Dailey Union Vedette reports on the killing of Coleman and the jury's findings in the case.

Dec 15, 1866
News (traditional)
Daily Union Vedette
2nd Hand

"The Killing of Thos. Coleman Monday Night," Daily Union Vedette, December 15, 1886, 2

Daily Union Vedette
Daily Union Vedette, Thomas Coleman, George Stringham
Reading Public

A colored man named Thomas Coleman, being known in this city as an attendant at the Salt Lake Hotel, was assassinated on Monday night, and murdered apparently in cold blood, his throat being cut with his own knife, before other wounds inflicted. We have restrained form doing more than chronicling this murder to see what result might be arrived at by the Coroner's Jury. The body was found near the arsenal at the head of Main Street, on Tuesday evening. That we may be entirely orthodox in our statement, we quote the following form the Daily Telegraph of this county, of the 12th instant:

FOUND DEAD. —Thomas Coleman, generally known as "Nigger Tom," was found about 9 p.m. last night by the police with a stab in the right breast and his throat cut.

The police were informed by a citizen last night that a negro lay dead near the arsenal, just outside the city wall. Captain Burt, with a squad of men start a search, and by the assistance of lanterns, found the body as stated, just above the arsenal. It was immediately recognized as "Tom's." He lay on his back, his head westward and his own bowie knife (marked T. Coleman) laying near him. He was evidently killed on Monday night, as some boys reported having discovered the body in the afternoon of yesterday. A large sheet of paper, with the following inscription written with a pencil in large letter, was attached to the body:


The exclamation points so artistically arranged, we are informed by the Telegraph, are due to the taste of somebody connected with that paper, and not to the unknown him, or [unclear], who perpetrated the deed and inscribed the placard. That the deed, by whomsoever done, was cool, premeditated and planned beforehand, is apparent from this one circumstance alone, namely, the prepared placard of warning left on the body. Men, who, roused to the phrensy of passion by real or supposed outrage to wife, sister or daughter, and in that state commit murder, do not go prepared with warning placards, or stop after the deed to write and affix them. Nick of the Woods, the Jibbenainosay of the Western wilds, when he started on the war path against his declared foe, and succeeded in slaying him, is supposed to have left his peculiar on the dead body to strike terror to the red man. The Thugs of India are said to put their mark or placard on their murdered dead, in the very wantonness of cruelty and depravity. The Carbonari of Italy, the blood-thirsty brigands and highwaymen of Europe indulge in similar pastime. Such marks, the world over, are the indicia of banded murderers and of Ishmaelites of the darkest grade. Such warnings, placards, notices, are never the result of a single hand; and human nature, differing as it does among individuals, yet in the mass, is the same in Utah as in the wilds of India, the plains of Italy, and the Steppes of Russia.

Who, then, committed this last called Dash blooded, predetermined and planned murder of "Nigger Tom,” as he is classically and delicately styled by the Telegraph? We have the report of the cab corners Inquest. Here it is in full, as we find it in the telegraph, not having been present at the examination:

THE INQUEST. —the coroners jury brought in the following the verdict yesterday, as to the death of Coleman.

G. S. L. City, Dec. 12.

We the jury empaneled and sworn to inquire as it relates to the death of Thomas Coleman, defined from the testimony and apparent circumstances that the sad Coleman was found in company with a white woman, at or near the place where he was found dead, by some relative or friend of the woman, and was then and there set upon, and beat in the head with a large stone, which was lying by his head with blood on it. There was a knife lying by him which had Coleman’s name engraved on it; said knife was known to belong to Coleman; said knife was bloody. There were three wounds inflicted on him; one on the neck and two on the body, which we have reason to believe we're done with sadness.

The person or persons committing said murder to the jury are unknown.

Geo. Stringham, Sen.,


Now, "not to put too fine a point on it," we take that product to be novelty of its kind

What witnesses testified we are not informed, but we are curious to know how the jury ascertained that "said Coleman was found in company with a white woman, at or near the place which he was found dead, by some relative or friend of the woman and was then and there" killed. If any witnesses swore to anything of the kind; if he was a cute enough to know that it was a "relative or friend of the white woman," could he not at least have given some clue to the perpetrator of the deed, if the jurors had been of an inquiring mind? But in fact, is not the whole verdict found an entirely the theory suggested by the placard? We suspect so, truly, and that the only fact ascertained by the jury was, that Thos. Coleman was found with his throat cut, with his own body knife, and a retired spot, and a warning notice affixed to the dead body. Whether there was any white women with him; whether he was killed elsewhere and carried to the rear of the arsenal; whether there was one, two or a dozen engaged in the bodywork of retribution, if retribution it work, we suspect our all matters of conjecture, about which anybody else can exercise their imagination as well as the jury.

What Coleman's misdeed may have been, we neither know nor care, and it seems trifling with justice for a jury on their oath and on so flimsy a foundation to seek to throw a cloak over such a deed. Relation, and friends of white women so cruelly wronged, as it is suggested some were in this case, do not seek the darkness of night to avenge their insults. Individual passion and sense of wounded honor, nowhere out of Utah, go forth at night armed with written placards of warning, lest some of their neighbors maybe in like danger. We submit that the killing of Thos. Coleman, negro though he was, should be shifted to some other than the lame and impotent conclusion to which the jury arrived.

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