The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas

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for his crooked log or mill site on foot.  On the morning of May 4, 1873, he was found murdered in his dugout by "Neak"  (Cornelius) Louk. Everything in the dugout was turned topsy turvy, showing that there had been a desperate struggle.  A three-legged stool had blood marks upon it which showed that it had been used as a weapon to crush his skull.  He had also been shot through the heart with a 32-calibre pistol.  There could have been no motive for the murder except for his money, as he had no enemies in this country.  The theory of everybody here at the time was that the robbers intended to get the money without killing him, but during the struggle he recognized them and they were then compelled to kill him for self protection.

On the afternoon of May 4, Henry Oliver, justice of the peace, empaneled a coroner's jury and proceeded to Chapman's place for the purpose of holding an inquest.  There was no coroner here at the time, and was the first inquest ever held in the county.  Following were the jurymen: Sol Marsh, James Maggard, Lige Collins, Newt Cope, Benjamin Williams and Sam Newell.  After the jury had examined the body without discovering more than the scalp wounds and was just leaving it, Sol Marsh saw a spot on the chest that looked like a pimple.  This caused them to examine further, so they turned the body over but could see no marks, but Sol ran his hand down the back of the corpse and felt the bullet.  Sam Newell took his pen knife and cut it out.  The bullet was turned over to Newell by Justice Oliver, because he was acting as county clerk, A search was afterward made for the bullet in the county clerk's office for the purpose of comparing it with a certain revolver that had been seen here, but it could not be found.  The jury after examining Neak Louk, Shelby D. Reed and Capt. William D. Jarvis, brought in the following verdict: "That the deceased, Henry Chapman, came to his death by shooting and beating, maliciously done by some person or persons, unknown, on the night of May 2, 1873. "

From this verdict we discover that the jury thought the murder had been committed 36 or 48 hours before the discovery of the body.  Justice Oliver's docket shows that au inventory of the property was taken and the assets turned over to William Gibbon, probate judge.  The only thing of any value found in the house was a watch, this was lying on a shelf near the bed, and was overlooked by the murderers.  There is no record in the probate judge's office concerning the matter in any way; Shelby D. Reed was appointed administrator but no report was ever filed in regard to the estate except that "Chapman was buried and the expenses paid."  He was buried on the homestead, a short distance from his dugout.

A public sale was held and his effects sold.  Louks bought the log house and moved it to Reedtown and opened up a store in it.  After Leota was started it was moved there by Bill Louk and Nat L. Baker; it was afterward sold to I. N. Cope, who, in turn, sold it to C. W. Posson.  Posson moved it to Norton in 1876, and used it for a hotel many years; it was the original Commercial House and stood where the Peerless now stands.  As Posson's business expanded he built additions to it until he had it completely surrounded, he then tore it down and moved it to the rear end of the lot on which the hotel stands and used it for a wash house.  It stands there now in a good state of preservation; it is now the property of G.H. Griffin.

Some time in 1875, John P. Dopps received a letter from Chapman's relatives in Ohio, inquiring about his murder and what was done with the property.  The

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