Joseph L. Bogan
Tragical Death of a Young Man While Out Hunting
On Monday, the 14th, a party composed of Joseph L. BOGAN, G. H. PATTON,
J. K. ALBRIGHT, Theodore TROMLY, and C. D. MORRISON, left Mt. Vernon for
Skillet Fork, in the south part of Wayne County, on a hunting expedition.
At Middleton, some 15 miles east of here, the party was joined by Jarvis
WILLIAMSON, E. N. KARN, Richard CHILDRES, and James LEWIS, old hunters
who knew the country, and the former of whom owned a pack of hounds.
The party went out for the purpose of shooting deer, turkeys and other
game. They were equipped with everything usually taken with such
expeditions, such as provisions, bed clothing, cooking utensils, etc.
Arriving on the hunting ground, they encamped a short distance below the
McLeansboro & Fairfield bridge. Here they remained until Thursday morning,
when it was agreed that they would move some three or four miles further
down, where it was thought that game would be found in more abundance.
As Mr. WILLIAMSON, who owned the hounds, desired to return home at noon,
the whole party concluded to hunt until that time, and then all come in
and start for the new quarters. Mr. WILLIAMSON and Mr. ALBRIGHT went out
on horseback with the dogs, while BOGAN and TROMLY started off afoot. In
a few moments a large buck was started by the dogs. The animal was fired
at by BOGAN and one or two others as it passed, while WILLIAMSON followed
it on horseback. By this time the members of the party were scattered in
every direction, all eagerly watching an opportunity to get a shot at the
deer. It ran a great distance, followed by WILLIAMSON and the dogs, and it
soon became evident that it would make its escape. So he called off the hounds,
and soon after, in company with the Middleton party, left for home.
At noon all the balance of the party except BOGAN, had returned to the old
camp, preparatory to moving in accordance with the morning’s arrangements.
Signals were given for him, but he did not come. Word was left with some
board members nearby to tell him to follow when he did come in, and the party
gathered up everything and left. They reached their destination a short time
before dark, and having completed their arrangements for camping, began
their signals for BOGAN, which were kept up until twelve o’clock. He not
arriving at that time, it was naturally concluded that he had remained at
the old camp, which was a log shanty, and would be in the next morning. Up
to noon Friday no uneasiness was felt, as it was thought he would take his
own time in coming. Indeed, it was not until evening that his non-appearance
began to create a suspicion that all was not right. But even then it was
suggested that he had gone to Middleton, and as they intended to return on
Saturday morning they would find him at that place. This presumption seemed
to be plausible.
On Saturday morning they came on to Middleton, but were surprised to hear
nothing of him. It then became evident that he was back in the woods, and
that he had either got lost or some accident had befallen him. Feeling that
they would do very little towards finding him in the deep and almost
impenetrable forest, which covers an area in the counties of Hamilton,
White and Wayne of a good sized county, with but a house here and there,
they reasoned that the shortest and best way would be to come on here and
gather a crowd to go in search of him. This was done, and about 25 or 30 men
were in a very few minutes on the way there. It was late Saturday night when
they arrived in the neighborhood, and nothing would be done until morning.
At daylight search was immediately instituted, and about 9 o’clock he was
found dead, near the place where he had last been seen. His body lay in a
lagoon, the head entirely gone, and his whole person horribly mangled by hogs,
which were at that very moment holding a carnival over the remains. His gun
lay near a tree, at a distance of 15 feet, with both barrels discharged, and
the stock broken just behind the breech-pin. The body was nearly buried in
mud, which was tough, and it was with great difficulty that it was dragged out.
The sight was a shocking one, moving and melting the stoutest heart. The body
had evidently lain there since Thursday, and had the discovery been two hours
later it was the opinion of all that it would have been stripped of every
particle of flesh by the hogs.
The sad news reached Mt. Vernon about 4 o’clock Sunday, and created the most
profound feeling of sympathy and regret. A sudden pall was thrown over every
countenance, none expecting to hear of such a horrible fate of one who had so
recently moved among us clothed in glowing health, young and vigorous with
every promise of a long and useful life before him.
His body came in about 8 o’clock and was take to the Court House, where it
was examined by the physicians, washed, dressed, and placed in a neat coffin,
and then taken to the residence of John S. BOGAN, brother of the deceased.
The funeral took place at 10 o’clock on Monday, and was attended by a very
large number of our citizens.
There are, of course, a great variety of opinions as to how he met his death.
Many believe, from certain indications manifested by the appearance of various
mutilations of the body, that he was murdered. Others are firmly of the opinion
that he was accidentally shot while leaning on his gun, which seems the more
probable; but what the incidents were leading to an accidental discharge of
the piece of course never will be known. The future may unravel circumstances
that may reveal the whole mystery, and it may not.
Mr. BOGAN was in his 25th year. He was born in Washington, D.C., where his
father, several of his brothers, and other relatives now reside. He had a
brother here, J. S. BOGAN, Clerk of the Circuit Court, and one sister, wife
of Geo. H. VARNELL. Another brother, H. M. BOGAN, lives in Jefferson precinct,
this county. He was a young man of good education, and very good business
qualities. He was a pet with the young men of the town, and was loved and
respected by all, old and young. He was very fond of the chase, and was always
ready to drop everything and go when such enterprises were named. He was a good
shot – one of the best in the country. He had killed a fine fawn on Wednesday
evening, and was in high glee over his good luck. But “accidents will happen”
and poor “Joe’s” has been tragical enough, yet the inscrutable will of Providence
must be submitted to and acknowledged.
Source: Mt. Vernon Free Press
Date: Friday, October 25, 1867
Submitted by: Mary Zinzilieta