From the collections at the Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum. Reprinted with permission from The Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum and the Leavenworth Times. Donated by Debra Graden.
Publication recently in The Times of a story by George Remsburg, entitled "A Tragedy of Thirty Years Ago," and which involved two members of two well known Platte county pioneer families who engaged in a stabbing affray in a Leavenworth saloon in which John Hornbuckle was killed, Mrs. Clarice Luisler Gignac, writing from 6618 Ingleside avenue, Chicago, traces the career of Stonewall Stewart the slayer, following his release from Kansas penitentiary where he served sentence for the death of Hornbuckle. Both were Platte county farmers, residing near Beverly.
"Do all the persons guilty of some crime or other pay as he did?" asks Mrs. Gignac. "I fear not," she answers.
Stewart, fololwing[sic] his discharge from the Lansing prison, located in British Columbia where he found employment in the gold fields. He returned to Leavenworth in the spring of 1902 and after a speedy courtship married Mrs. Gignac's sister, who resided near the Bell school on the Lecompton road.
Stewart took his bride to British Columbia, remaining there until 1905 when they returned to the United States, locating at Tonopah, Nev. Stewart's health failed and he died following an operation in 1916 and was buried at Tonopah. Aside from his widow he was survived by two children.
"My sister never returned after her marriage to Stewart," added Mrs. Gignac, "and I am sure the stigma was more than she could bear. She resides in Oakland, Cal. She returns to Tonopah each Decoration day to place a wreath on Stewart's grave."
Mrs. Gignac sees some justification for Stewart's killing of Hornbuckle.
"After all," she questions, "did he not act in self defense, although he might have been the aggressor? He did not strike first."
Mrs. Gignac adds that at the time of the tragedy "we had never heard of the Stewart family, but found to be honest, law abiding citizens. He paid for his folly, as did his wife and devoted children."
Mrs. Gignac, born and reared in Leavenworth county, has been a resident of Chicago 16 years and makes a trip here each year to visit her people.