A collection of newspaper articles reporting the Packwood Murders and the following  trial.

Compiled by Jim and Bonnie Garmon


NEW SMYRNA’S HORROR—Murders at Packwood’s place

Florida Star, December 17, 1891, Page 2

Four Persons Murdered

By An Assassin Unknown.

            A Suspicion That a Rejected Lover Did the Work—

The Crime Committed at Packwood’s Place, Below New Smyrna.

Word was received here Sunday night of a terrible tragedy which probably occurred Saturday morning last at Packwood’s place, about seven or eight miles south of New Smyrna, on the Hillsbrough.

           At 10 o’clock Saturday morning Mrs. L. D. Hatch, her 7 year old son Benjamin, Miss Adelaide Hamilton Bruce, daughter of Hamilton Bruce of New York City, and Frank Packwood, the 5 year old son of F. J. Packwood, were found shot in the Packwood residence, and all had their throats cut except Mrs. Hatch. Miss Bruce was horribly mangled and had been ravished.

The fiend, whoever he is, could not have gone away unscathed, as Miss Bruce’s finger nails were dark with blood where she had probably drawn them across his face in her frantic struggle for life.

            On Friday F. J. Packwood left his sister-in-law, Miss Bruce, and her little son in charge of the house, and proceeded to Maitland. Miss Bruce sent up a mile or two for Mrs. Hatch, a dear friend, who came over with her little son to spend the night and keep them company.

            Irwin Jenkins, a negro living a mile south, had been in the habit of calling at the house on Saturdays on his way to New Smyrna to see if people wanted an errand done or goods purchased. At 9 o’clock Saturday morning he went to the house, knocked at the door, got no reply, and then observed that the front window, opening on the piazza and facing to the east, had been smashed in. The cattle were in the yard, the gates were open and a heavy piece of scantling lay near. Knowing that something was wrong, he hastened to the house of E. J. Hewitt, the nearest neighbor, living a mile away. J. S. Crouch, another neighbor, and his man, John Pell, were next told that something was wrong at the Packwood house. These four proceeded to the house and looked through the window.


            Before their eyes was an appalling spectacle! On her back by the window, in a pool of blood, Mrs. Hatch lay, with a pistol ball wound on the inside corner of her left eye; her face was blackened with powder. The other bodies lay near her. When the crash came she had evidently been near the window. When the murderer entered, her little son, frenzied with fright, had probably fled, as a child would, and had sought refuge in the bed clothes of a bed lounge at the other end of the room. He was torn from these, shot over the left eye and his throat cut in three places. His head was almost severed from his body. The bed clothes were stained crimson.

            While the murderer was entering the window Miss Bruce had apparently secured as old Smith & Wesson pistol that was handy and fired at him. The ball took effect in the window frame. The murderer, heedless of this onslaught, continued his terrible work, and finished it.

            By this time Miss Bruce had gone to the closet and secured a double-barreled shot-gun. She leveled it at the demon as he approached, but unfortunately the hammer snapped on the shells that had been exploded many days before. He overpowered her, threw her upon the bed and accomplished his devilish purpose—probably after killing her little nephew. She was found lying on her back on the bed: her feet hung to the floor, and her form was bare down to above the knees. After this part of the tragedy the murderer shot her through the right cheek, the ball crashing through her teeth, striking the wall and falling on the bed.

            Then another struggle began for the gun. He tore it from her grasp, and, swinging it around his head with both hands clutching the barrel, drove the stock against her face with herculean force. The blow struck her between the forehead and nose and caved in the skull. Every bone in the jaw and face was broken. Then, with a keen bread knife, he stabbed her in the neck, cutting out a square section of flesh, and finishing the job with two terrible gashes in the throat.

            Frankie Packwood, a beautiful little golden-eared child of 5 years, was found on the floor at the foot of the bed with his throat cut. His features had been marred. It was at first thought that the crime was the work of tramps, but this delusion was subsequently dispelled by finding a trail leading around the yard to the north, and then through the hammock south to the road—a path that none could travel unless he was familiar with the country.

            Near the house the neighbors found the track of a left foot, No. 7 or 8, with a common shoe, box toe. The indentation of the heel on the outside was deeper than the inside, showing that the man wearing it was bow-legged.

            Before leaving the house they sent Jenkins out to look for tracks. He found none in the leaf-carpeted hammock, but on the main road, half a mile south, he found the same tracks as that near the house, accompanied by those of a dog.

            It was also thought that the deed was committed between Friday night and Saturday morning, but the Times-Union representative learned from inquiry these facts, which disprove that theory: The deed was done Saturday morning. Miss Bruce was a neat woman. The bed lounge was open and the clothes disarranged. In the next room the bed was disarranged and the slops were unemptied. For twelve hours after Saturday morning the bread in the kitchen continued to rise, and half of a cooked ham lay near, evidently preparations for Sunday. From these facts the conclusion is drawn that the first attack was made upon the kitchen Saturday morning, and that all hands ran to the other house and bolted the doors. That Miss Bruce shot as the man entered the window is circumstantial evidence of two things—first, the running from the kitchen; second, a love escapade in which a jilted lover sought vengeance. That she became so warlike in shooting the pistol and grabbing the gun tells of a forewarning that caused forearming. The negro, Jenkins, has been arrested and jailed, but few believe that he has any part in the crime. Mr. Packwood says that he has his suspicions, which will be revealed at the right time and place. This confirms the theory of the rejected suitor to a degree. The murderer must have been well known in the neighborhood, as he killed the children, evidently fearing that they would tell. The people of New Smyrna all say that the man is of that neighborhood, there being many little things which clinch that suspicion. The blood was “dippered” from the house. It was then scooped up in masses and thrown out; then the remainder was sopped up with cloths, and the spots were scrubbed and strewn with flour, but even this did not hide the evidence of the bloody crime.

            Packwood has a small orange grove and is a fancier of bees. He was once in comfortable circumstances, but his pocket has been depleted by many misfortunes. He has been a resident on this site for fourteen years, coming here from New York City. He will never live at the house again. He was on the train at Orlando Saturday afternoon when the shocking little yellow missive reached him. Mrs. Hatch was the wife of L. D. Hatch, a carpenter. He came from Maine, and has been living five miles below Smyrna for fifteen years.


            A New Smyrna special to the Times-Union Tuesday says: “The conviction is growing here that the murders at the Packwood house were committed by somebody belonging to this neighborhood, or at least familiar with the premises and surrounding country. All the victims had their day clothes on, which shows that the crime was committed in the day time, for the household had evidently spent Friday night unmolested. The bed had been slept in, and the slops were still standing in the chamber jars. The batch of yeast dough on the floor behind the stove continued to rise till 5 o’clock in the afternoon, and in a pot on the stove was a ham half boiled in water, showing that the fire must have gone out, leaving it so. It was 9 o’clock when the negro discovered the broken window. It was 10:30 o’clock when the neighbors first entered the house.


           One of the women who washed the bodies (about noon) says that the backs of Miss Bruce and Mrs. Hatch were still perceptibly warm, for the bodies had lain on their backs undisturbed. The theory is that the murders were committed just after breakfast Saturday morning, about 6:30 or 7 o’clock. Mr. Packwood still refuses to state whom he suspects, and none of the neighbors appear to have had any knowledge of Miss Bruce’s love affair, if she had one, and nobody, so far as known, is missing from the neighborhood.

            No later news has been received in regard to the murder, and the coroner’s jury has not as yet returned their verdict.


Florida Star, December 31, 1891, Page 2

            The coroner’s jury investigating the Packwood murders adjourned without being able to decide anything in reference to the guilty parties. Deputy Sheriff Dimick has gone to Augusta to examine the man by the name of Dorsey who is held there for the crime. Dorsey when arrested was traveling at night only, getting something to eat from negroes. The only circumstantial evidence points to him as being the guilty man. The citizens in the section around New Smyrna are terribly worked up over the affair and will not give up investigation until evidence against the guilty party is established beyond a doubt.


Florida Star, December 17, 1891, Page 2

            This part of Florida is horrified by a tragedy that has never been equaled for years in this State. The wholesale butchering of four persons at Packwood’s near New Smyrna last week, is a crime that has only been exceeded by an Indian massacre. It is given up that the circumstantial evidence points to some person who had a revenge to carry out against Mr. Packwood or Miss Bruce. It is probably best that Mr. Packwood should not state his suspicions until the enraged people in that section have had a little time to contemplate. Circumstantial evidence only partially conclusive might lead the citizens in that section to mete quick punishment to some person when there might be chances of their being wrong. If sufficient positive evidence or testimony could be had to locate the criminal he would not survive many hours. The citizens of the entire country are determined never to let up until the guilty party is found. It may take a little time to ferret it out, but they will show that no such tragedies can be perpetrated without the guilty party be made to suffer the penalty.


Florida Star, January 21, 1892, page 1

The New Smyrna Tragedy

            The Packwood murder still remains a mystery so far as regards the perpetrator of the terrible crime. The special correspondent of the New York World, who came down to investigate the murder, has published a lengthy report of his investigations in the World, from which we extract the following:

            “Packwood has had a theory of his own from the first, which implicates a physician of New Smyrna, who is an ex-officio in the United States Navy.

            The doctor, it is said, was also deeply in love with Miss Bruce, and Mr. Packwood says Miss Bruce often told him of the doctor’s repeated proposal of marriage. The doctor had some difficulty in accounting for his whereabouts on the day of the murder, because he was drunk a greater part of the time. The suspicions against him became so strong that a committee of citizens waited upon him and made an examination of his person and of his wardrobe in search of scratches and blood stains. They left after subjecting him to a trying cross-examination which lasted over an hour. The theory was that he had learned of Mr. Packwood’s absence from home and had gone to the house to press his suit, not knowing that Mrs. Hatch and her little boy were there; that he had met Miss Bruce in the dining room, and had at once renewed his proposal, and being again rejected, the crimes followed while he was in a fit of jealous passion.

            The only other suspicions entertained have been those aroused by old Tom Wilson, the colored man who claimed to have seen three men in the vicinity of the Packwood house about the time of the murder. He has been frightened, with the assistance of a rope, into implicating half a dozen people in the murder, but his evidence has proved false.

            Two suspicious looking negroes, who were in the vicinity of New Smyrna the Monday after the murder, have never been traced. One of these was seen in a store at Daytona, fifteen miles north of New Smyrna. He had come from the south afoot, and said he was going to Georgia. He offered a twenty-dollar bill in payment for some small purchase. One of the bills that Miss Bruce had before the murder was a twenty dollar bill.

            The other suspect was a “ginger-bread darky”, short and thickset, who talked like a Bahama negro. Sunday at midnight he called up Postmaster Howes, of Oak Hill, fifteen miles south of New Smyrna. He said he had a catboat and had lost his way, and that he wanted to get to Titusville. At Shiloh, further down the coast, the man was seen the following day about noon by William Albert. He said then that he had been out with some sportsmen and had lost them, and that he was going to Titusville to meet them. He did not go to Titusville, however. His craft is described as a catboat, wall sided, with a baggy sail and V bottom.”



Florida Star, October 14, 1892, Page 1

The Negro Jenkins Said to Have Turned State’s Evidence and Implicated Three White Men.

            Word was received here Tuesday by the mail carrier on the Oak Hill route, Jack Mooney, that the Packwood mystery had been finally solved.

            It is said that Jenkins, the negro who was brought before the Coroner’s Jury last December in that body’s vain endeavor to locate the perpetrators of the murders, has turned State’s evidence and in his confession implicates three white men who were around or near the Packwood place at that time; one of whom is now in South Carolina, one on the lower Indian River, and one living somewhere back of Oak Hill.

            Jenkins, it will be remembered, was the man who first reported the crime, which is supposed to have occurred some time on the morning of Saturday, December 12, 1891. Suspicion, at the time, rested among many that Jenkins knew a great deal more about the affair than he was willing to tell and although he was hung up by his thumbs, he never enlarged upon the details he first gave.

            It is reported here now that Jenkins had been recently told that he might as well make a confession as the authorities were in possession of enough evidence to hang him, and further that if he turned state’s evidence and solved the mystery of the murders he would save his neck, etc., etc. In his confession he states that theses three white men had proceeded to the Packwood house for the purpose of outraging Miss Bruce, whom they supposed to be there alone—but on arriving there and finding Mrs. Hatch and her little boy, they found it necessary to put the two women and children out of the way to save themselves. Jenkins says he held the door closed while the men killed Miss Bruce, Mrs. Hatch and the two children, Bennie Hatch, aged seven years, and Frankie Packwood, five years of age.

            It might be possible for Jenkins to have committed these murders, but the circumstances are against it, and it seems quite probable that his confession implicates the right parties.

            Of course all of Jenkins’ confession and all the evidence in hand is not known except to a few confided ones and it is impossible to say now whether it is sufficient to fix the responsibility on these persons beyond a doubt of [or?] not, but it is hoped that the most conclusive testimony will be adduced to show who the guilty parties are.

            It is also probable that Jenkins’ confession will explain why the boat was at the Packwood dock, which has not yet been accounted for up to this time. The people of New Smyrna and vicinity are as indignant today as ever over this wholesale slaughter and should the evidence of guilt be securely fastened on the guilty parties, it is extremely doubtful if the law will yet have a chance to try them for their lives.

            The people all along the East Coast and entire State join in one wish and accord to see the mystery solved and the guilty ones punished. It was a crime that is a blemish upon the fair history of our State and no effort should ever be spared to deal justice and the revenge of an outraged community upon the perpetrators of such a vile and wholesale slaughter.


Florida Star, October 21, 1892, Page 2

            The report that the negro Jenkins had confessed to the Packwood murders at New Smyrna, Fla., is denied.

THE PACKWOOD MURDERERS—More on the story of the massacre at New Smyrna

Clinton’s Confession and How it Came About.

McRea Conveyed to Orlando to Escape a Mob.

 Florida Star, March 17, 1893, Page 3

            We just had time to announce to our readers in our last issue as we went to press that the Packwood mystery had been solved by the confession of one of the parties implicated. This confession was made by Clinton and implicates another white man named McRae and the negro Jenkins, the latter of whom was the first to discover the bodies after the murder.

            Clinton, it seems, had long been suspected. Acting on the inference that these suspicions were well grounded, Mr. Cowart, one of the members of the grand jury, pumped Clinton dry. He said that the State was not after him (Clinton) and would probably treat him leniently. With a hope of being freed, so rumor says, Clinton told the story and subsequently repeated it with all the horrible bloody details to the grand jury who brought in a true bill against all three — McRea, Clinton, and Jenkins for murder. Jenkins and McRae were promptly jailed and later on Clinton also. The latter is confined in a cell on the top floor and the two former in separate cells below with communication absolutely prohibited. All three have long been under suspicion. The evidence was purely of a circumstantial character. It was known that McRae, Clinton, and Jenkins were together on the night of the crime. McRae had been an old admirer of Miss Bruce, and it is believed that jealousy prompted the crime, and strong drink clinched the inclination to the sticking point. Although the district around New Smyrna is “dry” there was plenty of orange wine manufactured in the groves. They started together in the night and arrived early in the morning. The shooting was done, so it is said, by McRae with a pistol borrowed from Clinton, who in turn had borrowed it from a friend. Jenkins cut the throats. This pistol has been an important factor in linking the evidence in a chain. It was the only 32-calibre revolver in the entire neighborhood. Through the efforts of Capt. Dimick it was traced back into the possession of Clinton. The next suspicious circumstance was the significant remark of Jenkins while in the jail at New Smyrna —“if they don’t get me out they’ll regret it.” Next when Jenkins was jailed in Jacksonville for selling whiskey to railroad hands, McRae sent a lawyer to Jacksonville to defend him. Then as to the dog. There were footprints of this dog in the blood on the floor. McRae had a dog but it mysteriously disappeared. “What became of that dog?” was a question asked frequently by the east coast people. Among all these people there are a few who do not believe that the authorities have got the right man yet. Clinton’s father and other relatives were in DeLand last Friday in high rage at the injustice of a “ bogus” confession.

            The most sorrowful figure of all is the aged father of McRae, Dr. McRae, of Sanford, whose head is as white as snow and bowed down with grief. It was only three weeks ago that his wife died. He is a staunch believer in the innocence of his son.

            On motion of the State’s attorney, Judge Broome has postponed the trial until September term of Court. In an interview at New Smyrna Capt. Dimick, who assisted in organizing the Coroner’s jury, said that when the doors of the Packwood house were closed a large crowd clamored for admittance. The crowd was let in, among them was McRae. He didn’t look at the bodies, but gazed at the ceiling, keeping his eyes everywhere but on the ghastly spectacle. Then the next day McRae and Clinton were among the men who scoured the woods for the murderers.

            The four people who were murdered in December 1891 were Miss Bruce, Bennie Packwood, Mrs. Hatch and her little boy. All were shot and their throats cut except Mrs. Hatch who was shot.

            Reports reached DeLand last Saturday that a strong posse was organizing in the County and that at least 100 armed men were coming over from New Smyrna that night to join the mob to storm the Volusia County jail at all hazards and to make short work of Bill McRae, Marion Clinton, and the negro Irvin Jenkins.

            Sheriff Kurtz left Saturday with McRae, the principal, for the Orlando jail and the Court ordered a strong guard placed around the jail at DeLand, for the protection of Clinton and Jenkins. Crowds of people came in from the country districts, that element of the population that sees no danger in the muzzle of a gun when it means the avenging of the cruel murder of Miss Bruce, Mrs. Hatch, Bennie Packwood and the babe of Mrs. Hatch. Cooler heads however, controlled the situation, and the mob, on learning that McRae had been transferred to Orlando, commenced to disperse.

The Gem City Guards of Palatka, the Shine Guards of Orlando, and the Gate City

Rifles of Sanford were ordered to hold themselves in readiness by the Governor.

            Sheriff Kurtz returned to DeLand Sunday from Orlando, where he delivered Bill McRae to the Sheriff of Orange County for safe keeping and all danger of a lynching at DeLand seems to be over. Many of the citizens there, however, expected to see the three alleged murderers of the Packwood family swinging from the same historic live oak tree on Rich Avenue, from which one bright Sunday morning, in August 1891, suspended the lifeless form of Lee Bailey, the mulatto negro that raped an estimable lady of Deland the night previous .

            The McRae family have retain Judge E. K. Foster, of Orange County, to defend Will McRae, and the Volusia County Commissioners have retain Major St.-Clair Abrams, of Lake County, to assist State’s Attorney Beggs in the prosecution. These lawyers stand at the head of the criminal bar of Florida, while Beggs is conceded to have no superior among the State’s Attorneys of the nine Circuits. The case will be tried at the September term of the Volusia court unless a change of venue is granted. It is reported that McRae’s attorneys will ask for a transfer of the case to another County.


Florida Star, February 16, 1894, Page 1

            Monday, the 12th inst., was the date set for the trail of the three men, Will McRae,  Marion Clinton and the negro Jenkins, who are suspected of being the perpetrators of the Packwood murders, which occurred now over two years ago. McRae has been confined in Orlando Jail for a year, while the others have been held at Deland. The case had been taken to Tavares, the County seat of Lake County, on a change of venue. A postponement of the trail has now been granted until the fourth Monday in March on account of the sickness of Judge E. K. Foster, one of the attorneys for the defense. It is delays like this that make the people tired of the law’s uncertainty. As long as trials of such an outrageous case as this are allowed to drag along at length the greater are the chances of the accused getting clear of charges that may be brought against them. These men have now been in custody for nearly a year and a half.


Florida Star, February 16, 1894, Page 4


            The people of Florida are called upon to witness another delay in the trial of the Packwood murder suspects. True it is that this last postponement is only a little over a month but it adds that much more to the length of time that this trial has already been dragging along. When we come to realize that these men have been under arrest for nearly  a year and a half without trial it does seen as though the people have a right to find fault with the way in which criminal cases are delayed in this State. When a crime of this nature is committed it seems to be an easy matter for the defendant’s counsel to keep putting off the trial for months and sometimes years until intense interest in the case is lost by the people and public opinion almost becomes changed to a state of indifference. We are not saying that this last postponement should not have been granted, for the illness of Judge Foster, the attorney for McRae, was unavoidable; but we are merely citing the facts in this case (in which these three men have not yet had their trial for being charged with a crime that was committed over two years ago) in direct contrast to the administration of justice in criminal cases in other and even foreign countries. Just note the brief time required to convict and execute the French anarchist, Vaillant, who was guillotined a few days ago for a crime committed as recently as December last.


Florida Star, April 6, 1894, Pages 1, 8




Major Abrams Confident that They Have Sufficient  Evidence to Convict the Accused. Stories of Five Witnesses

            TAVARES, FLA., April 3.—The Packwood murder trials are now fairly under way, the introductions of the witnesses beginning to-day.

            Mr. Frances Packwood was the only witness examined to-day, and he was on the stand when the court adjourned. There was nothing sensational in Mr. Packwood’s evidence, and very little that was new.

            D. L. Gaulden read the indictment to the jury. It is composed of separate charges for both murder and aiding against each defendant.

            Major Abrams followed, to state the case, and told what the State expected to prove. He said that they would prove that Adelaide Bruce was murdered near New Smyrna on December 12, 1891, and in doing so would have to prove that Mrs. Hatch, Bennie Hatch and Frankie Packwood were murdered at the same time and place. The State would also show that Mr. Packwood left on the 10th for Orlando and was absent until Saturday night. On his return journey, at Sanford, he heard of the crime.

            McRae was a near neighbor and had been a constant visitor for some years. Jenkins was in the habit of calling every Saturday to take orders and was acquainted with their habits. Before the murder, it would be shown, that Clinton had borrowed a pistol and returned it after the murder and that every bullet in the bodies of the dead parties fitted that pistol; that McRae’s clothes which he had on the day before could not be found, and that they had made different statements at different times in regard to this affair.

            That people closely resembling these defendants were seen by more that one person on the night of the murder under very strange circumstances. That Miss Bruce had a $20 bill a $10 bill, a $5 bill and some change, amounting to $38 in all, and that a few days afterward the murderer, Clinton, paid for goods at New Smyrna with a $20 bill. The jewelry in the house was not touched—only the money. The admissions of more that one of the defendants would be introduced, and the State expected to make out a perfect chain of circumstantial evidence, sufficient to convict the accused of this atrocious crime.

            In the afternoon, Mr. Frances J. Packwood testified as to the description of the place, and as to his absence from home—a very rare occurrence. He said that before he went he asked William McRae for some money the latter owed him. Then he asked Mrs. Hatch to go and stay with Miss Bruce while he was away, and that Miss Bruce, although usually afraid of the colored people, was not afraid of Jenkins, but trusted him. Mr. Packwood told of the habits of the home, the customs of cleaning up the supper table and setting the plates for breakfast, and setting the yeast for bread, and about retiring at about 9 o’clock.


            Mr. Packwood, who was on the witness stand Tuesday, was called again. He testified that his home on the Hillsboro river (now Halifax river) was in an isolated place and that few strangers ever came there. Irvin Jenkins was the only negro who was accustomed to come to his place. Only one other colored man had ever come to buy wine and he had came only once, and then with Jenkins. All persons who came to purchase wine came in the daylight, never at night. Jenkins always came to his house on Saturday morning to get orders to carry to New Smyrna for groceries. These orders were generally written out on Friday night, sometimes by Miss Bruce.

            The next witness of any importance was Mr. J. O. Fries, County Surveyor of Orange County, who had been instructed by State’s Attorney Beggs to go there to the scene of the murder and make a correct plat of the grounds and the surrounding country.

            The witness exhibited his various plats and diagrams to the jury, explaining and showing minutely the location of the Packwood home and all other buildings and walks about the house. He described the two large mounds near the Packwood and McRae dwellings, located and described the various roads, paths, forest, marshes and dwellings within two or three miles of the scene of the murders. The home of McRae was one mile south of Packwood’s. Marion Clinton lived nearly two miles southwest of McRae’s. Mr. E. G. Hewitt, the location of whose place is important, lives one mile northwest of Packwood’s and on the public road from New Smyrna to Oak Hill. Mr. Crouch and Mr. Pell, two bachelors at that time, lived only a short distance south of Mr. Hewitt’s.

            Arthur Hewitt, son of E. G. Hewitt, was called to the stand. He went to the house of Messrs. Crouch and Pell, a short distance. Marion Clinton came to Crouch’s at 10 o’clock. At 10:30 Irvin Jenkins came there and told them he wanted them to go to Packwood’s, that he had just been there saw one of the windows badly broken and scantling and pistol lying on the veranda.

            The five men, Crouch, Pell, Clinton, Jenkins and the witness started soon afterward to the Packwood residence. The walked around to the east side of the house and Crouch and the witness stepped upon the veranda by the broken window. Mr. Crouch placed his hand through the broken sash, put aside the lace curtain which hung loose at the window, looked into the room and saw the dead bodies lying on the floor and on the bed.

            Another witness was Mr. E. G. Hewitt. Saturday morning, Dec. 12, he heard of the murder and went at once to Packwood’s. On the way he saw tracks of about a No. 7 shoe. It had rained the evening before and the tracks could easily be seen. He found Crouch, Pell and Jenkins all near the house. They went to the veranda, where he saw a piece of scantling, pistol and a straw hat. He asked Crouch to hold back the curtain of the window while he would look into the room, which Crouch at first refused to do. He then passed through the broken window into the north room of the house. Mrs. Hatch was lying dead on the floor in the southeastern corner of the room. She was fully dressed. Clasped in her hand was a stick a few feet long.

            He passed into the south room where he saw Miss Bruce lying on the bed. She was lying on her back and her feet were hanging down over the front side of the bed. Her forehead was crushed and her whole face terribly bruised and her clothes spattered with blood. By her side on the bed lay an unloaded double barrel shotgun completely broken at the breech in two pieces. On the floor in front of the bed lay the dead body of Frankie. His neck and throat were frightfully cut and stabbed with a knife.

            The witness then walked into the north room, and on a double lounge at the west side of the room lay Bennie Hatch. A ball had entered his face and three large knife wounds were in his neck and throat. By his side, on a pillow, lay a large butcher knife with the blade stained with blood. One of the pillows on the lounge was cut with a knife and also stained with blood.

            He left the place in a short time and went to New Smyrna to secure a coroner and jury.

            Robert Nelson, of New Smyrna, was next sworn. He said that at the time of the murder he was Justice of the Peace of that precinct. He summons a jury, which he took to the Packwood house, arriving there about 3 p. m. Mr. Nelson entered the house. He gave a full description of the ghastly scene. His account corresponded with that of Mr. Hewitt in most particulars. He gave a fuller account of the wounds on the bodies.

            The vessels and commodes used in the night had not been emptied of their contents. The large knife and broken gun found in the room and the pistol found on the veranda were exhibited to Mr. Nelson to-day, and he identified them as being the same those found at the house after the murder.

Florida Star, April 13, 1894, Page 4

            We publish in the STAR this week the evidence in the Packwood murder case for the past six days. This evidence is given pretty full where there is important testimony and somewhat abridged where it is less importance. The past week’s evidence (commencing with last Thursday and ending with Wednesday of this week) combining, as it does, the evidence of those days in one paper will be interesting reading; especially so since it is a case that absorbs the greatest public attention. It is improper to comment on the evidence at this time. It is certainly the greatest murder case ever tried in Florida.


Florida Star, April 13, 1894, Pages 1, 8



A Condensed Report of the Testimony Submitted Since Our Last Publication in This Interesting Trial.

            Andrew H. Goodwin testified as follows: Am a physician and surgeon, since 1868. Was at new Smyrna on December 12, 1891. Recollect the finding of dead bodies at the Packwood place in December, 1891. I went there with Messrs. Nelson, Hawley, Dimick and others. I was very slightly acquainted with Miss Bruce, but I recognized the bodies of Miss Bruce, Mrs. Hatch and the two children—Bennie Hatch and Frankie Packwood. Miss Bruce was lying across the bed, her limbs, from the knees, hanging down. I examined the wounds—wound on throat, by knife or sharp instrument; a bullet wound (I cannot locate it exactly, but it was above or below the eye; it was the head); another was a bruised or contused wound on the bridge of the nose, side of face and head, and was three or four inches long. I did not know that any of the arteries or larger veins were cut. In my opinion, as a doctor, the death of Adelaide Bruce was caused by any of the wounds. I think concussion  and repression of brain was enough to cause death. She was dressed. Her clothing seemed to me as if someone had smoothed it down. I could see dress and stockings No underclothing was visible. Underclothing appeared to have been deranged. I think she had a short skirt underneath, A little below knee, from top of stocking and to drawers, was exposed, so could see part of flesh, and her underclothing was raised above that. The skirt appeared disarranged; the outer garments were laid straight.

            (Here followed testimony by the doctor, which is unfit for publication). The defense took exception to the doctor giving results of microscopic examination from the fact that he was not completely satisfied in his own mind as to the results.

            "It was some time before Judge Broome sent me an order to exhume and examine the body of Miss Bruce, and I did so and took a bullet out of Miss Bruce’s head. We took all the bullets we could find, and all was done at the same time. I took the bullet out of Bennie Hatch’s head. I cannot now separate them. I took three bullets out of the bodies."      

            Cross-examined—"I did not place any of the cloth under a microscope, only some of the matter I scraped of the cloth. I do not now remember what became of the cloth, and whether Court officers took it or not. It was, for a time, in a drawer in my office and it is my impression all the things I had were taken away together."

            W. S. Hart, sworn: "I was at Packwood place December 12, 1891, at about 3 p. m. The Coroner was there before I was. I was called on the Coroner’s Jury, I saw body of Miss Bruce. Was acquainted with her."

            Witness corroborated position of bodies in the house and discovered gun-powder in the wounds, described wounds as already given in evidence. His attention in undressing Bennie Hatch was called to three indentations on shoulder like those made by the teeth of some animal. Probed them and found all punctures 3-16 of an inch deep.

            Miss Bruce’s face had powder marks on it. I examined the Packwood boy. He had powder marks on him and on all the victims.

            Witness corroborated testimony of positions of Miss Bruce’s clothing, and of the cuts and wounds.

            Mrs. Glawson was one who assisted to prepare bodies for burial and stayed from Saturday to Sunday afternoon at the premises.

            Identified the clothing of Miss Bruce as taken from her body, consisting of dress or wrapper, underskirt, undershirt, drawers, chemise, corset and nightgown (they are badly blood-stained) stated to finding on Sunday morning a corset of large size in bed-room off dining-room. Mrs. Hatch was a large woman and had not any corset on when found dead. Corroborated the position and state of the bodies.

            R. S. Nelson, as Justice and Coroner, identified clothes of Miss Bruce as having been in his possession till the first Grand Jury sat; that they were in a cupboard in his office, not locked, but he kept the key of his office.


            Mr. E. G. Hewitt was called to the witness stand again. He had examined the broken glass upon the floor carefully. None of it lay on the body of Mrs. Hatch, but the glass on the floor was under the blood. The woman lay with her head to the southeast and very near the door on the east side of the north room. The witness then said he saw a piece of scantling lying on the veranda.

            At this point several other witnesses were called to prove that there was no railroad near the Pokeweed’s at that time, none being in course of construction or survey, and no railroad men of any kind had camps near there.

            Dr. Cowie of New Smyrna testified that he knew Mr. Packwood. On Thursday, Dec. 10, as he was driving to Oak Hill he met Mr. Packwood at 12:40 p. m., just south of Smyrna. On the same day he met two colored men whom he did not know further south and near Mr. Wilson’s place.

            The pistol found on the veranda, the broken gun found on the bed by the body of Miss Bruce and the large breadknife found on the lounge by the side of Bennie Hatch, were all brought to the court room, exhibited to Mr. Packwood and identified by him as being his own and in his house when he left on Thursday before the murder.

            He spoke of the honey house, and was not sure whether the door was locked or not when he left home. McRae was familiar with the honey house and knew where the lock to it was kept. Few if any of the people had this knowledge.

            Miss Bruce had charge of the place when he was absent, but she had never sold wine before. At this time he prepared a barrel for Irwin Jenkins and left it where it could be delivered to him. Another witness has testified that on Saturday afternoon of evening a bottle only about two-thirds full of wine was on the dining room table. On cross-examination Mr. Packwood testified that other persons may have gone to the honey house with him to get wine, but no one except McRae and Jenkins knew of the lock and key.

            Thomas Wilson, colored, was the next witness sworn. After 12 o’clock on Friday night, the night of the crime, he was going from Oak Hill to New Smyrna. Just east of Mr. Hewitt’s he saw three men in the road. They turned from the main road into the road leading to Mr. Packwood’s place. One of them  was a tall man, one of medium height and one of low stature. The witness thought when he saw them that one of them was Jenkins and called to him:

            “Hello, Jenkins, you rascal; have you got that whisky?”

            No one answered. He could not see their faces. One of them spoke to the other and said: “Come this way.” They all walked on eastward toward the Packwood place and witness drove on to New Smyrna. On cross-examination, when asked if he did not say at a former examination that he saw the faces of all of them and thought they were white men, he replied that he might have said so, for he was scared, but that he did not know just what he had said.

            Dr. Bevil testified that between 8 and 9 o’clock Friday night he left Olson’s and went home, and got up at 1:30 a. m. to catch an early train. Hewitt came along with the team, and got up on it and drove to New Smyrna. Just before Hewitt and son came, he heard six shots fired in the direction of the Packwood place, but did not think anything of it till the next morning, at Jacksonville, he saw the account in the Times-Union.

            Nathan Williams, colored, testified that one day, or a little before the murder, Irwin Jenkins, in a conversation with him, told him what he could do with some colored women and added that he could do the same with Miss Bruce. Witness told him to be careful, that colored men were being lynched for doing just such things as this to women. After the murder he received a message from Jenkins, but through a third party, notifying him not to repeat what he had told him. On cross-examination he said he did not know when he first told this story. Mr. J. D. Kurtz, Sheriff of Volusia County, came to the witness stand. He had assisted Dr. Goodwill in taking balls from the heads of the various victims six weeks after their death. Bullets wrapped in paper and placed in small tin boxes were now shown to the witness and much time spent in his examination of them. They had been in his possession most of the time since they were taken from the bodies. He could identify the balls as a whole as being the ones taken from the heads of different persons, but would not positively  identify the exact ones taken from the head of Miss Bruce.

            Dr. Goodwin testified that he had weighed the balls and made plaster casts of them. The ball which he thought was taken from the head of Miss Bruce weighed seventy-seven grains, the one taken from Mrs. Hatch weighed eighty-seven grains and the one from the head of Bennie Hatch eighty-eight grains. The bullets, the doctor said, may have lost something by coming in contact with sharp bones in the face and skull. Other bullets were presented to witness as having been found on the bed of Miss Bruce and in the window sill, but they were not positively identified.          


The first witness to-day was Peter Granger, who testified that after Irwin Jenkins was arrested the first time and discharged he sent a message by the witness to Nathan Williams warning him that he did not want to hear anything more from him about that murder scrape.

Mr. E. G. Hewitt was called again. As he went to Packwood’s the first time on that Saturday morning he observed a man’s track leading from the main road, and along the Packwood road he also saw tracks of a cat or small dog along with a man’s tracks. After witness had arrived at the point where the road enters the hammock he saw tracks of several men going on toward the house. After Mr. Hewitt had gone to the scene of the murder and made a hasty examination he returned to his house, taking Jenkins with him, and as they walked along he carefully measured the first track he had seen and preserved the measure. He then started to Smyrna, asking Jenkins to continue the measurement of the tracks further.

            He spoke to Jenkins, but Jenkins talked reluctantly upon the subject. Hewitt after this compared his measure with the track of many men in that community and other places, and it compared well with several of them, among which were those of Miles, Dee, Will McRae and others.

            When Mr. Hewitt arrived at Packwood’s the first time, the men who were there told him they had not been in the house and while he was there Jenkins did not go into the house or look in at the window, but remained ten feet or more away all the time.

            Mrs. Elizabeth Clinton was called for the State. She is the mother of Marion Clinton, one of the accused. She and her husband about the first of March after the murder went to Will McRae’s house to look after some things there. No one lived there at that time. She was in the room which had been occupied by Will McRae and raised up a box at the side of the room and before she set it down she noticed an old home-made shirt.

            It attracted her attention, and she picked it up. She and her husband examined it and found dark colored spots upon the sleeves and shoulder, but the witness didn’t know whether the spots were blood stains or not. Mrs. Clinton took the shirt home with her and hid it away among her bed quilts and did not tell any one that she had found this garment until she notified Mr. Robinson of the matter, and then in a few day he and the sheriff of Volusia County come to her house, got the shirt and carried it away. A garment of this kind she described was now brought into the courtroom, shown to her and identified to the best of her belief as being the same as she had found at McRae’s house.

            The next witness was Mr. N. B. Broward of Jacksonville, the Sheriff of Duval County. He knew Irwin Jenkins. Jenkins had been in jail at Sacksonville [Jacksonville?] in the summer of 1892 for selling liquor without a license.

            He had several conversations with him when he was alone with him, and at one time when Major Abrams was present, but neither he nor Major Abrams had ever given him any threats or offered him any immunity from punishment.

            They were not at that time seeking evidence to convict Jenkins, but to convict others. Jenkins told Mr. Broward that he was at McRae’s house on the night of the murder, and said that McRae and Clinton had been out hunting the afternoon before and did not return until 7 p. m. They all three remained at McRae’s all night. McRae and Clinton could not have left the house without his knowing it, as he slept between their room and the door.

            Jenkins had told him, said the Sheriff, that after leaving McRae’s house Saturday morning he had take the walk to the Packwood house. He told Mr. Broward that Packwood had requested him to come there and get a bottle of wine to take to New Smyrna, and said he went at 8 o’clock. Mr. Broward asked him why he did not enter or look in at the window, but Jenkins would only say:

            “Well, I did not look in.”

            Witness asked him why he did not go back and tell McRae about the mater as he was living near, but Jenkins only replied:

            “Well I went on to the other house.”

            Jenkins had answered most questions readily except those concerning the Packwood house. Those he had tried to evade. At one time when Major Abrams had questioned him, Jenkins replied:

            “You are trying to pump me,” and than would not answer questions freely afterward.


            The second week of the Packwood trial began to-day at 10 a. m.   

            E. J. Moore testified the [that] he was at his home just south of Hawks Park on the Friday night of the murder.

            A man knocked at the door about 11 o’clock and asked for some matches. I opened the door and the man said: “We are going to town and our mule is sick and we want to build a campfire.”

            The witness did not remember how the man was dressed. He stood on the porch about four feet from witness. He was a tall man and did not have a hat on his head.

            “Who was he?”

            “He was Irwin Jenkins.”

            “Did you observe the man closely?”

            “I did not at first. I did not know whether he was white or colored, so I examined him closely that I might know.”

            Mrs. Bevin was called and asked:

            Did you hear any conversation between Irwin Jenkins and Tom Wilson on Saturday after the murder and if so what was it?

            Tom Wilson came to the well and Jenkins asked him if he had heard the news. Wilson replied, “What news?” Jenkins answered that all the people at Packwood’s had been murdered last night. Then Wilson said: “I saw three men down there at the end of the Packwood road last night after 12 o’clock. Two of them were white, and one of them was you, Jenkins.”  Jenkins did not reply to that, but said: “Come and go with me; the people will have you for a witness and they will lynch me.” Mrs. Bevin said the two men went off down the Oak Hill road.

            Mr. Demick afterwards heard Jenkins say to Dr. Cowie “I could tell something that would convict the right man.” Dr. Cowie had replied: “I don’t want you to tell me, but if you know anything you should go to Deland and tell it to the proper authorities.” Jenkins had said he would go to DeLand if he had the money.

            Mrs. Demick testified to having furnished Jenkins the money to take him to Deland, and Dr. Cowie was called to give evidence upon the same subject. He had told Jenkins that if he knew anything he should go to DeLand, but if he did not he need not go. Jenkins and the doctor went to DeLand together, and Jenkins went before Judge Stewart, but the witness did not know what he said. This witness was followed by W. A. Goodrich. Major Abrams asked:

            “Did you have any conversation with Jenkins after the murder? If so, what was it?” The witness answered that Jenkins on Saturday morning had said that when he left the McRae’s on Saturday morning Mr. Will told him he need not go, that Mr. Packwood was not at home and that he had said he knew his own business and went to Packwood’s anyhow. At another time in Smyrna the witness heard Jenkins say that all the people in Volusia County could not make Mr. Packwood believe that he did the deed.

            “Jenkins came into my yard on Christmas day, where some other people were playing croquet. The subject of the crime came up, and I told him that he knew all about it and that he ought to tell all he knew. Jenkins had here repeated the story of his first visit which has already been give, The witness asked him if he looked in at he window and he answered: “No. I have seen enough. He had also said he never looked in at white folks windows.”

            Mr. Hatch, the husband of one of the murdered women, testified that she was in the habit of rising about 5 o’clock in the morning. Mr. Nelson took the stand and said that he had found an order for groceries on the floor of the Packwood house on the day the bodies were found and it was dated Saturday. Hart and Mr. Dimick testified to scratches on Mrs. Hatch’s wrists.


            The first witness called was E. F. McDaniel, a fisherman, who said he saw Jenkins that Saturday morning as he (McDaniel), was coming north from Turtle mound. Jenkins was poling a boat coming from the west channel toward Packwood’s. McDaniel asked him if he had seen any fish and he replied he had not. This was about a quarter of a mile from the Packwood place.

            Professor Harris of DeLand, a chemist and a microscopist, had examined the shirt, referred to before, and said four of the stains on the sleeve may be paint, three are unquestionably blood, nine I believe to be blood and others have characteristics of blood.” The witness thought the blood was human; it had evidently come from some one of the class of mammals.

             The witness here explained to the jury the appearance of blood corpuscles under the microscope and made a drawing showing the difference between human blood and the blood of fish and birds. The witness then showed to the jury the part of the shirt on which the human blood was found. It was on the sleeve and near the shoulder. He stated that the shirt might have been washed and the blood corpuscles have remained there. After blood once dries on clothes or other fibrous matter it is almost impossible to remove the corpuscles by washing. Soap will not affect them. They can be removed only by chemicals.

            Mr. Lourcey testified that he saw McRae on Sunday morning after the murder and that he appeared excited when he spoke.

            He thought McRae had been shaved that morning and that had caused the red appearance of his neck.

            Mrs. Berry of New Smyrna was called and said: “Jenkins came to my house Sunday and I noticed that he limped. I asked him what was the matter. He replied that he had rheumatism. He came on the porch and sat down beside me. I said: “Tell me about the murder.” “They popped Mrs. Hatch through the head, and she fell. They popped her through the window.”

            The witness thought he said the children were shot next and that he had said the young lady fought bravely and then described her wounds.

            His eyes were red as blood and he had three scratches on the right side of his neck. The witness then stated that McRae had a little dog with him.

            Mr. Berry was the next witness. He said McRae had been at his house in New Smyrna on Sunday and they asked him to tell them about the murder. McRae had held his hand as though firing a pistol, and said: “Down went Mrs. Hatch at the first shot.” He had spoken of the children and finally stopped, hung his head down and said: “Miss Bruce fought bravely.”

            “Did you  notice McRae’s appearance at this time?” “Yes, he had scratches on the right and front side of his neck which looked like finger marks. The marks extended downward and forward from the front side. They were one and a half to two inches long. His eyes were red and he was very nervous. He told us the marks were caused by shaving.”

            Mrs. Sallie Weaver was called and Major Abrams asked: “Did you have any conversation with McRae soon after the murder?”

            “Yes, he came to Mr. Hewitt’s house on Tuesday. He asked me to lend him a pistol. I told him I would not do it. He replied: “You are afraid I will kill myself or somebody else, and they will blame you for it.” I asked him if he did not know who killed the Packwoods. He said: “So far as I can con—So far as I know anything—“ and there both sentences ended.”

            Mrs. Alden now came into court and testified that she was at the Hewitt’s on Tuesday after the crime and saw McRae there. He asked for a pistol, and they told him he could not have it. And then he had said: “You are afraid I will go and kill somebody else, and it will be laid to you.”

            “I asked him what he thought about the Packwood murder,” continued Mrs. Alden. He said: “I think it was committed by man who got excited on wine.” I added that whoever did do it had covered up their tracks well. McRae said: “So far as I am con—so far as I have anything—so far as I have heard anything they did.” He also said that Mrs. Hatch made bread that afternoon, but it got to be so dark she had to have a light.”

            Witness said McRae had on a new pair of jean pants.

            Mr. Demick testified that he was at the inquest the day the bodies were found; the jury kept the doors closed while they were examining the bodies. McRae asked them several times to let him come in. He said he wanted to see the bodies. When they did let him and others in, McRae did not look at the bodies at all, but looked up toward the ceiling. Twenty or more persons came into the house, but not all at the same time.

            Mr. Count, of New Smyrna, said McRae had been at his store a short time after the murder, and his wife asked him what could have been the reason for killing all those people. McRae replied:

            “Whoever did could not come away seeing the women killed and the children left alive.”

            “Afterward McRae went and got McClellan’s Digest and examined it.

            The witness thought the subject they were looking for was that of turning State’s evidence, but was not sure. The next day McRae returned, took the Digest from the shelf and examined it again, and then walked off without saying anything.


            John Pell testified next. The witness was working for Crouch at the time of the murder. Got up the morning of the murder before daybreak and marked and loaded some oranges. Marion Clinton and Jenkins came to Crouch’s in the afternoon. Jenkins said something was wrong at Packwood’s, that a window was broken in and there was a scantling on the floor. Witness, Crouch, Clinton, Arthur Hewitt and Jenkins went to Packwood’s and found a window smashed and discovered the dead bodies. Crouch pulled the curtains aside and looked in; saw two women and child, all dead. One woman was on the bed, he child on the floor near the bed and another woman on the floor near the window. Witness, Crouch and Hewitt stayed at Packwood’s while Clinton and Jenkins went in different directions to spread the awful news. Witness is a brother-in-law of Marion Clinton, one of the accused, but was not at that time.

            J. D. Bryant testified. Witness lived near New Smyrna and had talk with McRae Sunday after the murder He asked McRae where Jenkins was on Friday, if he was at his (McRae’s) place. McRae answered and said it was not Jenkins who committed the murder.

            Redirect: Witness was acquainted with McRae. Had conversation with him at Cinton’s Wednesday after the murder. McRae did not believe Jenkins was the murderer, although he had not seen him the Friday before between 8 a. m. and 8 p. m. McRae said he (McRae) had left home Friday morning and passed Mrs. Hatch at the bars near Packwood’s. Had stopped and talked with Mrs. Hatch; went on to Clinton’s and returned home between 7 and 8.

            Mrs. Huskey testified: Witness stated that the Clinton family washed for McRae. Did not remember testimony before Grand Jury that McRae brought his own clothes. Didn’t deny that she did so testify. Did not remember who brought the clothes the week of the murder. Didn’t remember testifying before the Grand Jury that McRae stayed at night at Clinton’s house oftener after the murder than before. Did not deny that she did so testify. Did not remember testifying before the Grand Jury that McRae was excited the week of the murder.

            G. D. Bryan testified: Witness was acquainted with McRae. Talked with him the week after the murder about the occurrence. McRae said Irwin Jenkins was not the murderer; that he (McRae) came home with Clinton on Friday; that Jenkins was in bed and left at 8 or 9 o’clock next morning. Witness identified the pistol said to have been found on McRae’s place.

            R. S. Nelson testified” Witness was Coroner conducting the inquest. Identified written evidence given by McRae before the Coroner’s Jury.

            Prosecution submitted testimony as evidence, and defense objected. Court admitted the testimony as evidence, and witness read the testimony to the jury.

            In the afternoon Major Abrams argued for the admission, as evidence, of McRae’s testimony taken by Judge Beggs, State Solicitor, before the Grand Jury in 1893. Court ruled the evidence admissible. Defense asked that exceptions be noted. Testimony was read to the jury. The argument and reading of the testimony consumed one hour.

            Arthur Hewitt testified to being present at the Packwood place Sunday after the murder and seeing McRae with a dog.

            Mrs. Alden was recalled and testified she remembered McRae told her he did not go to Clinton’s Friday.

            Mr. Packwood was recalled and testified that Marion Clinton had worked for him and knew Miss Bruce and Frankie Packwood well.

            Ed Clinton, father of one of the accused, was recalled and testified to being in Deland at the time of the murder, and first hearing of the occurrence at the junction. Never knew Marion to have a revolver. Then followed John Clinton and Mrs. Clinton whose evidence was corroborative of the time McRae and Marion Clinton left the Clinton place. Wash Clinton testified that he himself fired a shotgun on Friday night between the Bevill and Hewitt place.


Florida Star, April 20, 1894, Page 8


The State Completes its Evidence and Arguments of Counsel Will End To-day.


            John Dial testified that on Sunday morning after the murder he went to the Packwoods’ and saw Marion Clinton there. Clinton told witness he came from home to Packwood’s place on Saturday morning and he found the dead bodies lying in the house.

            At another time Dial heard Marion and Wash Clinton talking. Wash said to Marion:

            “I will go over to Goodrich’s and see if the officers are there trying to find out who killed the Packwoods. If they are, we had better go into the swamp until after the trial is over, for they are possibly after us.”

            Mr. Demick testified that two weeks after the murder that Clinton denied to him of having a pistol at all at the time of the crime.

            The witness then said to Clinton: “You need not deny it, for I can prove it by three persons that you did have a pistol at that time.” Clinton had then admitted that he had a pistol, but had kept it only a day or two and returned it. Mr. Demick was Deputy Sheriff at that time, and in his search for evidence he saw a thirty-two caliber Smith & Wesson pistol at Mrs. Crouch’s. The number of this pistol was 4, 7013. Mr. Demick made a record of the number at that time. A pistol was now brought into court and identified as being the same one he saw at Crouch’s.

            William Goodrich testified that Marion Clinton staid at his house on Thursday after the event and said that Clinton showed witness a pistol he had with him. It was a 32, not loaded.

            Peter Flinn, who was stopping at the Goodrich’s at that time corroborated Goodrich’s testimony Clinton had showed both of them the pistol and it was not loaded.

            At another time, after the murder, Clinton denied to the witness having had the pistol, when witness said: “Hold up, for I saw it.” Clinton hen asked the witness not to tell anyone about it.

            On cross-examination Flinn said the pistol had a pearl handle. Judge Beggs was called and testified that about two months after the murder Deputy Sheriff Demick arrested Clinton and put him in his charge. Clinton asked him why they had him arrested, and he told him that Mr. Demick had learned that he had in his possession a pistol at the time of the murder. Clinton denied having had a pistol at that time.

            Mr. Gadden Bryan was next called and said that, at the time of Clinton was in his brother (J. D.’s) charge , he admitted to him, the witness, that he did have a borrowed pistol at the time of the murder, but returned it on the day the murder was discovered.

            W. P. Shryock, merchant, testified to having sold either 32 or 38 caliber cartridges to Marion Clinton some ten or eleven days before the event. Mr. Count, another merchant testified that Wash and Marion Clinton paid for the goods with a $20 bill.

            Mrs. Bevill was recalled today and rehearsed some of Clinton’s statements to her. She said Clinton had come to her house soon after the crime and remarked that some people thought he was guilty because he had a pistol. He further said that a detective had told him , that he was a very sharp fellow, but he could get it out of him. Mrs. Bevil said that afterward Clinton admitted that he did have a pistol at the time, but it would not shoot.

            William Baxter came into court for the first time. He testified that at two different times Marion Clinton, when talking to him on that subject, stated that there was something the he would like to tell him, but that he was afraid to. At one time when he and Marion were discussing the matter Wash came up to them and told Marion to keep his mouth shut.. At another time this defendant was at the house of the witness all knight, and as he retired to bed he saw that he was crying. The witness asked him what the matter was, and Clinton said nothing. In the morning he noticed that his eyes were red. Major Abrams asked if Marion had ever told him anything McRae had said about the murder. Mr. Baxter stated that Clinton told him that McRae had said that he saw Miss Bruce blow out the light on the Friday of the murder and showed the position [I]n which he stood when he saw her blow it out.

            Judge Stewart, of Deland, next testified:

            “Jenkins came to my private office in DeLand and sat down. He did not say anything at first, but I heard that he had come to speak about the murder, and I began the conversation myself. Jenkins then recounted many of the circumstances which occurred after the murder, telling me how it had first been discovered by himself and how Mr. Hewitt had first entered the house.

            “I asked Jenkins who he thought committed the crime, and he thought Mr. Hewitt and Mr. Crouch did it. I asked him what motive he thought they had in doing such a thing, and he said he thought Packwood hired them to do it. I told him that it looked unreasonable that he would hire them to kill his own child and asked him to explain his reason for thinking so, but he gave me no satisfactory answer.”

            John Herring, colored, was the next witness. He testified that he had seen Marion Clinton Having a pistol just before the murder, and afterward went to him and asked him to let him see it. Clinton said he did not have it; said he had thrown it away.


            Isaac Adams, a colored convict from the State camp, was brought into court. He had gone from Jacksonville to State prison about sixteen months ago. While in the Jacksonville jail, he made the acquaintance of Irwin Jenkins. The witness said he asked Jenkins how he got mixed up in that Packwood murder, and Jenkins told him that a job had been put up to have him killed, but that it did not succeed. The witness asked Jenkins if McRae and Clinton did the killing, and Jenkins said they wanted him to swear that they did not, but he would not do it. Jenkins had then told him the following story

            “I was at McRae’s house on the night of the murder. McRae and Clinton came home that night about 8 or 9 o’clock, and did not retire until midnight. They then staid at home awhile and went off again., and came back about daylight.”

            Adams said that up to the time this statement was made to him he had no conversation with Sheriff Broward or any one else about Jenkins.

            Mrs. Alden again came to the stand and testified hat she saw a trunk in the Packwood house Saturday and looked into it. It was about two-thirds full of clothes; some of them had been taken out and others had been thrown into disorder as though some one had been handling them. She also saw a valise lying open. Mrs. Glosson testified that she had not been at the trunk.

            At this point in the trial nearly all of the Clinton family were called, one after another, to prove the Mrs. Clinton did McRae’s washing, but that none of them took his clothes to their house the next week after the crime.

            E. G. Hewitt said that in cleaning up the Packwood house after the bodies had been dressed for burial, he used a hoe or spade to remove the blood from the floor. This statement was made in connection with evidence that much blood was sprinkled upon the closed door near where the body of Mrs. Hatch lay.

            Arthur Hewitt, a bright boy of 17, whose former testimony our readers will remember, came before the jury again to-day and gave the following account of a certain pistol which is figuring in the trial:

            “Before the murder I was at Mr. Crouch’s place almost every day. I saw there a thirty-two-caliber double action center fire Smith & Wesson pistol. I saw it before Mr. Crouch got it. Brunson, who had formerly lived on the place, moved away and left the pistol there. It had a broken spring and you could not cock it except by turning the cylinder with your hand. Mr. Crouch let Marion Clinton have the pistol on Thursday, a week before the murder, and Marion returned it to Crouch on Saturday morning, the day the dead bodies were found. I saw him put the pistol into a little tool box in the house, and I picked it up and examined it. It looked like it had been fired a good many times recently.”

            A pistol was now brought into court and exhibited to the witness and identified as being the same one which Marion Clinton had borrowed from Crouch. Arthur was now asked by Major Abrams about the topography of the country between Crouch’s place and McRae’s. He said there were some shallow ponds there, but no ducks were ever found upon them. Arthur’s father has also testified to the same facts.

            J. W. Preston, the City marshal of Orlando, was next called as an expert on pistols and pistol balls. He was shown the balls take from the various dead bodies at the Packwood house and testified that they were all thirty-two caliber and would fit the pistol now in court.

            Judge J. D. Beggs was now sworn, and read the evidence given by Marion Clinton before the Grand Jury of Volusia County. In this testimony Clinton stated that he had borrowed a pistol from Mr. Crouch, and that he carried it back to Crouch on Saturday, the day the bodies were discovered. When asked by the Grand Jury why he had before denied having a pistol at that time he answered: “I denied it because I wanted to.”

            In this written testimony he says that on Saturday morning, as he went from McRae’s to Crouch’s, he was hunting ducks. He also says that later in the day, after he had been at Packwoods’ house, he went back to McRae’s house and told him of the discovery of the bodies. When asked what McRae said when he told him, Clinton replied that he did not say anything.

            In the afternoon J. D. Bryant and Mr. Cowart, a former member of the Volusia County Grand Jury, were called to testify as to certain admissions which it was alleged Clinton had made to them.

            The defense objected, and a long argument was made by council for the State and defense. The Judge decided that these statements by Clinton had been improperly obtained from him and could not be given to the jury. The court then adjourned until Monday of next week.


            Today marked the beginning of the third week of the trial of Jenkins, McRae and Clinton, accused of the Packwood murders.

            The first witness called was Miss Sallie Weaver, who testified as follows: Jenkins came to our house Saturday after the murder for Hewitt to go with him to the Packwood place. I told him Hewitt had gone to Smyrna, Jenkins said he could send to the mound and get McRae, but he referred Hewitt.

            Cross-examination: Did not tell this because she was not asked.

            F. J. Packwood recalled, testified: Miss Bruce came to my house with my wife. She was the only mother my child ever knew. She had been with us about four years and was to have been my wife soon.

            Here witness almost broke down. The defense never cross-examined.

            George Dial testified to seeing Marion Clinton with a 32 Smith & Wesson pistol Thursday night before the murder/ Frank Bryan, colored, testified: I was in jail in DeLand with Jenkins. He told me that whoever did the stabbing knew his business. Said he did not now who did it.

            Henry Williams, a colored preacher, testified: I was in jail with Jenkins, in Deland. Asked Jenkins who did the murder. He said: “Oh, well, burned house cant tell who burned them, and dead people can’t tell who killed them. I would have my throat cut before I would give it away.”

            After Williams’ examination, the State announced that it was ready to rest but for the non-arrival of two or three witnesses, who would get in tonight, and proposed that the defense proceed, and allow the examination of those witnesses for the State tomorrow; but he defense refused, and Judge Broome announced that a recess would be taken until 9”30 0’clock tomorrow morning. It was about 10:15 a m. when the recess was taken.


            This week was the second day of the third week of the Packwood murder trial. Court opened at 9:30 o’clock this morning, preceded by the usual preliminaries.

            F. W. Sams was recalled and redirectly examined. He testifies as follows: Have been to the Packwood place since I last testified, and brought back with the casings from the northeast window.

            Witness here showed to the jury the position of the casings with bullet-hole therein as taken from the window of the house where the murders were committed. The sill of the window was about the height of a man’s knee from the floor. The bullet-hole was in the casing just about the top of the lower floor.

            E. G. Hewitt was recalled and redirectly examined, testified: I took the bullet from the casing on the north side of the northeast window in the north room. I took the bullet out with a small chisel.

            Counsel Beggs here arose and asked that the Sheriff call from the door three times each, the names of Mattie E. Poppleton, John B. Verona and George Bennett. There being no answer the counsel for the State announced that prosecution rested.

            Judge Foster, for the defense, asked if the State would call these witnesses afterward in case they came, to which the prosecution replied that they would, if the court permitted. The court refused to decide whether the testimony would be admitted until these witnesses should arrive, but assured the defense that should the State reopen the defense would be entitled to and granted the same right.

            Counsel for defense then asked a few minutes for a private conference. After a consultation of about half an hour the defense announced that they had no testimony to submit and were willing that the case should go to the jury. The prosecutor asked that the court adjourn until 2:30 p. m. at which hour the State would begin argument. At 2:30 the State opened its argument, represented by J. D. Beggs, State Solicitor, who for two hours spoke eloquently and strongly, connecting the circumstances in the chain of evidence and dwelling upon the murder of the children as indicative of thorough familiarity with the Packwood place and inmates on the part of the perpetuators. B. M. Miller, one of the counsel for the defense, opened with preliminary remarks and court adjourned until 9:30 tomorrow.

            It is rumored here that John B. Verona, the witness who was called this morning and failed to materialize, was the most important the State had. It is said that Verona was the recipient of a statement from McRae which would prove of most vital importance to the State’s case. He was subpoenaed, and the State made every effort to keep their knowledge of his evidence hidden, but soon after being summoned Verona packed his grip, left his home in Sanford and presumably the State. He was last seen in Jacksonville. Mrs. Poppleton another important witness for the State who lives in St. Lucie was summoned but has also disappeared in some mysterious manner from her home.

            The argument of Mr. Miller continued until 3 o’clock Wednesday afternoon, and it was an able statement of the defense’s position. He was followed by Mr. Gaulden for the State and Mr. Austin and Mr. McNamee for the defense. The argument of Major Abrams was given yesterday and he will be followed to-day by Judge Foster.


Florida Star, April 27, 1894, Page 8



 The Jury in the Packwood Case Finds The Defendants all Guilty on the First Ballot.


            The Packwood trial is ended. The case went to the jury this afternoon at 3 o’clock. The jury retired and were out one hour and thirty minutes, when they returned with the following verdict:

   “We, the jury, find the defendants, Irvin Jenkins, William A. McRae and Marion Clinton, guilty of murder in the first degree, as charged in the fourth count, but recommend Marion Clinton to the mercy of the court.”

            Marion Clinton is the younger of the two white men, and at the time of the murder was only 17 years old. The two white men were much affected by the verdict. Tears came into the eyes of Clinton, and McRae was pale and nervous, but Jenkins, the negro, sat as apparently unconcerned as though nothing serious had occurred.

            The verdict of the jury was unanimous on the first ballot. Judge Foster had resumed his argument for the defense this morning at 9:30 and continued speaking until 1 o’clock. Being afflicted with rheumatism it was evident that he spoke with much physical pain to himself, yet he continued for three and a half hours without rest.

            He discussed the merits of circumstantial evidence as applied to this and other cases. He excused the defense for not rebutting much of the testimony for the State on the ground that it was too uncertain and indefinite for the defense to have a chance to rebut it. The State had charged the former testimony of the defendant before the grand jury with inconsistencies and falsehoods, and yet had entreated the jury to consider the discrepancies and inconsistencies of its own witnesses as marks of general truth and veracity.

            To the mind of this speaker this was anything but fair. The testimony for the State was reviewed and analyzed with an effort to point out its weakness. The conduct of the defendants from the time of the murder to the present day was reviewed, and to the mind of thc speaker it was only the conduct of innocent men. His argument showed interest in and close observation of the case, and to the spectators it was perhaps effective. After the charge of the Judge the case went to the jury, and a verdict of guilty was returned.

            A motion for a new trial will be made by defendants on Monday morning.


            The last scene in the Packwood murder trial in the Circuit Court closed to-day at 12 o’clock. The court opened at 9:30 a. m., and the defendants immediately made a motion to have the verdict set aside and a new trial granted. The motion was upon the ground that the verdict was contrary to law, to the evidence and to the weight of evidence; that the court erred in admitting in evidence the testimony of the defendants before the coroner’s jury and before the grand jury, That the court erred in admitting in evidence a certain blood stained shirt which was not definitely traced to either of the defendants. That the court erred in admitting in evidence the contents of a letter which Irvin Jenkins, while in the Jacksonville jail, had written to Dr. McRae asking for money. That the court erred in eight of its charges to the jury.

            The motion was argued by Judge Foster and Mr. Miller. The jury rendered its verdict on the fourth count in the indictment, which was that the assault was made upon Adelaide Bruce by Irvin Jenkins with a certain double barrel shotgun, which he did strike and beat her upon her face and head, from the wound of which she died instantly, and that William McRae and Marion Clinton were present aiding and abetting. The defense argued that there was no evidence whatever before the jury to justify a verdict upon this count. In conclusion Judge Foster said:

            “If the court has permitted any testimony whatever to go to the jury which on reflection it thinks was wrong, it is the duty of this court to grant the defense the trouble and expense of going to the Supreme Court.”

            Judge Broome said he could not remember any testimony that had improperly gone to the jury of sufficient importance to cause him to grant a new trial. It was not for the court to say, said Judge Broome, what particular part of the testimony the jury has based its verdict upon, or how much weight they had given any part of the evidence, and therefore he would not interfere with the verdict, but will leave that question to be decided by a higher court.

            The sentences of the prisoners were then read separately, the name of Marion Clinton being called first. The Judge said:

            “Have you anything to say why sentence should not be passed upon you?”

            Clinton replied: “I am not guilty.”

            The Judge read his sentence as follows:

            “It is the sentence of the law and the judgement of the court that you be confined in the penitentiary of the State of Florida at hard labor for and during the period and term of your natural life.”

            Irvin Jenkins was then called and the usual question asked of him. He replied:

            “I am not guilty. The people over there have put this thing upon me because I would not tell a lie and say that Will McRae and Marion Clinton did it. I will go on the gallows and have my neck broken and hang till I am dead before I will lie and charge any innocent man, white or black, with this crime. Now, Judge, please your honor, pass the sentence.” This language was spoken boldly, but without a quiver in his voice.

            Judge Broome then read the following sentence: “It is the sentence of the law, and such is the judgement of the court, that you, Irvin Jenkins, be taken to a place of safe keeping and there kept, and, at such time and place as the Governor of Florida shall by his warrant appoint, that you be hanged by the neck until you are dead and may the Lord have mercy on your soul.” To this sentence Jenkins replied: “All right, sir.” The Judge then turned to William A. McRae and told him to stand up. To the question, have you anything to say why sentence should not be passed upon you, he replied: “I am absolutely innocent.” The same sentence as that read to Irvin Jenkins was now read to William McRae.

            The defendants entered an appeal to the Supreme Court, and the Judge granted them four months in which to prepare a bill of exceptions. The court adjourned at 4 p. m.


Florida Star, May 4, 1894, Page 4


            Not noting any comments editorially in regard to the verdict rendered in the Packwood case for several days after the trial was over in the daily press we refrained from having anything to say in regard to this important trial in our paper last week, but as we understand that Judge Broome’s ruling in regard to press comments only applied while the trial was going on we can see nothing wrong in reviewing a few of the facts connected with this case.

            The most noticeable fact in regard to the verdict is that it is almost generally the reverse of what the public predicted who only read the published evidence as given to the jury. Outside of the two Jacksonville morning papers we feel warranted in saying that the evidence as published in the STAR was fuller than that published in any other paper in this State. We followed the evidence in the case pretty closely and we came to the conclusion that the evidence as published was not sufficient to convict. But the attorneys for the State, Messrs. Abrams, Beggs and Gaulden, all agreed in saying that the published summary could not give a fair and comprehensive, much less a conclusive view of the weight and effect of the State’s case. Col. Gaulden has informed us that the case was really a very strong one on the side of the State and that instead of being merely disconnected circumstances was in all of its parts connected, leaving no room for doubt in the minds of the jurors and giving them no other alternative than to render a verdict as they did.

            It must also be said that there never was a more conscientious jury or set of witnesses for the State. It was specially noticeable in the trial that the witnesses were all cautious to not overdraw their statements and that their testimony in many instances was not quite as strong in all particulars as when given before the Coroner’s jury. It must also be accepted that the jury were most thoroughly convinced beyond all possibilities of doubt or they would not have reached a verdict on the first ballot.

            The verdict in this case is a most satisfactory one to the people of Florida for the conviction of these parties will have a tendency to impart a feeling of greater security for the lives of our women and children than has heretofore existed. No one doubted their guilt of the crime. Every person conversant with the evidence in this case felt that they surely were the guilty parties. The only regret before the trial was that the evidence might not be able to fasten the crime upon them, and had it not been for the strong case worked up by the State, prosecuted by her able solicitor, Mr. Beggs, and his associates, Mr. Abrams and Col. Gaulden, it might have ended in an acquittal, which is generally the verdict in cases of purely circumstantial evidence.

            There is a possibility that a technical error might bring this case back to this circuit for another trial from the Supreme Court of this State where an appeal has been carried. In such case a critical review of the testimony at this time might not be proper, but we do not think that is should be improper to state should the highest court in this state decide that the testimony offered in this case be deemed insufficient to sustain the verdict, then we can bid good-by to the hope of seeing secret crime punished through the courts of our commonwealth for many, many years to come.

            In January, 1895, the Florida State Supreme Court ruled on the defense’s appeal. The Supreme Court ruled that the lower court erred in admitting into evidence the testimony of the defendants before the coroner’s jury and before the grand jury, that the jurors on the case were not drawn strictly according to the Act of 1893 and that the statement of the prisoners had not been signed by the prisoners, and were not admissible as evidence. Citing and these and other errors, the Supreme Court ordered a new trial in this case.



            The Federal Writers Project was created in 1935 as a part of the Work Projects Administration (WPA) to employ writers and other artists during the Great Depression. In October 1936, Zelia W. Sweet wrote a short story of the Packwood murders. The University of Florida Library has a copy online at: http://www.uflib.ufl.edu/ufdc/?b=UF00055125&v=00001

Here is a transcript of Sweet’s research report:


Federal Writers’ projects

American Guide
Daytona Beach, Florida
Researched by – Zelia W. Sweet  Legal Records
(New Smyrna)
Approx. 800 words

Packwood Murders

            The Packwood murders occurred in 1891. An extremely brutal affair in which two women and two children were killed, it attracted national attention, detectives and news writers from many cities coming to New Smyrna to cover the case. It was tried several times in several courts; three men were convicted, sentenced and later released. The Supreme Court proceedings on the case are one of the longest recorded in Florida. The murders occurred on December 11th, 1891 and the final decision was not given until 1895.

            In December 1891, Francis J. Packwood, with his sister-in-law Adelaide Bruce, and his four-year old son, Frank, lived on the Indian river, about halfway between the towns of New Smyrna and Oak Hill, Mr. Packwood’s place was somewhat isolated, being immediately on the river and about a mile from the public road. His house was built on a large shell mound overlooking the river. On Thursday, Mr. Packwood left his place to visit Orange County, and, as was his custom on remaining from his home overnight, he induced a Mrs. Hatch, living a few miles distant, to stay with his family until his return.

On the 12th day of December, during his absence, the dead bodies if Miss Bruce, the little boy, Mrs. Hatch and her son (Bennie, 11 years old) who accompanied her to the Packwood place, were found murdered in the house.

            The crime was reported by Inving Jenkins, a negro with Indian blood, who was in the habit of helping out at the Packwoods and doing errands for them. He claimed he went by as usual, found the gate open, then saw an open window and could hear no one about, so he went, without investigating further, to tell the neighbors, a mile away. In the room of the broken window was found Miss Bruce on the bed, in extreme disarray, the side of her face crushed with the barrel of a gun belonging in the house, shot, and her head almost cut off. On the floor at the foot of her bed lay the body of little Frankie Packwood, shot and his throat cut also. In an adjoining room the body of Mrs. Hatch was on the couch, shot, the body of Bennie beside her with his throat cut, and from knife slashes on the pillow and the mussed up couch, it looked like he had put up a struggle before he was killed. There were also marks of a dog’s teeth in his feet.

            The coroner’s verdict was brought in Monday, December 28th…unknown. But on March 6th, the case was brought before the Grand Jury in Deland…on the 9th Martin Clinton confessed. He said he had gone to bed when Will McRae and Irving Jenkins came for him; he got up, dressed and went to the Packwood place with them for wine, but he did not go to the house, staying in the boat until the others came back…yet the three were met walking toward the Packwood place and explained that they had walked toward Hawkes Park (now Edgewater--Ed) aways to see if they would meet Packwood…but had turned back. The story goes that McRae called Miss Bruce to the wine house and attempted to assault her, but Miss Bruce fought him off and ran to the house to Mrs. Hatch; then McRae told Jenkins what he had done and Jenkins said they would surely get in trouble. So they broke the window and went in. Miss Bruce had gotten a shot gun but Jenkins took it from her and hit her with it; she and Frankie Packwood were both shot with a 32 center fire Smith and Wesson (this revolver had been borrwed by Marion Clinton from a Mr. Crouch and was returned the morning the bodies were discovered), and their throats cut. Mrs. Hatch had a 32 rim-fire revolver which she shot once, then she was shot down, after which they presumably dispatched Bennie.

            The case was adjourned until November 14, 1893, then after three days was transferred to Tavares where it was taken up again on April 5th 1894. On April 22nd the jury brought in a verdict of murder in the first degree with recommendation to the mercy of the court in the case of Clinton, and the accused were sentenced: Jenkins and McRae to be hung and Clinton to be confined in the penitentiary for life.

            Then St. Claire Abrams who had convicted the three, took the case for McRae, Jenkins and Clinton, and at the January 1895 term of the Florida Supreme Court in Tavares, asked for and was awarded a new trial on the grounds that the jurors on the case were not drawn strictly according to the Act of 1893 and that the statement of the prisoners, although taken down by the State’s Attorney, had not been read to nor signed by the prisoners, so were not admissible as evidence. And the last trial, that same year, acquitted all three men.

 Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, WPA Federal Writers' Project Collection.

The results of this appeal was published in the Cases Adjudicated by the Florida Supreme Court, 1895, Volume 35, pages 737 through 835.



Florida Star June 30, 1893, Page 8

            Last Sunday a party of eight accepted the invitation of Mr. F. T. Budge to accompany him on a trip that day to the Packwood place on the Hillsborough River, situated about five or six miles this side of New Smyrna. The trip was made in Mr. Budge’s fine naphtha launch, the Capt. James P., and the party consisted of Messrs. W. M. Brown, E. L. Brady, H. C. Budge, Boudinot Pritchard, J. P. Turner, J. D. Cameron, B. A. Circle, and the editor of the Star.

            An ample supply of good things to eat, including several watermelons and a cake of ice, were put aboard and the boat started about half past six a.m. The Packwood place was reached about noon, distance from Titusville about thirty miles. Before landing dinner was partaken of, then it was decided that as two of the town trustee were in the party it would be a good plan to include a visit to the shell mound and the spur track to see the condition of the track and how the mound was situated. Messrs. Cameron, H. C. Budge and Pritchard decided to remain aboard the launch, while the other six of the party got into the little dingy which had been borrowed of Geo. Hunt at the Haulover canal, (as it was known through the advice of our pilot, Mr. Turner, that the launch could not get within a quarter of a mile of the shore) and cautiously proceeded towards the bank until the water got so shoal that several had to get overboard and push the boat to the bank.

            A hasty examination of the Packwood building was made, which is famous for the brutal massacre of two women and two children in December, 1891, the details of which are familiar to every reader of this paper. The place has been abandoned by Mr. Packwood. The doors of the two rooms were both wide open, the panel of the door of the north room where the murderers effected their entrance being first noticed. The window near this door was the one where the shooting was done and the bullet hole in the sash is plainly to be seen, while the dried blood of both victims is to be found in both rooms, including stains on the top of a shell mound overlooking the river at an elevation of some fifteen feet. Several older buildings are on the place and an old neglected orange grove about the houses shows that it must have been under cultivation for some twenty years.