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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • ALBERTA ANDERS: A 19th century murder mystery

  • We are finding many opinions these days in the papers regarding gun control.
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  • We are finding many opinions these days in the papers regarding gun control.
    In our museum we display a gun that may or may not have been used in "The Chenoweth Murder" as reported by J. A. Sturges, attorney at law, Pineville, 1897. His book is available at the museum, ask for "The Illustrated History of McDonald County, Missouri, From the Earliest Settlement To the Present Time."
    "On the night of Sept. 12, 1883, Dr. A. W. Chenoweth was shot from ambush just at the bow of the hill on the Neosho road at the north edge of Pineville. The doctor lived about a quarter of a mile from town, and sometime after dark got in his buggy and started home.
    "When he reached the point above stated, two reports from a shotgun in quick succession rang out on the night air and the doctor fell from his buggy, riddled with buckshot. The team went on home and stopped at the barn. This, with the reports of the gun, alarmed the family, and his son, Curtie, ran down the road to see what had occurred.
    "Coming upon the dead body of his father in the road he uttered a scream of terror and grief that was heard throughout the little town, and soon the entire population had gathered at the scene of the tragedy. Intense excitement prevailed. One of the most useful, prominent and beloved members of the community had fallen a victim to the cowardly assassin, and the threats and imprecations of a justly indignant people were mingled with the cries of grief from the terrified and almost heartbroken wife and children.
    "The doctor, for years, had been a leading advocate of temperance and a bitter opponent to the illicit traffic in liquor. His antagonism to blind tigers and saloons had incurred the ill will of some of its advocates. This feeling was, also, very likely indulged in by a few of his political and personal enemies.
    "Garland A. Mann for several years had been his open and avowed enemy, and had time and again threatened his life. Mann had kept a saloon in Pineville at different times and had probably sold liquor without license. It was through transactions connected with the saloon and liquor business that the enmity between the two men was first engendered. Besides, Chenoweth was a member of the Pension Board of Examiners and Mann was an applicant for a pension. He claimed that the doctor used his influence to defeat his claim.
    "As time passed on the animosity grew stronger. Mann brooded over his ills, whether real or supposed, until he imagined every transaction of his life that turned out adverse was caused by the connivance of his enemy.
    This state of mind had so wrought upon Mann and his threats had became so frequent and bitter that the doctor's friends often warned him of his danger, and when the crime was perpetrated suspicion at once rested on Mann and he was arrested the next day. The trial which ensued was the most noted that has ever originated in this county…."
    Page 2 of 2 - A change of venue was granted. He was first tried in April 1884, when the jury was unable to agree trial was discharged and he was again tried in August, convicted of murder in the first degree, and sentenced to be hung. The case was reversed in the Supreme Court and remanded for retrial, to begin May 1885, resulting in a mistrial,. The fourth trial was to begin Aug. 8, 1885, but on Aug. 6, Mann was killed in jail by a mob, and thus the noted and expensive trial was terminated.
    Our Historical Society owes a great debt to J. A. Sturges as he collected and shared the history of our area. As he stated in his preface, "Trusting the work may meet with general approval, and that those who purchase or read it will ever remember me kindly, it is submitted for your perusal."
    Do you or your family have a story you would like to share and preserve for posterity? Don't put it off, contact the McDonald County Historical Society, P.O. Box 572, Pineville, 64856 – or just come by. Our grand opening for the new museum on the square in Pineville will be this Memorial Day weekend, May 25-27. Music, food, a great raffle for Doug Hall's framed print of his Eastern Woodland Native American painting, too much to mention today, do join us for a weekend to remember. Go to info@mcdonaldcohistory.org for more information.
    Alberta Anders writes a weekly column for the Daily News.

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