New York, USA
|Death: ||Oct. 27, 1894|
CARTHAGE WEEKLY PRESS
OCTOBER 25, 1894
JOE CHURCH FOUND DEAD
FELL FROM THE BACK STAIRS OF HIS SALOON THIS MORNING
BLACK WOMAN TELLS A MIXED STORY
The Coroner's Jury, After a Long Session, Agree on a Verdict of Accidental Death - The Funeral Will Be Monday
The dead body of Joseph Church, proprietor of the North Main street saloon was found on the landing of the stairs in the rear part of the saloon at 3:45 o'clock this morning by Roselie Crandall and Officer Manker. Crandall assisted by Cook Mitchell, a colored man, had opened the saloon only a few minutes before and Manker had dropped in on his rounds. The body was still a little warm. Crandall immediately called Jim Madeira who was in the saloon.
Church was stark naked, with the exception of a pair of socks, and was lying in a doubled up position with his feet and head toward the wall and his head resting on his arm. A heavy blow is apparent over the right temple and the right side of his face is badly bruised, while there is more or less blood on his face and chest. The accepted theory among his friends is that he fell down the stairs while intoxicated and received in the fall the blow on his head which caused his death.
J. W. Clark an assistant bar tender in the Church saloon, and Crawford, Church's partner, started Joe toward his home on North Maple street at 1:30 o'clock last night and accompanied him as far as the Karr hotel corner. He started toward home accompanied by Charley Mahara, a carder at the woolen mills. Clark and Crawford in company with Ben Buckley went on down North Main Street.
Church has been drinking for several days and his friends have been taking him home regularly each night. Last night he was not so full and they only took him to the hotel corner. The darkey, Cook Mitchell, found the back door of the saloon unlocked when he went to it which was just before the discovery of the corpse.
The body was carried up stairs and placed on a lounge. The clothes of the dead man were on a table in the room over the saloon and contained a little small change. The body was placed on a cooling board a little later by Undertaker Knell to await the arrival of the coroner, and was viewed by the PRESS reporter and a few of the dead man's friends.
Mrs. Brewster, a sister-in-law of Joe Church, who had just gone to Terra Haute, has been telegraphed, and accompanied by her sister Mrs. Burton, will come on the first train. His step-daughter Mrs. Byers kept house here for him. He had no nearer relatives. Church was about 55 years of age and has lived here for about twenty-two years.
He had no life insurance and his property interests consisted of his home and the saloon. With all his faults Church had many excellent traits. He was generous to a fault and was always ready to give for charity or public enterprises. He never went back on a friend and while the evil of his life was foremost in the relation he bore to the public, yet in the inner man there were traits that won him many friends and commended him to a measure of public esteem.
The funeral will take place Monday afternoon at the residence on North Maple street at 2:30 o'clock.
Coroner Squires arrived from Joplin at noon and after summoning the following jury proceeded with the inquest: Charles Corwine, James Deagan, Dave Miller, John Bottenfield, B. B. Clark and Henry Keim. The inquest was held in the room over the saloon where the corpse had been carried after it was found on the landing of the stairs. J. W. Clark was the first witness examined and verified the facts as given above so far as his evidence went. He also stated that Chas. Mahara told him this morning that Church left him at Maple street last night and said he would have to go back to the saloon.
Dan Bruffett, policeman, was in the court house lunch room at 3:05 a.m. and heard a noise like someone falling down stairs. He went out back of the saloon but could not see or hear anything.
Roselle Crandall testified nothing different from above.
John Manker sent Cook Mitchell upstairs after he discovered Church's body. He heard Mitchell say, "What are you doing up here?" He heard some one make a reply and recognized the voice as that of a female.
Cook Mitchell, colored, said his right name was Cooper Mitchell; that Joe Church sent him last night to tell "Aunt Julia" to come up, as he wanted to give her some hot tamales and beer he had promised her; later he saw "Aunt Julie" and Lizzie Wright in front part of the saloon and Church told them to come in. Mitchell lit the gas upstairs and then went home - that was about 8 o'clock. When told that Mr. Church had fallen down stairs and was dead she was surprised and wanted out. She put on her clothes and he let her out by the outside stairs. The woman is a new 'coon' in town and came here from Pierce City. Mitchell did not know whether there was anything in the room with which she could have hit Church.
Lizzie Wright, a big colored woman about 25 years of age said she was upstairs with Church and drank some beer and whiskey. Church talked to her about working for him. She was there all night and lay on the sofa; slept part of the time. Church sat on the edge of the sofa. He went down stairs several times and brought up beer each time. The last time he left her she heard he say "oh" but did not hear him fall although she was awake. She did not know he was dead till Mitchell told her. She was cross questioned pretty sharply as to how he could have been heard to fall by Policeman Bruffett downstairs and not by her when she was so near, but she stoutly affirmed that she was awake yet did not hear Church fall down the steps. She denied that she had a fuss with Church and that she had told any of her acquaintances that he left her swearing. She got badly mixed in her statements and contradicted herself several times. She denied that she had a scuffle with Church or that she shoved him down the stairs.
The jury decided to bring in a verdict of death by accident after examining all the witnesses and so drew it up.
The examination of Church's body showed that the neck was not broken and the skull was not fractured.
1880 United States Federal Census
Name: Joseph Church
Birth Year: abt 1842
Birthplace: New York
Home in 1880: Carthage, Jasper, Missouri
Relation to Head of House: Self (Head)
Marital Status: Married
Spouse's Name: Melissa Church
Father's Birthplace: Ireland
Mother's Birthplace: Scotland
Neighbors: View others on page
Occupation: Keeping Saloon
Joseph Church 38
Melissa Church 57
Mary E. Church 40
Joseph Beebe 4
Mary Briggs 25
Melissie M Church (1824 - 1887)
Plot: Traditional Sector Bl 11 Lot 20 Sp 6
Created by: NJBrewer
Record added: Oct 15, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 43162115