Dana Reed Bailey.

History of Minnehaha county, South Dakota. Containing an account of its settlements, growth, development and resources ... Synopsis of public records, biographical sketches .. online

. (page 25 of 99)
Online LibraryDana Reed BaileyHistory of Minnehaha county, South Dakota. Containing an account of its settlements, growth, development and resources ... Synopsis of public records, biographical sketches .. → online text (page 25 of 99)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook



It was a fair and pleasant night, April the third or fourth,

When at a distance we saw a light of a fire in the north.

The lurid flames ran to the east, not minding things of worth

Burning beautiful trees, and leaving bare the earth.

The breeze sprang up, the bright flames leaped toward the shining stars,

With a rushing sound resembling them of a train of cars.

The frightened birds fly here and there, the frogs in the low pond croak,

While suffocating is the air, filled with ashes, heat and smoke.

Then o'er the hill the fire comes sweeping toward the south,

It has lit in Egan's forsaken home and burned the old sod house.

The roof and posts are burned, and all the boards around,

The sodding is all fallen in and lies smouldering on the ground.


We never will forget the day when first the tale was tol J,
That Mrs. Egan in the cellar lay a sad sight to beiiold.
By her husband she was killed, to get away she hoped,
And her life-blood there he spilled, and choked her with a rope.
Now nothing marks the place, save a pile of sod burned mellow
And they lay by the place where she was found in the cellar.
Good people, far and near, all had one desire,
That a place so drear should be swept away by fire.


Probably the most awful trag-edy in the state, occurred about
five o'clock in the afternoon of Sunday, October 22, 1893, just outside
of the eastern limits of the City of Sioux Falls.

Harry Lacey, a man known to all the residents of the city, shot
his mother-in-law Mrs. Lydia Bunker, his wife Clara, and himself,
all three dying- within a few minutes, and before any of the neig-hbors
arrived at the place where the terrible deeds had been committed.

Harry Lacey came to the City of Sioux Palls in 1882, and com-
menced the practice of law. He was quiet and unassuming-, but it
was soon known that he was a man of considerable ability. He ob-
tained a g-ood standing in the community, and althoug-h he soon
abandoned his profession, he was always occupied in some business
enterprise. His mother-in-law, in 1889, sold her farm east of the
city (except a few acres where the trag-edy took place) for quite a
larg-e sum of money, and invested fifteen thousand dollars of this
sum in a phonog-raph enterprise, and lost it all. Mrs. Bunker
charg-ed Lacey with this loss and Lacey denied his responsibility in
the matter. Soon after the sale of the farm, Mrs. Bunker came to
the city and resided with the Laceys. It was known among- their
neig-hbors that family matters were not running- smoothly, but not
until the early part of December, 1891, was there an open outbreak.
At this time there was a serious disturbance in the family, and all
three of them bore marks of a personal combat. Mrs. Lacey had
Mr. Lacey arrested for assault and battery, and immediately broug-ht
a bill for divorce. After a few months she told the writer, that she
could not live without her husband, and soon after, the divorce proceed-
ings were abandoned, and they commenced living together again.
It did not prove a happy re-union, and they lived apart and together,
as they could agree, until the spring of 1893, when Mr. Lacey secured
rooms a short distance from Mrs. Bunker's place. During the sum-
mer there were frequent quarrels, and Mr. Lacey grew more and
more dissatisfied and unhappy, and one thing more than anything
else that seemed to trouble him was the fact that his little children
were under the influence of Mrs. Bunker.

On Sunday, the day the tragedy occurred, he was in Sioux Falls
and went home late in the afternoon. Shortly after he walked over
to the Bunker house. In less than thirty minutes after he had been
seen going to Mrs. Bunker's, his two little children, aged four and
seven years, who had witnessed the terrible deed of their father,
came to a neighbor by the name of Jones, the eldest boy saying:
"Papa Jones come over; they are all dead. Papa has shot grandma


and ma, and went out in the yard and shot himself." Mr. Jones
went immediately to the house, and found them all dead. Mrs.
Bunker and Mrs. Lacey were both shot in the back part of the head,
near the base of the brain, and were lyin^- but a little distance from
each other in the kitchen. Lacey was lyin^j;- in the yard, a few feet
from the house, where he evidently fell and died without a strug-o-le,
after firintj- a bullet into his own head. Mr. Lacey was an expert
marksman, and knew where the vital spark could be most quickly
exting-uished, and whether with the coolness of a wicked, desperate
hate, or the frenzy of a man who thinks that nothintJ- but blood can
atone his wrongs, he broug-ht his skill and knowledg-e into action, and
committed the fearful trag-edy with wonderful precision and fatalitv
will never be known. He completed his work, and left nothing- to be
done but to bury the dead.

The foreg-oing- is sufficient to outline the incidents connected
with one of the most horrible trag-edies that ever occurred in a civil-
ized community, and one which undoubtedly will never be paralleled
in Minnehaha countv.


Sometime during- the early ev^ening- of December 7, 1897, Alfred
Erikson, a young- man about twenty-two years of ag-e, was most bru-
tally murdered. The crime was committed in a small one-story
house located near the Mulhall block on Main avenue in the Citv of
Sioux Falls. He was an eccentric character, and known to be a
little below par in point of intellig-ence, but strong- and robust. The
house in which he was killed, was occupied by James Garrington, a
small man about sixty-six years of ag-e, who was at that time in feeble
health. Erikson had the day before returned to Sioux Falls, from
whence he had fled on the 28th day of Aug-ust, preceding-, to escape
arrest upon a complaint charg-ing- him with having- committed a
serious offense upon the person of a g-irl about eleven years of ag-e,
the daug-hter of William West of Sioux Falls. The girl during-
Erikson's absence had been sent to the Reform school at Plankinton,
and was burned to death at the time the Reform school building-s
were destroyed by fire. Erikson arrived in town December (>, and
stopped over nig-ht with his aunt, Mrs. Langbien. During- the fore-
noon of the day following-, Erikson went to Gar ring-ton's place, took
dinner with him, and was out and in during- the day. He was at
Dunning-'s drug- store at 4:45 P. M., where he was last seen alive. A
little past midnig-ht that nig-ht, he was found dead in Garring-ton's
building-. As stated above, he had been brutally murdered, there
being- no less than thirty-three wounds upon his person, (xarring-ton
was immediately arrested, and he then charged Wm. West with hav-
ing committed the murder. Two hours later West was arrested.
During- the evening of that dav, representatives of the Sioux Falls
Daily Press interviewed Garring-ton and represented to him that
AVest could prove an alibi, and that the only hope he had was to con-
fess that he did it, and to claim that he did it in self-defense. Before
they left they succeeded in getting Garring-ton to sig-n such a state-
ment. Within an hour thereafter State's Attorney Bates, with two


or three others, also visited the prisoner, when he made in substance
the same statement to them. The next day West was discharo-ed,
and Garrinyton remained in prison charg-ed with the murder of
Erikson. On the 13th day of December he plead not g-uilly and Mon-
day the 3d day of January, 1898, was fixed for his trial. Before this
time arrived, on motion of the defendant, the time of trial was
changed to Monday, January 31. A special venire was issued for
seventv-five jurvmen in addition to the regular panel, and the trial
commenced at the time appointed. State's Attorney C. P. Bates,
assisted by ex-State's Attorney P. J. Rog-de, appeared for the prose-
cution, and D. R. Bailey, assisted by A. P. Orr, appeared for the
defendant. The trial lasted vmtil February 9. The jury retired at
11:05 A. M., and at 4:10 P. M. returned a verdict of g-uiliy, fixing- the
dculh f)C)iaUy. On the 14th day of February, Judg-e Jones sentenced
Garrington to be hanged on the 14th day of April, 1898. D. R.
Bailey, attorney for Garrington, made a motion for a new^ trial, based
upon alleged errors occurring- at the trial, and upon newly discovered
evidence, which motion was on the 4th day of April denied by Judge
Jones. Mr. Bailey, on the 8th day of April, secured a writ of error
from the supreme court, which operated as a stay of the execution
of Garrington, and all further proceedings in the case were trans-
ferred to the supreme court. On the 14th day of June, the case was
arg-ued bv C. P. Bates and D. R. Bailey, and the court took the case
under advisement.

The last of August, 1898, the supreme court granted a new
trial, and at the next term of the circuit court the case was called on
Tuesday, the 3d day of January, 1899, and the trial commenced.
The same attorneys appeared for the prosecution as at the former
trial, and D. R. Bailey, assisted by D. J. Conway and C. C. Gliem,
conducted the defense. On the 12th day of January, at four o'clock
in the afternoon, the case was submitted to the jury. At nine
o'clock the next morning- the jury found Garrington .i*-/////!', and fixed
his punishment imprisoumoit for life.

The writer having been the leading attorney in the defense, will
refrain from any comment, except to assert that a larg-e percentage
of the people in the county feel confident that if the whole facts were
known other parties would be implicated in this brutal murder.

THE JOHN Mcdonald homicide.

During- the evening- of December 24, 1897, an affray occurred be-
tween John McDonald, a printer, and Gilbert Oilman, a saloon
keeper, both of Sioux Falls, which resulted in the death of Mc-

There were some words between the parties in a saloon on Phil-
lips avenue in reference to a bill Oilman claimed McDonald owed
him. Oilman left the saloon, McDonald followed him and continued
to talk to him about the matter. Just as they turned the corner of
Tenth street, g'oing east, Oilman turned around and struck Mc-
Donald a slight blow upon his face, telling- him to stop his talking-,
and then walked away. Shortly after, McDonald was found lying-
on the sidewalk in a dying- condition, and was carried back into the


saloon, where he in a few minutes expired. Considerable excite-
ment prevailed in the commiinit}' in reference to the affair. Oilman
was arrested and bound over to the circuit court, which was then in
session. State's Attorney Bates filed an information ag-ainst (Oilman
charo-ino- him with manslaug-hter. There is a statute which declares
that homicide "when perpetrated without a desig-n to effect death by
a person while eng-ag-ed in the commission of a misdemeanor " is
o-uilty of manslaug-hter in the £rst deg-ree. The trial commenced on
Thursday, January 6, State's Attorney Bates appearing- for the pros-
ecution, and H. H. Keith for the defense. After the regular panel
had been exhausted, a special venire was issued for additional jurors.
At 3:30 P. M., the following- jurors were accepted: Charles Foss,
Prank Edg-ington, E. T. Hayes, Fred Witte, P. P. Sherman, Sam
Herbert, Chas. Arndt, W. H. "Holt, and Henry Dalton, all of Sioux
Falls, W. J. Pag-e of Dell Rapids, H. A. Foster of Wayne, and I. N.
Griffith of Brandon. The testimony of Doctors Morg-an and Olney,
who conducted the post-mortem examination upon the body of Mc-
Donald, developed the fact that he came to his death from the ob-
struction in the air passag-e to the lung-s by quite a larg-e quantity of
line cut tobacco and mucus, which they found in the trachea and
])ronchial tubes.

The case was vig-orously tried by the attorneys. Mr. Bates
claimed that Oilman while in the act of striking- McDonald was com-
mitting- a misdemeanor, and that the blow McDonald received caused
him to swallow the tobacco w^hich resulted in his death, and hence
the jury should find him g-uilty of manslaug-hter as charg-ed in the
information. Mr. Keith, on the other hand, claimed that the prose-
cution had not established the fact beyond a reasonable doubt that
the swallowing- of the tobacco by McDonald was the result of the
blow^ struck by Oilman. The jury retired to consider their verdict
at 2:10 P. M. Saturday, the 8th of January, and after being- out about
three hours, returned a verdict of not g-uilty. On the first ballot the
jury stood three for conviction and nine for acquittal.

The jury were all of the opinion that Oilman did not contemplate
doing- McDonald any serious harm, and it is g-reatly to his credit that
since his acquittal he has materially assisted in maintaining- Mc-
Donald's family.




Plenty Horses was indicted on the 13th day of March, 1S')1, at a
term of the United States District Court at Dead wood, S. D., charg-ed
with the murder of Lieut. E. W. Casev on the 7th day of Januarv

During- the latter part of the summer of 18*)0, it first became
known that a remarkable hallucination had taken possession of some
of the tribes of Indians belong-ingto the Sioux nation. It was known
as the "Messiah Craze." At first it attracted attention outside of
the Indian country by reason of its strang-e features, both in refer-


ence to the character of the delusion and the peculiar demonstrations
resulting- therefrom. Just how it originated is not well verified, but
that it was madly contaofious and rapidly spread among- the Indians,
completclv demoralizing- whole tribes, was soon well known. It was
at first thougfht to be harmless, and it did not seem possible to a sane
person that such a craze could last for any leng-th of time, and the
authorities in charg-e of the Indians delayed taking- any active, ag -
g-ressive measure for its suppression, believing- that it would destroy
itself by its own intensity. The Indians professed to believe that
the Messiah was at that time to be found west of Salt Lake, and that
they were to leave the Union Pacific railroad and g-o into the moun-
tains, about four day's travel, where they would find him; that he
would talk to those who went to see him in their own lang-uag-e, and
the next spring-, or at some stated time, he would come and visit
them. That the purpose of his coming- was to punish the white
people for crucifying- him and for the wrong-s they had committed
ag-ainst the Indians, and that they would be restored to their former
mode of living-. That another earth would come from the west and
cover up the white people, and that the Indians would mount this
new earth. Dances were org-anized among- them, and were so un-
natural and weird that they were called g-host-dances.

This condition of affairs at last became intolerable; but it was
found impossible to control them by peaceful measures, and the reg -
ular army was called upon for aid. General Miles was in command.
The Indians believed that the white man's bullet could not injure
them, and they were defiant. A battle was foug-ht at Wounded Knee
on the 29th dav of December, 1890, in which one hundred and forty-
nine Indians, and fortv-nine soldiers were killed. Another battle
took place the next day on White Clay creek.

General Miles, at the time of the killing- of Lieutenant Casey,
had the Indians surrounded and was endeavoring- to force them to
surrender. Lieutenant Casey, at the head of the Cheyenne scouts,
was with General Brooke, northwest of Pine Ridg-e, and on the morn-
ing- of his death, left General Brooke's camp, taking- one of his scouts
with him, for the purpose of obtaining- information in reg-ard to the
location of the camp of the hostile Indians. He proceeded without
molestation until he reached the picket line of the hostiles, when he
was told that he was in g-reat dang-er and had better turn back. He
paid no attention to this, however, but proceeded in the direction of
the camp, when he was ag-ain warned by some friendly Indians that
he was in dang-er and oug-ht not to g-o any further. He hesitated, but
at the same time expressed a desire to g-o a little further where he
could see the hostile camp. While conversing- with a messeng-er who
had been sent out from the Indian camp by Red Cloud (who had
learned that Lieutenant Casey was approaching- the camp) to inter-
cept and warn him of the dang-er he was in. Plenty Horses, after
chang-ing- his position so as to g-et behind Lieutenant Casey, deliber-
ately shot him and rode away. Lieutenant Casey died instantly.

General Miles immediatelv after the death of Lieutenant Casey
demanded the surrender of Plenty Horses, which demand was com-
plied with. After the indictment was found, the court ordered the


trial to take place at Sioux Falls, and on the 24th dav of April, 1891,
the trial of Plenty Horses commenced in the United States court
room in the Masonic Temple at that place. Judo-es Shiras and
Edgerton were upon the bench. U. S. District Attorney Sterling-,
with his Assistant Howard and Lieutenant J. G. Ballance, appeared
for the prosecution, and Georg-e P. Nock and D. E. Powers of Sioux
Palls, appeared for Plenty Horses. The indictment of Plenty
Horses for murder aroused considerable interest throug-hout the
country. The New York World sent one of its most competent men
to report the trial, and the account of the proceeding's in that paper
was most minutely and g-raphically g-iven. The trial lasted six
days, and the attorneys for the defense endeavored to secure the ac-
quittal of their client upon the theory that actual war existed at the
time of the killing- of Lieutenant Case}-, and that Plenty Horses was
one of the hostiles; that his act was not murder but excusable as an
act of war. They had, however, but short time for preparation, and
did not succeed in establishing- the fact beyond question that there
was actual war, and the Court not feeling- justified in directing- a ver-
dict, the case was submitted to the jury and resulted in a disag-ree-

The Court immediately fixed upon the 25th day of Mav following-,
for a second trial. At that time the same judg-es and attorneys were
in charg-e, and assembled at the place of the former trial to deter-
mine the position the Indian holds in the time of so called war. At
this trial the real character of the acts of war occurring- during- the
Indian outbreak was clearly shown by the defense, and when the
testimony was all in, Judg-e Shiras directed the jury to return a
verdict of )n)t §-i(i/ty: holding- that at the time of the killing- of Lieu-
tenant Casey there existed in and about Pine Ridg-e Ag-ency an
actual state of warfare between the army of the United States and
the Indian camp; and that Lieutenant Casey was killed by Plenty
Horses while reconnoitering- the camp of the hostile Indians; and,
while condemning- the manner in which the act was committed, still,
it was a leg-itimate act of war. Judg-e Edg-erton did not concur in
the opinion of Judge Shiras.

Plenty Horses was educated at the Indian school at Carlisle,
Pa., g-oing- there the 24th day of November, 1883, and remaining- until
July 8, 1888, when he returned to the Rosebud Ag-ency where his
father, Living- Bear, was the recog-nized leader of the Brule tril)e of
Indians. He was a dull scholar, althoug-h considered quite intelli-
g;ent, but upon the return to his old home he again adopted the habits
and customs of the Indians.

In the fall of 1890 when the Indians were banding- together and
threatening- to make trouble, he sympathized with them, and after
the destruction of Big- Foot's band he joined the hostile Indians and
became a participator in their warlike demonstrations and und()u])t-
edlv felt justified in killing Lieutenant Casey.

It only remains to mention that the trials were of a more sen-
sational and dramatic character than any ever had in South Dakota,
attracting the attention of the whole country; and were conducted bv
the attorneys on both sides with great energy and ability.







(reminiscences by JESSE B. WATSON.)

"When Company A, Dakota Cavalr^^ of which I \Nas a member,
came to Sioux Falls durino^ the summer of 1862, there were four
small houses along- the river bank on the west side. One of them
was occupied by the printing; press, the others were empty. Near
the present site of the Burling-ton depot w-as a small house occupied
by J. B. Amidon, and a little east of where the brewery is now, on
the side hill, was another small house occupied by G. P. Waldron,
and betw^een his house and where the Merchants Hotel is now, a man
by the name of B. C. Fowler w^as living- with his family. This habi-
tation w-as built of stone, poles and g-rass. There were also two
young- men by the name of Allen living- a little southeast of Amidon's


Eihardt Fleitz, who came to Sioux Falls as a member of Com-
pany D, 22d U. S. Infantry, in 1866, and has been a resident of
the county since then, has kindly g-iven us a pretty full description
of the building's and general appearance of thing's upon his arrival.
He said in part: "I came to Sioux Falls with my company, I think
on the 7th day of June, 1866. It was commanded by Colonel Knox.
There w^ere just seventy-three men in the company. Company E,
6th Iowa Cavalry left Sioux Falls the day our company arrived. The
building-s in Sioux Falls at that time were the barracks, round house,
commissary building*, laundry, stable, sutler's store, a stone house
at the foot of Ninth street, and another on the east side of the river,
opposite where the Commercial Hotel is now, and a house called the
pipestone factory near w^here Pankow's foundry is now located.
The two building-s called the barracks were side by side about


twenty feet apart. The south room in the east buildintj;- was occupied
as a hospital, the next room was the office, and in the next room the
soldiers slept in bunks. The south room in the west buildinjo; v/as
occupied, after we came, by the orderly sergeant, next to this was
the kitchen, and the balance of the buildin<j- was a mess room. What
we called the round house was a stone building- north of the barriicks.
It was called so, owing- to its shape, for it was nearly round. It was
built of stone, but had no roof, and the floor was about eijufht feet
from the g-round. It was built to ^o into in case of attack. I think
it was more than thirty feet in diameter. The commissary building-
was of stone, and stood pretty near where the Commercial Hotel is
now. The laundry was a small log- house near the west end of
Eig-hth street bridg-e, and the stable was north of this, and was dug-
out of the bank for the west wall, and stone and log-s next the river,
and covered with poles and hay. The stone house near the foot of
Ninth street was occupied by Dr. Nisley. The sutler's store was a
little shanty built of Cottonwood boards in part. I don't know what
the building- on the east side was built for, but we used it for an ice
house. During- the summer of 1866, we built what was known as the
officer's quarters, where E. J. Daniels now has his store. We also
built a hospital between this building- and the sutler's store, south of
the Edmison- Jameson building-. It was built of log-s, and was one
story hig-h. We also built a powder house, and a building- to exer-
cise in during the winter. Our company fenced in what we called
the parade g-rounds, putting- down posts and a rail on top. There
were thirty-five saddle horses in our company, and a detachment was
occasionally sent out scouting-. We had more snow and rain then
than we have now. The hig-hest w^ater I ever saw in Sioux Falls was
in the spring- of 1867, and I have seen the flat west and north of the
city covered with water in June. I was discharg-ed May 7, 1869, and
during my service four men of the company died. The first one was
a man known by the name of Boise, he died of fever; the next one, of
consumption; the third was drownied, and the fcurth was frozen to
death out by Frank Forde's farm. After about a year Colonel Knox

Online LibraryDana Reed BaileyHistory of Minnehaha county, South Dakota. Containing an account of its settlements, growth, development and resources ... Synopsis of public records, biographical sketches .. → online text (page 25 of 99)