Mt. Upton Pre-1960

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 Murder in the Town of Guilford

By Wilma Felton-Gray

Gruesome? Some folks may say this is a gruesome topic and some of the horrific events that took place were, just that GRUESOME! But, what of the history that is involved with the folks that lived here at that time. What of the people and the families that lived through it and went on after the fact? The effect on the community and the social aspects are a part of history that should be considered during this presentation.

I discovered many of these events when collecting obituaries and articles of local newspapers and scrapbooks. Scrapbook makers always included the articles of those events, just as we have compiled the latest documentation on the last murder in Guilford.

I ran onto not only murder but, many suicides which were also so sad. One thought I had on the not so serious side was “Don’t drink the water” as that may be what all had in common.

The first murder involved a mystery that wasn’t solved until 13 years later. A few may remember the headlines of area papers in January of 1933. At the time George Miner, of International Baseball League fame and his friend Leo Mullen, both of Johnson City, found two mysterious skeletons in the woody part of a swamp. On a particular Tuesday, while hunting for rabbits they found what appeared to be human remains of a man and a very young woman. They called to a couple of wood cutters nearby, Clinton Camp and Burt DeGroat. Troop C was called in to investigate but, it was late evening and the area was so inaccessible it was decided to wait until the following day to venture in. Corporal Leroy Zieman and Trooper Ernest Maynard were assigned to the case and were accompanied to the site by Dr. E.W. Wilcox coroner.

Upon getting to the scene of the crime there was found a bottle which contained a small amount of carbolic acid and another bottle contained paregoric which was empty. Another paper reported there were four bottles total, one which contained chloroform as well as the other above ingredients. An axe was found which the handle was totally rotted. The search also revealed a vanity case bearing the name “Anna”, three rings one with the initials “B.M.D.”, rotted articles of clothing on each of the skeletons. A purse of the girl was found and another of her mother’s. On the body of the male skeleton was a wedding ring and a pair of cuff links near the wrists. There was also a man’s pipe, three flashlights, a tin cup.

In reconstructing the crime the crime investigators determined that the man had enticed the girl to this lonely spot and forced her to swallow some contents of a bottle found near the bodies. Upon further investigation it was determined that the woman was a young girl and it was concluded that she died of a brutal attack. Her head was battered by an ax crushing the skull near the left eye and the man committed suicide by drinking the rest of the carbolic acid.

Who were they and where did they come from? The initials “B.M.D” gave the biggest clue and “Anna” on the vanity case pretty much solved the case. There were also papers in the pocketbooks that revealed the identity of the girl.

A young lady by the name of Beatrice DeForest born December 28, 1903 to Emery and Anna (Shofkon) De Forest lived with her parents in the Rockdale area. On the Friday night of June 27, 1919 just one week before the 4th of July, A man by the name of Harry Gardner, reported age 27 and/or 31, left his home at 10:30 and Miss DeForest, age 15, disappeared one half hour later.

Harry Gardner was a married man. He with his wife, Etta E. Gardner had 4 small children, the oldest being just 8 years of age. When reported missing it was said he was a man being 5 ft 2 and weighing 160 lbs

The last person to have seen the girl was Ed Smith, an admirer of Beatrice, age 45 had called on her bringing lilies, a box of candy, and ice cream. Smith said he left the house about 10:15. According to the story reported by Smith went around the house as he supposed she was going inside. He suggested she must have hidden her belongings outside near the house for a quick get away. According to Rockdale residents, Beatrice was very attractive despite her youthfulness. Their whereabouts was a mystery until 1933. At the time of the disappearance an arrest warrant was out for Gardner on the charge of abduction. His act of putting his horses and other valuable possessions in the girls parents barn had led many to believe “the man to be insane and that he his that of a man temporarily imbalanced.”

By 1933 both of the girl’s parents had died. Her sister Bertha, claimed the remains which were buried in Rogers Hollow Cemetery. The widow of Harry Gardner was found living in Franklin. She was shown several personal effects of Gardner, his shoes, cuff links and ring, which she claimed to be her own. When questioned she revealed that her husband left home the night of June 27, 1919 saying he was going to a dance and he never came home that night. Change amounting to $1.40 was found near the skeleton and turned over to the widow. Harry was interred in Prospect Hill Cemetery, Sidney.

One would have thought the story complete but, in a paper dated 1936 the headlines read “Widow seeks to recover $1000.00 Insurance Policy Money”. Apparently the policy had been taken out prior to the incident. The grand jury felt that Gardner was already contemplating suicide and took out the policy, therefore as it was premeditated the widow did not receive any of the insurance benefits.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

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13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. S Park-Teelon
    Nov 30, 2010 @ 15:07:52

    What a great picture. Brings back many memories…..spent hundreds of hrs @ KK thru the years. Loved harry & Thelma….great food and many late eve Pitch games.

    Reply

  2. Leeny
    Dec 02, 2010 @ 13:46:57

    I used to sometimes meet my Dad (George Borst) at the KK around 4PM when he came home from working at the Scintilla Plant in Sidney. It was sure to bring an ice cream treat…Harry used to call me “Red”…or a “Pee Wee” grape soda…in a small glass bottle from the floor model of the 50’s soda machine. You put in your dime and moved the soda bottle thru a steel theft-proof pathway….until you came to the opening where you could easily lift it out. Then there was always a bottle opener in the front…to lift off the cap. Anyone remember these???

    Reply

  3. Bill
    Dec 02, 2010 @ 14:34:13

    As kids, we use to rush to get to fill the machine with soda from down in the basement. we were often paid with a soda, and a piece of cake. Anyone remember what kind of cake was always there on the counter in the KK?

    Reply

  4. Dick Walters
    Dec 03, 2010 @ 21:54:28

    Chocolate with white frosting!

    Reply

  5. Bill
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 10:57:24

    What did they call the cake?

    Reply

  6. Bill Jeffery
    Dec 09, 2010 @ 08:45:40

    I remember many great hamburgers and orders of french fries at the Korner Kitchen after football games, basketball games, track meets, and sometimes just for family dining out. They were always the best!

    Reply

  7. Bill
    Dec 17, 2010 @ 18:37:45

    Murder in the Town of Guilford
    By Wilma Felton-Gray

    Gruesome? Some folks may say this is a gruesome topic and some of the horrific events that took place were, just that GRUESOME! But, what of the history that is involved with the folks that lived here at that time. What of the people and the families that lived through it and went on after the fact? The effect on the community and the social aspects are a part of history that should be considered during this presentation.

    I discovered many of these events when collecting obituaries and articles of local newspapers and scrapbooks. Scrapbook makers always included the articles of those events, just as we have compiled the latest documentation on the last murder in Guilford.
    I ran onto not only murder but, many suicides which were also so sad. One thought I had on the not so serious side was “Don’t drink the water” as that may be what all had in common.

    The first murder involved a mystery that wasn’t solved until 13 years later. A few may remember the headlines of area papers in January of 1933. At the time George Miner, of International Baseball League fame and his friend Leo Mullen, both of Johnson City, found two mysterious skeletons in the woody part of a swamp. On a particular Tuesday, while hunting for rabbits they found what appeared to be human remains of a man and a very young woman. They called to a couple of wood cutters nearby, Clinton Camp and Burt DeGroat. Troop C was called in to investigate but, it was late evening and the area was so inaccessible it was decided to wait until the following day to venture in. Corporal Leroy Zieman and Trooper Ernest Maynard were assigned to the case and were accompanied to the site by Dr. E.W. Wilcox coroner.

    Upon getting to the scene of the crime there was found a bottle which contained a small amount of carbolic acid and another bottle contained paregoric which was empty. Another paper reported there were four bottles total, one which contained chloroform as well as the other above ingredients. An axe was found which the handle was totally rotted. The search also revealed a vanity case bearing the name “Anna”, three rings one with the initials “B.M.D.”, rotted articles of clothing on each of the skeletons. A purse of the girl was found and another of her mother’s. On the body of the male skeleton was a wedding ring and a pair of cuff links near the wrists. There was also a man’s pipe, three flashlights, a tin cup.

    In reconstructing the crime the crime investigators determined that the man had enticed the girl to this lonely spot and forced her to swallow some contents of a bottle found near the bodies. Upon further investigation it was determined that the woman was a young girl and it was concluded that she died of a brutal attack. Her head was battered by an ax crushing the skull near the left eye and the man committed suicide by drinking the rest of the carbolic acid.

    Who were they and where did they come from? The initials “B.M.D” gave the biggest clue and “Anna” on the vanity case pretty much solved the case. There were also papers in the pocketbooks that revealed the identity of the girl.
    A young lady by the name of Beatrice DeForest born December 28, 1903 to Emery and Anna (Shofkon) De Forest lived with her parents in the Rockdale area. On the Friday night of June 27, 1919 just one week before the 4th of July, A man by the name of Harry Gardner, reported age 27 and/or 31, left his home at 10:30 and Miss DeForest, age 15, disappeared one half hour later.
    Harry Gardner was a married man. He with his wife, Etta E. Gardner had 4 small children, the oldest being just 8 years of age. When reported missing it was said he was a man being 5 ft 2 and weighing 160 lbs
    The last person to have seen the girl was Ed Smith, an admirer of Beatrice, age 45 had called on her bringing lilies, a box of candy, and ice cream. Smith said he left the house about 10:15. According to the story reported by Smith went around the house as he supposed she was going inside. He suggested she must have hidden her belongings outside near the house for a quick get away. According to Rockdale residents, Beatrice was very attractive despite her youthfulness. Their whereabouts was a mystery until 1933. At the time of the disappearance an arrest warrant was out for Gardner on the charge of abduction. His act of putting his horses and other valuable possessions in the girls parents barn had led many to believe “the man to be insane and that he his that of a man temporarily imbalanced.”

    By 1933 both of the girl’s parents had died. Her sister Bertha, claimed the remains which were buried in Rogers Hollow Cemetery. The widow of Harry Gardner was found living in Franklin. She was shown several personal effects of Gardner, his shoes, cuff links and ring, which she claimed to be her own. When questioned she revealed that her husband left home the night of June 27, 1919 saying he was going to a dance and he never came home that night. Change amounting to $1.40 was found near the skeleton and turned over to the widow. Harry was interred in Prospect Hill Cemetery, Sidney.
    One would have thought the story complete but, in a paper dated 1936 the headlines read “Widow seeks to recover $1000.00 Insurance Policy Money”. Apparently the policy had been taken out prior to the incident. The grand jury felt that Gardner was already contemplating suicide and took out the policy, therefore as it was premeditated the widow did not receive any of the insurance benefits.

    Reply

  8. Leeny
    Jan 04, 2011 @ 11:18:28

    A couple of other memories have jumped into my head! Anyone remember Jones’s dump up on Mt. Upton Hill? I was priviledged enough to sometimes get to ride on the Jeep tailgate to the dump, as my cousin Lois (who lived with us her Senior year 1960) was going with Gary Jones! Eventually they married. I did so enjoys the days of the “dump rides.”
    Another memory…does anyone remember the suckers (as we called them) or white fish…that swam upstream in the creek behind the old creamery periodically? I can remember going into the creek and they were by the hundreds swimming upstream past our feet …like salmom do. It seems to me that this phenomenon only happened every few years….something about that…. Anyone else remember this????

    Reply

    • Bill
      Jan 04, 2011 @ 13:14:43

      I worked for Paul Jones and drove the Jeep. Suckers went up all streams I went spearing them with Jack of Diamond we netted two or three burlap bags full. He used them for his garden and I think he ate some. There was a dump nest to the railroad tracks out on the Frank’s far, we dumped there as well,

      Reply

  9. Dick Walters
    Jan 07, 2011 @ 15:46:09

    As I recall Paul Jones had at least three places (perhaps more) where he dumped the garabage that he collected from the village of Mt. Upton and other places. As you mentioned there was the location at the top of Mt Upton Hill, the location at Herm Frank’s farm and he also dumpped at location just across the Rt 51 bridge across from the Truesdell farm. I can remember going to these locations with Leeney’s brother Delbert and shooting rats with our 22s.

    Reply

  10. Bill
    Jan 07, 2011 @ 16:42:28

    The location of the dump was into the river just around the bend out of site of the road. It was not far from the Point swimming hole. What a thought horrid thought.

    Reply

    • BarneyJ
      Jan 09, 2011 @ 18:41:13

      There were two places they used for dumping on the Angel farm.Directly across from Truesdells and down the farm road from the Angel farm house. This site was directly across from Glouer’s house. Later on he also started dumping behind the old firehouse. I guess Paul was not much of an environmentalist.

      Reply

  11. Leeny
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 11:08:54

    Does anyone know when the MU Union School was built? I wonder if there is a hidden time capsule!

    Reply

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