Something must have happened between November 1898 and May 1899 that set in motion the convening of a Grand Jury regarding the murder of George A. Barclay.
The jail registers for Cass County, Minnesota show that Louis Bebo and Joseph DeJerrold were there in the month ending January-February, 1899 time frame. They were only there from February 14, 1899 to February 23, 1899. As far as I can tell there is no paper trail for this incarceration other than the jail register. So who ordered this and how it came about is unclear.
On May 9, 1899 Andrew Hayford and Louis Bebo were indicted for murder in the 1st Degree and a Bench Warrant was issued 10 May 1899. G. Hardy, the Sheriff was ordered to deliver them to the jail at Brainerd, Crow Wing County. In the Cass County District Court Records of 12 May, 1899, is an entry about this bench warrant and the indictment for murder.
The Grand Jury came together in June of 1899. The case was called at the Collins Precinct, Cass County, June 16, 1899 at 10 am. B.F. Hartshorn appeared for the prosecution.
Here is a summary of the purpose of a Grand Jury, but I don’t know if this is exactly what it was like in 1899 in Minnesota.
A Grand Jury works with a prosecutor to determine if charges are to be brought against a potential defendant. Grand Juries are made up of up to 23 people and it can go on for months. There are no judges only the prosecutor who explains the law and works with the jury to gather evidence and hear testimony…They need a super majority of 2/3 or 3/4 agreement. Even if the grand jury does not indict the prosecutor can bring the defendant to trial if there is a strong case. They have to prove to the trial judge that they have a case. If they have an indictment they can go right to trial. (See Findlaw for more information).
There were objections made by the defendants mostly about the warrant not being read and these were overruled.
These are the names on the Indictment for murder written on 9 May, 1899.
The foreman of the Grand Jury was a Wm. D. Welch. The witnesses were as follows: J.H. Middleton, G.L. Hardy, Fred Yllander, Andrew Whiteside, Enoch McMahon, C.H. Workman, R.C. Workman, R.C. Workman Jr., Thomas Nelson, Mrs. Geo. A. Barclay, Geo. A. Weaver, Thomas Coble, Bertha Michelson, Frank Beck, T.D. Shay, Ed Coyle, W.A. Curo, and J.G. Dawes.
Here are summaries of what was in the testimonies and you will see that not all of them are included.
1. C. Fred Yllander was up first.
Yllander gave testimony at the corner’s inquest in November 1899. He worked for Barclay as the store clerk and bar keeper.
“I being present at the time about six feet from him. I stood looking over the bar with my face toward him, I looked up when I heard the report of the gun. I saw him try to raise, but he could not and fell, at this I went out side of the bar to assist him I saw he was bleeding. I went to summon other aid, when I came back I found the bullet had entered the neck of the left side and came through on the other side. He died in about thirty minutes.
Apparently there was a plat map (Plat A) which described the scene inside the house. Yllander recognized it. This drawing was not in the court documents.
The best that can be gleaned from the description is that the scene was in the southwest corner of the house which faces southwest. There is the bar room. There are two large windows a dood (indicating stairs). There was a notation where the post was located. Yllander says that Barclay was sitting east of the door smoking a cigar with one foot under him.
The bullet went through Mar Barclay’s neck and lodged in the post in the center of the room, the bullet went in a direct line so as to enter the post after passing through Mr. Barclay’s neck.
Yllander describes that there was a small round hole in the window east of the door about 5 or 6 inches from the lower corner next to the door in the large front window. There is a court 8 feet wide in the front and southwest corner of the house.
Yllander refers to Coyle as a defendant. There is no record of Coyle being served a bench warrant for this crime. He did get put in the Crow Wing jail about the same time as Bebo and DeJerrold for stealing whiskey from Mrs. Barclay.
Interesting that there were 25 to 30 people after the train came in. Pine River was a busy place.
2. E. F. Lynch undertaker D.M. Clark & Co.,
Mr. Lynch states that he resides in Brainerd. I am supposed to be an experienced hand at the business. I had a State License. I was called upon to prepare the body of Mr. Barclay for burial. I went there Monday morning about 6 A.M…after he was shot. I had to sew up the wound in order to keep fluid from escaping. I would take the wound to be a gun shot entering from the right side about four inches below the right ear and coming out about one inch below the left ear. I don’t think the neck was dislocated. I don’t think the bone was struck. I consider he bled to death. There was no blood coming out of the mouth. He mentions that Coyle helped him with opening getting the casket from the depot.
There seems to a slight difference in the description of the trajectory of the bullet. Yllander said left side to right, Lynch said right to left.
3. Mrs. George Barclay, wife of the deceased.
I was in the kitchen at the time he was killed. I heard the report of the gun…I went into the room. The report of the gun pulled me to the room, I saw Mr. Barclay lying on the floor. I don’t think he was dead at the time, but he died on the floor before being removed. I had not been in the room before that evening….
She goes on to state she knew various people like Bebo, DeJerrald, Coyle and Clapp. There were incidents of intoxication, threats, words exchange but nothing that she felt was of concern.
4. Joseph DeJerrald states pretty much the same as what he did at the coroner’s inquest. He is a nephew of Bebo and had been living with them for the last three years which later he says four years. Bebo lives 4 miles from Pine River. His testimony wanders so much that it makes it hard to follow him.
He states that he was going to the depot at the time of Barclay’s killing. They then went to unhitch the horses at the corn crib, Bebo took his rifle to the depot and they put the team in the old barn and got feed for the horses. As he was putting his gun in the depot someone came in and said Barclay was shot. He references his time in jail with Bebo back in February and mentions his uncle is now in jail in St. Paul.
5. Ed Harris was a new witness. He lived in Walker and he talks about Clapp, Bebo and blurts out that the Indian’s did it and murdered Barclay.
6. George L. Hardy, Sheriff of Cass County. Frank Breese Deputy Sheriff from Cass County testified at the coroner’s inquest.
I know of the death of Mr. Barclay. I am Sheriff of Cass County. I was at the inquest. I subpoenaed witnesses. I made examination of the premises. I have seen this drawing before. I and Mr. Middleton made these drawings. This is a plan of the Hotel, Saloon and store. I saw the hole in the window.
I have the bullet in my possession. It weighed 210 grains when taken from the post. It corresponded with a bullet from a 38-56. I examined Bebow’s gun, it was a 38-56 Winchester. I got some of the bullets he used in his gun. The 38-56 factory made bullets weigh 255 or 256 grains. This bullet when it came from the post was badly battered up on the front end and along the side. The butt end was not battered.
Mr. Hardy believed the bullet from the post was similar to Bebo’s bullets. From this point Mr. Hardy meanders around about his conversations with Clapp and Coyle at the inquest, in February and others. There is nothing about what happened at the time of the shooting at the actual scene of the murder.
7. J. G. Dawes is a witness.
I am not a detective. I am manager of the Barclay estate with view of taking the daughter’s interest. I have been there since about the middle of February. I was in the employ of the North Dakota Milling Association… I sold them a car of feed and remained there over night…
Apparently J.G. Dawes went to St. Paul May 10th and talked in private to Bebo. From his visit he took on the role of assisting Bebo with his earthly possession which were to be distributed among his children. Dawes say that Bebo implicated Clapp and Coyle as being the means of killing Mr. Barclay…that Clapp and Coyle were the principal men that caused the killing of Mr. Barclay. Bebo denied he killed Barclay. Dawes finished with we had possibly an hours conversation but nothing else bearing on the matter.
The court adjourned:
Apparently the court was adjourned until Monday morning, June 19th, 1899. State rests and the defendants move to dismiss the defendants on the ground, that form the evidence no public cause has been show that defendants or either of them committed the crime charged or any other crime.
I am frustrated because I can’t figure out if Clapp or Coyle were ever arrested for this crime. There is no examination of Andrew Hayford nor of Bebo at this Grand Jury and I am not even sure they were present.
The above are of course extremely stripped versions of the testimonies of these witnesses.