|John W. Lewis|
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|Death: ||Sep. 9, 1878|
Sacramento Daily Record-Union, 9/20/1878: The Inyo Independent (Independence) of the 14th inst., says: About 7 o'clock on the evening of the 9th inst. there transpired at Benton, in Mono county, a tragedy in which John W. Lewis came to death at a murderer's hands. We are in receipt of two lengthy and detailed accounts of the matter, but owing to the necessity this week of encompassing everything in the smallest space, will be compelled to merely epitomize. The principal facts, as adduced before the Coroner's jury, are as follows: Con. Casey, the slayer, had been working on the road over which Lewis was driving, but being in the emply of the Comanche Company. The day previoius, Lewis told Casey that he was working slow and intimated that Superintendent Morgan was dissatisfied. The next day Casey quit his work and after interviewing Superintendent Morgan, found that Lewis had not heard anything said to justify his statements. When Lewis came in that evening Casey accosted him and wanted to go together to see Morgan, to which Lewis replied that he waould in a few moments. After some further talk the next seen of them was across the street engaged in a scuffle. When the witness got close by, Casey was on his hands and knees with Lewis on his back; the latter was say, "You would cut me, you _____ ______ ______, would you?" and a moment after said: "This man has murdered me." He then gave a great gasp and rolled over on the ground, dying in about three minutes. When examined the body of Lewis was found to be horribly butchered; there was one direct stab in the back, undoubtedly from the first blow; a cut between the eleventh and twelfth ribs, one on the left arm, one about four inches long under the arm, three wounds in the stomach and three in the chest. The cutting was done with a common jack-knife, the blade three and one-half inches in length. It had been sharpened to a razor edge, showing the most murderous premeditation. Casey shomehow effected his escape, and it was only after a diligent search of two hours by armed and enraged citizens that the gory wretch was captured and marched into town. As the news of the tragedy spread out among the mines the town began t fill up with friends of the deceased, and strong threats of mob law became more and more frequent. Justices Wales and Robinson, together with Constable Sam Turner, placed a strong guard at the jail, and the necessary legal steps were taken. The prisoner waived an examination, and was held to answer by Justice Robinson upon testimony taken before Coroner Yaney at the inquest. As the very large concourse of citizens followed Lewis' remains to the burying ground on the hill, his murderer was taken from the jail to make his perilous journey of seventy or eighty miles to Bridgeport, the county seat. In custody of Dick parker and Andy Culverson, who had been sworn in as Deputy Constables, Casey marched between Henry rifles some sixteen miles to a point where horses were obtained and the party proceeded on their way. On the second day a Deputy Sheriff arrived at Benton and summoned all witnesses to appear before the Grand Jury, then in session at Bridgeport. John W. Lewis was a native of New York, about 37 years of age, and a resident of Benton for some three or four years, during which time he bore such a reputation as to entitle him to general respect. He leaves a brother there, David R. Lewis, who is leaving no effort undone to secure the fullest prosecution of the murderer. As to Con. Casey we could gain no informaiton, he refusing entirely to be interviewed or to make any statement whatever. He seemed indifferent as to the terrible crime itself, but in mortal terror of being lynched.
NOTE: John Lewis and his brother David R. Lewis were enumerated on the 1870 census at Bridgeport, Mono County. John was 32 years old and David was 34 years old and both natives of New York and were employed "Packing Quartz." The 1875 Mono County Great Register of Voters lists John W. Lewis as a miner residing at Benton.
Benton Hot Springs
Benton Hot Springs
Created by: Sue
Record added: Jan 15, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 83489742
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