By Maurice Winternitz
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Extra info for A History of Indian Literature. Vol. I.
Plain, 2. Murder 39 simple minded, everywhere well liked, and in no way likely to incur the enmity of any person, it is difﬁcult to see wherein the theory of revenge would satisfy all of the circumstances in the case. The body of Thomas Spicer, the only man about the place at the time of the murder, was found in the barn, where he had evidently been doing some cleaning, as a barrow used for such purposes was found near him. He had been shot in the back, evidently the ﬁrst act in the awful series of murders.
So was his daughter. So were his infant twin grandsons. The bodies were not discovered until the next morning. The day after that an account of the discovery was given in the Friday issue of the Bismarck Daily Tribune, the newspaper published in the state capitol. The writer, emphasizing the “inhuman butchery” of the “hellish” murders, assumed that Indians — by implication, Indians from the nearby Standing Rock Sioux reservation — must have committed the crime: 33 34 Murdering Indians Lillie Spicer Rouse’s body in the living room of the house owned by her parents.
Nothing has been discovered yet giving any light as to the author of the crime. Details of the tragedy at Winona, awful as they were upon the ﬁrst report, grew more horrible with the relation and ampliﬁcation of the facts of the murder. From the latest reports received, and further information of the ﬁnding and condition of the bodies, it was by far the most sickening and brutal crime in the whole history of atrocities. Six persons, representing four generations of human beings, ruthlessly slaughtered in cold blood, two women ravished, the bodies of the dead fearfully mutilated, and two harmless children with no conception of the awful tragedy being perpetrated near them, robbed of life before they were able to appreciate existence as a condition.