Muscatine County, Iowa


Submitted by June Brewer Welsch
Source: "MUSCATINE JOURNAL", Muscatine, Iowa, March 7, 1909


John Bassett Identifies Coat Said to Have Been Worn By Harry Jones
Night of Murder and Found Among Effects in Kansas.


With her sister lying cold in death in South Muscatine, Mrs. Nancy E. Brewer, feeble, blind and trembling with emotion, was led to the witness stand in the Jones trial at 4:10 o'clock yesterday afternoon to testify against the man she firmly believes killed her nephew and niece Mr. and Mrs. William Van Winkle. Suffering with the terrible affliction of almost total blindness with approaching deafness and other infirmities of age, she nerved herself to a supreme effort to aid the state in calling to justice the man it alleges is guilty of the fiendish murder. It was a magnificent example of human endeavor inspired in a measure perhaps through vengeance, but nevertheless with the infinite desire that justice and justice alone should be done. She told a well connected and unusually lucid story, though finding it necessary on one or two occasions to rest during her examination. Her coition, her apparent effort and convincing sincerity, no doubt carried with it an influence and weight that would have been entirely absent had a younger more vigorous woman related precisely the same facts.

Her Testimony

Mrs. Brewer told of Jones' visit to her home the night of the murder, and after the remark by Mrs. Eliza Van Winkle, that she was going to remain at Brewer's all night, and his decision to then go to Billy Van Winkle's and arrange to remain there that night. She also related the fact that drinks were passed around by the defendant and in fact told the same story her son Glen Brewer related earlier during the trial corroborating his statements in every particular.

The closing hour of the afternoon session was devoid of sensation developments yesterday, though several witnesses were examined. The most important of the testimony was the identification of the coat said to have been worn by Jones the night of the murder, just before John Bassett left the stand. The coat, however has not as yet been introduced in evidence and will not be until possibly Wednesday, when additional testimony concerning it will be produced by the state. Mr. Bassett declared that as Jones attempted to crawl through a barbed wire fence on the way to town from the Bassett cabin boat, he snagged the coat in one of the projecting points, and by that means Mr. Bassett was enabled to identify it, as he released it, at the time.

Nina Brewer Next.

Mrs. Nina Brewer, wife of Glen Brewer, was the next witness called and told also of finding Jones at the Brewer home when she returned with her husband. She heard him say, she slated, that he had made arrangements to stay all night at Van Winkle's and told of Jones slapping her on the hips while she was getting a piece of cloth upon which the defendant intended to draw some pictures. Attorney Warner did not cross examine the witness.

Visited Crabtree's

Della Crabtree told of seeing the defendant the afternoon before the murder, stating that he had called at her home and requested her to get him a glass of warm water, after enquiring whether or not there was anyone at home. She did not get the water, and after a few minutes Jones left, going in the directions of the depot. The most significant part of the testimony was that Jones after the girl had told him no one was at home, went to the door and rapped, and then asked for a glass of cold water, which was also refused. Miss Crabtree was the last witness on the stand yesterday.

Note from June Brewer Welsch: Nancy Brewer was my great grandmother.

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