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The Hanging of Patrick Boyle

Madison County ILGenWeb Coordinator - Beverly Bauser




On August 12, 1891, two men – John Muench and Patrick Boyle – were “tramping” near Nameoki. They went to Charles Forcade’s Saloon, where Muench treated Boyle to a drink. He laid down $1 and received 90 cents change from the bartender. They left the saloon and started north on the railroad tracks. After proceeding some distance, Muench stepped off the track. When he was a few yards away, Boyle drew a pistol and shot Muench in the back, telling him to give him all his money and everything else he had. Muench handed over the 95 cents and a bundle, which contained several shirts. Boyle then ordered him to go back where they came from. Muench made his way to the saloon in Nameoki. A doctor was called and the wound was pronounced serious. Boyle was later arrested at Carlinville on a Chicago & Alton fruit train. In the rail car was the bundle of clothes belonging to Muench. The Madison County Sheriffs went to Carlinville and took possession of Boyle. They waited for the 9:30 train, but it was late. As the Sheriff stepped into the operator’s office, leaving the prisoner in the hands of his assistants, Boyle escaped. He was later found in a farmer’s field, still handcuffed. He was arrested once again and taken to Edwardsville.

John Muench was placed in the hospital with a bullet lodged in the lungs. He was suffering intensely, but was able to identify Boyle and the bundle of clothes Boyle had taken. Muench died on a Sunday morning. A trial was held and the verdict was murder. Boyle was sentenced to hang, however Illinois Governor Joseph W. Fifer stayed the execution until January 23, 1892, to give time for the Supreme Court to review the case. Patrick Boyle was hung on January 23, 1892. He was buried in the Catholic Cemetery.


Source: Edwardsville Intelligencer, Wednesday, January 13, 1892
Unless the governor stays the execution, Patrick Boyle will suffer the extreme penalty of crime Saturday. The preparations for carrying out the order of the court are being made. An enclosure has been built sixteen feet high, on the south side adjoining the jail. The scaffold is being constructed and will be erected in a day or two. Architect C. Spilman has designed the structure and Charles Pauley has had a force of carpenters employed in getting out the frame work. Sheriff Hotz has received applications for permits to witness the execution from all over the country. The sheriffs of twenty or more counties have applied. These will be given due consideration. Applications from other sources cannot be granted. The law provides that the judges, prosecuting attorney, clerks of the courts of the county, together with two physicians and twelve reputable citizens and such ministers of the gospel not exceeding three, as such criminal shall name, and any immediate relatives of said criminal shall be present, together with such officers of the prison, deputies and constables as shall by him be deemed expedient, but no other persons than those mentioned shall be permitted to attend.

The jurors and also the deputies and bailiffs, who are necessary to assist, have been chosen. The death watch has been put on. James Judd is with the prisoner in daytime, and John Daniels does duty during the night. Boyle gives no evidence that he realizes the awful doom that is before him. Father August Schlegel, of St. Boniface's Church, attended him until Monday, when Father J. C. Daw took charge of him. Rev. R. G. Hamilton of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, has also been interesting himself in behalf of the prisoner. Efforts have been made to have the governor commute the sentence. Judge C. L. Cook has visited the governor for that purpose. Father Daw and Mr. Hamilton have also been to see him to make appeals for the prisoner's life.

The crime of which Boyle was convicted was committed on Wednesday, August 12, near Nameoki. The evidence as brought out at the trial proved that Boyle and a man named John Muench were tramping, and met at Nameoki in the morning of that day. They went into Charles Forcade's saloon, where Muench treated Boyle, laid down $1 and received the change, 90 cents, from the bartender, Louis Roeder. They remained around Nameoki until in the afternoon, when they started north on the railroad track. After proceeding some distance Muench stepped off the track. When a few yards away, Boyle drew a pistol and shot Muench in the back, commanding him to turn out his pockets and deliver the money and everything else he had. Muench handed over 95 cents and a bundle which contained several shirts. Boyle then ordered him to go back where they came from. Muench made his way back to Nameoki and went to the saloon where they had been during the day. A physician was summoned who pronounced the wounds serious and the injured man was put to bed. Telegrams were sent to various points and Boyle was arrested at Carlinville, on a Chicago & Alton fruit train. In the car in which he had been, the conductor, H. B. Gates, found the bundle of clothes taken from Muench. Sheriff Hotz and Deputy Vollbracht went after the prisoner the next day, Thursday, accompanied by Louis Roberts of Mitchell, who had seen Boyle get on the train at that station. The man was identified and turned over to the officers. He was handcuffed and taken to the depot. A train was due at 9:30 in the evening, and the intention of the officers was to take the prisoner away on that train. The train was late and at 3 o'clock next morning, Friday, had not come. Sheriff Hotz stepped into the operator's office to get information concerning the train, leaving the prisoner in charge of his assistants. When the officer returned the prisoner had gone. Search was instituted but it was not until afternoon that Boyle was again apprehended. He was found by a party of farmers in a field. He had applied at different places and asked to be freed from the handcuffs. The fact that he was handcuffed awakened suspicion. The shackles, however, proved an easy means of identification. Boyle had traveled 35 miles on foot with the handcuffs on. He was locked up until Saturday morning, when Sheriff Hotz went after him. He was brought here [Edwardsville] Saturday evening.

Muench was brought up from Nameoki Thursday morning by Supervisor T. W. Kinder and placed in the county hospital. The bullet hadDr. Edward W. Fiegenbaum lodged in the lungs and he was suffering intense pain. Dr. E. W. Fiegenbaum had him under treatment. He saw that the condition of the patient was critical and informed the officers. After Boyle's arrival Saturday evening, he was taken to the hospital, where a preliminary hearing was held by Squire John Hobson. Muench, whose life was slowly ebbing away, positively identified the prisoner as the man who shot him, and made a detailed statement under oath of the shooting. He described the clothes that were taken from him and said a laundry receipt was with them. He was shown a bundle wrapped in a newspaper and asked if that was his bundle. He replied "no," saying his bundle was done up in reddish paper. The bundle had been placed in the newspaper by the officers. The newspaper was taken off and the reddish or brown paper bundle was found inside. When Muench saw the brown paper, he stated that his bundle was wrapped in paper like that, pointing to the paper. He described the garments, and when the bundle was undone, every garment was found to correspond minutely with his description. Muench died Sunday morning. Drs. Edward W. Fiegenbaum and William Olive made a post mortem examination. They found that the bullet had torn the left lung and caused internal hemorrhage. The bullet extracted was found to correspond in size to the chamber of the revolver which Boyle had.

Coroner S. O. Bonner held an inquest Sunday afternoon. The jury consisted of Monzo Keller, foreman; W. R. Crossman, clerk; A. P. Wolf, G. B. Bickelhaupt, Frank Stillwell and J. G. Barnsback. They returned a verdict that John Muench came to his death from a gunshot wound from a pistol fired by the hands of Patrick Boyle. The preliminary hearing of Boyle was continued on the Monday following the death of Muench, but no additional facts were brought out. Boyle claimed that he had never seen the man until after being arrested. He was committed to jail without bail to await action of the grand jury.

Source: Edwardsville Intelligencer, Wednesday, January 20, 1892
Public interest in the case of Patrick Boyle, who is under sentence for the murder of John Muench, continues unabated. The Intelligencer's extra Saturday contained the particulars of the respite granted by Gov. Joseph Fifer, in detail. Sheriff George Hotz received the official document, Saturday evening. It reads as follows:

"To the Sheriff of Madison county, State of Illinois - Greeting. Whereas, At the October term, 1891, of the Madison county Circuit Court, Patrick Boyle was found guilty by a jury of the crime of murder and was by said court sentenced to be hanged by the neck until dead on the 16th day of January, A. D. 1892, and Whereas, For good and sufficient cause I have determined to postpone the day of execution of the said Patrick Boyle until Saturday, the twenty-third day of January, A. D. 1892. Now, know ye therefore, that I, Joseph W. Fifer, Governor of the State of Illinois, by authority in me vested by the constitution and laws of this state, do, by these presents, hereby order and decree that the execution of the sentence of the court in this case be stayed, postponed and continued until the 23rd day of January, A. D. 1892, at which date you will proceed to execute said sentence, directed, and fail not therein, unless said sentence is set aside or modified by the order of the Governor of said State of Illinois, or by the judgment, order or decree of a court of competent jurisdiction. In testimony whereof, I hereto set my hand and cause the great seal of state to be affixed. Done at the city of Springfield, this 16th day of January, A. D. 1892. Joseph W. Fifer."

The respite was granted in order to give Boyle's attorney an opportunity to have the case reviewed by the Supreme Court. The record has been made up and will be presented to one of the Judges of the Court tomorrow.

Preparations for carrying out the sentence were completed a week ago. Architect C. J. Spilman designed the scaffold and Chalres Pauley had a force of carpenters get out the frame work. The open space on the south, between the jail and the store building of C. H. Kraft & Co., was enclosed with a board fence, sixteen feet high. The scaffold was erected in about the center of this enclosed space. The south door of the jail opens to the stairs leading to the scaffold. The gallows consist of two main posts, eighteen feet high, joined on top by a cross piece, in the middle of which is fastened a ring, to which will be attached the rope. Around this structure is a frame work which supports a floor, eight by eight feet, nine feet from the ground. In the center of the floor is a trap, 9 feet 8 inches by 3 feet 4 inches, hinged on one side, and fastened on the other with a subtle trigger bolt, worked by a hand lever. In the center of the trap door was placed a stool or box about 18 by 18 inches, six inches high, on which the prisoner stood. A slight pull of the lever springs the bolt, and the trap drops and is caught by a steel spring, which prevents the door from rebounding. The rope was furnished by C. Wilkinson, successor to Bob Humphrey, who for many years supplied the ropes for such purposes, in this entire section of country. It is woven of American hemp, is twenty feet long and three fourths of an inch thick. It had a knot and a noose tied in it.

Hundreds of applications for permits to witness the execution were received. Sheriff Hotz decided to give no undue publicity to the occasion. Sheriffs of neighboring counties who applied and the officers of the courts received cards. Other applications were not granted. The following is a list of those to whom cards were issued: Sheriffs H. D. O'Neil, Macoupin County; Cosmos Keller, Jersey County; Henry Michael, Montgomery County; A. L. Dawson, St. Clair County; J. C. Wright, Bond County; Adam Junker, Clinton County; James E. Tedrick, Effingham County; John Knoeppel, Scott County; Charles Wieseman, Deputy, Hancock; and H. D. Langley, Deputy, St. Clair County; also to W. C. Dowell, Deputy Warden; Colonel E. A. Burke and Captain Thomas Sturges of the Southern Illinois Penitentiary; Judges A. S. Wilderman, G. W. Wall, B. R. Burroughs, W. H. Krome and J. E. Dunnegan; G. F. McNulty, States Attorney; Robert Hagnauer, Circuit Clerk; H. Lanham, County Clerk; Francis Brandeweide, Clerk City Court, Alton; George Kalbfleisch, County Treasurer; T. P. Dooling, Superintendent; S. O. Bonner, Coroner; James Anderson, Surveyor; Rudolph Raab, Marshal, and V. H. Siegel, Treasurer, Carlinville.

Source: Edwardsville Intelligencer, Saturday, January 23, 1892
Patrick Boyle suffered the punishment of death today as the penalty of murder. The trap was sprung at ten minutes after 2 o'clock. This late hour was chosen to grant the condemned man the utmost limit of time within which the sentence was to be executed. The stay last week came within a few minutes of the time set for the execution. As an application had been made for a supersedeus, Sheriff Hotz concluded to avoid any appearance of undue haste. The respite granted by Governor Joseph Fifer, last week, was followed up with renewed efforts on part of the attorneys and friends of Boyle. L. N. Staats and W. P. Early, his attorneys in the trial of the case, received the assistance of Judge C. L. Cook. Failing to secure a commutation of sentence to life imprisonment, they sought intervention from the Supreme Court by making application for a writ of supersedeus. The record of the case was made up Wednesday and Judge Cook left with it in the evening to have it reviewed by one of the Supreme judges. The following telegraph was received last night:

"Springfield, Illinois, January 22. George Hotz, Sheriff Madison County, The writ was denied in Boyle case. C. L. Cook."

Boyle manifested no perceptible interest in the efforts which were being made in his behalf. He has been under guard for several weeks. James Judd remained with him during the day time and John Daniels at night. The other prisoners showed him special deference. He had his own way and was considered authority on matters pertaining to prison conduct. He went to bed last night at 10 o'clock and slept until 6:15 this morning. He awoke once during the night, but did not get up from his couch. When he awoke this morning, he was ill-tempered. At 7:00 o'clock he was shaved and immediately after dressed himself in the clothes provided for him a week ago. Shortly afterward, Reverend J. C. Daw, his spiritual adviser, offered him consolation and administered the sacraments. After the priest's departure, he called to his cellmate to send him a cigar. He smoked it and then had breakfast. He had prepared a long list of dishes that he desired, comprising oysters, fish, five or six kinds of meats, vegetables, three kinds of pie, port, sherry and angelica wines, three ounces of brandy, and one dozen of Key West cigars. His wishes were complied with as far as practicable. He drank a cocktail, then started in on breakfast with oysters. He ate much more than last Saturday morning, and drank three cups of tea. After he had finished, he passed what was left to the prisoners occupying the cells nearest him. He used a stick to pass the steak and similar articles. When he came to dispose of the eggs, he spread a piece of paper on a broom and placed the articles on the paper. After breakfast he appeared to be in better humor. He lit another cigar and began promenading the corridor, bumming a song or whistling. At one time during the morning he thought of the drop and inquired of his guard and the reporter of the Intelligencer if a fall of six feet was sufficient to break one's neck.

At 11:30 o'clock, Sheriff Hotz went in to read the death warrant. The prisoner waived the reading of it, the paper having been read to him last week. The Sheriff then told him to be ready at 2 o'clock. Boyle showed no emotion. Dinner was then served. Boyle ate a little of nearly everything brought him. After dinner he lit a cigar and commenced pacing the corridor. At two o'clock, Deputies John H. Glass, Ferd Vollbracht and Pat McCambridge entered the jail and tied his hands in front of him. Sheriff Hotz admonished those present to keep quiet as the time for the execution was approaching. The deputies brought the prisoner, who was accompanied by Father Daw, to the scaffold. He took position on the box on the trap. Deputy John Glass tied his legs. Sheriff Hotz asked him what he had to say. He replied, "Give my body to Father Daw." Deputy McCambridge then drew the black cap over his head. Deputy Vollbracht adjusted the noose. The trap was sprung immediately, the time when it fell being 2:10. Drs. Pogue, Peter Fischer and S. T. Robinson took position beside the body and between 2:18 and 2:19 pronounced him dead. He died without drawing a muscle. The body was cut down thirty minutes after the trap was sprung. The body was taken in charge of C. J. Leuckel for Father Daw, with instructions not to remove the black cap.

The jury empaneled consisted of A. Keller, Nicholas Selp, Joseph N. McKee, Moritz Wilhelm, William Bond, Pat Flynn Sr., Henry Brockmeier, H. E. Prickett, Jones Tontz, Dirk Devries, P. Schmidt and Barney Fahrig. The deputies who guarded the jail and jail yard were: Gail Stubbs, Fritz Fiesler, Henry Walters, John Grigsby, Henry Harles, William Flynn, Ben Peters, C. H. Bartels, Henry Wieneke, Joe Burkhardt, Ed Jaggers, George Brendle and Martin Fischer.

Rev. August Schlegel, of St. Boniface's church, who administered the sacraments to John Muench, is in receipt of a letter from the parents of the latter. They reside at Altdorf, Canton Uri, Switzerland. The letter was written in German by his mother and the parts of interest read translated about as follows:

Altdori, Switzerland, January 6, 1892. Rev. Father Schlegel, Edwardsville, Illinois:
With a sorrowful heart I address your Reverence to express our heartfelt gratitude and thanks, and at the same time give my excuse for the delay in answering your sad missive. The letter conveying the sad news of my son, John's, unfortunate death reached here August 29. My husband, on finding its contents, was deeply affected through the sorrowful tidings, and, as you may readily comprehend, troubled and distressed for a considerable period. Repeatedly I came upon him while consulting the map of America, his mind buried in thought, and I also observed a letter in his hands which he, trembling, sought to hide from my view. I dared not question him, thinking he had received news of relatives in Nashville, the character of which he perhaps wished to keep to himself. As a careful and solicitous husband, he wished to withhold from me the heavy blow which the knowledge of the contents of your letter would undoubtedly prove, the reason for his silence being perhaps partly due to an affliction of heart disease with which I have been suffering. But a mighty will rules all.

New Year’s my anxiety grew intense and my anxiousness unbearable. That John was ill, I was certain, otherwise he would not have been silent so long and would have at least remembered his dear parents during this joyful season. The mail carrier appeared three times daily, but brought no news from America; not a word from the absent son in a strange land. Entreaties and tears at last induced my husband to inform me of the sad fate of my dear departed son, and of the cheering and consoling words which your Reverence added regarding his unfortunate ending. I pray that Almighty God may repay you a thousand-fold for your aid in his last hour, and that He may admit into eternal glory the soul of my loved son. That we must all die, God in His wisdom has decreed, but that my son died in so terrible a manner I can hardly realize; that in the prime of youth an innocent life must end so sadly, I cannot comprehend. Never, since he was a child, have I known him to take part in quarrel or dissipation, and his whole nature and character were made up of a desire for peace, love and justice. I most earnestly hope that your words of consolation, that my son was innocent of all blame, are based upon facts.

Oh! what a blessing to be granted the grace to receive the last rites of the church in the last hour, and to prepare to meet our God. I am sorry that we cannot show our gratitude to your Reverence in a more material way for your kindness toward our deceased son. A sincere and grateful thanks is all we can offer, as we are ordinary laboring people. Our education is limited to the elementary. We were born and raised in this same village where we live. John was born in 1865. It was his own resolution to seek his fortune in America three years ago. How glad we did not influence him or planned his departure from the land of his childhood. With energy and courage, he departed from parents, sister, brother, relatives and friends, to go to a strange land, and to aid, if possible, through his earnings his family across the Atlantic. Who does not have faith in America's golden opportunities! But he found himself disappointed. In the beginning he lived with relatives at Nashville, Tennessee, and we heard of him through them and himself. But after he left for St. Louis his letters became less frequent. His last never-to-be-forgotten missive arrived January 2, 1891, with a promise to send some money which came in February. We acknowledged our appreciation and thanks, knowing that it came from willing and perhaps needy hands. May we ask you that when you again enter the silent city of the dead, where lie his mortal remains, to offer a prayer for his soul in behalf of his parents, sister and brother.
Most gratefully, Mrs. J. Muensch and family.

Source: Edwardsville Intelligencer, January 27, 1892
The details of the execution of Patrick Boyle for the murder of John Muench, Saturday, as published in the Intelligencer extra, were complete to the hour of going to press. The remains were taken in charge at the jail yard gate by Roa & Dale, the undertakers, and were kept by them until next morning. The interment took place Sunday morning in the Catholic Cemetery. The demand for extra copies of the Intelligencer containing an account of the affair far exceeded the supply. The paper was on the streets one hour after the execution. The newsboys reaped a harvest. Carl, the son of F. G. Girnt, hobbled around on his crutches and in two hours sold 84; George Belk's corps disposed of 170 before nightfall, and George Martin sold 48 on his round with the evening papers. Calls for copies continued to come in Monday, but the supply was out. An extra run was made Monday morning for out-of-county subscribers. The public wanted the news. The Intelligencer supplied it.


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