The Murder of Daniel Lindley by James Waldron

Friday, September 6, 1889
Clinton Public
DeWitt County, Illinois

D. B. Lindley, a Prominent Merchant, Was Brutally Stabbed to Death.

J. K. Waldron in the Role of the Injured Husband.

A brush path near the village of Kenney was the scene of a terrible murder last Monday morning. J. D. WALDRON was the murderer and D. B. LINDLEY, a prominent merchant of Kenney, was the victim. There was a woman in the case, Waldron's wife. Waldron and his wife lived a short distance from Kenney in a small house by the wayside, where Waldron had a patch of ground to raise vegetables. On Monday morning he went into Kenney to buy some articles and not finding what he wanted announced his intention to come to Clinton. He afterward changed his mind and, instead of coming to Clinton, he turned his steps homeward. He did not find his wife at home, and being informed by his brother Ed that he saw Lindley going toward his house, he started across a field to a brush patch where he espied Lindley and his wife. Maddened with rage at the faithlessness of his wife and his false friend, Waldron made an attack on Lindley with either a corn knife which he had in his hand or a pocket-knife, Waldron cannot remember which, and he stabbed Lindley twice in the back over his kidneys, cut a gash in his breast over his heart, and then wounded him in the thigh near the groin. Lindley lived but a few minutes after receiving his terrible carving at the hands of Waldron. Mrs. Waldron made her escape as she feared the vengeance of her husband and did not put in appearance till the next day after she had heard that her husband was in jail. Waldron soon after gave himself up to an officer and he was brought to Clinton and lodged in jail.

When the news was first received in Kenney, the people among whom Lindley had lived for several years were very excited, and had Waldron been within reach at that moment he would have been lynched. Waldron has the reputation of being a passionate man, and at first it was supposed that the murder had been committed for a different cause, but after the true state of the case was known the excitement cooled down. Lindley had befriended Waldron at different times and was his bondsman when Waldron was indicted for maliciously killing a horse that strayed on his premises.

The woman in the case, Mrs. Waldron, has had an unsavory reputation. Before her marriage to Waldron she lived in Ohio with a man named Dearth, who was frightened away by fear of an indictment for adultery. Eleven years ago Waldron and his wife were married near Kenney, and the pair has lived anything but a pleasant life. He was jealous of her, and when he heard that Lindley had been seen going toward his house that morning he was suspicious that something was wrong.

Lindley lived on a farm near Bloomington with his father and mother till a few years ago, when his father sold his farm and the whole family moved to Kenney, where Lindley invested the money in a general store. He afterward married a young lady who lived near Kenney by whom he got some money on the death of her father. Mrs. Lindley died about eighteen months ago, leaving two small children. Lindley was an upright man in business and was generally respected by the people of Kenney. At the fire a few weeks ago in Kenney, his store was burned and he lost heavily in stock, and at the time of his untimely death he was having a new brick building erected in Kenney in which to resume business.

Waldron is now in jail. His case will not come up till the December term of the circuit court. His wife bitterly and emphatically denies that there was anything criminal between her and Lindley, and the indications are that she will be a formidable witness against her husband.

Submitted by Judy Simpson

April 4, 1890
Clinton Public
Clinton, Illinois

That Was the Sentence of the Jury Against James
Waldren for the Murder of Daniel B. Lindley.

Just before going to press last week the jury in the case of James WALDREN for the murder of Daniel B. LINDLEY brought in a verdict of guilty, with a recommendation that Waldren be imprisoned in the penitentiary for sixteen years. The history of the murder was given in THE PUBLIC at the time it was committed, so we will briefly review it in order to refresh the memories of our readers. Daniel B. Lindley was a merchant in the village of Kenney and James Waldren lived out of town a short distance. Lindley had befriended Waldren on more than one occasion for kindness shown to him during the sickness of his wife, and the relations existing between the two families were pleasant. Some months before the murder, Waldren, who has an ungovernable and vicious temper, was indicted for brutally killing a horse with a pitchfork. The horse belonged to a neighbor and was running at large on the highway, and because the dumb animal bothered Waldren, he brutally killed it. In this trouble Lindley befriended Waldren.

On the morning of September 2, 1889, Waldren was making preparations to attend the county fairs, and in order to help him buy a swing or something of that character out of which to make money he asked Lindley to help him. Evidently Lindley did not furnish the required means, for that morning, instead of coming to Clinton as Waldren intended to do, he changed his plans and returned to his home. When Waldren arrived at home, according to his own statement, he found his house locked up and his wife gone. He started towards a field, a short distance from his house, with a butcher knife in his hand, which he claimed he had been cutting corn with for his stock. In the field near a small clump of trees he met Lindley and there the murder was committed. Waldren claims that he found his wife and Lindley in a compromising position. Dan Lindley was dead and could not deny the story. No one who knew Lindley believed the story. The woman could not testify in the case or she might have vindicated the man who had befriended her and her husband. When Lindley's body was found he was dead, having been brutally stabbed in a number of places with a butcher knife. The woman mysteriously disappeared from the scene. This is about the substance of the crime.

Waldren became fearful of his own life, for the neighbors would have lynched him, and came to Clinton and delivered himself to Sheriff HENSON. From the day of the crime till the day of his trial he told so many contradictory stories that his testimony on the witness stand had no weight with the jury. He was ably defended by Mr. Wm. FULLER and Judge INGHAM, but the only hope they had for him was to get the jury to make the punishment as light as possible. State's Attorney BOOTH and Colonel Pash WARNER conducted the prosecution, and under their searching examination of witnesses the jury was convinced of the brutality of the crime. Waldren was let off very lightly considering the heinousness of his offense. His sentence of sixteen years in the penitentiary was a compromise in favor of a much heavier punishment.

Submitted by Judy Simpson