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Murder of Mrs. R. H. ("Juliaann") White

                                                         Winfield, Kansas.
In checking for names of the neighbors of Mr. and Mrs. White, I came across the fact that James R. Scott, a painter, who lived at 710 East 3rd, was mentioned about a month after the murder in a news item...
Winfield Courier, Thursday, July 2, 1885.
J. R. Scott, the painter, who was so ready to swear that he obtained intoxicants and got drunk in Farnsworth’s lunch room, and then on the witness stand swore that he drank sweet cider and got “sick,” got a good deal sicker yesterday. He was hauled up, as soon as the Farnsworth case was over, before Judge Turner and plead guilty to a “plain drunk” and got $12.25. Then Sheriff McIntire gobbled him and in Justice Snow’s court Scott’s pocket was relieved of $23.50. It costs something now-a-days to go off on a little booze. A double dose, one in municipal court and one in the State.

Winfield Courier, Thursday, June 11, 1885.
MURDER MOST FOUL! Mrs. White’s Skull Crushed in by a Flat-Iron or Ax While Lying in Bed! THE DEMON UNKNOWN! A Parallel to the Quarles Tragedy, With Results More Deep and Despicable.
THE STORY OF THE HORRIBLE AFFAIR. Monday night between one and two o’clock, a tragedy was enacted almost the simile of the one in which Mrs. Anna Quarles was the victim, a few months ago. But its results are even more mysterious and horrible! In company with Dr. Emerson, a COURIER reporter visited the scene at eight o’clock this morning. On the bank of Timber creek, just north of Tom Johnson’s residence and near Frank Manny’s Brewery, is a little box house, 10 x 12, with pasteboard roof, papered cracks, and no windows. On entering this crude house a sickening sight met our gaze. Lying on a hay bed, and surrounded by circumstances indicating almost poverty, was the victim of this tragedy. The face, neck, hair, and bed clothing were covered, and the throat and lungs filled, with blood. The whole skull over her right eye was crushed in, exposing the brain and presenting a terrible sight. Mrs. R. H. White was only mechanically breathing, expected to pass unconsciously away at any moment. Just back of her lay the baby, a nice looking little girl of two years, calmly sleeping. The other child, a little girl of five, had been taken to Mrs. Tom Johnson’s. At the foot of the bed stood the husband, and around the house was a crowd, anxious to learn the particulars. Starting at the fountain head,

MR. WHITE SAID: “My wife and I were married in 1880, in Johnson County, Illinois, where most of our relatives live. Last fall we came west, to take a claim. When we reached Winfield, I thought it would be better to stop here, work at my trade, painting, until spring and then go out west. But I was unable to obtain much work, rents were high, and we had a hard time to get along. Last April I got permission of T. J. Johnson to build this shanty, to save rent, and here we have since lived. We rented a garden patch, my wife tended it while I painted, and we were getting along well. In Illinois I was once in the edge of a fearful cyclone, one that tore up everything in its track, and I have since been deathly afraid of storms. My wife wasn’t afraid, and so since living here I have been in the habit of going down into the lime kiln (on the creek’s bank, in the edge of the timber about a hundred feet from the house), and staying there till the storm was over. Last night, about 12 o’clock, it looked like a cyclone, and leaving the babies asleep and my wife lying on the side of the bed with only her shoes off, went down to the kiln, thinking to prepare it for the wife and babies; but on reaching there, I covered my head with an oil cloth and stayed probably an hour and a half, not considering it worthwhile to get the folks. It quit raining and calmed down and I went to the house. Before I got there a flash of lightning showed the door to be ajar and it looked like the light was out. On getting there I found the door partly open, but the light burning all right. My wife was lying as I had left her excepting her head was hanging over the edge of the bed and her face was covered with blood. I thought she had fallen, hurt herself, and fainted; and I ran for Mr. Mann and Mrs. J. R. Scott (both living only a little way) and got some camphor. She was unconscious and her hair had fallen down over the awful gash covering it so that I didn’t know how bad she was hurt until somebody brought Doctors Emerson and Graham. Then it dawned upon me that some devil had come into the house while I was out and dealt the awful blow. My wife or I hadn’t an enemy in the world that we knew of; have always got along well and were as happy as our poor circumstances would admit. I don’t have the least idea who could have done the deed. I heard no screams and had suspicioned no one or any such harm. She is my first wife and we only have these two children. She is twenty-four years old and I am thirty-six. She weighed about one hundred and fifty pounds, was unusually healthy and always light-hearted. Her folks are well off in Illinois, and we have both seen better days. I have been painting for twelve years. I took much pride in landscape and sketch painting, and hope to make a fine artist.” Several sketches of Winfield residences and scenery were lying around the house, among them sketches of the homes of W. J. Wilson and Dr. C. Perry, painted for practice.
THE PREMISES. The furniture in the house is in harmony with the shell containing it. It is very meager, consisting of a small cooking stove, three wooden bottom chairs, a few dishes, mostly tin, a rude bedstead, with hay tick and pillows, and a small home-made table. No signs of a struggle were visible, excepting the print of a bloody hand on the round of chair that sat just under her head, as she was found. Sheriff McIntire and Marshal McFadden were early on the ground, and found suspicious footprints. They indicated a number nine boot or shoe and that the party had come up from the west and had looked through a large knot hole in the wall, supposedly to see who was in the room. This was the only trace that could be found. The blow was undoubtedly struck with a flat iron or an ax. The gap commences in the middle of the right forehead and runs diamond shape above the temple and into the hair. The skull bone was broken into splinters and taken out piece by piece by Drs. Graham and Emerson, who at once pronounced the injury fatal. The bones removed, a ghastly sight was revealed in the deep cavity: a mixture of blood and brain.

THE NEIGHBORS. Our reporter interviewed the neighbors and found that all had formed a good opinion of Mr. and Mrs. White. None had ever heard of a family jar or anything that would denote domestic infelicity. Both husband and wife always appeared to be industrious and happy as possible with such meager pecuniary comforts. Mr. Mann was the first neighbor aroused last night, between one and two o’clock. He hastily put on his clothes and went over. When he got there, White had his wife in his arms dashing water in her face, which was streaming with blood. When Mann came in he laid her down on the bed and ran over to J. R. Scott’s, the painter, and Mrs. Scott was soon at the murdered woman’s side. Mrs. White and Mrs. Scott had been more intimate than any of the rest of the neighbors and takes much sympathetic interest in the sad affair. She found Mrs. White lying on the bed unconscious, her frame in a terrible tremor, and the blood streaming from her mouth and nose. The husband was trembling from head to foot, though making no other demonstrations. The physicians arrived at four o’clock, and not till then, when a number of neighbors had gathered, did any realize the terrible extent of the injury. White told all the neighbors when he aroused them that his wife had fallen and hurt herself, and he didn’t appear to understand how bad the hurt was. Mrs. White had often told Mrs. Scott how good her husband was to her. One day last week she called Mrs. Scott’s attention to a trampish looking man whom she said was an utter stranger to her and yet had passed by her door several times with a queer stare at the house. The children didn’t wake up until the noise made by the neighbors as they came in, and knew nothing of the tragedy that takes away their mother.
THE HUSBAND. Mr. White is, of course, in a terrible position—one which involves many theories that may do him injustice. The cool manner in which he accepts the sickening affair seems to play against him in the minds of many. Those who know him best attribute this to his naturally quiet and unassuming disposition, and that though outwardly undemonstrative, within is brooding the deepest sorrow. Before the reporter he exhibited no nervousness and talked very calmly, giving details without a falter. When the reporter left, he was sitting at the table eating some biscuits and drinking some coffee a neighbor had brought in. He is a man of fair looks and small in stature. He appears inoffensive and, as far as anyone knows, is a man of good habits. Such a mystery, of course, is always surrounded by various theories formulated by circumstantial evidence and a curious public. Of course, THE COURIER, having made thorough examination, has its theory but withholds it until put to use, if there is anything in it, by our officials. We present the bare facts in the case and, for the present, will leave a searching public to draw its own hypothesis. No arrests have yet been made.
THE VICTIM. The victim was still breathing at three o’clock this afternoon, though life was almost extinct. To one beholding the awful cavity in her head, the wonder is forcible that she lived a moment after the blow. This is probably accounted for by her wonderfully robust constitution. She is of compact build, good nerve, and has suffered little from sickness. She has never uttered a word or groan since the blow—merely breathes.
Coroner Marsh, of Tannehill, was sent for and will take charge of the body and hold an inquest as soon as life ceases.

At five o’clock last evening the victim of Tuesday night’s terrible tragedy, Mrs. R. H. White, succumbed to the inevitable. The husband was taken into custody by Sheriff McIntire and lodged in jail, without a warrant, to avoid any injury that might possibly be done to him. Coroner H. W. Marsh was in the city and immediately impaneled the following jury and began the inquest: E. D. Taylor, Henry Brown, J. C. Curry, W. A. Freeman, E. S. Bedilion, and Dick Gates. Drs. Emerson and S. R. Marsh examined the body and found no evidences of violence excepting the crash in the skull. After examining the premises, the jury separated and the inquest was adjourned to the Court House at 8 o’clock this morning.
MRS. JAMES R. SCOTT, was called and corroborated what her husband had said regarding condition and position of Mrs. White when they got there, etc. “Mrs. White was often at my house. Said Mr. White was always good and kind to her—had said nothing about family matters for a month.”
UNFINISHED. There are a number of witnesses yet to be examined and the inquest will not close before tomorrow evening. The court room was thronged all day, over-flow crowds being all around the Court House. The interest taken in the tragic affair is intense. White was again placed in jail after his examination and seemed perfectly satisfied to go. His demeanor on the witness stand was just as it has been all through the affair: stolid and indifferent, answering questions without a falter, and in a smooth way. He seems to be a man of considerable intelligence.
THE FUNERAL. The unfortunate woman was laid away today in the potters field of Union Cemetery, with a short ceremony at the grave conducted by Elder Myers, of the Christian Church. The neighbors dressed the body nicely and gave it every attention and a number of citizens attended the funeral, which was under the charge of the officials. The county will have to bear the funeral expenses. White didn’t ask to be taken to the funeral—in fact didn’t appear to take much interest in it. When Sheriff McIntire offered to take him, he went, but showed no outward grief at the grave. The children are in charge of Mrs. Tom Johnson.
HER PEOPLE were telegraphed yesterday and her father, D. H. Rendleman, answered, from Vieira, Illinois: “Impossible for me to come. Write often.” Another telegram soon after said, “How is Julia? What was the object of the assault?”
Note: The first account of the White murder mentioned that Sheriff McIntire and Marshal McFadden had examined the foot prints found near the White shack. The next item reveals that Deputy Sheriff F. W. Finch had also been on the scene...
Winfield Courier, Thursday, June 18, 1885.
CHAPTER FIRST!! In the Horrible White Tragedy Closes. Making the Husband the Murderer. An Affectionate Prayer and Speech is Delivered by White over the Open Coffin of his Wife. THE TOUCHING FUNERAL. THE CORONER’S VERDICT, EVIDENCE, THEORIES, ETC.
The first chapter in the most horrible tragedy ever enacted in this section ended Wednesday of last week, by the jury in the inquest on the body of Mrs. Julia Ann White, bringing in a verdict finding the husband to be the murderer. The interest taken in this homicide has been intense, from the start. From the morning of its announcement, little knots of men have constantly stood here and there developing theories as to the object of the foul deed and its perpetrator. But the mystery is yet unfathomable. Public opinion is wonderfully divided, but if more weighty on one side than another, the greatest sympathy is with the husband. All day Wednesday the Court Room was crowded to suffocation by anxious listeners to the testimony, and the Court House yard was filled with knots of men. But the best of order was maintained throughout.

The evidence introduced after that reported in THE COURIER was meager in development. Levi Hayes and T. J. Johnson were the only remaining neighborhood witnesses  and their testimony was principally the same as that given by other neighbors preceding them.
FRANK W. FINCH. Testified: “I saw the tracks by the house. They were eleven inches long and four inches wide. I measured White’s shoes. They were one-fourth inch shorter and perhaps not that much wider. I think his shoes could have made the track.” The next witness was SHERIFF McINTIRE who said: “I was sent for Tuesday morning, with the information that a murder had been committed. I went to the place immediately.” (Here the Sheriff related the story of White, about as given in all previous testimony.) “I found Mrs. White’s shoes under the table. They were bloody, as if taken off by bloody hands. I also found a flat-iron with blood on it. It was lying near the stove. There was blood on the wall above the head-board, for a space of two feet; looked as though it had been spurted there in a fine spray from a broken artery.”
DR. GEO. EMERSON said: “I was called for Tuesday morning about 5 o’clock, and on reaching there found Dr. Graham, J. R. Scott, T. J. Johnson, and others there. I made a post mortem examination of the body with Dr. S. R. Marsh. The wound must have been made by a heavy blunt instrument and with great force. The flat-iron was tried in the wound and presume the wound was given by it. We also examined and found human blood on the flat-iron. From our critical examination of the body, I do not think there could have been any sexual intercourse for at least twenty-four or thirty-six hours before death. I think the woman was probably lying down on her left side when the blow was given, though the blow might have been made when the woman was standing, but she must have been instantly placed on the bed to have spattered the wall above the head board with blood.”
DR. S. R. MARSH, testified: “I held, in connection with Dr. Emerson, a post mortem examination on the body of Mrs. Julia Ann White. I have heard Dr. Emerson’s testimony and I fully concur therein.”
This concluded the testimony, the throng was asked to retire and the jury went out. After twenty minutes deliberation the jury returned their
VERDICT: The verdict was sealed, and owing to the excitement among our people, it has been made known only to the officials and the reporter and its appearance in THE COURIER will be the first knowledge the public will have of the jury’s decision. “An inquisition holden in the city of Winfield in Cowley County, Kansas, on the 9th and 10th days of June, 1885, before me, H. W. Marsh, Coroner of said County, on the body of Mrs. Julia Ann White by the jurors whose names are hereunto subscribed, the said jurors, do say, that the said Julia Ann White came to her death on the 9th day of June, 1885, from a blow received from a blunt instrument (probably the flat iron shown to the jury), crushing the skull, said instrument in the hands of Robert H. White, husband of the said Julia Ann White, with murderous intent. In testimony the said jurors have hereunto set their hands this 10th day of June, 1885.—Henry Brown, J. C. Curry, W. A. Freeman, E. S. Bedilion, E. D. Taylor, and D. R. Gates. Attest: H. W. Marsh, Coroner Cowley County.”

THE TOUCHING FUNERAL. The funeral was held Wednesday at 5 o’clock, just as THE COURIER went to press, and of course it was impossible to get a correct report of it. White did not ask to be permitted to attend the funeral but when Sheriff McIntire went into the jail and offered to take him out, he said he would like to go. He was taken out, in the Sheriff’s buggy, by John Evans. A large number of neighbors and citizens were gathered around the little shanty when White got there. Mr. A. B. Arment took charge of the funeral, on behalf of the county officials, and the ceremonies were conducted by Rev. J. H. Reider, of the First Baptist church. White and his wife were members of the Methodist church at their old Illinois home. The body had been nicely dressed and was in a neat coffin. It was taken from the house and placed upon some chairs in the yard and White got out of the buggy, and taking his little five-year-old girl, Bertha, by the hand, he stood at the foot of the coffin. Rev. Reider read a passage of scripture whose prominent precept was that we must answer before God, at the judgment bar, for the sins done in the body. Then he made a touching and forcible prayer, alluding eloquently to the brutal murder of the wife and mother and the terrible pall hanging over the husband, and praying that the perpetrator of the terrible deed be brought to light. He prayed for the orphan children and the accused husband, and at the end of this prayer, White was in a tremor of grief. The stolid indifference he had exhibited from the first was broken and the first tears shed during the entire affair began to stream down over his cheeks. Advancing to the side of the open coffin, he bent over the body of his wife, lifting the little one up to get a view, and his frame shook with low-toned grief as he exclaimed, “Oh, Julia, could your voice rise from that dead body, then could you tell my innocence! Oh, Julia! Julia!” It was some minutes before he looked up, when he looked at those before him and said:
“Kind friends, I would like to say a few words. I know I am in a close place. I know the outward circumstances of this case are against me. But while my body is in prison, I know my heart is free. We were poor; we hadn’t much, but while our circumstances were such as to keep us from church, there was hardly an evening that we did not read our bible and lift our voices to God. My wife was always a christian. This is a sad thing for me. I love my wife and children and to think that the children, whom I love to caress on my knee, should be scattered, and my wife so foully murdered with me to carry the stain in the eyes of the public, is more than I can bear. Here before you, my kind friends, before God, and beside the body of my dead wife, I am (holding up his right hand) an innocent man. I never laid the weight of my hand upon my wife in a harmful way. Perhaps I have not lived of late as I should, but I challenge anyone, in any place we have ever lived, to find ought against the character of myself or wife.” Here he seemed to break down and remained silent so long that Rev. Reider was about to proceed with the funeral, when Mr. White raised his hand, and said, “Let us pray.” He knelt over the open coffin and lifting his face to Heaven and holding the hand of his little girl, he melted every heart present with an eloquent prayer—one whose feeling seemed unassumed, and convinced all present of its genuineness.

HIS PRAYER. “O, Lord, we come before thee with a very heavy heart. Thou knowest that I am a prisoner in the hands of men, but my heart, Oh, Lord, thou knowest is free. Oh, Lord, protect these, my little orphan children, and may they be brought up to love and fear Thee, as their parents before them, and our parents before us. May Thy kind hand lead them through this world of sorrow, and Oh, Lord, may the one, as has been said, who murdered my dear wife, Julia, be discovered and justice meted out to him. Sustain me, Oh, God, by thy hand in this sore affliction, and may not the foul stain of murder rest upon my character. (Here he paused some moments seeming to be overcome.) Oh, Lord, may my little children have good homes. Forgive us all our sins, and when we come to die, may we all be joined with our mother in Heaven, for Jesus sake, Amen.”
THE AUDITORS IN TEARS. When White raised from his knees, there wasn’t a dry eye in the assembly—strong men were crying like children and a more touching scene couldn’t be imagined. The coffin was closed, placed in the hearse, and the cortege moved to the potter’s field in Union Cemetery. White took his little girl in the buggy with him. At the grave, Rev. Reider again prayed; among other things, that the perpetrator of the crime might be detected and brought to justice, to which White said “Amen! Amen!”
LITTLE BERTHA. The little girl rode home with Mr. Reider, and her answers to his questions convinced the Reverend more than ever of the father’s innocence. The thought being suggested, probably by hearing Mr. Reider pray, she voluntarily said: “Papa and mamma pray.” Being questioned regarding affairs at the home before and after the affair, she said, in gist: “Papa and mamma didn’t have any harsh words; papa went to the dugout and left mamma on the bed with her clothes on. Before he went he moved the baby over on the back of the bed to make room for me. Papa and mamma never quarreled at any time. When I woke up, mamma’s face was covered with blood and papa said she had fell and hurt her head. I think she fell on the chair.”

SOME OTHER COMMENT. The first signs of fear made by White were made Wednesday when he wanted to be taken away from Winfield. County Attorney Asp issued a warrant Thursday, arresting White on charge of murder in the first degree. The prisoner waived preliminary examination, Thursday, before Justice Buckman, and was again placed in jail, where he will await the District Court, in September. Of course, many theories are being advanced in trying to solve the deep and despicable mystery. Many seem convinced of White’s guilt, and some go so far as to talk of lynch law. But no sober, sensible man would think for a moment of bringing such a disgrace and crime upon our city. The evidence is purely circumstantial and very meager against White. He looks far from being capable of such a crime. Of course, his stolid actions before the funeral and during the trial militated against him, but his inward grief, like that of many people, may refuse to come to the surface. There are many inconsistencies in his story, and some theories have been advanced which seem to fit his tale exactly and point concisely to his guilt. THE COURIER, to satisfy a morbid public, might here give some of the theories, but it prefers to give the bare facts and let the public draw its own conclusion—explain the mysteries to suit its own curiosity. The inquest has been held and the man is in the hands of the law. Cowley’s people are too sensible and law-abiding to want to take the law in their own hands in a case so unfathomable as this. The actions of White over the coffin of his wife have changed public opinion greatly in his favor. None who saw him could believe his feelings to be put on—are absolutely convinced of his innocence. His actions clear through, his story and all, show him to be an intelligent, cool, deep-thinking man. The little girl is an unusually bright, pretty child. The crime itself, taking all outward circumstances into account, is one of the most damnable—without a parallel for heinousness. The murderer, who ever he was, has lifted the flat iron and with one awful blow crushed in the skull of a wife and mother whose character and disposition, from all evidence obtainable, was beyond reproach. And considering that the victim’s sweet little children were lying beside her and that she was surrounded by almost abject poverty, in the poorest hovel in the city—placed there by no fault of hers—the deed becomes simply hellish. But the law will uproot the perpetrator, if he can be found. In this country law is king. Let it do its perfect work in this case. The eye of Mrs. White was photographed, and the opthalmoscope will likely reveal the demon when the evidence is needed in the District Court. Many cases are on record where murderers have been detected in this way. The perfect picture of the last person coming before the eye in consciousness, as has been proven, is stamped upon the eye, delible only by returning consciousness. When transferred to a photograph taken by a microscopic lens, the apthalmoscope will reveal the murderer.
[Last part of this article is rather puzzling and also the use of the following word: first spelled “opthalmoscope” and then “apthalmoscope” in article. The correct spelling is “ophthalmoscope,” which is an instrument consisting of a concave mirror with a small hole in the center; the mirror serving to illuminate, by the reflection of a light behind the patient, the fundus of the eye, which the examiner observes through the central hole. I have heard of the theory that a camera could take a picture of the eye of a deceased person and be able to detect what was last seen by the deceased. Evidently the Courier reporter was making reference to this in his article. MAW]
Winfield Courier, Thursday, June 18, 1885.
AN UNATTRACTIVE JOB. Owing to lack of care in taking, it was found that the photograph of Mrs. Julia Ann White’s eye before burial was imperfect and incapable of proper development. Our officials were determined, if possible, to get a clue to the murderer, and yesterday afternoon, Sheriff McIntire, Dr. S. R. Marsh, and Photographer Rodocker went out to the graveyard, exhumed the body, took it from the coffin, stood it up against a board, reflected light on the eye, and with an extension lens got a perfect photograph. It is several inches in diameter, and is developing splendidly. Indications are strong that when fully developed it will reveal the perpetrator of the awful deed. It took some grit to go through this process of obtaining it, but our officials are abashed at nothing that seems in the line of duty. The body gave sickening evidence of decomposition. The photograph is taken on the established theory that the last person appearing before the vision in consciousness remains a perfect picture on the eye, and when the eye is photographed can be drawn out, as plainly as life, by the ophthalmoscope. The photograph will be sent east for enlargement and proper scientific treatment.
Winfield Courier, Thursday, June 18, 1885.

A PATHETIC LETTER. R. H. White, in the county jail for the murder of his wife, last week, has written an eloquent and pathetic letter to his sister, Mrs. George L. Watts, Sharon, Barbour County, Kansas, telling of the horrible death of his wife. Through the courtesy of Jailor Finch, who carefully examines all letters of prisoners before they are sent, our reporter got a look at this letter. It covered six foolscap pages and was well written, punctuated, and spelled. He gave the circumstances of the tragedy exactly as in his evidence before the Coroner’s jury. Speaking of his incarceration, he said: “Oh, sister! Heaven knows that I am not, nor could not, be guilty of such a crime as that! We lived happily together; she was always a dear and loving wife to me—always kind and true, always tried to live right and raise the children right. I loved her as dearly as my own soul, and today I believe her to be enjoying the glories of Heaven. I believe her to have been outraged and murdered. May the God of justice and mercy visit the guilty soul with judgment, and may ghostly visions and dying groans be continually before his eyes and in his ears and in his soul, that he may have no peace, day nor night, until he shall confess his guilt! Nancy, let this be your incessant prayer, for I have no earthly friend that can do me any good. Can you realize my awful situation—in prison; held and looked upon as a heartless murderer—the greatest crime against God and the laws of the land, with only three who know my innocence, my God, myself, and the wretch who did the heartrending deed. Nancy, pray as you never did before. I believe if we pray earnestly to Him that He will, in some mysterious way, reveal the mysteries of this dark and awful murder! May the foul murderer be haunted through all the lonely hours of the night and upon the street or wherever he may be, until he acknowledges the deed.”
He denies in the letter, in mentioning the sending of COURIERS containing accounts of the crime, having said his wife’s people were well off—says he said they were only ordinary farmers. He also tells his sister that he has written his brother, Charley, in Illinois, to come on and see what he can do.
Winfield Courier, Thursday, June 18, 1885.
ALL FOOLISHNESS. The late White tragedy has stirred up the women and gentle hearted men of the city in terrible shape. A gentleman told us the other day that he went home at half past seven and found his wife in bed with her head covered up, and half the women in town won’t stay alone at night. It’s a big thing in keeping the husbands at home for awhile. There must be some chastening consciousness around. Why anyone should suppose for a moment that because such a despicable murder has been committed here that they are in unusual danger, is a mystery. It’s all foolishness—the biggest kind, and the women want to brace up and have some stamina. Winfield is not filled with howling tramps or murderous scoundrels who will stalk into your house, catch you alone, and deal the deathly blow, even though the White case is supposed to be such a result. Our city is one of the most peaceable, christian like, and social of any in America, and that some women should be afraid to step out on the porch after dark is simply ludicrous and they ought to be ashamed of it.
Winfield Courier, Thursday, June 18, 1885.

A STRANGE FREAK. Dr. Emerson, while talking of the probability of White being the murderer of his wife, Friday evening, cited a strange case to prove the theory that if White did the deed, it was under a momentary aberration, and that he knew nothing of having done the possible deed until it was over, and probably not even now. A few weeks ago one of Mr. Hetherington’s sons was ailing. He was in bed and lying in the open door was his dog, that he thought the world of and all knew he wouldn’t intentionally harm. He got out of bed, took the hatchet, lying near, laid the dog’s neck across the door sill, and cut his head off smack smooth. To this day he knows nothing about killing the dog, excepting what he has been told, and can hardly be convinced that he did it.
Winfield Courier, Thursday, June 18, 1885.
RATHER STRANGE. Among the strange things of the White tragedy of last week is the fact that no letters of inquiry, no word of any kind, has been received from her people excepting the two first telegrams reported in THE COURIER. The evening the victim died Marshal McFadden telegraphed the father at Vienna, Illinois, “Julia is dead. Bob is in jail for the murder,” but not a breath has come in answer. The first telegram came, “collect,” indicating that her people are in poor circumstances.
Winfield Courier, Thursday, June 25, 1885.
MRS. WHITE’S FATHER HEARD FROM. Marshal McFadden has received a letter from Mrs. Julia Ann White’s father, D. H. Rendleman, Goreville, Johnson County, Illinois, dated June 11th. It says: “I received a dispatch from you on the 10th, stating that Mrs. White was dead and her husband in jail for the murder. Send me the facts as near as you can get them. See White and ask him what he wants done with the children. I want the children if I can get them. Tell me whether Julia was decently buried or not, and if the expenses are paid. Look after White’s things and see that the children are well cared for, and I will pay you for your trouble.”
Winfield Courier, Thursday, July 2, 1885.
A. P. Rendleman, of Goreville, Illinois, brother to Mrs. Julia White, the victim of the late tragedy, arrived Monday and will return Tuesday with the children. The matter is as big a mystery to him as to our people. He assigns no cause for the deed on the part of White. White’s brother, C. T., from Nashville, Illinois, is also here, and will remain some time. He is a good-looking, well-dressed young man.
Winfield Courier, Thursday, July 16, 1885.
A Preliminary Examination Fails to Develop Any New Facts. At first R. H. White, in the bastille charged with the brutal murder of his wife, Julia Ann, was undecided as to whether or not he would wave preliminary examination, and had the matter put off. When his brother came on, arrangements were made to get $600 for the defense. Then a preliminary hearing was instituted and began before Judge Snow yesterday, with County Attorney Asp prosecuting, and Jennings & Troup and McDermott & Johnson for the defense. No new facts have been introduced. The evidence is almost verbatim to that published from time to time in THE COURIER and which has become trite to the public. There was a difference in the testimony of Doctors Emerson and Graham, regarding the flat iron. Dr. Emerson thought the wound was undoubtedly produced by the iron, while Dr. Graham thought this very improbable. W. C. Allen, representative of Johnson County, who is visiting in this county, was introduced and testified as to the good character of White and his family when he knew them, a few years ago. The trial is still in progress and will not be decided before tomorrow. White waived the jury in his trial.
Winfield Courier, Thursday, July 23, 1885.

In answer to the many questions of my friends here and elsewhere as to what I am going to do and where I am going from here, I would say that if work in my line of business livens up more than it is at present, I shall remain here until late in the fall, and work, after which I shall go back to Johnson County, Illinois, where I expect to spend the remainder of my days to help to raise and educate my children. It is the desire of my father-in-law and others that I should go back and stay with them. And as my wife’s father and mother are getting old, I shall spend my days with them and endeavor to contribute all that I can, in the way of tender care and kindness, to make their declining years happy. I am under many obligations to my friends here for the kindness they have manifested and the interest they have taken in caring for my children and wife, and in her burial. I can truly say that Winfield has many noble hearts. At any time in the future if any person has any communication for me (if I am away from here) or desire to know my whereabouts, this can always be ascertained by addressing me or D. H. or A. P. Rendleman, Goreville, Johnson County, Illinois (my wife’s father and brother); there will never be a time in my life but what they can tell my exact whereabouts.
Winfield Courier, Thursday, July 23, 1885.
GO IN PEACE!    Robert H. White, Charged With The Murder of His Wife, Bids the Bastille Adieu. NO CONVICTING EVIDENCE. Judge Snow’s Decision in Full, With Other Facts of the Preliminary. THE DESPICABLE TRAGEDY ENDS IN DARKNESS.

What seems to be the last chapter in the deepest and most damnable murder that ever stained the history of any community closed Thursday. Robert H. White, charged with the awful crime of having crushed in the skull of his wife with a flat iron or other instrument, languished in the county jail until ten days ago, undecided as to whether he would waive preliminary examination or not. His brother came out from Illinois and proffered $250 or more to his brother’s defense. Jennings & Troup and McDermott & Johnson were secured as counsel and Tuesday afternoon the preliminary trial began. County Attorney Asp conducted the prosecution and Senator Jennings and A. P. Johnson the defense. The evidence presented was a repetition of that given at the coroner’s inquest, which appeared in full in THE COURIER, and is perfectly known to all. The only new witnesses of importance were W. C. Allen, legislative representative of Johnson County, Illinois, who has been visiting friends in this county. He knew White and his family in Illinois, and testified to their good character. The evidence of J. H. Rendleman, father of Mrs. White, corroborated the statements as to the perfect felicity always existing between White and wife, and that White always had a terror for storms. He said that, on his place in Illinois, White had a cave where he always went in times of storm. His wife seldom went with him. Doctors Graham, Emerson, and Marsh differed as to the flat iron being the instrument of murder. Dr. Graham claimed it very improbable that the iron made the wound, while Doctors Emerson and Marsh were positive that it was used. Witnesses were also introduced to show that the blood on the victim’s shoes was caused by one of the children’s straw hats being picked up from the pool of blood at the head of the bed and thrown back under the table, lodging on the shoes. But Sheriff McIntire, Dr. Marsh, and others who examined the shoes the morning of the murder still maintained that the blood on the heel of each shoe was the print of a hand. The evidence clear through was the same as before, when summed up, and so well known that a resume is unnecessary. County Attorney Asp’s opening and closing arguments occupied an hour and showed a careful study of the case. Every bearing was dwelt upon with ability and zeal. A. P. Johnson’s speech occupied forty minutes and Senator Jennings spoke an hour and ten minutes. He brought out the theory that the simple lunatic who was found in that neighborhood a day or so afterward was the murderer. His own vicious habits had made him an imbecile and the likelihood of an attempt at outrage by him, as he passed by the door coming from the woods, was shown probable. But County Attorney Asp, in his closing argument, showed by the evidence of the shoe tracks around the house and the fact that no clue was found on her person by the physicians that would lead to the belief that any outrage had been attempted, was uncircumstantial. At the conclusion of Mr. Asp’s closing argument, the court proceeded to sum up the case and render his judgment, as follows.

“This case, which has taken so long to investigate, has undoubtedly caused more interest than any other ever tried in Cowley County, at least since I have been a resident of Winfield, as is shown by the crowds who have attended this examination. Murder is defined as the unlawful killing of one human being by another and is always more or less revolting in its details, but this particular case is especially so. Indeed, the testimony as given by the witnesses has been of such a character as to cause everyone who has heard it to be horrified. The public have discussed it in all its features, and different opinions have been expressed. But with public opinion I, as an officer of this county under my oath, have nothing to do. I have only my duty to perform. That Julia Ann White, wife of the defendant, was, on or about the 9th day of June, 1885, foully murdered, there can be no doubt. With the question as to who committed this deed I have nothing to do, unless I believe from the evidence the defendant did the deed. The evidence in this case has all been circumstantial; this class of evidence is considered the very strongest from the fact that circumstances are usually unerring and point directly to the guilty party with perhaps more certainty than that which is usually called positive evidence. Circumstances seldom mislead; but in order to make circumstantial evidence conclusive, I believe the correct rule is to the effect that the chain of circumstances should be unbroken—or at least if broken—it should be shown that the missing link cannot be supplied upon any other theory than that the defendant is guilty. The officers of the law, as shown by the evidence, have only done their duty. The county attorney has prosecuted this case with his usual zeal, but I am fully justified that he has only done his duty, as under his oath he is bound to do. The sheriff has only resorted to the usual methods of securing the conviction of the person in his custody charged with committing a crime against the laws of the land, and should not be blamed. As I have before remarked, I believe that no sane man or woman ever committed the crime of murder without a reason or a supposed reason. I only have to find that there are reasonable grounds to believe the defendant guilty as charged in the complaint, and not, as some suppose, to find him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. I have examined this case with much care and attempted to bring every particle of evidence to bear upon the case in its proper light and it would be useless at this time for me to go through with a rehearsal of the testimony. If then it be true that no sane man would commit murder without some cause, it would devolve upon the state to show in this case some incentive. Has it been done? The previous good character of the defendant may count nothing, for a man may have always borne a good reputation, and fall at last, and that may have been his first wrongful act so far as the world may know. The theory that this deed may have been done by a tramp or a lunatic, I think, amounts to nothing. I cannot go outside of the evidence to find a basis for my judgment, but must be confined strictly to what has been proven in the case. I do not believe the evidence warrants me in holding the defendant to answer this charge. It is therefore the judgment of the court that the defendant, Robt. H. White, be, and is hereby, discharged and permitted to go hence without delay.”
White sat, almost expressionless, until the decision in his favor. His face was then like a sunbeam, and the audience gave slight applause. After some congratulations, White accompanied his brother to the residence of A. White, a distant relative, where they are now boarding. White was around on the streets Thursday, talking to different parties he met, apparently perfectly free and unembarrassed.
Of course, public opinion is yet greatly divided as to the innocence or guilt of White. Many aver that their mind can never be ridded of its belief in his guilt until someone else is proven to be the murderer, while others as strenuously declare his innocence. But all concede the righteousness of Judge Snow’s decision. There were a great many inconsistencies in White’s story. But there was no positive evidence or clue to a cause which could ever have convicted him. The deed was done in the dark, with no human eye but the perpetrator to tell the tale, and it will remain sealed. That such a heinous crime should go unpunished is a terrible thing, but it would be equally terrible to punish an innocent man. Our officials have done all in their power to work this case to a convicting point. No clue, other than the one seeming to be presented in White, has ever presented itself. Many have been sprung, but when run down, dwindled into the thin air. The story that a darkey came home at twelve o’clock on the night of the murder, covered with blood, and told his wife he had combat with a certain white man, is now being worked on. It is said that this darkey left suddenly the day the victim’s eye was photographed. People generally seem to think this story a ruse. The death bed of the murderer will likely give up the secret. The present certainty indicates a blank.
Winfield Courier, Thursday, August 6, 1885.
Governor Martin offers a $300 reward for the capture of the party or parties who murdered Mrs. Julia A. White, of Cowley County, June 29.
Winfield Courier, Thursday, August 6, 1885.
R. H. White is now working at his trade, painting, in Sharon, Barbour County. He writes J. E. Snow to know what the county and State have done toward offering a reward for the capture and conviction of the murderer of his wife. The Commissioners offer $300 and the State $300.
Winfield Courier, Thursday, September 3, 1885.

R. H. White, the terrible murder of whose wife shook up Cowley a few months ago, is again heard from. He writes to Marshal McFadden from Sharon, Barbour County, asking numerous questions. “Have you heard anything more of the bloody negro?” says White. “Do you know where he is and where is his wife and what she says about it?” Governor Martin told me he had some posters containing his proclamation offering $300 reward for the apprehension of and conviction of the murderer of my wife. Have you seen any posted up in Winfield? Has it ever been published in the papers? The officials seem to be working in the negro’s favor. I don’t know their object, unless they have been bought by the negro’s friends.” Then he goes on with a lot of driveling criticism—the most convicting thing that has yet appeared. It shows a haunted mind, that has a subject imbedded there that will not down, and he sees no good in anybody—his liver appears to be on a strike. The rewards offered by the Governor and the County Commissioners have been widely published, and our officials, without blate or blow, have hunted down every clue, to find them thin specters that always vanish under investigation, like the bloody negro business. There was never anything of it—only a ghastly get up of a morbid public.
Winfield Courier, Thursday, September 17, 1885.
R. H. White is still writing letters to parties in Winfield, from Sharon, Barbour County. He says he is going to Illinois soon. Every letter he writes is just that much toward convicting himself. Everyone of them shows a haunted mind—haunted by the weight of something that is grinding out his life, sleeping with him by night and walking with him by day. No frank, honorable traces can be seen in his words, while between the lines are plainly visible truths which would be far better for him if kept still. Our advice to White is to keep his mouth shut. Every time he opens it, he gets his foot farther in. If he wants the “bloody negro,” let him go to Douglass, where he is, and get the $550 reward himself. Every man who has read his letters is convinced that they are only the mutterings of a diseased conscience. Of course, no one is yet ready to convict him, without the doubt, but a few more letters will do it, beyond the doubt. Shut up, White, or give your letters an honorable tone.
Winfield Courier, Thursday, March 11, 1886.
R. H. White, of last summer’s terrible wife-murder, now at his father-in-law’s at Goreville, Illinois, is still writing letters to various individuals here, giving the officials hades for not running down the mystical murderer of his wife. He says their actions will land them in the bottomless pit of hell, and mildly alludes to numerous citizens hereabouts as dastards and liars in seeking to blacken his immaculate character. He says McIntire and Asp have bought up THE COURIER in aid of the “nigger” whom he is certain committed the murder of his wife. He tells everybody to mail their letters on the trains, for McIntire “stands in” with the postmaster and will let no letters pass. Another letter asks Brother Kenney to go into the agony of darkness and implores the capture of the perpetrator of that awful tragedy. His letters are the eruptions of a haunted mind. Every letter he writes convicts him, and are notably minus that contrite and Godly spirit he feigned while here. He should keep his mouth shut. Every time he opens it, he gets his foot in—comes a little nearer giving himself away.
[Note: The article above was the last one found relative to the murder of Mrs. White.]


Cowley County Historical Society Museum