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A Death at Crooked CreekThe Case of the Cowboy, the Cigarmaker, and the Love Letter$
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Marianne Wesson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814784563

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814784563.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

A Winter Journey Leads to an Inquest

A Winter Journey Leads to an Inquest


(p.1) 1 A Winter Journey Leads to an Inquest
A Death at Crooked Creek

Marianne Wesson

NYU Press

This chapter recounts the controversy surrounding the mysterious disappearance of John Wesley Hillmon in 1879 at a Kansas campsite near Crooked Creek, and the inquest that followed in the town of Lawrence after his wife, Sarah Quinn Hillmon, sued the insurance companies for refusing to pay out on any claims against her husband's life insurance policies. One winter night in 1879, John Hillmon told Sallie that he was setting out on a journey, accompanied by a man named John Brown, who would later claim that he had accidentally shot and killed John. George Paddock, a coroner from Medicine Lodge came to Crooked Creek and, after inspecting the scene of the death, convened an inquest. The coroner's jury ruled that the death was an accident, but it turned out that John Hillmon had taken out $25,000 in life insurance shortly before his departure from Lawrence. The three insurance companies became suspicious, believing that the dead man was not John Hillmon but someone else, hence their refusal to pay.

Keywords:   inquest, John Wesley Hillmon, Kansas, Crooked Creek, Lawrence, Sarah Quinn Hillmon, insurance companies, life insurance, John Brown, Medicine Lodge

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