Tragedy Befalls Former Resident in 1897


Transcribed by Norma Knotts Shaffer from microfilm of the Calhoun Chronicle dated 7/27/1897.

Moundsville comes to the front with one of the most brutal and atrocious murders yet reported.  For the benefit of our readers who do not get daily papers, and the additional fact that the Mason woman seems to have been a resident of this county a few years ago, living with her husband on the George Rine land near Minnora, we give it in full as taken from an exchange:

Mardotha Mason is a daughter of the Rev. George Rine, a well known Methodist minister located in the lower part of Marshall county.  She seperated from her husband three or four years ago on account of domestic misunderstandings.  Since that time she has lived with her two sons on the hillside northeast of Moundsville in a rude hut consisting of two rooms.  She has obtained a livelihood by washing for families living in the neighborhood and in Moundsville.

She left home about seven o'clock yesterday morning and went to Moundsville, where she worked during the day for the family of J.M. Roberts.  Before departing, he directed the boys to do a certain work in the garden, and to look after the chickens about supper time.

It was nearly dark when Mrs. Mason returned from Moundsville.  As she approached the house, she noted with surprise that the boys were not in the path to the house to welcome her with the customary kiss.  Her surprise gave way to alarm when upon approaching she found that the house was closed.

Mrs. Mason called to the children before entering the house.

A voice which sounded like that of the younger child, replied in a tone which indicated intense suffering.

The terrified mother walked about thirty feet in the rear of the hut and found Willie lying on the ground with his throat cut and several ugly gashes on his face. She asked about Stanley and the little fellow replied: "He's hurt too."

Mrs. Mason immediately sounded the alarm and several persons living in the neighborhood came to her assistance.  Charles Golden began a search for Stanley and found him lying some distance up the hillside.

Stanley's face was literally hacked beyond recognition.  His throat was cut.  He was gasping for breath.  Lying beside him was a briar hoe bespattered with blood, mute evidence of the awful crime which had been committed.  Both were carried into the house and messengers were sent to Moundsville for physicians, and to inform the authorities of the fiendish deed.

Stanley was in almost a dying condition when Doctors S.M. Steel and D.J. States arrived, but they give it as their opinion that Willie may recover.

Stanley was too seriously injured to give a description of his assailant.  The other boy, however, described him as an old man, tall, with a grey mustache and wearing a light coat with dark trousers.

Among the first men to arrive upon the scene was George Edwards.  Edwards started to Moundsville for aid.  He was walking down a path a short distance from the Mason hut, when a man stepped out from behind a pile of rails and knocked him down with a club.  He then ran off, but not until Edwards saw him.  Edwards states that the description given by Willie Mason tallies with his assailant.

It is the theory that the fiend was lying in wait for Mrs. Mason, and that if she had used the path in returning home, he would have murdered her in cold blood.

An old man answering the description given, has been seen by several persons loitering about, and if caught it is thought no difficulty will be experienced in fastening the crime upon him.

Later: - Jim Jones, colored, aged 14, testified before the coroner's jury that he assaulted the Mason children on account of them saying he had stolen a bridle from some party here.