Harness Thieves Near Elmo

A crime wave in the area was at last stopped by some fine detective work on the part of E. A. Humphry.  One might say that for want of a nail, a horse shoe was tracked.  As reported on the front page of the June 1, 1905 Skidmore New Era:

Harness Thieves Near Elmo.

Elmo, Mo., May 31, 1905.

A very sensational discovery was made near Elmo Friday morning, and was followed by still more startling discoveries later on.  E. A. Humphry a well known farmer living 2 1/2 miles southwest of town discovered on going to his barn that a new set of work harness had been taken from his barn during the night.  Mr. Humphry at once telephoned to his neighbors and with their assistant followed a peculiar horse track to the home of Elmer McMichael.  The nails from the horse’s shoes protruded which enabled Mr. Humphry to track it.  A search warrant was sworn out by Justice J. B. Colvin and Constable L. W. James in company with Mr. Humphry and others went in search of the stolen goods.  A search was made and the stolen harness belonging to Mr. Humphry and also parts of another harness were found in a wood pile on the McMichael farm.

Elmer McMichael was immediately placed under arrest and Sheriff George L. Evans was wired who at once sent a deputy to take charge of the prisoner.  Other things had been taken from different farmers in the neighborhood of the McMichael’s so a complete search was made of the farm of McMichael’s fathers, Robt. McMichael, where two sets of work harness, 1 set double driving harness, 1 set single harness, 1 heavy cow boys saddle which had been missing for 18 months, 7 good leather halters nearly new, 1 heavy log chain, 3 long whips, a large number of good snaps, pole straps and other fixing belonging to harness, axes, hatchets, hammers, oil cans and a rivet set were found buried in a large box in the ground and covered with a heap of manure.  Sheriff Evans was called by telephone Sunday morning and he in company with Deputy Sheriff Tilson and Prosecuting Attorney J. L. Funk came to Elmo and arrested Robt. McMichael and his other son, Charles, and lodged them in the county jail with the one who had gone before.  The stolen goods were all identified and sworn to by the owners.

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