A Shocking Double Tragedy Near Wolfsville, this Valley, Last Saturday Afternoon - Mad with Jealousy, Edward MORGAN, aged 26, shoots Miss Orpha HARSHMAN, aged 16, to Death on the Highway, Because She had Rejected his Attentions. Followed Her from Home to Commit the Cruel Deed - After Killing Miss Harshman, Morgan Fires Five Bullets into His Own Body, Re-Loading in Order to Do So, and Dies Six Hours Later –
A "Register" Representative Visits the Scene - The Funerals
The most terrible tragedy that has ever occurred in Middletown Valley was perpetrated near Wolfsville, in the extreme northern section of the Valley, between 3 and 4 o'clock last Saturday evening, when Edward L. MORGAN, aged 26 years, in a fit of revenge and jealousy, shot and almost instantly killed Miss Orpha V. HARSHMAN, an estimable young lady aged 16 years, and then ended his own miserable life by firing five bullets into his body.
The shocking affair caused the most intense excitement among the good people of Wolfsville and vicinity and created a wave of sorrow and indignation among the many friends of the cruelly murdered girl. The tragedy occurred on the public road leading from the Smithburg to the Foxville Road, and about a half mile from Wolfsville and about the same distance from the home of Miss Harshman and her murderer. There were no witnesses to the horrible affair, and the sensational reports appearing in some of the papers detailing how the young lady begged for her life, and how Morgan ordered her to repeat her last prayer before he ended her life are pure fabrications.
Miss Harshman and Morgan were step-sister and brother, although there was no blood relationship. Young Morgan was a son of Mr. James Wesley MORGAN, a furniture manufacturer, and a gentleman who is held in high esteem by the community at large. He was formerly from near Myersville, this Valley. Mr. Morgan's present wife was married three times, her first husband being Cornelius HARSHMAN and her second, Benjamin GREEN. The murdered girl was a daughter of Mrs. Morgan by her first marriage. Mr. Morgan's deceased wife was a Miss RECHER. His present wife is a daughter of the late Daniel HOOVER, of Highland.
A representative of The Register, accompanied by Justice Ezra REMSBURG, of this place, visited the scene of the tragedy on Sunday and obtained a true story of the shocking affair.
MORGAN'S ATTENTIONS REJECTED –
Up until a week before the tragedy, young Morgan had been living in his father's family, but a quarrel over his persistent and long continued attentions to Miss Harshman, which were very distasteful to her, resulted in his being ordered to leave the house, which he did, taking up quarters in the warehouse adjoining the furniture factory opposite the home of his father.
Morgan's attentions to the young lady began over a year ago, and from the very first she rejected him. On one occasion he told her that if he was not permitted to make her his wife, no one else ever should. This was only taken as an idle threat and no further attention was paid to it. Morgan kept up his attentions to Miss Harshman notwithstanding; she repeatedly demanded that he desist, and on several occasions she declared she would leave home if the annoyance did not cease. Morgan refused to give up his love for the young lady and was so persistent in his demands that she marry him that finally Mrs. Morgan declared her daughter must be protected from the annoyance, and this resulted in Morgan leaving the house as above stated.
Miss Harshman had other admirers and the Sunday evening before the tragedy, entertained a gentleman friend. This, together with his being compelled to leave the house because of Miss Harshman's rejection of his attentions, intensified Morgan's jealousy to such an extent that it is believed he determined to murder the young lady and kill himself, while in a passion of jealousy and despair. Only recently Miss Harshman stated to friends that she was afraid to travel after night, feeling that Morgan would attack her on account of his jealousy.
THE STORY OF THE TRAGEDY
The home of Mr. Morgan, a neat two-story frame dwelling, with a pretty covered porch the full length in front, is located about half a mile up the road leading from the Ellerton Road at the East edge of Wolfsville - Opposite the dwelling is a large two-story frame building used as a furniture factory and adjoining this is another two-story frame structure used as a warehouse. When young Morgan left his father's house he took up quarters in the warehouse, where he boarded himself.
On Saturday afternoon between 3 and 4 o'clock, Miss Harshman started to go to the home of her sister, Mrs, David E. BARKMAN, 1 1/2 miles northwest of her home. She carried a small bundle under her arm. In order to reduce the distance, Miss Harshman took a "short cut" across the fields. This brought her out on the public road on the summit of a small mountain range leading from S.P. BEAR's to Allen HAY's, and within a few yards of where Howard PALMER was killed a short time ago by his team running away.
Morgan saw Miss Harshman leave the house and he followed her. He was seen at the warehouse a few minutes after Miss Harshman left. This was the last seen of both until they were found lying in the road. Where Morgan overtook his victim is not known, nor what transpired after their meeting will never be ascertained, as no one witnessed the terrible affair.
HOW THE TRAGEDY WAS DISCOVERED
Mr. Charles M. KLINE, who was taking his mother home in a buggy, came suddenly upon the two bodies lying in the road, just where Miss Harshman is supposed to have climbed over the fence from the field. Both were surrounded by pools of blood and Morgan was struggling and groaning. Mr. Kline was so overcome by the frightful sight that he failed to recognize the two, taking them to be tramps. He drove on hurriedly to Scott T. MARTIN's nearby and notified the family of his discovery. Mr. Martin drove hastily to Wolfsville for Dr. Lewis LAMAR (father of D.A.A. LAMAR of Middletown) and Dr. Lamar in turn summoned Dr. A.S. SMITH to assist him.
In the meantime Mr. Kline and members of Mr. Martin's family returned to the scene, when they discovered who the parties were. Miss Harshman was dying and breathed her last in a few moments. Morgan was struggling and groaning in a frightful manner. When Mr. Kline first discovered the bodies, Miss Harshman was in the gutter by the side of a stone fence on her knees, with her head bent forward. Morgan was lying in such a position that his head almost touched Miss Harshman's head. When Mr. Kline returned to the scene the second time, Morgan had struggled to the middle of the road. The weapon with which the terrible deed was committed was found lying in the road. It was a five shot, double action, 32 calibre Iver-Johnson revolver.
When Dr. Lamar arrived, he found Miss Harshman dead. She had been shot in the right temple, the ball passing through her head and coming out on the left side. Another shot, which was presumable the first one fired, grazzed her breast in the region of the heart, leaving a contusion, and also a burn on the inside of her left arm, caused by the dress taking fire from the powder. The cartridge must have been defective as the ball was found within her dress.
Morgan, after shooting Miss Harshman, reloaded his revolver and fired five balls into his own body. One ball entered his right temple, and passed down throught his mouth; another entered his cheek; two lodged in his stomach, and what was presumably the last shot fired when he was too weak to hold the revolver, entered the front of his left thigh and lodged just under the flesh. Morgan, who was still alive, was taken home in the spring wagon and placed in the warehouse, where he died at 10:20 pm, six hours later. He never regained consciousness. A stone weighing about 1 1/2 pounds was found in Morgan's pocket, also a flask of whiskey from which only a small quantity had been taken.
WITH 3 BALLS IN HIM HE RELOADS
The revolver, when found, contained two empty shells, while three loaded shells were lying on the ground nearby. It is thought after firing the two shots at Miss Harshman he shot the remaining three balls into his own body. It is supposed he then attempted to reload the weapon, but finding his strength gone after getting two cartridges into place, dropped the remaining three and fired those in the revolver into his body. A bullet mark on the stone wall just back of where Miss Harshman was found, was evidently made by a the ball that passed through her head.
News of the shocking affair spread rapidly and in a short time crowds of people were hastening to the scene - Both parties were well known in the communtiy and men, women and children ran from their homes to ascertain the facts in the case. Such a horrible affair in a usually quiet community was well calculated to create intense excitement. Miss Harshman was a most estimible young lady and was held in the highest esteem by a wide circle of friends. She was pretty, quite reodest(?) in her manners, and was an obedient daughter. Everyone spoke well of her to The Register representative; and the cruel manner in which she met her death, while perfectly helpless and at the mercy of her frenzied slayer, caused indignation to be mingled with grief.
Justice L.H. WARRENFELTZ had a jury summmoned by Constable Harvey BUHRMAN, and after viewing the body and visiting the scene of the tragedy, proceeded to hold an inquest. The jury was as follows: George R. STOTTLEMYER, foreman; J.W. HOOVER, H.L. BRANDENBURG, Chester R. BRANDENBURG, Harry B. GILBERT, Jonathan N. WOLF, George W. BLICKENSTAFF, N.R. BLICKENSTAFF, Preston E. FREY, Benjamin F. PRYOR, George W. WILLIAMS and Scott T. MARTIN. Very little evidence of any importance was brought out in the testimony. One of the witnesses, Mr. Peter BAER, who lives near the scene of the tragedy, stated that he heard five pistol shots, followed some minutes later by two more shots. It was further brought out in evidence that Morgan had met Miss Harshman at Wolfsville on Saturday morning and asked her if she had the mail. She replied in the affirmative and passed on. Those who were summoned before the jury were Messrs. John T. HARSHMAN, guardian for the murdered girl; Ira V. HARSHMAN, her cousin; Thomas HARP; Simon P. BAER; Adam B. MARTIN; Samuel O. FOLTZ; Charles M. KLINE; Emory FREY; John HARP; Irving R. MORGAN, brother of Miss Harshman's slayer; Roy HARSHMAN, brother of the girl; Mrs. Clara MORGAN, her mother; and Drs. LAMAR and SMITH. The jury returned a verdict that "Orpha Harshman came to her death at the hands of Edward L. Morgan who feloniously and with malice aforethought, did shoot said Orpha Harshman in the right temple, inflicting a mortal wound, of which said Orpha Harshman died."
On Sunday afternoon Justice Warrenfeltz held the inquest over the remains of Morgan. The same jury served and the same witnesses were heard, except the first three mentioned above. The usual verdict was rendered. This inquest was held in the warehouse, where Morgan's body lay, enclosed in a casket.
It was reported Sunday afternoon that some children gathering dandelions in the mountain, heard swearing and some one exclaim: "You've got to die," but very little credence was placed in the rumor. A letter was found in Morgan's desk in the warehouse, which he had written to a New York firm a few days before the tragedy, asking for work. It was well worded, but there was nothing in it to indicate the terrible tragedy that he enacted afterwards. Morgan purchased the revolver with which he did the shooting about a year ago.
Over the back of a chair in the room in which the remains of Miss Harshman lay on Sunday afternoon, was a handsome dress, well made and tastefully trimmed. This outfit Miss Harshman had just finished making for herself and she had expected to wear it to Wolfsville to attend the Lutheran Church on the very day that she lay still in death.
Large numbers of people visited the scene of the tragedy on Sunday and there was quite a crowd at the home of the murdered girl. Many persons viewed the remains of both. Miss Harshman's body was in an ice-box in the parlor of her home, while that of her slayer was in a casket in a room in the warehouse. All along the road from Ellerton to Wolfsville, little groups of people could be seen discussing in a quiet manner the details of the horrible affair.
The Register representative secured a half dozen fine photographs of the scenes connected with the tragedy. ; The faithful Wolfsville correspondent of The Register, Mr. J. Luther FREY, was on the scene soon after the tragedy, and through his valuable assistance Sunday afternoon, the Register reporter was enabled to secure much information. Mr. Frey has since furnished us with an account of the funerals of the victims, which appears below.
Dr. Lamar, of Middletown, went to Wolfsville on Monday, and returned with the pistol with which Morgan did the shooting, also the bullet-marked stone from the fence. The news of the tragedy reached Frederick on Saturday night, and Sheriff PATTERSON, with Deputy Samuel ROWE, coroner Thomas TURNER, Dr. Ira J. McCURDY and a Frederick newspaper correspondent of the Baltimore papers, chartered an electric car and started for Myersville at 2 o'clock Sunday morning. From Myersville they went to Wolfsville in a private conveyance. Arriving there, they were informed that Justice Warrenfeltz had taken charge of the case and they had nothing to do but return home.
FUNERAL OF MISS HARSHMAN
The funeral of Miss Harshman took place from Grossnickle's Meeting House near Middlepoint, between Wolfsville and Ellerton, at noon Monday. It is said to have been the largest funeral held there for many years. Fifty-two vehicles were in the funeral cortege. The meeting house was packed to overflowing, many being unable to get in. Elder Silas HARP read the scripture lesson and offered prayer. Elder Charles AUSHERMAN preached an excellent sermon from First Samuel xx, 3, "there is but a step between me and death." Elder Geoge LEATHERMAN offered the prayer at the grave, and the scene, as the casket was being lowered into the grave, was pathetic.
Nearly the entire assemblage was in tears. Strong men broke down and wept like children - The honorary pall bearers were Misses Calmeda and Estie BRANDENBURG, Emma, Sadie and Jennie K. WOLF, and Libbie (or Linnie) BARKMAN. The active pall bearers were Ray (or Roy) and Keefer BRANDENBURG, Thomas HARP, Wyatt WARRENFELTZ, Harry BLICKENSTAFF and Wade H. WOLF. James A. GROVE was funeral director.
Her mother, Mrs. Clara V. MORGAN; three sisters: Mrs. Charles MARKER, of Funkstown; Mrs. John D. BRANDENBURG and Mrs. David E. BARKMAN of Wolfsville; one brother, Roy HARSHMAN at home; one half-sister, Miss Maud GREEN; one half-brother, Master Jasper MORGAN; her step-father, Mr. James W. MORGAN; three step-brothers and two step-sisters; survive to mourn their loss. The sympathy of the communtiy goes out to the bereaved relatives, especially to the mother whose footsteps along the pathway of life seem to be attended by many afflictions. She had already lost a sister in a runaway accident, two husbands had been torn away by the icy hand of death, as was also another daughter, and recently her new barn was destroyed by fire. The deceased was highly esteemed by those who knew her, and her untimely death is sincerely regretted and mouned by a wide circle of friends.
THE FUNERAL OF MORGAN
The funeral of Edward L. MORGAN, the slayer of Miss Harshman, took place in the Reformed Cemetery at Wolfsville at 5 o'clock Monday evening. Rev. H.S. DITZEL preached a sermon from the subject "What Is Your Life?" in which he briefly called attention to the right way of living. A large number of persons were present. The pall bearers were: Messrs. P.E. FREY, Urner HAYS, John HORNE, Adam B. MARTIN, Roy BRANDENBURG, Emory FREY.
Morgan is survived by his father, James W. MORGAN; three brothers: Irving R. Rufus R. and J. Elmer; two sisters: Mrs. Aona SMITH of Hagerstown; Mrs. Emma HARRISON of Beaver Creek; a half-brother Jasper MORGAN; a step-mother; three step-sisters and one step-brother.
Presuming, of course, that The Register would contain the best and most correct account of the tragedy, orders have been pouring in all week for extra copies until the number ordered has already reached 150. Many will have to be supplied with half sheets.
(Edward Morgan's mother was Delilah [RECHER] MORGAN d/o John and Ann Maria RECHER; she died 15 Dec 1885, aged 47 years, 8 months and 15 days; buried in the Reformed Cemetery in Wolfsville, as are her parents. - provided by Kim Harman)