Axel Lawson was in Jamestown all day on Tuesday May 26, 1897. It was rumored he wanted to buy property in the Sinclairville area and went to Jamestown to withdrawal money from a bank for that purpose. Lawson left Jamestown at 10:30 PM. It was the last time anyone saw him alive. Those who know Axel Lawson said he would not have reached Sinclairville until 1 o'clock in the morning.
Grant Edson gave this account of the morning's events to a reporter for the Jamestown Evening Journal:
Lawson was a dealer in farm produce and made frequent trips between Sinclairville and Jamestown. He was at Jamestown yesterday. This morning at 5 o'clock, just after I got up to look at my stock, Lawson's horse came walking up to the place attached to the buggy which he used, but without a driver. On looking at the rig, I found the dash board splattered with blood. Thinking that some accident had happened, I immediately started toward Sinclairville, which is about two miles distant from my place. On reaching the village I found that Lawson had been there during the night and left some empty crocks which he had brought from Jamestown on two or three store porches. but so far as I could learn no one had seen him when he came into the village. There are two roads leading from my place to Sinclairville and I saw nothing of Lawson on my way down to the village. I started home by the other road and when about a quarter of a mile from the village I round Lawson's body lying beside the road. He was dead, with his face badly crushed and pockets of his clothing turned inside out. I immediately notified the undertaker and he at once informed Coroner Blood of Dunkirk and Distinct Attorney Green of Jamestown.
After a through investigation of the crime scene, the body was moved to the undertaking rooms of Taylor and Dingley. At 2 o'clock in the afternoon a post mortem examination was performed by Dr. Laban Hazeltine and Dr. William Marvin Bemus of Jamestown and Dr. C. S. Cleland of Sinclairville. Five dollars and one cent were found in Lawson's pocket. It was later learned that he had twenty dollars when he left Jamestown.
The sheriff and other law enforcement officials searched for evidence
for several weeks. Their investigation centered around two men, Fred Romer
and Fred Page. Blood was splashed over the dashboard of a buggy rented
by the two men. They were also spotted in the vicinity at the time of the
murder. However, lack of evidence led to their release after police questioning.
Today the murder of Axel Lawson remains a mystery. It is the only murder
ever recorded in Sinclariville History.
See what Sinclairville looked like in the 1800s
A Murder Never Solved....
The Old Stone House
Village of Sinclairville
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