Saturday morning at 6:30 as Thos. Corcoran was going out to the Morton pasture, just east of Oak Lawn Retreat, he noticed a buggy lying by the roadside and soon after heard the neigh of a horse nearby and on going to see what was wrong, he was astonished and horrified at finding a horse lying on his back in a small gully and under him the body of Crittenden Jasper and the legs of the horse across the dead body of Benjamin Richardson. At that place a small ravine runs across the road and is spanned by a bridge 12 or 14 feet long. The ravine is dry and the bottom is narrow and not four feet from the top of the bridge. Mr. Corcoran at once went to Charles Dyche's house nearby and summoned help. They removed the body of Richardson and when W. C. Wright came along soon after, and they managed to get the horse up and the body of Jasper out. Both had evidently been
Mr. Dyche said that at 11:30 the night before he had hears someone drive rapidly over the culvert and then he heard cries for help. He went to the door, but hearing nothing more supposed there was nothing wrong. The two men had been drinking, Jasper especially. About six they went into the saloon formerly owned by John Arisman and Jasper, who was then considerably intoxicated, called for whisky, but John Wattaison, the bartender, told him he had enough already and would give him no more. Young Richardson then appeared sober, but later in the evening took too much and his sister, who lives at Dr. Cole's tried to persuade him to stay in town overnight, but failed. After that the two were found by Capt. Hobson (?) And told to go home and they started. Soon after shouts were heard in the south part of town from men driving rapidly and soon after
evidently from the parties referred to as a revolver was found in their possession as well as an empty spirit flask. The bodies were cared for until the coroner arrived, when they were taken to Rottger's and decently cared for.
Richardson's mother was not aware of what had occurred Saturday morning and came to the city on business and was told of the sad event while in Stebbins' jewelry store. Her grief was indeed terrible to witness. It was not a usual thing for her son to drink, though Jasper had been known frequently to take too much. No bones were broken in either body as far as could be ascertained. The bridge has several times been pronounced unsafe, as it is too short for the place and even sober man when driving by at night have come near having trouble. It is supposed that they were driving rapidly when the left wheel ran off the bridge, throwing both violently out into the gully, where the horse fell on top of them and was unable to get up, as he was found with his feet in the air. The life had been literally squeezed out of the men.
A jury was summoned consisting of Messrs. Geo. W. Clark, foreman; Jas. M. Mitchell, D. C. McCoy, C. J. Bellatti, M. J. Barrows, and Bazzil Davenport, who rendered a verdict in accordance with the above facts.
ABOUT THE MEN.
Of the two unfortunates whose debauch ended in such a terrible death, the older, Crittenden C. Jasper, is a farmer who resides in Sulphur Springs precinct. He was forty-five years of age and had been married twice. His second wife and his only child died a short time ago, and since then Jasper has been living upon his father's farm assisting him in its care. It is said that his first wife is still living. Jasper was a good looking man, about five feet ten inches in height, and of medium weight and build. He wore a reddish sandy moustache, and had brown hair. He has been a familiar figure about the city on Saturday and market days for a number of years.
His companion, Ben Henderson (Richardson), son of Wm. Henderson (Richardson) of Franklin precinct, was a handsome young fellow, bright, affable, and attractive. His habits have always been regarded excellent. He seldom drank and was in every sense of the word a sensible, industrious young man. Friday was Henderson's (Richardson's) birthday. He had reached the age of 23. His trip to town was probably to celebrate this important event in his life. But he took the wrong course in observing his natal day, and the celebration cost him dear. Young Henderson (Richardson) had two sisters in Jacksonville, one at Dr. Pitner's and the other at the Pacific Hotel.
Coming on the heels of the frightful railroad accident of Thursday morning the horrible death of these two men created a great sensation in the city Saturday.