More on the death of Barton Frederick.
Bart Frederick's Murder
Story of the Atrocious Crime Related by an Arkansas Physician.
Negroes Did the Deed. Robbery was their Motive.
Mr. L. Frederick has received the following letter from Arkansas in explanation of the details of the recent atrocious murder of his brother:
Kingsland, Ark. Jan. 1, 1898.
My Dear Brother:--Your letter of 10th came this morning also one of 12th; in reply beg to say that Bart was shot 1 1/2 miles south of town. He was going from town tank to station tank where he resided. It was on Tuesday afternoon between 3 and 4 o'clock, and to add to the horror of the affair the perpetrators of the deed had only about 25 minutes to do their work, as the south bound passenger train was due here at 4 o'clock and the pile driver train was at work at noon and had to come here for switch track, so you see it had to leave work about 3:30 so as to be sure and be on time. The murder was well planned and quickly executed. He was on his car, was stopped on the point of a high grade and evidently shot from behind at very close range as powder was embedded in the flesh about the neck and ear. The bullet entered just below the left ear ranging upward at an angle of about 3 degrees, passing through the base of the brain and lodging on the inside, fracturing the jaw bone on the right side just at the angle. He was shot with a 38 pistol. I took the bullet out and gave it to the detective who was present. Death was instantaneous, i. e. there was no sign of struggling, and even if there was struggling he was conscious of no pain. He fell backwards on his car and a great pool of blood poured out on the rail. He was then dragged down the dump into a clump of pine bushes, robbed and left a prey to the wild beasts of the field and the vultures of the air. His car was simply turned bottom upwards beside the track. The pile-driver people saw his car and said that they supposed he was off filling a can of water or something like that.
About 9 o'clock Wednesday morning Mr. McKenna, section foreman, found his car and dinner bucket and on further investigation found his body. He came immediately to town and told us of it. I got on my horse and with the sheriff and a number of others went out and held an inquest, brought the body to town, extracted the bullet, dressed him, and on Thursday we gave him a decent Masonic burial. Our lodges turned out from Entered Apprentice to Royal Arch, and there were at least 500 people at the funeral. There were a large number of his A. A. (railroad) friends present.
Since writing you we have caught one of the murderers and will in a short time catch the others. The one we have has made a partial confession. They were negroes and there is a possibility of a white man being the instigator. The A. A. Co.'s detective and the sheriff of the county have used untiring efforts to catch the murderers. The robbers and murderers took his watch and in their hurry to get away they pulled the watch away and left the chain ring on the guard. We have the watch; it was pawned at Berden, 15 miles south of here.
Bart will live always in our memory because we loved him. Please accept the sympathy of a brother in these your dark days of sorrow. Bart often told us that he was the black sheep of the paternal fold, but Oh! My God, how we loved that big hearted brother, whose faults the world knows and whose deep seated, God-given love we share. May God, who gives and takes, console your wounded spirit. I loved Bart as a friend; you loved him for other and deeper causes. I give you my hand across the stretch of miles and could you feel its warm grasp you would know how I loved him. We are, perhaps, of different politics and different tribes, as it were, but, my brother, these things are too meager, too superfluous; below, deep down, is a fellow feeling that reaches the heart and goes out to you as if I had known you always. God bless you.
I have given the minute details of the crime. There are many things connected with the chase of criminals I would like you to have, but time and space will not admit of it. If I can serve you in any capacity I will do it, barefooted and bareheaded if necessary. So never hesitate to communicate me.
Your sincere friend,
Dr. Wm. Buerhive.