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Town of Wellsville Related Articles

The Murder of Cyrenus Howland in Wellsville (1876)

Articles transcribed by Suzette Pondillo.


 

Allegany County Democrat
March 10, 1876

MURDER IN WELLSVILLE

CYRENUS HOWLAND KILLED.

The Alleged Perpetrators of the Crime Under Arrest!
Sad Commentary on the Youth of Wellsville.
GREAT EXCITEMENT!


On Tuesday evening last, at about half-past ten o’clock, Mr. Cyrenus Howland, a young man 21 years of age, who resided at Shoemakers Corners, about 4 miles east of this village, was murdered in the village of Wellsville, by supposed certain youthful desperadoes of this village, who are now in the custody of Deputy Sheriff S. A. Elliott. From the evidence before the Coroner’s jury and the verdict rendered by them, the parties implicated in this horrible affair are William Higgins, Edward Kinney, George Wheeler, Christopher Higgins, and Frank Stannard – that two former being now under arrest for committing the murder, the others for aiding and abetting the same. They are all boys from 14 to 19 years of age. It appears that on Tuesday night, Mr. Cyrenus Howland was at the Opera House, where the town board were canvassing votes. In the room were a crowd of boys who were engaged in molesting an old man by the name of Milton Ripenbark, who was considerably intoxicated. Mr. Howland interfered in behalf of the intoxicated man, when the boys turned their attention to him, pushing him about the hall, throwing herring at him, and insulting him otherwise. He endeavored to keep out of their way, but the crowd of boys as persistently followed him up. At one time they nearly pushed him over the railing at the head of the stairs. Finally, he took hold of Kinney with the intention of taking him down stairs, but let loose of him without carrying out his resolution. The boys were now highly incensed, and made so much noise and disturbance that they were driven out of the hall by Justice John S. Lee. Threats against the person of Howland were made by the boys, and before they left the hall young Wheeler handed Kinney the butt of a whip stalk which he had concealed about his person, saying, “take this, Ed, you may want to use it.” When Howland started for home he met the crowd of boys standing along the sidewalk in front of the Opera House, who commenced insulting him. He grabbed hold of Kinney, who seemed to be the leader of the boys, and knocked him off the sidewalk into the mud. About this time a whip stalk whisked about the air, and Howland started on a run towards home. When he had reached the corner of Simmons store a stick of stove wood, supposed to have been thrown by William Higgins, struck him on the back of the head, felling him to the ground. Uttering a sharp cry, he arose and again started on a run towards home, the crowd of boys following him as far as the river bridge. About 40 rods east of Hill’s tannery Howland’s comrades found him bathing his head with water, and complaining of a severe pain in his head. He said Kinney had tried to stab him with a knife, and showed where his pants had been cut. His comrades, having no idea that the injuries he had received were of a very serious character, left him as he was climbing a fence on his way to his sister’s house, a few rods distant. It is supposed he fell from the fence, as he was found on the ground near it on Wednesday morning, in an unconscious state, having remained there all night exposed to the cold and wet, which fact, however, the physicians assert, prolonged rather than hastened his death. He was taken to his sister’s residence where he died on Thursday morning, at 3:20 o’clock.

A coroner’s inquest was held on Friday, the proceedings of which we give below. Great excitement prevails, and summary justice will be meted out to the perpetrators of this heinous deed. The neglect of parental discipline has worked its legitimate fruits. The five boys mentioned in the coroner’s jury verdict have been taken to jail to await the action of the grand jury.

Dr. Randall Reed being sworn, says: Live in Wellsville; am a practicing physician; have seen the deceased in question, Cyrenus Howland; held a post mortem examination Thursday afternoon; on removing the scalp I found an echymosis, and other evidences of two blows on the right side of the head upon the temporal bone; one blow was upon the temporal bone back of the ear, which divided the scalp about three inches; the other blow was between the ear and eye, which fractured the external table of the bone, but did not fracture the internal table; on removing the skull from the brain, I found an extravasation or clot a little above and in front of the aforesaid blows, immediately over the right eye; the amount of said clot was about 4 ounces, which caused a corresponding compression of the brain and which was the immediate cause of his death; the extravasation of blood was caused by the blow or blows; the hardest blow and the one that done the most injury, was the one over the right eye.

Mr. Chauncy Hill being sworn, says: Live in Wellsville, was in the village on the night of the 7th of March; started for home about half past 10 o’clock in the evening; knew Cyrenus Howland; saw him first that night in the Opera House; Howland left the hall first; saw him after he left the hall on the railroad track, about 45 rods east of Hill’s tannery; did not see any one strike him; hear some one say “there was that stick of wood he struck him with”; (a stick was produced which he swore looked like the one – a stick of stove wood); on the corner of Simmons Opera House saw a boy with a stick of wood, and he said “that was the stick of wood he hit the d---d cuss with,” or words to that effect; more than one boy there; was between 20 or 30 boys with him; saw the boy pick the stick of wood out of the mud. (He swears to the best of his knowledge that the stick of wood produced in the court room, was the stick that the boy held, but could not describe the boy.)

Llwellyn Gowdy being sworn, says: Live in Wellsville; know the deceased; was in the village on the night of the 7th of March; Howland left the village before I did; overtook Howland about 40 rods from Hill’s tannery, and went along with him; had conversation with him; he said he was either hit with a sling-shot or stick of wood; said he thought he could tell who hit him if he could see him again; I was the last one with him; I left him near the place where he was found; next saw him in the house; called frequently to see him until he died; he died Thursday morning at about half past eight; when I was at Z. H. Jones’ residence, a crowd of 30 or 40 boys stood opposite and threw stones over where I was; Mr. Howland was armed; had a revolver; I asked him why he didn’t shoot them; he said he didn’t want to hurt the little fellows, but he should if they had followed him much further; Howland said he recognized one boy – his name was Kinney – who stabbed at him with a knife, cutting him in the pants, a slit about 5 inches long in the groin; he said he had a bunch on his head and he was hurt pretty bad; he stopped several times on the way and wet his head with water and snow.

Amos Smith being sworn, says: Live in Wellsville; know the deceased; I was in the village on the night of the 7th of March; Howland went out of the hall on the sidewalk and got into a few words with Kinney; Howland had hold of Kinney, and when I turned round to look for our boys, Howland and the boys were on the run, the boys chasing Howland up to the river bridge; I found Howland near a puddle of water, bathing his temple; I walked up with him, a few rods in advance.

Devillo Elliott, being sworn, says: Live in Wellsville; know the deceased; was in the village on the night of the 7th. Milton Ripenbark was in the Opera House, and the boys were picking at him; Howland took Ripenbark’s part, and the boys began at Howland; threw fish at deceased; got ready to go home; I and Mr. Howland went down stairs together; going down stairs the boys threw fish and paper-wads at us; went back to see what it meant; stayed up there some little time; commenced throwing stuff at him, and Howland said he guessed he could put the Kinney down stairs, and took hold of him; Kinney boy took something out of his pocket, that looked like a stick of some kind; Howland then let go of him and said he did not want a fuss with so small boys. Howland came down stairs again immediately after I did. The boys stood in a row on the sidewalk. The Kinney boy seemed to be the head leader, and asked if he wanted anything of them. Howland told them to go away; he didn’t want anything to do with the little snots. They kept crowding around him, and he took hold of the Kinney boy and hit him on the back of the head and then threw him off the sidewalk. The boys stood around there with clubs and stones and began to sling them at Howland. He started on a run, some of the boys ahead of him, the rest behind chasing him; he turned to the right on the corner near the Opera House, and as he turned one of the boys threw a stick of wood at him, hitting him on the right shoulder and on the side of his head over his right eye. I next saw him above Hill’s tannery. The boy that threw the club, looked as if he had on a light colored coat; was a good sized boy. I think I should have known him if it had been the Kinney boy. All of the boys were armed with something, and threw sticks and other missiles at him.

Dr. H.H. Nye being sworn: Corroborates the statement of Dr. Reed, as regards the immediate cause of Howland’s death. First saw Howland Wednesday morning about 10 o’clock; he was in a comatose state and [missing section].

An effort has been made by Mr. John Stannard, and others of this village, to secure the release from jail, on bail, of Frank Stannard, Mit. Wheeler and Christopher Higgins, the three implicated in the Coroner’s verdict, of “aiding and abetting” the murder of Cyrenus Howland. Upon a writ of habeas corpus, the boys were taken into court at Angelica, before Judge Green, and the matter was argued by J.A. Sanford for the prisoners, and the District Attorney, Charles Flenagin, for the people, on Thursday of last week. The judge upon hearing the evidence and argument, concluded not to bail them, and the Coroner was cited to appear, with his testimony taken on the inquisition, before the Court on Monday last. He did so appear, and the testimony on the inquisition was re-opened, and heard by the Judge. Although the court was of the opinion that the evidence, verdict and commitment were somewhat irregular yet he did not deem himself justified in admitting the prisoners to bail. The boys will, therefore, remain in jail until the next term of court in June, when those that are indicted will be tried, and their guilt or innocence established.


Allegany County Reporter
March 8, 1876

MURDER IN WELLSVILLE!

A Young Man Brutally Assaulted
HIS BOY MURDERERS IN CUSTODY

Yesterday afternoon and evening a gang of precocious youths, as is their wont whenever occasion offers, commenced to maltreating Milton Ripenbark, a man past middle age, given to intoxication, and kept up the abuse of him until late in the evening, upon the streets and in the Opera House where the votes were being counted.

A young man by the name of Serenas [Cyrenus] Howland, living with his father, Herman Howland at Elm Valley, having a sister living near Ripenbark’s, endeavored to prevail upon him to go home, saying that he would accompany him.

The inspectors of election annoyed at the noise and confusion made by the young roughs, drove them down stairs, where they laid in wait for Ripenbark and young Howland.

When they made their appearance at the foot of the stairs, young Howland was set upon by the crowd, and one armed with a stick of stove wood, struck the young man upon the head fracturing the outer table of the temporal portion of the skull, and another following up with a blow upon the back of the head with a similar weapon.

He soon after started for his sister’s, and when within five or six rods of the house, fell to the ground, where he lay until nine o’clock this morning, exposed to the cold and wet, in an unconscious state. Dr. Nye was called and found him in a very critical condition. At two o’clock this p.m., he was still in a comatose state and grave fears are still entertained as to his ultimate recovery.

A cut upon his pants across the thigh was discovered, fully five inches in length the knife just grazing the skin. Officers Deputy Sheriff Elliott and William Spicer arrested Edward Kinney, Christopher Higgins, George Wheeler, James Cary, Harry Hendricks, William Higgins and Patsy Connors. Warrants have been issued for several others. The examination will take place tomorrow morning before Esq. Foster. Meanwhile these young Villains will occupy our splendid lock-up.

LATER – The young man Howland lingered in an unconscious state until 8:20 o’clock, this Thursday morning, when he breathed his last. This terrible affair has created intense excitement throughout our entire village. Many families are thus brought to grief from the waywardness of their sons, who have been allowed to be in the streets at all hours of the day and night, without parental restraint and advice. We forbear comments as we would not add one word to wound the feelings of the parents of these young law breakers.

The Coroner has been sent for and the examination will proceed as soon as he arrives. We will publish the testimony as given, next week.


 

Allegany County Reporter
March 15, 1876

THE WELLSVILLE MURDER!

FUNERAL OF THE VICTIM!

Commitment of the Murderers
Coroner’s Inquest!
TESTIMONY AND VERDICT!

There was intense excitement , mingled with strong feelings of horror, in our village as the news quickly spread last Thursday of the death of Cyrenus Howland, from the effects of the assault upon him Tuesday night, only a simple mention of which we were able to crowd into last week’s REPORTER. It formed the principal topic of conversation on the streets and every bit of rumor in regard to it was quickly seized and eagerly commented upon. The seven boys then in custody were kept in confinement in the fire rooms over York & Chamberlain’s bank, from which quarters they were removed to the lock-up Friday morning which had been better prepared for their reception. The Coroner arrived Thursday afternoon, and after summoning his jury viewed the body lying at the place of death about two miles above the village. In the evening the examination was continued in Justice Foster’s office and adjourned until the next morning to the Opera House, where the examination was held during the entire day.

After supper the jury retired to make up their verdict and an anxious crowd waited until they finally came in with their work completed, about nine o’clock. By the terms of the verdict four of those then in custody were admitted to bail as not being especially implicated in the killing although being in the crowd that set upon the young man. These four, Harry Hendricks, James Cary, Patsy Connors and William Robinson had friends present and their bail bonds were drawn up and they were immediately released from custody, having been in charge since Tuesday noon.

Before the verdict was made public Frank Stannard, who had not yet been arrested, and who was returned as an accessory, was found by an officer and placed with his comrades.

On Saturday two processions passed beyond the boundaries of our town. One conveyed to our county jail the five boys named in the verdict, the other accompanied the body of their victim to his burial place.

The funeral of young Howland at the Proctor school house was very largely attended but a small portion of the people being able to gain admission to the building. Sixty-five teams joined in the procession to Elm Valley, where he was interred. Rev. Mr. Coit delivered the address. The deceased was a young man of noble bearing, pleasant and peaceful disposition, and the fact that while he was armed and refrained from using his weapon indicates wonderful forbearance thro’ extreme provocation. All the testimony taken before the coroner, together with the verdict, is given below, and we heartily hope that it will be a long while before we shall have to chronicle such a death as this as a local occurrence.

Dr. Randall Reed being sworn, says: Live in Wellsville; am a practicing physician; have seen the deceased in question, Cyrenus Howland; held a post mortem examination Thursday afternoon; on removing the scalp I found an echymosis, and other evidences of two blows on the right side of the head upon the temporal bone back of the ear, which divided the scalp about three inches; the other blow was between the ear and eye, which fractured the external table of the bone, but did not fracture the internal table; on removing the skull from the brain, I found an extravasation or clot a little above and in front of the aforesaid blows, immediately over the right eye; the amount of said clot was about 4 ounces, which caused a corresponding compression of the brain and which was the immediate cause of his death; the extravasation of blood was caused by the blow or blows; the hardest blow and the one that done the most injury, was the one over the right eye.

Mr. Chauncy Hill being sworn, says: Live in Wellsville; was in the village on the night of the 7th of March; started for home about half past 10 o’clock in the evening; knew Cyrenus Howland; saw him first that night in the Opera House; Howland left the hall first; saw him after he left the hall on the railroad track, about 45 rods east of Hill’s tannery; did not see any one strike him; heard some one say “there was the stick of wood he struck him with”; (a stick was produced which he swore looked like the one – a stick of stove wood); on the corner of Simmons Opera House saw a boy with a stick of wood, and he said “that was the stick of wood he hit the d----d cuss with,” or words to that effect; more than one boy there; was between 20 or 30 boys with him; saw the boy pick the stick of wood out of the mud. (He swears to the best of his knowledge that the stick of wood produced in the court room was the stick that the boy held, but could not describe the boy).

Llwellyn Gowdy being sworn, says: Live in Wellsville; know the deceased; was in the village on the night of the 7th of March; Howland left the village before I did; overtook Howland about 40 rods from Hill’s tannery, and went along with him; had conversation with him; he said he was either hit with a sling-shot or stick of wood; said he thought he could tell who hit him if he could see him again; I was the last one with him; I left him near the place where he was found; next saw him in the house; called frequently to see him until he died; he died Thursday morning at about half past eight; when I was at Z. H. Jones’ residence, a crowd of 30 or 40 boys stood opposite and threw stones over where I was; Mr. Howland was armed; had a revolver; I asked him why he didn’t shoot them; he said he didn’t want to hurt the little fellows, but he should if they had followed him much further; Howland said he recognized one boy – his name was Kinney – who stabbed at him with a knife, cutting him in the pants, a slit about 5 inches long in the groin; he said he had a bunch on his head and he was hurt pretty bad; he stopped several times on the way and wet his head with water and snow.

Amos Smith, being sworn, says: Live in Wellsville, know the deceased; I was in the village on the night of the 7th of March; Howland went out of the hall on the sidewalk and got into a few words with Kinney; Howland had hold of Kinney, and when I turned round to look for our boys, Howland and the boys were on the run, the boys chasing Howland up to the river bridge; I found Howland near a puddle of water, bathing his temple; I walked up with him, a few rods in advance.

Devillo Elliott, being sworn, says: Live in Wellsville; know the deceased; was in the village on the night of the 7th. Milton Ripenbark was in the Opera House, and the boys were picking at him; Howland took Ripenbark’s part, and the boys began at Howland; threw fish at deceased; got ready to go home; I and Mr. Howland went down stairs together; going down stairs the boys threw fish and paper-wads at us; went back to see what it meant; stayed up there some little time; commenced throwing stuff at him and Howland said he guessed he could put the Kinney boy down stairs, and took hold of him; Kinney boy took something out of his pocket that looked like a stick of some kind; Howland then let go of him and said he did not want a fuss with so small boys. Howland came down stairs again immediately after I did. The boys stood in a row on the sidewalk. The Kinney boys seemed to be the head leader, and asked if he wanted anything of them. Howland told them to go away; he didn’t want anything to do with the little snots. They kept crowding around him, and he took hold of the Kinney boy and hit him on the back of the head and then threw him off the sidewalk. The boys stood around there with clubs and stones and began to sling them at Howland. He started on a run; some of the boys ahead of him, the rest behind chasing him; he turned to the right on the corner near the Opera House, and as he turned one of the boys threw a stick of wood at him, hitting him on the right shoulder and on the side of his head over his right eye. I next saw him above Hill’s tannery. The boy that threw the club, looked as if he had on a light colored coat; was a good sized boy. I think I should have known him if it had been the Kinney boy. All of the boys were armed with something, and threw sticks and other missiles at him.

Dr. H.H. Nye being sworn: Corroborates the statement of Dr. Reed, as regards the immediate cause of Howland’s death. First saw Howland Wednesday morning about 10 o’clock; he was in a comatose state and reaction had not established itself; his lying out for 9 hours during that cold storm, prolonged his life, strange as it may seem.

Daniel Studer, sworn says: Was in the village on the night of the 7th; was at the Opera House; the boys were picking a fuss with Milton Ripenbark. Howland told them they had better let him alone, then the boys commenced at him, calling him names and pushing him around the hall, and came near knocking him over the railing. When Howland left the hall, the boys threw fish at him. At the foot of the stairs on the sidewalk, some of the boys said, speaking of Howland, “there is the big son of a bitch.” Howland made no reply. Kinney called him a son of a bitch, and wanted to know if he wanted anything of him. Howland grabbed at him and shoved him off the sidewalk. Howland then started on a run toward home, the boys chasing him, shouting “catch the son of a bitch.” Howland said the Kinney boy had a knife in his hand and wouldn’t have touched him if it hadn’t been for that.

Wesley Hurd, sworn, says: Live near Hill’s tannery, was at the Opera House, on election night; Howland and I came up together; boys commenced picking at us and throwing fish, some of them hitting Howland in the face; Howland and I went down stairs together, and to Pittenger’s meat market; the boys following us over; this was before 10 o’clock; came back into the hall together, stayed a while and then started for home. Mr. Howland and Elliott coming behind me. Went back into the Opera House again; boys commenced throwing fish again; Kinney came to Howland and wanted to know if he said he had thrown fish at him? Howland said yes, and clutched Kinney and was going to take him down stairs. As Howland grabbed him, Frank Stannard, John Shanley, Milton Wheeler, a Cary boy, and a Higgins boy that lives on the West side of the river, interfered and told Howland “to let loose of him, I guess you won’t take him down unless you take the rest of us, he wasn’t the boy that threw the fish.” Howland then let loose of him. The boys then went down stairs and dared Howland to come down; Howland wouldn’t go down; said he wouldn’t be guilty of having a fuss with little boys, and remained in the room. Allen told me Howland had gone down stairs and the boys were all after him. He met Howland on th way home, and he said he had a lump on the side of his head made by a sling shot or a stick of wood. Witness saw the cut on his pants. The boys had the fight before he left the Opera House.

Frank C. Torry, sworn, says: Live in Wellsville; know Howland by sight; was in the Opera House, and saw George Wheeler give Ed Kinney a club; the club was about twelve inches long, the butt end of a whip stalk. Wheeler handed it to Kinney and said “here Ed you may want to use this” and Kinney put it under his coat; this was before the riot, and was about half-past nine o’clock. The whip stalk was very heavy and of sufficient weight to kill a man. At the time the whip stalk was handed to Kinney, Howland was standing on the opposite side of the stove. I thought it was intended to have a row with Howland. Will Higgins and Wheeler were with Kinney at the stove.

Alexander White, being sworn, says: Live in Wellsville, was in Opera House town meeting night; left about 11 o’clock; saw riotous conduct in the room; boys were making quite a noise; crowded around Howland and was picking a fuss with him; Howland took one of the boys by the collar, and told him if he didn’t behave he would take him out of the room; Preston stepped up to Howland and said something and he let go of the boy; then Howland stepped to the head of the stairs and it seemed as if he wanted to go down but was afraid of the boys; the boys gathered around him, and officer Hewitt was near him; Howland stood there nearly half an hour quietly; Howland then went down stairs; as he went down, the boys made a rush down stairs after him, howling like a set of demons; when Howland had hold of Kinney, Kinney said he would fix him if he didn’t let him alone.

William Martin being sworn, says: Live in Wellsville; the next morning after town meeting saw Christopher Higgins; he said “we had quite a row here, last night, and ran one man out of town – the big, tall fellow, that was at the Opera House, that Ed Kinney had some words with”; I asked him if the man was hurt; he said he didn’t know, but he saw Ed Kinney strike him across the face with that whip stalk that Milton Wheeler gave him up in the hall; I asked him if he knew anybody else who hit him, and he said William Higgins stood on the corner, and as Howland pass him by, he saw William Higgins hit him on the side of the head with a stick of wood, and Howland fell off the sidewalk and yelled and got up and run again; I asked him if he hit him, and he said he did, with a stick of wood on the back of the head, a smaller stick than Higgins hit him with; he said “come here, I will show you the stick I hit him with”; he showed me the sticks; they lay on the corner of the Opera House building by the side of the street; he told me that Milton Wheeler struck Howland with a stone; I went with office Hewitt and showed him the sticks of wood and he took them; Ed Kinney told me in the Fassett House that he hit him with a stick across the face – with a whip stalk; he said Milton Wheeler struck him with a stone in the back, and Milton said “Yes”; in the hall on election night, he heard Milton Wheeler say he had given Ed Kinney something that would fix him, meaning Howland.

Christopher Higgins (one of the parties arrested) being sworn, says: I am 15 years old; never sworn before; live in Wellsville; the night of town meeting saw Howland; saw Bill Higgins hit him with a stick of wood on the head; I think Howland was at the corner of State Street when he was hit; I saw no other person hit him; there was not many boys about when he hit him; Howland started and run, and should think there was 6 or 7 that followed him; don’t know another one of the boys that had sticks or stones or clubs to their hands, waiting for Howland.

Thomas Shaler sworn, says: Live in Wellsville; am fifteen years old. At the foot of the stairs the Kinney boy stood by the table; Howland came down stairs and Kinney and him got to talking, and all at once he took hold of Kinney and was striking him pretty hard; then I saw a stick whirl in the crowd and hit Howland on the head, and then Howland ran. I think it was Higgins that struck him; the crowd all said it was Higgins that struck him. About a dozen ran after him. I went over the river with Higgins that night. He said going over that “when the ‘buckwheats’ came down they cleaned them out.” Saw in that crowd in the disturbance William Higgins, Edward Kinney, George Wheeler and William Robinson.

John Shaler sworn says: Am thirteen years old; was never sworn before. Live in Wellsville; work for O.P. Taylor. Was at the Opera House night of town meeting; saw disturbance in hall. Going home that night had a conversation with William Higgins; Higgins said he struck him on the head with a stick of wood and he’d be he would have a big head on him by morning – he had staffed his head for him. Higgins is a terror to other boys, they are all afraid of him. Bill Higgins and Edward Kinney were the leaders of the boys that night. In the crowd was William Higgins, Christopher Higgins, John Stein, John Shanley, Patsy Connors, Frank Stannard, George Hendricks, George Pullar, Charles Frank.

Nicholas C. Sturm, sworn, says: Live in Wellsville; am twenty-one years of age; saw Milton Wheeler and on Wednesday morning at the Fassett House and had a talk with him; he told me “we almost killed a country ‘buckwheat’ last night;” he said that he run and he (Wheeler) run after him and hit him on the back of the head and sent him. No other conversation about the affair.

William R. Bliss sworn, says: I had a talk with Milton Wheeler before the arrest. I was in the barber shop of the Fassett House, and he said “we had a row last night, and run some country ‘buckwheats’ out of town and gave one of them a punch in the back of the head.”

Dr. H. H. Nye recalled. Said the blow over the eye must have been caused by some instrument of a convex surface, the blow on the back of the head by some instrument of an acute angle like a stick of wood. Could hardly have broke his skull by falling from a fence.

David Allen sworn, says: I know Howland; I was here the night of town meeting. The boys were pushing against Howland and throwing fish at him in the hall; when I went down stairs stopped there a few minutes; saw some of the boys sorting out wood, and two of them went out into the road and picked up stones. One of them said “boys let’s have fair play about this thing – don’t let’s use stones or wood.” One of them said, “By Jesus I sha’nt do it, when he comes down stairs I’ll split his d---d brains out.” Couldn’t tell who the boy was; was a tall slim boy and had on a light coat; don’t think I would recognize him now. The boy that picked up the stones was Frank Stannard; the rest of them I don’t know; there were 15 or 20 of the boys, most of whom were armed with sticks of wood.

Dr. M. Macken sworn, says: Had a conversation with George Wheeler Tuesday night after the riot; he said they had cleaned out a countryman; said Howland picked Kinney up and threw him into the road. They followed him up and Higgins gave him a welt that settled him, after which he took to his heels and “G—d you ought to see him travel up the road.” He said there was twenty or thirty of us in the fuss.

William Higgins, (one of the boys arrested) was called. Hon. H. Bemis, counsel for the prisoner, advised him to say nothing about the matter. The prisoner stood up and David Allen was called to recognize him, but could not.

Edward Hanson, being sworn, says: Live about a mile out of the village; I was here the night of town meeting, and saw disturbance among the boys; I recognized William Higgins who was called in, to be one of the boys that was picking upon Mr. Howland; saw William Higgins on the corner of State Street; saw him running from the direction of Clark’s store towards the corner of Simmons store; when he come up he held up a stick of wood he had in his hand and said “this is the stick I hit the d----d cuss with”; I was within four feet of him when he made the remark; I asked him who the boys hit and one of them said, that big, tall fellow; I remember John Shanly being on the corner, also Ed Kinney, and that is all I know by name: remember William Higgins because he hit me in the face with a fish in the hall and I kept watch of him; Edward Kinney appeared to be the leader of the boys.

Fred Walsh, sworn, says: I was here the night of town meeting. When I was going down stairs out of the Opera House, one of the boys, Frank Stannard, said, “We have fixed one of the boys and we will fix him” meaning me. One of the boys, I think it was Stannard, stepped up in front of me, and said “What did you call us fellows sons of bitches for, up in the hall?” I said because you threw fish at me. The boys crowded around me and one said, “throw him down,” and another one “knock him down.” I hit him in the ponch with an umbrella and doubled him up, and I ran across the road, and they followed me to Gordon’s old billiard building; I had a brick in my pocket which I threw at them and then ran.

Lucien N. Whiting, sworn, says: I have seen the butt end of a whip stalk, shown be by George Wheeler, abut the 1st of December, and recognize the one shown me now as the one he had then, and saw the same on his person about two weeks ago. I advised him to throw it away as it might get him into trouble.

Duncan McEwen, sworn says: I was here town meeting night; got here on No. 1, at 10 o’clock. I saw John Stein, Frank Stannard, Edward Kinney, and Jack Shanley. Thomas Shalue, Jack Shalue. Have seen none of the boys since. There was forty or fifty or more. I went down the road as far as Jones’ orchard, and came back with John Stein. Was not here when the fight commenced.

George Pullar being sworn, says: I was at the foot of the stairs of the Opera House town meeting night; there was a crowd down there. I was there when boys ran down the road; they were running after Howland and Stuter; I am acquainted with the boys that were there; --- Cary, Christopher Higgins, William Higgins, Edward Kinney, William Robinson; after the fight Christopher Higgins had a stick on his shoulder. Edward Kinney told him he had hit him with that thing, meaning the butt of a whip-stalk, across the mouth.

Evidence before the coroner’s jury closed.

CORONER’S VERDICT

State of New York, county of Allegany: Inquisition taken at Wellsville, Allegany county, State of New York, on March 10th, 1876, before George St. John, one of the coroners of said county, upon view of the body of Cyrenus Howland, then and there lying dead, upon the oath of Norman Hills, Jason B. Macken, Alexander Smith, Alden Richards, Robert A. Crittenden, Harrison G. White, Edward B. Curtiss, Lorenzo Davis and Orville P. Taylor, good and lawful men of said county, being duly summoned and sworn to inquire into all the circumstances attending the death of the said Cyrenus Howland, and by whom the same was produced, and in what manner, and whom and where the said Cyrenus Howland came to his death, do say upon their oaths aforesaid, that one William Higgins and Edward Kinney, of Wellsville, Allegany county, New York, on Tuesday evening, March 7th, 1876, at or about 10:30 p.m., in front of Simmons Opera House in Wellsville, said county, feloniously and with malice aforethought, made an assault upon the body of Cyrenus Howland, then, and there present, and the aforesaid William Higgins and Edward Kinney, with a stick of wood and the butt end of a whip stalk, (the same being presented to the jury) violently and with aforethought inflicted mortal wounds upon the right side of the head, the same being two separate and distinct wounds, the one on the temple, above and behind the right eye, and the other above and behind the right ear, of the said Cyrenus Howland, of which the said Cyrenus Howland died, on Thursday, March 9th, 1876, about 8 o’clock in the morning; and the jurors aforesaid say: That the said Cyrenus Howland came to his death from the effect of the blows afflicted as aforesaid, and the jurors aforesaid do also say that one George Wheeler, and Frank Stannard, Christopher Higgins, with others of the said town and county, then and there aforesaid, aided and abetted the said William Higgins and Edward Kinney, in the aforesaid assault, in witness thereof, as well the said coroner as the jurors aforesaid, have to this inquisition, set their hands and seals, on the day of date hereof.

George St. John, Coroner, Lorenzo D. Davis, Foreman, Norman Hills, James B. Macken, Alex Smith, Alden Richards, Robert G. Crittenden, Harrison G. White, Edward B. Curtis, Orville P. Taylor, Jurors.

 

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