Stillwell's Startling Testimony
that He Has Learned that His Fatherís Wife and Dr. Hearne Were Intimate -
Richard H. Stillwell testified as follows:
What is your name, age and where do you live?
Richard H. Stillwell, age 39, live in Hannibal, have lived here
thirty-seven years. My business is
Who was your
Amos J. Stillwell.
Were you at Mr. Mungerís party on the night of December 29th, 1888?
I was not.
What time did you retire that night?
I retired between 11 and 12 oíclock.
Where did you live at that
At 1221 Bird street, probably three-quarters of a mile from my
Where was your fatherís house?
On South Fifth street.
Did you receive any information from your fatherís house on that
night? If so, what was it and how
did you receive it?
I received it by telephone, about 20 minutes to 2 oíclock.
I went down stairs and William League stated to me that my father had
been killed by a burglar, and wanted me to come there immediately.
I went up stairs and tried to persuade myself that possibly I might have
been mistaken. After I was
thoroughly waked up, I went down the second time and called up my fatherís
residence, and Will League answered and he told me the second time that my
father had been killed - hit on the head with an ax, and he would like to have
me come down at once. I dressed as
rapidly as possible and went to the house.
Now state in detail what you found at your fatherís house when you
When I arrived there were present Dr. Allen and his wife, Dr. Gleason
and his wife, John Stillwell and wife, Dr. Hearne and probably several others.
What did you do? Give in
detail as near as you can.
As well as I can remember I went first to my fatherís room and looked
at him, put my hand on him, and made up my mind positively that he was dead.
Possibly after a few minutesí conversation with one or two parties that
were standing near me, I went out into the wood shed and into the alley to the
rear of the house to see if there was any indication, or
could find any clue that might possible lead to the party or parties.
We found there in the alley a roll of bills - probably $20 or $30 - one
silver dollar, and possibly a silver quarter that had been dropped out of his
pocket-book. We also found the
empty pocket-book. We found, a
little further along toward the south end of the alley, a double-bladed ax with
which he had been struck. The ax had some bloody stains on it, and evidently was
the weapon that was used for the murder.
Was it an ax used around the house?
It was said to have been by the servants of the house.
I was not familiar with the ax.
How far was this ax found from the door leading from the barn into the
alley and from which direction?
It was found probably seventy-five feet south of the barn door, at the
rear of my fatherís premises.
Was it under anything?
No, sir, it was lying very close to an old wood shed in the rear of the
Hickman property and behind the base-board which was loose and partly protruded
from the barn.
Where was the money found with reference to the ax?
I should say almost half-way between the barn door and the place where
the ax lay.
Do you remember who found either the money or the ax?
I do not remember who found either the money or the ax.
Was there anything else found that you remember of?
Well, after you got these things, what did you do?
I think they were given to me and I put them in my pocket and brought
them in the house and preserved them quite awhile.
Did you make any examination of the doors or the windows of the house?
My recollection is that the parties that were with me in the alley made
an examination so far as possible of the doors and windows.
We saw no marks of any kind that would indicate their having been
How was the lock on the front door?
The lock on the front door is what is commonly known as a night-lock,
provided with a key and lock- the key on the outside or inside; provided also
was a night key that could be used
on the outside.
How was the door to your fatherís room fastened?
The door of my fatherís room was provided with a brass mortised lock.
Do you know whether there was any bolt on that door or not?
I think there was.
Which door was that - the one entering the hall?
What other doors were there leading into your fatherís room?
There was a door leading to the room adjoining on the east.
There was also a door leading from my fatherís room to the room
adjoining on the north, and another leading into a bath-room on the west.
Did you examine the room in which your fatherís body was found?
Yes, sir. I examined it as well as I could in the time I was there;
possibly was too much excited to have entered into details with reference to it.
Where was your fatherís clothing that he wore?
As well as I remember his clothing
was on a chair just south of his bed, and his pants belonging to that suit were
found on the floor at the foot of his bed.
State how your father was lying when you saw him, in detail.
He was lying, as well as I could describe it, in the attitude of prayer,
on the north side of his bed, with his knees almost touching the floor, with one
arm extending around his head, and the other arm hanging down by his side.
Did you find any wound on him?
I saw the wound where the ax had struck him.
How was his head laying with reference to that wound?
My recollection is that the wound in his head was exposed to view.
My recollection also is that the blood on his side was congealed.
He looked as though he had lain in the blood and afterwards either been
pulled around or fluttered himself around.
I think the indications are that he had been pulled around to the
position that he occupied.
Did you notice how his feet rested on the floor?
I do not remember just how they rested.
I do not think his knees were resting on the floor.
I think the weight of the body was so as to prevent his knees touching
Where was the blood on the bed?
The blood on the bed was in the lower part of the bed, where he lay; the
blood seemed to have run almost down to his feet.
The head - almost to the head.
Did you observe any indentation on the pillow or bed; if so, what part?
I think I observed an indentation of the bolster and pillow where he was
lying. My recollection is there was
some blood either on the bolster or pillows, probably the bolster.
With reference to the center of the bed where was this indentation?
I think it was near the center.
What indication, if any, was there of the blood having run down towards
the foot of the bed?
I do not understand the question exactly.
Now state where the blood had run from, and to what point?
The blood, as I remember, had run from the bolster to where my
fatherís feet would have extended if outstretched.
Where did you find the congealed blood that you speak of?
The congealed blood was on the bed.
Was it all congealed?
I think all the blood was congealed.
Do you remember whether the blood had soaked through any part of the
I did not examine the mattress. I
suppose, as a matter of fact, it did.
Did you observe any blood on your father?
Just detail if it ran over the body at all.
My recollection is that the blood extended almost to his feet on one
side of his body.
Do you remember which side that was?
I cannot say positively.
How did it seem to have run down on the sheet from the wound?
It seemed to have flowed from the bolster towards the foot of the bed.
Underneath him and between him and the sheet.
Between him and the sheet?
Do you remember who was in the room while you were there?
I do not.
What did you do after having made the examination?
My recollection is I sat down and talked with the party who made the
examination with me.
Do you remember to have looked at your fatherís face at the time you
first saw him?
I could only see his side
Do you know whether his eyes were shut or opened?
I could not see; they were obstructed from view.
Did you afterwards see him?
I did not.
Who was the undertaker who took charge of the body?
Mr. S. J. Miller.
What became of the bed upon which your father was killed?
So far as I know the bed and mattress were put in the barn at the rear
of the house. I think they remained
there for some time after he was killed, possibly as long as a year.
How long after you arrived there was it before the bed and bedding were
My recollection is that the bed and bedding were not removed out of the
room until near breakfast time in the morning.
Do you know what time the undertaker arrived?
I do not.
Or the coroner?
I do not.
Do you know whether or not there was any of the family plate or
silverware of the family in that room on that night?
I think there was.
Was it disturbed?
It was lying on the mantel. It
In your examination of the premises did you find any burned matches?
I found quite a number at the door in the lower hall leading into the
dining-room, and from there on out towards the rear of the premises.
These matches were well burned. They
looked to be matches that were used in the house and parlor.
They impressed me with the idea that some one had used them at that
particular place to light the way, for possibly a second party was upstairs and
committed the murder.
At what door were these matches found with reference to the door
entering your fatherís room?
At a door down stairs almost directly underneath a door that leads from
my fatherís room into the front hall.
Into what room did that door enter?
Into the dining-room and from that door straight out from the house,
through the kitchen into the back yard and through the wood shed.
A man to have passed out of the house from where the matches lay could
have simply walked through the dining-room and through the kitchen.
There were also a few matches burned at the cellar door, which goes from
the inside of the house down into the cellar.
These matches were found on the cellar side of the door, which looked to
me as though possibly some one might have gone down in the cellar from the
outside door, and possibly tried to have obtained an entrance to the house from
the cellar door.
Did you find any matches in the lower hallway?
Not that I remember of. The
matches seemed to have been in one place.
Do you remember or not whether there was any on the stairway leading up?
I do not remember to have seen any there.
Do you remember to have seen any in the wood shed?
My recollection is that there were some burned matches in the barn, used
possibly for some one to find the ax.
Did you see your mother that night, or Mrs. Stillwell?
Did you have any talk with her?
I did not.
Where was she when you saw her?
Lying in the room north of my fatherís bed-room on a lounge, possibly
Dr. Hearne and one or two ladies sitting around her.
Whose room was that?
The room was commonly known as Mollie Stillwellís room - my fatherís
daughter and half-sister of mine.
Was she at home that night?
She was not.
Do you know where she was?
She was visiting in Quincy.
Did you see any of your fatherís children?
I did not.
Or the servants?
I saw the servants of the house after the murder. Do not remember how
How frequently did you see Dr. H. that morning after you got there?
I think Dr. Hearne remained there constantly until breakfast time.
R. H. Stillwell
He was at or near the lounge where my fatherís wife was lying.
In whose charge was your mother, practically?
In charge of Dr. Hearne.
Did you have any talk with Dr. Hearne?
I do not remember to have done so.
During the morning, you mean?
Yes, sir, about the time of my fatherís murder.
Do you remember where your father was laid out - in what room?
I think his body was washed off in the bed-room where he was killed.
My recollection is that he was afterwards brought down into the parlor,
on the first floor and in the front of the house.
Where he lay until he was buried?
Do you remember what day he was buried on?
My recollection is he was buried on the last day of December of the year
What time did you return to your own home from your fatherís house the
morning of the murder?
Think I returned about 6 oíclock.
From second thought do not believe I ate any breakfast that morning.
There was quite a general excitement, was there not?
Were you frequently at your fatherís house between the time of the
murder and when he was buried?
Yes sir; I was.
Where was Mrs. Stillwell during that time?
I think she spent most of the time in the front room of the house, on
the second floor just west of my fatherís bed-room.
Was it Mollieís room?
It was not.
Mollieís was west of that, was it not?
It was north.
Who was with her most frequently, if anyone, during that time?
I think Dr. Hearne was with her almost
Did you see her yourself?
Well, very frequently. I
cannot say how often.
Who was there when you saw her?
My recollection is that there was always present one or two ladies.
When you saw her?
Was there any one else except the ladies?
I think not, as well as I can remember. Dr. Hearneís intention were to keep the room as quiet as
During the morning of the murder, who, if any one, was constantly in
attendance upon Mrs. Stillwell - what physician, if any?
Dr. Hearne was the only one I saw.
Where was your mother during the funeral services of the body of your
She was in the front room on the second floor of my fatherís
Who was with her, if any one?
My recollection is that Dr. Hearne and possibly Mollie; probably one or
two other ladies.
Do you remember whether or not she attended or went to the cemetery?
I think she did not.
I mean at the time your father was buried?
She did not.
What, if anything, did Mrs. Fannie Stillwell do shortly after the burial
of your father? Where did she go?
Possibly a week or two after my father was killed she went to Battle
Creek, Mich. I think Dr. Hearne
went with her.
Do you remember who else went with her?
My brother and my wife also.
How long did she stay there?
Cannot say; probably several months.
Do you know who brought her back?
I think Dr. Hearne was there several times during her stay, and I
believe he either met her on the way back or possibly went to Battle Creek for
Do you remember a publication giving the details of the murder of your
father in the Chicago Herald?
I cannot say positively about the name of specific newspapers; quite a
number have gone into detail about the matter.
I think, however, I have seen it in the Chicago Herald.
Now, with reference to that first publication, do you know whether or
not Dr. Hearne left here and went to Battle Creek, Mich?
I think he went directly there.
(Objected to as leading.)
On the return of your mother to Hannibal, where did she reside?
At her residence on Fifth street, where my father was killed.
Who, if any one, was a visitor or constant visitor at the house?
Do you know?
Dr. Hearne was a frequent visitor at the house.
Many ladies also frequently visited the house.
Did you see Dr. Hearne and Mrs. Fannie C. Stillwell together in such a
way as to observe the conduct of either?
(Objected to as leading.)
I saw them frequently together.
What was Dr. Hearneís conduct toward her? What did it indicate?
(Objected to as leading.)
My impressions of his conduct toward her were that his movements, his
language and his touch were as gentle and affectionate as they could be.
When did you first make this observation, Mr. Stillwell?
Within a day or two after my father was killed.
What did it cause you to
do, if anything?
Dr. Hearneís conduct and conditions caused me to write a letter to
Mrs. Stillwell, in Battle Creek, and advise her that if she was not aware of Dr.
Hearneís devotions and attentions to her, or if he had not already proposed to
her, my belief was that he soon would, and that unless she stopped her
attentions to him or compelled him to keep away from her, or in other
words, if she should accept a proposition of marriage from him, which I
could see was inevitable, my opinion was she could no longer associate with
respectable people in this community, or be looked upon with respect in
What effect, if any, did that letter have on Mrs. Fannie C. Stillwell?
My impression is that she wrote back and told me that I was mistaken in
my judgment about Dr. Hearne, that he was naturally kind and sympathetic; and
she believed his attentions and actions were natural - that is, they would have
been the same to any other woman.
How long was this letter written after the death of your father?
Would say probably two months.
Now with reference to that time, how long prior had you observed this
relationship existing between them?
I had observed it from the start, commencing with my fatherís murder.
Did your letter affect or in any way break off the relationship?
No, sir; it did not.
How long did it continue after that?
It continued until they were married.
What was the date of the marriage?
Probably in December, 1889.
Had you any information or knowledge of any relationship existing
between Dr. Hearne and Mrs. Fannie C. Stillwell, the wife of your father, prior
to the death of your father?
to as leading.)
I had not.
Have you since learned of anything of that kind?
(Objected to as leading.)
Yes, sir; I have.
What is the general nature of that knowledge and information?
What is the conduct?
I have learned within the past two weeks that Dr. Hearne and my
fatherís wife were, before my fatherís death, in love with each other.
Their actions and conduct on one occasion caused my fatherís wife to be
alarmed at the situation that existed between the two, and that she in some way
tried to break off this relationship and persuaded one or two persons to have a
talk with Dr. Hearne, and induce him to quit exercising his influence over her -
to induce him to stop his visits to her; and that Dr. Hearne at that time told
that party who had interfered in the matter that he was not willing to stop his
devotions to my fatherís wife; that he did not consider my father a fit
companion for her; that he intended to use his influence to bring about a
divorce between my fatherís wife and my father; that on one occasion he made a
remark to the party who had talked with him that he could hire a man to slug my
father for a very small sum I also
have learned lately, which I never knew before, that Dr. Hearne was too intimate
with my fatherís wife before my father was killed.
I have learned on one occasion, while my father was in St. Louis, that
Dr. Hearne was in my fatherís house one night when he returned suddenly and
unexpectedly; that Dr. Hearne was in the house when my father walked in the
door; my father passed him in the hallway upstairs without my fatherís
knowledge, and after my father went into his room and locked his door Dr. Hearne
slipped out of the house and went home. I
have also learned that he was cautioned in his actions touching this matter, and
replied that if he had met my father in the hall that night he would have shot
him dead on the spot. He also made
a remark that he had a revolver with him. The
party with whom he had this conversation
made the remark to him that he would some day be
found out in his tricks with my fatherís wife, and he replied that
doctors and ministers were never suspected.
I desire to state that prior to this knowledge I believed they were
innocent of the crime - that they were not too intimate with each other, and
that the suspicious circumstances which connected them with the crime of my
fatherís murder were excluded from my mind; but these statements have changed
my mind with reference to the murder.
Have you read the daily press of Hannibal containing accounts of the
murder of your father during the last eight years?
I have read many of them.
And also the press of the eastern cities, Chicago and St. Louis,
containing such accounts?
Have these publications been frequent since the death of your father?
In a general way whose names were connected or associated with the
murder of your father?
Among the names I will mention I think those of Dr. Hearne and his wife.
Whose name or names, if any, are by general repute among the people of
Hannibal connected and associated with the murder of your father?
I have not heard any names associated with it, with the exception of Dr.
Hearne and his wife in inference.
How long have such rumors or repute been prevalent among the people?
Possibly six years. ďI
desire to state one thing that I omitted,Ē said Mr. Stillwell, ďI have been
told that Mr. R. E. Anderson, an attorney of this city, and now the attorney for
the plaintiff in this case, knew from time to time and that both my fatherís
wife and Dr. Hearne consulted with him from day to day.Ē
Here Mr. Mahan suggested to the witness that it was unnecessary to give
his opinion. The witness hesitated
for a few moments when he was asked by Mr. Mahan if he had anything further to
ďNothing,Ē he suggested, ďunless I am permitted to proceed as I
started.Ē Mr. Mahan then
suggested that he could do so, as he had no special objection to urge.
The witness continued: ďIt
is my belief, from what I have heard, that Mr. Anderson knew they were intimate;
that they talked together and consulted him about the plan to get my father out
of the way or obtain a divorce, with alimony; that Mr. Anderson advised them
that he could obtain a divorce, and rather urged them to this procedure.Ē
Here Judge Hendrick suggested that this testimony had developed a new
matter, and asked that an adjournment be agreed upon until 9 oíclock this
morning. Such action was agreed to
by Mr. Mahan. When the
investigation begins again this morning, the cross examination of R. H.
Stillwell will be begun.