From Geneva Courier 12 July 1876
MURDER AND SUICIDE - The rumor of murder and suicide near Seneca
Castle, published in the Courier of last week, had this foundation,
that a man named Saxton shot his wife once in the breast, and three
times in the head, and afterward placed the revolver at his own heart
and killed himself. Both expired at nearly the same time.
Saxton had been intoxicated for 3 or 4 days; he had been at Geneva,
Orleans, Clifton and Newark. At the last named place he took
surreptitiously a revolver from a man who had invited him to
dinner--the same weapon with which he killed his wife and
himself. On Wednesday afternoon at his house a mile south west of
Seneca Castle, he compelled his
wife to enter a sleeping room with him and immediately fired upon her,
as already described. Mrs. Hurgott, a sister of Mrs. Saxton,
keeping house in the same place, soon after went into the bed-room and
dragged the unconscious victim from the bed where she lay, to the
sitting-room. Saxton did not molest her, but followed and
standing by the prostrate form of his wife took his own life. The
only pretense of cause
he made for his acts was his belief that his wife's mother who was
coming to visit them would attempt their separation. He was her
husband, and they had one child. Her age was 23; and he was about
ten years older. He was buried on Thursday evening and she on
morning. Coroner Weyburn held the inquest.
ANOTHER ACCOUNT - (Our Seneca Castle correspondent reports the facts as
follows:) The facts as reported by good authority concerning the
"fearful rumor" of last week, are substantially these: July 1st,
two men named David Saxton and James Manuel, living a mile west of
Castleton, obtained liquor at the tavern in Orleans, and went off on
a "spree," and by some means David Saxton got possessed of a
July 5th, he was at home and worked as usual and appeared very nearly
sober. About four o'clock in the afternoon, he went to the house,
and just as
his wife's mother and brother from Pennsylvania were approaching the
he dragged his wife into a bedroom and immediately shot her--two balls
entering the brain, another the cheek, and the fourth the heart.
He then shot himself through the heart and died instantly. Mrs.
Saxton breathed a short time. Her sister, Mrs. Hurgott, was the
only witness. They leave two small children. At the
coroner's inquest, the verdict was, "Cause of death--partial insanity
superinduced by excessive use of
liquor." While it is evident that liquor was largely the occasion
of this terrible scene, it is thought by many that poverty and family
troubles had driven Mr. Saxton to desperation, and to do what he would
not have done had he received help in the right direction. The
in many mouths now is will E. Goodale be allowed to continue selling
giving men liquor and without license, too. Is there
temperance pluck in this vicinity to see that he receives his just
From Geneva Courier 9 July 1879
Murder and Suicide at Canandaigua - Friday morning's
Rochester Democrat has some particulars of a most terrible
double tragedy enacted at Canandaigua during the early part of
Wednesday night: -- Jacob Neu, a middle aged citizen of the
place, became infuriated and incensed at his wife for some cause.
His rage knew no bounds, and he rushed upon her with the demonic fury
of a madman. With an ordinary axe, which he had grasped in his
frenzy, he attacked her. Though she screamed frightfully and
strove to defend herself from the onslaught, Neu dealt her a deadly
blow on the
head and felled her so she died almost instantly. After satisfying
himself of the fatal effect of the blow, Neu took his razor and
deliberately cut his own throat, severing the jugular
artery and veins completely and opening the windpipe, so that he lived
but a very short time.
When the blood-curdling scene of the double murder was discovered by
the neighbors it presented a ghastly and sickening sight. Pools
of blood all over, clotted stains on the upturned faces, and two great
horrible wounds laid open to the discoverer. Physicians were summoned,
but to no avail and the coroner was finally notified.
From Geneva Gazette 11 January 1884
A Murder! - AN AGED FARMER OF ONTARIO COUNTY KILLED IN
COLD BLOOD - OBJECT OF THE CRIME, ROBBERY.
Canandaigua, Jan 7 -- A well to do farmer, aged 70 years,
named Benson Hawkins, living alone in the town of South
Bristol, Ontario county, was on Saturday afternoon found murdered in
his bed -- the deed having been committed on Friday night or early on
Saturday morning. His married daughter, residing near by, visited
father's house on Saturday afternoon, and not finding him about the
house, went to his bed-room, where a horrible sight presented
The old man's body was lying on the bed with his skull completely
in and his face mutilated beyond recognition. On the floor near
the bed, lay a stick of ordinary stove wood, covered with blood,
how the deed was done. Mr. Benson (sic) had evidently retired
night as usual, as he was undressed. The bedding and furniture
were smeared with the murdered man's blood. On the stove was
a basin containing a quantity of bloody water, showing that the
had washed his hands, and the prints of the bloody hands were also
where he had wiped them on the bed clothing. The scene was
beyond description. The daughter at once gave the alarm, and the
neighbors gathered. Numerous tracks and traces of blood were
in the snow about the house. The victim is known to have had a
large sum of money in the house, and it was at once conjectured that
the object of the murder was robbery.
The murder was committed three miles this side of Naples.
Deputy Sheriff Beeman is now on his way here with the prisoner,
Francis, while Coroner Maynard, of Geneva, and Detectives Carson and
Hallenbeck of this village, are bring Hawkins's remains here for an
inquest. Francis was arrested by Beeman three miles from
murderer was seen to go to Hawkins's house late on Friday evening, and
the evidence against him is very strong. Ontario Messenger
The editor of the Gazette being in Canandaigua last Monday
p.m., called at the jail, and by courtesy of Sheriff Peck was permitted
to hold a brief interview with the prisoner Francis, who had been
received only an hour previously. The following record was made
in the jail register: "William H. Francis; age 27 years;
born in Rushville; residence Bath; arrested for murder; both parents
On entering the inner apartment Francis was pointed out to us among
of prisoners clustered around the stove. He is about 5 feet 4
in height, slender built, weighing about 120 pounds; brown or rather
hair and whiskers; shabbily dressed and slovenly in general
appearance. The editor introduced himself as a newspaper man,
saying that any statement he should make would be published. He
replied that he had nothing to say except that he was innocent of the
crime charged against him. On being asked if he had had an
examination he said he had not; if he had engaged counsel, no; but he
expected his father soon to attend to it. On being told that he
could demand an examination, he replied that he would have to await the
result of the Coroner's inquest. He was asked if he knew the
murdered man, Hawkins, and he answered that he was not acquainted with
him but had seen him three or four times -- had never been to his
Prior to our interview with Francis, the Sheriff asked us to
a letter which the accused had handed to him open, addressed to his
(Francis') wife. The chirography was very poor and the spelling
of many common words defective. He simply sent a request for
writing paper, postage stamps, pencil, tobacco, or money to buy such
articles, closing with words of endearment to wife and children.
Not a word was embodied in it referring to the terrible crime of which
he is accused, which seems very singular in one who stoutly asserts
his innocence. His overcoat was retained by Deputy Beeman, and
another supplied to him to wear during the cold ride to
His own coat is said to show blood spots; also that
were found on the bed sheets where he lodged the night previous to his
arrest. Deputy Beeman sent a verbal message to his chief saying
in effect that he had discovered evidence of a most convincing nature
affix guilt on this prisoner. And yet we must say he
look like a murderer; don't seem to know enough to plan such a
nor to possess courage sufficient to execute it. But appearances
are often deceptive.
Dr. E. M. Maynard of this place, who as coroner was called upon to
take charge of this case, kindly furnished us with the following facts
as ascertained in open session of his jury at Bristol: The fact
will be established that Francis (the man who has been arrested,
charged with the commission of the crime) was seen going toward the
house of Benson Hawkins and had nearly reached the front steps at 3
o'clock Friday afternoon; this was very soon after Hawkins was last
seen alive by his son. About 5 o'clock Francis was seen to leave
the house and go
in the direction of the village. At 5 o'clock he was at a house
in the village where he remained until between six and seven, when he
left bidding the parties good night, although invited to remain all
night. Yet Francis did return to this same place about ten
and remained all night. Numerous tracks around the house
exactly with a pair of rubber boots that Francis wore that evening were
found, and especially were these tracks prominent near a window through
which an entrance to the house had in all probability been made.
A number of matches more or less burnt and different both in form and
size from any used by Mr. Hawkins were found in different parts of the
house, near where an entrance was probably effected, and several in the
adjoining the old man's bed-room. Matches corresponding to those
burnt in the house were discovered in the vest pocket of Francis, and
is considered a very strong point of circumstantial evidence against
Fresh blood stains were found on Francis when arrested, the presence of
was not satisfactorily accounted for. Although this man Francis
not sworn, his statements to the coroner, sheriff and the newspaper
were entirely contradictory, and he utterly failed to account for his
between 7 and 10 o'clock Friday evening.
The report comes very straight that insurance policies on Hawkins'
life amounting to $4,000 are held by his relatives, and this fact when
fully developed may have a very important bearing on the case.
It was a most atrocious and cold-blooded murder, and it is hoped that
the desperate villain will receive his just deserts. The full
of the case will probably be gleaned before many days.
From Geneva Gazette 3 April 1885
KILLED WITH A CLUB -- Michael Kildea Clubbed to Death at Canandaigua
The particulars of a homicide were revealed at Canandaigua
Tuesday. John Finn, aged about fifty, resides on East
his daughter, Edna, a half-witted girl, and her child, a boy of
doubtful parentage, aged about four years. Finn's wife died about
years ago and since then he has borne a bad reputation, having been
arrested about a year ago on the charge of incest. It appears
that the girl was also receiving the attentions of one Michael Kildea,
residing in the neighborhood. Kildea was a laborer, twenty-six
years old, six feet in height, but of rather repulsive appearance,
kicked in the face when a boy, and lost an eye in consequence. He
was also red-headed. The girl was very plain-looking, too.
About four years ago, it is said, she was taken from her father's house
by half-a-dozen young ruffians, headed by Kildea, and outraged.
Kildea was by some thought to be the father of her child.
The disgraceful occurrence did not prevent Kildea from renewing his
intimacy, and on Sunday night at about 12 o'clock, he drove up to
Finn's house in a partially intoxicated condition, and effected an
entrance, after tying his horse to a tree. There is but one
sleeping apartment in the house and in it are two beds, one usually
occupied by Finn, the other by Edna and her child. The old man,
according to one story told by the girl, was out at the time when
Kildea entered, and when he returned he found the latter sitting on the
bed with his overcoat and boots
off. Kildea was ordered to get out of the house but refused,
he had not been there long enough, whereupon Finn got a club and struck
the young man a blow on the head felling him to the floor. The
was not fractured but contusion of the brain was produced. To
J. H. Jewett, Edna stated that she had told her father to kill
Another version of the assault given by her is, that Kildea came to the
house intoxicated in the afternoon, and held her in his lap, finally
down on the bed; that Finn told the young man to get out and Kildea
said, "Old man you interfere with me and I will kill you." Finn
went out, and returning with a club, struck his victim, afterwards
through the orchard to hide the piece of wood which he had thus
On Monday morning at about 4 o'clock Finn brought Kildea's horse
home, saying the young man was drunk at his (Finn's) house, but would
be home soon. Thomas Kildea, a brother, went to Finn's house
in the afternoon to look after Michael, and found the latter lying
upon the bed with a deep gash on the right side of his head. Dr.
Warner was called, and on Monday evening Michael died. The same
night Finn was arrested and Tuesday his daughter was also placed in
The two were given separate cells. Finn at first claimed that
fell from his buggy and struck his head on a stone. Tuesday
however, he confessed that he struck Kildea after the latter had
to kill the old man and started towards him.
From Geneva Gazette 29 May 1885 Michael Finn, of Canandaigua,
who was on trial all last week for the
murder of one Kildea, was acquitted by the jury last Saturday
morning. It was a most remarkable case.
From Geneva Gazette 1 May 1885
ANOTHER ONTARIO COUNTY MURDER !
Freak of Jealousy at Three Score and Ten Years
Wm. Scott of Manchester Kills His Wife
Canandaigua, April 28 -- Wm. Scott, 71 years old, shot and
killed his wife, aged 67 years, near Port Gibson in the town of
Manchester, at six o'clock last evening, and is now lodged in
In extenuation of his crime he alleges that she was criminally
intimate with other men, and relates a long list of family troubles and
difficulties extending over a period of eight or ten years. When
he first discovered that she was untrue it was about 1875. These
last drove him to desperation and resulted in his becoming a murderer.
Scott, with his family consisting of wife and a number of children,
formerly lived on the Dimmock farm a mile north of Phelps, which he
owned. He says his wife and children conspired to cheat him out
of his property, and he was finally compelled to sell his farm and they
then moved to near Palmyra. He gave his wife $1,000 three years
ago, and has now only $650 left, the remainder having been taken from
him by his wife and children on one pretext or another, and also used
in getting his
boys "out of scrapes." He talks very bitterly against each member
of the family and says that through the influence of his daughter, a
Throop, who lives near Palmyra, his wife left him two years ago and
up his home. Mrs. Scott then went to live with a widower named
Snook, a farmer, as housekeeper. Snook lives between Port Gibson
and Plainesville, where the crime was committed. Scott has
recently been living with a son at Geneva, and left there yesterday
morning for the purpose of seeing his wife and trying to persuade her
to live with
him again. He wished for a home of his own in his old age.
He obtained an interview and he offered to buy a place with his $650
and deed it to her if she would consent to his proposition. He
says he got down on his knees and begged her to listen to him, but she
still refused to comply. Words followed, and he drew the revolver
with which he
had armed himself and shot her twice. She lived about one hour.
Scott is a respectable appearing old man, neatly dressed in black
broadcloth, with smooth shaven face, and wearing a beard under his
chin. His hair and beard are white, and he looks fully his three
score and ten. He takes the matter quietly, only once or twice
showing any nervousness during the interview and expresses no regret at
A few weeks ago William Scott came into the Gazette office and
desired an advertisement inserted to the effect that, as his wife had
left his bed and board, etc., he would pay no more bills of her
contracting, etc. After the advertisement was written the old man
very communicative, and although there were a half a dozen men,
strangers to him, in the office, he proceeded to proclaim his wife's
unfaithfulness and acts of infidelity in a manner that impressed his
he was not in his right mind. It did not seem possible that any
man in the possession of all his faculties could or would parade before
the public all his family secrets and reprehensible doings of his wife
for a period of twelve years. Among other things Mr. Scott said
that through the actions of his wife and one son, he had lost about six
thousand dollars, being nearly all of the savings of a life's
work. He further said that he had forgiven repeated acts of
infidelity on the part of his wife, and that although she had recently
left him to become the housekeeper of another man, he had prepared a
home for her and notified her that if she would come home he would
provide for her in a manner suitable to their station; but that she
utterly refused. Mr. Scott was very anxious to know whether under
those facts his wife would ever return and
demand support. At least it is a very sad affair, and one that
bear the closest scrutiny as regards the responsibility of Scott for
capital crime which he has committed.
The following additional particulars of the shocking affair were
taken from the Union and Advertiser of April 29th: About
four o'clock Monday afternoon as Mrs. Scott was "doing the washing"
in the summer kitchen, her husband, William Scott, called on her.
She was dressed in a loose dress and waist and wore a sunbonnet.
The meeting of man and wife was quiet, and Mrs. Aldridge, who was
about the house and Mr. Snook who was working in the garden, saw the
and noticed nothing out of the ordinary. The visit has lasted
half an hour when Mr. Snook heard cries of "murder!" "help!" "help!"
accompanied by the report of a pistol. Glancing from where he
stood in the
garden he could see through the open doors of the kitchen Mr. and Mrs.
Scott struggling in the yard on the opposite side of the house only
a few feet from and directly in front of the kitchen door. In an
instant he was running toward the couple, and he had almost reached
when a second report of the pistol rang out and Mrs. Scott fell to the
floor. Scott held a five-chamber revolver of the bulldog pattern
in his right hand. He had approached his wife from behind, and
imprisoning her neck with his left arm had used the other to discharge
the pistol. The first bullet passed through the collar of Mrs.
Scott's dress and
the edge of her sunbonnet; the second entered her right breast.
She lay gasping where she fell, and Snook, greatly excited, called out
to her husband, "What have you done!" "what have you done!" The
made no reply, but walked away into the dining room, where he seated
as one in deep thought. Neighbors were immediately summoned, and
some carried the unconscious form into the sitting room and place it on
a couch, one galloped on horseback to the village for officers to
Scott. Mrs. Scott's daughter, Eliza, at work on the farm of
Throop, the adjoining farm but one, soon reached the house and
to have her mother recognize her, but was unsuccessful. No doctor
was summoned, as all knew that the woman was dying and nothing could
her. In a short time J. W. Parker, Justice of the Peace, and
Robinson arrived. The constable arrested Scott and placed him in
He was still sitting in the chair he had taken after committing the
and when handcuffed said: "She vexed me to it. I've done it
and am not sorry for it." Justice Parker walked into the room
the dying woman lay and returning to the dining room said to Scott, "I
guess you've done it, I guess you've killed your wife." Scott
"I'm sorry for it. I'm willing to suffer for it. She vexed
to it." Then he broke down and sobbed, swaying his body to and
About half past five o'clock Mrs. Scott died.
An inquest was held the jury rendering the following verdict:
That the said Christiana Scott came to her death by a wound from a
pistol ball, the pistol being in the hands of her husband, William
Scott, on the afternoon of April 28, 1885.
From Ontario County Journal 16 November 1888
On Friday last, John Kelly, of Geneva, a man of unsavory
reputation, was lodged in jail here to await the action of the grand
jury on a charge of murdering Miss Eleanor O'Shay, a domestic
employed by a farmer named
George Kiphin, for whom Kelly worked. Election night Kelly
returned home from Geneva about nine o'clock, and soon after went to
the barn with Margaret Kiphin, daughter of his employer. When
they returned to the house, Miss O'Shay charged Kelly with undue
intimacy with the girl, and upbraided him for it. He became enraged at
her accusations and struck her a blow which felled her to the floor. He
grasped a mallet and followed up the attack with blows on the head
which penetrated the skull. He then kicked her unmercifully and left
her in a dying condition on the floor. George Kiphin, his daughter
Margaret, and a man named Thomas Mahar were witnesses of this
beastly assault, but did not interfere to prevent the brutal crime, nor
did they care
for the unfortunate woman after she was left by Kelly, lying
the floor where he had struck her down. Miss O'Shay managed to crawl
into a pantry where she lay all night unattended. She was found there
next morning unconscious in a pool of blood and Kiphin sent for a
physician. All that could
be done was done, but she died Thursday morning without regaining
Wednesday, Patrick Leary informed the Geneva officers of the
affair, and Constable Ringer started after Kelly. When the officer
approached the house, Kelly saw him and fled. He was captured after a
two mile chase. After the woman's death, Coroner Maynard impaneled a
jury, and District Attorney Clement took charge of the investigation.
The proceedings before the jury were secret, but enough has leaked out
to justify the conclusion that the entire responsibility for Miss
O'Shay's death does not rest with Kelly, but that he had accessories.
Kiphin and his daughter have been held as important witnesses. Kelly is
a rough brutal looking man about 48 years old. He has been under arrest
twice for non-support of his family, and about four years ago he was
arrested for assault upon the woman he murdered Tuesday and compelled
to give bonds to keep the peace. He has been in Kiphin's employ many
years, and through the latters eccentricities had been given full
control of the farm. Miss O'Shay was a large woman about 43 years old,
and had always borne a good reputation. She was Kiphin's housekeeper,
and, having learned of a suspicious intimacy between Kelly and Kiphin's
daughter, she sought to break it up.
Kiphin is a man of large property although he lives, it is said, almost
like a pauper. He has a fine large farm and about $50,000 in government
bonds. When people went to the house after the murder they found it in
a most filthy condition. There was a large pile of potatoes on the
floor of the hall and on the parlor floor there lay a big pile of
apples. It is said that Kiphin keeps a barrel of whiskey in the house
all the time.
From Ontario County Repository 11 July 1889
John Kelly Hanged For the Murder of Eleanor O'Shea
The headlines read John Kelly Hanged . . . John Kelly pays the Penalty
of the Law . . . The second execution in Ontario County carried out
without an error . . .
The last act in the tragedy at the Kippen farm in the town of
Geneva last November, by which Eleanor O'Shea lost her life at the
hands of John Kelly, was performed in the jail yard in this village at
noon yesterday, when John Kelly was hanged according to the sentence of
the Court. Down to Monday morning Kelly had maintained his stolidly
exterior that had characterized him from the hour of his arrest. He
evidently had considerable hope, if not faith, that Gov. Hill would
his life . . . When asked if he had anything to say, Kelly said that he
proceeded to talk for several minutes. His remarks were quite
disconnected and were understood by few persons present.
Concerning the Crime
For which he was about the die, Kelly said that he was not wholly
guilty; he struck the blow but did not intend to take the life of his
victim. He referred to the methods of managing the jail and prisoners
by Sheriff Corwin and Ex-Sheriff Wheeler and drew comparisons between
them, expressing his preference for the present Sheriff. He made
to religious matters, professing to have made his future secure . .
. He expressed regrets at the poor crop prospects and said other things
hardly pertinent to the occasion . . . When he had finished, Sheriff
drew the black cap over his face . . . Undertaker Borgman, of Geneva,
clothed the remains in a suit . . . On the evening of November 6th
Kelly returned from Geneva, where he spent the day, it being the day of
the Presidential election. According to . . . Thomas Mahar, another
hand who witnessed the whole affair and who evidently stood in fear of
Kelly, when Kelly drove to the barn Maggie Kippen lighted a lantern and
went to meet him. Before she went out sharp words were passed between
her and Miss O'Shea on the subject of her errand to the barn, both
very angry. Mahar's evidence as reported in the Messenger of
20th, continued thus:
After a while she came in and Kelly followed. Eleanor O'Shea was in
the kitchen when they came. When Kelly came in Maggie and the O'Shea
woman were violently quarreling because Maggie went after Kelly. Maggie
said she would do as she had a mind to. There was much angry talk over
Maggie's relations with Kelly, in which Eleanor called Kelly bad names.
Kelly asked her what authority she had for charging him with improper
conduct with Maggie and she said Mr. Kippen (Maggie's father) was her
authority . . .
Graphic testimony deleted . . .
After that Kelly and Mahar went outdoors; Kelly looked once in the
pantry window . . . Mahar said something ought to be done, and (as
Mahar testified) Kelly said it "was good enough for her".
From Ontario County Journal 12 July 1889
Monday afternoon at forty minutes past ten, Sheriff Corwin and Hon.
Edwin Hicks, counsel for John Kelly, the murderer of Eleanor O'Shea,
received a dispatch from Albany announcing the Governor's refusal to
commute his client's death sentence to imprisonment.
Mr. Hicks went at once . . . and broke the news to Kelly in
the presence of . . . Deputies James Cavan and Wm. McClarey, Under
and a reporter.
A Journal representative called on Kelly in the afternoon...
He said that when he went to the Kippen house the night of the fatal
fray Eleanor O'Shea and Maggie Kippen were quarreling . . . Of Thomas
Mahar and George Kippen, both of whom, he said, were in the room at
the time... he spoke bitterly . . .
William McClarey, one of his watchers, procured some frog's legs at
a restaurant, and those Kelly ate with apparent relish. .... Rev.
Father English of Canandaigua, and Father Buckley, of Geneva, gave him
religious consolation . . .
(Many stories or comments) were made concerning the circumstances
attending Kelly's demeanor in jail and the incidents of his last few
days on earth. The most nonsensical of these was the statement that
Sheriff Corwin took Kelly out to see the scaffold Tuesday evening, and
that the latter turned a neat handspring upon the grass. In the first
place no one outside of the jail knows whether Kelly was taken out or
not, and in the next place he was too clumsy in his movements and too
logy in disposition to turn a handspring, even if he had been strong
enough, which he most certainly was not.
From Geneva Gazette 31 January 1890
A South Bristol Farmer Kills His Wife and Fires the House to
Conceal His Crime
The Woman's Charred Remains Found in the Ruins
We publish elsewhere brief particulars of a deliberate murder
perpetrated in Canandaigua recently, the motive of which was revenge
for a fancied insult. We have to supplement this story with that
of a more
fiendish and brutal crime committed in South Bristol last Sunday night,
the result of a quarrel probably between husband and wife over the
sum of $100 which the latter possessed and which the former seemed
determined to appropriate at all hazards. The full particulars
by the Canandaigua Times of Wednesday last as follows:
The fire occurred sometime between twelve o'clock and daybreak and
the first information the people of the neighborhood had of the tragedy
was in the morning, when they discovered the smouldering ruins.
Men and women hastened to the scene, and after inquiry had been made
as the whereabouts of the occupants of the building, Mr. and Mrs.
Fred Johnson, and no trace of them found, it was at once surmised
that they had perished in the flames. Men immediately began the
exploration of the ruins in the expectation of finding the bodies, and
after they had worked for several hours the remains of a human being
discovered. At first it could not be definitely determined
they were those of a man or a woman. The search was continued up to
on Monday evening, and was resumed again yesterday morning, and
after carefully going over the ruins again with rakes, and using their
fingers to sift the ashes without finding a trace of another body, the
men became suspicious of foul play. Evidence corroborative of
the suspicion was at once developed.
Coroner Wettling, of Naples, who had been summoned to assist in the
investigation of the case, became satisfied that the remains taken from
the ruins the day before were those of a woman. The finding of
false teeth, which it is known that Mrs. Johnson wore, and of hair
pins, near the spot from which the body was taken, seemed to leave no
room for doubt on this question.
Then there is testimony to show that Johnson and his wife, who was
formerly a Mrs. Haskins, had not been congenial partners and for years
had not lived together. The farm belonged to Mrs. Johnson.
About a year ago the couple apparently made up their differences and
the husband returned home, but the truce was only temporary, and in
succeeding months the quarrels assumed a serious aspect.
Only a few days before the burning of the house Mrs. Johnson had
called on some of her neighbors and informed them that her husband
wanted she should give him on hundred dollars which she had in her
possession and furthermore declared that he had threatened to kill her
did not comply with his demands. She expressed herself as being afraid
of him, and asked the friends to watch the house closely. Johnson on
the other hand, it is alleged, made up a list of the property on
the farm belonging to him, and handed it to his brother, George
Johnson, of Naples, telling him as he did so to help himself to
Another thing which tends to cast suspicion on Johnson is the fact
that his wife is known to have received an amount of money on Saturday,
and it is stated that about seven o'clock Sunday evening parties in
passing the house overheard Johnson and his wife quarreling, and assert
his words and tones had a threatening import.
Coroner Wettling empannelled a jury for the investigation of the
case as follows: Daniel P. Allen, George Covert, Charles Allen,
Dewitt, William Hogan, and Clark Niece. The inquest has been
until tomorrow, Thursday, at 10 o'clock when it is expected that
Attorney Clement will be present, and will assist in a thorough inquiry
the circumstances of the affair
. Johnson is about fifty years old, of sandy complexion, with light
mustache, slightly mixed with gray. He is five feet and eight or
nine inches in height, his figure is slightly bent, and he has an
untidy appearance. He has a drawling way of talking, and is
addicted to the use of intoxicants. Johnson formerly lived in Canada,
and has spent
several winters there in the woods within the past few years. It
believed by the people of South Bristol that he has gone back there.
From Ontario County Journal 31 January 1890
"There, take that," were the words which accompanied a blow that
John Cullinane, an industrious mechanic of this village, his
last Sunday morning. He was murdered cruelly, cowardly, deliberately
in cold blood by Frank Fish for the most trivial cause
and in consequence the latter is now confined in the murderer's cage in
county jail, awaiting trial for his life, while his brother, John
an eye witness of the midnight tragedy is in confinement in the
room, held in default of $1000 bail to give evidence against his
The circumstances of the affair gathered are as follows:
John Cullinane, the murdered man, and John Fish, a younger brother of
murderer, were fellow employees in the plow foundry of J. S. Robinson
Son. They were very friendly and were together a great deal. Saturday
they came up town and spent the evening and Frank Fish fell in with
and drank beer with them. Frank, who was living with his wife on
street, had concluded to stay all night with his brother at the hme of
father, Hugh Fish, in the rear of A. Niblock's tin shop, and so he went
When they reached George Roberts' barber shop, John Fish said he would
in and get his hair cut and asked his companions to go in and wait for
Cullinane declined, saying that he should go home and shaking hands
the younger Fish bade him good night. When Frank Fish extended his hand
to Cullinane, it was declined and the former felt insulted. "What have
got against me?", he asked. "What have I ever done to you that you
treat me so?" "You haven't done anything to me," replied Cullinane, and
turned to his brother and began to berate him, apparently upon the
that he blamed him for Cullinane's slight. He finally turned away,
to his brother, "goodbye. You are a brother of mine. That settles it
you and me," and receiving the reply "you go to h___ then." He
up the street a few yard to the corner of Beeman street near I. B.
store, while his brother and Cullinane resumed conversation. Very soon
came hastening back and as he approached said to his brother, "you
what you said, don't you?" at the same time approaching Cullinane, who
facing the lake, from the rear. When he came up with him, he took his
hand from his pocket and with some weapon gave him a terrible thrust in
neck and then fled rapidly down the street. Cullinane staggered under
terrific blow and the blood poured in a stream from the wound in his
He staggered to the edge of the sidewalk and supported himself by
to a hitching post while Charles Maltman, who had been standing at the
of the barber shop, ran to his assistance. The wound was bleeding
and John Fish was told to go after a physician, while another messenger
sent for Father English. Cullinane was rapidly growing weak from loss
blood and he had only strength enough to exclaim faintly "get me home."
men who were in the barber shop when the blow was struck had come to
wounded man's aid and they assisted him home. He died, however, in a
few minutes, before the arrival of either a physician or Father
From Geneva Gazette 14 August 1891
JOHN WELCH FATALLY INJURED WITH A BLUDGEON WIELDED BY DANIEL
Death Resulted at 6:30 this Morning
A fatal affray occurred last night near
the Pines, about 3 miles north of Geneva and in the town of Phelps.
The parties thereto were John Welch, a well-to-do
farmer, and Daniel Cameron, Welch's tenant. The affair
was "short, sharp and decisive." Cameron struck Welch a deadly blow
with a bludgeon, felling him unconscious at his feet, in which state he
lingered until 6:30 this morning when death ensued. A warrant
against Cameron was procured of Justice Nicholas at 2 a.m. and the
arrest promptly made by Policeman Beals and Constable Conover.
Cameron was found and surrendered without resistance. He
was brought to Geneva and consigned to the lock-up. Coroner Wright at
once took cognizance of the case, and subpoenaing a jury, proceeded at
10 o'clock this forenoon to hold an inquest, which was not concluded
when the Gazette went to press.
The cause leading to this homicide can be briefly stated. Welch
for some time has been anxious to get rid of Cameron as a tenant for
non-payment of rent and other obligations -- especially for defaulting
in paying for the erection of a barn. Last night while Cameron
was in the village, Welch went to Cameron's house and assailed Mrs. C.
with a pitchfork, seized and choked her and ordered her off the
premises. She fled from the house and met her husband, telling
him the story of the assault. Angered thereat, Cameron hurried home and found Welch still there.
Not many words passed before Cameron struck Welch down with a
club and kicked him after he fell. Later on he came to Geneva and
swore out a warrant for Welch's arrest, which Justice Nicholas issued,
and Conover went out to make the arrest thereunder. But on
arriving he found Dr. McCarthy attending the wounded and unconscious
man, so the officer returned home. A few hours later Conover was
called to serve a warrant in company with Policeman Beals for Cameron's
arrest. He was found at the house of Ben. Lane and immediately
taken into custody.
If the above statement be corroborated by indubitable evidence, the
provocation would seem to call for only light punishment of the
An external examination of the corpse revealed a cut
on the upper lip at the right angle of the mouth, another in the
left ear, another on the back of the head two inches long, at which
place the skull was fractured, the indenture in the skull being
crosswise of the cut. The left eye was badly blackened and
swollen and numerous other bruises were noticed about the head and
From Ontario Repository & Messenger 13 April 1897
A homicide occurred at Rushville late Thursday night that caused great excitement in that peaceful burg. George Shoemaker, aged about 52, killed with a shotgun Chas. Cooper, husband
of his niece, without known provocation and in a manner not free from
mystery. During the evening Shoemaker and Alfred Pfeneger had been
drinking together and quarreled. When Shoemaker started for home,
Pfeneger followed and the quarrel continued till Shoemaker reached Mrs.
Clark's on Gilbert st., where he lived. There blows were exchanged, and
Pfeneger was knocked down, with a club, it is reported. During the
fracas, Mrs. Clark induced Shoemaker to enter the house where he
continued his ravings and to prevent him going out again, Mrs. Clark
locked the dining room door. Parties near the home heard him talk about
shooting and wanting to get out. Then some one was heard to say "get out
of here" and the report of a gun followed. No person was seen about the
house and not until morning was Cooper's dead body discovered within six feet of the house. When Shoemaker, who had
slept on a couch after the shooting, learned this he surrendered to an
Cooper had not been seen in the vicinity before the shooting and his
presence there seems to have been unknown to anybody till his body was
found. He and Shoemaker had had no trouble, as far as known, and the
only plausible explanation is that he had called just in time to become
the victim of Shoemaker's insane rage. The shot and wad entered his head
near and back of the left ear.
Cooper had worked Mrs. Clark's farm last year, but recently had moved to
the village and was doing odd jobs. He was about 30 years old, of good
character and respected. His wife, who is only about 20 years old, is
left with three young children, one an infant. Cooper's funeral was held
Sunday, the burial was in Bristol Monday. Coroner Halstead began as
inquest Friday, continuing through Saturday and then adjourned till
Tuesday. Shoemaker is in the Penn Yan jail.
From Geneva Gazette 4 November 1898
Geneva Man Murdered ! - A press dispatch from Newark, O.,
of Sunday last, announced that James Mullen, formerly of
was shot and killed in a row among horse jockeys last Saturday night.
The shooting was done by Charles Moon of Newark. James Ryan
was severely wounded in the same fracas.
Mullen formerly resided on Seymour Alley with his parents and their
family. He was then in the employ of Dr. N. B. Covert as hostler.
He is well spoken of by those who knew him.
From Geneva Advertiser Gazette 9 August 1906
Yesterday afternoon at about five o'clock, as Frank S.
Robinson, an expert marble and granite cutter, was sitting in a
side room of Nicholas Sauerborn's saloon, called "The Palm," on
Exchange street, Patrick McCorry, employed by the MacArthurs
on the Fall Brook Railroad improvement, walked up to him and
deliberately shot him. The bullet from the gun entered Robinson's
throat. Only one shot was fired and it proved fatal. Robinson was taken
to the hospital where he died a few minutes later. McCorry was arrested
and lodged in the lockup where he remained overnight. He was
intoxicated. There are a good many stories connected with the crime,
all of which cannot be correct, some of them far out of the way. E. H.
Burbank says he distinctly heard 3 shots, but one who assisted in
carrying the body from the ambulance into Devaney & Fletcher's
undertaking rooms says there was only one wound, and that the bullet
from a 38 calibre gun went clear through the neck. There were two men
who witnessed the shooting. They ran out immediately, but Sauerborn
knows who they are and will be made to tell. Robinson was an expert
marble cutter, had worked a few days or weeks at a time at the W. G.
Potter & Son's factory, and but for his drinking habits would have
had constant employment at good wages. But drink was his bane, and at
last it brought him to this. It is another murder charged up to
whiskey. The coroner now has the case in hand. It is learned this
morning that Robinson has a mother and sister living in Jamestown. He
was born in Rutland, Vermont.
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