Sand Hill City

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From:  “Grand Haven – Day by Day” project

 By Bob Beaton     March 10, 2009


The Grand River Times, July, 1851


 Burke Murder Trial

   In conversation with our district Attorney, G. REED Esq., we learned that there will be a bill of indictment presented to to the Grand Jury of this county, at the term of the county County Court to be held on the second Tuesday of August next, charging one Cary, who is now in Jail, with the murder of John Burke, his brother-in-law. We forbear for the present, making public any of the circumstances connected with this bloody tragedy. It is sufficient to say that there will be horror enough detailed on the trial, to satisfy all that portion of the reading public who take delight in tales of blood. We will report the case in full, if possible for us to do so, as the trial progresses.


Grand Haven Evening Tribune



    The residence of Mr. L. Stickney of Grand Haven was entered by a burglar yesterday afternoon while he and his family was away. A ladder was put up to the roof and the thief climbed through a top window in the room of Mr. Stickney’s son. He stole a negotiable check and from $25 to $30 in money. When Mr. Stickney returned home he saw a strange man about the place and suspecting something wrong he went into the house to find everything scattered about.

   Sheriff Vaupell happened to be over at Mr. Bottje’s at the time and he with Mr. Stickney pursued the burglar through the swamp and woods about a mile. Mr. Vaupell fired three shots at him but he escaped down the railroad track.

   He was a tall heavy man with a red face wearing a Prince Albert coat.  A dispatch received from the Holland authorities this morning places him as a man wanted for murder in Buffalo.



 Arrest of a Burglar.

   The sheriff of Ottawa county wired the police department of this city yesterday, giving a description of a man wanted for burglary. At 8:30 last evening Officer Moffat found the person at the Detroit, Grand Haven & Milwaukee depot. His shoulder was dislocated at the time of the arrest and had been since the burglary was committed, Sunday last. Sergt. Webbcalled Assistant City Physician Willy to adjust the dislocation. The prisoner was wanted for theft of a watch, chain and other property. He was found to have in his possession a band ring, a watch chain and eleven cents in money. He claims to have found this property near Chicago. He gave the name of Jim Kinney.—Grand Rapids Democrat.



   "Jim" Kinny, the thief who stole of Mr. L. Stickney, will have his hearing Monday.



   The sheriff has in his possession a plated chain and gold ring taken from Jim Kinney. Anyone knowing about them should send information to the sheriff.



   The case of the People vs. Jim Kinney for burglary was before Justice Pagelson this morning. Part of the witnesses were examined and the case was adjourned until next Monday.



   The case of the people against Jas. Kinney for burglary was held before Justice Pagelson this morning. Kinney was convicted and given three months in the State House of Corrections at Ionia.



   Sheriff Vaupell took Jas. Kennedy [aka Jas. Kinney] , the burglar, to Ionia this morning where he will remain for 90 days.



   Chicago is under a veritable reign of terror.  Thieves and cut throats infest the city and bold robberies are committed in broad day light upon the public streets.  Twenty-two instances of being held up and robbed were reported Sunday night.  More murders have been committed lately than ever before in its history.



   The Detroit Tribune in speaking of R. A. McCarty’s (the shooter of John Considine) attendants states that he has a brother Jack, evidently meaning the notorious Jerry, who is one of the hardest criminals in the business.  It further says:  “That Jack was the murderer of a Chicago man and also a seaman on Lake Michigan.”  While here one of the affairs in which he was connected nearly ended in murder, the stabbing of Geo. Walker, but he was acquitted of the charge.  Where he is now is not known.



Almost a Murder.

   Norman Sweeney’s latest escapade occurred this morning in a vicious assault made upon a fellow prisoner.

   Yesterday a stockily built German visited several business places about town.  He purported to be a book binder and was trying to sell his method of binding.  After obtaining a few pennies he wound up in the saloons and getting hilariously drunk.  In this state he went out on the street and was soon picked up by Marshal Klaver.  On the way to the lockup he attracted the attention of every body on the street by yelling at his loudest pitch.

   It might be stated here that the fellows name is Herman Meyer.  He has been in jail here several times before and had formed an acquaintance with Norman Sweeney the horse thief.  As soon as he was safely locked in the cell last night he began yelling at Sweeney calling him “a miserable stock of house thief” and similar remarks.  Sweeney called back at the fellow from his cell to shut up.  This Meyer did not obey but called Sweeney all the more names.

   This morning Meyer was let out of his cell to go to the corridor to wash himself, Sweeney was also let out.  He had evidently been waiting for this very opportunity for when he reached Meyer at the wash basin he grabbed a pail and with all his might struck him on the temple, felling him instantly.  Dr. Walkey was immediately summoned and dressed and bandaged the wound.  An artery had been severed and Meyer lost considerable blood but was thankful to have saved his life.

   After his wound had been attended to he was taken before Justice Angel and sentenced to 20 days in jail.

   Sweeney is one of the most vicious prisoners that ever occupied a cell in Ottawa county jail.  Many people think that he will commit murder before leaving and this assault will not dispel their fears.



   Of the bills introduced in the State Senate yesterday was one by Mr. Brundage providing for a state board of Equalization.  Representative Beuret noticed a hoop skirt bill copied from the now famous Minnesota bill prohibiting the wearing, sale, use or lending of hoop skirts.  Representative Sumner has noticed a bill providing death penalty for murders.  The Kent county members are not at all pleased with Mr. Sumner’s rearranged apportionment scheme, making Kent, Ionia and Allegan the Sixth congressional district is not well thought of by Kent representations.  They insist that Kent should be a part of a Grand river district all the way through Ionia, Kent and Ottawa making the best combination possible.



Criminals of 15 Years Ago.

   A glance over the criminal column of the local papers and the court recorder of 12 to 15 years ago, is very interesting.  In the four years between 1879 and 1883, a veritable cloud of crime seemed to cover the county.  At the fall term of Circuit Court in 1880 Louis Sawdy was sentenced to Jackson for 30 years.

   Shortly after one of the most respected farmers of Lamont was murdered by a tramp farm hand named Lambert Voskamp.  Voskamp was arrested and jailed.  An armed mob consisting mainly of neighbors of the murdered man came down the river one night with the intention of attacking the county bastille and lynching the prisoner.  They landed near bailey’s mill in Beech Tree and marched from there to town.  The sheriff was aware of their intentions and when the mob reached the jail they found Co. F guarding the building.  The mob dispersed and no other attempt was made to capture the prisoner.

   Voskamp plead not guilty on August 1, 1881.  On August 31 a change of venue was secured for him and his trial was heard in the Kalamazoo circuit.  He was sentenced to Jackson for life.

   On a warm summer Sunday of that same summer of 1881 one of the worst murders, and the last one in this section occurred on the outskirts of the city.  A well known old colored man named Green and his wife had been murdered.  John Alguire, son of Mrs. Green by previous husband gave himself up and confessed to the murder of Green.  His trial took place in March, 1882, and attracted interest far and near.  The men who served on that jury were Robt. Fonger, H. D. Ewings, F. L. Souter, Henry Cheseman, Robt. Alward, D. C. Rann, E. H. Smead, Phillip Kavanaugh, W. J. Carmichael, Henry Carnute, Peter Van Masren and John Van Huizen.  On April 1, the jury retired in charge of C. E. Christmas and after a few hours of deliberation returned a verdict of not guilty.  For intensity of interest the case was never equaled here.

   Jerry McCarty, Geo. West and other well known criminals were confined in the county jail about the same time.



   Fire Saturday night destroyed the old house in which one of the most startling crimes ever committed in Ottawa county took place in the old Green house just outside the city limits on Beach Tree street.  In the fall of 1881 a well known old colored character named Green, together with his white wife were murdered there.  John Alguire, son of Mrs. Green by her former husband, gave himself up and confessed to the murder of Green.  His story was that Green killed his mother after which he (Alguire) killed Green.  The case was hard fought but nearly everybody expected that Alguire would be convicted of manslaughter.  Instead he was acquitted and got off Scott free.  Geo. Stewart was his attorney.  With the burning of the little hovel pass many of the ugly reminders connected therewith.



   The bill of Mr. Kline establishing the penalty of death by hanging for the crime of murder established in the first degree, by direct and not circumstantial evidence, passed the house yesterday afternoon by a vote of 56 to 5.  Messrs. Hoyt and Norington the Ottawa representatives voted against the bill.  Mr. Kline thinks the bill will pass the Senate easily.



   Considering the number of murders that occur in Michigan it will probably not be long before the state has its first hanging to chronicle as the bill which just passed the house to that effect will become law undoubtedly.  The bill provides for hanging of all murderers who commit crimes deliberately.  This does not include those who might Commit murders on the spur of the moment.



   The Allegan Gazette of this week has a fine cut of Geo. A. Farr, in connection with the Reynolds murder case.  Speaking of him it says:  “The closing argument was made by Mr. Farr in behalf of the prosecution.  He was more general in his remarks than were the others, calling the attention of the jury to the enormity of the crime of murder and what he deemed the slight provocation upon which Mr. Reynolds had taken a human life.  It was plain to be seen that both attorneys for the prosecution felt that they were laboring in vain.  The evidence, except upon the conceded point of the killing, had been overwhelmingly against them.  Yet they stood to their duty bravely, and deserve great credit for their efforts in behalf of the regular and unfailing enforcement of the law.



  The jury in the Borden murder case on trial in Massachusetts returned a verdict of not guilty.



   Among the Ottawa county prisoners in Jackson is Lambertus Voskamp, lifer.  Nearly all remember his brutal murder of a farmer Carey of Lamont in the early “80’s” and of the subsequent attempt to take him from Ottawa county jail and lynch him.  The effort proved unsuccessful, as the sheriff was aware of the purpose of the mob and the jail was guarded by Co. F.  Voskamp obtained a change of venue.  He was tried in Kalamazoo county and sent up for life.



   Fred Names the Olive township man who wanted to liberate murderer Prendergast from Chicago jail, has been sent to the Pontiac, Ill. asylum.  There were fears for a time that he would be sent back to this county.



   It is stated that Fred Names, the Ottawa county evangelist with a wholesale wheel department in his upper story, who attempted to secure the release of murderer Prendergast in Chicago, once had a narrow escape from being confined in a lunatic asylum.  A young lady of Olive township made a vigorous attempt to have him adjudged insane on the ground that he was paying her attentions.  The judge eyed the rosy-cheeked Olive township girl thoughtfully and then admitted that if this was the only evidence of insanity he should have to pronounce Names about the sanest man in Ottawa Co.—Grand Rapids Democrat.



   Hanging is the only penalty that will check the inclination of murderers.  No amount of sickly sentiment, no amount of any kinds of justification, specious reasoning, inner promptings, showering of flowers, or “angelic voices,” by the would-be reformers, should be permitted to in any way justify such heinous crimes.  The state of Michigan is becoming the great asylum ground for high-handed murderers.—G. R. Herald.




Shooting Affray in the Little Village.

David Hawkins Commits Suicide.

Ottawa County is stirred by a tragedy
for the first time in many years.

    A messenger in haste, reached here from the village of Robinson about seven o’clock Saturday night.  He brought the news of a shooting affray in that village, and was in search of a physician and the sheriff.  It did not take long to find Dr. Walkley and Sheriff Keppel, who left for the country post haste.  News of a murder in Robinson became noised about the street and those few parties who knew anything of the affair were kept busy replying to queries.  “Heard anything of the murder,” was the one question which everybody seemed to have on their lips Saturday night and the morbid curiosity which anything of that kind arouses, was noticeable.

   The shooting occurred Saturday afternoon between the hours of four and five, in the little country village of Robinson, about 12 miles southeast of this city.  David Hawkins shot and dangerously wounded his wife.  The would be murderer then fired upon two citizens who attempted to arrest him, and he in turn was shot down by Wm. Foster, the well known store keeper of Robinson, and died yesterday afternoon.

   The details of the tragedy is simply a recital of domestic infelicity.  The Hawkins family are comparatively new residents of Robinson.  They moved here last spring from Texas where Hawkins had resided for a number of years.  He seemed to be of a roving, restless disposition, not content long, with a place of residence.  He claimed to be a practical farmer and had experience in a number of states where he had lived.  At the time of moving here, Hawkins seemed very jubilant over his prospects.  The place where he was to live seemed to suit him and he remarked, that he was going to settle down and spend his days there.

   All seemed to go well with Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins.  They appeared to live together happily.  But of late Hawkins became suspicious of his wife, and being by nature, seemingly, a very jealous man, those suspicions were easily aroused.  Perhaps he was right.  His wife, in Hawkins mind was altogether too intimate with one, Ellsworth.  Ellsworth is a married man living near Hawkins’.   Up to a short time ago he carried the country mail from Holland to Robinson. 

   Hawkins began to brood and he became more suspicious that Ellsworth was visiting his wife.  He determined to play a ruse.  Last Tuesday morning Hawkins told his wife that he was going to the woods to chop wood.  The woman never mistrusted him, but Hawkins only went as far as his barn.  From that point of vantage he watched his house.  His fears were realized for it was not long before Ellsworth came to the house and entered.  After waiting a little while Hawkins left the barn for the house with desperate feelings.  Before entering he heard is wife remark “be careful.”  He discovered his wife and Ellsworth in a very compromising position.  A melee followed.  Hawkins and Ellsworth engaged in a rough and tumble for fifteen minutes.  The latter was put out of the house, but Mrs. Hawkins accompanied him to his home and declared she would no longer live with her husband. 

   Hawkins came down to this city in search of the prosecuting attorney.  Mr. Visscher was not in the city that day and Hawkins is said to have gone to Holland to see him.  His intention is said to have been to institute proceedings against the couple.  Nothing was done at that time.  Hawkins was in the city again Friday and told a number of people of his troubles with his wife, and of his discovery of her in the company of Ellsworth.  He seemed worried, wrought up and nervous over the matter and is said to have remarked that he would have killed his wife and Ellsworth last Wednesday together, if a gun would have been handy.  In the course of events it is indeed wonderful that both were not shot at that time.

   Before leaving the city on his return, Hawkins purchased a bottle of chloroform.  He told friends that he was going to kill several people in the country and also put an end to his own life.

   It was with a heart brimming with vengeance, that Hawkins left his house Saturday afternoon.  There was murder in his heart and he carried a loaded double barreled shot gun to carry out that spirit.  The gun was loaded with No. 4 shot, very fine, and about 200 to a charge.  Hawkins went to the Ellsworth house where is wife was.  It seemed that she saw him coming, and knowing his nature left the house terrified.  Hawkins espied her and followed her down the country road.  When within about two rods of the women, Hawkins lifted his gun to his shoulder and pulled away.  A shriek from the woman and she fell forward with a charge of shot in her back and shoulders.

   Neighbors heard the shooting and shrieking.  Two of them, Milo Hatch and a man named Powell started towards Hawkins.  The latter seemed crazed and did not want his bloody work interfered with.  He fired at them point blank, either two or three times, and it is a miracle that they were not sounded seriously or killed.  As it is, both were stuck but the shot did not penetrate the clothing.  Powell was struck by a spent shot and fell over, but luckily more scared than hurt.

   Wm. Foster, a big red-whiskered store keeper of the township was a witness to the affray.  Hawkins was chasing Hatch and Powell around a barn and firing at them.  At this juncture, Foster ran to his house and got is shot gun which was loaded with a big charge of buck shot.  He called upon Hawkins to surrender.  He would not, and to protect the lives of the two men, foster fired, Hawkins dropped.  He had been given his quietus.  Maddened unto desperation, he had been shot down by Foster to protect the lives of others.  

   Before starting on his rounds Hawkins had swallowed the contents of a bottle containing chloroform.  After being shot he seemed to pass into a sort of lethargy from which he never awakened.  This was caused by the chloroform he had taken and it was that drug that killed him, as none of the wounds from Foster’s gun were sufficient to cause death.

   Hawkins was carried into a vacant store building.  He lay there until yesterday about 10 o’clock in the forenoon when his pulse ceased beating.  He had not uttered a word from the time he was shot.

   The people of Robinson are greatly stirred up over the terrible affair.  For a short time back the undue intimacy of Mrs. Hawkins and Abe Ellsworth furnished fund for gossip among the neighbors.  She was Hawkins’ second wife and he felt very proud of her; Mrs.Hawkins being a handsome appearing woman.

   Hawkins was about 58 years of age.  In build he was short but stocky, and very dark.  Originally, it is thought that he hailed from New York state.  He was an old soldier and drew a pension.  For a number of years previous to going to Texas he had lived in Michigan, somewhere near the city of Port Huron.  It was during the residence there that he became acquainted with his last wife.  The man was married once before and prior to coming here had lived in Texas six years.  There his first wife died and he has a son living in that state.  The boy, though, it is said goes by another name.  Hawkins married his last wife about two years ago.  She is a sister of Wm. Kefgen, a former storekeeper in the town of Robinson.  Mrs. Hawkins wished to live there and herself selected the farm where they had been living.

   Public feeling in the neighborhood is all in Hawkins favor.  The cause of the entire trouble, if popular talk goes for aught, is the man Abe Ellsworth.  Since the terrible affair it transpires that the latter has been in trouble of that kind before.  Beyond a shadow of a doubt David Hawkins would be living today, but for Abe Ellsworth.

   For some time Hawkins suspected evil of the intimacy of his wife and Ellsworth.  Last Monday he hid in his barn and watched.  He saw his wife go to Ellsworth’s house.  On Tuesday, Hawkins told his wife he was going to chop wood about two miles away.  Purposely he walked by Ellsworth’s house.  Instead of going to the wood, Hawkins went but half way and then came back to his house over the country fields.  Quietly slipping into his barn, Hawkins watched his house from a window.  He saw Ellsworth go in.  Hawkins hurried to the house and discovered the man with his arms about his wife’s waist.  Ellsworth was thrown out.  Hawkin’s wife begged forgiveness, but she only remained a half an hour in her home after that, and then went over to Ellsworth’s house.  She stated that she would not live with her husband any longer.

  Hawkins hastened to this city, and visited the marshal, sheriff and Justice Pagelson with the view of having his wife and her lover arrested for adultery.  As he had no strong proof nothing could be done in the matter.

  Ed. Rawlings of Robinson witnessed this shooting of Mrs. Hawkins.  He was here this morning and told the following story.  “I saw Hawkins approach the Ellsworth house.  He had a double barrel shot gun over his shoulder but from what I saw afterward, I do not think he intended to shoot is wife.  I saw her run from the house down the road, Hawkins walking briskly behind her but did not run.  He called out, “stop Annie, stop Annie.”  When about two rods from the woman he put his gun to his shoulder and fired.  She screamed and fell, Hawkins walked up to her as she lay in the road, and talked to her but do not know what passed between them.”

   It may have been possible that Hawkins did not intend to shoot his wife.  He is said to have stated that Ellsworth was the one he was after.  That gentleman was not at home when Hawkins came to his house.  He was down the road about two miles and a messenger who knew his whereabouts hastened and told him to keep scarce.  Ellsworth obeyed the warning or undoubtedly he would not be in the land of the living today.  Hawkins waited around for Ellsworth to complete his bloody work.  He went down the road in search of the man but came back, thinking probably Ellsworth would arrive at the house shortly.  By this time Hawkins had worked himself into a terrible frenzy.  He warned bystanders not to interfere with him as he could not control himself.  Milo Hatch and John Powell approached him.  He started after them and chased them around the barn and shot two times at the two men.  Both escaped miraculously.

   Wm. Foster to frighten Hawkins, fired a gun which he had run and got from his house.  Hawkins did not desist and then Foster shot at him and the affray was over.

   One of the buckshots struck Hawkins back of the left ear.  Whether this wound caused his death the post mortem today will decide.  It is thought not, however.  The shot undoubtedly struck the rounding bone and glanced off.  Another shot was found in Hawkin’s side.  It did not penetrate any further than the skin however and did no injury.  That Hawkins died by his own hand is the universal belief in the neighborhood.  Before starting out on his errand of death he swallowed the chloroform in the little vial.  Excitement buoyed him up during the ordeal or the drug must surely have got in its work before.  When Foster shot, Hawkins was eighteen rods from him and the spent shot together with the drug caused Hawkins to lose consciousness forever.  For a time he seemed to be gaining and signs of returning consciousness were noticeable.  The sheriff left late Saturday night.  A deputy was placed to guard Hawkins should he awaken.  He breathed his last in the vacant store about ten o’clock yesterday morning.  A coffin for his remains was purchased in this city today.

   Mrs. Hawkins is painfully though not dangerously wounded.  She received the charge from her husband’s gun mostly in her left side.  Her left shoulder, back, neck and cheek were peppered with fine birdshot.

   The question may arise, “What does Mrs. Ellsworth have to say about the actions of her husband?”  She believes him guiltless and told the sheriff in an honest, candid manner that her husband would do no such thing as he was charged with.  The woman is a firm believer that her husband is all right.  She thought it all right that Mrs. Hawkins should stay with them.  Mrs. Hawkins is at the Ellsworth home now.  Neither the Hawkins or the Ellsworth people have children.

   The case is indeed a peculiar one, especially that part of it where Mrs. Ellsworth allows Mrs. Hawkins to stay in her home, and has the stay in her home, and has the utmost faith in the virtues of her husband.

   A friend of Hawkins lets a little inside light to the matter which occurred between the latter and his wife.  Hawkins had some papers which he said would do him a great deal of harm should anyone get them.  He had made a metallic box and placed inside strange papers and had the box soldered.  His wife it seems, was curious to know what the box contained and broke it open.  This matter is also said to have caused him a great deal of worry.  This incident happened during his late domestic troubles.  The box is said to have contained deeds to the property Hawkins owned in Texas.

   Before the marriage, it is said, that the present Mrs. Hawkins wished to know quite badly what his means were.  He told her he had enough to support a wife.

   Wm. Foster was in the city this morning.  He spoke freely of the shooting.  Mr. Foster is a man of 40 years of age.  He is a storekeeper in Robinson and has always borne a good reputation.  Mr. Foster said, “I fired twice at Hawkins, once to scare him only and the second fire I brought him down.  Before the shooting he told me not to interfere with him, that he did not know what might posses him.  Then Hawkins began shooting at Hatch and Powell and I blazed away.  Do not think that Hawkins spoke after he fell.  The charge I had in my gun was buck shot and Hawkins was about 18 rods away when I fired.”

   Foster will probably not have to go through, even the formality of a trial, unless at the examination today it is found that the shot behind the dead man’s ear penetrated his skull.  If not it will undoubtedly be a verdict of death by his own hand from the effects of chloroform.  Sheriff Keppel and Dr. Walkley left this morning to attend post mortem.

   The tragedy is the first sensation of this kind in this vicinity for years.  It caused and excitement second only to that caused by the Green murder and the Cary murder of the early 80s, since which time the county has been remarkably free from crimes of the kind.  The killing of young Dyk in Olive last fall by Frank DeVries is the only affair of late years that approaches it.

   In this connection it is a little curious coincidence that Wm. Kooyer’s store in which Dyk was shot down, is now on the mail route which Abe Ellsworth traversed up to a short time ago.

   The way everything transpired in the Robinson tragedy rendered arrests not necessary.  Hawkins is probably the only person who would have been arrested, but his death settled that.  A deputy was guarding him when he died.



An Early Crime.

   Probably the first and one of the most brutal crimes committed in this vicinity, was the Haskins murder, which occurred in 1845.  Located on the north side of Spring Lake, probably opposite the present site of the Spring Lake Hotel, was a log cabin occupied by a man and his wife, named Haskins.  Boarding with them was a vicious mulatto known as “Nigger Dock.”  Haskins suspected that this wife’s relations with the negro were improper and one day he remonstrated with them.

   “Nigger Dock” became enraged and waiting until Haskin’s back was turned, stabbed him in the back with a butcher’s knife.  Haskins ran out of the cabin, but being weak from loss of blood, soon fell helpless.  The negro overtook him and held him until the woman arrived.  She then held him while “Nigger Dock” literally cut his head from his body.

   The latter part of the tragedy was witnessed by a band of Indians from a near by forest.  They captured the murderers and bound and brought them to Grand Haven, which was then but a mere trading post.  Shortly after her capture the woman suicided, but the negro was tried and went to prison for life and died in the penitentiary in the early 60’s.



The Haskin’s Tragedy.

   I noticed in your issue of March 14 an account of the first brutal crime in this vicinity which the writer says was committed in 1845.  Now why do not people state facts?

   The Hawkins murder was committed upon the north side of Spring Lake opposite Monroe & Boyce saw mill, in a log house owned by “Nigger Dock” as you see call fit to call him, but whose real name was Dick Turpan.

   Turpan and Haskins were having words while waiting for dinner.  Turpan stabbed him in the breast leaving the knife in his breast.

   Haskins ran out of the shed upon some plowed ground and fell, dying in a few moments; the only cut being in the breast.

   The tragedy occurred in 1855 instead of 1845.

   Turpan was sent to Jackson for life, and died I think in the 60’s.

   Five weeks after Turpan’s sentence, Mrs. Haskins married a man by the name of Fox who was an ex-convict and became notorious in the burning of the Taylor Tannery at Grand Rapids in 51 or 52, he swearing that a man named Mills hired him to do the deed, which was taken with great allowance.  Turpen was a shrewd pettifogger.

   Many is the time I have listened to Turpen talk against such men as George and Wm. Parker and Henry Pennoyer and seldom got left and was one of the bight colored men of the times.

   It was generally conceded that if you got into a bad scrape Turpen could help you out.  Of course law was more elastic, than at the present day.

A. J. Emlaw.



   Fire Saturday night destroyed the old house in which one of the most startling crimes ever committed in Ottawa county took place in the old Green house just outside the city limits on Beach Tree street.  In the fall of 1881 a well known old colored character named Green, together with his white wife were murdered there.  John Alguire, son of Mrs. Green by her former husband, gave himself up and confessed to the murder of Green.  His story was that Green killed his mother after which he (Alguire) killed Green.  The case was hard fought but nearly everybody expected that Alguire would be convicted of manslaughter.  Instead he was acquitted and got off Scott free.  Geo. Stewart was his attorney.  With the burning of the little hovel pass many of the ugly reminders connected therewith.



A Victim of a Criminal Operation.

   Undoubtedly all who perused the Grand Rapids papers yesterday morning read of the mysterious death in that city of a young woman whose only name was known as Ellie.  One of the Grand Rapids papers said of this woman:  “Two weeks ago yesterday she went to the house of Mrs. E. White, on Island street, just off Division, and engaged a room, paying the rent in advance.  She said her first name was Ellie, but gave no other.  On the following Thursday she complained of having a fever and said she would like to have a doctor.  Dr. Lyons was called and thought she might be suffering from malarial fever, but later decided she had inflammation of the bowels.  She seemed to improve and on Sunday took considerable nourishment.  Yesterday morning she was suddenly worse and Dr. Lyons took Dr. Bradish with him to see her in the afternoon, but it was evident that death was upon her and she died at 6:30, Monday night without having given her name or any information as to her antecedents.”

   The body was taken to McColums morgue for identification.

   Last night a telephone message for Peter Wild was received here.  It merely stated that Alice Wild was dead, and was from Coroner Bradish.

   Before this message was received here Mr. Wild was on his way to Gr’d Rapids, having entertained fears that the woman spoken of in the morning papers was his daughter.  He arrived at Grand Rapids at 11 o’clock p.m. and proceeded at once to the morgue.  He identified the body positively as that of his daughter Alice.

   During yesterday afternoon an autopsy was performed by the Coroner and County Physician Penwarden of Grand Rapids.  Speaking of the autopsy the Democrat says:  “A bad state of affairs was found.  The intestines were found badly inflamed and there was every indication of a criminal operation.  Coroner Bradish at once summoned a jury, composed of Ira H. Crane, John Geddes, R. N. Belknap, Schuyler Owens, D. T. Button and Peter Reynolds.  The inquest was then adjourned until 2:30 this afternoon.”

   “An effort was made last night to reach Peter Wild of Grand Haven by telephone, but could not be found.  The officers believe that a criminal operation was performed upon the girl in this city, but who the guilty party is cannot be told at present, as the young woman absolutely refused to say a word about herself or her sickness.  She died alone, among strangers, rather than divulge the name of the author of her trouble or the parties who tried to rid of her of the evidence of her shame.”

   Alice Wild left this city about three weeks ago to visit relatives at Six Corners, near the town of Conklin.  It seems, according to the testimony brought forward at the inquest yesterday by Grand Rapids relatives, that she had been in the latter city for about that length of time.  It was these relatives that first identified Alice.  They saw the clothes that she wore at the boarding house where she died and identified them as hers.  Later they identified her body and the telephone message was sent here.

   Alice Wild was well-known here.  She lived, when not working out, with her father and step-mother, her own mother having died years ago.  She went to school up to the time of leaving for Grand Rapids and was in the room next below the High School, of which Miss Holzinger is teacher.

   That she died of a criminal operation is certain.  The inquest to be held this afternoon will undoubtedly throw more light on the affair. 



   Citizens are just beginning to awaken to the fact that the death of Alice Wild can be summed up in the terrible word MURDER!

   Now that the enormity of the terrible crime committed in the death of Alice Wild is brought forth; the murders of the child, directly and indirectly are undoubtedly quaking.  If never brought before the tribunal of justice, they will at least, go to their graves with a conscience that is, by no means, as clear as a cloudless sky.  If not murderers what are they?



   That a horrible crime has been committed in the death of Alice Wild, no one doubts, and that the guilty shall be brought to justice is demanded by the public, is expressed by every upright citizen, and they can rest assured that Sheriff Keppel and Prosecuter Visscher are not the men to let it go without getting at the truth of this terrible murder of a mere child.



A Strange Letter.

   The continuation of the inquest upon the death of Alice Wild was held in the office of Coroner Bradish of Grand Rapids yesterday afternoon.  The little room was crowded with spectators and officials.

   Peter Wild the father of the girl was the first witness called to the stand.  According to the Grand Rapids Democrat he said:  “Alice has not been living at home for a long time.  The last time I saw her was five weeks ago, and she said she was going to Grand Rapids.  I advised her not to go, but she said she was going.  She had been living in the family of a Mr. Brice, and going to school, and later she worked for Edward Gillen.  The witness knew nothing of the girl’s friends or condition.  He said he once advised her to leave Gillen’s, as he did not like to have her there, but she insisted upon remaining.  He tried to force her to leave, but could not.  The next he heard of his daughter was when he read in the papers about a girl who died in this city.  The description so strongly resembled his daughter that he asked the sheriff of Grand Haven to investigate the case, and finally became satisfied that it was his daughter and came to this city and identified her.

   County Physician Penwarden described the condition of the body.  He found that death was caused by inflammation of the bowels and this inflammation was such as to indicate that an instrument had been used in the organs.

   “Death,” he said positively, “was the result of an abortion.”

   According to the Democrat, Dr. D. W. Lyons was next called.  He said:  “My first attention was called to the girl upon the afternoon of April 6.  I was passing the house and the woman who runs it called me in, saying she had a sick girl.  I went to the room, found the girl in bed, looked at her tongue and felt her pulse.  She had a high fever and was also troubled with chills.  I prescribed aconite and Dover’s powders and made no further examination.”  Continuing his testimony he described several visits to the girl and said that on Thursday of last week he made a thorough examination of her.  He found nothing, however to excite any suspicion.  “I sat and watched her for twenty minutes,” said he, “and came to the conclusion that she was suffering simply from a malarial fever.  On Friday I called again and changed her medicine to opium and [tarin?].  She was much better on Friday, and I asked her for some money.  She said she would pay me when she got well.  I told her that it was customary for us to receive our money as we went along, but she said she would pay me when she got well.  Mrs. White, the landlady, told me that the girl was honest and would pay me, so I did not urge it.”

   “Did Mrs. White know the girl?”  asked Prosecuting Attorney Wolcott.

   “No, she did not, but the girl paid her for the room in advance, and she know she would pay me.”

   Continuing, the witness described the girl as improving until Sunday night.  “When I called, on Monday morning, Mrs. White said the girl had passed a very bad night.  I made another examination and still could find no evidence of anything wrong.  The girls’ condition was such, however, that I feared she was going to die and decided to call in counsel.  Dr. Bradish came and the girl died that night about 6 o’clock.”  The witness was subjected to a severe cross examination and at 5 o’clock the inquest was adjourned until 2 o’clock Saturday afternoon.”

   Now comes the startler.  Coroner Bradish yesterday morning received a letter postmarked Grand Haven.  The writer stated that he had read the description of the dead girl in Tuesday’s papers and believed she must be Alice Wild.  The letter was signed “Grand Haven.”  Coronor Bradish thinks the writer must know something of the girl.

   The inquest was adjourned until next Saturday.

   The body arrived last night on the 6:18 D., G. H. & M. train.  A large crowd moved by morbid interest in the affair assembled at the depot and talked together in little groups of their suspicions and thoughts.  The body was taken to the home of Mr. Wild. 


  MR. EDITOR:  It was a sad and quiet crowd mingled perhaps with a little curiosity that gathered in the Presbyterian church at 3:30 p.m. yesterday to give Christian recognition to the remains of Alice Wild.  The hymn and scripture selections, the latter read in a tearful voice by Rev. Mr. Lewis, spoke of sorrow for a world and people lost through sin and also hope through a merciful Redeemer.  Rev. Mr. Kennedy’s prayer (which might be called a sermon) was a wail of penitence and humiliation, and a plea for mercy.

   The flowers (God’s smiles some one has fitly called them) were the offering of the G. A. R., The Christian Endeavor, (may their endeavors be redoubled,) the Grammar room, of which Alice was a pupil, and others.  At the close of the sermon there was a long pause, the congregation seemed loath to move, expecting perhaps the avenging angel to appear and divulge the mystery of Alice wild’s murder.  During the pause me thinks every mother’s heart in God’s presence went up in an earnest prayer for justice and protection of their daughters and sons, who ought to be the defenders of the rights and purity of undefended womanhood.  But the spell passed and all that was mortal of the neglected wronged child was carried to Lake Forrest cemetery.  We hope for the sake of other defenseless children that all the light on the crime is not buried in the grave of Alice Wild.



  The Grand Rapids Herald came out in a scathing editorial yesterday, urging the officers to ferret out the mysteries of Alice Wild’s death.

   Mr. and Mrs. Peter Wild desire to thank Mrs. J. W. Kibler for her kindness to them in their late bereavement.



   EDITOR TRIBUNE:  The citizens in general and mothers in particular are anxious to know what the Sheriff and Prosecuting Attorney are doing to clear the mystery connected with the death of Alice Wild.  The Grand Rapids jury have failed to throw any light on it, neither did they clear the guilty.




Only a Girl Murdered, That’s All.

   The inquest on the death of Alice Wild was continued before Coroner Bradish in Grand Rapids Saturday but the jury were unable to attach the crime to any person connected with it.  In substance the verdict of the jury was:  “We found that the said Alice Wild came to her death in No. 76 Island St. in the city of Grand Rapids, April 17, at about 6:30 p.m.  From the evidence before us we find that the cause of death was due to inflammation of the bowels, said inflammation caused by an abortion committed by some person to us unknown.”

   The Grand Rapids Herald says:  “Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Ward appeared before the jury, expecting to place Mrs. Elvira White on the stand, the woman in whose house Alice died, but she was not present.  He supposed Mrs. White had been subpoenaed and after waiting a reasonable time for her to appear Mr. Ward learned from the prosecuting attorney’s office that Assistant Burns, in whose hands the matter of subpoenaing Mrs. White had been left, was taken sick Friday afternoon and the citation had not been served.  The jury was satisfied as to the cause of death from the testimony that had been submitted at the previous hearing, and was ready to render a verdict without further evidence, so no witnesses were sworn yesterday.  Mr. Ward said this course would not debar further investigation if it were thought advisable to continue it in the future.  The whole affair has been so skillfully covered up that it will take a thorough investigation systematically prosecuted to find the guilty parties.”

   It would seem from this that the whole affair is being quietly hushed up, at least the Grand Rapids end of the case.

   The humble condition of the dead girl while in life should not deter the search for her murderer or murderers.



   In justice to the officers of Ottawa County it should be stated that they are powerless to do anything in the Alice Wild case.  The crime was committed in Kent Co., and the Kent County officers are supposed to be ferreting it out.



   Mr. T. York the flint gentleman who has the Court House painting contract has left in the TRIBUNE office two valuable petrified relics.  They are a petrified sheep’s head and a petrified Indian skull.  They were found in Jackson on a farm adjoining the one where the famous Crouch murder occurred and which has ever been a mystery.  Mr. York states that he has refused offers of $100 for the skulls.



   Wm. VandenBerg was in a reminiscent mood today.  “Speaking of the Turpin tragedy,” he said, “reminds me of a trip I made 42 years ago tomorrow.  It was the 17th day of March, 1852, that the brand new vessel Magic sailed from this port.  I can recollect that Col. Bartlett was captain; John Miller, mate; and this mulatto Dick Turpin was cook.  The sailors were Peter Tart, David Miller, Jack McCann and yours truly, or in other words, myself.  Hod Merrils, Wm. Wallace, Dave Mckintosh and Noah H. Ferry were passengers.  We arrived in St. Joe in a few hours and during the trip lost part of our deck load.  But I am getting away from my story, for I was going to tell you that Hezekiah Smith, the old colored man of Ferrysburg, is the man who arrested murderer Turpin.  He tied is arms behind him and brought him down to Grand Haven in a canoe.  Turpin had his examination in the old Griffin building and was sent to State’s prison for life by Judge Littlejohn.  Curtis W. Grey took him to the penitentiary.”