A Terrible Tragedy at Elmer, The Chatham Murder, Death of Mazie (Button) Appleby, In Bed with Clothes On


12/18/ 1895 - The Wellsboro Agitator - Donated by Judy Johanson

12/18/ 1895The Wellsboro Agitator – Donated by Judy Johanson

1. Murder of Ellen Allen by Ernest Allen (above) – Donated by Judy Johanson

2. 1880 Murder of Warren S. Stafford (below) – Donated by Sheri Church & Chris Berg (?)

3. Bad Apple – Death of MAZIE E (Button) Applebee (below) – Donated by Sheri Church

2. A MAN’S BRAINS DASHED OUT WITH CLUBJuly 27, 1880  – Wellsboro Agitator
A couple of gentlemen who arrived in this village yesterday afternoon brought word that a horrible murder was committed in Chatham last Sunday afternoon. The story they told is as follows:
Last Sunday Mr. Warren Stafford, of Westfield, was visiting at the residence of his brother-in-law, Elijah Whitney, who lives in the south part of Chatham Township. During the day the wife of Mr. Floyd Whitney­son of Elijah Whitney­and Mrs. Elijah Whitney­the step mother of Floyd Whitney and sister of Stafford­got into a quarrel. The dispute waxed hot and threatened to result in blows, when Stafford stepped between the two angry women. Whitney’s wife struck Stafford, and then went home and told her husband Floyd Whitney, that Stafford had struck her.
The fracas between the two women having ended, Stafford was sitting quietly in the door of the elder Whitney’s house, when Floyd Whitney, who had armed himself with a heavy club, came around the corner of the house and hit Stafford on the head with the club, dashing out his brains. The blow was so severe that Stafford lived but a few minutes after he was struck.
As a boy about starting for a physician, soon after Stafford was hit, Floyd Whitney asked him if Stafford was hurt much. Whitney had not been arrested up to yesterday morning, when a warrant was sworn out for him before Justice John E. White, of Knoxville. It is not known whether he remained at home or had run away. In either event it should not be long before he is arrested.
One informant understood that no words at all passed between the two men. Stafford is said to have been about 25 years old and Whitney about 30.
 August 3, 1880 Wellsboro AgitatorThe Chatham Murder – The Whole Story by Eyewitness
Mr. Elias Whitney, of Chatham Township, seems to be a moderately well to do farmer living on a place of 84 acres, which he owns, and on which he has lived for five years. Last year he built a new frame house of very moderate dimensions a few rods east of the old log house in which he formerly resided. This new house is the scene of tragedy that took place a week ago last Sunday evening resulting in the death of Warren Sylvester Stafford. The main part of the house is probably 16 by 24 feet on the ground, and stands not far from the road, which here runs about east and west. The front entrance to the house is on the east side near the front end and on the same side of the house there is a wing used for a kitchen with a door looking toward the road and very near the main part of the building there is a cellar with an outside entrance in front and near the southwest corner of the main part of the house.
About three years ago Mr. Elias Whitney wedded his present wife, he having at the time two adult sons­Floyd Whitney and Victor Whitney. Floyd being the eldest son was 26 years old last December and has been married several years and has three little boys. He kept house by himself nearly two miles from his father’s house. The other son lives at home. Warren S. Stafford, the man who was killed lived at Westfield. He was in his 26th year and was married, but had no children. He was the brother of Mrs. Charles Whitney. He reached Whitney’s house about six o’clock last Sunday night, going there to visit his sister. Soon after he reached there his wife also came. There were also present his brother Charles Stafford and Alva Stafford, Charles’s wife, and Ralph Button, Victor Whitney, Elias Whitney and Miss Mary Babb, the school mistress who was boarding with the family. Some young children were also present.
Mrs. Elias Whitney had of late had some trouble with Mrs. Floyd Whitney about a kettle and some soap and some carpet rugs and some fruit cans. Mrs. Elias had bought of Mrs. Floyd two 2 quart glass fruit cans for which she was to give her a hen in payment. She received the cans but hadn’t handed over the hen. Sunday afternoon Mrs. Floyd made her appearance at the house and demanded the return of the cans. Mr. Whitney offered to have the hen caught and give that to her, but she was angry and insisted on the cans. Mrs. Elias Whitney then went down cellar to get one of the cans which was there and Mrs. Floyd went into the pantry and helped herself to two cans, one of which was hers. As she came out of the kitchen door with the cans, Mrs. Elias Whitney came out of the cellar and around the corner of the house and the two women faced each other almost immediately before the front door of the house. Mr. Elias Whitney told his wife not to let her take anything that didn’t belong to her and Mrs. Floyd Whitney raised a can to strike Mrs. Elias. The latter knocked the can from her hand and it rolled away on the ground and just then Mr. Warren S. Stafford stepped between the two women and told Mrs. Floyd Whitney not to strike his sister. Mrs. Floyd Whitney thereupon hit Mr. Stafford with a broom and struck him in the face with her hand. Mrs. Elias Whitney thinks Stafford did not touch Mrs. Floyd Whitney, but Mr. Elias Whitney thinks he pushed her back with his hand and told her to stand back­that they didn’t want any fuss or fighting there. Mrs. Elias Whitney took hold of Stafford and told him not to touch the other woman. Mr. Button also took hold of him and Stafford said he did not intend to strike a woman. This was between six and seven o’clock in the evening.
After Mrs. Floyd Whitney had left and near nine o’clock in the evening the persons we have named as present were all gathered in the front room of the house, except Mr. Victor Whitney, who was in the kitchen. Mr. Warren Stafford was sitting in a chair tipped back against the front door which was swung open against the wall south of the opening. Within three or feet of him and on the north side of the open door sat Mr. Ralph Button with a child on his lap. Mrs. Elias Whitney stood by the bureau at the front of the room, probably eight feet from the open door and was looking toward the door. The rest of the persons named were scattered about the room.
Suddenly, while the inmates of the house were thus situated, without the slightest warning or notice, Mr. Floyd Whitney appeared in the open door, placed his left hand against the south casing, reached his right hand into the room and struck Mr. Warren Stafford a severe blow on the right side of the head with a heavy club, that is described as a cherry root a little more than two feet long and with a heavy knot on the end. Mr. Stafford immediately fell to the floor in front of the open door. Mrs. Whitney thinks but one blow was struck, but Mr. Elias Whitney informs us that Mr. Button says Floyd struck Stafford twice, but he (Whitney) thinks this is a mistake. As Stafford fell Floyd said, “Will you strike a wife of mine!” or something to that effect, according to Mrs. Whitney’s recollection.
It was found that Stafford’s skull was crushed on the right side, from the temple back. He lived until nearly two o’clock the next morning, but Mrs. Whitney does not think he was in his right mind any of the time although he spoke a few times.
Floyd Whitney stayed on the premises until a short time, before Stafford died. He carried a lantern and helped catch a horse for Alva Stafford to ride to call a physician, and he offered to go for Stafford’s mother if it was desired. Mrs. Whitney says he felt awfully bad over what he had done and she doesn’t think he intended to kill Stafford, but hit him harder than he meant to. He and Stafford, she believes were always good friends and on the best of terms. After the striking, Floyd cried like a baby.
Elias Whitney talked with Floyd after the latter had struck Stafford. Floyd said he was too past and was sorry for what he had done. He said his wife came over home and told him some stuff that made him mad. She told him Stafford had struck her in the stomach and kicked her. He said if she had gone over there and lied like that to him, he wouldn’t live with her another day. Elias told him how it was, and said if he had come and called some of the family out probably he wouldn’t have done what he did. Elias Whitney says he hasn’t seen Floyd since he left his premises just before Stafford died.
Upon this writing Floyd Whitney has not been arrested. As stated by us last week, a warrant was issued by Justice of the Peace White, of Knoxville, on Monday up to this time Whitney has managed to elude his pursuers. Constable L. C. Beach come near catching him that day, giving him a long chase through a marsh, but the fellow finally got into the woods and escaped. He has a large number of relatives and connections in Chatham and as our correspondent says it is generally believed they are secreting him and keeping him supplied with food and information. It is supposed his friends are trying to get him out of the State and into Canada. It is reported in Chatham that he is now well armed, and there seems to be a general feeling that he would not be a desirable customer to meet in the woods. He is generally spoken of as a rather hard case and even his father does not give him a very good character.
The County Commissioners last week offered a reward of $100 for his arrest and delivery to the Sheriff. Chatham men who claim to know him well describe him as follows: He is about 5 feet 5 or 6 inches high, weighs about 140 pounds, stoops a little when standing, has regular features, large blue eyes, pale complexion, light brown or sandy hair, long full sandy whiskers, wore a yellowish snuff colored coat, and a blue cloth cap, wears his cap on one side of his head and holds his head on one side. He does not look a man in the face when talking to him.
August 10, 1880 Wellsboro Agitator Vigilante Called For.
The barn of W. W. Beach, in Chatham, was burned last Monday night, together with its contents. Mr. Beach had been out assisting in the search for the murder of Floyd Whitney at the time. It is supposed that either he or some of his friends caused the fire.
Those who are aiding in the escape of the murderer of young Stafford ought to be arrested and sentenced to imprisonment at hard labor for a term of years. Some of the parties are well known to the authorities and will be dealt with soon if they continue feeding and carrying provisions to Whitney.
Floyd Whitney for the past few years has been almost an outcast among his own relatives. He has been arrested for larceny, and his family has suffered for the necessaries of life. He has been a vagabond upon the earth, and has applied to me while a Justice of the Peace to get aid from the county, but since killing Stafford, he has been fed and harbored and secreted by those very persons who would have turned him out of doors before. It is an outrage upon the public welfare and buildings are to be burned because their owners are assisting in his arrest, I think it is time that the people take the matter in hand and organize a vigilance company and watch and if necessary exterminate this barn burning fraternity.
 January 31, 1882 Wellsboro Agitator
[this issue is damaged and parts are unreadable­I will attempt to transcribe as much as possible.]
Floyd Whitney Caught At Last  – The Murderer of Floyd Whitney resided in Detroit
­Living under a false name­An account of the murder ­in his own words.
Last Sunday afternoon Messrs. Frances Cornell and James Dunn, of N.Y., brought to this borough and turned over the Deputy Sheriff, Harry Baxter, Mr. Floyd Whitney, who is charged with having murdered Warren Sylvester Stafford in Chatham Township some eighteen months ago. The prisoner was at once securely locked up in a cell where he now awaits the action of the Court. The story of Whitney’s capture is not a very long one.
Some little time ago, a brother of Mr. Cornell returned from Detroit when he had met a man calling himself George H. Wilson, who features and manner puzzled him somewhat. They reminded him of Floyd Whitney, of Chatham, whom he formerly knew. After talking the matter over and considering it carefully the conclusion was reached that George H. Wilson, of Detroit, was Floyd Whitney, formerly of Chatham, for whose arrest the Commissioners of Tioga County had offered a reward.
About the first of the current month, Mr. Frances Cornell, came to this borough to see District Attorney Foote in relation to the matter. After Mr. Foote has satisfied himself that Cornell meant business, and had reasonable grounds to believe that Whitney was in Michigan, it was arranged that Cornell should bring Whitney back here and lodge him in jail at his own expense and that the county should pay him for the job if he succeeded. The County Commissioners at agreed to this arrangement and in pursuance of the District Attorney procured a petition on the Governor of Michigan and last week Monday night Mr. Cornell and Mr. Dunn left Hornellsville for Detroit to attend to Mr. George H. Wilson. They arrived at that city Tuesday and at once secured the services of local officers and the man was promptly arrested. A reporter for the Detroit Free Press give in Wednesday’s paper the following account of Whitney’s arrest and of his subsequent talk.
An officer arrived in this city yesterday from Tioga County, Pennsylvania, having a warrant in his possession for the arrest of Floyd Whitney on a charge of murder which was committed at Chatham, in that county, on July 29, 1880. The victim was a young man named Warren Stafford. The necessary papers were placed in the hands of Detective McDonnell to serve and they found the man at No. 60 Wayne Street, where he was living with his wife. The officer inquired if he was there and a reply being given in the affirmative, they soon had him in custody, and lodged him in the Central Station to await his being taken back to Pennsylvania for trial. The prisoner is completely broken down over his arrest and was found later in the evening by a reporter of The Press lying on a bunch in his cell in a depressed state of mind. When the reporter asked to interview him he said that he did not know about telling the story of the homicide, but after some deliberation said:
“It is no use now, I might as well tell it straight now that I am arrested”
“Do you claim you killed Stafford in self defense?” asked the reporter
“No, sir, I do not,” was the reply.
The reporter then questioned him and Whitney, partially rising in his seat, spoke in a low tone of voice as follows
‘My father lived about two miles from where I did. Warren Stafford was a brother to my step mother, who is still alive. My father’s name is Elias Whitney, and he is well known in the community where he lives. The murder was committed by me on a Sunday night. My wife went over to my father’s house, starting about 4 o’clock on the Sunday afternoon. When she got there she found Stafford and a number of others there and during her visit they all began drinking wine. My brother was there and also my cousin. Stafford had some words with my wife, which led to his clinching her. He threw her out against a wall on the side of the house and then put his knee against her and injured her seriously. She immediately came home and informed me of what had happened. When she spoke of Stafford misusing her, it enraged me very much. I had been drinking some wine during the day and this increased my anger. I determined to make Stafford pay for his actions and started to my father’s house. I am naturally a quick tempered man. I went on foot going as fast as possible. When I got to my father’s house there was quite a large crowd assembled there. I had a stick in my hand and looked into the kitchen and parlor doors without seeing Stafford. I cannot say whether he saw me or not. Soon after I saw him sitting in a doorway and struck him on the head with the stick. The crowd immediately came around and kept me back. I next saw Stafford on the ground where he fell after being struck. I did not suppose at the time that I had hurt him. I stayed around and after it was said that he was seriously hurt, I got a horse and sent my brother for the nearest doctor. He came with him and the doctor after examining him told me that there was no danger. I then went home and told my wife what had happened. I stayed there during the night, and the next morning I heard that Stafford was dead. I then concluded to escape. I was then told I had fractured Stafford’s skull.”
Whitney said he had seen the officer from his home and conversed with him. He told him he would be ready to go back with him for trial this morning. He (Whitney) understood that there was a requisition for him, but he would not oppose it. Stafford was about 26 years of age. The case created great excitement at the time of the murder.
Mrs. Whitney corroborates her husband’s statement, and is very much affected over his arrest. She will go to Pennsylvania and appear as a witness in his behalf.
It is due to Mr. Whitney to state here that a reporter of the Agitator had a talk with him at the jail last Saturday morning, when he stated that this report in the Free Press was not quite accurate. He is there represented as saying that during his wife’s visit at his father’s house on the Sunday of the tragedy, those present “all began drinking wine”. What he told the reporter was that he (Whitney) thought that his father and Stafford had been drinking that day not that the whole party had been drinking wine. He reached the conclusion that Stafford and I has Whitney had been drinking from his own observation not from what he was told.
Messrs. Cornell and Dunn left Detroit Wednesday night with their prisoner in charge, coming through Canada. The trip was without noteworthy incident. Whitney came without objection and without attracting special attention on the road. It was not necessary to put handcuffs on him during the trip, except once while at Buffalo. The party came south from Corning on Friday morning, taking the freight train to Middlebury where they stopped to eat dinner with Mr. Riley Whitney, who is an uncle to Floyd. During the afternoon they came to this borough by private conveyance. Early Saturday morning the Commissioner paid Mr. Cornell for the arrest of the prisoner and he and MR. Dunn left home on the morning train.
As already stated our reporter called at the jail last Saturday morning and had an interview with Whitney, during which he gave an account of his movements since the day Stafford was killed. He said he did not leave the county after that event until the first of September, 1880. Up to that time he was in Chatham, Middlebury and Shippen Townships. On the 1st day of September, he started for Eldred, McKean County, and reached that place on the 9th and there took the train and went directly to Detroit. The next day he came back from Detroit to St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada and stayed at the latter place two days. He then went to Petrolia, Canada, and stayed there one day and then went to London, Ontario, Canada. There he went to work for [?] Telegraph Company, putting up wires between London and Lucan, Canada. He worked there until the last of October or first of November and then left and went to AuSable, Michigan and went to work in the woods until March 1881 and then stopped at the village, until the first of May. He then went to Bay City, stayed there two or three days, and then went north to work on the Mackinaw division of the Michigan Central railroad. He remained there until the 15th of September and then went back to Detroit where he stayed until the last of that month when he came back to this county after his wife. He remained in the county a few days and went back up to Detroit with his wife and youngest child. He had been in Detroit ever since, living in rented furnished rooms and working as a laborer on the Second Street sewer.
Whitney said that since going west he had never met any person he knew from this county. While there he went by the name of George H. Wilson. He expects his wife to leave Detroit for this county this week. He says he is 28 years old and has been married seven years and has three children one of whom is with his father in Chatham and the other with his uncle in Middlebury.
On being questioned as to the strain resulting from his constant apprehension of detection and arrest he admitted it was considerable and said he should have given himself up when he was here last September if he had not been badly advised not to do so.
Whitney is a small man, not over five feet 5 inches high and weighing probably not more than 130 pounds. He has a fair complexion and regular features, light brown hair and a sandy moustache and no beard and isn’t a bad looking man. He seems to fully appreciate the gravity of his situation, but keeps up good courage.
The story of the homicide as told by Mr. and Mrs. Elias Whitney and reported in the Agitator at the time is as follows:
Mrs. Elias and Mrs. Floyd Whitney had been having some trouble about fruit cans and other matters. On Sunday, July 29, 1880, Mrs. Floyd Whitney went to her father in law’s and demanded the return of her cans. In the dispute over this matter Mrs. Floyd Whitney raised a can as if to strike Mrs. Elias. Then Mr. Warren Stafford, brother to Mrs. Elias Whitney, stepped between the two women and told Mrs. Floyd not to strike his sister. Mrs. Floyd thereupon hit Mr. Stafford with a broom and struck him in the face with her hand. Mrs. Elias Whitney thought Stafford did not touch Mrs. Floyd Whitney, but Mr. Elias Whitney thought Stafford has pushed her back with his hand and told her to stand back­that they didn’t want any fussing or fighting there. Mrs. Elias Whitney took hold of Stafford and told him not to touch the other woman. Mr. Button also took hold of him and Stafford said he did not intend to strike a woman. This was between six and seven o’clock in the evening.
After Mrs. Floyd Whitney had left and near nine o’clock in the evening the persons we have named as present were all gathered in the front room of the house, except Mr. Victor Whitney, who was in the kitchen. Mr. Warren Stafford was sitting in a chair tipped back against the front door which was swung open against the wall south of the opening. Within three or feet of him and on the north side of the open door sat Mr. Ralph Button with a child on his lap. Mrs. Elias Whitney stood by the bureau at the front of the room, probably eight feet from the open door and was looking toward the door. The rest of the persons named were scattered about the room. Suddenly, while the inmates of the house were thus situated, without the slightest warning or notice, Mr. Floyd Whitney appeared in the open door, placed his left hand against the south casing, reached his right hand into the room and struck Mr. Warren Stafford a severe blow on the right side of the head with a heavy club, that is described as a cherry root a little more than two feet long and with a heavy knot on the end. Mr. Stafford immediately fell to the floor in front of the open door. Mrs. Whitney thinks but one blow was struck, but Mr. Elias Whitney informs us that Mr. Button says Floyd struck Stafford twice, but he (Whitney) thinks this is a mistake. As Stafford fell Floyd said, “Will you strike a wife of mine!” or something to that effect, according to Mrs. Whitney’s recollection.
It was found that Stafford’s skull was crushed on the right side, from the temple back. He lived until nearly two o’clock the next morning, but Mrs. Whitney does not think he was in his right mind any of the time although he spoke a few times.
Floyd Whitney stayed on the premises until a short time, before Stafford died. He carried a lantern and helped catch a horse for Alva Stafford to ride to call a physician, and he offered to go for Stafford’s mother if it was desired. Mrs. Whitney says he felt awfully bad over what he had done and she doesn’t think he intended to kill Stafford, but hit him harder than he meant to. He and Stafford, she believes were always good friends and on the best of terms. After the striking, Floyd cried like a baby.
Elias Whitney talked with Floyd after the latter had struck Stafford. Floyd said he was too past and was sorry for what he had done. He said his wife came over home and told him some stuff that made him mad. She told him Stafford had struck her in the stomach and kicked her. He said if she had gone over there and lied like that to him, he wouldn’t live with her another day. Elias told him how it was, and said if he had come and called some of the family out probably he wouldn’t have done what he did. Elias Whitney says he hasn’t seen Floyd since he left his premises just before Stafford died.
Whitney was indicted for murder at the August term of court last year but as his arrest was effected so short a time before the beginning of the present term, it is not probable he can be tried before the next term which begins on the 1st of May next. He informed our reporter that he had employed Messrs. Elliott and Watrous as his attorneys.
February 7, 1880  Wellsboro Agitator
Floyd Whitney, of Chatham, indicted for murder, was brought into court, and although he looked somewhat nervous and excited, he bore the scrutiny of the crowd very well. The District Attorney made an application for a continuance of the case, as the Commonwealth was not prepared for trial, which was granted by the Court, no objection being made by the defendant. The case, which will be the most important one in the Tioga County courts for many years, will be tried at the next term.
May 2, 1882  – Wellsboro Agitator
In the case of Floyd Whitney, indicted last year for the murder of Warren S. Stafford, the defendant was brought into court yesterday afternoon, but was not formally arraigned. A motion was made by his counsel, Mr. Elliott, to quash the indictment, for two or three reasons, the principal being that the Grand Jury was not properly drawn. The discussion of this point was postponed until this morning. It was rumored last night that if the motion to quash is overruled, Whitney’s counsel will then raise the point that no regular venire was issued for drawing a jury for the present term of court. If either of these points should sustained, the result would necessarily be to prevent the trial of the case at the present term of court.
May 9, 1882 Wellsboro Agitator
The Whitney case will have to be brought before the Grand Jury at the next August sessions that new indictments may be found.
In ruling upon the motion in the Whitney case Judge Wilson remarked to the counsel for the prosecution that he would advise them to at once take the case to the Supreme Court, that his decision might be passed upon there, but we learn that the case will not go to that Court, but will be commenced anew, for the reason, if for no other, that a trial can be thus reached with less time and expense than by appealing from the present decision.  Whitney was remanded to his cell when it was found that he could not be tried.
September 5, 1882 Wellsboro Agitator
[this edition is badly damaged through the first part of the testimony of the witnesses­I transcribed as much as I could decipher]
Trial of Floyd Whitney – HE IS CONVICTED OF MURDER – IN THE SECOND DEGREE – AND SENT TO THE PENITENTIARY FOR TEN YEARS
Last Tuesday morning the Grand Jury reported to the Court a true bill charging Floyd Whitney with the murder of Warren S. Stafford, in Chatham Township, on Sunday, July 25, 1880. The prisoner was at once arraigned and pleaded not guilty to the indictment.
District Attorney H. M. Foote, Jerome B. Niles and H. Sherwood appeared as counsel for the Commonwealth and the defendant was represented by M. F. Elliott, George W. Merrick and Frank E. Watrous.
After waiting an hour for witnesses, the impaneling of a jury was proceeded with. This work occupied the time of the Court until five o’clock in the afternoon at which time a full jury was secured after the whole number of jurors present had been called. The jurors selected to try the case were­
Elbert Johnson, farmer, Charleston
Asa Slingerland, farmer, Sullivan
Alonzo B. Horton, clerk, Wellsboro
Allen D. Brace, farmer, Brookfield
Thomas Williamson, miner, Bloss
Charles Tremain, lumberman, Lawrence
William H. Garrison, farmer, Jackson
Edward R. Maine, farmer, Mainesburg
Perry Kilbourne, farmer, Union
Frank G. Loveland, gentleman, Shippen
Andrew Montanyea, farmer, Brookfield
District Attorney Foote opened the case to the jury in a speech about forty five minutes in length, narrating in a loud and forcible manner the facts the Commonwealth expected to prove and stating the law upon which the prosecution relied for a verdict. At the conclusion of Mr. Foote’s address the Court adjourned until Wednesday morning.
On the convening of the Court Wednesday morning, there was a full attendance of spectators. The trial of the case was at once proceeded with John Stafford being the first witness called for the Commonwealth.
He testified: I am the brother of Warren Stafford, he died at Elias Whitney’s in Chatham, July 25, 1880, he was 26 years of age and was in a good state of health up to that time. He had been at work for me on my farm and living in my house. I saw him the afternoon of Sunday, the 25th of July at my mother’s in Westfield. I know Floyd Whitney, he lived at that time near what we call the Wormer school house, he lived about two miles from Elias Whitney, the house where Stafford died. I measured the distance. The witness was shown a plot of Elias Whitney’s premises and he said he thought it was correct. He resumed. The road runs east and west past the house of Elias Whitney, but two doors leads into the house [?] or from the sitting room enter from the east. [?] the room’s about 16 feet [?] we measured the shortest traveled road to the place where the defendant lived to the place where Stafford died. [?] we walked about five miles the direct road being a steep hill.
The [?] Commonwealth the explained [?] showing the [?] Floyd Whitney’s house and his father’s, which was put in at once.
John [?] was sworn and testified: I live in Westfield township. Know the place where defendant was said I lived in July, 1880 and the place where Stafford died. I measured the distance from the one to the other and found it about two miles and 12 rods. [?] one hill and through a valley and another hill.
Cross-examined: Warren Stafford would weigh about 145 pounds.
Cora L. Stafford testified: I am the widow of Warren Stafford, and 21 years of age, was married February 1880, have one child [?] 1880, I was living about four miles from Elias Whitney, myself and my husband were there visiting on Sunday, July 25th, 1880. I saw Mr. Floyd Whitney [?] that day as I saw him [?] at the time he struck [?] at the time with my back towards my husband, he was sitting on the left side of the sitting room door [?] Ralph Button was sitting on the opposite side of the room, the first think I saw or heard was [?] and I turned and saw my husband fall over toward the door [?] right side and I heard the defendant say “Damn you, will you strike a wife of mine again”. I did not see the blow [?] Mrs. Elias Whitney picked up my husband [?] was senseless, they first set him in chair for a few minutes and then put him on a lounge in the same room, [?] about three hours later. Dr. Feltwell was sent for and got there before [?]. My husband awoke once or twice and called my name and his brothers. The defendant did not come into the room at all that night. I did not see him after that. I stayed there until Tuesday, my husband was buried on the [?]. I was there at the time of the post mortem examination, we went [?] took place of Sunday evening.
Cross-examined [Stafford]: [?], I was talking at the time the blow was struck. I was standing at the time. I should not have recognized Whitney if it had not been for his speaking. I do not know that he remained out doors after that. I did not see him after that, the [?] light in the sitting room at the time [?].
Augustus Freeman testified: I am 13 years of age, I lived about half a mile from Floyd Whitney in 1880, was at the house of Elias Whitney on Sunday in July 1880. [?] came there about 8 o’clock. I was sitting on the lap of Ralph Button at the time. Warren Stafford was leaning against the left hand side of the door, the door was open, the top of his chair was leaning back against the open door. Button and I were on the opposite side of the door, a light was burning on the bureau in the same room. I saw defendant as he came through the gate, but did not know who he was until he got to the door, he first went to the kitchen door and looked in and then went to the sitting room door and put his left hand on the door post and struck Stafford with the club he had in his right hand, he then started back toward the gate. He struck him on the right side of the head, the blow sounded like the report of a pistol. Stafford fell on the floor toward us. Defendant kept his hand down by his side as he came up to the door. Button said something to defendant before he struck Stafford. I did not hear what he said, defendant nodded his head. Warren spoke after they got him on the lounge.
Cross-examined [Freeman]: I was looking at the door when defendant came up. Stafford was facing into the house, it was quite dark. Floyd Whitney’s wife went home about sundown. I did not hear Whitney say anything from the time he struck the blow until he went away. I saw him until he started back toward the gate.
Alva Stafford testified: I am 18 years of age, [?] brother of the deceased. I was at Elias Whitney’s on Sunday, July 25th, saw defendant about 9 o’clock in the evening of that day. I was sitting at a front window of the sitting room with my back towards the door and about 13 or 14 feet from it. I first heard a blow, it sounded like a report of a pistol. I heard the words. ‘Damn you, you will never strike another woman of mine’, or something similar to that. I went outdoors and found Whitney near the gate. I said to Whitney, “What did you shoot him with?” He said, “I struck him with that club”, and pointed toward one on the ground. I asked him what he struck him for and he said he struck him to kill. I went after Dr. Feltwell.
Cross-examined [Stafford]: Elias Whitney, Victor Whitney and Ralph Button went out of the house before I did, no one was talking with defendant when I found him near the gate, the others were talking among themselves, about eight or ten feet from the defendant, they did not come up and talk with him while I was talking with him. I took the lantern and went after the horse, and Whitney went along with me, but without offering to do so or having any previous talk about it. I said to defendant when I saw him, “Floyd, did you shoot him?” I next asked him what he struck him for and he said he struck him to kill.
Mary Sherman testified: I was at the house of Elias Whitney, July 25, 1880, when Warren Stafford was struck. I think there was no light in the room at the time, but I am not certain, I heard the blow, it sounded like the report of a revolver, I did not see the person who struck the blow, I heard someone say, “Damn you, will you strike a wife of mine again?” I immediately made a memorandum of all that took place. They took him to the lounge, he talked, but I do not know whether he had his senses, some of the time I thought he talked as if he had his senses, he said he was struck in the head and wanted to know what was the matter of him. I was there at the time the post mortem examination was held.
Lydia Curran testified: I am 14 years of age, Mrs. Elias Whitney is my mother. I was present on the evening in question. I was in the kitchen when Floyd Whitney came to the house, there was a light in the kitchen. I heard a noise that sounded like the report of a revolver outside. When I first saw my uncle Warren Stafford he was sitting on the floor with both hands up to his head, rocking back and forth, I heard him say something, but did not understand what it was. I picked up a stick from the floor [stick shown to witness] think that is the one.
Cross-examined [Curran]: Think I had been out in the kitchen about half an hour, do not think there was any light in the front room.
Mrs. Elias Whitney testified: I am the wife of Elias Whitney, was present at the time some one struck Stafford, heard the report of the blow, it sounded like a heavy blow, did not see the blow struck, he had just been bending down to tie up his shoe and had just straightened up when the blow was struck. I think there was light in the kitchen. I picked up a stick in the yard that night and this [club shown] looks like it.
Cross-examined [Whitney]: We had but one lamp in the house that would burn.
Re direct [Whitney]: The light had been in the sitting room and was taken out into the kitchen by my daughter.
Ralph Button testified: I was present at Elias Whitney’s on the night of the death of Stafford, the club was near Stafford’s head when I first saw it. Stafford fell and I think his head struck the door sill. I think Whitney either punched Stafford a second time or his head hit the club as he fell.
Joseph Cooper testified: I saw Floyd Whitney on that Sunday evening about 8 o’clock on the Marsh Creek road, going toward Elias Whitney’s, he was on foot and going pretty fast, with his hat in his hand. I spoke to him and he made some reply, but I could not tell what he said, he was then about a mile from Whitney’s.
Cross examined [Cooper]: I saw nothing in his hand but his hat. W. H. Cooper was with me.
W. H. Cooper was sworn and corroborated the last witness.
Alfred Knowles testified: I saw defendant on the night in question between sundown and dark, on his way toward Mr. Elias Whitney’s. I said good evening to him, but he did not stop, but I think he said good evening in reply. This was near Smith’s mill.
John P. White testified: I was Justice of the Peace in July 1880. I held the inquest in this case, this club was handed to me at the house by someone I cannot say who.
John O. White testified: I was Constable in July 1880, a warrant for the arrest of the defendant was placed in my hands on the morning after the death of Stafford. I went to defendant’s house, but found no one there. I went from there down the marsh and from there to Elias Whitney’s. I made further search that day and the next day I went up into New York State with three men, we searched several houses and came back the next day, a party of ten of us then made further search in Middlebury and Chatham Townships. I searched day and night for about a week before I stopped [?] after that I wasn’t able to learn of the whereabouts. I first saw him in jail after that.
Robert Hill testified: One or two weeks after the death of Stafford I saw the defendant, he came into James Burrell’s barn where I was very early in the morning, he wanted to know where his wife was. I told him she was at the house, he wanted me to wake her up and he wanted to see her. I told Burrell and he went for her and I went to milk. I came back in about half an hour and he was gone. I did not see him again until I saw him [?]. They were keeping house at the time of the occurrence, but have not since then, she had to work out for a living after that.
John Feltwell testified: I [?] lived at Little Marsh in July 1880, was called to see Warren Stafford on July 25, 1880, found him on a lounge in the sitting room. I found him delirious and fussing about much as a drunken man would, found the action of the heart feeble. I gave him stimulants which aroused him some, he would answer “Yes” or “No”, but I do not think I got any intelligent conversation from him, he soon began to go the other way and continued to do so until he died at about half past twelve and about an hour and a half after I got there. I found [?] evidence of a fracture of the skull in the region of the temple on the right side [?] blood and mucus [?] the post mortem was made by Dr. Francis and myself, over the [?] injury we found no external evidence of an injury sufficient to cause death, back of that we did find a cut through the scalp, upon full examination we found a fracture of the skull [?] smaller fractures extend from the first, we also found a clot of blood and the broken portions of the skull, this was about 3 inches long, 3 inches wide and I inch thick, this was caused by external violence.
Cross examined [Feltwell]: [?] the temple is one of the thickest parts of the skull, and I believe a fracture produced in that region easier than any other, in this case the skull at that place was abnormally think. I have seen egg shells that were thicker. I have portions of the skull now in my possession [They were produced by the witness and shown to the Court and jury] I think it would take a severe blow to fracture the average skull at this point than to fracture this one. I have compared this skull since the death of Stafford with at least 3 skulls and have found that this one is abnormally thin.
W. R. Francis testified: I reside at Knoxville, am a practicing physician. I with Dr. Feltwell made a post mortem examination of the body of Warren Stafford on the 26th day of July, 1880, both of us used the knife as was most convenient, there was a penetration of the skull above and a little in front of the ear, also a contusion of the scalp on the back of the head about 5 inches back of the first mentioned injury; on removing the scalp I found a fracture with an opening the main fracture was five and one half inches long with two smaller fractures running down from it; we found a clot of blood below the opening in the skull; external force caused the results which produced death. I now have the skull of the deceased in my possession.
The skull was here produced, identified and exhibited. Considerable time was consumed in a discussion of the propriety of admitting the testimony of the physician as to what must have been the force of the blow to cause the fracture produced in this case. The result of the whole discussion was that the testimony of the witness on this point was excluded because he could not express the exact force of the blow. The Court then adjourned until Thursday morning.
Thursday morning Dr. Francis was recalled and testified: I have compared Stafford’s skull with other skulls 5 in all. I regard his skull as normal thickness and texture.
Cross examined [Francis]: The clot of blood found was caused by the rupture of a small vein; the examination was made the next afternoon after the death occurred. I could not tell what veins were ruptured for the reason that the veins are so small that it would be difficult to trace them. I have made an examination of other skulls since commencing practice with a view to ascertain their normal condition.
Daniel Bacon testified: I am a physician and surgeon; have examined this skull; I should call it a normal one.
Dr. N. Packer testified: The general contour of this skull I should regard as about normal; some skulls are thicker in some places than others.
Cross examined [Packer]: I should call the skull normal at the place of puncture, so far as thickness is concerned. I should regard the piece shown as normal.
Harry Baxter testified: The prisoner was brought to the county jail on the 27th of January, 1882, and has been there ever since.
A requisition from the Governor of the State for the return of the prisoner was offered in evidence objected to by the defense and rejected by the Court.
Alva Stafford was recalled and testified: Mr. Button did not stand with his hand on the shoulder of the defendant when I got out of the gate that night, he stood pretty near the gate; the stick was 6 or 8 feet from where we stood toward the house; I heard but one conversation about the stick that night, Floyd Whitney did not say while at the gate and in my presence that he had struck Stafford harder than he had intended, or that the only reason why he struck him at all was on account of what his wife had said to him.
The Commonwealth here rested at 10:40 a.m., and Maj. George W. Merrick opened the case for the defendant in a forcible speech of about 50 minutes in length.
Ralph Button was then called for the defense and testified: Immediately after the blow was struck I went outdoors, and found Floyd close by the door, he stood in the yard talking, I was the first one to reach him; I think his father was the next; when Alva Stafford came to him I had my hand on Floyd’s shoulder, he did not say to Stafford that he struck to kill, he said he struck harder than he intended to, he said his wife had come home and said that Stafford had jammed her up against the side of the house; he said to Alva Stafford that he would go after the horses to go for the doctor, after several persons had come out of the house and made statements as to how bad Stafford was hurt the defendant cried aloud and seemed to feel very bad, this was but a few minutes after the blow was struck.
Elias Whitney testified: I am the father of the defendant; he is 26 years of age; he was residing in 1880 near the Wormer school house; I was in the sitting room at the time of the occurrence of which witnesses have spoken, think there was no light in the room. I went out as soon as I could; I was only about 3 feet from the door. I heard my son’s voice and went right out; found him about 6 feet from the door. Ralph Button was with him. I asked him why he had done what he had; he said it was because Stafford had put his knee against his wife and pushed her up against the side of the house; he said he did not intend to hurt him as bad as he had. I said that I thought he had injured him very much; he said he was sorry; he also cried about it; I did not leave defendant until he went after the horse. I could hear all that was said; he did not say to Alva Stafford or to any one in his presence that he struck to kill; he went with Alva Stafford after the horse and also offered to go after the physician; he remained about the premises until just before Stafford died, but he did not come to the house; after they had got the horse he came back and stayed in the road; he and Warren Stafford had always been friends up to that time.
Cross examined [Whitney]: I sat with my back toward the door; I heard the blow; he said ‘Strike a wife of mine again will you?’ Floyds’s wife had been at my house that evening; she went away between sundown and dark; Warren was there all the same time; Warren and Floyd had been friends up to that time.
Victor Whitney testified: I am the brother of the defendant; I was at home on the evening in question; I went outdoors right away after the occurrence took place and was with Floyd until they went after the doctor; I did not hear him sat to Alva Stafford that he struck to kill; I heard him say that his wife had said to him that Stafford had abused her; he also said he had struck a harder blow than he intended to; he cried and offered to go after the doctor.
Lydia Curran testified that she heard Floyd cry out loud before they went after the horse.
Norman Ashton testified to the previous good reputation of defendant.
Joseph Ferris testified: I have known defendant about 16 years; he once went to school with me; I should say his character was good.
Lucius Garner testified: I have known defendant for some time and so far as I have known his character for peace has been good.
Alexander Wass, Leonard Clark, Delos Garner, Joseph Cooper, George Hawley, George Short, Darwin Manning, James Burrell, W. W. Beach, Irvin Wormer, William H. Cooper and Benjamin Brown were severally sworn and testified to the good reputation of the defendant.
The defendant rested his case at 3:30 p.m. and the Court adjourned until 9 o’clock Friday morning.
This case was summed up on Friday by Messrs. Sherwood, Elliott and Niles, the latter concluding his remarks at about 1:10 p.m. Judge Williams at once proceeded to charge the jury, occupying about half an hour in so doing. The substance of his instructions was as follows:
Murder at common law was different from what constitutes murder in the first degree with us. Murder in the first degree is the same as murder at common law in which the malice is expressed.
In this case the deceased was killed by a blow and was killed unlawfully by the defendant, so that about all there is for the jury to determine is whether the offense was murder in the first or second degree.
To constitute the first degree of murder the circumstances must show willful deliberate and premeditated disregard. If the instrument used is of such a character as to preclude the possibility of any other intent but that of killing as for instance, a revolver pointed at the breast of a man then the presumption is killing, but if no such instrument was used then all the circumstances of the case must be taken into consideration in determining whether the killing was willful, deliberate and premeditated. In this case the instrument was not necessarily deadly; therefore the question as to whether the killing was willful must be gathered from other facts. The facts of killing does not in such a case raise the presumption of intention so as to determine the grade of the offense, and in this case that is all you are to pass upon.
The Judge then recounted the evidence that tended to throw some light upon this question the declarations of the defendant, the allegations as to what brought him to the scene of the tragedy, and his evidence of grief. He also stated that the evidence of previous good character was to be taken in to consideration in determining the degree of guilt.
If the jury believe from all the evidence that the defendant had not a fixed purpose to kill, then they should find the defendant guilty of murder in the second degree. But if from all the evidence they come satisfactorily to the conclusion that the defendant did intend the result of the blow then they should convict him of murder in the first degree. But if they entertain a reasonable [?] on that point then they should acquit him of the charge of murder in the first degree.
At the conclusion of the Judge’s charge the jury at once retired to deliberate on their verdict and the Court adjourned until Saturday morning. A few minutes after the adjournment, however it was announced that the jury had agreed and about 3 o’clock the Court reconvened and received the verdict which was that the defendant, Floyd Whitney, was guilty of murder in the second degree. The penalty for this offense is imprisonment in the penitentiary not exceeding twelve years.
The prisoner was brought into court Saturday afternoon and the District Attorney moved that he be sentenced. On being asked if he had anything to say why sentence should not be pronounced, Whitney replied that he had nothing to say. Judge Williams then proceeded to sentence him. He said he had consulted his associates and they were unanimous in agreeing that the verdict was a just one, but they were convinced that the crime was an atrocious one of its grade. The sentence was that the prisoner should undergo imprisonment by separate and solitary confinement at hard labor in the Eastern penitentiary for and during the term of ten years to be completed from that date, that he should pay the costs of prosecution, and stand committed until the sentence is complied with. The Sheriff will take the prisoner to the penitentiary some day this week.
September 5, 1882 Wellsboro Agitator
During the trial of Floyd Whitney last week his wife was present in court with her young babe in her arms. She did not occupy a seat within the bar, however, but remained among the spectators. Her appearance was generally spoken of as not prepossessing, and the members of her own sex were generally the least complimentary in speaking of her.
September 12, 1882 Wellsboro Agitator
Deputy Sheriff Baxter took four prisoners to Eastern Penitentiary last week Floyd Whitney, Lewis Stalter, Thomas O’Reiley and Isaac Marcellus.
CHATHAM. The Whitney verdict does not give general satisfaction in this vicinity. The people can’t see how if one man slips up behind another and with a club knocks his brains out it can be murder in the second degree, and they want to know what would be murder in the first degree.
 November 28, 1882  – Wellsboro Agitator
One of the most interesting wards of the county is a bright little boy of six or seven years of age, the son of Floyd Whitney, the murderer. Mrs. Whitney was for some time an inmate of the institution, but has succeeded in finding employment.
3. Bad Apple December 1, 1910  MAZIE E (Button) Appleby
Wellsboro Gazette, Tioga, PA, Thursday,  December 1, 1910 Mazie Appleby came to her death from 2 gunshot wounds at the hands of Leon Appleby, her husband, sometime between 3 & 4 o’clock on the afternoon of Thanksgiving Day. Mazie is the daughter of Mr and Mrs Ellis Button. She married Leon Appleby on December 25, 1909. They made their home in a small house near Shortsville nearly opposite the house of Mr & Mrs Jackson Appleby, the parents of Leon Appleby. Mazie was sitting and feeding child on her lap when Leon Appleby probably approached her from the rear, and without warning fired twice. Blood and particles of flesh were on the wall and furniture surrounding. Bloody fingermarks were found on doors, a newspaper covered with blood and evidently had been used to remove the blood from his hands. Neighbors who entered the house later that afternoon discovered a shocking sight. The body of Appleby’s wife lay on the floor surrounded by pools of blood and the 11 month old baby was playingy around the body, its clothing drenched in Mazie’s blood. The body of Mrs Appleby was laid to rest at Keeneyville last Sunday. The little daughter is being cared for by friends. And this is chapter one in the saddest, most terrible tragedy that has ever been enacted within the peaceful confines of Tioga county. Neighbors said Appleby had been in the habit of coming home drunk and beating his wife. He had been in jail twice this year. Appleby told several different stories as to the cause of his wife’s death, immediately after it occurred. It is said that Appleby on several occasions threatened to kill his wife and child as well as his wife’s parents, but, nevertheless, Mrs. Appleby was finally induced to return to her husband. Case will come to trial in January…The funeral of Mrs. Appleby was held on Sunday, at 1 p.m., at the Chatham Valley church, Rev. Mr. Henderson officiating; interment was made in the Keeneyville cemetery. Deceased is survived by her parents, one sister and two brothers. (also her daughter)
1/25/1911 - The Wellsboro Agitator - Wellsboro, Tioga, PA - Donated by Cheryl Church

1/25/1911 – The Wellsboro Agitator – Wellsboro, Tioga, PA – Donated by Cheryl Church

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