Joseph L. Bogan
Tragical Death of a Young Man While Out Hunting

On Monday, the 14th, a party composed of Joseph L. BOGAN, G. H. PATTON, 
J. K. ALBRIGHT, Theodore TROMLY, and C. D. MORRISON, left Mt. Vernon for 
Skillet Fork, in the south part of Wayne County, on a hunting expedition.  
At Middleton, some 15 miles east of here, the party was joined by Jarvis 
WILLIAMSON, E. N. KARN, Richard CHILDRES, and James LEWIS, old hunters 
who knew the country, and the former of whom owned a pack of hounds.  
The party went out for the purpose of shooting deer, turkeys and other 
game. They were equipped with everything usually taken with such 
expeditions, such as provisions, bed clothing, cooking utensils, etc.  
Arriving on the hunting ground, they encamped a short distance below the 
McLeansboro & Fairfield bridge. Here they remained until Thursday morning, 
when it was agreed that they would move some three or four miles further 
down, where it was thought that game would be found in more abundance.

As Mr. WILLIAMSON, who owned the hounds, desired to return home at noon, 
the whole party concluded to hunt until that time, and then all come in 
and start for the new quarters. Mr. WILLIAMSON and Mr. ALBRIGHT went out 
on horseback with the dogs, while BOGAN and TROMLY started off afoot. In 
a few moments a large buck was started by the dogs. The animal was fired 
at by BOGAN and one or two others as it passed, while WILLIAMSON followed 
it on horseback. By this time the members of the party were scattered in 
every direction, all eagerly watching an opportunity to get a shot at the 
deer. It ran a great distance, followed by WILLIAMSON and the dogs, and it 
soon became evident that it would make its escape. So he called off the hounds, 
and soon after, in company with the Middleton party, left for home.

At noon all the balance of the party except BOGAN, had returned to the old 
camp, preparatory to moving in accordance with the morning’s arrangements. 
Signals were given for him, but he did not come. Word was left with some 
board members nearby to tell him to follow when he did come in, and the party 
gathered up everything and left. They reached their destination a short time 
before dark, and having completed their arrangements for camping, began 
their signals for BOGAN, which were kept up until twelve o’clock. He not 
arriving at that time, it was naturally concluded that he had remained at 
the old camp, which was a log shanty, and would be in the next morning. Up 
to noon Friday no uneasiness was felt, as it was thought he would take his 
own time in coming. Indeed, it was not until evening that his non-appearance 
began to create a suspicion that all was not right. But even then it was 
suggested that he had gone to Middleton, and as they intended to return on 
Saturday morning they would find him at that place. This presumption seemed 
to be plausible.

On Saturday morning they came on to Middleton, but were surprised to hear 
nothing of him. It then became evident that he was back in the woods, and 
that he had either got lost or some accident had befallen him. Feeling that 
they would do very little towards finding him in the deep and almost 
impenetrable forest, which covers an area in the counties of Hamilton, 
White and Wayne of a good sized county, with but a house here and there, 
they reasoned that the shortest and best way would be to come on here and 
gather a crowd to go in search of him. This was done, and about 25 or 30 men 
were in a very few minutes on the way there. It was late Saturday night when 
they arrived in the neighborhood, and nothing would be done until morning.  

At daylight search was immediately instituted, and about 9 o’clock he was 
found dead, near the place where he had last been seen. His body lay in a 
lagoon, the head entirely gone, and his whole person horribly mangled by hogs, 
which were at that very moment holding a carnival over the remains. His gun 
lay near a tree, at a distance of 15 feet, with both barrels discharged, and 
the stock broken just behind the breech-pin. The body was nearly buried in 
mud, which was tough, and it was with great difficulty that it was dragged out.  
The sight was a shocking one, moving and melting the stoutest heart. The body 
had evidently lain there since Thursday, and had the discovery been two hours 
later it was the opinion of all that it would have been stripped of every 
particle of flesh by the hogs.

The sad news reached Mt. Vernon about 4 o’clock Sunday, and created the most 
profound feeling of sympathy and regret. A sudden pall was thrown over every 
countenance, none expecting to hear of such a horrible fate of one who had so 
recently moved among us clothed in glowing health, young and vigorous with 
every promise of a long and useful life before him.

His body came in about 8 o’clock and was take to the Court House, where it 
was examined by the physicians, washed, dressed, and placed in a neat coffin, 
and then taken to the residence of John S. BOGAN, brother of the deceased.  
The funeral took place at 10 o’clock on Monday, and was attended by a very 
large number of our citizens. 

There are, of course, a great variety of opinions as to how he met his death.  
Many believe, from certain indications manifested by the appearance of various 
mutilations of the body, that he was murdered. Others are firmly of the opinion 
that he was accidentally shot while leaning on his gun, which seems the more 
probable; but what the incidents were leading to an accidental discharge of 
the piece of course never will be known. The future may unravel circumstances 
that may reveal the whole mystery, and it may not.

Mr. BOGAN was in his 25th year. He was born in Washington, D.C., where his 
father, several of his brothers, and other relatives now reside. He had a 
brother here, J. S. BOGAN, Clerk of the Circuit Court, and one sister, wife 
of Geo. H. VARNELL. Another brother, H. M. BOGAN, lives in Jefferson precinct, 
this county. He was a young man of good education, and very good business 
qualities. He was a pet with the young men of the town, and was loved and 
respected by all, old and young. He was very fond of the chase, and was always 
ready to drop everything and go when such enterprises were named. He was a good 
shot – one of the best in the country. He had killed a fine fawn on Wednesday 
evening, and was in high glee over his good luck. But “accidents will happen” 
and poor “Joe’s” has been tragical enough, yet the inscrutable will of Providence 
must be submitted to and acknowledged.

Source: Mt. Vernon Free Press 
Date: Friday, October 25, 1867
Submitted by: Mary Zinzilieta

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