Jefferson County
Illinois

NEWSPAPER ARTICLES


 


This information comes from an old magazine article seen and copied 
by Jerry Barber when she visited Waltonville, IL.  There is no information 
about the magazine itself.

Submitted By: Janet Fryar Rohlfs

MORE QUEER THAN GENUINE

By Captain Patrick D. Tyrell

THERE WAS MORE COUNTERFEIT THAN REAL MONEY IN CIRCULATION
AT MOUNT VERNON SO SERIOUS WAS THE SITUATION

A Story of Fact

  It is not probable that a more remarkable letter ever was received 
by the Secretary of the United States Treasury than on which reached 
that official in February 1870 from Charles D. ham, cashier of the 
First National Bank of Mount Vernon, Illinois.  After setting forth 
general conditions in the city in which he lived, in respect tot he 
nature of the money in circulation, Mr. Ham made this flat statement:
“There is more counterfeit money in circulation in Mount Vernon than 
genuine money.”
  None of the many communications received by the government 
officials from banker ad other business men, in none of the complaints 
lodged with the Treasury Department by persons victimized by counterfeiters, 
had so astonishing a statement been made.  The letter was turned over to the 
secret service division, and in a few days found its way to me, Mount Vernon, 
the source of the information, being in the district over which I had supervision.
  Besides the statement touching the excess of counterfeit over genuine 
money, the letter contained a Macedonian cry for assistance from the government 
in relieving the people of Jefferson County, in which Mount Vernon was located, 
from the troublesome operations of the counterfeiters.

MORE QUEER THAN GENUINE	109

  While I knew there was much “coney” in circulation in southern Illinois, 
and, in fact, was working at the lime to capture the men primarily responsible 
for its existence, I read Mr. Ham's letter with a large degree of allowance.   
The natural tendency of any man who had been made a victim of a counterfeiter 
was to exaggerate the extent of the evil, and bankers, through whose hands, 
sooner or later, there passed much of the currency in circulation, thereby 
bringing them into contact with most of the counterfeit money, were especially 
prone to exaggerate the amount of bogus money in the district.

Without Exaggeration

 Therefore, when I perused the Mount Vernon cashier’s bill of complaint and 
statement of alleged fact, I accepted it, not for an accurate account of actual 
conditions, but as the hyperbolic statement of a condition, probably bad enough 
without exaggeration.
  Just at this time the government attorneys were preparing to begin the trial of 
the celebrated “whisky ring” cases, and I had been assigned to make a secret 
investigation into the character, political and religious belief, social and 
political affiliations, and private and public history of every member of the 
jury that had been drawn to try that case.
  The whisky ring fraud, I need not state, was one of the great historic conspiracies 
against the government, and accurate information concerning the men who were to sit 
on the jury was of much importance to the government attorneys.  Feeling this my 
paramount duty, I continued this work and other important tasks already begun until 
April, when I went to Mount Vernon to run down the men responsible for the conditions 
described by Mr. Ham.
  I went directly to Cashier Ham, whose remarkable statement was the cause of my being 
assigned to the case.
  “I have come to Mount Vernon,” I said, “in answer to your letter to the Secretary of 
the Treasury."
  “I am glad to see that the government has taken some steps toward clearing out this 
gang,” he said.  “I made a statement in the letter which you probably do not believe, 
and which would seem gross exaggeration to any one who was not familiar with the 
conditions here, but the statements in my letter are nevertheless true.”
  “Do I understand you to mean that there is more counterfeit money being circulated here 
than genuine money?” 
  “ That's just what I do mean.  It is not exaggeration.  It is easy for you to find out 
for yourself whether or not I was exaggerating when I made that statement.”
  I smiled incredulously, and Mr. Ham became very much in earnest. “Go to any store in 
town,” he insisted, “make a purchase, have a bill changed, and if more of the money 
given you in change is not counterfeit than good, I’ll gladly retract.”
  Deciding to make the test, I sauntered forth and entered a grocery store, buying ten 
cents’ worth of apples, I tendered a five-dollar bill, and was given four dollars and 
ninety cents.  I did not inspect the money until I left the store, when, much to my 
amazement, I found that more than two and a half dollars of it was counterfeit scrip 
in denominations of fifty and twenty-five cents.

All in Paper

  Previously I had been in districts where coney had been pretty freely floated, but 
never had a situation equal to this presented itself.  To Mr. Ham I promptly apologized 
for having doubted the literal truth of his statement.  He assured me that for years 
not a day had passed during which dozens of counterfeit currency notes had not been 
presented at the bank.
  He admitted, however, that since the capture of Ben Boyd and Nelson Driggs, the coneymen 
of southern Illinois had been more cautious in attempting to "shove” bogus notes at the 
banks of the district but he said the tradesmen were suffering then as much as they had 
for years.
  All of the counterfeit in circulation in southern Illinois I found to be paper 
money, and I was not surprised to discover that the ten-dollar counterfeit of the Bank 
of Richmond, Indiana, note, and the five-dollar counterfeit of the Traders' National

110 FLYNN’S

of Chicago, were the principal notes in circulation.
  The latter plate had been manipulated in such a way that the names of other banks 
could be easily inserted instead of the Traders', and the notes most frequently found 
in this district were those of the banks of Peru, Peoria, Paxton, and Canton, Illinois.   
Besides these notes there was in daily use an almost incredibly large amount of scrip 
made from plates that had been engraved by Ben Boyd.
With these facts ascertained, I made my plans for the rounding up of the band which 
had been circulating the counterfeits, a process that consumed in all six years, and 
which resulted in the killing of one of the principal members of the coney organization 
of Jefferson County.

The Personnel of the Gang

  In communities no larger than MountVernon and vicinity, suspicion naturally points 
toward a certain man or men when offences against the law are committed. The affairs 
of men living in small communities are generally pretty well known to their neighbors, 
and each individual's mode of life, morals, money income, and general character are 
difficult to hide from the prying eye of the community.
  In this case suspicion had been directed toward several men.  No tangible evidence 
against any of them, however, ever had been secured, and little attempt made to check 
their operations.  One of them had been arrested two years before for passing a counterfeit 
ten-dollar note, but the indictment against him in the State court had quashed.  
My observation in this case, corroborated by my experience in previous cases, showed 
me there was a compact organization among the coneymen.
  Dr. Charles T. Laur, proprietor of a drug store in East St. Louis, and a practicing 
physician, who had formerly lived at Mount Vernon, and whose father was a well-to-do 
farmer near there, was believed to he the leader of the band and to have been the man 
who first brought counterfeit money for circulation into the community.
  Laur was a graduate of Rush Medical College, Chicago, and was married.   He was six 
feet and an inch tall, with sandy hair and beard, and drew a pension for injuries 
received during his service in the Union Army during the Civil War.  He dressed well, 
being in the Mount Vernon community that which is commonly referred to in larger cities 
as a “high roller.” Before my arrival in Mount Vernon, Dr. Laur had moved to, and established 
himself in business in East St. Louis.  For the convenience of my readers, I here will 
name the other members of the band, as ascertained later:    
  John Fairchild’s, a farmer in good circumstances, living at Grand Prairie, Jefferson 
County, forty-eight years old, and the father of fourteen children. He was accounted 
the most substantial and withal the most desperate man of the band.
  Isaac Boswell, proprietor of the hotel at Ashley, Washington County, fifty years old.  
He was a man of family and a partner with Dr. Laur in the East St. Louis drug store.     
  Smith T. Conlee, a farm owner and stock raiser of Irvington, Washington County, a man 
of good repute, and a cousin of Dr. Laur.    
  Winfred S. Ingram, a married schoolteacher, twenty-six years old, of good repute.

Old-time Farmers

  Thomas Rudisel. of Mount Vernon, formerly a railroad brakeman and stationary engineer, 
but at that time peddling notions.  He was single, and about twenty-one years old.  
Charles Williams, twenty six years old, of Mount Vernon, married and bearing a good name, 
a map and picture salesman.  
  Lewis Boswell. twenty-four years old, a farmer living near Grand Prairie, and a nephew 
of Isaac Boswell.  
  Noble Schaffer, a farmer, who also sold notions, and who enjoyed a fair reputation in 
the community. 
  Elijah  Marteeny,  of  Mount  Vernon, twenty years old, of a highly respected family, 
but inclined to be wild. 
  Edward Mecum, a farmer, of Williamsburg, Jefferson County, a single man with any but 
a good reputation.

MORE QUEER THAN GENUINE	111

  Henry Beasley, a young farmer.
  It will be noted that most of the members of the Laur band were farmers, and the 
same fact was true in the instance of	the majority of other counterfeiting bands.  
Just why the making and passing of counterfeit money should so strongly appeal to 
that class of men who, in most of the affairs of life, practice scrupulous honesty, 
and whose very vocation, it is to be supposed. would unfit them for the nefarious 
trade of counterfeiting, always has remained a mystery to me.
  Such was the fact, however, and not only was most of the counterfeit money during the 
seventies shoved by farmers, but several of the most clever and dangerous engravers 
in the business were farmers.

Stansbury's New Uncle

  In  the  meantime  I  had  made  the  acquaintance of Mayor Varnell, of Mount Vernon, 
of whom I asked this question: " Do you know a man in Mount Vernon or vicinity for 
whose honesty you can vouch, and who has. the confidence of any of the members of 
Laur's crowd?"
  Mayor Varnell, after some minutes' thought, said:
  “There  lives here  a painter named James Stansbury, and I believe he knows some of 
these men well enough to have himself made a member of the band, if he tried. I have 
the greatest confidence in his keeping his word, once he gives it."
Stansbury was approached by Mayor Varnell, who explained what was wanted. The painter 
was willing to undertake the task of helping.”
  “How well do you know these men?" I asked.
  “Some of them I am intimately acquainted with—so well, in fact, that they have dropped 
hints of the operations in talking with me.  Through these we will have to reach the others."
  “Have you heard any of them say where the coney comes from?"
  “Not definitely, but in talking with some of them I got the impression that the supply 
for this district was secured from Cincinnati.”
  This theory was entirely plausible, for at that time Cincinnati was one of the chief 
sources of supply for the Middle West, and one of the principal dealers of that city 
was “Mother” Roberts, a woman of fifty-five or more years of age, the wife and mother 
of counterfeiters and a dealer of uncommon shrewdness.  Stansbury's knowledge of the 
source of supply was cloudy, but I knew if my plans did not fail, that feature of the 
case would soon develop.    
  In the privacy of my room at the hotel,  Stansbury and I carefully concocted a new 
identity for myself and a story with which to bolster it up in case the men we expected 
to associate with became too inquisitive.  I assumed the role of Stansbury's uncle whom 
he had not seen for many years, and who had returned from the West with some money, but 
not so much that he was averse to making more.   Neither had the uncle brought back with 
him from the West any troublesome scruples as to how the money was to be made.   
  No sooner had I completed my plans  with Stansbury than Cashier Ham, of the  First 
National Bank, who had been let into the secret of Stansbury's employment by  me, took 
me aside and gave me cause for alarm by saying:

We Start With Mecum

  “You'd better watch your man closely— he's too thick with that gang to be depended on.  
No man could be as intimate as he is with some of them and still place a stranger's 
interests above his friends.  He may turn out all right, but watch him.”  
  Although I considered my judgment of men as accurate as Mr. Ham's, the latter  had a 
personal knowledge of Stansbury, and his warning was disconcerting.  Had I been led 
into a plan whereby the members of the band were to be kept informed of my movements 
through the man I had I  hired to protect the government's interest?  If so, I might 
as well leave Mount Vernon and approach the task from another direction later,   But 
I had gone too far to retreat on account of one man's opinion.
  My first personal introduction to a member of the Jefferson County band was to Edward 
Mecum, one of the younger member? of  secondary  importance.   Mecum

112	FLYNN’S
 
lived in Williamsburg, and bore the reputation of being a tough citizen in many ways.  
In fact, he had about the worst reputation of any of the counterfeiters. 
  We started with Mecum, because Stansbury was on terms of greater intimacy with him than 
with other members of the crowd.  Mecum look the bait, accepting me without hesitation 
as his friend's uncle, and discussing counterfeiting  matters  without more respect than 
he would have used had Stansbury and he been alone.  My assistant bought a little coney 
from Mecum, his pretense being that he was buying the stuff for me, and wanted it in 
considerable quantities.

A Round of Deals

  Some  time later  Stansbury went  to see Dr. Laur in East St. Louis.  Laur had known 
him for years, and trusted him, although there had been no dealings in bogus money 
between them.  The doctor introduced his visitor in different gambling houses and otherwise 
accorded him what he believed to be desirable entertainment. Then my assistant broached 
the subject of obtaining coney.  
  “I know you're all right, Jim,” said Laur, “but the fact is I have only about one hundred 
and fifty dollars myself, now, and couldn't very well let you have any until I get some 
more.”  
  “When can you get it?” asked Stansbury.  
  “Any time I go after it.” 
  “Where does it come from?” “Cincinnati; I can get all I want from Mother Roberts.”  
  “Can't you arrange it so that I can get it  from Cincinnati myself?”
  “Yes, the next time I go there I'll take you along and introduce you, so you can buy 
all you want.  John Fairchilds, Ike Boswell and I were in Cincinnati the last time 
together and got one thousand dollars’ worth each.  I introduced them to Mother Roberts.”  
  “Can't you let me have any coney now?”  
  “As a favor I’ll let you have a ten, but that's all I can spare.”  
  Stansbury thereupon bought a counterfeit ten-dollar bill  for three fifty, and returned 
to Mount Vernon.  I was aware that at this time Chief Washburn had lines thrown out for 
the capture of the Cincinnati crowd, and I dared not run the risk of interfering with 
his plans by carrying my scheme into that city, at least not without the chief's sanction.  
My assistant learned enough from Dr. Laur and Isaac Boswell to indicate that both of 
them were on close terms with “Pete” McCartney, and it was evident from the minuteness 
with which they described his movements that they had traveled with him at different times.  
  To relate in detail all the conferences held with the different members of the crowd, and 
the results of those conferences would fill a volume.  The ease with which Stansbury 
ingratiated himself into the confidence of the dozen or more men involved surprised me, 
and at limes led me to believe he had been involved with them in a way other than he had 
represented to me.  
  Starting  with  Mecum,  of  whom  he bought some counterfeit scrip, and running through 
the entire list, we succeeded in making deals with every member of the crowd.  All the 
time I was watching my assistant sharply, but never found the least indication of treachery 
toward me in his conduct, and during the entire case he proved himself unwavering in his 
allegiance to me. 
                               .
Ready to Raid

  Laur took Stansbury to Smith Conlee, from whom was purchased two ten-dollar notes.  In 
all these deals it was necessary to  have corroborative evidence, and  this necessity 
created a good deal of trouble and delay, after I was thoroughly satisfied of the identity 
of each member of the crowd and of the part each was playing in the general  circulation  
of the  counterfeits.  These obstacles were overcome in the course of about three weeks 
from the time I first went to Mount Vernon, and then was begun the most difficult part of the 
case—the capture and conviction of so large a number of men at once.  
  With the exception of Laur, the counterfeiters all lived within a radius of about a dozen 
miles from Mount Vernon, but at

MORE QUEER THAN GENUINE	113

the same time were so close together that the news of the arrest of one could easily 
be learned by the others if the arrests were not made simultaneously or nearly so. 
  There were thirteen men to be gathered in.   It was manifestly impossible for one or 
two men to accomplish the task, and I wrote to Chief Washburn asking for assistance.  
As  a  result  the  following  were assigned to help: Estes G. Rathbone, then an operative 
in the secret service, with headquarters in Cincinnati, and who since acquired considerable 
notoriety in postal matter; G. W. Reardon, a secret service operative in St. Louis, and 
Robert Higgins, N. B. Prettyman, J. E. Hill, W. F. Dunbar, and Frank Norval, deputy United 
States marshals: Higgins,  Dunbar  and  Norval being made deputies for the occasion.

Picking Them Off

  On June 4 I went to Springfield and swore out warrants in the United States Court for the 
arrest of the thirteen men. The following night the arresting party went to St. Louis.  
At daybreak we crossed the bridge afoot, as it was my intention to take Dr. Laur, the 
leader of the band, first.  Laur lived with his wife in a cottage almost under the Eads 
Bridge and the second house from the water's edge, if my memory serves me right. 
  Leaving all the members of our party but one at the railway station, I went directly to 
the Laur cottage.  Laur was a powerful man physically, and was reputed to possess considerable  
daring  and  determination.  There was nothing in his record to indicate that he was capable 
of deeds of physical bravery,  even  when  his liberty was  in jeopardy, and I believed him 
to be one of those men who have the facility for acquiring reputations for valor by words 
rather than by deeds.  
  I rapped at the door of his cottage and, before answering the summons, he hesitated at the 
door, evidently believing the call was one for medical aid. 
  “What's wanted?” he asked.  
  “I want you,” said I, crowding my way into the room. 
He started, but instantly recovered his composure.  
  “Does that mean I have to go with you?”  
  “It certainly does.”  
  While he was dressing I searched his clothing, but found no weapons and a little good money, 
which he was allowed to keep.  He allowed himself to be handcuffed without resistance, and 
in a few minutes we had him at the station, where I turned him over to Deputy Norval to be 
taken to Springfield.  
  Before leaving the doctor in charge of one deputy, however, I took the precaution to place 
irons on his ankles also, for, notwithstanding his apparent docility under arrest, I feared 
an attempt to escape before reaching Springfield.  
  The arrest of Laur but started the work of the day.  From East St. Louis our party took 
train for Mount Vernon, reaching that place at noon.  At Ashley Deputy Prettyman had left 
the train to get a team and drive to Irvington to arrest Smith Conlee, and was to send me 
a cipher message as soon as his man was secured.  At Mount Vernon I secured the services of 
Sheriff Yearwood, as he was thoroughly familiar with the home location of each of the men 
wanted, and I dared take no chances of wasting time in taking wrong roads.

Laur Fights the Case

  Mecum and Williams had been in Mount Vernon that day.  City Marshal Cooper was deputized 
to take these men into custody, and Sheriff Yearwood, Deputy Hill and I went for Marteeny, 
whom we found in a cornfield two miles from town.  Then, with two good teams, we started to 
swing in a semi-circle around Mount Vernon to pick up the others.  
  At Williamsburg we found  Lewis Boswell, and from his trunk took a number of letters pertaining 
to counterfeiting matters. Mecum was found at the house on the adjoining farm.  Thomas Rudisel 
was away from home, as was the schoolteacher, Winfred Ingram; but the latter was found about 
nine o'clock that night.  
  It was half past ten before we reached the farm of John Fairchilds.  From all I could learn 
of this man he was the most dangerous one of the crowd, and subsequent events and the manner 
in which he met his

114 		FLYNN’S

death corroborated my estimate of his ch3racter.  On this occasion, however, seeing his 
house surrounded and no chance to escape, Fairchilds submitted peacefully to arrest, and 
we drove back to Mount Vernon, arriving there at one o'clock in the morning.  
  The prisoners taken were sent to Springfield immediately. All the men were indicted and 
held under bond for their appearance at the September term of court.  
  In the ordinary course of events interest in the case would have ceased at this point, but 
the Government's work in the matter was by no means at an end.   As soon as Dr. Laur was 
indicted he set in motion a strong movement  to secure bail, his bond having been fixed at 
five thousand dollars.  For some time he was unsuccessful in giving surety. Then he  secured  
a  Chicago attorney, who in turn levied on the services of a professional “straw bondsman.”   

The “Straw Bonds”

  The attorney and the bondsman went before a judge in Chicago, and before I had time to 
learn what was going on Laur was released from jail on an order from Chicago. When his 
case was called for trial his bond was found to be worthless and the defendant a fugitive, 
having lost no time in leaving the State as soon as he was released.   
  John Fairchilds and Noble Schaffer were also released on worthless bonds, the latter going  
to  Arkansas the last trace the Government having of him being when he left Fort Smith with 
a span of mules, making toward the Indian nation.    He was never caught.  
  If those who rail at corrupt conditions now could realize the conditions of thirty years 
ago, when justice was daily cheated through  the instrumentality of  the evil called the 
“straw bond,” they would believe that in one respect at least the world is growing better.  
So common was the straw bail practice that  the  detective,  Government  or  city, nearly 
always had two tasks to perform in each case--first, to capture his man and, second, to 
prevent his immediate release on a worthless bond.  Dr. Laur's release from the Springfield 
jail on such a bond was the beginning of a chase that did not end until 1882, six    
years from the time I first went to Mount Vernon.   
  To condense the history of Laur's flight, wanderings and second arrest into as few words 
as possible, he fled from Springfield to Tennessee. For a long time all trace of  him 
was lost.  At last there came to me the information that he was a prisoner at  President's 
Island, Nashville, under a three months' sentence. I went to Nashville and  found my man 
had been released just before my arrival.  
  He had become embroiled in a street affair with a colored man who was a candidate  for  
Governor  of  Tennessee,  hailed  into  police court for disorderly conduct and, for  
abusive language toward the judge, had been sentenced to President's Island.  
From the prison clerk who handled the  mail for the institution I learned Laur had had 
letters from Huntsville, Alabama.  At the latter place I found his wife had been living 
and that Laur had been there but only for a very short time.  He had written to his wife 
from numerous points in the South, and from many postmarks on his letters it was evident 
the fugitive was in the habit of remaining in one place but a few days.

The End of the Case

  To ten different points in the South I followed him, at intervals, only to find each  
time that he had fled just before I arrived.  
  The tenth bit of information concerning Laur reached me in March, 1882.  I hastily started 
to Nashville.  I did not find Laur.  At last, deciding to try a long chance, I  boarded the 
train at Nashville for Chattanooga, thinking  Laur  might  possibly board the same train 
at some point along  the route, for I knew he was operating a patent right scheme along 
that line of  road.  At Columbia the tall, familiar figure of the fugitive loomed before 
me.  
  He entered the train and I followed into the same car, a cautious distance behind, and 
took a seat from which I could observe his every movement.  He left the train at 
Chattanooga with me a few steps away.  As he was about to leave the station platform 
I placed my hand on his shoulder.

MORE QUEER THAN GENUINE	115

  “What does this mean?" he asked angrily.  
  “It means that you arc under arrest for counterfeiting.”  
  With this I crowded him into a carriage, handcuffed him, and from that time till he was 
again in jail in Springfield I did not take my eyes from him a moment.  
The members of the band who bad not escaped on worthless bonds had been tried and 
sentenced to the penitentiary.  Laur was tried on the original charge and sentenced to 
serve seven and one-half years.  
  In following the career of the ringleader of the Jefferson County counterfeiters to its 
end in the penitentiary  I  have  taken  the liberty of making a chronological leap of 
nearly six years in the history of John Fairchilds.   Like Laur and Schaffer, Fairchilds 
did not appear at the term of court in September, 1876. This failure made him a fugitive  
from  justice. Soon  afterward Sheriff Yearwood wrote me to the effect that the fugitive
had been seen near his farm.  
  I hastened to Mount Vernon and, with the sheriff and two deputies, repaired to the farm 
adjoining Fairchilds's, where we spent the night, making our beds in a haystack.  At 
daybreak we went to Fairchilds's house, where one of his boys met us.  
  As the youngster saw us approach he thrust two dirty fingers into his mouth and gave 
a shrill whistle that could have been heard half a mile.  Immediately jumping at the 
conclusion that the whistle was a prearranged signal of danger for the father, and that 
the latter was in the barn, we ran to the building and surrounded it. This was the 
largest barn I ever saw on a farm. 
  Ordering the sheriff and his men to shoot if Fairchilds made an effort to break past 
them into the timber in the rear, I entered the barn, and, after satisfying myself that 
the fugitive was not below, I started up a ladder to the haymow. 
  At the entrance to the loft I called on Fairchilds to surrender.  There was no answer 
nor sound.   I fully believed this man to be desperate and, although armed myself, I 
realized climbing into the dark haymow placed me at a disadvantage. 
  Climbing to the top of the hay I again called on the man I believed to be buried in it 
to surrender for his own safety.   Again there was no reply.  A little farther back I 
found a quilt, still warm from contact with a human body.  But still there was no sound.  
Groping my way into a corner of the building I found a place where the hay had been dug 
away so that a man could easily drop through to the floor of the barn.  
  As I dropped into this hole I heard shots outside the barn, and scrambled into the open 
as fast as I could.  Sheriff Yearwood and his men were in the rear of the barn, smoking 
guns in hand, peering, into the woods beyond.  Fairchilds had dashed from the barn and 
escaped without a scratch.  Half a day was spent futilely in scouring the timber and 
surrounding country.  
  From that time, at intervals, word reached us of Fairchilds's appearance in different 
points in  Missouri and Arkansas.  Each time he was reported to be traveling heavily 
armed and boasting that he would never be taken alive, and that he would kill the first 
officer who attempted his arrest.  
  In June of 1878 there came the message to United States Deputy Marshal Nix that John 
Fairchilds was at the home of his son-in-law near Roachville, Illinois. Nix immediately 
swore in a posse of three men and repaired to the reported rendezvous of the fugitive 
during the night.  The men of the posse were armed with shotguns and revolvers, as, since 
Fairchilds had returned to his home community the last time, he had appeared more desperate 
than ever, and carried two revolvers and a shotgun.  
  Early in the morning Fairchilds emerged from the house of his son-in-law with a pitchfork.  
He was going to the barn to get hay and was not armed except with the fork. Nix called on 
him to halt—that he was under arrest.  With an oath Fairchilds opened fight on  two deputies 
who approached him, stabbing with the pitchfork at the armed deputies. 
  Then a shot rang out and the fugitive dropped to the ground. As he did so he made a last 
effort to reach the officers with the pitchfork, but failed. He fell back, blood gushing 
from his mouth.   His wife rushed from the house just in time to see her husband die.   
The coroner said fifty small shot had entered his right lung.




 

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