In the early hours of December 30, 1888, Mrs. Amos Stillwell ran from the mansion she shared with her husband and young children to request help from her neighbors. Startled to see the respectable Mrs. Stillwell in her nightclothes and even more startled by her story, the neighbors returned with her to her home to find a grizzly scene—the dead body of her much older husband, Mrs. Amos Stillwell. Someone had used an ax to murder him in his bed. The identity of the villain behind this murder remains a mystery—in spite of multiple inquests and one sensational trial, no one was ever convicted.
These illustrations show the jury watching Nat Dryden burn matches and Dr. and Mrs. Hearne at the trial. Notice that Dr. and Mrs. Hearne appear to have aged a great deal since Amos’s death. “Burning Matches Brought a Verdict.” The Kansas City Star. 14 January 1934, p. 27.
“Burning Matches Brought a Verdict.” The Kansas City Star. 14 January 1934, p. 27.
Dawson, Minnie T. “The Stillwell Murder or a Society Crime.” McMein Printing Co., May 1907. http://hannibal.lib.mo.us/digital/stillwell/stillwell.htm
“Dr. and Mrs. Hearne Indicted in Missouri.” San Francisco Chronicle, 18 August 1895, p. 11.
“Doctor and Mrs. Hearne Indicted.” Mexico Weekly Ledger. 22 August 1895, p. 2.
“Dr. Hearne and Wife in Palmyra Jail.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 18 August 1895, p. 1-2.
“Indicted for the Stillwell Murder.” Genoa Junction Journal. 21 August 1895, p. 8.
“Mrs. Fannie C. Stillwell.” The Western North Carolina Times. 15 April 1921, p. 4.
Montgomery, Mary Lou. “History in Hannibal: Doctor with Tainted Reputation well severed the Hannibal populace.” Columbia Daily Tribune., 4 August 2018. https://www.columbiatribune.com/news/20180804/history-in-hannibal-doctor-with-tainted-reputation-well-served-hannibal-populace
Ruscin, Terry. “Stillwell Left Imprint Across Southeast.” Blue Ridge Now, 10 July 2016. https://www.blueridgenow.com/lifestyle/20160710/stillwell-left-imprint-across-southeast
“The Hannibal Mystery.” St. Louis Globe-Democrat. 19 July 1895, p. 6.
“The Stillwell Case.” The Philipsburg Mail. 20 June 1895, p. 2.
“The Stillwell Murder.” Mexico Weekly Ledger. 24 January 1889, p. 1.
“The Stillwell Murder.” Murder by Gaslight. 17 November, 2018. http://www.murderbygaslight.com/2018/11/the-stillwell-murder.html
“Strong Evidence Against Hearne.” San Francisco Chronicle. 15 December 1895, p. 24.
“Was Dr. Fred Vernette’s Testimony in Stillwell Murder Case in 1895 the Truth or Revenge?” https://www.maryloumontgomery.com/single-post/2016/09/09/Was-Dr-Fred-Vernette’s-testimony-in-Stillwell-murder-case-in-1895-the-truth-or-revenge.