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September 29, 2016

1878 Grave Robbers (Body Snatchers) Take Murderer's Body - Knob Noster, Missouri History

Link the Ghouls
The Sedalia Weekly Bazoo, March 12, 1878
THE GHOULS
Disinter the Body of Daniel
A Strange Story of the Resurrection
"Knob Noster - 1878"
It was a strange story that two reporters heard this morning, and one which we have every reason to believe true. The facts as elicited, after a careful and persistent inquiry are as follows: While the Bazoo and Democrat reporters were standing on the Garrison depot (Knob Noster) platform yesterday morning, at train time, a darkey approached them and said : "I kin tell you gemtnen whar you kin git a big item." As a matter of course, he was quickly interrogated as to the whereabouts and the nature of his item, when the darkey looked furtively around nun, and then whispered: "Does yer see dat black man ober dar leanin agin the corner of the ticket office, wid a soger's obercoat and de fur cap?" The reporters looked in the direction indicated, and sure enough there was the individual described. "Well," said our informer, "dat man kintell yer, mebbe”

Knob Noster, MO
 MOPAC, Missouri Pacific Train Depot
WHAR DANIEL WENT TER
after he was dug up by the doctors. “Only doan let him know I tolte yer-- kase he's a bad nig…." Astounded by this information, the reporters approached the black man with the "soger's overcoat," And engaged him in conversation, by a much adroitness and judicious application of the reportorial pump, the fellow revealed enough to assure the reporters that they were on the right track After another consultation an arrangement was made with our first informant that he should keep track of the Knob Noster darkev and at three o'clock in the evening the reporters would meet them in a small frame house near the gasworks. In the meantime he was to get the Knob Nosterite in a good condition to talk, and a dollar was given him for that purpose. Punctual to the hour, the reporters made their appearance at the designated place, and sure enough found the two darkeys according to agreement. The Knob Noster fellow had evidently got the best of the dollars’ worth, and after a little questioning he relaxed his cautiousness by degrees, and finally gave up
THE WHOLE STORY.
Which we rive substantially as follows: He said that last Friday, a week ago, two well-dressed men got off the special train at Knob Noster on its return from Warrensburg. 
Typical Train About the Late 1870's
He was standing around looking at the train and the people, listening to the remarks made about the hanging of Daniel when he noticed these men regarding him attentively. Finally one of them came to him and asked him if he could drive a team. He replied that he could. They then asked him if he didn't want a job. As he was out of work, he told them that he did. They then told him that they might want him for two or three days, and that they would pay him liberally. They did not say what they wanted him to do, but told him his pay would go on from that time, and when they wanted him they would tell him, at the same time handing him a dollar. The men stayed around the town, that afternoon, but kept near the depot as if waiting for something. When the train came that bore Daniel's body, they watched its disposition very attentively, and hung around the depot in which it was placed, very close. The next day, Saturday, he did not see but one of the men, but that night he was told to meet the two men at the depot by daylight.
Sunday morning, he went to the depot and there found one of the men seated in a two-horse wagon, and the other mounted on horseback. In the wagon he noticed a box about seven feet long. The driver told him to jump up and off they started, in a southeasterly direction, the man on horseback riding in front leading the way. It had rained the day previous and the roads were very heavy, and sometimes the man on horseback would be out of sight ahead of them, and then he would wait by the road side until the wagon came up. Their progress was very slow, and at dinner time they drove to one side and had their dinner, which they brought with them, and fed their horses with corn. When they started from Knob Noster they told the darkey that they were going out to look at some land they had bought, and that
THE BOX IN THE WAGON
contained fruit trees. When they eat dinner, however, the two men began talking about how soon they would get back home to "Anner Harbor," in old Michigan. One of them said, "If they'd only buried him at Warrensburg, as we thought they would do, we would have been home with our 'stiff' by this time." Then the other one said, "yea, or if that damned station agent I hadn't watched so close we wouldn't have had all this trouble." The ether replied to this, "Well, we'll make them pay us so much more for our trouble, so it will be that much more in our pockets." By this time their able companion began to have his suspicions, but he did not dare to say anything, for he knew both of the men were heavily armed, and he had been with them long enough to know they would stand no trifling. About dark they came in sight of a farm and they halted and fed their horses again. By this time they had gone, the darkey judged, about sixteen miles. After they had eaten their supper, they told the darkey plainly they had come to
DIG A DEAD MAN UP
and that he must help them, If he performed what was required of him and kept his mouth that they would pay him liberally, but if he refused, or ever told what he had seen or heard, they would kill him if it was ten years afterward.
Of course the terrified darkey promised, faithfully. The man on horseback disappeared in the direction of the farm. About ten o'clock that night he returned and they began their preparations. They tied their horses to the wagon and lifted out the box, which was too heavy to be empty. Then taking the box, the three stealthily approached the farm. They made their way over it until they came to a small graveyard, in which a new was made grave. The long box was then opened, and the darkey saw it had ice and straw in it, a small jug and two spades.
The night was extremely dark, with the aid of a dark lantern they worked expeditiously and soon struck a plain coffin. The lid was quickly pried of and the body of a large man was removed. The darkey could not tell who the man was, for he had ever seen Daniel. 

They lifted the body out and pat it in the box on the ice, after which they poured a lot of strong smelling stuff from the jug all over the body and the face. The corpse was perfectly sound and no aim of decay could be eyed or smelled.
They then put the lid of the coffin on and filled up the grave, smoothing over the top and removing the traces of their presence as much as possible. This accomplished, they started with their burden to where they left the wagon. The journey back was a long one, as the box was very heavy and they frequently had to stop and rest.
A LITTLE AFTER MIDNIGHT
they reached their camp, and the started in a northeast direction, which they kept until they struck the railroad bed Knob Noster (between) and Lamonte. They then altered their course a little and made for Lexington, passing through Brownsville, and arriving there Wednesday night. At Lexington the men discharged the darkey, giving him tea dollars, and again repeated their threats in case he ever divulged their secret. He says from Lexington they went to the R & L junction in Ray County, where the box was to be shipped to "Anner Harbor," Michigan. One of the men was to go with the box, and the other was to return with the team to Knob Noster where it was to be returned to a farmer, from whom they hired it under some plausible excuse. The Negro took the train and arrived in Sedalia, on Friday night. Last night he went back to Knob Noster on the 6 o'clock train, and his story, as he told it to us, before the reader. At Ann Arbor, Michigan, (which probably the place the darkey meant) there is
A WELL-KNOWN MEDICAL COLLEGE,
and not long ago the papers were filled with stories about depredations of a band of grave robbers, who procured subjects for the doctors.
1893 University of Michigan
Daniel was a splendid specimen of physical manhood, in the prime of life, and not the slightest vestige of disease about him. It may be that the "Resurrectionists" had seen the newspaper accounts of him, and determined to procure his body at all hazards. They undoubtedly thought it would be buried at the place of execution, but in this they were deceived. And hence their trip to Knob Noster.
1893 University of Michigan 

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