The following was originally printed in the Aurora Independent (Aurora, IN), reprinted in the Lawrenceburg Press on February 17, 1870.
MURDERED AND ROBBED
The Body of the Missing man Discovered - Who He Was - The Murderers at Large - Particulars.
The readers of the Independent will remember the account which appeared in our columns a short time since, regarding the mysterious disappearance of a man in Manchester township. At last we have the sequel. After a thorough search the dead body of John Buckhost was found stowed away under an old log church near where the horse was found. His body was cut and gashed as with a hatchet or some sharp instrument, and his clothes were almost torn from his body, giving evidence of a desperate struggle with his murderers.
The murdered man was a laborer on the farm of Jesse Laird, a few miles from Lawrenceburgh, and had been sent to Sparta to collect some money, in which he had been successful, and was returning with about $130 in his possession. The robbers got it.
Justice loudly demands that nothing should prevent the capture of the murderers, and that they should be dealt with to the extreme penalty of the law. -- Aurora Independent.
(Printed underneath this article was the following, a comment from the Lawrenceburg Register.)
The foregoing, from the Aurora Independent, is rather graphic, especially when it is taken into consideration that the fabrication is from whole cloth -- there not being even the shadow of truth in the statement. No doubt this thrilling account will be copied far and wide by the newspapers, and in all human probability Mr. John Buckhost, in some far off region, will read, with animated countenance, this appalling murder of himself, and will gloat to think how finely he has fooled his wife and little ones he left behind. To get up a sensational story, whether with or without foundation, seems the highest aim of some country papers.
Obviously, the good citizens of Lawrenceburg knew that no body had been discovered under a log church, and most likely were able to surmise that this story was planted by John himself. It was a well thought out ruse by a man who was considered "crazy." I had wondered how the family knew that he had relocated to Louisville, until I found another newspaper article, this reprinted in the Indianapolis Sentinel, from an article printed in the Cincinnati Examiner, on May 22, 1877, a full seven years after John disappeared.
RISEN FROM THE DEAD.
A Man Supposed To Have Been Murdered, and Another Supposed To Have Been Drowned, Found Alive.
The grave opened in Lawrenceburg yesterday morning, and this morning its people will be agog.
Five years ago the people of Lawrenceburg were terribly shocked over a supposed foul murder that was believed to have occurred in the night between that place and Sunmansville, a small station on the Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Lafayette railroad, about 35 miles from Cincinnati. The victim was John Buckhorst, a farmer living on the Manchester pike, about one mile and a half north of Lawrenceburg. Buckhorst had sold his farm to a man living near Sunmansville, and sold it at considerable sacrifice, obtaining his wife's signature to the deed with some difficulty. His great anxiety appeared to be to secure cash for the bargain. On the day prior to the supposed tragedy he visited Sunmansville and succeeded in collecting between $800 and $1000. This he flourished about considerably, and then on the evening of that day left Sunmansville, ostensibly for home. The next day, not far from this place, and on the road to Lawrenceburg, Buckhorst's coat, hat and shirt were found torn to shreds, and lying near a spot which bore evidence of a terrible struggle. The discovery aroused the community, and an old farmer named Folke, living near this locality, was arrested on suspicion of having perpetrated a horrible murder for the sake of plunder. A creek running near the spot where the clothing was found was dragged for the body, but without result.
The fact that Folke was flush with money was regarded as sufficient circumstantial evidence to warrant summary action. A vigilance committee was therefore organized, a rope prepared, and but for the earnest pleadings of some sober-minded men present, poor Folke would have been launched into eternity as the murderer of Buckhorst. Excitement, however, gradually subsided, and Folke was finally released without trial.
Meantime the wife of the missing man was dependent on charity for her bread, the farm having been sold and the money for the same collected. She has thus lived ever since and mourned for her husband as one dead. And now comes the denouement. One day last week an old neighbor of Buckhorst, one who figured prominently in the vigilance committee, but whose name for sundry reasons we withhold, was in attendance upon a funeral in Louisville, when he discovered a man driving a hack who looked very much like his old neighbor Buckhorst. Indeed, the resemblance was so marked that the hack driver was immediately addressed as "John Buckhorst." The salutation was not received with good grace, but the old neighbor pressed the man, when he owned up and acknowledged himself as the same who had disappeared form Lawrenceburg five years ago. He is working in a Louisville livery stable and takes a new alias every few weeks. He has been known in Louisville as J. J. Williamson. He is now living with another woman, and talks about his old escapade as a good joke.