Description: Bossie Francis Murderer. Mounted sepia toned photograph, 3-1/4 x 2-3/4 inches. [Missouri], 1902
Notes: The subject of this photograph, Bossie Francis was wanted for a brutal murder of a white woman in Missouri. He had somehow managed to escape to Johnston County, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), where, he was shot and killed by a local sheriff while resisting arrest for some other, unrelated offense. He was buried by the county and nothing more was thought of it, until someone heard that there was a $2500 reward for his capture. The body was then ordered to be exhumed and this photo sent by the Missouri authorities to the Indian Territory sheriff to properly identify the body. The case was heavily covered by the Western press.
Latest Exhibition of Missouri Cussedness Continues to Lack a Denouement.
MURDERER HAS NOT BEEN FOUND
Mob Tortures a Few Negroes to Extort Information
Kansas City, Aug. 30, 1901
Armed men and bloodhounds this morning again took up the search 40 miles south of Kansas City for Bossie Francis, the murderer of Mary Henderson, which will be continued till the negro is run down. A counsel among the pursuers has already decided that the Negro's punishment shall be meted out at the stake. W. C. Hyatt, Mary Henderson's brother-in-law, approves of this method.
Kansas City. Mo. Aug. 30, 1901
"Bossie"' Francis, the murderer of Miss Mary Henderson at Columbus. Mo., on Tuesday evening, has thus far eluded his pursuers, and the large mob that has been searching for him has partially disbanded, discouraged over the failure of its efforts, after having been, as its members supposed at the point of capturing the negro. A pack of bloodhounds was obtained yesterday from Manhattan. Kan., and taken to the Hyatt farm, the scene of the murder. They found the trail of Francis readily, and followed it straight to the coal mine at Blackwater, owned by a negro, John Hardin, whose wife is an aunt of Francis. The mob composed of (a number of men), felt sure that Francis was hidden in the mine shaft, but as he was known to have two pistols none of the men ventured to go down.
One Man Who Wasn't Afraid.
A. W. Rice. owner of the bloodhounds, entered the mine, taking the dogs with him but failed to find Francis after a thorough search. Yesterday afternoon Deputy Sheriff Temple, of Warrensburg, called a council, and after discussing the situation the men decided to disperse for the night, leaving a few of their number on guard.
"Bossie" Is Well Known and popular.
"Bossie" Francis is known to all the Negroes in the county, and is very popular among them. No one supposes that he has gone far from Columbus, and it is thought that no negro in the neighborhood would refuse him food and shelter. There are several negro settlements in the district, and there are negro cabins everywhere. There seems to be no doubt that Francis first tied to his uncle's house at Blackwater, and then took refuge in the woods. At this season of the year the vines and weeds along the numerous creeks make thick cover.
Mob Tortures Supposed Witnesses.
The mob was not engaged all day in hunting the woods. It had three Negroes to torture first into telling what they knew. This was early yesterday morning, when it captured Km met Davenport. Charles Brisooe (who lived near Columbus) and Bud Francis, a brother of the murderer, between Columbus and Holden. The men acted suspiciously, but declared that they knew nothing about Francis' whereabouts. To make them talk it was decided to string all three up. They were strung up until Davenport agreed to tell what he knew, and declared the fugitive was in a coal mine near by. But he could not be found there.
Los Angeles Herald
August 30, 1906
HOUNDS TRAIL THE MURDERER "Bossie'' Francis Still Evades Pursuers Negro Slayer of Miss Henderson Tracked to Coal Mine Search of the Shaft Fails to Reveal Man Searched by Hundreds No Doubt Is Felt of Ultimate Capture—Three Colored Men Strung up to Secure Clef to Work On
HOLDEN, Mo.. Aug. 29.—'Bossie" Francis, the murderer of Miss Mary Henderson of Columbus, Mo., on Tuesday evening, has thus far eluded his pursuers and tonight the large posse that has been searching for him has partially disbanded, discouraged over the failure of their efforts, after having been, as they supposed, at the point of capturing the negro. A pack of bloodhounds was obtained today from Manhattan. Kan., and taken to the Hyatt farm, the scent of the murder. They found the trail of Francis readily and followed It straight to the coal mine at Black Water, owned by a negro named James Hardy, whose wife is an aunt of Francis. The posse, composed of two hundred men, felt sure that Francis was hidden in the mine shaft, but as he was known to have two pistols none (of the men ventured to go down. Finally A. W. Rice, owner of the bloodhounds, entered the mine, taking the dogs with him, but he failed to find Francis after a thorough search. Late this afternoon Deputy Sheriff Temple of Warrensburg called a council of the posse and, after discussing the situation, the men decided to disperse for the night, leaving a few of their number on guard at the important points. The search will be continued tomorrow by a large number of men.
Clew Obtained by Stringing KANSAS CITY. Aug. 29.—"Bossie Francis, the negro who outraged and murdered Miss Mary Henderson on Tuesday night, is believed to have been located In a mine pit in a negro settlement. six miles north of Holden, and within a mile of Columbus, the scene of the crime. There seems no doubt that the murderer is hiding in that vicinity, but there are so many favorable places there in which he may secrete himself that Francis may elude his pursuers almost indefinitely. The clue to his whereabouts was obtained by stringing up three negroes who lived near the Hyatt farm at Columbus. The mob had spent the entire night searching for the negro. Finally, after midnight, they came upon Emmett Davenport and Charles Briscoe, who live near (Columbus, and Bud Francis, a brother of the murderer, between Columbus and Holden. The acted suspiciously, but declared that they knew nothing about Francis' whereabouts. To make them talk it was decided to string all three up. After Davenport had dangled at the end of a rope for a few moments he became terror-stricken and motioned to be let down.
One Friend Gave a Tip (Davenport said that Bud Francis had told him he was to meet the murderer (last night at the Porter-Murray coal mine, six miles north of Holden, when he was to give "Bossie" 18.00 that Briscoe owed him. Bud Francis had, Davenport said, taken Davenport and Briscoe with him and made them go into the mine to And the murderer. He declared that they had not found Francis. Davenport, Briscoe and Bud Frances were hurried before the mob to the place indicated by Davenport. The mob worked hard at the mine but to no avail, and gave up when relieved at daybreak, by hundreds of other armed men. who took up the hunt where the night shift had left off. The three negroes were finally sent to Warrensburg and placed in Jail for safe keeping and surrounding towns were wired for bloodhounds. The place where Francis is supposed to be hiding is in a negro settlement. The surrounding are favorable for him. both because he, has many friends there and because the mine and the thick brush afford ideal hiding places. Hunt Be Captured In Time Every white man in the neighborhood is on the alert, however, and as every avenue of escape is well guarded. Francis will surely be captured In time. Francis is known to be armed, and if he is finally located in the mine It will doubtless become necessary to starve him out. As but few men could enter the pit at a time, they would be at the mercy of the murderer. The funeral of the murdered woman was held this morning A special to the Star from Odessa. Mo., says: Bloodhounds were started from here for the scene of the murder this morning. There is great excitement in Odessa and mobs are reported forming there every hour to join the chase. A Special to the Star from Warrensburg says: After it became known that the negroes who were strung up last night to make them talk had been brought here, a mob of a hundred people gathered around the jail. Excitement is running high and the crowd about the jail is growing.
STILL SEARCH FOR FRANCIS
False Clues Give Posses Much Trouble Believed to Be in Hiding in Cass or Henry County Murderer of Mrs. Mary Henderson Continues to Elude the Officers. Cbnrlen and Frank Briaco and Knimett Davenport to Be Held for Trial an Accessorles After the Fact
KANSAS CITY, Sept. I.—"Bossie" Francis, the murderer of Miss Mary Henderson, at Columbus; Mo., last Tuesday. has not yet been apprehended, and many people believe that he is no longer near the vicinity of Johnson county. There is no conclusive evidence that the man whom the posse was after last night near Strasburg and Pleasant Hill was Francis. The only persons who saw him were some section hands and today they told Deputy Sheriff Temple of Johnson county that they saw a nan running from the railroad tracks to the woods, but they could not tell whether he was a negro or a white man. A negro was taken off a freight train at Harrisonville last last night, but he waw not the man wanted. No effort was made to find Francis in Johnson county today. He is believed to be In Cass or Henry county, and a few armed nun are searching for him in those counties. Posses left Pleasant Hill and Lee's Summit this afternoon to prosecute hunt between those towns, as they had heard that a negro answering the description of Francis had been seen in that neighborhood today. Every rumor is being investigated, but all cluse thus far have led to false trails and new reports do not inspire much confidence. Information against Charles and Frank Brisco and Kmmett Davenport, charging them with being accessories after the fact in the murder of Miss Henderson. have been filedvat Warrensburg. Their preliminary hearing will be held there on Wednesday
San Francisco Call, Volume XC, Number 93, 1 September 1901
PURSUERS FAIL TO CAPTURE MARY HENDERSON'S MURDERER
It Is Asserted That the Negro Bossie Francis Was Paid to Commit the Crime by Whites Who Aided in His Escape.
Kansas city, Mo., Aug. 31.-The man-hunt that has been in progress in Johnson and Cass counties, Missouri, since Tuesday evening, when Miss Mary Henderson was found murdered at the home of her brother-in-law, Chapman Hyatt, and the negro hired man, Bossie Francis, the supposed murderer, missing, has not been successful. After fruitless beating of the bush, ransacking of negro cabins and search of coal mines the hundreds of volunteers yesterday were ready to give up, and even the bloodhounds refused to follow new trails. Last night, however, fresh interest was aroused by the discovery of a negro skulking in the woods near Strasburg. A party of men set out in pursuit, but the negro vanished mysteriously.
To-night all the towns along the Missouri Pacific were intensely excited by a report that Francis had been captured near Pleasant Hill; that the law officers were bent on taking him to Warrensburg jail, but that the hunters would carry him to the Hyatt farm and hang or burn him there. Pursued by a Posse. A negro answering the description of Francis was pursued to-night by a posse in the neighborhood of the Star School, between Pleasant Hill and Strasburg. So were the hunters of getting their man that one went to Pleasant Hill with the Information that the negro was in sight and would be taken in a few minutes. From this grew the rumor that Francis was actually a prisoner. Later it was learned that the fugitive escaped. Rain is falling, the night is dark and the chase is at a standstill again.
The killing of Miss Mary Henderson at Columbus,Mo., took a sensational turn to-day, and it was hinted broadly that the murderer had made good his escape by the aid of white persons. Paid to Commit Murder. A special to the Star from Strasburg says: "There are dozens of men in Johnson County who believe that Francis was paid to murder Miss Henderson by white persons who wanted to get her out of the wav. So convinced are many members of the posse that Francis has escaped by the aid of white persons that they refuse to take further part in the efforts to catch the murderer. If he is caught he will not be burned at once, but will be tortured for the purpose of making him tell what he knows about reports that white persons desired Miss Henderson to be got out of the way."
Sept 1, 1901
Negro Killed at Ada (OK) thought to be Escaped Missourian Bossie Francis
Appears in "The Wapanucka Press" 26 March 1903, Wapanucka, Johnston County, Indian Territory, now Oklahoma
BOSSIE FRANCIS AGAIN
Negro Killed at Ada by Marshal Thought to be the Escaped Missourian
Ada: Some three months ago the city marshal, R. C. Couch, killed a negro who resisted arrest to such an extent that the marshal was compelled to kill him in order to save his own life. The negroe was supposed to be about 52 years old, and his body was buried by the city. Nothing more was thought about the matter until a few days ago, when inquiries came from northern Missouri concerning such a man, and the body was exhumed. The description furnished by the Missouri officials fitted almost exactly and the body is awaiting the arrival of the Missouri parties. The dead negro is supposed to be a party wanted for murdering an aged and respected white lady there, and his name is thought to be Bossie Francis. The case created considerable interest at the time, and rewards of $2,500 were outstanding for the negro, dead or alive.St Louis Republic, 6 Jun 1902, Fri, First Edition