THE WILLIAM MORGAN HOME PAGE
The William Morgan
Memorial Digital Library
FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES
RELATING TO THE
KIDNAPING AND MURDER
and of the attempt
to carry off DAVID C. MILLER,
and to burn or destroy the printing-office of the
latter for the purpose of preventing the printing and
publishing of a Book, entitled
"ILLUSTRATIONS OF MASONRY"
under the direction of several committee appointed
at meetings of the citizens of the counties
of Genesee, Livingston, Ontario,
Monroe, and Niagara,
in the State of
CONTAINING MOST OF THE DESPOSITIONS
and other documents to substantiate the statements made, and disclosing
many particulars of the transactions.
Printed by D. C. Miller, under the Direction of the Committees, 1827.
SUPPLEMENTARY REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE.
Containing the Report of the
CORONER'S INQUEST ON THE BODY OF WM. MORGAN, ETC.
EZRA A. COOK, Publisher
P. O. Box 796 Chicago 90, Illinois
78in the common jail of this county.
As to you, Chesebro -- it appears by your affidavit that you did not lay your hands upon this man to carry into effect the conspiracy; and it appears by unquestionable proof that you did not leave this village with the carriage. But you admit, at least tacitly, in your affidavit, that you were one of the conspirators; and your language to the jailer, when he called upon you the next day to account for your conduct, and warned you that the public would demand an explanation, showed an unsubdued spirit. It has been satisfactorily proved to us that you are a thriving mechanic -- that you have a respectable standing in the community, and up to the period of this transaction your character for industry, honesty, quiet and moral deportment, was without reproadh. Under the circumstances of your case, the court sentence you to one year imprisonment in the common jail of this county.
As to you, Sawyer -- your affidavit, which, from the uniform good character you have proved, we fully believe to be true, states that you had no knowledge of this conspiracy, and took no active part in it. But your accompanying Lawson, at his request, to the jail, to inform the jailer's wife that she would be safe in receiving the amount of Morgan's debt from Lawson, and letting him go, with the other circumstances, were sufficient to have convicted you, if you had stood trial, and you acted wisely in pleading guilty. You state that you had no idea that he was under restraint, until you saw him enter the carriage, a short distance from you, and you did not suspect that he was forced into it, until, in the progress of your walk, you picked up his hat -- that you were then surprised and confounded, and did not therefore give the alarm -- but you spent the rest of the evening at a public house, and gave no intimation of what you had seen. This, then, was your offence: -- You should have given the alarm -- you should raised the hue and cry, and endeavored to effect a rescue. You, however, expressed in your affidavit, and have always.evinced, a feeling of remorse. The court, therefore sentence you to one month imprisonment in the common jail of this county.
As to you, Sheldon -- You denied any participation in the conspiracy, and put yourself upon trial. As to all the acts proved against you, there was mystery; and I doubt whether you were the man. You were at the time confined on the limits of the jail -- you were most strongly identified in an appearance at Batavia; and although your proof of an alibi was not complete, there was much
79in it to shake our faith in the fact that you were the mysterious stranger whom the witness saw. Your confessions of guilt, however, were clear and indisputable, and fully warranted the verdict; and the only explanation of them you offered, was the ungracious one, that your confessions were the vainglorious boastings of a drunkard and a liar. Taking all things into consideration, the court have adjudged you to three months imprisonment in the common jail of the county.
Ontario County ss: } Loton Lawson, being duly sworn, says that he has no knowledge of any agency or participation by John Sheldon in the matter or acts charged in the foregoing entitled indictment; that he never had any conversation with him in relation thereto before said Sheldon was arrested on said charge; that he does not knew, or believe, that said John Sheldon was at Batavia in the month of September last.
Sworn this sixth day of January, 1827, before me,
Jeffrey Chipman, Commissioner, &c.
If Lawson had dared to depose that he had handed Morgan over to the care or custody of other persons, of whose subsequent action he (Lawson) had no knowledge, (as Chesebro had done,) that he had voluntarily absented himself, (as Sawyer pretended to think,) that he had left him well, and knew not where he had gone, that he was then residing at any place, or that he was thea alive, can it be believed that he would not have offered such a deposition, and thus entitled himself to the lenity of the court, from which Chesebro and Sawyer reaped such substantial fruits? Did not these men, who were so anxious to reduce the measure of their punishment, and so well informed as to the mode of effecting that object -- did not they (unless they knew that Morgan was dead) importune Lawson to depose to that effect in their behalf, even if he was indifferent about exonerating himself from the crime of being accessary (at least) to murder, which he must have known his silence could not fail to make the community impute to him? Nay, would they not have all gladly given to the court, and to their fellow citizens, any evidence in their power to have shown that Morgan was probably alive, or that none of them had been concerned in his death? If Morgan was then living, could not Lawson have given a clue by which to trace him? If no motive whatever, neither the desire to serve his associates in guilt, nor the wish to diminish the measure of his own punishment, nor a decent regard to the opinion of his fellow citizens, and the feelings' of his family, could induce
80him to venture on a declaration, under oath, that Morgan was then alive, or might be for aught he knew, who can doubt that he knew of his death? If he chose to sit down quietly under such overwhelming suspicions of his being an accessary to murder, who can suppose that Morgan was then living?
We have now laid before our fellow citizens the detail, or report, which has been so often called for. If it has not been as interesting as they had been led to expect, they must remember that we did not undertake to gratify curiosity, or give our own speculations. We have given, as we promised, "A Narrative of facts and circumstances," relating to transactions which have excited the earnest attention of the community. Those facts and circumstances are evidenced by the depositions of credible witnesses, or vouched for, by the distinct allegations (most of them in writing) of men, entitled to our entire confidence for veracity and integrity, to whom we can resort for legal proof, if called for. Whether the conclusions which we have drawn are the legitimate results of those facts and circumstances, our readers must of course decide for themselves. Let them recollect that our exertions (which have not been feeble ones) to trace Morgan beyond Fort Niagara, have been unavailing; that the pecuniary rewards offered by the Governor of the State of New York, and Governor of Upper Canada, have not elicited the slightest information on the subject -- that the Governor's offer of pardon, promised in his proclamation at our request, has produced no effect -- that no attempt has been made, that we know of, by those so directly implicated to explain or deny the extraordinary conduct and occurrences which have fastened such strong and well-founded suspicions upon them -- that they have thus long set public opinion at defiance, and relinquished their claim to the good opinion of their fellow citizens, without a struggle to retain it -- that five of them have absconded, viz: James Gillis, Joseph Scofield, Burrage Smith, John Whitney, and Richard Howard -- that others have absented themselves from their families, and the State, and continue absent, with a full knowledge of the suspicions which rest upon them -- that many of the witnesses have suddenly disappeared, and cannot be traced -- that two of those who were called as witnesses before the grand jury of Monroe county, at Rochester, to wit: Edward Doyle, merchant, and Simon B. Jewet, Attorney at Law, refused to testify, because, as they alleged, they could not do so truly, without criminating themselves -- that others have related stories on oath, which are utterly incredible -- and what inference
81can be drawn from all this but that Morgan has been murdered, and that great numbers of men, heretofore respectable, have been accessaries to his murder? Whether ALL who were concerned in his kidnapping have been accessaries, or consented to his death, we undertake not to decide; but, whatever were the _original designs or motives_ of those who were concerned in his disappearance; all of them, who have not fully, frankly, and promptly explained the part they are known to have performed, have, we think, no right to complain; if their fellow citizens in general regard them as accessaries to the murder of William Morgan, and shall hereafter treat them accordingly.
JAMES P. SMITH,
LYMAN D. PRINDLE,
HINMAN HOLDEN. } Genesee Committee.
JOSIAH BISSELL, JR.
F. F. BACKUS,
FRED'CK WHITTLESEY. } Rochester Committee.
JAMES M. WHEELER
JOHN SARGEANT. } Victor Committee.
SAMUEL LACY. } Chili Committee.
CLARK HALL. } Wheatland Committee.
JONATHAN BUELL. } Bloomfield Committee.
JOHN PHILIPS. } Lewiston Committee.
After Morgan left the carriage at the grave-yard, he was taken to the bottom of the hill at the Fort. The ferryman was called up by those who had the charge of him. Here Morgan receivod some water, which he had called for in front of Col. King's, at Youngstown. When taken to the boat he was supported by two men; he was pinioned and hoodwinked; he was placed in the boat and carried to the Canada shore. On reaching that shore two of the keepers left the boat -- Morgan and two others remained on the beach, while they (i. e. the two first,) went into the town. Those who were left with the boat, were directed to leave the shore in the boat, if any person should approach it without giving a signal which had been agreed upon. There was, however, no intrusion. The two who had gone into the town, returned, after an absence which might have been one and an half, or two hours. The time of. their absence seemed long to the informant, who waited with the boat. Two other persons came to the shore with them on their return: they came near the boat, and held a consultation in a low tone of voice, which the informant did not hear: when it broke up, all who had crossed from the United States' shore, returned in the boat to the Fort. Morgan, as before, was supported from the shore by two men, taken into the Fort, and put into the magazine. This place had been fixed upon one or two
84days previous, as one where Morgan could be lodged in case of necessity. This took place in the morning of the fourteenth of September.
During that day Morgan made much noise -- and in the course of the day two messengers were sent to Lewiston, where a chapter was that day installed, to procure aid to silence the noise. "Some persons came down to the Fort from Lewiston, and produced stillness. On the evening of the 14th of September twenty or thirty persons came to the fort in the steam-boat, or otherwise, all of whom soon disappeared excepting about eleven; after a time several of those last went away.
During the night several persons were together in the vicinity of the Fort, among whom the fate or disposition of Morgan was discussed. This discussion ended some time after midnight, and nothing was decided upon. The next evening a small number debated the same subject with great animation, but came to no decision. Morgan was still in the magazine on the seventeenth, when our informant left the place and did not return until the twenty-first day of the same month, when he found that Morgan had been disposed of. Those who had Morgan in their custody, when he left the place, gave him on his return to understand that Morgan had been put to death. That the interior of the magazine was put in order, and as our iniormant was told, had been examined by one or more persons from Lewiston, who visited the Fort for that purpose, and all things were pronounced to be in order -- that the walls were closely looked over to see it Morgan had left any writings upon them -- after all which a man, or perhaps two, were requested to traverse the shore of the lake, to see if any body should float ashore."
On Monday the 7th inst., two men of the name of Potter, (father and son) of Bergen, Genesee county, and Stilman Hoxsie, of Carlton, Orleans county, discovered a dead body upon the beach of Lake Ontario, a few rods east of the mouth of Oak Orchard creek, which, from the color of the face, they supposed to be a negro. Information was immediately given to Robert M. Brown, who summoned an inquest, but from the thinness of the inhabitants about there, it was late in the evening before the jurors got together. Nothing appeared in the examination of the body and clothes, or from testimony, by which the person could be identified, and the jurors found that it was "the body of an unknown man, who came to his death by suffocation by drowning." The body was then decently interred, near the spot where it was found. Rumors were circulating for three or four days, that a body resembling Morgan's had been found at Oak Orchard, but no importance was attached to it, until Friday evening, the 12th inst., when we received the Orleans Whig, containing the following report of the Coroner:
CORONER'S REPORT.A Coroner's inquest was held on the 7th inst. over the body of a man unknown, on the lake shore near the mouth of the Oak Orchard creek in Carlton, Orleans county. Verdict of the jury. Suffocation by dorwning. The body was discovered at the margin of the water, probably thrown on shore by the surf. The body being in so putrid a state it would be difficult to give a very minute description of it; it appeared, however, to be the body of a man about forty-five or fifty years of age, about 5 feet 8 inches in height, hair about the ears considerably gray. There was apparently an old scar on the forehead, over the right eye -- teeth sound, excepting two missing on the lower jaw -- a set of what is generally termed double teeth in front. His clothing was a frock coat, of black broadcloth,
87of a quality -- pantaloons and vest apparently the same. A white homespun flannel shirt -- flag handkerchief around his neck -- an almost new pair of cowhide shoes, and coarse socks. No papers were found about him to give any light: all that was found in his pockets were simply four religious tracts printed in London -- a scrap of paper on which was written, September 24th, 1828 -- Mr. James Websa, and two plugs of tobacco.
Carlton, Oct. 8th, 1827. R. M. BROWN, Cor.
So many points of resemblance to Morgan were recognized in this description, that the Committee was called together, and some gentlemen in the village intimately acquainted with Capt. Morgan, sent for. Doc. Ezra Strong found by referring to his book that he had extracted two teeth for Morgan, and recollected distinctly that his teeth corresponded with those described in the Coroner's report. Mr. Russell Dyer recollected the singularity of Morgan's teeth, having frequently observed them. He stated, however, distinctly, that the teeth were missing from Morgan's upper instead of the lower jaw. He also stated positively, that Morgan had a broken tooth adjoining the in the upper jaw, near the corner of the mouth. Mr. Dyer was so confident about the teeth, as to declare that if the report of the Coroner was correct, the body found could not be Morgan's.
The height, age, and coincidence of double teeth all round, however, seemed to require an investigation, and the Committee immediately despatched Messrs. Weed and Marchant to the spot where the body was found, and Mr. Dyer went express to Batavia for Mrs. Morgan, and other persons who knew him.
On the way from Gaines to the lake, Messrs. Weed and Marchant met several of the citizens who were upon the Coroner's inquest, from whom they ascertained that great anxiety prevailed throughout the town to have a further examination of the body -- that they had taken considerable pains to obtain information and excite enquiry abroad, but that nothing had been done. Mr. Brown, the Coroner, proceeded with them to the lake, and several citizens soon assembled, who assisted in preparing for an examination. In the afternoon, Messrs. Fitch, Holden and Gibbs, of Batavia, with R. Dyer of Rochester, arrived. The recollections of these gentlemen about the person of Capt. Morgan were stated before the body was disinterred. The peculiarities recollected by these gentlemen related to the teeth and hair of Morgan. Mr. Fitch's recollection about his hair was full and distinct. R. Dyer repeated, his statement about the absent and broken teeth in the upper jaw.
88The body was then taken from the grave for examination. It was much bloated and discolored, but the flesh was unbroken. The head, except the face, appeared natural. The hair, of which there was a profusion on the back of the head, in the neck and on the chest, dropped out upon touching it. The nails of the fingers and feet were loose. The hair corresponded minutely with the description of Mr. Fitch and the absent and broken teeth were found precisely as stated by Mr. Dyer. Long white hairs described in Morgan's ears by T. Fitch were not found so thick as he had represented, but upon examination a mass of matted hair of that description was found deposited in the bottom of the ear. After a careful examination, Messrs, Dyer, Fitch and Gibbs gave an unequivocal opinion, that it was the dead body of. William Morgan. Mr. Holden's recollections of Morgan were not as distinct as the other gentlemen, but he was confident that the resemblance of the head and hair was very striking.
Under these circumstances, it became proper to institute further investigations, and to identify the remains legally. Mr. Brown and Esq. Byington procured three trusty men to protect the remains until Mrs. .Morgan and other persons could get there. The gentlemen from Rochester and Batavia returned home, and notice was given to gentlemen at Lewiston, Lockport, and other places, that an examination would be had on Monday the 15th inst.
The inhabitants who reside on that shore state, that within the" last 15 years seven bodies, drowned in the Niagara river, have drifted ashore within three or four miles of the mouth of Oak Orchard creek. Col. Howell states that while he was one of the coroners of the county, he held four inquests upon bodies identified to have been lost in the Niagara river.
This shows the tendency of the current to deposit what comes out of the river in that vicinity. The distance is between 30 and 40 miles. On Sunday morning the undersigned, with Doctors John D. Henry and Ezra Strong, who attended Morgan through several fits of sickness, and Mr. Lester Beardslee and Russel Dyer, who were intimately acquainted with him, arrived at the mouth of the creek; Mrs. Morgan and several witnesses from Batavia came soon afterwards. The coroner issued his warrant for a new inquest. Before noon from 150 to 200 citizens, from the distance of 8 to 20 miles arrived. Before Mrs, Morgan crossed the creek, and before the body was taken from the grave, Dr. Henry took from the lips of Mrs. Morgan, and wrote down a minute description of the person of her husband, and of
89the marks by which she expected to identify him. She had furnished, and gave to Dr. Henry, the two teeth extracted by Dr. Strong, and told him from what part of the upper jaw they were taken, and described the situation and appearance of the broken tooth: she stated also that there was a scar and callous on the great toe of the left foot, occasioned by being frozen in such a way as to render an incision necessary, and the bone affected to be scraped.
After the jurors had personally examined the body, the Coroner commenced the examination of witnesses. The testimony was carefully written down, read over and subscribed by each witness. Every spectator had time and opportunity to examine the body with as much minuteness as they desired. All persons whom it was supposed knew anything connected with inquiry were sworn. The following is a minute of the testimony, copied from notes Laken at the examination: --
Stillman Hoxsie, being sworn, testified that he found the body on the shore of the Lake, near where it now lies -- that the body was lying on the face, head towards the shore, and one hand and one foot in the edge of the water: he found it a week ago yesterday, between 11 and 12 o'clock, and gave information to the Coroner before moving the body. The body was dressed in a dandy coat, black, black vest and pantaloons, woollen socks, home made woollen shirt, cowhide shoes, and cotton or silk flag handkerchief about his neck -- witness did not know how long the body had lain there. The body is now more swollen and blacker than it then was, particularly about the face and neck.
Lester Beardslee testified, that he had examined the head of the body, that he knew William Morgan, and saw him in August before he was missing; that the shape of Morgan's head, his hair, and his ears, were similar to those features on the body. Morgan showed witness his teeth about four years ago, which were what is commonly called double teeth all around; there were no teeth gone at that time. The teeth in this body are double teeth, similar to Morgan's. Morgan's ears were filled with hairs more than people in general, which were long and white; his beard was gray; he wore no whiskers that I remember; he was bald on the top of his head, and the hair behind and at the sides of his head was long and usually combed up, to cover his baldness; he had a small nose; Morgan had more hair on his breast than most people, and a full chest, in which respect the body resembles him. Morgan had light eyes, lightish complexion; his height corresponds with that of the body; should think. Morgan was over 50
90years of age. Witness thinks that this body is the body of William Morgan.
Thurlow Weed, being sworn, says -- that he came here in company with others on Saturday last to examine the body, and that he assisted in disinterring it. He says that Mr. Fitch, in describing the head and hair of Morgan, before the grave was opened, stated that his ears were full of long gray hairs. Upon looking into the ears of this body, witness did not find the hairs so thick as Mr. Fitch represented, (although several long and gray remained there,) but that in the course of the examination he found a mass of hair lodged in the bottom of the ear, corresponding with the hair described by Mr. Fitch, which had evidently dropped out, and fell into the ear: witness took this hair out in the presence of Mr. Dyer and Mr. Bying- ton. Today, having a better view of the right ear, many hairs, long, and gray, are to be seen there.
Russel Dyer testified, that he knew William Morgan. The shape of Morgan's head, his hair, his double teeth in front, were similar to this body. Morgan had one tooth gone in the upper jaw, and the next one to it was broken, or split, in which respect the body resembles him; when witness heard the report of the Coroner in relation to the body which was published, in which it was stated that two teeth were gone in the lower jaw, witness then said, that if the ieeth were gone from the lower jaw of the head of this body, it could not be the body of Wm. Morgan; thinks he saw Morgan a year ago in August last; he had boarded with me; never knew he had had the small or kine pox; does not recollect any scar about the body; when witness first saw the body day before yesterday, he observed some long hairs in the ears, some of which fell out. Morgan informed me about three years ago that he was then fifty-one years of age; he had hair upon his breast, and a gray beard. Witness then declared he had no doubt but this was the body of William Morgan.
David C. Miller testified, that he knew William Morgan -- he has partly examined the body; could not say that it was the body of William Morgan; did not know that Morgan had double teeth all around, or that he had lost two teeth; his dress when he left Batavia a year ago last September, was a blue frock coat, blue vest and .blue pantaloons, and thinks he had on boots; my impression is, that he was wholly bald on the top of his head; he was 50 years of age, or over; he had a habit when he was in conversation of drawing his hair with his fingers over the top of his head.
George W. Harris testified, that he knew William
91Morgan, and that he has seen the body -- Witness is a silversmith in Batavia, and Morgan used to shave at the glass, in witness' shop, and witness remarked that Morgan shaved higher up his face than any man witness ever saw: this body has been shaved as appears, by the beard, almost up to the eyes; does not recollect particularly about his hair: saw Morgan the day he was taken from Batavia, and had known him for more than a year previous. His dress when he went away, was a blue frock coat, blue vest, and blue pataloons and old boots. He never wore a flannel shirt, as witness ever saw, but he might have worn a flannel wrapper. The size and shape of Morgan's fingers and nails were similar to those of this body -- Morgan had a double chin and though the face of this body is much swollen it has the appearance of having a double chin -- Morgan had a firm set of teeth and had lost some, the vacancies of which he showed when he grated his teeth or laughed: he had an extreme full chest and his bosom was covered with a quantity of grey hairs. The colour of his hair was the same as that of this body; Morgan was not far from 50 years of age I should think, and he was about 5 feet 8 inches high -- don't know that he ever had the small or kine pox; he had a tapering arm and hand and a small wrist: he had a lump or pertuberence on his head a little above his forehead, and I observed a similar appearance upon this body; witness feels satisfied beyond a doubt that this is the body of William Morgan; he had a short nose; was a brick layer by trade, and lived over my shop -- before he went away he used to be agitated in conversation, and when conversing about his situation would walk the shop in a perturbed manner and occasionally grated his teeth.
Thurlow Weed, being sworn, says that he came here in company with others on Saturday last to examine the body, and that he assisted in disinterring it. He says that Mr. Fitch, in describing the beard and hair of Morgan, before the grave was opened, stated that his ears were full of Iong grey hairs. Upon looking into the ears of this body witness did not find the hairs so thick as Mr. Fitch represented, although several, long and grey, remained there) but that in the course of the examination he found a mass of hair lodged in the bottom of the ear corresponding with the hair described by Mr. Fitch, which had evidently dropped out and fell into the ear. Witness took this hair out in the presence of Mr. Dyer and Mr. Byington. To-day having a better view of the right ear, many long and gray hairs are still to be seen.
Lucinda Morgan testified that she was the wife of William Morgan, of Batavia. The last time she saw him was the 11th September, 1826 -- he had on then, a blue coat, blue vest, and blue pantaloons -- the pantaloons of a different kind of cloth from the coat -- he never wore a flannel shirt but wore flannel wrappers --
92he had on boots and woolen socks, the boots were old and worn, and thinks they were calf skin. He had on a white neck handkerchief and linen shirt, and had with him a flag silk pocket handkerchief something worn -- she thinks she would know the clothes if she saw them -- he used tobacco. Witness has seen the body and finds points of resemblance between it and her husband -- the teeth, the hands, the breast, the nails on the fingers and toes are similar -- he had been inoculated for the small pox on his left arm -- he had double teeth all round -- two teeth were gone from the upper jaw -- Dr. Strong extracted both of the teeth which witness had with her -- on the right side of the upper jaw the tooth next to one of those which were extracted was split off -- the suspenders he had on were cotton knit -- his coat pockets were white -- coat was bound or faced with cloth similar to the coat itself -- The lining of the pantaloons was white and believes of white linen. My husband was bald on the top of his head, except a small place in the center, which was covered with thin fine hair. He dressed his hair, latterly by combing down over his head. Witness has no doubt but this is the body of her husband. The joint of his big toe, on his left foot, had been frozen, and the bone had become so affected that the physician made an incision into the flesh and scraped the bone which left a scar similar in appearance to a scar on the same place on this body. He had a good deal of hair on his breast, which was gray: he was very full breasted. He never had any broken limb to my knowledge. The coroner then showed the clothes which the body had on, when found, and the tracts and scraps of writing found in the pockets; when witness testified, that she had never seen any of those articles of dress before, or the tracts: she could not swear to the handwriting on the paper exhibited, although one or two letters were something similar to her husband's handwriting. -- Witness then stated, in answer to a question put by a juryman, that she was fully convinced in her own mind, that this is the body of her husband William Morgan.
David C. Miller testified, that the handwriting on the paper exhibited was not the handwriting of William Morgan.
Henry Henderson testified that he knew William Morgan when in Batavia, and that he had examined the body.
93The upper part of the head, the beard, the teeth and the hair on the breast resembled similar points on Morgan's person. Morgan used to comb up his hair to cover the balding on his head and often used a handkerchief for that purpose. The height of Morgan was about the same as that of this body; witness has no doubt but this is the body of William Morgan; saw Morgan, a short time before he was taken from Batavia; knew him for more than a year previous; had played whist with him often, and saw him at least once a week: he had a heavy gray beard: gray hair; did not notice hair in his ears; he had a short nose; don't recollect about his double chin.
Dr. Ezra Strong testified, that he knew Morgan four years ago, from the month of April to the month of September in the next year: he and his wife boarded at my house about six months: he was sick most of the time with inflamed eyes. I attended him two or three months, some, times alone and sometimes other physicians were called in; witness thinks from the upper part of the head of this body that it is the body of William Morgan, whilst he boarded with me I extracted two teeth from him and found by charges in my book: does not recollect which jaw they were taken from: two teeth have been extracted from this body: Mrs. Morgan handed me the two teeth which she said I extracted and they will slide into the places or vacancies in the head of this body quite well: though the face is so much swollen it is impossible to describe exactly whether they were taken from this head: Morgan had a heavy beard and much hair on his breast: the body has been inoculated as appears by a scar on the arm: another tooth in the body is broken or split off -- If a body had been floating about in the water, exposed to the air since the time Morgan was missing it would have putrefied more than this, body; but if it had been under water it might have been preserved.
William W. Morgan testified, that he knew William Morgan considerably. -- The head, the beard, the hair upon the breast of this body, resembled Morgan's. Does not recollect any thing about Morgan's teeth: was acquainted with him two years ago last February, and saw him frequently from that time until he was missing, I was absent from Batavia about nine months during the time, but saw him frequently.
Dr. John D. Henry testified, that he knew William Morgan, when he resided in Rochester, and attended him as a physician: does not recollect any strong marks about him, by which he could identify this body as his. He had inflamed eyes, and witness prescribed for him for nearly nine months: knew his hair, but cannot identity this body by that to his satisfaction: remembered his whiskers, and shaved them frequently. He had fine teeth in front, which he was very anxious should not be injured by sallivation. The teeth of this body appear as I should expect the teeth of Morgan would appear. The shape of this head, though much bloated, is very similar to the head of Morgan. I should be very unwilling to say that this was Morgan's body, or that it was not; though the teeth, the shape of the head, and the hair, resemble Morgan's. It would be impossible for me to decide, whether a body could be preserved as this has been. I should not suppose it was remarkable to find a body preserved as this is. Many bodies decay sooner than others, and much depends upon exposure to the air and the sun. -- This might have been better or
94might have been worse preserved. Cannot determine from the appearance, whether this body has been bound about the hands or feet. Mrs. Morgan, before she saw the body, described the place where two teeth had been taken from her husband, and showed me the teeth; she likewise described the manner in which one had been broken off, and a scar on one of the great toes. On examining this body, I find two teeth gone and one broken off, as described, and also a mark on one of the great toes -- the two teeth which she had will slide into and fill the vacancies in the body, pretty well.
Orleans County ss: } An inquisition indented and taken for the people of the State of New York, at Batavia, in the county aforesaid, in the open air, on the shore of Lake Ontario, in said county and town, the fifteenth day of Octobor, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven, before me, Robert M. Brown, gentleman, one of the Coroners of the said State, for the county aforesaid, upon the view of the body of William Morgan, then and there lying dead, [upon the oaths] of John Archer, Silas Joy, Suell Joy, Wm. Williams, Matthew Dunham, John Barnum, R. Wilcox, Rodney Parish, John H. Tyler, Asa Simpson, Asa Kimball, I. Hall, Stephen Jennings, Richard Barry, Ebenezer Handy, Abel Barnum, John Murdock, Samuel Baldwin, Asahel Byington, Reuben Scofield, Jesse Hall, James Tefft and L. G. Hoxsie, good and lawful men of the said county, who, being sworn and charged to enquire on the part of the people of the State of New York aforesaid, when, where, how, and after what manner, the said William Morgan, came to his death, do say upon their oaths aforesaid, that the said William Morgan came to his death by suffocation by drowning, and so the said jurors aforesaid do say, he, the said Wm. Morgan came to his death -- In witness whereof, as well the said Coroner as the jurors aforesaid, have to their inquisition set their hands and seals, the day and year aforesaid, at the place aforesaid.
Samuel Baldwin, Foreman -- Asahel Byington, John H. Tyler, L. G. Hoxsie, Asa Simpson, John Barnum, Abel S. Barnum, James Tefft, A. Kimball, Matthew Dunham, Stephen Jennings, S. Joy, Silas Joy, John Archer, Richard Barry, Rodney Parish, Jesse Hall, John Murdock, Reuben Scofield, Wm. Williams, E. Handy, R. Wilcox, and Israel Hall.
ROBERT M. BROWN, Coroner.
After an examination of about four hours the testimony was closed, and the jury of inquest, consisting of twenty-three
95members, consulted a moment together, and agreed unanimously upon their verdict, that it was "THE BODY OF WILLIAM MORGAN, AND THAT HE CAME TO HIS DEATH BY SUFFOCATION BY DROWNING," which verdict was made up in the form of an inquisition, and signed by the whole panel.
We have been thus particular in the statement of the facts and testimony, knowing that the subject was one of engrossing interest to the community, and that curiosity would be awakened to learn the whole circumstances, that each individual for himself might apply his own judgement to the case, and decide whether the identity had been established.
For ourselves we do conceive that the body discovered on the shore of Lake Ontario, has been identified as the body of Capt. WILLIAM MORGAN, beyond the shadow of a doubt. In this discovery we cannot but trace the hand of an overruling Providence, who when all human efforts were found too weak effectually to penetrate the mysterious secret, has chosen in his own time, and by his own means to throw a broad light upon this dark mystery. This induces us to rely with a stronger hope upon the same Providence to unravel the remainder of this entangled skein, and to provide means for bringing all the perpetrators of a daring outrage to merited punishment.
FREDERICK F. BACKUS,