Mystery Solved by Accident in 1896


Transcribed by Norma Knotts Shaffer from microfilm of the Calhoun Chronicle dated 5/5/1896.

5/5/1896 - Last Sunday about 1 o'clock p.m., Ben Stump came to town in an extremely excited state of mind and related the following strange story:

Some men were working the road on Yellow creek last Saturday; among them was Albert Stallman, who told Archie Burrows that some time about the last days of February he (Stallman) had started to go from Yellow creek to his home on the mountain adjacent and that he had gone through the woods a near way.

Some distance up the mountain side, at least four hundred yards from the public road, he found a dead horse with a bullet hole in its head and its throat cut, and a few feet above the horse was what had the appearance of a grave dug due north and south six feet by three, which had apparently been filled up and the dirt had settled to a level or a little more.

Deeming this tidings of sufficient importance a CHRONICLE representative and Attorney W.L. Stevenson procured horse and hurried to the scene. On our journey we secured the services of Archie Burrows, who acted as a guide, and no time was lost in finding the spot where Stallman Claimed to have made the tragic discovery.

There we found the carcass of a badly decomposed horse, and a dilligent search was immediately made for the grave which we could not find. Inquiring of people living in the immediate neighborhood brought no information as to whose horse it was. Mrs. Cox and her little boy had seen three men going up the point toward where the carcass was found with two horses and later heard two gun or pistol shots in that direction, but paid no attention to the matter, thinking it was only some men looking at the tract of land with a view to making a purchase, the men having kept on up the mountain instead of returning to the road.

Thus baffled and puzzled we wended our way homeward, and a short distance from town overtook Alonzo Smith, who lives in Ritchie county, and after traveling for some distance with him, during which time not a word was said about the mystery, when, by accident, he spoke of having to kill a good horse that got one of its legs broken on Yellow creek last February - describing our mysterious spot so minutely that, Stevenson and I "tumbled."