by Rick Franzen
October 1920 The Murder of David Paul
October 20, 1920 New Jersey Mirror
Murder Victim’s Body is Found in Pines
Hacked Remains of David Paul, Missing Bank Messenger, Discovered by Gunners. The Authorities of Burlington county have another baffling murder mystery to solve. On Saturday four duck hunters, William and James Cutts, and C.B. Inston, of Tabernacle, and George W. Duncan, of Audubon were passing through the pine forest at Irick’s Crossing, near Tabernacle, when their attention was attracted by an automobile track following an old and rarely used trail leading to a stream toward which the gunners were making. As the car was miles off the nearest travelled road the tracks aroused the curiosity of the men and they followed them . In a short time they came upon a freshly made mound over which dead leaves had been thrown. Leading to the mound from the shallow stream nearby were tracks of men and also marks as though some heavy object has been dragged by the men making the tracks. Thinking perhaps that a deer had been shot and secreted there, one or two of the men scratched around the end of the mound with sticks and within six inches of the surface a human foot was unearthed.
This put an unexpected phase upon the situation and the gunners decided to let Sheriff Haines continue the investigation. Word was hastily phoned to the jail at Mount Holly and the Sheriff and Detective Parker lost no time in reaching the scene of the tragic discovery. The new-made and crude grave was then opened under the Sheriff’s direction. The body proved to be that of a man, fully dressed except for his coat which was lying buried deeper and under the body. The feet were tied with a heavy rope such as is used in towing automobiles and they were resting upward and back over the dead man’s head. As soon as the features were uncovered Sheriff Haines recognized the dead man as David S. Paul, of Camden, a bank runner, who had been reported missing by the Broadway Trust Company of Camden ten days before, with $65,000 in cash and liberty bonds and $12,500 in checks besides a number of cancelled checks. The body was badly mutilated and it was evident that a brutal murder had been committed. Apparently Paul had been dead but a few hours and the remains were in a good state of preservation when discovered by the merest chance by the gunning party. There was a deep gash on the head as though made by a axe or hatchet, and the forehead was crushed in . Another ghastly wound just above one ear, alone was sufficient to have caused almost instant death. Every indication pointed to the man having been killed and buried within twenty-four hours of the discovery of the crime. The rigor of death had not yet set in and the victim’s face appeared to have been freshly shaven. The marks on the ground accompanying the feet tracks leading from the stream about a hundred feet away, were quickly explained when the body was unearthed.
Evidently those who brought the body to the unfrequented spot had attempted to secret it in the stream, but finding the water too shollow to conceal the corpse, they had dragged it out again by the rope which bound the feet and pulled it to the spot where the grave was quickly made and the body of the unfortunate man shoved into it. The clothes which Paul wore bore every evidence of being new. The shoes also had evidently just been purchased and the soles bore no evidence of wear. A search of the body failed to reveal any of the cash which the bank messenger is alleged to have taken when he so suddenly dropped out of sight while on his way across the ferry to go to a bank in Philadelphia to take the money, securities and checks for his employers. Only one cent was found in the pockets of the dead man. In the coat was a bundle of checks, said to have been cancelled. There had been no attempt to conceal the identity of the dead man. His watch which had stopped at 9.37, was found in his pocket and a stickpin and in his tie and (as written) a pair of sleeve buttons remained in the cuffs. How the dead man came to his untimely end and how his body happened to be buried in the far away spot in the pines miles from any human habitation, was a mystery when the body was first discovered and it seems to be as much so today, although the authorities here, as well as those of Camden and Philadelphia, are exerting every effort to run down the criminals.
It will be recalled that Paul, who was 59 years of age, enjoyed the confidence of the bank officials by whom he had been employed for many years. He was a recent visitor in Mount Holly where he had a son, Harry Paul, and other relatives. On the morning of October 5 Paul started across the river to Philadelphia in company with another bank employee (as written), with a satchel said immediately afterward to contain $10,000 in cash and $12,500 in checks. This statement has since been revised and the amount of cash and Liberty Bonds that Paul carried is now variously stated to have been from $45,000 to $65,000. Upon reaching the other (not readable)the other bank (not readable)became separated from Paul whether by accident of through Paul’s design is not yet known and after (not readable) to find him at the ferry house, he went at once to the bank and reported his companion’s disappearance.
The Central Trust Company was immediately notified and after all efforts to get in touch with the missing messenger had failed the Camden and Philadelphia police were asked to locate Paul. Nothing more was seen or heard of him until his hacked body was discovered in the pines near Tabernacle ten days after his disappearance. What the missing bank runner did during the interim, where he spent his time or with whom he associated while the police of the county were searching for him has not yet been learned but it is expected that the mystery will be solved before long. One clue which seemed to put under suspicion the occupants of a yellow car turned out to be valueless when the owner, hearing of the authorities suspicions, came forward, gave his address as Haddonfield and proved that he drove a party in his yellow car inspecting some real estate in the pines shortly before the discovery of the body of the murdered man. Detective Parker yesterday said that he had just picked up what he considered the first piece of valuable evidence in the case since he stated to work on it on Saturday. He declined to state what this evidence was for the present.
There are endless theories being advanced as to how the dead man met his fate and in explanation of his disappearance with the large sum of money entrusted to his custody. Some officials incline to the view that Pual was killed either in Philadelphia or Camden and his body taken to the lonely spot at Irick’s Crossing in the confident belief that it never would be discovered or at least not until time had obliterated identifying marks. Another theory is that the murdered man was taken alive in the automobile and killed near the spot where his body and rifled clothes were found. Ther is no means of telling which (not readable) correct at this time, quite as possibly both theories are at fault. The body was taken in charge by Coroner Isaac Clover who ordered it removed to the undertaking establishment of Cline & Sons, at Vincentown. Ther Dr. Longsdorf, of Mount Holly and Dr. Stein, of Camden, performed an autopsy, the result of which showed that Paul come to his death by wounds to the head, probably inflicted by a dull axe or hatchet.
There was a conference in Mount Holly on Sunday in which officers of Camden and Burlington counties participated. Those taking part were reticent after coming out of the room in which that meeting was held. In the discussion of the crime and the preparation of plans for running down the murderers, if there were more than one, were Sheriff Haines , Clifford R. Powell and County Detective Parker, of this county, and Prosecutor Wolverton, and Detectives Schregler and Doren, of Camden county. A reward of $1,000 offered by the Broadway Trust Company for the apprehension of Paul shortly after his disappearance is to be increased now for information leading to the capture of his murderers. It is easily the most mystifying case that had come to the attention of the Burlington county officials for many years but they express confidence that it will be solved and the criminals run down. The fune (the rest is not readable).
October 18, 1920 The Philadelphia Inquirer
Mysterious Woman Sought in Murder of Bank Messenger
Whereabouts of Paul from October 5 till slain Puzzles Police
Theory Now Advanced (maybe word is missing)
Victim Stopped Near Place Body Was Found
Evidence that cannot yet be made public, but indicating that a woman had some part in the disappearance and murder of David S. Paul, the Camden bank messenger, whose body was discovered Saturday near Tabernacle, N. J., nineteen miles north of Camden, was obtained yesterday by New Jersey officials investigating the crime.
Whether the woman played the leading role in the murder or was chiefly interested in the more than $10,000 in cash that Paul had in his possession when last seen alive, probably will not be revealed until the detectives find where Paul was hidden from the time he left the Broadway Trust Company of Camden, on October 5, until he was killed.
Work of the police is centered upon the search for a clew (paper’s spelling) to where Paul remained concealed. The autopsy performed yesterday showed death was caused by a compound fracture of the skull, and also indicated that he had not been killed more than twenty-four hours before the body was found. If he was killed Friday, there would be ten days in which his place of abode after leaving the bank in Camden remains a mystery.
When last seen Paul had entered the Pennsylvania ferry office at Camden and was supposed to be on the way to the Girard National Bank. Detectives differ regarding the theory that he found concealment in some house in Philadelphia and possibly was murdered here, or the possibility that he found a hiding place somewhere near the place his body was found.
Acquainted at Mt. Holly
The New Jersey authorities are chiefly of the later opinion. Paul had a large number of friends in Mt. Holy and Burlington. He visited both places during a recent vacation. Mrs. Paul, who was a Miss Norcross, has a number of relatives living within a few (miles and visited them) last month. Residents of Friendship saw the service car take to the untraveled road at 3 o’clock Friday afternoon. Residents of Tabernacle, at the other end of the road, saw the automobile quit the road and proceed toward Mount Holly an hour and fifteen minutes later.
Detective (Ellis) Parker believes the three men carried the man’s body in a box which had been placed on the rear of the machine’s chassis.
The automobile had been a touring car and had been converted into a roadster. The rear of the chassis had been stripped and two boxes had been built on.
The car is described as powerful and of a type used for towing disabled machines.
After arriving at the loneliest spot along the secluded road, Detective Parker believes the men first tried to dig a grave with sticks, but were forced to abandon this plan when they encountered numerous roots and stumps of trees.
Returned With Spade
He believes they then hid the body in the underbrush and proceeded to Tabernacle, returning to the spot Friday night with a spade with which to dig a grave for the body of their victim.
His theory is partially supported by the testimony of residents of Tabernacle, who say they were awakened at 10 o’clock Friday night by the cutout of the motorcar, again taking to the lonely road, leading from Tabernacle to Friendship.
It was so unusual for motorcars to use the Friendship road that several residents of Tabernacle went to the windows and peered out, believing the occupants of the automobile had become confused and were on the road by mistake.
A farmer returning to Mount Holly from Philadelphia at midnight Friday night passed a yellow automobile near Merchantville. The yellow car was speeding toward Philadelphia.
A man and his wife, who live at Vincentown, six miles from Tabernacle, told the police they were in their automobile at Tabernacle at 4:15 o’clock on Friday afternoon when the yellow automobile, containing the three men, drove out of the pine woods and started for Mount Holly, which is in the direction of Philadelphia.
This man testified he had followed the yellow car for three miles. He gave a minute description of the automobile and the three occupants. They appeared to be about thirty years old, wore dark clothes and caps, which appeared to be greasy.
He testified that one of the three men was seated in one of the boxes on the rear of the chassis. Residents of Friendship say a man was seated on the lid of the box on the chassis when the car took to the isolated road Friday afternoon.
The Philadelphia police have joined in the search of this yellow car and the three men, who are believed to have been employed in a garage.
October 18, 1920 The Philadelphia Inquirer
Keep Your Eyes Open for This Automobile
A high-powered yellow roadster of the racing type was used, the police believe, in carrying the body of David S. Paul, murdered bank messenger, to a lonely spot in the New Jersey pine belt. The car did not have a windshield and at the rear there was a box similar to repair cars used in garages.
The “murder car” had a Pennsylvania license tag. The license number is unknown. Three men, none more than thirty years old, were seen in the machine last Friday afternoon where the body was found.
Pictures from The Philadelphia Inquirer
October 18, 1920 Monday Morning Edition,
Picture shows two men kneeling beside body in the underbrush.
Picture Title: Where Missing Bank Messenger’s Body Was Found
Picture Caption: George W. Duncan of Audubon, N.J., (left) and C. B. Tustin of Tabernacle, duck hunters, on Saturday unearthed the body of David S. Paul, the missing messenger of the Broadway Trust Company, Camden, in the pine forest nineteen miles north of Camden. Paul who had been missing since October 5 with $10,000 in cash and $12,500 in checks, had been brutally murdered. The checks were found, but the money was missing.
Picture shows woman and 2 children looking a the grave site of David Paul. Two inset pictures of men who found the body.
Picture Title: Find Murdered Bank Runner
Picture Caption: The figure at the upper right is C. B. Tustin, of Tabernacle, N. J., who with George Washington Duncan, of Audubon, N. J., at lower left, a guest of Tustin led the hunting party which discovered the body of David S. Paul, messenger of the Broadway Trust Co., Camden, buried in a swamp at Irick’s Causeway, three miles from Tabernacle. A picture of the grave is also shown.
December 22, 1920 – New Jersey Mirror
Murder trials of Frank James and Raymond Shuck
It took the jury only twenty minutes to find Frank J. James guilty of the murder of David S. Paul, at he (as written) conclusion of the sensational trial in Camden on Monday night. The verdict carried with it the infliction of the death penalty upon the self-confessed slayer of the bank messenger, the jury refusing the appeal of the prisoner’s counsel to exercise clemency and recommend life imprisonment instead of capital punishment. The verdict came at the end of the five-day trial, during which the defendant’s oral and written confessions were admitted in evidence in the face of counsel’s strenuous objection. Dapper and apparently self-possessed, James entered upon his ordeal last Wednesday but as the trial wore on and damning evidence piled up against him his confidence petered out and several times he collapsed, once having to be taken from the court room in order to allow him to regain his composure.
The Camden court house was besieged by a great crowd which clamored for admission to the court room in which the trial was held but the greater number of curiosity seekers were turned away. James offered insanity in his own defense but the evidence sought to be introduced to show that insanity existed in James’ family was ruled out and after this failure the insanity defense was virtually abandoned, lawyer Harris admitting to the court during his argument that acquittal would not be asked on the ground of the prisoner’s mental irresponsibility. Emphasis was made of the jury’s right to find the prisoner guilty of first degree murder with a recommendation to life imprisonment instead of simply finding him guilty of fist degree murder, which without the recommendation mentioned carries with it death by the electric chair. A stirring appeal was made by lawyer Harris to the sympathy of the jury and the counsel was visibly affected by his own feelings as he spoke. He had known James from boyhood and his appeal for clemency evidently came from the heart.
At the conclusion of argument Supreme Court Justice Katzenbach delivered his charge to the jury in part as follows: “It now becomes your duty to render a verdict on the question of the guilty of Frank J. James. You must be governed by the evidence; in determining questions of fact sole responsibility is upon you. Any comment I may make on the evidence is only to aid you. If there be in your minds a reasonable doubt you must acquit the defendant. ‘reasonable doubt’ however, is not a ‘possible doubt’, because everything in human affairs is open to possible or imaginary doubt. “You will therefore, be justified in assuming that a criminal homicide was committed. The law provides that all murders committed in attempting to commit a robbery shall be of the first degree. You have three choices-of declaring James not guilty, of rendering a verdict of murder in the fist degree with no recommendations, or of rendering a verdict of murder in the first degree with recommendations that he be sentenced to life imprisonment at hard labor, and under the law I must be guided by your recommendation if so made.
“The jury was then sent from the court room and a recess was taken. This was at 4 o’clock. Upon resuming, an hour and a half later, the jury was summoned, it having been announced to the court that a verdict had been reached. When the foreman spoke for the twelve men composing the jury there was a tense stillness in the crowded court room. Jones seemed to be the most self-possessed of any of the principals in the trial. He presented a picture of composure although the grim set of his jaw indicated the great mental stress under which he was laboring. When the verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree was announced many of those in the room were visibly affected by the words which meant death to the accused man but James, who had almost miraculously recovered his nerve after the break-down during the early stages of the trial, was unmoved. As he was led away to his cell he turned and cast a searching glance over the crowded court room, looking for his relatives but they were not there, having anticipate what the verdict would be and wishing to avoid any more distressing scenes. As he passed out of the court room, to which he will be returned for sentence to the electric chair, James said to the officer who had him in charge, “It is no more than I expected.”
Counsel for the defense at once filed application for a new trial, and was given ten days in which to file his reasons. It is understood that his appeal will be based on three exceptions to the rulings of Justice Katzenbach. The crime for which James is believed to be certain to pay the death penalty, was one of the most brutal in the criminal annals of Camden county.
According to James’s confession he conspired with Raymond Schuck to decoy the bank messenger with whom they were both on friendly terms, into an automobile , while Paul was on his way from his place of employment to another financial institution with a large sum of money for the latter. Accordingly they timed their movements so that they met Paul soon after he had left the Central Trust Company on Broadway, and offered to take him to the Camden ferry. When they had entered the almost deserted driveway which parallels the iron shed on Market street leading to the ferry house, James struck Paul from the rear with a heavy piece of automobile spring, repeated blows rendering him unconscious. Paul was pulled back into the rear part of the car and Schuck it is claimed, at James’s direction, stared out of the city.
On the way Paul partly recovered consciousness and pleaded for his life but James again struck him and later fired two shots into his victim’s head with the latter’s own revolver. The flight of the murderers with their victim’s body then led them over into Burlington county. They kept going until they reached a lonely spot at Irick’s Crossing near Tabernacle where they pulled the dead man out of the car and tying his feet threw the body into a shallow stream.
February 16, 1921 – New Jersey Mirror
Faces Jury With a Smile-Mystery Woman Appears; Kept From Reporters-State’s Surprises.
Twice postponed, the trial of Raymond W. Shuck, of Camden, for the murder of David S. Paul, the bank messenger whose body was found in a shallow grave in the pines of this county last fall, was commenced in the Camden county court on Monday. Supreme Court Justice Katzenbach and County Judge Kates were on the bench. There was the same large crowd present at the sessions on the opening day as attended the trial of Frank J. James, who earlier was convicted of murder in the first degree for his part in the dastardly murder and is now awaiting sentence. Shuck, dapper and apparently confident of escaping the electric chair, sat beside his counsel, J. Russell Carrow, while the jury was being selected and appeared to take a keen interest in the selection of the talesmen.
Frequently he leaned over to confer with his lawyer as though to offer suggestions as to the acceptability of otherwise of members of the special panel who were being questioned by Prosecutor Wolverton or Judge Carrow. Back in the audience sat Shuck’s well-dressed and rather good looking young wife who had their small son with her. She was accompanied by friends and seemed to have the personal sympathy of everybody in the court room. She had remained steadfast in her faith in her accused husband and even in the face of evidence of his infidelity, her apparent affection for Shuck did not waver. Six hours were expended in securing twelve men tried and true, who were acceptable to both the State and defense. Counsel for Shuck challenged the array of talesmen on the grounds that there were no women in the panel. The challenge was not allowed by Supreme Court Justice Katzenbach, presiding judge.
Finally the jury was made up and the trial at once began. Jacob Hill, a farmer., of Merchantville, was the first juror accepted and was consequently selected as foremen. Hill is a personal friend of the Shuck family. The other jurors follow: John H. Sibley, clerk, 576 Line street, Camden; Charles Myers, painter, Pennsauken; Benjamin Hoffman, real estate, 1323 Broadway, Camden; William P. Fowler, manager, Westmont; George Riggs, retired, Merchantville; Charles Fells, farmer, Gloucester township; Harry App, carpenter, Merchantville; Nathan Holland, huckster, Pennsauken; Harry Fifield, mechanic, 712 Haddon avenue, Camden; William H. Gourley, farmer, Pennsauken; Joseph Keegan, retired, Haddon Heights. Keegan is sightless. Despite his condition he was accepted after withstanding cross-examination.
When Prosecutor Wolverton, with out attempt at oratory of the theatrical but in an even, conversational tone, opened the case for the State and outlined to the jury what the prosecution would undertake to prove, Shuck at times gulped hard and seemed to be having a difficult time to preserve his outwardly calm demeanor. The Prosecutor made it clear at the outset that the State would contend that Shuck had the part of the principal in the murder of Paul and that he dealt some of the blows which resulted in the bank messenger’s death. Not only did the Prosecutor charge that Shuck dealt death-causing blows upon Paul but he also alleged that Shuck on two occasions previous to October 5 conspired with James to hold up and rob Paul of sums of money he was carrying. He named the north walk to Federal street ferry as the advantageous spot where the holdup could be staged.
That allegation came as a great surprise and it is believed weakened Shuck’s defense. The Prosecutor averred that he could prove to the jury that Shuck and James had twice before October 5 arranged to holdup, but failed to carry it out because their nerve failed them. The Prosecutor recited the details of the Paul murder. He explained that Shuck’s previous statements that he knew nothing of any plot to rob Paul. He charged that Shuck was aware of the conspiracy and that he was a willing conspirator. Graphically did the Prosecutor relate how Paul was unmercifully beaten in James’ automobile in the rear of the Market street walk to the Pennsylvania ferries. He further alleged that Shuck helped toss Paul over the front seat into the back of the car where James fiendishly wielded that automobile spring flange. It was also charged that shuck dealt the finishing blows which silenced that pleading Paul, who begged for his life.
The placing of Paul’s body in the swamps at Irick’s crossing near Tabernacle, Burlington county, and at the burial of the body later were related by the Prosecutor, who also told of how Shuck hid the money first in his own home and later in a grave in the Shuck family lot in Evergreen Cemetery. In closing the Prosecutor asked the jury to return a verdict of murder in the first degree. The appearance of a handsomely dressed and rather striking looking young woman when the trial was begun, lent a new phase to the situation that was watched keenly by those who knew the facts. The young woman is known by the officers who have been working on the case , as “Mysterious Mary”. It is alleged that she kept $1,300 which Shuck left in her custody over night after the murder, he promising to buy her a $480 fur coat the next day, which he did. It is not alleged that this young woman with whom Shuck’s relations are hinted to have been more than platonic, had any guilty knowledge of the crime or of her admirer’s participation in it. She is believed to have told a straight story to the Prosecutor and it is the understanding that her presence at the trial is intended as a subtle threat by the State that if Shuck undertakes to lie on the stand and further becloud the situation, the woman known to (cont’ on pg 5) (page 5 is missing)
February 23, 1921 – New Jersey Mirror
It took the jury at Camden yesterday less than an hour to return a verdict of first degree murder agaist Raymond W. Shuck for his part in the murder of David S. Paul. The defendant had been subjected to a gruelling cross-examination lasting nearly ten hours in all, by Prosecutor Wolverton, said to have been the longest line of interrogation of a murder defendant ever pursued in a trial in New Jersey. Shuck claimed that he was not a party to the actual murder but was compelled to drive the murder car and help dispose of the body of the victim at Irick’s Crossing, near Tabernacle, this county, under threats of death by Frank James, already convicted of murder in the first degree and awaiting the sentence that will send him the electric chair.
There was marked feeling between the two accused men when James appeared as a witness for the State. He made no effort to escape his own responsibility for the crime but stoutly maintained that Shuck had assisted in planning the crime and was equally guilty with him. Large crowds witnessed every session of the long trial which lasted all of last week and over into this, being concluded yesterday afternoon after the noon recess. It was evident that J. Russell Carrow, counsel for the prisoner, was fighting to save his client from the chair and that life imprisonment would be a welcome alternative. Even some of those who had worked on the case for the State were not sure that Shuck would be called upon to pay the extreme penalty for his complicity in the foul murder. A recommendation for mercy, included in the jury’s verdict of first degree murder would under the law have required the court to pass a sentence of life imprisonment instead of capital punishment.
Strangely enough, this bill was introduced and sponsored by Prosecutor Wolverton, when he was a member of the House Assembly some years ago. Shuck’s wife stood by her dissolute husband throughout his trying ordeal and aided him in every way in his fight for life. She was evidently on the verge of collapse during the closing hours and when called to the stand fainted before she had been under the Prosecutor’s questioning more then two or three minutes. She was not called back, nor was she in the court room when her faithless husband was pronounced equally guitly of the murder of Paul and started on his way to the death chair. He will be sentenced on a date to be fixed later by the court.
Ellis Parker solves the case
Each week David Paul, a 60-year-old runner for the Broadway Trust Bank in Camden, New Jersey, carried a deposit across the Delaware River to the Girard Trust Company in Philadelphia. On October 5, 1920, satchel bulging with $40,000 in cash and $30,000 in checks, he left Camden as usual, then disappeared. When background inquiries revealed that 25 years earlier Paul had served a jail term for mail theft, cynical detectives believed that he had absconded with the money. To their credit, his employers steadfastly refused to accept this view, insisting that Paul was a reformed character. This was not a view shared by the losing depositors, however, and a reward of $1,000 was posted for Paul’s arrest and conviction. (The first reward poster grossly underestimated the amount of cash stolen.)
Eleven days later two duck hunters found Paul’s body in a shallow grave near Irick’s Crossing, in adjoining Burlington County. He had been shot twice and battered about the head. No money was found on his body, but all the checks were in the satchel. The killers had not bothered with trifles: Paul’s watch, gold ring, and gold cuff links still lay on the body; also close at hand was a pair of spectacles. Curiously, while the ground around the corpse was dry, Paul’s overcoat and clothing were soaking wet. The thick clay soil showed faint traces of automobile tire tracks and a piece of wood, thought to be from the back seat of a car, was found. Witnesses spoke of seeing a yellow runabout with a wooden rear seat in the vicinity several days before. When Was He Murdered?
When the medical examiner declared that death had occurred not more than 24 hours before the body was discovered, it suggested that either Paul had actually bolted with the money, only to be killed later by accomplices, or he had been kidnapped and kept imprisoned for at least a week before being killed. Neither theory sounded that compelling to Ellis H. Parker, chief of detectives in Burlington County and one of the nation’s top investigators. Parker, who knew Paul, doubted that the bank runner had reverted to a life of crime, and he certainly didn’t buy the notion of kidnapping. His opinion weighed heavily on the investigation, because, when it came to nailing bad guys, Parker had a track record second to none. The press lionized him. He had a colorful, larger than life personality, and his fondness for chewing on a gnarled pipe as he pondered problems was enough for the press to dub him the “Cornfield Sherlock Holmes,” a soubriquet that he relished.
Like the great fictional detective, Parker also played the violin, and always claimed that it was the theft of his fiddle that led him into a life of crime solving. How true this was remains a matter for conjecture; Parker was a world-class self-promoter and knew just how to finesse the facts to ensure the best press coverage. But there was no doubting his detective skills, especially in homicide cases. Parker had doubts In this instance, Parker couldn’t shake the suspicion that the medical examiner had, somehow, miscalculated Paul’s time of death. He was particularly intrigued by the wet clothing. The official line had the murderers, unsure whether the gunshots had definitely killed Paul, deciding to make certain by ‘drowning’ their victim in a nearby stream before burying him. Parker grouched his disagreement and continued looking.
Within a week the spectacles were traced to a neighbor of Paul’s, an automobile salesman named Frank James. It transpired that ever since Paul’s disappearance, James and another man, Raymond Schuck, had been drinking wildly and splashing large sums of money around. The two men were known to maintain a lakeside hideout called the “Lollypop Bungalow,” which was notorious for drunken parties. Schuck, in particular, was known as a playboy – except to his wife – and it was learned that he had recently lavished $480 on a coat for his latest girlfriend. Yet when questioned, both had watertight alibis for the time when the medical examiner estimated the murder had taken place: James had been at a convention in Detroit; Schuck had gone downstate to stay with friends for several days.
Parker, always wary of perfect alibis, especially when provided by people whom he believed to be crooked, redoubled his efforts. Just upstream from where the body was found, lay a number of tanning factories. Parker got to thinking. He ordered that a sample of water from stream be taken away for laboratory analysis. The report came back showing an unusually high percentage of tannic acid, enough to act as a preservative on a human body, so that after a week or so in water it would show hardly any sign of decomposition. Hence the medical examiner’s confusion. It was a triumphant Parker who confronted James and Schuck with this latest finding. James gave it a moment’s thought, then admitted everything. Schuck, who tried to pile all of the blame on his partner, did admit to dumping Paul’s body under a bridge.
They told how, after a mammoth drinking spree they had returned to the bridge, retrieved the body, and buried it, unaware of the alibi that the water had given them. James led detectives to the Evergreen Cemetery in Camden, and the grave of Schuck’s mother. He pointed to a spot nearby. A few minutes’ digging revealed a bag containing $35,000, all that remained of the cash stolen in the robbery. If James was contrite then Schuck was anything but. He positively reveled in the limelight. When pressmen came to take photographs of him in the jailhouse, he insisted that they wait until he’d shaved, so that he might look his best for them.
The two men were tried separately, but the outcome was the same. Guilty in the first degree. Schuck, still convinced that a retrial would establish his innocence, took his invariable sunny demeanor to the death house; James, far more penitent, admitted his guilt and insisted that he was ready to pay for his crime. And pay they did, on August 30, 1921. Schuck was still beaming as he was strapped into Trenton’s electric chair. James, by contrast, collapsed on his final walk and had to be carried the final few yards
The deaths of George Shotwell and Albert Foster
September 11, 1907
A mistake inside by Thomas Blaszak, a farmer on the main road from Tabernacle to Goose Pond, in mixing wood alcohol with wine instead of using the less dangerous poison to strengthen the liquor that was probably the product of his own farm, produced fatal results on Saturday night (presumably a reference to September 7, 1907), two men having died from the effects of imbibing too freely and another having been made seriously ill. The dead men are George Shotwell and Albert Foster, and the one now considered out of danger is Reuben Foster. On Friday morning the three men went to the Blaszak farm to assist their neighbor in gathering some truck for carting to the Philadelphia markets. At the close of the day Blasazk partly showed his appreciation of his neighbors’ services by offering them some wine, with which he had mixed the contents of another bottle. Trusting to the judgment of their host in preparing the mixture the three men drank of the liquor offered them, with the result that they were taken violently ill on Saturday morning. Shotwell and Albert Foster soon became blind, and they continued to grow worse until the latter died, about ten o’clock Saturday night (presumably a reference to September 7, 1907), and the former about one o’clock Sunday morning (presumably a reference to September 8, 1907). Prompt medical attention was without avail except in the case of Reuben Foster. Coroner Seeds was notified of the deaths, and after a visit to Tabernacle he reported the case to Prosecutor Atkinson, at the same time exhibiting to the State’s attorney a bottle containing some of the liquor that was believed to have caused the trouble. Prosecutor Atkinson ordered post mortem examinations of the bodies of the two dead men, and that proceeding was carried out on Monday by Dr. A. H. Small, of Riverside, and Dr. J. C. Brown, of Vincentown, the latter of whom had been called in the case to give the victims treatment. These examinations and inquiry into the matter by Coroner Seeds developed, beyond any doubt, Dr. Small stated on Monday afternoon, that Blaszak mixed wood alcohol with the wine when he believed he was using the less harmful liquor. The blindness and actions of the men who died showed all the symptoms of that kind of poisoning and many traces of wood alcohol were found in the bodies. A report on the examination of the contents of the bottle seized by Coroner Seeds has not yet been made, but there is no doubt that this will only give additional weight to the opinion of the physicians. No evidence of criminality on the part of Blaszak has yet been obtained and nothing has developed that has stamped the case one above gross carelessness. Blaszak is a Pole and came to this part of the country from Detroit. He owns the farm upon which he lives. Coroner Seeds will hold an inquest at Tabernacle to-day, and at that session Prosecutor Atkinson will be present to look after the interests of the State. Numerous reports have been circulated that Blaszak, too, drank some of the poisonous mixture he served his friends, but it has been learned that he did not partake of the contents of the bottle.
From the Mount Holly News – September 10, 1907
From the Mount Holly News – September 17, 1907
Coroner’s Report September 18, 1907
The coroner’s jury empanelled by Coroner Seeds on Wednesday (presumably a reference to September 11, 1907) to hear the testimony brought out concerning the sudden deaths of Albert Foster and George Shotwell, after they had been given a drink of wine mixed with what was alleged to be wood alcohol, by Thomas Blaszak, a farmer near Tabernacle, brought in a verdict that the victims came to their death from drinking wine and alcohol and not mentioning Blaszak’s name, which was a virtual exoneration of the farmer. It was alleged that Blaszak gave the men wood alcohol by mistake. He denied the charge and said he drank some of the concoction himself, but Prosecutor Atkinson, who was present at the inquest, was very skeptical on this point.
The Murder of David Beebe
May 1, 1907
Murder was not the object of the gang of hoodlums from Tabernacle who became drunk with Medford whisky on Saturday night (presumably a reference to April 27, 1907) and then started out in their quarrelsome condition to hunt trouble, but that is what their spree resulted in, and seven young men are now in jail awaiting the action of the Grand Jury upon the brutal beating to death of David Beebe, at Chairville. There is no question that over-indulgence in rum was directly responsible for the tragedy, as all the parties concerned, even the victim, are said to have been under the influence of liquor when the fight took place. The crowd of men from the vicinity of Tabernacle, after imbibing too often from the cup that cheers, jumped at the suggestion of one of their number that they go to the home of Irwin Mathis, at Chairville, and break up a dance that they knew was in progress there. It was past midnight when they reached the little hamlet where they expected to raise the disturbance. Some time before this David Beebe, living on a little truck farm on the road from Red Lion to Medford, an industrious married man with five small children, while on his way home from Medford heard the noise of the dance in the Mathis home and stopped for awhile to take part in the gaiety. This led to his death a short time later. It was only a little while after the arrival of Beebe that the Tabernacle toughs reached the spot and, bold in the presence of their own numbers, they started to clean things up. They were surprised to find Beebe there and in his presence rather dampened the ardor of some of the Tabernacle sports, for he was a tall man of unusual physical development and an antagonist that any man might fear in a fair stand-up fight. The unwelcome visitors finally plucked up courage, however, and one of them told Beebe that he would not escape with his life if he did not mind his own business strictly, or words to that effect. This kind of salute to a man like Beebe was simply a challenge, and in a short time there was a merry fight between the farmer and the crowd of hoodlums who had come all the way from Medford to find trouble. It was a pretty struggle for awhile, but finally the members of the Tabernacle gang triumphed. Beebe was knocked down with a club, or other blunt instrument and was shamefully beaten and kicked. One of the blows or kicks landed on the back of the prone man’s head, bringing the battle to a sudden stop and snuffing out the life of the man who had been putting up the best fight he could against overwhelming odds. During the progress of the disturbance Mathis had ineffectually tried to restore peace and when he found this impossible he went with Benjamin Barnes post haste to Medford after Constable Peak. The latter sent word back tot he belligerents that if they did not stop their disorder he would come over and arrest the entire crowd. This word arrived too late for when the messengers got back they found the Tabernacle crowd gone and Beebe’s lifeless body lying in the road. This was shortly after two o’clock in the morning. The two men returned to Medford with all haste and reported the tragedy, undertaker Riley going out to Chairville and bringing the corpse back to his establishment. Word was immediately sent to Sheriff Norcross and his efficient Deputy, Joseph B. Fleetwood, arrived early on the scene. He together with Constable Nelson Peak at once went to work on the case and as a result of their investigation Justice Milton H. Allen issued warrants for five men alleged to have been in the party which caused the murder. These men, Howard Reeves, Harvey Reeves, Theodore Wells, Caleb Rogers and Harry Hammell, were soon arrested and were landed in the jail at Mount Holly before supper time on Sunday. It was Hammelll’s wagon in which the party went to Chairville and it was in the same vehicle that the gang left the scene of the murder, it is alleged. On Monday afternoon Constable Peak, assisted by his brother-in-law(name not stated), brought two additions to the crowd of suspects already in the jail. These were Charles Spicker, of Chairville, and Walter, alias “Baldy,” Simons, of Red Lion. The two prisoners were handcuffed together and seemed to be a good deal more concerned over the fact that they had been secured that way than they did about the charges hanging over them. It is said that all seven of the prisoners are connected to one another by family ties of some sort or another. Howard Beebe, a nephew of the murdered man, says he saw Rogers hit his uncle four times after the latter had been knocked down on the ground. Rogers showed great agitation, this witness is reported to have said, when the man he was hammering failed to arise after he desisted from the attack. He is reported to have said: “God, do you suppose I’ve killed him ?” The gang then jumped into Hammell’s wagon and hurriedly drove away. Coroner Seeds arrived shortly after noon on Sunday and took charge of the remains, and Doctors Small, of Riverside, and Sharp, of Medford, who had been summoned, performed the autopsy, which showed that death had been caused by concussion of the brain. The victim had apparently been in the best of health. It must have been a terrific blow from some blunt weapon to have caused such a terrible injury to the brain as was laid bare by the physicians. Beebe, who is said to have been about 42 years of age, is well remembered by many people in Mount Holly from the fact that for many years he had peddled strawberries of unusually good quality here during the season. He was known as a hard-working man and owned his little place adjoining the Beaver dam meadows, which farm he bought from ex-Judge B. P. Wills, of Mount Holly, a few years ago. On Monday a jury was impaneled by Coroner Seeds, the body was viewed and an adjournment taken to Friday next, when the inquest will be held, Prosecutor Atkinson conducting the inquiry for the State.
The Junior O. U. A. M.
May 15, 1907
Several members of the Tabernacle Council, Junior Q. U. A. M., have announced that they will give financial assistance to Caleb Rogers, a member of that order and one of the three men imprisoned here charged with having caused the death of David Beebe, at Chairville, on April 27, that he may be given a proper defense when the case comes to trial. Eckard P. Budd is his counsel. Blanchard H. White has been engaged to defend Theodore Wells, but up to this time Walter Simons appears to be without counsel. Justice Hendrickson has called a special session of the Grand Jury for Monday next, at which time the three prisoners will probably be indicted for the crime with which they stand charged by the Coroner’s jury which heard the evidence at the inquest held in Medford.
Arrest and Conviction
May 29, 1907
Harvey Reeves, of Tabernacle, who was arrested and indicted in connection with the Beebe manslaughter case upon the charge of carrying a concealed weapon, was sentenced to serve six months in the county jail. Sentence in this case also was deferred last week to give the prisoners an opportunity to present to the Court some written statements as to his past character, but there was only one response to the letters sent out by the prisoner and the Court considered that there were no extenuating circumstances in the case, as had been alleged. Reeves state that he had not fired off anything except blank cartridges on the night of Beebe’s killing, and that was before he reached the scene of the crime, but as fifteen rounds of ball ammunition were found in his pockets when he reached the county jail there was sufficient evidence against him to indicate that he was probably a dangerous man to be at large.
November 20, 1907
Judge Horner held a session of court this morning (presumably a reference to November 20, 1907) and sentenced Caleb Rogers, convicted of manslaughter, to the Rahway Reformatory, and Theodore Wells, convicted of atrocious assault, to three months in the county jail and to pay a fine of $200. After a series of postponements, the trial of Caleb Rogers, Theodore Wells and Walter Simons, of Tabernacle, under an indictment charging them with manslaughter in connection with the death of David Beebe, at Chairville, on April 27, was begun on Thursday and ended on Friday afternoon, with the result that after about twenty hours of deliberation, terminating at one o’clock on Saturday afternoon, a verdict was rendered convicting Rogers of manslaughter, Wells of atrocious assault and battery, and acquitting Simons. The jury was confronted with a difficult task, as the case was more or less complicated in view of some of the testimony that was surprisingly contradictory. The crime that resulted in the serious charge preferred by the State was committed in front of the house of Irvin Mathis, at Chairville, where a party had been in progress during the evening and at which the participants in the fights were attendants. Wells and Simons were at the Mathis house all the evening, but Rogers did not arrive until on his way home from Medford, where he had been drinking. Beebe and Wells were among those present who did not take kindly to what they considered an intrusion, the result being that no encouragement was needed to a start a fight. Rogers and Wells were engaged in a scuffle when Beebe walked up to separate them, which course Rogers resented and let loose his wrath on Beebe. After the open air had been reached Beebe and Rogers soon became engaged in a fight. First they clenched, neither striking any blows, but after their separation and Beebe had started to walk away Rogers struck him a fierce blow on the side of the head that knocked him down. From the position in which he lay when he dropped he never moved. After that Rogers sat on the victim and pounded him and Wells and Simons were charged with kicking him in the head. There were many witnesses of the conflict and during the taking of testimony numerous versions of the affair were given. So far as the defendants were concerned there was no denial of the fact that Beebe was killed during the fight, but their testimony was on the tell-tale order. Rogers desired to fix upon Theodore Wells as much responsibility for the crime as possible, but he was not very successful in shifting the heavy burden from his own shoulders. The eye witnesses of the fight were positive that Beebe did not move after he was struck by Rogers. As to responsibility for the kicking of Beebe in the head as he lay on the ground the testimony was contradictory, but it was shown that Wells used his foot during the mix-up and probably under belief that he was kicking Rogers he struck Beebe. The kicking charge against Simons seemed to be without the support need to warrant a conviction. Dr. Alexander Small, of Riverside, who conducted the postmortem examination of Beebe’s body, practically settled the case in view of the fact that Rogers did not deny having struck Beebe. He stated that the body contained no external injuries that were of importance, but when the scalp was laid open and the temporal muscle exposed the cause of death was apparent, as this muscle was “pulpified.” Going further into the seat of the cause Dr. Small discovered that the arteries of the brain had been burst and an apoplectic condition produced, from the effects of which there could be only one result. It was the physician’s opinion that Beebe received his injuries before he fell to the ground and life must have been almost extinct at that time, as the action of the heart was the only thing that supported life in the body after the bursting of the brain’s arteries.
The murder of Francesco Vasturio
November 3, 1909
Daniel DeCou, of Tabernacle township, who killed Francesco Vasturio, an Italian, during a fight in Atlantic county just over the Burlington county line a few months ago after the two men had returned from Hammonton following a debauch, was tried in the Atlantic county court at Mays Landing on Thursday (presumably a reference to October 28, 1909), and the result was a verdict of acquittal based on the ground that the defendant had clearly established a case of self defense. The trial was one of the shortest murder trials on record. The whole proceeding required but a little over four hours, including the presentation of both sides of the case and the deliberations of the jury. There was no denial of the killing, but DeCou showed that while the men were on their way home Vasturio demanded that he be furnished with some more liquor, and when he was refused he drew a knife and threatened to kill DeCou, who, in self defense, picked up an iron bar and when he considered it necessary struck Vasturio a blow that proved to be fatal.
The death of Oliver Braddock (1874-1911)
Early on Monday morning (presumably a reference to February 13, 1911), Oliver Braddock, who occupied a tenant house on the Carlton Haines farm, near Tabernacle, went to the barn, and because of his prolonged absence his wife went to see what was delaying him. When she arrived at the barn she found her husband on the floor with the top of his head blown off, the shot gun with which he had committed the deed lying by his side. Braddock was subject to spells of despondency, and it is believed that while suffering from one of these attacks he committed the rash act. He was about forty years of age, and besides his wife, leaves two children.
The murder of Hosea Moore (1772-1838)
The following article was located on the “blog” of “Random Scarlet,” and is presented below in accordance with the “Fair Use Doctrine.”
On a headstone in the Old Lumberton Cemetery is carved a tightly closed hand with the index finger pointing up. The name on the stone is Hosea Moore. Born 28 May 1772 died 23 March 1838. The carving symbolizes Hope. The Hope of heaven.
Forensics in 1838 were certainly not the stuff of 2019 crime scene investigations however there was a confession from the murderer but that is also a bit tangled. It would be great fodder for an episode of Dateline. The simple truth is Hosea was murdered by the man who said he did it. But things are usually not that simple. In a Quaker meeting Record Book for the Evesham Monthly Meeting is a record of the birth of Hosea and his sisters and brothers. He is mentioned again in March 1784 as living with his parents in a Monthly Meeting Book. June 1796 Hosea is seen by friends (members) of the Quaker community dressing in a “vain fashion” copying the clothing worn by non-members and paying a substitute tax. After pointing out his inconstancy and entreating him to come to church they claim they dealt with it.Friends (members) of the Meeting House try to meet with Hosea in July of 1796 regarding some degree of “tendencies” in him which are outside the acceptable for the Quakers. In early August 1796 it is reported that friends (members) of the Quaker family were asked by Hosea to show “forbearance” on his situation when they attempted to speak with him about it. By late August 1796 the Committee of friends who have been working on Hosea report back that he refuses to make satisfaction for his deviation from the friends and they recommend disownment. September of 1796 the friend committee assigned to deal with Hosea come to the conclusion that he does not see his way clear to make satisfaction for his deviance from their doctrine. They make a judgement of disownment. October 1796 in a meeting it is decided that the friends will draw up disownment papers and present them to Hosea. The friends make an attempt to deliver a disownment paper to Hosea in November 1796 he declines. In December of 1796 friends (members) attempt to give Hosea a copy of the disown paper when he tells them he intends to appeal. Hosea is 24 when he is disowned from the Evesham Meeting House.In March of 1797 Hosea marries Mary Bishop they had 9 children.
In 1820 Hosea is running Fox Chase Inn a stage coach Inn and Tavern. 25 March of 1838 ended badly for Hosea Moore. He was found bludgeoned to death in his bed at the Tavern. His head pounded until there was nothing but cracked skull, fragments and scattered brains. The murderer still at the scene with the hammer in his hand admitting he did it. The story went viral in many national newspapers.
The Baltimore Sun
The New York American
There are several other reports on the incident in other papers. A few things are known. Hosea and the murderer were drinking together the night before. Hosea was boasting that night that he was “under the Lord’s Protection” and defied anyone to harm him. The murderer had locked himself in the tavern and refused to let anyone in.
The murderer as his defense pleaded insanity. He was sentenced to life in prison but was released after only 12 years. Rumors were whispered that Hosea wanted to die. That he even gave the murderer the weapon. That he told the murderer to pretend to be insane so they would not judge him harshly. Rumors spread that Hosea and the murderer had been having private meetings and were very close just days before the murder as though they were planning it. What actually happened that night after the last patron left and the days preceding is a mystery.
The Murder of Samuel Prickett (1765-??)
The following very short story comes from the book “The Benjamin Moore Family of Burlington County.” It quotes a letter from March 10, 1901, from Richard Haines to Howard Deacon. We are still seeking additional information from other sources.
“Hosea Moore (1772-1838) was mad at Samuel Prickett and knocked him down and locked him in his smoke house. In the night he was removed and never seen again. Hosea’s horses were found in the morning wet. Some years afterwards Samuel Prickett’s son J. Nelson (1815-1888), found the bones of a man in the woods some distance from Fox Chase and found besides the bones his father’s pocket knife. By this time Hosea was no more he having been killed by Clayton Cramer, who was made drunk and at Hosea’s request, killed him. Clayton was sent up to Trenton, and finally pardoned.”
The Death of Harry Knight ( 1870 – 1925)
Harry Lubane Knight was the only child born to Gilbert Knight and his second wife, Elizabeth Bareford. Gilbert, of course, was the builder of the Knight-Pepper House, our museum on Carranza Road. As the article below describes, Harry was a well known businessman and politician who had been very successful with both endeavors. Today’s location of this story is in the area of Lakeview Drive, where Cold Water Run continues to flow. Here’s the story.
The Murder of Elizabeth Burr
From the June 4, 1895 edition of the Mount Holly News we have the following news article concerning the demise of Elizabeth Burr. The paper did not seem to do any follow up story.
1907 crime at the Rider and Wilkenson Bogs near Hampton Gate
Hope no one thinks there may be more treasure buried in this area!
In 1887, the mysterious death of a New York woman near Hampton Gate
In 1860, a son accuses his father in the death of a peddler, name unknown.