The young man who was killed
July 8, 1899, in a cottage on
the shore of Cuba Lake, N.Y.,
by the explosion of a dynamite
Never in many years has the pages of Cuba's history suffered a greater blot, then the fatal injury to Everett AUSTIN of Belmont, at Lake Cuba last Saturday morning by a dynamite explosion, placed there. Who the perpetrator of the dastardly deed was as yet remains a mystery, as does also the fact as to whether it was done as a thoughtless and cruel joke or with malicious intent by a revengeful person with fancied wrongs. However, whatever the motive may have been it does not alter the most regrettable fact that the act took from life a young man dearly beloved by his family and friends and highly respected by all who enjoyed his acquaintance. The spirit of the act cannot alter the fact that an innocent victim has been sacrificed and that someone is responsible for his death. Crimes like this are of too terrible a nature to go unpunished, and the officials of Allegany county, ever steadfast to the lines of duty, will we believe, bring to the bar of justice to eternity a soul either by criminal carelessness or to satisfy their vindictive minds.
The facts of this sad affair which brought to such a tragic ending the pleasant outing of a party of Belmont young men at Lake Cuba are as follows:
The party, which consisted of Elmer AUSTIN, his cousins, Clyde and Claude AUSTIN, and James NICHOLSON, arrived in Cuba, Saturday morning, July 1st, on Erie train 3. On the same train was another party of Belmont people, consisting of Mr. and Mrs. James H. ANDERSON and daughter Marguret, as chaperons, little Edith GRISWOLD, and the following young ladies: Misses Alice PELTON, Grace PETTIBONE, Isabel MAITONI, Ada FURMAN, Madge NICHOLSON, Grace COLEMAN and Meriam SAMMETT. This party took up their quarters in the MORGAN Cottage, and the young men in the HUTCHINGS & LITTLE cottage on the South shore of the Lake. Although these two parties came on the same day, there were in no way connected, but both being from the same place they of course visited back and fourth more or less.
Friday last Everett AUSTIN, who was on his way to Oil City, Pa., where he accepted a position, stopped over here to spend the night with his brother, Elmer AUSTIN, at the Lake, intending to go on to his destination the next day. During the evening one of the young ladies at the Morgan cottage was taken ill, and Mr. ANDERSON secured young Austin's services to come to this village on a wheel and get Dr. GILLETTE to attend the patient. Austin returned about 12 o'clock and with is companions at once retired. One of the beds in the cottage having been broken during the day, Austin and two of his companions slept on the floor wrapped in blankets, the former laying very near the rear door facing the road.
The first anyone knew of Austin's injury was about three o'clock Saturday morning, when he cried out to his companions that he was a fire. Mr. ANDERSON was at once called and Mr. Louie SMITH, who was camping in an adjoining cottage sent to this village for a doctor. Dr. LITCHFIELD hastened to the Lake and found that young Austin had been terribly mangled by some powerful explosive. The right hip was entirely blown off so that the hand could easily be put through into the bowels, a couple of inches of the spine blown away, the wounds filled full of splinters of wood, and the back, legs and arms covered with bruises and cuts. Dr. Litchfield realizing the serious nature of Austin's injuries sent for Dr. ALLEN to assist him and they did everything possible for the patients comfort. He was brought to Cuba about o"clock and taken to the Erie station. His father, Mr. Theodore AUSTIN, and Dr. BARNEY of Belmont, arrived on train 3 and the young man was taken to his home in Belmont on 14, where he died of his injuries at 10 o'clock Saturday evening.
It was found that Austin's injuries were caused by the explosion of a stick of dynamite, which had been placed with a lighted fuse on the threshold or stuck under the door of the cottage. The force of the explosion tore out both bottom panels of the door, shattered the sill and casing on one side for nearly three feet, broke the outer sill and tore a hole in the floor about two feet square. Austin was thrown about three feet by the explosion, and his companions were evidently stunned as they heard nothing until he cried out in his agony. As to who placed the deadly explosive it is for the Coroner's jury and later for the officers of justice and a jury to determine. When Coroner H. F. GILLETTE took Austin's anti-mortem statement at the Erie station the injured man said he did not know who did the deed, but he thought it might have been some of the Cuba boys who were occupying a cottage adjoining, as he understood that they and the Belmont boys had been playing jokes on each other for several days.
It seems that the Cuba boys camping at the Lake had been attentive to the Belmont girls in the Morgan cottage, a fact evidently not displeasing to the young ladies. Friday evening Messrs. Paul MORGAN and Gabriel BISHOP called on the girls and took two of them out boat riding. When the boys returned they found that the handle bars had been removed from their wheels which they had left on the bank and the air let out of the tires. This was found to be the work of the Belmont boys, but young Austin was not with them at the time. The Belmont boys evidently did not like the attention the Cuba boys were paying the young ladies, but nothing more than a friendly rivalry seemed to be between the two parties.
Dept. Sheriff T. A. QUINN was called to the Lake early Saturday morning and on returning to Cuba at once began trying to discover if possible who the guilty parties were. He found that Friday afternoon, Gaylord GLENN had purchased at Olive & Son's hardware store a half pound stick of dynamite. On visiting the young man's home on South street he found that the explosive had been purchased to blow out a cess pool which had got stopped up, but on account of not being able to get anyone to do the job that afternoon, he had placed it in a box in a hen house until it could be used the next day. During Friday evening Gabriel BISHOP was at Glenn's house and the two boys had occasion to visit the hen house and young Bishop saw the dynamite. Some time afterwards he left young Glenn and in company with young Morgan went to the Lake. Saturday morning when a search was made for the stick of dynamite it could not be found, and at present it is not known who took it. Bishop and Morgan left the Lake about mid-night and started for home, Morgan walking part of the way and leaving Bishop and riding his wheel the remainder. As Bishop's wheel was a French make, he could not use the pump that Morgan had, and he was consequently unable to ride his wheel, the air having been let out of the tires by the Belmont boys.
Sheriff HODNETT of Belmont arrived in Cuba on train 3. In the afternoon Morgan and Bishop went before Justice W. D. ORMISTON and several witnesses were examined in private. Young Morgan said that he went directly home and his parents and others corroborated his testimony. Young Bishop refused to talk and was allowed to go on his own recognizance until Monday morning, when he voluntarily went before Justice Ormiston, and gave bonds for 410,000 which was furnished by his mother and Mr. H. C. MORGAN.
District Attorney F. H. CHURCH was here Monday morning and on his return to Wellsville, empaneled the following twelve jurymen from Wellsville to conduct an inquest over the remains of young Austin before Coroner GILLETTE of this place at Belmont: I. H. SKELLIE, Joe LEVEY, J.A. WHETHERBY, Frand_ RICHARDS, Paul HANKS, Frank M. LEONARD, J. B. KING, Ira E. JONES, H. K. OPP, C. B. MAKEN, J.R. FREELAND and Chas. BALDWIN.
The last three were excused, and the other nine met at the court house Monday afternoon at 2 p.m., and were sworn in. J. B. King was elected foreman. The jury went to the house of the Austins and viewed the remains of the unfortunate lad.
An autopsy was held Monday afternoon, and the jury adjourned until Friday morning on the arrival of train 3, when the examination will proceed: If the jury finish their work at Belmont Friday, they will then come to Cuba, Saturday and take testimony of witnesses here.
Hon. H. J. SWIFT and John C. LEGGETT of Cuba, will defend young BISHOP, and Hon. Charles h. BROWN will appear for the AUSTIN family and Dist. Attorney CHURCH for the people.
The funeral was held at the Presbyterian church at Belmont, Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. The deceased was about 22 years old, a machinist by trade and a young man of more than ordinary good habits.
He had until recently been employed on the night force in the Clark Bros. shops at Belmont. He leaves to mourn his untimely death a sister, Miss Jennie, one brother, Elmer, a father, and mother who is confined to her room with heart trouble. The sad manner in which young Austin met his death makes the grief more severe. The family has the sympathy of the entire community.
A special dispatch from Belmont Tuesday to the Wellsville Reporter, makes the following statement as told by the Belmont young people who were campers at Cuba Lake last week:
The camping party at Lake Cuba and occupying the Morgan cottage consisted of seven young ladies chaperoned by Mr. and Mrs. James H. ANDERSON. They arrived at the lake on the first of July. The three AUSTIN boys and James NICHOLSON were occupying the Little cottage about a half mile from the Morgan cottage. On Sunday July 2nd, BISHOP, MORGAN and SWIFT drove up from Cuba and stopped to visit with the girls and while there appropriated a boat belonging to the Belmont boys and took several of the girls out riding. The Belmont lads were considerably incensed at their actions and in retaliation NICHOLSON and Clyde AUSTIN borrowed the horse and carriage which had been hitched nearby and took some of the other girls for a ride down the road and when they returned took the harness apart so that the Cuba callers, when they left late in the evening had some trouble in driving home.
Everett AUSTIN was not at the lake until the week following this episode, having come from Belmont with Mr. ANDERSON on Friday morning, July 7th. That same evening Bishop and Morgan rode up from Cuba on their wheels and finding the Belmont boys out fishing with Mr. ANDERSON, in a spirit of mischief they again borrowed the boat belonging to the Belmont boys and took Ada FURMAN and Grace PETTIBONE out on the lake. When the boys returned from fishing they discovered the four out in the boat and several uncomplimentary remark were passed including a demand to immediately return the boat, and it was sometime afterward before the Cuba fellows would come in. During the evening the Belmont boys in a spirit of revenge dismantled the two bicycles belonging to Morgan and Bishop, letting the air out of the tires and hiding the saddles and handle bars and it was about eleven o'clock before they could get their wheels so they could start for Cuba. Bishop's Wheel was an imported one and he was unable to blow up the tires with the pump loaned by Mr. ANDERSON, he was very angry and with the prospect of walking back home two miles, he threatened all kinds of revenge on the Belmont boys.
In the meantime the Belmont boys had returned to their cabin up the lake with the exception of Everett AUSTIN, who at no time had been identified in any of the trouble. Owing to the sudden illness of Miss Isabelle MATONI, he had taken Mr. ANDERSON's wheel and ridden to Cuba for a doctor, and when he returned about half past eleven he walked down to the Little cottage and finding the door locked and the boys asleep, climbed in a window, not wishing to disturb his comrades and quietly slipped into bed. One of the beds being broken down two of the boys had dragged the mattress out on the floor, placing it near the back door of the cottage and Everett Austin rolled into bed with the two boys on the floor, his head resting on the mattress and his hips against the back door and here he was doomed to receive the terrible injuries which resulted in his death.
Read Bishop Is Guilty!
The Bishop murder trial articles were submitted to Allegany Co., NY GenWeb Page by Carol Barber.