William and Edith divorce and Their Children

Even though this started out as a murder,which a friend and I found in a local newspaper, I found that this story could not just be about the gruesome murder, the murderer or the victim.  Any crime effects the entire family and can often carry on down through the generations, touching each wife, children, grandchildren and beyond. While sifting through thousands of records and newspaper articles one family member after another struggled through their lives  with their parents legacy. Few remained untouched by the crimes of the parents, or step-parents.

The Sutherlin’s had two children. Lawrence William Sutherlin was born 24 Feb. 1889 in Warsaw, Kosciusko county Indiana. Nellie Leona Sutherlin was born March 1892, possibly in Warsaw Indiana.

Both of the Sutherlin children became part of the drama during the murder arrest and trials. On the night of their fathers arrest they were at home, watching as he was shackled and carted away to Knox, Starke County Indiana where the murder occured. He was thankfully calm and complying with those arresting him.  The young brother and sister were brought to visit him and even sit on their daddy’s lap throughout the trial, possibly an attempt to sway the jury by showing a loving family man.

Lawrence William Sutherlin was 8 years old when the murder and the first occurred and even though very young he may have still remembered some of the trial. He was sure to have been reminded of his fathers many crimes over the next few years by his fellow students or neighbors in town.

William Sutherlin was sent to prison in LaPorte Indiana for the murder of Ed Fetters. In 1899 Edith decided she needed to divorce her husband so a summons was sent to the prison for Bill. He was summoned to “appear in the Marshall Circuit Cort, before the Judge thereof at the Court House in Plymouth Indiana on the 14th Day of June 1899 being at the May Term, 1899, of said court. to answer the compaint Edith Sutherlin.

The next summons was for witnesses to appear at the court.  It is rather shocking to see their two children listed as witnesses, Lawrence was 11 and Nellie only 7, would be questioned for this divorce.

The divorce went through and Edith Sutherlin married her beloved, William H Redman. But  William Sutherlin would not let the divorce end there and tried to null the divorce by bringing the State of Indiana into Sutherlin’s games.

By 1901 Edith and William Redman had been married for over a year and now made their home in Scotland South Dakota, making new lives for themselves and their children.  Edith had to travel back to Plymouth Indiana where the divorce was affirmed by Chief Judge William Henley on 1 Oct 1901.   Case closed?

We come to 1904 and William Sutherlin is out of prison and he is demanding his children, Lawrence and Nellie.  This is rather a surprise to me since he never seemed to raise his children from his first wife Julie Ann Nine. They grew up without him.

So Sutherlin demanded another court trial, bringing Edith back from Scotland South Dakota. William was demanding custody of his children.  Court papers have him telling the court that Edith “has committed acts of fornication with said Redman prior to her marriage with him, i the same house in which said children lived and that said children knew and saw said parties bedding together.”

William Sutherlin is also accused  “plaintiff  keeps a house of prostitution in which said plaintiff keeps four girls, aside from herself, and that said children are also kept by her in the same house.” “That she will not permit said children to write to their father and will not allow the children any of his letters.”

He states further he “has a grand home and has promised property of that value of $1000 and is able and willing to take care of said children and send them to school.”  In the end Sutherlin was denied the children and they may have never seen or heard from him again.

In the 1900 census he is living at home and listed as a step-son of William Redman. He no longer has the birth name, Sutherlin, Lawrence is now a Redman but at that time still living in Plymouth Indiana.   He was sure to be hearing about his murderous father.

After a house they were living in in Plymouth burned to the ground They all moved to Scotland SD in 1903 and started their new lives

Seven years later the Redman family can be found in the 1910 census. Previously I wrote that 1909 Edith Nellie and William Redman were leaving for South Bend, Redman going as far as Chicago and Nellie and Edith going ahead where Edith was to enter a sanitarium. By 1910 they had returned to Scotland for at least once more.

Lawrence William Sutherlin Redman

In 1905 you can find Lawrence living in Scotland South Dakota with his new step father, William Redman and mother Edith and sister Nellie.  Lawrence is student starting over with a new name, new father, new school and new friends.

He can be found in local newspapers living the life of a well liked school boy.  In 1910 he was injured when an ice wagon rolled over his foot. This was the same time that his mother and sister Nellie were back and forth between South Bend Indiana and Iowa.  It was about this time or a bit earlier Lawrence would meet his wife Elizabeth (Lissie) Bardell.

In 1911 Lawrence has taken a position as a clerk at the Edwards Hotel in Scotland SD.  By now his step-father William Redman has sold off his business, mother Edith has returned to South Bend and Nelli….well that is another story.  Lawrence has now been left on his own at the age of 22.



By 1914 Edith and Lawrence Redman are found back in South Bend Indiana and injured. Reading newspapers of Scotland SD and South Bend Indiana I have found him traveling back and forth between the two states.

An article in the local South Bend News, 9 July 1914.

Lawrence is 25 and 217 W. Lasalle Ave.  He was driving a team of mules for his job at J. C. Barret Storage Co. The team of mules took fright and threw him to the ground. He was taken to the Epworth Hospital and found he was only badly bruised.

June 5, 1917 Lawrence joined the Army for World War One.  He told his step grandson he was sent to Hawaii for the duration but I have not been able to find anything to confirm that.  I have no idea where he served but I do know he did not see any battle.

January 1919 according to the marriage announcement lawrence was a fireman with the railroad.  Lissie and Lawrence married and for a bit lived in Sioux City Iowa for about a year and then in the 1920 census they were living back in Scotland South Dakota with their new son Charles Lawrence Redman.  Before Lissie and Lawrence married she had been a teacher in Scotland and she gave this up to raise Charles.

At some point Lissie and Lawrence divorced. Some time between the 1920 census and 1926 the marriage dissolved and  Lawrence can be found in South Bend in the city directory for 1926.

Charles stayed with his mother and Lawrence moved to South Bend Indiana and lived with his mother, Edith.  Lissie went back to teaching first in Scotland SD and then in Freeport Illinois in 1941.

Lawrence redman

Lawrence William Redman. South Bend Indiana

Charles Lawrence Redman 23 Aug 1940 in Chicago Illinois joined the air corps for service during World War II.  He served in the Philippines as a private and eventually becoming a Staff Sargent.  There is not much about him. I have not found a marriage or children.  Charles died November 7, 1960 in Illinois and was buried at Rosehill Cemetery in Scotland South Dakota and eventually his mother would be laid to rest next to her only child in 1968.


Nellie Leona Sutherlin Redman

Nellie was was daddies little girl. Sweetly set upon her daddies lap during the trial for the judge, jury and public to view, showing them how much of a family man he truly was.  It didn’t work.

Nellie was born in Warsaw Indiana in March of 1892. Like her brother she became a Redman….probably not legally since at that time people would often change their names without the help of the courts.  “You are now Nellie Redman” would have been told her as they traveled to Scotland, South Dakota to start a new life.

Nellie Leona Redman, like her brother, became popular with friends in her new school. There were ice cream parties, birthday parties and just times for all the young people to get together and have fun.  These times were often found in the local newspapers describing what was served, worn and who attended.  No longer a daughter of a murderer, she could  become someone new and she did.

1909 is when things started going terribly wrong.  It was at 1909 when Nellie and mother Edith headed to South Bend, Indiana only to return in 1910.  There is some evidence that Nellie had in fact given birth to a daughter, Pearl,  in Iowa that eventually shows up in the 1920 census in South Bend as daughter to Edith and sister to the Lawrence and Nellie.  More on Pearl later.

On 31 May 1917 Mrs Nellie “Smith” better known as Nellie Redman is here from South Bend Indiana. Visiting at the A.W. Sweet home.  I have found no evidence of a marriage between “Smith” and Nellie Redman nor Nellie Sutherlin.

Not long after Nellie’s trip back to Scotland SD she can be found to have been married to John Charles “Trotter” Morris  living in Sioux City Iowa.  Nellie and John met in Rock Rapids Iowa and after John returned to Sioux City and shortly after he had written to Nellie to follow him because he had a “good proposition” for her.  Nellie left Grand Rapids to join John Morris and soon married in Dakota City, Nebraska, 21 December 1920. From there they moved into a hotel.

The 1920 census stated he was a cook in a hotel at 311 Texas St. in Sioux City where is the cook and she is housekeeper.  But in 1925 things seem to have again started going wrong for Nellie’s life and she tries to commit suicide by gas.

3 June 1925









Edith Ralston Wife Number 2

Edith Ralston and William  Sutherlin were married 5 November 1886. She was the daughter of Lewis and Rachel VanFerson. Born 5 Feb. 1869 in Indiana. I do not have a marriage date at this time but during their marriage she witnessed crimes and unhappiness.

During the murder trial she would sit dutifully behind her family, often with a child or two, thus showing he was such a kindly and lovingly family man.  Shortly after he was convicted, not once but twice, she decided to divorce William and turned to another man, William Henry Redman.

The courts allowed the divorce but William fought it, even taking it to court and eventually fought for the children Lawrence and Nellie.  Even after Edith and Bill Redman married and moved to Scotland, South Dakota he fought for custody of the children making Edith return to Indiana to fight for her rights.

He was still in Indiana State Prison while fighting for his rights to the children. He was listed as widowed in the 1900 census.  The court papers accuse William Redman of running a brothel.  Even after this the courts ruled in favor of the mother Edith.

After following the trail of everyone concerned I do not think he saw Lawrence or Nellie again…..But the trail continued for me and William Sutherlin’s  children.

After marriage Edith and William Redman headed to Scotland, Bon Homme, South Dakota and changed the childrens names to Redman….probably not legally.  They went to school and live lives like we would hope for any child.

William Redman is found in the local newspapers as a building contractor with many jobs for cement or concrete. Taking on job after job and making a name for himself in contracting.

William, Edith and the children seemed a happy family, the children attending school and Edith in womanly activities.  But not all was happy, so it seemed.  In a small mention in the local newspaper, 02 December 1909, William Redman was escorting his daughter, Nellie and wife, Edith to South Bend Indiana where Edith would be entering a sanitarium.  William was going as far as Chicago Illinois. But in the 1910 census Edith and Nellie were back to South Dakota.

Looking at William Redman’s own early life can tell a lot about the man.  His mother was Jemima Smith.  Jemima was married at least 3 times. The first was to Adam Gandy. To that union there were two children. According to the divorce papers Jemima was abusive and left the marriage, leaving the children behind to be raised by their father.

She next married Silas Redman/Redmond, their son, William Henry Redman was born Oct 1871 in Marshall county, Indiana.  This marriage ended in divorce and Jemima moved on to the next husband Franklin Osborne/Osbourn.  To this marriage came two children, Harrison and Josephine (Margaret Ann).  Franklin ended up going to prison and Jemima attempted to have divorce papers served on him there but the prison authorities could not find him. Was he released or did he escape?

In the 1880 census Jemima and her three children, William Redman, Franklin and Josephine are found in two different places in Plymouth, Marshall Co. Indiana. First living in a home where is shows Jemima is a servant.  The next place is the poor house in Marshall county Indiana.  Even though she came from a large Smith family it appears that none of them would take Jemima and her children in to their homes.

Jemima disappeared after the 1880 census and according to a distant family member William was cared for by an uncle but there may have been abuse.  He kept running away from his uncles home and the farm he had to work on.

Shortly after the 1910 census it seems Edith had had enough of William and traveled back to South Bend Indiana to stay.  In the South Bend New-Times on 28 August 1933 the following was printed

SEED DIVORCE  Charging that her husband gambled away the money she earned, Edith Redman sued for divorce Thursday from William H. Redman.  The coule were married July 2 1898, and separated May 20 1911.

The date of the marriage was incorrect by a year. They had been married 1899 not 1898.

The next William Redman is seen is in North Dakota and now married to a much younger widow, Mary Ellen Montague Welch, nearly 20 years Redman’s junior.  Mary’s first husband was suddenly killed shortly after they married, crushed between two railway cars during his job.

To the marriage of William and Mary Redman came 5 children.  William died in North Dakota in 1951 but he never gave up his gambling ways. Mary was always careful to keep a close eye on her husband and the money for their entire marriage.







The families of Bill

I am leaving the courts behind for now and introduce William Sutherlin’s families.  William married three times and divorced as many.  As I researched each person I have found how each of them went through life.  Wives, children and eventually grandchildren.  I can only assume most of their lives with and without William.

William’s first marriage was to Julia Ann Nine.  According to census she was born about 1860 in Van Buren, Kosciusko County, Indiana to John and  Martha Tom Nine.  Martha was 13 to 14 years of age at the time of her marriage  and through the years gave birth to at least 5 children, Julia being the second.

Bill Sutherlin and Julia Ann Nine met and married 30 October 1878 and resided in Kosciusko county Indiana. Not everything was a happily ever after and they divorced on 22 February 1885 in Warsaw, Kosciusko county Indiana.

During their marriage they had four children. Joseph Earl, Clara Luella, Maud (she died in 1883) and an infant. Even though their parents divorced Julia was able to keep the surviving children at a time when children are often given over to the father.

Julia passed away sometime between 1885 and 1890.   According to Clara Luella’s obituary from April 1933, “Her mother died when Clara was a very small girl so she was taken to the Wayland Home near Warsaw, where she lived until about 13 years of age, when she came to Noble County and lived in the George Hines home in Jefferson Twp.”  The Wyland home appears to be the Wayland family, Julia’s aunt Catherine.

When Clara was 13 she was sent to live and work in a home as a servant of the George Haines home which turns out to be right next door to her future husband, John Schauweker.  They would later adopt a young girl, Ethel May Phillips.

Son Joseph Earl Sutherlin may have been the only child of Bill Sutherlin that had anything to do with him up until William’s end. As of yet I have not been able to find where he ended up after his mothers death. He too may have gone with a family member but at this time it appears he was not with his sister, Clara.

Joseph was the older brother of Clara and the eldest child of William and Clara.  He was born 9 November 1879 in Kosciusko county Indiana. He appears in the 1900 census at a boarder and working as a farm laborer.

Joseph went by the name of Earl and it was even on his gravestone as such. Whenever something happened with his father Joseph would be contacted…..”have you heard about” or where is he and then William’s death.

Joseph seems to have led a quiet life with his wife and children. He was able to keep away from the drama his father caused throughout his life. Loving family man and father, something his father would never be for him or Clara.

Sadly his other marriages went eve worse than the one with Julia.  They all divorced but he made more of a mark on each of the wives and children that would continue on throughout their lives and beyond.




Let the Trial’s Begin!



                                                   FIRST TRIAL

December 16, 1896 the preliminary  trial began in Knox, Starke County Indiana. Fifty witnesses were called to give testimony. Afterwards it was decided to continue on to convict.

Starke county could not hold a trial since another large trial was going on and because the murderer, Sutherlin and his victim were both from Marshall county then that county could take and try them….after all “Marshall county trouble makers were always coming to Starke County causing problems”. January 21, 1897 the lawyers for Sutherlin, Martindale and Stevens  an application was made to Marshall county Indiana for a change of venue and it was granted.

One thing that was certain that holding the trial in Marshall County would increase Starke’s expenses by $500 or more.

Under heavy guard William Lawrence Sutherlin was taken to Plymouth, Marshall County Indiana. There had been talk of lynching and that Sutherlin was a violent man that would try anything to get away.  Thankfully neither occurred on train between Knox and Plymouth.

The trial of the State of Indiana vs Sutherlin for the murder of his partner William Edwin B Fetters started 7 April 1887.

For the defense was Messrs. Martindale adn Stevens of Plymouth

The state of Indiana was represented by Messrs Steis of Winamac, Glazebrooke, of Knox and Prosecutting Attorney Bernetha of Rochester and Prosecutor L. M Lauer of Plymouth

Little was said about this first trial in the papers of the time.  The mule was identified as one being owned by Daniel Rohrer.  John Braden testified that Sutherlin and Fetters were in and out of his saloon on a day in mid November.  He stated that she saw Fetters pay their bill with a $5 bill pulled from a roll of money.  When Fetters body was discovered the only item found on him was a broken pencil, no money was found.

For the defense Edith Sutherlin, wife of William Sutherlin, stated testified that her husband was home the night of Fetters disappearance.  Edith also testified that Ed Fetters had made his home with them for three years, after his divorce and previous to his death.

When Sutherlin took the stage to defend himself and  he, of course, declared himself innocent of any charge of murder. He stated that Fetters did not have any money on him and the only money Sutherlin had on him at the time was $2 he received from trade. He denied skinning a mule or telling anyone he skinned one.

The defense tried to prove that Fetters was without money and that Sutherlin was in “reality a benefactor to him for years before the murder”.

Sutherlin also testified that months earlier  while in Knox at the fair Fetters made the aquanitance of Grace Primley, a woman of loose morals.  Fetters had arranged to take her home but after finding Grace had a child with her Fetters backed out.

On November 16, 1896 while they were again in Knox and on the way back home in the night Fetters told Sutherlin that he wanted to stop and visit Grace (Primley).  Sutherlin stopped the wagon at the Election School and at that point Fetters jumped off and went to visit.  Fetters told Sutherlin that from there he intended to go to Silver Lake for work and some clothing.  That is the last time Sutherlin saw Fetters.

From there Sutherlin turned in a different direction and met a camp of horse traders, traded a watch for a mule.  The mule was only good enough for the pelt and decided to skin it right then.  (This was something different he had told the court in Knox that he didnt not buy or skin a mule)

Trying to travel on with the old lame mule proved difficult so he decided to tie the mule up there in the marsh by the road and travel on home and return in the morning to kill and skin the animal.

He arrived home as the clock was striking 10pm and told his wife he had to get up early the next morning to go back and skin the mule.  He awoke about 4 am and headed out and arrived at sunrise. He took it further into the marsh and killed and skinned it.

Sutherlin explained in great detail how he skinned the mule.  “he having used one horse and a knife.  Had taken with him from his home and ax, knife, short chain and single tree to aid him in his work. Wrapped skin up ans started for Knox”.

Sutherlin picked John Hanes and son on the way and a couple miles met up with his cousin Daniel Rohrer and they all rode together for two more miles.  Eventually they all ended up back in Knox.   Sutherlin and Rohrer traveled back to Rohrer’s home and Sutherlin stayed the night and left for home shortly after sunrise the next morning, reaching Plymouth about 11 AM the next morning went to the Schulthess’ tannery and sold the hides

When prosecutor Glazebrook redirected he caused Sutherlin to squirm with the question about the disappearance  of a partner of his in the “huxter business” located in Pulaski County several years earlier.  He of course denied  any knowledge about it. (As of this time I cannot find anything of the missing partner mentioned by Glazebrook.)

After a recess the witness was asked if he had not been arrested and convicted four times during the past two years on charges of assault and battery and he admitted he had.

Witness Henry Draper of Starke county, stated he had traveled repeatedly over the road which the defendant claims to hv traded for the mule but had never seen any campers.

After quetionsing many more witnesses the case of the murder of Fetters by William Lawrence Sutherlin was closed.

Five attorneys took part in the final arguements.  The court allowed,  by law, unlimited time to emphasize his remarks to the jury.

The next day Prosecuting Attorney Bernetha began the opening address for the prosecution. Summed up the evedence , discussed the tracks of Sutherlins wagon, showed the evedence to the jury. Daniel Rohrer sold the mule to Sutherlin but Sutherlin stated he got it from a group of men.  A gun borrowed from Alexander Hanes was never returned.



After the arrest of William Sutherlin, nearly one month after the death of Ed Fetters, Bill was brought in front of the Starke County coroner, Dr. Waddell of North Judson for a coroner’s inquest.  Dr Waddell found that Ed Fetters “came to his death by being foully murdered by William Sutherlin”.

The coroner issued a writ to the justice of the peace which charged Sutherlin with the murder of William Edwin B. Fetters and on Friday 12 December 1896 was confined in the local jail in Knox Indiana and remained there without bail waiting for a preliminary hearing the next Wednesday.


Residence of Starke County Sheriff, with the attached jail to the right.  Was located at the southeast corner of Mound and Pearl Streets in Knox.
Thanks to the Starke County Historical society for the photograph.

The next day Prosecutor Glazebrook  pursued information that there may be two others which assisted in the crime. One witness, Mr. Woodworth, stated  there was a gang that killed Fetters and later testified that he had heard three to four voices raised in anger. According to witnesses there were also foot prints of different sizes found around the grave and  where the pool of blood was discovered.

After further questions in the area “Taz” Mitchell and Daniel Rohrer were arrested and questioned and released.  Rohrer was found to have sold Sutherlin the mule











The Murdered Man



William Edwin B Fetters

William Edwin B Fetters, born  May 13, 1853 to Daniel and Elizabeth Carr Fetters in Goshen, Elkhart, Indiana.  Third of four children Ed was raised on the family farm in northern corner Marshall County.

Who was William Edwin B Fetters?  During the Sutherlin trial his brother Chauncey Fetters testified that he was commonly known as “Ed”.  “He was born in 1853 and was of a sandy complexion, small in stature and not heavy for his size”.  According to to the coroner Ed was about 5’8″ tall and approximately 120 pounds.  He had a large scar on on e cheek which was caused by scalding water which happened as a child.  It was also at the time of his death he sported a mustache.

On 31 December  1880 Ed Fetters married Emeretta (Etta) Duff in Plymouth, Marshall County.  The newlyweds moved into the Fetters farm owned by Edwin’s parents, Daniel and Elizabeth (Carr) Fetters. About 2 years later the farm house burned to the ground, it was not insured.  In 1882 Peter built the new home which still included Ed, his wife and children.


Edwin Fetters, a dangerous man


Over the next eight years their family would grow to five surviving children, William Clarence, Josephine Dawn “Josie”,  Bessie Viola, Pearl Delilah and Nellie.  For the past two years I have attempted to track each child, trying to find out what became of the children.  The only child I have not found is Nellie.  But the stories about the children will wait for another time.

Fetters brother in law, Rev. Mow,  described Ed as “shiftless” but was entirely harmless. Five years before Ed was murdered Etta divorced Ed claiming he was often cruel. She   packed up the children and moved into her fathers home in Monterey, Pulaski County, Indiana and 4 of the children were scattered to other families to be raised.

After Edwin’s father passed the farm of course went to his mother.  Over the next few years as he lived there he did his best terrorize his mother to sign the farm over to him.  He knew when his mother died the farm would be split amongst all the Fetters children.

Over the next year Ed would drive his mother out of her house as he brandished knives and threatened to kill her.

It was also about this time that Fetters and Sutherlin became close friends and work partners and Ed would move into the Sutherlin home.  Their business ranged from games at local fairs a it of farming and horse trading and skinning.

1882 plymouth

Daniel Fetters, father of Edwin Fetters

I have tried to find the reasons for Fetters turning on family. His parents were considered to be very upstanding and social people.  We may never know the change in a person, did something happen behind closed doors while Ed was growing up?  One brother, Benjamin Fetters, seems to have had mental issues according to the Elkhart Truth on March 14 1890

Elkhart Truth March 14, 1890

Benjamin, eldest brother of Edwin Fetters

It appears that Fetters was more of a follower than leader.  After his mothers death he sold his share of the farm to Sutherlin shortly before the murder.  Fetters moved into Sutherlins home with his wife and children and even grew a large mustache just as Sutherlins own black one.  They were always together and always in some type of trouble.






The Murder

Approximately  nine o’clock on the night of November 16, 1896 raised voices were heard,  2-3 gunshots then quiet.  Wheat Woodruff could hear all of this from the safety of  his home near the Election Schoolhouse in Washington Township, Starke County Indiana.


As stated in the Starke County Democrat of December 19, 1896 Woodruff “heard loud voices apparently quarreling near the school house, and several shots, but did not investigate the case”.  People knew that there had been a murder but were fearful to wander out into the dark of the night, you just didn’t go out at night looking for trouble.


The next morning the two sons of Adrian Van Dalen “found a pool of blood and a man’s cap”.  Shortly after finding the cap William Sutherlin drove up on his buggy and asked for the cap, placed it on his head and remarked “that fits me” and drove off.

Rumors grew and wandered around the county until it finally reached the county seat after a badly decomposed body of a man which had been buried beneath a skinned mule had been found on the southwest shore of Eagle lake.

The grave was found by two trappers, Charles Haines and “Bee” Finch, found a grave near Eagle Lake and alerted others living in the area.  Sheriff Hartner along with  Isaac and Joseph Martin, Lewis Jacobs, John Ashley and others headed to the site and started digging.  They discovered a skinned mule one foot below.  During that era dead animals were normally just left out to decompose so why did someone bury a skinned mule?

The group knew a murder had occurred a month earlier so they made the decision to haul the skinned mule out its grave and discovered  top soil beneath, grass and weeds clinging to the dirt so they continued  digging another 18 inches and there they found the body of an unknown male, knees drawn up under his body, face down in the dirt.

Sheriff Hartner telephoned Coroner Charles Wadell, of North Judson Starke County Indina, who arrived in the chill of the night.  The south-west shore of the lake was lit by rail fires and lanterns.  Men women and children were gathered on the scene as if they were there for a show.  There was an eight foot deep hole, the mule had been dragged about 15 feet away from the “cellar-like” hole and the man’s body laid nearby.  It was then the body was identified as William Edwin B Fetters, aka Ed Fetters. His body was laid in a wagon and headed to Knox.


Ed Fetters had been seen in Knox on November 16 with his partner William Sutherlin, both lived in Plymouth, Marshall Co Indiana.  Sheriff Harter deputized Constable Charles Peele  to go to Plymouth and bring back William Lawrence Sutherlin.  Sutherlin was found at his home about 9 o’clock in the evening. Sutherlin put up no resistance, not even asking what he was arrested for, leaving his wife Edith and their two small children Lawrence and Nellie, behind.

December 12, 1896 William Sutherlin was taken before the coroner holding an investigation in the court and was positively identified by the VanDalen boy as the man that took the hat and drove away.

The coroner issued a warrant for him and Sutherlin was then taken before Squire Hays for a preliminary hearing.  While there he pleaded “not guilty” and requested a continuance for the following Wednesday.  It seems that if Bill knew of a continuance he had to be very familiar with the justice system.

From there he was taken into the presence of the murdered man which he did not recognize as anyone he knew and showed no emotion at the site of the battered and decomposing body.   Dr. I. M. Smith, Jack Batcheleder, Enoch Mow (brother in law of Fetters), Sheriff Marshall and others identified the body as William Edwin B. Fetters.  Because of the condition of the corpse he had to be immediately buried in the Crown Hill Cemetery in Knox Indiana that same Saturday night.

The prisoner was remanded to jail without bond and talk of lynching “was freely indulge in.”