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Summary of the Coroner's Inquest into the Glenn-Applewhite Feud

(San Bernardino WEEKLY COURIER, JULY 1, 1893. The exact same news story also appeared in the DAILY COURIER, June 27, 1893)


John Glenn Killed Instantly and His Brother Silas Lives Until Monday
Morning at 6 O'Clock - The Verdict of the Coroner's Jury - A Clear Case
of Self-Defense - The Prisoners Arraigned

About 10 o'clock on Saturday morning last [June 24, 1893], at the Glenn ranch on Lytle Creek, occurred one of the saddest tragedies which the people of this vicinity have been called upon to witness for many years, a deadly fight among near relatives.

For years past there has been more or less trouble in the Glenn family, and many who have known all the parties intimately have prophesied that blood would follow before the trouble was over.

For some months past John and Silas Glenn have not been living at the home, having ranches of their own where they stayed, remote from the well-known Glenn ranch. The place has been occupied by old Mrs. Glenn, mother of the boys, and Mr. James Applewhite, with his wife and son, Mrs. Applewhite being a daughter of Mrs. Glenn and a sister to John and Silas.

On Friday John and Silas Glenn went to the home place with the avowed intention of having trouble, both being armed with revolvers. The troubles in the family, which have been kept up for years, have been over their lands and have been somewhat augmented of late from the fact that John Glenn's wife lately left him and he blamed Oliver Applewhite with being the cause of the separation---a fact not proved by any one.

When the Glenns arrived at the ranch Oliver Applewhite was away, but was expected home that night, and a well-defined rumor has it that John and Silas Glenn lay out in the canyon all night for the purpose of ambushing and killing 'Ollie', as he is called. This fact, however, was not brought out in evidence before the coroner's jury.

On Saturday morning the Glenn boys hung about the place courting trouble and saying in response to a statement from Mr. Applewhite that he did not want any trouble with them, 'By God, it has to come off', showing that they were there for a sinister purpose and proposed to make trouble. All four of the men were engaged in a war of words at the rear of the old ranch house, the Applewhites continually remarking that they did not want trouble. They finally adjourned to the space between the two houses, where the tragedy occurred, which is best told by the following report of the evidence:

The first witness was George Boyd, who said: 'I live with Silas Glenn; have lived with him for about a year; have known John and Silas Glenn for about three years; John has been quiet and peaceable so far as I know; the Applewhites are good citizens so far as I know; I went to Cajon station early Saturday morning; Glenn was asleep when I left; on the way back I met young Applewhite and he told me of the shooting; I hurried back and reached here about 1 o'clock, found John's body on the ground covered up
and Silas on a cot in the house; went up to the cabin and met Deputy Sheriff Whiteman and Applewhite coming down; I came back to take care of Silas; saw no weapons.' The witness here identified Silas Glenn's pistol, a Colt's cut-off, but could not identify John's gun. 'I knew of no difficulty, personally, between the families, but have heard a great deal of talk; was much surprised when I heard of the shooting; Mrs. Applewhite told me one day that she was afraid John and Ollie might have a shooting scrape; Silas talked some during the night, but said nothing of consequence; John and his wife separated in the fall; they appeared to live happily together.'

This witness, as well as one or two of the Others, apparently knew more than he would tell.

The next witness was Deputy Sheriff J. S. Whiteman. He said: 'I live at Cajon station; first heard of the shooting about 10 o'clock Saturday; McKane told me John was killed and perhaps Silas was, by Mr. Applewhite; I had-just started over when Ollie overtook me and gave himself up and I placed him under arrest; telegraphed to the sheriff for the coroner; I reached here about 3 o'clock and found the bodies as they were when the coroner came; found John's pistol under his hand and Silas' pistol under his coat when he fell; both of them were cocked, but had not been fired; Ollie's pistol had one chamber fired: (Mr. Whiteman identified the three pistols.) I started for town with the two prisoners and Mrs. Applewhite; met the coroner and came back; John told me one night at a dance that Ollie had interfered with his family affairs; he was considerably worked up and very jealous; he said Ollie and his wife had been in the habit of sitting up late playing cards, but he thought nothing of it for awhile; one night when he found them sitting under the fig trees if the folks had not interfered there might have been a funeral; he seemed very much in earnest.'

J. H. Bryne said he had heard that John and his wife separated on account of Ollie.

Harvey Bradshaw said he knew nothing about the trouble, but had heard that John and his wife separated because she and Ollie were too intimate.

Dr. W. G. Daniels of
Colton testified that he received a telegram from Ollie, saying that John was killed and Silas wounded, and to come immediately and bring an officer; came right up and found things as the others did; John was shot just over the left temple, the ball going straight through the brain to the opposite side of the skull; Silas had a scalp wound on top of the head, a wound in the front of the neck, the ball striking the collar bone and shivering it; the wounds were serious, but might not be fatal.

The doctor used to live in the canyon and was the Glenn family's physician. One day John asked him if he thought his wife left him on account of his getting drunk. The doctor said it might be. John said: 'I'll be g-- d----- if I believe it did; I believe it was an account of that g-- d----- boy, Ollie Applewhite'. I told John that while at Hazard's his wife spoke of him very kindly; never saw anything suspicious between them; John is of a suspicious nature, and said someone would get hurt; he was a dangerous man; they have had a great deal of trouble over the ranch; old Mrs. Glenn got Mr. Applewhite here to take charge of the ranch, with the consent of her sons; think this grew out of the trouble over John's wife and the turning of the ranch over to Mr. Applewhite by Mrs. Glenn; They were at my house and said they were going to town to make the ranch over to Mr. Applewhite; have heard John threaten Ollie lately; said he was going to do him up.

John C. King identified the pistol of Silas Glenn.

Mrs. Lena Miller of Los Angeles was sworn. She said John had something on his mind. She was in the dining room at the time of the shooting, between 9:30 and 10 o'clock A. M.; heard no quarrel; heard shots; saw Applewhite on the steps with a gun; saw him shoot; he took the gun from the other house; he shot Silas once; saw Mrs. Applewhite, Ollie and John there with Silas; saw John fall; did not see who shot him; John was jealous of Ollie; heard no threats; it was over family troubles; the shots were close together; saw revolver by John's side after he fell.

James Applewhite was the next witness, who said: I have seen trouble brewing between John and Ollie for several days; day before yesterday Silas came by and said he saw Ollie lying around Hazard's; Mrs. Applewhite told me of John's suspicious actions and looks; he had always gone in his shirt-sleeves before, but now he wore a coat to cover his pistol. I came up from the blacksmith shop and found John under the fig trees with something in his hand; it was a pistol; he put it in his pocket; thought there was a plot to kill Ollie; rode up to the corral and I went down and told Ollie what was going on, and told him to watch John closely and not give him any advantage; after breakfast we were all out under the fig trees, when Ollie asked Silas why he said he was laying around Hazard's; Silas said it was a d--n lie, and he would not take it any longer; I said we had never abused him; he said, 'You're a liar, and I wouldn't believe you under oath.' I said that 'I had been a brother to him and always had treated him well; he said, 'You're a d--n liar, and if you want anything out of one you can get it.' I told him he had came there for a row, but that I didn't want any row; John said, 'By God it has got to come off'. Silas said, 'Yes, by God, it has got to be settled now'. I said that I didn't want any row, but if it has to be, all right. John and Silas both had their hands on their guns; we then went through the house and they followed. I picked up a shotgun, expecting to be shot every moment; took the gun into the other house, changed it for mine and went back to the front door and set the gun down; John, Silas, Ollie and my wife were coming toward the house; Mrs. Applewhite was begging John and Silas to stop; John had his gun in his hand; .Silas pulled off his coat; I got the shotgun and went down to the second or third step; Silas pointed his pistol at me; John said, 'Turn her loose, by God.' Ollie shot John, and I shot Silas; I put the gun back in the house and went and helped take care of them; Silas said he was sorry he did it; the trouble grew out of the report about John's wife and Ollie; Mrs. Glenn stirred them up; she is not in her right mind; there was no foundation for the talk; John is Ollie's uncle; the shooting was all over imaginary troubles; it was caused by unprincipled people talking.

Mrs. Applewhite was next sworn. She said she knew there was trouble coming and was anxious; on Saturday morning she heard loud talking in the back yard; heard Mr. Applewhite say he didn't want any trouble; when they went through the house I went after; caught John by the arm and told him not to come to the house, and to keep Silas back; John said it would be hell when it started; Ollie tried to stop them. John said, 'Let 'er go,' drew his gun and said, 'Take that, d---n you.' I thought he had shot my son; Silas threw off his coat, cursed Mr. Applewhite and said he was going to shoot him; Ollie jumped back; the two reports were close together; they followed Mr. Applewhite and Ollie to kill them; she and Ollie did all they could to keep them back; have heard of threats, but have never heard them myself; John said once while drunk that Ollie should not come back into the cabin; Mr. Applewhite and Ollie were in imminent danger, and shot John and Silas in self-defense.

Oliver Applewhite was the next witness. He said that Saturday when he came home his father told him his life was in danger, and that he had better look out; he said Silas had been telling falsehoods; I talked with Silas about it; after some words, John said, 'By God, it's got to come off.' Silas said, 'Yes, and right here, too.' As they came through the house Silas looked behind the door for the gun; mother and I tried to stop the trouble; Silas threw off his coat and said to Mr. Applewhite: 'You're a G-- d----d old cowardly s------ b----, and I'll shoot hell out of you.' John said, ' It will be hell when it starts, let 'er go.' He whirled and drew his pistol; I jumped back, drew my pistol and fired; at the same time I heard the other gun and thought Silas had fired; I believe they intended to kill father and I; they both threatened to several times; I expected to be killed when we met in the yard; I was seven or eight feet from John when I fired.

Mrs. M. Glenn was next sworn. She said that the trouble commenced with the intimacy of John's wife and Ollie; John caught them under the trees in the dark, and heard Ollie say, 'I'll stay with you.' John told her that he would never speak of it to Ollie, and that a woman who would do so was not worth talking about; Ollie and John's wife went to three dances, together; she saw them go into a dark room alone one night while waiting for supper; saw her and Ollie talking like a young couple sparking; she heard the shots and saw her boys fall; she heard talking, but did not understand it; thought her daughter made a threat; John said that morning that he and Mr. Applewhite had never had a word in their lives; John objected to his wife going with Ollie; said Ollie was a man no decent woman would go with; John's wife was a perfect lady when they were married; there was no trouble between John and his wife and no trouble about the ranch.

This is the gist of the evidence, condensed on account of space.

The jury returned a verdict that John Glenn came to his death from a gunshot wound, said shot being fired from a pistol in the hands of James Oliver Applewhite.

The coroner's jury were: W. T. Edwards, Harvey Bradshaw, Edward Holmerstein, C. Ames, John Miller, J. H. Lightfoot, J. D. McDonald and F. H. Magoffin.

The body was brought to the city by McDonald and Son and buried in the Glenn lot at the old cemetery.

Silas Glenn died at 6 o'clock yesterday morning and an inquest will be held over his remains at McDonald and Son's this morning at 9 o'clock.

The coroner's inquest over the body of Silas Glenn, one of the victims of Saturday's tragedy, was conducted yesterday morning at the undertaking parlors of McDonald & Son. Among the witnesses examined were J. H. Whitman, William Edwards, Chris McKane, J. H. Morgan, George Boyd, Mrs. Lena Miller, Mrs. Applewhite, Oliver and James Applewhite and Dr. W. G. Daniels. After hearing the testimony the jury---consisting of P.R. Hockaday, J. H. Barton, W. H. Hale, J. McElvain, J. D. Lakin, R. Colliver and F. H. Magoffin---viewed the body and brought in the following verdict; 'The deceased came to his death from a gunshot wound, the shot being fired by James Applewhite while he supposed he was in great danger of his life.'"