From the book "History of Clermont County, Ohio", J.B. Lippincott 1880

 
On August 23, 1859, Jonathan Palmer, an attorney in Felicity, cut one James Hayden with a knife on his left breast to the depth of ten inches, causing instant death. He was arrested, and by the examining justices of the peace committed without bail to jail for murder in the first degree. Palmer's counsel, on a writ of habeas corpus, had him brought before the Probate judge, Hon. Samual F. Dowdney, who held a preliminary investigation and reduced the charge to murder in the second degree and admitted defendant to bail.

Palmer was indicted for manslaughter, and his first trial, at the November term of 1860, resulted in his conviction; but Judge S.F. Norris granted a new trial, which took place at the February term of 1861, before the following jury, to wit: Joseph Kyle, John M. King, Lorenzo D. Orr, Jesse Smith, Isaac Starks, Cyrus Temple, Theodore Hill, David Atchley, Henry Moyer, William C. South, and George Troy; they acquitted the prisoner. The prosecution was most ably conducted by the prosecuting attorney, Allen T. Cowen, assisted by Judge Thomas Q. Ashburn, while the defence was represented by Phillip B. Swing and Cols. John G. Marshal and D.W.C. Loudon, of Georgetown.

No murder case in the county, from the various circumstances and associations surrounding it, ever excited so much interest in the courts, and in and about Felicity nothing for a year was hardly talked of but this murder, and the people were greatly divided in their sentiments. Hayden had had a brother killed in California years before, and it was claimed that Palmer was the indirect cause of that; as he was there and had had some disturbance or trouble with the man killed; while, on the other hand, Palmer's friends asserted that he was innocent of the first Hayden's death, and killed the second in pure self-defense. Palmer was afterwards the reputed cause of John R. Tennyson Killing his wife, about the year 1866, near Felicity. Tennyson had found Palmer in a tobacco-barn in alleged improper relations with his spouse.

Palmer removed to Illinois after this and died, and report says that before his earthly pilgrimage terminated he quit the evil habits that gave him such a mal-odorous name here, and became a zealous and consistent member of the church.

 

Newspaper Articles

 
A Murder In Felicity

On the evening of the 23rd of August, a difficulty occurred between James Hayden and Jonathan Palmer, this county, which resulted in the death of the former. The facts of the case, so far as we can gather them, are these: Dr. McCasky and Palmer, coming out of the office of the former, about 8 o'clock in the evening, and meeting Hayden at the door, Palmer stopped with him, while the Dr. Passed on. Palmer asked Hayden if he had struck his boy that day, to which H. Replied in the negative, P. Insisted that he had. Hayden then made some threats to whip Palmer, when the latter replied if he touched him, he would do it at the peril of his life. Soon after some blows passed between them, and Palmer was shoved back against the house. Hayden soon after came running to the store of Mr. Goodwin, exclaiming, "My God, I am killed." Dr. McCasky, who had stopped there, had him of the pavement, where he died in about three minutes. He has been stabbed in the left side, about two inches from the nipple, and penetrating some six inches in depth. Palmer was arrested, and tried before Esqrs. Fallen and Simmons, who bound him over to answer to the charge of murder in the first degree. Outside reports say that Hayden kicked Palmer and injured him severely. Palmer admitted that he had killed Hayden, but did it in self-defence, which, if reports be true, was likely the case. These matters will be revealed in due time, and we forbear speaking of them at length at this time, only to regret the sad occurrence, and to condemn the evil practice of carrying concealed weapons, as it seems Palmer did, which led to this fatal catastrophe.

  Fatal Affray ---- Man Killed

On Tuesday last week, a difficulty occurred at Felicity, between Jonathan Palmer and James Hayden, both citizens of that place, in which Hayden received a stab, in the side, causing death immediately. We have heard some of the particulars, but perhaps imperfectly, and as the matter will undergo judicial investigation, we o not deem it proper to attempt any detail of the facts, which, if misstated, might prejudice the party accused, who is already under arrest.

Since writing the above, the Cleremont Herald furnishes the testimony of Dr. McCasky, before the Coroner's Jury which we give below:

Dr. H. McCasky, duly sworn, stated that "about 9 o'clock on the evening of the 23rd day of August, 1859, as Jonathan Palmer and myself came down stairs, out of my office, we were met at the foot of the stairs by James Hayden. Said Palmer stopped with said Hayden; I passed on toward J.B. Goodwin's corner, and as I walked on, I heard the following conversations between said Palmer and Hayden: Mr. Palmer asked Hayden if he had struck his boy today" to which Hayden replied in the negative; Mr. Palmer insisted that he did; Mr. Hayden then made some threats to this purpose---that he would strike or whip Palmer. Palmer said that if he touched him he done it at the peril of his life. Being some distance from the parties, could not see distinctly, but heard a blow or a kick; believe I seen Mr. Palmer shoved back against the side of the house; James Hayden cam running up to J.B. Goodwin's store door where I had stopped exclaiming "My God, I am killed" whereupon I tool hold of him and laid him down on the pavement; I then ran to M. Fee's grocery and procured a light and returned, and found said Hayden bleeding from the wound, and mouth and nose in a frightful manner, and he expired in about three minutes. I then observed to Palmer that he had killed Hayden; Mr. Palmer said he was sorry for it, but done it in self defence; he then presented me the knife, but I declined receiving it.

 

Court Transcripts - Cleremont County, Ohio 1859-1861

 
JUNE 1859

The State of Ohio vs Jonathan Palmer

Recognizance

Be it remembered that on the 31st day of August in the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty nine, L.F. Dowdney Probate judge in and for said County of Clermont deposited in the Clerks office of the County of Common Pleas of said County the recognisance of the said Jonathan Palmer with Samual Sims his Security in the penal sum of fifteen hundred taken on the 31st day, August AD 1861. Conditioned that the said Jonathan Palmer shall appear before the Court Common Pleas at the next term thereof to be holden in said County and answer a charge of purposely and maliciously but without deliberation and premeditation kill one James Hayden and abide the judgement of the Court and not to depart without leave when this recognizance to be void otherwise it shall be and remain in full force and virtue in law.


NOVEMBER 1859

The State of Ohio vs Jonathan Palmer

Indictment for Murder in the 2nd degree

This day came the Prosecuting Attorney on behalf of the State of Ohio and the Defendant Jonathan Palmer in person and by Counsel and the said Prosecuting Attorney proposed to enter a Nolle Prosequi on said Indictment to which said Defendant by his Counsel excepted but the Court over-ruled said exceptions and permitted said Nolle Prosequi to be entered which was done accordingly and thereupon the said Prosecuting Attorney requested the Court to hold said Defendant to Bail to appear at the next Term of this Court in the sum of one thousand dollars which was ordered to be done and thereupon came the said Defendant and Joseph Parrish his Security and entered into Recognizance according to laws for the appearance of said Jonathan Palmer at the next Term of this Court.


NOVEMBER 1859

The State of Ohio vs Jonathan Palmer

Recognizance

This day came the said Jonathan Palmer with Joseph Parrish his security and acknowledged their will jointly and severally to be indebted with the State of Ohio in the Bail sum of one thousand dollars to be levied of them ? and chattels lands and tenements if default be used in allowance condition to wit that of the said Jonathan Palmer shall appear from this Court on the first day of the next term. Hence, to answer a charge of murder in the second degree and not depart without leave and abide the order of the Court.


NOVEMBER 1860

The State of Ohio vs Jonathan Palmer

Indictment for Manslaughter

This day came the Prosecuting Attorney on behalf of the State of Ohio and the said Jonathan Palmer in his own proper person and being arraigned and asked how of the premises he would acquit himself for plea says he is not guilty in manner and form as charged in said Indictment thereupon came a jury to wit

William Potter Thomas Breadwill
Robert Hill Charles Ingram
R H Archard John Tice
Jesse Ellis K F Davis
William Clancy Ira Davis
Isiah Clark Daniel Kidd

who were empanelled and sworn the truth to speak upon the issue joined between the parties and the evidence being closed said Jurors were adjourned until tomorrow morning 9 o'clock


JANUARY 1861

The State of Ohio vs Jonathan Palmer

Indictment for Manslaughter

This day came the Prosecuting Attorney on behalf of the State of Ohio and the said Jonathan Palmer in his own proper person and being arraigned and asked how of the premises he would acquit himself for plea says he is not guilty in manner and form as charged in said Indictment thereupon came a jury to wit

Joeseph Kyle Lorenzo D. Orr Henry Moyer
Cyrus Temple David Atchley William C. South
John M. King Jesse Smith George Troy
Theodore Hill James Moore Isaac Starks

who were empanelled and sworn the truth to speak upon the issue joined between the parties and the evidence being closed said Jurors were adjourned until tomorrow morning 9 o'clock.


JANUARY 1861

The State of Ohio vs Jonathan Palmer

Indictment for Manslaughter

This day came the Jurors hereto fore impounded and sworn in the cause and the evidence being concluded and the arguments of Counsel heard said Jurors retired from the Bar under the instructions of the Court to consider upon their verdict and returned ? Court the following verdict. Signed by their Foreman to wit "We the Jury as find the Defendant not guilty as charged in the Indictment, Joeseph Kyle, Foreman. It is therefore considered by the Court that the said Jonathan Palmer go hence without day".