NOTE: Posted on Rootsweb by Donna O'Neill. Thanks for sharing Donna !
She received this account from Michele Dunlap on 5/5/05:
THE NEW LEAF
LANE, FRANKLIN COUNTY KANSAS, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 1902
J.P. McECHRON KILLED
Shot by Al Tabor in a Quarrel on the Street Saturday Night. Murderer Escaped and is Still at Large. Great Excitement
The town was thrown into a state of pandemonium Saturday evening by the news that J. P. McEchron commonly known
as “Jim Pete,” had been shot.
The shooting occurred at 8:45 o'clock on the sidewalk north of Allison’s store, and near the side door of the store.
From the evidence brought out at the inquest, the affair happened as follows.
Jim has been in town all afternoon and in company with Lee Caldwell and Jack Johnson, was sitting on the hitching-rack
near the spot mentioned, drinking and talking, when Al Tabor, foreman of a crew of Mo. Pacific. Railroad laborers,
joined the crowd and was given a drink. During a conversation which followed it seems that Jim referred to fifty
cents owed him for meat by Tabor, which remark led to angry words and Tabor drew a gun firing three shots one of
which took effect, causing almost instant death. Frank Baker who was just turning the corner saw Jim fall and gave
the alarm; a crowd immediately collected and the body was taken to a room on Main street, where Dr. Jacobus made
an examination, after which it was removed to Nofsinger’s undertaking establishment.
During the excitement which followed the shooting, Tabor hurried home and told his wife that he must leave, as
he had shot a man, and left at once. No effort was made to find him until information had been sworn to by Lee
Caldwell, when a warrant was issued, and a party of constables set out in search of him. Telegrams were sent to
the officers in the neighboring towns and, O. P. Maness and Mike Gardner were deputized and sent to Garnett to
cut off his escape on the southbound train. Sheriff Costigan and Coroner Haggart were telephoned to and arrived
about 4:30 Sunday morning.
Immediately on his arrival Coroner Haggart, assisted by Dr. Jacobus made a post-mortem examination and found that
the ball, a twenty-two short, had entered the left breast, ranging in and downward, entering the victim's heart
and lodging in the left ventricle.
From first reports is was thought that the killing was the direct result of the quarrel, but later developments
go to show that it was nothing less than a premeditated murder, the quarrel only furnishing an opportunity for
the deed. The only witnesses were Lee Caldwell and Jack Johnson who were both drinking too heavily to remember
any conversation which took place, but both swore to seeing Tabor shoot.
The murdered man was twenty-six years old and leaves a wife and two small children. He is a son of P. I McEchron
a prominent and wealthy citizen, and his wife is a daughter of Mrs. John Needham, north of town. All his relatives
are imminent and highly respected citizens. Jim was known by all to be a kind, good hearted, hard working fellow,
but had the one failing that he would drink. The funeral service was held at the home of his father near Richmond,
at ten o'clock Monday morning, and interment made in Richmond cemetery. G. W. Nofsinger conducting. Mrs. McEchron
who was almost prostrated by the tragic death of her husband is now at the home of her mother, Mrs. John Needham.
But little is known of Tabor's previous record, but it was generally understood that he was always armed, and at
one time drew a gun on Abe Line and threatened to shoot him, and had been heard to make threats against McEchron.
He came here from Wagstaff last spring and has been in change of the “extra gang” for about seven months. He was
well liked by the men under him, and it is said stood well with the officials of the road.
A reward of $100 has been offered for his apprehension by the father of the murdered man and the mother-in-law
Mrs. John Needham and it is thought that the commissioners will add some to this. Tabor is a man thirty-seven years
old, five feet, eleven inches tall weighing 170 pounds. He is of Irish extraction, light complexioned; has blue
eyes, thick hair and prominent cheekbones, heavy eve brows, a large mouth with firmly set lips. He has an erect
figure and when he left town was wearing a brown duck coat, dark blue work shirt, a vest, and brown corduroy trousers,
and carried an open-face nickel case Waltham watch with leather guard. While everyone regrets the occurrence and
condemns Tabor, the community's sympathy is extended to his wife and fatherless children. The poor woman is almost
distracted with grief. She said Sunday that he had always been a kind and loving husband never giving her a cross
word, and that she would far rather he was in his grave than the hunted criminal he now is. As soon as she can
arrange matters here she will go with her children to the home of her mother Mrs. Warren, in Leavenworth County,
Sheriff Costigan has been doing all possible to gain some knowledge of Tabor’s whereabouts. No photograph of him
taken since he shaved off his mustache could be secured but descriptions are being sent everywhere and it is thought
he cannot long evade pursuit.
Also on Donna's site is this account. Her SOURCE: Ron Long, descendant
THE RICHMOND ENTERPRISE
MURDER AT LANE (Kansas)
J.P. MCECHRON KILLED IN DRINKERS QUARREL
Lane Wild With Excitement; the Murderer,
Al Tabor, Escapes in the Darkness
Last Saturday night the quiet little village of lane, 21 miles south-east of Ottawa, was the scene of a murder
and its inhabitants were thrown into spasms of excitement over the deplorable event. J. P. McEchron, a young and
prosperous farmer, 26 years old, living three and one-half miles from Lane, was shot and almost instantly killed
by one Al Tabor, foreman of a Missouri pacific railroad section gang. McEchron was the son of P.I. McEchron, a
wealthy and highly respected farmer of Richmond. He leaves a wife and two children.
In the excitement that followed the shooting, Tabor escaped and up to this writing has not been apprehended. He
bore the reputation of a bad man and for that reason no one seemed to care to give chase.
The shooting occurred between eight and nine o'clock in the evening. Tabor and McEchron in company with two other
men all of whom were drunk, were standing on the north side of the Allison racket store. In opening a bottle of
whiskey the cork was dropped and McEchron stooped to look for it, and it was then that Tabor got in his ghastly
work. Three shots were fired, McEchron ran forward a few steps and with a pitiful cry fell dead. The peculiar part
of the affair is that while everyone in the vicinity knows that Tabor did the deed no one can testify that he saw
him do it, as the only actual witnesses to the affair, Lee Caldwell and Jack Johnson, were both so drunk that they
can give no reliable testimony. However, Coroner Haggart arrived at the scene of the murder Sunday morning, summoned
a jury, produced witnesses , and the jury after
being out but a few minutes returned the verdict of death at the hands of Al Tabor. The post-mortem examination
conducted by coroner Haggart and Dr. Jacob's discovered the bullet which produced death lodged in the left ventricle
of the heart. Two shots went wild. Fleet Martin, Frank Baker and his daughter were coming around the corner as
the bullets whizzed by, missing them only by a hair's breadth.
It seems that Tabor for some time has held a special grudge against McEchron, though no one seems to know just
what it was, and has several times made threats concerning him. Tabor is a quarrelsome man when drunk which is
considerable of the time though fairly decent when sober. He has a pretty little home in Lane where his wife and
three children live. After the shooting he went to his home and told his wife he had shot a man, went out hurriedly
and nothing has been seen of him since.
McEchron was also a hard drinking man and a violent death has often been predicted by his friends. His father is
an eminently respectable citizen of this county and is almost broken hearted over the affair. He and Mrs. Barton
Needham, the mother of the murdered man's wife, have offered $100 reward for the apprehension of Tabor. The commissioners
have added $50 to this amount. The funeral of McEchron took place at Lane on Monday.
Every effort is being made to trace the criminal and descriptions have been sent out all over the state. His capture
is probably a question of only a short time. When last seen he wore brown corduroy trousers, a dark blue working
shirt, a vest and brown duck coat. He is thirty-seven years old, five feet eleven inches in height and weighs one
hundred and seventy pounds. He is raw boned, of Irish decent, has blue eyes, light, thick hair, is light complexioned,
has prominent cheek bones, a large mouth with firmly set lips, is usually smooth shaven, has heavy eyebrows, and
his face is skinny.