William E. Hinshaw

                                                  ┌── Abel Hinshaw
                                                  │    1799-1876 
                           ┌── Jacob B. Hinshaw ──┤
                           │    1824-1901         │
                           │                      └── Nancy Bookout
                           │                           1799-1882 
William E. Hinshaw ────────┤
B: 1865                    │                      ┌── Thomas Carter
D: ?                       │                      │
                           └── Mary M. Carter ────┤
                                1826-1908         │
                                                  └── Miriam Cartwright
M: Thruza Oyler

M: Anna C. "Annie" Buroker

William E. Hinshaw     [ID 01159] Click here to switch to Ahnentafel view: Ahnentafel View

Born Jul - 1865, Randolph County, Indiana.1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9  

He married Thruza Oyler9,10 [Thirza Oyler2, Thurza Oyler9,11, Thurza Oiler9], Feb 24 18879,10, Randolph County, Indiana9,10.  Thruza, daughter of John Oyler & Sarah Caroline Lock, was born about 1868, Indiana.9  Marriage performed by N.T. Butts, Minister.  At the time of their marriage William, age 22, was a resident of Snow Hill, and Thurza, age 19, was a resident of rural Indiana.9  

In 1892 William ran for election under a People's party ticket, and lost, for the office of State Representative from Randolph County, Indiana.2  

William was a Methodist minister.12  

Thruza died Jan 10 1895, Belleville, Hendricks County, Indiana.2,11  

On Nov 5 1895 William was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of murdering his wife, Thurza, in the parsonage.12,13  The murder story was recounted in "The History of Hendricks County, Indiana" as follows:11

The most celebrated murder in the long history of Hendricks County occured on the morning of January 10, 1895 in Belleville.  

Early on that snowy morning, the Rev. William E. Hinshaw ran screaming from his small Methodist parsonage, awakening neighbors to report that two mysterious intruders had killed his wife Thurza and had wounded him as they slept in the bedroom of their home.  

After a lengthy investigation, during which a "lady friend" of the handsome pastor was discovered, Rev. Hinshaw was arrested for the murder of his wife.  The preacher, it was charged, had shot his wife as she slept, then wounded himself in an effort to conceal his "crime of passion".  

In a dramatic trial at the old courthouse in Danville, presided over by Judge John V. Hadley - later a state Supreme Court justice - the preacher was defended by Enoch G. Hogate, who later was dean of the Indiana University Law School; James L. Clark, who later became Hendricks County circuit judge; James O. Parker of Danville and John Duncan and C.W. Smith, Indianapolis attorneys.  

The prosecution staff - which created a sensation by reproducing the Hinshaw boudoir and the death bed in the courtroom and re-enacting the crime as they visioned it - included Cassius C. Hadley, later an Appellate Court judge; Thomas J. Cofer, later a Hendricks circuit judge, and Henry Spann, a famous Indianapolis trial lawyer.  

The lengthy trial became a classic case, in which rulings on the admissibility of circumstantial evidence by Judge Hadley became landmark decisions which are still studied by law students.  

At last, on the basis of circumstantial evidence, the jury found Rev. Hinshaw guilty, and he was sentenced to life imprisonment.  The preacher spent 10 years in prison.  Finally, Governor W.T. Durbin paroled Hinshaw.  But the freed minister promptly became involved in a romance with the wife of a Central Indiana sheriff and - after being arrested with her in a hotel room - ended up in prison once again.  

A few months later, Hinshaw was paroled by newly elected Governor James P. Goodrich, a lifelong friend, and this time he left Indiana, settling in Walla Walla, Washington, where he died in 1911.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Aug 2 1895:14

Prosecuting Attorney Gulley of Danville is in Winchester, the old home of the Hinshaws, looking up evidence for the coming trial of Hinshaw for murder, which comes up in the September term of court in Hendricks county.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Monday, Sep 2 1895:15


Rev. William E. Hinshaw's Fight For Freedom Commences Wednesday.  


Promises to Be a Most Sensational Case.  
His Friends Have Been Loyal -- Another Glass Trust is Being Organized.  -- Higher Prices For Bottles and Flasks.  Elopers at Frankton -- State Items.  

Danville, Sept. 2. -- Wednesday morning, in the Hendricks circuit court, will be called for trial what promises to be the most sensational case ever tried in Hendricks county -- that of William E. Hinshaw, charges with the murder of his wife.  The interest in the case, which was so manifest at the time of the tragedy, has been revived and is now the one absorbing topic of conversation.  

Hinshaw is in the county jail resting as easy, apparently, as one could who is soon to be tried for his life.  He has many faithful friends who have never faltered in their loyalty to him, and they are constantly visiting him in his cell.  These friends believe him innocent and are positive of his aquittal.  The family of Mrs. Hinshaw are friendly toward his case and think him an innocent man, with possibly the exception of the father, Mr. Oyler, and he refuses to talk upon the subject.  

The attorneys for the defense are Enoch G. Hogate, James L. Clark and James A. Parker of this place and John S. Duncan of Indianapolis.  The state's interests will be looked after by Otis E. Gulley, prosecuting attorney; Thomas J. Cofer and Cash C. Hadley of this place and Henry N. Spann of Indianapolis.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Friday, Sep 6 1895:16

Hinshaw Murder Trial

Danville, Sept. 6. -- No progress has been made in the Hinshaw murder trial here, as all the time so far has been consumed in a vain effort to get a jury.  Two venires have been exhausted and none of them were accepted.  It will probably take a week to compose a jury.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Saturday, Sep 7 1895:17

Hinshaw Murder Trial

Danville, Sept. 7. -- Contrary to expectations a jury was secured yesterday in the Hinshaw trial, and the following named gentlemen were sworn in to try the case: William Hunt, Stephen Fowler, Allen Weddle, Alexander Surber, Richard L. Dillon, William Leach, Coleman A. Surber, Jerry McClain, A. W. Swearingan, Fielding Huddleson, C. C. Higgins and Baxter Vestal.  In the afternoon the courtroom was packed, all anxious to hear the opening statements for the state, which was made by Mr. Spaan of Indianapolis.  A review of the crime was given, and in concluding Mr. Spaan said the state would rely upon circumstantial evidence for conviction.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Monday, Sep 9 1895:18


William Hinshaw on Trial For His Life at Danville


Evidence that Hinshaw's Wounds Could Have Been Self-Inflicted -- Forty Thousand Dollars Stolen From the Adams Express Company -- Lucky Escape From a Falling Tree -- Miner State Items

Danville, Sept. 9. -- The state began the introduction of evidence in the Hinshaw wife murder case here Saturday by placing Dr. T. F. Dryden of Clayton, who is considered one of the defendant's most important witnesses, on the stand.  Witness said he visited the minister's home on the night of the homicide and found his wife suffering from a gunshot wound in the head.  The bullet was extracted and given to Hinshaw's bosom friend, Dr. Strong.  Witness also examined the defendant, who was cut in 17 places and shot twice with a revolver.  None of the latter's wounds were serious, and could have been inflicted by himself.  The side of Mrs. Hinshaw's face was powder burned.  Witness said the wound was not necessarily instantly fatal, which statement the prosecution says it will rebut by some of the ablest specialists in the profession.  The doctor denied having been assisting the defense, but admits he has been in frequent consultation with the minister and his attorneys.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Tuesday, Sep 10 1895:19


Dr. W. B. Fletcher of Indianapolis
Gives Expert Testimony


Amount Taken Will Not Be Accurately Known For a Day or Two -- Young Man Near Logansport Kills His Father.  Peculiar Transaction of Stockmen -- New Courthouse at English -- State Notes

Danville, Sept. 10. -- Dr. Dryden was not called to the witness stand in the Hinshaw murder trial yesterday, as was expected, but Dr. W. B. Fletcher of Indianapolis was called as an expert witness.  Dr. Fletcher is a recognized expert on brain surgery and all brain diseases.  Mrs. Hinshaw's wound was described and the question asked if a person receiving such a wound would be able to walk, talk intelligently and struggle with a burglar.  

"I think not," replied Dr. Fletcher.  "The immediate result would have been a shock that would have paralyzed all the organs but that of breathing.  The fact of the suture being forced open at least three-quarters of an inch is evident that the shock was very great."  

Dr. Fletcher gave it as his opinion that the ball fired into the head had severed the middle cerebral artery.  The effect of the wound on the power of speech would be that she could not use the words, "Is that you Will?"  She would have been more apt to have said something unintelligible.  The shock would have been transmitted to other parts of the body, as well as the brain, which, in the doctor's opinion, would have produced paralysis, and she would have been unable to move.  

Mrs. Hull, an aunt of Mrs. Hinshaw, was next on the stand, and told the story of the affair as told by Hinshaw.  

Dr. Dryden was then recalled for a short cross examination, and was followed by Miss Conwell of Bellville, who was the first one in the house after Mrs. Hinshaw was killed.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Wednesday, Sep 11 1895:20


Dr. Frank A. Morrison of Indianapolis
Called by the State.


Drs. Morrison and Fletcher Differ On One Point -- Large Loss by Fire at Pierceton -- Mrs. Pietzel and Her Daughter Before the Coroner at Indianapolis -- Coffins On Trial For Bankwrecking -- Notes.  

Danville, Sept. 11. -- Judge Hadley is rushing things in the Hinshaw murder trial here, and has adopted 8:15 as the time for the beginning of the morning session.  

Dr. Frank A. Morrison of Indianapolis was the first witness on the stand yesterday.  He was called in by the state as an expert in anatomy.  The doctor handled the subject in an interesting manner, and the closest attention was given to his testimony by all present.  He said there was no deviation from the rule that paralysis always followed an injury to the motor center of the brain, and that a person injured as Mrs. Hinshaw was reported to have been could not do what her husband claims she did: she could not have moved and talked.  This answer had quiet [sic] an effect on the audience.  The defense brought out the fact that Dr. Morrison did not subscribe to the correctness of the rules of measurement laid down by Dr. Fletcher.  This was probably done to show that expert surgeons did not always agree.  

Thomas White of Bellville was the next witness called by the state.  He was one of the first on the scene and helped Hinshaw into the house.  He said that he and several others went out to look for tracks of the robbers, who were reported by Hinshaw to have gone south.  The party took in the whole of the road, but found no tracks, nor were there any tracks found on the inside of the parsonage yard.  Mr. White reiterated his statement made before the grand jury that Hinshaw said to him, "Thurza is shot.  I know she is, for she told me so."

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Thursday, Sep 12 1895:21


Large Crowds Listening to the Testimony -- Many Spectators Bring Lunches With Them -- Accidental Explosion of Dynamite at Huntington -- Four Tramps Sentenced For Train Robbery.  

Danville, Sept. 12. -- The opening speech for the defense in the Hinshaw murder case will be made by Charles W. Smith, but it is understood that the line of argument he will use will not be decided upon until the witnesses for the state are all examined.  The interest in the trial is growing each day, and many bring their dinners with them to the courtroom.  Most of yesterday was taken up with testimony of Hinshaw's neighbors, and related to the condition of the room where the alleged struggle was held.  Miss Nettie Mays testified that she saw no evidences of a struggle.  Thomas East testified as to the finding of the pistol.  The revolver was found about a week after the tragedy about 15 feet from the spot where Mrs. Hinshaw's body lay.  It was a cheap 6-shooter and had five empty and one loaded shells in it.  In the afternoon the state sent to Bellville after the bed and other furniture that was in the west room of the parsonage the night of the murder.  The bed will be brought into the courtroom and the state will endeavor to show how impossible it was for the crime to have been committed as claimed by the defense.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Friday, Sep 13 1895:22


So Far Their Testimony Shows No
Evidence of a Struggle.


Said to Have Been Seen With Hinshaw Near Indianapolis -- Indiana Railroads Trying New Schemes to Save Money.  Alleged Bank Wreckers on Trial.  Found In a Pickling Vat -- State Items.  

Danville, Sept. 13. -- More of Hinshaw's neighbors were called by the state yesterday, and the effort to show that no struggle took place in the room and that no retreating footmarks were found progressed fairly well.  However, the defense seems to be extremely well satisfied with the testimony so far brought forward by the prosecution, and it is said they have witnesses to prove that men were seen running away from the scene of the tragedy just before neighbors got to the house.  The state has summoned a witness living near Indianapolis who, it is said, will testify that a few evenings before the murder, he saw the young woman whose name has been frequently mentioned in the case, and a man he thinks was Hinshaw, driving along the road.  He talked with the young woman, who said she had just been married, but she did not introduce the man who was with her.  The witness afterward found that the girl is not married.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Monday, Sep 16 1895:23


Theory of the Defense Will Now Be
Placed Before the Jury.


Charles W. Smith Makes the Opening Statement For the Defendant -- Women Score a Victory In the Northwest Indiana Conference -- Mishawaka Annexing New Territory -- State Notes.  

Danville, Sept. 16. -- The state has closed it case in the Hinshaw murder trial.  The last witnesses called were Miss Althea Cornwall and her father, Benjamin Cornwall.  This was a surprise, as the Cornwalls were on the defense's list of witnesses, but nothing of importance was developed by them.  

Saturday afternoon Mr. Smith made the opening statement for the defense, and announced that they would put Hinshaw on the stand.  After enlarging upon the responsibilities of the jury, Mr. Smith explained the theory of the defense thus:

"The defendant, as best he can, will tell you the history of that fateful night.  It is to be wondered, gentlemen, that he cannot speak with perfect certainty and accuracy of what occurred there that night?  Look at the situation, will you, gentlemen?  Quietly sleeping in his bed, he is awakened by some expression of fright from his wife that she is shot.  In the dimness of the room he sees men, at once gets in contact with them, is shot twice himself, cut, stuggled through the rooms, across the street in a moment or two, all in the darkness and confusion.  

"Could he be expected to give an accurate statement of it all?  Had he attempted to do so, it might well be maintained that the story had been invented when the man was cool and collected.  He will tell you the story as best he can recollect it."  

Mr. Smith went into a thorough explanation of the testimony to be presented by the defense, occupying the whole of the afternoon with his statement.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Friday, Sep 20 1895:24

No session of the Hinshaw murder trial has been held this week on account of the illness of Juror Hunt.  He is still unable to appear, and it is not thought that the case will be resumed before next Monday.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Saturday, Sep 21 1895:25

Hinshaw Trial Resumed.

Danville, Sept. 21. -- Juror Hunt was so far recovered that he was able to attend court this morning, and the Hinshaw murder trial was resumed.  The examination of witnesses for the defense has been commenced.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Monday, Sep 23 1895:26


After a Week's Delay, the Noted Mur-
der Trial Is Resumed.


One Witness For the State Says Hinshaw and His Wife Were Quarrelling -- Heavy Loss by Fire at Logansport -- Husband Returns After Thirty-Two Years' Absence -- Pumping of Gas Opposed -- Notes.  

Danville, Ind., Sept. 23. -- After a week's delay the trial of Rev. William E. Hinshaw, charged with wife murder, was resumed Saturday.  John Marker was placed on the stand by the state.  The witness said the defendant told him he had quarreled with his wife on the night of the tragedy for several hours.  John Doty, the first witness for the defense, was then called.  He said Hinshaw's work in the church was of the very best and that he was loved by his congregation.  John Walker said he was visiting his sweetheart on the night of the murder.  When he left at midnight he saw Edward Cope passing in the direction of the minister's house.  William Swindler heard William East say he had heard two men running away from the scene a few minutes after the two shots were fired.  This is denied by East.  Numerous witnesses testified to Hinshaw's good character prior to the killing.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Thursday, Sep 26 1895:27


Defendant's Attorneys Say He Will Not
Be Called to Testify.

Danville, Ind., Sept. 26. -- The attorneys for the defense have decided that William E. Hinshaw will not go on the witness stand.  His attorneys fear he would not be able to stand the vigorous cross examination which the state's attorneys had prepared for him.  It is known that he is breaking down under the strain, and strong as he is physically, they fear a collapse.  The state claims that if he did testify he would be sure to convict himself, and if he does not testify, it will make an impression of guilt on the jury.  The defense feels that he has already told his story under oath, which was read to the jury as part of the coroner's unquest.  

Much expert testimony has been introduced by the defense to show that it would be possible for a person wounded as Mrs. Hinshaw was to speak and walk.  

Hinshaw's mother, 70 years old, was one of the witnesses yesterday, and a most pathetic scene was enacted.  She spoke in a low, gentle voice, and the heart of the audience went out to her.  All over the room women were crying.  Mr. Spaan bent his head over his notes.  Those close to him saw that he, too, was affected, and soon he got up and hurriedly went into the clerk's office.  Mr. Smith of the defense was already there.  The defendant was weeping, and the father's furrowed cheeks were damp with tears.  There was a suspicious tremble in Mr. Duncan's voice as he softly asked the questions.  She testified that the prisoner and his wife were a loving couple and were always happy.  The father, who is 72, gave about the same testimony.  

As the evidence is nearly all in it is believed that the argument will begin either this afternoon or tomorrow.  The argument, according to the present arrangement, will last three days.  

The state's case will be opened by Mr. Gully, prosecuting attorney.  He will be followed by Mr. Hogate for the defense and Mr. Hadley for the state.  The defense will be closed by Mr. Duncan, and final argument for the state by Mr. Spaan.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Friday, Sep 27 1895:28


Arguments of the Attorneys Begun In
the Hinshaw Murder Trial.

Danville, Ind., Sept. 27. -- A sensation in the Hinshaw murder trial was cause by the defense resting after only occupying three days in the introduction of their testimony, and the state also closed without introducing a single witness rebuttal.  

That the defense made a failure is admitted even by the minister's staunch friends, and the fact that he failed to go on the witness stand and tell his version of the affair, will militate against him.  

Prosecuting Attorney Gulley opened the argument for the state yesterday, and his remarks were very marked and convincing.  The defendant was very nervous.  Mr. Gulley was followed by the defendant's attorney, Enoch Hogate, in the afternoon.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Saturday, Sep 28 1895:29


Strong Presentation of the Defense In
the Hinshaw Murder Trial.

Danville, Ind., Sept. 28. -- E. O. Hogate, for the defense, occupied the most of yesterday in the Hinshaw murder trial.  The largest morning crowd of the trial was out to hear Mr. Hogate's argument, and he made a strong presentation of the defendant's case.  He laid great stress upon Hinshaw's unblemished character and the lack of harmony in the stories of the state's witnesses, calling especial attention to the disagreements between the state's two experts, Drs. Fletcher and Morrison.  The lack of the motive for the crime was also pointed out, the attorney saying: "Crimes are not committed by sane men without a motive.  It is not always necessary to show motive.  If I see a man purposely and deliberately take the life of another the motive for doing it is immaterial; but where the evidence is entirely circumstantial the motive is not only material, but controlling.  What is the motive here?  There is no evidence of it; the evidence all points the other way.  Was the deed done for the hope of gain?  There is no evidence of it.  He was prosperous, contented, happy in his work and happy in his married life.  But they say there was a woman in the case, and that the desire to possess this woman impelled him to take the life of his wife.  How miserably, miserably, the state has failed in this."

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Monday, Sep 30 1895:30


Lawyers Duncan and Hadley Make Argu-
ments -- End Not Far Off.

Danville, Ind., Sept. 30. -- M. C. Hadley, for the prosecution, concluded his argument in the Hinshaw murder case Saturday morning before a crowded courtroom.  He spoke at some length upon the absence of tracks of the alleged burglars and dwelt upon the difficulty of reaching over the form of the husband to shoot the wife, claiming that if the burglars would have shot either it would have been the husband.  

Mr. Duncan, for the defense, began his argument at the beginning of the afternoon session, and as it is probably upon his speech the life or death of the prisoner rests, every word was eagerly listened to and every point noted.  There was not a vacant seat nor any vacant space in the courtroom.  The stairways were crowded and hundreds could not gain admittance.  Mr. Duncan's argument will be finished by this afternoon, after which Mr. Spaan will make the closing argument for the state, which will probably be finished tomorrow evening.  

After a review of the defense's theory of the crime, Mr. Duncan referred to the peaceable life of the accused and the high esteem in which he was held
[... smudged - unreadable ...]
committing such a crime without motive, and the prosecution has uttelry failed to show any motive.  "The testimony of the witnesses," he said, "was unanimous as to the loving relations between the husband and wife.  She was not only a wife - she was his helpmate in his chosen profession."  Mr. Duncan said it was in testimony that "on the fatal night it was at her request that they went home instead of staying all night at Mr. and Mrs. Cooper's.  He was willing to stay but she wanted to do something for her brother, who was at school.  So they went home.  That night she was killed."

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Wednesday, Oct 2 1895:31


End of an Eloquent Appeal by the De-
fendant's Attorney.

Danville, Ind., Oct. 1. -- A crowded courtroom greeted Mr. Duncan yesterday morning when he resumed his argument for the defense in the Hinshaw murder trial.  His manner of presenting the defendant's case has created a good impression and predictions of acquittal are freely made.  

Mr. Duncan devoted much time to a discussion of the footprint theory, showing that it was in evidence that snow was falling all during the search, and that at the time of the shooting not enough snow had fallen to cover the ground except on smooth places.  The state's failure to show that they had not gone to bed to sleep, but that Mrs. Hinshaw had thrown herself on the bed in a petulant mood after a quarrel, without putting on her night gown, was emphasized, it being proved by many witnesses that she never wore gowns.  

After a thorough review of all the testimony offered by the defense, Mr. Duncan said: "Look at the record of his life.  What motive did he have to do it?  Was he not prosperous?  Were not his domestic relations pleasant and happy?  Was not his wife a helpmate to him?  Did he not have every motive not to commit such a crime?"  He closed with an eloquent appeal to the jury not to send the old mother back to her home with a broken heart.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Wednesday, Oct 2 1895:31


Put Into the Hands of the Jury This

Danville, Ind., Oct. 2. -- Attorney Henry Spaan, who began the closing argument in the Hinshaw murder case yesterday morning, was unable to conclude yesterday and resumed his speech this morning.  He severely condemned the methods employed by the defense and dwelt at length on the visit Mrs. Hamrock made to Mrs. Marke.  Mr. Spaan finished at noon and the case went to the jury shortly after.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Wednesday, Oct 2 1895:31


Attorney Spaan Makes the Closing Argu-
ment for the Prosecution.

Danville, Ind., Oct. 2. -- An hour before the argument of Mr. Spaan began yesterday morning in the Hinshaw murder trial every seat was taken and the standing room was all preempted.  Mr. Spaan made the closing argument for the state, occupying the whole day, and he made a most eloquent plea that the jury convict the prisoner.  He described the futile search for the tracks of the alleged robbers and from a diagram pointed out to the jury what he thought must have been the actions of the accused on the fatal night, claiming that Hinshaw had inflicted the wounds upon himself while standing beside the prostrate body of his dying wife.  Mr. Spaan quoted much from the expert testimony of Drs. Fletcher and Morrison, contending that the blood clot formed while she had her heard on the pillow, which would show that she never got up from the bed and talked after being wounded.  He said sympathy was human, and the parents of the accused deserved much sympathy, but justice demanded that the jury consider the facts, and asked them to think of the fate of Thurza Hinshaw lying with her face to the stars and the snow softly falling as a mantle to [.. smudged ..] terrible crime.  

Mr. Spaan closed his argument this morning.  The jury was then instructed by Judge Hadley.  It will probably be several hours before a verdict will be reached.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Thursday, Oct 3 1895:32


Jury Reaches a Verdict After Being
Out Two Hours.


Results of the Trial Was Not Unex-
pected in Danville.


Father and Mother of the Convicted Man
Were Profoundly Affected and Their
Grief Lent a Deep Pathos to the Scene
-- The Jury Was Congratulated Upon
Their Verdict by Many Citizens.

Danville, Ind., Oct. 3. -- "We, the jury, find the defendant guilty of murder in the second degree, and fix his punishment at imprisonment for life."  

Such was the verdict of the 12 men of Hendricks county selected to hear and weigh the evidence in the trial of Rev. William E. Hinshaw for the murder of his wife Thurza.  

Yesterday's proceedings brought out a great crowd, and during the morning session several ladies fainted owing to the overcrowded condition of the courtroom.  

Mr. Spaan continued his argument, which he had begun on Tuesday morning, and closed at 12:30 p.m., speaking a day and a half.  Soon after Judge Hadley began his charge to the jury, and that body went out at 2:30 o'clock, remaining out two hours.  When they did not immediately return many of the spectators left the courtroom.  

There was a comparatively small crowd present when the jury brought in their verdict, and as the bailiff read there was profound quiet throughout the chamber.  

Hinshaw did not change contenance.  He was almost stolid in his apparent indifference.  It was not so with his parents.  They were profoundly affected.  Their grief lent a deep pathos to the scene.  

There was no disturbance or uproar in the courtroom when the verdict was read.  The attorneys for the defendant said they would take no exceptions at the present time, but would make their motion later on.  

The court almost immediately adjourned and the prisoner was taken back to jail.  After the adjournment and before the jury could leave the box, the spectators for the first time disturbed the impressive and orderly scene.  Several of them went up to the jurors and shook hands with them, warmly congratulating them upon the verdict.  

"Your verdict," one of them said, "expresses the sentiment of nine-tenths of the community."  

"We thought so," one of the jurors replied.  

There was much excitement upon the streets as soon as the verdict was spread, and there was practically only one opinion expressed, and that was that the verdict was a righteous one.  The extreme sentiment was that the defendant should have been hanged, but the verdict is looked upon as a sort of compromise that is quite satisfactory.  

The feeling has been so intense that no other thought was entertained, apparently, than that this or something similar would be the verdict.  

This has been a noted trial for Hendricks county and has excited intense interest.  Most all who have heard the evidence are of the opinion that Hinshaw was guilty, although they were fearful that the jury would not convict upon the evidence presented by the state, which was indirect and circumstantial.  

Section 1,980 of the statutes of Indiana thus defines murder in the second degree: "Whoever purposely and maliciously, but without premeditation, kills any human being, is guilty of murder in the second degree, and upon conviction thereof shall be imprisoned in the state prison during life."

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Friday, Oct 4 1895:33


Attorneys For the Defendant Will Ask
For a New Trial.

Danville, Ind., Oct. 4. -- After a motion for a new trial is made by Hinshaw's attorneys, he will be sentenced and taken to the prison south.  It is not thought that Judge Hadley will grant the motion, and the case will be taken to the supreme court, where the attorneys hope to get a new trial.  

Hinshaw yesterday showed the effects of the wonderful strain under which he has been since the trial began.  He did not sleep at all, and his face looked haggard and pinched.  When asked whether the verdict was a surprise to him, he said: "Why, you know that it was.  I never expected such a thing.  There never has been a moment since I have been in here but I believed that when I was given a trial I would be aquitted.  When that jury came in I was as certain that it meant acquittal as I was sure that I was alive.  It is a most unjust verdict.  It is an unrighteous verdict, and an innocent man has been convicted."  He denied the report that he was engaged in writing a history of the crime, as there was nothing to say further than what he had told.  

The first ballot taken by the jury was unanimous for conviction.  On the second ballot 10 were for life imprisonment and two for death, and on the third ballot one more vote was gained for imprisonment.  The fourth and last ballor was unanimous for the life sentence.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Saturday, Oct 5 1895:34


Trail of the Robbers That Murdered
Mrs. Hinshaw


Bold Attempt of Highway Robbers to
Hold Up a Chicago Traveling Man.  
Over One Hundred Indictments Re-
turned Against Saloonkeepers in Lake
County -- Robbed the Postmaster.

Danville, Ind., Oct. 5. -- The attorneys for William E. Hinshaw, the wife murderer, have decided to carry the case to the supreme court if they do not get a new trial here.  

It is known on the quiet that the best detectives in the United States are working on the case.  They have struck a trail at Sheridan, Ind., and have two men under suspicion there as being the robbers who killed Thurza Hinshaw.  

The clew [sic] the detectives are working on was given by A. L. Miller of Sheridan, formerly of this city.  He said he saw under a log near Cartersburg a bloody chisel, a pair of overalls and a cap.  As he was taking them out a man came up and gave him a cursing, after which he left.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Monday, Oct 7 1895:35


Juror Hunt Said to Have Declared
Hinshaw Guilty Before the Trial


Should the Story Be True, a New Trial Would Surely Be Granted -- City Election at Indianapolis -- Swift Flight of Homing Pigeons -- Mrs. John Parr Burned to a Crisp -- Minor Notes.

Indianapolis, Oct. 7. -- Evidence has come to light here which will probably lead to a new trial of the Hinshaw murder case.  Juror William Hunt, who lives near Danville, was in this city before he was selected as a juryman.  He strayed into a barber shop, and while there it is said he rehearsed the story of the murder, declaring that Hinshaw was guilty.  When being selected for jury duty, Hunt made the usual statement that he had not expressed any opinion.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Monday, Oct 14 1895:36

Hinshaw Asks For a New Trial.

Danville, Ind., Oct. 14. -- The defense in the Hinshaw murder case Saturday filed a motion for a new trial.  Charles W. Smith and E. G. Hogate, for the defense, and Henry N. Spaan and O. E. Gulley, for the state, will argue the motion next Friday.  The former allege errors in the judge's rulings and have filed a number of affidavits against jurors.  One juror's son made affidavit that he knew before the trial what his father's verdict would be.  Hinshaw's hopes are reviving and he looks better than at any time since the conviction.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Monday, Oct 21 1895:37

Taken Under Advisement.

Danville, Ind., Oct. 21. -- The argument for a new trial for William E. Hinshaw concluded Saturday and Judge Hadley announced that he would take the matter under advisement until the first day of the next term of court, which will be Nov. 5.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Tuesday, Nov 5 1895:38


Judge Hadley Refuses the Motion For
a New Trial For Hinshaw

Danville, Ind., Nov. 5. -- Judge Hadley yesterday afternoon overruled the motion for a new trial in the case of William E. Hinshaw, convicted of the murder of his wife.  The court, in a lengthy opinion, held that the evidence introduced was all admissible under the rules of evidence and overruled the various objections raised by the defendant's attorneys.  Notice was given that an appeal would be taken to the supreme court.  Mr. Hinshaw will not be sentenced until later in the week, and after the motion for the new trial was refused he was taken back to jail, followed by a large number of his friends.  There was a large crowd present, but no demonstration was made when the court announced his decision.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Wednesday, Nov 6 1895:39


Convicted Man Makes a General De-
nial of His Guilt.


Says He Wanted to Go Upon the Witness Stand Himself -- Horse and Rider Killed -- Mrs. Pietzel Wants Her Dead Boy's Bones -- Despondent Man Hangs Himself -- Minor News Items.

Danville, Ind., Nov. 6. -- Just before noon yesterday William E. Hinshaw was brought into court to receive his sentence.  A majority of the spectators, who about half filled the room, were friends of the convicted man.  When Judge Hadley asked the usual formal question whether he had anything to say before sentence was passed, he arose and reiterated his innocence in a well-worded and manly statement.  Hinshaw's voice trembled as he spoke, and at times it seemed if he would break down, while many of the women in the audience were crying and sobbing.  The prisoner said: "During the trial I earnestly desired to go upon the stand in my own behalf.  This statement my attorneys will bear me out in."  He said he did not think the jury could have come to a just conclusion surrounded, as they were, by such sentiment as existed in this city.  After Hinshaw completed his statement Judge Hadley sentenced him to imprisonment in the penitentiary for life.  Many of his friends called upon him at the jail in the afternoon and bid him goodby.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Friday, Nov 8 1895:40


Taken to Jeffersonville and Turned
Over to Warden Hert.


He Will Be Put at Hard Labor In the Shoe Factory -- Welcome Rain In the Fire Swept Marshes of the Kankakee -- Crusade Against Cigarettes -- Oil Well Near Monon -- Minor Items -- Notes.

Danville, Ind., Nov. 8. -- William E. Hinshaw, who was convicted of murdering his wife, was brought here in a closed carriage from Danville early yesterday morning, put on the Pennsylvania train and taken to the prison south at Jeffersonville.  He was in charge of Sheriff Bell of Hendricks county, and was received at the prison by Warden Hert, who personally conducted him to the cell which will be his home for the rest of his life, unless a new trial reverses the verdict or a governor grants a pardon.  As the ponderous doors closed he seemed completely crushed and despair was marked upon his face.  In accordance with his sentence he is to be put at hard work, and it is understood he will be detailed to service in the shoeshop.  Warden Hert will make him principal of the prison school.  Hinshaw's health is very good, taking into consideration the great strain he has been under.  In the measuringroom his weight was found to be 190 pounds.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Tuesday, Dec 3 1895:41


Lewis Asher Relates a Story That Might
Have Aquitted the Pastor.

Danville, Ind., Dec. 8. -- A rumor has prevailed here for some time that Louis Asher, who lived near Cherry Grove at the time of the murder of Mrs. Hinshaw, knew more about the murder than he was willing to tell.  Yesterday afternoon he was brought into town and will go before the grand jury.  

Asher says that on the night of the tragedy he was hunting for his horses which had strayed, and passing through Belleville he saw three men near the parsonage.  Later he heard cries for help and pistolshots, which frightened him so that he started for home.  

He was passed by two men in a buggy, and says he recognized the occupants, but asserts that he is afraid of his life and will tell no one but Judge Hadley who the men were.  Asher is married and has led a roving life, but his reputation is good.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Friday, Dec 6 1895:42

Has Hope For Hinshaw.

Danville, Ind., Dec. 6. -- Contrary to expectations, the grand jury returned no new indictment in the Hinshaw case.  The members of the jury will tell nothing of the evidence that Asher gave them nor what the probable outcome will be.  Prosecutor Gally said that he put no faith in Asher's story.  Mr. Parker of the defense, however, is still hopeful and says no matter what Asher told the grand jury he believes he is on the right track.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Friday, Jan 31 1896:43

Hinshaw Still Hopeful.

Danville, Ind., Jan. 31. -- Sheriff Bell while in Jeffersonville recently had a lengthy interview with Rev. William E. Hinshaw.  The condemned preacher takes his confinement philosophically, and says that he is certain of securing a new trial in the supreme court.  He is a principal of the prison schools and superintendent of the Sundayschool.  He is also assistant editor of the prison paper.  He says that if he is not acquitted in the courts he does not want a pardon, but will spend the rest of his life in prison.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Saturday, Feb 29 1896:44

A motion for a new trial in the Hinshaw murder case was filed at Indianapolis yesterday in the supreme court.  No new evidence is set forth, the attorneys basing their request upon the claim that the verdict was not warranted by the evidence and that Judge Hadley erred in overruling the motion for a new trial.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Monday, Mar 2 1896:45


Transcript In the Hinshaw Murder
Case Reaches the Supreme Court.


Appellate Avers the Lower Court Erred In Overruling Motion For a New Trial.  Body of the Man Found In a Gravelpit at Haughville Identified -- Bloodhounds Do Good Work at Hammond -- Notes.

Indianapolis, Ind., March 2. -- The record of the case of Rev. William E. Hinshaw of Belleville, convicted and sentenced to the penitentiary for life for the murder of his wife has reached the supreme court.  The transcript covers 1,967 pages, and is one of the most voluminous documents ever filed with the court.  Along with the record were submitted the bloody shirt, nightgown and the bullet.  The appellant avers that the lower court erred in refusing to quash the indictment and overruling the motion for a new trial.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Friday, Apr 10 1896:46


Brief Submitted In Behalf of Rev.  
William E. Hinshaw.

Indianapolis, Ind., April 10. -- The attorneys for Rev. William E. Hinshaw who, by the verdict of a Hendricks county jury, is serving a life term in the state prison south for the murder of his wife one year ago last January in the village of Belleville, have printed an 82-page brief in which they attempt to convince the supreme court that the minister is innocent.  The brief sets out the history of the case, and asks for a new trial on the following grounds:

(1) Misconduct on the part of one of the jurors, Alexander Surber, in that he had stated in substance upon his preliminary examination that while it was true he had formed and expressed some opinion as to the guilt or innocence of the accused, yet it was not such an opinion as would affect his conduct upon the trial of the cause, while, in fact, he had formed and at that time entertained a strong opinion that the defandant was guilty, and which opinion it would require strong evidence to remove.  (2) Error of law occurring upon the trial of the case.  (3) Newly discovered evidence, touching the testimony of Linnie Rushton and Eva Worrell, both witnesses for the state.  (4) That the verdict of the jury was contrary to the law and the evidence.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Wednesday, Jan 6 1897:47

Argument In the Hinshaw Case.

Indianapolis, Jan. 6. -- Oral argument in the Hinshaw murder case is being heard today in the supreme court.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Wednesday evening, Feb 22 1899:48

  INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 22. -- Rumors that the Hinshaw case is to be reopened have been flying lately.  J. O. Parker, who is the attorney for the Hinshaw family, said yesterday that he was still at work following out his theory, which he believed to be a fact, leading to the exoneration of Hinshaw of the charge of murdering his wife.  "The reopening of the case is remote," said Mr. Parker yesterday, "but my work has a fair prospect of being successful, and I believe the time will come when we will prove Hinshaw innocent and that Noah Baney, Guy Van Tassel and 'Kid' Whitney killed Mrs. Hinshaw on the morning of Jan. 10, 1895."  

The three men mentioned are all in the penitentiary, where they have spent much of their time since youth.  Mr. Parker holds to the stories in Hinshaw's favor that were told when Baney was taken out of the penitentiary to go over the scene of the murder at Belleville.  He talks confidently of being able to prove that those stories are true.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Wednesday evening, Aug 16 1899:49


NEW CARLISLE, Ind., Aug. 16. -- Union B. Hunt, secretary of state, and James E. Parker, of Evansville, held a conference yesterday with Convict Hinshaw, the Belleville clergyman serving a life sentence in the prison north for the alleged murder of his wife.  Parker and Hunt are Hinshaw's attorneys, and their conference was brought about by the revival of the convict story of Baney and others to the effect that Hinshaw is innocent and a couple of convicts are guilty.  

The first confession was made in the state prison by one of the prisoners and the second by the other in the reformatory.  At the time the story was first told the convicts were in the Michigan City prison.  Both of them are now in the Jeffersonville reformatory and the story was recently revived.  

The attorneys for Hinshaw attach great importance to the so-called confession which they have reduced to writing, and they will make another effort in Hinshaw's behalf.  An appeal will be made to Governor Mount for a pardon or application will be made for a new trial.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne Sentinel" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Aug 30 1901:50,51


Muncie, Ind., Aug. 30. -- Mrs. Anna Johnson, of Muncie, a relative of the Hinshaw family, came home from Randolph county yesterday and told of meeting W. E. Hinshaw, the prisoner sent home for a ten days' visit to his parents from Michigan City, where he is serving time for murdering his wife.  Mrs. Johnson states that the prisoner's old father and mother are dying in the same bed and that his mother failed to recognize him and the father only partially recognized him.  At the first day's meal Hinshaw returned thanks at the dinner table with five brothers and a sister present, and all cried at his touching words.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Jul 16 1902:52


Attorney for Minister in Prison Hard at Work.  

LAPORTE, Ind., July 16. -- The several visits within the last few weeks of Secretary of State Hunt to his client, Rev. W. E. Hinshaw, who is serving a life sentence in the Michigan City prison for the murder of his wife, leads to the belief that another effort will be made to reopen this famous case.  Mr. Hinshaw has always protested his innocence and Mr. Hunt, who came into the case after Hinshaw had been convicted, has been persistent in his efforts to secure evidence which will uncover the crime.  Persons conversant with conditions express the opinion that the granting of a pardon is all that will ever save Hinshaw from spending his life in prison.  Hinshaw has expressed the belief that the murderers of his wife will make deathbed confessions and prove his innocence.  Hinshaw was convicted after the most sensational trial in the history of the state.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne News" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Mar 25 1904:53

The state board of pardons adjourned yesterday without giving the application of Hinshaw for parole or pardon any consideration.  It is evident the convicted wife murderer is not soon to be released, whatever the doubt of his guilt.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Tuesday morning, Jan 10 1905:54


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., Jan. 9 -- In the little town of Belleville early in the morning of Janurary 10, 1895, neighbors of the Rev. William E. Hinshaw were attracted to his home by the sound of pistol shots.  In the front yard they found the preacher, writhing in agony in the snow, bleeding from bullet and knife wounds.  On the back porch Mrs. Hinshaw, with her temple pierced by a bullet, was found dying.  Hinshaw told a story of burglary and assault.  A coroner's court of inquiry exonerated him.  On the afternoon of May 24, four months after the death of his wife, Hinshaw was indicted by the grand jury on a charge of murder and immediately arrested.  The trial lasted five weeks, and four days were required for the jury to agree on a verdict of murder in the second degree, which carried with it a sentence of life imprisonment.  A petition for a new trial was overruled and Hinshaw was sent to prison.  From Nov. 25, 1903, to Jan. 23, 1904, the prisoner was paroled that he might visit his aged mother, who was believed to be dying.  Several times since his incarceration attempts to secure his pardon have been made without success.  

Hinshaw is the most noted prisoner ever confined in the penal institutions of this state and his exemplary conduct won for him much favorable comment from the officials of the prison.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Jan 8 1907:55


Queer Sort of Story Sent Out From
Michigan City.

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind., Jan. 8 -- After being tried and convicted for the murder of his wife, pleading inocence of the crime, paroled by Governor Durbin as one of the last acts of his administration, returned to prison for violation of his parole because of indiscreet relations with the wife of the sheriff of Wabash county, the truth, it is now believed, has been revealed in the case of Rev. William E. Hinshaw.  The editor of the Newport State, an acquaintance of Hinshaw when the latter was a fervent and eloquent preacher of the gospel, has had revealed to him under pledge of secrecy the story of the crime as told by Hinshaw to attorneys who were discussing the defense which would be offered at the famous trial.  Hinshaw's confession, said to be in his words, was as follows:

"I was holding a revival meeting at one of the churches of my circuit.  My wife was attending the meetings and we had been driving home each night after services.  On the fatal night the weather had become much colder and I advised my wife to stay with some of the congregation, as I would get back home and look after the house and see that nothing was damaged by freezing.  She was jealous of me and another woman, and, attributing to my suggestion some sinister motives, she declared she would go home with me.  I readily consented to her doing so and she complained of me all the way home.  After we returned home we continued the quarrel and she became persistent, even keeping it up after we retired.  The I turned my back to her and went to sleep.  About midnight I awakened and found her standing over me with a revolver in one hand and a razor in the other, declaring that she was going to kill me.  I sprang up and grappled with her, but she slashed me with the razor and shot me with the revolver.  I caught her arm to keep her from shooting me again and in the scuffle that followed the revolver was discharged, the bullet striking and killing her.  With my wife dead, I did not know what to do.  So I went outside, discharging the revolver two or three times and cried 'Burglars!'  When the neighbors came I told them the burglar story."  

The above confession was kept secret during the years which elapsed since the famous crime was committed.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Jun 28 1913:56



INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., June 28 -- Two members of the state board of pardons voted yesterday afternoon to recommend the parole of the Rev. William E. Hinshaw, who has spent sixteen years in prison for the murder of his wife.  The third member voted against clemency being extended.  

Adolph Seidensticker, of Indianapolis, and Harry B. Darling, of Laporte, will recommend to Governor Ralston that Hinshaw be released to save him from dying in prison.  A. D. Thomas, of Crawfordsville, president of the board, will make a minority report.  

The written reports, however, will not be filed with the governor until late next week when he returns from Gettysburg, Pa., where he goes today to attend the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the famous engagement of the civil war.  

Governor is Opposed?

It is believed that the governor is opposed to granting a parole, at least at this time.  It is said that friends of Hinshaw, who have conferred with the governor recently, received little encouragement.  

"I believe this is a case in which mercy should be extended," said Mr. Seidensticker last night.  "People are pretty evenly divided on the question of Hinshaw's guilt of murder, but I shall recommend mercy because I believe his health is such that he can not live long and not mereley because of the doubt which exists as to his guilt or innocence.  I base my belief as to the condition of his health both on the report of the prison physician and from personal observation.  I saw him at the prison recently and his appearance shows that he is much broken in health."  

Believes Guilt Certain.

Mr. Thomas and Mr. Darling opposed Hinshaw's parole when the case was considered two years ago.  Thomas A. Daily, of Indianapolis, the third member of the board, recommended to Governor Marshall that clemency be extended.  Mr. Daily has since been succeeded on the board by Mr. Seidensticker.  Mr. Darling had returned to Laporte last night and could not be seen, but it is said that he has changed his decision of two years ago because of a belief that Hinshaw's death is imminent.  

"Two years ago I refused to recommend Mr. Hinshaw's parole, and nothing has happened since that time to cause me to change my mind about what ought to be done," said Mr. Thomas last night.  

Many Persons Interested

It is said that the members of the board have received many letters and telegrams from residents of the state since it became known a few weeks ago that the Hinshaw case was to again receive consideration.  Some of the letters urged that they extend clemency, while others expressed the hope that Hinshaw would not be released. Mr. Seidensticker commented on the fact that public interest in the case has not abated though the crime was committed about eighteen years ago.  

Besides the recommendation of two of the state board members, there will be presented to the governor the unanimous recommendation of trustees, physician and warden of the state prison that Hinshaw be paroled that he may go to another climate in the hope of prolonging his life.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Jun 30 1913:57


Judge Thomas, chairman of the board of pardons, scored a strong point when in protesting against the parole of William E. Hinshaw, he declared that the people of Indiana needed to be impressed with the fact that a life sentence meant a life sentence.  If it is to become custom to parole or pardon a life prisoner who is near death or who seems near death, the dread significance of the life sentence is lost.  Indeed, in Indiana the significance of such a sentence has been lost to a great degree anyhow, so greatly has the pardoning power been abused in recent years.  It is notorious that the majority of those sent to prison for life eventually escape through the mistaken lenity of governors and pardoning boards, and in recent years this abuse has become a positive scandal.  When once the prison doors have closed behind a condemned murderer, the prosecution ceases its efforts and dismisses the case from its mind.  Not so with the forces of the defense, however.  Within a few months the relatives and friends of the prisoner are actively engaged in a campaign for his release - a campaign which does not cease, as a usual thing, until its objective has been accomplished.  Petitions are circulated, the services of local politicians are enlisted, governors are importuned by weeping women, and nothing left undone to break down the sense of official duty of those who have the power to give the guilty man his freedom.  The result has been that the ends of justice have been subverted and the laws of our commonwealth made a by-word and a reproach.  It is high time that someone in authority called a halt, and the stand of Judge Thomas will be generally commended.  

Moreover, in the case of this man Hinshaw, there are peculiar and aggravating circumstances which should militate against him.  He was paroled once and made use of his liberty in a most unworthy manner, proving conclusively that he was a dangerous man to be at large.  To be sure, it is a hard thing to deny a sick man his liberty, but it was a hard thing for Mrs. Hinshaw when her life was so brutally taken by the man who had sworn to love, honor and cherish her, and it was a hard thing also for another man years later to have his home invaded by the paroled Hinshaw.  It is well to consider this case from all its angles, for sentiment is not always a safe guide.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Jul 7 1913:58



INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., July 7. -- The pardon board has refused parole to Benjamin Smith, sent from Allencounty [sic] for forgery.  The pardon board this morning reported to Governor Ralston, recommending the pardon of the Rev. W. E. Hinshaw, serving a life sentence for wife murder, by a vote of two to one.  

From the date of Hinshaw's conviction until today there has been a persistent effort to have him released from prison on the ground of the doubtful character of the evidence upon which he was convicted.  One of the last acts of Governor Durbin's administration was to sign a parole for Hinshaw, which was revoked shortly and Hinshaw was sent back to serve his sentence.  

A. D. Thomas, president of the board, dissented from the majority report of the board and voted against clemency.  H. B. Darling, of Laporte, and A. Seidensticker, of Indianapolis, voted to release Hinshaw.  

The pardon board recommended two pardons and fourteen paroles, while thirty petitions for clemency were recommended for refusal.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Jul 10 1913:59

Governor Ralston is making the trip with the editors also.  He expects to have the best time ever.  It was thought that the governor might give out his decision in the Hinshaw pardon case before he left on this trip, but he did not.  The state pardon board has made a divided report on this case.  Two members have recommended that the governor pardon the famous wife murderer, and one member has filed an opposite report, recommending that that pardon be refused.  There has been a general understanding here that the governor probably would not grant the pardon, and Union B. Hunt, former secretary of state, and a number of other prominent men have asked the governor to give them an opportunity to be heard in argument in favor of granting the pardon.  The governor has informed them that he will give them a hearing, and this probably will be done some day next week.  It is not thought that argument will change the governor's mind in this case, however.  The request for the chance to make the argument came to governor through Fred Caldwell, of Winchester, who has been picked by Governor Ralston to take the place of Judge Andrew A. Adams on the appellate bench, when the latter resigns the first of September to take a position as general counsel for the coffee trust in New York.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Jul 11 1913:60



INDIANAPOLIS, July 11. -- Governor Ralston said today that he would not decide the Hinshaw pardon case till August, because Union B. Hunt has asked a hearing on the case the first week in August.  Hunt favors the parole, and as the governor withholds action until after he is heard, is taken to indicate that the executive's present inclination is to refuse clemency.  Otherwise he would act without waiting for Hunt's plea.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Aug 27 1913:61



INDIANAPOLIS, Aug. 27. -- There has been considerable comment on the fact that no action has been taken by Governor Ralston in regard to the application of William E. Hinshaw, the preacher convict, for a parole from the state prison at Michigan City.  The case was considered by the state pardon board at its session many weeks ago, and it was though [sic] that it would be definitely disposed of long before this.  

But the reason for the delay is that some of Hinshaw's friends have asked the governor to do nothing until they have had an opportunity to be heard.  They have asked for the privilege of appearing before the governor and making an argument to show him why they believe Hinshaw ought to be paroled.  The governor has held back a decision of the case to give them the chance they asked for.  Thus far they have not fixed a date on which to appear before the governor and it is not known whenthey [sic] will do so.  Union B. Hunt, former secretary of state, is one o fthe [sic] friends that are rooting for Hinshaw's release.  Mr. Hunt has gone to New England for ten days, and there will not be anything done along this line until he returns home.  He formerly lived at Winchester, where Hinsha walso [sic] lived, and Hunt believes Hinshaw ought to be released from prison.  

Governor Ralston has informed Hinshaw's friends that he will be glad to hear them at any time they may set, and he is only waiting to hear from them.  

It will be remembered that two members of the state pardon board, Harry B. Darling, of Laporte, and Adolph Seidensticker, of Indianapolis, recommended to the governor that Hinshaw be paroled, and A. D. Thomas, of Crawfordsville, president of the board, made a separate report in which he opposed the parole.  He said there was no god [sic] reason why the parole should be granted.  The governor has not indicated what he intends to do in the matter, but there is a general belief that the parole will not be granted.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Dec 15 1913:62

The Case of Hinshaw.

MICHIGAN CITY, Dec. 15. -- Has William E. Hinshaw, convicted wife murderer and former minister, given up hope of parole or pardon during Governor Ralston's administration?  Events seem to indicate that the leading literary light of the state's prison here does not hope for freedom for several years.  At one time a majority of the membership of the pardons board was said to favor Hinshaw's release, but repeated arrangements for meetings of his friends with Governor Ralston have been postponed.  The case today has rested for months without action.  Governor Ralston is said to be opposed to paroling Hinshaw, particularly because on a former parole Hinshaw had an affair with a woman and was returned to prison.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Jan 20 1917:63



MICHIGAN CITY, Ind., Jan. 20. -- Pale and wan, greatly emaciated in flesh, but bright and cheerful, William E. Hinshaw, preacher convict, left the state prison yesterday, unaccompanied by guard, to go to his old home at Winchester, Ind., for a few days' visit with relatives and friends.  After his visit, to be terminated by the judgment [sic] of Warden Fogarty, Hinshaw will return to his prison life.  

Hinshaw has been failing in health for several years and recently his physical decline has been more marked.  He is subject to sudden heart attacks, which frequently render him unconscious and the prison physicians fear that the preacher convict's death will result from one of these attacks, which come without warning.  

Hinshaw long ago became reconciled to spend his last days in prison, though always hoping that his precarious state of health would be an influence with some governor to grant him a parole.  Strong influence was brought to bear on Thomas R. Marshall, when governor to liberate Hinshaw.  To Hinshaw's friends Marshall is said to have made the statement that when Hinshaw told the truth concerning the mysterious killing of his wife he might be free to act.  It is not known what influences were brought to bear on Governor Ralston in Hinshaw's behalf.  Dressed in citizens clothes Hinshaw left the prison behind him this morning with smiling face and gleeful anticipation of a few days absence from his prison home.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on Jan 22 1917:64

William E. Hinshaw while a minister in Hendricks county about fifteen years ago, was charged with brutally murdering his wife, and after a fair trial was convicted, being sent to prison for life.  The usual thing happened in this case, however, and it was not long before he was paroled.  It might have been supposed that a man of his intelligence, so circumstanced, would have watched his step and studiously have avoided conduct calculated to lose him his freedom.  But Hinshaw showed himself to be a natural outlaw.  He had been at liberty only a short time when he proceeded to break up the home of a friend by eloping with his wife, a woman of previously unblemished reputation.  For this atrocious offense he was returned to prison and previous to his present parole was out only once, and that time on the occasion of his mother's last illness.  The plea in the present instance is that he has not been well of late and that his visit is designed to improve his health.  No doubt it will, too, and possibly in years to come we shall even hear of convicted murderers being sent to California in the winter and to the Maine coast resorts in summer for their enjoyment and physical recuperation.  It is going to occur to some people, however, that it might be well to abolish the life imprisonment law in this state.  As it is enforced it is worse than meaningless for it places us in the attitude of insincerity.  It has come to that pass that every one smiles when a murderer is sentenced to prison for life.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on June 16 1917:65


Governor Will Parole the Preacher

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., June 15 -- Governor Goodrich announced today his intention to parole William E. Hinshaw, the Winchester preacher who murdered his wife in Hendricks county in 1895.  Hinshaw was sent to state prison for life.  He was paroled once before but was returned to prison for eloping with a married woman.  His health is now reported to be bad, with little hope of his recovery.

The following article was published in the "Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette" (Fort Wayne, Indiana) on June 25 1917:66



Among the cases coming before the board at this session are about ten murderers, sentenced to life imprisonment.  It is not improbable that they will take some action on the case of Rev. William E. Hinshaw, serving a life sentence for murder of his wife in Hendricks county Jan. 10, 1895.  Warden Ed. Fogarty of Michigan prison believes that Hinshaw is innocent and has asked the board to pardon him, but so far his appeals have not been answered.  Hinshaw is dying of tuberculosis.  

The governor has announced that he will probably pardon Hinshaw this summer anyway.  Hinshaw was allowed his freedom once previously but was sent back to prison when he violated his parole.

William was shown in the 1900 census (Jun 9 1900), Indiana State Prison, Michigan City, LaPort County, Indiana:5

Hinshaw, Wm E., age 34, born July 65 in Indiana; parents born in North Carolina; widower; prisoner.

William was shown in the 1910 census (Apr 15 1910), Indiana State Prison, Michigan City, LaPort County, Indiana:6

Hinshaw, William E., age 44, born in Indiana; parents born in North Carolina; widower; occupation: minister, M.E.

He then married Anna C. "Annie" Buroker67 [Annie Burocker68, Anna Freeman2,67].  Anna, daughter of William + Ann Buroker7,8,69,70, was born Sep - 18677,8,69,70 [about 186668,71], Indiana7,8,69,70.  Anna had been previously married c1887 to George Washington Freeman,8,67,69 by whom she had sons Glen/Glenn, Donald and Robert Freeman.7,67,69  

William and Anna were shown in the 1920 census (Feb 2 1920), Opportunity Township, Spokane County, Washington:7

Hinshaw, William E, head-of-household, age 54, born in Indiana; parents born in North Carolina; owned home; occupation: farmer, "fruit & truck".
Hinshaw, Anna, wife, age 51, born in Indiana; father born in Ohio; mother born in Indiana.
Freeman, Robert L., step son, age 17, born in Indiana; parents born in Indiana; occupation: laborer, farm.

William and Anna were again shown in the 1930 census (Apr 2 1930), Dick Street, Dishman, Opportunity Township, Spokane County, Washington:8

Hinshaw, William E, head-of-household, age 64, born in Indiana; father born in Pennsylvania [sic]; mother born in Indiana [sic]; first married at age 21; owned home ($3500 value); no radio in home; occupation: farmer, acre tract; not a veteran.
Hinshaw, Anna, wife, age 62, born in Indiana; father born in Ohio; mother born in Indiana; first married at age 20.

See also: Text of William Hinshaw's appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court72

(photo)Photo: William E. Hinshaw 38

(photo)Photo: Thruza Oyler 38


  1. The Church Of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (LDS) International Genealogical Index (IGI) - Indiana.
  2. Family lineage contributed by Greg Hinshaw
  3. 1870 census, Winchester P.O., Washington Township, Randolph County, Indiana; page 444A, line #27, dwelling #98, family #98.
  4. 1880 census, Washington Township, Randolph County, Indiana; roll T9-0307, ED 173, page 268C, line #21, dwelling #81, family #81.
  5. 1900 census, Indiana State Prison, Michigan City, Michigan Township, LaPort County, Indiana; roll T623-384, ED 62, page 4A, line #46.
  6. 1910 census, Indiana State Prison, Michigan City, Michigan Township, LaPort County, Indiana; roll T624-363, ED 108, page 103A, line #18.
  7. 1920 census, Opportunity Township, Spokane County, Washington; roll T625-1940, ED 142, page 15B-16A, line #100, dwelling #341, family #354.
  8. 1930 census, Opportunity Township, Spokane County, Washington; roll T626-2514, ED 151, page 1A, line #24, dwelling #7, family #7.
  9. Posting Nov 9 2004 by Andrea Long () to INRANDOL-L, citing: Randolph County, Indiana marriage indexes.
  10. Indiana Marriages, 1845-1920; http://www.ancestry.com (county bk page 22).
  11. "The History of Hendricks County, Indiana 1914-1976", edited by John R. McDowell; Danville, Indiana: The Hendricks County Historical Society, October 1976. Contributed by Lester L. Hinshaw.
  12. Letter from Greg Hinshaw.
  13. Indiana Archives, "Index To Life Prisoners' Statements: State Prison
    At Michigan City".
  14. "Fort Wayne News", Aug 2 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  15. "Fort Wayne News", Sep 2 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  16. "Fort Wayne News", Sep 6 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  17. "Fort Wayne News", Sep 7 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  18. "Fort Wayne News", Sep 9 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  19. "Fort Wayne News", Sep 10 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  20. "Fort Wayne News", Sep 11 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  21. "Fort Wayne News", Sep 12 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  22. "Fort Wayne News", Sep 13 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  23. "Fort Wayne News", Sep 16 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  24. "Fort Wayne News", Sep 20 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  25. "Fort Wayne News", Sep 21 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  26. "Fort Wayne News", Sep 23 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  27. "Fort Wayne News", Sep 26 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  28. "Fort Wayne News", Sep 27 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  29. "Fort Wayne News", Sep 28 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  30. "Fort Wayne News", Sep 30 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  31. "Fort Wayne News", Oct 2 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  32. "Fort Wayne News", Oct 3 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  33. "Fort Wayne News", Oct 4 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  34. "Fort Wayne News", Oct 5 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  35. "Fort Wayne News", Oct 7 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  36. "Fort Wayne News", Oct 14 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  37. "Fort Wayne News", Oct 21 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  38. "Fort Wayne News", Nov 5 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  39. "Fort Wayne News", Nov 6 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  40. "Fort Wayne News", Nov 8 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  41. "Fort Wayne News", Dec 3 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  42. "Fort Wayne News", Dec 6 1895; http://www.ancestry.com.
  43. "Fort Wayne News", Jan 31 1896; http://www.ancestry.com.
  44. "Fort Wayne News", Feb 29 1896; http://www.ancestry.com.
  45. "Fort Wayne News", Mar 2 1896; http://www.ancestry.com.
  46. "Fort Wayne News", Apr 10 1896; http://www.ancestry.com.
  47. "Fort Wayne News", Jan 6 1897; http://www.ancestry.com.
  48. "Fort Wayne News", Feb 22 1899; http://www.ancestry.com.
  49. "Fort Wayne News", Aug 16 1899; http://www.ancestry.com.
  50. "Fort Wayne Sentinel", Aug 30 1901; http://www.ancestry.com.
  51. "Fort Wayne Sentinel", Sep 4 1901; http://www.ancestry.com.
  52. "Fort Wayne News", Jul 16 1902; http://www.ancestry.com.
  53. "Fort Wayne News", Mar 25 1904; http://www.ancestry.com.
  54. "Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette", Jan 10 1905; http://www.ancestry.com.
  55. "Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette", Jan 8 1907; http://www.ancestry.com.
  56. "Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette", Jun 28 1913; http://www.ancestry.com.
  57. "Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette", Jun 30 1913; http://www.ancestry.com.
  58. "Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette", Jul 7 1913; http://www.ancestry.com.
  59. "Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette", Jul 10 1913; http://www.ancestry.com.
  60. "Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette", Jul 11 1913; http://www.ancestry.com.
  61. "Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette", Aug 27 1913; http://www.ancestry.com.
  62. "Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette", Dec 15 1913; http://www.ancestry.com.
  63. "Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette", Jan 20 1917; http://www.ancestry.com.
  64. "Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette", Jan 22 1917; http://www.ancestry.com.
  65. "Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette", Jun 16 1917; http://www.ancestry.com.
  66. "Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette", Jun 25 1917; http://www.ancestry.com.
  67. Contribution from Ann Bailey ().
  68. 1870 census, Sims Township, Grant County, Indiana; roll M593-317, page 208, line #38, dwelling #123, family #121.
  69. 1900 census, 3rd Ward, Wabash, Noble Township, Wabash County, Indiana; roll T623-410, ED 124, page 8B, line #55, dwelling #166, family #168.
  70. RootsWeb WorldConnect data by Ken Gissy ().
  71. RootsWeb WorldConnect data by Sandy Taylor ().
  72. Contribution from Robin M Hunziker () citing:
    "Northeastern Reporters" (court records), 1897, volume 47, page 157.

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