Event Person

1874: Christmas Eve Killing

” A horrible murder was committed last Thursday night (24th inst.) in Vinton township, near Eagle Furnace. The murderer’s name is David Gregory – he killing Matthew Dalton, by striking him with an ax in the left breast, sinking the ax about five inches deep, cutting the heart in two. But little is known concerning the motives or circumstances of the murder, except mere flying rumors. Its appears that Dalton had went to Gregory’s shanty, while the latter had gone out to get some chickens. He returned in a short time finding Dalton in his tenement near the woman whom he claims to be his wife.”

“We understand that Gregory claims that Dalton made improper advances to his wife, and also claims that Dalton had a stone tied in a hankerchief, and had struck at him with it; but as to these statements we are not reliably informed. An inquest was held over the dead body by Seth Sharp, Justice of the Peace. Constable E Radcliff arrested and brough Gregory to town with the assistance of Mr. Sharp, securely tied to a horse. The prisoner started to run when first seen by the constable, when a few shots from a revolver brought him to a stand. The ax was also brought to town. The ax as well as the handle was covered profusely covered with blood.

Gregory was a wood chopper at the furnace and claims to be from Virginia. The ax was new and had never been used and was freshly ground. He was taken before Henry Payne, Justice of the Peace, last Saturday morning, waived an examination and was remanded to jail to await his trial by the Court of Common Pleas1

“David Gregory, a wood chopper of Eagle Furnace, killed Matthew Dalton, another wood chopper, with an ax, Christmas eve. Gregory came home and found Dalton seated by his wife, when he butchered him in a fit of jealousy. He was arrested, and is in the McArthur jail.2

  1. Horrible Murder. (1874, December 31). Vinton Record, p. 3.
  2. (1875, October 02). Portsmouth Times, p. 3.
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