[From the Cincinnati Enquirer, 30th.]

   The Late Slave Stampede Tragedy.

Details of the Bloody Episode--Testimony before the Coroner--Verdict of the Jury.

    The examination was continued yesterday morning at the office of Dr. Menzies. The excitement in the meantime was intense to unravel the bloody mystery, as to whether the father or mother committed the fearful dead. William Robertson, of Covington, testified that he and two others made inquiries for the runaway slaves and traced them to Kite's house. His statement was confirmatory of the evidence given by Moore and Patterson.

   Mary Kite, the wife of the occupant of the house, testified that the people arrested came to the house about eight o'clock in the morning; she did not know their names nor from whence they came; asked them but a few questions; persons asked for admission, but she refused, as she was not in the habit of admitting strangers; they threatened to procure an officer, and she told them that when he came they could get in; she heard a shot fired, and going in,found the youngest woman attempting to cut her boy's throat, while the child exclaimed, "Oh mother, do not kill me!" He had a mark on his throat, as if from a knife; witness struggled with and taking the knife from her, told her not to kill her children; the woman replied that she would rather kill them than have them taken back over the river; witness took the knife into the back room and laid it on the table; the woman came in, looking for it and grabbed at it; witness took it away and gave it to her (witness') boy to take it away and throw it down the privy, which he did; when witness went into the room she saw also the two men and the other woman, and a little girl lying on the floor with its throat cut; this was some little time before the officers arrived.

   Elijah Kite, the husband of the above witness, was then examined, and corroborated the evidence of his wife as to the struggle for the knife, the attempts to cut the boy's throat, and other particulars. Both these witnesses testified that when they entered the room where the fugitives were, during the time the woman was attempting to cut the boy's throat, the father of the boy was pacing the room, ringing his hands, and screaming, as if bereft of reason, while the elder man was also pacing the room and groaning, the old woman in the meantime weeping bitterly. A short time previous to this, and the last time it was seen by the witness alive, the murdered child was in the father's arms, from which fact it was by some deduced that he had committed the deed, and that the woman in a frenzical manner was attempting to carry out the fell purpose of destroying the whole of their progeny. 

   At this point, there being no more witnesses for examination, the jury, after a short consultation, proposed to hold the two men and women as accessories to the murder, but this was overruled by the coroner, who came to the determination of examining the wold woman and the boy who was rescued by Mrs. Kite from his mother, in consequence of which further proceedings were postponed until 6 o'clock in the evening. 

                      EVENING SESSION.

   Mr. Griffith, of Covington, Ky., deposed that on the morning in question he was at the house of Elijah Kite before any other, except Snowfield, the watchman. Patterson came up with others, but I told them to do nothing until the authorities were present. Patterson than opened the front windows and got in; after he got in I heard a pistol shot, and immediately after he came out with his finger and face bleeding.--About that time Mrs. Kite came out of the house into the back yard, and she said they had her locked out. She did not go into the house any more until the marshal came and had the house broken open; when the house was entered, I went in and saw the young man and woman only; I caught hold of the young man and led him in the front yard; while I was there, the three living children were led out; one was bleeding at the throat, another had a gash over the head, and the infant was bleeding in the face. After this the dead child was brought out; the old man and woman were taken into the back room.

   Here the Coroner and his jury adjourned to the jail for the purpose of taking the testimony of the elder negress, the grandmother of the children. 

   Mary Garner, one of the blacks claimed by Marshall, being sworn, testified that at about half past twelve o'clock, as near as she can recollect, at a house near Millcreek Bridge, Margaret Garner, when a parcel of men rushed into the house, said to me, "Mother, before my children shall be taken back to Kentucky I will kill every one of them;" she ran to her child, a little girl, three years old, and cut its throat; she said, "Mother, help me to kill them," and I went out of the room and got under a bed in another room, and staid there until I was hauled out by some men; I did not see her do anything to the rest of the children; when this happened there were none of the party of colored people in the room but Margaret, myself and the children; a good many white men were rushing in; some were pulling my husband out of the back room, and some were pulling my son--Margaret's husband--out of the front door; the child was killed in the front room; the child's throat was cut while the white men were rushing into the room. 

   To a juror--I did not hear my son screaming when the child's throat was cut; Mrs. Kite was not in the room when the child's throat was cut; I did not see Mrs. Kite take a knife from my daughter; I never heard any resolve among the colored party that the children should be killed before they should go back to Kentucky; there was no spiritous liquor among the party, nor had they been drinking any. 

   This closed the testimony, when the following verdict was returned:

   We do find that the said child, Mary Garner, was killed by its mother, Margaret Garner, with a butcher's knife, with which she cut its throat. 

   [Signed by four of the jury, namely:]

                              JACOB C. BLACKBURN,

                              BARNABUS MCCLAIN,

                              ASA BLISE,

                              JOSHUA CASEY.

   The two other jurymen, William M. Conolly and Joseph Sutton, in additoin to the above, found Simon Garner, sen., Simon Garner, jr., and Mary Garner accessories. 


"The Late Slave Stampede Tragedy," St. Louis (MO) Globe-Democrat, February 2, 1856, p. 2

Related Escape / Stampede
Location of Stampede
Coverage Type
Via Wire Report
Location of Coverage- City
St. Louis
Location of Coverage- State
Contains Stampede Term