Dusting Off the Old Ones was published in 1961 by W. B. Clarke, Miles City, Montana.
One of Custer County's Unsolved Murders
On the morning of April 25, 1911, two of Miles City's patrolmen, as they were then called -- we call them policemen now -- had been checking up on the hoboes in the vicinity of the Northern Pacific bridge across Tongue River and were on their way back up town when they noticed smoke emanating from a house on the south side of the tracks, about a block and a half away. After turning in an alarm, they immediately went to the scene of the fire, and upon entering the house found a fire in the middle room, which had partially consumed the bed and on the floor, next to the bed, was lying the body of an elderly woman, about 80 years old, with her throat cut. The lady's clothing was burned almost to ashes and her face was scorched. When the medical examiner arrived, he stated that the jugular vein and the windpipe had been severed and the body indicated that death had occurred several hours before the fire was discovered. A coroner's jury was impaneled and an inquest was held, which lasted three days. Several neighbors testified, and the extent of the testimony was to the effect that there had been a party going on at a neighbor's house and that the victim had attended this affair during the afternoon of the day previous to the discovery of the crime. It further revealed that there were a couple of pints of alcohol consumed at this party, but that the deceased did not participate. One of the neighbors was placed in jail until he could sober up and testify. At the end of the third day of the inquest, the coroner's jury brought in a verdict to the effect that the deceased came to her death between the hours of 6 p. m. on April 24, and 5 a. m. on April 25, 1911, death being caused by having her throat cut with some sharp instrument in the hands of some party, or parties, unknown. The coroner was O. M. Lanphear, and the jury was composed of Colonel George Scheetz, Jim Sipes, Wirt Newcom, Charles Kline, E. B. Butcher and Fred Walters. Ben Levalley was sheriff of Ouster County at that time, and 0. T. Jackson was the chief of police of Miles City. Although an extensive investigation was made, no one was ever brought to trial on account of this happening. When we mentioned to "Shade Tree Bill" that we were going to publish the story of this unsolved murder, he recollected that on the morning of the discovery of the dead body, he happened to pass the undertaking parlors, which were then on South Tenth Street, and the undertaker told him about the incident and further told him that, when the throat wound was examined, a burnt match was found imbedded therein.