FATAL STABBING AFFRAY -- THE MURDERER AT LARGE.
The Washington County Journal, Potosi, Missouri, Thursday, Oct. 3, 1867.
A homicide of the most serious and aggravated
nature transpired about three miles west of Irondale, near the house of Smith Wortham, in
this county, on Saturday evening last. George W. Simms, the deceased, was a laborer with a
family consisting of a wife and five small children, dependent upon him for support.
The family removed here from Illinois last spring. On Saturday last Simms spent a
part of the day in a trip to Irondale to purchase provisions and goods for his family use,
starting homeward in the evening. On leaving Irondale, Thomas E. Wortham, a notorious
character living in that part of the county, and who has occupied quarters in our county
jail for various offences heretofore, got into the wagon with Simms, to ride as far as his
own home. After riding two miles, some disagreement arose between Wortham and Simms,
the former jumping from the wagon and ordering the other out to fight him. Simms, it
seems, declined the challenge, telling Wortham he did not wish any difficulty with him.
The latter then followed him a mile further, according to evidence upon the
coroner's inquest, heaping upon him the most violent abuse. At this point Simms
stopped his wagon and dismounted, when the two come to blows, but were soon separated by
other parties who had come up, and the matter was thought by the bystanders to have been
amicably adjusted. While the parties were variously engaged in conversation,
Wortham passed around the wagon and coming up behind Simms, stabbed him in the vicinity of
the heart. Simms immediately remounted his wagon, saying "take him away, boys,
he has cut me badly," and started up his team. His voice being very faint, his
wagon was soon stopped again, when he fell forward and expired almost instantly.
Information was shortly after lodged with William T. King, a Justice of the Peace, and a warrant issued for the apprehension of Wortham, placed in the hands of Constable Webb. The homicide had effected his escape and, at the hour of writing this article, is still at large, although Sheriff Breckenridge is taking active steps to secure his arrest.
Simms' family are said to be left in a very destitute and pitiable condition, the mother and the eldest of the five children being rendered entirely helpless, by disease.
FURTHER -- ARREST OF WORTHAM.
Since the above was in type, the homicide has
been brought in and lodged in our county jail. On Monday evening Constable William
H. Murphy, of St. Francois County, who was on the qui vive, found Wortham at the residence
of his brother-in-law, Henry Fry, two miles southeast of Farmington, and made the arrest.
When received at the office of Sheriff Breckenridge, here, yesterday morning, the
prisoner evinced the utmost unconcern, and on having his wrists placed in the
"bracelets" proposed to the Sheriff that he be off at once, as he wished to make
the acquaintance of his new quarters, in the caboose. After his lodgment there he
edified the ears of listeners with some musical performances; from a voice not altogether
consonant with the rules of harmony. [Copied from County Journal, Potosi MO Oct 3 1867]