Walnut Items in The Avoca Delta, 1875



Below we give the verdict of the coroner’s jury in the case of Bernard Dunn, killed while endeavoring to escape from the custody of officer Hinckley, at Walnut last Wednesday. We do this at the request of the citizens of Walnut and Avoca, who feel justly indignant at the aspirations cast upon their officers by our contemporary of the Atlantic Telegraph. So far as our officers here are concerned, everything was done possible to arrest Dunn at the time he stole the horses, but he managed to elude them. The measures taken and plans laid for his capture were such as every officer of common sense would employ, and their failure to secure Dunn before he reached Walnut was for no want of diligence on their part as will be seen from the following: Dunn was arrested, and tried after that to shoot the officer and escape, and also that Mr. Hinckley did not fire on him till he found that he was compelled to do so to save his own life. Not only the coroner’s jury but every citizen in both towns fully exonerate both Mr. Hinckley and Messrs. Beswick, Cool and others from all blame in the matter. Dunn was arrested with the stolen horse in his possession. The testimony before the coroner’s jury of several of the best citizens of Walnut shows that he deliberately tried to shoot Mr. Hinckley while in his custody as an officer of the law, that Mr. H. did not fire upon him till he saw that the prisoner while running from him was trying to get the cylinder of his revolver to work, and had snapped it at him as he ran, and then only where he felt that his own life was in jeopardy.

It was an unfortunate affair, certainly, but after a careful inquiry into all the circumstances of the case from the time the officers learned of the theft up to the time of Dunn’s death, we fail to find one single item that shows any collusion between the officers concerned, or any disposition to do more than simply arrest Dunn and allow the law to take its course.

So far as Mr. Beswick is concerned, the history of his connection with this affair is as follows: Brown came to the night watch Car and told him Dunn was going to steal a horse last Tuesday night week, and wanted him to arrange to arrest him. Marshal Beswick got hold of Brown and told him he must go in with Dunn and learn his plans to steal the horse so he could entice Dunn into town to enable them to arrest him. Brown refused at first, but was finally prevailed upon to do so. Before he went after the horses Dunn proposed that he and Brown should go and ravish a woman who lived alone to far from Avoca, but Brown refused. After this he went to steal the horses. Brown notified Beswick they would go through Walnut about three o’clock Wednesday morning, Mr. B. and John Cool went down there and remained till daylight, when they returned to Avoca, leaving the matter in Hinckley’s hands. They had not unhitched their horses when Brown sent them information that he had Dunn in Walnut and wanted them to come and arrest him They immediately returned, but Dunn was killed before they arrived and in the manner above described.

The fact is the officers knew Dunn by reputation, knew him to be a man who would commit any crime, and they felt it their duty to secure his arrest, and commitment to relieve the community of a known scourge. So far as the “glory and blood’ part of the business is concerned, it’s all in Bro. Young’s eye. If the Telegraph had taken a little trouble to find out the facts in the case instead of firing at the bunch, its enterprise in the matter would have been more highly appreciated, and Bro. Y. would never have penned such flagrantly unjust remarks upon the officers. Of all other men, the officers of the law should receive the countenance and support of journalists, and not their condemnation and it is also the part of wisdom when you know nothing of the history of the case to wait till you can get something reliable and trust worthy in the matter.



An inquisition holden at Walnut, in the County of Pottawattamie and State of Iowa, on the 20th day of May 1875, before W. H. Linfor, Justice of the Peace, acting as coroner of said County, upon the body of Bernard Dunn, there lying dead, by the jurors who names are hereto subscribed.

The  said jury when on their oaths do say that the said Barnard Dunn came to his death while attempting to escape from C. R. Hinckley, who was endeavoring to arrest him, and who was, at the time of said death acting as an officer of the law in making said arrest, and that said Barnard Dunn had deliberately fired a revolver at said Hinckley, and was attempting to again fire at him and escape from custody, when he was shot by said Hinckley, and that said Hinckley shot said Dunn in self defence when his own life was in imminent peril at the hands of said Dunn, who had committed the crime of grand larceny and was attempting to escape and to murder said Hinckley. And the said jurors exhonerate said Hinckley from all blame or guilt in the matter, and find that the killing of said Dunn was done in self-defence by said Hinckley and while said Hinckley was in the discharge of his duty as aforesaid.

In testimony whereof the said jurors have hereunto set their hands the day and year aforesaid.




W. H. LINFER, J. P. and Act. Coroner.

(June 3, 1875, p. 3)

John Sankey, son of the landlord of the Walnut Hotel was kicked by a horse, last week, on the left cheek, crushing the bones in a frightful manner. Dr. Hanna was called to the case and fixed up his cheek so it would be as good as new. The young man is now doing nicely. (June 3, 1875 p. 3)

Last Thursday we received a call from Leander Lodge, of the firm of Lodge Bros, Walnut. These gentlemen are dishing up matters in the line of dry goods groceries and notions in good style, and their uniform courtesy and fair dealing has gained for them a host of customers and friends which the reasonable price at which they sell goods has enabled them to retain. We had a very pleasant chat with the gentleman. (June 3, 1875 p. 3)