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Sam Wells
Shoots John Frey
in a Drunken Brawl


Lincoln Republican, 30 June 1904

There was a shooting scrape at Sylvan Grove Saturday in which John Frey, aged about 21, was dangerously shot in the abdomen, with a .38 calibre revolver by Sam Wells, aged about 23 years. The shooting occurred about 5’o’clock and the particulars as near as we could get them were about as follows: Some fellow has been running a joint in a tent near the Saline river about a mile and a half south of Sylvan Grove. Young Wells and Frey were going down to the tent joint in a buggy when Wells got to driving recklessly and Frey asked to do the driving, which made Wells mad and he hit Frey in the face, when Frey jumped out of the buggy and started to run. Wells hollowed [sic] at him to stop, and drove up to him and shot him, the bullet entering the right side of the abdomen and ranged around to the left groin, where it was taken out by the physicians. Wells made Frye [sic] get into the buggy and they drove back to town when Frey jumped out again and Wells drove the team up to the livery stable. Frey was taken to Dr. Shelkshon’s office where he was cared for. Sylvan’s marshal had recently resigned so they had no marshal, but the mayor deputized John Powers and Mike Dimler to arrest Wells, which they did and disarmed him and put him in the city “lock up.” There was some talk of a lynching, if Frey died, so they phoned down for the sheriff and deputies to come and get Wells and put him in the county jail. County Attorney E.A. McFarland, County Physician Dr. Hultner, and four deputies: Wm. Brumbaugh, Joe Jackson, W.H. Cecil and Ed Crow, went up that evening and the deputies brought him here and put him in jail.
Wells will have his preliminary trial one day this week. Dr. Hultner assisted Dr. Shelkshon remove the bullet from Frey Saturday night, and he is resting easy and the chances are good for his recovery.
Wells does not have a very good reputation. It is said he served a term for three years in the penitentiary for horse stealing. He was sent up from Ottawa county. Attorneys Geo. D. Abel and Ira Buzick will defend Wells and County Attorney McFarland will vigorously prosecute the case.


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