Friday, July 12, 2013

Who Killed George Bopp? 1890 Conclusion

The Sumner Press published in 1890 a lengthy account of the murder of George Bopp, the constable.  Before he died , Bopp told  the Coroner the name of the man who  shot him.  Yet at the Coroner’s inquest the dying man’s declaration was not enough to have the alleged murderer arrested.  All testimony of witnesses has been  presented over the past week, and  now we ask you, the readers, to consider the evidence, and tell us who you think shot George Bopp.  

A Dying Man's  Statement*
“I was shot through the body by Tom Palmer. I was crossing the bottoms between Palmer's house and Spring Hill school house. I saw Tom Palmer coming toward me, and halting him said “you are my prisoner.”  I took him by the left arm, led him three or four steps to a little bridge when he shot me. I had anticipated trouble but from his manner when arrested I thought I would have no trouble with him. When asked if he could not be mistaken in its being Tom Palmer, Bopp’s answer  was firm and decided as his strength would permit: “No! I could not be mistaken. It was Tom, who shot me.”

(*Editor's note:  If the Coroner was standing by my bed, and I had just been shot, I would probably be thinking my chances for recovery were mighty slim.. Remember that even though the jury heard Bopp's dying declaration they chose to come back with a verdict of "murder by persons unknown." Do you think they were correct? Why? )

 January 9, 1890 Sumner Press Front Page   E.A. M. of Sumner wrote a poem about the murder of George Bopp apparently hoping to get the guilty party to confess. 

"Another Murderer
Another man has left our midst
Left his wife and children too;
Oh! Think of all this you who didst
Shoot him and cause so much rue.
You may think you're doing right
Not to own up and be true,
But you ought to think at night
And wonder what folks think of you.
This man started to do his work,
As he thought he ought to do;
 His task he did not want to shirk
Something none should wish to do.
Some one thought to try his aim
And a fatal aim he gave;
Then he would not tell his name,
For fear he would meet his grave.
Think of that poor wife and children,
In their grief, despair and sadness,
And to think that one of some men
Caused it with no brain of justice.
O’re this manner all have thought
A very sad affair it is.
Many persons too have sought
To find out who the murderer is.
Between two persons it did lay,
The people were not decided.
But after searching day by day
To a decision they were guided.
Some thought him shot by accident,
But he who did it knows,
A fatal shot by one was sent,
And with a stained soul he now goes."

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