October 24, 2014

The 1904 Murder of Thomas E Morgan – Spring Creek, Missouri

 He Killed His Brother

Thomas Morgan, who resided with his parents Morris Henry and Charlotte Morgan on their farm near Blue Mound, was killed on the afternoon of August 4, 1904 after a quarrel with his brother Isom.

Isom had sent his ten year old son [I suspect it was his oldest son Albert] down to inspect a fence on his adjoining farm to make sure the cattle inside were not getting out as the fence was down. As the boy passed his uncle, Thomas called out to him that he better leave the cattle alone or he would kill the boy’s dog and whip the boy.

The boy went home and told his father Isom of the threat and Isom went down to the field to where Thomas was in order to talk to him. In the newspaper article this information comes from (unable to determine was paper it was. All I can read is “Red Apple” in the masthead) Isom sat on the rail fence to talk to his brother, asking him who gave him the authority to tell his son not to do what he had told the boy to do.

Thomas E Morgan   

Thomas’ reply was, “I take that authority upon myself”. Hot words were exchanged between the two men and as there were no witnesses the altercation can only be imagined. Thomas weapon was a hoe, while Isam had a knife. Thomas died of knife wounds that day.

Isom was a long-time resident of the Blue Mound area, and known to normally be a quiet tempered man. After the incident Isom told the same story to his neighbors, family and to the police. Sheriff Kimberlin brought him to the city and turned him over the Prosecuting Attorney Morrow who filed information on Morgan charging him with murder, recommending that he be released on bond which was furnished.

The newspaper article ends by saying that Morrow would investigate the murder further after the present term of court was over and that they expected the case to be dismissed.

After The Murder

I’ve been able to determine that Sitha and Isom’s youngest son James Martin Morgan might have been about nine months of age when the murder took place. James was born January 3, 1904 and the newspaper article was from August of that same year. I have not yet found a divorce record for documentation, but as of 1910 Sitha and her five sons, Albert, Clarence, Mors, Edward and James were living in the household of Sitha’s younger brother Noah Wyatt Wright. She is listed as being divorced.

In the 1920 census of West Plains, Howell, MO District #94 Sitha (Sytha) is residing in her own home as an owner; she is age 47 and is listed as “widowed”. Was this an assumption by the census taker of a woman living as the head of the household with four of her five sons listed too? She was still using the same Morgan so I think she may have been divorced in 1920 also.

I have not yet found Isom in the ensuing years between the time they would have divorced and when he died 29 September 1949 in Spokane, Washington. The obituary for him holds some clues though. I’ll continue this thread if I find more to share.

Sources:

Newspaper article unknown paper

Circuit Court Document

Obituary – Isom M. Morgan

 

 

 

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