Sunday, August 28, 2011

1896 Fisk Murder Inquest

G.L. Adams, publisher and editor of The Fowlerville Review, wrote the following, long article, inquest information, and obituary for Frank E. Fisk after an unfortunate accident. G.L. sat on the jury for the inquest.

Frank E. Fisk was found dead in the road about 30 rods south of Russel's corners in the township of Marion on Thursday evening, August 29, about a quarter past nine o'clock. As there had been some threats made against his life by some man in Marion -- in connection with some other young men who had been playing tricks upon the man -- after his body was brought to the residence of Mrs. C.T. Power of this village, where his sister, Miss Jennie Haws, resides, it was thought best by the prosecuting attorney to hold an inquest and obtain as near as possible the facts in the case. A jury was summoned by Justice Glenn and in substance the following facts were brought to light:

Mr. Fisk was at work for Mr. Thomas Ross, in the township of Marion and on Thursday afternoon, August 29, had taken a load of cucumbers to the pickle factory at Pinckney. On returning, he stopped at the residence of a neighbor near where he was found and left some groceries that he had purchased for them at Pinckney. He then started on toward home and about one-half hour later was found nearly dead in the road not many rods from the house. The team stood by the side of the road in a clump of willows nearly 80 rods from where Fisk was found. The harness on one horse was broken and the bridle off and the horse had the appearance of having been down. There were several places on both horses where the skin was knocked off and one spoke was broken out of the front wheel and the front end-board of the new wagon box was splintered up.

While they were unhitching the team, they heard Fisk say, "Oh my God," and going down the road found him laying with his head in the wagon track and a large pool of blood. The ground was very stony where he was found.

Just after Fisk had left Russel's, where he left the groceries, a man who was at work for Russel heard a team trotting down the road very fast and he heard him call out "whoa" three times and he thought the team stopped.

Drs. Abel S. Austin, Arthur S. Austin, of this place, and W.C. Spencer of Howell, held a post mortem examination and testified before the jury as having found various wounds and marks upon the head and body, one being a fracture of the back of the skull and a consequent depression of the skull upon the brain and that the immediate cause of his death was hemorrage caused by the above wound. They could express no opinion as to what caused the fracture.

Fisk was lying upon his back in the road when found and breathed only a few times after they put him in the wagon to take him to the house. He did not speak after they found him.

The man who had made the threats did not live within two miles of the place where Fisk was found and there was not a particle of evidence of anything only an accident, in consequence of which the jury composed of the following gentlemen, G.L. Adams, E.P. Randall, Bert Barnard, H. Converse, Norris Miner and John Haws, rendered the following verdict:

That the said Frank E. Fisk came to his death in the township of Marion, county of Livingston, on the 29th day of August, 1880, at about 9 o'clock p.m. by some accident, to the jury unknown, while driving a team. The immediate cause of his death being hemorrage from a fracture of the skull received during the said accident.

He was born in this township, October 28, 1826 and had always been a resident of this county and the most of his life had been spent in this township. The funeral services were held at the M.E. church on last Sabbath morning and were largely attended. The remains were interred in the Coughran cemetery.

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