Thursday, July 5, 2018

Vengeful Assailant Murders Judge John C. Brady in Rathdrum [otd 07/05]

On the night of July 5, 1901, farmer Henry Williambusse shot and mortally wounded newspaper editor and Probate Judge John C. Brady. This event was the violent climax to a dispute of two years standing.
Kootenai County Courthouse, Rathdrum, ca 1908. City of Rathdrum.

During the summer of 1899, locals in Rathdrum, Idaho "charged" Williambusse with insanity and brought evidence for the accusation before Brady in his capacity as Kootenai County Probate Judge. After hearing the evidence, Judge Brady found for the prosecution and sent Williambusse to the Asylum in Blackfoot.

Born in Iowa, Brady graduated from Northern Indiana Normal (now Valparaiso University) in 1884. For the next ten years, he taught school in Iowa, Montana, and finally Idaho. Then a job as school principal drew him to Rathdrum. The little town had started as a waystation on the mail route between Walla Walla, Washington and Missoula, Montana. It remained only that for nearly a decade until 1881, when it became a station on the Northern Pacific Railroad. By the time Brady arrived in 1894, Rathdrum was a thriving community whose citizens were “justly proud of their public schools.”

Four years after Brady arrived, voters elected him as a Probate Judge. Early the following year, he bought the Silver Blade newspaper and became its Editor. Sadly, his wife died that spring, leaving him alone to raise two young children.

A few months after Williambusse arrived at the Asylum, he escaped. Recaptured a few days later in Ogden, Utah, he was sent back to the institution. The following summer, he ran off again and returned to the Rathdrum area.

Apparently Williambusse had made some progress – either shedding his symptoms or getting better at hiding them. Officials made no attempt to send him back this time. The Asylum Superintendent did suggest that the sheriff watch for any signs of a relapse and be ready to take Williambusse back into custody.

According to the History of North Idaho, Williambusse "made no secret of the deep-seated grudge" he still harbored, yet the sheriff took no action. Perhaps the officer had not heard, or discounted, his "many threats" against those who had put him in the Asylum.

On July 5th, Brady was working late at the Silver Blade. According to Brady's later deposition, Williambusse entered and said, "How are you, Brady? How do you feel tonight?"

"Pretty fair; how are you?"

The farmer drew a revolver, and said, “Take that in your old face." He shot Brady under the right eye, extinguished the light, and left.

The sheriff's home lay about fifty feet distant, across a small yard. He and his wife heard the shot and saw the light go out. Then they heard the Judge cry, "I am murdered!"

Although the sheriff grabbed his gun and chased a dark figure, the shooter escaped.

Fortunately, and unfortunately, the eye socket had deflected the bullet so it did not kill Brady immediately. On the 14th, he made a statement, which began: "I ... believing I am at the point of death, and every hope of this world gone ... make this my dying declaration."

He then described his assailant and provided the dialog noted above. The next day he dictated a will, and died two days later, having undergone “eleven days of great suffering.”

Authorities captured Williambusse in Spokane a few days after the shooting. In February 1902, he was convicted of murder and "sentenced to hard labor for the rest of his natural life in the state penitentiary at Boise."
Reference: [Illust-North], [Illust-State]
“Pine Versus Callahan et al,“ The Pacific Reporter, Vol. 71, West Publishing Company, St. Paul (1903).

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