Cincinnati (OH) Daily Gazette
March 15, 1866
FROM BEDFORD, INDIANA
The Newland-Evans Case
Bedford, Indiana, March 13 – In the case of Dr. Benjamin Newland, indicted for the murder of Prof. Madison Evans, a change of venue was taken to the Floyd circuit court, and the trial set for the 8th of May next. The change was granted by Judge Bicknell on affidavit of the defense that the excitement was so great as to render it impossible for the defendant to have a fair trial in the Lawrence circuit court. There is a good deal of political feeling in the matter here.
A very large number of witnesses have been summoned, and there will be a heavy array of legal talent on each side. All the local attorneys of Bedford have been retained for the defense with R. W. Thompson of Terre Haute, Judge Joseph L. Hanna of Sullivan, Cyrus Dunham of Floyd and Paris C. Dunning of Bloomington, District Attorney Brown, Jonathan W. Gordon, Gen. Morton C. Hunter and Moses Dunn are employed for the prosecution which will be conducted thoroughly.
The most intense excitement prevails throughout the community.
General Jeff. C. Davis is here. A warm friendship exists between Davis and Newland. The latter was present at the time General Nelson was shot in the Galt House at Louisville and dressed his wounds.
Newland was admitted to bail in the sum of $40,000. Dr. Elijah Newland and Mr. Menaugh of Salem and Henry S. Ponston, Jesse A. Mitchell and William Ragsdale [difficult to read] of this place going on his bonds.
Osage County (KS) Chronicle
March 24, 1866
The Indianapolis Herald of the 7th inst., gives the following particulars of the awful tragedy in Bedford, Ind., of which we have already published a telegraphic account:
The cause that impelled Dr. Newland to imbue his hands in a fellow creature's blood is said to have been the seduction of his daughter by Evans. Miss Newland, we learn, has been at a boarding school for some time, and her unfortunate condition becoming apparent to the principal, she was sent home, arriving at Bedford on Monday where she confessed to her father and denounced Evans as the man who had effected her ruin.
It is said that Evans accomplished the seduction of the girl some years ago when she was quite young and was going to school to him, and has been intimate with her ever since, the intimacy finally resulting in the girl's becoming enceinte, her dismissal from boarding school she was attending, and confessing to her father as above stated. Upon learning the foul dishonor brought upon his child, Dr. Newland, frenzied with rage and shame, armed himself with a revolver and a long, sharp knife such as surgeons use in amputating and started forth to meet the guilty wretch. He went to Evans' house, found him absent. The doctor told Mrs. Evans the circumstances and that he had come to kill her husband and would kill him as soon as he could find him.
Passing up the street, he met Evans, and as soon as he was satisfied in regard to his identity, shot him down, the ball taking effect in his body. Evans fell to the earth and began imploring Newland to spare him. Newland, advancing to where he was lying, plunged the long knife into his neck and nearly severed his head from his body. He then stabbed him repeatedly in different parts of his person and did not desist until it was evident that the sinful spirit of the wretched man had taken its flight.
The above story is as we heard it. There may be some inaccuracies, but we are assured that, in the main, it is a correct version of the terrible affair.
The most intense excitement prevails at Bedford in regard to the horrible affair. Up to the time of writing, no attempt had been made to arrest Newland.
Cincinnati (OH) Daily Gazette
May 10, 1866
NOTE: The item below was abbreviated from the original as noted by the ellipsis.
THE BEDFORD, INDIANA, TRAGEDY
Trial of Dr. Benjamin Newland for the Murder of Prof. M. Evans
New Albany, Indiana, May 8 – At two o'clock the "Spiritual Hall" was again crowded with lawyers and spectators attracted by the prospect of hearing the opening testimony in this important case. The inconvenience attending this trial in such a crowded and illy-constructed room are more cheerfully borne by the court and bar than they otherwise might be in consequence of the fact that a new temple of justice of ample proportions and beautiful design is nearly completed.
Thomas M. Brown, Esq., prosecuting attorney, stated to the jury the charge against the accused. He stated, in relation to the proof to be adduced, that the State expected to prove that on the evening of March 5, Dr. Newland went to the residence of Mr. Madison Evans and, not finding him there, went to a hollow on the road near the house where he met Evans and there shot him with a pistol ball and cut him with a knife until he died.
Hon. A. B. Carleton stated the defense to the jury. In the course of his address, he stated that Dr. Newland did not go to see Evans that night for any mere child's play, or to make a cheap reputation for bravery, but that he went there to kill the destroyer of his daughter, that he did the deed while under a mental alienation consequent upon the intense excitement caused by the confession that night from his daughter's lips of the guilt of Evans and of her own ruin.
During the statement of the case by Judge Carleton, the defendant was deeply moved. As the judge detailed the care bestowed by the father upon the education of the daughter, how when he went into the army he left her under the especial charge of her respected teacher and pastor—the deceased—how betraying most foully this sacred trust, this pretended Christian used his position to the base purpose of the ruin of his ward, how suddenly all the fond hopes of the father were blasted by the daughter's own confession. As all these matters were presented, Dr. Newland became intensely excited.
There were two ladies in court this afternoon—a sister of the murdered man, Miss Evans, and Mrs. Newland, the wife of the accused. Gen. Jeff[erson] C. Davis was in court, also, this afternoon, and was sworn as a witness. Dr. Newland was for a long while a member of his staff.
There will be no difficulty in the proof of the fact that Dr. Newland committed the murder as he admitted it at the time he gave himself up on the night the murder was committed. The question will be upon his sanity. With this view, the statement of Mrs. Evans becomes important as it bears directly upon the defendant's conduct just before the deed was done.
The first witness introduced was Dr. Howard C. LaForce. Lives in Bedford, Lawrence County, saw Madison Evans in Bedford several times on the day of the murder, next saw him lying dead on the road leading from Bedford to Hildensville [sic] about half after seven or eight o'clock. The immediate cause of his death was the severing of the arteries of his throat. There was also a gunshot wound of a ball entering the abdomen near the left hip bone.
Homer Rawlins examined—Saw Dr. Newland on the evening of the murder in front of Mr. Carleton's drug store.
M. H. Pearson examined—I saw Dr. Newland the evening of the murder near Carleton's drug store, not to exceed an hour and a half before I heard of the murder. He was standing there with Homer Rawlins. I passed by and did not hear what he said.
James R. Macarte examined—I left my butcher shop about eight o'clock on the night of the murder on Holdensville [sic] Road. I found Madison Evans dead on the road. I had met Dr. Newland about half way between Barnes' Hotel and where I found Evans' body. He was walking tolerably fast and was getting his breath unusually loud as though he was tired. The time required to walk the distance from where I met Dr. Newland to where the dead body lay was one minute and a half, as I have since ascertained by timing it. I did not remember hearing the pistol shot at the time, but after mustering up my recollections, I remember to have heard a pistol or gunshot just before I entered the hotel.
William Wallace examined—I was with Macarte the night of the murder and met a large man puffing and blowing and soon after we found a dead man.
The State expects to prove by Mrs. Evans that on the evening upon which her husband, Madison Evans, was killed and about a half an hour before she heard of his death, the defendant, Dr. Benjamin Newland, came to the residence of said Evans where she then was ... that upon arriving at the door he knocked thereat, and Mrs. Evans opened it to him. When she opened the door, defendant asked her if Mr. Evans, the deceased, was at home. She told him that he was not and inquired, in turn, whether defendant had business with deceased. Defendant answer her that he had, whereupon she invited defendant into the house and informed him that Mr. Evans would not be long gone as he was over at town on business. But defendant declined to come in.
William I. Ward examined—I live about half way between Mr. Evans house and the spot where the murder was committed. I heard something—a man or an animal—passing very near the house toward town about eight o'clock. I heard, very soon after, a shot fired in the direction of where the murder was committed.
At the adjournment this evening there was another objection made by the prosecuting attorney to the separation of the jury, but it was soon withdrawn and the jury was allowed to go their several ways under the charge to abstain from all reference to the matter on trial. This is stated by the judge to be a manner of proceeding only allowed in this circuit.
Cleveland (OH) Daily Leader
May 11, 1866
The trial of Dr. Benjamin Newland for the murder of Prof. M. Evans in Bedford, Ind., commenced at New Albany on the 7th inst. So far, the proceedings relate to the time and place and manner of the killing and show nothing additional to what has already been published. The best legal talent is engaged on both sides. The courtroom is densely crowded with spectators, and public interest in the trial is great.
Titusville (PA) Herald
May 23, 1866
Dr. Newland, who killed Prof. Evans, his daughter's seducer, has returned to his home at Bedford, Ind., since his acquittal where he received the congratulations of the citizens. On the day of his return, his unfortunate daughter became a mother.
Typed and donated by Randi Richardson.
Webmaster notes. For additional information, please see:
- A lengthy discussion of the Evans-Newland case, beginning at page 354, in Modern Jury Trials and Advocates: Containing Condensed Cases, with Sketches, by Joseph Wesley Donovan, 1881. Read online!
- James Madison Evans, at Find a Grave.
- Dr. Benjamin Franklin Newland, at Find a Grave.
- Helen Newland Lewis, at Find a Grave.