Sunday, January 13, 2008

THE HORSE DETECTIVES

The Ozark Happenings Newsletter 24:4 (Oct-Nov-Dec 2007) reprints a Houston Herald story on the murder of H. C. Thomas in 1899. Thomas, an elderly bachelor, had taken in young George Logan to work as his hired hand on his farm. Logan, however, turned out to be a better hand at eating and loafing than at working, and Thomas mentioned to friends his desire to send Logan packing as soon as possible. On February 14, 1899, Thomas lent Logan his shotgun to go rabbit hunting. When Thomas went out to the barn to shuck corn for his two gray mares, Logan crept up to the barn and shot Thomas in the head with his own shotgun.

Logan soon discovered that it’s impossible to bury a body when the ground is frozen solid and there’s 14 inches of hard-packed snow on the ground. He therefore dismembered the body and placed the parts in a large trunk. When a man named Wallace passed by on his way home, Logan asked for help putting a trunk of “clothing” on a wagon. When Wallace remarked that the trunk was “mighty heavy for just clothes,” Logan glared at him and set off at a rapid pace.

Friends soon noted Thomas’s absence, and also noted that Logan was now driving Thomas’s team and wearing Thomas’s overcoat and gold watch. The sheriff took Logan into custody, but Logan bragged that they’d never be able to find the body. Logan had forgotten that there were in fact witnesses to his removal of the body from Thomas’s farm-- Thomas’s two gray mares. It occurred to the sheriff that the horses might remember the path they had taken, so he hitched them up to the wagon and let them go where they wanted to. The horses followed the road until it came close to a deep ravine. They would have started walking down into the ravine if the driver had not forced them to halt. A search of the ravine quickly revealed the trunk and the evidence inside of Logan’s ghastly crime. Because Thomas’s horses had remembered their master’s final resting place, Logan was tried, convicted and sentenced to 99 years at hard labor.

Ozark Happenings is the newsletter of:

Texas County Genealogical & Historical Society
300 S. Grand Avenue, P.O. Box 12
Houston, MO 65483

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