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Closing Scenes of the Bloody Vendetta

Free Press

Carbondale, IL

12 Apr 1884



The Williamson County Vendetta--Closing Scene in the Bloody Drama

At 2pm of Tuesday last the jury in the case of the people vs. Thomas J Russell rendered a verdict of murder and sentenced the prisoner to the penitentiary for a term of fifty years. The trouble began about 12 years ago between the families of the Bulliner's and Crain's, on one side, and the Russell's, Henderson's and Sisney's on the other. There were many fights but no killings until 12 Dec 1873. George Bulliner came to Wmson Co in 1865 and settled on a farm near Crainville. He had five sons: David, john, Monroe, George and Emanuel. George W Sisney lived near the Bulliners before he moved to Carbondale. James Henderson came to Wmson Co in 1864 and settled in the same area. The Crain's where a large family, among them were, William J (aka Big Jep) and Marshall T (both s/o William), William J (aka Black Bill and s/o Jasper). George Bulliner was the first killed, shot on 12 Dec 1873, while riding his horse to Carbondale. On 27 Mar 1874 David and John Bulliner were returning from church, when they were shot at, David was killed. James Henderson was shot while working in his fields on 15 May 1874, he died 8 days later. George W Sisney, fearing for his life had moved to Carbondale, but on 28 Jul 1875, he was in his home and shot through the window. William Spence, who ran a store in Crainville was shot 31 Jul 1875. Rewards were being offered and Col Brush of Carbondale offered $500 for the person shooting George Sisney. Two military companies were formed to stop the violence. B F Lowe began the detective work on the murders. He first arrested Samuel Music, who began to implicate those involved in the murders. They were the following:

John Bulliner and Allen Baker for the murder of George Sisney. Both recieved 25 years, John was pardoned 04 Jul 1882. Allen remained in Joliet Prison.

Marshall T Crain for the murder of William Spence, he aslo confessed to the murder of George Sisney. He was hanged 21 Jan 1876.

Big Jep and Black Bill Crain, both sentenced in Feb 1875 to 25 years in Joliet Prison for the murder of William Spence.

Samuel Music confessed to his part in the murder of William Spence and in Apr 1876 he was sentenced to 14 years at Joliet Prison.

James Norris was convicted of the murder of James Henderson in Apr 1876. He was sentenced to 17 years at Joliet Prison. It was alter found he was probably not guilty and he was pardoned 04 Jul 1882.

Thomas J Russell was born on Eight-Mile Prairie 01 Feb 1851 and is the third son of Jefferson Russell. After the murder of Daivd Bulliner he was arrested and taken to Marion. His friends showed up armed and he was released. He left Williamson Co, although he did return to visit his family. On 17 Jan 1884, he returned and gave himself up to Sheriff Ross in Murphysboro. He had been indicted in mar 1878 for the murder of George Bulliner. He was found guilty of murdering David Bulliner and Dr Vincent Hinchcliff, and was thought to have murdered George Bulliner.

 

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