Kissimmee Valley Murders

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Sunday night, the 20th, she suffered terribly and towards morning begged us to kill her. I went to St. Cloud at daylight Monday morning and got some opiates to ease her, and gave her all I brought, which seemed to ease her. Cloud for more, and when I gave them to her she could not keep them on her stomach. She suffered so until Tuesday noon that I went to St.

Teen suspected in violent death of Valley 3-year-old

Cloud and got two ounces of chloroform, which I gave to her on a cloth, and she went to sleep. Cloud again about three o'clock and got six or eight ounces more of chloroform in a bottle, and when I returned home I found she had come out from under the influence of the first I had given her, and I gave her another dose. She passed out about 10 minutes before 6 oclock.

Before giving her the last sleeping potion I made it a special point to tell her that if she wanted to hang on and suffer out that we would do everything we possibly could to help her. She wanted us to do as we did, and urged us to give her the chloroform. When she had become discouraged before, I had often encouraged her to hold on as long as she could so as to keep our ministry encouraged to such an extent that they would not sell our place here and move us north, as our members were so few.

My great feeling for her caused me to commit this unwise act. Oh, let me die without pain, and in peace! Their beliefs trace back to a 17th-century group of French Protestants known as Camisards. Driven from France, they moved to England where they were associated with the Quakers. Because their intense emotions caused them to quiver during religious exercises, they became known first as Shaking Quakers, then just as Shakers. Ann Lee, later known as Mother Ann, led a group of eight believers to America in , hoping to develop an ideal society in a land she hoped was not yet enveloped in prejudice and intolerance.

Kissimmee Valley Murders by Boyd R. Campbell - FictionDB

Mother Ann believed that evil sprang from greed, sex and pride. Greed could be eliminated by communal ownership of all property. Celibacy, she concluded, would control the temptations of sex, and selfless humility could defeat pride. Built into their doctrine was a belief in a humanitarian pacifism that regarded all forms of violence as un-Christian.

Near the end of the 19th century, Utopian religious communities began to spring up in many places in the United States. In these, the Shakers produced among other things fine furniture prized today by collectors.


Their inventions include the circular saw. The Tampa Times called it a "murder of peculiar atrocity. One rumor hinted that before her death, Sadie had been in a "delicate condition" - pregnant.

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The gossip was that she had been intimate with one of the Shaker brothers. There also was a claim that a chemist had examined Sadie's body and found her tuberculosis was not advanced and would have been neither painful nor life-threatening.


To learn the truth, her remains would have to be disinterred. Jones led a coroner's jury and a physician to her grave in the Shaker colony. The Valley Gazette reported: In late September the coroner's jury returned its verdict: Gillette, accused of having brought Sadie Marchant to death at Ashton by means of chloroform administered to the said Sadie Marchant, find him to be guilty of willful murder.

The coroner's jury made no mention of Sears, so her case was continued under bond. Both she and Gillette would have to wait until Nov. The Kissimmee newspaper, clearly emerging as a champion of the Shakers, pointed out that the coroner's jury had exceeded its mandate. Its mission was to determine cause of death, not the guilt of innocence of the defendant. Ennis disapproved of the mercy killing but still defended Gillette strongly in a letter to the paper: The law must be kept even if dear friends suffer, but in this case the noble life of the defendant must be considered, and if found guilty, the punishment should be as light as possible.

In early October the Osceola County Commission went on record as favoring the release of Gillette on a nominal bond or even on his word. But the court kept him in jail, ruling that bail should not be allowed when the charge was murder. At the end of November the grand jury began its probe into the Marchant killing. A story went out to the national press that a Shaker had been named to chair the grand jury, implying that the colony was busy rigging the jury. That's not to say the cattle business was handed to young Lawrence.

After his father's death around , year-old Lawrence, his 12 siblings and his mother saw the family's holding slip away because his father had left no will. The family moved to Kissimmee where Lawrence Silas started from scratch to build his own herd. Sarah, my wife, she took on sewing and kept the house going while I put all that I could rake and scrape into cows.

In time, he became a trusted associate with some of the largest agricultural interests in the state, including the Lykes Brothers, Tom and Howe Lykes.

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By the time Hurston interviewed Silas, he was a bona fide cattle baron. He owned thousands of acres - much of it just past the Polk County line near what is now Walt Disney World - as well as thousands of cattle, Joy Wallace Dickinson wrote in "Orlando: Many blacks worked in the cattle industry, including Prince Johnson of Bartow.

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  • But Silas was by far the most successful. Silas enjoyed continued success until his death in at age He had no son to carry on the business, so his herds were dispersed, Steve Rajtar wrote for his Kenansville Historical Trail.