Old Newspaper Clippings

*Submitted by Joyce Bullard McEntire.  Thank you, Joyce!

From: The Leader, McLeansboro, IL.; Thursday, February 25, 1886


Assassination of John Mann

Our community was startled on Friday by the report that John Mann, one of the best known citizens of this county, had been ambushed and assassinated about 4 miles from Broughton that morning.  Mr. Mann left home early in the morning to go to his daughters farm to measure some rent corn.  John Call, a resident of that neighborhood was driving his team in an opposite direction from that Mann was riding, and when near Hog Creek heard some shots fired in rapid succession, and immediately a riderless horse came dashing down the road.  He drove on and soon came on the body of Mr.. Mann lying in the road.  He was just breathing his last, and Call was so badly alarmed for fear the assassins would shoot him that he put whip to his team and drove as rapidly as possible to Dale, and parties from that place went at once to the scene. Others had got there before they did, but nothing was done until the arrival of the sheriff and coroner.  That the murder was premeditated and carefully planned was evidence by the surrounds.  A blind had been built in the top of a fallen tree near the road and every twig and brush between the blind and the road had been carefully trimmed away so that when done it would be a
success.  Two weapons were used, first a double barreled shot gun, and one load struck him in the right shoulder, and the other in the back.  After he had fallen from his horse the assassin walked up to him and put two shots into his head with a revolver.
One of the parties who helped with the body informed us as to the way he was hit by at least a hundred shot of various sizes.  After doing the shooting the pockets were rifled probably with a view of distracting suspicion.  As it is thought Mr. Mann did not have much money with him.  The coroners jury after hearing evidence near the scene of the murder came to this place on Saturday, and after more evidence was submitted rendered a verdict that death resulted from gun and pistol shot wounds inflicted by some party or parties unknown,  Mr. Mann was, as mentioned before, one of the best known men in the county.  large and powerful he was capable of holding more than his own in any encounter in which he might engage.  He had had business dealings with George Schoolcraft of the same neighborhood and bad feelings had resulted which had led different persons to warn Mann against Schoolcraft.  Suspicion pointed towards George and his two brothers, Martin and Hardeman, more especially as George and Hardeman could not be found after the shooting.
Sheriff Maulding spent Friday night, Saturday and Saturday night in gathering testimony and hunting his men.  And on Sunday came to town with the three Schoolcraft's.  They waived preliminary examination and were committed to jail.  

The funeral of Mr. Mann occurred on Sunday, and as the revolver found on Geo Schoolcraft was of an unusual and peculiar size, it was thought best to re-examine the body and extract the bullets from the head, as they might add a very important chain to the evidence.  Accordingly on Tuesday morning Coroner Sullenger accompanied by Dr. A. DeFoe and others, repaired to the graveyard where Mr. Mann was buried, and after exhuming the body an autopsy was held.  But one of the bullets fired into the head could be found:  This with all the other evidence was submitted to the Grand Jury, which is in session, and about noon yesterday an indictment was returned into Circuit Court against George, Marion, and James H. Schoolcraft for murder.  As the accused seem anxious for a speedy trial the case was set for next Monday. There are various opinions and surmises and a great many rumors about an regard to the case and the prevailing opinion is that whom so ever is proven guilty deserves speedy punishment.  Occasionally rumors have come to town that a mob would visit McLeansboro and wreck swift vengeance on the accused parties.  We think this is only rumor, the parties under suspicion are all in jail, and will soon have a fair and impartial trial:  if they are proven guilty their punishment will undoubtedly be commensurate with the crime committed.  if they are proven innocent that should end it as far as they are concerned and efforts renewed to get those who are guilty.  The law should take its course, let the blow fall where it will.

From: The Leader, McLeansboro, IL., Thursday, March 4, 1886

The trial of the Brothers Schoolcraft for the murder of John Mann is now in progress in our Circuit Court.  A jury has been selected, opening speeches made and several witnesses examined.  There are 76 witnesses for the prosecution and 41 for the defense, making 117 in all.  It is probable the trial will consume all of the present week and may run into next.  Hon. J.C. Edwards is assisting Hon. L. Walker, Prosecuting Attorney in the prosecution and Judge T.B. Stelle, and J.F Leslie,Esq are defending.  Great interest is manifested in the trial and the court room is jammed all the time to its utmost capacity.

From: The Leader, McLeansboro, IL., Thursday March 11, 1886

As we mentioned last week the case of the people vs. George, Marion and Harleman Schoolcraft for the murder of John Mann was then up for trial.  The case occupied the time of the court until late Saturday night, when it was given to the jury, who after an absence of about 40 minutes returned a verdict of guilty and fixed punishment at 25 years in the penitentiary, Motion was made for a new trial by Judge T.B. Stelle and J.F. Leslie, ESQ. attorneys for defendants, and on Wednesday they presented their objections in a very able and forcible manner.  The court after hearing arguments of both sides sustained the verdict of the jury and the prisoners were accordingly sentenced.  We understand that an appeal will be taken.

From: Felty's Legacy of Kin; p. 32
Obit Extract: pub. Times, February 19, 1886

Ambushed and assassinated while riding horse to daughter's farm.  Shot this morning at Hog Creed near James Twigg's, about 4 miles west of Broughton.  He sometimes carried large sums of money, as he was a cattle buyer.  He was a Mexican War veteran.  Lived near Parker's Prairie.  Leaves widow, 7 children.  Times; pub. February 25, 1886: George C., Marion and James Hardeman Schoolcraft arrested on suspicion of being the assassins.  Indicted by grand jury.  Times; pub. March 11, 1886: They were sentenced to 25 years in the penitentiary.  

Midi "Whispers" courtesy of Bruce De Boer

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