From Lane Co Oregon

History of Lane County Oregon, 1884., p 385.

The first serious criminal act that we have been enabled to trace as having been committed in Lane county was the killing of Hugh Feeney, for which William Crowley was sentenced to imprisonment for life, August 9, 1861. There is little doubt, however, that the actual perpetrator of the crime was a well-known rough named Mat Bledsoe who, it is believed by all, first struck Feeney, who was an aged man, with a slung shot and afterwards mashed in his head with a smooth cobble-stone. The occurence took place on Willamette Street, Eugene City, and at the time caused considerable excitement. Bledsoe, although he escaped punishment for the crime, was afterwards apprehended on another charge, improsed in the State penitentiary, but being pardoned, removed to Arizona, where it is believed he was hanged for murder.

The second killing was that of Shirly, a penitentiary convict, killed by S. Ellsworth whose life he had threatened, and it is thought would have taken, had the homicide not been committed. Mr. Ellsworth, a lawyer, was discharged on the ground that the killing was in self-defense.

Early in the month of September, 1864, it was rumored that George Meeks, of Lane County, and a Californian, had been murdered in the Blue mountains, on the Eugene and Canyon City trail, about one hundred and sixty miles east of the former place, whence a party went out in search of the bodies. A few days before, however, Hendry Deadmond came in and stated that while he and Meeks and a man from California were camped at Willow creek, on their way to Eugene City, they were attacked by robbers. He said that while he was out herding the horses he heard firing at the camp. On going towards the camp he saw some men on horseback, who firing at him, he mounted his horse and made his escape. He told that the Californian was at camp and was probably killed, as he thought he herd him calling for help. He did not know what had become of Meeks,as he was out hunting at the time.

Other parties came in a few days after and brought with them Meeks' horses which they found on Willow creek. On the strength of their statements, and that of Deadmond, a company, consisting of the brother of Meeks, and several of the citizens of Eugene City, started out to investigate the matter, and arriving at the place indicated, they found the body of the Californian, a Mr. Isabel, of Yreka, shot through the breast. He had a loaded revolver belted around him, while his gun lay near his side. Neither of the weapons being discharged, it became evident that the murdered man was shot dead when not expecting any danger. bout a thousand dollars in gold was found on his person. Meeks was found some distance from the camp, shot through the head, he too having some money on his body. It is evident that both the men were taken unawares from the fact that none of their firearms were discharged. While the circumstnce that neigher of the bodies had been disturbed, or searched- the first thing usually done by robbers- and that the cantenas at the camp, which was probably supposed to contain all the money of both men, was denuded of their contents- believed to have been a large sum of money -raised suspicions against the fellow traveler of the unfortunate men. He was arrested, put upon his trial, found guilty of murder in the first degree and sentenced to suffer the extreme penalty of the law, December 31, 1864, at The Dalles.

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