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never before heard of the Colvins.
Daniel D. Baldwin. The first I knew anything of the matter, Stephen was exclaiming against his sister. I then inquired where Colvin was gone. He said that he and the Judge (a nic-name for Jesse), Lewis and Colvin were at work picking up stones together, when Colvin went off into the woods. He said he did not know but some thought he had killed Colvin, and that when Colvin went off, Lewis, the boy, was gone for some water, and when the boy returned, he asked where Russel was, and that one of them replied that he was gone to hell, and the others that they had put him where potatoes would not freeze; which they should not have said if they had killed him. This talk was serious as I understood it, and it took place at dinner time and in the succeeding evening.
Frederick Smith (sworn).
Mr. Sheldon stated that Smith would say that he asked Stephen about four years ago where Russel Colvin was, that Stephen replied he had gone to hell, or that he hoped he had gone to hell. Objected to by Mr. Skinner.
(The evidence was rejected for irrelevancy.)
Johnson Marsh. Last spring, in one of the last snows we had, Stephen Boorn was at my house. The girl at my house said, "they are going to dig up Colvin for you, ain't they?" Stephen replied, "damn that Wyman," said that he would thump him, &c. I moderated him. He then said that Colvin often went off, and returned often; that when Colvin went off he was crazy, and went off without his hat, &c., &c. That Colvin, it was said,
was seen at Mrs. Fergusen's when he went off; but that it was now denied. Asked him if he was present at the time Colvin went off; he replied no, he was in Sandgate. Stephen has since denied that he said so.
Benjamin Deming. On 10th of March last saw Stephen in Dorset. He rode with me in my sleigh. While riding he said he knew nothing about Colvin at the time of his going off, that he was not present at that time, nor did he live at home, but lived on the Hammond place. Understood from Stephen that it was the fore part of the week on Tuesday that Colvin went off; that Colvin's wife told him so. That the next Sunday he went to his father's and asked Mrs. Colvin where Colvin was. She told him that Colvin had dined upon a woodchuck, and when he left the house he told her it was the last dinner he should ever eat there, and went off, but she did not know where.
Joseph Lincoln. In March last, heard Stephen say that he never killed Colvin. That he and Colvin and Jesse were picking up stones, and that Colvin was crazy, and went off into the woods, and that they had not seen or heard of him since.
William Wyman. Stephen wanted to know if there was not a way by which he could prevent the intercourse between Russel and Sal. I replied that I knew of none, that they were lawfully married. Stephen then said if there was no other way to put a stop to it, he would put a stop to it himself.
About three or four weeks before Colvin went off, Stephen came to my house and asked me if his father was obliged to sup
port Colvin's young ones. Told him yes. Stephen asked if it was not hard, and further said if there was no one else to put a stop to it, he would, and he said it with an oath. I was at Barney Boorn's, about the time Russel went off, Stephen was there. Last spring, in March, Stephen Boorn came to my house and talked to me about what I had said concerning his killing Russel Colvin, and wanted I should clear it up, and stated he knew nothing of what was become of Russel Colvin. That he never worked with him to the amount of one hour. That at the time of Russel's disappearance he lived at the Hammond house. That he (Stephen) was ploughing in the same lot.
William Farnsworth. In conversation with Stephen, about two months ago, I questioned him about the killing, cooking and eating the woodchuck, and if he was at home then, and told him that his parents had denied that it was so; he however said it was so, and that his parents had sworn themselves to the devil, and that their condition was worse than his own. Told Stephen that he he (Stephen), Jesse, Russel and the boy were together picking stones the day Russel went off, and that his father and mother had denied it, and stated that he and Jesse were not then at home. Stephen replied that it made no odds what his father and mother had sworn to, but that what Tom Johnson had sworn to was true. Had advised him to confess the whole facts which he knew.
William Boorn. Stephen told me last March that he believed he was at work for Glazier, on the Hammond farm, when Colvin
went off, and Jesse told me he was then at work in Dorset or Rupert, and they have both said that they were not at home at that time, nor were they at work about that time, or near it. Jesse never told me that he was at work at Briggs'.
David Briggs. In May, 1812, and in April, Jesse worked for me. The last time he worked but two or three days, and left my house 14th of May. Before he came the last time he had been absent not more than a week. I have a charge for shoeing old Mr. Boorn's horse on 23rd of April. The old man was present at horse-shoeing.
Daniel Jacobs. In 1813, at Dorset, Jesse Boorn was asked by me where Russel Colvin was. He answered that he was an enlisted soldier in the service. I was then as hard of hearing as I am now.
Joshua French. After Jesse was put in gaol I went in to see him. He said he knew that the jack-knife which was found was Russel Colvin's knife, for he had often seen Russel's mother cut tobacco with it.
Silas Merrill. When Jesse had been from time to time returned from examination to prison, he told me that they had encouraged him to confess the whole business with promise of pardon. I had probably told him perhaps it was best to state the whole truth, and he might obtain some favor. The disclosures which were made took place in the night, when he and Jesse had waked from their sleep, and without any previous persuasion or advice on the subject.
In June last, Jesse's father came to the prison and spoke to Jesse. After the old man went
away Jesse appeared much afflicted. We went to bed and to sleep. Jesse waked up and shook me and wanted that I should wake up. He was frightened about something that had come into the window and was on the bed behind him. He stated that he wanted to tell me something. We got up and he went on to tell me. H. said it was true that he was up in the lot together with Stephen and Russel Colvin and his son, picking up stones, as Mr. Johnson had testified. That Stephen struck Colvin with a club and brought him to the ground. That Colvin's boy ran, that Colvin got up and Stephen gave him a second blow above the ear and broke his skull. That the blood gushed out; that his father came up and asked if he was dead. They told him no; then he went off. Soon after he came again and asked if he was dead; they told him no, and he again went off. Soon after the old man came the third time and asked if he was dead, they told him no; the old man said damn him. Then he (Jesse) took him by the legs, Stephen by the shoulders, and the old man round the body, and carried him to the old cellar, where the old man cut his throat with a small pen-knife of Stephen's. That they buried him in the cellar between daylight and dark, that he stood out one side and kept watch. That a jack-knife was found which he knew was Russel's, that he had often borrowed it to cut fish-poles. Two or three days after Stephen had Colvin's shoes on. He said he (Jesse) spoke to Stephen and told him that Sal. would know the shoes; that he saw no more of them. That the old man gave Stephen 100 dol
lars, and Stephen promised $25 of it to him. After Jesse was put into another room, when we were permitted to see each other, Jesse told me that he had informed Stephen of his having told me the whole affair. Stephen then came into the room. Asked him if he did take the life of Colvin. He said he did not take the main life of Colvin. He said no more at that time. A week or ten days after, Stephen and I went up into the court room together. Stephen then said he had agreed with Jesse to take the whole business upon himself, and had made a confession which would only make manslaughter of it: Told him what Jesse had confessed, and he said it was true. Jesse told me that in February, eighteen months or more after the body of Colvin was buried, there came a thaw. That he and Stephen took up the body, secured the bones and remains in a basket and pulled up a plank in a place where they kept sheep, and put the bones under the floor. That the next spring the barn was burnt. That they took the bones and pounded them up and put them into a deep hole in the river. That the skull bone burnt so that it crumbled to pieces, that his father scratched up some pieces and put them into a hollow birch stump near the road.
Cross-examined. Jesse, when he confessed the affair, did not say the body was removed anywhere till they carried it off as stated. Jesse said that Squire Pratt was gone to talk with his wife, but she knew nothing about it. Jesse wished me not to tell anything of what he said to me. First told Mr. Pratt of Jesse's statement, if I recol
lect right. Nobody was present in the court room when Stephen told me as before mentioned. Jesse one Sunday, when we were on the bed together, told me he wished to keep counsel, and that he understood that his wife had said something about his keeping watch. Understood from Jesse that Russel struck Stephen first, that they had been jawing all the time for the fore part of the day.
Mr. Shelden offered a written confession signed by Stephen Boorn, dated August 27th, 1819, and stated that Stephen sent for Mr. Pratt, Truman Hill and himself to come to the jail, that they all went there, that Stephen called for paper, ink, &c., and retired and wrote the confession and left it on the table. Mr. Burton saw him write it. That it was taken from the table and has ever since been in Squire Pratt's possession.
Joshua Burton. This is the same paper which Stephen wrote, and which was witnessed by Truman Hill and Squire Pratt, who signed on the back at the same time. Stephen wished me to call Pratt, Hill and Sheldon. I did so; they came and let Stephen out. Pratt and Boorn went upstairs, and afterwards Hill went. Soon Pratt came down, and I went up and found Stephen at a table writing this paper; sat down and Hill left the room. Said nothing till Stephen rose from the table, said he had done, and left the room. Went with him, he went into prison, and we went upstairs and found this paper which was signed by Stephen, and which I observed before Stephen left the room.
Mr. Skinner. Do you know
that Stephen had been persuaded either at this time or at any time previous to give this confession, by holding up to his view the hopes of pardon, or some other favor, by some officer, State's Attorney, Magistrate, Grand Juror, Jailor, or Deputy Jailor? I do
Have you not heard some of the officers tell Stephen that his case was desperate, that he was gone if he did not confess? No.
Joel Pratt had the same questions put to him by Mr. Skinner, to which he answered no.
Mr. Skinner. Do you know of any persuasion, and if any, what, tending to induce Stephen to make that confession? No.
Mr. Pratt. 27th of August last I was called to see Stephen. I asked him how he did. heldon, Burton and Hill present. Stephen requested me to go upstairs alone wih him. I did so, talked about some small points, alone, as I believe. Stephen called for pen, ink and paper, and I left the room.
Truman Hill. More than once before the confession I exhorted him to tell nothing but the truth, as the only way to pardon and favor, that falsehood would only sink him deeper in trouble.
Saml. C. Raymond. Before the 27th of August, have often told the prisoner to confess if guilty, but not without. Stephen said he was not guilty. I told him then not to confess. Have heard Mr. Pratt and Mr. Sheldon tell Jesse Boorn that if he would confess, in case he was guilty, they would petition the Legislature for him. Have made the same proposition to Stephen myself, and often told him I had not any doubt of his guilt, and
that the public mind was against him.
The COURT rejected the written confession.
Joel Pratt. The examination commenced on Tuesday, 27th of April, continued till Saturday, Sunday they went on to the mountain, Wednesday, the second day of the examination, was the digging at cellar hole. The two knives and button were found and handed me by Abel Pettibone. Some few bones were also found, but they were not human bones, and pieces of crockery. After Jesse had seen the knives, he said the jack-knife was Russel's, he knew it, afterwards he said it looked like it. Saturday week or fortnight I heard of the bones under the stump. Sunday morning we went over and found the bones present. Josiah Burton took out the whole nail, and there were also found the part of a nail, and the round lumps now here. The stump is a birch stump, the remains appeared to have been put in the hollow. The stump stood near an old road on Barney Boorn's land, fifty rods or so from the house.
Josiah Burton. Was with Mr. Pratt at the stump and took up the remains.
Amos Lawrence. Heard Stephen tell Sally before Pratt that Sal. might swear her child for he knew Colvin was dead. Jesse said they need not look for Colvin's bones, for he went off, and nobody knew where he had gone to.
William Farnsworth (sworn). Mr. Sheldon. The witness will prove what Stephen told him when he and Stephen were alone, about his being present when Russel was killed. Objected to
by Mr. Skinner because it was subsequent to the proposition made by Mr. Raymond.
The COURT decided that the witness, Farnsworth, should be examined.
Mr. Farnsworth. Neither I nor anybody else, to my knowledge, had done anything directly or indirectly to influence the said Stephen to the talk I am now about to communicate.
About two weeks after the written confession, Stephen told me he killed Russel Colvin, that there was a quarrel, and that Russel struck at him, that he struck Russel and killed him; that he put him into the bushes, that he buried him and dug him up, put the remains under the barn, which was burned, the bones were taken up and put into the river just above the deep hole, that he scraped up the remains and put them into a stump, that he knew the nails which were found were Colvin's, that no person was present, that he perpetrated the whole business himself. Asked him about the jack-knife, he said it was Russel's, he knew it as soon as he saw it. Told him the case looked dark, he replied that if Jesse had held his tongue in they should have done well enough, that he put the pieces of bones under the stump through a hole between the roots, and stamped the dirt down. He said he wished he had back that paper; I asked him what paper? He said, haven't you seen a paper that I wrote?
Mr. Skinner. As Mr. Farnsworth has, contrary to my expectations, been allowed thus to testify, I now in behalf of the prisoner, call for the written confession.
It was read as follows, viz: