On the stepping forth of the prisoner, the cry was beard from the assembled multitude "Here he comes." He was escorted by his minister and Sheriff Gray to the wagon in which he was to take his last ride; and after taking a hasty glance at the surrounding company, started for the gallows escorted by one hundred guards. Arriving at the destined point at ten minutes past one, he ascended the fatal platform and announced his desire to give the true facts in the Parish murder, as related to him by one of the participants. He said a few words declaring his innocence, when he was interrupted by a heavy fall of rain, and ceased talking. John James then ascended the steps to inquire about the murder of his son. William Smoot was then called for, and came forward, desiring Shuck to correct the minds of the people relative to his being connected with the robbery of a man by the name of Baer, from Madison. Shuck said the report was unfounded; that Robert Goodrich, Joe Goodrich, and Jackson Simmons were guilty of that robbery, as stated to him by Robert Goodrich. The rain was yet pouring in torrents, and the prisoner took refuge under an umbrella with the sheriff and the attending preacher. The rain continued to fall until the time was nearly expired. Shuck then resumed the Parish case, by saying that there were men within the sound of his voice who had sworn falsely against him, and could release him it they would try. One of said witnesses had been honest enough to come and acknowledge he had sworn falsely in his trial. The time then being within eight minutes of expiration, he ceased, and prayer was offered by Brother Humphrey, and then, by request of the prisoner, Mr. Humphrey sang the beautiful hymn; "Oh think of the friends over there;" at the close of which the preacher and sheriff bid him farewell. Shuck said that there were but three persons on earth that he regretted leaving, two of whom were his children, and the other he would not name. When the sound of the axe was heard he begged them not to hang him, for he was innocent of that crime, and when the platform fell, was praying the Lord to have mercy on his soul.
This last appeal from one ready to drop into eternity caused such an excitement in the dense crowd that were gathered around, anxious to hear al1 he had to say, as to cause them to make a sudden movement toward the stand, creating such an excitement among the guards that they were thrown into proper position by the peremptory commands of the officers, creating a sudden panic among some two or three hundred persons who were collected inside of an adjoining field and causing them to run pell-mell towards a ravine in their rear for safety.
B. G. Morgan being called, stated: that he know Parish and Shuck; new them go to the house together on Wednesday, the 26th of July last, between 10 and 11 o'clock, from the direction of the tobacco patch. They stayed in the house about two minutes; they then came out, Parish in front, and went towards the barn; saw them till they got to the barn, but did not see them afterwards. A few minutes after they got out of sight I heard a pistol shot in the direction of the place where I afterwards saw blood, and saw weeds and grass broken down. Parish lived two or three hundred yards from my house. I went up to the school-house the next day; found it burned, and saw what looked like human bones in the ashes. I was frightened, and ran down to Wiser's; was astonished; found a knife in the ashes; the one shown me; on the same day before I had Parish's knife in my hands; it was like this; I did not notice any wear on the knife Parish had. Saw teeth out in the remaines; don't know which teeth were out; always thought Parish had the two upper front teeth out, and don't know whether they were out on the right or left side; they were not much shorter than the other teeth. Saw Shuck on the next day; he came there and looked at the body, and walked off across the road and sat down on a log; looked depressed and troubled; he got up directly and started to walk off, and Ed Hord told him not to go; he made no further attempt to go. I looked at the body we found there in the ashes. In my judgment they were the remains of Nelson Parish. I went down into the corn-field; found where the weeds were broken down; there was some blood on leaves, and some green flies about; saw new tracks at the place; examined closely for tracks. This place was at the head of a hollow, under a mulberry bush; the weeds were very tall--polkberry bushes and other-. The school-house is surrounded by woods; is three hundred yards from where the weeds were broken down. Saw a place where it looked like a horse had been hitched up by the fence. Saw horse-tracks at the fence, and the top rails were removed at one end. There was lint on the tops at the rails--not the lint of the rails, but cotton lint. I thought at the time they were Parish's remains. The remains that we found at the school-house were burned, charred, and, in places, almost consumed. The back part of the skull had crumbled off. It appeared as though one of the sills had been under his head. There was some little flesh on the back of the remains. From the place where I saw crisped boot or shoe heel, with iron tacks in it, to the top ot the head, it must have been the remains of a man about six feet tall; and the feet and head were on a line lying crosswise the joists.
Cross-Examined. -- When Shuck came up to where the school-house was burned and the body was, he did not appear as much agitated or frightened as I did when I first went up there. He turned and walked off, and I turned and ran off. I saw no tracks going toward the road from that place. Examined for weeks, and only found tracks coming to the place from towards the road. I had horses running out in the road there, and they frequently jumped over into Parish's field.
Mrs. Morgan was then called, and stated: I know Nelson Parish and Richard Shuck. Saw Parish alive the last time between 10 and 11 o'clock on the 26th of July last. Saw him and Richard Shuck go to the house from towards the tobacco patch together. They stayed in the house but a few minutes till they came out, Parish in front, and walked down towards the barn, in direction of tobacco patch. In a few minutes Shuck came back alone and went into the house. Went to the barn again with something under his arm. Saw him then climb up the ladder and get corn to feed horse. He then came back to the house, stayed only a few minutes, when he passed my house going to Wesley Parish's. He came back in a few minutes; stopped at our yard fence awhile as he passed, and talked to one of the boys. I was on my porch with my husband, who has just testified. Shuck shortly afterwards rode away from Nelson Parish's house.
Cross-examined. -- Could not tell what the bundle was that Shuck had under his arm when he went from the house to the barn. Could not distinguish it might have been clover. After he and Parish went to the barn together, it was but a few minutes till Shuck went back to the house As he came back from Wes Parish's he was laughing and joking with the boys at our yard fence, he bowed and spoke to me as he passed.
J. W. Parish was then called, and stated: Shuck and my father came from the field together. I am Nelson Parish's son. Was at home when they came. I didn't stay at home the night before. My mother was away washing. When Shuck and my father came, Shuck went upstairs and opened his trunk, and called down that it was ten o'clock He kept a pistol in his trunk and a watch also. When he came down he had some apples. Father and Shuck stayed at home only a little while. Shuck said: "Let's go to work." They started off, father in front. Before they started Shuck told me to go to my brother Wesley's and get dinner; that there was nothing cooked at home. When father and Shuck left the house they started down towards the barn. In a few minutes after they left I started off to my brother's Had got out of the house a short distance, and heard a pistol or gun shot in the direction of where they had been working. I went on to my brother's, and in about half an hour Shuck came up to my brother Wesley's and told me to tell mother not to come home that night; that Pa had gone over to Bethlehem in Henry County, to settle with Dr. Long for some lumber. Shuck told me he had bought Pa's tobacco crop. The knife shown me looks like Pa's knife. I don't remember on which side the teeth were out in the jaw of the body. I saw it; there were two teeth shorter than the others. Pa had two teeth broken off; don't know which side they were on; think on the left side. The buckles shown me are the buckles that Pa wore; he got the suspenders from Shuck about a year ago. The pistol shown me is Shuck's pistol, and the one he kept in his trunk. The broken teeth in the remains were like those of my father.
Cross-examined. -- I can't say whether the teeth were out in father's jaw on the right or left side; but they were out on one side or the other. I can't say whether those were the remains of my father or not; there were no features that could be distinguished. I could not tell whether the teeth were burnt, broke, or worn off in the remains.
E. B. Hord was then introduced, and stated: I know Nelson Parish; had known him for a year; lived a mile from him. Saw Shuck Wednesday, 26th of July last, at Leech's (Leitch) Hotel in Gratz, nearly 12 o'clock. He said he had bought Parish's crop of tobacco; and then I asked him if he and Smoot had not bought it in partnership. I knew they had been talking of buying it. He said he had bought it out alone, and that Robert Smoot was not in with him; but he said he expected he would have to rob me of a hand; that he was going to hire Smoot to work for him. I asked him what Parish was going to do. He said he had gone over to Bethlehem, in Henry County, to settle with Dr. Long for some lumber, and was not coming back; I would never see him again. I asked him what he was going to do with his corn. He said that Parish's wife would arrange about that, he supposed; he said he had bought Parish's crop, horse and plows, at two hundred and fifty dollars, and, tapping his side-pocket, said, "I have one hundred of the money here to pay for it, and am going to Owenton to get the balance." He had some money with him; small change was all I saw. Had some larger bills, but I don't know of what denomination. He took quite a number of drinks at Leech's bar-room. I took one drink with him. He said he was going to Jack Johnson's that evening. I noticed something peculiar about him at Gratz, but it was only that he was getting under the influence of whisky. The next time I saw Shuck he was at the burned school-house on Friday morning. He looked dejected when he came up, and looked and looked at the remains turned and walked off across the road about twenty feet; sat there on a log for awhile; then got up and started to walk off. He just walked off like any one else would have done. I stopped him and told him he could not go. He asked me why. I told him just because he couldn't; that he was suspicioned of having killed Nelson Parish, and that he couldn't leave. He seemed excited. I kept him in charge till in about half an hour a constable came with a writ, I noticed the remains found there; they were the remains of Nelson Parish. I knew them by the teeth which were broken out. I would have known Nelson Parish's remains had I seen them in the Gulf of Mexico. I noticed teeth, ten in number, out of the body. Parish had two teeth out on the right side, and in same place as those out in the skull. The body was so badly burned that none of the features could be recognized, and it was very much contracted--not more than four and a half feet long. The jaws were entire. I don't know that I would have taken them for Nelson Parish's remains on any other occasion. From the knife and buckles I would have taken it to be Nelson Parish's remains had I seen it in the Gulf of Mexico. Shuck took two drinks in Gratz in twenty minutes, and he appeared to be getting drunk.
Susan Parish was then introduced: I am the wife of Nelson Parish. Shuck married Mr. Parish's daughter. He had been living there with us and working with Mr. Parish. I saw my husband alive the last time on Wednesday morning, before he disappeared, in last July. When he and Shuck left to go to work, I told them that I had cooked enough dinner for them. Mr. Parish said that I had better put it in the stove. Shuck was present. I never saw any remains; didn't go to look at them at the school-house. Mr. Parish had two teeth out; it was the two teeth right in front; one was broken off shorter than the other. The knife shown me is the knife which my husband had; I had it in my hand often. Mr. Parish had about twenty-five dollars in his pocket-book. Tuesday evening before I gave him a ten, five, and two-dollar bill, four silver half dollars, and I think he had five or six dollars other than that. I have not heard of him alive since the last time I saw him. I know of no reason why he should have left home. The buckles shown me are like the buckles my husband wore on his suspenders.
Cross-examined.--My husband and Shuck thought much of each other: I have never heard of any ill-feeling between them. Mr. Parish left me once and stayed away a year; it was on account of lies which he heard that made him go. I went to see him once or twice while he was away from me, in Shelby County.
The evidence through the whole trial is Similar to that already written--all entirely circumstantial.
In the first part of this work you have been informed of some of the thoughts of my boyish days; the efforts to accomplish the ends then desired has resulted in my ruin, and been the means of placing me where I now am - in a loathsome dungeon, loaded with shackles. Oh, reader, let me admonish you to read this book with care and attention. It may serve as a beacon by which you may escape the wretched condition which I am now in - incarcerated in a dungeon, with the images of my murdered fellow-men haunting me day and night, and soon to be taken to the gallows, and there, in the spring season of my life, to be hurled into the presence of an offended Cod, who cannot look on sin with any allowance, especially upon whose life is more heavily burdened with crime than any other so young.
I have already said that my parents were honest. I wish the reader to know that my mother was a strict member of the Church, and a pious Christian. Often admonishing me with tears in her eyes to cease my evil practices, and be a good boy, reckless as I was and have been, young as I am in years but old in crime, my heart's desire, as one ready to pass into eternity, is, that these lines may be a warning to the youth of the country and if they are the means of reclaiming one wayward youth from the paths of sin, it will be considered ample compensation for the exertions of your humble writer. Suffer me to admonish you to be obedient to your parents, especially to your mother, who gave you existence, and watched over you in your infancy, and whose soul is wrapped up in your present and future happiness. My young reader, look for a moment on my condition, then look back at the agonizings of a bereft mother, that gave you existence, and has all her life given you the best of counsel, and who would never participate in your guilt, be it what it might: would you then be willing to bring her gray hairs with sorrow to the grave? Your answer is, no, as a matter of course. Then let me caution you as to the company you keep. Shun the gambler, the tippler, the profane swearer, and the idle and dissolute of every grade. Young reader, suffer me to say to you that idleness is the parent of vice. If you persist in it, you will be led from bad to worse, and finally end in utter ruin. Little did I think, at this time last year, that, before the coming of another August, I would have to meet the fate that now awaits. If I had, and had taken warning by reflection, things would have been different today from what they are. Alas! it is too late. The deeds which I have committed in the bloom of my youth have to be atoned for on the scaffold - requiring my life to pay the debt. It seems incredible that one of my age should have assisted in the perpetration of such enormous crimes. Yet it is true, and I must pay for them by being taken from all the enjoyments of this world, chained down in a loathsome dungeon, not to come out until I start to the fatal and awful platform, there to meet an ignominious death.
It seems hard that one should have to part with all his friends and playmates, just after passing the bloom of youth. But I hope my fate will be a warning to the rising generation, and deter them from following my example. I would say, young reader, the only way to avoid it is to shun bad company, abhor bad example, and act honestly toward all persons. Think of my fate. I must soon pass from time to a never-ending eternity: I will not say without hope, for as long as there is life there is a glimmer of hope. However great the sinner, there is still a greater Saviour; and may He have mercy on my soul. Alas! I must very soon be hurled into eternity, and that, too, by a fearful and ignominious death. Oh, young reader, before that time let me warn you against the commission of crime, and of evil habits of all kinds, that you may not have to share the fate which I must soon suffer. Shun this by acting honestly toward all persons, and endeavor to avoid the paths of vice and immorality. By doing so you will gain the love and esteem of all with whom you form an acquaintance. I care not how successful you may be in indulging in evil habits, they will be very sure to render you unhappy. When you get into the company of those whom you know to be honest, you will feel uncomfortable, because your guilt will be burdensome to you while in their presence.
How different are the innocent. They breathe the air of freedom, the value of which is inexpressible. What to life without freedom? Liberty is one of the greatest blessings vouchsafed to us by an all-wise Benefactor. I desire you, young friends, to appreciate it's value without having to be confined inside the walls of a dark and gloomy jail, as I have been for the past ten or eleven months. I am not speaking from imagination, but from woeful experience. I once enjoyed freedom and innocent life. I have also lived in wickedness and crime, the latter bringing me, as you will soon see, to an early grave - cutting me off from all the enjoyments of life - from children, father, mother, brothers and sisters, while almost in the bloom of my youth.
If I had taken the advice which I am this day giving to you, my young friends, I might now have been free as air, and an honor to my relatives; but Alas! instead of that, I leave a stain upon them that probably time can never efface. Young friends, I desire this to be a warning to you, and keep you from being led captive by this world's allurements or the temptations of the wicked; for if you do, you will come to dishonor, and finally to destruction.
I have told you that my present condition is the result of disobedience to parents, and it is unquestionably true. Therefore, let me implore you to be submissive to your parents in all things. By so doing you will insure their and your own happiness. Reflect for a moment what would be more displeasing to a parent than the willful disobedience of a child. Young reader, let me impress upon your mind the importance of the counsel which I am now giving you; for if you take one step toward crime you will soon become hardened to it; so much so that you will not shrink from the commission of any crime, no matter what it's character, and thus you will soon be fitted to share my fate, sad and deplorable as it is. What a heartrending thought, to be cut off in the morning of life, and in the enjoyment of vigorous health! But I have violated the laws of my country, and must suffer the penalty, which I acknowledge is just. It is but natural for any person to try to avoid punishment, even though it be just. Young reader, if all crimes were to go unpunished, our government would soon come to dissolution and relapse into heathenism.
Now, my brothers and sisters, these are the dying words of your unfortunate companion. There are some of you old enough to know how to behave yourselves, and I wish you to so act as that your conduct will be an example of morality to your younger brothers and sisters, who are less conscious of right and wrong. There are some of you who are in the habit of profane swearing. Now, the last request of a dying brother is, to quit that practice; for it will lead to greater evils. Do not let this admonition remain unheeded. Let me implore you to try to meet your Saviour in peace. Do not put it off, for you may be called away in the dawn of youth without a moment's warning. Remember that we have no lease on life; consequently do not put it off until it is too late, but seek the Lord while you are young; falter not at the first effort, but persevere.
Now my dear father, mother, brothers and sisters, when you read this I shall be in the cold and silent grave; but oh! forgive a dying son, for the grief brought upon your gray hairs by his recklessness. 1 cannot say more, but farewell forever, and may God bless you, my dear little children, and brothers and sisters, and prepare you all to meet Him in peace when He shall come to judge the world. This is the prayer of your unworthy but affectionate dying son.
Young men and veterans too,
Give heed to the words I say to
And may you to them ever cling,
For they will guide you through a world of sin
For murder I am now convicted,
And in a dark dungeon bound and weighted,
Where I am compelled to lie
Until the twenty-seventh of July.
And I leave my dungeon berth,
To be consigned to mother earth.
My spirit will then arise to eternal light
Or sink to endless night,
Come see me meet a youthful end,
With trouble then no more to blend.
I do not fear to die, and fly
To meet my Saviour in the sky.
My sins are great, I do confess,
But my Saviour is all rightousness.
Then on His goodness I rely
Now, and when I come to die.
O, welcome death, how sweet thou art,
When I shall no longer feel the smart!
I've three days yet to meditate
Upon the horrors of my fate.
And then my soul must fly
To darkest night or brightest sky;
And there is must forever stay
To wait the fearful judgment day.
Come, stand around me young and bold,
And see me meet death so cold.
By youthful heart is so chaste
I do not fear to meet the Saviour's face.
Young men, receive my admonitions,
And shun all wicked propositions.
Now I must bid you all farewell:
Remember my advice, and it to others tell.
To all who may chance to see this document, I wish to present to your favorable consideration ROBERT N. LAWLER, of Frankfort, and JAMES LINEBACK, of Owenton, jailers of said places. While they did their whole duty in regard to my safe custody, yet they treated me with the humanity and kindness that all brave men should bestow upon a helpless, subdued prisoner, regardless of what his crimes may be; and it is my dying wish that if the vicissitudes of this uncertain llfe should over throw them upon the bounty of any of my friends, that they will remember their attention to me, during my forlorn captivity, while under their control, treating me with that kindness and forbearance that a father would extend to a son if placed in a similar condition. I hope all good men will remember and requite their kindness, if it should ever be their privilege.
RICHARD H. SHUCK. Owenton, July.17th, 1877.
To Robert W. Lawler, Jailer.
MR. LAWLER. Dear Sir: I thank you very kindly for your good treatment whilst I stayed with you. Tell all of your family "howdy" for me, and tell them all goodbye for me. I am agoing to a better world than this. I will soon go home to live always, and I want you all to meet me on the beautiful shore where parting is no more. I will soon be with my dear companion who is now at rest. So no more for this time. Remember me, you and all. Goodbye forever. Love, peace, good will to you all.
RICHARD H. SHUCK.