Jackpot- sort of
As I was photocopying the info I'd gathered on Bette's demise in Chepachet for the Historical Society, I ran across the names of the five defendants who were found guilty of the murder. I immediately emailed Andrew Smith up at Judicial Records with the info so he could locate anything of value from the courts. I'm waiting for his answer about the process that sealed the fates of Fenner Eddy, John Inman, Albert Eddy, Francis West, Angell Darling and Benjamin Bowen, but I've already got fascinating stats on how many bullets were used and by whom, who stood where and when and why the fine was set so high.
It seems that killing pachyderms came under the general "law which makes the killing of a beast an offence, punishing the same with a fine not exceeding $100 and two months imprisonment, and also subjecting the party convicted to pay to the owner treble damages to be recovered in an action of trespass. This was doubtless intended to apply to ordinary animals, horses, kine, etc. and the law could not have anticipated the shooting an elephant."
This is where the fun begins. I've started trying to track down the descendents of the perpertrators with uneven results. And there are mysteries. For example, "Fenner Eddy" (how many of those can there be?) appears to have moved to NY state before the killing. Were there two? Or did he do the deed on Spring break? If the one I found is the same, he would have been 23 at the time of shooting and with a family, to boot. But...
Angell Darling provided testimony after the Dorr Rebellion, but was he a participant or onlooker? And who is related to Amasa Eddy, Dorr's Lt. Governor? RI is a small state and Chepachet even smaller, so my hunch is that these guys were all pretty much related. Certainly the Inmans and Eddys were, I've found.
But were the conspiracy theories hinted at darkly and in back corners true, or is it, in fact, more accurate to say that the Chepachet Six were just out on a lark, taking the Elephant Man (with apologies to Merrick) at his word.
To be continued...