In June 1881 Mr. John S. Andrews, of Belle Plaine, Kansas, purchased the I. F. Austin place in Silverdale township through J. P. Musselman. Mr. Andrews had 2,000 sheep and intended to turn the property into a stock farm.
In January 1882 a Bolton township correspondent commented on the importance of the sheep interest in Cowley County. “In 1881 Bolton township had but 63 sheep. At this time I know of over 4,000, and the number will be doubled before next winter. The winter has been a very favorable one, and where there is plenty of range, little or no hay or corn has been fed. Mr. Pink Fouts, at Willow Springs, Indian Territory, ten miles below us, has a flock of 4,000, and reports his sheep fat. He has but 60 tons of hay and does not expect to feed half of it. Scott & Topliff have 2,500 head and about 70 tons of hay. They have not fed yet, except their Merino sheep shipped from Ohio last fall. Most flock masters dipped late last fall, some not until the middle of November. Mr. Fouts had to dip twice. The first time he tried the ‘Scotch Dip,’ and pronounced it a failure, and afterwards used a preparation of lime, creosote, arsenic, and a whole list of other drugs. The last dip proved effective. Mr. Croker, west of Bolton, is grazing his sheep this winter and doesn’t intend to feed at all. He has his house on wheels and follows them from one range to another. Mr. Hill, just in the corner of Sumner Co., shipped a carload of Colorado wethers to St. Louis a few weeks since, where they sold for $2.16 each. The freight on a single decked car was $70. After deducting handling fees, the sheep netted $1.31 per head. They averaged 78½ lbs. and sold for $1.75 per 100 lbs.
“Mr. Andrews has a large flock in Silverdale township. He prefers losing lambs in the spring rather than in the fall, and will have his lambs come in April. Flock masters differ, as well as others. Many do not believe in taking the chances until grass is sufficiently plentiful to afford plenty of feed for the ewes, and the ewes plenty of milk. Very little complaint is made against wolves, but dogs are a great annoyance in every direction.”
Mr. John Andrews sowed about 15 acres of rye in 1881 for his lambs, stating it was the best investment for feed he ever made. He found it beneficial for his horses also. In 1884 Mr. Andrews shipped four car loads of sheep to St. Louis and purchased a car load of horses, which he sold at Winfield. Andrews severely injured his arm and his assistant, Tony Agler, broke his shoulder blade when unloading the horses. By May 1885 John S. Andrews was residing in Maple City. He took 800 head of sheep from Grouse creek to an area near Floral, stating that the report of his losing 100 sheep due to a rise in Timber creek was false. Mr. Andrews shipped five cars of sheep to St. Louis in late May 1885 when prices were low and corn was selling for 50 cents per bushel. Little money was made in sheep, cattle, and hogs.
Miss Clara A. Andrews, daughter of John Andrews, was appointed as postmistress at Maple City in November 1885. In February 1886 she became the central figure in a murder.
John W. Marshall, 26, son of a practicing physician in Dublin, Franklin County, Ohio, came to Maple City, Kansas, in November 1885. He boarded with the family of John S. Andrews, having met them when they lived in Ohio. Realizing that canvassing as a book salesman would not work, Marshall started a writing school, assisting Mr. Andrews, who had a lame shoulder, with needed chores such as chopping wood without pay. He met John Snyder, 24, when he came to the Andrews home to visit with Clara, learning that Snyder had come from New Orleans to Maple City to live with Dr. G. H. J. Hart and his family. In January 1886 Marshall began boarding at Mr. Clay’s and made preparations to marry Miss Ella M. Clay, their daughter. Marshall went to Winfield on Thursday, January 21, 1886, to obtain a wedding certificate. In conversation with some male friends relative to certain girls, whose fellows were busted, Marshall said: “That’s nothing. We’ve got two fellows down our way whose girls keep them.” Marshall later said he was referring to himself and Snyder.
Marshall also stated that a friend told him some days later that Snyder took offense to his remark and was threatening to horsewhip him for lying about Snyder’s relationship with Miss Andrews. He was advised to arm himself. Marshall procured a Smith & Wesson 32-calibre pistol. He was also told that Snyder’s friend, Dr. Hart, had purchased a whip, and was threatening to hold Marshall with a revolver while Snyder horse-whipped him.
Marshall testified on Thursday, January 28, 1886: “I didn’t run across either of them until yesterday. When I was coming up from the spring with my big mittens on and a pail of water in each hand, I met Snyder and Hart taking their team across to the barn to hitch up. Snyder was twenty feet ahead of Hart, who was driving the unhitched horses. He threw down his wraps, done up with a shawl strap, and said: ‘You’re the s of a b I’ve been looking for, I’ll maul h l out of you!’ He made for me, with his hand on his back pocket and I yelled ‘Halt!’ several times. He kept coming and I drew my cocked revolver quick as a flash, and shot. As I shot, he dodged, and the ball went into his head behind the ear, they say, and came out of his forehead. Snyder fell and Hart dropped the lines and rushed up. I yelled, ‘Halt!’ and came down on him, and he threw up his hands, where I held him, till the crowd came, when I gave myself up.” Snyder died on Wednesday night. Marshall was married to Miss Clay, 16, on Friday. She accompanied him to Winfield with Sheriff McIntire, staying with him at the jail. Snyder was interred on Saturday in Union Cemetery, north of Winfield.
The Winfield Courier made the following statements in its February 4, 1886, issue.
“Dr. G. H. J. Hart, who was arrested and brought up by Deputy Sheriff, Joe Church, charged with complicity in the murder of John Snyder, swore out a warrant for John Marshall, Thursday. The Doctor was released until after the preliminary examination of Marshall, who was taken before Justice Buckman, Friday morning. The preliminary was set for February 8th, at one o’clock, with bonds at $5,000. Of course, Marshall can’t give bonds and won’t try. Dr. Hart’s story gives a very different phase to this tragedy. Hart and Snyder were raised together and the Doctor thought a great deal of him. Snyder was a young man of refinement, was a good singer and talker, and performed nicely on the piano. Andrews’ were the only ones in the neighborhood who had a good instrument and Snyder in this way got very friendly with the family. He thought a great deal of Miss Andrews. He admired her beauty and accomplishments, but was not particularly in love. He had been engaged for several years to a girl back east. He was raised in the south and was of that extremely sensitive southern nature, and when he heard what Marshall had said about himself and Miss Andrews, he told Hart that he proposed, before returning home to New Orleans, to give Marshall a good pounding. The Doctor tried to persuade him out of the idea; said it was a foolish thing to fight over, and to let it go. Nothing was said about any horse whipping: Snyder was going to leave the next day. Dr. Hart testified: ‘When we met Marshall Tuesday morning, Snyder started for him—I knew there would be a fight. Knowing that Snyder had no revolver, I thought there would be only a little knock down, and started around my team to get a view of the affair. Just as I got in plain view, only a few steps off, I noticed Marshall stoop over and as he raised up, brought out his revolver and fired. Snyder, on seeing the revolver, was just in the act of wheeling to run when the ball took him behind the left ear, coming out over his left eye. He fell over on his face, without uttering a word. I ran up and was going to pick him up when Marshall covered me and held me up. Snyder breathed only mechanically until 10 o’clock, when he died. He never knew, farther than the momentary sight of the revolver, what hurt him. He said not a word to Marshall. He never carried or owned a revolver in his life, and I never carried one but three days in my life. Neither of us had the sign of a weapon about us.’”
Some of the area newspapers began to criticize Dr. G. H. J. Hart. The Arkansas City Democrat favored the story of Dr. G. H. J. Hart’s implication in the Maple City tragedy and made him out as a very tough citizen, stating that he was formerly a resident of Arkansas City and left a very unsavory and unsuccessful reputation.
Both the Arkansas City Republican and the Arkansas City Traveler remained mute.
On February 24, 1886, a card was inserted in the Traveler by friends of Dr. Hart.
“We wish to state through the columns of your paper, since Dr. Hart has been at Maple City, his conduct has been the reverse of that reported in the Arkansas Valley Democrat. Instead of proving himself a dead-beat and failing to pay his bills, we have personal knowledge of his having made sacrifices to be able to pay his debts. His conduct has been that of an honorable man, and he has been held in the highest esteem as a physician in this community. [Signed by] Geo. Eaton, R. P. Goodrich, R. E. Howe, Geo. A. Sutton, A. M. Severy, Robt. Haines, M. Anthis, John Drury, O. L. Goodrich, S. L. Howe, A. L. Hubbard, J. L. Andrews, H. S. Gibbs, H. S. Libby.”
In checking the Arkansas City Traveler and Arkansas City Republican during the time period that Dr. Hart practiced medicine in Arkansas City, a different story emerged.
Dr. G. H. J. Hart, who had been employed for the past two years as Quarantine Physician by the Board of Health in New Orleans, Louisiana, arrived in Arkansas City in November 1884 to locate permanently. He was well received by his fellow physicians and soon joined with some of them on hunting excursions in Indian Territory. He secured office rooms over the post office, which was considered a splendid location, and became noted as a pleasant conversationalist who quickly formed many friends, holding a “jolly popcorn party” in his rooms in December. He specialized in the diseases of women and children. He attended many social functions in Arkansas City such as the “Auction Social” conducted by the Presbyterian ladies in December 1884 and the New Year’s reception held by the Episcopal ladies on the following month.
In February 1885 Ed Bass and Bob McGinnis, both colored, got into a dispute over a bird dog on Summit Street near the post office. Frank Sheets, standing nearby, soon became involved and a quarrel ensued between McGinnis and Sheets, ending with McGinnis slashing Sheets three times with a razor, one cut making a deep wound five inches in length on the back of his neck. Capt. Rarick soon appeared and disarmed and arrested McGinnis. Sheets was taken to Dr. Hart’s office, where the wound was washed, dressed, and stitched after an instrument was found that would penetrate the thick hide on his neck. McGinnis was charged with assault and battery with intent to kill and bound over to appear at the next term of court in the sum of $400. Sheets was taken before Judge Kreamer and fined $1 for disturbance of the peace.
On February 25, 1885, the Arkansas City Traveler announced that Dr. Hart was going to become a partner of Dr. J. T. Shepard, a well-known Arkansas City physician. For some reason this partnership did not take place and Dr. Hart relocated his office to Room 6 in the Hasie Block. In April 1885 Dr. Hart moved to Maple City.
Dr. Hart was hounded by many supporters of young Marshall. The Winfield Courier of Thursday, March 4, 1886, had the following item. “Dr. G. H. J. Hart, of Maple City, has sold his effects and departed. He went to Winfield and from there to Atchison and from there the general supposition is that he went to New Orleans. He was under a $200 bond to appear as a witness in the Marshall murder trial.” On April 10, 1886, the Arkansas City Republican reported that Dr. G. H. J. Hart had returned from the south to Maple City.
The trial took place on Wednesday, April 21, 1886, and was covered by the Arkansas City Republican. “After the jury was out about seven hours, they brought in a verdict for acquittal, which was somewhat of a surprise to everyone, as it was generally believed that Marshall would get off with a light sentence. A demonstration in the way of applause was made. The court issued an order for the arrest of any participant. W. E. Merydith, of the Dexter Eye, was the only one noticed stamping his feet, and he was arrested and fined $5. The Eye optician paid his fine.”
Dr. Hart moved to Glenn Allen, Morris County, Kansas.
The Marshall murder trial took its toll on John S. Andrews and family.
On July 10, 1886, the Arkansas City Republican printed the following item.
“John Andrews, of Silverdale Township, has traded his large flock of sheep for a farm up in the north part of the county.”