Decatur Daily News, Decatur IL, Feb 25, 1888, Page 3, Col 4


Death of Dr. Mitchell


Dr. William H. MITCHELL died yesterday, at his residence No. 327 West Prairie Street, after an illness of about a month, in the ninetieth year of his age.


The deceased was born in Botetourt County, Virginia, on the 9th of April, 1798, and came to Illinois in 1818 – the year the state was admitted into the Union.  He read medicine and was graduated by one of the Philadelphia medical colleges in 1826, after which he practiced medicine in Belleville, Ill., from which place he removed to Decatur in 1855.  He had retired from the active practice of his profession before coming here.  He was twice married – first to Miss Minerva MOORE, in the State of Virginia, who died in 1843, and afterwards to Mrs. Elizabeth DEDMUNDSON of Belleville, who survives him.  One daughter by his first marriage, Mrs. A. B. DAVIDSON, of Lexington, Ill., and another by his second, Mrs. J. L. SHELLABARGER, of Topeka, Kansas, survive, and both were with him when he died.


Dr. MITCHELL was a man of robust and vigorous frame, and in his old age was remarkably active and well preserved.  Until his last illness, which was a complication of kidney troubles, he was able to perform feats of agility which few men of half his age could accomplish.  He was a most companionable man in his disposition and manners, and possessing rare intelligence and a habit of close observation, he was a most charming conversationalist.  Cheerfulness was a prominent trait in his character, and it is rare that one meets so old a person who is to uniformly good-natured.  Dr. MITCHELL was a man of more than ordinary public spirit, and retained his interest in public affairs to the last.  He was a conscientious Republican in his political preferences, a devout Methodist in religion, and a most excellent citizen in all respects.  He held the office of city collector for nine consecutive years, when it was an elective office, showing his great popularity among the people.


The funeral will take place on Monday afternoon at 2 o’clock from the First M.E. Church.


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Evening Observer, Dunkirk, Chautauqua County, NY, May 27, 1884 Page 1, col 1


Two Men Fatally Wounded


Buchanan, Va., May 26.  John and Jim HURLEY, two desperate characters of Botetourt County, made an attack upon W. R. DOTSON and John ESSOP, two quiet and inoffensive citizens of that place, in which both of these men were fatally wounded and cannot possibly live.  The HURLEYS mad periodical trips to Paw Paw Folks in Botetourt County.  Yesterday, the HURLEYS raised a row with the bystanders, threatened to shoot indiscriminately,  ESSOP endeavored to quiet the desperadoes, whereupon the HURLEYS fired two balls into his back, producing fatal wounds.  They then turned to DAWSON and both brothers fired their revolvers at him, two shots taking effect, one in the groin and the other in the kidneys.  Before they could be arrested, they mounted their horses and dashed down the mountains.


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Portsmouth Times, Portsmouth, Oh., Mar. 29, 1859, Page 2, Col 4


In Newcastle, Botetourt County, Va., on the 14th inst., a drunken man, named SPARKS, called at the house of Miss Polly TUCKER, who shut the door in his fact.  He then went to the window and raising the sash, put his head through the opening.  Miss TUCKER, who had an axe in her hand, threatened to strike him with it.  He laughingly told her to strike away, which she did, with fatal effect, striking him with the axe immediately on top of the head, inflicting a mortal wound.  He lived about six hours, and died apparently without much pain.  He did not speak after the blow was given.


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Reno Evening Gazette, Reno, NV, Aug 24, 1881, Page 3, Col 1


Mrs. Watson and Her Seven Sons -  All Seven Survive the Civil War


Mrs. Cynthia WATSON, widow of James F. WATSON of Botetourt County, Virginia, who died last week, contributed seven sons to the Confederate army, one of whom followed general PICKETT in the fatal charge at Gettysburg and scaled the enemy’s works, and strangely escaped unhurt.  When at the close of the war, after the lapse of four years of carnage and death, answered to his name around the family hearthstone, and this noble woman then and there offered a sincere prayer of thanks that her humble supplications to the divine throne had been heard and answered, and, reverently placing her trembling hands upon the heads of the bronzed veterans she so much loved, exclaimed, “Thank God, we are all here again.”


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The News, Frederick, MD, Sept 21, 1893, Pg. 1, Col 4


[Transcriber’s Note:  Note that in the first article, the accused is listed as Robert Smith.  In the updated article, he is listed as Thomas Smith.]


Riotous Virginians Fired Upon by a Military Company – Nine Killed, Nineteen Wounded


Roanoke, Va., Sept 21.  Robert SMITH, a Negro, yesterday assaulted and nearly killed Mrs. Henry BISHOP, wife of a well-to-do farmer of Botetourt County.  Mrs. BISHOP was at the market with a load of produce, and SMITH bought a box of grapes.  He asked her to go with him to get the money, and taking her to a house near by, locked the door and bound her.  Then drawing a razor, he demanded her money.  She gave it up, and while doing so jerked the razor from his rand.  The Negro choked her, threw her down and pounded her head with a brick, leaving her for dead.  Mrs. BISHOP shortly afterwards regained consciousness, and returning to the market told of the outrage.


Detective BALDWIN soon arrested the Negro.  An excited crowd attempted to take SMITH away from the officer and lynch him, but BALDWIN, with the prisoner on a horse, dashed at full speed in the face of the crowd and soon had him behind the bars.  An immense crowd remained at the jail for a long time, but were finally persuaded by the mayor to disperse.


Soon afterward, however, a crowd gathered around the jail and kept increasing as night approached.  At 5 o’clock the Roanoke light infantry marched to the jail by orders of Mayor TROUT.  Guards were posted and the streets in the immediate vicinity cleared.  About dark the crowd was increased by a hundred men from the vicinity of the Woman’s home, headed by Mrs. BISHOP’s son, a fireman on the Norfolk and Western Railroad.


At 8 o’clock portions of the mob battered at a side door of the jail, where the militia and Mayor TROUT had retired.  Then shooting was commenced by the mob, and the mayor was shot in the foot.  The militia were then ordered to return the fire, and a volley from about 25 rifles was poured into the mob.  Nine men were killed and nineteen wounded, one of them fatally.  During the excitement caused by the volley, the Negro was taken from the jail by an officer and secreted.  The dead and wounded were removed to a drug store and to the offices of nearly physicians.  The militia were then dispersed and left the scene as quietly as possible.


The following is a list of the dead and injured:



   S. A. Vick, Hotel Proprietor.

  William Sheetz, Railroad Fireman.

  Charles W. Whitmire, Railroad Conductor.

  J. B. Tyler, of Blue Ridge.

  George White, shot through the leg and bled to death.

  W. Jones, Railroad Engineer

  John Mills, Distiller, Black Creek.

  George Settles of Vinton.

  Emmett J. Small of West Roanoke.


The injured are:

  Otto Falls (Fails?), shot through the body, and will die.

  Will Eddie, shot through groin.

  George O. Monroe, shot in head.

  Frank Mills, shot in arm.

  Tom Nelson, leg off.

  Leroy White, shot in back.

  J. B. McGhee, shot in leg.

  [First name not given] Shepard, shot in leg;

  E. J. Small, shot in abdomen.

  Charles Powell, shot through the body.


Those less seriously injured are:

  J. H. Campbell.

  Edgar Wahling.

  C. W. Figgatt.

  C. P. North.

  O. B. Taylor.

  [First name not given] Hall

  David Ruggles

  N. E. Sparks

  T. E. Nelms


Mayor Trout is firm in the position he has assumed and declares that he will uphold the law.


Update – Same paper, same date:


Smith Lynched – Captured by the Mob, Hanged and Burned


Roanoke, Va., Sept. 21, 1893.  The mob succeeded in getting hold of the Negro, Thomas Smith, at 4:30 this morning and lynched him.  At 10 o’clock they burned his body.  The militia have been compelled to leave the city.


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The Weekly Hawk Eye Burlington, Iowa, Jan 18, 1859, Page 3


Fatal Affray – An old man named Benjamin LACKS, residing in Botetourt County, Virginia, while drunk, stabbed Lawson S. BRYAN in the heart on the 23d ult., killing him instantly.  BRYAN had interfered  to protect a son of the murderer from his father’s rage.  The old man escaped and has not been recaptured.


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The Telegram, Eau Claire, Wisc, Mar 11, 1895, Page 3, Col 3


Romance and Tragedy – A Rejected Lover’s Terrible Revenge Recalled by a Virginia Wedding


Romance is not dead, and tragedy is sometimes as real today in life as in story books.  A story comes from Roanoke, Va., of a marriage which was recently performed there that recalled one of the most distressing tragedies in the history of Botetourt County.  The parties in his marriage were John W. TROUT and Mrs. Lavinia K. WALTON, nee OBENSHAIN (Obenchain?), both natives of Troutville, a village seventeen miles east.


In the summer of 1891, Houston Obenshain, a brother of the bride, and Horace N. TROUT, a brother of the groom, were each paying attention to Miss Alice RICHARDSON, a pretty young lady of Troutville.  Obenshain resided in this city, and at times was a little wild.  Learning of several scrapes into which he had gotten himself, the young woman’s father objected to a continuance of his attentions, which had been so marked that it was reported that the young couple were engaged.  Miss RICHARDSON wrote OBENSHAIN the decision of her father and charged that it was due to tales told of him by TROUT.  OBENSHAIN on receiving her letter immediately began preparations for wreaking a terrible vengeance on Horace N. TROUT.  He speedily arranged his worldly affairs, hired a horse and buggy, and informed several friends that he was going to Troutville to kill TROUT, Miss RICHARDSON, and himself, but no one paid any attention to those threats.


Arriving at Troutville, he ascertained that TROUT and the young lady were at the house of Mr. BEYER.  Thither he went , spoke pleasantly to everyone, and asked TROUT to walk with him to a church close by.  TROUT consented, and when they had nearly reached the church OBENSHAIN drew a revolved and fired a bullet into TROUT’s head.  His victim fell to the ground, to receive two more balls in his body.  OBENSHAIN stood over his victim a few moments and calmly surveyed his work.  He started to the house where Miss RICHARDSON was, but turned, went to the church, where a few people had assembled, told them what he had done, and then went to the house of Benjamin MURRAY. 


Just as he entered the doorway he placed the muzzle of the revolver to his temple, pulled the trigger, and fell to the floor.  TROUT lingered for several days and died.  His body was buried in the same cemetery with OBENSHAIN’s and close by it.