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 Obituaries and Death Notices
in Pulaski County, Illinois Newspapers

The National Emporium and

Mound City Weekly Emporium

7 Jan 1858 -  30 Dec 1858

Mound City, Pulaski County, Illinois

Transcribed and annotated by Darrel Dexter

Mound City Weekly Emporium, Thursday, 7 Jan 1858:

Fatal Affray—Death of J. Jack.

Jedediah Jack, a lawyer, well known throughout southern Illinois, met a violent death at Metropolis, last Friday in an affray with his brother-in-law, Mr. Stoeffer.  The facts as gained by the Cairo Times & Delta are to the effect that Mr. Jack was laboring under the influence of liquor, and being urged on by others, made an attack upon Stoeffer, with a bowie knife, when the latter drew a pistol and shot him dead upon the spot.  Mr. Jack was a middle-aged man, had a family and was doubtless goaded on to destruction while intoxicated.


Death on the Prairie—The Bloomington Pantograph of the 28th states that a married woman named Nancy Troy, died suddenly on the open prairie, last Christmas Eve, about three miles from the city.  She and her husband, with a son about ten years of age, had been in the city during the day, and at the time of her death they were returning home on foot—a distance of about nine miles.  They had liquor with them.  And both the man and woman were intoxicated.  The woman fell down, and being unable to rise, called upon her husband to kiss her that she was dying and in a few minutes was a corpse.  The opinion is expressed that death was caused by an apoplectic affection superinduced by drink.


Rumored Murder.

Rumor has it that a most horrible and brutal murder was committed at the “Deep Cut” in this county, about six miles from Mound City, on the night of the 26th ult. by parties now under arrest.  It is reported that three or more persons fell upon an Irishman named Patrick Luba, at a boarding house at the locality named, and beat him until his life was extinct. And then seizing the body by the hair of the head dragged it a distance of several hundred feet to the Central Railroad, where it was left lying on the track.  The trains next morning ran over the body and tore it all to piece.  How far this rumor is entitled to credit, we now cannot say.  It is only publicly known that the body of Patrick Luba was horribly mangled and torn by the trains on the 26th of December.  Should any other facts be elicited on the examination now being made, they will be laid before our readers in the next issue.


Mound City Weekly Emporium, Thursday, 11 Feb 1858:

Homicide—The Trial—The Result

           Inquiry into the case of the inhuman homicide committed upon a stranger near the junction of the Mound City and Illinois Central railroads, and to which we made allusion last week, resulted in the acquittal of John H. Hickey, Bridget Cannon and Ellen Gillen to the county jail for murder in the first degree.  The trial terminated Wednesday evening.

           Proceedings were instituted before Esquire Ferrell, but upon application the case was transferred to Esquire McCor__.  Defense moved at the outset for separate trials.  Motion argued and overruled.  Rule to separate witnesses was entertained, as to witnesses of both parties.—Defense offered Ellen Gillen, one of the accused, as witness.  Her introduction was objected to.  Question was argued and objections sustained.

           We present below in our own language, and we hope with accuracy and necessary ___tion the facts elicited on the trial.

           A stranger, evidently a German of the higher class, was seen at different places and in the vicinity of the “Junction” during Saturday, January 30th.  He wore a long black cloth overcoat, reaching fully to his knees, a black hat, dark pants, ___ and carried with him a white seam___ sack, containing his luggage.  His age was about forty—height about five feet eight inches, his face and forehead large.  His hair was black and he wore very heavy black whiskers.  At a house in this neighborhood he called, about nine o’clock Saturday evening, and intimated by signs and otherwise (being unable to speak the English language) that he was hungry.  Supper was kindly provided for him.  Before partaking of it, he assumed a kneeling posture and uttered a prayer, in determination of which the proprietor of the house understood to be “God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost!”  At his meal his conduct was regarded as eccentric, but it was thought that he was drunk.  About ten o’clock the same night he was seen about two miles from the junction going toward Cairo.—About two hours afterwards, however, he was seen returning—shouting and singing and swinging about his head his bundle.  The same stranger the following morning was found in the house or shanty of Bridget Cannon, by quite all the witnesses before the court, lying in the middle of the floor, dead—his head split open at the brain, a frightful cut upon his shoulder, two gashes in the back, and other wounds upon his arms and head.

           Between twelve and two o’clock Saturday night, persons residing in the immediate vicinity of the junction were disturbed by someone singing in a foreign language and tone, on the railroad.  About this time Mrs. Cannon called her dog, and demanded of some person to “fetch it back” or she would set the dog on him.  She left her door and the person addressed came back with her.  They both entered her shanty, when a rumpus immediately ensued, which with slight intermission, was kept up until about five o’clock in the morning.  One witness introduced stated that he heard two sharp screams and Mrs. Cannon call for Ellen and John.  The same witnesses was called upon about five o’clock in the morning by John Hickey “to come to Mrs. Cannon’s to put a man out of the house who was trying to kill them.”  He went over and saw a man lying on his back in the floor covered with blood “jabbering” in a language to which he was a stranger.  He told the wounded man to get up and wash his face—Hickey insisted that he should be put out, but Mrs. Cannon objected—said “let him alone.”  The accused were all present at that time and Ellen Gillen said the man had hurt himself by falling on the stove.  Shortly afterwards the wounded man died.  The nearest neighbors of Mrs. Cannon testified that during the disturbance referred to they heard Mrs. Cannon exclaim, “There! There! Lie still”—heard her at another time call upon “Ellen to hit him with an axe,” which command was followed by a blow, which sounded as if descending among bones—heard her also say, “Shut the door, don’t let him out.”  Some persons heard John Hickey exclaim, “I’ll shoot you, as sure as you are born,” which exclamation was followed by an explosion like that of a cap.  Ellen was discovered next morning throwing ashes upon the blood which had flowed from the deceased, and upon being questioned in reference to the homicide made foolish answers and repeatedly laughed.  The body of the deceased when first seen Sunday morning was without hat, coat or boots.  A bed in a room communicating with that in which the body was found, was bloody, the blood having collected in a puddle near the center run entirely through the tick.  Blood was also observed on the floor wiped in the direction of the body.

           A committee of ladies examined Bridget Cannon, and found upon her person no bruises, scratches or burns.

           It was proven, in addition to this, that the furniture of the house was disordered, one bedstead being torn entirely down; and that Bridget Cannon, at the time the body was first seen by visitors, declared that deceased had attempted to put her on the fire, and that she called for Ellen and John and that Ellen struck him.  This statement was corroborated by the fact that her clothes were badly burned and torn.  Deceased had been seen in possession of a wallet containing ten or fifteen dollars in bank bills, but no pocket book was found on the body at the time of the inquest.  Secured about the body in a belt, the jury found two hundred dollars in gold.  Aside from these facts nothing of importance was elicited, excepting that the accused made no efforts to escape, or to conceal the evidences of the homicide only as before stated.

           The investigation consumed a day and a half and its progress was watched with eager concern.  The attorneys employed in the case showed themselves watchful, wary, cautious and keen.  Each discharged his duty well and faithfully for which they should receive the fee that they bargained for.

           Our citizens in this matter have acted a commendable part.  They felt that crime had stalked abroad long enough in the country.  They felt shocked at the atrocities and this homicide, though it did not occur among them, and provided for a thorough and searching investigation in reference to it.  With a willingness amounting almost to eagerness, most of them assumed the expense of the prosecution, and for the future as now they stand ready to maintain at any hazard the supremacy of the law.  To Col. Ed Burke Pickett they feel grateful.  In the investigation of the case he proved himself both able and faithful—a lawyer of unquestionable acumen—a criminal prosecutor of the first and highest order.


Mound City Weekly Emporium, Thursday, 18 Feb 1858:

Suicide at Wetaug

A young man named John Anderson engaged at one of the mills in the vicinity at Wetaug, in this county, committed suicide last week by shooting himself in the head.  On Wednesday, we learn he mounted a horse and rode into the woods a mile or two from the settlement, and there, placing a pistol to his temple, fired.  He died immediately.  His spirits seemed singularly depressed during two or three days previous to his death, but no person was aware of any cause for it.


Starved and Froze to Death

An Irishman, whose name we have not learned, was discovered in the vicinity of a burning log heap beside the road leading from this city to Cairo, one day last week, so feeble from the effects of starvation and cold as to be unable to help himself.  The persons who discovered him passed on to Cairo, and informed a number of the citizens there of the discovery, and urged them, as he was within the limits of Alexander County, to at once provide for the unfortunate man.  This they failed to do.  The attention of our citizens was directed to the matter next morning, and a number of them immediately repaired to the scene, but too late.  The poor man was dead.

An inquest was held over the body, the result of which was that the stranger had come to his death through cold and want of food.  He was a miserable looking object—undoubtedly the victim of intemperance.


Mound City Weekly Emporium, Thursday, 10 Jun 1858:

We are informed by a respectable man (therefore not a Cairoite) that a man fell from the door of his boarding house in the upper part of Cairo into the street last week, and drowned.  We believe every word of it and are somewhat astonished that children in the place are not drowned in a similar manner every day.


Dr. D. T. Smith, who killed Dr. T. F. Blackburn in the streets of Cairo about a year ago, was tried for murder at Thebes during the last term of the Alexander Circuit Court and acquitted.  The acquittal struck every person familiar with the facts of the case, with utter astonishment.


Mound City Weekly Emporium, Thursday, 17 Jun 1858

William Scott, under sentence of death for the murder of Daniel Harper in Mound City, about one year ago, escaped from the jail at Caledonia last week and up to this time no clue has been gained to his whereabouts.  It is believed that assistance was rendered him from the outside of the prison.


Mound City Weekly Emporium, Thursday, 24 June 1858:

Strange Case—Instantaneous Death

           Mr. Harrell—Sir:—Thomas Morris came to Mr. Woods’ one mile from Valley Forge on the 4th inst. to work.  He observed at night that he felt better than he had for some time previous—in the morning about daylight he remarked to his partner, (as it was raining), they would not make many rails that day—turned over and died instantly!  Twenty-four hours after I made a post mortem examination, assisted by Mr. Wood, and found the left ventricle of the heart ruptured, the pericardium filled with blood.  There was no other material organic derangement.  He was from Pennsylvania.  He was a large man, upwards of six feet high and apparently in good health.  His parents reside about 30 miles from Hollydaysburgh, on a small stream called Bloody Run.  He was about 40 years old. 

H. F. Delaney

Valley Forge, Ill., June 16


Mound City Weekly Emporium, Thursday, 8 Jul 1858:


At Caledonia, Ill., on Thursday, the 1st inst., Mrs. Rebecca Gunyan, of this city.


Mound City Weekly Emporium, Thursday, 15 Jul 1858:

Murder at Ullin

           An atrocious murder was committed in the town of Ullin in this county, last Saturday, the details of which, as we received them from a citizen of the place, are as follows:

           About three weeks ago a man by the name of Mooney, living in the vicinity of Ullin, called at the mill of Messrs. Blakesly and ___ to contract for a lot of lumber.  While there, two men (brothers) whose names we shall withhold, accused him of having made remarks injurious to the character of their sister.  Mooney emphatically denied having made any such remarks, and demanded from the accusers the name of the informant.  They named Isaac W. Sketoe.  Mr. Mooney remarked that he had never breathed a word to Mr. Sketoe derogatory to the character of the lady in question, and that he would state as much in that gentleman’s face in their presence.  Promising to visit town __ Mr. Sketoe on the following ___day, and to convince them of the injustice of their accusation, Mr. Mooney left.

           On Saturday last Mr. Sketoe was in town, and while standing in front of a grocery in the place, observed Mr. Mooney approaching.  When Mr. Mooney had approached within hailing distance, Sketoe harangued him—“Come on, d---m you, I’m ready for you”—and immediately started to meet him.  Mooney told him to keep off, that he wanted no difficulty.  Sketoe paid no attention to this, rushed him and either struck or struck ____.  Mooney turned and fled and Sketoe pursued, and after following him about fifty yards, overtook him and dealt him a furious blow with a bowie knife, in the left side.  Withdrawing the knife from Mooney’s side, he deliberately wiped the blood therefrom upon his own clothing, and returned it to his belt.  Mooney continued to run, beseeching the lookers on “not to laugh at him,” that he was seriously wounded.  He soon fell.  Before any person reached him, the blood had commenced oozing from his mouth and nose, and in twenty minutes after receiving the wound, he was a corpse.  The knife, it was discovered, had penetrated the cavity of the body, and touched the heart.

Sketoe made no attempt to leave the town until Monday morning, yet no steps to arrest him were taken by the citizens!  If murder in the glare of day—murder to all appearances so foul and inhuman is permitted to “stalk abroad” among them with impunity, where, we would ask, is their society tending?  The part they have played in reference to this affair—though we are assured they are shocked at its enormity—fixes a stain upon their young town that years will not, cannot, effectually obliterate.

Sketoe and Mooney were both men of families—the latter had recently returned from Nicaragua where he had held a captain’s commission under Gen. Walker.  Sketoe, at the last election in this county, was a candidate for the office of surveyor.


Mound City Weekly Emporium, Thursday, 22 Jul 1858:

A Distressing Occurrence in Newport.

           On Saturday morning, Mr. T. G. Clephane, a prominent citizen of Newport, Ky., was accidentally suffocated to death by the fumes of charcoal under the following circumstances:  The cistern attached to the premises being damp, he, the night previous, let down into the same, in order to dry it, a furnace filled with lighted charcoal.  He went down into the cistern on a ladder, to bring out the furnace, and was overcome by the charcoal fumes, and fell heavily to the bottom of the cistern.  His wife, who was looking down, seeing him fall, uttered a piercing scream, which attracted the neighbors, and soon collected a crowd.  Several citizens attempted to go down into the cistern, but could not reach the bottom.  At last, Mr. J. K. Pence volunteered and a rope was tied around him.  He had scarcely reached the body of Mr. Clephane when he was noticed to fall. Upon being drawn out, it was with the greatest difficulty he could be resuscitated.  The body of Mr. Clephane was at length gotten out after remaining in the cistern three-quarters of an hour.  Every means was tried to bring him to, but all proved unavailing—Cin Enquirer, 5th.

           The deceased was a brother of our fellow townsmen, Alexander and William Clephane and a nephew of Mr. J. S. Hawkins.



In this city on the 18th inst., of typhoid fever, John C., son of J. S. and M. C. Hawkins, aged 10 years and 6 months.


C. Bayley Thornbury, editor of the Hickman Argus, died on the 15th inst., after a short illness.  Mr. Thornbury was a young man of a high order of talents, and commanded the respect of all who knew him.


Mound City Weekly Emporium, Thursday, 12 Aug 1858:

Man Drowned

A young man named Ernest Dickman, bar keeper of the steamer Alvin Adams (which boat is now laying up at our landing for repairs) unaccountably plunged into the river from the guards of the boat last Saturday evening and drowned.  A number of persons at the time were bathing in the vicinity, but before any of them could reach him, he finally disappeared.

Monday his body arose and lodged in the wheel of the steamer H. D. Newcomb, and was taken out and buried.  We understand that the deceased was a German and had no relatives in America.


Mound City Weekly Emporium, Thursday, 19 Aug 1858:

Death of George Watson

With feelings of profound sorrow we record the death of George Watson, Superintendent of the Great Western Road. He died at Springfield in this State, on Sunday the 15th, of bilious cholic.  His remains were taken to Canaan, Connecticut, for interment.  Upwards of three thousand persons, with bands of music, accompanied them to the railroad.

To the majority of our citizens, and indeed of southern part of the state, Mr. Watson was personally known, and none knew him but to esteem him most highly.  He was a finished businessman, a high-toned gentleman and every way worthy of the universal respect he commanded.


Mound City Weekly Emporium, Thursday, 26 Aug 1858:

Two Men Drowned

John Wolff and Casper Kopp, both German and residents of Mound City, were drowned in Hess Bayou in the upper confines of the city, last Sunday evening, from a gunwale upon which they were attempting to affect a crossing.  When well out upon the water, Kopp, who it is alleged had been drinking to some extent, lost his going and fell into the water while in the act of rocking the float.  His fall caused the float to bound suddenly and in an instant Wolff was precipitated after him.  Presence of mind deserted both them, or they could have readily saved themselves.  After floundering about on the water a few moments, one after the other went under and perished.  About a half an hour afterwards, their bodies were recovered, but it was deemed too late to attempt to resuscitate them.  Esquire McCormick promptly summoned a jury and held an inquest, the result of which, as we believe, a verdict of accidental drowning.  They were both large fine looking men in the prime of life and unmarried.  Kopp was a carpenter; Wolff, a striker in the foundry smith shop.  Their bodies were decently interred they having left effects, we learn, sufficient to cover all expense.


Man Torn to Pieces.

Thomas Armstrong, the engineer of Mr. Conner’s steam stave factory, fell between a pair of revolving cogwheels in that establishment last Sunday night, and was literally torn to pieces.  He was killed instantly, and when his body was taken from the machinery it presented a spectacle shocking in extreme.  One of his feet and one of his legs were cut entirely off, his hips crushed, his abdomen torn open and his entrails scattered—part of them being wound around his face and neck!  The body was mutilated, was carried beneath the wheels to the ground, where it stopped the operation of the machinery.  From this position it was soon extricated.  An inquest was held over it under the direction of Esquire Ferrell Monday morning and a verdict according to the above statement returned.


A late number of the Frankfort Commonwealth notices the death of Mr. John Lewis, known to some extent in this city. And very generally and favorably known in Kentucky.  He was in his 75th year of his age.

           Mr. Lewis was distinguished for his learning and had acquired a high reputation as a contributor to many of the leading journals and periodicals.  He is the author of a system of arithmetic and various works of fiction, in both poetry and prose.  He devoted much of his time to teaching and as a teacher was eminently successful.

           We formed his acquaintance about a year ago and, in the language of the Paris Citizen, can say most truly that we have rarely met a gentleman whose manners were more pleasing or conversation more attractive than his.  “He died a Christian and in the triumphs of his faith.”


Mound City Weekly Emporium, Thursday, 30 Sep 1858:

Death of Cyrus G. Simons.

Cyrus G. Simons, died at his residence in Jonesboro on Tuesday last, between the hours of ten and eleven a.m.  His disease was inflammation of the brain.

Mr. Simons was a lawyer of much ability and as such was widely known.  A more industrious persevering man we never knew.  To his unremitting study and application to the business of his profession, his disease is attributed, his labors were incessant—his mind ever overactive in the line of his duty.

In social life, he was a man of most estimable qualities, loved by quite all who knew him and known as honest almost to a fault.  His death will be long and deeply deplored; he leaves a position among us it will be difficult to fill.


Mound City Weekly Emporium, Thursday 4 Nov 1858:

We learn from the White County Advocate, that the Hon. E. B. Webb, after a long illness, died at his residence in Carmi in White County, on the 13th ult.  Mr. Webb was one of the most prominent men in Southern Illinois, an able lawyer and a distinguished politician.

           (Edwin B. Webb married Nancy Jane Ratcliff on 2 Jun 1831, in White Co., Ill.—Darrel Dexter)



           In this city on the evening of the 1st inst., Mr. A. Kyes, after an illness of several months.

Mr. Kyes was a gentleman, well esteemed by our citizens, a man of a good, strong mind, honest in all his acts and purposes, a Mason and a useful citizen.  He came to this city from the state of Kentucky.


Mound City Weekly Emporium, Thursday, 18 Nov 1858:

Desperate and Bloody Fight

           On Wednesday, last, a fight occurred on board a flat boat opposite James’ Bayou, about twenty miles below this city, on the Mississippi, of a most bloody and desperate character.

           Two men named Hewston and Watts, employed as hands on the boat, while under the influence of liquor, engaged in a quarrel which soon led to blows.  The difficulty originated in the “cabin” of the boat, and at the first pass Hewston was knocked into the fire.  As he rose, he gathered an axe with which he dealt three furious blows at Watts, one of which took effect in his shoulder.  Watts immediately fled up the stairs to the roof of the boat, receiving an awful blow on the back from the pole of the axe as he ascended.

           Hewston pursued, but before gaining the deck received a blow from a skiff oar in the hands of Watts, which knocked him senseless, back into the cabin.  Watts now gathered a billet of wood, descended, and while Hewston lay insensible, attempted to dispatch him, but was prevented by the captain of the boat.  Hewston soon revived and grew perfectly furious.  He struck at Watts repeatedly with the axe, swearing that he would kill him before he laid it down.

           Watts now seized a butcher knife, and closing with Hewston, stabbed him seven times in the leg and body.  Hewston soon fell, with the exclamation “I’m a dead man”—and here the difficulty terminated.  When the boat arrived at Hickman, Hewston was living, but the chances of recovery were decidedly against him.  Watts’ injuries were regarded as serious, but not fatal.


Information Wanted.

           Seth Perry and his son, Ira C. Perry, left Marietta, Ohio, on the 16th day of December, 1857, in company with Philip Kelch, his stepson, and William Clogston, in a small flatboat, on a hunting and fishing excursion down on the Mississippi River.  At Hurricane Island, they were joined by Jacob Bartimus and two brothers named Smith.  At Island No. 9, Kelch left the party, and wrote home on the 26th of March, which is the last that has been heard of him or the Perrys.

           Seth Perry, the owner of the boat, is about 50 years of age, gray hair, blue eyes and rather stoop shouldered, and is a clock repairer.  Ira C. Perry, his son, is 17 years old, large of his age, dark brown hair, black eyes, and a hesitancy in his speech. The boat was about thirty feet long and eight feet wide, with about sixteen feet covered.  The gunwales were of pine, about twenty inches deep.  The name of S. Perry was marked on each side of the boat.

           All the crew can be heard from except Seth and Ira Perry and Philip Kelch.  Bartimus is a dark complexioned man, and the Smiths sandy complexioned.  Foul play is suspected, and it is supposed both the Perrys and Kelch have been killed.  Any information concerning them, whether dead or alive, addressed to the undersigned at Marietta, Washington County, Ohio, will be thankfully received.  Christina Perry.

           Marietta, Ohio, Nov. 10th, 1858.

           Lower Mississippi papers will be doing a kindness toward a distressed lady by copying the above.—ed. Emporium


Mound City Weekly Emporium, Thursday, 25 Nov 1858:

An Irishman was run over by the railroad train at Cairo last Saturday morning and instantly killed.  His left foot and arm were cut off and his body was horribly mangled.  It is believed that while drunk he laid down on the track and went to sleep.


Mound City Weekly Emporium, Thursday, 9 Dec 1858:

A negro woman, known as “Black Cooky,” a native of Africa, was burned to death, in her cabin, near Dixon, in this state, last Friday while in a spasm.  She was one hundred and twenty years of age and beyond probability, the oldest person in the state.  It is believed that if she had lived out her “natural lifetime” many years might have been added to her age, as just before her death the old creature could dance with considerable vim and crack a joke with as much relish as anybody.

Mound City Weekly Emporium, Thursday, 16 Dec 1858:

From Metropolis—On the 9th inst., circuit court was in session there, and a man named Huckleberry on trial for the murder of a man named Carter.  There has been no “civil war” in the county for some time, and as the prison is not full of counterfeiters, it is reasonable to conclude that the moral influence of Mound City is indeed powerful.


Mound City Weekly Emporium, Thursday, 30 Dec 1858:

William Huckleberry, whose trial in Massac County for the murder of James Atkinson, we noticed recently, has been acquitted.

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