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Murder of Drs. Bell and Ledyard

Cuba True Patriot, VOL IX, NO 26, December 23, 1870


By the following letter it will be seen that Dr. Bell and Ledyard, of Ceres were murdered in South America some time in October last.  The gentlemen both went to South American to pursue their occupation dentistry.  Dr. Ledyard had previously traveled through that county.  Mr. Bell was married only last spring to Miss Helen Richardson, daughter of Erastus Richardson of this place.  He and Ledyard were also brothers-in-law.

United States Legation,
San Salvador, Nov. 1st, 1870

Mrs. Robert N. Bell:   Dear Madam:   It is a painful duty I have to perform in apprizing you fo the death of your husband Mr. Robert Newton Bell. He and Dr. T. C. Ledyard had been traveling through the States of Honduras and Salvador practicing their profession (dentistry).  Early in October they started from Suchitoto in Salvador, to go to Santa Rosa in Honduras.  Senor Don Juan Bosque, of Suchitoto had let them have two of his mules to go as far as Santa Rosa, and the gentlemen had engaged as servant, a man by the name of Barloto Galves to go to Santa Rosa with them, and bring the mules back to Mr. Bosque.  This man Galves, had previously been a servant of Mr. Bosque for five or six years.  Well it appears that after they had entered the State of Honduras the man Galves procured the assistance of another man to assassinate the two gentlemen, and this horrible crime they put into execution on the 15th of October, near the town of Sensenli in the State of Honduras.  They were evidently murdered for the gold which they had with them, which I think was between two or three thousand dollars.  Their bodies were found and buried.  I have heard indirectly that their luggage has been sent to Santa Rosa, Honduras.  In their luggage was one hundred and twenty-five dollars, three small diamonds and seventeen opals.  The accomplice from Honduras has been arrested and is now in Sensenli, and has confessed that he was hired by the man Galves to assist in the assassination.  Galves returned to Suchitoto with the mules and reported to Mr. Bosque that the gentlemen had arrived at Santa Rosa all right.  The Judge of Sensenli reported the cast to the Judge of Suchitoto and asked to have Galves arrested.  The last named Judge sent to the Alcalde of Guayahal, a small town near Suchitoto where Galves lived, but the Alvade replied that there was no such man there.

I have asked the Government of Salvador to use their utmost exertions to have Galves arrested and brought to trial.  The act having been committed in Honduras and what effects there are left being there, the U. S. Minister, Mr. Henry Baxter, who lives in Tegucigalpa, will investigate the matter.  It will be well for you to communicate with him on the subject, and I will do the same, giving him such particulars as I have.

I had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Bell, he having been at my house early in October, and I sympathize most deeply with you in your sad bereavement.  I enclose one of your letters to your husband.  Please command my services in this sad matter, and believe me

Yours sincerely

Gen. Alfred T. A. Forbert U.S. Minister.


Ceres, N.Y.

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