Reproduced with permission of
John Marion Belt by William J. Belt
copyright 1980 by Johm M. Belt
Who Killed Logan Belt
THE FINAL DAYS
Logan was finally pardoned by Governor Oglesby and restored to citizenship. Upon his return home to his "faithful, devoted wife and innocent little ones" (see page 71) "who so badly needed the care and protection of the husband and father" (see page 106), one of his first acts was to order from the premises his wife and daughter Jane, whom he claimed had led aught but virtuous lives, that intimate relations existed between them and certain men. This they firmly denied. Was Logan too hasty? When Jane was placed on the witness stand in the trial of Luke Hambrink, she was twenty-five years of age and living with her uncle, John Frailey. At this time Jane was not married.
It was brought out in her testimony that Logan had a law office in his shop. This was also a gun shop. Logan had bought and moved William Wayland Winn's gun shop from the Lambtown road to his home. Mr. Winn had made guns and imprinted his name on them with the N's backwards. Some of these guns showed up in Cyril Smith's gun shop recently to be repaired. Cyril mentioned it to this writer, and being a good friend of Taylor Barger, Mr. Winn's greatgrandson, I asked him one day where the guns came from. He told me the story.
The gun shop was also a place for fox hunters to meet and get up a fox hunt. I can remember, when I was small, hearing Reese Lackey tell of his experiences with Logan while fox hunting.
Having secured a divorce from his first wife, Logan was then married to a cousin of a remote degree, Mary Amanda Belt of Franklin County, on Tuesday evening of October 26, 1886. They were married by a Baptist preacher, B. A. Salyers, at the residence of Logan Belt. Three days later, on October 29, Logan, along with several others, was indicted for the murder of Luke Hambrink.
It seems that Logan was aware of the fact that when he came out of prison, all eyes would be upon him. Many things would be done and he would be accused. The writer, Shadrach Jackson, doesn't give Logan much credit for making a radical change. However, everything points to the fact that he was endeavoring to do everything in his power to avoid a conflict with the law. In the book, The Roar of God's Thunder, published by Rev. Ron Nelson, John Blanchard writes concerning a revival that he held at Peters Creek.
"When Big Saline Association met in the fall of 1885, I saw when the churches were called, some two or more failed to represent themselves in the body. I made up my mind that I would visit them and hold a meeting of days with them. Accordingly I did. Peters Creek in Hardin County was one of the churches visited. I went and began to preach for them. For a while, everything looked dark, but with the help of the good Lord, the ice began to break. Sinners began to come forward for prayer and soon after some professed faith in Christ. The house became crowded with spectators, and the meeting got more interesting. The meeting continued for a number of days, with great success. Brother Belt from Kentucky came in to our meeting by a request from the brethern. By the way, he was the whole team. When the meeting wound up, the result was about twenty additions to the church. By this time the weather became cold. The ice was several inches thick, but we broke through and I led fourteen willing subjects into Peters Creek and buried them with Chris in baptism. Among the number was old Brother Logan Belt."
It seems there was no recognition given to his change in life, but he refused to be intimidated back into the rut he was in before he went to the penitentiary. If one has ever read and believes the Bible, he would not hesitate to believe the meanest man on earth can be changed. The great Apostle Paul said he was "the chiefest of sinners" and was made to see the bright side of life as he traveled on the road to Damascus. As things began to shape up in the last year of Logan's life, he realized that a certain group was intending to have him killed. In my opinion, he could not have lived good enough to change their attitudes. As we delve into the main part of the story, we find different ideas as to who assassinated Logan Belt. Let me say here that there were several who thought they would like to have the honor. For instance, there is the story about a group in the county courthouse that was supposed to have drawn straws to see who would do the killing. There has even been certain ones claiming to have the straws. This story seems rather far fetched. In the first place, I don't think intelligent men would operate that way. Supposing the sheriff got the short straw or the States Attorney or any other officer that would have a duty to perform in the case. It seems to me that it would be rather embarrassing to the whole bunch. However, I do believe that the necessary revenue to have the job done came from local people. Why did the courthouse burn? Why did they want him killed in the first place? Why didn't they want Jonathan killed? As a matter of fact, I would rather have faced Logan in a conflict than Jonathan. Logan always got whipped in a fight, but they didn't fool with Jonathan very much. Neither did they bother Shadrach Jackson during the publishing of all the articles in the local paper.
I could name at least a half dozen different accusations, but would rather not call names, as there are relatives of some still living. Here is one case of a man that borrowed a rifle from a friend to kill Logan Belt. After Logan was killed, this man returned the rifle to his friend with the comment, "It works good." His friend always believed that this man killed Logan. Then there's the story concerning the blue felt hat. A man gave a friend a blue felt hat for wadding in his muzzle loading rifle. The day Logan was killed, this man claims he saw the blue wadding that came out of the muzzle of the rifle that was used to kill Logan Belt. These are only two of the stories that have arisen since Logan's death.
William Jenkins was a gunsmith. Probably he had done business with Logan, as most gunsmiths work together on parts, etc. Sometimes Mr. Jenkins would have Bill Quillin to try a gun to see how it worked. Bill was supposed to be an expert marksman. The day Logan Belt was killed, Bill Quillin returned a rifle to Mr. Jenkins and asked him not to say anything about him returning it. He made the remark, "You will learn later." This put William and Molly Jenkins on the spot. When they learned Logan Belt had been killed, they made this incident a wellkept secret. Can you blame them?
Of course, Bill Quillin is the man my family believed killed Logan Belt. Nobody was very positive about it, but when asked concerning the assassination, most would reply, "they say Bill Quillin did it."
Logan and Marion Belt were cousins and close friends. They often rode together. Marion is mentioned quite often in The Life of Logan Belt. Marion Belt, we called him Uncle Bub, married the widow of Dr. Quillin. They raised her son Bill. Aunt Ad, as she was generally known, did not care too much for Logan. In fact, she told him in no uncertain terms that she did not want Uncle Bub to ride at night with him and to stay away from their home. Logan didn't like this very much; neither did he pay heed to what she had said. One day, Logan came to see Marion. A big collie dog would not let him come inside the yard. Aunt Ad had this big collie and the dog seemed to have a dislike for Logan. It seems that a dog has an understanding. I suppose it is by smell. I do know that a dog can tell if you are afraid of him. Logan asked Aunt Ad to stop the dog or he would shoot it. She flatly refused and again ordered him away from their property. Logan pulled a pistol, shot the dog, got into his buggy and drove away. Her son Bill arrived a short time after the dog had been shot, finding his mother rather grief stricken. The dog was not yet dead when he arrived. This infuriated Bill. He made the expression that Logan Belt needed killing if ever any man did. Charley Belt was well known around Cave-in-Rock and Gallatin County and was a half brother to Bill, but somewhat younger. Charley claimed Bill was an expert marksman and had seen him kill rabbits while running. It's awfully hard to kill a running rabbit with a rifle. The killing of the dog didn't seem to bother Uncle Bub, or at least I've never heard anything unusual of the event.
Bill Quillin left Hardin County the day after Logan Belt was killed. I have been informed that Bill left this county with a fine span of mules and wagon and no doubt money in lieu of the farm that would sell for taxes later on. This Property now belongs to Mr. and Mrs. John Edwards The amount of land was 40 acres. Not only was Bill infuriated by the killing of the dog, but very likely the attitude of Logan toward Aunt Ad disgusted him. It seems obvious that a man would have to have a very good reason to even accept money and property to do the job.
When Charlie grew up, he decided to try to locate Bill, which was a difficult thing to do in those days. However, after much perserverence, he finally located him in Oregon. When he got there to visit, Bi11 had died but the family was still doing fine.
Doesn't it Seem natural that inasmuch as a group of people in the Hardin County Courthouse and Elizabethtown wanted Logan Belt killed, they would make a good enough offer to Bill Quillin, who was already wanting to do the job? Why did Bill leave so soon? He didn't run from the law, but being raised in the family of Belts, knew what would happen to him if he stayed.
There's also the story of the woman's track at the assassination site. I have never made my mind up to believe that story unless there actually was a woman there. Did you ever stop to think there just might have been one present? I don't know why anyone would want to disguise themselves in any way, as there would be no legal action taken under any circumstances. The only concern the assassinators, and I say assassinators, had was to do the job, get away, stay gone and stay hid.
On a Monday evening, June 6th, 1887, Logan Belt was shot and killed while enroute home from Cave-in-Rock, about 150 or 200 yards west of Wesley Chapel on the Old State Road. It is said to be the first time since his trial that he had gone anywhere, even on his farm, unaccompanied. At least, it was the first time he had been seen alone. His wife, a relative, or Some friend always accompanied him. His son Jonathan told this writer that he well remembers the day his father was killed. Logan told the girls that there was no need to accompany him, because if his enemies intended to get him, they would finally make it. He started home after the rain that evening. The distance to his home was about four and one-half miles.
As I have stated before, there were several who wanted a part in killing Logan Belt, but few wanted to launch out and do it. It would take an excellent marksman to hit a man in a moving buggy. He could not afford to miss. Bill Quillin had the confidence and no doubt was willing to accept the assignment.
It has always been told that several shots were fired. I believe the initial shot was the one that killed Logan. If there were any more fired, they might have been in celebration. It is a certain fact that if the first shot didn't do the job, the buggy would be moving as fast as the horses could go, making it almost impossible to hit a man. Naturally a man would try to protect himself in every way possible.
Another story that has been widely told is that a post mortem was held on the assassination spot and all the men around were heavily armed. According to Dr. C. E. Green's physicians affidavit, Logan Belt was killed June 6th, 1887, sometime between five and six oclock P.M. Held Post Mortem on June 7th, 1887 at about 10:00 A.M.
A lot has been said concerning who the assassin was, but nothing has ever been said about the accomplice, except that there was a woman or a man with a woman's shoes on at the assassination site.
From Fort Worth, Texas, December 13, 1887, a letter was written to the editor of the Register at Cave-in-Rock protesting the completed manuscript for a book containing the life of her husband. It must be remembered that this is Logan's second wife, Mary Amanda Belt, twenty years of age at this time. Logan was forty seven. They had been married about a year and a half. This marriage was one of the most stupid things I have ever known Logan to do. It reminds me of the story of a dog catching a car. He wouldn't have much need for it after he caught it.
What was Mary Amanda doing in Fort Worth, Texas, so soon after Logan's assassination? She evidently had some special business. It is believed by this writer that a love affair may have been going on between her and the accomplice of the assassination. Why would one want to be involved unless he had an interest? As we will show later, the accomplice went straight to Texas, and then Mary Amanda shows up shortly afterward. Evidently things did not work out properly, for Mary returned to the vicinity of Cave-in-Rock. She applied for a Civil War pension. Her home address at this time was Webb Hill, Franklin County, Illinois. She obtained affidavits from Elbert Dossett, John Jack, Jr., and also included a copy of the Post Mortem of June 6, 1887. On this copy, Dr. C. A. Green inserted that he knew Mary Amanda to be the widow of Logan Belt. Dr. Green stated that he had no interest in the case.
Can you imagine a woman twenty years of age with no children getting $8.00 per month pension? Remember his first wife had a bunch of his children to raise some way or other. Mary drew this pension until September 16, 1894, at which time she was remarried to a man by the name of Pillow.