Case # 1855-KM03
March 25, 1855
LEAVENWORTH – A Foul And Diabolical Murder. It becomes our sad and painful duty to record the death of one of our most respected citizens, Malcolm Clark, who was killed on Monday last by the vile and infamous scoundrel known as McCrea – THE LEADER AND MOUTHPIECE OF THE ABOLITIONISTS. During a meeting for the purpose of extending the time to all squatters holding claims on Delaware lands, the order of meeting was frequently disturbed and the speakers insulted and arrested in the course of their remarks by certain vulgar and impertinent outbursts from this same despicable villain McCrea. For, his obtrusion and ungentlemanly conduct at a meeting in which he was no way concerned, he was reprimanded, as he should have been, by Malcolm Clark, and respectfully requested either to leave the meeting or desist in his unjust interference with its proceedings. This he would not do but continued in this same course regardless of all advice and admonition, until a resolution had been declared carried by a vote of the meeting, which the perfidious villain pronounced to have been effected by gross fraud. At this stage of the controversy Malcolm Clark became exasperated and offered to strike McCrea when he received a fatal shot from the villainous hands of the dastardly abolitionist. After the perpetration of the bloody deed the cowardly assassin took flight, during which he wheeled about and fired indiscriminately in the crowd, as we saw through the window of our office. The deceased exercised, we are told, the utmost forbearance with this vagabond of abolitionism, and evinced no disposition to demean himself by aggravating a quarrel with him.
We were not present at the meeting and consequently did not witness this sad and horrible occurrence, but when we heard the report of pistols, and saw the rapid flight of the murderer, we hastened to the spot and never shall we forget the scene there presented. Our very heart sickens, our very blood chills in our veins, when we recall the scene to our memory. We think we see before us the body of the dying man struggling and writhing in the agonies of death. We think we behold the ruthless monster, McCrea, standing up confronting us with that same hideous and malignant scowl which his countenance bore after the perpetration of this hellish deed. God grant that the fiend whose murderous hands committed the foul and atrocious crime – the wretch whose hands are steeped in blood – be made to suffer condign retribution. The vile monster McCrea shall meet the just penalty of the law. He shall be hung by a rope of HEMP. This shall be HIS REWARD; but no, we leave his fate unpredicted for it needs no sybil’s prescience to divine that it must be, and will be, as dark as his foul crime. The Kansas Weekly Herald, Leavenworth, Kansas. Friday, May 4, 1855. (c) Transcribed by Darren McMannis for Prairie Tales Media.
LEAVENWORTH – The Shooting At Leavenworth. We extract from the Tribune the following account by an eye witness, of the murder at Leavenworth. It bears the marks of fairness and candor, the reverse of the accounts contained in the Herald and other papers of the same unjust and fanatical caste.
Fort Leavenworth – Wishing to disabuse the public of the grossly false statement given by the Kansas Herald of the unfortunate circumstance which resulted in the death of Malcolm Clark, and believing that you would rather herald truth than falsehood, I humbly ask room in your paper for a true statement of the facts, having been an eye-witness to the whole. The evening at which the collision took place was called as a meeting of the squatters on the Delaware lands, and was organized about 2 o’clock, P.M., April 30th, by calling John Wilson, of Mo., to the chair, and Lyle as scribe, on motion of said Clarke, also of Platte Co., Mo.
Wilson then, under the pretense of explaining the object of the meeting, delivered himself of a low, blackguard harangue against all who were not pro-slavery men, and called upon all pro-slavery men to extend the time for making settlements upon the Delaware land as the only means of embarrassing immigrants from the “d****d abolition North and East.” His language through the whole of his speech was low and abusive in the extreme, but was not interrupted by any person. Mr. M’Crea having been repeatedly called, was now insisted upon by the crowd. He started to go forward, but perceiving by the motions and threats made that he would likely to get himself and friends into trouble by taking the stand, he retired to the back part of the crowd, without saying one word.
A vote was then taken, which appeared by the voice to be against the extension of time. A division was called for, when two-thirds took the side against the extension. But the chairman, moved only by his interest, divided the vote for the extension (those voting for the extension were mostly Missourians; against it, citizens of Kansas).
On the announcement of the result of the division, M’Crea turned to Mr. Eames, who stood by him, and said “what a contemptible fraud!” which being heard by the bully and leader, Clark, he pronounced M’Crea a “G*d****d lying son of a b***h. I’ll kill you,” said he, rushing at him through the crowd. M’Crea retreated some 30 feet from the crowd, but this did not satisfy Clark: he set upon him at full speed, holding in his hands a portion of a 2 by 4 inch scantling. M’Crea then fled some 100 feet or more, but was overtaken by Clark and struck, reeled to the right as if about to fall, drew his revolver, and turned and fired at Clark. Green Todd, who was nearly up with Clark, and for some time was prevented from firing only by the latter being in his way, now shot at M’Crea, the ball passing through the sleeve of his coat. Again M’Crea turned, swinging his revolver as if in the act of taking aim, but perceiving that he made no further effort to fire, he (M’Crea) dropped his hand, and was immediately out of my sight, behind the corner of a building, at which he seemed to aim at the start.
I then discovered three persons going around the opposite side of the building, one of them with a Colt’s revolver, and two with stones. I lost sight of them too, and soon heard the report of a pistol. I passed the building, and saw those three persons standing on the bank of the river, throwing down stones, but could not see M’Crea. On coming to the bank, I saw M’Crea in the river, covered with blood, his own dog attempting to help him. I leaped down the bank, and caught his pistol arm, which was elevated above his head, and soon had him on shore. He told me he had received a shot in the face, on coming to the surface on shore. I saw that his tongue was shot through, his teeth shattered, and his cheek cut, his breast bruised and collar-bone broken. Blood also flowed freely from his head. I can only add further, that I came from home with Mr. M’Crea, have known him for a long time, and was with him all that day. I heard and saw everything he did; and I can positively say that all that statement in the Kansas Herald about his disturbing or interrupting any speaker, or making any answer whatsoever to the abuse of Clark, or receiving the revolver from Mr. Phillips is totally and wickedly false, and without any foundation in truth whatever. Yours, &c., John G. Henderson.
P.S. There were five loads in M’Crea’s revolver when taken from him; so the statement as to his firing indiscriminately into the crowd is also false. The Kansas Free State, Lawrence, Kansas. Monday, May 28, 1855. (c) Transcribed by Darren McMannis for Prairie Tales Media.
LEAVENWORTH – Read in another column a letter copied from an Abolition paper, giving an account of the murder of Clark. It is a vile and infamously false account of the whole affair, as every one here can testify. We publish it to show how the abolitionists are given to lying.
….The above statement of John G. Henderson, is a tissue of misrepresentations, and falsehoods from beginning to end. We publish the whole of the letter just to show to what extent the vile traducers of the dead, the aiders and abettors in a willful murder, will go. Who this John G. Henderson is, we do not know, nor could we care less. A man who could pen such a letter, and who was cognizant of the facts that transpired at the time Malcolm Clark was murdered, must be steeped in corruption and infamy, with a heart as black as perdition. It is an article manufactured for Northern Abolition consumption, and is only a fair specimen of the means resorted to by abolition letter writers to fan the excitement at the North, with the view of increasing the efforts of the Aid Societies, in importing hireling voters into this Territory. But the game won’t win.
What are the facts of the case. We have heretofore given them, and they can be substantiated by the best of witnesses. Wilson was not chairman of the meeting, nor did he “deliver himself of a low black-guard harangue.” His remarks were eloquent. There were not 6 Missourians present at the meeting. The vote was fairly taken, and by a count of the Secretary, decided carried in the affirmative, whereupon McCrea, pronounced it a “d****d fraud. Clark pronounced the statement a lie, and advanced up to McCrea, throwing something at him, but not hitting him. Clark did not strike McCrea at all, did not say he would kill him, and showed no disposition to take McCrea’s life, for he had no weapon about him, had no 2 by 4 scantling in his hand. McCrea did not retreat, but shot Clark, when Clark’s hand was on McCrea’s shoulder. Clark immediately after he was shot turned around, and said he was shot. McCrea then fled, he was pursued, and shot once promiscuously at the crowd that was pursuing him. McCrea was not shot in the mouth, but was struck in the mouth by a rock after he had jumped in the river. It is false that he was shot in the tongue, or that his collar bone was broken; and the other statements in the letter are equally false. If there is such a man as Henderson, he will never dare go into a court of justice and swear to what is in his abolition letter. The Kansas Weekly Herald, Leavenworth, Kansas. Friday, June 1, 1855. (c) Transcribed by Darren McMannis for Prairie Tales Media.
LEAVENWORTH – Malcolm Clark, formerly of Platte county, Mo., was murdered in cold blood by an abolitionist named McCrea. They were disputing, and while Mr. Clark was in the act of turning, probably to go away, McCrea drew a pistol and shot him through the heart. He died immediately. He did not speak one word after that fatal shot. The murderer escaped his pursuers, and succeeded in placing himself under the protection of the troops at the Fort. He will not live to be tried. An outraged people are anxiously awaiting an opportunity to deal out summary punishment to the offender. Hanging is a death entirely too good for such a villain! Let him be tortured and his friends hung! Hope is beyond his reach. Should the technicalities of the law permit the murderer for a while to hope, the fire of indignation which already exists in the hearts of our citizens will need no other fanning to dissipate such a vain conjecture on his part. He may live in hope, but die in despair he surely must.
Cut down in the prime of life, lies poor Malcolm Clark! He is lost to a devoted family, to his numerous friends; and in him, the pro-slavery party have lost one of her noblest defenders. Murdered without a cause, and by an abolitionist! The thought is sufficient to harrow up a spirit of resentment in the breast of every Southern man.
Poor Clark! Who is there that knew him who does not lament his loss? A man in the broadest acceptation of the term; generous to a fault. No man ever solicited his assistance, but he received it. Brave among the brave, he knew not cowardice, a cowardly thought never reached his brain. Honest on all occasions, in every transaction. Possessed of energy, with a quick eye and ready arm, and a devout worshipper of the South and her institutions – a bitter opponent of her enemies, a faithful friend, an indulgent father, an industrious man, and a good citizen. In a word, he was “a noble specimen of God’s masterly creation.”
Thus fell by an assassin’s hand, a noble man! What, we ask, can repay his loss? The blood of the Murderer will not satisfy us! That would be placing too little an estimate on the life of our deceased friend. “Blood for Blood!” – but for each drop spilled, we shall require one hundred fold! For every honest man that is slain, let a score of abolitionists suffer. We call for a settlement of this affair – let us make examples of such outlaws, and their sympathisers, until our fair Territory is ridden of such curses – until honest men can walk the streets of our towns, without the fear of being attacked by Northern cut-throats and hired assassins; until our homes and fire-sides can be made secure from the torch of the incendiary, and our slaves be permitted to remain with us in quietude and contentment. As long as one Abolitionist remains in the Territory, such occurrences will be numerous, both here and in Missouri. Let us begin to purge ourselves of all Abolition emissaries who occupy our dominion, and give distinct notice that all who do not leave immediately, for the East, WILL LEAVE FOR ETERNITY! The Squatter Sovereign, Atchison, Kansas. Tuesday, May 8, 1855. (c) Transcribed by Darren McMannis for Prairie Tales Media.
LEAVENWORTH – Samuel J. Finch, the insignificant and contemptible puppy, the short tailed and long eared jackass of the Reporter, in a long, silly, incoherent, disconnected article on the lynching of his abolition brother Phillips, accuses certain members of the committee who had charge of Phillips of cowardice for not having returned to Leavenworth. On reading the Reporter’s article we immediately went in quest of Finch, for the purpose of expressing to him personally, what we shall take occasion to say before closing this article, but could not find him. The charge of fear on the part of any of the committee is false and unwarrantable and the author of it – whoever he may be – is a vile, base, and unmitigated liar. The Kansas Weekly Herald, Leavenworth, Kansas. Friday, June 1, 1855. (c) Transcribed by Darren McMannis for Prairie Tales Media.
LEAVENWORTH – A Culprit’s Letter. The Chicago Tribune publishes the following letter from the murderer, McCrea, who is now in prison at Fort Leavenworth, for the brutal and atrocious murder of Malcolm Clark:
Fort Leavenworth Guard House, Kansas, May 8th, 1855.
Dear Father: Before this note shall have come to hand, you doubtless will have heard of my misfortune by the papers, though I fear not exactly according to fact. The question of slavery here, has come to such a pitch of excitement that we are on eve of a civil war, and it has been my misfortune to strike the first fatal blow at a meeting relative to claims, which took a strong party turn as everything in this devoted Territory does. I was heard by the bully and leader of the opposite party, to call some of the proceedings fraud, (i.e. deciding a vote against two-thirds,) he rushed at me with a piece of 2 by 4 scantling. I fled from him till he struck me, then I shot him through the body. He died in about ten or twenty minutes. I was also shot at as I received Clark’s blow, but not wounded; was afterwards shot and slightly wounded. Our party was not as great on the ground, as the pro-slavery, or we should have had some more work to do. I expect to get out on small bail soon. Your affectionate son, C. McCrea
It seems from the above that the prisoner “expects to get out” on bail. This expectation will prove utterly fallacious to him. Murder is not a bailable offence. But if the fiend, who now stigmatises the man whom he so brutally murdered a “bully,” should get out, we can safely promise him that he will soon be “dangling in the air.” The Kansas Weekly Herald, Leavenworth, Kansas. Thursday, June 8, 1855. (c) Transcribed by Darren McMannis for Prairie Tales Media.
LEAVENWORTH – At a meeting of the citizens of Leavenworth on the evening of the 30th of April for the purpose of taking some action in regard to one William Phillips, who is reported to have been accessory to the murder of Malcolm Clark, D.J. Johnson was called to the chair.
….The following is a duplicate of the notice served on William Philipps: “Sir: At a meeting of the citizens of Leavenworth and vicinity we the undersigned were appointed a committee to inform you that they have unanimously determined that you must leave this Territory by two o’clock Thursday next. Take due notice thereof and act accordingly.”
LATER – The committee appointed on Monday last to notify Mr. Phillips on the requisition of the citizens of Leavenworth reported to the meeting that the said Phillips, had left town in compliance with the instructions given him. The Kansas Weekly Herald, Leavenworth, Kansas. Friday, May 4, 1855. (c) Transcribed by Darren McMannis for Prairie Tales Media.
LEAVENWORTH – The Villain Has Returned. We see, much to our astonishment, that the perfidious Phillips; who aided and abetted the murder of Malcom Clark – has returned and is now in our midst. Will our citizens allow him to remain in this community? We say not. The Kansas Weekly Herald, Leavenworth, Kansas. Friday, May 4, 1855. (c) Transcribed by Darren McMannis for Prairie Tales Media.
LEAVENWORTH – The Case of McCrea – Our readers will remember that McCrea, charged with the murder of Clarke during the Kansas election in May last, has, since that time, been imprisoned at Leavenworth. During the recent season of the District Court at Leavenworth, Judge Lecompte presiding, the evidence in McCrea’s case was laid before the grand jury. The jury came into court for instructions in the case, but such instructions were refused them by the judge. Afterwards he delegated R.R. Rees, the leader of the mob that attacked Phillips, to instruct him in their duties. Again, division forced them into court. As they came in, the foreman of the jury, a staunch Atchison man, exclaimed: “They can’t agree; three are for a presentment for murder, five for manslaughter, and eleven against finding any bill. After this announcement the judge, without giving the jury further instructions, sent them back to their room, and caused other business to be brought before them. A majority of the jury being in favor of ignoring the bill against McCrea, refused to act upon any other business until his case was finally disposed of, and therefore returned again and again into court without making any presentment. After this farce had continued through several days, the judge adjourned the court until the second Monday in November, leaving McCrea still in prison. It is said that this adjournment is not legal, being authorized by no statute, and is in fact a dissolution of court. The Dayton, Ohio Gazette. Reprinted by The New York Herald, New York, New York. Friday, October 19, 1855. (c) Transcribed by Darren McMannis for Prairie Tales Media.
LEAVENWORTH – McCrea has been discharged, the indictment against him having been found worthless. The Kansas Herald Of Freedom, Leavenworth, Kansas. Saturday, September 3, 1859. (c) Transcribed by Darren McMannis for Prairie Tales Media.