Monday, November 10, 2014

Amanuensis Monday - David Guard (Gard) (1755-1824) Second Motion on Pension, 10 July 1820

District of New Jersey
Morris County
                                                          On this seventh day of July, 1820, personally appeared in open Court, before the Judge of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas, holden at Morris-Town, in and for the County of Morris, in the term of July, in the year aforesaid. [The said court being a court of record possessing a seal, proceeding according to the course of the common law, having a jurisdiction unlimited in point of amount, keeping records of the proceedings and the Judgments being removeable [sic] by writ of error only.
Daniel Guard aged sixty five years, resident in the township of Roxbury in said county, who being duly sworn according to law doth on his oath declare, that he served in the third Jersey Regiment commanded by Col. Elias Dayton in Capt. Jeremiah Ballard’s company and was discharged at west point [sic], that he applied for his pension on 6 April 1818, That his pension certificate is deposited in the Funton [Fulton?] Bank for safe Keeping (about fifty miles off) by reason of which he cannot state the number of it.

And I do solemnly swear that I was a resident citizen of the United States, on the 18th day of March, 1818; and that I have not, since that time by gift, sale, or in any manner, disposed of my property, or any part thereof, with intent so to diminish it as to bring myself within the provisions of an act of Congress, entitled “An act to provide for certain persons engaged in the land and naval service of the United States in the Revolutionary war,: passed on the 18th day of March, 1118; and that I have not, nor has any person in trust for me, any property or securities, contracts, or debts, due to me; nor have I any income, other than what is contained in the schedule hereto annexed, and by me subscribed.  That I am by occupation a Forge man, but from the loss of my right arm, which is amputated near the shoulder, can do nothing towards my support; that I have a wife aged sixty years, who enjoys tolerable health; that I have one son, aged nineteen years, able to earn his living, and one son aged ten years, not a very healthy child, which composes all my family—
Sworn to and declared on the                                                   his
10th July 1820. before                                                       David  X  Gard
Gab. H. Ford                                                                            mark

Source Information U.S., Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800-1900[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.  Accessed 10 Nov 2014.

Original data: Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files (NARA microfilm publication M804, 2,670 rolls). Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Amanuensis Monday - Daniel Guard (Gard) (1755-1824) Application for Revolutionary War Pension

State of New Jersey
Morris County s.s

Be it remembered that on the sixth day of April in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and eighteen, personally appeared before me, Joseph Jackson, one of the judges of the inferior court of common pleas in and for said county, Daniel Guard, who being duly sworn according to Law, on his Oath, saith the he was born in Morris County in New Jersey, and that on the eleventh day of February, A. D. seventeen hundred and seventy six he enlisted under Captn. Peter Dickinson’s [Dickerson’s] company in the Third Jersey Regiment of Continental troops, and a private soldier, for one year, and after his term of service was out, he again enlisted under the same officer and in the same Regiment for during [sic] the war and served until the fifth day of June A. D. seventeen hundred and eighty three, when he was discharged, which discharge herewith annexed, is the same that was delivered to this department at Newburgh in the state of New Yorke; That he is now in his sixty third year of his age; that from his reduced circumstances, he needs the assistance of his country for support and begs to be put on the pension lists of common soldiers of the United States; That he resides in the County of Morris and State of New Jersey—And further this deponent saith that he is now on the pension list of invalid soldiers of the United States, which he doth hereby relinquish,
provided he is considered as coming within the act of Congress of the 18th March 1818 and is put on the pension accordingly.
                                                                                      Daniel X Guard
Sworn and subscribed before me the date as above. In witness whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed my seal.
                                                                                      Joseph Jackson

Source: U.S., Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800-1900[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Accessed 10 Nov 2014.
Original data: Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files (NARA microfilm publication M804, 2,670 rolls). Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Bain Line - John Stewart, Lord Kincleven and Earl of Carrick in Orkney (1576-1643)

John Stewart, Lord Kincleven and later the 1st Earl of Carrick, was the third of five sons born to Robert Stewart, Earl of Orkney and Strathearn, and his wife Jean Kennedy, daughter of Gilbert Kennedy, 3rd Earl of Cassilis.  He was also the grandson of King James V, whose mistress, Euphemia Elphinstone, had given birth to Robert Stewart in about 1533.  James had recognized Robert as his son and had him educated, along with his other illegitimate sons, for a career in the Church.  (Robert Stewart, being far from a pious man, however, never did more than take pensions from church benefices.) 

The birth year of John Stewart is not certain, but he was often said to be the third son, between Patrick and James, and was probably born around 1576 (Cracroft).  At that time, his father had not yet received the earldom of Orkney but did hold lands in Orkney and Shetland.  However, Jean Kennedy, John’s mother, “does not appear to have set foot in the islands at all,” and all of Robert’s legitimate sons, including John, were “educated in the south” (P. Anderson Robert, 131).  John had three sisters—Mary, Christian, and Elizabeth.  There were also six half-brothers and several half-sisters, illegitimate children of Robert Stewart, all of whom made their appearance in Orkney while Lady Jean remained in Edinburgh. 

From various documents, it is possible to detect some of the personal undercurrents in these relationships.  In 1585, when Robert Stewart was created earl of Orkney, the entail (right of inheritance) was to his sons Henry, Patrick, James, and Robert—John’s name being omitted.  If the line of legitimate sons failed, the entail was to Robert’s illegitimate sons—James and Robert—then to his nephew, Francis, Earl of Bothwell.  When Robert died in 1593 and the earldom passed to Patrick (Henry having predeceased his father), the papers drawn up for Patrick in 1600 named Patrick’s sons as heirs and then, behind them, his “second brother, John” (Steuart 2922).  This time, brother James is not mentioned.  These omissions could have been clerical errors, but the fact that their mother Jean was also omitted from Earl Robert’s will—when his mistresses were all named—leads one to wonder what family dynamics were at work here.

It is hardly possible to say that Patrick’s naming his brother John was due to a special friendship between the two because the first time John’s name appears in the historical record in 1594 (the year after the father’s death), it is in an indictment against him for conspiring with a witch to poison his brother Patrick, who discovered poison in the possession of John’s servant, Thomas Paplay (Paul 440).

John Stewart, at that time styled Master of Orkney, a title for younger sons of an earl, was suspected, and Paplay was arrested and tortured mercilessly.  During the torture, he gave up the name of one Alesoun (or Alison) Balfour, a “known notorious witch.”  (“Witchcraft”). 

However, Alesoun Balfour refused to confess or implicate John Stewart, despite the fact that her husband and son were cruelly tortured before her eyes.  It was only when her daughter was put to torture that she “confessed.”  Though she later recanted, she was tried and put to death on 15 December 1594.  In 1596, John Stewart, Master of Orkney, was indicted for “consulting with witches, for [the] destruction of [the] Earl of Orkney” ("Witchcraft").  Now, John would have been only about seventeen when the incident occurred and nineteen at the time of the indictment.  Perhaps the mixture of his youth and the forced confessions are enough to persuade us that John was not involved in this incident and that Patrick was sure enough of his brother’s loyalty that he did, in fact, place him in line for the earldom if his own male line failed.  Whatever the case, John Stewart got his revenge eighteen days after his acquittal when he murdered the inquisitor of Alesoun Balfour, who just happened to be Patrick Stewart’s chamberlain (“North Isles—Eday”).

Being the grandson of James V meant, of course, that he was a first cousin of James VI, son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Lord Darnley.  Through James V’s mother, Margaret Tudor, sister to England’s King Henry VIII, the Stewarts stood in line to inherit the throne of England should the Tudor line fail, which it did on 24 March 1603 at the death of the unmarried English queen, Elizabeth I. 
Coronation of James I of England

James VI departed Scotland in April, taking his cousin, John Stewart, along with him for the ceremonies related to his accession to the crown, which would make him James I of England.  John Stewart must have enjoyed the festivities, as we learn from thirteen-year-old Lady Anne Clifford, daughter of George, 3rd Earl of Cumberland, who kept a diary, that John Stewart, Master of “Orckney” and Sir John Murray of Tullebardine “came thither to see us” at Hampton Court because they “were much in love with Mrs. Carey” (Progresses 196). (Which Mrs. Carey is referenced here is unclear.)

Stewart was still in the London area in November 1604, when once again letter writers were reporting on his shenanigans.  On November 7, Edmund Lascelles wrote to Gilbert Talbot, 7th Earl of Shrewsbury, to tell him about the arrival of the king at Whitehall from Royston.  Before closing, he added a bit of court gossip:Mr. Thomas Somerset and the Master of Orkney fell out in the Balowne Court at Whithall.  Boxes on the eare passed on eyther side, but no further hurt doon; Mr. Sommerset was commanded to the Fleet, whear he is yet, and the Master of Orkney to his chamber; what more will be doon in it we know not yet” (Progresses 465).  

Now, it is a bit unclear exactly what is meant by the term “Balowne Court,” but apparently there was a game, invented by the Romans but still popular in England at the time, played with a “Balowne, or Balloon, Follis [leather bag or handball]. . . filled with wind” and requiring the use of a gauntlet (or glove) made of leather thongs. The players protected their arms with wooden bracers like those worn by archers to protect the forearm (Fosbroke 2:682).  If this is, in fact, the intended meaning of balowne court, we can perhaps conclude that Somerset and Stewart were playing a game of some sort when they fell to fighting. 

Young Thomas, later 1st Viscount, Somerset was at that time a freshly received student at Gray’s Inn, one of the Inns of Court where young men were educated for the law.  He was also a member of the House of Commons, and though he was obviously no slouch, the fact that he was sent to the Fleet while Stewart was confined “in his chambers” probably is explained by their social difference at this point in time, though it must be noted that the Fleet did not hold common criminals, as Newgate did, but troublesome nobles or political and religious dissidents.
Lady Elizabeth Howard

Now, it should be noted here that just nine days before this scuffle, on 26 October 1604, John Stewart, aged 28, had married Lady Elizabeth Howard Southwell, aged 40 and the mother of six children.  It seems that with a Scotsman on the throne of England, marriages with Scots, especially those close to the king, were highly prized.  Elizabeth’s father was widower Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham, whose “determination to be identified with the royal house” is shown not only by his daughter’s marriage to John Stewart, but by his own marriage on 2 June 1604 to Margaret Stewart (Brown 571).  He was 67 and she, a teenager. Margaret was sister to James Stewart (or Stuart, as they were now beginning to style themselves), 3rd earl of Moray, and a granddaughter on her mother’s side to James Stewart, the Regent Moray (d. 1570)—another illegitimate son of James V, a half-brother to Robert Stewart, and a half-uncle to John Stewart, Master of Orkney.  These relationships seem to have trumped, in Nottingham’s mind, the December-May nature of the alliances.  

It is possible that Nottingham desired these marital connections to the royal house of Stuart inasmuch as he had been related to the previous monarch, Elizabeth I.  What is more, his first wife, Catherine Carey, had been a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth but, even more than that, a dear personal friend and confidante of the queen. Certainly it would be nice to maintain such connections with the royal family, but Nottingham had still one more reason to push for a secure position in the new monarchy: he had been instrumental in the queen’s decision to execute Mary, Queen of Scots, mother of James VI and I.  Nottingham had been appointed as one of the commissioners for the Scottish queen’s trial for treason, and, though he had not actually sat at the trial, he had led some of the examinations in London in preparation for trial.  Contemporaries noted, in addition, that it was through the urging of Nottingham that Elizabeth had finally decided to sign her cousin’s death warrant (“Howard”).  King James had never really known his mother and had been raised as a Protestant, but there were times when he first came into his majority, that he greatly resented what his “handlers” had done to his mother.  Better not to take chances, but to push forward with new alliances that prove friendship with the new king.

Before her marriage to John Stewart, Lady Southwell had been serving as lady-in-waiting to James’s queen, Anne of Denmark.  By early February 1604, it was already being “confidently reported” that the Lady would marry John Stewart, Master of Orkney.  Edward Somerset, 1st earl of Worcester, had commented on the impending marriage in a letter to another courtier, adding this note about the environment in which the ladies-in-waiting served: “[T]he plotting  and mallice amongst them is sutche, that I thinke Envy hathe teyd an invisible snake abowt most of ther neks to sting on another to deathe.”  Perhaps it was time for Lady Elizabeth to move on, albeit with a husband about half her age (Progresses 464).

One of the first properties acquired by John Stewart was a gift from the Earl of Nottingham, his father-in-law.  The accounts of the Paymaster of Works (1600-1601) has the following entry:  “The Ladie Southwell, for money by her La . [Ladyship] layde out for the repayringe of the house called Hances house, sometymes appointed for an Armorie, adioyninge to her Mat   [Majesty’s] Orcharde at Whitehall” (“Bowling Green”). Property adjoining the orchard at Whitehall was prestigious indeed and goes some way toward confirming Earl Charles’ social ambitions for his daughter and her new husband.
Whitehall Palace with Bowling Green at left

The next big step for John Stewart occurred on 10 August 1607 when King James created a title for him, Lord Kincleven (variously spelled as Kinclaven).  For his financial support, he obtained charters in 1616 “of the dominical lands and mill of the Monastery of Crossregal, of the lands of Ballorsom, and of the lands of Knockronnall, and the barony of Grenane,” which were parts of the ancient but then extinct earldom of Carrick in Ayrshire (W. Anderson 597). 

Stewart received these honors despite the fact that his brother, Patrick, 2nd earl of Orkney, and Patrick’s son Robert had been found guilty of treason and executed in 1615.  That John seems to have played no role at all in the intrigues and rebellions of Patrick and Robert testifies to his loyalty to the government of his cousin, King James VI and I, in whose train he had traveled to London in 1603 and to whom he owed his title and his advantageous marriage.  Nor had he been involved with the treasonous activities of his father, who was imprisoned in the late 1570s.

After King Charles I came to the throne in 1625, Kincleven sought the title Earl of Carrick in view of his possession of these lands.  The process to renew the earldom in Stewart’s name was soon halted, however, when Sir John Hope, the Lord Advocate, advised the Privy Council that the earldom of Carrick “was one always borne by the heir-apparent to the Crown” (Tudor 368) and could not be transferred to Stewart. 
Orkney Islands, Eday upper center

However, Kincleven pointed out that “the title he had assumed was derived from Carrick in Orkney and not Carrick in Ayrshire” (Balfour 441). This is an interesting sleight-of-hand in that Stewart did not receive the charter for Eday, where Orcadian Carrick supposedly lay, until he received the letters patent for the title Earl of Carrick (in Orkney) (“Eday, Carrick House”).

Some have even speculated that Stewart deliberately named a corner of his holdings Carrick afterward, in order to meet the letter of the law.  This conjecture is based on the fact that there is no evidence of a place named Carrick in Orkney before this time (Crichton-Stuart). What’s more, the place name Carrick derives from the Gaelic word caraig, meaning crag,  while place names in Orkney are almost exclusively derived from Norse origins, Orkney having belonged to Norway until1468 (Bell 247).  But whether it existed at the moment of Lord Kinclevan’s argument, the king was content with this solution, and the patent for the earldom of Carrick was delivered to Stewart by the Lord Chancellor on 14 December 1630, “which patent the said earl accepted on his knees, his ambition now being gratified” (W. Anderson 597).  Certainly, he became busy in 1631 building Balmerino House in Leith (Gentleman’s 595) and in 1633 building Carrick House on his lands in Eday (Bell), which may have been an attempt to bolster his prestige and his claim to the name Carrick.
Balmerino House

Once Stewart had been created an earl, it necessarily followed that he would acquire a coat of arms, which has been described, thus: "The arms of this Earl were quarterly, first and fourth or [gold], a lion rampant gules [red], armed and langued azure, within a double tressure flory-counterflory gules, and all again within a bordure company azure and argent; second and third, azure, a galley at anchor within a double tressure flory counterflory or” (Crichton-Stuart 102).

With the earldom there also came new charters and commissions.  In 1630, Earl John was named Commissioner of Fisheries.  On 14 January 1632, Charles I showed his favor when he “erected Carrick and the port of Calf Sound in the island of Eday in Orkney into a burgh of barony,” (Crichton-Stuart).  The term burgh of barony refers to a town on estates held by a landowner directly from the crown.  Sometimes landowners who were granted burghs of barony were also given authority to hold weekly markets, to collect taxes, to oversee criminal courts, and even to apply the death penalty, but historians have pointed out that “there is no indication that any form of municipal government was ever constituted” in Earl Carrick’s lands (Crichton-Stuart).  Two and a half years later, on 14 June 1634, Stewart was also given a charter of the easterly and westerly lands of Corstorphine, near Edinburgh, with an entailment for his heirs (Paul 441). 

In 1633, the earl of Carrick undertook the building of Carrick House, located on Calf Sound on the eastern side of Eday (see below).  It looks out to sea between the so-called Red Heads of Eday. 

Carrick House, Eday
Work at Carrick House, 2014
 According to one source, Stewart chose this remote location due to “some discontent which fell out between him and his Lady” (Brand 37).   Be that as it may, Carrick House was a two-and-a-half storied house with a slated roof and crow-step gables, which were in vogue among the Scottish baronial set of the day.  The date 1633 can still be seen in the round-arched keystone in the north wall, but the arms engraved above the door are those of subsequent owners, the family of Sir John Buchanan (Bell 238).  Over the years, additions have been made to the house, which still stands intact today, and even now in the fall of 2014 renovations are being done by Orkney-based Colin Watson Stonework, in particular the Buchanan arms (see at left and below) (Watson).

New Stonework of
Buchanan Arms (Watson)
However, it was Stewart himself who established on the site twelve salt-pans—shallow containers or depressions where salt water is left to evaporate, leaving usable salt for human use.  He apparently had a view toward foreign trade in salt but died before he could bring his idea to fruition.  Only one of the salt-pans can be seen at the present time (Brand 38).

As the Reformation advanced in Scotland, the Stewarts, like other Scottish barons of the day, found themselves in tumultuous times.  Robert Stewart’s half-brother, James Stewart, 1st earl of Moray—another illegitimate son of James V—was one of the strongest champions of the Presbyterian cause against his Catholic half-sister, Mary, Queen of Scots.  As Regent of Scotland, he had made sure that the young King James VI was raised as a Protestant, and in 1588 the king appointed his half-uncle, Robert Stewart, to his commission against the Jesuits, who were being obliged to leave the country.  Still, this is no sign of inward belief, and it is known that a Roman Catholic funeral service was offered at the elder Stewart’s passing in 1592 (Tudor 253).

Then in August and September of 1643 came the signing of the Solemn League and Covenant, an agreement between Presbyterian Scots and the Cromwellian Parliamentarians in England, who opposed Charles I, by which a Presbyterian-parliamentarian union of England, Scotland, and Ireland was formed.  Signing the Covenant was a prerequisite to office-holding in England and Scotland, so, not surprisingly, John Stewart did subscribe the Covenant (Balfour 441).
The Solemn League and Covenant

The exact date of John Stewart’s death is unknown. According to The Peerage, he died somewhere between late 1643 and early1645/46 (John Stewart). We know that the Covenant did not make its way to Kirkwall in the Orkneys until December 1643, and since Stewart did not accept the Covenant, we know he was still alive at that time.  He would have been sixty-seven at the time. 

John Stewart left only one surviving legitimate child, Margaret Stewart, born c. 1605, who, in 1630, married the Englishman Sir Matthew (John) Mennes, who became a Knight of the Bath at the coronation of Charles I. 

Though he had tried to obtain his brother’s lands in Orkney, he had failed, (P. Anderson “Stewart”) and at his death in 1643, the titles and honors he had been awarded by the Stewart kings became extinct.

In summing up, the life of John Stewart provides us a look into the system of court patronage and how illegitimate sons—and grandsons—of kings could cultivate friendships, make advantageous marriages, and scrap together baronies for themselves—albeit in the forgotten northern isles.  Carrick in Orkney was probably a non-existent place when Stewart received the title Earl of Carrick in Orkney.  Eday is an island only about eight miles long and (today) “home to 150 people who are vastly outnumbered by the isle’s wildlife and bird population” (“Eday”).  It was probably not much different when it belonged to John Stewart, but the land perhaps mattered less to Stewart than the title, which gave him at least the pretense of equality among the peers of the realm.

Works Cited

Anderson, Peter D. Robert Stewart: Earl of Orkney, Lord of Shetland: 1533-1593. Edinburgh, John Donald, 1982.

Anderson, Peter D. “Stewart, Patrick , Second Earl of Orkney (c.1566/7–1615).”  Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: UP, 2004.]

Anderson, William. The Scottish Nation.  Vol. 1. Edinburgh: Fullerton, 1867. Internet Archive. Accessed 4 Nov 2014.

Bell, Walter L. “Notes on an Armorial Stone at Carrick House, Eday, Orkney.” Proceedings of the Society of the Antiquaries of Scotland. 42. (1908): 237. Accessed 4 Nov 2014.

“The Bowling Green and ‘Hance’s House.’” Montagu H. Cox and Philip Norman, eds. Survey of London. 13.2. (1930): 228-235. British History Online. Accessed 29 Oct 2014.

Brand, John. A Brief Description of Orkney: Zetland, Pightland-Firth and Caithness. Eighteenth-Century Collections Online. Edinburgh: Mosman, 1701.  Accessed 31 Oct 2014. 

Brown, Keith M. “The Scottish Aristocracy, Anglicization, and the Court, 1603-38.” The Historical Journal. 36.3. (1993): 543-76.

“Carrick House, Eday.” British Listed Buildings. Accessed 4 Nov 2014.

Crichton-Stuart, John Patrick, John Home Stevenson, and H. W. Lonsdal. The Arms of the Baronial and Police Burghs of Scotland. Edinburgh: Blackwood, 1903.  Google Books. Accessed 31 Oct 2014.

Cracroft-Brenner, Paul. “Orkney, Earl of  (S, 1581 - forfeited 1615).”  Cracroft’s Peerage. 15 Oct 2011.  Web.  4 Nov 2014.  

“Eday.” 2014. Web. 4 Nov 2014.

“Eday, Carrick House.” Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. 2014. Web. 4 Nov 2014.

Fosbroke, Thomas Dudley.  Encyclopedia of Antiquities and Elements of Archaeology, Classical and Medieval.   London: Natalli, 1843. 2:682.

Gentleman’s Magazine and Historical Review. Vol. 12. May 1862. Google Books. Accessed 31 Oct 2014.

 “Howard, Charles, Lord Howard of Effingham, Earl of Nottingham (1536-1624).” Dictionary of National Biography. 1891. Google Books. Web. Accessed 4 Nov 2014.

“John Stewart, 1st and last Earl of Carrick, M, #23785.” Darryl Lundy, ed. 2 Nov 2014. Web. 5 Nov 2014.

Johnston, John C. Treasury of the Scottish Covenant. Edinburgh: Elliot, 1887.  Google Books.  Accessed 31 Oct 2014.

“North Isles—Eday.” 26 Oct 2004. Web. 26 Oct 2014.

Paul, James Balfour. The Scots Peerage. Vol. 2. 1905. Reprint. London: Forgotten Books, 2013. 440-41. Web. Accessed 31 Oct 2014.

The Progresses, Processions, and Magnificent Festivities, of King James the First. Ed. John Treadwell Nichols. London: Nichols, 1828. Web. Accessed 26 Oct 2014.  

Steuart, A. Francis. “The Exclusion of Apparent Heirs in Scottish Peerages.”  The Juridical Review. 1904. 16:285-96. Web. Accessed 28 Oct 2014.

Tudor, John R. The Orkneys and Shetland: Their Past and Present State. London: Stanford, 1883. Internet Archive. 31 Jul 2008. Web. 31 Oct 2014.

Watson, Colin.  Colin Watson Stoneworks.  Breck, Orphir, Orkney.

“Witchcraft in the Orkney Islands: The Torture of Alesoun Balfour.” Orkneyjar: The Heritage of the Orkney Islands. Web. Accessed 23 Oct 2014.

Wright, Thomas.  Narratives of Sorcery and Magic. New York: Redfield, 1852.

(c) Eileen Cunningham 2014

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Amanuensis Monday: Ezekiel Sanford's Schedule of Real and Personal Property, 1820

Transcribed with capitalization and spelling kept as in the original:
Schedule of the property, both real and personal, of Ezekiel Sanford of the Town of Dryden in the County of Tompkins, necessary clothing and bedding Excepted. 
Made the 27th day of September 1820 (viz.)
Real Estate, Twenty-three acres and one half acre of Land about ten acres of which is tolerable good, the residue rough.  Stony, side Hill.  No Buildings Except poor old Logg ones below $150.
Personal Property Consists of the following articles: one Small cow, one calf, two piggs, and one old axe, one old hoe, one old cracked five pail Kettle, one small porridge Pot old, one old dish Kittle cracked, one pine Board chest, one common old Table, five old chairs, three Earthen plates, one old pewter plate, two old Iron spoons, four old case Knives [i.e., table knives] and five forks, one small Looking glass, six bricks , one old fire shovel 54 years old, and one old pair of Tongs of the same age, one pair of old fire loggs*, one small Tea Kittle, one Tea pot, three cups and saucers, one tin cup, two tin pans, two pails, two bowls, one barrel, two furkins [i.e., firkins, or casks], two bottles, one half acre of corn $350.
The said Sanford owes $28..00.
Subscribed and sword to in open court        Ezekiel X Sanford
before me this 27th day of Sept.                          mark
1820.  Augustus Crary, one of the Judges of Tompkins Common Pleas
The court value[s] the above Real Estate at $150
and the personal Estate at                            25
*"Because Colonial fireplaces were so large, some more than 10 feet deep, the fires were often hot enough to crack the bricks on the back wall. To prevent this, an implement called a firelog or fireback--made from green wood--was situated along the back wall. In later years the firelog was made of iron." (Read more:

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Thriller Thursday - The Beall Murder, Ohio, 1887 - Gard Line

By Eileen Cunningham and Debra Crumbaker

Last Quarter Phase
Photo by Ed Ting
On the night of June 13, 1887, the moon was in its last quarter phase, half bathing Preble County, Ohio, in its eerie glow, and half hidden in darkness.  It's hard to say where William Beall, his daughter Edith, and his son Johnny spent that first night after the murder of Nancy Gard Beall, wife of William and mother of the two children.  Perhaps at the home of Nancy's maiden sister, Hannah Gard, who resided in Eaton, about eight miles north of the home where Nancy had met a violent death that afternoon.  Did they sleep?  Or did the vision of his mom trying to raise her head out of the pool of blood circling on the floor around her keep young Johnny awake that night?  More than half the moon was hidden in darkness that June 13.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Colt Frontier Six-Shooter, c. 1884
“Horror of Horrors” screamed the headline of the Eaton [Ohio] Register, June 16, 1887.  On the previous Monday, June 13, Nancy Beall, daughter of Little John Gard and wife of William T. Beall, had been found murdered in her home about five miles south of Eaton in Preble County’s Gaspar township. 

According to the first news report, Nancy “was found lying on her face, cold in death.  Two bullets had perforated her brain and were found,” first reports said, “in the ceiling.  Her head was terribly mangled by an ax and almost severed from her body.  Two revolvers were found lying beside her and belonged to parties in the family, and four chambers were empty.  The ax was also lying near, which was an old rusty one newly sharpened.  The walls and furniture were stained with blood, while the carpet was thoroughly saturated with its crimson flow.  A darker or more fearful crime was never known in this county, and it will form a black page in our county’s history.”[i]

It is standard procedure in our own time to look first at the husband when a woman is murdered, and apparently the instinct was the same in Preble County in those first few days.  Folks were pointing fingers at William Beall, largely because of a rumor that his 14-year-old daughter, Edith, who had accompanied him into town the day of the murder, had said that her father had gotten out of the buggy and returned to the house after they had left on their errands.  However,  on June 23, the Register reported Edith's clarifying  statement that, on the contrary, that had not happened.  Edith stated that at some point during their excursion to town, they had driven by their home.  “Her mother,” the Register reported, “was standing in the door of the house as they drove by and hands were waved.”[ii]

Broad-leafed Dock (Rumex)
The only other person in the house at the time of the murder was Nancy’s son, 13-year-old Johnny, who gave the following account of what had happened:  “After dinner I hitched up the horse for father to go to town, and after he had gone, I went out in the road and cut dock[iii] and wheeled it into the barn.  I was tired and went to the house and mother said, ‘You look pale and hot,’ and I told her I was tired. 

“I noticed the clock and it was ten minutes of three o’clock, and I laid down on the floor in the west front room and went to sleep.  I was awakened by the shots of the pistol and saw three men in the room, one a tall and slender man, the other two shorter and heavy set; they were tolerable well dressed in dark clothing.  The tall man had the ax in his hand, and the other two men each had a pistol in their hands.  Mother was lying on the floor with her face down.  I heard her scream when the shots were fired and she raised her head a little.  I did not see the men’s faces.  The men’s hands that the revolvers fired were bloody.”

Another news account includes Johnny's statement that he woke up in time to see the tramps leaving with a watch and some money.   Then, “I slipped out on my tip-toes and ran as hard as I could to where Mr. Pace [an African-American field hand] was plowing corn, about one-half mile away.  I told him there were three men up at the house murdering ma and they had pistols and an ax.  After hitching the horses we went back as hard as we could.  After we got to the branch [i.e., creek], Pace went over to [Odey] Casey’s to get someone to go with him into the house.  After he and some others came back, we went into the house.”[iv]

Beall farm with residence lower right. 
The original home no longer exists, but
the pond, grounds, roads, and fields 
are probably much the same as they were
in 1877.  (Google Earth image)
When questioned about the blood on his clothing, Johnny gave these details, some of which conflicted with his first statement: “When I awoke, my feet were about two feet from my mother’s feet and my head about the length of my arm away from her head, and the men were standing between me and ma.  When I ran down after Mr. Pace, I did not stop at the branch and wash the blood off my hands and face.  When I woke up, I felt there was some blood on my face, and I rubbed it off with my sleeve.  When I came back to the branch with Pace, I dipped my hands into the water.  There was some blood on my boot, some on my shirt sleeve and some on my face.”

Regarding his interactions with his parents that day, Johnny stated, “I had no difficulty with my ma after I had hitched up the horse for my father.  I asked my mother if she had told father that I hadn’t hitched up, and she said she did. I told her I had hitched up, but not at the same place we usually hitched up.  She said she didn’t think to look at any other place.  Then I went out and cut dock.” 

The next to be interviewed was Mr. Pace (probably Malvin Pace, who would have been 52 in 1887, or his eldest son, Frank, 26).  Pace testified that he indeed had been plowing corn when Johnny approached.  He hitched the horses and started for the house.  On the way, he encountered a man the news report identified as “Mr. Colors” (perhaps Moses Colur, another African-American farm worker in Preble County, age 30), who was mowing grass along the fence in a wheat field.  Pace asked Colors (or Colur) to join them, and upon reaching the creek, he went over to Odey Casey’s place to get more help.  When they reached the Beall home, they went into the house and “beheld the blood curdling sight detailed above.”   

Then William Beall, Nancy’s husband, was questioned.  “He stated he left home a little after one o’clock and returned after five.”  He said he had “heard of the murder while on the way home.  When he returned home, he made some examination as to whether anything was missing from the house, but found nothing.  The next morning he made a more thorough examination and found that from $7 to $12, which his wife had placed between the straw-tick and feather-tick of the bed had been taken, also about 30 cents, belonging to his daughter, had been taken from her pocketbook, and 15 cents from the vest pocket of his son, and a small box containing a locket, with his picture in it.  Some rings and pieces of gold are also missing.”  (The ambiguity of the pronoun his makes it unclear whether the picture was of the husband or the son.)  Mr. Beall set one thing straight in his testimony as well.  Various news accounts reported a statement of Johnny’s that he had seen the “tramps” leaving with his mother’s gold watch and chain as well as a $50 note, but Beall testified that he had found these items “locked up in a drawer and not disturbed.”

Regarding the boy’s relationship with his mother, the father stated that “no trouble had ever existed between the boy and his mother and on that day there was none to his knowledge.”  However, the New Paris Mirror of Preble County reported that week, “The boy has been causing his parents considerable trouble for some time, by his refractory conduct.  At the breakfast table yesterday morning the boy quarreled with his mother and now says he made her take back all she said.”[v]

The inquest continued the next day, Thursday, June 16, in Camden, a town in the southern part of Gasper township, where Thomas O’Neil testified before Squire James Poterf.  He revealed “that he was the first to go in and touch the body.  He stated that it was cold and that the furniture in the room was not disturbed.  On going upstairs, he found the bedclothes tossed about and some drawers pulled out.  A trunk in the room had the hinges broken, but was locked, and when he attempted to open it, the lid raised from the hinge side.  He also saw blood on the stone walk leading from the house to the barn and also what he took for blood on the gate.  The witnesses who first entered the house all substantially agree as to the facts connected with the discovery of the body.[vi]

“There were no marks upon the body of the deceased that would indicate that she had been assaulted with a view of outraging her person,” the news report concluded.

Putting all the facts together, on Friday, June 17, Coroner C. C. Jones announced his conclusions: “I do find the deceased, Mrs. Nancy C. Beall, came to her death by two pistol-shot wounds through the brain, one shot entering the temporal bone on the left side, just back of the left eye, and making its exit on the opposite side; the other shot being an inch or an inch and a half back of the one described, and making its exit at the outer angle of the orbit on the right side.  Also, two ax wounds on the back of the neck, between the head and shoulders, completely severing the spinal column, either of said wounds being sufficient to cause death.  I further find that while it seems almost impossible to conceive that one so young, and especially a son, would commit such an atrocious crime, yet the evidence presented to me and the circumstances surrounding the case are so strong that I feel warranted in fixing the crime on John A. Beall.”[vii]

Immediately a warrant was issued for Johnny’s arrest, and Marshal Cortland “Court” Corwin tracked the boy down at the Eaton residence of his aunt, Hannah Gard, sister of the murder victim.  They found him lying on the floor in an upstairs room, trying to go to sleep.   He was arrested and taken before the mayor, W. B. Marsh, at which time a preliminary investigation was waived.  He was then “committed to Jail without bail.”[viii]

At this point in the narrative, the news article records a strange interlude that gives some insight into Johnny Beall’s psyche.  The boy took the matter of his jailing “coolly,” we are told, and “before going to Jail, he went to the gallery of Harlan and Lewellen and had his photograph taken.  While standing for the picture, he was perfectly calm.”[ix]  Later a newspaperman would draw a sketch from the photo (left), which shows a placid, self-possessed, and well-dressed lad with perhaps—can you see it?—just the  hint of a smile.  (Hmmmm.  Well-dressed.  Is this how the boy used the money he found tucked inside the mattress?   To get for himself  the new suit of clothes that he had expected to buy earlier in the day?  To pay for a photo to show the world his moxie?)  Today psychologists are exploring the link between narcissism and the psychopathic personality.  Is it possible that in this diversion, we see that link? 

When he was asked if he had seen his mother at any time since the murder, “His eyes filled up and he wiped them with his handkerchief and said, ‘Yes, I can see her every time I shut my eyes to go to sleep.’  When asked how she looked, he said: ‘She appeared just like she looked when she was lying on the floor in the struggle, and like she looked when we all went in to see her and the blood was all over her.  I can see her raise her head up like she did when she was on the floor.’” He confessed that he had not slept much since the murder and “not a wink” the night before. 
Preble County Courthouse, 1887

Johnny arrived at the jail in the company of his father and Marshal Corwin.  Expressing perhaps a bit of paranoia, he asked the sheriff to “keep the doors all locked so that no one could get to him.”  Mr. Beall also requested that no one be allowed to talk to the boy.  Johnny spent the afternoon alone in his cell.  “He stood up by a window that faced the Court-house, and was reading a paper,” the Register noted.  “When he passed down street to the gallery, hundreds of people were on the street to see him, and everyone was surprised to see how small he is and HOW COMPLACENTLY HE WALKED ALONG [emphasis in original].”[x]

We get a bit more insight into what today would be called Johnny’s “affect” with this notation in the Register: “His good nerve and unconcern were noticed by all, and was the subject of general remark.  He is unquestionably undergoing a most tortuous experience, and if he did the act, he will in all probability weaken and confess.” 

The townspeople were mystified.  “There has never anything occurred in this county that has so shocked everyone.  The frightfully brutal manner in which the woman was butchered up, and the thought that a son could be so inhuman as to kill his mother, is so shocking that people can hardly believe it possible.

“There is no disposition to act rash with him.  There is not a father or mother but hopes and prays that the grave suspicions may be removed, and that the boy may not be guilty.”

One cannot imagine what was racing through the mind of William Beall.  His wife murdered, his son in jail, the facts all pointing to the worst imaginable scenario.  It goes some way toward showing the strength of a father’s love in that he not only accompanied Johnny to the jail and made a special request for the boy’s privacy, but that he also asked to be allowed to remain with the boy in his cell that first night.  However, the Sheriff considered it better that the boy remain alone.  He later reported that Johnny had “eaten his dinner and supper all right” and that he remained “unmoved, quiet, and unconcerned.”  At 9 o’clock that night, there was no sign that Johnny was going to break down and confess. 

The first night of Johnny’s confinement in the jail was June 17, four days after the murder.  A confession did not come until August 1.[xi]  It came about in this way:  Sheriff Daniel Peters had enlisted the aid of two detectives with the Hazen Detective Agency of Cincinnati to pose as prisoners, build a relationship with Johnny, and try to get a jailhouse confession out of him.  To that end, a young man signed into the Eagle House hotel, registering as a P. S. Fay.  After a few days, the sheriff received a telegram from Chief Locke of Newport, Kentucky, requesting the arrest of “Fay” until authorities from Kentucky could complete the necessary paperwork to return him for trial.  So, Fay, accused of being a safe-burglar, was arrested and thrown into the jail where Johnny was being housed   Only the sheriff and the prosecuting attorney, Crisler (probably 30-year-old A. Milton Crisler), were aware of the ruse.  Since the mayor was not aware of the scheme, the undercover detective had a bit of a start when the mayor appeared at the jail and kindly informed Fay that “the officers here could not keep him in jail over twenty-four hours.”  The mayor indicated he could secure Fay’s release, which was, in fact, the last thing the undercover detective actually wanted.  But Fay was apparently a quick thinker and feigned distrust, saying, “You are the mayor, aren’t you?”

“Yes,” came the reply.

“Well, I’m onto your game,” he said.  “You want to see me released, and then you will have me arrested again.”  He refused to have any more to do with the mayor, who was totally unaware of what was going on under his nose.  It is hard to know why Peters and Crisler did not let the mayor in on the ploy, or why the mayor wished to undermine the temporary imprisonment of a supposed Kentucky safe-burglar wanted by authorities in Newport.  Perhaps this is a sign of bad blood among the various authorities in the town, but the man calling himself P. S. Fay managed to navigate the deep waters of local politics and remain in the jail close to Johnny.

Model of Folsom in the same era
Now, at the same time, there was another prisoner in the jail—an actual prisoner, not one of Sheriff Peters’ planted detectives.  Identified only as “Ekes” in the newspaper, the prisoner was in jail on a charge of horse-stealing.  Ekes observed that on the second day “Fay” was in the jail, he approached Johnny twice to engage him in conversation.  Now, Ekes suspected that Fay “was not really a safe-burglar, and on the third day, when Fay was getting on a friendly footing with the boy, Ekes called the boy aside and told him to say nothing to Fay, that he thought Fay was a detective.”
Whether Ekes was really that perceptive or not, it is known that Ekes was not so interested in helping Johnny as in reserving for himself the right of extracting information from Johnny in order to inform on the boy himself—winning himself some jailhouse perks for his trouble, no doubt.  Ekes also questioned Fay closely about his “pals” and tried to pass information to the sheriff, who, of course, had to play along with Ekes’s little game.  But the damage was done.  Johnny no longer wished to speak with Fay.  However, for the first time, Johnny did show emotion.  “[T]he boy had had his suspicions aroused and was almost entirely uncommunicative.  He appeared terribly rattled, and on several occasions appeared on the point of talking.  He made a number of damaging admissions, and it was due to the terrible stage to which he was worked up by the suspicion that a detective was so near him that led to his final breaking down.”

Those who dealt with Johnny face to face in those critical days after the murder left comments which help us to see Johnny’s persona.  Fay indicated that Beall was “as bloodthirsty a young desperado as the famous Jesse Pomeroy” (a 14-year-old serial killer imprisoned in Massachusetts in 1874).  In the presence of the sheriff or another authority, said Fay, Beall “is a sniffling little hypocrite, but when they leave him, he is seen in his true character.”  Specifically, he “would swear like a trooper” and say of his father, “The G-d d-d old s-n of a b-h, why don’t he get me out of here?”[xii]  Why, indeed?

Reno Evening Gazette Story
On August 2, the Reno Evening Gazette carried the following story:
“John Beall, 13 years old, who has been in jail for six weeks on the charge of killing his mother, has made the following confession: ‘On June 13th the boy was at home alone with his mother at the farm house and about 4 o’clock, he alarmed the neighbors by saying that 3 tramps had killed his mother, and that he was asleep but awakened in time to see them leaving with a watch and some money.  The watch has since been found where he admits he hid it. He had shot his mother twice and then nearly beheaded her with an axe.  It is supposed he was with the dead body three hours before giving the alarm.  No motive for the crime is assigned, except that he was angry at what seemed to be favoritism shown to his sister by his mother.’”[xiii]

Putting together the statements of the witnesses, the coroner, and the boy himself, as they are recorded in various news accounts of the day, we can begin to see what happened in the Beall home on the day of the murder.

According to persons who knew the family, the boy was “refractory” and had been causing his mother a lot of trouble.  The week of the murder he had argued with her at the breakfast table and had “made her take back all she said,” which shows the disrespect with which he treated his mother and the dominance he may have held over her.  On the day of the murder, Johnny had planned to go to town with his mother to buy a new set of clothes, a telling piece of information recorded only by the Mitchell, South Dakota, Republican. 

However, for some reason, that did not happen.  Perhaps Johnny had been acting up and his mother decided the trip could wait until Johnny was more amenable. So, the father and sister left for town at 1:00, leaving an upset, perhaps seething Johnny, at home with his mother. 

What started the downward spiral that resulted in the violence that led to Nancy's death?  In his statement to the authorities, Johnny said something in passing that may offer a clue.  To be specific, he stated that his mother had accused him of not hitching the horses for his father.  Johnny seemed curious to know if Nancy had told his father about this.  Perhaps he viewed it as another example of his mom's supposed opposition to him.  She replied that she had indeed told the father that (from her viewpoint perhaps), Johnny had been negligent in his duties. 

From this distance, we can never learn the truth of exactly what happened, but Johnny explained it (or explained it away) by saying that he had hitched up the horses, but not in the usual spot.  He tells the officers that his mother “had not thought of that.” This exchange, which followed fast on the heels of  Nancy's refusal to take Johnny shopping, may have been the trigger that set Johnny off. 

From Johnny's point of view, he was tired of his mother favoring his sister, refusing him some R&R, and telling his father about his real or imagined shortcomings.  From Nancy's point of view, Johnny's sulking, lipping off, disrespect, and malingering were just getting too much to handle.  No doubt, they argued.  Later, in his confession, he would say that his mother “whipped him,” which sent him into a fury.

The fuse was lit, and Johnny lost control. At this point, the physical evidence can help us understand what took place. The coroner noted in his report, for example, that two revolvers and an axe were found next to the body. About one gun, the coroner said that four chambers were empty.  He also noted that there were two bullet wounds and two holes in the ceiling, where, supposedly, the bullets became embedded.  But with four chambers empty, how do we account for the other two? 
1877 Colt with no safety

Of course, it's possible that when Johnny picked up the gun, two chambers were already empty.  Most revolvers in the late nineteenth century did not have a hammer block, a safety that is nowadays built into a revolver to prevent the gun from going off if accidentally dropped.  As a result, in an effort to prevent mishap, gun owners would typically leave the chamber immediately below the hammer empty.  If that was indeed Mr. Beall’s practice, that would account for another chamber, leaving only one to explain.  Does the scenario provided by Johnny give any clues?

In his eventual confession, Johnny finally admitted that he murdered his mother “in a fit of anger” following the whipping.  He revealed that “he deliberately set about to take her life in revenge for the chastisement.”  One likely scenario for what happened next was that Johnny went outside for his father's ax, using it then to break the hinges on the locked trunk where perhaps Mr. Beall kept his guns.  He then may have taken the gun in order to confront his mother,  causing Nancy to flee in fear for her life.  He ran after her, he stated, and “as she turned, shot her in the face.”[xiv]

The coroner noted that one of the wounds indicated a bullet had entered the left side of Nancy's face at the temple and exited at the orbit of the right eye, which is a somewhat upwardly angled path.  The upward angle combined with the fact that the bullet was found in the ceiling suggests that Nancy had turned to look over her shoulder, which would have lowered her head somewhat. At that moment, Johnny fired into the left side of her face at a somewhat upward angle.

Johnny then stated that as she fell, he “stood over her and again shot.”  The path of the second wound supports this statement.  The second bullet entered the left temporal bone “just back of the eye” and made its exit on the opposite side, passing directly through the brain.  The bullet used to make that shot would logically have penetrated the floor, not the ceiling.  So, how do we account for the second bullet lodged in the ceiling?  Was it from a third discharge?  Certainly it is possible that one of Johnny's shots  went astray—perhaps the first shot and the reason why Nancy looked back over her left shoulder as she tried to escape.  Another possibility is that only two shots were fired, the first one fragmenting and, thus, striking the ceiling in two places, while the second shot went into the floor.  

Still, after two shots to the head, there was life in Nancy.  She raised her head from the floor—the image that later haunted Johnny’s thoughts and kept him from sleeping at night, in the same way that Shakespeare noted people do when burdened by the horror of their actions.  
Brass .45 bullets
It is unknown whether there were any cartridges in the second revolver, but since Johnny now threw down the guns and picked up the rusty ax, it is not unreasonable to conclude that Johnny was out of ammunition.  The reporter stated, “As she raised, he got the ax and split open her head.”  The coroner’s report stated there were “also two ax wounds on the back of the neck, between the head and shoulders, completely severing the spinal column, either of said wounds being sufficient to cause death.”[xv]

In February, 1888, came the sentencing trial. The Evening Bulletin of Maysville, Kentucky, published these details on February 29:  “The closing scene in the horrible Beall murder, that occurred in the afternoon of June 13, took place Monday morning in the criminal court, before Judge Fred Van Derveer, by the appearance of John A. Beall, aged thirteen years, in court and asking to retract his plea of not guilty to murder in the first degree, and entering his plea of guilty to murder in the second in the killing of his mother, Mrs. Nancy Beall, age fifty-one years, which was accepted.

“The judge, after hearing the boy make his plea, asked him if he had anything to say.  He replied that he had not and was then sentenced to imprisonment in the penitentiary during his natural life.  He received the sentence without the least change of countenance, and maintained the same stoical indifference that has characterized his every movement since the perpetration of the shocking murder.”[xvi]

Cell block at Ohio State Penitentiary
before Demolition

John A. Beall, prisoner #19440, was admitted into the Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus, Ohio, on February 29, 1888.  The records provide these details:[xvii]
·        Term: Life
·        Crime: Murder in the second degree
·        Age: 13.
·        Nativity: Ohio.
·        Occupation: None.   
·        Height: 4 feet, 11 ¼ inches.
·        Color of eyes: Light yellow pigment; yellow blue
·        Color of hair: Light brown
·        Complexion: Light
·        General appearance, marks, scars, etc.:  Strong build.  Teeth good.  2 out of upper and lower left jaw.  Boot – 6.  Head – 6 3/4.  Scar on upper edge left forehead.
·        Habits: Temperate (this in contrast to a fellow inmate labeled “Intemperate”)
·        Education: Common (this in contrast to fellow inmates designated “Poor” in education)
·        Statement of Property: None
·        Residence of Relatives: Father Wm, Sister Edith, Eaton, Ohio.
·        Full-Time: Life.
·        Short-Time:  Death or Pardon.
·        When and How Discharged: Pardoned by Governor [Asa S.] Bushnell, Dec.7, 1898.

     During Johnny's time in prison, Court Corwin, the Preble County marshal who had arrested Johnny, started working as a guard at the prison.  One wonders if their paths crossed before Johnny's release.
Ohio State Penitentiary

So, Johnny (or perhaps he now went by John) was discharged at the age of 24 after nearly eleven years of incarceration.  Apparently there was a note in the local newspaper at one point saying John was released on the promise that he not return to Preble County, though this remains unconfirmed.  

What happened to Johnny upon his release?  Well, there is a John A. Beall in the Columbus, Ohio, City Directory of 1899, residing at 482 Armstrong and working as a laborer.  Could this be Johnny one year after his release?  The census records show more than one person named John A. Beall in Ohio at the time, so it is hard to say whether the resident of Columbus is the person who committed murder near Eaton twelve years earlier.   A yellowing, type-written page from a Beall family history offers the  assertion that at the time of his father’s death Johnny was residing in Richmond, Indiana, which is in Wayne County, Indiana, immediately adjacent to Preble County, Ohio, but, if he was there in 1908, he was gone by the time the census was taken in 1910.[xviii]  

It is possible that Johnny changed his name and headed west, where it was still possible to begin fresh in an era before paper identity made it much harder to do so.  The name Beall is often found as Bell in the records, even inside the same newspaper article about the murder.  Did Johnny switch to that variant of his surname and start over?
Perhaps so, but sadly this is not the end of the Beall tragedy.  On the evening of September 20, 1908, William T. Beall, Johnny’s father, now 72 years old, strode outside and set fire to his barn and outbuildings.  He then went back inside the old family home, pulled a rocking chair over to the exact spot where Nancy’s body had been found twenty-one years before, sat down, lifted his revolver, and, as one obituary had it, “blew out his brains.”[xix]
Silverene Watch, 1901

The coroner’s inquest the next day produced these sparse details:  “Blue eyes, black and gray hair; carried 3 bank books, revolver, pocket knife, silverene watch, [bank] note, [and] some money.”[xx]  So the man’s life comes down to the trifles in his pocket and the grief inside his heart.

If one googles “arson suicide,” a number of stories of recent date will emerge.  In some cases, immolation is the cause of death; in others, as with William Beall, a fire is set first and the death comes later by gunshot.  It’s perhaps understandable that a man would become despondent in the circumstances in which Nancy’s husband found himself, but there is more to William’s sad story than appears just in Johnnys tale, awful as that is. 

Certificate of Marriage for William T. Beall and Rebecca Hart
Following a year of service in the Civil War (Co. G, 54th Ohio Infantry) and before his marriage to Nancy, William Beall had married a woman named Rebecca Hart, with whom he had three children: Charles, Mary, and Hannah.  But these children did not reside with their father and step-mother.  In 1880, seven years before the murder of Nancy Beall, these three children are found living with their uncle, Alexander Hart, who is identified as “father” on the census record.  Rebecca Hart had died in 1870, and John Beall had married Nancy the following year.  Together, he and Nancy had a total of five children, only two of whom (Johnny and Edith) survived infancy.  The first was a boy, Jacob, whose death is listed as 1872.  Edith was second with a birth date of July 9, 1872.  Johnny was third, being born November 14, 1874, but interestingly he had a fraternal twin, a girl named Jandora.  Among William Beall’s many losses was the loss of this baby daughter to chicken pox on June 23, 1875, aged seven months.  But this was not all.  Baby boy Harry Beall, born in April 1879, died at the age of 3 months and 18 days the following July 13.  
Certificate of Marriage for William T. Beall and Nancy Gard

Daughter Edith had married in 1892 but at the time of her father’s suicide was still residing in Preble County, Ohio, with her husband, Robert Omar Bonebrake.  The United States Census of 1910 shows that they had continued in residence there at least two years after Beall’s suicide.  However, by 1922 they had moved on.  The city directory for Whittier, California, shows Robert Bonebrake, carpenter, residing there with his wife Edith in 1922, and the United States census for 1930 shows the two in Azusa township of Los Angeles County, where Robert had become a rancher.  

Rebecca Hart’s children had also gone their own ways.  Charles married and by 1910 had moved to Washington state; it is unknown if he and his wife Ellen were still in Preble County in 1908, when William committed suicide.  Hannah had married a piano tuner named James Stallard and was living in Indianapolis.  Mary seems not to have married and disappears from the record.   None of William’s children—neither those of Rebecca Hart nor those of Nancy Gard—seem to have borne children of their own.  So, in addition to losing two wives and three children to untimely deaths, William Beall seems to have had no grandchildren to comfort him as he grew old, feeble, and alone.

Does the elder Beall’s act of burning down his barn and other outbuildings suggest a desire to prevent anyone else (say, Johnny, nearly 34 now, for example) from having the use of the property?  Had son Johnny made an appearance in the county, raising the ire suppressed in his father’s heart for years?  Had bad relations between his son-in-law, his Hart relatives, or the Gards driven him to despondency?  Would it be proper even to speculate that the instability seen in Johnny Beall was perhaps shared, to some degree, by his father?  Is it even beyond the boundaries of reason to wonder whether Johnny (if he did indeed live just across the state border in Ohio) showed up at his father's farm and committed a second murder?  That, of course, is pure speculation, perhaps fueled by twenty-first century crime drama, but deserves voicing nonetheless.

The world wags on.  Youthful psychopathic murderers continue to make headlines.  Psychologists study and study and study, trying to account for such behavior with every possible explanation and a list of disorders and symptoms as long as your arm.  Yet no one can say with any certitude what causes the behavior of a psychopath.

Johnny Beall entered prison in 1888.  He was released back into society in 1898.  His father killed himself ten years later in 1908.  Twenty years of misery for the father, and who knows what for Johnny.

William T. Beall's Headstone

Gard Cemetery, Preble County, Ohio
All that remains now are the graves in the Gard Cemetery in Preble County, Ohio: Rebecca Hart Beall, Nancy Gard Beall, Jandora Beall, Harry Beall, Jacob Beall, and William T. Beall alongside Nancy’s parents, Little John Gard and Nancy Wright Gard, as well as Nancy’s sister, “Aunt Hannah.”  Some of the graves are marked, but not Nancy’s. The earth holds her whereabouts a secret.

[i] “Horror of Horrors.” Eaton Register. 16 June 1887.
[ii] Eaton Register. 23 Jun 1887.
[iii] Dock is a broadleaf weed of the genus Rumex, related to buckwheat
[iv] Reno Evening Gazette. Reno, Nevada. 2 Aug 1887. p. 2.; Eaton Register. 16 Jun 1887.
[v] “Eaton Etchings.” New Paris Mirror. 16 Jun 1887.
[vi] Eaton Register. 16 Jun 1887.
[vii] Special Dispatch to the Cincinnati Enquirer. 2 Aug 1887.
[viii] Special Dispatch to the Cincinnati Enquirer. 2 Aug 1887
[ix] Special Dispatch to the Cincinnati Enquirer. 2 Aug 1887
[x] Special Dispatch to the Cincinnati Enquirer. 2 Aug 1887
[xi] The information about the detective’s ruse is from “A Horrible Story,” Cincinnati Enquirer. 2 Aug 1887.
[xii] Special Dispatch to the Cincinnati Enquirer. 2 Aug 1887.
[xiii] Reno Evening Gazette. Reno, Nevada. 2 Aug 1887. p. 2.
[xiv] Special Dispatch to the Cincinnati Enquirer. 2 Aug 1887.
[xv] Special Dispatch to the Cincinnati Enquirer. 2 Aug 1887.
[xvi] Johnny Beall, of Eaton, Sentenced to the Penitentiary for Life.” The Evening Bulletin. Maysville, Kentucky. 29 Feb 1888.
[xvii] Ohio Penitentiary Register of Prisoners and Index. Vol. 14. Dec. 1886 – Feb 1889.
[xviii] Footpaths.  Beall Family File.  Preble County Room.  Preble County Library.  Eaton, Ohio. n.d.
[xix] Sentinel. Woodsfield, Ohio.  22 Sept 1908.
[xx] Notes of the Coroner’s Inquest: 21 Sept 1908. Preble County Courthouse. Filed 3 Oct 1908.
A special thank you to astronomer, Ed Ting, who gave permission to use his photo of the moon in its last quarter phase.  See Ed's web site at .