The Murder of Francis E. Staley: Part Three

As much as I doubt I’ll be able to actually solve this murder 140 years later, I’d like to dabble a little. Humor me. Join me. Enjoy.

Now, I’ve read all three of the newspaper articles. Article One, Article Three.  Granted, the first one was published in 1887, the second in 1937, and the third in 1941. The second one doesn’t provide much new information, but I’d like you to notice a few discrepancies in the story, as well as theorize with me.

Thomas Graves and John Smith were the two men mentioned in the original article.names-fes

They were seen in the area of Francis E Staley’s neighborhood about sundown. Google says that dusk on August 1st, 1877 was at exactly 8:32 PM. Another article says that Staley was shot between 7-8 that night, though a later article says 9 PM. (It’s likely that none of them had clocks or pocket watches, though I don’t know that for sure)



The ‘Pocket’ of Cloverdale is not close to the place where Staley lived. More on that later.If they were in the ‘wrong’ neighborhood about dusk, which was about 8:30, that puts both men directly in the center of suspicion.

The second article does have this strange little discrepancy:

Three Putnam county men. Three. The original article only says two and gives their names. Who is the mysterious third man? Why wasn’t he mentioned in the original article? By all accounts, ex-sheriff stone arrested all three men at once. (Also, I do wonder about Sheriff Stone. He had time to arrest the men, likely as sheriff, and then he’s no longer sheriff by the time the article is released a few days later. Scandal? Was the third man someone with enough clout or influence that he could get the Sheriff fired and keep his name out of the paper?)


This snippet is from the 1941 article. No pertinent names are given here, which just irks me. Who is the third man?

I have a few people who are digging around with me- feel free to join!


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