The Murder of Francis E. Staley: Part 5


We’ve talked about guns and timing and suspects. But what about location? One of the papers talked about two men (or three, which is pretty suspicious if you ask me) who were seen in the vicinity of Francis E Staley’s home on the night of his murder, in 1877.

If you’ve not read the other four part of this blog post series, do take the time now to go back and look those over. Otherwise, this post isn’t going to make much sense.

Part 1 | Part 2| Part 3| Part 4|

Okay, so let’s think about this for a second. The year is 1877. Keep in mind that this is rural Indiana, so we’re looking at pretty poor people here. (Except for Staley, apparently)

Cars were not around yet, especially in the countryside, and would have gone slower than a horse anyway.


Now, I’ve done a little research and I can’t seem to locate what they mean by “pocket” of a township, but for purposes of this blog, I’m going to say they mean the midst of the town of Cloverdale. I also can’t get an exact finger on where Staley’s house was located, but I know the approximate area.

The article above says a ‘few’ miles. No, friend. From Staley’s property to the town of Cloverdale as it sits in modern day is at least eight miles.

Eight. Miles.

If we assume that these men had several horses, likely sturdy plowhorses, we can assume that they reached home in about two hours. Horses can travel much faster, but this is through backcountry and they likely don’t want to draw attention to themselves.

So we’re assuming about 5 mph or less. If these men were seen in the vicinity of Staley’s house around dusk, which was precisely 8:32 PM according to Google.

It would have taken them until about 10:30 to get home. And that’s assuming that they made quick work of murdering Staley, grabbing the cash box, running into the woods, and rifling through it. Not to mention that they had to either a) hide the money, b) spend the money, or c) convince their wives that they’d come upon some money by happenstance. I’d say that 10:30 is pretty generous.

You can’t tell me that the wives weren’t aware something was up.


Stay tuned for the next part, in which I talk about the suspects as we have come to know them.

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