DN gives its report of the killing of Brassfield.

Apr 12, 1866
News (traditional)
Deseret News

"The Killing of Brassfield," Deseret News 15, no. 19 (April 12, 1866): 4

Deseret News
Z. Snow, Mary Hill, S. P. McCurdy, S. Newton Brassfield, A. N. Hill, Deseret News
Reading Public

As we have already published, a Mr. S. Newton Brassfield was killed on first South St., Monday evening, April 2d, buy a shot from some person still unknown. This summary citation to meet the future has caused quite an amount of comment, as varied and surmises, style and character as are the classes commenting, to which we add some of our views of the case, based upon statements deemed the most reliable.

It is said that Brassfield, not long since, came here from Austin, Nevada. This occupation and general conduct during his sojourn we are not informed, nothing concerning him having come under our notice until recently. Among other operations, however, either through great foolishness on his part, or through the influence of evil counsel, or both, he was lately married to a Mrs. Mary Hill, wife of Archibald N. Hill, who is absent on a mission in Europe.

It is possible that, had Mary Hill been Elder A. N. Hill's only living wife, Mr. Brassfield might have taken a different course; at least the advice given him with no doubt have been different, as in that case robbing another man of his wife would nearly have extended by one more of the instances of fashionable corruption, while his advisers would not have looked upon it so particularly favoring in their insane efforts against plurality of wives.

Had Mary Hill left the children and only taken one portion of the property the rest of the family deemed just, or arbitrated the matter, the illegally married couple would probably have been separate to pursue their way to their own liking, as has been done. But no, in the absence of the father and owner, she and Brassfield attempted to take away the children and such property as she pleased to claim; and, when opposed in their unlawful course, Brassfield threatened to shoot. But threatening availing nothing, the party applied for a writ of habeas corpus, to procure the children, which was granted by and, on the fourth inst., argued in chambers before the Hon. S. P. McCurdy, U. S. Associate Justice as signed to the Second Judicial District, this being the Third. The law says that such a writ “may be served in any part of the Territory," but whether a Judge can lawfully issue, here and decide upon such a writ outside of his District is, to say the least, very questionable. The Honorable Z. Snow, Deputy Attorney General, conducted the defense, able presenting the chief points in the case. Illness prevented the attendance of the Attorney General. The Judge’s decision had not reached us at going to press.

The foregoing is a brief and plant statement of the main features of the case, and is correctly in accordance with the most reliable information on the subject. Whether Brassfield was killed by some one whom he had threatened to shoot, or buy some relation or a friend of Elder Hill’s family, or buy some one who had made a cat's-paw of him and his ill-starred operations, or buy some one of his acquaintances, to settle a grudge, thinking it would, of course, I'll be laid up on the ’Mormons', or buy some one outside of these for named classes, is yet to be learned.

We are told that Brassfield has been heard to remark that he had rather have given $3,000 then to have got into such a scrape. Those who had given him such unfortunate advice had, probably, began to see their folly.

Whoever did the shooting appears to have been fleet of foot, for he was closely pursued to First East street., running the gauntlet of several pistol shot, then north to S. Temple street, then went to pass this Office, where his pursuers lost sight of him in the darkness.

There is an ancient and true writing which reads: — As ye sow so also shall ye reap. Mr. Brassfield is said to have come here to engage in freighting to Austin, &c., and, had he not so grossly infringed upon the rights of another, it is presumable that he, as do all her mind their own business, would have passed and re-passed entirely unmolested, for then there would have been no family foully wronged, and consequently no clock under which revenge for an old garage could be laid upon the ‘Mormons’. But Mr. Brassfield seems to have chosen to bury the monotony of legitimate business by sowing the robbing another man of his wife and a further effort to rob him of a part of his children, to say nothing about property, and he speedily reaped the fruit such as sewing is apt to produce in all communities we have ever lived in or heard of.

However much violence is to be deprecated as a method for righting wrongs, we presume sometime will yet elapse before laws are so enacted, observed and enforced, anywhere in Christendom, that's an invasion of the rights of the domestic circle will not have to run the risk of meeting sudden retribution, either at the hands of those directly aggrieved, or at the hands of some enemy under the cloak presented by so strong and general a feeling of just indignation.

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