Hilgenberg Murder and the Hanging of Andrew Price
IR Oct. 29, 1868 – CHASE FOR A MURDERER. HOW MARSHAL MORGAN CAUGHT ANDY PRICE. – EIGHTEEN CENTS FOR A MAN’S LIFE.
For some days after the assassination of Louis Hilgenberg, a full account of which was in the Register last week, there was a profound mystery as to who committed the horrible deed. But after a while, as is usual in such cases, surmises began to float through the community, and suspicion began to find their home. So, on Tuesday night, of last week, Marshal Morgan started for Ohio Furnace, to cut off the retreat of certain individuals who had been reported as directing their steps that way. Finding nothing there, this officer went to the Tunnel on his route further to the East. Staying there all night, he was joined by Peter Spears, when the two started for Vesuvius furnace and thence toward Marion.
Peter Spears, however, volunteered to show where Andy Spears was, the latter individual being under strong suspicions. Marshal Morgan and his associate, riding at night, came out on the pike, three miles this side of Marion, near where Andy lived. Learning that Andy had been there that day, they went to his house, which is in a hollow back of Elza Willis’s. Finding Spears at home, the Marshal put irons upon him, and then took him apart, and asked him concerning the “murder scrape,” but Spears denied all knowledge of it. But upon the Marshal promising to make a witness of him, and let him go, he said that a man by the name of Andy Price, had told him Thursday that he was going to kill Hilgenberg Friday night, and that he was told by Price the following Sunday that he had killed him.
Andy Spears said that Andy Price stayed at Mr. Rhodes’, 8 miles beyond Marion. The Marshal and his posses started thither, having pressed in a horse for the prisoner to ride. But Price had not been at Rhodes’s nor was he known there. Mr. Rhodes, however, went with the Marshal to Andy Price’s sister, some distance off, and learned that Andy had left there Tuesday morning at day-break. It now being night, Wednesday, the Marshal sojourned at Rhodes’s, and started next morning for the river. Within five miles of the river at a forks of the road, Marshal Morgan sent three of his posse to the mouth of Symmes, while he with Peter Spears and the prisoner pushed forward toward Proctorsville. Here learning that a man answering the description of Price had crossed the ferry Tuesday morning at 11 o’clock, the Marshal sent the man whom he had arrested to Ironton, and with Peter Spears started into Virginia. [Now West Virginia] Hearing that Price had gone from Guyandotte with an ox team, the Marshal went seven miles off from the Barboursville road to see if the ox driver knew anything of Price. All that he could ascertain was that the ox driver left Price one mile this side of Barboursville. Morgan then started for Guyandotte river, several miles above Barboursville. Here, he began to trade in cattle in order to conceal his mission, and was directed to Maj. Shelton. Finding this individual a reliable gentleman, the Marshal told him his purpose, and was informed that such a man as Price had been in that neighborhood, and had inquired for Anderson’s. Maj. Shelton agreed to accompany Morgan and Spears. They went to Anderson’s, and the Marshal seeing a woman washing in the creek near by, asked her if there had been an old gray-headed man there lately. The woman replied that there had been no one there but Andy Price, and he was no gray-headed man. Morgan said he knew better, whereupon the feminine became deeply enraged and cursed the Marshal roundly.
In the meantime, Maj. Shelton had gone into the house, and coining out said it was all right. He had told some women there what they were after, and the women came to the door, and begged them ‘to take Price for he was a thief, murderer &c.” The expedition then crossed Mud river, and went to a Grist Mill, where they learned that Andy Price had been seen at the polls, Wednesday. Losing no time and buying but few cattle, Marshal Morgan and his comrades started for Mrs. Smith’s, Price’s sister. Stopping a short distance this side of that place, the party learned that Price and his wife had come down to Mrs. Smith’s the day before, which was Thursday. They then went to Smith’s, and enquired of a man, who was daubing the house, if Andy Price was there. Smith was somewhat deaf so they had to speak loud and the women hearing Andy’s name mentioned, got very uneasy. Morgan stepped into the yard to get a turnip, when he saw a woman get over the fence, and run up the creek. The Marshal and posse took after her, she crying at the top of her voice, “Get away Andy – they’re after you.” Morgan caught her and endeavored to intimidate her by presenting a pistol to her face, but she “wouldn’t scare” and yelled the louder. The Marshal gave her a push over the bank, and rushing down the creed found Price secured. The latter was sitting down feeding at Sorgo mill, when Shelton and Spears came up. He asked Morgan why he was arrested and the Marshal told him that he had broken into his store back of South Point, and had some calico and a pair of fine boots in a carpet sack, that he wanted back. Price said if that’s all, he could examine the carpet sack. In the meantime they had arrived at the house, and the women hearing them talk about the carpet-sack, stealthily bore it away but the Marshal caught them emptying it of cigars &c., and immediately terminated their maneuvers. The fine boots, the Marshal pretended he was after, could not be found, but the coarse ones, which had been taken from Hilgenberg’s were; as was also his revolver.
The Marshal then took Price and started for the river – passed through Barboursville at 12 o’clock at night, and reached Guyandotte at 3 in the morning, when they took the steamer Crossley and arrived at Ironton before noon, Saturday.
On their way here Price confessed the whole affair to the Marshal – that he and Andy Spears committed the murder – that he did the striking with the hatchet and Spears cut the German’s throat – that for their awful crime they obtained some old clothing, a jug of whisky and eighteen cents. He was lodged in jail with his associate in crime, to await his trial.
For this important arrest, Marshal Morgan deserves great praise as well as a good reward. He ascribes much of his success to the untiring assistance of Mr. Peter Spears who accompanied him through the whole tour and to Maj. Shelton who was with him part of the time. During the whole expedition the party did not sleep in a bed or sit down to a table. They spent all their money and the Marshal pawned his watch for more to go on. They traveled during the night time as well as the day.
THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS – IR Dec. 3, 1868
Met last Tuesday, Judge Crain presiding. The term will be devoted to criminal cases, the first of which will be the trial of the murderers of Hilgenberg. There are eight cases in all to be up for a hearing.
IR Dec. 3, 1868 – THE HILGENBERG MURDER.
This case was called on Tuesday morning last before Judge Martin Crain. The day was spent in empanelling a jury, which as it now stands consists of John Roach of Mason, Thomas Henderson, Rome, Geo. Freeman, Fayette, Wm. Brown, Windsor, Vinton Massie, Mason, Pulaski Condy, Hamilton, Goodwin Wilson, Rome, L. H. Singer, Union, R. D. Neeley, Rome, C. C. Dillon, Windsor, J. L. Brammer, Windsor, Samuel Tomlinson, Union. About thirty witnesses have been subpoened in the case; twenty for the prosecution, conducted by E. V. Dean, Esq., and Hon. W. W. Johnson, and the remainder for the defense, conducted by Hon. Ralph Leete assisted by Gen. Enochs. Six or seven of the witnesses for the defense are from Jackson county, the former home of Price, and the main part of their evidence will be as to his character and habits. On Wednesday morning the prisoner was brought into Court. There was nothing in his countenance or appearance that would lead one to believe him guilty of the atrocious crime charged against him. He was rather pale and emaciated, resulting from confinement rather than fear of the result of this trial. Wednesday and Thursday will probably be consumed in taking the testimony, and it will probably be Saturday before the verdict is obtained.
IR Dec. 10, 1868 – THE HILGENBERG MURDER. ANDY PRICE TO BE HUNG.
The trial of Andrew Price for the murder of Henry Hilgenberg, which has been in progress for a week, terminated last Tuesday, in the conviction of the accused of the terrible crime of murder in the first degree. The trial commenced on the 1st of December, and has been slowly and carefully prosecuted. During its continuance, the court room was constantly crowded, and the proceedings were watched with deep interest by all the citizens.
All the testimony in the case had been taken against last Monday noon. In the afternoon of that day, Judge Johnson opened the argument on the part of the State, followed by Gen. Enochs and Hon. RaphLeete for the prisoner. On Tuesday morning, the Prosecuting Attorney, Mr. Dean, closed for the State. The Court then charged the jury at great length, and expounded the law with much clearness. They jury retired, and after an absence of thirty minutes, returned.
The prisoner was found guilty on the first count of the indictment, which made him principal in the perpetration of the horrible deed. When the verdict was rendered by the foreman of the jury, Price did not manifest the slightest concern, but listened to the most dreadful fate that can overtake a man, with the most perfect indifference. The verdict did not astonish him. He expected it. Up to last Saturday he had not wholly despaired, but since that time he gave up all hopes.
There was no room for his escape. A clearer case of premeditated murder has not come before the courts for many a day. Disregarding the various confessions made by Price, there was sufficient in the circumstances attending the case, to designate him as the murderer. His attorney worked for him with industry and skill, but all the facts were against them.
A man is to be hanged in Ironton! The fact can hardly be realized – so sad it is to think of, and so averse is the horrid practice to the enlightened spirit of the age. – Capital punishment is a relic of the dark days of the past, and should not now disgrace our statute books. The ends of Justice, of Morality, of Public Safety can be better met than by swinging a poor mortal into Eternity. But the law is supreme, and it says let the prisoner be hanged.
Price has conducted himself with becoming demeanor since his confinement in the County Jail. A minister who has frequently called upon him, says that the prisoner has listened to his counsels very attentively and gentlemanly, and has taken a deep interest in his admonitions.
IR Dec. 17, 1868 – ANDY PRICE TO BE HUNG ON THE 12TH OF MARCH. SENTENCE OF THE COURT.
Last week, we spoke of the conviction of Andy Price, of Murder in the First Degree. Mr. Leete, one of the prisoner’s attorneys, immediately moved the Court for a new trial. On Thursday, the argument on the motion was made. The Court overruled it.
The counsel for the prisoner immediately took steps to file exceptions to the ruling of the Court. – The principal ground, in the bill of Exceptions, is the objection to the confessions of Price, which the defense avers were not free and voluntary, but induced by representations of favor. These exceptions will come before the Supreme Court, this Winter, for hearing.
Judge Crain sentenced Price to be hung on the 12th of March next. – The prisoner received the sentence with remarkable coolness. He had nothing to say. The execution will take place in the jail yard in the rear of the building. The following is Judge Crain’s
Andrew Price: – You have been accused by the Grand Jury of Lawrence county, in the State of Ohio, on their oath, with having purposely, of deliberate and premeditated malice, murdered Lewis Hilgenberg, by striking him on the head with a hatchet.
Upon this accusion you have been put on trial before a Jury of your fellow citizens. This Jury have listened to the evidence in the case with great patience, and have given a close and impartial attention to all the facts and circumstances arising therein, and have on their oaths found you guilty, as charged in the first Court in the indictment. With the verdict of the Jury I agree.
In my opinion it accords with the evidence heard by them, and with truth. The facts proven present a horrible and brutal case. Lewis Hilgenberg has never wronged you, and your sole object was to appropriate to yourself, by means of the unnatural and bloody act, what little money and property he had accumulated by his solitary and patient industry. The act was wholly unprovoked, and unattended by any palliating circumstances. It was an act of wanton and clearly marked depravity.
It is necessary that you should suffer an ignominious death, that others may be warned by your unhappy fate, and be made afraid to commit crime. I beg of you to employ the few days remaining to you on earth, in making your peace with God.
You will be allowed the visits of your friends and counsel, to aid and advise you in the settlement of your worldly affairs, and such Ministers of the Gospel, as you may desire for your spiritual aid and comfort.
It only remains for me to pronounce the judgment the law has provided for your crime. It is:
That you be taken hence to the jail of the county, and that you be safely kept. That on Friday, the 12th day of March, in the year, 1869, you be taken to the yard of the jail of the county, to be prepared by the Sheriff as a place of execution, in accordance with statute, and between the hours of nine o’clock in the morning, and two o’clock in the afternoon of that day, that you be hung by the neck till you are dead. May God have mercy on you!
IR Jan. 21, 1869 – STABBING AFFRAY.
On last Sunday, at Henry Gates’ grocery, on the Marion road, two men were playing cards for the drinks, and John Bryan lost. The loser, refusing to pay, Robert Sharkey denounced him, whereupon Bryan, jumped up and declared he was the best man that walks the road. This, Sharkey slightly doubted, when a scrimmage ensued, in which Bryan stabbed Sharkey in the left side, near the region of the heart, inflicting a dangerous wound. Bryan was arrested and brought before Esq. Henthorn, last Monday. He was held over for Court in the sum of $300.
MAYOR MATTHEWS COURT – IR Jan. 21, 1869
John Friley, Petit Larceny, fined $5.00 and costs in default committed to county jail.
Richard Zeek, James McIntire, Robert Baker, Nicholas Doran, Wesley Ratliff, intoxication, fined $3 and costs.
George McBride, same $5.
COMMON PLEAS COURT – IR Feb. 11, 1869.
The February term of the Common Pleas Court commenced last Tuesday afternoon. Judge Towne was a few hours late in his arrival, on account of his having to return his commission to the Secretary of State, for the seal of that office. – The neglect of the officer at Columbus may be excusable, but it doesn’t look that way.
At a late hour, Tuesday, the Court convened. The Grand Jury was called, sworn and charged by Judge Towne. From present indications, the new judge promises to grace and honor the bench. He conducts the business smoothly, and appears to catch and decide every point with rapidity. We predict for the Judge a satisfactory and pleasant career upon the bench.
Yesterday was mostly spent in calling off the docket, and fixing days for the various trials. Judge Johnson brought up the city injunction case, but on consultation, it was laid over until to-day.
Hon. O. F. Moore and J. J. Harper, Esq., of the Portsmouth bar, are in attendance at the Court. – Quite a large number of people from the country are present.
IR Mar. 18, 1869 – PRICE CASE.
Gov. Hayes’ reprieve of Price’s sentence, which we gave last week, was granted at the solicitation of some of our citizens, in order to allow time for a petition then in circulation, to be presented to the Governor. That petition, with about 250 names has now gone on. – A large number of other names might have been added. We are told that very few persons refused to sign it. We hardy anticipate the Governor’s favorable action upon the petition, as he requires mitigatory circumstances, and will not probably agree, that because Spears is not hung, Price shall not be.
IR Mar. 18, 1869 – SINGULAR CURE FOR FITS.
We saw an old gentleman in town last Friday, who came down to attend the execution of Price. It was not his special desire, however, to witness the hanging, but he was after a piece of the rope which it was to be done. He wanted the rope to tie around the neck of his child which was subject to fits. He declared that the child had long worn a similar rope about its neck, and during that time, had been wholly free from fits, but as soon as the rope was worn out, the attacks returned. He wanted to continue the remedy, by procuring a fresh supply of rope.
IR Apr. 1, 1869 – THE EXECUTION OF ANDREW PRICE.
This terrible event will certainly transpire to-morrow. There seems to be no other fate for Andrew Price than that he shall end his life on the scaffold. The following communication from the Governor settles the matter:
Columbus, March 25, 1869
T. Elswick, Sheriff Lawrence Co.: