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Daniel Casey, Murdered August 1877


Posted By: Pat Ryan White (email)
Date: 10/18/2017 at 21:47:33




Tragic End of a Sunday's Drinking Bout--Seventeen Witnesses Examined.

Our citizens were shocked last Monday morning to learn that a foul murder had probably been committed almost inside of the city limits, and near churches wherein but a few hours perviously, had been proclaimed the gospel of "Peace on earth, good will toward men." About 9 o'clock that morning, Hugh Rogers discovered the body of a man lying in "Snipe Run," a small stream flowing westward along the southern limits of the city, the victim lying about fifty rods west of Kammerer's brewery, and the body being covered with water, except one leg, which was resting on a rock that projected from the bank, the water being not over twenty inches in depth. The body lay nearly lengthwise with the stream, and was inclined slightly to one side, though resting principally on the back.

Coroner J.B. Vernon was at once notified of the discovery, and repairing to the spot indicated, ordered the removal of the body from the ditch, when it was found to be what remained of Daniel Casey, an Irish laborer who had been in the employ of the Asylum, and whose late home is in Irish Town, a small hamlet scarcely half a mile south of the city limits, and not far west of the residence of Mr. John Winters, the house being on the quarry road. Thither the body was removed, the family, a wife and three children, having been notified, and C.H. Peters, C.Z. Lindley and Samuel Williford, Jr., were summoned and sworn as a jury of inquest, to investigate the facts as to Casey's sudden taking off.

Arriving at the house, we found Dr. Marsh, Jr., assisted by Drs. McDowel and Smith, engaged in making a post mortem examination of deceased, the result of which was, briefly, the finding of eight or nine cuts on his head, some having penetrated the scalp entirely, indicating in some places that blows had been dealt with a knotted club; the skull was fractured, and underneath it was a spot of clotted blood. It was found also that no water had entered the lungs as the case would have been, had he fallen alive into the water, and the result of the Doctor's examination was conclusive, that the man had first been murdered and then thrown into the ditch. There was also a wound across the palm of his right hand, as if received in attempting to ward off a blow, the right side of the face was scratched and were abrasions on the neck as if made by the hand of an enemy; in short, both the number and character of the wounds fully disprove the possibility of their having been made by falling over the bank of the ditch, which at the spot, is only about eight feet high, and sloping, while the rocks at the bottom are smooth and covered with some inches of soft deposit, making it impossible that the cuts were inflicted by striking them.

The inquest was carried on with closed doors, seventeen witnesses were examined, and the result of their evidence and the decision of the jury will not be known for some days. We learn indirectly that Casey with a number of others had been drinking quite freely during Sunday; that all were more or less intoxicated; that some time in the evening, two of the party called at deceased's house and demanded beer or liquor from him, which he refused, the refusal leading to hard words, when he ordered them out of his house, and that about 11 o'clock, he left home intoxicated and excited, saying that he was "going to have that difficulty settled," referring as supposed, to threatening language said to have been used by the men who had been at his house. He went in the direction of the spot where his remains were subsequently found, and although his wife had searched for him in the night, she received no tidings from him, until after his lifeless body was found on the following morning. Who committed this horrid crime may never be known, but if justice should fail to overtake them in this world, the eye that never sleeps and to whom vengeance belongs will mete out complete punishment to the murderers in eternity.

Daniel Casey was a native of Kerry county, Ireland, had been in America about thirteen years, most of the time in this city, and was known as an industrious, kind-hearted man, never losing a day from work, and indulging in drink when he did do so, between Saturday and Sunday nights. He was physically a very powerful man, and would not have been easily mastered had he not been taken advantage of, in some cowardly manner. He was 37 years old, was married some years ago to Margaret Danahy, who with three children, survives him. Mrs. Mary [sic:Bresnahan] Blesnahahn, a sister, resides in this place, and perhaps other relatives. The scene at the desolated home was a sad one. The house, a small one of one story, stands a short distance from the road, in a large lot, and was owned by the murdered man. In the room where he lay, and where the doctors were dissecting the head, was a neat bureau, on which stood a clock not running, with the hands marking twenty minutes to twelve o'clock; a provision safe stood in one corner on the top of which lay a paper of crackers, and on the wall was suspended a small mirror, its face closely veiled with a white towel. There is a small kitchen and two little bedrooms, and while all the surroundings indicated the humble sphere of life, there were evidences of plenty and comparative comfort. We may be able to give fuller particulars of this deplorable affair in next week's paper, by which time more light may be thrown upon it, and in the meantime, the reader may draw for himself the sad lessons inculcated by the bloody tragedy.

["Mt. Pleasant Journal", August 9, 1877]


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