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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
The New York Ledger, October 11, 1856.
 
An Unexpected Witness
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A Startling Court Scene
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by An Old Contributor
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  I managed to learn from the negress that Wallace had been murdered three days before, and that his murderer would be tried on the morrow. Under such circumstances I could not disturb any other of the family, and having gathered from the slave the leading particulars I left the door and returned to the inn. There I learned some further matters touching the murder, but those who understood the matter fully were busy, and I was forced to wait until tomorrow for a clear knowledge of the case.

Though the murder had been committed so recently, the body having not yet been buried, yet as court was in session, and the accused and witness on hand, the trial was to take place immediately.

On the following morning I entered the courtroom with the crowd, and the first case which came up was that of the murder of Landor Wallace. The accused was a young man, not over twenty-five, named Edward Demarton. He had been employed for several years as Wallace’s chief clerk, and was one of the most capable youths in the country. I had had some dealings with him, and had . . .

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    On my last visit to Mississippi I arrived one pleasant Autumn evening at the village of Deepwoods, having come in the stage that day from Moody Creek. I found the inn well filled, and learned that the circuit court was in session there. At the supper table I found the judge and some half dozen lawyers, besides the county officers and numerous visitors who had come to attend the trials. I had some business to transact with a merchant in the place, whose name was Landor Wallace, and I made up my mind to call upon him during the evening. I knew where his store was, and after tea I walked down to the place. The building was all fast, however, and I turned my steps toward his dwelling. I knocked at the door, and my summons was answered by a black woman. I asked her if Mr. Wallace was at home. She looked into my face a few moments, and then burst into tears.

“He’s to hum, but he’s dead!” she sobbed, with much effort.

   

 

 


 

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