John W. Hillmon Case - Photo Gallery, Barber County, Kansas WHO IS IT? IS IT A CRIME?

A Collection of
Contemporary News Articles
About the John W. Hillmon Case.

CLICK HERE to read the articles.
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Hillman-1860 Census     History     Maps: Shooting Site    Marriage License     News Articles     Photos: Hillmon/Hillman Case     Tales From The Crypt     "The Hillman Case" by T.A. McNeal     Mimi Wesson's TheHillmonCase.com
A Protocol for Excavation and Analysis of Remains Located in a Gravesite in Lawrence, Kansas
"The Hillmon Concealment" by Lewis & Bombaugh

Poll: Who Was Killed At Crooked Creek, Hillmon or Walters?     Take the poll     View Poll Results

A Gallery of Photographs: The Hillmon/Hillman Case

Photos courtesy of Marianne Wesson

From left: Three Views of John Wesley Hillman/Hillmon, Frontal and Profile Views of the Corpse in the Hillmon Case, Two Views of Frederick Adolph Walters.

Archives: National Archives and Records Administration in Kansas City, Missouri.

Photos courtesy of Marianne Wesson.
From left: Three Views of John W. Hillman/Hillmon, Two Views of the Corpse in the Hillmon Case, Two Views of Frederick A. Walters
National Archives and Records Administration, Kansas City, MO.

"At the trial plaintiff introduced evidence tending to show that on or about March 5, 1879, Hillmon and Brown left Wichita, in the state of Kansas, and traveled together through southern Kansas in search of a site for a cattle ranch; that on the night of March 18th, while they were in camp at a place called 'Crooked Creek,' Hillmon was killed by the accidental discharge of a gun; that Brown at once notified persons living in the neighborhood, and that the body was thereupon taken to a neighboring town, where, after an inquest, it was buried. The defendants introduced evidence tending to show that the body found in the camp at Crooked creek on the night of March 18th was not the body of Hillmon, but was the body of one Frederick Adolph Walters. Upon the question whose body this was there was much conflicting evidence, including photographs and descriptions of the corpse, and of the marks and scars upon it, and testimony to its likeness to Hillmon and to Walters." -- U.S. Supreme Court: MUTUAL LIFE INS. CO. OF NEW YORK v. HILLMON, 145 U.S. 285 (1892).

Three Views of John W. Hillman a.k.a. John W. Hillmon

Archives: National Archives and Records Administration in Kansas City, Missouri.

Photos courtesy of Marianne Wesson.
Three views of John W. Hillman a.k.a. John W. Hillmon
National Archives and Records Administration, Kansas City, MO.

Frontal and Profile Views of the Corpse in the Hillmon Case.

Archives: National Archives and Records Administration in Kansas City, Missouri.

Photos courtesy of Marianne Wesson.
Frontal and Profile Views of the Corpse in the Hillmon Case.
National Archives and Records Administration, Kansas City, MO.

Two Views of Frederick Adolph Walters.

Archives: National Archives and Records Administration in Kansas City, Missouri.

Photos courtesy of Marianne Wesson.
Two Views of Frederick Adolph Walters.
National Archives and Records Administration, Kansas City, MO.

Frontal and Profile Views of the Corpse in the Hillmon Case.

Archives: National Archives and Records Administration in Kansas City, Missouri.

Photos courtesy of Marianne Wesson.
Frontal and Profile Views of the Corpse in the Hillmon Case.
National Archives and Records Administration, Kansas City, MO.


Following are links to LARGE copies of each of the images which pertain to the case. Each image will open in a new browser window.

John W. Hillmon - 1
John W. Hillmon - 2
John W. Hillmon - tintype
Frederick Walters - 1
Frederick Walters - 2
Corpse in Hillmon Case, frontal view.
Corpse in Hillmon Case, profile view.


Exhumation of the 'Hillmon' remains, Grave 555, Oak Grove Cemetery, Lawrence, Kansas, 19 May 2006.

From left: Ernesto Acevedo-Munoz, Mimi Wesson (in cowboy hat), Andrea Viedt, Paul Sandberg (in grave), Katie Jackson, Sarah Garner (in grave) Lee Sarter, Mike Lawrence, Dennis Van Gerven (kneeling by side of grave), May 19, 2006.

Photo by Mike Brier, used with his permission.
Exhumation of the 'Hillmon' remains in Grave 555, Oak Grove Cemetery, Lawrence, Kansas, 19 May 2006
From left: Ernesto Acevedo-Munoz, Mimi Wesson (in cowboy hat), Andrea Viedt, Paul Sandberg (in grave),
Katie Jackson, Sarah Garner (in grave) Lee Sarter, Mike Lawrence, Dennis Van Gerven (kneeling by side of grave).
Photo by Mike Brier, used with his permission.


More Information About The Case:

A Protocol for Excavation and Analysis of Remains Located in a Gravesite in Lawrence, Kansas

John W. Hillman a.k.a. John W. Hillman: A Collection of Contemporary News Articles.

Benjamin Hillman Family, 1860 Census, Grasshopper Falls, Jefferson County, Kansas.

Benjamin Hillman, father of John W. Hillman/Hillmon. Obituary from the The Oskaloosa Independent, 27 Nov. 1869. Jefferson County, Kansas.

Marriage License: John W. Hillman and Sadie E. Quinn, dated 3 Oct 1879, Lawrence, Douglas County, Kansas.

Tales From The Crypt by David Fasgold, The Gyp Hills Premiere, 27 Feb 2006.

Map of the Location Where John Wesley Hillman Was Shot and Killed

(All of the following hyperlinks are to off-site pages and will open a new browser window.

TheHillmonCase.com   See this website by Marianne "Mimi" Wesson for a fascinating overview of her research and analysis of the evidence in the case.

Bones back in Kansas: DNA evidence pending in landmark 1879 case By Charlie Brennan, Rocky Mountain News, May 22, 2006. "Forty-six of the 47 bones exhumed Friday at this city's Oak Hill Cemetery were returned to the earth Sunday in a brief ceremony under cloudless skies. It's the fourth time the same remains have been laid to rest. Just one bone, a section of a man's left shoulder blade, is to be taken back to Boulder, where a geneticist will attempt to retrieve DNA that could prove whether the man buried here 127 years ago is Hillmon, or perhaps another man who was killed in 1879 and buried as part of a $25,000 insurance fraud."

Grave riddle one step closer to being laid to rest: Identity of bones could have legal impact By Sophia Maines, Lawrence Journal-World, Saturday, 20 May 2006. "Will the bones unearthed Friday from an unmarked grave in Lawrence’s Oak Hill Cemetery solve a 127-year-old murder mystery? After hours of digging, crews exhumed numerous bits of remains, including teeth and parts of skull and clavicle. DNA tests will now determine who was laid to rest in the grassy plot more than a century ago."

Teeth could help unearth longstanding mystery: Colorado researchers dig up grave in Lawrence to determine who was buried there in 1879 By Tim Hrenchir, The Capital-Journal, 20 May 2006. "LAWRENCE -- Researchers digging up a grave Friday in Oak Hill Cemetery found teeth and bone fragments, leaving them optimistic that DNA testing can prove whether the man buried there in 1879 was actually John Wesley Hillmon. University of Colorado law professor Mimi Wesson said more than 20 small bone fragments were recovered from the grave purported to be that of Hillmon, who was at the center of an epic insurance fraud case that was twice heard by the Supreme Court. Wesson and CU anthropology professor Dennis Van Gerven led the team that conducted Friday's dig."

DNA twist to Old West case: CU profs hear from descendant of man they exhume today By Charlie Brennan, Rocky Mountain News , May 19, 2006. "LAWRENCE, Kan. - An answer to the John Wesley Hillmon mystery might be found in the DNA, after all. Work begins early today to identify the coffin's remains at the 127- year-old grave of the man at the center of an epic insurance fraud case. And now, the 11th-hour discovery of a Hillmon descendant could make the job much easier..."

Sleuths continue digging into grave mystery By Sophia Maines, Lawrence Journal-World, Saturday, 19 May 2006. "A bit of bone. That’s all they have for now, and that may be all two University of Colorado professors need to solve the century-old mystery of who was buried in an unmarked grave in Lawrence’s Oak Hill Cemetery. After several hours of digging, crews shortly after noon today uncovered what they believe is a piece of shoulder blade."

Professors will exhume body to solve mystery, Wichita Eagle, 05 April 2006. "LAWRENCE - Two University of Colorado professors hope a 127-year-old mystery involving an unmarked grave in Kansas will be solved as soon as next month. A Douglas County judge on Friday gave Colorado anthropology professor Dennis Van Gerven and law professor Marianne Wesson permission to exhume a body in the grave at Lawrence's Oak Hill Cemetery. They hope to determine if the corpse is John Hillmon or Frederick A. Walters. Questions about who was buried in the grave eventually led to the creation of an important piece of federal evidence law in the late 1800s."

Petition filed to dig up old grave: City supports project to exhume 127-year-old remains at Oak Hill Cemetery By Sophia Maines, Lawrence Journal-World, Saturday, 02 February 2006. "Two University of Colorado professors want to exhume the remains of a 127-year-old unmarked grave at Oak Hill Cemetery. Anthropology professor Dennis Van Gerven and law professor Marianne Wesson both are working on the project. They plan to use forensic evidence to solve a dispute that in 1892 was taken to the U.S. Supreme Court and generated an important piece of federal evidence law."

Gravesite in Lawrence’s Oak Hill Cemetery might hold clues to the mystery of Crooked Creek, By Charlie Brennan - Special from Rocky Mountain News, Lawrence Journal-World, January 30, 2006. Includes a photo captioned: "University of Colorado professors Dennis Van Gerven and Mimi Wesson hold pictures of a body believed to be John Wesley Hillmon, who died in 1879. Van Gerven and Wesson plan to ask Lawrence officials for permission to exhume Hillmon’s body, supposedly buried in Oak Hill Cemetery."

The Hillmon Case: An Exercise in Interdisciplinary Research and Teaching - Dennis VanGerven and Mimi Wesson with Jim Curry, moderator. "The Wisdom of Practice in Teaching and Learning", Fall 2005 Retreat, University of Colorado President's Teaching Scholars Program.

The Case of the Anonymous Corpse, by Brooks W. McCracken.

The Hillman case was written about by T.A. McNeal in When Kansas Was Young, see: Frontier Justice on the www.cyberlodg.com web site.

Mutual Life Insurance Co. v. Hillmon - 145 U.S. 285 (1892)

Mutual Life Insurance Co. v. Hillmon


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