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D. A. Chadwick

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Newsletter Dated: 7/26/2003 1:13:47 PM

Subject: Blatherskites:The Frazer/Gibson Murders

I know that I've gone months without writing a newsletter and then send four in the same week, but I am trying to play catch up after months of translating materials for the Soeur Sourire biography.

I have received numerous emails regarding my book Blatherskites and the main instigator in the murders, Wesley R. Best.

For those of you not familiar with this book, it is about the murders of two Kansas cattlement in 1890. William Gibson was poisoned in a hotel in Moline and his partner, John Frazer, was stabbed to death in a pasture north of Sedan, Kansas. Nine men were involved in the killing including an ancestor of mine, Patrick Lawless.

The emails have been in regards to the identity of Wesley Best. Apparently, there was a Wesley J. Best who was a Major in the Union Army in the Civil War who came to Kansas with a Major Chapman to survey the town of Moline around 1870. He was from Illinois and died in Kansas in 1904. There are some who believe this man to be the Wesley Best who was arrested for the two murders, but I do not agree.

The Wesley Best who was a wealthy cattleman in Elk County, Kansas was Wesley R. Best and he was known as Captain Best in the area. After the charges were dismissed Best went back to Blount County, TN where he was from with his wife, Theresa. He was listed on the Veterans Voter registration for Bounty County in 1891. Best died in 1897 and is buried with his wife in the Williamson Chapel Cemetery near Marysville, TN in Blount County. The newspaper in Moline, Kansas ran his obituary in 1897 and they seemed to be in no doubt regarding his identity. Theresa died in 1924 about the time that a man named Ben Best filed suit against his siblings over inherited property in Chautauqua, County Kansas.

I agree that it is strange to have two men with such similar, unusual names in the area and perhaps they were related? This is a case that I continue to research as we still do not know the truth.
D.A. Chadwick

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