Salt Lake Tribune

14 January 1914

Front Page and page 2









Joseph Hillstrom, a Musician,

  Suffering From Bullet

  Wound in Left Lung,

  Arrested in Murray on

  Charge of Murdering

  J. G. Morrison and Son

  Last Saturday; Physi-

  cians Who Dress Injury

  Notify Officers.







Tells Doctors That He

  Was Shot by a Friend

  In a Quarrel Over a

  Salt Lake Girl; Police

  Jubilant Over Arrest;

  Strong Chain of Cir-

  cumstantial Evidence

  Is Established.



      At an early hour this morning

Sergeant Ben Siegfus expressed

The belief that Joseph Hill, arrest-

ed for the murder of the two Mor-

risons, is Frank Z. Wilson, a for-

mer inmate of the state prison.

The description of Hill corresponds

Closely with that of Wilson.  The

police have been searching for Wil-

son ever since the murders.



            Suffering from a wound believed to have been inflicted by John Arling Morrison, 17 years old, just before the boy fell dead, a victim of a murderer’s bullet.  Joseph Hill, a musician, was brought to the county jail at 2 o’clock, charged with the murder of John G. Morrison and John A. Morrison, his son, in their grocery store in Salt [Lake City] last Saturday night.

            Hill was arrested at 11:30 o’clock last night at the home of a family named Eselius on West Seventeenth South street, in Murray, by Marshal Fred Peters and Deputy Marshals Edwin Larson and Joseph Van Newland.  They were told of his presence at this home by Drs. F. M. McHugh and A. A. Bird, who had been called to the Eselius home to treat the wounded man.  Hill had been lying suffering from his wound at the Eselius home since last Saturday night.


Walked to Murray.

            The wounded man walked into the residence of Dr. F. M. McHugh, 4002 South State street, in the outskirts of Murray, at 11:30 o’clock Saturday night.  He was suffering from a wound to the left side.  A bullet had entered the side pierced the left lung and emerged through the back.  The man had apparently lost a great deal of blood and was in a weakened condition.  He appeared to the doctor to have been walking a long distance.

The doctor took the man into his house and dressed the wound.  Hill told the doctor that he had quarreled with a friend in Murray over a woman and that in the quarrel the friend shot him.

Later in the night Dr. McHugh saw Dr. A. A. Bird, also of Murray, driving by on State street, and called him in.  At Hill’s request Dr. Bird drove the man to the Eselius home.  Hill had previously known the Eselius family and they apparently believed Hell’s story of the shooting and gave him shelter.  At the hour that Hill was treated by Dr. McHugh, the doctor had not heard of the shooting.  His suspicions were aroused later on hearing of the account of the murders in Salt Lake, and he then notified the Murray officers. 


Maintained Silence.

            Since his arrest Hill has maintained a sullen silence.  When the officers entered the Eselius home, Hill made a feint as if to draw a gun and was quickly covered by the arresting officers.  Hill then made no resistance.  He has obeyed the commands of the officers quietly, but has refused to answer any questions.

            After he had been brought to the county jail early this morning Hill was examined by Dr. W. N. Pugh, who said that while the wound was a serious one, there was a strong probability that he would recover from it.  He said that his silence and apparently dazed condition might have been at least partially induced by opiates given him by the doctors to ease his pain. 

            The police are elated over the capture of Hill, whom they feel certain is one of the men wanted for the murder of the Morrisons.  As soon as Hill’s condition warrants, an effort will be made […]


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(Continued from Page One.)



[…] by the officers to induce him to make a confession and give the name of the accomplice.

            Linked about the wounded sufferer at the city jail hospital is already woven a strong chain of circumstantial evidence, even though Merlin Morrison, the only eyewitness to the tragedy, may be unable to make a positive identification of the man.

            In a general way Hill’s description corresponds to that of one of the two scarlet-masked men who dashed into the Morrison store on Saturday night and shot to death the proprietor of the store and his brave son.  Both Morrison and his son were killed with bullets fired from a .38-calliber automatic pistol.  

            From the blood-stained coat of Hill at midnight that same night Dr. McHugh took a .38-caliber automatic pistol.

            When the bandits entered his father’s store and began their deadly attack on the defenseless merchant the boy secured an army pistol and shot at his father’s assailants.  This drew the attack of the murderers, and before the youth could fire a second shot he fell, dead, his body pierced by three bullets.


Theory Verified.

            From the position in which the boy stood when he shot be must have struck on of the bandits, if at all, in the upper part of the body.  A search of the store failed to locate the bullet the boy fired and the police became inclined to the belief that the bullet took effect.  This theory was corroborated by a woman who declared that she saw two men run from the Morrison store immediately after the shots had been fired.  One of the men had his hands clasped over his breast and called to the other that he had been shot. 

            On the day following the murder the police followed an intermittent trail of blood south on West Temple street to the point where the tracks of the Park City branch of the Denver & Rio Grande railroad intersect with West Temple street.  At that point there were indications that a man had leaned on a fence for support and a small pool of blood and two cartridges were found there.  The cartridges were .38 caliber and of the type used in automatic pistols.  No trail could be found beyond this point.

            The police now believe that the circumstantial evidence all points with a deadly certainty to the guilt of Hill, and gives them an unerring guide to this movements immediately after the shooting.  Immediately following the ruthless killing of the Morrisons, they believe that the two bandits left the store and ran south on West Temple street, the missing man soon outstripping his wounded companion.


Flight of Hill.

            The flight of Hill, they believe, continued to the Rio Grande crossing.  There his weakness overcame him and he stopped to rest, leaning against the fence.  He could not have rested long, for the police were soon at this point searching for the murderers.  They believe that after he had recovered his breath he turned east along the Rio Grande tracks to State street.  On reaching State street, they think, he staggered south toward Murray.  The search of the police was confined largely to the western part of the city on Saturday night, so that he might easily have escaped along State street.  Trace of him might easily have escaped notice along the railroad bed.

            Hill reached the home of Dr. McHugh in the outskirts of Murray a little more than two hours after the murders, which the police think is just about the time that it would take for him to have run and walked and staggered along the distance between the Morrison store and Eighth South and West Temple streets and the residence of Dr. McHugh, near the northern limits of Murray.


Story Doubted.

            The police regard the story told by Hill to McHugh as highly improbable.  No shooting in Murray was reported to the Murray police on Saturday night, and they say they are positive none occurred.  Further, the doctor declares that Hill appeared to have walked a long distance, and the great loss of blood which he sustained would indicate that the wound had been inflicted some time previously.

            The coat which Hill removed just before the doctor dressed the wound was literally drenched with blood, which was still spurting from the wound.  The wound was a large one, indicating that it had been made by a fun of large caliber.  The weapon used by young Morrison was a .45-caliber army pistol.


May Be ex-Convict.

            The officers who have been working on the case believe that Hill may have been an ex-convict and they also believe that the name he gave the doctor is an alias.  His silence, the officers think, may be due to the fact he realizes that the less he says the better chance he has to escape punishment.  If he were innocent, they argue, he would be eager to tell them how and under what circumstances he was wounded and tell them where they might corroborate his tale.

            Hill is about 37 years old and of a slight build.  He is about six feet tall and weighs about 165 pounds.  His hair and complexion are light and his eyes are light blue.  With the exception of a three or four days growth of beard, he is smooth shaven.  A long, diagonal scare, apparently resulting from a knife wound, extends along the right side of his face from near his temple to the corner of his mouth. 

            The bullet which caused Hill’s wound entered the left side of Hill’s body, between the fourth and fifth ribs, and about one half inch outside the nipple line.  The bullet missed the heart by a margin or less of an inch, passed through the left lung and emerged out the body at the back about half an inch below the angle of the scapula. 

            After his wound had been dressed in the county jail last night, Hill momentarily roused from his stupor and sullenly replied to questions put to him by the officers.  He reiterated that he was wounded in a fight over a girl.  He refused to give the address of the girl, saying only that she lived in Salt Lake.  The story which Hill told to Dr. McHugh was that the girl lived in Murray. 

            Hill said that he had boarded a street car in Salt Lake on Main street after he had been shot by his friend and had ridden to Murray.  He placed the time either as 9 o’clock or as 12 o’clock Saturday night.  He was treated, however, in Murray shortly before 12 o’clock. 

            Hill also had a slight cut on the knuckle of his right thumb, which might have been made by the bullet, possibly the same one which entered his breast.  He wore a light gray overcoat when he called at the residence of Dr. McHugh, but there was no hole in the overcoat. 


Clothing Search.

            When searched at the county jail he was found to have, besides a revolver, $5.60 in money and in another pocket was found a note, seemingly signed by a friend of Hill’s.

It follows:

            Hilde and I and Christine were here.  We went to the Empress.  Tried to find you.



Dr. Pugh, who examined the man last night, said that unless complication set in there was no reason to believe that Hill would not recover.

After his wound had been examined by Dr. Pugh, Hill was locked up for the night.  It is expected that he will be subjected to a severe cross-examination this morning.


Murder Recalled.

            The arrest of Hill last night and his general description recalled statements that were made to the police shortly after the murder of grocer Morrison and his son.  Mr. and Mrs. S. Seeley, 825 South First West street, said that on the night of the murder they were going home from the performance at the Empress theater at 3:30 o’clock.  When on Eighth South street, between West Temple and Jefferson streets, they met two men who were walking toward First West street.

            One of the men were dressed in light gray clothes and wore a dark gray hat.  The other wore dark clothing and a dark hat.  One of the pair had a red handkerchief tied about his neck.

            When Mr. and Mrs. Seeley met the two men the latter hung back, but would not five any room on the sidewalk, forcing Mr. and Mrs. Seeley to step off the pavement.  This called particular attention to the men.

            Hill answers in a general way the description of the man who was dressed in light clothing, as given to the police on the night of the murder.  It is the theory of the officers that at the time the men were met they were looking about the neighborhood, figuring on their plan to escape.  The murder was committed about ten minutes later.


Doctor Tells Story.

            Will went to Dr. McHugh’s house at 11:50 o’clock, according to the physician.  It is the opinion of Dr. McHugh that the man had had a considerable walk.

            Hill had been shot through his body and barely missing the heart.  It pierced one lung.  The hole was large, according to the doctor, and Hill had lost considerable blood.  Dr. Bird, who was passing Dr. McHugh’s house at that time, was called in and helped dress the wound.  Dr. Bird drove Hill into Murray and took the man to the home of a family by the name of Eselius.  Hill requested that he be taken there.  He said that he at one time had worked with the Eselius boys.

            When Hill came to his house Dr. McHugh said he himself had not yet heard of the murder in Salt Lake.  He questioned Hill about his wound and Hill said he had just been in a shooting scrape in a house at Murray in which he said he had been shot by another man in a fight over a woman.  He was reluctant to discuss the details.  Dr. McHugh said he was led to believe Hill’s story and that he did not connect Hill with the Salt Lake murders until last night.


Marshal Notified.

            Last night he immediately consulted Dr. Bird, and the two physicians gave their information to Marshal Peters of Murray.  Peters, accompanied by police officers of Murray, went to Eselius’s house, where they found Hill.  They entered quietly and came upon Hill hardly before he was aware of their presence.  Hill had been resting carefully since his wound was dressed Saturday, and it is thought that, having gained strength, he was preparing to leave the Eselius house.


Movements Traced.

            The police yesterday attempted to trace the movements of two men said to have been seen by two children of N. J. Hendrickson.  The children declared they saw two men walking south along the Salt Lake route tracks on Monday afternoon.  One of the men was lame and was being assisted by his companion.  The lame man has his foot bandaged.

            Another clew followed by the police was the story of J. R. Usher, and conductor on an Eighth West street car, who said that a man whom he suspected of being one of the murderers boarded his car at Eighth South and Eighth West streets and rode to town.  Usher is a brother of Ransom Usher, another street car conductor, who identified Mrs. Caleb Inlow as the woman who got on his car on the night of the murder of Eddie White, the chauffer, whom Caleb Inlow was convicted of murdering. 

            Inspector Carl A. Carlson was yesterday told of two men who were suspected of having killed the Morrisons.  The names were given the inspector by a citizen who asked that his name be not made public.  Inspector Carlson talked to both men whose names were given him and was convinced that they were in no way connected with the crime.


Bullets Found.

            Two more bullets, which were fired by the murderers, were found yesterday in the Morrison store by Patrolmen A. S. Thompson and Richard Beynon.  One bullet was lodged in the wall back of the place where Morrison was standing when shot.  The other one was near the place where the boy was standing.  This bullet passed through the icebox and through six cans of corn on a shelf, and was taken from the wall at the rear of the shelf.

            Funeral services for the Morrisons will be held today, under the auspices of the Woodmen of the World, at the Eagles’ hall.

            The services will begin at 2 o’clock.  The members of the Woodmen of the World will attend in a body, with relatives and friends of the Morrisons.  Internment will be in [the] City cemetery.