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W. I. Fisher Thinks He Can Locate the Murderer Upton.

Bourbon County, Kansas, Man Named Baker

Killed for His Money in 1863.

One Man Hung for it—Capt. Fisher Desires Information About the $1,000 Reward.

Ft. Scott Monitor, 24th.

   In the hopes of getting a reward of $1,000 which he believes is standing, W. I. Fisher, a resident of Nevada, is making an attempt to revive an old murder which was committed in Bourbon county in 1863 during the war.  The case referred to is a letter received in this city today is the Baker case.  Baker was murdered by two men for the purpose of robbery.  All the old inhabitants are familiar with the case.  One of the fellows was hanged, but the other escaped.  It is the man who escaped that Mr. Fisher thinks he can locate and thus receive the reward.  The murdered man was a Mason and Fisher has interested the secretary of the Masonic lodge of Nevada in the matter and the latter has written the following letter of inquiry to J. L. Mickle, secretary of the Fort Scott Masonic lodge for investigation:

   Nevada, Mo., Sept. 21, 1901—Secretary Masonic Lodge, Fort Scott, Kans., Dear Sir:  W. I. Fisher of this city informs me that in 1863 a man by the name of Baker, living near the Missouri and Kansas line was murdered by two men, one of whom was caught and hanged; the other, a man by the name of Joe Upton, escaping.  Mr. Fisher informs me that Mr. Baker was a member of the Masonic fraternity and that a reward of $1,000 was offered for Upton’s capture, and he has requested me several times to write you and ascertain if you could inform me whether there is anyone at the present time who would pay anything for the capture of Upton, whom Fisher thinks he can locate.  Begging your pardon for troubling you.

   I remain yours fraternally,

                    Jas. M. Clack

                    W. M., Osage Lodge No. 303

   Mr. Mickle turned the letter over to Deputy Sheriff Ball for investigation and the officer in turn sought his information from Judge Margrave, the old standby in such matters.

   Although the judge can not remember the name of the man who escaped, he is familiar with the details of the murder.  Mr. Baker was a well-to-do farmer living southwest of town.  He was known to have money.  The murderer was a worthless fellow and he was known to have planned to kill Baker in order to rob him.  He got Upton in on the deal and both went to the wealthy farmer’s house one night and robbed him.  Thinking that it would cover up the crime of robbery Baker was killed, just how Judge Hargrave cannot remember.  Mrs. Baker was in the house at the time but escaped.  She recognized the man who killed her husband, and this, coupled with the fact that he boasted that Baker was to be robbed, pointed to his guilt.  He was arrested and tried by a court martial and convicted.  The country was at that time under martial law and the murderer was sentenced to be hanged, which was done in this city in the presence of a big crowd.  This was in the palmy days of the old Wilder house and Judge Hargrave was in the hotel when the execution took place.  He did not care to see a man hung, although a good many of them needed it, and he did not leave the hotel.

   Upton, his accomplice, escaped and nothing has been heard of him since.  As near as Judge Margrave and the other old timers can remember there was never any attempt to capture Upton.  He was not wanted very bad as the other fellow was known to be the leader and enticed him to aid in the crime.  Judge Margrave does not know of any $1,000 reward that was offered for Upton’s apprehension and he does not believe there ever was any, although there might have been.  Some time ago Judge Margrave was written to about the case and he gave the information about the murderer embodied in the letter.  It is not known where Mr. Fisher thinks he has Upton located.

The Nevada Daily Mail, Nevada, Vernon Co., MO.  September 25, 1901




Drury Field of Vernon County Writes an Interesting Article Concerning an Old Crime—Offers $100 Reward for the Right Man.

   Recently the Mail published an article from the Ft. Scott Monitor, concerning the inquiries made by Capt. W. I. Fisher of this city, as to the Baker murder case.

   The following communication received today from a prominent citizen of Vernon county will be of interest in this connection:

Mr. Field Reviews the Case.

To the Editor of the daily mail.

   Richards, Mo., Oct. 2.—I have just been reading an article in your paper about the Baker murder.  I see that Judge Margrave was interviewed about the case.  The Judge has either forgotten the whereabouts of the deceased’s residence or there is a misprint.  Mr. Baker did not reside in Kansas.  I knew Mr. Baker well; I worked for him in 1861.  I lived in Kansas right on the state line.  Mr. Baker lived just over the line on the Missouri side, two miles south of where I now live.  A. Hawkins, a brother-in-law of mine was one of the first men to reach the house after the murder was committed.  I am familiar with the case.  You have a man in Nevada who lived close to Mr. Baker.  I refer to Rev. Enoch Weyand.  Mr. Baker’s oldest daughter was Mrs. Arch White, wife of the deceased ex-sheriff of Vernon county.  The name of the man who was hung was Frazell; he was hung in Ft. Scott by Federal authority; he was a Cedar county militiaman.  The Vernon county militia company was ordered to report for duty, and they did so to a man.  Augustus Baker was chosen captain by 196 to 4 cast for Frazell, who was an orderly sergeant of Molton company of Cedar county.  The militia was never ordered into camp.  I shall not undertake to tell the particulars now.  I do not think there ever was a reward offered for Upton.  I think if there ever had been I would have heard of it and remembered it.  I am astonished that anyone should think Baker lived in Kansas.  I will give $100 reward for the capture and conviction of the right man.  I wish I possessed the knowledge W. I. Fisher thinks he possesses, and I would not wait for a reward.  It was one of the most dastardly crimes of the border.  I do not belong to the Masonic order, but am an enemy to crime and will give the above stated reward; also all the information in my power.  I will come to Nevada [and] state particulars at a moment’s warning.

                    D. J. Field

The Nevada Daily Mail, Nevada, Vernon Co., MO.  Wednesday, October 2, 1901




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