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In 1869 the annals of Clayton township were marked by a terrible crime. Davis and Daniel GRIFFITH and Jesse KNOUSE were neighbors. The GRIFFITH's hogs were feeding on the good things that were growing on the premises of KNOUSE.

KNOUSE went gunning with a six shooting carbine for those hogs. The GRIFFITHS couldn't stand that, and went over to interview Mr. KNOUSE. A quarrel ensued, in which KNOUSE shot David twice while he was running from him - once in the neck and then in the arm. David recovered, and still lives in the vicinity. Daniel was shot dead by KNOUSE.

After the affray the murderer quietly went to Squire WALKER's and wanted to "pay his fine," saying that he had killed a couple of fellows. When the grand jury met he was indicted for murder in the first degree.

Hon. L. T. McCONN, who defended him, secured a change of venue to the District Court of Ringgold county. He was there tried before Judge James G. DAY, now of the supreme bench, and was found guilty of murder in the second degree. Judge DAY sentenced him to the penitentiary for life.

An appeal was made to the Supreme Court, and the action of the court below was reversed. At a new trial in Ringgold county Knouse was found guilty of manslaughter, and was sentenced by Judge James W. McDILL, now [1881] United States Senator, to five years in the penitentiary. He served three months, and was pardoned out by Gov. Samuel MERRILL.

SOURCE:  EVANS, Lyman. "Clayton Township". Taylor County, Iowa History
Pp. 572 - 573. 1881

Submitted by Sharon R. Becker, December, 2008


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