliest, silliest character. The Warrensburg Star of Monday gives the latest phase of the case, as follows; A prominent farmer of Jefferson township sought out Prosecuting Attorney Bradley and informed him that further investigation would disclose the true facts in the case, and advised him to again visit the scene of the alleged crime for further evidence. Accordingly, bright and early Sunday morning the attorney harnessed his horse and again set out for Jefferson township. This time no reporter accompanied him, but the history of his investigation will be faithfully recorded just the same. The journey was accomplished accomplished without incident, and the attorney drew rein at the house of Mr. Gibson, one of the "indignant," "aroused" farmers, who was "determined that justice should be done." Messrs. Gibson, O'Day. Hanthorn, the three Cooper brothers and John McDonald, all of them farmers, accompanied by Prosecutor Prosecutor Bradley, were piloted by James Hull, one of the young men accused accused of the triple crime, to a point in the dense timber eight or nine miles northeast of Mr. Gibson's farm. The place is just over the Johnson county line in Pettis, and is on the banks of a little creek known as Elk Fork. It is densely wooded and forms an ideal camping camping spot, especially for people who are not particular about the whole community finding out just what business they are engaged in. As Mr. Bradley and the party drove up they saw horses hitched to a nearby fence and heard the sound of voices in the heavy timber. The men quietly dismounted and hitched their steeds in a safe place secure from observation, and advanced in the direction from whence the sounds proceeded. Their footsteps were cautious, and in a few minutes a peculiar scene presented itself. On a grassy knoll in the midst of the forest were fifteen men, sitting or lying in various positions, while in the center was a rough pallet of straw, over which a lap robe had carelessly been thrown It was evidently a throne for the "Queen of the Camp," but it was unoccupied just then, for "her royal highness" was absent just at that particular moment. When the proper time arrived Mr. Bradley and his staff of "indignant" farmers charged upon the camp. The men were taken by surprise, and consternation was written upon every countenance. They were immediately reassured, however, by Mr. Bradley, and resumed resumed their former positions. The new arrivals joined the party gathered around the throne and silently waited, for all conversation conversation just at that moment was of a rather desultory nature. They had not long to wait. In a few moments the "queen of the camp" emerged from the underbrush with her arm around the neck of a young man. It was Mrs. Andrew Stills, the "wronged and outraged girl wife," the "innocent young bride" whose awful experiences had been depicted in double leaded bourgeois in the columns columns of a Warrensburg afternoon paper for three days previous. And the young man with her was not her husband, either. As she entered the group of young men she glanced around, laughed and asked, "Aren't you through with my pallet yet?" then laid down on the lap robe, Mr. Bradley glanced at the faces of the indignant" farmers, and saw intense disgust, rather than indignation, plainly written thereon. The young woman was called aside and questioned by the prosecutor. She said that the man who had asked her to leave her husband's husband's cart on the evening of the alleged crime was Hull, who had accompanied Mr. Bradley's party to the camp. She stated that she went willingly, and that no force was used. She left her husband because she was tired of him, did not want to and would not go back, and did not care to see him again. She further stated that Stills' story was false, and that for the past summer she had been prostituting her body at his directions, with his full knowledge and consent, and that the two had traveled from place to place, gaining their livelihood by that means. When the disgusting story of shame and disgrace had been concluded, concluded, Mr. Hanthorn turned to James Hull and offered him his hand with the remark, "I'm through, Jim." Everyone of the farmers present echoed the same sentiment, for the story of an awful, awful, outrageous crime in their peaceful community had been completely completely exploded. The men returned returned to their homes with the feeling that there had been "much ado about nothing;" and Mr. Bradley, after telling all witnesses that they need not appear before Esquire Russell Tuesday, returned to Warrensburg utterly disgusted at the great fake sensation and the trouble it had caused him. 
The above facts were given to a Daily Star reporter this morning. Mr. Bradley further announced that the cases against James Hull, Lee Jackson and and Joe McKeehan would be nollied Tuesday in 'Squire Russell's court. And thus ends the "great sensation," which was evolved from Andy Stills and the imaginative brain of an enterprising newspaper reporter. 
The Defendants Held. 
Fully 300 persons were at Sutherland, Johnson county, Tuesday, to hear the preliminary hearing of Hull, Jackson and McKeehan on the charge of abducting Mrs. Andy Stills, of Benton county. Owing to the excited talk, Prosecuting Attorney Bradley, of Warrensburg, decided to go on with the trial instead of dismissing the case, as he had intended. The boys took a change of venue, and the case will come up before 'Squire Nason, of Leeton, next Monday, each giving bond, in $1,000 for his appearance. After court adjourned D. L. Sutherland invited all law - abiding citizens to remain and express their opinions as to the proper course to pursue in consequence of the day's developments. Prosecuting Attorney Bradley was called upon for a statement, and that gentleman told the story of his being taken to a camp in the woods where a woman, who was pointed out to him as Airs. Stills was found surrounded by fifteen fifteen men in various stares of inebriety, as already published in these columns. Some of the citizens intimated that Bradley had been imposed upon in an attempt to shield the young men; that it was incredible that a girl not yet 16 years old should be so depraved as to act as this woman in the woods was reported reported to have acted. The meeting was a stormy one, and it was determined to push the case, and if the prisoners were guilty they should be punished despite despite any and all efforts to shield them. Mrs. Stills was sent for and returned to the charge of her husband and mother, her husband, in company with Constable Hudson, taking taking her to Knobnoster. 
A Warrensburg dispatch says: Prosecuting Attorney Bradley arrived arrived home late tonight from Sutherland, where the preliminary trial of Hull, Jackson and McKeehan for the abduction of Andy Stills' wife was to have been held. Mr. Bradley went with the determination of dismissing the case, but several hundred citizens assembled assembled and would not permit it. Many ladies were present, who allege that Mrs. Stills is under the influence of drug and cannot give a coherent story of the crime. Bradley is much worried, and refuses to be interviewed. He still adheres to his intention of dismissing dismissing the case, but indignant citizens are on guard and demand a full investigation. investigation. The sentiment in this city is that Bradley has been imposed imposed upon and that justice demands demands a vigorous prosecution. The case against Stills for shooting  at his wife's abductors was dismissed and Hull and his companions companions will have their hearing Monday. If the indignation continues to spread serious trouble may ensue. 
Clipped from The Sedalia Democrat,  23 Sep 1897, Thu,  Page 10

James Mayes, Knob Noster
BIRTH 20 May 1855
Knob Noster, Johnson County, Missouri, USA
DEATH 24 Sep 1932 (aged 77)
Seminole, Seminole County, Oklahoma, USA

NAME:          Joseph N Mckeehan
SPOUSE:  Minnie McKeehan
BIRTH:          abt 1869 - location
RESIDENCE:  1910 - city, Johnson, Missouri

Joseph Nicholas McKeehan
BIRTH 20 Jan 1868
Windsor, Henry County, Missouri, USA
DEATH 8 Feb 1941 (aged 73)
Post Oak, Johnson County, Missouri, USA
Mineral Creek Cemetery
Leeton, Johnson County, Missouri, USA 

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