The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas

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shot was fired Belle went to the door to look; she saw two men standing in the willows and the gun smoking.  When Landis fell at the rear end of the wagon all the men ran away.  Landis called for water but no one went near him.  Belle took him a drink while all the men told her not to go as she would be shot.  When Landis drank he told her to send for a doctor.  She said, "Send for Dr. Cummings.  "No," said Landis, "he is the son of a b--h that shot me."

They sent then for Dr. Wilkinson. 

The men then seeing Belle so brave went to Landis and took him to the house on a stretcher.  Belle saw the two men plainly, and when Landis said to her that Cummings shot him, she looked again and saw Dr. Cummings and Hank Gandy.  She is certain about them, and a farther incident was Dr. Cummings dog was with him, a dog she knew perfectly well.  So it is a certainty that Cummings shot him.  Belle's mother, also here, told me another incident: Dr Cummings who was a small man and wore a number four shoe, borrowed his brother Hampton's boots (large size too) and wore them that afternoon.  This she heard Virginia Cummings, wife of Jim, say. 

On the night of September 6, 1878, Jack Conarty, Eric Johnson, Eph. Handlen, Bill Jones, Oliver Jones, Jim Kinyon, W. E. Case, Noah Chambers, M .J. Fitzpatrick, Nat Baker and about 20 others took the two Vaile boys, Charles and William, down to the grove south of town, intending to intimidate them into telling who fired the shot.  The boys called as witnesses before the coroner were special friends to Cummings and Gandy, and at the same time were on friendly terms with Landis.  A rope was put around their necks and they were informed if they did not tell they would be hung.  After they had been drawn up to a limb twice, they told all about it.  They stated that Cummings fired the shot and that Gandy was near by.  This confession was ruled out on the trial for the reason it had been given under duress. 

Vailes now deny that they made any confession, but they have doubtless forgotten as several men live here now who stood by and heard them.  Many circumstances equally as strong as the ones mentioned In favor of Cummings' guilt were brought out during the trial. 

At the following term of court the case was dismissed thus ending one of the most exciting murder trials that ever occurred in Western Kansas.  The band of Regulars soon broke up and shortly afterward left the country.  Cummings went to Washington territory and was injured there some years ago by a tree falling on him, shortly after which he was killed in a saloon during a drunken brawl.  His wife, a daughter of Albin Cox, married Wesley Drew and now lives in Iowa.  The last heard of Gandy he was in Cheyenne county in the real estate business.  Lish Worthington went to Arkansas where he died.  Wyatt was sent to the penitentiary for life for the murder of Charles Manus and has since died.  Langford abandoned his wife, went to Salt Lake, became a Mormon and now is reported to have four wives.  Hamp Cummings lives at Montrose, Colorado, is an invalid afflicted with an abcess.  Leonard Fry went with his family to Colorado in 1880 he afterward abandoned his wife, came back to Norton county, sold his farm and eloped with Anna FitzGerald.  Her father followed Fry with the intention of killing him. It was reported that he had succeeded, but the report was never confirmed.  Mrs. Fry now lives at Dillon, Colorado.  The Landis family have all moved away.  Mrs. Landis moved to Colorado in 1882, she now resides at Minturn; her two youngest children are with her.  William, the oldest boy, separated from his wife during these troubles and went to Frio, Texas where he died,  his wife afterward married Martin Shield.  Frank W. married Miss Belle Maxwell

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