- Tombstone Tuesday: Edson Benjamin- “A Cowardly Murder,” Part 1
- Edson Benjamin: “A Cowardly Murder,” Part 2
- Edson Benjamin: “A Cowardly Murder,” Part 3
- Edson Benjamin- “A Cowardly Murder,” Part 4
The Hood River Glacier, March 29, 1901, Vol. 12, No. 45, Page 2, Column 1, tells a bit more of the story of the murder of Edson V. Benjamin:
“TRAGEDY AT UNDERWOOD LANDING”
“A cowardly murder occurred at Underwood Landing, Wash., opposite Hood River, Saturday night, March 23rd. Edson Benjamin of Hood River was shot and instantly killed by someone who fired through the window. The tragedy took place at Wm. Wendorf’s house, 1½ miles from Underwood. Benjamin was in the employ of Nicolai & Cameron as foreman of their logging camp. The camp was preparing to move to a new location above the falls of the White Salmon, and a dance was given as a farewell party to the loggers by their friends in the neighborhood. The dance was held in Wendorf’s barn and the supper was given in the residence. At the third table was seated Edson Benjamin, L.W. Jones, Wm. Wendorf, Mrs. Harry Olsen and Mrs. Nellie Brown. Mrs. Brown had been waiting upon the tables and had just sat down alongside Benjamin and was serving coffee when a shot was fired through the window, striking Benjamin in the head and passing through, a part of the ball struck Mrs. Brown on the shoulder. Benjamin fell to the floor and expired without a word. Mrs. Brown’s injury was slight. L. W. Jones immediately went to the barn, were dancing had been resumed, and informed the dancers of the shooting. The men all turned out and hunted for the assassin but he could not be found. Suspicion immediately rested upon a logger named Jim Green, who had had some trouble with Benjamin and threatened his life. Green was in love with a woman who recently rejected his advances and it is supposed to this caused him to become intensely jealous. Edson Benjamin moved from The Dalles to Hood River about two years ago, and about one year ago bought the Dan Smith place on the East Side. He was a man well spoken of by all who knew him. He leaves a widow. His age was about 38, and he was a native of Illinois. The A.O.U.W. lodge of The Dalles, of which he was a member, took charge of the funeral and he was buried at The Dalles Tuesday.
The coroner came up from Stevenson Sunday, and we understand the jury found a verdict in accordance with the above facts and charged Green as being the murderer.
Sheriff Totten came up from Stevenson Sunday and with deputies commenced a search for Green. Green was hid in the woods. Tuesday, as the officers passed his near his hiding place, he came out and gave himself up and confessed to the murder. He was brought to Hood River Tuesday evening and taken to The Dalles, and Wednesday morning was taken to Vancouver, where a special term of court will convene for his trial.”
Three additional paragraphs were in the paper that day concerning the murder:
” Hood River gets the credit abroad for the cowardly murder at Underwood, Wash., because the dispatches concerning the tragedy were sent from here, the nearest telegraph or telephone station. Hood River isn’t a bit proud of its undue prominence in connection with the affair.”
” The citizens of Underwood, Wash., are to be congratulated upon the law-abiding spirit shown when the confessed murderer, Jim Green, was captured. Consdiering the fact that Green was cordially hated and feared by his neighbors, and his victim correspondingly loved and respected, lynching might have resulted.”
“It is said there are some very badly scared citizens of Underwood after it was learned that Jim Green had killed Benjamin. One young man turned gray in a night. Another, a young man who had loaned Green a gun, fearing arrest as an accomplice, swallowed a big dose of carbolic acid in a quart of cider with suicidal intent. The cider acted as an antidote and as an emetic, and the youth will live to get scared another day. The only person heard of showing any presence of mind during the excitement of the affair was Mrs. Brown, who, after the fatal shot was fired, blew out the lamp so that the assassin could not see into the room to shoot again.”
Interestingly, another related paragraph appears on page 3 of this same issue, but does not even mention the murder:
See Part 2 of this series for the pictures. Sadly, I have found no pictures of Edson or his wife Jennie (Munger) Benjamin, nor can I find a funeral notice.
Tomorrow: the trial.
Notes, Sources, and References:
1) Historic Oregon Newspapers:
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