Montana Obituaries - April 16, 1902


Charles Fisk, the Engineer at the Flatwillow Sawmill, Shoots Him Three Times


Fisk is Detained by the Employes at the Mill Until the Arrival of Sheriff Shaw.

Nate Pierce of Flatwillow was shot and mortally wounded by Chas. Fisk last Thursday evening about 8 p.m.   The weapon used was a 38 six shooter and Pierce was shot three times in the region of the abdomen.

The shooting occurred at the Pierce sawmill at the head of Flatwillow , in which the murdered man owned an interest.

George Maccatee and Jack Frye arrived in Lewistown about 2 o'clock Friday morning in search of the doctor and the sheriff, and Sheriff Shaw, accompanied by R. S. Hedges, started at once for the scene of the trouble.

Pierce died at 12:30 a. m. on Friday as the result of the injuries inflicted by Fisk, who was detained and turned over to the sheriff by the employes of the mill on his arrival.

Sheriff Shaw returned to town on Friday night with the news of his death and with Fisk in charge, and arrangements were at once made to hold an inquest.   County Attorney Belden, Justice McFarland, Stenographer Gibson and Sheriff Shaw started at once, and stopping at the Frost ranch that night arrived at the Pierce sawmill early on Saturday morning.

A coroner's jury was summoned as soon as possible as follows: John Sellers, Daniel Tyler, Sidney Frost, Chas. Frost, Louis Price and John Fishburn.   William Pierce, a brother of the deceased, Irving Perry, Dan Mullen, Myron Bradley, Lou Smith and Dr. Hedges testified at the inquest and the story of the trouble as told by the several witnesses was an extremely straightforward one and was corroborated throughout.

The version of the affair as told at the inquest is that the trouble commenced at the supper table on Thursday while the mill crew were eating their evening meal.   Nate and William Pierce had returned from town only an hour or so previously and had brought back a bottle of whisky to Fisk, which he had ordered from Lewistown.

Fisk had evidently been drinking a little as he evinced a quarrelsome disposition during supper and tried to pick a row with Myron Bradley and did considerable loud talking.   He asked Nate if it was true that Roosevelt was shot, and Pierce, who was somewhat of a josher, said it was, and on being asked how it happened said that it was owing to the fact that he couldn't run fast enough to get away from the bullet.

This seemed to anger Fisk and he called Pierce all the vile names he could think of until William Pierce, who was in an adjoining room with his wife, stepped out and taking Fisk by the shoulder put him out of the room, telling him that he couldn't use language like that in front of his wife.   When on the outside, Fisk asked Nate Pierce to step outside and dared him to fight; Pierce went out and on Fisk using abusive language knocked him down and after hitting him several times helped him to his feet and told him to behave himself and be a man.   During the fight the boys all ran to the door of the kitchen and after it was over they went to the bunkhouse, a few steps away, while Nate returned to the dining room and Fisk started for his sleeping shanty about one hundred and thirty paces distant.   Some of the boys thought that he might have went for a gun as he had several rifles in the shanty, and told William Pierce to keep Nate inside.   A short time after Fisk was seen to return from the shanty and look in the dining room and also in the bunkhouse, but as he didn't seem to have a gun with him no attention was paid to him. In the meantime Mrs. William Pierce ran to where her brother Irvlng Perry, was stopping and told him that Nate and Fisk had had trouble and called him over.

In his testimony Irving Perry made the statement that when he arrived at the door of the kitchen, Nate and Fisk were standing outside and he heard the latter tell Nate that he didn't believe anything he said.   Nate struck him; Fisk tried to pick up a stick of wood and was again hit by Pierce, who knocked him down and struck him several times, afterwards helping him up and telling him to "be a man and behave himself."   Nate and Perry then went into the kitchen and Perry warned Nate to watch Fisk, as he thought he might have gone for a gun.

The witness then said that he went out of the kitchen and as he stepped out of the door passed Fisk. who was standing a few feet to one side and apparently did not have any gun.   At this time Nate Pierce stepped out of the door and after he had passed Fisk the latter pulled a gun out of his pocket and shot at him; Pierce turned half around and clinched with Fisk and during the melee which ensued, three more shots were fired.   William Pierce was getting some groceries out of the wagon, which was standing close to the house, and at the sound of the shots both he and Perry ran toward the two men.

At the same time Myron Bradley and Lou Smith, who were looking out of the bnnkhouse window, saw Nate Pierce walk out of the kitchen door and saw Fisk commence to attack him.   Both parties rushed to the spot as soon as possible, but when they arrived there both Pierce and Fisk were on the ground with Pierce on top.   William Pierce grabbed the sixshooter, which Nate had in his hand, immediately placing it in his pocket, and asked his brother, Nate, if he was hurt.   Nate replied: "He has got me, boys; I am a goner." He was taken into the house and Fisk was placed under guard in the bunkhouse, William Pierce and Lou Smith taking turns in guarding him with a shotgun until the arrival of the sheriff.

As soon as it was found that Pierce was seriously injured, George Maccatee was sent for the doctor and the sheriff.   He proceeded to the ranch of Jack Frye, about ten miles on the road to Lewlstown, where he found Frye, who at once hitched up a team and accompanied him to town.   The wounded man stated that as well as he could remember four shots were fired, three of which struck him.   At the first shot he had closed with Fisk and received two more before he could get the gun away from him.   When he did get posesslon of the gun he hit Fisk on the head with it, knocked him down and fell on top of him, where he was found.   He endured great agony until the arrival of the doctor, who seeing that it was only a matter of a few hours until death, administered opiates to relieve the intense suffering.   He died at 12:30 on Friday after bidding everybody good-bye, and at the time of his death did not seem to be suffering and the end came peacefully.

Dr. R. S. Hedges, in his testimony, stated that he found three wounds; one entering the left side and ranging upward, and two in the abdomen.   One of the bullets, which penetrated the abdomen, was recovered, but the others were not found.

The jury brought in a verdict to the effect that Pierce came to his death from gunshot wounds from a six-shooter in the hands of Charles Fisk, the manner of his death being felonious.

Nate Pierce is one of four brothers, all of whom are well known in this vicinity; the other three are: William, Ellory and Avery.   At the time of the killing Ellory Pierce was at his ranch a few miles distant, but was summoned as soon as possible.   Avery was on the road between Benton and Lewistown with an express team and did not get the news until after the funeral.   The parents of the boys live at Paasadena, Cal., and originally came from Wisconsin.   Nate and Avery have lived in this section of Montana for the last twelve years, neither of them being married.   William and Ellory are both married and have families, having come to Fergus county from California only a few years ago.

The coroner, sheriff, county attorney and the stenographer returned to Lewlstown on Saturday night, while the remains of Nate Pierce were brought to town on Sunday morning by John Sellers, who left the mill with the body on Saturday, but owing to the storm was detained for several hours.   The body was taken to the Montana Hardware Co. store where it was prepared for burial.

Owing to the delay in bringing the body to town the funeral, which had been set for two o'clock on Sunday, was postponed until 6 p. m.

The funeral cortege, which started from the Montana Hardware store, was a large one and was composed of a large number of friends of the deceased, as well as his brothers,   William and Ellory with their wives.

Nate Pierce was 39 years of age at the time of his death and was universally liked by those with whom he came in contact.

Fisk has followed the carpenter trade in Lewistown and vicinity for several years and is addicted to the liquor habit.   He has a penchant for rifles and has several in his shanty at the mill and made the remark in the hearing of witnesses that "if a man beat him up he would kill him."   At the time of his arrest he had not much to say but during the time he was in the bunkhouse said that Pierce had tried to hit him with a bolt when he came out of the dining room the last time.   This is emphatically de- (continued on p. 2)

(continued from p. 1) -nied by eye-witnesses of the affair, who state that Pierce was emptyhanded at the time.   The prisoner is somewhat cut about the head and has a black eye, the result of the beating he received at the hands of Pierce after he had shot him.

In his dying statement, which was made in the presence of three witnesses, Nate Pierce said: "He done a cowardly trick to run upon a man in the dark and go and shoot him - in front of kitchen - in front of bunkhouse - kind of back of me when he shot me - I turned around and took gun from him - hit him in face with it - either three or four shots fired - I'm so tired I must quit."

Avery Pierce arrived in the city on Monday night, having been detained by the heavy roads.   He met John Mears on the Arrow creek hill and was there informed of the death of his brother.

Source = Fergus County Argus, April 16, 1902, Pg 1, Col.s 1 and 2, and Pg 2, Col. 6


Died From an Attack of Inflammation of the Brain at His Residence in Washington.


Buried on Tuesday From the Church of the Holy Covenant-Large Crowda Attend the Funeral.

Washington, April 12.

Rev. DeWitt Talmage, the noted Presbyterian clergyman, died at nine o'clock tonight at his residence in this city.   It had been evident for some days that there was no hope of recovery and the attending physicians so informed the family.

The patient gradually grew weaker, until life passed away so quietly that even the members of the family, all of whom were watching at the bedside, hardly knew that he had gone.

The immediate cause of death was inflammation of the brain.   Dr. Talmage was in poor health when he started away from Washington for Mexico for a vacation and rest six weeks ago.   He was then suffering from influenza and serious catarrhal conditions.   Since his return to Washington some time ago he has been quite ill.   Until Thursday, however, fears for his death were not entertained.

The last rational words uttered by Dr. Talmage were on the day preceding the marriage of his daughter, when he said:

"Of course I know you, Maud."

Since then he has been unconscious.

At Dr. Talmage's bedside, besides his wife, were these members of his family: Rev. Frank DeWitt Talmage, Chicago; Mrs. Warren Smith, Brooklyn; Mrs. Daniel Mangum, Brooklyn: Mrs. Allen E. Donnau, Richmond: Mrs. Clarence Wintoff and Miss Talmage. Washington.

T. DeWitt Talmage was born at Bound Brook, N.Y., In the year 1832.   His education was superior, and he was the fourth brother to enter the ranks of the Christian preachers.   Before experiencing that change in his religious life which determined him to adopt the sacred profession he spent three years in a lawyer's office.   As a first step to the ministry he entered college at New Brunswick and in due time became a graduate of the New York university.   His first pastorate was at Belleville, N. J., where he was popular and remained three years.   Subsequently at Syracuse, N. Y., his preaching attracted considerable attention by reason of the same characteristics which particularize it now - a vivid style, startling illustration, striking expression, directness of appeal and extraordinary earnestness of delivery. Dr. Talmage's removal to Philadelphia increased vastly the number of his admirers, and his ministry of seven years in the Quaker City was a great success.   During this period he became popular as a lecturer.   At the time of his acceptance of the call by the Brooklyn church he had the choice of that - seemingly the porest of all, only 19 members voting - one in Chicago and one in San Francisco.   He removed to Brooklyn in March. 1869, and soon filled a church which had been much too large for the worshippers.   The next year a tabernacle of sheet iron was built by the congregation for the better accommodation of the large audiences which assembled to greet Dr. Talmage. He spent most of his time while the building was in course of construction in a trip to Europe and back.   The tabernacle was opened three months after its building had begun by the pastor.   All seats were free.

In December, 1872, it was consumed by fire, and the congregation assembled in the Academy of Music until February, 1874, when the new tabernacle was opened.

A few months ago, and again last year, Dr. Talmage spent several months in Europe, chiefly in Great Britain, where his sermons have a wide distribution . His appearance in public created great interest there, as at home, where his tabernacle, which accommodated 5,000 hearers very comfortably, is often greatly inadequate to the admission of all who desire to hear him.   His sermons are probably more widely read than any other living preacher.

Source = Fergus County Argus, April 16, 1902, Pg 1, Col. 3


Cut His Throat From Ear to Ear in a Horrible Manner With a Common Three-Bladed Pocket Knife.


Had Never Intimated That He Intended to Kill Himself - T. F. Osborn in the House at the Time.

A telephone message was received in Lewistown early Friday morning from Rockford asking that a doctor and the coroner at once repair to that point, as "Roaring Tom" Moores had killed himself by cutting his throat from ear to ear.

Dr. Wilson started as soon as possible and a short time afterwards Deputy Phil. Shaw, Dr. Treacy and Justice McGowan left for the Slpple ranch on Rock creek, where the rash ach (sic) was committed.

The ranch has lately been sold by John Slpple to the Rev. A. B. Sheldon, and Moores, who had been living with Sipple before the sale, had been making the ranch his home.   For several days previous to his death he was in Lewistown drinking heavily. T. F. Oaborn, who is working on the ranch, was living there at the time alone with Moores and was the last person to see him alive.

On the arrival of the Justice a jury was summoned, which was composed of P. T. Elston, L.. H . Sweetland, W. F. Hanna, H. S. Leonard, Evan Jones and O. C. Osborn.   T. F. Osborn, who was the principal witness, in his testimony said that Moores returned from town about three o'clock on Friday.   very much under the influence of liquor but good natured and in the best of spirits.   At six o'clock Osborn went to the house and got supper; about 8:45 both men went to bed in seperate rooms.   About three o'clock in the morning Osborn was awakened by Moores pounding against the wall and breathing heavily: thinking that he had the nightmare, Osborn went into the room and saw Moores laying on the bed with his throat cut form (sic) ear to ear and just about to die.   He hastily ran to the ranch of Evan Jones, about a quarter of a mile away, from whence a messenger was sent to Rockford and a message from that point sent to Lewistown over the wire.

Dr. Treacy. who conducted the autopsy, stated that the wound had been made in a very determined manner, the jugular veins, the thorax and the left caratoid all being completely severed.   Dr. Wilson was the first to examine the dead man and found a three-bladed pocket knife between the arm and side which was covered with blood and was evidently the weapon with which the unfortunate man killed himself.

The deceased, though he acted strangely at times, had never been heard to threaten to kill himself, and no reason can be given for his action beyond the fact of his excessive use of liquor, though a short time ago Moores wanted someone to draw up his will, leaving what little property he owns, a few head of horses, to his wife.   He did not state where she lived and no trace can be found of any of his relations.

Moores earned the sobriquet of "Roaring Tom" by his boisterous manner when under the influence of liquor, and is well known to many old time residents in this district.   For many years he worked around the sawmill owned by J. C. Walker on Rock creek; in fact he was in the habit of looking upon the Walker place as his home and when Mr. Walker disposed of his interests in the business, Moores lost a good home.   Since that time he has worked on different ranches and owned at one time the ranch on Rock creek now the property of "Dad" Hughes.   He worked last winter for John Sipple and when the deal was made by which the ranch transferred to the Rev. A . B . Sheldon, he obtained permission to remain on the ranch until spring.   He was between forty and fifty years of age and had been in this section of the state for more than twenty years.

John Galllnder of New Year, was in the city yesterday and says that he has known Moores for several years, and says that, the deceased man has a wife In Iowa, whom he left twenty years ago through some real or imaginary grievance.   Mr. Callinder says that he was talking to Moores in Lewistown the night previous to his death and though Moores was drinking pretty heavily had no idea of his committing suicide.

The dead man has not always been a drinking man and it has only been in the past few years that he has imbibed so heavily.   He has many friends who have known him for the past twenty years who greatly deplore his sad ending.

The funeral took place last Saturday.

Source = Fergus County Argus, April 16, 1902, Pg 2, Col.s 4 and 5