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In 1893 the sleepy little town of Glendale, Indiana was rocked out of sleep by the horrific murders of an entire family. The like of which has never been seen down to this day. Less than two months after the killings the sheriff believed he had his man and Bud Stone was taken into custody and tried on November 4. The trial lasted less than 2 hours and it took the jury only 24 minutes to convict the man. Many people didn't believe Bud committed the crime, many more didn't believe he acted alone. Lets look at the entire picture and you can decide what really happened..
(Alot of this is speculation about the night of the murder. Many people now believe Bud Stone to be innocent all together) The family was all together in their home about to turn in for the night when a knock came at the door. Upon opening the door Hillard Denson (H.D.)Wratten came along the face of his cousin Bud Stone. Bud told H.D. That he had a terrible toothache and wondered is he had anything that he could take. H.D. nodded and upon turning around got his over the head by a axe(or a corn knife)and his wife Ada had suffered a similar fate. The couple's three children Ethel, 11, Stella, 9, and Henry, 3, had all been hacked and slashed in a similar fashion, although Ethel had not been slashed as badly. Lastly the families elderly grandmother, Elizabeth had been slashed and hacked worse than the rest her hands slashed to the bone in an obvious attempt to fend off her attacker. Previously that night Bud Stone had left his home tell his wife, Cecelia, he was going to Glendale to have a tooth pulled, later when he returned home she noted blood on his shirt and he remarked that it was simply blood from his tooth and she thought no more of it for months. The next morning Bud and his son went out to "visit" the Wratten's and upon arriving found them in this miserable state. Leaving his son at the home he left immediately to get help. Sherriff John G. Leming, Coroner Charles McGowen and undertaker M.L. Bonham arrived at the Wrattens home. They found Ada with her skull smashed her shoulders and arms slashed, lying on the kitchen floor, three year old Henry with his head spilt open lying in a pool of blood. H.D. with his arms and shoulders hacked. As Bonham attempted to roll him over his head rolled onto the floor. Blood covered the ceiling, floors and walls. Stella was found in the living room covered with blood. When they found Ethel they noted she had not been so severely slashed and upon holding a mirror to her mouth a thin film of moisture appeared on the glass. Ethel was alive! Immediately they took her to the home of her Uncle Robert Swanagan. Stunned and shaken they realized that Elizabeth was nowhere to be found. Was the respected woman responsible? Could she have gone insane and killed her family? Stone then informed the Sheriff that the old lady lived in the annex besides the kitchen; the only door to her room was located outside. The Sherriff went in to find the old woman behind a table hacked and bloody, worse than the other victims. Apparently Elizabeth heard the killings of the other family members and pushed furniture in front of the door. Her room had been ransacked and the contents of her drawers had been poured out onto the floor. The sheriff then found a small box containing $619.31. The murders had set the community on edge and everyone was afraid.
The Family is Buried, Ethel dies.
Stone stayed on scene helping clean the bodies and covering them with lime. Caskets were placed in the front of the house in preparation for the mass funeral. Nearly 3,000 persons arrived at the Ebenezer Cemetery to view the remains. Stone assisted in the digging and served as a pallbearer, helping lower the bodies into the ground. During the services someone arrived in a buggy to tell the sheriff that Ethel was beginning to wake up! Stone went to the home of Swanagan with the sheriff. When the little girl regained consciousness, her eyes widened with horror, her lips parted and she slipped back into a coma. From there on out relatives took turns sitting with Ethel, should she regain consciousness in the night. Stone, who lived across the road, stopped by the next day as the family was sitting down to supper. He went up stairs to sit with Ethel and the family heard a strange sound. Stone soon after came downstairs and said that Ethel had died. One thousand people were at the train station when the bloodhounds from Seymour arrived. Taken to the scene of the murders, the dogs sniffed around the grandmother's room and then leaped through a window, stopped at a stream, and ran wildly across a field toward Stone's house before they turned and ran toward a river. In town, Judge David Hefron issued orders for the militia to stand ready to guard the jail if the killer(s) were caught.
The Accused is tried
In October 1893, Cecelia Stone, dressed in black from head to toe, testified before a grand jury about her belief that her husband was guilty. According to reports of the time, she had found bloody clothes in the attic of her home. Stone was arrested.. He first denied all accusations. Prosecuto James McDonald Huff tried to frighten Stone by placed a rope around his neck. When Stone was told of his wife's testimony, he broke down and confessed, he also names seven other conspirators. He stated that they had planned to rob the elderly woman, but when he got to the farm the murders had already been committed. Stone also stated that he was to get $600 for his part of the robbery of the Wrattens. All of the accomplices named by Stone were arrested,: Grandison Cosby, Lon Williams, Martin Yarbrough, William Kays, Gibson Clark, John White and Oscar Brown. According to Stone, Cosby had drawn up plans for a series of robberies. He said when he got to the scene, Cosby told Stone that the killings were easy, except for the old woman who "fought like a tiger." All seven men were set free after Stone's execution. Stone changed his confession on October 24, stating that he had committed the murders himself. After the corn knife and axe were recovered, the bodies of Elizabeth Wratten and her son were exhumed. Wounds were said to match the weapons perfectly. Tack found on the boot of Charles McCafferty matched the bloody print on the window sash of Elizabeth's room. He, of course, denied all allegations, saying he had been home on the night of the murders. However, the grand jury produced McCafferty's 12 year old niece, down from Bedford on the night of the murders, she stated she had been sleeping with her Aunt and Uncle on the night of the murders and had seen her uncle slip out for several hours.
A Speedy trial and a Hanging
Stone trail began and ended swiftly on November 4. He stated to the jury that he didn't know why he had committed the murders and asked the jurors to be as good to him as they could be. Interestingly enough he was sentenced to die only for the murder of Ada, the first to die. Stones attorney was quick to ask for a new trial which was abruptly denied. Stone was then taken back to his cell. Stone had a final farewell with his wife and children on January 29. His mother, broken-hearted, was unable to attend this final visit. Reports state Stone was so overcome with emotion that he had to be carried back to his cell. On February 15 his death warrant was read to him and he was informed that his execution would take place a quarter after midnight. He wrote final letters to his wife at 4pm, and was the informed the governor would not be issuing him a pardon. At 11pm Stone was waken by the guard. The warden warned everyone to remain silent during the hanging. Stone was marched out shortly after midnight. His last words were directed to Daviess county sheriff John Lening, "Howdy do, Cap." Stone said nothing as he was prepared for the hanging. At 12:04 the wardens foot hit the trap and Stone dropped. At 12:21 the heartbeats stopped.
On an offbeat note Cecelia Stone filed suit against the McCafferty's for a $1,000 reward previously offered for the capture of the murderer. No word yet, on how that case ended Now that you have heard the entire story, feel free to sign the guestbook and form your opinions there.
All the pictures I've got are on this site. Here are a few I've put up. Including Bus Stones Gravemarker.