|Transcribed by Norma Knotts Shaffer from microfilm
of the Calhoun Chronicle dated 4/24/1894.
Father and Two Children Meet Death by the Insane Actions
of a Once Fond and Tender Hearted Father
The Wife Visits Her Parents on Laurel Creek, Two Miles Away
And While Away The Husband Commits the Awful Crime
The people of this community have often read blood curdling accounts
of murders and suicides pictured as they were in crimson hue by the most
sensational writers. Some have looked upon the lifeless form of a
man whose lifesblood had been spilt by a knife in the hands of an assassin
but the thought of all such scenes vanish from the memory like the morning
dew at the approach of noonday sun, when we attempt to compare them with
the triple and horrible scene that met the eyes of Mrs. Radabaugh when
she beheld the dead body of her husband and the lifeless but angelic forms
of her two innocent defenseless and only babes, hanging in that silent,
silent cold tomblike shed by the barn. Just as the last ray of the
evening sun was kissing the brow of the surrounding hills; calm and gentle
goodnight, and the misty shades of evening were hovering o'er that lonely
vale, she was led to the awful scene by a little dog, whose animal instinct
seemed to realize that all was not right. Poor woman! she was alone.
Reader, you will have to imagine as we cannot describe the horror that
met her awe stricken gaze. As is common to her sex, she uttered one
scream after another and ran in the direction of the nearest neighbor,
arriving, breathless and heart broken she told her sad tale of woe, and
the news as if by electricity flashed from house to house, women swooned
and strong men cried with each other. Half stunned by the shock and
scarcely believing the report true, people went upon the errand only to
realize that the heart rending tale of woe had been but feebly told.
A coroner was sent for, a jury impaneled and after examining the premises,
the bodies and hearing the evidence recorded the following verdict.
"State of W. VA., Calhoun county, to wit: An inquisition taken
at the stable of Floyd Radabaugh in the county of Calhoun, on the 15th
day of April, 1894, before me, J.E. Snider, a Justice of Center district,
and as such, one of the state coroners of the said county, upon the view
of the bodies of Floyd Radabaugh and his two little children, Edith and
Cloe, their bodies found hanging by the neck dead, the jurors sworn to
inquire when how and by what means the said Floyd Radabaugh, Edith and
Cloe came to their deaths, upon their oaths do say: they came to their
death by strangulation by the hands of said Radabaugh. In testimony
whereof the said coroner and jorors here to set our hands. J.E. Snider,
coroner, W.H. Jackson, J.H. Roberts, Jas. Wilson, M.M. Richards, E.V. Richards,
J.D. Collons, C.W. Richards, John Belford, G.F. Dillon, E.W. Snider. W.R,
Norman, R.P. Wilson."
News of the unfortunate occurrence above related reached us about noon
on last press day and as soon as possible thereafter we went upon the premises
with a view to ascertaining as nearly as possible, the facts in the case.
The information that we have is that Mrs. Radabaugh left her husband and
two children at home, about __ o'clock on Sunday morning, which was no
unusual occurrence, and went to see her mother, who is an invalid, about
two miles away. Returning to her home about 4 o'clock in the evening,
and not finding her husband and children in the room usually occupied by
them, she immediately instituted a search and not finding them in any of
the apartments of the house was about to go and look elsewhere. Just
at this time she discovered a note on a table, which tells its own sad
story: Following is a verbatim copy of the note.
April 15, 1894
dar wife it seems that it is on the acount of me and my little children
that coses al of the trouble: and to think of it is too much for me to
bare. and I think if We Wer gon that maby tha Would glad I am sory
that I have fetched you to sorrow and it Would bin better if We had never
not Withstanding I love you as dearly as ever man loved a woman.
but With the difference that I am treated at home and my children and am
blamed for all of fathers in sanity I have resolved end all of I give tem.
What that belongs to me and take What that is yours and maby tha wil bee
satisfied. burry us all in one coffin may the god of heaven comfort you
in your affliction.
yours truly husband
The note read, the next question was, where are they? Going out
of the house the little dog pranced, barked and seemed to say, "come this
way" and ran direct to the memorable shed, which is about 100 yards from
the house. Just how long they had been hanging or how and by what
means they had been so systematically arranged is only a matter of conjecture.
The distance from the floor, which was ground, to the joist to which the
children were hanging was about 7 feet and to where Mr. Radabaugh hung
the distance was about 8 feet. The two children were facing each
other about two feet apart, and he facing the children about three feet
from them. The roaps were fastened around the neck by a common loop
knot and to all appearances had been tied to the joist before they were
fastened around the victims necks, as one of the ropes had been spliced
by a piece of wire the wire being around the joist. In the shed was
two sulkies one of which was standing up and the other the wheels were
off and the bed laying close to Mr. Radabaugh's feet. All things
considered it looks like he had taken the two children in his arms, stood
on the bed of that sulky, adjusted the ropes and then kicked it from under
him, thus hanging himself and children at the same time. However
the impression the rope had made on the smaller child's neck would seem
to indicate that it had been drawn tight before it was hung up. How
it was done God alone knows and in the living it makes no difference.
They were interred in the No. 7 cemetery on the following Tuesday, a very
large congregation being present. They were not burried as requested
in is note, the two children were laid in one coffin and grave and he in
another, Funeral services were conducted at No. 7 Baptist church,
of which Mr. Radabaugh was, til this unfortunate occurrence a consistent
member, by Rev. Nicholson of the M.E. Church South and a U.B. minister
whose name we do not remember. After the funeral services the caskets
were opened, and the procession filed in at one door of the church and
out at another, the children being at the right of the door where the procession
entered and he (Radabaugh) at the right of the door where it filed out.
A look at those sweet babes unfolded the picture of wingless angels and
a glance a the heartbroken mother suddenly reminded us of a passage in
Holy writ. "In Rama was there a voice heard lamentation, weeping,
and great mourning. Rachel weeping for her children, and would not
be comforted because they are not." Finally, on behalf of the deceased
husband and father let Godly charity and humanity plead. The wisest
as well as the best have erred. Let a sprig of evergreen be planted
at the head of the children's grave to denote that "of such is the kingdom
of heaven." To the sympathy of the God loving and God fearing people
of that community we commend the disconsolate widow.