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dream, which was where a house had formerly stood, under which was a hole about four feet square, which was made for the purpose of burying potatoes, and now filled up. This pit was opened, and nothing discovered but a large knife, a penknife, and a button. Mrs. Colvin, anterior to their being presented to her, described them accurately, and on seeing them said they belonged to her husband, except the small knife.
An impression made on the mind by previous circumstances may dictate a dream, which is commonly the case, and nothing strange, should it have influence in the present affair in searching after truth; but that any decision was predicated in the least on such nocturnal fancies, we have no evidence. They were not mentioned on occasions of inquiry before court or jury. Perhaps the court had never heard of them. It is certainly to be regretted that such seeds of delusion should be disseminated among mankind, and that truth and propriety do not receive more attention previous to such publications. Much has been said about sculls and bones being found of the human kind. I think we are •without sufficient evidence that any thing of this nature lias been discovered. A circumstance took place that excited much attention. A lad walking from Mr. Barna Boom's at a small distance with his dog, a hollow stump standing near the path engaged the notice of the spaniel, which ran to the place and back again several times, lifting up his feet on the boy, with whining notes, as though to draw the attention of his little master to the place; which had the effect. A cluster of bones were drawn from the roots of the stump by the paws of the animal. Further examination was made, and in the cavity of the stump were found two toe nails, to appearance belonging to a human foot; others were discovered in a crumbled state, which apparently had passed through the fire. It was now concluded by many that some fragments of the body of Colvin were found. The cluster of bones were brought before the court of inquiry. They were examined by a number of physicians, who thought them to be human; one of the profession, however, thought otherwise. A Mr. Salisbury, about four years ago, had his leg amputated, which was buried at the distance of four or five miles. The limb was dug up, and, by comparing, it was universally determined that the bones were not human. However, it was clear that the nails were human, and so appeared to all beholders. The bones were in a degree pulverized, but some pieces were in a tolerable state of preservation. Suspicions were excited that the body was burnt, and some part not consumed cast into the stump, and other bones put among them for deception. Some time after the departure of Colvin, a barn belonging to Mr. Barna Boom was consumed by fire accidentally: it was conjectured that the body was taken up and concealed under the floor of the barn, and mostly consumed. About that time a log-heap was burnt by the Booms near the place where the body was supposed to be deposited: it was thought by some that it was consumed there.
Some indeed looked upon the manner of the discovery as a kind of prodigy; others, with more propriety, saw nothing marvellous in the affair; the dog might be allured to the spot by scent or game, which was common to the species. The attention of people was greatly excited; they had strong prepossessions that murder had been committed; by which some were prepared to look even on common 'things as supernatural. But still, as has before been observed, none of these things were introduced or even mentioned in any part of the examination or trial. The strange disappearance of Colvin, his not being heard of, together with some things that took place on the day he was missing, could not fail to create strong suspicions that he had been murdered. Evidence was adduced, that on the day of his departure a quarrel commenced between him and his brethren, which led to a belief that he had fallen a victim. But, after all, the evidence was circumstantial, though the general evidence was that the prisoners were guilty. Some thought that it was best to dismiss Jesse from any further examination, which had commenced on
Tuesday, the 27th day of April. He was, however, still kept in custody. Search was made on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for the body, during which time those discoveries were made above alluded to. Jesse was on the eve of being set at liberty; but on Saturday, about ten o'clock, he with a trembling voice observed, that the first time he had an idea his brother Stephen had murdered Colvin was when he was here last winter: he then stated that he and Russell were hoeing in the Glazier lot; that there was a quarrel between them, and Colvin attempted to run away; that he struck him with a club or stone on the back part of his neck or head, and had fractured his scull and supposed he was dead. He observed that he could not tell what had become of the body. He mentioned many places where perhaps it might be found. Search was accordingly made, but to no purpose.
The authority issued a warrant to apprehend Stephen, who about two years before had removed to Denmark, Lewis county, State of New-York, 198 miles. Capt. Truman Hill, grand juryman for the town of Manchester, Esquire Raymond, and Mr. R. Anderson, set out for Denmark, and arrived there in three days. They called on Mr. Elcazer S. Sylvester, inn-keeper, who in the night, together with a Mr. Orange Clark and Mr. Hooper, belonging to the town, accompanied them to the house of the supposed criminal. Mr. Clark went in first and began some conversation about temporal concerns; the others surrounded the house, and he was easily taken. The surprise and distress of Mrs. Boorn on this occasion are not easily described: it excited the compassion of those who had come to take away her husband, and they made her some presents. The prisoner was put in irons, and was brought to Manchester on the 15th day of May. He peremptorily asserted innocence, and declared he knew nothing about the murder of his brother-in-law. The prisoners were kept apart for a time, and assigned to separate cells. Nothing material transpired, and they were afterward confined in one room. Stephen denied the evidence brought
against him by Jesse, and treated him with severity. Both the prisoners were repeatedly admonished to pay the strictest regard to truth. Many days were, taken up in public examinations of the reputed criminals,. Evidence was brought forward which was much against them. Lewis, son of Colvin, testified that he saw his uncle Stephen knock down his father, was frightened, and ran home. This witness is before the public. Jesse Boom, after an interview with his brother, denied that Stephen ever told him that he killed Colvin, and that what he had reported about him was false. Evidence appeared so strong against the prisoners that they were bound over to await their trial at the sitting of the Supreme Court, to be holden at Manchester the third Tuesday of September. ,
During the interval the writer frequently visited them in his official capacity, but did not discover any symptoms of compunction; they persisted in declaring their innocence, with appeals to Heaven. Stephen, in particular, at times appeared absorbed in passion and impatience. One day I introduced the example of Christ under sufferings as a pattern worthy of his imitation: he exclaimed, " I am as innocent as Jesus Christ!" for which extravagant expression I reproved him: he replied, "I don't mean that I am guiltless as he was; I know I am a great sinner; but I am as innocent of killing Colvin as he was." The court sat in September; a judicious and impressive charge was given to the grand jury by his honour Judge Doolittle, and a bill of endictment was presented against Stephen and Jesse Boom; but, as it was not a full court, the trial could not commence, according to a late act of the legislature of this state.
The court was accordingly adjourned to the 26th of October, 1819. It was with much difficulty that a jury was obtained; but few could be found who had not expressed their opinion against the prisoners. The Hon. Judge Skinner and Mr. L. Sergeant were counsel for the prisoners. Mr. C. Sheldon, late state's attorney, was employed in behalf of the state. The counsel on both sides discovered much zeal and ability. The trial commenced on Tuesday, the 27th day of October, and continued until Saturday night following.
An endictment was presented, containing a charge against Stephen and Jesse Boorn for the murder of Russell Colvin, to which they pleaded Not guilty. The occasion excited uncommon attention. Six hundred people attended each day during the trial. Much evidence was introduced which was rejected by the court as being irrelevant. The case was given to the jury after a short, judicious, and impressive charge, by his honour Judge Doolittle, which was followed by a lengthy and appropriate one by the honourable Judge Chase. The jury retired, and within about one hour returned; and, in compliance with a request of Mr. Skinner, they were severally inquired of whether they had agreed upon a verdict, and each agreed that they had found both of the prisoners guilty of the murder charged against them. The verdict was then publicly read by the clerk. After a short recess, his honour Judge Chase, with the most tender and sympathetic emotion, which he was unable to suppress, pronounced the awful sentence, "that the criminals be remanded back to prison; and that on the 28th day of January next, between the hours of ten and two o'clock, they be hanged by the neck until each of them be dead; and may the Lord have mercy on their souls."
None can express the confusion and anguish into which the prisoners were cast on hearing their doom. They requested by their counsel liberty to speak, which was granted. In sighs and broken accents they asserted their innocence. The convulsion of nature attending Stephen at last was so great as to render him unable to walk; but he was supported by others, and carried to prison. The compassion of some was excited, especially towards Jesse, which inclined them immediately to send a petition to the legislature, then sitting at Montpelier, praying that the punishment of the criminals might be commuted for that of imprison