Edwin Peck

Death 4 Jun 1893 (aged 57–58)
Crow Wing County, Minnesota, USA
Burial Crow Wing County, Minnesota, USA
Plot Unknown
Memorial ID 112756817 · View Source
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               DIED IN GREAT AGONY.
  Edwin Peck Partakes of His Supper and
      Shortly after is Taken with Cramps
                        and Dies.

 Henry Jackson Arrested Charged with His

      Coroner I. T. Dean and Deputy Sheriff J. W. Slipp were called upon last Monday morning by James Chrysler and H. Welliver, residents of the town of Maple Grove, in this county, about 11 miles from Brainerd, their business being to inform them that a mysterious death had occurred in that township the night before, Edwin Peck having died at the house of the latter suddenly and in great agony, and they had every reason to believe that he had been poisoned. They at once made arrangements to go to the scene. They found the corpse of Peck and impanelled a jury consisting of James Chrysler, M. F. Driver and John DeCoster and took the testimony of the witnesses.
      It seems that Mr. Peck, who was a man some 58 years of age, was stopping at the house of Henry Jackson. At supper time on Sunday night mush and milk was served, according to Peck's statement before he died, and when Mr. Peck partook of his portion he complained of a bitter taste and set the dish down for his dog to finish. After supper was over he went to Mr. Welliver's house and had been there but a short time when he was taken with cramps in his stomach and he immediately accused Jackson with having poisoned him, stating to Mr. Welliver the circumstance in regard to the dog and telling him to look for the animal if he died. Peck lived until about 8 o'clock.
      This was about all the direct testimony given with the exception that Jackson and Peck had had trouble over an amount of $30, which the former owed the latter for work, and that they had trouble over it, Jackson trying to drive him away from his place.
      The jury inquired for Peck's dog, but it could not be found, Jackson saying the last he saw of the animal it was going with Peck to Welliver's. The jury concluded not to return a verdict until they found some trace of the animal if possible and instituted a search, succeeding in locating its dead body buried in Jackson's barn yard. Their verdict when rendered was that Edwin Peck came to his death by poison administered by Henry Jackson in food on Sunday, June 4th.
      Jackson was arrested and brought to this city and lodged in jail, a warrant being sworn out against him by Glen Peck, the dead man's son, charging him with murder. The examination will take place on Wednesday forenoon next.
      The body of Peck and also the dog were brought to Losey & Dean's undertaking establishment where an autopsy was performed upon the remains of the man by Dr. A. F. Groves on Wednesday. The stomach of the man and also the dog was taken out, sealed up in glass jars and forwarded to St. Paul for expert analysis.
      Jackson stoutly proclaims his innocence and says he had no hand in Peck's death, claiming there was no reason why he should want to kill him. (Brainerd Dispatch, 09 June 1893, p. 1, c. 3)

                     Held for Murder.

      The preliminary examination of Henry Jackson for the murder of Edwin Peck by poisoning took place on Saturday at the court house. The witnesses on [the] part of the state testified substantially to the same as was published in last week's DISPATCH. Jackson had all along claimed there was no other poison than chloroform and aconite, used for horse medicine, in the house, but Wm. White, prescription clerk in F. B. Johnson's drug store, testified that he sold him a quantity of strychnine the day before the crime occurred. Dr. Renz, the expert chemist, from St. Paul, who examined the stomach of man and dog testified to finding strychnine in both.
      At the end of the examination Jackson was held to appear before the grand jury without bail.
      W. A. Fleming represented the state at the examination and J. N. True was the attorney for Jackson. (Brainerd Dispatch, 23 June 1893, p. 4, c. 4)

                  MURDER WILL OUT

        Henry Jackson Makes a Full Con-


        And Says so Over His Own Signa-

        With the Gallows Staring Him in
            the Face He Could Hold Out
                         No longer.

                The Confession in Full.

      Henry Jackson, now lying in the Crow Wing County jail to answer to the charge of murder, has made a full and complete confession to the crime with which he is charged, which was the murder of Edwin Peck on the night of June 4th, of the present year. Our readers will remember that on that date Jackson was arrested, as indications pointed very strongly towards him as the cowardly villain who administered the poison which caused Edwin Peck's death. Peck had been working for Jackson and on Sunday night, June 4th, a supper of mush and milk was served. Peck ate his part of his portion, but as it tasted bitter he gave it to his dog to finish after telling Jackson that something was wrong with it. He got up and went to a neighbors, where he died in great agony in about half an hour after he had eaten the meal. Before he died he told this neighbor that he knew Jackson had poisoned him, and told them to look for his dog as the dog had eaten the same food and if they found the animal dead it would be a sure indication. The directions were followed out and the dog was found dead the next day buried in Jackson's barn yard, and still Jackson protested his innocence. A hearing was given the prisoner, he being represented by J. N. True as counsel, but the evidence was so strong against him that he was held to the grand jury which will meet on the 18th of the present month.
      Jackson was placed in the county jail and a close watch has been kept over him continually by Sheriff Spalding and to him is due the credit of the confession which will save the county several thousand dollars as the case will now not have to be prosecuted. Mr. Spalding has used every effort to get the prisoner to make this confession and on Monday last was rewarded, the confession being made in presence of himself and County Attorney Lum, and is as follows:
                                    } ss.
       County of Crow Wing.
      Henry Jackson being sworn says:
      My name is Henry Jackson and my age is 30 years. I have lived in Crow Wing county 11 years. My home now is on section 2, township 44, range 29, in that county, which is the place where the occurrence took place.
      Edwin Peck came to my house Sunday, March 20, 1893, and started in the next day to haul logs. Hauled four days then broke his sled. I helped him fix it. The old man (Peck) worked with and for me up to the 4th of June. We had some trouble toward the end of that time and I tried to get him to go away. He was no good to me and I had not hay to spare for his horses, but I could not get him to go. His horse kicked me twice and made me very angry and we had some words about my whipping the horse. Peck had been talking about poison for gophers and when I came to town Saturday, June 3d, I bought 10 cents worth of strychnine from McFadden's drug store and took it home. Before I started for town Peck came out to the barn and said I owed him forty or fifty dollars and I had better settle with him. This made me madder than ever. He, Peck, the same day, Saturday, after the horse kicked me, and I had told him to leave, went out to the barn and let out my calves which scared my horses and they ran away, tipped over the wagon and threw out the springs. When I got home I handed the poison to Peck and the next morning (Sunday) he fixed it and we went out to poison the gophers.
      It was in a saucer. After we got through Peck went to one of the neighbors and stayed until supper time. I cooked some corn meal mush for supper. I thought I would put some of the poison where Peck would get it and it would make him sick and he would leave, so I put what was left in the sugar which he used. None of the rest of us used sugar. When he commenced to eat his mush he put the sugar in it and complained that it tasted bitter and threw it away. He then ate some of the mush without sugar and went out to look for his horses. I did not see him again after he went away. Mr. Nelson told me Peck's dog was acting sick. I went out and got the dog and put him behind the house. In the night I buried him. When Peck ate the poisoned sugar he and I, my wife, and Milo Nelson were in the house. The first I knew of Peck's being dead was about one o'clock Sunday night, when Frank Johnson and Nels Jurgen told me. I did not mean to kill Peck, but meant to make him sick. When the dog died I was so scared I did not know what to do. I ought to have gone and hunted for Peck. I buried the bottle in which I got the poison inside the fence about four or five posts from the gate Monday morning, the 5th day of June. Nelson was all the time telling me I ought to get rid of Peck some way.
      [SIGNED.]             HENRY JACKSON.
      Subscribed and sworn to before me September 4th, 1893.
                                          LEON E. LUM,
                                       County Attorney.
      Jackson's confession was made through fear of being hung, and he made up his mind that if he confessed the whole affair the court would be more lenient with him, although he was in no way advised to that effect. For the past week he has been unable to sleep and he has been so tortured in mind and body brooding over the affair and the outcome of the trial that he felt it would be a relief to give the details to someone. After he had signed the confession he told Sheriff Spalding that he felt better as he had a load off his mind.
      Jackson has an invalid wife who still lives on the homestead, who, if reports are true, will be better off without him as he has the reputation of being a brute in his household. His aged mother lives in this city and her heart is broken over her son's unnatural deed.
      It is understood that Lawyer True has secured a mortgage on Jackson's farm for defending him, but as the prisoner's wife did not sign the instrument it will undoubtedly be valueless, especially so, as he will not now have to defend his guilty client. (Brainerd Dispatch, 08 September 1893, p. 1, c's. 4 & 5)

              Jackson's Probable Fate.

      What is likely to be Jackson's punishment now that he has confessed to the murder of Peck, is a question often asked since the DISPATCH made Jackson's confession public.
      We find the following provisions of the penal code relating to murder and its punishment:
      Homicide is defined to be the killing of a human being by the act, procurement or omission of another, and is either murder, manslaughter, excusable or justifiable homicide. Murder in the first degree is the killing of a human being, unless it is excusable or justifiable, when perpetrated with a premeditated design to effect the death of the person killed, or of another. Such killing of a human being is murder in the second degree, when committed with a design to effect the death of the person killed, or of another, but without deliberation or premeditation. It is unnecessary to quote further as Jackson's crime is either one or the other of the above.
      The punishment for murder in the first degree is death, unless the court shall certify of record its opinion that by reason of exceptional circumstances the case is not one in which the death penalty should be imposed, in which case the punishment shall be imprisonment for life in the State Prison. The punishment for murder in the second degree is imprisonment for life.
      If Jackson is permitted to plead guilty to an indictment charging him with murder in the first degree, or if he is tried and found guilty of the crime, and the court can, or does, certify that there are exceptional circumstances in the case, etc., he may escape with a life sentence. But it may be difficult to find any mitigating circumstances in such a cowardly murder, so coolly planned and deliberately executed. Jackson's statement that he did not mean to kill was probably the thought of another for the purpose of claiming that the killing was not premeditated and designed, and was therefore, only murder in the second degree. (Brainerd Dispatch, 15 September 1893, p. 1, c. 4)

              DISTRICT COURT NEWS.

      The September term of the district court opened on Monday morning with Judge Holland presiding. The work of the grand jury occupied two days and indictments were brought against Henry Jackson for murder in the first degree and also against Hum [sic] Wing Sing and Hum [sic] Hong, the Chinamen. [See Lee Chung.]


      On Wednesday Henry Jackson plead guilty to murder in the second degree and the court accepted the plea, sentencing him to hard labor at Stillwater for the balance of his natural life. Jackson did not appear to be much moved, although he shed a few tears when he explained how the matter occurred and stated that he had made a fatal mistake in doing as he did. Sheriff Spalding (Brainerd Dispatch, 22 September 1893, p. 1, c. 4)

Note: Edwin Peck may be buried in the Pine Tree Cemetery in Dagett Brook Township. The Losey & Dean Funeral Home records located at the CWCHS state he was buried in Daggett Brook Cemetery, but there was no cemetery called Daggett Brook at the time he died, the only cemetery in Daggett Brook Township is Pine Tree, established in 1888. G. L. Peck (possibly, Glen Peck, son of Edwin), lived in Platte Lake Township (close to Daggett Brook Township) in 1895.


Planning a visit to Pine Tree Cemetery?



  • Created by: A. Nelson
  • Added: 23 Jun 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 112756817
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Edwin Peck (1835–4 Jun 1893), Find A Grave Memorial no. 112756817, citing Pine Tree Cemetery, Crow Wing County, Minnesota, USA ; Maintained by A. Nelson (contributor 47143984) .