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Murder Trial

                                    HENRY MOWRY, OF ARKANSAS CITY.
                                                   HORRIBLE TRAGEDY.
                             Henry Mowry Shoots James P. Smith Dead in Alley.
Arkansas City Republican, August 22, 1885.
Between 5 and 6 o’clock, just as the REPUBLICAN was making ready to go to press last evening, a firing of fire-arms was distinctly heard in the rear of O. P. Houghton’s dry goods store. Rushing from our office up on to the street, we saw a number of our citizens running very hurriedly for the alley and in pursuit of a man fleeing south, who carried a shot gun. The police were after him and the excited crowd was crying out “shoot him.” Several shots were fired, but none seemed to take effect. Going to the rear of O. P. Houghton’s store, where a knot of men were assembled, we saw a man lying upon the ground with the life blood gushing from a seeping wound in the left side of his neck. The blood flowed in an exceeding large stream and it was evident that the wounded man had not long to live. Physicians were summoned. Drs. Sparks, Westfall, and Geo. Wright were there in about three minutes of the shooting. They stanched the flow of blood as soon as possible and carried the wounded man into Mr. Houghton’s store, where he died at about 7:30 p.m. In the meantime the crowd and police followed the fugitive up the alley to 4th avenue and thence two squares west, where he was captured. During the chase west on 4th avenue several shots were exchanged between the pursued and pursuers, and one shot took effect in the former a short distance below the groin, passing through the fat part of his thigh. The bullet had struck his watch and glanced downward, thereby saving his life. The captured man proved to be Henry Mowry, known to all as “Hank” Mowry. The man whom he had shot was Jas. P. Smith, the proprietor of a brickyard in the vicinity of Harmon’s Ford.
The prisoner after the capture was conveyed to the Occidental Hotel, where physicians were summoned and his wound dressed.
The cause of the trouble was about as follows.

Henry Mowry on Friday afternoon went to the residence of O. F. Godfrey. Mr. Mowry had been at one time an intimate friend of the Godfrey family, sometime ago boarding at their house. Not long since he was requested to seek other quarters on account of dissatis-faction. He took rooms at the Occidental; but paid visits, according to Mrs. Godfrey’s testimony, to the house, and she had told him she wished that he would remain away, but he refused to do so. Yesterday afternoon he paid three visits to the house. The first was a short time after dinner. Mr. Godfrey was not at home. As an excuse for coming, Mowry said he had brought down some wheat for the birds. He also told Mrs. Godfrey that he was infatuated with her. She requested him to leave or she would tell her husband, who would make him. He left and in about 20 minutes returned with a double barreled shot gun. She saw him coming and ran into her bedroom and locked the door. He came on in the house, and by promising not to hurt her, persuaded her to come out of the room. In the conversation which followed, she again asked him to leave and he reiterated his demands that she would not tell her husband, and threatened her, saying he would just as leave kill her and perhaps would before night. After this Mowry took his departure and Mrs. Godfrey sent her son after Mr. Godfrey. A few minutes after he had been home, Mowry returned for the third time. They saw him coming and went into the dining room. Mowry came up to the front gate. Godfrey called to him not to come in. He made some kind of a reply, raised his gun, and fired through the front window into the bedroom, the shot passing through a partition wall. In a few seconds he fired again, the shot having the same range as the first. He then proceeded to load his gun as he walked rapidly north on 7th street until he arrived at 7th avenue, where he broke into a run and came west to Summit, coming south on Summit to Central Avenue and then running west obliquely to the alley where the fatal shot was fired. Along Mowry’s run, citizens began to give chase to capture the fugitive.
It is not known where the deceased entered the pursuit, but by the time Mowry was abreast of the rear of O. P. Houghton’s store, he was not a dozen paces behind him. At this moment Mowry turned and commanded his pursuer to halt. Smith stopped, and Mowry turned and started again, while Smith took after him again. Mowry again turned, and commanded Smith to stop, which the latter did not do. Mowry raised his gun and fired, when he was in about ten or twelve feet of him. The entire charge took effect in the left jaw and neck. Smith fell forward upon his hands and knees, while the murderer ran on down the alley. At the post mortem examination of the wound, made by Drs. Sparks and Westfall, during the coroner’s inquest, last night, they stated that “the main wound was two inches below the lobe of the left ear, and two inches to the centre of it, and to the front of the posterior angle of the lower jaw. One-and-a-half inches of the lower jaw was carried away; and that the left anterior temporal artery was wounded; also the left jugular vein.” In the minds of the examining physicians, the wound was sufficient to cause death.
The coroner’s jury after investigation rendered a verdict that James P. Smith came to his death by a gun in the hands of Henry Mowry being discharged by him feloniously to kill and murder. The investigation lasted until 3 a.m. The jury was composed of E. P. Greer, R. C. Howard, S. C. Lindsay, Chas. Bryant, Ira Barnett, and J. B. Nipp. County Attorney Asp, being away from home, Senator Hackney came down to attend the case.
The prisoner was kept at the Occidental Hotel all night under a strong guard. When he was first captured, the talk of lynching was so strong that the Arkansas Valley Guards were put on duty to patrol the streets and squelch all rising of indignant citizens, besides a large number of extra police being distributed through the hallways of the hotel.
He was taken to Winfield this morning on the early train and placed in jail. The prisoner when first arrested was defiant, but later in the evening he gave away and expressed fears of being lynched. When the writer in company with the coroner went to see him he talked rationally and answered questions quite readily. He kept his eyes covered with his hands and did not once remove them while we were in the room.
The prisoner is about 40 years of age, and belongs to one of the first families of the lower Arkansas Valley. His parents reside in Bolton Township. One of the most heart-rendering scenes we ever witnessed in our lives was when his mother was brought to his bedside. No pen could paint the anguish of that mother and the eyes of the many spectators were moistened as her pitiful moans fell upon their ears as she was brought into the hotel.

The deceased, James P. Smith, was a married man and was 40 years of age. He was a peaceable citizen and universally esteemed. He leaves his wife and two small children. Mrs. Smith has been sick in bed for some time, and the shock to her is almost more than the poor woman can bear. Upon the news being broken to her, it prostrated her so that she was unable to be conveyed to the side of her dying husband until a few moments before he died. He did not recognize her. Our heart fails us! We dare not speak of the pitiful scene which occurred at the dying bedside.
It is supposed that Mowry was under the influence of intoxicants when he enacted the horrible tragedy, although he was not a drinking man. His wound was not a severe one, being only an injury of the flesh.
This affair is the most horrible one in the annals of Arkansas City. It is regretted by all. The sympathy of the community is extended to both families. The blow is very severe to them and especially so to Mrs. Smith, who is in a bad condition to have such a bereavement befall her.
A. G. Lowe was the first person to lay hands on the prisoner. When but a few feet from him, Mowry raised his gun and fired at him. Several shots took effect in Lowe’s leg, but most of the charge spent its force in the ground in front of Mr. Lowe.
Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, August 29, 1885.
                                                    Our New Business Blocks.
From time to time the REPUBLICAN has made mention of the various handsome business blocks as they commenced erection, but we have never gone into details.
      G. W. Miller & Co., moved into their new quarters Tuesday. Their business room is about completed, except some of the finishing touches. The block is two stories and is 25 x 75 feet; is built of stone with a handsome brick frontage. The brick was furnished by James P. Smith, the man shot by Henry Mowry, from his kiln at Harmon’s Ford, and clearly demonstrates that good brick can be manufactured as cheaply in this vicinity as elsewhere. The cornice was manufactured in the tin shop of Miller & Co., and does them credit as mechanics. It is a beautiful cornice and sets the building off in grand style.
Arkansas City Republican, August 29, 1885.
                                                     THE A. C. HOMICIDE.
                            The Murderer in Bad Shape—Other Minorities of Interest.
Henry Mowry, the murderer of J. P. Smith at Arkansas City, Friday, is in bad physical condition. The wound is all right, doing well, but his nerves appear to be shattered. He has fully awakened to the reality of his terrible crime and for forty-eight hours he didn’t close his eyes in sleep. Dr. Mendenhall has been employed by his brothers, Al. and Will. Smith, who have been at the jail with Henry most of the time since Saturday. Sunday morning Henry had a dozen or more spasms, his frame in a perfect rack, and he had to be held in bed.
During these spasms and struggles, his mind ran on his enamorer, and he said, “Give me my child; she’ll get away with it!” “Yet, you’ll go back on me after getting down on your knees to me, will you?”
Opiates only seemed to string him up until last night, when he relaxed and got rest. This morning his mind is clear, but he was too weak physically for an interview. His relatives take the terrible affair with deep distress.
Jennings & Troup, of this city, and Hon. David Overmyer, of Topeka, will be the attorneys for the defense.

The excitement at Arkansas City has quieted down, though public opinion is yet loud against Mowry. Mrs. Smith, wife of the murdered man, signified her intention to bring suit for damages. To avert this, Mowry has put his property, $4,000 worth of real estate and stock, into other hands.
The woman in this case, Mrs. O. F. Godfrey, is fine looking and keen in conversation. Mowry is not prepossessing either in looks or converse. He seems to have been completely infatuated, and it is thought the matter had been weighing heavily on him some time before the tragedy. It is thought to be a more complicated case than the surface indicates.
The defense will try to stave the case over the September term of the district court. The preliminary examination will probably be waived. Having killed an innocent man, whatever may be proven in the woman matter, will not relieve him from the penalty of cold-blooded murder. His only hope seems to be the insanity plea. Winfield Courier.
Arkansas City Republican, August 29, 1885.
                                                       Buried in Kansas City.
KANSAS CITY, Aug. 24. The remains of ex-Police Officer James P. Smith, who was shot and killed last Friday, arrived here yesterday morning from Arkansas City, Kansas, and were met and taken in charge at the Union depot by the lodges of Odd Fellows, and carried to Undertaker Welden’s. The funeral took place at 3 o’clock, the remains being interred at the Union Cemetery.
The deceased was for many years a resident of this city, and was one of the officers who resigned at the expiration of his term about two years ago. He had a home on Highland Avenue, which he traded for some property at Arkansas City, on which he established a brick yard. He has resided in that city ever since.
When a member of the metropolitan police, Smith was regarded as a brave and competent officer. Before coming to Kansas City, he had resided in Texas, and during a fight with Indians had been scalped and left for dead, but had managed to crawl away after the savages had left the field.
Arkansas City Republican, August 29, 1885.
The REPUBLICAN was mistaken in its report last week of the course Mowry took in his run for freedom. Instead of going north on seventh street to seventh avenue, he went one square further to eighth, and thence west, crossing Summit Street near the residence of Dr. J. M. Wright, and coming south on the alley between Summit and eighth street. Otherwise, our report was correct.
Arkansas City Republican, August 29, 1885.
Card of Thanks. Mrs. Smith, whose husband was murdered on the 21st inst., highly appreciates the kindness of the friends and neighbors who cared so tenderly for her and hers. Being too weak to write, she wishes me to express to you all her most heart-felt gratitude.
                                                           F. L. WALKER.
Arkansas City Republican, August 29, 1885.
                                                   The Mowry-Smith Tragedy.

Saturday afternoon last the remains of James P. Smith, the man who was shot down by Henry Mowry, were taken to Kansas City for interment. The body was escorted to the train by the Odd Fellows and Knights of Pythias organizations. Mrs. Smith went with the remains to Kansas City. She was accompanied by Mrs. Rev. Walker and S. C. Lindsay. The latter was sent by the two organizations of which Mr. Smith was a member. The party arrived at their destination at 6 o’clock Sunday morning, and the funeral occurred at 3 p.m. under the auspices of the I. O. O. F. and K. of P. Lodges. Mrs. Smith has a sister residing in Kansas City, and she will remain with her until she recovers from the blow and her impaired health. She will return here and settle her affairs and then go back to Kansas City and make it her future home. Her health has been bad lately. She is a frail and delicate woman, but bears up as well as could be expected under the circumstances.
Henry Mowry, on being taken to Winfield, was placed in the hands of a physician. He had a fever, but the Doctor had it broken up by Tuesday. Sunday he had five spasms caused by fever. He has about recovered. The wound in his thigh has healed. It did not cause him much trouble. The preliminary examination will come off next week sometime and at Winfield. Jennings and Troup will defend Mowry, and Hackney and Asp will prosecute.
Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, September 5, 1885.
                                               Henry Mowry Remanded to Jail.
Wednesday afternoon the preliminary trial of Henry Mowry was begun before Justice Snow at Winfield. The examination lasted all afternoon and was concluded Thursday morn-ing. Senator W. P. Hackney appeared for the state and Jennings & Troup and W. E. Stanley for the defense. The testimony brought out was almost verbatim to that gained at the Coroner’s inquest. The REPUBLICAN had intended to give the testimony, but as nothing new was adduced, we omit it. Justice Snow, after hearing the matter through and the argument for and against Mowry, decided that it was not a bailable case. Mowry will have to stay in jail until his trial comes off.
Arkansas City Traveler, September 9, 1885.
The preliminary examination of Henry Mowry, charged with the killing of J. P. Smith, was held in Winfield last Wednesday, before Judge Snow. The testimony sustained the fact of the homicide as brought out in the coroner’s inquest, and upon this the prisoner was committed to the county jail, to await his trial at the next term of the district court.
      Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, October 10, 1885.
                                                         Out on $7,000 Bail.

The case of the State against Henry Mowry, charged with the murder of J. P. Smith at Arkansas City in August, came up before Judge Dalton Monday afternoon, and was continued to the next term of the District Court and the defendant admitted to $7,000 bail. The Courier says the State’s evidence as given at the preliminary examination was presented to the Court by the defending attorneys, to show a bailable case; County Attorney Asp, holding out against. In addition to the stenographic evidence, Senator Jennings, who had examined the Godfrey premises at Arkansas City, put a new phase on the matter by swearing that Mowry fired into Godfrey’s house through the window of a room in which he couldn’t help but know, being familiar with the house, neither Godfrey nor his wife were in, with no possible show of hitting them, indicating that the shots were for a scare. Asp claimed positive evidence of deliberation in the fact that Mowry halted Smith three times before he shot, warning him each time; Smith had no visible weapon and was the only one in close pursuit—if not almost the only one in pursuit at all. The defense argued that Mowry’s terrible fear made deliberation impossible, and that the shot was the result of momentary passion—could be nothing else from the evidence. The court held that the evidence was not sufficient to prove premeditation and deliberation. The bond was brought down to Arkansas City Tuesday and filed. Henry Mowry came home Tuesday evening.
Arkansas City Republican, December 19, 1885.
Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Godfrey arrived in Winfield Monday from Chicago to appear as witnesses in the Mowry trial. They came down to Arkansas City Thursday on a short visit.
Arkansas City Traveler, December 23, 1885.
Hank Mowry’s case came up in the district court on Thursday, and by consent of both parties the trial was continued till next term of court. His bonds were fixed at $7,000, which were furnished.
Arkansas City Republican, April 10, 1886.
A. W. Patterson, of New Kiowa, was in the city Thursday night. He was subpoenaed as a witness in the Mowry trial by the defense.
Arkansas City Republican, April 10, 1886.
The April term of the District Court opened Tuesday morning with Judge Torrance on the bench. The Mowry murder trial came up Wednesday.
Arkansas City Republican, April 10, 1886.
The jury in the Mowry trial was impaneled Tuesday morning and the hearing of the evidence has been going on since. The trial of Marshall for the killing of Snyder at Maple City is next on the docket, and then comes the recent Elliott murder. These three cases will consume about three or four weeks of this term of court.
Arkansas City Republican, April 17, 1886.
The evidence in the Mowry trial at Winfield was all in Wednesday morning. Judge Torrance adjourned court until Thursday morning, when the attorneys began their argument.
Judge Torrance read his instructions to the jury and County Attorney Swarts opened the argument with a keen-cut speech of a couple of hours. It surprised those unfamiliar with his ability. Senator Jennings followed for the defense and occupied most of the afternoon in a speech, seeking to establish epileptic mania in his client at the time of the shooting. Henry E. Asp came next, for the prosecution, followed by W. E. Stanley for the defense.
LATER. Just as we were going to press, the word reached us that the jury rendered their verdict after being out about five hours—a verdict of “guilty of murder in the first degree.”
Arkansas City Republican, April 24, 1886.
                                                               The Verdict.
The verdict on the Henry Mowry case last evening was arrived at by the jury with singular unanimity. They first voted on the question, “Did the defendant kill Smith?” Twelve votes answered “Yes.” They next voted on the question, “Was the defendant insane?” Twelve votes answered, “No.” The final vote was on the question, “What is the defendant’s crime under the law and the evidence?” Twelve votes answered, “Murder in the first degree.”     Winfield Courier.
Arkansas City Republican, April 24, 1886.
The counsel for the defense in the case of State vs. Henry Mowry have made a motion for a new trial. Judge Torrance will hear the question argued during this term of court.
Arkansas City Traveler, April 28, 1886.

                                                      Motion for a New Trial.
The hearing of the motion for a new trial in the Mowry case is set for Friday next. The reasons assigned for the application are that the court admitted improper and illegal testimony; that material evidence has since been discovered favorable to defendant; that the jury misconducted itself, thus preventing a proper consideration of the case; that the court instructed wrongly in material points of law; that the court also erred in refusing to give special instructions as requested by the defendant; that the verdict is contrary to law and the evidence; and that one or more of the jurors expressed an opinion as to the guilt of the defendant during the trial. These grounds will be argued before the court, and if sustained with adequate specifications, the option remains with the judge to grant a new trial.
Arkansas City Republican, May 15, 1886.
                                                     Henry Mowry’s sentence.
The motion for a new trial in the Henry Mowry murder case came up before Judge Torrance, Jennings & Troupe arguing for the defense and County Attorneys Swarts & Webb, assisted by Henry E. Asp, under whose official regime the case was brought, representing the county. A gallant fight was made by Mowry’s attorneys, but the court refused to grant a new trial. Mowry’s attorneys gave notice that they would file a motion in arrest of judgment and would have it ready Tuesday morning, after which Mowry was returned to jail and placed again in solitary confinement.
Wednesday morning Judge Torrance overruled the motion for an arrest of judgment and passed the following sentence.
“It is the judgment of the court that the defendant, Henry Mowry, be hanged by the neck until he is dead, at such time as the Governor of this state, for the time being, may appoint; not less than one year from the date of his conviction. It is further ordered by the court that the clerk of this court make out under his hand and the seal of this court, and deliver to the sheriff of this county, a warrant reciting the conviction and sentence of the defendant to the penitentiary of this state, and to deliver him over to the warden thereof, to be, by the warden of the penitentiary, kept at hard labor, safely kept at hard labor, in the walls of the penitentiary, until such time as may be fixed for the execution of this sentence, by the governor of this state.”
Arkansas City Republican, May 15, 1886. Mrs. J. P. Smith, whose husband was murdered last summer, has rented rooms on North Summit Street and opened up an ice cream parlor. All desiring ice cream should call on Mrs. Smith.
Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, July 17, 1886. From Tuesday’s Daily.
The Mowry Record, covering four hundred pages legal cap, executed on a type writer, has been signed by the judge and is now ready for the supreme court. In all probability the case will not be determined short of six months; the defendant in the meantime labors in a coal mine at Leavenworth. Winfield Visitor.

RKW located the following information on
                                                  HENRY CLAY MOWRY.
Arkansas City Traveler, May 30, 1928.

W. D. Mowry was an early day resident here and was in the drug business here with C. C. Sollitt, now retired. He came several days ago. Although he is not well, he came when notified that his brother could not survive long. Funeral services are to be held at 10:30 o’clock tomorrow at Oldroyd Chapel. Dr. Frederick Maier will officiate. Burial will be made in the W. D. Mowry lot, where a son of his is buried.
Arkansas City Traveler, May 30, 1928.
Henry Clay Mowry, a native of Ohio, a veteran of the Civil War and for 57 years a resident of this locality, died at 8:30 o’clock on the eve of Memorial Day in Mercy Hospital. He had been critically ill for only a few days and was taken to the hospital by his brother, W. D. Mowry of Kansas City, who came here to look after the aged man. He was 84 years old.
Henry Mowry, better known to pioneer residents here as “Hank,” had lived in the boathouse at Paris park for the last 20 years. He was known in the early days of the park by nearly all the children in that section of the city.
Mr. Mowry had never married, his brother said today, in telling of early days in and about Arkansas City, when he and his brother, Henry, and other members of the family came here. They arrived in 1871 and Henry had since lived in West Bolton Township, where he took a claim in the early days. Mr. Mowry was a member of the local G.A.R. Post #158, when few remaining members today took an active part in the decoration of soldiers graves in the cemeteries surrounding Arkansas City. After leaving the army following the Civil War, Mr. Mowry was employed at railroading for several years, the brother said.
Arkansas City Traveler, May 31, 1928.
                                                  From Article by Edwin Hunt.
“And so Hank Mowry has wandered on to find the little black dog and the perfect happiness he so much craved. Mr. Mowry was getting very well along in years, and of late had been a bit eccentric, perhaps, but we always liked him and he would come to us for advice just as he did to our father. The bond between us probably was that we both lived in this town, and knew that nowhere in the world will you find true friends. We shall miss Hank, just as we miss every one of those old timers who has gone down the one way trail.”
Note by RKW...
Henry Mowry is W. D. Mowry’s brother and Carl W. Mowry is W. D. Mowry’s son. They are buried in lot 5, block K, of the old addition.


Cowley County Historical Society Museum