Audioburst Search

E150: Ballots and Bullets - John Clayton

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Carter, and I have some exciting news for you starting now. You can listen to unsolved murders episodes, that are older than six months completely ad free exclusively on Stitcher. Premium world is looking for ways to improve the listener experience. We found an amazing partner in Stitcher to bring you episodes, ad free six months after they are released again, this will only affect episodes older than six months. Nothing else will change we'll still be releasing new unsolved murders. Episodes wherever you listen to podcasts for a free month trial. Go to Stitcher premium dot com slash par cast and use promo code par cast that Stitcher, premium dot com slash podcast and use promo code park cast. Due to the graphic nature of this case listener discretion is advised. This episode includes dramatization in discussions of murder, assault, and hate crimes. That some people may find offensive. We advise extreme caution for children under thirteen. What a day on exhausted. Hello, Mr. Clayton, Mr. Allnutt. Did you take many testimonials today over a hundred and nearly? Everyone says they voted for Mr. Clayton if that ballot-box hadn't been stolen he'd be a US congressman right now. I still will be if we can prove the stolen votes would have swayed the election. I just can't believe the length. These Democrats went to I'm afraid that's just how it's always been in Conway county, the saying around here is win by the rules if you can. But if you can't just win, well, they won't get away with it this time, Mr. Womack. You finished with a writing desk. I was just about to turn in please help yourself and good luck tomorrow. Thank you, sir. It's good to know. There are still some honest Americans left in Conway county. Whom I do children. Mr clayton. Oh, god. This is unsettled murders. True crime stories I'm your host Carter ROY and I'm your host, Wendy MacKenzie. This is our first episode on John Middleton, Clayton and American politician, and Republican congressional candidate who was assassinated in eighteen eighty nine while investigating one of the most fraudulent elections in US history. You can listen to previous episodes of unsolved murders as well as all of par casts other shows, wherever you listen to podcasts. A new episode comes out every Tuesday you can also find us on Facebook and Instagram at par cast and on Twitter at park network, some listeners have been asking how they can help support the show. If you enjoy the podcast, the best way to do that is leva five star review wherever you're listening. On the evening of January twenty ninth eighteen eighty nine Republican politician in congressional candidate. John Middleton Clayton was staying in a small one story, boarding house in Plummer, Ville, Arkansas he had just sat down at a table to write a letter to his children when a shotgun blast ripped through the room's window Clayton was struck in the face and killed instantly. It was a violent and shocking culmination of what had been a particularly contentious election cycle Clayton had run for Arkansas, second seat in the US house of representatives Clayton contested, the results of the election, which he lost by a mere eight hundred sixty four votes. He believed that the seat had been stolen from him through voter suppression and ballot tampering in January of eighteen eighty nine he traveled to Plummer, Ville, Arkansas to investigate only to be killed. After four days of research, this insatiable murder instantly became a national news story, multiple investigations involving state and federal officials were launched while Clayton's family hired Pinkerton. Detectives to get to the bottom of the case. The investigations led to several popular theories as to the identity of Clayton's killer at one point Powell Clayton claim to be certain that one of two men was responsible for his brother's death, despite these efforts, no killer was ever found or brought to Justice for decades, one of the most famous political murders in Arkansas state history, has remained unsolved. In many ways, John M Clinton's life, and death or illustrative of the intense political turmoil that gripped Arkansas, and the American South throughout the late. Eighteen hundreds John, and his twin brother. William were born on October thirteenth eighteen forty on a farm in Bethel, township, Pennsylvania, from birth politics played a major role in John's life. John's father was an orchard keeper in carpenter, and a passionate supporter of the whig party. He originally named his son, John Tyler Clayton after ten th US president, John Tyler when John was still one year old his father fell out of love with president Tyler who he believed had betrayed. The whig party. John was immediately renamed, John Middleton Clayton. The Clayton's had ten children, six of whom died in infancy, four boys survived to adulthood, John, his. Win William and their older. Brothers Powell and Thomas, their father's obsession with American politics. Clearly had an effect on the boys shaping their childhood in preteen years. All four would ultimately go on to have significant political careers, but for a teenage John growing up on his father's farm that future was too far away. Oh, wait. John. Let's go, you all riled up. It's true. Isn't it? You're leaving dad. Let the cat out of the bag already. Did he I've got an opportunity waiting for me in Kansas? I'm gonna make my fortune as a land, surveyor take me with you. What I can't. Stay cooped up on this farm anymore listening to complain about politics. I can pay my own way, I promise. I'm sure you can. Maybe I will take you with me someday. You just need to be patient. But trust me, John. We'll get you out of Pennsylvania, soon enough. Powell headed off to Kansas in search of his fortune leaving John behind in Pennsylvania. But John wouldn't remain in Pennsylvania, for long on November sixth eighteen sixty a month after John and his twin William turn twenty ABRAHAM LINCOLN was elected, the sixteenth, president of the United States before he was sworn into office seven slave states had announced their secession from the union and the formation of the confederacy the civil war had begun. John and Williams signed up for the same company in the one hundred twenty fourth Pennsylvania, volunteer, infantry regiment under Colonel Joseph w Hawley William became a Lieutenant while John served as I sergeant. So John was one rank below his twin in the chain of command after an initial few months in the reserves the one hundred twenty four th was eventually rolled into the twelfth corps. Of the army of the Potomac less than six weeks later. The twin brothers participated in the battle of antique them of all of the awful moments that defined the civil war few compared to the horrors of tedium John and William participated in the fighting at Miller's cornfield where the poor visibility caused by the corn stocks forced the soldiers into brutal melee combat with rifle butts and bayonets. Come on. Then we've got the rebels on the run. John william. What are you doing on the ground? Some rib appeared out of the corner clock me with his rifle, but. He was about to stick me. And then he was missed cannonball. They're still schilling this area, come on. We're going to die today. We'll do it on our feet, the brothers survived the battle. But many did not all told twenty two thousand seven hundred seventeen Americans were counted dead wounded or missing by the end of the battle the next day. John and Williams company was on burial duty cleaning up the aftermath of what would go down as the bloodiest single day conflict in American history. By my count. That's sixty four for our company alone. I'll trust you. I can't count and swat flies at the same time. This is somehow we found ourselves in will just hope that when it's all over it will have been worth it. Meanwhile, the twins older brother was busy becoming a war. Hero powell. Clayton was mustered into company e of the first Kansas infantry he fought in battles in Arkansas and Missouri, eventually rising to the rank of Brigadier General a confederate officer who faced Powell in Missouri wrote Colonel Clayton was an officer of activity and enterprise clear-headed, quick to conceive and bold and rapid to execute his success in the field has caused him to be considered the ablest federal commander of cavalry, west of the Mississippi, but leadership on the battlefield didn't stop Powell from thinking about the fortune. He had intended to make. While he was stationed in pine bluff, Arkansas, he jumped on opportunities to invest in the regions, cotton trade by the time the war drew to a close Powell Clayton owned one of the largest cotton plantations, in the St John Clayton on the other hand had his mind set on other post-war ventures instead of investing in businesses outside of his home state at the age of twenty five John return to Pennsylvania there. He married a young woman named Sarah and zebra before long. The couple was expecting their first child while Sarah in was still pregnant John received a letter from his older brother Powell, he traveled to Arkansas to visit Powell's plantation. How this place is amazing. How did you afford it careful investments? The problem is now the Arkansas Republican party wants me to run for governor you'd be perfect for governor. But I suppose that means you'll have to move to. Oh rock. Exactly. In the meantime, only someone I can trust to run this place. What do you say me? Oh, I don't know, Powell, my family just settled Sarunas pregnant governor isn't the end for me. John, the Republican party is going to be making big moves in Arkansas, if you were to join me out here, I dare say you could do pretty well for yourself. You make a compelling case, I'll do it in eighteen sixty seven Powell finally made good on his promise to his younger brother, John and Sarah and moved to pine bluffs where their first daughter, Sarah, m Clayton was born. John went to work, overseeing older brothers, plantation, while this must have been an exciting time for John and Sarah. It was also quite frightening. Arkansas had only just been readmitted to the union and ex confederates were far from eager to welcome. Their new neighbors. They had a word for people. Like the Clayton's carpetbaggers. Carpetbagger was a derogatory term for opportunistic, white northerners who move south after the civil war, seeking to profit from reconstruction of all of the carpet. Banging politicians Powell, Clayton may have been the most hated and most visible in all of Arkansas. He quickly rose to become the leader of the Republican party in the state after finishing his term as governor Powell was elected, the United States, Senate in eighteen seventy one where he remained for six years. John wrote his older brother's coat tails straight into career in politics in eighteen seventy one he became the Representative for Jefferson County in the Arkansas general assembly that same year. He said, on the first board of trustees of the university of Arkansas in eighteen seventy three he became a member of the Arkansas state Senate, and three years later, he became sheriff of Jefferson County, keep in mind that. At this point in time in eighteen seventy six the share of had much more political power than most of the sheriffs of today. In addition to maintaining peace and collecting taxes. John was likely in charge of getting the county's Republicans out to the polls on election day, he was also likely seen is the Republican party manager of Jefferson County and that's not all he was up to during this period. John and Sarah Ann had seven children, six of them would survive to adulthood, John Clayton remains share for the next decade. But then tragedy struck. The Clayton family in eighteen eighty four John's wife. Sarah Anne died at the age of forty one the precise cause of death was lost a history, but she was laid to rest in bellwood cemetery. In pine bluff, Arkansas, at this point, John was forty four years old widower and a father of six, he had spent nearly two decades in Arkansas state, politics, always in his. Older, brother shadow, however, with his wife gone. He grew more focused on his work as he dealt with his grief. He became determined to prove himself on a larger scale in the summer of eighteen eighty eight the forty eight year old John Clayton announced his bid for Arkansas's second seat in the US house of representatives. However, this ambition led to his downfall. We'll cover the tragedies that plagued this election after this. Hey, there, I wanted to give you an update on my progress with best fiends. The five star rated mobile puzzle game about the world of minutia, and it's cute courageous inhabitants. I'm up to level one twenty nine booty bay. It is a challenging level to say the least probably the toughest one. I've faced so far think I've finally figured out the right strategy to solve it. I just haven't been able to execute it yet help. I can pass it by the next time and do a best Fien spot. I really really liked this game. It's fun to play. It's challenging I love that. I can play off line. So I can play when I'm waiting for my coffee order or during breaks in recording best fiends has over ninety million downloads globally, and it's easy to see why. It's fun and solving these puzzles real challenge. Best fiends is a five star rated mobile game app available for download free on the apple app store, and Google play, Saul thousands of fun, puzzles, and click. Tons of cute characters. That's friends without the our best fiends. When you think of a criminal, what do you picture? Do you picture a murderer gangster a faith? But I bet you didn't think it could be the little old lady down the street who murdered her tenants or the housewife around the corner killed her own children, every week, the park cast original female criminals, examines, the psychology motivations and atrocities of female criminals. They thoroughly investigate the lives of the world's most notorious female felons and explore the stories behind their dangerous crimes. You can listen to episodes on female criminals, such as Leona Helmsley, the Queen of mean rose to the top, the New York City real estate scene, but was eventually put on trial for fraud and tax evasion or Patty Hearst to his kidnapped by the symbionese Liberation Army, and ultimately sided with her kidnappers and became a full blown urban guerrilla check out the true crime. Podcast, where women aren't just victims search for and subscribe to female criminals on Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts. And please don't forget to rate and review. And now back to our unsolved murder. In eighteen eighty eight. John M Clayton stepped onto the national stage by announcing his bid to represent Arkansas's second district in the US house of representatives. He ran as a fusion candidate of the Republican party, and the agricultural wheel, a populist movement of poor farmers that had abruptly arrived on the political scene. A few years earlier as a fusion candidate John had the unenviable task of trying to appeal to three distinct groups white Republicans from the northern part of the state African Americans and poor subsistence, farmers. These subsistence, farmers had traditionally voted democrat. But it'd become frustrated with the wealthy, merchant banker class each year, the farmers were forced to take loans in the first part of the year, which then they would pay back after harvest with severe interest penalties. John Clayton took advantage of the situation and allied with the white. Subsistence farmers by promising restrictions on the interest rates that kept him locked in a cycle of debt. In addition to these policies John's Republican platform focused on improving infrastructure, creating free, public education and banning racial discrimination in housing and transportation, his opponent in the race was Clifton are Breckenridge. The democratic incumbent who had held the seat since eighteen eighty three while they were competitors to the public in private. They got along well for months, the two politicians traveled together throughout the second district frequently sharing meals, and even bunking together along the way by the end of the campaign. They had become close friends. However, the mood in the rest of the district was far, less cheery, Republicans and Democrats were at each other's throats across the state and nowhere more so than in Conway county, which housed, the cities of Plummer, Ville and moral ten. Understanding the political and social conditions that had been brewing in Conway county. For decades is key to understanding the bizarre events of the eighteen eighty eight election at the time of the election. Conway county held one of the largest African American populations in the district, making it a prime target for Clayton's campaign from early on in the campaign, it was targeted by both parties as a key battleground with the potential to decide the outcome of the election. Unfortunately, Conway county had been a violent place. Even before the civil war with constant political tensions between wealthy slave owning plantation owners in the southern part of the county and poor subsistence farmers in the north the tensions between these communities became even more visible as the nation descended into civil war Arkansas initially voted to remain in the union. But later joined the confederacy when Lincoln called for every state to send troops to stop the rebellion in many ways, Conway county can be seen as a microcosm of the tensions that play in the rest of the state during the war, the county, provided five companies of soldiers to the south and three companies to the north. It was truly a case of brother versus brother for traumatic years of bloodshed and war created family, feuds and grudges that lasted for decades afterwards, these physicians continued to deepen during reconstruction, the period after the civil war in which congress instituted laws, attempting to redress the effects of slavery in the newly readmitted southern states in many cases, these laws prevented former confederates from voting or holding office. This kept a huge swath of the population from participating in politics and allowed the Republican party, which was supported by the newly. Enfranchised afrah. American population to seize control. Arkansas Democrats were furious can't believe these carpetbag and Yankees. What are they doing? Now, have you heard about this Iran clad oath? They're not gonna let us vote unless we can swear that we never actively supported the confederacy, who could say that. No one to think that our slaves, former slaves, former slaves are deciding who runs our government. And now we don't even get a say I won't stand for it. What are you going to do? We already lost the war. I'm going to visit some of our free neighbors. Let them know I think they should vote democrat or not at all. The disenfranchised ex confederates found new methods of affect in politics, violence, and intimidation became their primary tools, many of the wealthiest members of the communities took up the robes and hoods of the Ku Klux Klan, which soon became the defacto paramilitary wing of the Democratic Party in Arkansas, in eighteen sixty eight the tensions in the state reached a boiling point, when clan members in Lewisburg attacked two African American brothers who were living with white women killing one of the brothers, local black militiamen responded by killing the local Klan leader from there, the situation rapidly devolved into all out war Powell Clayton. Then the governor of Arkansas instituted martial law in fourteen counties, and affectively quashed, the spread of the Ku Klux Klan from that moment. Onward Democrats ex confederates in Arkansas. Aw, harbored a deep resentment and hatred of the Clayton's in eighteen seventy four the brothers became involved in another even more. Surreal conflict when two Republican candidates for the governor's office. Joseph Brooks, Elisha Baxter disputed the election and each refused to submit to the other. Powell Clayton and the Republican party had initially backed Elisha Baxter, but switched to supporting Joseph Brooks. When Baxter started to court, Democrats, and refuse to issue state bonds to finance railroad construction within Arkansas Gelin sided with his brother and became Brooke supporter when he learned that fighting had broken out between the governor supporters. He raised a militia of men from Jefferson County and marched them to Little Rock to join the fray, the two forces barricaded themselves in buildings down the street from each other for a month. The state capital was in a state of chaos with frequent skirmishes between roaming mobs of drunken militiamen two hundred men were killed before president Ulysses s grant stepped into proclaim Baxter. The rightful governor of Arkansas, too many observers grants. Decision was seen as capitulation to the Arkansas. Democrat. That's and signal the defacto end of reconstruction efforts in the state before the year was up a new state constitution was drawn bringing an end to the ironclad oath with ex confederates able to vote again, Democrats were back on top. They would maintain a firm grip on virtually all state offices, and congressional seats for a decade that grip began to slacken again in eighteen eighty four with the rise of the agricultural wheel party. The price of cotton had been steadily falling for some time in many poor white Arkansas, subsistence, farmers had begun to believe that the wealthy landowning class was taking advantage of them at the same time that Arkansas Republicans were allying with the poor white farmers, African Americans were migrating to the state and particularly to Conway county in huge numbers in eighteen seventy African Americans made. Up a mere eight percent of Conway county's population by eighteen ninety. They accounted for forty percent for the first time in a decade Democrats saw their control of local government starting to slip, they would do whatever they could to maintain power including election tampering, an outright assassination in the years before Clayton's. Ron Conway county was home to countless cases of flagrant ballot stuffing African American voters were chased away from the polls with threats and violence. It was into this volatile climate that James Clayton stepped when he decided to run for congress after Clayton's long and contentious campaign cycle election day arrived on November sixth eighteen eighty eight early in the morning, the Republican election. Judge George Baker was on his way to open the polls in moral tin when he ran into a neighbor who appeared to be wildly drunk. Trying kick me out, Suns, I'll show. Sir, are you all right? You. So you'd insult my mama. What are you, sir? Please don't. Help somebody help what's going on here. Constable. Thank god. I was just on my way to open the polls when this man attacked be he's drunk out of his mind, is that true. Now constable I haven't had a drop I was just on my way to the polls to place my vote for congressman Breckenridge, would Mr Baker attacked me. What that's ludicrous. I've heard enough. You're both under arrest. But but he's lying. Wait, I have to open the polls. With Baker sitting in the county jail, militia of Democrats marched to the courthouse and took control of the election placing their own judges in charge. Meanwhile, only a few miles down the road in Plummer, Ville things were getting even more heated by eighteen eighty eight Plummer, Ville had the largest African American population in the county with blacks outnumbering whites two to one this made it a crucial city for John Clayton's campaign and a prime target for vote tampering by Democrats the day before the election, the sheriff Swaran over a dozen new deputies. He claimed the purpose was to ensure of fair election and an honest count. But as explication is a little hard to buy considering that all of the new deputies were Democrats and several had been accused of ballot stuffing and election tampering in the past these new deputies quickly, moved to prevent to appointed black. Republican judges from opening their polling places and replace them with white Democrats. They were not, however, able to remove Charles wall, a white Republican judge who had been selected to oversee the vote count after a day of collecting votes, Charles wall, and the democratic election judge sat down to a hurried dinner before counting the votes. On believable what went on to all of Bentley has scoundrel deputies were outside. My polling place all day scaring Friedman voters off despicable can't blame them for being enthusiastic. I'm going to go find a candle and papers so we can start the count. You've got the ballot box. I'm not taking my eyes off it. Good. Anything happens to it while I'm gone. I'm not responsible. What was that supposed to me? Y'all started counting yet that sounded like Bentley. Just as the count was preparing to get underway for armed men wearing rubber rain, slickers and kerchiefs over their faces rushed into the hotel. What is the meaning of this up against the wall blow your brains out? How dare you interfere with a federal election over the ballot box, dammit? We will show you how Conway county goes the men seized the ballot box and poll books and fled the hotel disappearing into the night because the stone box was from plumber Ville, the most heavily African American city in the county. It was presumed that it would have gone heavily for the Republican candidate. But without the actual ballot box. There was no way to know for sure in the end without those ballots. Counted John Clayton. Lost by Amir, eight hundred forty six votes. John, what is it? Oh, we just got word from Little Rock. Governor Hughes, certified the results. So it's. Over I lost you were robbed. There would have been enough votes in that box to give you the win. Forget that irregularities in the rest of the county. You're right. All we have to do is prove it. You wanna contest the election. These Democrats have made a mockery of Arkansas is elections for long enough. Now they think they can tamper with a federal election. I'd say it's high time, someone held them accountable that winter John Clayton began making preparations to appeal his loss to Breckenridge. It's hard to blame him considering the elections many irregularities, and the narrow margin he'd lost by less than two tenths of one percent of the total vote. His first step was to hire a plumber Ville man to go door to door collecting names of citizens who had voted Republican, the Republican party announced that it would award one thousand dollars to anyone with information about the ballot box theft with inflation that would be over twenty five. Thousand dollars today the plumber Ville Democrats who had been behind the ballot box robbery started to worry that they had gone too far while intimidation and ballot stuffing had become the norm in local elections in Conway county, interfering in the election of US. Congressman was another matter. Meanwhile, Republicans had secured both the presidency in a majority in congress in the November six election making the threat of federal investigation. A real possibility is specially if John Clayton refused to let things lie. We'll hear about the attempted cover up in response to John Clayton's inquiries after this. And now back to our unsolved murder after the November sixth eighteen eighty eight Conway county elections for representing Arkansas's second. Congressional district were contested Democrats, and Republicans alike took action, John Clayton in the Arkansas Republican party began to investigate the irregularities. Meanwhile, Plummer, Ville Democrats launched their own campaign to silence. Any potential witnesses Charles wall de election judge who had been held at gunpoint by the ballot bucks thieves testified that he had recognized the voice of the sheriff's chief deputy Oliver t Bentley. Oliver Bentley was a thin, why remand and his early thirties, he was remembered by his grandson is having many peculiar habits such as rye. Writing a diary in code, and always eating dessert before his meal continuing their flagrant disregard for truth and law. The Conway county Democrats responded to the allegations of election tampering by placing Bentley on a committee tasked with investigating the election fraud, as you might guess that committee revealed nothing about the robbery, but all of our Bentley was still in hot water in late November, Oliver's, older, brother, George was spotted in the presence of Pinkerton detective Albert would George belly who's asking detective Elber? Would what did you wanna see me about the plumber Ville ballot-box business, a November sixth? What do you know, I know a lot, a hell of a lot the identity of the thieves? Maybe but before I say anything, I want to guarantee that, I'll be protected, and I want that thousand dollar reward. I'll see what I can do. We can't know for sure whether George Bentley would have given up his brother because he never got the chance. A November twenty seventh only three weeks after the election. Oliver Bentley took his brother to visit a saddle shop in moral tin. The shop was owned by William wood, no relation to Albert would another of the sheriff's deputies who had ridden with brothers on election night. Hey, all over. Hey, George Howdy. Will Oliver wanted to combine sue the new Smith and Wesson just got one in. She is a beauty yeller the news. Jim saw Pinkerton fell snooping around. No, I hadn't heard must be looking for witnesses can't imagine the find any here, not in Conway county right George care for your point that thing Oliver Oliver. According to reports all over Bentley was examining a Smith and Wesson, revolver. When the gun accidentally went off shooting his older brother in the head and killing him instantly Oliver must have been very clumsy because he accidentally shot, George five times. Oh, in any case, George was no longer around to turn state's witness. But that still up the matter of Charles wall. The election judge who had recognized Oliver Bentley's voice in mid December of eighteen eighty eight two weeks after George was gunned down in the saddle shop. Charles wall was playing cards with some of his democrat neighbors in a plumber Ville, saloon. Fold and that's it for me. Looks like it's almost midnight. One more hand Charles. I'll go easy on you. Maybe one more and one more drink. Hey, watch it there. Sorry. Sorry, got it all of your seat to here. Let's just which. Jason around midnight, one of the plumber Ville Democrats change seats with wall placing him near a glass door to pair flush. Ear. Charles, are you all right. Get away for me. You all of you. You try to kill me. Not long after they had changed seats, someone outside fired in through the glass door. The bullet grazed walls neck and tore off his ear wall sprinted out of the building, as fast as he could. And the next day he fled to Little Rock never to return, while accused the mini played cards with attempted murder, but none of them were charged. None, except wall himself that is day Conway county grand jury later indicted him for gambling, while payday ten dollar fine, rather than return to the city and fight the charge with the local democrat government backing the ballot box thieves. It seemed that they would never be brought to Justice, but for Bentley and his ballot snatching, comrades, it was too soon to celebrate. Where's Tom Hervey Tom? Have you seen the paper calm down? Bentley got you riled up. It's clayton. Again. I told you, I don't give a damn what Powell Clayton has to say not Powell. John look at the headline Joan Clayton heads Conway county to investigate election. It says he intends to take depositions to prove that box was full of oats in his favor. Let the carpetbagger com will send him back in wooden overcoat, while the plumber Ville Democrats were preparing for John Clayton's arrival. Many of his Republican colleagues were attempting to warn them against the visit are you sure about this John after what happened to Charles wall? I'll be fine Powell, an electoral judges, one thing, they're not gonna move against the congressional candidate especially not with Harrison about to be signed in its president. I still think you should steer clear of Plummer Ville. You can take your depositions and moral tin. It's the plumber Ville voters. I wanna speak to most and they're not going to come to moral, you should at least take. The protection, the vote is aren't going to come forward if I'm surrounded by armed guards. I'll be fine Powell. You'll see. John Clayton arrived in Conway county on January twenty fifth of eighteen eighty nine two months after the stolen election. He was accompanied by Aaron Middlebrook a black deputy sheriff from pine bluffs. Middlebrook went ahead to deliver Clayton's luggage and secure room at Plummer, villes sold hotel, when John arrive that night, the hotel owner John SIMS turned him away. Sorry. Mr clayton. I'm afraid we're full up. You've got to be joking Middlebrook. I thought you said you secured a room. I did your bags are already inside. That's right. Almost forgot. Here they are. I don't understand my bags were in the room, you obviously have one. Sorry, sir. But my wife is sick. And we just can't put anyone up. You mean you can't put me up. I can recommend a great spot house of MRs Marianne mcraven just up the road. You can't miss it. Sure. Thanks for your help. Come on. Middlebrook. Wait, Mr. Clayton. There's something wrong here. I've been listening to folks all day and they're not happy. You've come. I think we should go back to pine bluff before something bad happens. I'm not leaving until I've had a chance to talk to the people here. But I think you're right. We should be careful. Middlebrooks, is advice might have saved John Clayton's life. If he had listened instead he continued onto MRs mcraven, boarding house. A one story building at the edge of town Clayton still maintain some level of caution as he slept each night, in a long, windowless hallway rather, than the corner room with a large window that had been reserved, especially for him for the next four days Clayton and a notary by the name of WD, Allnutt interviewed over one hundred Plummer, Ville, citizens. Most were African American and nearly all confirmed that they had voted for Clayton. However, the local Democrats wanted to keep this information from spreading, and by Clayton's fifth night in Plummer Ville. They were determined to move against him much later, WD all nut, and e h Womack, a salesman, who is also staying at MRs mcraven boarding house provided testimony to congress describing the night. Of the murder after dinner on January twenty ninth eighteen eighty nine Clayton spent nearly an hour, pacing back and forth through the room while speaking with Allnutt. We were both excited by the success. We'd had and taking testimonials that day. But we were also staggered by the lengths his opponents had gone to, to prevent a fair election. Clayton had just sat down to write a letter to his children. When I heard the blast it shattered the glass shredded the curtains and blew out the rooms only lantern own that was startled and ran for the door. But he was so overcome with fear and panic that he couldn't find the door. Knob to open it. When I finally realized the shooting had not continued past the initial shot, I turn back to search for Mr. Clayton. I could just make out the shape of his body in the Firelight. His chair had toppled backwards, but he hadn't moved it all look like he was still seated despite. Lying flat on his back. The shotgun blast had nearly decapitated him. Perhaps John Clayton had never managed to step out of his older brother shadow in life. But in death, he clips him the assassination turned him into a nationwide celebrity more than five thousand mourners attended his funeral in pine bluffs. Arkansas Conway county was far from out of trouble rather than bringing an end to the controversial election. Clayton's death sparked several inquiries and investigations by federal and state. Investigators newspaper journalists and Pinkerton detectives yet despite their efforts, John Middleton Clayton's assassin would remain at large indefinitely. Next episode, we'll try to narrow down the identity of John Clayton shooter while exploring the theories that resulted from the many investigations into his death, including one confession that pointed to none other than England's Jack the ripper. You can find unsolved murders and all of parkas shows on Spotify, and wherever you listen to podcasts. A new episode comes out every Tuesday you can also find us on Facebook and Instagram at par cast and on Twitter at park network. And if you enjoy the podcast, the best way to support us by leaving a five star review wherever you listen, thank you so much for listening. We'll see next time if we move to mixed on unsolved murders. True. Crime stories was created by max Cutler in developed by Ron Cutler is a production of Cutler media, and as part of the park has network. It is produced by maximum Ron Cutler. With sound design by Kerry, Murphy production assistance by Ron Shapiro and Paul Moller additional production assistance by Maggie admire and Freddie Beckley, unsolved murders is written by Andrew Kelleher and stars. Carter, ROY and windy MacKenzie. The amazing cast voice actors includes in alphabetical order, Mike. Kaposi sky king Harris, Markson, Steve Pinto. Brett Schneider, Jack shell rough and. Meni. Bremond. Now that this show is finished. You should check out the true crime podcast where women aren't just victims female criminals investigates. The lives the world's most notorious female felons explores the stories behind their dangerous crimes be sure to search for and subscribe to female criminals on Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts. And please don't forget to rate and review.

Coming up next