From Geneva Palladium 10 January 1827

Melancholy Affair -- On Friday evening last, Mr. George Brockway, of Orleans, town of Phelps, was stabbed in the abdomen, with a large butcher's knife, by a man named Alpheus P. Beden, of which wound he died in a few hours.  It appears the parties had entered into a quarrel, that Mr. Brock gave Mr. Beden a push, when the latter committed the horrid act with a knife which he held in his hand and with which he had been assisting to butcher hogs that day.  Beden is committed to gaol for trial.

From Geneva Palladium 13 June 1827

Circuit Court -- At the circuit court held in Canandaigua last week, before Judge Throop, and on the two last days before Judge Birdsall, several important trials were had.

Stephen P. Beadon, was tried for the murder of George Brockway, in Phelpstown, sometime in January last.  The fact of the murder was clearly made out.  It appeared that Beadon stabbed Brockway in the abdomen with a butcher knife, which which they had been killing hogs together, and in consequence of which Brockway shortly after died.  The only question with the court and jury then was, whether the murder was an act of malice or not.  Several circumstances appeared in mitigation.  It was proved that Beadon was provoked to the act by repeated insults, followed by a blow -- and what was perhaps of great weight, that he expressed much contrition after the deed was done.  He was found guilty of manslaughter, and sentenced to seven years' imprisonment.



From Geneva Gazette 23 January 1852

Murder Trial at Canandaigua -
The Court of Oyer and Terminer now sitting at Canandaigua, Judge Allen of Oswego, presiding, is engaged in the trial of William Woodin of the town of Victor, in this county, for the murder of his wife, in the month of August, 1844.  The trial commenced on Monday.  Mr. Chatfield, Attorney General, not having arrived, the District Attorney opened the case to the jury, briefly stating the facts he expects to prove.  Several witnesses were sworn, whose testimony mainly went to show the condition and position of the body of Mrs. W. when found.  It appears from the testimony, that the body of deceased was found early one morning in the well attached to the house where they lived, head downward, feet near the surface, her hands crossed on her breast, and evidently so fixed by some one else.  There were two bruises on the head, and a mark around the neck, having the appearance of having been made by a cord.  Her shoes were also found in the well, tied up. Blood was likewise found on the cylinder of the windlass. Mr. Chatfield arrived on Wednesday night. Alvah Worden, J. P. Faurote and E. G. Lapham, Esqs., are counsel for the accused.  The trial excites much interest, especially in the town of Victor, where the accused resides and where he owns considerable property.  He also stands indicted for incest with his daughter-in-law.  The number of witnesses in attendance is large and the trial attracts a crowded assemblage.

From Geneva Gazette 30 January 1852

Acquittal of Woodin -
The trial of Woodin for the murder of his wife, which occupied the special Court of Oyer and Terminer for this county the last week, was brought to a close on Saturday night, and resulted in an acquittal.  Mr. W. will be brought up at some future time on a charge of improper liberties with the wife of his son.


From Geneva Gazette 6 February 1852

Murder at Manchester -
We learn from the Canandaigua papers that an affray occurred at Manchester, in this county, on Saturday evening last, in which an Irishman by the name of Thomas Kelly received a stab in the side, causing death soon after.  The affray arose out of a quarrel over a game of cards, at which liquor was also introduced.  One of the assailants named Henry, has been arrested; the other, named Slattery is still at large.  Sheriff Lamport has offered $100 reward for his arrest.


From Geneva 19 March 1858

HORRIBLE MURDER !

Man Shot at the Franklin House ! !

The shock produced upon this community by the intelligence of a fatal affray at Canandaigua, (the particulars of which will be found below), was scarcely less appalling than upon the community where the tragic affair occurred.  Charles Mary, who in a moment of passion and frenzy, took the life of a fellow-being, was formerly a resident of this village, and where a widowed mother and two young and interesting sisters still reside.  He, although not as correct in his deportment as becomes a good and moral citizen, was nevertheless ever looked upon as a quiet, innocent and unoffending man.

He will now have to undergo a trial before a jury of his countrymen in which his own life is at stake.  It does not become us under such circumstances to comment upon the affair, whereby the favor or prejudice of the public may be unduly excited.  We confine ourselves to a simple statement of the facts in the case, made under oath, by which to satisfy the demand of the public for the particulars of the sad event.

A most horrible murder was committed last evening (12th inst.) at the Franklin House in this village.  The victim was Mr. Stuart Benham, one of the landlords; and the man who committed the deed is Charles Mary, a German, who keeps a clothing store on Main street, a boarder at the Franklin.  Mary was promptly arrested.

This morning Dr. Webster of East Bloomfield, one of the Coroners of this county, was sent for, (there being no Coroner in the village),  and at 12 o'clock, M., a jury empanelled at the Franklin House consisting of the following gentlemen who after viewing the body, adjourned to meet at the Court House at 2 P. M.

Jurors - Charles Warner, John Lamport, William M. Hawley, M. M. Palmer, Thaddeus Chapin, M. Warner, Ira OUthouse, Harris Andrews, Willard Bates.

At 2 o'clock the jury convened at the Court House, Mr. D. Pierpont testified as follows:

I reside in Canandaigua.  I was at the Franklin House at 10 o'clock last evening, Reuben Mallory, Robert Parker, A. W. Bogart, John Osborn, Charles Mary, Sidney Benham and Thomas Barrett, waiter, were present also.  I came in at 10 1/2 o'clock.  Passed into the bar-room and saw Cha's. Mary, John Osborn, Mr. Bogart and the waiter in the reading room.  I was only there a few minutes, when I heard Mr. Bogart call Mr. Benham.  I said, there's a fight, and rushed into the reading room at the same time.  Mr. Mary and John Osborn were in the reading room, clinched, and Bogart was trying to separate them. Benham did so, to keep them from them from fighting.  This was in the reading room.  I saw no blows struck.  After that, Mr. Bogart and Mr. Benham got Osborn into the bar room.  Mr. Mary and myself remained in the reading room.  I had a conversation with Mary, and tried to pacify him and said that Osborn was intoxicated and he better keep away from him.

Mary said, "If they had let me alone, I should have fixed him out."  I said, "You don't want to quarrel."  I left then and went into the bar room.  Just before that, Mary lost his hat.  I said, "Perhaps Osborn has got it by mistake".  When I got into the bar room Osborn and Mr. Moses were in there.  Mr. Roberts might have been in there.  Osborn was a good deal excited.  Mr. Bogart wanted him to go home.  He said he would if they would let him have a glass of ale.  Mr. Benham drew it and let him have it. About that time, Mr. Mary came to the bar room door.  Osborn called Mary a d____d Dutchman, &c., and shook his fist in his face; finally, Osborn hit Mary with the back of his hand.  Then Mr. Mary became very mad, and had some words with Mr. Bogart, about being abused in his house, &c.  The next thing I remember, I heard the report of a pistol, and Mr. Benham fell into my arms.  I was inside the door, in the bar room, between the door and counter.  Mr. Benham stood in front near the door. When he fell into my arms, I laid him back on the floor.  He expired immediately.  I did not hear him speak, or see him move a muscle.  Osborn stood to the left of me.  Benham stood a little in front of Osborn.  The latter was about four feet from the door. There was a chance for Mary to see Osborn.  I did not see Mary at the time the pistol was fired.  I saw him the instant before, when Osborn struck him.  Then Benham came around and stepped between them.  The pistol was fired in a minute or two after Osborn struck him.  I had no conversation with Mary after he shot Mr. Benham.  Mr. Bogart was passing through the door.  Mr. Mallory stood nearer the stove.  Didn't see Mr. Parker or Thomas.  When Osborn struck Mary, Mr. Benham was in the bar, or coming out of it. 

(Mr. A. W. Bogart testified substantially as did Mr. Pierpont.  He testified that he saw Mary draw the pistol from his coat pocket and fire it !  He was followed by Thomas Barrett, waiter at the Franklin, who corroborated the above.  He was also a witness to the firing, but says, "I saw him (Mary) take the pistol from his coat pocket and put it back again.  It was a single barreled one.  Then he took it out again and fired it.  He kept his hand low down and fired the pistol upwards.  I cannot say positively that he did not aim at any one; that is my impression, but I could not swear positively."

Reuben Mallory testified substantially as the first witness did.  He did not see the pistol fired, but saw Benham fall.

Drs. Simmons, Jewett and Cheeney, described the appearance and character of the wound to the jury.

The ball entered the skull, about an inch behind the ear, and passing through the brain, lodged against the temporal bone of the opposite side of the head.

John Osborn was then called.  Nothing different from that before obtained was gotten from him.

THE VERDICT - The jury returned a verdict that the deceased came to his death from a pistol ball, discharged from a pistol in the hands of Charles Mary. The prisoner is in jail, awaiting an examination.  Ontario Republican Times



From Geneva Courier 19 May 1875


THE MURDER TRIAL


Testimony in the Case of Chas. Eighmy tried for Murder of George Crandall

The case of the people against Charles Eighmy, indicted for the murder of George Crandall at Oaks Corners in this County in July last, was called late in the afternoon of Thursday last at Canandaigua, Hon. C. C. Dwight presiding judge.  Dist. Attorney Hicks assisted by Samuel Torrey, both of Canandaigua, appear for the people and J. P. Faurot of Canandaigua and John E. Bean of Geneva for the prisoner.  Four jurors were obtained on Thursday and Friday morning was consumed in scouring the remaining eight as follows:

Welcome D. Herendeen, Canandaigua; Ward P. Mann, Canandaigua; David H. Osborn, Canandaigua; William H. Allen, Canandaigua; Robert Coons, Naples; Daniel B. Bartholomew, Naples; George C. Narther, Canandaigua; Simeon Lingsley, Shortsville; Nathaniel A. Gifford, Canandaigua; Avery Ingraham, South Bristol; Delos Doolittle, Canandaigua; Joseph Dibble, East Bloomfield.

After the jury was sworn, Dist. Attorney Hicks addressed them briefly, saying there was no living witness to the murder, that it was only upon circumstantial evidence and the testimony of the defendant that he could be convicted; that the people proposed to show that the crime was not committed in self-defense, that the trouble grew out of intimacy of the prisoner with the wife of Crandall, and that Eighmy had threatened to kill Crandall if he ever accused him of improper intimacy with her.  Mr. Hicks also exhibited to the Jury two maps of the field in which Mr. Crandall was killed, one being a map of the potato patch and the number of hills hoed up to the time the murder was committed.  Court adjourned to dinner and reassembled at 2 p.m.

(Testimony not included)

From Geneva Courier 13 Sep 1876;

THE GALLOWS -- EXECUTION OF CHARLES EIGHMEY
The Last Hours of the Criminal's Life -- His Final Words -- The Responsibility of the Crime -- A Remarkable Scene

Charles Eighmey, the murderer of George L. Crandall, was hanged in the jail yard at Canandaigua, on Friday last at 11:07.  The history of Eighmey's crime, his trial, the various stays of proceedings, reprieves, and finally the murder's full confession, are so familiar to our readers, as not demand our space for their rehearsal at this time.  That which has attracted most of public attention, and will serve to keep alive the memory of this horrible affair, is the wonderfully dramatic scene at the gallows, in which the doomed man called forth Benjamin F. Webster, and charged the responsibility of the crime on him.  The scene is vividly portrayed in the Ontario County Journal, to which we are indebted for the account of the later hours of the criminal's life and his execution.

We have little disposition to pursue this subject.  It is true that Eighmey perjured himself upon his trial.  There are few who would not tell what they deemed the best story under like circumstances; and thus was destroyed in a measure Eighmey's testimony as against others.  In any event there is scarce a palliating circumstance in his case, and he merited the punishment he received.  On the other hand, we are not inclined at this time to review the present or past personal character of Mr. Webster--which it must be confessed has some very ugly spots--nor the extent to which his word will be received for truth by intelligent people where he is known, but would simply say that the opinion expressed below is the predominant one in the community:  Among his last acts Eighmey wrote a note expressing his gratitude to the Sheriff, the members of the Sheriff's family, and the various attendants during his confinement, for their kindness to him.

The funeral took place from the family residence, near Oaks Corners, at 11 o'clock, a.m. on Saturday last.  It was largely attended, and the occasion was a very impressive one.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT - Wednesday had been a trying day for Eighmey.  He had parted for the last time with his father and had received many callers, and had his fortitude severely tried.  Yet he ate heartily, and afterward smoked a cigar with apparent relish.  He engaged in conversation with one of his attendants, Mr. Tate.  He talked freely about the final disposition of his body; said that he desired to be buried in Phelps by the side of his sister.  He was very solicitous about the expense of the funeral, and said he hoped his father would be saved that expense, as he had already been the cause of reducing him to poverty.  About midnight he retired and slept calmly and quietly until six o'clock.

THE LAST DAY - From early in the morning until sundown, crowds of people passed and re-passed the jail, scanning the high walls of the jail yard to see if they could not discover some trace of the preparations for the tragedy of the morrow.  There were many applications to Sheriff Boswell for admittance to the yard to see the gallows, but with the exception of some of the foreign representatives of the press, they were uniformly refused.  No one was permitted to see Eighmey, except his relatives, spiritual advisers, and those he requested to see.  Rev. Mr. Green, of Geneva, formerly pastor of the Methodist Episcopal church of this place, was with him the greater part of the day.  To him Eighmey expressed the utmost confidence in the future, he said he had a firm hope that he had found peace and salvation through his Saviour; that he had no dread of death, but looked forward to it as a relief from the present.  To our reporter he said, "I shall be much happier tomorrow night than I am now."

It must have been extremely trying, aside from the consciousness that it was the last he would pass on earth.  In the morning his eldest sister Mrs. Parker, his brother, and brother-in-law called to take their final parting.  The interview was inexpressibly touching and sad. Eighmey was by far the most collected; he told them not to mourn, that he was ready, that death had no terrors for him, and that he hoped to meet them in that bright land where there was no parting, or shadow of sorrow.  In the afternoon he received calls from Rev's. Mr. Bayley and Van Alstine.  Rev. Mr. Ford, who had left his sick bed for the purpose also called.  In the evening, he asked Mr. Green to read the 51st Psalm, and handed him his Bible, where the chapter was marked, and the pages displayed evidences of frequent perusal.  After the beautiful lamentation of David, so full of hope and comfort, was read, Mr. Green offered a fervent petition to the Throne of Grace.

His counsel, Mr. Faurot, during the long day, had his final interview with him.  Although he had visited him daily, since the decision of the Governor, the parting was painful to both.  Eighmey manifested deep gratitude for the fidelity and persistent effort of Mr. Faurot in his behalf, and he reiterated that his confessions were true in every particular.  When the trying ordeal of the day had passed and the shades of evening fell upon the earth, he manifested no change; he was as cheerful and calm as ever.  He ate heartily of his supper, and conversed cheerfully with his attendants upon various topics.  He expressed a wish to Deputy Sheriff Frank Boswell, who was present, that the shackles might be removed from his limbs.  This was cheerfully accorded, and he in company with our reporter, at once proceeded to Mr. Martin's, who returned with them, and removed the shackles.  To do this it was necessary to cut the rivets that held them.  There were four, and Eighmey presented one to each of his attendants, C. H. Tate and George McClary, and to Frank Boswell and our reporter.  As soon as the heavy shackles (they weighed twelve pounds) were removed, he sprang up and walked rapidly across the room remarking, "How light I feel."  Shortly after he took a bath, and about eleven o'clock he retired.

THE SCAFFOLD is on the west side of the jail yard, next to the wall.  It is on a platform forty-two feet by eighteen in width, raised three feet from the ground surrounded by a railing, and is built on substantially the same plan as that used for the execution of John Clark lately in Rochester, though far superior to it in looks and construction.  Through the cross-beam
runs a rope, at one end the fatal noose, at the other end a weight of 225 pounds.  This rests upon a trap that can be sprung with a wonderful ease, the whole being concealed behind a partition about five feet wide and twenty feet high.  Here stands the person who launches Eighmey into eternity.

THE ROPE has already a history of its own.  It has been used at five hangings before.  It has judicially strangled Ira Stout, Joseph Messner and John Clark, at Rochester, Rulloff, at Binghampton, and only three weeks ago to-day was used at the execution of Thomas B. Quackenbush, at Batavia.

THE END - The morning dawned dark and lowering, as if nature lamented the deed so soon to be enacted.  By eight o'clock a crowd had assembled in front of the jail, and eager efforts were made to gain admission to the jail.  Among these was B. F. Webster, who was clamorous in his demands for admission.  The 8:45 train from Rochester, brought Company D., 54th Regiment, N. Y. S. N. G., Captain Moore commanding, and numbering 57 men, officers included.  They marched directly to the jail, and were there stationed, guarding the street, and keeping back the throng.  By half-past nine Jail street was a mass of pushing, crowded humanity, contrasting strangely with the bright uniforms of the soldiers.  The roofs of the adjoining houses were covered with people, but fortunately their curiosity was defeated by the gallows being covered with canvas.  The crowd, though orderly, did not seem very deeply impressed with the gravity of the occasion, for they laughed and joked as they pushed backwards and forwards.

During this interval, Eighmey, with Rev's. Mr. Green and Bayley and Van Alstine were engaged in his devotions.  His calmness did not desert him.  He expressed himself certain that his sins were forgiven, and that a blessed immortality awaited him.  He said he was willing to suffer for what he had done, and he still asserted the entire truth of his confessions.  Last night to our reporter he said, when asked concerning Webster's and Mrs. Crandall's complicity in the crime, "God knows it is true; do you think I would go to my death with a lie in my mouth?"

His entire conduct until he was summoned to the gallows was collected.  He said to Mr. Green, "I don't want people to think I am a bull dog because I am quiet."  A little after ten the few who were admitted to the execution entered the jail yard; among them was Ambrose Crandall, the father of George Crandall.  At twenty minutes after ten B. F. Webster entered the jail yard; he showed no emotion, but conversed freely, he spoke about as follows in answer to questions by our reporter, and the reporter of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle:

"Eighmey has lied from beginning to end, and he knows it.  If he persists in it today I don't care a damn.  He can't hurt me."  He claimed that the confession was inconsistent.  He was very violent and profane, and evinced the utmost vindictiveness against Eighmey and left, by his manner and mode of speech, but a poor impression on his listeners.

Mortal man will never know whether he be innocent or guilty.  But public opinion will be against him, and guilty or not guilty, the dying statement of Charles Eighmey will follow him as an avenging Nemesis through all his life.  At precisely twelve minutes of of eleven the procession in the following order filed into the yard and ascended the scaffold:  the Sheriff and under-Sheriff Benham, Eighmey attended by deputy-Sheriffs Sheldon and T. A. Reed; Rev's. Messrs Green, Van Alstine and Bayley; Deputies, County Officers, and others.  Eighmey was dressed in full suit of black broadcloth, furnished by the Sheriff, and carried in his hand a beautiful bouquet, the gift of Mrs. Judge Taylor, on which was a card bearing the inscription "The blood of Jesus cleanseth us from all sin."  He was self-possessed and cool as any spectator.  Not a muscle quivered, nor was his face blanched with fear; not a limb trembled as he ascended the scaffold.  He cast one quick glance upwards at the awful implement of death before him.  He passed along the platform and was seated in a chair beneath the fatal noose.  The Sheriff Boswell then read the death warrant, and the subsequent stays of proceedings and final order from the Governor.  During the time, Eighmey sat perfectly unconcerned.  The Sheriff then said, "Charlie, have you anything to say."  "I have", he said.  Arising from the chair, he turned to under Sheriff Benham and whispered.  Sheriff Benham stepped forward and called, "Is Frank Webster here," "and will he come forward."  Webster stepped upon the scaffold, and stood facing the doomed man.

Then occurred the most dramatic scene ever witnessed at an execution.  There stood the two men, both in the full flush
of health and manhood, one under the gallows, on the verge of eternity -- the other in the natural course of events with many years before him, and he, paler than his accuser.  In a low, and perfectly clear voice, Eighmey said, all the time pointing his finger at Webster, "The people of Ontario county may have the privilege of thanking you for bringing me here to where I now stand, for you know what you told me, and you know that confession to be the truth, and you can't deny it.  And now what is to be done with me?  That what you and Mrs. Crandall talked to me, and got me into this trouble, which was against my will, and always was, as I told you.  And now for me to take the penalty of this law and you go free; that it shall be -- Well, I have nothing to say with reference to what shall be done with you, or anything of that kind, only as I say this -- that what you did do, and talked to me, and as I made that confession, that each and every word of it is the truth, and nothing but the truth, and you know you cannot deny it, Mr. Webster.  If Mrs. Crandall was here, she must always think of it, -- what she talked and told me."

He paused, and Mr. Van Alstine then read the following passages from the scriptures:  Ex. 21-12; Mathew 6, 9-12; 1 John 1-2-22-5, 24-10-4; Romans, 5-1, 8-1-16; 1 John 4-9; Revelations 14-13.  The reading was followed by an eloquent and earnest prayer.  Eighmey stood holding the bouquet in his left hand, and so great was the control over his nerves, that his hand never even quivered.  At the conclusion of the prayer, deputy-Sheriff Sheldon strapped his arms and legs.  He submitted to it without a tremor.  After it was finished he presented Mr. Green with his bouquet; then turning to Deputy-Sheriff Reed, whispered "You know, Mr. Reed, Webster has brought this upon me."  Reed said, "If you want to say anything, do so".  Then with the noose dangling over his head, and his arms and limbs strapped, Eighmy spoke, in the same quiet collected manner and said, "This crime I stand charged under was never done by my will, but under the influence of Charlotte Crandall and you, Webster, and you know it.  The guard that have been in the jail and taken care of me have been all kind; and the sheriff and his family have treated me with kindness and respect, and the guards have all, too.  I hope the people will always give them credit for being good to me.  And my folks -- my relations -- have done all for me that lay in their power to do; and I hope we will all meet again, each and every one of us; and I hope I am forgiven of my trouble, and I think I am.  I think I am going all easy and free. (Here the prisoner's voice failed him.)  After a moment he added:  " I bid you all goodbye."

When he had finished, he turned and said to Under-Sheriff Benham, "I am ready."  Mr. Benham then placed the noose around his neck, and pulled the black cap over his face, and at precisely 11:07 o'clock the signal was given and Charles Eighmy was launched into eternity.  His death must have been painless, as save a slight muscular contraction after the trap was sprung, there was no evidence of pain or the slightest struggle.  After hanging 15 minutes, Drs. Simmons and Smith, attending physicians, pronounced him dead.  Before the body was cut down, Sheriff Boswell announced that it was the request of Eighmy that his body should not be buried by the public, and asked those present to retire.  The body was placed in a black walnut coffin, with silver plated handles, plainly mounted, and with a large silver plate bearing the simple inscription, Charles Eighmy, aged 26.

All the arrangements for the execution were perfect, and reflect the utmost credit upon Sheriff Boswell and his attendants.  Thus has passed the first execution in Ontario county.  God grant it may be the last.



From Geneva Gazette 31 December 1875

On Tuesday afternoon last, Mr. Jacob Westfall, a farmer residing about 3 1/2 miles southeast of Phelps village, went to that market with a load of wood.  He arrived in town, sold his wood, made a few small purchases, collected a small debt, paid another one, fell in with some acquaintances, drank two or three times with them, and became somewhat intoxicated. About 8 p.m. a friend helped him into his wagon, got him started toward home and left him.  Alas, that home he never reached alive. After hours of weary waiting and watching, his anxious wife sends for a neighbor to go and search for him.  That neighbor pursues the search for 2 1/2 miles towards Phelps, then finds the team at large by the roadside.  He arouses another neighbor, and together they pursue search, when the cold and inanimate form of the missing man is found stark and stiff in death in the highway, with a murderous wound in his head and weltering in a pool of blood.

What followed is in the testimony, for which we are indebted to the courtesy of Coroner Covert of Geneva, who was notified and took charge of the inquest.  The Coroner found the body undisturbed just where it was first discovered.  He took the dead man's wallet and found there all the money which could be traced to his possession.  'Tis said that one of his errands to town was to collect a considerable amount of money due him on a previous sale and delivery of grain, but inquiry proved that he did not receive it.  Such purpose may have become to some desperado who coveted a plethoric purse, but who, disappointed in the magnitude of his prize, resolved to touch none of it, or was frightened away after enacting the frightful tragedy.  But this is mere speculation.  Another theory is, that murder was committed from the mere motive of revenge, yet God only knows who could have been actuated by such fatal enmity.

We heard the principal wound described as of such nature that it might have been given with the head of an axe.  Suggestive of foul play is the fact that he evidently fell from his wagon on the right hand side of it, while the wound was upon the left side of his head.  And then again it is a suspicious circumstance that the horses' lines were found wound around the third stake of his wagon-rack forward from that on which he had been seated.  Would he, unless drunk to utter insensibility, (which does not seem to have been the case, ) have discarded the reins and left a "high-lifed and spirited team" absolutely without guidance or control?  The public will await with deep interest further developments in this awful affair.

Mr. Westfall was aged about 60 years and himself born and brought up in Phelps, and raised a large family therein.  He was regarded as a good farmer, a kind neighbor, husband and father, subject to no adverse criticism except as to his appetite for ardent spirits.  Coroner Covert, on arriving in Phelps by first train Monday morning, summoned an intelligent jury, who with him proceeded to the spot where the ill-fated victim was first found, viewed the body and returned to Tichnor's hotel to take testimony.  The following gentlemen compose the jury:  Thomas J. Lyman, Abram S. Smith, James Barker, John W. Lyon, David B. Sweet, Caleb P. Kelly, Francis Root, B. F. Odell, Patrick W. Bradley, John H. Roy, James M. Cole, Abram B. Pruyn, Rus'l C. Carpenter and Abram T. Canouse.

From Geneva Gazette 7 January 1876

Coroner Covert continued his investigation into the cause of Mr. Westfall's death last Tuesday.  Statements of two or three witnesses examined last week, against whom some suspicion existed, were fully corroborated.  But little new was elicited leading to a solution of the mystery involved in this tragic event.  But the jury were unanimously convinced from the testimony of surgeons who made the post mortem examination that Jacob Westfall came to his death by criminal means.  Their verdict concludes:  "We find that death was caused by a wound on the left side of his head, inflicted by some person or persons or by other direct violence to the jury unknown."  We overstated the age of Mr. Westfall in our last.  He was in his 49th year only, instead of 60 years old.  The civil authorities and people of Phelps will be constantly on the alert to discover a clue to his murderer.

We give a synopsis of additional testimony as follows:

In the examination last Tuesday Chauncey Howard, who lives half a mile east of Phelps village, testified that he was at home Tuesday night, 28th ult., and between 8 and 9 o'clock saw a lumber wagon with wood rack upon it pass his house, and two men were in the wagon; heard them conversing, but did not recognize either of them.  Did not know Mr. Westfall. The team was walking.

James Howard of Phelps testified that in coming to the village that night at about a quarter past 8 he met a team with wood rack on wagon and two men in the vehicle, one near front end and the other in back part.  Met them near Sabin's corners going north.  Noticed a man cross the road ahead of team, but did not see where he went.  Sister went to village and returned home with witness.

Freeman R. Hicks testified that he remembered seeing Westfall, Fillmore and others in Van Auken's saloon that night.  The two former went out together, and Fillmore did not return while witness remained, which was about half an hour, or until about 9 P. M.

James Armstrong testified that in coming to the village about 8 p.m., he met a team of dark-colored horses with woodrack and two men, one seated in front, the other in back part of wagon.  One in front wore a hat, the other a cap - both seated on the right hand side of wagon.  Before meeting team saw a man on foot going north and walking quite fast.  Met team north of Sabin's corners.

John Westfall, brother of deceased, testified that deceased was sued at Clyde by a former employee named Thomas Herold, on a claim for wages, amount $30; that Herold was non-suited; that on the 22d November Herold come to witness' barn and said that "if my brother did not pay he would waylay him."  On the first of December he came to my house and then told me that he had hired his board at Lyons for a week watching for Jacob Westfall, but did not state for what purpose he was watching him.  "Herold is ugly and vicious when under the influence of liquor, but quiet and peaceful when sober." Witness knew of no facts to account for the death of his brother.  Had heard him say that he owed Herold only $4.

Aiken Irving testified to seeing Fillmore help deceased into his wagon, back the team out, and jump out near the crosswalk. Saw him go into saloon under Phelps hotel, and again saw him in Butterfield's saloon from which latter he departed after ten or fifteen minutes.

Hiram Peck testified that he went to the Wayne County Poor House on the 31st ult., examined register, found the name of Peter Marr and full description of person corresponding with that of Peter Rice, who was sworn on Thursday.  Marr (or Rice) arrived at Poor House Tuesday, 28th ult. at about 5 p.m., remained over night, and departed at 7 a.m. Wednesday morning. Is satisfied that said inmate and Peter Rice is one and the same person.



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