Strange story of a murder


During a trip to the local library in Starke County, Indiana, my research buddy and I starting scanning through a pile of yellowed newspapers, searching for….something interesting…when I suddenly spotted a large headline in the Starke County Democrat of December 24, 1896,  “Buried Beneath A Mule.”

The headline grabbed my interest and has kept me researching this crime, murderer, victim and families that were all linked through history, from before the crimes to modern day families.

Who were the main players of this crime?  Where did this start and where did it end?

The beginning…

William Lawrence Sutherlin was born October 18, 1856 in Warsaw, Indiana to Jonathan Sutherlin and Elizabeth Rosella Guy.  The Sutherlin’s had four children, Phebe, William, Hiram and Elmer.  (Hiram and Elmer died as infants.  Phebe married Henry Tobias Cress).

Jonathan was a religious orator and farmer.  He traveled around the counties preaching the Bible. He passed away in 1866 in Kosciusko County Indiana at the age of 31 leaving his wife well off but alone to raise their children.  Elizabeth eventually remarried but passed away in 1885 at the age of 49 and was buried next to her beloved John and children