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 The Trip to Battle Creek Michigan 

HESE attacks of faintness, accompanied by rigidity of the muscles, were due to a serious injury and could be cured only by the use of the knife.  Mrs. Fannie Stillwell, accompanied by Mrs. R. H. Stillwell and Dr. Hearne, went to Battle Creek, Mich., to have an operation performed, which was borne heroically by Mrs. Stillwell.  She was away a month or more, and after she did return, went very little into society.  Before Mrs. Stillwell returned she wrote her attorney, R. E. Anderson, asking him to make arrangements to rent her house, as she intended to travel and remain away from Hannibal for a time.  Before the house was rented, she changed her mind and returned.  The operation was not entirely successful and she was not completely restored to health.  She saw, while passing a hardware store, one day, a double-edged ax in the window and fainted.  Some people were unkind enough to say that she was acting a part, but they were willing to admit that she did it well.  While at Spaulding Springs[21], with her children and Dr. Hearne’s children, she was taken suddenly ill and Dr. Hearne was immediately sent for.  She was constantly under his care.  He seemed to have wonderful power over her nerves.  While he was Mrs. Stillwell’s physician, Dr. Gleason was called in when Mr. Stillwell or the children were complaining.  

Anniversary Celebration 

One year after the murder of Amos J. Stillwell, on December 28th, 1889, Dr. Joseph C. Hearne and Mrs. Fannie Stillwell were married on the anniversary of the night of the murder.  The marriage took place, at 4 o’clock, at the residence of the bride on South Fifth street.  The wedding was a quiet affair.  The persons present were Mr. R. H. Stillwell, Mr. and Mrs. W. T. Perkins, Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Stillwell’s children and Dr. Hearne’s children.  The marriage was performed by Rev. John Davis[22].  The happy  couple left on the C. B. & Q. at 5 o’clock for Chicago.  They went from there to New Orleans and from there to Florida.  This marriage created great excitement and the streets were crowded with men, women and children.  They were followed to the train by a mob and many insinuating remarks were made to them as they got on the train; such as “Fannie, is that you?” and “Hit him in the head with an ax and ax me no questions.”  Dr. Hearne was very much interested in Mrs. Stillwell before the murder and remarked at one time “that if Mrs. Stillwell should ever become a widow he would only be too happy to make her his wife.”

Dead But Not Forgotten

Less than a year ago the citizens were startled by the announcement that one of their best and wealthiest citizens had been horribly butchered in his bed at home.  The question is asked almost daily, Why is not something done?  Why do not the members of the family further investigate the case, and why do not the citizens take hold of the matter and offer a suitable reward?  Why do not his friends and business associates take an active part?  An investigation will hurt no innocent person; it will only remove suspicion from the innocent and re-establish their fair name.  The citizens held a meeting and Col. Dan Dulany[23] offered $1,000 reward or $10,000 if necessary.  Mr. Voorhis[24], a relative of the Stillwell family, said that it was not necessary, as the family had ample means to offer a suitable reward themselves, so the good citizens dropped the matter, leaving it in the hands of the Stillwell family awaiting the result.  John E. Stillwell, a nephew of the deceased and a member of the Stillwell firm, was anxious to force a thorough investigation, but the prosecuting attorney refused to render assistance, believing in the innocence of Mrs. Stillwell.  Mrs. Stillwell forced John E. Stillwell to retire from the firm.  They are now mortal enemies.  

Murder !  Reward ! 

Hannibal, Mo., Aug. 25th, 1890.

On Sunday morning, Dec. 30th, 1888, (a little after midnight) the residence of Mr. A. J. Stillwell, at 112 South Fifth street, was apparently entered by a burglar seemingly with intent to pillage.  At about 1:45 o’clock a. m. Mr. A. J. Stillwell was awakened by a noise in his bed-room.  He roused, called his wife, (who was sleeping with her two children in a separate bed in the same room.)  She awoke and saw the form of a man standing at the foot of his bed.  Through fear she covered herself and children with bed clothing.  While concealed in bed she heard the man strike a terrific blow and quickly leave the room.  This blow was struck with an ax and proved fatal, causing instant death to Mr. A. J. Stillwell.  The ax, Mr. Stillwell’s pocketbook and twenty-five dollars in money were found in the alley at the rear of the residence, with the barn doors and the kitchen doors in the rear of the house all open.  The burglar is supposed to have obtained about $60 and in his flight dropped the above $25.  Circumstances warrant the belief that more than one person was engaged in the crime.  

Ten Thousand Dollars Reward

Ten Thousand Dollars reward is hereby offered for the arrest and conviction of the person or persons guilty of the murder, or for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the guilty party or parties.  Any information given will be treated in confidence if so desired and proper protection guaranteed to any one furnishing information.

                R. H. STILLWELL,


Detectives Discouraged 

The marriage of Fannie C. Stillwell to Dr. Joseph C. Hearne caused much discussion.  Immediately after the murder detectives took the case in hand, but were somewhat unsuccessful in their efforts to find the guilty party or parties.  They arrested several men who lived in shanties along the river.  Several negroes were also arrested on suspicion and detained for a number of days, but no proof could be found against them, so they were discharged.    It is claimed by reliable persons that the detectives were not allowed to follow up clues that pointed in the right direction.  The detectives traced it to the house, but Richard Stillwell told them that if it implicated any member of the Stillwell family he would not pay out another cent.  His friends say that he would give $50,000 to see his father’s butcher dangle at a rope’s end, but that he loves his sister and little brothers too well to see them suffer for a crime of which they are innocent.  Before Richard Stillwell offered a suitable reward, he imposed one condition - that the detectives should not conduct an investigation upon the theory that the murderer gained entrance to the house through the assistance of some one on the inside.  Being thus discouraged the search was finally given up and this horrible crime was allowed to pass as a mystery, although Hannibal’s good citizens were never fully satisfied.  

A Trip That Was Not Taken

Dr. Hearne and his wife had the outward appearance of being a happy couple.  The doctor seemed very much devoted to his wife, but the world soon saw that all was not happiness in their home.  This sensational story came from a New York paper:  A lady came aboard the Bremen steamer “Spree” with passage for herself, two  children and a nurse.  She requested that her presence on the ship be known under no circumstances.  She did not wish her husband to find her.  She said if her instructions were not obeyed she would leave the steamer and go abroad by another line.  The lady retired to her state-room.  Shortly before the “Spree” was to sail a heavy-set man, inclined to be florid, came aboard.  He seemed very much excited and demanded to see his wife without delay.  Permission was at first refused; he then stormed and raved, running from one state-room to another, calling: “Fannie, Fannie! Only one word with you and you can go.  Please grant it.”  He was finally conducted to his wife’s state-room.  When she opened the door he took her in his arms and showered kisses upon her face.  Two of the ship’s officers stood close at hand, fearing violence, but the doctor had no such intention.  He seemed to have a remarkable influence over his wife, as she immediately consented to leave the steamer with him.  The nurse then came upon the pair.  When her gaze fell upon the man she got livid with anger; she abused him, calling him a liar and a scoundrel.  After the girl quieted down, preparations were made to leave the ship, the girl going with reluctance.  The husband and wife proved to be Dr. and Mrs. Hearne; the supposed nurse was Mollie Stillwell, daughter of Mrs. Hearne; the children were hers by her first husband.  Mrs. Hearne stated to a reporter that she had started to Europe with her daughter, who desired to complete her education in Germany.  The doctor was opposed to this idea.  Taking advantage of the doctor’s absence at Decatur, Ill., where he was attending a convention, Mrs. Hearne purchased tickets and started for New York.  Her husband in some way learned of her departure and followed her.  Dr. Hearne telegraphed Richard Stillwell to meet him in Chicago and take charge of his rebellious sister, which he did.  Mollie Stillwell was placed in an academy for young ladies in Indiana.  Dr. and Mrs. Hearne went to St. Joe.  In a few weeks they and their children went to Los Angeles, Cal.  Various reports have come from there.  One was to the effect that Mrs. Hearne’s mind was giving away; another that she was going to sue for a divorce.  The doctor wrote to a Hannibal friend stating that he is delighted with the climate and that they are living among white people and the children are attending school.  

Mrs. Dr. Hearne Granted a Divorce

Recently a statement was made on the street to the effect that Mrs. Dr. J. C. Hearne, of San Diego, Cal., had been granted a divorce from her husband on the grounds of cruelty and failure to provide.  The complaint was filed July 21st, 1894, and a judgment of divorce on the ground of cruelty and failure to provide was granted August 10th.  Mrs. Hearne resumed her former name of Fannie C. Stillwell.  Dr. Hearne insisted that the principal ground of disagreement between himself and wife has been incompatibility of temperament, and says that his wife’s daughter, Mollie, has had a most disturbing influence in the household.  It was stated by friends of Mrs. Hearne that the doctor told his wife that he would directly charge her with being the murderer of her husband, Amos J. Stillwell, if she persisted in seeking a divorce.  She defied him and told him to tell all he knew, warning him that he stood on dangerous ground.  After the complaint was filed by his wife he went to La Jolla and called at the cottage occupied by Mrs. Hearne and children.  He was denied entrance, but forced his way into the house and going to the door of Mrs. Hearne’s room, which was locked, burst his way in with an ax.  They first located at Los Angeles, but the story followed them there and they finally went to La Jolla.  

Married Again 

Shortly after securing a divorce, Dr. Joseph C. Hearne and Mrs. Fannie C. Stillwell were re-married by a justice of the peace.  Mrs. Stillwell was plainly dressed, while Dr. Hearne was ostentatiously attired in black broadcloth.    

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