Barber County Kansas

Murder of Ellis D. Vroom


The Barber County Democrat, April 6, 1888.

A clew (sic) has been obtained to the murderer of the man that was found dead in the south part of the county last week. His name was ascertained to be Ellis D. Vroom. The state will probably offer a large reward and when everything is under way more particulars will be forthcoming, for the present the thing will be kept still until further developments.


The Barber County Democrat, May 18, 1888.

Mr. Wynmiller, an Illinois sheriff was here this week, looking at Ed Payne, the alleged murderer of Vroom, thinking that it was possibly a man by the name of Payne, for whom he was looking. Mr. Wynmiller is a brother to the man of the same name who is on the Esmond ranch.


The Barber County Democrat, May 25, 1888.

The preliminary examination of Ed Payne and Mrs. Somers, charged with the murder of Vroom, was had on last Tuesday. The court found from the testimony that there had been a murder committed. That there was probable cause of believing the defendants guilty of its commission. It was therefore ordered that the defendants be held without bail for trail at the next term of the district court.


The Barber County Democrat, June 8, 1888

Next week the trial of Ed. Payne as principal in, and Mollie Payne as accessory to the murder of E.D. Vroom, will be commenced in the district court. It is to be hoped that a thorough investigation will be made to the end that if the accused are innocent they may be acquitted, or if guilty of the heinous crime they will be punished to the full extent of the law.


The Barber County Democrat, June 15, 1888.

The trial of Ed. Payne is dragging its soiled length through the district court, this week, and as yet it will be impossible to tell what will be the result. Mr. Payne is charged with the murder of Ellis D. Vroom near Kiowa, last spring, and though no clue to the perpetrator was then apparent, Judge Stevens actively engaged in his detection and caught Payne near Winfield six weeks ago. The testimony in the possession of the county attorney is very damaging, and unless the defense can prove an alibi, Mr. Payne‚Äôs chances will be very slim. Able attorneys are engaged on both sides, and it is expected the trial will last all of this week.

The fair sex is taking a deep interest in the trial of Payne.

According to the testimony of Mrs. and Mr. Payne a notion struck them to get married in the territory without a license, and by a man whom they did not know to be a preacher. More than that, they did not know who the man was, (except his name) where he hailed from or whither he was going. Marriage under such circumstances and conditions was certainly no improvement on the old way.


The Barber County Democrat, June 22, 1888.

The Jury in the Payne murder trial were discharged last Sunday evening after having completely failed in agreeing upon a verdict. We think it may possibly interfere with the interests of justice to discuss this matter prematurely, otherwise we would be tempted to ask the jury, upon what grounds they could possibly disagree in determining the guilt or innocence of the accused after hearing the evidence submitted. There was not a man in Medicine Lodge who carefully followed the evidence but what expected a verdict in ten minutes after the jury retired, but when the minutes lengthened into hours and the hours into more than a day the public showed a disposition to give evidence to that old saying that none, even God almighty, could foretell the conclusions of a petit jury. We hope that the next trial and state will have evidence enough to prove him guilty beyond a doubt, or at least such evidence as will compel him to prove his innocence beyond a doubt.


The Barber County Democrat was published in Medicine Lodge, Barber County, Kansas.

Thanks to Kim Fowles for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!




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