News: "Death in Spokeville" (1889)

Contact:  Stan

Email: stan@wiclarkcountyhistory.org

----Source: LOYAL CENTENNIAL BOOK (Loyal, Clark County, Wis.) 1870 - 1970
 

Death Came to Spokeville

On April 2, 1889, two young men, John Gavin and Arnold Free, had done a little target shooting before 8:00 a.m. They returned to the store of Joseph Marsh in Spokeville, Clark County, Wis. to clean their pistols.

This building must have been a catch-all-combination of buildings.

While they were so cleaning the pistols, Judson Canfield was sitting by the stove mending his wampus. Justice Johnson told that one was at one end of the shanty and the other at the other end, when they were fooling around and ran toward each other. One had run toward the bunks first.

Roy Marsh testified he never heard any remarks to indicate they were not friends, it it happened Gavin's pistol went off and Arnold Free was short. As Garvin cradled him in his arms, Free said, "Jack, what have you done: "He also told them not to call a doctor as he would die anyhow. Garvin wept as he comforted his companion.

The authorities were called and six good and lawful men were subpoenaed to view the body of Arnold Free lying dead at the store of Joseph Marsh, Spokeville.

All the witnesses testified as to the fact they went out to "Shoot off their revolvers." They all heard Free say, "Jack, what have you done!" They all knew the two were good friends.

Even Free's brother, William, testified that it was a "pure" accident, and "He never knew of their having any trouble."

Dr. J. L. Bradfield had been called and sworn in after making the examination and gave this statement, "The person Arnold Free came to his death by a bullet from a revolver in the hands of John Garvin, he having full knowledge of the fact of said revolver being loaded. The cause of death was gross carelessness on the part of said John Gavin."

It was a swift case of justice, all in one day. The jurors fees, $11; Just fees, $5 ; constable fees. $6.55; and the doctors fee, $10. The entire cost was taxed up to the County of Clark. This seemed to have dismissed the case.

 

 


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