Mur­derer was lynched on East­ern Shore

Black­smith who killed girl was hanged in 1895 on the court­house green in Den­ton

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - NEWS -

Mar­shall E. Price, a Caro­line County black­smith, met his fate at the end of a rope wielded by a lynch mob on July 2, 1895, for the mur­der of a13-year-old girl, Sallie E. Dean, whom he ac­costed as she made her way to school. Ear­lier this month, with a friend, Joe Coale, I went to the East­ern Shore to spend a per­fectly won­der­ful sun-splashed au­tumn day with former Gov. Harry R. Hughes, who lives in Den­ton.

Af­ter talk­ing for a while in the den of his home, Hughes sug­gested a tour of some of the county’s his­toric sites.

He stopped the car mid­way be­tween Den­ton and Pre­ston in the ru­ral vil­lage of Har­mony, which looked as if it hadn’t changed since the 1895 at­tack and mur­der that shocked Caro­line County.

Hughes pointed to the be­nign-look­ing woods of cedar and scrub pine where the girl’s body was found.

Dean was last seen alive about 8:30 a.m. March 26, 1895, as she passed by a neigh­bor’s house.

When a school­mate asked Dean’s mother why she hadn’t been in school that day, she be­came alarmed.

A search party was formed that in­cluded the young girl’s fa­ther, Ja­cob Dean.

As they ap­proached the woods, ev­i­dence of her strug­gle be­came ob­vi­ous.

Dean’s fa­ther bent over and picked up a nap­kin from her lunch pail that lay on the ground.

Un­der a dead cedar tree, he dis­cov­ered the life­less and blood­ied body of his daugh­ter.

“Her cloth­ing was torn and twisted, her bon­net though still on her head was un­tied and bloody and the mark of death was a huge, gap­ing, hideous wound in her throat that had spewed forth the blood that sat­u­rated her cloth­ing and set­tled in a pool be­neath her head,” ac­cord­ing to an ac­count pub­lished in the Caro­line County Record.

Dean was less than one-eighth of a mile from the ru­ral coun­try school­house when her mur­derer pulled her from the road and took her into the woods.

The Bal­ti­more Sun re­ported that Dean’s body had been found with her “throat cut from ear to ear and other­wise mu­ti­lated in a clump of bushes by a road­side within less than half a mile of her home, near the Vil­lage of Har­mony.”

The news­pa­per the­o­rized that Dean had been hit on the left tem­ple to sub­due her dur­ing the strug­gle.

“Rape was with­out a doubt the pur­pose of the mur­derer, but the strug­gle had taken so much time that he was ei­ther afraid to re­main in the neigh­bor­hood longer or afraid of be­ing iden­ti­fied by his vic­tim, so he cut her throat, cov­ered the body with some bushes, buried her school books and lit­tle tin pail in which she was ac­cus­tomed to carry her lun­cheon and dis­ap­peared, leav- ing an empty bot­tle on the ground la­beled ‘chlo­ro­form,’” re­ported The Sun.

“No more bru­tal mur­der has ever oc­curred in Caro­line County or one in which traces of the mur­derer were more dif­fi­cult to find,” ob­served the news­pa­per.

The case “will be tried by Judge Lynch, for it is the al­most unan­i­mous opinion in the neigh­bor­hood that he does not de­serve any other trial.”

The Har­mony Methodist Epis­co­pal Church was over­flow­ing for the funeral ser­vices for Dean, con­ducted two days af­ter her mur­der.

On April 5, po­lice ar­rested and charged Mar­shall E. Price, 23, a Har­mony black­smith who had been a mem­ber of the orig­i­nal in­quest jury look­ing into the mur­der.

It was Price’s un­usual knowl­edge of the mur­der that made him a sus­pect. He claimed that he knew where the mur­der weapon was from a dream, and, once on the scene, led in­ves­ti­ga­tors to it.

Price later con­fessed to be­ing Dean’s killer, but not be­fore im­pli­cat­ing Grant Corkran, a young teacher

He con­tended that it was Corkran who had slit the girl’s throat and that “nei­ther of us as­saulted her in the way peo­ple think,” re­ported the Den­ton Jour­nal at the time.

Lynch­ing fever was sweep­ing Caro­line County and Price was sent for his safety to a jail in Bal­ti­more.

He re­turned to Den­ton by po­lice boat for his trial, which be­gan April 30 and lasted one day.

He was tried be­fore the court with­out a jury, in front of Judges Wickes and Stump, and af­ter be­ing found guilty, was sen­tenced to hang.

“When Mar­shall Price re­turned by boat from Bal­ti­more, where he was in prison for trial in Den­ton, he rushed to my grand­fa­ther, Harry Roe, grabbed him around the legs and begged him to save him from the mob,” Hughes wrote in a re­cent let­ter. “My grand­fa­ther did what he could to calm things down.”

Price later ex­on­er­ated Corkran, who had been at home the day of the mur­der, plow­ing his fields.

“I did not vi­o­late her and I cut her throat,” said Price. “I was alone. Grant Corkran had noth­ing to do with the mur­der.”

When his at­tor­neys filed an ap­peal and the gov­er­nor is­sued a stay of ex­e­cu­tion, it was all the pub­lic needed.

At 11 p.m. July 2, a large masked mob ar­rived at the jail.

Hear­ing the ap­proach of the gath­er­ing mob, Price begged the sher­iff, “For God’s sake, let me out. I will hide. I will not run away.”

The lynch mob warned the sher­iff not to in­ter­fere with the pro­ceed­ings and seized Price, who was crouch­ing in the cor­ner of his cell, weep­ing and pray­ing.

A rope was thrown around his neck, and he was dragged across the road.

The rope was thrown over the limb of a tree on the court­house lawn, and Price was soon “strug­gling in the throes of death,” re­ported the Caro­line County Record.

“This ter­mi­na­tion was not un­ex­pected,” said The Sun.

The of­fi­cial in­quiry found that “he died at the hands of per­sons un­known.”

Mar­shall Price con­fessed to killing 13-year-old Sallie Dean.

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