George Stayton


At half-past one o'clock on the morning of the 24th of December, 1882, at the dwelling place of widow Stayton, two miles south-east of Clapper Station, a fratricidal homicide occurred, seldom equaled--either by brutality or fiendishness, in the annals of crime. The family in question consisted of the widow, her daughter Miss Mary, and two sons--James and George W. - the latter recently married to Margaret nee McLeod. The night of the tragedy they sat up until a late hour, engaged in social converse, nothing occurring either by word or action to irritate the mind or create unpleasant feelings. At the hour above mentioned, when all were wrapped in sleep (except the murderer), George's wife was startled from her slumber bv a loud report, which she could not under the circumstances well define, 
whether it was the report of a pistol, the slamming of a door or a crash of falling timbers. She immediately attempted to arouse her husband to ascertain the cause of the noise, but all her efforts to effect this object failed - he neither by word, sign or motion made any response. She then screamed for help to the balance of the family who slept up stairs. In the meantime she looked across the room and by the feeble light she saw James Stayton standing on the floor, in his night clothes. She asked him what he was doing and he answere "nothing." She asked him if he had shot George, and he answered-- "I have not; what is the matter with George; had I not better not go and get a doctor."  Yes, go immediately,"  she said. He then proceeded to light a lamp, went upstairs, dressed himself and then went to the stable--got a horse and fled to parts unknown. All this occupied but a few moments.  The female portion of the family were in the meantime applying remedies to restore vitality to a dead man, thinking he was attacked by a congestive chill in consequence of his previous sickness of ten days. Some time had elapsed in their vain efforts in this direction ere the fatal wound was discovered. It was produced by a 32 caliber ball which entered about an inch back of the right ear,
ranged upwards and lodged in the brain. Only a few drops of blood exuded from the wound, on the pillow, which were covered by the position of the head. This settled the matter of the cause of death. The nearest neighbor was immediately apprised of the horrid deed. The news spread rapidly and a force collected who made arrangements to pursue and arrest the murderer. A warrant was issued by Squire Fields and placed in the hands of the leader, Robert F. Parsons, who, with a few determined men, struck his trail. All these arrangements, however, required time, which gave the offender some four or five hours the start. The pursuing party arriving at Stoutsville, telegraphed to the Paris authorities that if James Stayton put in an appearance there to take charge of him. Shortly after the receipt of the telegram Officer Thalus Hocker of that place arrested Stayton near the Glenn House. Stayton had a pistol cocked in his pocket, but did not resist and was lodged in jail. It appears that his object was to catch a train and make his escape. When within a few miles of Paris he turned his horse loose and walked into the town. 

In justice it must be said that the unfortunate offender had for some years manifested at times strong evidences of insanity, resulting from an injury sustained by being thrown from his horse, which was subsequently intensified by a sun-stroke. He was declared to be insane and sent to the insane asylum, where he now is.