POISONED LIQUOR

Vermont Union Newspaper, Tuesday, March 5, 1929
Poison Liquor Kills Four Vermont Men; Time to Clean up Town
John Cox Arrested; Taken To Lewistown
Four Inquests Returned Alcoholic Poisoning As Verdict
  The sudden deaths of four men well known in this vicinity; Marshall Easley, Andrew J. Heaton, Benjamin Teel, and Lantz Hitz were investigated yesterday by the Fulton and Schuyler county authorities who held the theory that the deaths were caused by alcoholic poisoning.
  Benjamin Teel died between 4:30 and 5 o'clock Sunday afternoon, Marshall Easley died at 10:45 Sunday evening, Andrew Heaton was found dead in his chair Monday morning.  He died sometime after midnight and Lantz Hitz died at 6:30 Monday evening.
  Monday afternoon Coroner Lambert, Sheriff Rorer, Deputy Sheriff Prickett, States Atty. Ray Senift, Atty. Joe Martin, and Judge Mercer came down and under the leadership of Coroner Lambert, three inquest were held.
  The stomachs of all the men were removed by the Coroner and Dr. C. K. Carey and have been sent to state officials for analyzation. The inquest of Andrew Heaton is still pending until the results of the analysts are known.
  As a results of evidence given at the inquest John Cox, local bootlegger was arrested and taken to Lewistown last night where he will be held to see if the Grand Jury returns an indictment, which is probable since a witness says a 1/2 gallon of alcohol was secured of him Saturday night.  Rumors says that the charges may be anything from bootlegging to manslaughter.
  The Union sincerely hopes that these deaths will results in a cleanup of Vermont and vicinity. This tragedy might just as well have included some of the young men of the town who have been tippling as well as the ones whom it has already taken.
  Perhaps the best account of the whole affair may be learned from the testimony of the witness at the inquests which the Union follows as closely as possible.  These account follow.

Inquest of Marshall Easley Held about 7:30 o'clock last Night.
Jury : Walter Witchell, V.C. Boyton, Lew Edit, Luke Cayner, Harry Chick, Howard Carthers
Miss Maxine Carrick, stenographer, took all notes in longhand.
Most of the questioning in the inquests was done by Coroner Lambert, States Attorney Senift and the juries.

We shall give only the answer making it as near story form as possible.

Witness -- Mrs. Aline Easley called to the stand but kindly excused by the Coroner because of emotion making her unable to talk.

Witness -- Keith Easley.
  Well, father and I came to town Saturday forenoon and I went home about 10:30 p.m. by myself.  Easley said he would walk out later. He came home about 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning. I got up and coming down stairs found father sitting in a chair. He had been there all night. It was about 5:30 Sunday morning I noticed that he was very intoxicated but he did not seem to be sick. He did not say where he had been or who he was with.
  I went out to do the chores then and when I came back in he was still in the chair. He didn't seem sick and didn't go to bed. After I had eaten my breakfast I cleaned up and went to town. I returned about 10:00 o'clock Sunday night and found father lying on the floor in the living room Mother was up with him.  My sister and the school teacher were in bed. He seemed to be in pain and was groaning and in pain. Mother said that he didn't appear sick until about 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon. He remained on the floor for about one half an hour while I was getting help. Ward Rector came over. We lifted him and carried him in and laid him on the bed. He died March 3, 1929 at 11:45 at night.
  Toward the last my father's pain seemed to lessened as he got weaker. I found one-half gallon of booze Sunday morning sitting on the step of the porch. Yes, my father threw up once. His only words to me were when I came downstairs Sunday morning, and he asked me if I was not getting up a little early.
  Excused.

Witness -- Delbert Onion
  Mr. Easley came to me about 10:00 p.m. Saturday night and asked if I would take him home. He did not wish to go yet. We started home at 12 p.m. He was a little intoxicated then but not more than he was at 10:00 o'clock.
  Yes, he took one half gallon of alcohol home. He procured the alcohol at John Cox's. Going home he did not seem sick.
  When we left the corner Lunch Room we drove toward home and Mr. Easley asked me to stop at John Cox's which I did and we both went in. Only John and his wife were there. No I did not have a drink. No, I did not see Mr. Easley pay him for the liquor. I was not there Saturday or Sunday. I saw Andy Heaton early Saturday evening but not at John Cox's. I did not see Marsh take a drink of liquor there or on the way home.
  I knew it to be alcohol by Marsh's word.
  Excused.

Witness --Dr. C. K. Carey
  I found Mr. Easley dead when I arrived shortly before 1 a.m. Monday morning. I believe his death to be caused by acute alcoholic poisoning. Yes, I treated him about 2 years for septic sore throat.
Rigor Mortis had not set in when I first saw him.
  No, good alcohol would not produce such a death. It must be some poison.
  Excused.

Witness -- Harvey Brinton
  I know nothing about the death of Marsh Easley. I didn't see him. Yes I was acquainted with him. I saw Enoch Ring and he had been drinking. He had a half pint with him but did not tell where he got it. No, he did not say he had with John Cox or who he had been with.
  Enoch Ring Sunday morning and got my boy and went to the county and didn't return till four o'clock because I saw him them.
  Excused.

Witness -- Ward Rector
  I was up until ten o'clock seeing about some hogs and saw Keith Easley come home. I went into the house and the telephone rang. Keith asked me to come over and I said sure. I went over to the house and went about 10:30 p.m. Keith met me at the door and said to come in.  Mr. Easley was lying on the floor. Keith asked what we should do and I said to get him to bed. We both put him to bed and then went into another room and sat down. I could hear cattling in his breathing from there and he looked bad, but seemed to be resting easily.
  We went out o get Keith's car out of the mud hole in front of the house so Dr. Carey who had been called could get by and I went on home after that to tell my wife about it.
  When I went back to see Mr. Easley Keith met me at the door and said it was too late.
  Yes, while I was there he was unconscious and groaning. He didn't recognize anyone.
  Excused.

The jury after deliberating returned a verdict of acute alcoholic poisoning as the cause of Mr. Easley's death.


Inquest of Benjamin Teel
Jury the same as in Mr. Easley's inquest.

Witness -- Jake Bollinger
  I live across from where Mr. Teel does.
  I heard Mr. Teel calling and I went over to see what was the matter. I went in and Mr. Teel said that he believed he was going to die. He had bad pain over his heart. I could tell he was drunk and I stayed about 5 minutes.
  Mr. and Mrs. George Wright and Mr. and Mrs. Will Hunter were visiting us and during dinner they said that they heard him hollering again so Will Hunter and I went over.
  It was about 3 p.m. then. He looked like he was dying. He was past talking. I sent my grandson Will to get the doctor.
  We live about two blocks from the John Cox home. No, I didn't see Mr. Teel there. But I believe that he was intoxicated.
  When I went over the last time he was lying on the bed it was hard for him to get his breath and he had his head back and was unconscious.
  Will Bair and Floyd Frazier came over from the lunch counter and he was just gasping his last when we went into the door.
  The last I saw him before he called us was Sunday morning when he was staggering about the yard.
  His occupation ? Well, for the past week or two he had been a junk buyer.
  Excused.

Witness -- Dr. Carey
  I was called to see Ben Teel yesterday about 6 p.m. I called Harry Chick to go along and show me where he lived.  He had died before I got there. Rigor Mortis had set in and he was stiffing up. He had thrown up all over the floor. I could hardly differentiate between the odors but I believe I smelled alcohol. My opinion is that the same thing caused his death that caused Marshall Easley's.
  Excused.

Witness -- Will Hunter
  I got home at 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon. The folks said that he had been howling for help so we went over to see what was wrong. Mr. Teel looked funny and his hands were cold when we saw him. He was lying on the bed and had thrown up all over the  floor. I saw no evidence of liquor in the house but there was the odor of alcohol.
  He was still breathing and was lying back and taking it easy. His hands were laying up above his head and he was breathing just a little.
  I saw him in the yard in the morning and he was the whole yard to stagger in. Saturday I saw him and he was sober at 11 a.m. I stayed a little while and then went for help. I came back with Will Fair. He died about 5 o'clock.
  Excused.

Witness -- Mr. George Wright
  I went over about 4:30 p.m. Sunday with Bollinger and Hunter. I smelled an odor of alcohol and knew him to be a drinking man.
  Excused.

The jury returned a verdict of death by acute alcohol poisoning.


Inquest over Lantz Hitz
At Table Grove about 11 p.m. Monday night.
Jury of six Table Grove men.

Witness -- Dr. Carey
  I was called at 8 a.m. March 4th to see Lantz Hitz for the first time. I found him to have gastric irritation or a pain in the stomach. I gave (unreadable) to counter act the poison. I saw him again about noon and he was very bad. I was called again about 5 p.m. Then he had almost no pulse and had started chain stokes breathing. I gave him a hypo of caffeine, sodium and benzoate. His end was near. Acute alcohol poisoning caused his death.
  His pupils were dilated and he had no reflexes. He was conscious 8 a.m. We had no conversation as to how it occurred. He could answer questions then. His pains started at 10 a.m.  He was conscious at noon but could not talk rationally. He claimed he could not see at that time. It must be a poison alcohol to cause blindness such as he had. Pure alcohol would not cause it.
  Excused.

Witness -- Mrs. Nettie Hitz
  Mr. Hitz got home Saturday night March 2nd about 12:30. I couldn't tell that he had been drinking. He brought the groceries home that I had told him to get. He had a bottle with him with about 1 1/2 inches of alcohol in a pint bottle.
  My daughter and husband came on Sunday morning and we sat down with Mr. Hitz and played a game of pitch before breakfast. He did not say that he was sick. About noon Dean McKinley and his wife decided that they must go home as the roads were bad and Mr. Hitz drove his Ford to a hole and helped them through and then he came back. Then he went to the bedroom and got a pillow and a sheepskin coat and lay down on the floor behind the stove. I told him he better go to bed so he did. That evening he would eat no supper but took an egg nog which I fixed for him. We went to bed as usual and he slept until 1:30 a.m. He woke up and said he was cold and went into the south bedroom where it was warmer.
  Monday morning when he got up he said that he believed he was going to die. He ate no breakfast but had thrown up several times during the night. He didn't come out of the room that morning but got up several times and came to the door. He died in the south bedroom.
  Mr. Hitz had been sick all winter and had told us to prepare for his death. He didn't mind except that he was worrying for the little girl.
  About 10:30 Monday morning he raised up in bed and said that he wanted a drink of water which I gave him and then he said he couldn't see.
  He didn't take a drink out of his bottle after he got home Saturday night, because I took it away from him and we poured it out. I couldn't tell whether it was alcohol or not. It had no smell and might of been just a liquid.
  I took the cork out and smelled it. and yes it smelled like ammonia and had sort of an acid smell which burned in the nose.
  He did not say where he had been or who he had been with.
  His eyes got red about noon and his arms and legs kept drawing up. I believe that he couldn't see because of the darkness of the room. After the hypo he became unconscious.
  All day he threw himself about in the bed. His kidney's acted once in the morning.
  I didn't look to see if there was any burns about the mouth.
  I was not alarmed when he said he was going to die . I was prepared for that. Yes, Mr. Hitz would drink some. These pains never bothered him before while drinking. He passed away at 6:45 p.m. Monday.
  About a week ago he was loading some wood and slipped and fell, laying him up for three days. He had been ruptured or sometime and I believe that contributed to his death.
  Excused.

Witness --Mrs. Dean McKinley of Bushnell.
  We came Sunday morning between 8 and 9 a.m., played cards and went home about noon.
  Monday morning we were called and came back on the noon train.
  When we arrived he seemed to have pain and kept turning in bed. His stomach and back hurt. Yes, he threw up just a spit or two. Afternoon he looked starry. I didn't get to see the bottle.
  Father told me that his stomach had been hurting him and thought it had to been caused by the rupture. No I could not tell that he had been drinking. He didn't tell me where he had been or who he had been with. The pupils of his eyes were dilated, I noticed at once.
  Excused.

After deliberation the jury returned a verdict of death caused by alcoholic poisoning.

------

  An inquest was held yesterday at the Andy Heaton home by Coroner Munson of Rushville under Schuyler county authority. His stomach has been removed and the verdict is pending the results of the analysis.
  Three others were ill yesterday but are recovering nicely.

------

  According to the latest news from Lewistown a charge of manslaughter will be filed this afternoon against Mr. John Cox who was arrested Monday night by Deputy Sheriff's Fair and Prickett.

unknown paper, March 6, 1929
Andrew Heaton; 1 Of 16 Dead From Poisoned Liquor
Schuyler County Farmer and Three From Vermont; Victims of Booze
  Andrew Heaton, Schuyler county farmer, aged sixty-five years, is one of four men who drank poisoned liquor at Vermont Saturday night and died.
  Ben Teel, Marsh Easley and Lance Hitz, all of Vermont, met their death from the same cause.  The first two named died Sunday and Hitz lingered until Tuesday morning.  Charles Cox also imbibed of the Liquor and felt of its deadly effects, but he lives.
  Both Teel and Easley died before Dr. Carey of Vermont was called to attend them.  Teel, sixty years of age, died Sunday evening about 6 o'clock.  Easley, fifty-five years of age, died at 11:45 Sunday night.  Both men had returned to their homes early Sunday morning and remained in a drunken stupor during the day.
  Dr. H. O. Munson, coroner of Schuyler county, ordered an autopsy held on the body of Heaton and this was done by Dr. Charles Carey of Vermont, who removed the stomach, which will be sent to a Chicago chemist for analysis to aid in determining the exact cause of death.
  The coroner's jury, which heard evidence as to the manner of death of Andrew Heaton, was impaneled at his home in Flatwoods neighborhood, three miles southwest of Vermont, Monday just before noon.  After evidence was presented, Dr. Munson adjourned the inquest until such time as the analysis of the stomach, as made by the Chicago chemist, can be presented to the jury.
  Vermont Bootlegger Arrested
  John Cox of Vermont was arrested Monday by Fulton county officers and is held in jail at Lewistown pending investigation of the four deaths in that village.
  Cox ran a soft drink joint at Vermont and his place has been raided several times by county officers.  He has also done business in this same line at Macomb, Colchester and Industry and served a term in the McDonough county jail for liquor law violation.
  Information leading to the arrest of Cox was furnished by Delbert Onion of Vermont.  He told officers that he took Easley to the Cox place Saturday night.  Easley purchased a half-gallon of liquor.  Onion did not drink any of it, he stated.
  Wood Alcohol in Liquor
  Dr. C. C. Ashman, professor of chemistry at Bradley College, who analyzed the poison liquor taken at Peoria, in a report made on Tuesday said it ran 10 to 15 per cent wood alcohol.  In his belief it was industrial alcohol for use in automobile radiators and an attempt had been made to re-run it, but it hadn't been done properly.
  Prohibition officers are now tracing liquor that is reported to have been sent from Peoria to Galesburg, Decatur and possibly other Illinois cities, but, if it is as deadly as that which came to Vermont, first announcement of its arrival will be made by county coroners.
  Heaton Found Dead by Wife
  Andrew Heaton, one of the four victims of the poisoned liquor that came to Vermont, was found death about 6:30 o'clock Monday morning at his home by his wife.
  He had left his farm home Saturday afternoon about 2 o'clock to go to Vermont, three miles distant and did not return until 5 o'clock Sunday morning.  When accosted by his wife, he denied being drunk, but stated he was sick.  His wife followed him into the basement and there found a bottle about half full of a clear liquor, with a spicy odor, which she broke.  However, she produced another bottle at the inquest containing a smaller quantity and this will be sent to a chemist for analysis.
  All during the day of Sunday Mr. Heaton lounged about the home in a drowsy condition.  He did not appear to be suffering severe pain or in need of medical attention.  When his wife urged him to go to bed Sunday night he refused to leave the couch and she covered him with a blanket and went to her bed room.  She awakened at midnight and again at 1 o'clock and went to him, putting on additional cover as the fire died down.
  When she arose Monday morning, she started up the fire and went to the kitchen to get breakfast, which she had ready by 6:30 o'clock.  Mr. Heaton appeared to be sleeping on the cot where his wife had left him the night before and it was not until breakfast was ready did Mrs. Heaton discover that he was dead.
  Dr. Charles Carey of Vermont was summoned by telephone and after an examination stated that Mr. Heaton had been dead several hours.
  After the arrival of Dr. Carey at the home a telephone message was sent to Dr. H. O. Munson, county coroner, at Rushville.  He arrived at the Heaton home about 10 o’clock and impaneled a jury to serve at the coroner's inquest.  Those serving were: Ralph Young, foreman; W. J. Stroops, Kenneth Cook, Roy Heaton, William Brock and Warren Kost.
  Mrs. Eliza Heaton, Harry McMillen and Dr. Charles Carey gave evidence before the coroner's jury, after which an adjournment was taken to await report from chemists, who are to make an examination of internal organs of the deceased and analyze the bottle of liquor found in his possession at the time of his death.
  After the inquest the body of Mr. Heaton was taken to Vermont, where a post mortem examination was made at the undertaker's room.
  Lifetime Schuyler Resident
  Andrew Heaton was a lifetime residence of Oakland township, where he was born sixty-five years ago.  His parents were Mr. and Mrs. Henry Heaton, pioneer residents of north Schuyler.
  He was untied in marriage to Eliza Hill, who, with two sons, Clifford and Paul, survive.  He also leaves on sister and five brothers, namely: Mrs. Archie Gay, Littleton; William of Rushville; Edward of Littleton; Albert and Cornelius of McDonough county and James of Colorado.
  On Wednesday funeral services were held from the Christian church in Vermont at 1 o'clock, conducted by Rev. Fred Wilson of Rushville.  Interment was made in the Vermont cemetery.
  Eleven Dead at Peoria
  It is probable the same brand of liquor that killed the four men at Vermont is responsible for the death of eleven others in the city of Peoria and near vicinity, as all these deaths came between Saturday and Monday.
  Those reported dead are John Dempsey, Frank Aylward, Walter Sammons, Harold Huddleston, Richard Farra, Clarence Hoppe, Mrs. Ellen McFadden and Edward Baldwin of Peoria, Mrs. Catherine Carey of Wesley City, Charles Holland and Harold Heiple of Washington in Tazewell county.
  Edward Bailey of Peoria, believed to have been a companion of Mrs. Carey when she was stricken, himself is in a Peoria hospital, blind and in a critical condition.  Edward Hanrahan of Burlington, Ia., also is in the hospital, seriously ill and several others victims are receiving hospital treatment.  Reports said scores of other Peorians are ill in their homes.
  Robert Calvell, railroad engineer of Galesburg, died Sunday morning under conditions that indicate he is another victim of the poisoned liquor.  The doctor who attended him gave the cause of death as uraemic {uremia?} poisoning, but authorities have pointed out that symptoms of this disease have been noted in many of the other deaths due to poison liquor.
  Calvell, it is reported, went into a Galesburg soft drink parlor Saturday, where he had two of three drinks.  An hour later he complained that his vision was failing, and shortly afterwards became violently ill, dying Sunday morning.
  An investigation started by the coroner of Peoria county brought out evidence that the poisoned liquor was purchased at a soft drink parlor in the Stock Yard hotel in that city.  The bartender at this place, Walter Nelbert, has been arrested along with Maurice Mannsfield, held as a distributor of the liquor.  A raid on the soft drink place failed to disclose any liquor, however.


Astoria Argus Newspaper, March 6, 1929       
FOUR VERMONT MEN VICTIMS OF POISON LIQUOR
  The citizens of Vermont are all up in arms over the deaths which occurred there Sunday night and Monday as the results of poisoned liquor. Four men died and one was seriously ill, but has recovered. The men dying are : Benjamin Teel, aged 55; Marshall Easley, aged 60; Andrew Heaton, aged 60; and Lantz Hitz, aged 62. Charles Cox was sick from the same cause.
  Teel and Easley died Sunday night. Heaton died Monday morning and Hitz Monday evening. Inquests were held Monday and the verdict was to the effect that the men all came to their deaths by drinking poison alcohol.
  It is not thought the men all drank together, but it is presumed that the poison liquor came from the same place. "Kid" Ring was in Astoria Monday evening and it is said he made the statement that he drank liquor out of the same bottle with Easley, but it apparently had no effect upon him other than to make him intoxicated.
  States Attorney G. Ray Senift, Sheriff Edgar Rorer and Deputy Sheriff Charles Prickett were in Vermont, Monday and Tuesday, making an investigation into the matter.
  It is said the victims died a horrible death.
  Poison liquor is held responsible for eight deaths in Peoria in the last three days and for serious illness of several persons who are under care in hospitals.
  Post mortem examinations established definitely that poison liquor caused the deaths. Coroner W. E. Elliott announced.
  The dead are: John Dempsey, Frank Aylward, Wallace Sammons, Harold Huddleton, Richard Farrar, Clarence Hoppes, Mrs. Ellen McFadden and Mrs. Catherine Garey {Carey?}.  The first three men are prominent live-stock merchants in Peoria. They were poisoned at a party Thursday night at a hotel.
  Maurice Mansfield whom police declared is a bootlegger, was arrested for questioning.
  Peoria, March 4. -- Liquor, said to have been manufactured locally by a new process has kills 13 persons in this section of Illinois in the last 48 hours.
  Louis "Whitey" Fels, alleged bootlegger, asserted the poison liquor had been distributed here, in Vermont, Decatur, Morgan and Galesburg and is said to have told police he "tried a new formula but apparently it was not so good."
  First to imbibe of the poison were livestock men who attended a convention in Peoria last Thursday. Three persons died here Saturday and three in Vermont. Among the week-end casualties was Mrs. Ellen McFadden, who is said to have attended a party with convention delegates at the Stockyards Hotel Thursday night.
  Six men died today, two in Morgan and three in Vermont after drinking the "experimental" whiskey.
  Police said they had traced the bad liquor to the stockyards hotel, center of several night's entertainment during the convention.
  Walter Neibert, bar tender in the soft drink parlor in the hotel and Maurice Mansfield, alleged wholesale liquor dealer are under arrest with "Whitey" Fels.
  Analysis of the liquor has not been completed and exact poison is undetermined.
  Many of the bootleggers in Peoria, it is said, now fearing arrest, closed up in disgust, declaring that taking a chance on the electric chair when selling a drink is too great a risk for the profit received.
  State's Attorney Pratt pointed out yesterday that the bootleggers are right in taking this attitude, as a recently enacted state law makes it murder to sell poisonous liquor when death results.

Astoria Argus, March 6, 1929
VERMONT MAN HELD IN COUNTY JAIL ON SERIOUS CHARGE
  Acting on information obtained at one of the inquests, Sheriff Edgar M. Rorer arrested John Cox, 45, of near Vermont and States Attorney, G. Ray Senift filed a charge of manslaughter against him, accusing him of having sold liquor which caused the death of Marshal Easley.
  State's Attorney Senift plans to have portions of the viscera of the three Fulton county victims examined by an expert chemist to determine the nature of the poison. Witnesses testified at the inquests that the alcohol which the victims drank did not smell like ordinary alcohol or hooch but had but a peculiar penetrating odor.
  The prosecutor is of the opinion that the poison was something put in commercial denatured alcohol and that some wholesale liquor distributor by mistake either did not distill the poison out or distilled it only once and a large batch of the deadly liquor was sent out.
  As in the dozen or more Peoria deaths, those who drank the poisoned alcohol died within 24 to 36 hours, the poison being relatively slow in acting. For some time no ill effects were observed, then stomach pains developed, growing more severe, accompanied by violent vomiting, unconsciousness setting in before death.


Fulton County Democrat, Wednesday, March 6, 1929
POISON LIQUOR BRINGS DEATH TO THREE IN FULTON COUNTY
  Poison liquor wrecked a wholesale slaughter over the week end in Peoria, and took its toll in other countries, including Fulton, with death list expected to reach 25 or more victims, according to the Peoria county coroner as several are still critically ill in hospital.
  John Cox of Vermont, charged with selling the poison stuff in that city, is in the county jail with a charge of manslaughter filed against him, for having sold the liquor to Marshall Easley, one of the victims, which caused his death late Sunday night, with other similar charges intended to be filed as soon as the state's attorney assembles further evidence.
  Cox is held under $10,000 bond.
  The dead in Fulton county are Marshall Easley, 60, Vermont farmer: Lantz Hitz, a farmer who leaded guilty to selling and possessing liquor and paid a fine some months ago; Benjamin Teel, 60, Vermont junk dealer. Another victim was Andrew J. Heaton, 65, a Schuyler County farmer living near Vermont who was found dead in bed Monday morning.
  Charles Cox of Vermont , a much younger man, who is not related to John Cox, and Enoch Ring of Astoria are both ill from the effects of the liquor but are expected to recover, although it is feared Cox may not recover his eyesight.
  Evidence at the coroner's inquest developed the testimony that Cox sold Easley a half gallon of the liquor Saturday night.  The half gallon was delivered to the sheriff's deputies after Easley's death and has been sent to Peoria for analysis.
  "Whitey" Fells, proprietor of the Peoria stockyards hotel, where a drinking party that resulted in five deaths occurred Saturday night, was arrested Tuesday charged with manufacturing the poison stuff. He is reported by Peoria papers to have said that he "was trying out a new recipe". Many others have been arrested in Peoria in connection with the affair. Deaths from the poison liquor have also occurred in Galesburg, Pekin, and Washington, and efforts are being made to trace other shipments which are believed to have been made to different nearby towns.
  The funerals of the Vermont victims are being held today and tomorrow in that city.



Astoria Argus Newspaper, March 13, 1929
VERMONT MAN NOW HELD ON THREE MAN-SLAUGHTER CHARGES
  Late Saturday afternoon John Cox of Vermont was taken into Justice of the Peace Harry Mercer's court and waived examination on two more charges of manslaughter and was held to the May grand jury under $10,000 bonds. Earlier in the week he had waived examination on the same charges, growing out of the Marshall Easley poison liquor case. The cases Saturday were those of Benjamin Teel and Lantz Hiltz, two other Vermont men.
  Cox was unable to furnish bonds, and must remain in the county jail until after the grand jury meets in May and takes action in his case. -- Lewistown Record.

Astoria Argus, March 29, 1929
VERMONT WOMAN HELD FOR TWO LIQUOR DEATHS
  Mrs. Bessie Cox of Vermont, mother of seven children, was arrested Saturday on two charges of murder in connection with selling poison liquor.
  Her bail was set for $2500 in each case for her appearance Friday afternoon at 1 o'clock for preliminary hearing. It is probable that she will furnish the bond, which was made moderate in order that she might be released to make arrangements to have her children cared for. The supervisor of the township is having them cared for in the meantime.
  John Cox, her husband is held without bond on two charges of murder filed against him.
  Joseph R. Martin and Ezra J. Clark of Canton are attorneys for Mrs. Cox, Mr. Martin having been Appointed last week to defend her husband.
  The specific charges against Mrs. Cox are that she sold the poison liquor that killed Ben Teel of Vermont and Fred E. Lehow of Table Grove. Lehow a grocer, died suddenly on Feb. 24, but Mrs. Cox's arrest was the first public indication that the cause of his death was poison liquor.
  Mrs. Cox was arrested Saturday when she came to the county jail to visit her husband, who was indicted for murder by recent grand jury. He is charged with having sold poison liquor that killed Marshall Easley and Lantz Hitz of near Vermont, who died at the same time as Teel March 3.
  As she was not arrested in time for indictment by the grand jury last week it will be necessary for indictments to be brought by a grand jury before she can be tried.
  The May grand jury may be recalled to do this, it was reported.
  Mrs. Bessie Cox was released from the county jail Tuesday afternoon upon giving two bonds each in the sum of $2500 for her appearance at the preliminary hearing which will be held Friday afternoon. The bonds were signed by E. F. Daughtery and Mrs. Lizzie David, both of Vermont. During the early afternoon she left for her home in Vermont.

Astoria Argus, Wednesday, June 12, 1929
JOHN COX POISON LIQUOR CASE IS NOW BEING TRIED
  With the defense waiving an opening statement and the state's opening talk to the jury a brief one, the state testimony was started Tuesday morning in the case of John Cox of Vermont, charged with the murder of Marshall Easley, Vermont farmer, by the alleged sale of poison liquor.
  Joseph R. Martin, counsel for defense, waived the usual opening statement but his request that he be permitted to give his opening statement after the state's evidence is completed was denied. State's Attorney G. Ray Senift announced he would prove that Lantz Hitz and Andrew Heaton as well as Easley purchased liquor from Cox and died from the effects of wood alcohol.
  Keith Easley, son of the liquor victim, was the first witness. He said his father was 62 years old and died Sunday, March 3 of this year. The son said he accompanied his father to Vermont, March 2, at 9 a.m. and returned home in the afternoon, his father remaining in town.
  He next saw his father between 5 and 6 o'clock Sunday morning on arising, Mr. Easley sitting in the in the living room and apparently under the effects of liquor. Keith left home at 9 a.m. and returned at 10 o'clock that night when called by his mother. He found his father lying on the floor, moaning and in pain. He called a neighbor, Ward Rector who helped put him the elder Easley on a bed, where he died at 11:45 o'clock Sunday night.
  At this point the state introduced a half gallon jug declared to contain wood alcohol, which Keith said he saw beside the front steps after his father died. He kept it and turned it over to the authorities for the inquest after which it was sealed. He identified the jug as the one he found.
  Keith said he went to the Cox home many times with his father, who always brought liquor away with him.
  Delbert Onion testified he saw Mr. Easley in Vermont at mid afternoon Saturday and took him to John Cox home at 11:30 o’clock Saturday night. He said he saw no transaction at the Cox home but heard Easley ask for half a gallon of liquor and later saw him come out with a package, the contents of which he did not see. He took Easley home at 1 o'clock Sunday morning.
  He saw Easley put the package by the porch steps, he said. He had taken Easley to the Cox place probably a dozen times in the last six months, he estimated, the last previous time being three or four weeks before.
  On cross examination Attorney Martin tried to bring out that Onion had testified differently at the inquest and also that he had stated in conversation that he had taken a drink at the Cox home. These assertions Onion denied.
  Frank Hollister, section foreman testified he saw Easley go to the Cox home Saturday morning but did not see him enter. So far as he knew Cox was not employed at any job, Hollister said.
  Charles Osborn, a section hand, verified Hollister's statements. A railway tool house is located near the Cox home and this is the way the men happened to observe matters in connection with the case, they said.
  The testimony of William Fischel another section foreman, showed that even after the poison liquor deaths Cox sold liquor and his customers drank it. Fischel said he went to the Cox home the latter part of April to get his son, who was drinking there. Fischel also said he was at the Cox home last July 4 and got drunk there from liquor Cox sold him.
  William Bair, a farmer, said he drank with Easley between 9:30 o'clock Saturday morning and noon, that he felt no ill effects for two days but the following Tuesday he lost his eyesight and was blind for two or three days. He had drank no other liquor for some time, he said.
  On objection of the defense that it was not shown that the liquor Bair drank was purchased from Cox, the evidence was stricken from the record.
  Mrs. Easley, widow of the dead man, testified to the same facts as her son Keith.
  Attorney Martin Brought out on cross examination that Easley had been to Peoria the previos week with a load of hogs, and laid considerable stress on this point.
   The statement of Ward Rector, that the liquid in the jug was clear like water and had no odor also was stressed by the defense, which made Easley sick was that which was bought from Cox.
  It is reported as doubtful if the defendant will take the stand.
  Sheriff Edgar M. Rorer testified to being at the autopsies for Hitz and of receiving the stomachs of Easley and Hitz and the liquor where were taken to Peoria for chemical analysis. Martin objected to the mention of Hitz, asserting no connection had been shown.
  Senift put Hitz's widow on the stand and she told of herself and husband buying liquor from Cox and seeing him sell it to others, that Hitz got a half a gallon March 3 and died at 7:45 o'clock the next Monday evening.
   With the jury out, she told of Hitz's dying declaration that he bought the liquor from Cox. An argument was then held as to whether these statements should be permitted in open court before the jury.

Fulton County Democrat, Wednesday, June 12, 1929
JOHN COX MURDER TRIAL ON IN CURCUIT COURT MONDAY
  The trial of John Cox, of Vermont, charged with murder because of having sold wood alcohol which caused the death of Marshall Easley of Vermont and Lantz Hitz of Table Grove got under was Tuesday morning after practically all Monday had been spent in picking the jury; which is as follows:
  John Hall, Alva Long, Charles Wasson, W. F. Flora, T. C. Richardson, Nicholas Avis, all of Canton; Gilford Maranville, Lewistown; Moses Danner, Pleasant Twp.; William Peak, Isabel; Charles Ellison, Vermont; Loy Tippey, Isabel and Carl McClelland, of Astoria.
  The court appointed Joseph Martin of Canton to defend Cox, who was not able to hire an attorney, and who is being assisted by Ezra Clark, and State's Attorney Senift and Assistant Marshall U. Faw are appearing for the state.
  In a brief opening statement Senift informed the jury that the grand jury brought indictments on ten counts in the case of Marshall Easley, eight for murder and two for manslaughter, and he also stated that Marshall Easley, Lantz Hitz, Benjamin Teel and Andrew Heaton had all died from the effects of wood alcohol secured from John Cox.
  Atty. Martin waived his opening statement.
  The state produced a long list of witness which included Keith Easley, son of the deceased; Delbert Onion, who testified he took Marshall Easley to Cox's home where he said he heard him ask for a half gallon of liquor, and saw him bring a package wrapped up from Cox home, which he later placed on his own porch. He stated he next saw the package in a drug store and wrote his name on the label in order to identify it.
  The son of the deceased testified he had taken Easley to the Cox home many times where he had purchased liquor, and on Sunday night he had found his father lying on the floor unconscious, had called in a neighbor and put him to bed, where he died that night. He identified the jug later identified by young Onion as the same as he found in the house the night of his father's death.
  Several other witnesses testified seeing Easley near the Cox home on the night he was alleged to have purchased the liquor, and Mrs. Alice Easley, the widow substantiated the evidence of her son.
  Mrs. Nettie Hitz, widow of Lantz Hitz, whose death is also being charged to wood alcohol sold by Cox, testified that she had frequently purchased liquor from Cox, and in the absence of the jury introduced a deathbed statement she said was made to her by her husband to the effect that he had purchased the liquor which caused his death from John Cox. The judge will later decide whether this evidence is admissible to the jury.
  Attorney Martin brought out the fact in cross examination that Marshall Easley had taken a load of hogs to Peoria the Wednesday before.
  Sheriff Rorer testified to attending the inquest of both Easley and Hitz and taking their stomachs to Bradley Polytechnic, to a chemistry expert for examination.
  The expert was then called and testified he had made an analysis of both the stomachs and also the jug of liquor alleged to have been purchased by Easley at the Cox home. He stated that he found methyl, or what is commonly known as wood alcohol in both stomachs examined; and that the jug of liquor was found to be almost pure wood alcohol. On cross examination by Attorney Martin he stated he knew little about the effects of wood alcohol poisoning but described the tests he used in determining the analysis.
  Dr. C. K. Carey of Vermont, who attended Marshall Easley at his death testified as to the symptoms of the deceased and as to the effects of wood alcohol poisoning.
  The last prosecution witness created a little merriment in the court room. After testifying he had frequently purchased liquor at the Cox home, Attorney Martin asked the witness, Bert Harm of Vermont, if he had not been smacked by Mrs. Cox, and after his admission to that fact, Martin continued, "That was because you threw a lighted cigarette down the neck of her dress wasn't it ?" Asked if he felt very kindly toward Mrs. Cox, he answered "Why should I?"
  After this witness the state's attorney rested his case, about 10:30 this morning.
  The rest of the morning and this afternoon until going to press has been spent by the defense in attempting to impeach the testimony of Mrs. Easley, the son, Keith Easley and Mrs. Lantz Hitz. They attempted to bring in the testimony taken at the time of the corner's inquest in these cases but the court ruled this evidence was largely inadmissible because it had been taken in longhand at the time and since had been copied twice. Evidence to impeach Mrs. Hitz's statement on the stand that she had never bootlegged was admitted however, from records of information filed against both Lantz and Mrs. Hitz charging them with selling and possessing intoxicating liquor on file in the county clerk's office and also records showing they had pled guilty to possession, and were fined.
  The defense was fighting hard to get evidence admitted for impeachment and the prosecution was fighting just as hard to exclude it.
  It is expected that the case will go to the jury some time tomorrow.

The Astoria Argus, June 19, 1929
JOHN COX FOUND GUILTY OF MURDER; GIVEN 25 YEARS
  John Cox of Vermont, was found guilty of murder in Fulton county circuit court at Lewistown Thursday and given a term of 25 years in the penitentiary.
  The jury was given the case at 11:45 a.m., and returned a verdict at 2:45 in the afternoon. The jury took six ballots before agreeing on the amount of punishment.
  Cox trial for the murder of Marshall Easley, Vermont farmer who died March 3, as the result of poison liquor declared to have been from Cox.
  A charge of murder in the case of Lantz Hitz also is pending against Cox.
  Cox appeared in his own behalf. He stated he was 38 years of age and his family consisted of a wife and seven children, the oldest being 17 years of age and the youngest 6.
  He told of being at home in Vermont all day on Saturday, March 2, the day the wood alcohol is alleged to have been purchased from him, until about 4 o'clock in the afternoon when he went down town, returning home about 5:30 o'clock. He said that during the day neither Lantz, Hitz, Marshall Easley or Benjamin Teel called at his home.
  He further stated that about 12:30 o'clock that night Easley came to his home in the company with Delbert Onion, that both men came into the house, and all three had three drinks each from a bottle which Easley brought with him. At this time, in his opinion, both Onion and Easley had been drinking; in fact he said, Easley was staggering.
  He denied having sold any liquor to Easley for a period of ten days prior to this Saturday and that he did not sell him liquor in a container such as that introduced by the state being a half gallon glass jug. In reply to whether or not he had liquor in his home he stated, "I had not had liquor in my home for 30 day prior to this time because I had been raided a short time before and was out.
  His last recollection of seeing Lantz Hitz was the middle of February when they met at the funeral of Rufus Kelly. He last saw Teel about one week before at the Tell residence. When questioned relative to the business of Lantz and Nettie Hitz, he said they were bootleggers.
  He denied having sold any wood alcohol, or poison liquor of any kind to Easley.
  On cross examination he admitted having been in the bootlegging business in Vermont during his three years residence there and had also engaged in bootlegging business for about six months when he resided in McDonough county.
  Saturday afternoon, Attorneys argued a motion for a new trial. Judge W. F. Graham denied the motion. A stay of 30 days was granted to take the case to the supreme court. Cox will remain in the county jail.

Fulton County Democrat, Wednesday, July 17, 1929
FEDERAL AGENTS MOP UP CANTON LIQOUR VIOLATORS  
  Federal prohibition agents swooped down on Canton liquor violators Friday and raided about a dozen joints:
  It was the first wholesale raid that federal officers have ever made in Canton. All those arrested will be arraigned under the Jones "5 and 10" law, so called from the maximum penalties of five years in jail and a $10,000 fine, if convicted. It is reported that something like 3500 pints of various kinds of liquor were seized.
  The following arrests were made: Mrs. Nellie Walters Flynn, her husband, Charles D. Flynn and Gladys Hinckle, Marie Simmons and Arthur Flynn, Otis Miller and Orla Weaver, proprietors of the Brunswick billiard parlor, William Castros, proprietor of a cafe, Ed Van Middlesworth and two sons, Alva Smothers, a son of Mrs. C. G. Warner, Vera Yardley, Mr. and Mrs. Matt Leland, Ann Belamy, Ruby Durnhill, Miss Bellamy, Mrs. Yardley, Castros and Mrs. Durnhill were not held.



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