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Winfield Daily Courier - December 28, 1893

Norton and Wright Leave Midst Tears from a Broken Hearted Mother,

for the Penitentiary in Charge of Sheriff Nipp and Jas. Rothrock.

Last evening as the north-bound Santa Fe train pulled out, it bore Sheriff Nipp and Under Sheriff Jas. Rothrock with Wilbur Norton, Morgan Wright, Chas. Roberts, and Col. Parker. The last named to be conveyed to the reform school at Topeka, and the others to Lansing. The two former ones to serve a sentence behind those grim walls of the penitentiary and never more to leave there unless it be upon the morn of their burial.

A COURIER reporter called on them in their cell last evening just before their departure, and in the conversation that followed they each spoke very hopeful of the future and expressed regret that their lives had been spent as they had. All the braggadocio, which had marked them throught the trial, had seemingly left them. Morgan Wright said: "I feel as though a great weight was laid upon me that is bound to crush life out of me. I don't believe that I was justly convicted and that either of us came here and premeditated murder. I wish to extend my sympathy to the widow of the man that I killed, and were it possible to extract the soul from this early clay, I would willingly do so, and serve eternally in hell could I but restore that man." Tears came in the boy's eyes and a marked change came over him that had not been noticeable before. Norton said, "I am indeed sorry that I ever let Morgan have the gun, had I not done so we could have been free men today. Morgan was drunk and when I told him to kill Captain, he done so. My life has never been very much, and very little good has been found in it. Had I used my talents in the other direction, I might have been farther up the ladder on the other end than I am down it tonight. I wish to say that if I had never seen liquor that this never would have happened, for that is what has placed me in all the trouble I have been in. Tell the boys to let it alone for it is born of trouble and creates devilishness." He spoke of his folks and said that none of them knew where he was and that not one word has ever been sent them. "I god in this trouble without their help and now I must get out of it," he said.

After taking the boys downstairs, goodbyes were exchanged by the many who knew them and then the parting of the aged mother and father of Morgan. With tears in her eyes and sobs which seemed to tear the soul from its frame, they bid each other a long farewell. Who knows but that it will be the last, and an aged mother turned from him a murderer, to seek solace in a life darker than the tomb, robbed of all the joys of life, only to hope and wait to see the face of her boy, now a criminal for life, waiting to embrace the one who is dearer than life to her, and were he covered all over with the brands of infamy and crime, she would clasp him to her bosom and weep for joy. Anybody, of the crowd assembled to witness their departure, could not have restrained the tears, could they have looked into the soul of that desolate woman. To think that the hearts of two mothers and christian women of God's own form and likeness of that son who died to save others, could create in his own image one that would break the hearts of such noble women.

What has been done in such cases is seldom repairable, and last night as the train slowly steamed out of the depot it closed the book containing chapters of one of the most horrible crimes ever committed in our beautiful city.

Let us believe that in spite of the doubts, dogmas, and fears and uncertainties that the finger of Him who said that "Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them as snow," may touch the hearts of those boys and that they may yet see that angel mother in another world, if not in this.

Cowley County Historical Society Museum