Pandemonium rained on the night of my great-grandfather George’s murder, October 29, 1898. People were running here and there, shouting and yelling and there was a great deal of confusion. There were many witnesses that had their own take on the actual happenings of the event.
In my last post I wrote a possible scenario of what may have happened that night taken from these eye-witness accounts.
Someone had been standing out in front of the Barclay Hotel in the dark with a gun and aimed through the window. The bullet went through the front window of the hotel and through George Barclay’s neck and into the post behind/or near him. Nothing could have been done for him even though they tried to wire for medical aid which would come by train from Brainerd to Pine River. He was gone!
Whatever aspirations that George had left to realize, they would not happen now and he would not be there for the births of his grandchildren.
Some people have been a little mean and unfeeling about George’s death. He did have a married daughter, Grace, and she would have children. George’s grandchildren were my dad’s family and from them would come great-grandchildren. Yes, descendants are living today of this man George Angus Barclay and his wife Amarilla.
My family knew of the murder of George but there was not much detail about the events of that night and what happened after. All we knew was that he was murdered and he “yelled a lot,” and may have had enemies?
The notes of my Aunt Miriam did little to explain the murder. She has the 28th not the 29th.
Upon finding the court documents in 2001 and reading them, I will have to say that it was indeed emotional. The murder was 103 years old back in 2001 when I read about it. Here I was grieving over the rather sad way that my great grandpa died.
I have studied and read every line of the court documents looking for clues. Frankly, I was surprised to find anything in the court records on this event. After looking at the court documents that have survived, I feel a lot of documentation is missing and possibly removed from the files, which is probably not surprising, after all it was at that time 103 years old.
It would be difficult to solve this murder, why.
1. The crime scene is gone: The Barclay hotel burned in 1915 (a subject for a future post). I have not been able to find any blue prints for the hotel which could be of help by telling us where things were inside.
2. Evidence is long since gone. The bullet was dug out of the post and removed by Deputy Sheriff Frank Breese with permission from the court. It was examined and weighed. What happened to it and where it has gone is unknown. How long does a county keep evidence?
3. Witnesses and suspects are gone: Those individuals present at the scene of the crime are long since dead. So witnesses and suspects who one would talk too are gone.
4. George himself has been gone a very long time and the condition of his body would be unknown.
5. The only items left are the court records which to me are not complete and newspaper accounts.
It has long been a dream of mine to hire a forensic expert or CSI but it might be a little expensive. Just having them review what information I have collected might be of great interest. I was hoping Cold Justice the TV show would take it on but after having watched their first season I have learned that it is very difficult to work a case that is 25-30 years old because the evidence is lost imagine a hundred years ago. The Cold Justice website would only accept cases referred to them by a law enforcement officer. I can just imagine the laughter from the county police regarding this 115 year old murder (2013) when they have more urgent cases to solve.
I know, I am dreamer or either I have watched too many crime shows. HA!
Oh, this murder case may be 115 years old but it is still an open case but inactive for there is no statute of limitations on murder in the USA.
So what did happen that night of October 29, 1898. Well, let’s start with a few newspaper accounts.