W. I. Fisher
Thinks He Can Locate the Murderer Upton.
Kansas, Man Named Baker
Killed for His
Money in 1863.
One Man Hung for
it—Capt. Fisher Desires Information About the $1,000 Reward.
Ft. Scott Monitor,
In the hopes of
getting a reward of $1,000 which he believes is standing, W. I. Fisher,
a resident of Nevada, is making an attempt to revive an old murder which
was committed in Bourbon county in 1863 during the war. The case
referred to is a letter received in this city today is the Baker case.
Baker was murdered by two men for the purpose of robbery. All the old
inhabitants are familiar with the case. One of the fellows was hanged,
but the other escaped. It is the man who escaped that Mr. Fisher thinks
he can locate and thus receive the reward. The murdered man was a Mason
and Fisher has interested the secretary of the Masonic lodge of Nevada
in the matter and the latter has written the following letter of inquiry
to J. L. Mickle, secretary of the Fort Scott Masonic lodge for
Mo., Sept. 21, 1901—Secretary Masonic Lodge, Fort Scott,
Kans., Dear Sir: W. I. Fisher of this city informs me that in 1863 a
man by the name of Baker, living near the Missouri and Kansas line was
murdered by two men, one of whom was caught and hanged; the other, a man
by the name of Joe Upton, escaping. Mr. Fisher informs me that Mr.
Baker was a member of the Masonic fraternity and that a reward of $1,000
was offered for Upton’s capture, and he has requested me several times
to write you and ascertain if you could inform me whether there is
anyone at the present time who would pay anything for the capture of
Upton, whom Fisher thinks he can locate. Begging your pardon for
I remain yours
Jas. M. Clack
W. M., Osage Lodge No. 303
turned the letter over to Deputy Sheriff Ball for investigation and the
officer in turn sought his information from Judge Margrave, the old
standby in such matters.
judge can not remember the name of the man who escaped, he is familiar
with the details of the murder. Mr. Baker was a well-to-do farmer
living southwest of town. He was known to have money. The murderer was
a worthless fellow and he was known to have planned to kill Baker in
order to rob him. He got Upton in on the deal and both went to the
wealthy farmer’s house one night and robbed him. Thinking that it would
cover up the crime of robbery Baker was killed, just how Judge Hargrave
cannot remember. Mrs. Baker was in the house at the time but escaped.
She recognized the man who killed her husband, and this, coupled with
the fact that he boasted that Baker was to be robbed, pointed to his
guilt. He was arrested and tried by a court martial and convicted. The
country was at that time under martial law and the murderer was
sentenced to be hanged, which was done in this city in the presence of a
big crowd. This was in the palmy days of the old Wilder house and Judge
Hargrave was in the hotel when the execution took place. He did not
care to see a man hung, although a good many of them needed it, and he
did not leave the hotel.
accomplice, escaped and nothing has been heard of him since. As near as
Judge Margrave and the other old timers can remember there was never any
attempt to capture Upton. He was not wanted very bad as the other
fellow was known to be the leader and enticed him to aid in the crime.
Judge Margrave does not know of any $1,000 reward that was offered for
Upton’s apprehension and he does not believe there ever was any,
although there might have been. Some time ago Judge Margrave was
written to about the case and he gave the information about the murderer
embodied in the letter. It is not known where Mr. Fisher thinks he has
The Nevada Daily
Nevada, Vernon Co., MO. September 25, 1901
BAKER MURDER CASE.
Field of Vernon County Writes an Interesting Article Concerning an Old
Crime—Offers $100 Reward for the Right Man.
Recently the Mail published an article from the Ft. Scott Monitor,
concerning the inquiries made by Capt. W. I. Fisher of this city, as to
the Baker murder case.
following communication received today from a prominent citizen of
Vernon county will be of interest in this connection:
Field Reviews the Case.
Editor of the daily mail.
Richards, Mo., Oct. 2.—I have just been reading an article in your paper
about the Baker murder. I see that Judge Margrave was interviewed about
the case. The Judge has either forgotten the whereabouts of the
deceased’s residence or there is a misprint. Mr. Baker did not reside
in Kansas. I knew Mr. Baker well; I worked for him in 1861. I lived in
Kansas right on the state line. Mr. Baker lived just over the line on
the Missouri side, two miles south of where I now live. A. Hawkins, a
brother-in-law of mine was one of the first men to reach the house after
the murder was committed. I am familiar with the case. You have a man
in Nevada who lived close to Mr. Baker. I refer to Rev. Enoch Weyand.
Mr. Baker’s oldest daughter was Mrs. Arch White, wife of the deceased
ex-sheriff of Vernon county. The name of the man who was hung was
Frazell; he was hung in Ft. Scott by Federal authority; he was a Cedar
county militiaman. The Vernon county militia company was ordered to
report for duty, and they did so to a man. Augustus Baker was chosen
captain by 196 to 4 cast for Frazell, who was an orderly sergeant of
Molton company of Cedar county. The militia was never ordered into
camp. I shall not undertake to tell the particulars now. I do not
think there ever was a reward offered for Upton. I think if there ever
had been I would have heard of it and remembered it. I am astonished
that anyone should think Baker lived in Kansas. I will give $100 reward
for the capture and conviction of the right man. I wish I possessed the
knowledge W. I. Fisher thinks he possesses, and I would not wait for a
reward. It was one of the most dastardly crimes of the border. I do
not belong to the Masonic order, but am an enemy to crime and will give
the above stated reward; also all the information in my power. I will
come to Nevada [and] state particulars at a moment’s warning.
D. J. Field
Nevada Daily Mail,
Nevada, Vernon Co., MO. Wednesday, October 2, 1901