john morgan & the slaughter of the pfost-greene family -  Mackey's Antique Clock Repair parkersburg wv



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This is a summarized version about the Pfost-Greene murders taken from the following book. The full story was Published in the book titled "The Slaughter of the Pfost-Greene Family of Jackson County, West Virginia. By Okey J. Morrison. Nancy Alice Pfost was born to Francis Marion Pfost and Chloe /Cloah E Koontz on January 26, 1869 in Fairplain, Jackson County, West Virginia. Her parents had a total of 8 children 5 girls and 3 boys. Her father died in 1873 and her mother later re-married to Edward Greene in 1875. They had 1 son together James Fredrick Greene. Her step-father died in 1895. Alice lived on the Pfost homestead in Jackson County, West Virginia with her mother, sister Matilda Pfost and half-brother James Fredrick Greene.

Her mother was well known for her kindness and charity. No stranger left hungry or unsupplied. Her family liked to help others. The Pfost family was prominent and well-liked in the community. The Pfost family took into their home John F. Morgan (legal name John F. Raines) his mother had died when he was between 9-10 years of age. John wandered from place to place until 1891 when he came to live with the Pfost family. He was treat as a son and brother. He lived with the Pfost/Greene family until he married in 1896 and moved to a farm owned by J. W. Greene less then a mile away.

 Mrs Greene continued to help John by giving him work to do and provided him grain for bread when he had no money. Mrs. Greene gave John a horse which he then traded for 2 younger horses. He took out a lien on the horses and then had money due at the time he murdered the Pfost Greene family. A week before the murder Mrs. Greene was expecting money from a horse that they had sold. John came to the Pfost Greene farm around 1 o'clock in the morning and called James out to ask if they had received money for the horse. James had told John they didn't have the money yet but expected it the next day. James then told his family of the conversation and they were concerned that John would try to steal the money. They even told a neighbor about their concern.

The day before the murder John Morgan came to stay the night at the Pfost Greene homestead. The next day, November 3rd , 1897 at 5 o'clock, James went to feed the hogs. John followed James and killed him with a mattock and then crushed his head with a stone. The mother and sisters were unaware of what had occurred outside. John then came into the house and they asked where James was and John had told them he was out checking traps. They found this suspicious because the traps had been brought in the night before.

 Mrs. Greene went into a back room to make the bed and Alice and Matilda began making breakfast but found it strange that James hadn't returned and began questioning John. John tried to change the subject and then suddenly struck Matilda on the head with a hatchet, twice. He then turned and struck Alice on the top of the head inflicting a wound which then caused her to fall. The blade had penetrated her brain. Matilda had then got up and was going out the door when John Morgan went after her. Alice then got up and ran out of the kitchen through a closet into the sitting room and out to the porch. When Alice looked back she saw John Morgan coming though the passage way by the chimney into the sitting room. Matilda had made her way to this room which is where she was found dead. Mrs. Greene was still in the bed room with the door closed. John Morgan battered down the door and attacked Mrs. Greene with the hatchet following her trying to make it out of the house through the sitting room to the porch. She was left lying with her feet on the edge of the porch and her body on the ground with four wounds to her head where she then died in her own blood.

 Alice hid behind a pile of boards and afterward in the corner of the hen-house. She then knew she needed to get help. While bleeding, Alice made her way through a corn-field, as she ran she heard her mother and sister screaming for help. Matilda called for Alice to come back and get the gun to help them but she did not return. She ran to Mr. John Chancey's home. Her screams brought out Mr. Chancey and she told him that John Morgan was killing her mother and sister. When people arrived they found Mrs. Greene alive but unconscious. Matilda was found in a similar position lying in a pool of blood. James was found dead at the hog-pen. Three of the family members all died due to injuries sustained from their wounds. Alice was the only survivor of the attack.

The hatchet that was used in the attack was found a distance away from the house in the garden toward Mr. Chancey's where Alice first hid. It appeared that John had started to follow Alice but then made his escape. By 10 o'clock in the morning 600 people were at the Pfost homestead. Mr. G. W. Shamblen spotted John and pursed him along with other members of the community. John then gave up and was arrested. He was tried in court and found guilty. He was hung on December 16, 1897 in Fairplain, Jackson County, West Virginia. John Morgan's hanging was the final public execution. Shortly after his death West Virginia state legislature passed a bill to prohibit public executions. Alice never married and died on November 30, 1944 in Ripley, Jackson County, West Virginia at the age of 75 due to an infected arm.

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