Samuel Anglin

Murder on the River

The following paragraph comes from The History of Barbour County, West Virginia,
From Its Earliest Exploration and Settlement to the Present Time
by Hu Maxwell, published in 1899.

In 1825, at Booth's Ferry, a murder was committed which made a profound impression in the community. Samuel Anglin shot and killed Jonas Grimes who was crossing the river in a canoe. There had been trouble between them. Grimes had married Alsay Wilson, sister of William F. Wilson, and at his death left two small children, Wilson and Harvey. After the murder, Anglin ran into the woods, hid his gun a short distance from the scene of the tragedy and disappeared so completely that no trace of him could be found for years. It was reported and currently believed that he had joined the Indians among the Rocky Mountains. After a few years his family left the country and no one knew of their destination. It is now known that Anglin did not join the Indians, and that he came back some years after in disguise and removed his family to the vicinity of Cahokia, Illinois, opposite St. Louis, where he died some time in the forties. Lewis Wilson, who was traveling through that country in 1839, discovered him on the bank of the Mississippi and talked with him.

That's only one side of it, of course. The story passed down in the family is that Sam Anglin was at a gathering unarmed when Jonas Grimes started shooting at his feet to make him "dance." One can see how this might cause a man to be severely provoked, and Sam certainly was. He went home to get his gun, and someone warned Jonas Grimes that he'd better high-tail it out of there before Sam got back with his gun. Very prudently, Jonas departed, but as he was crossing the river in his canoe on his way home, he met Sam coming back across the river in his own canoe. Sam blasted him to kingdom come and headed west that very night.

It must have been relatively easy to get as far away as St. Louis pretty quickly. All one would have to do is get to the Ohio River, float down it to the Mississippi, and go up the Mississippi a short distance.

The census records prove that the story reported by Maxwell was wrong about Sam's coming back and removing his family. Although some of his grown sons (Isaac, Phillip, and Samuel) moved out to Illinois several years after the shooting, his wife, his grown daughters, and his younger children stayed in the same place in (West) Virginia. Sam's widow, Nancy, died there in 1854 at the age of 83.