James Taylor Death



Compiled and Submitted by Auldeane Cates and Sue Jackson
In Memory of their Grandfather, James F. Taylor

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Feb. 29, 1872 – Apr. 3, 1911




     James (Jim) Franklin Taylor was born in Tennessee on February 29, 1872. He moved to Arkansas as a young man where he met and married Harriet. To this union was born a son who they named Earnest.

On April 11, 1904, in Corning, Arkansas at the age of 32, Jim married Dosha (“Docia” in some documents) Stokes who was 17 years of age.

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James Franklin Taylor and Dosha Stokes Taylor

     To this union were born Elsie Verneal and Birdie. Birdie died at a very young age. In the meantime, Jim and Dosha relocated to Ripley County in Missouri, which is part of the Missouri Ozarks. They were a very happy couple, with Earnest and Elsie; then Dosha realized another baby was on the way.

           Jim became gravely ill with pneumonia. Jim was a member of IOOF Lodge #710 of Ponder, Missouri and the Lodge brothers were most helpful during his illness. They would come to their home and sit with Jim while Dosha took care of the chores and the children.

            On this particular day Dosha felt nauseous and Jim told her to lie down awhile and he would take care of things. When she awoke she discovered that he had gathered in all the neighbors, telling them that Dosha was gravely ill. What a shock it was to her to see a house full of people. Jim did a few more strange things and Dosha became scared of him and fearful of what he might do. With the help of the Lodge and a deputy sheriff she had Jim committed to Farmington State Hospital #4 for medical help on March 9, 1911.

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           Thus, begins the rest of the story ......



            Jim was still in a weak and frail condition from the pneumonia when he was admitted to the Hospital. After only three weeks of confinement a doctor was called to check on Jim. What he found was atrocious!!! Jim had two large abscesses on his hand. His breastbone was broken and he had three broken ribs on one side and two broken on the other side. The Assistant Superintendent was called to investigate the sad situation! Two attendants were handed over to the sheriff who let them plead guilty to assault; then he let them go.

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            Jim was taken to the infirmary where he DIED the NEXT day. A warrant went out for the arrest of Pate Swain (Peter Swaine/Swain) and Harrison Bizzle (Harris Bissell or Bizzel/Bizzell) whom Jim had identified, before they were let go, as the ones who beat him! The two were brought back from Hastings, Nebraska where they had fled and were charged with FIRST DEGREE MURDER. That was on April 3, 1911.

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           Dosha was unable financially to have Jim’s body brought back home to southeast Missouri. Knowing this, the IOOF buried Jim in their cemetery in Farmington, with full rites of the Lodge. After these tragic events, Dosha and her children had to go live with her mother and stepfather, G.W.S. and Almeda Watson, near Corning, Arkansas.

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View of I.O.O.F. Cemetery in Farmington, Missouri.



            St. Francois Lodge #48 “went to bat” for the cause of justice, as did Lodge #710 of Ponder. Public agitation over recent exposures of conditions at State Hospital #4, Farmington, forced the Governor to order a hurried meeting of the Board of Managers to resume its investigation of the charges of inhuman treatment of patients on the part of the attendants; and of incompetentcy, neglect, and loose methods on the part of the hospital officials, which had come up before the board at the last meeting!

The death of Jim Taylor, a patient on April 3, 1911 Farmington News:

The result of a cruel assault by two attendants more than two weeks prior to his death; of not reporting his condition to proper authorities, or carelessness on the part of the physicians in charge of the ward in which he was confined in not discovering his condition earlier was published in the Farmington News. The citizens of Farmington, as well as all over the state, were appalled at the terrible situation and what had happened.

Farmington, Missouri, April 24, 1911:

At a meeting, the St. Francois Lodge #48 adopted the following resolutions:

            Whereas, Brother J. F. Taylor, a member of Ponder Lodge #710, Ponder, Missouri, died at the State Hospital #4 at Farmington, Missouri on April 3, 1911 under circumstances that indicate inhuman treatment on the part of the attendants and GROSS neglect on the part of the officials of the institution; Therefore, be it resolved by St. Francois Lodge #48: 

     1.        That we, as a fraternal order, deplore and condemn the inhuman treatment of Brother Taylor, and all other unfortunate people who may suffer like treatment in any of our State Institutions who care for the sick in mind, and that we call attention of the Grand Master of the IOOF of Missouri to this incident, and request that he use his influence and that of the Grand Lodge of the Order with the Governor to have a most rigid investigation made of this case, to the end that better and more humane treatment be accorded not only to the member of our order, but to all others who may be unfortunate enough to be assigned to this or other asylums in the STATE. 

2.           That a certified copy of the evidence before the coroner’s Inquest; and verdict of the coroner’s jury, with a copy of these resolutions, be furnished the Grand Master for his information and guidance in any steps he may take in the premises.

             M. L Doughty
            J. W. Braham
        J. A. Patrick
                  C. E. Wood N.G.

                                  Attest: Theo. D. Fisher R.S.

--End of Resolution--



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            Governor Hadley ordered an investigation of the “Asylum Scandal.” He declined to comment on the report given in “The St. Louis Republic,” a St. Louis newspaper, which reported deplorable conditions in Farmington State Hospital #4. The Governor defended the Republican Board of Managers.

William Lang, President of the Board, urged Judge Marshall not to notify Governor Hadley. The Governor said, “Get this thing straightened out if it means the entire management must be changed and other persons put in charge.” He declared the Farmington cases to be deplorable and attributed them to incompetent attendants and a lack of proper discipline. Governor Hadley blamed the Hospital Superintendent, Dr. Keaney, and stoutly defended the Board of Managers and believes it had done all that could be done to straighten out the situation.

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            Dr. Lloyd was the first assistant physician at the Hospital. He was called in to examine Taylor’s injuries on March 30, 1911 after Dr. Frank Weber, Assistant Superintendent, had finally discovered the man’s broken ribs and breastbone. The examination by Dr. Lloyd revealed that Taylor’s bones had decayed as the result of NEGLECT!

           According to President of the Board Lang, Dr. Lloyd was appointed at the request of Governor Hadley who desired the appointment out of deference to Representative Hiram Lloyd of St. Louis, Leader of the House.

            Judge Marshall, in his discussion of the “Farmington Scandal” declared that although a Republican, he could not countenance any “WHITEWASHING” in the investigation, regardless of POLITICS or who might be involved. “I can afford NOT TO BE COUNTY JUDGE,” he said. Mr. Calhoon, Representative of the Board, was also opposed to the appointment of Lloyd.

            The Board of Managers was also asked to investigate another allegation at the Farmington Institution from the past January. A woman employee at the asylum, spoken of as an attendant, and a stenographer were alleged to have attempted suicide in the hospital because of a love affair with an official who was MARRIED.

President Lang and Vice-President Merrell Pipkin, felt like fifth wheels at this point since their terms were running out and the new board members would be the ones to decide, as it was Governor dominated. Moore and Pipkin had also opposed the appointment of Lloyd.

Judge Marshall said, “It’s not time for Governor Hadley to play politics. I do not pretend to be familiar with the BRUTAL killing of the unfortunate man, Taylor. All I know is what I’ve read in the columns of the papers and heard on the streets. I have read the transcripts of the evidence before the coroner in the case and it certainly gives rise to the gravest suspicions. Even the savage shield and protect the mentally unbalanced. To take this poor unfortunate woman and dump her in the County Courtroom where there is no provision for mother or child, is barbarous.” (Mrs. Wells had become pregnant and had a child while a patient at the state facility.)

           A question was asked of Dr. Henry Lloyd. “Dr. Lloyd, is it true you’ve been out at night in your auto with young men from Farmington, visiting dance halls and bars in Bonne Terre and Elvins?” Replying, Dr. Lloyd said, “he was not a total abstainer” and he “had been to Elvins.”

            Dr. Keaney was exonerated because he supposedly had no way of knowing of Taylor’s condition since the attendants wouldn’t SNITCH on each other and the patients were threatened, so they were afraid to tell.

            Dr. Robert Emmett Keaney then resigned at the REQUEST of Governor Hadley. It seems he had previously served as a doctor in a poorhouse and before that had been an intern a few months at a female hospital; and had been dismissed from both institutions prior to coming to Farmington.



 Here is history in brief of the scandal of State Hospital #4 at Farmington.

April 25, 1911

The St. Louis Republic, a St. Louis newspaper, published an expose of the shocking conditions at the hospital showing that an insane patient had died, after being beaten by two attendants, and how a child was born to one of the insane inmates and mother and child were taken to the county court by hospital physicians, to be left as charges on the County.

April 26, 1911

Governor Hadley, moved by The St. Louis Republic expose, ordered the Board of Managers of the Hospital to make a searching investigation of the conditions there.

April 27, 1911

The official careers in St. Louis of Superintendent Keaney and Assistant Superintendent Lloyd were reviewed in The St. Louis Republic.

April 28, 1911

The Board of Managers of the Hospital, after a hearing, received the resignations of Doctors Lloyd and Weber, but deferred action and demanded and accepted immediate resignation of Superintendent Keaney.

            Governor Hadley announced, after the result of the investigation, that he would send members of the State Board of Charities of Farmington to conduct an independent inquiry, and placed Dr. R. S. Magee, Assistant Superintendent of Fulton Asylum in temporary charge of the Farmington Institution.



Harrison and Bizzle

May 5-6, 1911:

            In May, defendants, Harrison and Bizzle, appeared before Judge J. P. Zolman, Justice of Peace, St. Francois Township and John L. Cleveland, J. P. of Pendleton township at the Courthouse on Friday and Saturday. This resulted in the defendants being “bound over without bail!”

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St. Francois County Courthouse, Circa 1911

(It will be remembered that James F. Taylor was committed to the State Hospital #4 from Ripley County on the night of March 9, 1911 and that Harrison Bizzle and Pate Swain, two Scott County young men were the day attendants into whose care he was placed; that Taylor died on the morning of April 3, 1911, and because Taylor stated that he had been assaulted while at the hospital and identified Bizzle and Swain, they were arrested and charged with MURDER.)

            The state was represented by Prosecuting Attorney, B. H. Boyer; Assistant Attorney General, Charles G. Revelle; and J. F. Fulbright, an attorney from Doniphan, Missouri, whom the IOOF Lodge at that place had employed, Taylor being a member at the time of his death of that ORDER. The two defendants were represented by Benjamin H. Marbury and Congressman Walter H. Hensley.

The state introduced the following witnesses:

            Dr. Robert E. Keaney
            Dr. Henry Lloyd
            Dr. Frank S. Weber
            G. T. Penninger
            Frank Robinson
            Luther Gibson
            L. C. McCauley

Testimony of Dr. Robert E. Keaney:

The evidence on the part of the state tended to prove by Dr. Robert E. Keaney that he, between March 9 and April 3 was the Superintendent of Hospital #4; that James F. Taylor was received by Harry Lots at De Lassus, in the county with the deputy sheriff of Ripley County, L. C. McCauley. These two men turned Taylor over to Dr. Lloyd, who in turn took him to Harrison Cottage and turned him over to night attendant, Luther Gibson (Robert L. Gibson in some accounts), who put him to bed.

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 Bizzle and Swain were the day attendants who took charge of Taylor and stayed in that position, and at that cottage until March 13, 1911; that on the morning of the 10th Dr. Keaney saw and conversed with Taylor, and said that he was very thin and complained of having been injured by someone “down in Ripley County” and being roughly treated by the deputy sheriff who brought him there. He (Taylor) also claimed to know Dr. Keaney; that Dr. Keaney did not attempt to diagnose his case, as Dr. Weber had him in charge; that he saw him on an average of three times a week from then on; noticed him on or about March 27 and noted a marked change; that he had swollen feet and lower limbs.

 Then on Friday, March 31, he was called to see him and found his condition SERIOUS; he had had a pus pocket to form on his chest on his right side, and he claimed to have been injured at Harrison Cottage, and that he would know who did it; that witness sent for Bizzle and Swain, who each appeared in company with a patient and that Taylor pointed them out; that at this time Taylor’s mind was confused and he said he knew the witness and insisted that he was Dr. Anderson from Ponder, Taylor’s hometown and claimed that he had been injured in Ripley County and that his home people wanted to get rid of him.

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 That on March 14, Swain was transferred to Cayce Cottage and did not have any further care of Taylor; and that Luther Gibson was let out on March 14; that the receiving/observation ward was discontinued and Gibson went home; that Bizzle left for his home on the night of March 17, in Scott County, and didn’t return until the night of March 29 after Taylor was transferred from the “Violent Ward” where he was sent about March 13; that it was the duty of Dr. Weber to look after the male patients and the attendants to care for the patients and report daily to Dr. Weber, if anything out of the ordinary took place.

Testimony of Dr. Henry Lloyd

Dr. Henry Lloyd was the second witness called; and stated that he was the Assistant Superintendent of the Farmington Hospital, and had received Taylor at the Administrative Office about 9 p.m., March 9, 1911. That he conversed with Taylor, but in no way examined him; that he was thin, but able to walk and handle himself well; that he saw Taylor at the ballgame on March 11, was called into consultation with Dr. Weber and found Taylor in a very bad condition; that Taylor was suffering from necrosis of the breastbone; that a third of the bone was sloughed away, dislocating the second, third, and fourth ribs which were broken, and pus sacks were on the breastbone and on these three ribs; that Taylor died from Septicemia, produced by necrosis, this produced by pus and caused by injuries which were in his opinion inflicted from without; that Taylor was rational and identified Bizzle and Swain as the men who had injured him.

Testimony of Dr. Frank Weber:

Dr. Frank Weber testified that he was in charge of the male patients; saw Taylor twice a week from March 10-29; inclusive; that he examined Taylor’s chest on March 10 and detected no injuries; as to wounds’ necrosis or fractures; practically testified the same as Dr. Lloyd had; that Taylor was rational, especially at the time he identified Bizzle and Swain; that Taylor died from Septicemia, caused by pus; that in his opinion the injuries were produced by blows from without or some external injuries.

Testimony of G. T. Penninger;

            G. T. Penninger, an attendant, testified that he was on duty at Hall Violent Cottage, where Taylor was transferred about March 14; that Bizzle delivered Taylor to him saying, “Dad, here is Mr. Taylor, who is pretty well done up, but guess you can bring him out of it all right;” that Taylor accused Bizzle and Swain of being “THE BOYS WHO BEAT HIM UP.”

Testimony of Frank Robinson:

     Frank Robinson, another day attendant at the Hall Cottage was on duty when Taylor came to that place, and testified that he was rational and that he accused Bizzle and Swain with injuring him.

Testimony of Luther Gibson:

     Luther Gibson, night attendant, testified that he received Taylor at the Harrison Cottage at about 9 p.m. on March 9; that he neither examined or bathed him; that on the morning of the 11th; as he left the room, he saw Bizzle And Swain take hold of the arms of Taylor and throw him out of his bed; saw Bizzle strike Taylor with his fist; and as he went down to the floor he heard Taylor "Bellowing" but that he (Luther) did not tell anyone and explained that he had not testified to the truth before the coroner or the Board of Managers; for the reason he was not asked these questions; that there was an understanding among attendants, not to tell on each other; that he left the hospital on March 14 as the receiving/observation ward was discontinued and he went home. Luther said that Bizzle and Swain admitted to him they had "hung it on" (that is thrashed) Taylor; that on the 26th and 27th of March Taylor complained of his chest; that Taylor stated that Bizzle & Swain had injured him.

Testimony of Deputy Sheriff L. C. McCauley:

     Deputy Sheriff L. C. McCauley testified that when he brought Taylor to Farmington Hospital #4 on March 9, 1911 that Taylor complained of his arm and side hurting and had complained of these when he was placed in the hospital conveyance at De Lassus; that Taylor was not injured while in his custody.

            The Prosecutor had filed his affidavit; charging murder in the FIRST DEGREE against Harrison Bizzle and Pate Swain and Luther Gibson; but before any testimony was introduced, charges were dismissed against Gibson.

                        Mr. Marbury, Attorney for the defense, did not introduce any testimony and the boys were held without bond.



            With questions on behalf of the attorneys as to the CAUSE of death; Mr. Taylor's body was exhumed on May 20, 1911. It seemed the pathologist had not presented the cause to their satisfaction. Coroner J. H. English was instructed to exhume and make a thorough post-mortem examination in the presence of the Prosecuting Attorney and Mr. Marbury, attorney for the defendants, and any who might request to be present.

            Early in the morning of May 20, 1911; with undertaker Adam Neidert superintending the exhumation, the coroner and doctors selected by both sides gathered at the grave of the deceased Mr. Taylor in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Farmington. Doctors representing the State of Missouri were Dr. Henry Lloyd and Dr. Frank Weber of Farmington Hospital #4; Dr. Harry Poston of Bonne Terre; and Dr. Fred Braning of Farmington.

            Those representing the defendants were Dr. R. B. H. Gradwohl, pathologist of St. Louis; Dr. E. C. McCormick of Farmington; and Doctors U. P. Haw and Sidney Wade of Benton, Missouri. It had been forty days since Jim was interned. When the body was rolled out of the coffin, it was in an advanced state of decomposition and gave forth a strong sickening odor!

            The post-mortem was made by Dr. English, the coroner, assisted by Dr. Poston. It revealed the facts - three ribs on the right side and two on the left were broken; about one-third of the breastbone was sloughed away; the whole bone structure was in a more or less state of necrosis, apparently the result of an injury received at a former time, while the lungs & kidneys gave evidence of being diseased, (BRIGHT’S DISEASE).

            The breastbone and ribs; the condition that was declared at the preliminary examination to have been caused by external injuries, were removed and taken charge of by the coroner, to be thoroughly examined by the state physicians or some  pathologist selected by them.

            Mr. Marbury, on the part of the defendants, requested parts of all the portions taken by the state, so that the defendants’ physicians might also make a thorough examination of their condition. Dr. Henry Lloyd objected to this, on the grounds that he, Dr. Weber, and the Administration were on trial and that the defendants should not be permitted to make an examination of the parts retained by the state; so no portion of the affected bones or other affected parts were given to the defendant physicians; however, two small portions of other bones were given to Dr. Gradwohl.

            B. H. Boyer was paid $31.00 for exhumation of Taylor and reburial, plus $8.50 was paid to Farmington Milling Company for infirmary supplies.



            In June, 1911, Bizzle and Swain were released on $5,000.00 bond. The men going their bails were very rich and had aggregated assets of more than a million dollars.

Excerpts from miscellaneous newspapers across Missouri:

            I have in my possession a week of articles from the St. Louis St. Louis Republic, as well as several months from the Farmington Times.

April 26,1911
- The Clarksville Banner:

            State Asylum #4 at Farmington, which seems to have been badly unmanaged lately, is being investigated by the Board of Managers. The two attendants, who are accused of beating a patient to death, were arrested in Hastings, Nebraska and have been brought back to Farmington.

April 27, 1911 - Ironton Register:

            They seem to be having a Hades of a time over at the Asylum #4. The Republican management of the institution needs auditing. ‘Though being Republican - it of course has its privileges not accorded wicked and unregenerate Democrat officials.

April 27, 1911 - St.Louis Post Dispatch:

            One member of the Board of Managers of the state hospital has defective hearing; but the dispatch says nothing about defects of vision!

April 26, 1911 - St. Louis Star:

            We shall never get the right spirit injected into our institutions until we have a board of control, composed of men imbued with the spirit and empowered to select the managers; and direct the operation of the institutions, FREE from politics, or political interference. The only satisfaction of our institution for the insane is to look back half a century and see how much better they are now than they were then. It encourages us to look forward along the long road we have yet to travel and hope for more speedy progress.



I really don't understand when the charge was changed, unless it was when the defendants, Harrison and Bizzle, were granted bail. The charge is now Second degree MURDER. Following are notes of the trial from newspaper articles in my possession.

     The case of Harry Bizzle and Pate Swain, under charge of murder in the second degree; for the alleged beating of J.F. Taylor, a patient at State Hospital # 4 which resulted in his death on April 3, 1911, was called to trial the last Monday in August, 1911. The Jury was qualified, challenges made, and the taking of testimony began at 1 p. m. on Tuesday. Prosecuting Attorney, B. H. Boyer; Assistant Attorney General, Charles G. Revelle; and F. T. Fulbright, Prosecuting Attorney of Ripley County, Missouri, who was employed by the IOOF of Doniphan to assist in the prosecution, had charge of the case on the part of the state. B. H. Marbury and Walter L. Hensley appeared for the defendants.

     The case was presented to the jury by Mr. Boyer, setting forth the charge against the defendants; what the State expected to prove - that when Taylor was received at the hospital, although he was in a weak condition, he was not suffering from any bodily injury such as fractured bones; that the injuries from which he died were inflicted after he was received at the hospital; that these injuries were the result of outward violence and were inflicted by Bizzle and Swain, two of the attendants who were in charge of him in the observation ward before he was moved to the ward for the violently insane.

     Mr. Marbury, in his opening statements for the defendants to the jury, said he expected to prove by competent testimony that when Taylor was received at the hospital, he was in a bad condition; that the condition of his bones and ribs were due to internal abscesses and necrosis and that he never was beaten by the defendants.

 Testimony of Luther Gibson:

     Luther Gibson, night attendant at the observation ward at the time Taylor was received, was the first witness called by the STATE and his examination took up the balance of Tuesday afternoon. The testimony of Gibson tended to show that the next morning after Taylor arrived at the hospital, as he (Gibson) was leaving his watch and the defendants (Swain and Bizzle) were going on theirs, he heard the defendants tell Taylor to get out of bed and when he didn't, they each grabbed him by an arm and threw him on the floor. He did not see them strike him, but heard Taylor CRY OUT – “For God's sake boys, don't kill me!" He also testified that Taylor told him the attendants had beaten him.

     On Wednesday only four or five witnesses were examined, all for the State and a good deal of time was taken up by argument of the counsel on each side, as to the admissibility of certain points of evidence, which the State was endeavoring to get before the jury. During these discussions the jury was taken OUT of the courtroom. Both the state and defense were contesting every point and making a strong fight.

     There were a large number of witnesses yet to be examined and at noon on Thursday the state was not through. No witnesses for the defense had yet been called to the stand and it looked as if the trial might last the balance of the week.

     Among the experts and physicians listed as witnesses were Professor Tiedman of Washington University; Dr. Henry Lloyd of St. Louis; Dr. J. T. Redwin of Doniphan; Dr. Harry Poston of Bonne Terre; Dr. J. H. English; Dr. F. M. Braning; and Dr. F. S. Weber both of Farmington, for the State.

     Witnesses for the defense were Dr. R. B. H. Gradwohl of St. Louis; Dr. U. P. Haw of Benton; Dr. S.J. Wade, also of Benton; Dr. McCormick and Dr. Herwig of Farmington, besides all the other witnesses.

     A night session was held last night at which the direct testimony of the doctors was taken.



September 7, 1911
- Farmington Times

     Seldom had a trial in the circuit court of this county attracted more interest than that of Harris Bizzle & Pate Swain, charged with murder in the second degree in the alleged killing of J. F Taylor, a patient at State Hospital #4, or of inflicting the injuries from which it was declared that Taylor died.

               The case was called on Monday. Last week, the jury was impaneled, qualified, and the attorneys were given until one o'clock Tuesday to make their challenges, at which time the taking of testimony was begun. Taking of testimony did not close until late Saturday afternoon, and in the argument of the counsel, two hours was allowed for each side at a night session, into Saturday night, then the case was given to the JURY!


               The theory of the State was that Taylor had been brutally beaten on the morning of March 12,1911 and that this resulted in the fracturing of the breastbone and five ribs; that from that day on he declined, until his death early on the morning of April 3 following.

            The various examinations of the Doctors seem to bear out the theory of the state, and showed that pus sacks had formed over the points fractured; that at no time after March 12 had Taylor been injured. The State’s expert testimony went to show that the injuries were inflicted by external force, administered with GREAT VIOLENCE!  

            The State further showed by Luther Gibson, who was night attendant, at the receiving-observation ward and had turned Taylor over to the defendants on the morning of March 12, that as he went off duty he saw Bizzle & Swain throw Taylor out of the bed upon the floor, and heard Taylor cry out, "For God’s sake don't kill me." I heard him scream after he had gone to his room some distance away!


     The most interesting feature of the trial was when the State sought to introduce the BONES OF TAYLOR IN EVIDENCE, and when it attempted to prove a purported dying declaration of the insane Taylor.

           About 40 days subsequent to his death and burial, the State had the body exhumed, and a post-mortem made of the body, and parts of the breastbone and the fractured ribs were removed and turned over by the coroner to Dr.Tiedman, pathologist, of Washington University for examination. The theory set by the defense was that there was necrosis of the bone. The testimony of Dr. Tiedman went on to show that there was no necrotic condition of the bones.

            It was then the state sought to introduce the bones as evidence; and they were brought into the courtroom in a tin box. It was here that the attorneys of the defense strenuously OBJECTED and the jury had to be sent out while each side argued the admissibility of bones as evidence. The attorneys showed their appreciation of the GREAT importance and the bearing on the case that the admission of such evidence might have. After the points were thoroughiy discussed, the court sustained the position of the defense and EXCLUDED THE EVIDENCE!!!

            Also excluded was the purported dying declaration of Taylor, who a few days before his death pointed out the defendants as the parties who had beaten HIM! The defense brought out by the testimony of the expert physicians that a blow with force enough to fracture these bones would have resulted in such great shock that Taylor could not possibly have been able to go to breakfast and walk a mile with no indications of his injuries, as was sworn by the testimony that he had done and that he probably could not have lived.

            The defendants showed by their expert witnesses that muscular contractions could have caused the fracture proven by the State; and on cross examination of the Deputy Sheriff who brought Taylor to the Hospital, that Taylor was injured, and screamed and charged that someone was murdering him; that Taylor was insane and violent.

           The defense further showed that the defendants were in charge of TAYLOR only during the days of March 10-11 and one-half a day on the 12th; that Swain went to another building on March l4 and that Bizzle left for home on the 15th and neither of them saw him (Taylor) again until March 31. The defendants testified that at no time either of them ever struck Taylor or in any way abused HIM.

            It was further brought out from testimony on both sides that Taylor entered Hospital #4 suffering from an advanced case of Bright's Disease, as well as malaria and that he had just recovered from a spell of pneumonia. Dr. Keaney testified that Taylor entered #4 suffering from complications of diseases that practically marked him as a dead man. When, where or how the deceased had suffered the fractures of the breastbone and ribs, which the post-mortem disclosed, was not shown at any time throughout the trial.

           The case was sharply contested by counsel on both sides, showing untiring energy, determination, and HIGH CLASS of ABILITY throughout the LONG mental strain. The jury paid close attention to the testimony and Judge Huck showed great patience and fairness in all disputed points and in his rulings.

The Jurors:  W. Belknap; Frank Monroe; J. Boyd; August Menge; Thomas Andrews, F.  Runhon; John Ketcherside; Lawrence Johnson, J A. Sutterfield; Henry Beiser; L. E. Horton.


By: Auldeane Cates (1999)

               The previous documentation was taken from different state newspapers. Why this means so much to me is that James Franklin Taylor was my grandfather, whom I was never privileged to know. My Mom was born 7 months after her father’s death so she never knew her own dad. Grandpa Taylor was an accomplished violinist and played for dances. He was much in demand and would go for miles to play the violin when people came for him. He was also an expert carver. Mom used to have a shoe polish bottle with a carved chair inside that he had made.

        Several years after the death of Jim Taylor his son, Earnest, received a letter saying that Jim Taylor was yet alive and living in Colorado. Whoever wrote to Earnest got a quick reply telling him, “My Dad is dead.” After Dosha heard of it she was very troubled. At that time, she lived in southeast Missouri and Earnest lived in Chicago. Dosha said if she could have seen the letter she would have known if it was Jim Taylor’s handwriting. She was not able to attend the funeral of Jim  so, therefore, NONE of the family actually saw the corpse. It leaves a lot to PONDER on.

            Later, in despair, Dosha went to a woman named Martha Patterson who practiced Necromancy and fortune telling. Martha told her that Jim Taylor was out West, as she had heard. Dosha wanted to ask him if he was happy. As Martha supposedly communed with his spirit, she related to Dosha of his happiness.

               About eight years ago I was privileged to attend a homecoming at a small country church in the vicinity where Jim and Dosha had lived many years previously. I talked to a lady who had been a dear friend of my mother, Opal. She is the one Dosha was expecting when Grandpa Taylor died.

Gertrude Elliot related this story:

Several years after 1911 a transient came through the area where she lived. Dosha had remarried and was living a few miles from that area. The transient said he was hungry and would be glad to cut wood or whatever for a meal. While there, he asked about Dosha and where she was. After being told, he went on his way. Gertrude told me she KNEW IT WAS JIM TAYLOR. He said he was on his way to visit a sister in Arkansas and had been with a sister in Oklahoma.

 I can only say - If the fellow who died at state hospital #4 was not my grandfather, just who was the poor fellow? Guess I’ll never, ever know.

     I got a death certificate from the State Bureau of Vital Statistics in 1973 with the cause of death of Jim Taylor given as Traumatism. In 1996, I sent for a record from the hospital hoping to find a picture of Jim. The state record said cause of death was manic-depressive – NO PHOTO was enclosed!