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The Murder of Joseph Deny
As Reported By
The Lewiston Evening Journal
December 1883

Created May-2003


Two Richmond Roughs Raid On An Old Indian's Dwelling,
Kill the Indian and Ravish His Wife
"Old Joe" Makes a Gallant Effort to Save His Squaw,
and dies in the attempt to protect her

[Special Dispatch to the Lewiston Journal.]
Richmond, Dec. 13th,

About a mile and a half above Richmond, on the River road, lived an Indian, known as "Old Joe" and his wife. He was a member of the Orono tribe, a quiet, inoffensive man and one of the oldest of the Oronos. His age was 68 or more. He and his wife occupied a house owned by Mr. Plummer, and supported themselves by making baskets and doing similar work. Wednesday night, about 12 o'clock two roughs burst into their house, tore the old people from their beds, killed old Joe and ravished his wife.


who did the deviltry are Lewis E. Hopkins known about town as "Slim Jim," and Lorenzo H. Turner. Hopkins is a desperate character and a hard drinker, who has caused a good deal of trouble before. Turner has been known as a miserable fellow, under the influence of liquor most of the time, but not disposed to harm anybody. The two fellows live near the old Indian's house. When "Old Joe" was aroused from slumber, he was greeted with the oaths and vociferations of two rum-crazed men. He ordered them out of the house. "Keep your mouth shut, old man, or we'll fix you," exclaimed one of them, according to the Indian woman's narrative. Realizing their


Old Joe made a gallant attempt to protect his wife from assault. He was old and infirm. A tremendous blow from Hopkins first laid him senseless on the floor. Not content with this, Hopkins, it is said, kicked the prostrate Indian in the head and stamped his heavy boot on his face, with his whole weight. saying: "Lay there - you."

Old Joe breathed a few times, but did not speak. The shock


the old man. While the corpse laid on the floor, his wife was ravished. The two fellows then went off, to continue their orgies, as if nothing had happened. The two fellows easily


and lodged in the Richmond lock-up. They had not entirely recovered from the effects of their drunk and were sullen and indisposed to make any talk.

Coroner Charles H. Hodges, as soon as informed of the occurrence, summoned a jury and at ten o'clock, Thursday forenoon, commenced holding an inquest at the scene of the murder. The jurors found the imprint of a boot-heel on the face of the corpse.

Great Indignation against the ruffians has been aroused in the village. Just what share Turner had in the crime, it is not possible to say with definiteness, at present. According to the old woman's narrative, told in the excitement and confusion of the moment, Hopkins is the man who struck and killed her husband.



Worse Yet - The Attempt of the Villains to Assault Two More Women


[Special Dispatch to the Lewiston Journal.]

Richmond, 3 P.M.

Full particulars of the outrage at Old Joe's, have been received, and place the deeds of the guilty men in a worse light than previously reported. Hopkins and Turner were accompanied in their orgies by a fellow named William Lint, who, also, has been arrested. There is no specific charge against him, however, and it is not known that he is guilty of anything but drunkenness.

It seems that several families lived in the house - Joseph Dennis, or "Old Joe," and his wife Elizabeth, his son-in-law named Nicholas with his wife and daughter, a Mr. Carter and his wife, and Mr. Sewall Plummer the owner of the house. When the three roughs first entered the house, they went into a room used as a kitchen and a bedroom by Plummer. They talked boisterously, flourished a liquor bottle and it was evident that trouble was brewing. It was after eleven o'clock, but some of the people in the house had not gone to bed.

"This stove is pretty hot," but we'll make it a sight hotter for you, Hopkins remarked. While they were carousing and acting as if they owned the house, the young Indian and his wife entered the room. Fearing trouble, they started to withdraw. One of the roughs made a rush at the young woman and


but she escaped his grasp and with her husband went up stairs.

The fellows now were thoroughly infuriated. They tried to enter the room occupied by Old Joe and his wife. It was locked. After demanding admittance with a torrent of oaths, they battered down the door. Old Joe was lying in bed. Mrs. Dennis was just going to bed. Turner, as soon as he entered the room, seized the old woman and tore her out of the room into the kitchen. Old Joe arose from his bed and went to the rescue. Hopkins stationed himself in the doorway. When the old man tried to pass, Hopkins struck him, knocked him down and stamped on his head, killing him by his brute strength, as previously stated. While this was going on, Turner had accomplished his foul purpose. Hopkins then seized the old woman and


It seems almost incredible that two men could have been guilty of so cruel a thing. Mrs. Dennis is 69 years of age, and now is in a critical condition on account of her injuries. But this is not all. The fellow were not done with their cussedness. Turner went up stairs and tried to get into a room to which the young Indian, Nicholas, and his wife, had retreated. Nicholas had anticipated this. A spout ran from the roof to the ground near a window in their room. Nicholas made his wife and child


and he followed them. After learning the young Indian and his wife had escaped them, the murderers started for Carter's room. Turner tried to assault Carter's wife, but she escaped him and got out of a window. Carter also fled through the window, ahead of his wife, it is said. Next, the desperadoes went to the house of Greenleaf Marshall and pounded on his door. He responded with a gun in his hand. The gun was not loaded, however and they took it away from him, but did no harm. They made another demonstration at the house of Samuel Lancaster and


family by flourishing the gun. Hopkins voluntarily gave the gun to Lancaster. He and his companions had drained their whiskey bottles and were now too boozy to do any more harm. From Lancaster's, they went home. Carter and Plummer gave the alarm to the authorities. The three fellows were arrested by Deputy Sheriff Hodges (who also is the coroner) and constable Moran. They will be given a preliminary hearing, as soon as the coroner's inquest is finished. The evidence for the State is abundant and the guilty men can not escape, The outrage is the most diabolical ever committed in Richmond. The men seem to have been changed into devils by their liquor.

The excitement in town grows, as the public knowledge of the particulars, increases.


examination was conducted, Thursday afternoon, by Dr. C.W. Price and other physicians, upon the body of the dead Indian. They removed his brain. It was in a perfectly healthy condition, but there was a large effusion of blood in it - about 4 ounces. A clot of blood six inches long and 4 inches wide, was found under the skin. The blows must have been very severe.


Lewiston Evening Journal, 14-Dec-1883


One of the Men Implicated Tells His Story.

RICHMOND, ME. Dec. 14th.

Lorenzo Turner, one of the men concerned in the murder of Indian Joe, states that on the night of the murder, he, Hopkins and Lint were in Richmond having a good time. They procured liquor at the saloons of Geo. Hussey, Fred Wellman and W. C. Wyman. These parties are all under arrest. Turner further states when his party reached Old Joe's house they were induced to stop by the laughter and evident enjoyment of the parties within, and had no intention beyond a general good time. After being in the hot room a while, the liquor went to his head and his recollections of the succeeding events are not clear. He admits criminally assaulting Old Joe's squaw, but declares he had no hand in the murder of the Indian. He states that when he left the house he had no idea that murder had been done, and learned of the fact only when arrested. Turner appears to feel his position keenly, but declares he shall tell the whole truth at his trial.



Preliminary Hearing in the Richmond Murder Case - Murderers Bound Over - The Rumsellers Punished - Hopkins and Turner Photographed.

[Special Dispatch to the Lewiston Evening Journal]

RICHMOND, Me., Dec. 14th.

The preliminary hearing in the murder case took place before Judge Tallman, Friday forenoon. The design was to hold the trail in the town hall, so great was the crowd that desired to be present. It was given out that the prisoners would waive examination and on account of the consequent shortness of the proceedings, it was decided to have the hearing in Judge Tallman's private office. The office and all approaches to it were packed with people, only a very few of whom could squeeze into


The excitement was intense. There was a great desire to get a look at the prisoners and corns had to suffer, as the crowd surged this way and that. As it became evident that


was not concerned in the killing or the assault on Mrs. Denney, he was not brought into court, and was given his liberty. Lewis E. Hopkins and Leonard H. Turner were arraigned. They both pleaded not guilty and waived examination. At their request, Col. J. W. Spaulding acted as their counsel. County Attorney Frank H. Buker conducted the case for the State. No witnesses were examined, on account of the action of the respondents and the proceedings were very brief. Judge Tallman ordered both men to be held for trial at the December term of the S.J. Court for Sagadahoc county at Bath. They were


on the afternoon train and lodged in jail. before being removed to Augusta they were taken to the photograph saloon of A. W. Kimball, in this town, and photographed. Both prisoners appear to be broken down in spirits and fully realize the enormity of their offense and the hard place they are in. Both want to shirk the weight of responsibility. Hopkins call a constable into his cell, Friday morning, and told him that Turner, not he, knocked down the old Indian. Turner has declared Hopkins killed the Indian. Before the arraignment of the prisoners, came the hearing of the men who


to them - Geo. W. Hussey, Fred Wellman and M. C. Wyman. Each pleaded guilty, and was fined $81 including costs. Each Paid.

Lewiston Evening Journal, 14-Dec-1883


Verdict of the Coroner's Jury - Turner Confesses He is Guilty of Rape - Old Joe's Body Placed in the Tomb - Arrest of Rumsellers

In our afternoon and evening editions of Thursday, we gave a full account of the Richmond outrage. The following additional are sent by our correspondent:

The coroner's jury completed their work, Thursday evening. The jury was composed of the following gentlemen: Stephen F. Blanchard, Samuel H. Lancaster, George C. Gaubert, Benjamin F. Kidder, Joseph M. Curtis and Samuel H. Ring organized by Coroner Charles H. Hodges.

The autopsy was made by Drs. C. W. Price and A. Libby, and the following is a report of autopsy handed your reported by Dr. Price.

Autopsy nine hours after death: Cause of death, rupture of blood vessels, producing effusion of blood between membranes covering brain; four to five ounces of blood and serous removed from the brain. Death almost instantaneous. The form of heel marks with nails all over face.

The verdict of the jury is, in effect, that Joseph Denney, (not Dennis, as at first reported,) came to his death from blows inflicted with fist and boot by Lewis E. Hopkins, and that Lorenzo H. Turner was present and is accessory to the crime. Turner has confessed that he committed the rape, but says he was not in the house when the murder was committed. George W. Hussey, Fred Wellman and M. C. Wyman, all keepers of saloons, were arrested Thursday evening on charge of selling the liquor to the men.

The witnesses to the murder have been bound over in $200 bonds to appear before the Grand Jury at Bath at the December term of court.

The body of Old Joe will be placed in the tomb at the Richmond burying ground.


Lewiston Evening Journal, 15-Dec-1883


[Associated Press Dispatches by Western Union Line to Lewiston Daily Journal.]


Arrival of the Richmond Criminals at Augusta.

AUGUSTA, Dec. 14th.

Friday afternoon the ravisher, Lewis E. Hopkins, who murdered "Indian Joe" at Richmond, Thursday night, and his accomplice and companion, Lorenzo H. Turner, were brought to Augusta and incarcerated in jail. At each station crowds collected to get a glimpse of the criminals. When the train arrived at Augusta, an excited throng of men and boys gathered at the station and surged around the prisoners as they alighted. Cries of "shoot them," "lynch them," and "hang them" were frequently heard. A crowd followed the officers and prisoners to jail.



Body of Joseph Denney Taken to Oldtown for Burial

[Special Dispatch to Lewiston Journal.]

RICHMOND, Me., Dec. 15.

The body of Joseph Denney, the murdered Indian, was taken to Oldtown, for burial, on Saturday morning's Pullman, in charge of Coroner Hodges.


Probably the Richmond murderers are glad a thick stone wall is between them and the Augusta crowd which followed them from the cars to the jail, Friday afternoon with cries of "Lynch them!" "Shoot them!" etc. It is fair to assume that these outbursts were not the frantic howlings of a blood-thirsty mob, but rather the harmless bubblings of a few boys and men, who were not half so excited as they pretended to be and wished to make the guilty men as unhappy as possible. If the Richmond outrage had been committed in some new Western settlement, inhabited by men less influenced by the restraints of law and order than the citizens of the staid State, the demonstrations of indignation probably would have taken a more vigorous form and the prisoners would have good reason to congratulate themselves upon being upon the right side of the jail. Maine, we are glad to know, is a law and order State. Those who recollect the Maine Count-out, will be forced to confess that much. We believe that but one lynching has ever occurred in Maine. That took place in a plantation in the northern part of the State. ...


Lewiston Evening Journal, 17-Dec-1883


The Partners in the Richmond Crime Taking Life Easy in Augusta Jail.

The ravisher and murderer, Lewis E. Hopkins and his accomplice in crime, Lorenzo H. Turner, are taking life easy in Augusta jail. They sleep soundly each night and are hearty eaters. They do not appear to be worried in the least as to the consequences of their crime. Indeed one of them was heard to exclaim Saturday, "This don't amount to anything, we are coming out all right." Both of them are secured in the same cell. When visited Saturday Turner was lying down on his cot, while his companion was sitting in a chair with his coat thrown over his shoulders. Both were smoking. Hopkins came from Albion originally and it is asserted that he came from a respectable family. His father was a tanner in the town for many years. His sister is the wife of Mr. J.B. Besse, also a tanner ad one of the first citizens of Albion. He has a brother in the grocery business in Wayne. Hopkins worked in Waterville and married his wife, a French woman, there.

Source: Lewiston Evening Journal
Transcribed by: Canyon Wolf for Ne-Do-Ba

Additional Documents in this Series:
Newspaper Coverage of the Murder - Daily Kennebec Journal
Newspaper Coverage of the Murder - Boston Daily Globe
Newspaper Coverage of the Trial - Lewiston Journal
Elizabeth Polis - In Her Own Words