George Angus Barclay was shot and killed on October 29, 1898 and the trial regarding the murder did not happen until a year and half later, taking place on May 7 and going through till the 16th of 1900!
There aren’t any documents between the release of Andy Hayford in December 1899 until the 4th of May 1900 when Bebo requests that he be granted counsel for the charge of Murder in the 1st degree. He had no money and had been incarcerated for quite some time. A. H. Hall was assigned his defense attorney by the court.
Hall filed a three page brief in it where he complains that the Sheriff created 2 jury panels and interviewed people. The clerk was supposed to create the juries. He said that the handwriting was not the clerk’s. He went on to say that the Sheriff would erase a name if he didn’t like what the potential juror said. Hall stated that at the beginning of the year a jury pool is created and there are plenty of people, therefore the Sheriff didn’t need to get a jury together.
As far as I can tell there are no documents or maybe one or two that survived from the trial. There is a Director Examination of J. Deperrold and a testimony of Ed Mahon but I cannot be sure they are from the trial. It does read on Mahon’s papers called as witness on the part of the State, being duly sworn…no dates are on these documents. These documents are done in a question and answer style which makes me think they are part of the trial. There is a handwritten document about various testimonies which is extremely hard to read but it may be another of Hall’s writings. There is a platte map of Pine River that was used probably in the inquest, grand jury proceedings and trial. It has historical significance for Pine River because it shows where the buildings were. It was used to show how long it would take to get from one building to another.
I think that the newspaper pretty much sums up the trial and what happened. Can you imagine sitting in the courtroom and watching this event unfold.
Murder Trial Events 1900
The Cass County Paper, Front Page, Vol. 7, No. 18.
Murder Trial – Bebo Found Not Guilty
“When the trial of Louis Bebo for the murder of Geo. A. Barclay was called on Monday the 7th day of May speculation as to the outcome ran high. To accommodate the crowd, the court was held in the Opera House and that was crowded in spite of the intense heat. The case was opened by the State’s Attorney Hon. B.F. Hartshorn abely assisted by Hon. C.C. McCarthy, of Grand Rapids, while the defense was conducted by G. W. Hall, of Minneapolis. The evidence adduced against the accused was very pointed and abely presented but was met in a masterly manner by overwhelming evidence. The jury was drawn with great care, over 150 men being called before twelve men could be found suitable to act. The case went to the jury on Tuesday, the 15th day of May at five o’clock p.m. and the jury remained out all night and until 11:30 a.m. of the following day when they bought in a verdict of not guilty.
There is a pathetic side to this case that is very touching and sounds like a dime novel yarn. When Geo. A. Barclay was shot down by some dastardly coward a year ago last fall Bebo was suspected of the crime and close watch was placed on him which resulted later in his arrest and a hearing before Justice Sundberg where he as acquitted for lack of evidence. Later on more evidence was found that seemed to prove his guilt and he was indicted by the grand jury a year ago. Since that time he has been in close confinement in the county jail of Hennepin county and during this time two of his children have died and he was kept in total ignorance of the fact until he was brought here and placed on trial for his life. A brother of Bebo was here to attend the trial and had manfully supported the prisoner broke down and wept like a child when the words “Not Guilty” fell from the lips of the judge.
He was taken in toe by his attorney, shaved, wined and dined and started south the next morning in company with his wife and brother. A great mistake has been made and no one realizes this more than do the officers of the law who were led by the combination of circumstances to believe in the guilt of the accused. In fact we have heard Sheriff Hardy remark that as badly has he deplored the error, such had been the circumstances surrounding the case that if ever he was again placed in the same position he would be compelled to act just as he done on in this case. The county attorney has been hard-worked during the past three weeks but has met half way every emergency. One, instance of his untiring zeal in behalf of the state was made manifest last Tuesday when he represented the state in the case against Geo. Franklin before Justice of Peace A.A. Oliver. This case was called in the evening and lasted several hours, being a jury trial, yes we owe Hon. B.F. Hartshorn a vote of thanks.”
You can see Mr. Hartshorn’s tombstone and a brief biography of him at Find A Grave. He is buried in the Motley Public Cemetery in Todd County, Minnesota.
“Verdict of Not Guilty, Given in the Case of Louise Bebo at Walker,”
St. Paul. May 16, a special from Walker, Minn. says; The Trial of Louise Bebo for the murder of George A. Barclay at Pine River on Oct. 29, 1898, is ended after occupying the time of the court for over eight days. The jury was out all night and until 11:25 this morning, when they returned a verdict of not guilty, and Bebo was given his liberty. Bebo was arrested about 18 months ago on the same charge and discharged at the preliminary hearing before Justice E. R, Sundberg in this village for lack of evidence. The matter was taken up again by the grand jury a year ago and an indictment brought in against him. Since that time he has been in jail. During his confinement two of his children have died and his homestead at Pine River has been taken possession of by another party. Bebo is generally believed to be innocent and will return to Pine River and endeavor to regain possession of his homestead.
Thursday, May 17, 1900, Minneapolis Journal, pg. 10. Minnesota:
“Walker – The jury returned a verdict finding Bebo not guilty of murdering G.A. Barclay at Pine River, October 29, 1898. The case was on trial over eight days.“
Friday, May 18, 1900, The Brainerd Dispatch. This was almost the same article from the Duluth newspaper with a little more detail in this account.
“Bebo Acquitted, The Verdict of Not Guilty is in Accord with Public Sentiment,”
“A dispatch from Walker on Wednesday says that the trial of Louis Bebo for the murder of George A. Barclay at Pine River on Oct. 29, 1898, is ended after occupying the time of the court for over eight days. The jury was sent out at 6:20 on Tuesday evening and remained out all night and until 11:25 Wednesday morning, when they returned with a verdict of not guilty, and Bebo was given his liberty. Bebo was arrested about eighteen months ago on the same charge and discharged at the preliminary hearing before Justice E.R. Sundberg for lack of evidence. The matter was taken up again by the grand jury a year ago and indictment brought in against him. Since that time until the opening of court three weeks ago he has been confined in the Hennepin county jail. During his confinement there two of his children have died and his homestead at Pine River has been taken possession of by another party. Bebo is generally believed to be innocent and is receiving congratulations on his acquittal from nearly every one in the village. He will return to Pine River and endeavor to regain possession of his home.”
The news was featured in several other papers Cass Co. Independent Cass Lake Times May 17, 1900 and the Thursday, May 17, 1900, Duluth News-Tribune (Duluth, MN) pg. 2 issue.
I wonder what my grandmother Grace thought about all this? She may have been grieving not only for the loss of her father George A. Barclay but for the loss of her first-born child who did not survive. This would have been George’s grandchild. It was born and died on the 29th of August 1899 and is buried in an unmarked grave at the Evergreen Cemetery with its grandfather George and its baby uncle George A. Barclay. There would be more children to come.
What happened to Bebo, well life didn’t treat him to well according to an article in the Cass County Pioneer, Feb. 28, 1902, he was judged insane by the Probate Court at Walker and taken to the asylum in Fergus Falls and later transferred to Hastings Hospital were he spent the rest of his life till 1945 and was buried in Osseo, Minnesota.
This murder took place 114 years ago. The choices that were made that night of October 29, 1898 are now well beyond any resolution or placement of blame even though murder cases always remain open. All the individuals there that night or those that may have been involved with the murder are all gone now, they all passed on so re-interviewing them would be impossible. The Barclay Hotel where the crime took place went up in smoke in 1915. The buildings there are gone and it is a totally different town today. The case file is not complete in my estimation so any review or attempt to try to solve this crime would be pretty difficult. Still, many questions, many theories of what happened but…
The trial was over, the verdict was brought in and Pine River moved into the new century and as they say life went on.