Pertle Springs, MO Railway

Pertle Springs, MO Railway
Pertle Springs Railway - Resort

WHS Class of 73

Search This Blog

January 7, 2013

1884 Train Depot Murder of Warrensburg, Double Hanging of the Hamilton Brothers, Over 10,000 Viewed


A Terrible Crime - Murder of Carl Steidle
Alias Ed Aultman, Hanged
Alias, William Nalskey, age 27, b. 1857 
Wurtermberg, Germany, Hanged

On Monday, March 31, (1884) the dead body of an unknown man was found in a mangled condition on the railway track near Warrensburg, Mo., (Johnson County) and it was supposed that he had been killed by the (railroad) cars. A big gash on the side of the man's head, however, led some to believe that the stranger had first been killed by a robber and then placed on the track in order to cover up a crime, and such is now known to be the case. The dead man, whose name was Carl Steidle, came from Sedalia a few days before with William Hamilton. Upon their arrival at Warrensburg, Hamilton, who was an ex-convict, was met by an old Jail companion, named Charles Hamilton, and between them they decided to murder Steidle for his money, and then place his body on the railroad track, and let the train run over it. This plan was carried out, William Hamilton knocking Steidle down with a club, after which his brother (ed.not brothers)  Charles jumped upon him and choked what life there was left out of him.They then secured $126 and placed the body on the rails, where it was run over by the early passenger train from St. Louis. The cut on the head led to an investigation, and both men  were arrested, and subsequently confessed to the crime, each trying to lay the blame on the other. There was fear at first that  the pair would be lynched by the infuriated mob, but  the  Jail was strongly guarded, and there is no doubt but  that the monsters will be legally hanged.
Description: A Terrible Crime - Murder of Carl Steidle
Date: April 11 1884
Newspaper published in: Huntsville, AL

Two Ex-Convicts Arrested for the Crime and Make a Full Confession
The Deed Committed for the Purpose of Securing a Sum of Money Which Steidle was Known to Possess

WARRENSBURG, MO., April 4. (1884) Charles and W. H. Hamilton brought here yesterday, from Sedalia, for the murder of the man whose mangled body was found on the railroad tracks near here on Sunday night, have confessed to one of the most atrocious murders yet recorded. The two Hamiltons are not related in any way, one being an American and the other a Bavarian. They first met in the Jefferson City Penitentiary, two years ago, where both were serving time. Their victim was Carl Steidle, a machinist in the Missouri Pacific shops in Sedalia, who had saved up a few hundred dollars and was going to California. 

Carl Steidle worked here at the MoPac
Repair Shops, Sedalia, Missouri

Chas. Hamilton said in his confession that he was discharged from prison six or eight weeks ago. He went to Warrensburg three weeks ago and was employed as porter in the Simmons House. At nine o’clock on Sunday night Billy Hamilton came to him there and told him that he had fetched a man from Sedalia on the way to California, and wanted Charles to go with them as far as Kansas City. They went to the depot where Steidle was waiting and persuaded him to come out of the depot. Charles Hamilton struck him on the head with a wrench and choked him. Then they laid the body across the rails and waited to see that the train ran over it. They got about $75 apiece by the murder. W. H. Hamilton also made a confession substantially corroborating the above. 

THE SEDALIA WEEKLY BAZOO

TUESDAY,

APRIL 22, 1884. Page 6

It was supposed until yesterday that all of the facts in connection with the murder of Carl Stiedle, who was killed by Charlie Hamilton, alias Ed. Aultman, near Warrensburg several weeks since, had been disclosed but the death or Mrs. John Mossimann, the sister of Miss Mary Lefler, the affianced of Billie Hamilton, which occurred Tuesday night, develops new facts in the brutal murder, and seems to entangle the wretch, Billie Hamilton, in a network of circumstantial evidence pointing to him as the perpetrator of another coolly planned and deliberately executed murder, from which he will find it difficult to extricate himself. A BAZOO reporter learned yesterday that the relatives of Mrs. Mossimann were fully convinced that her death had been CAUSED BY POISON administered by Billie Hamilton on the occasion of his visit to the family on the same day that he in company with Charley Hamilton, was arrested for the murder of Stiedle. The murder, it will be remembered, was committed Sunday night, March 30th, and the arrest was made on the following Wednesday.  On that day Hamilton, alias Aultman, as already stated call at the Mossimann residence and took supper with the family, his affianced, Miss Lefler, being absent in the country at the time. On the following Friday Mrs. Mossimann, was taken suddenly ill, suffering violent vomiting spells and giving every indication of having been poisoned.  In the meantime Hamilton's horrible crime had been given to the public, and fearing that a man who had been guilty of such a diabolical crime might have placed 

POISON IN THE FLOUR BARREL, near which he sat at the time of his last visit, Mr. Mossimann removed the flour from the barrel for a depth of about six inches and threw it into the yard.  The contents of the sugar bowl were also thrown out.  Mrs. Mossimann partially recovered her usual health, but complained constantly of a burning sensation in the pit of the stomach, finally being compelled to take to her bed, which she never again left.  During the last two days of her illness. 

SHE WAS DELIRIOUS and it required the combined strength of several parties to hold her in bed.  She refused to take the medicine which the physician prescribed for her, until it had been tasted by other parties, claiming that she was afraid that she was going to be poisoned.  These circumstances gave responsible grounds for suspicion on the part of the unfortunate woman's friends that she had been poisoned, and by their request, 

AN AUTOPSY WAS MADE of the remains yesterday afternoon by Drs. A.V. Small, Ed. Small and Henry Evans.  The autopsy developed severe inflammation of the stomach, but the doctors were unable to determine whether or not there was poison in the stomach in the absence of a chemical analysis.  Of course, if there was poison administered death resulted from secondary effects. Mr. Mossimann's little daughter was taken sick about the same time that her mother was, but illness was slight and the symptoms exhibited were not the same.  Mr. Mossimann was not sick. The case is a very mysterious one.  If poison was placed in the flour barrel by Hamilton, it would naturally be supposed that Mr. Mossimann would have received a dose as well as his wife.  There is only 

ONE SOLUTION

of the mystery. On the evening that Hamilton took supper at the Mossimann residence Mr. Mossimann ate supper by himself, as head a business engagement, and was in a hurry to meet his appointment.  Hamilton and the rest of the family ate alone, and it seems probable that the fiend improved this occasion to do his diabolical work.

HAMILTON'S MOTIVE
It would appear to the casual observer that Hamilton could have no possible motive for poisoning Mrs. Mossimann, but if there is an ulterior motive which is at once apparent when all the facts are known.  Mossimann owns a lot and a neat little residence on Prospect street.  Ever since Hamilton became intimate with the family, by reason of his being a prospective relative on account of his engagement to Miss Lefler, he has endeavored to persuade Mossimann to sell the property, ostensibly for the purpose of purchasing a more eligible site on which to built, but in reality, as it is now believed, that he might 
ROB HIS UNSUSPECTING FRIEND
of the money accruing from the sale.  In order that the sale might be more readily effected Hamilton, who is a painter and a good one, painted the house inside and out and also made a handsome sign, "For Sale," which now adorns the front fence.  Mrs. Mossimann strongly objected to the sale of her little home, to which she had become attached, and the plans of the villain Hamilton thus being frustrated, he endeavored to 
REEK HIS VENGEANCE upon the unfortunate woman in this cowardly manner. There are many circumstances pointing to conclusion that Hamilton had for sometime premeditated robbing Mossimann whenever the opportunity presented itself. On one occasion he accompanied Mrs. Mossimann on a visit to friends in the country, and endeavored to have her remain there, stating that he would return and keep her husband company during her absence.  It was known that Mossimann had considerable money in his possession at that time, and that fortunately for him his wife, although not suspecting Hamilton of any evil intent insisted upon returning home. It will be remembered by those who have read the particulars of the Warrensburg murder, that Billie Hamilton, after the murder of Steidle, left with Mossimann, forty dollars in gold and a plain gold ring to be delivered to Miss Lefler, and that Mossimann immediately after learning that Hamilton had been arrested for murder, turned the money and the ring over to Sheriff Cooper.  Hamilton, as is well known, is already in the STRONG GRASP OF THE LAW, 
being imprisoned at Kansas City, and it is not at all probable that anything can be done by his friends, if he has any, to prevent him from stretching the hemp. The circumstances above detailed, however, will aid materially in completing his record as one of the most heartless, cool, calculating and fiendish murderers, who ever cursed the state with this presence.

SEDALIA WEEKLY BAZOO
Volume 15, Sedalia, MO
Tuesday, May 18
STEIDLE'S SLAYERS
The trial of Charles Hamilton, the murderer, progressing at Warrensburg.
Warrensburg, MO., May 10 Special
The trial of Charlie and Billy Hamilton, alias Ed. Aultman, for the murder and robbery of Carl Steidle on the 31st of March last, a full account of which has already been given, is the absorbing topic of interest here at present.  Early this week a severance of the cases was asked, and Charles' case was set for today.  He being without money and friends, Mr. S. P. Sparks was appointed by the court to represent him in the trial, and to the end proving the lack of intent to commit murder on the part of this client, Mr. Sparks is lending his power.  The case was called at 9 o'clock this morning, and has proceeded quietly thus far, nothing occurring unusual in such cases.  All the witnesses examined were for the state, the defense relying solely upon the sworn statement of the prisoner for its case.  That that statement made any impression on the minds of the jury, time alone can tell.  At 6 o'clock this evening, the evidence all being taken, the court adjourned until 9 o'clock Monday Morning.  Virtually, the trial of Hamilton is also a trial of Aultman, as he is clearly the prime spirit in the dastardly deed.  Should, however, Hamilton be acquitted, the history of the recent riot in Cincinnati is too fresh in the minds of the newspaper reading public to allow them the insult to their outraged dignity.  This the officers and the court know, which makes the trial of Hamilton all the more solemn and important.  Aultman is heavily guarded in a room in the third story of the Simmons House. Every movement is watched like the hawk watches its victim.  One circumstance had almost escaped my memory: Among the things belonging to Aultman was a small vial containing a liquid marked "poison", which Aultman told Hamilton he would have used on Steidle had Hamilton refused to do his bidding. This fact was brought out in Hamilton's statement before the jury.


THE SEDALIA WEEKLY BAZOO, TUESDAY, MAY 20, 1884. 
LIFE FOR LIFE. 
Charles Hamilton Found Guilty of Murder in the First Degree. Unanimous Jury on the Second Ballot Conduct of Hamilton. Other Matter in the Johnson County Criminal Court

Notes. Warrensburg, May 12. Special. The time of the criminal court was occupied until noon to-day in selecting a panel of forty jurors from the special venue of sixty men from which to select a jury to sit in the Aultman trial for the murder of Carl Stiedle. The case has been set for Wednesday at 11 o'clock. The three lawyers from Kansas City, which Aultman said he had

employed, failed to show up, and the court appointed Hon A. W. Kogers and Col. J.M. Shepherd to defend him. At half past one in the afternoon the trial of Charles Hamilton was resumed, the jury appearing and taking their seats a few minutes before that hour.

Mr. Logan then read the exposition of the law and instructions to the jury on be half the state, and was followed by Mr. Sparks with those asked for the defense.

THE ARGUMENTS.

At 1:50 Mr. Logan began his argument, making a general resume of the case from the inception of the horrible crime in the mind of Aultman until the arrest and incarceration of the two men. He ruthlessly tore to pieces the only hope of the defendant sympathy and scattered the frail fabric to the winds. Ordinarily, Mr. Logan is an eloquent, logical -speaker, but on this occasion, with the punishment of a brutal and horrifying murder before his mind's eye, every word rang out, every syllable bore might, and had the balloting for verdict been permitted among his hearers at the close of hi speech, it is safe to say that that nine-tenths of them would have read "guilty." Mr. Sparks arose, and in a low but distinct voice began his speech. He introduced his cause by saying that his task was
"WELL-NIGH HOPELESS.
He had been appointed by the court to defend a prisoner whose own open confession had condemned him; he was laboring without hope of pecuniary reward, but would do the best he could to establish the innocence of his client. He took the confession of Hamilton, incident by incident, hoping to draw there from some proof of the innocence of the unfortunate young
man. He pictured Aultman's as the master, controlling spirit, and drawing as with a chain of steel the weaker mind of Hamilton. All the occurrences of the tragedy save one, the striking of Steidle with the track wrench, were proven to have been the work of Aultman; by him the plans were laid; by his strong will and

SUPERIOR CUNNING
were they executed. Hamilton had struck the blow that stunned their victim, but beyond this none of the fiendish work had been his. He did not see anything of Steidle until the night of the murder; Aultman had coaxed him away from Sedalia, deceived him at Montserrat, talked with him to Warrensburg, enticed him into the gloomy railway track in the dead hour of night, cursed and abused Hamilton for not striking the blow, and after the murderous weapon had fallen upon the head of the helpless and unsuspecting German,
RIFLED HIS POCKETS
of their contents, even rolling the writhing body over to secure the pistol in the hip pocket, leaving the body between the rails to be crushed beneath the wheels of the approaching train. But of no avail was Mr. Sparks' plea for the life of his client. After speaking for more than an hour he yielded the floor to Prosecuting Attorney Wood, to whom was assigned the duty of closing and giving the case to the jury. Mr. Wood, though at times a forcible and brilliant orator, needed not to say much on this occasion, for the verdict
WAS PRINTED ON THE FACES OF THE JURY
He finished his speech at 4:45, and, after hearing the instructions of the court, the jury retired. Just an hour later, that is 5:45, the jury signalled to the sheriff that they had come to a conclusion and filed in and took positions before the court. The usual legal questions were asked and answered, and the foreman handed the verdict to the clerk. A silence lasted a few minutes, when the clerk was commanded to read the verdict.
It was as follows: 
THE VERDICT.
"We, the jury, find the defendant, Chas. Hamilton, guilty of murder in the first degree, in the manner and form as charged in the indictment” Andrew S. Campbell,. A Foreman.  Mr. Sparks then asked that the jury be polled, which was done. The clerk called their names one at a time, and after answering the court propounded to each this question, "Mr., is this your verdict?" to which each answered "yes," and they were discharged.
CONDUCT OF THE PRISONER.
The prisoner watched the jury closely from the time they entered the room until the reading of the verdict, not & muscle being moved. At its conclusion be wiped the perspiration from his forehead with his bare hand, his chin fell upon his breast and he remained in this position until the sheriff disturbed him to take him back to prison. His face, naturally pale, wore the pallor of death; his eyes were fixed; his hands folded idly in his lap, his body rigid as marble. " No tears came to his eyes. Perhaps the fountain of his soul has dried up, who knows?
CRIMINAL COURT NOTES.
A number of ladies heard the arguments of the attorneys. Sheriff M S. Conner, of Sedalia, was in attendance as a witness to-day. The first ballot of the Hamilton jury resulted in 10 for murder in the first degree; 2 for acquittal. The second ballot was the final one. Aultman sent the following message to Hamilton Sunday: "You will get ten years in the penitentiary and I'll go free, and then I'll laugh at you through the prison bars."
Jim Butler, of Kansas City, Kans., one of the witnesses for the state, in the Hamilton case came near jumping the town today, but his plans were discovered and he was placed under $100 bonds for his appearance Wednesday.
HISTORY OF THE CRIME.
On Sunday night, March 31, 1884. One of the most fiendish and brutal murders in the annals of the country was committed in this city. The particulars were published in the papers at the time, and became, at once, the absorbing topic of conversation. Carl Stiedle was born in the city of Wurtemburg, Germany, (Wurttemberg) and trained in the shops of that country as a mechanic. He soon found that his sphere in that land was too narrow, and, hearing of the advantages offered skilled laborers in this country, took ship and sailed for this land of freedom. Scarcely had he landed on the shores of America, and before he was able to speak the language of the country, work was offered him in the railroad repair shops at Sedalia. Thither he came, and followed his trade. 

SOME OF THE PRINCIPAL SYSTEMS of the United States of America are indicated on the above map, which shows their main lines. The Union Pacific operates 3,768 miles of track, the Southern Pacific 8,791, the Northern Pacific 6,736, the Great Northern 8,328, the Illinois Central 6,857, and the Baltimore and Ohio 6,440 miles.
His free, open nature won for him many friends there; his skill afforded him the esteem and respect of his employers. While living in Sedalia he by chance formed the acquaintance of one Wm Hamilton, alias Edward Aultman, whose life, it transpires, had been clouded by a term in the penitentiary. This Aultman was a mean, cunning man, and by his serpent-like, insinuating manner, soon won the confidence of the German, and he then and there made up his mind to rob him of his hard-earned wealth, amounting to about $200 in money and a good stock of clothing. In the state prison this Aultman formed the acquaintance of a fellow-convict, Charlie Hamilton, alias William Nalskey, whose term of imprisonment would expire a few months later than that of Aultman . Hamilton, or Nalskey, is a young man, just past the age of 27 years, of a disposition as tractable as a child's, and can be and about as though he were one. After the expiration of Aultman's time, knowing that he could not write to Hamilton in prison otherwise, and needing him in his nefarious business of robbery and perhaps murder, he addressed a letter to him as his brother, from whence he gets the name Billy "Hamilton " In that letter he persuades Charlie Hamilton to come to Sedalia and meet him there. This Charlie does, and they renew the friendship begun behind the bars. They rent and furnish a room, Billy agreeing to vouch for Charlie until he (Charlie) can secure work. Billy was at work in the painting department of the car shops, and Charlie, after spending the day, as he says, in search of work, would go at night to the narrow gauge depot in Sedalia, and there the two friends would discuss their future. Carl Steidle being a workman in the Pacific shops, it was but natural that he should meet and form the acquaintance of these two men, and tell them of his plans also. Billy acquainted Charlie of the financial condition of Steidle, at the same time hinting at his plan for getting the German's money. This suggestion, Charlie says in his testimony before the coroner's jury, he repudiated with scorn, and left Sedalia, in order that he might find employment elsewhere, get away from Aultman, and begin a new and. better life. He came to this city, penniless, and applied to Mr. Cottrell, the proprietor of the Simmons house, for employment. Mr. Cottrell, having just lost the services of his porter, engaged Hamilton to take his place, paying him therefore $2.50 per week and board. Mr. Cottrell gave him credit, while in his employ, of a strict attention to the duties assigned him, and saw nothing amiss in his conduct. Here the depraved Aultman again found him, writing a letter from Sedalia telling Charlie to resign his position, draw his pay and go with him to Kansas City, and thence to California or Colorado. He talked the matter over with Mr. Cottrell, and at the earnest solicitation of that gentleman, agreed to remain with him another week. On Sunday, March 30th, Aultman and Steidle left Sedalia with the intention of going west. Steidle had packed all his personal property, including the clothes he wore in the shops, and his mechanic's tools in his trunk, had it hauled to the depot, and, taking the passenger train west from Sedalia Sunday afternoon, came to Montserrat, this county, where they alighted, Steidle supposing he was in Warrensburg. When he discovered his mistake the two men proceeded on foot to this city, arriving here at night. Leaving Steidle at the depot, Aultman went to the Simmons house, met Hamilton, and unfolded his plans. The German, he said, was an ignorant greenhorn, unable to speak or understand the” English language, and possessed of $200 in money and considerable other property, which they could easily get by striking him on the head and stunning him to unconsciousness.  Charlie demurred to this, but his weak will in the hands of this man was overcome.  After settling up with Mr. Cottrell and receiving a balance of some $4.30 due him, he went with Aultman to the depot, when he met and was introduced to this new friend.  The three then came up town in search of something to drink, and applied to J. D. Eads, druggist, corner of Holden and Pine streets.  "This Eads refused to sell them.”It will make no difference, said Billie; "We are strangers here, and are going to Kansas City by the next train." Eads still refusing them the wine, they left and went to Jacob's restaurant, half a block further up the street, and asked for liquor.  Mrs. Jacobs, the wife of the proprietor, informed the men she had nothing to drink but lemonade.  They drank three glasses and returned to the depot. 

fyi

James Douglas Eads

Historians have coined the term Renaissance Man to refer to individuals who have possessed amazingly well-rounded talents in a large variety of fields. James Douglas Eads would fit this description. This pastor, physician, politician, hotel proprietor, newspaper editor, and military veteran had lived in West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa, before settling permanently in Warrensburg, Missouri. This amazing man, who fathered eight children including one whose lineage would keep the name James Douglas Eads for four generations, had unlimited talents in all areas of a person’s life.

After sitting there a while Aultman proposed they walk up the street.  Charlie went around behind the depot and secured an iron wrench, such as trackmen use to tighten the (large) nuts on the track bolts. 
Warrensburg Union Pacific Railway Depot 1884
He overtook the two walking up the track, Aultman in front, Steidle just behind him.  When Aultman knew that Hamilton was present he began abusing and cursing him in English for his cowardice, and asking him why he did not strike.  When they had passed the Miller Street (renamed college street today) bridge, and were just entering the deep cut there.  Hamilton, at a given signal from Aultman, struck Steidle just above the right ear, felling him to the ground.  Aultman immediately seized the man by the throat, choking him and rifled his pockets.  The choking continued for five minutes, or until, as Hamilton says in his confession, life was almost extinct.
Aultman secured Steidle's money, watch, pistols, papers, etc., even turning the body over until he could remove his overcoat.  Express train No 4, going east had just arrived at the depot, and Hamilton says he became afraid of being seen by the train men in the glare of the locomotive’s headlight, and went up the bank in the dark.  Aultman remained below and after getting all he could from the pockets of his victim, dragged the body between the rails and fled from the scene.  They stood on the bank until the express train had passed, crushing the body in its progress, and then went away. 
This is the type of passenger trains operating on the Pacific Railway in Missouri around 1884.
This picture though is of a Texas train.

They then returned to the depot, and started down the track, going west.  A mile or more from town they went out a few yards from the railroad, built a fire and by its light divided and sorted their booty.  All the papers, photographs, a pocket knife and other small articles they burned and buried the watch and chain in the Earth.
October 1883 Warrensburg, Missouri
About 3 o'clock on the morning of the 31st they arrived at Centerview, and going to the house of S. J. Oliphant, who keeps a hotel, woke him up and demanded breakfast. He told them it was too early for his wife to get up, but he would give them a light lunch, they saying they would return for breakfast.  He gave them four glasses of cider, some cheese and crackers and two slices of cake which they ate and then went away. Billy ate a very hearty breakfast, but Charlie ate not more than one or two bites and drank coffee.  Charlie paid Mr. Oliphant and they went away. At the depot they boarded a passing freight train and rode to Kansas City.  The conductor noticed that they had been drinking heavily, and that one of them slept nearly an hour.  Once within the limits of Kansas City the conductor lost track of them and saw nor heard nothing more of them until they were arrested.
 At Kansas City they look Steidle's trunk from the baggage room, and took it to the restaurant of one James Butler, in Kansas City, Kansas, where they spent the night of April 1st. In the morning Charlie says they took Steidle's clothes and traded them to a second- hand dealer for a new suit, paying the difference in money. They traded his revolver for a larger one, and at jewelry store Charlie bought a silver watch and chain. All the articles in the two trunks clothes, boots, tools, etc., were positively identified by several witnesses, and there was no doubt as to the truth of Charlie's story. This statement was substantiated all the way through by the testimony of the large number of witnesses for the state, each one's evidence appearing to be a link to make the chain complete. Each one seemed to have some new incident to relate, they all fitting together to make one whole, like the different pieces of a watch. One witness swore to the friendship of Steidle and Aultman; another began with their departure from Sedalia another found them at Montserrat; the fourth detailed their arrival in this city; Hamilton finished the story until their arrest, and so on, no one contradicting the other, each forming an additional link in the indestructible chain that will bind them to the gallows. From the time of their arrest your readers are well acquainted with the case, it having been made generally known at the time. 

THINK OF YOUR BOY.

The following lines were composed and are frequently sung by Charlie Hamilton, now in jail at Warrensburg, under sentence of death for murder. He has a very good baritone voice, and sings the words to a tune of his own improvising. He has a mother living somewhere in town, and wants some one to write to her, after his death, and tell her he is dead, but not at the hands of the law.

Dear mother, I've wandered from home and from friends
I've traveled this busy world o'er;
O, could I return and be with you again
I'd leave you again nevermore
But while the dark was of life they intend
To keep me so far. Far away, 
the tears fill my eyes while this blessing I ask: 
O, think of your boy when you pray.
Chorus
In your prayer night and morning remember your boy.
And let him forgotten ne’er be; 
forgive his transgressions and love him again, 
for he prays night and morning for thee.
O think of your suffering boy when you pray
He longs so to see you again;
One sight of his home and the loved ones so dear
Would lessen his sorrow and pain.
No kind word of comfort e're cheers his sad heart, 
As he wanders from day unto day; 
but angels oft whisper this gently in dreams: 
O, think of your boy when you pray.



THE SEDALIA WEEKLY BAZOO.
TUESDAY, JULY I5, 1884
HAPLESS HAMILTONS

Full Particulars of Their Execution-Their Last Words and Acts.

How they Hunted Heaven from the Hangman's Rope To-day.

Steidle’s Sinful, Sneaking, Slayers are Scientifically Strangled.
Full History of the Horrible Murder for Which they Died

Thrilling Account of the Search After and Capture of the Fiends
The Wild Excitement and Threats of Lynching at Warrensburg.
How Brave Officers Saved the Prisoners from Mob Violence
The Confession, Trial, Conviction, Sentence and Execution
The Last Scenes. (July 11, 1884)



The law of the land, just and inexorable, has been vindicated, and the Hamiltons, the savage and brutal slayers of Carl Steidle, are men in memory only. Nothing remains but their bodies in the Potter’s field, and the memory of their crime.  That this is right, not man in the great state of Missouri, having any value for his life, can doubt.  The law says “an eye for an eye” and the law is satisfied.  The lives of these two men were not taken in revenge, but for the revenge, but for the example of those who would follow in their footsteps.  The execution is a warning alike to the robber and the drunkard, for to these two evils do they owe their death.

THE LAST RAILROAD RIDE

was taken by the condemned men, "William and Charles Hamilton, on Thursday evening, from Sedalia to Warrensburg, of Sheriff H. H. Russell and his deputies. They were taken from the jail here at 3 o'clock and thence to the depot, where the first passenger train was waiting. A large crowd of people was present to witness their departure, and it was with difficulty that the sheriff made his way to the car. On the road to Warrensburg they chatted pleasantly with their guards, Charlie, the while smoking a cigar. The two prisoners, although chained together, had very little to say to each. other. Just before the train reached Warrensburg, and  


NEAR THE SCENE OF THE MURDER,

they alighted and walked to the Simmons house, Sheriff Russell trying thus to thwart the crowd which had assembled at the depot. In this he was unsuccessful, and was met, long before he reached the hotel, by the excited and tumultuous mass of humanity. They swarmed around him, blocking his way, trying to get a sight of the prisoners. Once at the house, the howling mob could not go through its walk, and the condemned men were safe from public gaze. They both ale a hearty supper, and seemed remarkably light hearted. In their rooms were the death watch and their spiritual advisers, and not until near midnight did they try to sleep. Charlie slept soundly until 5 o'clock, but Billy was restless, and arose shortly after 4 o'clock. He dressed himself neatly, and busied himself until breakfast in reading and chatting to those around him. . At the hour named Charlie arose, and kneeling by his bedside

OFFERED AN AUDIBLE PRAYER

to God for the reception of his soul and the forgiveness of his sins, their breakfast consisted of chicken, ham, fried eggs, potatoes, bread and coffee. Of this Charlie ate heartily, drinking two cups of coffee. and smacking his lips in evident relish of the repast. Billy was more dainty, scarcely touching anything, and sipping his coffee in a listless, absent minded way. During the day a boy bought and sent to Charley a fine water melon. Charlie ordered that it "be cut in two and one-half sent to Billy, at the same time offering it as a peace-offering. And with the request that it be received as such. 
AFTER SOME HESITATION

West Pine Street about 1881, Warrensburg, MO

Billy acceded to this, but said it went "strongly against the grain; don't much like to, but will have to forgive him.”                           
THE RIDE OF DEATH.
West Pine Street, Warrensburg, Mo  Hamiltons a view on the "way to death" the gallows 3 Blocks West
At Holden Street
At 10:15 a carriage and the body-guard of armed men arrived at the entrance to the hotel, the guards surrounding the carriage and forming a doable column of gleaming swords and bayonets from the hotel door to the vehicle.  Fifteen minutes later Sheriff Russell appeared, with the prisoners in charge of the deputies, and made his way to the carriage, they following him.  Charley was in front and stepped lightly down the steps.  Billy was slower, and leaned heavily on his guard.  The line of march was taken up, the cavalcade moving north on Holden (street) to (West) Pine, and thence west to the place of execution.  On the way the following conversation occurred between the condemned men:
TOO MUCH LEVITY Billy was laughing and making fun of the guard surrounding them, and seemed to be enjoying himself immensely. "This must be a pleasure ride," said Charlie; "you had better be thinking of of your fate" "Ah," said Billy, "that is not troubling me. I can stand it better than you can."

"Have you made peace with your God?" asked Charlie, in a solemn tone. "I am better prepared than you. Are you prepared to die?" "Yes."

"I want you," said Billy, after a short pause, during which both were looking out of the carriage window, "to make a statement on the gallows and tell the truth about this matter."

"You had better do that yourself," replied Charlie, "I have nothing new to tell."

Here Sheriff Russell interposed and begged them to remember the occasion, and not spend their last half-hour on earth in vituperation and sinful quarreling.

AT THE SCAFFOLD.
When the procession arrived at the ground, considerable difficulty was experienced in forcing a way for the carriage through the immense throng of people.  It is estimated that 15,000 people were present, all trying to get a position near the guard line, in order to hear what might be said, and the task of making one's way through the ranks was no easy one, letting alone the carriage and fifty soldiers on foot.  The Hamilton's stepped from the carriage to the ground, and as far as a casual observer could see, ascended the steps of the scaffold as if going to their own private rooms.  The scaffold was built so as to face the north, the trap near the north edge, the steps from the south, and chairs placed along the east and west sides.  Charlie, then 

Hanging in Missouri late 1800s
The Hamiltons' Scaffold Would Have Looked Similar

FIRST TO MOUNT THE STEPS,

passed to the east side and took the front seat, facing the audience on the north.  Billy went to the left and a seat.  They were followed by Rev. Hermann, of Sedalia, Sheriff Russell, James Gossage and others of the death watch.  On the scaffold, Mr. Russell stepped to the front and spoke as follows:

"Gentlemen, I hope and trust you all realize that the awful solemnity and terrible responsibility of the proceedings about to be enacted here, and observe that decorum and reverence due an occasion so fraught with the tragedy the law, made by man to protect himself and society, has made necessary."

He then asked the Hamilton's if they had anything to say, and Charlie came forward and said: 
CHARLIE'S SPEECH

"Kind fellow creatures, you all know that I am doomed to die, and I die for an offence I have never committed.  You all heard the evidence, which pointed out my innocence.  Although convicted, and with the rope of the law around my neck, I am standing here before God and man and assert that the blow I struck the man did not cause his death.  All know these facts, I am prepared to die, and hope to meet you all in heaven.  As God above knows, all the statements I have made are true. Let this be a warning to you against false friends.  I believed this man (pointing to Billy)"to be my friend, and you see what he has brought me to.  False friends will get you in trouble.  I hope you will remember me.  God bless you all."

Billy then arose and spoke in broken English as follows:

"OLD INNOCENCE"

"Gentlemen of the assembly, my friend, all I had on earth, have been killed, and the jury found me guilty of the crime.  Circumstances are against me, and accordingly I must die.  He (Charlie) "has convicted me, but, gentlemen, I am not guilty.  I have made many mistakes in my life--all men commit errors, but I would not kill a man.  Let the scientists exhume the body and it will be found that the blow struck by that man was the cause of his death.  What I did was through fear of him, and I loved my own life. He would have killed me as he did my best friend.  He held him down on the rail and made me get away.  I am not afraid to die, and face death like a man."

The two men knelt while Rev. Herrmann offered a prayer in the German language and at its conclusion Billy rose and took a seat, while Charlie remained kneeling and offered an audible prayer.  He prayed earnestly, and seemed truly repentant. Then the condemned men took leave of those around them, shaking hands with all on the platform and then with each other.  While their hands were clasped, Charlie said:

"Do you forgive me?"

"Yes," said Billy.

"Thank God for that!" ejaculated Charlie.  They were then

PLACED ON THE TRAP
The Double Hanging on July 15, 1884 would have looked something like this.

The Hamilton's hanging took place at the site of an old power substation. WB Russell son of Sheriff Henry Hagan Russell was an eyewitness he was 9 and was told not to attend. WB's son HH Russell would later become mayor of Warrensburg) The location is near at the southwest corner of West Pine Street and North Warren Street. The entire area around the north forms a natural inclined viewing bowl area from the northwest to east. Reports say 15,000 visitors showed up. There were even trains chartered to Warrensburg from Sedalia for the hanging.

facing north, their legs and arms pinioned, the nooses adjusted, the black caps put on, and everything made ready for the flight of the two souls into eternity.

Charlie, his voice muffled by the ominous black cap, his frame trembling with emotion, continued to pray.  His last words were: "Before God I am innocent of this crime."  "And so am I," came from the other one. At 11:35 a. m., Sheriff Russell, seizing a large hand-axe, raised it aloft, and with the words, "Boys, may the Lord have mercy on your souls!" let it fall, severing the rope that lay between Hamiltons and eternity

THE LAST OF EARTH.

When the drop fell the bodies shot down through the floor, and for several seconds not a motion was perceptible in either of them; then they began to twirl around and had to be steadied by those above. The coroner, Dr. W. V. Smith, then came forward, and examined their pulses, as follows:

Charlie Hamilton, as the end of one minute, pulse 60.

Two minutes, 50

Three minutes, 80

Four minutes, 120

Five minutes, 140

Ten minutes, 100 and very irregular.

Dead in twelve and one-half minutes.

Billy, at end of one minute, 46

Two minutes, 72

Three minutes 100

Four minutes, 108

Five minutes, 72

Six minutes, 100 and very fluctuating.

Light pulse until ten and one-half minutes, and pronounced dead.

They were cut down in twenty-one minutes, and placed in plain pine coffins stained the color of walnut.

The coffins were taken charge of by Green B. Lannum, the city sexton, and will be buried to-day in the Potter's Field.

The Dr. Lee, of Pleasant Hill, who obtained permission from Billy to apply electricity to his dead body, failed to appear, but telegraphed Sheriff Russell to hold the body for him, which that gentleman refused to do.

SHERIFF RUSSELL

was seen by a Bazoo reporter after the execution, and asked how he felt.

"It was a solemn affair," said Henry "and I am glad that it is over with."

"Had you any sympathy for the boys?"

"Yes, it was but natural to feel some sympathy for two young men thus cut off in the prime of life."

"But how did you manager to perform your part of the execution so bravely?"

"I kept the memory of the foul murder always before me, and never lost sight of the dead body of the poor German."

"Then you have no fear that you have executed innocent men?"

"I should say not," replied the gentleman, with an incredulous smile at the reporter.  "If those two men were not guilty, I never want to see the back of my neck."

THE MEDICAL STAFF

Half-minute examinations were made of the pulses of the two men by Dr. W. V. Smith, coroner, assisted by Drs. J. M. Ward, of Cornelia, Johnson County, J.F: Robinson, of Leeton, Johnson County, G.R. Hunt and James Anderson, of Warrensburg; B. J. Fewell, of Odessa, and Z.R. Adams.  They all expressed some surprise that Billy should die first, Charlie being so much the larger man.  The drop was the same on both ropes.

The working of the trap was perfection itself and reflected credit on it maker, Orl. Stillwell, who made traps through which both Daniel and Davidson dropped into the other world.  There ropes were half-an-inch in diameter, of new hemp, and well oiled.  The knot around Charlie's neck had to be cut before it could be taken off.

PREFATORY.

There are those who believe the life of the newspaper chronicler a ceaseless round of gay pleasure and excitement--a path strewn with roses and hedged with feast, frolic and free passes, and these same people wonder he is so callous, so hard-hearted, when he can deliberately pen the most cruel things of this fellowman.  Could they but know how his heart aches when duty to an inexorable public and an exacting master compels him to delve into the secret sorrows of the convicted and perhaps repentant culprit and pen in all its terrible hideousness the developments of a human heart the law has doomed to extermination and turning a deaf ear to the pleadings of the victim, detail in all their cold-bloodiness that being's misdeeds, they might perhaps judge the reporter a little less harshly.  But be that as it may, it becomes the duty of a Bazoo reporter to give to-day the history of a terrible crime and its consequences, and he will do so and "nothing extenuates or aught set down in malice."

A GHASTLY APRIL FOOL

Early on the morning of April 1, 1884, as a workman was hurrying to his labor along the Missouri Pacific railroad track in the cut just east of Warrensburg, he suddenly came upon a ghastly object which lay in his path.  It was a torn and mutilated body of a human being whose bloody face and staring eyes though stiff in death seemed to appeal to him for succor.  For one moment the laborer stood terrified with horror.  Then recovering himself he hastened back to the city and told his story.  Soon throngs of people began to pass down the railroad.  A surging crowd attended where the remains lay and gazed in awe.  The coroner came; with him were men with a stretcher.  The poor mangled form was tenderly lifted to the stretcher.  Strong arms carried it to the depot.  A jury was summoned.  The whole town came and looked at the corpse, but each shook their head and turned away.  They knew him not.

IT WAS THE OLD, OLD STORY

A tramp stranger; a bottle of whiskey; a rushing train; a grown--death--an unknown grave. A mother's breaking heart vainly waiting news from her wandering boy.  Such at least, was the general opinion. Such was the coroner's verdict, rendered by six good men and true.  Then this little message went broad over the land.

KILLED BY THE CARS

" Warrensburg, April 1- An unknown man supposed to be a Montserrat coal miner was killed at Warrensburg, some time early yesterday morning.  His body was mangled in the most terrible manner making it impossible to recognize him."

IN KANSAS CITY

Two young men were standing on the depot platform. With them stood a woman, a courtesan.  The young men's faces wore a look of dissipation but otherwise bore evidence of intelligence.  "E'res your Times."  " All about the killin' at Warrensburg shouted a newsboy.  The two men shuddered perceptibly.  Their eyes meet.  One of them beckoned to the boy whom he gave a nickel and took from him a paper nervously.  He glanced over its columns; his faced relaxed into a peculiar smile. 

"It's all right I guess Billy," he said, handing the paper to his companion and pointing to a paragraph.  As he spoke his eyes wandered to the woman.  She did not seem to notice them.

He called Billy, gland at the paragraph--"I guess so" he said.

"We can go back to Sedalia?" Said the other

"Yes," said Billy

AT WARRENSBURG

Among those who had gazed upon the mangled body in the depot was a tall fine featured gentleman. He was the (Johnson) county sheriff.  His name H. H. Russell.  He looked on but said nothing.  He seemed to be thinking.  When they suggested accident, he only shook his head.  When the jury gave their verdict, he listened but shook his head again.  He turned from the depot and went to the hotel and sat down in the office.

Presently the proprietor came in, "Mr. Cottrell," said he, "where is your hired boy, I want my boots blacked?"

"Charlie has left," said Cottrell.

"When?"

"Last night."

"Why?"

"I do not know."

"Where?"

“I do not know."

"With whom?"

"His brother."

"Where was his brother?"

"He came from Sedalia."

"When?"

"Last night."

"With Whom?"

"A stranger."

"Where is the stranger?"

"I do not know." "Why do you ask?"

"Because"--Mr. Russell got up and went out.  He tried to find the three men.  They were gone.  He went back and looked at the corpse.  The train came in. A gentleman got off.  He knew Mr. Russell and spoke to him.  They talked of the dead man.  The of other things.

"By the way" said the stranger, "I saw Mr. Cottrell's bell boy on the train yesterday. He was in company with another man.  They had a woman with them and paid her fare to Sedalia.  They seemed to have plenty of money." "I just heard Charlie had quit and drawn his wages,” said Russell. "Good bye, the train is going." Mr. Russell sprang on the last car.  When the train reached Sedalia, he got off.

AT SEDALIA

Marshal Shy was standing on the platform.  He went up and shook hands with him.  They walked up town to the station house.  "Do you know a man name Hamilton?" said Russell. "Have heard of him,” said Shy.  Where is he?" "I do not know, he left here Saturday."

"Did he return?"

"Not that I know of."

"Who went with him?"
"A man who worked at the shops, a German."
"I want to find Hamilton."
"What for?"
"I believe he is a murderer."
"Is he here?"
"I heard so."
"We will see."
Shortly after Sheriff Russell, his deputy, R. Baldwin, Marshal Shy, James Gossage, McPherson and McGhee, sat in the Marshall's office.  What they said was kept secret.  When they left, it was to look for the Hamiltons and the woman.  It was found they had been at the Leroy House, but had been sent away.  Then it was learned the woman had gone to the country.  Officer McGhee followed her and found her.
"Yes," she came to town the Hamiltons she said, "Billy had a room on East Fifth Street. It was up a pair of stairs, went up from the outside of the dwelling."
McGhee came back to town and reported.  The woman followed him.  He watched her.
Russell and Gossage found the room but the Hamiltons were not there.
Across the street was to be a ball that night.  Perhaps they would come to the ball or go to their room.  
The officers consulted--they must set a watch--Who- not an officer for the Hamiltons knew all the officers.  At the station was
A YOUNG MAN
He was trusty, but had been unfortunate.  He was a tramp, and was arrested.  On his release, being highly educated, the city had employed him to do some writing while he waited news from this people who were wealthy.  He knew the Hamiltons. They would employ him.
They came back.  The young man was sent to the dance; he sat by a window, looking out on to the Hamilton's room.  Nine o'clock, ten o'clock passed, they did not come.  Eleven o'clock struck, still no one, but hark! Two young men are walking up the street.  They stop in front of the steps and look up.  It is dark, you cannot see their features.  They converse in a low town.  They go up the steps enter the room and strike a light.  It is the Hamiltons. The watcher over the way rises from his seat yawns sleepily and says, "I must go to bed." He goes out onto the street then he rouses up, and hurries to the station.  Russell, Baldwin, Gossage and McPherson are there waiting for him.  "Well," says Mr. Russell as he enters.
"They are there" he replies.
"Let us go," says Gossage.
They look at their revolvers by the gas light to see they are in order, and then they file out.  In a few moments they are standing beneath the window of the room where the Hamiltons are sleeping. Across the street are the lights and music and the dance.  Over here are red handed murderers and robbers--between them stand the guardians of the law.
THE CAPTURE
"How shall we proceed?" says Russell
"Quiet and easy is best," replies Gossage.
"I will," says Gossage, and he mounts the steps and knocks at the doors.
"Who is there?" asks Charles Hamilton
"Only me," replies Gossage.
"And who is me?"
"Open and see?"
The door swings slowly on its hinges.
"How are you Charlie?" says Jim, entering.  "I want to see you a minute on business."
Billy is setting on the bed. In his hand is a cocked gun but Gossage does not seem to see it is pointed at him.
"Come over and set down I want to ask you something," he says to Charlie.  "Leave the door open its too warm in here," he continues.
As Charlie crosses the room, Gossage turns to the bed.  "Hello! are you here too Billy." What are you doing with that pistol," he said.
"I did not know who it was,” replies Billy.
"Well, put it down, I am no burglar."
"But what do you want?"
“Not to fight, but if you do not put it down, we will have to before I talk to Charlie" said Gossage rising.
Billy laid down the pistol upon the pillow, and as he did so, Russell, Baldwin and McPherson entered the room, having slipped quietly up the steps, and Gossage going to the bed picked up the pistol.
"Charles and William Hamilton, you are my prisoners" said Sheriff Russell.
"For what?" said Charlie.
"On this warrant charging you with murder," replied the Sheriff Russell.
"For What?" said Charlie
"On this warrant charging you with murder," replied the sheriff.
"All right" said Charlie."
"Murder, what is that?" says Billy.
"You will know soon enough," said the sheriff, and the prisoners were conveyed to the station house where they were assigned separate cells, and the young man who had watched for their coming from the ball room, was assigned to see they had no correspondence with each other.  The next morning they were put upon the train and taken
BACK TO WARRENSBURG
to have their preliminary examination.  But notwithstanding, the chain of evidence was so weak, there were few who could believe their guilt would be proven, and many continued to condemn sheriff Russell for his wild suspicions.  On arriving at Warrensburg, the prisoners were kept strenuously apart, and closely stationed.  Unfortunately for them they talked.  Their stories were contradictory; they wove a web whose tissues entangled them.  At last Billy broke down
HE CONFESSED THE CRIME
In substance, he said: he became acquainted with the deceased Carl Stiedle, in Sedalia and soon learned that he had considerable money.  Stiedle said that he wanted to go west.  Hamilton informed him that he had a friend at Warrensburg and suggested that they go to that place together and from there the three would go west.
In accordance with Hamilton's suggestion, he and his victim left this city last Sunday evening for Warrensburg.  They got off at Montserrat, (this is just 1/2 mile east of the site of the World's Fair Train Wreck of Oct 10, 1904.Link to Train Wreck  Hamilton pretending that he thought they had reached their destination.  This of course was done for a purpose.  From Montserrat they walked to Warrensburg, arriving about dark.  Hamilton at once introduced Stiedle to his friend Charles Hamilton, and then taking the latter aside, told him that the strange had money and wanted to go west.
The cupidity of Charles Hamilton was at once aroused, and he remarked, "That is too fine a fish" to allow to escape, then
THE MURDER AND ROBBERY
Warrensburg Union Pacific Depot about the year of the murder
The murder weapon, a large track wrench was taken from behind here
was planned.  The unsuspecting German was then decoyed into a deep cut near town (about 400 yards east of the train depot) upon arriving there; the bloody deed was committed without any preliminaries or loss of time.  Picking up a heavy track wrench which lay near, Chas. Hamilton dealt Stiedle a powerful blow on the head, felling him to the ground, after which he threw himself upon his victim and 
FINISHED HIS MURDEROUS WORK
by choking the remaining spark of life out of the dying an.  The two fiends then riffled the person of the dead man, taking his money, papers and watch and the checks for his baggage which had been sent to Kansas City.  They then placed the body across the railroad track and going into the woods about a mile and a half from the railroad track, built a fire and burned up all of the effects of the murdered man, except his valuables.  The watch they buried.  They then climbed up on an embankment overlooking the track and saw the express train.
RUN OVER THE BODY
The train did not stop and the murderers descending from the bank, walked to Centerview, There they took a train and went to Kansas City, where they procured the trunk of their victim, by presenting his baggage check, and after securing some gold coin continued therein, it is surmised $100, shipped the baggage to Sedalia, they following on Tuesday.
Billie, during and after, his confession was very cool and requested Sheriff Russell to send
A TELEGRAM TO KAROLINA STEIDLE*
the sister of the deceased, at Erie, Pennsylvania, where she is employed as a domestic, requesting her to come and get the body of her brother.  He also asked for writing materials, and wrote a letter to the sister of the murdered man.  The epistle is written in bold and legible hand, and is addressed on the envelope to "Miss Karolina Steidle, servant girl, Erie, Pennsylvania.  Following is a verbatim copy;
Miss Karolina Steidle:
MY LADY:--There is no language by which I could express fully grief and sorrow since I knew myself guilty of being complicated in the attempt to kill or assault your brother, Carl Steidle. By the roguish hand of a certain Charles Hamilton was your brother knocked down with an iron bar, and after not being dead yet, laid across the rails of the railroad tracks of the Missouri Pacific, so as to be crushed to death by the weight of the train.  He completed this most cruel job of slaughter the much easier as he kept me by the point of his revolver from preventing him.
Forgive me, I beg, for not having sacrificed my life for your poor brother Carl, but believe me that man scared the life out of me nearly.  I expect to get justice done me by the jury of Warrensburg, MO, for God knows I never intended to do any harm to Carl.  The threatening of C. Hamilton kept me from confessing until a few hours ago, but finally the consciousness has over come me.
Your poor brother will be buried again to-day I suppose.
If you like to get all the particulars about it direct your questions to me address the letters to Mr. W. H. Hamilton, Care Mr. Russell, Sheriff.
Warrensburg, Mo., Johnson County
Write English or German to suit you.  Again I ask your forgiveness.
Your grieving, 
Billie Hamilton
CHARLES HAMILTON CONFESSES
After this Charlie was again plied with questions. He was told of Billie's confession, that Billie had laid it all on him, that he ought to speak the truth.  Then he weakened and confessed.  He admitted he struck Steidle with the wrench, knocking him down.  Billie then sprung upon Steidle, choked him to death, rifled his person, placed his body on the track and they left him thus.  After his confession he seemed very penitent and wept much. 
LIKE WILD FIRE
the news spread in the town of the terrible confession and people were seized with the frenzy.  Sheriff Russell had been right.  They had been the dupes of the ghastly April fool. These cold-blooded demons were even among them now.  They had even confessed.  Why should they be let live?  Groups began to gather in the streets, men were seen in little knots talking in low and ominous tones.  At the depot, where the body lay, were throngs of people. At the station house, where murderers were confined, the crowds began to grow dense and boisterous.  A telegram was sent to Sedalia for the officers and those who knew Steidle to come and identify the body.  The sheriff begged the people to await developments, but they were impatient and threatening.  Something must be done.  As the train time drew near most of the crowd went to the depot.  Now was the time to act.
BILLIE WAS SECRETLY REMOVED
and taken near the depot.  While the crowd watched the Sedalia officers disembark, Billie was placed on the cars and sent to Kansas City.  When the train was gone and the crowd learned this they were still more indignant and again began to assemble at the station house. The Sedalia officers, after recognizing the body of Steidle, went there, too.  The officers consulted.  What should be done? Charles Hamilton said he would show the officers where they had buried Steidle's watch, where they had burned some of his things if they would conduct him to the place.  The crowd was told this.  They consented to allow the officers to take him.  He was brought out placed in a buggy.  They drove away to the scene.
"HERE ARE MY TRACKS,"
said Charlie; "there are Billie's, there are Steidle's, there are the ashes where we burned his things, over there Billie buried his watch while I sat here."  The watch chain was found in the ashes; the watch was not found until the next day.  It was growing dark.  Sheriff Russell and Officer McGhee consulted.  How should they get the prisoner back?  It was decided to take him only part way and slip him back to the station afoot.  It was done with a only a few seeing it. 
When McGhee appeared on the street again with Sheriff Russell and James Holland, of Sedalia, the crowd mistook Holland for Hamilton.
"Where is the prisoner?" asked a citizen of McGhee.
"In Sedalia by this time, I hope," said the officer.
"Ain't that him?"
"No, sir; that's a Sedalia man.  Did you not see Hamilton go in the buggy?"
"Yes, but they brought him back."
"You are mistaken." 
"Come," said Russell, "let us go to the depot."
The three men started and the crowd followed, hooting at Holland.  They were about to attack him.  The trio stopped and conversed.  Then Holland started back.  The officers went on to the depot.  The crowd, seeing their mistake, divided; half went to the depot and half back to the station.  But the
PRISONER HAD BEEN REMOVED
Other officers had taken him by another route near the depot and secreted him behind some stones to await the train.  Sheriff Russell went to the ticket office. Officer McGhee sat by a window where the crowd could see him.  He listened to their questions and answered them as he liked.  the crowd was baffled.  The train came at last.  When the bell rang to start the officers hurried their prisoner into a car where he crouched behind a seat trembling with fear.  Some of the crowd saw him and cried out.  A rush was made, but too late.  The train moved too fast.  Only a few could spring on, not enough to resist the officers, and they sprang off again, and Charles Hamilton reached the Sedalia jail (Pettis County) in safety, where he remained until his trial. On the 12th of April he wrote Mr. Cottrell, his Warrensburg employer, the following letter.
FRIEND COTTRELL
I have wronged you in a most shameful manner endmost humbly beg your pardon.  I am quite broken hearted and am in need of a few friends to prove to the people that I tried to make a man of myself.  I made the acquaintance of this friend who has got me into trouble, in the penitentiary two years ago and he treated me as well as I could expect a friend to do, telling me before he left there that he would write to me, and so he did, after we got me up there requesting me to come to Sedalia and go into some kind of business with him.  I received 5 the day I was let go and paid my fare to Sedalia.  When I arrived he had no money and asked me for what I had left from the fare.  I told him I must find work somewhere and a boarding house.  He was at work and told me his word was good where boarded and he would stand good for me for two weeks.  I then gave him the money I had left and boarded with him, looking for work every day.  but the weather being so cold it could not be had.  At the end of two weeks I told him I must go away and find work, so I left him and came to Warrensburg and you know the rest.
I knew if I had staid any longer he would get me into some kind of trouble.  Every day had a chance to speak he would want me to do something desperate. He knew by a continual coaxing he could almost persuade me to do anything.  He knew my weak nature too well to let me along.  He knew I would keep I would keep my mouth shut when in trouble, and thought after a deed is done, to save himself, he would put me in the hold for it by turning state's evidence against me.  You know his games as well as I do.  By the loss of sleep and a few drinks in me that Sunday night I submitted to hellish desire, and to-day I am confined behind the bars. Hoping to find you a man that will assist me, a poor helpless wretch led astray by an unknown devil who knows nothing but steal, rob and kill.  God knows my heart rate was right before I committed that deadly murder.  I did not break his skull with the blow I struck; he would not have been dead to-day had it not been for his choking the man after I knocked him down, and then laying him across the rail before he was dead.  The man was not dead when we left him.  As soon as I struck the blow I was so overcome with horror that stood about paralyzed with fear.  I could do nothing but look on.  I am feeling deader to day than alive.  My brain is wandering at times so badly that I can hardly think of anything.  I think that I will go mad before many days.  Life is a burden to me.  If I ever call my life on this earth again I, by the help of God, will never assist another man who tries to tempt me to do wrong again, as long as I live.  I never will forget this deed as long as life remains in my body.  Although I am down and helpless I can honestly say I never would have committed this deed had I not been under the influence of liquor and been tempted by that man.  Never did I strike any man the first blow to my knowledge up to that day.  I would not have done that had not drink stupefied my brain and a friend coaxed me into it.  I send my best regards to all at the hotel, hoping you will not look down on me because of the falsehood I have told before the truth was out. I am sorry I every had to lie to you, but circumstance compelled me to do so.  Forgive me, I ask from the full depth of my heart, which is quite broken.  If you will stand by me now, though I have done wrong, it will be a great help to me and consolation to know that I have some one whom I can rely upon, and ever I can repay you for the assistance that you render me, I will repay you if it is the last thing I do on this earth.  I must humbly beg your friendship and assistance for the coming trial.
                                             Yours, most humbly
                                             I remain, respectfully
                                             Charles Hamilton
Of course during the time public sentiment was greatly wrought up and investigation into the history of the self confessed murderers continued with moderate zeal on the 16th of April this additional
CHAPTER OF HORRORS
was added to what had preceded it. It was supposed until yesterday that all of the facts in connection with the murder of Carl Steidle, who was killed by Charlie and Billie Hamilton alias Ed. Aultman, near Warrensburg several weeks since, had not been disclosed but the death of Mrs. John Mossimann, the sister of affianced Billie Hamilton, which occurred Tuesday night, develops new facts in the brutal murder, and seems to entangle the wretch, Billie Hamilton, in a net work of circumstantial evidence pointing to him as the perpetrator of another coolly planned and deliberately executed murder, from which he will find it hard to extricate himself. 
 A BAZOO reporter learned yesterday that the relatives of Mrs. Mossimann were fully convinced that her death had been CAUSED BY POISON administered by Billie Hamilton on the occasion of his visit to the family on the same day that he in company with Charley Hamilton, was arrested for the murder of Stiedle. The murder, it will be remembered, was committed Sunday night, March 30th, and the arrest was made on the following Wednesday.  On that day Hamilton, alias Aultman, as already stated call at the Mossimann residence and took supper with the family, his affianced, Miss Lefler, being absent in the country at the time. On the following Friday Mrs. Mossimann, was taken suddenly ill, suffering violent vomiting spells and giving every indication of having been poisoned.  In the meantime Hamilton's horrible crime had been given to the public and fearing that a man who had been guilty of such a diabolical crime might have placed 
POISON IN THE FLOUR BARREL, near which he sat at the time of his last visit, Mr. Mossimann removed the flour from the barrel for a depth of about six inches and threw it into the yard.  The contents of the sugar bowl were also thrown out.  Mrs. Mossimann partially recovered her usual health, but complained constantly of a burning sensation in the pit of the stomach, finally being compelled to take to her bed, which she never again left.  During the last two days of her illness. 
SHE WAS DELIRIOUS and it required the combined strength of several parties to hold her in bed.  She refused to take the medicine which the physician prescribed for her, until it had been tasted by other parties, claiming that she was afraid that she was going to be poisoned.  These circumstances gave responsible grounds for suspicion on the part of the unfortunate woman's friends that she had been poisoned, and by their request,
AN AUTOPSY WAS MADE of the remains yesterday afternoon by Drs. A.V. Small, Ed. Small and Henry Evans.  The autopsy developed severe inflammation of the stomach, but the doctors were unable to determine whether or not there was poison in the stomach in the absence of a chemical analysis.  Of course, if there was poison administered death resulted from secondary effects. Mr. Mossimann's little daughter was taken sick about the same time that her mother was, but illness was slight and the symptoms exhibited were not the same.  Mr. Mossimann was not sick. The case is a very mysterious one.  If poison was placed in the flour barrel by Hamilton, it would naturally be supposed that Mr. Mossimann would have received a dose as well as his wife.  There is only 
ONE SOLUTION
of the mystery. On the evening that Hamilton took supper at the Mossimann residence Mr. Mossimann ate supper by himself, as head a business engagement, and was in a hurry to meet his appointment.  Hamilton and the rest of the family ate alone, and it seems probable that the fiend improved this occasion to do his diabolical work.
HAMILTON'S MOTIVE
It would appear to the casual observer that Hamilton could have no possible motive for poisoning Mrs. Mossimann, but if there is an ulterior motive which is at once apparent when all the facts are known.  Mossimann owns a lot and a neat little residence on Prospect street  Ever since Hamilton became intimate with the family, by reason of his being a prospective relative on account of his engagement to Miss Lefler, he has endeavored to persuade Mossimann to sell the property, ostensibly for the purpose of purchasing a more eligible site on which to built, but in reality, as it is now believed, that he might 
ROB HIS UNSUSPECTING FRIEND
of the money accruing from the sale.  In order that the sale might be more readily effected Hamilton, who is a painter and a good one, painted the house inside and out and also made a handsome sign, "For Sale," which now adorns the front fence.  Mrs. Mossimann strongly objected to the sale of her little home, to which she had become attached, and the plans of the villain Hamilton thus being frustrated, he endeavored to 
REEK HIS VENGEANCE upon the unfortunate woman in this cowardly manner. There are many circumstances pointing to conclusion that Hamilton had for sometime premeditated robbing Mossimann whenever the opportunity presented itself. On one occasion he accompanied Mrs. Mossimann on a visit to friends in the country, and endeavored to have her remain there, stating that he would return and keep her husband company during her absence.  It was known that Mossimann had considerable money in his possession at that time, and that fortunately for him his wife, although not suspecting Hamilton of any evil intent insisted upon returning home. It will be remembered by those who have read the particulars of the Warrensburg murder, that Billie Hamilton, after the murder of Steidle, left with Mossimann, forty dollars in gold and a plain gold ring to be delivered to Miss Lefler, and that Mossimann immediately after learning that Hamilton had been arrested for murder, turned the money and the ring over to Sheriff Cooper.  Hamilton, as is well known, is already in the STRONG GRASP OF THE LAW,
being imprisoned at Kansas City and it is not at all probable that anything can be done by his friends, if he has any, to prevent him from stretching the hemp. The circumstances above detailed, however, will aid materially in completing his record as one of the most heartless, cool, calculating and fiendish murderers, who ever cursed the state with his presence. This ended the chapter of disclosures until May 10, when
THE TRIAL
was called in the circuit court at Warrensburg, and resulted as follows: The case of Chas. Hamilton was called at 9 o'clock of that day.  W.W. Wood, prosecuting attorney, and A.B. Logan appeared for the state, and Hon. S.P. Sparks represented the defendant.  Mr. Wood outlined the case to the jury, after which the following evidence was offered by the different witnesses:
CHARLES SHIELDS
Was brakeman on freight on March 31.  Was standing on the pilot of the engine.  Saw a man on the side of the track cut to pieces.  We went back after taking the side track.  Notified Mr. Dixon.  The head was on the south side of the track.  His limbs were on the track.  Saw a wound in the head.  Saw a big wrench.  This was about 10:35.  We were going west.  The last that had passed was a passenger train going east.  We met it at Montserrat.  The body was in the deep cut between the wagon and the foot bridges, east of the Warrensburg depot.  The wrench was west of the body. 
WILLIAM DIVERS.
I am a freight brakeman.  Saw the body outside the rail.  Saw the wrench. (Witness identified the wrench as one similar to the one he saw.)  The wrench was in the center of the track. Cross-examined--Live in Sedalia.  Never saw the defendant before.  The body was cut in two below the hips.
JOSEPH DIXON. Am night watchman in Warrensburg. Was told by Charlie Shields that there was a man up the cut, cut all to pieces.  We carried the body to the depot on a board.  Cross-Examination--Knew Charles Hamilton as a Porter at Simmons’ house.  Knew him two or three weeks.
DR. W. V. Smith, CORONER
Held inquest. Completed inquest Thursday after the killing.  Examining ground; notice a good deal of blood, froth and pieces of flesh, also smoking tobacco.  Saw indications of a body having been dragged on the track.  First saw body at depot.  Left leg was cut off below the thigh, left arm below the elbow.  There was a wound on the left side of the head, indentation in the skull.  Skull was not fractured.  It might have been made by the wrench before me.  This blood now on the wrench.  Had body exhumed Thursday and held inquest.
G. B. LANNUM
Am sexton at cemetery.  Heard that a strange man had been found dead on the track.  Was a member of the coroner's jury.  I buried the body had a box made.  Exhumed the body Thursday.  Defendant saw the body.
D. H. COTTRELL
Know the defendant.  Keep the Simmons Hotel.
Simmons House, Simmons Hotel, later known as the Commercial Hotel, Business College, Ming and the Martin Hotel
The hotel was just behind, South of the train Depot in Warrensburg
 Said he was stone cutter, hunting for work.  He asked for breakfast.  Said he wanted to stay with me till spring.  I employed him.  He as there three weeks. Left me on Sunday night (March 30, 1884); the same night the body was found. He left with a man he introduced as Billie Hamilton.  He wanted lunch.  I asked Charlie to stay that night.  Offered to give his friend lodging.  They declined and I paid him off.  Billie was in the kitchen when Charlie went to ask him to stay all night.  Paid Charlie $4.50.  Do not know of him receiving any other money.  He was drinking that evening but was not drunk.
HENRY PRIGG
I am a German. Live in Sedalia.  Known Charlie Hamilton since February 24.  He came to my house to board.  Know Billie Hamilton.  Boarded at my house.  Left on Sunday to go to Kansas City.  Saw Billie again when he was arrested.  Charlie came back Wednesday morning before he was arrested.  Said he came back to pay his debts.  Paid me $7.00, all he owed me.  He boarded with my neighbor. I was at the inquest.  The body was of Carl Steidle.
JOHN MOSSIMAN.
Live in Sedalia. Knew Billie Hamilton defendant to my house in February. Am a carpenter, brought him there one evening. Knew Steidle. He has been to my house Sunday. Billie he was only going to Kansas City, but he had told Steidle he was going to California with him. They three left my house go to the depot, next saw Billie Hamilton and Charlie April 2, where I was at work.  Next saw Charlie at my home.  Billie was gone up town.  Supper was ready and my wife proposed to wait until Billie got back.  Took supper by myself, as I was going off.  After I got back, I said it was a terrible the way that young man was killed in Warrensburg.  Billy said he hadn't heard of it and asked Charlie if he had; he said no.  Billy said he had taken Steidle to Kansas City.  Billy showed me a little sack.  It contained two twenty dollar gold pieces and a gold ring.  He said he wanted me to give these to his girl--my sister-in-law.  Said he had borrowed $30 of her.  I turned the money over to Sheriff Connor. Cross-examined they stayed until about 9 o'clock.  My wife is dead.  Died since they were at my house.  She took sick the on the following Tuesday.  Billy didn't say where he got the money.  When he left he had a gold watch.  He had a silver watch when he came back.  Charlie had a watch when he came back, Charlie had on a new suit.
JULIUS GURDE
Knew Carl Steidle.  I am a machinist. We worked in the same shop. We roomed together; had two beds in the room.  (Witness identified the watch as the one similar to one of Steidle's) Steidle had two watches. Here a trunk was brought into the court and unlocked.  Witness identified several articles in the trunk as the property of the deceased.  The court room was densely packed during the examination of the contents of the trunk and as the witness took out article and identified them as property of his murdered friend and room mate the people appeared intensely interested.  In re-direct examination another trunk was brought in and opened and witness identified many articles belonging to Steidle.  This trunk contained a large number of the tools of the deceased who was a machinist.  Witness identified this trunk as the property of Steidle.
MRS: BETTIE SHUBERT; OF SEDALIA
This witness was a German unable to speak English and Mr. J. D. Stauver acted as her interpreter.  She knew Carl Steidle.  He boarded with her four weeks.  The Sunday when he started west, she saw him.  The two Hamiltons came to her house, the Wednesday after the Sunday she last saw Steidle.  (Witness here identified many articles of clothing, etc.  from the trunks as the property of Steidle.)  She did not see the prisoner at that time.
D. H. COTTRELL RECALLED.
Charles had on a suit of grey when he left my employ; he had also overalls.  When I saw him again he had on a better suit.
ERNEST N. JOHNSON
I had charge of Pacific Mutual Telegraph Company. About a month ago I received a telegraph on the 31st to Chas. Hamilton, care Simmons house, signed Billie.  It was dated 30th. The message read: "Quit at once.  Go with me to Kansas City." Delivered message to Mrs. Cottrell about 9 0'clock Monday; was told Hamilton had gone to Kansas City.
W.H. BOYD
Live at Montserrat; saw two strangers get off the train Sunday. March 30th. Have seen one of the men since; saw him in charge of officers.  They call him Billie Hamilton.  The man I saw with Billie Hamilton was dark complexioned, light mustache.  Hamilton went in the depot said he got off at the wrong place; let's walk. They started up the track.  Joseph Morley testified similarly to Boyd.
J. M. JACOBS
Keep a restaurant here. Saw defendant in my place of business Sunday night, March 30.  Billy Hamilton was with him.
J. D. EADS
Am a druggist.  Saw Billie Hamilton on Sunday night, March 30th.  He came to my drug store with another man and wanted a bottle of wine; I refused to sell it.
S. J. OLIPHANT
Live at Centerview, Defendant was at my restaurant about 3 o'clock Monday morning with another person whom I seen in custody officers. They wanted liquor and breakfast. They ate and crackers. They cursed over the breakfast; the little fellow ate heartily. The other did not eat. He had money, keys and trunk checks in his hands.
ED. SHAW
I am a Missouri Pacific freight conductor. Defendant, accompanied by another man, rode to Kansas City on March 31st on my train from Centerview. They drank considerably. Hollzneak, of Kansas City, testified he traded a suit of with defendant about the first Monday in April and sold him a watch. They had two ten dollar bills. Billie done most of the trading.  Witness identified Hamilton's clothes and watch as the ones sold by him.
JIM BUTLER
Live at Kansas City.  Have known Billie two years.  Saw defendant and Billie about noon on Monday, March 31.  Went to my house after dinner; had their baggage brought up. defendant sold a revolver.  (Witness identified the trunk.) They left my house Tuesday afternoon; defendant had on a new suit when he left my house.
R. BALDWIN
Am book agent; knew defendant at Simmon's house till Sunday, March 30th; next saw him on train; I noticed a change of countenance; he had on a different suit from that in which I had seen him; Hamilton shook hands with me and asked me to have a cigar; there was woman with him; noticed him showing a watch: he had a roll of paper money; he told me not to say anything to Mrs. Cottrell about his going through town; I told Mr. Russell of suspicions, and he took me to Sedalia with him, where we, with four policemen, arrested them; saw him searched; had on him $13.45, a watch and chain; found a cocked revolver in their bed.
H. H. RUSSELL, SHERIFF
Made arrest Wednesday night 11:30 o'clock.  Mr. Baldwin had told me about a woman being with them.  We laid the case before the Sedalia police: we found out where the room was; put a guard to watch the room and continued the search over town; we received notice that they had gone to their room and Mr. Gossage and I went to the room and told them to open the door; I told him to strike a light; he did so; told them I had come after them and they were charged with murder: he made strange of that; told Charlie to get up; he said his pistol was in bed; found revolver cocked; asked Charlie how he had made it.  He said by G-d I don't propose to talk.  Got $13.45 and watch and chain off of Charlie.  We brought them to Warrensburg next morning; kept them separate at all time. After breakfast Charlie seemed inclined to talk and wanted to see Mr. Cottrell.  Mr. Cottrell went to see him, but made no promise to him to induce him to confess. Here the confession of Charlie Hamilton made before the coroners jury was offered and read in evidence Letters from defendant were then addressed to Mr. McGill, also letters addressed to Mr. D. H. Cottrell.  Sheriff Russell being recalled, said one night after inquest took defendant to Sedalia; he told me his trunk was at Jim Butler's in Kansas City said he left Steidle's overcoat at Leroy house in Sedalia, said he never intended to call for it; said I would find two little spots of blood in the collar.  In former conversation with me he told me that the watch was buried west of Warrensburg said he's show me the place, which he did; (here watch and papers which were found were exhibited). Found the trunk at Jim Butler's in Kansas City; found contents as Charlie said I would; found coat and vest at Mr. Hot mark’s and revolver at Mr. Hilliker's in Kansas City, Kansas.
S. S. Ruby.
Keep Leroy house in Sedalia; said defendant at my house Tuesday night April 1st--He staid all night.  He gave me an overcoat.  Witness identified overcoat.  Here state rests.  The prisoner the only witness for the defense consumed about half an hour in relating the details of the crime, which was almost word for word of his confession before the coroner's inquest last month and which has been published in all of the papers time and again.  He told his horrible story without the least tremor, and spoke as if he were relating the exploits of some dime novel hero.

This building is the third courthouse for Johnson County. The first built between 1838 and 1842 remains standing and also listed on the National Register and is part of the county Historical Society museum complex. The second was just behind the current courthouse, picture above, and was a small frame building built in 1867 and where the Hamilton Trial was held. Many residents were not happy with the small frame building serving as the courthouse. In 1894, according to legend, a group of young men took a cannon from the courthouse lawn, filled it with gunpowder, pieces of iron and iron chains and fired it at the building. The building was nearly completely destroyed by the blast and the new courthouse building was completed three years later
WEDNESDAY MAY 12
At half past one in the afternoon the trial of Charles Hamilton was resumed, the jury appearing and taking their seats a few minutes before that hour.  Mr. Logan then read the exposition of the law and instructions to the jury on behalf the state, and was followed by Mr. Sparks with those asked for the defense. 
THE ARGUMENTS
At 1:50 Mr. Logan began his argument, making a general resume of the case from the inception of the horrible crime in the mind of Aultman until the arrest and incarceration of the two men.  He ruthlessly tore to pieces the only hope of the defendant--sympathy--and scattered the frail fabric to the winds.  Ordinarily, Mr. Logan is an eloquent, logical speaker, but on this occasion, with the punishment of brutal and horrifying murder before his mind's eye, every word rang out, every syllable bore might, and had the balloting for verdict been permitted among his bearers at the close of his speech, it is safe to say that nine-tenths of them would have read "guilty".  Mr. Sparks arose, and in a low but distinct voice began his speech. He introduced his cause by saying that his task was
WELL-NIGH HOPELESS
He had been appointed by the court to defend a prisoner whose own open confession had condemned him; he was laboring without hope of pecuniary reward, but would do the best he could to establish the innocence of his client.  He took the confession of Hamilton, incident by incident, hoping to draw there from some proof of the innocence of the unfortunate young man.  He pictured Aultman's as the master, controlling spirit, drawing as with a chain of steel the weaker mind of Hamilton.  All the occurrences of the tragedy save one, the striking of Steidle with the track wrench, were proven to have been the work of Aultman; by him the plans were laid; by his strong will and 
SUPERIOR CUNNING
were they executed.  Hamilton had struck the blow that stunned their victim, but beyond this none of the fiendish work has been his.  He did not see anything of Steidle until the night of the murder; Aultman had coaxed him away from Sedalia, deceived him at Montserrat, walked with him to Warrensburg, enticed him into the gloomy railway track in the dead hour of night, cursed and abused Hamilton for not striking the blow, and after the murderous weapon had fallen upon the head of the helpless and unsuspecting German,
RIFLED HIS POCKETS of their contents and rolling the writhing body over to secure the pistol in the hip pocket, leaving the body between the rails to be crushed beneath the wheels of the approaching train.  But of no avail was Mr. Spark's plea for the life of his client.  After speaking for more than hour he yielded the floor to Prosecuting Attorney Wood, to whom was assigned the duty of closing and giving the case to the jury.  Mr. Wood, though at times a forcible and brilliant orator, needed not to say much on this occasion, for the verdict.
WAS PRINTED ON THE FACES OF THE JURY He finished his speech at 4:45, and, after hearing the instructions of the court, the jury retired. Just an hour later, that is 5:45, the jury signaled to the sheriff that they had come to a conclusion and filed in and took positions before the court.  The usual legal questions were asked and the foreman handed the verdict to the clerk.  A silence lasted a few minutes, when the clerk was commanded to read the verdict.  It was follows
THE VERDICT. "We, the jury, find the defendant, Chas. Hamilton, guilty of murder in the first degree, in the manner and form as charged in the indictment.”Andrew S. Campbell, "Foreman."
Mr. Spark then asked that the jury be polled, which was done.  The clerk called their names one at a time, and after answering the court propounded to each this question, "Mr. ---, is this your verdict? to which each answered "yes" and they were discharged.
CONDUCT OF THE PRISONER.
The prisoner watched the jury closely from the time they entered the room until the time they entered the room until the reading of the verdict, not a muscle being moved.  At its conclusion he wiped the perspiration from his forehead with this bare hand, his chin fell upon his breast and he remained in this position until the sheriff disturbed him to take him back to prison.  His face, naturally pale, wore the pallor of death; his eyes were fixed; his hands folded idly in his lap, his body rigid as marble.  No tears came to his eyes.  Perhaps the fountain of his soul has dried up, who knows? The case of Charles Hamilton being thus disposed of on Friday, May 14.
THE CASE OF BILLY HAMILTON.
Was called in the same court, and like the former case, occupied the greater part of two days. As the testimony was almost identical with that adduced in Charles Hamilton's case, it is not reproduced.  At the conclusion of the evidence for the state, the defendant was placed on the stand.  He told a very different story from that told Charlie, and tries to lay all the blame for the killing on the latter.  He says he knew nothing whatever of Charlie's intention to murder Steidle until the blow was struck, and was then compelled, at the point of Hamilton's pistol to choke the man to death and rob him of his money.  All the planning was done by Charlie; be mapped out the work and threatened Billie's life if he did not execute it.  Aultman's story all through was a whining hypocritical plea for sympathy, and is easily contradicted.  It shows that it has been studied more for its effect on the jury than the hope of having it believed by the mass of people.
ARGUMENTS. The arguments were begun by Mr. Logan, of the counsel for the state.  It is unnecessary to say anything of Mr. Logan's reputation as an orator, for that is proverbial.  He spoke earnestly and honestly that justice be done an outraged commonwealth.  Col. Shepard, attorney for the prisoner, made a strong argument against a homeless mountain of prejudice, speaking with much warmth and fervor.  Hon. A. W. Rogers spoke in behalf of Hamilton, pressing upon the minds of the jury what little hope there was in the testimony, and analyzing and fitting together the story of the defendant.  It were well that men could set aside their own personal feelings and thus enter the lists to clear the stain from the soul of a self confessed murderer, otherwise what would poor criminals do, the whole world against them? At eight o'clock court was called, and Mr. Wood began the closing argument. He spoke for nearly two hours, saying many things to impress upon the minds of the jury the guilt of the defendant.  His speech was impressive, and did much to influence the verdict.  At 9:40 the case was given to the jury which retired to its rooms.  The court room was crowded in almost every foot of available space.  Many ladies, representing the highest class of society, had assembled and were given seats inside the bar, drawn thither by the interest in the case.  The prisoner sat almost motionless, head erect, eyes wandering from judge to jury, and from thence to the face of the speaker; restless, uneasy and, at times, almost with a wild appearance.  His face was paler that its wont and the lines about his eyes and mouth were more defined than usual, but one not acquainted with his history, and meeting him anywhere else than in a crowded court room, would not think that he is hardened sinner that he is.  His restless eyes, the twitching at this mouth, the nervous posture, all portray the terrible mental strain he is undergoing.
THE VERDICT. At an early hour Saturday morning the streets were alive with people interested in knowing, as soon as possible, the verdict of the jury in the Aultman case.  When the court adjourned last night, the case had been only twenty minutes in the hands of the jury, and only one ballot had been taken, resulting in 9 guilty of murder in the first degree and 3 for acquittal. Two of these three stated on their ballots that they had not fully made up their minds on the case, and only voted to save time, and it is supposed the other on only desired to know how the other eleven felt before committing himself.  The jury was taken to the Simmons House, where they had a long talk and earnest talk on the matter. This morning, after they had arisen, and before breakfast, another ballot was taken, resulting in a unanimous verdict of guilty.  It became known long before 9 o'clock, at which hour court was to meet, that the jury had found a verdict, and were ready to report.  This rumor had the effect of filling the court room to overflowing.  At 9 o'clock the prisoner was brought into court, little dreaming that he was within a few feet of the men who were to condemn him to death.  After the transaction of some minor business the Aultman case was resumed and the jury placed in the front of the bar.  The usual legal questions were asked, and answered, and Mr. Jeremiah Beattie, the foreman, stepped forward and handed to the clerk a folder paper.  The clerk opened it and read. 
THE VERDICT We, the jury, find the defendant, William H. Hamilton, guilty of murder in the first degree in the manner and form as charged in the indictment.  
Jeremiah Beattie, Foreman
The prisoner, who had been sitting motionless, with his eyes resting upon the jury, here let them fall and the lids closed over the almost sightless balls.  He remained in this position until after the jury had been polled and discharge a perfect picture of a lifeless man.  His attorney placed his hand upon his shoulder and spoke to him, when Aultman raised his eyes and let them wander among the faces before him. His frame was in a tremor; his face pale as leather, and his finger working nervously at his side.  Charles Hamilton was then brought into court that he might receive the sentence of the law.  When asked by the court if he had anything so say why sentence should not be passed upon him, he arose, and in a clear voice said; "Nothing, only that I did not kill the man.  I admit that I struck him with the wrench, but that fellow." I admit that I struck him with the wrench, but that fellow" (pointing his finger at Aultman) "committed the murder." The court then began the address usual in such cases saying, "Charles Hamilton, it now becomes my painful duty to pass upon you the sentence in such cases." He was interrupted by Hamilton with "The sooner you get through the better."  There was no fear in his voice, nor yet was there any spirit of the bravado about him.  He showed by his action that he was steeling himself to the ordeal, and was fighting down any animal fear he might possess.  Judge Ryland then, in an address full of kind and fatherly advice to prepare for the future, condemned him to be hanged by the neck on Friday, the 11th day of July, 1884, until he be dead.

William H. Hamilton then stood on his feet, and when asked why sentence should not be passed, broke completely down and between his incoherent sobs were heard these words: " I know I did not kill that man; I only know I am not guilty.  Do as you will with me, I am ready." At this point Charlie broke in with; "Straighten up your face, your cur."
The sentence of the court that he also be hanged on the 11th of July.  There can be no doubt that the grief of Aultman on this occasion was sincere, whatever may have been his motives yesterday.  He rested well last night, ate a hearty breakfast today, and said he felt very good--just as if the jury were going to acquit him. After the sentence had been read and everything had become quiet, he sobbed out: "I wish I hadn't done this!" God help me! God help me!  God help me! 
An order was made by the court providing for the appointment of two men as the death watch in the Sedalia jail, while they will be taken tonight.  One will be confined on the south side and the other on the north side of the jail, and will not be allowed to come together, as Charlies is very ferocious and says he will whip Billie, even if he has to do it on the gallows.  This afternoon they are both quiet, Charlie writing letters and poetry; and Billie, moody and silent, doubtless busy with his own sad thoughts.  Both are heavily ironed and strong guard is over them. And thus ended the ferreting out, apprehending and bringing to justice the perpetrators of one of the most diabolical and cunningly conceived crimes which ever disgraced the annals of the state. A brief recapitulation of the crime and history of the  
SLAYERS AND THE SLAIN may not be out of place.  Carl Steidle was born in Wurtermberg, Germany and trained in the shops of that country as a mechanic.  He soon found that his sphere in that land was too narrow, and hearing of the advantages offered skilled laborers in this country, took ship and sailed for this land of freedom.  Scarcely had he landed on the shores of America, and before he was able to speak the language of the country, work was offered him in the railroad shops at Sedalia. Thither he came, and followed his trade.  His free open nature won him the esteem and respect of his employers.  While living in Sedalia he by chance formed the acquaintance of one 
WM. HAMILTON; ALIAS EDWARD AULTMAN, whose life, it transpires had been clouded by a term in the penitentiary.  This Aultman was a mean, cunning man, and by his serpent-like, insinuating manner, soon won the confidence of the German, and then made up his mind to rob him of his hard earned wealth, amounting to about 200.00 in money and a good stock of clothing.  In the state prison this Aultman formed the acquaintance of a fellow convict, 
CHARLIE HAMILTON; ALIAS WILLIAM NALSKEY whose term of imprisonment would expire a few months later than that of Aultman.  Hamilton, or Nalskey, is a young man, just page the age of 27 years, of a disposition as tractable as a child's, and can be led about as though he were one.  After the expiration of Aultman's time, knowing that he could not write to Hamilton in prison otherwise, and needing him in his nefarious business of robbery and perhaps murder, he addressed a letter to him as his brother, from whence he got the name Billie "Hamilton."  In that letter he persuades Charlie Hamilton to come to Sedalia and meet him there.  This Charlie does, and they renew the friendship begun behind the bards.  They rent and furnish a room, Billie agreeing to vouch for Charlie until he (Charlie) can secure work.  Billie was at work in the painting department of the car shops, and Charlie, after spending the day, as he says, in search of work, would go at night to the narrow gauge depot in Sedalia, and there the two friends would discuss their future
CHARLIE STEIDLE being a workman in the Pacific shops, it was but natural that he should meet and form the acquaintance of these two men, and tell them his plans also, Billie acquainted Charlie the financial conditions of Steidle, at the same time hinting at his plan for getting the German's money.  This suggestion Charlie says in his testimony before the coroner's jury, he repudiated with scorn, and left Sedalia, in order that he might find employment elsewhere, get away from Aultman, and begin a new and better life.  He came to this city, penniless, and applied applied to Mr. Cottrell, the proprietor of the Simmons house, for employment.  Mr. Cottrell, having just lost the services of this porter, engaged Hamilton to take his place, paying him therefor 2.50 per week and board.  Mr. Cottrell gave him credit, while in his employ, of a strict attention to the duties assigned him, and 
SAW NOTHING AMISS IN HIS CONDUCT.
Here the depraved Aultman again found him.  Writing a letter from Sedalia telling Charlie to resign his position, dray his pay and go with him to Kansas City, and then to California or Colorado.  He talked the matter over with Mr. Cottrell, and at the earnest solicitation of that gentleman, agreed to remain with him another week.  On Sunday, March 30th, Aultman and Steidle left Sedalia with the intention of going west.  Steilde had packed all his personal property, including his clothes he wore in the shops, and his mechanic's tools in his trunk, had it hauled to the depot, and taking the passenger train west from Sedalia Sunday afternoon, came to Montserrat, this county, where they alighted, Steidle supposing he was in Warrensburg. When he discovered his mistake the two men proceed on foot to this city, arriving here at night.  Leaving Steidle at the depot, Aultman went to the Simmons house, met Hamilton, and  
UNFOLDED HIS PLANS The German, he said, was an ignorant greenhorn, unable to speak or understand the English language, and possessed of 200.00 in money and considerable other property, which they could easily get by striking him on the head and stunning him to unconsciousness.  Charlie demurred to this, but his weak will in the hands of this man was overcome.  After settling up with Mr. Cottrell, and receiving a balance of some 4.30 due him, he went with Aultman to the depot, when he met and was introduced to this new friend.  The three then came up town in search of something to drink, and applied to J. D. Eads, druggist, corner of Holden and Pine streets. This Eads refused to sell them. "It will make no difference," said Billie; 
WE ARE STRANGERS HERE and are going to Kansas City by the next train." Eads still refusing to them the wine, they left and went to Jacob's restaurant, half a block further up the street, and asked for liquor. Mrs. Jacobs, the wife of the proprietor, informed the men she had nothing to drink but lemonade. They drank three glasses, and returned to the depot.  After sitting there awhile Aultman proposed to Steidle that they take a walk up the street.  Charlie went around the depot and secured an iron wrench, such as track men use to tighten the nuts on track bolts.  He overtook the two walking up the track, Aultman in front, Steidle just behind him.  When Aultman knew that Hamilton was present he began abusing and cursing him in English for his cowardice, and ask him
WHY HE DID NOT STRIKE.
When they passed the Miller Street bridge(College street today), and were just entering the deep cut there, Hamilton, at a given signal from Aultman, struck Steidle just above the right ear, felling him to the ground.  Aultman immediately seized the man by the throat, choking him as he rifled his pockets.  The choking continued for five minutes, or until, as Hamilton says in his confession, life was almost extinct.  
AULTMAN SECURED STEIDLE'S MONEY
watch, pistols, papers, etc., even turning the body over until he could remove his overcoat.  Express train No. 4, going East (towards Sedalia) had just arrived at the depot, and Hamilton says he became afraid of being seen by the train men in the glare of the locomotive's headlight, and went up the bank in the dark.  Aultman remained below, and after getting all he could from the pockets of his victim, dragged the body between the rails and fled from the scene.  They stood on the bank until the express train had passed, crushing the body in its progress, and then went away.  They then returned to the depot and started down the track, going west.  A mile or more from town they went out a few yards from the railroad, built a fire, and by its light divided and sorted their booty.  All the papers, photographs, a pocket knife and other small articles they burned and buried the watch and chain in the earth.  About 1 o'clock on the morning of the 31st they arrived and going to the house of S. J Oliphant, who keeps a hotel, woke him up and 
DEMANDED BREAKFAST.
He told them it was too early for his wife to get up, but he would give them a light lunch, they saying they would return for breakfast. He gave them four glasses of cider, some cheese and crackers and two slices of cake which they ate
and then went away. Billie ate a very hearty breakfast, but Charlie ate not more than one or two bites and drank a cup of coffee. Charlie paid Mr. Oliphant and they went away. At the depot they boarded a passing freight train and rode to Kansas City. The conductor noticed that they had been drinking heavily and that one of them slept for nearly an hour. Once within the limits of Kansas City the conductor lost track of them and saw nor heard nothing more of them until they were arrested.
AT KANSAS CITY
they took Steidle's trunk from the baggage room, and took it to the restaurant of one James Butler, in Kansas City, Kansas, where they spent the night of April 1st. In the morning Charlie says they took Steidle's clothes and traded them to a second-hand dealer for a new suit, paying the difference in money. They trade his revolver  for a larger one, and at a jewelry store Charlie bought a silver watch and chain. All the articles in the two trunks--clothes, boots, tools, etc., were positively identified by several witnesses  and there was no doubt as to the truth of Charlie's story. This statement was substantiated all the way through by the testimony of the large number of witnesses for the state, each one's evidence appearing to be a link to make to make the chain complete. And each one seemed to have some new incident to relate, they all fitting together to make one whole, like the different
pieces of a watch. One witness swore to friendship of Steidle and Aultman: another began with their departure from Sedalia; another found them a Montserrat: the fourth detailed their arrival in this city; Hamilton finished the story until their arrest, and so on, no one contradicting the other, each forming an additional line in the indestructible chain, whose last link bends them to the gallows.
THEIR RETURN TO SEDALIA.
After their sentence had been passed it was decided to bring them to Sedalia and  place them in charge of Sheriff Connor, to await the fatal day of execution. The fact being known that they would arrive on the midnight train Saturday, created quite an excitement and hundreds of people thronged the depot long before the train was due, in the hope of catching a glimpse of  the men on their arrival.
The condemned men in charge of two deputy sheriffs alighted on the south side of the train and were escorted to the jail followed by a curious crowd.  A Bazoo representative had a brief conversation with the murderers after they had been locked up, they being placed on opposite sides of the jail, Charlie was quite communicative and said that he had been given a fair trial and expected to meet his fate like a man when the time came. He said that he felt that he was not guilty of murder as he had been lead into the commission of the terrible deed by Aultman alias Billie Hamilton, and that he was satisfied he had the sympathy of the better class of people in Warrensburg. He stated that Aultman had added to his terrible crime the sin of perjury, the statement made by him on the witness stand to the effect that be had choked Steidle to death by his (Charlie's) command and while covered with his revolver being absolutely false. When asked if he had been visited by any clergyman or had made any profession of religion, he replied in the negative, but added that he had been visited by some kind ladies and intimated that he would, in time, make a profession of religion. In answer to the question if be had any hope of a reprieve or commutation of his sentence
he replied that he had requested his attorney to take his case to the supreme court and supposed that he would do so. Billie Hamilton, alias Ed Aultman was called on but said that he had no statement to make as he was worn out. He invited the reporter, however, to call on him this morning, at which time he desires to make a statement,
WHAT WILLIAM SAYS.
According to promise the next day the Bazoo reporter called upon Billie Hamilton alias Ed Aultman, at the county jail. Both of the murderers were asleep, but Billie speedily arose to his feet when informed that a newspaper reporter desired to talk with him.  He came to the grating and for half an hour conversed with the reporter who subjected him to rigid examination. Nothing new was learned and the murderer persisted in his story, previously related and published, that Charlie Hamilton was the guilty party, and at the point of his revolver,  prevented him from interfering while he choked Steidle to death and rifled his pockets of their contents. In answer to the question if he was aware that Steidle had been inveigled into going up the railroad track, in order that he might be robbed, he stated the he knew nothing of any such intention on the part of Charles Hamilton until he heard the sound of the heavy iron wrench on Steidle's head, Charlie coming up in the rear.  He was questioned closely as to his action, and the position he occupied while Charlie Hamilton was choking Steidle, as he alleges, and rifling his pockets.  He denied that he touch the murdered man, or assisted in any way in the murder.  He says that he was covered by Charlie Hamilton's revolver during the entire time and could not go to the assistance of Steidle whom he says was a dear friend.  "Were you aware, queried the reporter, previous to the murder that Charlie Hamilton had a revolver." " He did not have a revolver, he took one from Steidle's persons.  "How did he manager to keep you covered with a revolver and go through Steidle at the same time?" "Well I tell you, replied the murderer, who is a German and talks rather broken English, he is a bad man and although he had his revolver on the ground while he robbed Steidle, I knew from the look in his eyes that he would shoot." "Did you not take a portion of Steidle's money?" "Yes, but he, Charlie, forced me to take it.  I was afraid to disobey him."  "Did you spend any of the money you received?" "Yes, but had money of my own to make it and I sent all of the money I received belonging to Steidle, to this sister." "Were you and Charlie Hamilton under the influence of liquor when Steidle was murdered?" "No sir, we were perfectly sober, and had not been drinking at all." "Where did you understand that you and Charlie and Steidle were going when you started up the railroad track?"  "Charlie told us that as it was quite awhile until train time he would take us to see some young ladies with whom he was acquainted."  "You positively deny, then, that there was any preconcerted scheme between yourself and Charlie Hamilton to murder Steidle?" "Yes, sir, I do. The understanding was that we were to meet in Warrensburg and from there go to Kansas City where our future movements were to be determined on."  Persistent questioning failed to elicit anything in addition about the cowardly murder from what is already known and been published.  Aultman says that he had known Steidle from boyhood, they having learned their trades in Stutgardt, Germany.  He esteemed the murdered man and his dearest friend.  Aultman was also interrogated as to the charge made against him some weeks ago of having poisoned Mrs. Mossiman, the sister of his betrothed.  When the question was broached Aultman became very much excited and denounced the charge as emanating from Charlie Hamilton, whom he designated as "that trash on the other side of the jail."  He said that the report was too ridiculous to even talk about, and went on to say that Mrs. Mossiman was as dear to him as a sister and that he believed that her death was caused by the shock of the news that he had committed murder.  The condemned man said that he had always attended the German Evangelical church, of which his parents were members, and in which he had been baptized in his infancy.  He expressed a desire to see Rev. Stanger, the pastor of the church, and Deputy Sheriff Fred Conner promised to have the reverend gentleman sent for.  In reply to the question if he expected his attorney to do anything to avert his impending fate, he said that he would prefer not to answer.  He expressed himself as surprised at the verdict of the jury, and declared that his life had been sworn away by Charlie Hamilton. He desired the reporter to express as his sincere thanks to this attorneys, Col. J. M. Shepherd and Hon. A. W. Rogers, who he said working nobly for him, although he was not able to pay them.
CHARLIE HAMILTON
said that he had nothing in addition to say to the statement he had already made. He professed to be penitent for his crime, and says that he is trying to obtain peace and comfort from from the consolation afforded by the christian religion.  He denies the statements made by Aultman, and persists in the assertion that while very much under the influence of liquor he was induced by Aultman to commit the crime for which he will forfeit his life on the gallows.
SINCE INCARCERATION
little worthy of note has transpired.  Each has stuck to this story regarding the matter with a pertinacity worthy of a better cause, and while acknowledging to the killing, have told much that is obviously false. They have been allowed every comfort and freedom compatible with their circumstances and the law, by Sheriff Conner, and have been only sufficiently watched to prevent their escape or their doing bodily  harm to themselves.  Wm. Hamilton is of a rather morose and sullen disposition and his natural nervousness has brought upon him such disease as to require constant use of stimulants. While Charlie, being much milder and less excitable has been able to bear up under the strain remarkably well.  He has turned this mind more to religious preparation and listening to the councils of the ministers, who visit them regularly than has Billie. Charlie has also tried his hand at literature by way of divers on, and among his other production have appeared the following verses:
DOOMED TO DIE.
My life hangs upon a thread to-day,
I'm doomed to die the judge does say.
My heart to God I freely give,
It is because I now do live.

I've told you several times before
I did not kill the boy that lives no more;
God is the judge of all my sins,
I'll live, my case to plead with him.

But shame fills my heart with pain
To think of the murder's treacherous game--
Hi life he'd savy, and mine condemn,
For He's at the bottom of the whole scheme,

I've served this world of sin and shame,
Probably  never to return again.
My days are short and I must die--
In God I trust, upon the gallows high.

Although I die for committing a wrong,
I's ask you to pray for me now;
My life, of course, I cannot save,
But remember me when I'm in my grave.

I'm doomed to die, but will not cry
When the rope around the neck they tie;
But think how dreadful it must be
For the young to look at and aged to see.

Christ is my protector and my friend,
A prayer to Him in Heaven I'll send,
Asking pardon, peace and me to forgive--
In heaven with him I'd like to live.

A stone to mark my resting place, 
A friend to place flowers upon my breast;
For me I ask you all to pray.
And remember this my dying day.
                                                        Yours respectfully,
                                                                      CHARLES HAMILTON

THINK OF YOUR BOY

The following lines were composed and are frequently sung by Charlie Hamilton, now in jail at Warrensburg, under sentence of death for murder. He has a very good baritone voice, and sings the words to a tune of his own improvising. He has a mother living somewhere in town, and wants some one to write to her, after his death, and tell her he is dead, but not at the hands of the law.
Dear mother, I've wandered from home and from friends
I've traveled this busy world o'er ;
O, could I return and be with you again
I'd leave you again nevermore
But while the dark was of life they intend
To keep me so far. Far away, 
the tears fill my eyes while this blessing I ask: 
O, think of your boy when you pray.
Chorus
In your prayer night and morning remember your boy.
And let him forgotten ne’er be; 
forgive his transgressions and love him again, 
for he prays night and morning for thee.
O think of your suffering boy when you pray
He longs so to see you again;
One sight of his home and the loved ones so dear
Would lessen his sorrow and pain.
No kind word of comfort e're cheers his sad heart, 
As he wanders from day unto day; 
but angels oft whisper this gently in dreams: 
O, think of your boy when you pray.

Red Cloud, Webster Co., Neb. 1873-1923, July 18, 1884

William and Charles Hamilton were hanged at Warrensburg, Missouri for the murder of Carl Steidle, whose body they placed on the railroad track, where it was mangled.  The motive was robbery.  The real names of the murderers were Ed Aultman (William H. "Billie) Hamilton) and Charles Nalskey (Charles Hamilton), and they were not related.

From Lisa Irle's Book, She was the JOCOMO Historical Society Director


Sheriff H H Russel, Johnson County, MO 1884


Sheriff H H Russell, Johnson County, MO

Sheriff Henry Hagan Russell, Johnson County, Missouri
Sheriff Russell, born Jan 19, 1851, Nelson Co KY died at Warrensburg MO Jan 30, 1909


Daughter in law, Mrs. W. B. Russell, Warrensburg, MO
Birth: Feb. 3, 1875, USA
Death: Feb. 17, 1950
Warrensburg, Johnson County Missouri, USA

Sheriff Henry Hagan Russell, grave site
National Police Gazette - The Hamilton's Warrensburg Murderers 1884,
*Karolina Steidle, sister to Carl. On the 3d of June, 1884, Mr. Himberger wedded Carolina Steidle, a native of Wurtemberg, Germany, and to this union have been born the following children : Edwin, who died in infancy ; Elfreda W. L. ; and Oscar Carl, who is a student at Pennsylvania State College. Mr. Him- berger is deeply concerned in all projects and measures designed for the general welfare of the business interests of the city and consequently is a leading member of the Erie Chamber of Commerce, and was elected school director of the Sixth ward in February, 1909. Fraternally his relations are with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Ben- evolent and Protective Order of Elks, and he is also a member of the Erie Maennerchor. His record is in every sense creditable and he has maintained his career on the basis of sound commercial ethics so that now he is entitled to honorable mention among Erie's leading business men.

Name: 
Carl Steidle 
Arrival Date: 6 Nov 1871 
Birth Date: abt 1845 
Age: 26 
Gender: Male 
Ethnicity/ Nationality: German 
Place of Origin: Germany 
Port of Departure: Bremen, Germany 
Destination: United States of America 
Port of Arrival: New York, New York 

Some questions....about the Railroad Murder
Is Charles Naskey the real name for this murderer since he does not show up thus far on any immigration sites from Germany. Is the spelling correct?
Where is Ed Aultman. from? Edward Aultman?
Where is Carl Steidle buried? 

Some more on the Vigilantes of Warrensburg.

THE AFTERMATH AND THE VIGILANTES
In an effort to avoid horrors after the war, the Constitution of 1865, provided “No person shall be prosecuted criminally or civilly on account of any acts executed after January 1, 1861, by virtue of military authority vested in him by the government of the United States, or of this state or in pursuance of orders received by him from persons vested with such authority.” Another provision was added in 1875, “Between Jan. 1, 1861, and Aug. 20, 1866, and to the words ‘under military authority of the Government of the United Sates, etc.’ was added ‘or of the late Confederate States or any of them to do such acts.” This was meant to say war crimes were to be forgiven. Bad feelings could not be legislated and behavior spurred by the war caused turmoil.

Bushwhackers swarmed into town stealing and murdering. These gangs made their headquarters at a saloon run by “Uncle Billy”. Bullies would ride into town and “shoot up” the town as they rode their horses through the streets, sometimes on the board sidewalks firing their revolvers in every direction to the terror of the citizens. By brute force they dominated Warrensburg, thus the vigilantes were born. Once when a bully rode through town shooting, one citizen who was fed up, took his gun, which most had in those days, started after the bully shooting. The bully left rather quickly.

After the Civil War many filed for land of the Confederates over various causes. One such action was Brinkley Hornsby sued Sterling Price, James McCown, Jeremiah V. Cockrell, William McCown and more. He claimed injuries arising from false imprisonment and was asking $50,000. If they didn’t pay he wanted to attach their land.

Gen. Frank Blair was to speak in Warrensburg and a platform had been erected not far from what was to become much later, the courthouse downtown. Some very rough men led by Bill Stephens threatened to kill Blair. The feelings from the war still lingered. While Blair was waiting in his room at the Ming Hotel, 


Simmons House, Ming Hotel, among other names 100 feet south of the Train Depot 
When Bill Stephens tried to stir up the people against Blair, by speaking to those that had started to gather to hear Blair. Blair was advised not to speak but he said he would “cause a shell to explode”. Gen. Blair took the stand and started his speech at 1:00. He was interrupted time and again and at 2:00 Stephens took the speaker’s stand and started his ranting. He was ejected and a few minutes later he took the stand again and again started insulting Blair. He was again ejected. Then there was the clicking of pistols from all sides. Some pointed their pistols at Blair and some at the ones pointing the pistols. Then word came to Stephens that his son Jim had been stabbed to death. Stephens and his ruffians left and Blair finished about 6:00.
Word hit Warrensburg in 1867 that a foul murder had taken place at Fayetteville. David Sweitzer had been robbed of money he was going to use to make a payment on the farm he had purchased. Warrensburg citizens determined they were not going to put up with any more of these outrages so a meeting was set at the courthouse to try to figure out how to stop things. About 400 men showed up and they organized calling Col. Isaminger to be chairman and N. B. Klaine to act as secretary. One of the speakers, a Prof. Biggar said “It is our duty to ferret out the murderers of our peaceable citizen, who has so lately been killed, and bring them to justice.” Others followed with similar speeches. They then drafted resolutions. One hundred fifty men went out to join Fayetteville men and marched to Dick Sanders home. Dick Sanders was identified as one of the murderers. At Dick Sanders’ house they surrounded it and got Sanders to surrender. They took Dick Sanders, Brackett Sanders (his brother) and another person to a place about a mile north of the house, in the woods, on Honey creek, where the execution took place. Dick Sanders was the leader of the band that was causing so much trouble and the second in command was Bill Stephens. They decided to take care of Stephens at a later date. About a month later 40 men went for Stephens. They decided to just shoot him and not risk getting hurt themselves. They waited all night in the barn and along the fence so when Stephens appeared at his front door early the next morning they let loose. Stephens fell and was pulled back in the house and died later.
Jeff Collins was a notorious character that lived in Warrensburg. It was believed he was associated with the Dick Sanders gang. The committee thought Collins was acting suspiciously so they started a watch. Nearing sunset as he made his way home, word was sent to a group of men that hid around his house. They approached him and he was ordered to surrender and drop his gun, which he did. They took him to livery stable of the Ming Hotel. They held a kangaroo court and accused him of being part of the gang and had been causing trouble and robbing. Collins knowing his time was near refused to give them the satisfaction of saying much. He was found guilty with out any real proof of wrongdoing; they took him out Culton Street east to Maguire, not to far south of the railroad bridge and hung him.
Two individuals, one Thomas Stephens’s son of Bill Stephens and the other Morg. Andrews considered involved with the Sanders gang, were found in jail in Lawrence, Kansas. They were sent for and upon arriving in Warrensburg, a lynch mob got them from the jail and hanged them.

The last and most uncalled for lynching by the vigilantes was that of Thomas Little. Little was arrested for robbing a man west of the Post Oak Bridge. The committee got together and failed to convict Little. That night about 15 to 20 men got together and went to the jail, got Little out and hung him. The masses and many of the Vigilante band condemned the murder of Little. The Vigilante committee was disbanded.
The newspapers outside of the county distorted the happenings of the vigilante committee. A Lexington newspaper reported the Johnson County vigilantes hanged 10 men in one day. Kansas City Journal stated Johnson County vigilantes hanged 30 men

The Killing of Samuel Julian Burge
The Short Version
Samuel Julian Burge: (Born 8 Sept 1899 Died 8 Dec 1938. Married 14 August 1918 to Gladys Coats. Married 14 Oct 1929 to Annabelle Smith). The 10th and youngest child of Samuel Alexander Burge and Mary (Molly) Elizabeth Phillips was born at their farm home near Columbus, Missouri on- September 8, 1899. He married the first time Warrensburg, Missouri on August 14, 1918 to Gladys Coats and later divorced. No children He married the second time on October 14, 1929 to Annabelle Smith of Montserrat, Missouri. Died at 9:30 Saturday morning as a result of being shot twice in an attempted robbery of a filling station. He identified the captured shooter as Jack Mann. Jack Mann had to be transferred to the Jackson County Jail in Kansas to prevent him from being lynched in Warrensburg. Samuel Julian died December 8, 1932 and burial was in Sunset Hill Cemetery. He had been Chief of the Warrensburg Fire Department for 19 months but a member of the department for four years. He enjoyed fishing and hunting. He was killed in an attempted robbery of a filling station on his first day of work there. Samuel Burge fought with Mann and took his gun away and managed to sh0ot at him one time. Mann on foot, went north and was tracked by dogs, arrested and returned to Warrensburg. The murderer later escaped from jail and was killed by a posse at Centerview, having been shotgunned to death by two members of a posse while unarmed.
Family version is that he did not escape but was let out of jail to be killed.
Jails in Johnson County Missouri 1847 to 1880

No comments: