The instant death of one boy and serious injury to another resulted from contact with a live wire on south Oklahoma Street on the morning of June 10, 1908. The deceased boy was Willie Motsenbocher, the 12-year-old son of Sarah Motsenbocher, a widow lady. The injured boy was Theodore Prather, the son of S.M. Prather. The latter was seriously injured, but survived.

INSTANT DEATH FROM LIVE WIRE

The instant death of one boy and serious injury to another resulted from contact with a live wire on south Oklahoma Street on the morning of June 10, 1908. The deceased boy was Willie Motsenbocher, the 12-year-old son of Sarah Motsenbocher, a widow lady. The injured boy was Theodore Prather, the son of S.M. Prather. The latter was seriously injured, but survived.

There were no eyewitnesses to the death of Motsenbocher. He was in the company of Oce Hunt, Charles Cook and Lee Jones. They were on their way to town to see about obtaining a job of passing out bills.

As the boys were turning up Oklahoma, Motsenbocher was slightly behind the others. They called for him to hurry up and asked why he was holding back. Looking around, they saw him lying on the ground motionless. Hunt started toward him, asking what was the matter. He stepped between the boy and the live wire and suffered a severe shock.

The other lads realized something was wrong and rushed back to their homes. A lady passing by on the street noticed the boy lying there and thought nothing of it at the time. This is when Prather came along and either took hold of the wire or accidently touched it and was severely shocked. By this time the neighbors noticed what was going on and went to the scene.

Dr. J.H. Scott was summoned to the scene and examined the Motsenbocher boy and surmised that he was beyond any human aid. He then attended to the Prather boy.

SHAWNEE POSSE HUNTS DESPERADO

A posse composed of Chief of Police William Sims, County Sheriff “Dink” Pierce, Fire Chief L.A. Brown and Deputy Sheriff J.J. Dutton left Shawnee on June 10, to investigate a report of the whereabouts of the murderer of Sheriff Garrison of Oklahoma County. It was believed at the time that the assailant and his accomplishes was somewhere northwest of Shawnee.

News of his possible whereabouts was brought to the city by a farmer in that area. Early that morning two black men appeared at the farm house of John Campbell. In the absence of the men at the house, Mrs. Campbell was compelled to cook their breakfast. It was believed that they were possibly named Kingsbury and Hunt.

LAWMEN CLASH WITH OUTLAWS

The western outskirts of Shawnee in the Maywood Addition, was the scene of a dangerous encounter between a band of outlaws and a posse of officers and citizens on Monday, June 15, 1908. The outlaws were three men wanted for burglary of a hardware store in Stroud.

While trying to beat their way to Shawnee on the Santa Fe freight, they were repeatedly thrown off by the trainmen. Finally, when reaching Shawnee, they retaliated by “shooting up” the train crew. The train crew immediately contacted the authorities in Shawnee upon arrival. A pursuit of the robbers followed, with an ensuing battle. During the shooting, Louis Fritsch, a spectator, was struck by a stray bullet from an outlaw’s gun.

Word was received at the police station that evening that the outlaws had started across the country, and several posses were sent out. Policemen Jack Kelley and Pony Moore, and Prison Keeper McCrary went out to Rock Creek, where the men were last driven by the train. Chief William Sims rode north on the Kickapoo line. Some Santa Fe detectives went west to the Maywood Addition.

Chief Sims found traces of the men several miles north of Shawnee. They had stopped at a farm house to clean and reload their weapons. Also, to get a bandage for one of the men who was wounded.

They turned south, and Sims was right behind them. As the Chief approached Shawnee, he heard shots being fired west of town. Here, the Santa Fe detectives had come upon the men. Claude Rorer, who happened to be in the neighborhood, had seen them and the officers. He saw the outlaws enter an old house on Dan Crafton’s place.

The officers approached the house and the outlaws climbed out a back window and “high-tailed” it to the woods. The officers immediately pursued after them. During the chase, several shots were fired. The outlaws disappeared up a ravine and were seen no more by the officers. Later, they were seen near the Rock Island yard office.

One of the outlaws remained in the old house. He apparently hoped to escape after the officers had passed. Crafton, who lived nearby, discovered him trying to escape by crawling on his hands and knees, and opened fire on him. He escaped eastward through town. However, during the passage, he was wounded and dropped one of his guns.

During the interchange of shots, Fritsch was attracted by the noise and stepped out in front of his house. Suddenly he was seen to throw up his hands and dropped to his knees. When approached, it was discovered he had been shot through the abdomen.

The outlaw who went east through Shawnee was last seen at the corner of Union and Highland. The other two outlaws attempted to board the last Interurban car for Tecumseh during the night.

Very good descriptions were obtained of the men as several farmers north of town saw them and talked with them. One was tall and light, while the other two were short and dark. One escaped without his hat and half of one leg of this trousers were torn off.

OUTLAWS IDENTIFIED AND ONE ARRESTED

By the next day, some of the status on the manhunt of the outlaws changed. The members were identified as all young men, perhaps the youngest ever known in the business. The names of the men were Cal Busby, Jim Taylor and the first one captured, Fonso Smith. All three were from Muskogee. Busby was 17, Taylor 23, and Smith 18.

All three participated in the robbing of the hardware store in Stroud, and escaped after the running fight described earlier. Smith was shot in the arm. Smith and Busby are the ones who escaped to Tecumseh, but later separated.

Policeman Pony Moore arrested Busby at the corner of Main and Oklahoma during the night. He also had a companion with him, Ed Bolger. They were both detained and locked up. Busby then made a full confession of his crimes.

Moore was in the company of Santa Fe Detective Miller at the Rock Island passenger station when they received some information that two men had slept at the Dillion Barn on north Union the night before. They were on the lookout.

Just before the train got in, they observed two men going down the track to the east. Miller followed them while Moore came around by way of Main Street and intercepted them in front of Jacobson’s Grocery on the corner of Main and Oklahoma.

Later, Bolger took Chief Sims to the cotton gin on the corner of Philadelphia and the Rock Island right-of-way. There a quantity of loot taken from the Stroud store was hidden.

(These stories and many more will appear in the history of Shawnee, set for publication in 2019. Look for more details on the book in future articles.)