Well, it had to come out eventually. I try to avoid clichés like “murder most foul” but here it is in the Adams Sentinel, February 7, 1842. But it was a particularly foul murder; James E. Lanier not only killed his two little sons, their mother, and their grandmother, but enlisted his father’s slaves to help him do it.
From the verdict of the Coroner’s jury, it appears that on the night of Wednesday, the 22d of December, one James E. Lanier, living near White Oak Mountain, in the county of Pinsylvania, Va. Accompanied by three negro men belonging to his father, whom he had procured to aid him in his murderous design, proceeded to the residence of his victims and murdered four persons, to wit—Betsy Fleeman, Eliza Fleeman, her daughter, and two small boys, children of said Eliza. Two of the murdred person were deliberately beheaded—one of the other two the brains were beaten out with an axe. The two boys slain were sons of the murderer. After dispatching the victims, Lanier piled their dead bodies in the middle of the floor, covered them with straw, and set fire to it and the house.
One of the boys killed, about four years of age, terrified at the death of his mother and grand mother, clasped the murderous father by the knee, and begged him to spare his life, but the words of his request were scarcely uttered, before his head was severed form his body by a single blow."