Saturday, June 26, 2021

The Outraged Father.

In December 1882, 16-year-old Emma Nash was raped in Wahpeton, Dakota Territory, by E.A. Newton, an agent for the Northern Pacific, Fergus Falls, and Black Hills Railway. She swore out a warrant against Newton, and on December 23, he appeared before the Grand Jury in Washington, Dakota Territory.

Emma’s father, James G. Nash, watched from the gallery at the indictment hearing as the judge read the charges and asked Newton how he pled. “Not guilty,” said Newton. A moment later, James Nash rose from his seat, pulled a revolver, and shot Newton dead.

“The scene that ensued beggars description,” said the Illustrated Police News. Nash surrendered himself to the authorities as the audience loudly applauded his act.

Public sentiment remained firmly on the side of the outraged father when he was indicted the following March for the murder of E.A. Newton. Nash pled not guilty, but he was a poor man who could not afford adequate counsel. The community in Wahpeton took up a collection and raised enough money to hire attorney W.W. Erwin Esq. of St. Paul, Minnesota, for Nash’s defense. The newspapers speculated that it would be difficult to find a jury that would convict him.

Nash was released on $10,000 bail pending his trial for murder. It does not appear that the trial ever took place.

“Nash, of Wahpeton, Indicted,” Bismarck Tribune, March 16, 1883.
“Record of Tragedies,” Mower County Transcript, January 3, 1883.
“Shot his Daughter's Seducer,” Illustrated Police News, January 20, 1883.
“Territorial News,” Butte Semi-weekly Miner, January 6, 1883.
“Territorial News,” Griggs County Courier, April 13, 1883.


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