Isaac Downs - John Holloway Murder Case
April 12, 1887



When looking through my DOWNS records I found a newspaper article about a murder committed by Isaac Downs against John Holloway on
April 12, 1887.  Isaac Downs was a brother of my 4th gr. grandfather, William Downs, who lived in Battle Ground.  In a note found on Isaac
Downs in the book The Downs Family of Virginia, Ohio and Indiana, by George Gilbert McCarthy, he writes that Isaac Downs was convicted
 of the murder and placed in jail, but that the incident brought on a mental breakdown and he was later admitted to the Tippecanoe County
Asylum, where he remained until his death on Sept. 30, 1906.    He is buried in Sandridge Cemetery.    I found this article in my files with
no reference to the name of the newspaper.    Adina Watkins Dyer



Lafayette, Indiana newspaper, edition unknown
April 13, 1887

HIS LIFE HANGS BY A SLENDER THREAD
The Physicians Give No Encouragement and the End May Come at any Moment,
Latest Details of the Tragedy.

Latest advices from the scenes of this Indian Hill tragedy indicate that it will result in murder.  JOHN M. HOLLOWAY is terribly wounded and no hopes of his recovery can rationally be entertained.  His extremities are cold, his face cold and damp, his voice hushed to a whisper and reaction has not set in.  His attending physicians DRS. B.F. INGERSOLL and WILLIAM VICK can give no encouragement.  The wound is principally over the heart, with a few shots in the stomach, abdomen and left arm.   It was inflicted with a shot gun charged with a small shot, and the distance of the weapon was so short that the shot penetrated the bony cavity of the body.  Unless reaction follows shortly and inflammation is avoided death will result soon.

Sheriff McCutchen and Col DeHart visited the scene of the crime yesterday, each on different missions.

The sheriff had heard wild rumors of vengeance just after the shooting and understood that DOWNS was in danger from lynchers.  He did not believe the law-abiding citizens of that vicinity would act so rashly but, to make assurance doubly sure, he visited them.  Such thoughts proved to be foreign to their minds and there will be no demonstration of that kind.

Col. DeHart, as prosecutor, was in quest of evidence.  He carefully surveyed the field where the shooting was done, collected a number of gun wads that had taken an active part in the affray and talked to a number of people who had seen or knew something of the deed.

The facts in the case do not differ materially from the accounts published.  Forty acres of land, once the property of DOWNS (this is Isaac Downs), had been sold for taxes and was purchased by HOLLOWAY.   The land was in grass and Mr. HOLLOWAY wished to use it as pasture.

On the morning of the day the shooting was done DOWNS took possession of the land and began to break it.  HOLLOWAY ordered him away as soon as he discovered DOWNS' presence, and a quarrel ensued.

When DOWNS went home to dinner HOLLOWAY ushered the plow over the fence.  After dinner DOWNS returned to the field with a rifle.  He had more words with HOLLOWAY, raised the rifle and pulled the trigger.  It failed to shoot and DOWNS tried again with similar success.  HOLLOWAY banteringly told him to hand the gun over the fence and he would
manipulate it so it would shoot.  DOWNS declined, but said he would go home and get a gun that would shoot.

He started, and young HOLLOWAY started in the opposite direction for a gun.  DOWNS borrowed one of his son's, HOLLOWAY of a neighbor.  They both returned, arriving on the contested ground about the same time.

DOWNS fired at HOLLOWAY, turned and ran to his house, followed quickly by both barrels of HOLLOWAY's gun.  One shot struck DOWNS on the right hand and several touched his back.

HOLLOWAY is a man of broad acres, is an intelligent man and a highly respected citizen.  His death will cause profound regret and will nerve his friends to make every effort to punish his assailant.

DOWNS is also a man of means and influence and is highly respected.  His friends will make an equally strong effort to acquit him.

DOWNS' defense will be that he was justified in shooting and did so in self-defense.  Messrs. Coffroth & Stuart and A. L. Kumler have been retained to defend.

Young DOWNS visited his father at the jail last evening.  The prisoner seems very cheerful and take his situation coolly.

The neighborhood was intensely excited at the time of the act, but has quieted now and the people are waiting the course of the law.

The preliminary hearing may possibly be held today.  Most of the witnesses have been summoned.

When the case comes up for trial it will be one of the most bitterly contested cases ever tried in the county.  The trouble was the outgrowth of a feud and the recent occurrence has not lessened the tension of the animosity.

Dr. Ingersoll visited HOLLOWAY yesterday afternoon returning last night.  He gives no encouragement and his death may be expected very soon.  If this occurs the text of the charge against DOWNS will be changed from "shooting with intent to murder" to "murder."  It is a harsh word but the law has little clemency where human life is sacrificed.

The family of both actors in the bloody affray are nearly heartbroken and both have the sympathy of the community in which they live.

Lafayette, Indiana newspaper, edition unknown
April 13, 1887


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