The shocking affair caused the most intense excitement among the good people of Wolfsville and vicinity and created a wave of sorrow and indignation among the many friends of the cruelly murdered girl. The tragedy occurred on the public road leading from the Smithburg to the Foxville Road, and about a half mile from Wolfsville and about the same distance from the home of Miss Harshman and her murderer. There were no witnesses to the horrible affair, and the sensational reports appearing in some of the papers detailing how the young lady begged for her life, and how Morgan ordered her to repeat her last prayer before he ended her life are pure fabrications.
Miss Harshman and Morgan were step-sister and brother, although there was no blood relationship. Young Morgan was a son of Mr. James Wesley MORGAN, a furniture manufacturer, and a gentleman who is held in high esteem by the community at large. He was formerly from near Myersville, this Valley. Mr. Morgan's present wife was married three times, her first husband being Cornelius HARSHMAN and her second, Benjamin GREEN. The murdered girl was a daughter of Mrs. Morgan by her first marriage. Mr. Morgan's deceased wife was a Miss RECHER. His present wife is a daughter of the late Daniel HOOVER, of Highland.
A representative of The Register, accompanied by Justice Ezra REMSBURG, of this place, visited the scene of the tragedy on Sunday and obtained a true story of the shocking affair.
Morgan's attentions to the young lady began over a year ago, and from the very first she rejected him. On one occasion he told her that if he was not permitted to make her his wife, no one else ever should. This was only taken as an idle threat and no further attention was paid to it. Morgan kept up his attentions to Miss Harshman notwithstanding; she repeatedly demanded that he desist, and on several occasions she declared she would leave home if the annoyance did not cease. Morgan refused to give up his love for the young lady and was so persistent in his demands that she marry him that finally Mrs. Morgan declared her daughter must be protected from the annoyance, and this resulted in Morgan leaving the house as above stated.
Miss Harshman had other admirers and the Sunday evening before the tragedy, entertained a gentleman friend. This, together with his being compelled to leave the house because of Miss Harshman's rejection of his attentions, intensified Morgan's jealousy to such an extent that it is believed he determined to murder the young lady and kill himself, while in a passion of jealousy and despair. Only recently Miss Harshman stated to friends that she was afraid to travel after night, feeling that Morgan would attack her on account of his jealousy.
On Saturday afternoon between 3 and 4 o'clock, Miss Harshman started to go to the home of her sister, Mrs, David E. BARKMAN, 1 1/2 miles northwest of her home. She carried a small bundle under her arm. In order to reduce the distance, Miss Harshman took a "short cut" across the fields. This brought her out on the public road on the summit of a small mountain range leading from S.P. BEAR's to Allen HAY's, and within a few yards of where Howard PALMER was killed a short time ago by his team running away.
Morgan saw Miss Harshman leave the house and he followed her. He was seen at the warehouse a few minutes after Miss Harshman left. This was the last seen of both until they were found lying in the road. Where Morgan overtook his victim is not known, nor what transpired after their meeting will never be ascertained, as no one witnessed the terrible affair.
In the meantime Mr. Kline and members of Mr. Martin's family returned to the scene, when they discovered who the parties were. Miss Harshman was dying and breathed her last in a few moments. Morgan was struggling and groaning in a frightful manner. When Mr. Kline first discovered the bodies, Miss Harshman was in the gutter by the side of a stone fence on her knees, with her head bent forward. Morgan was lying in such a position that his head almost touched Miss Harshman's head. When Mr. Kline returned to the scene the second time, Morgan had struggled to the middle of the road. The weapon with which the terrible deed was committed was found lying in the road. It was a five shot, double action, 32 calibre Iver-Johnson revolver.
Morgan, after shooting Miss Harshman, reloaded his revolver and fired five balls into his own body. One ball entered his right temple, and passed down throught his mouth; another entered his cheek; two lodged in his stomach, and what was presumably the last shot fired when he was too weak to hold the revolver, entered the front of his left thigh and lodged just under the flesh. Morgan, who was still alive, was taken home in the spring wagon and placed in the warehouse, where he died at 10:20 pm, six hours later. He never regained consciousness. A stone weighing about 1 1/2 pounds was found in Morgan's pocket, also a flask of whiskey from which only a small quantity had been taken.
News of the shocking affair spread rapidly and in a short time crowds of people were hastening to the scene - Both parties were well known in the communtiy and men, women and children ran from their homes to ascertain the facts in the case. Such a horrible affair in a usually quiet community was well calculated to create intense excitement. Miss Harshman was a most estimible young lady and was held in the highest esteem by a wide circle of friends. She was pretty, quite reodest(?) in her manners, and was an obedient daughter. Everyone spoke well of her to The Register representative; and the cruel manner in which she met her death, while perfectly helpless and at the mercy of her frenzied slayer, caused indignation to be mingled with grief.
On Sunday afternoon Justice Warrenfeltz held the inquest over the remains of Morgan. The same jury served and the same witnesses were heard, except the first three mentioned above. The usual verdict was rendered. This inquest was held in the warehouse, where Morgan's body lay, enclosed in a casket.
It was reported Sunday afternoon that some children gathering dandelions in the mountain, heard swearing and some one exclaim: "You've got to die," but very little credence was placed in the rumor. A letter was found in Morgan's desk in the warehouse, which he had written to a New York firm a few days before the tragedy, asking for work. It was well worded, but there was nothing in it to indicate the terrible tragedy that he enacted afterwards. Morgan purchased the revolver with which he did the shooting about a year ago.
Over the back of a chair in the room in which the remains of Miss Harshman lay on Sunday afternoon, was a handsome dress, well made and tastefully trimmed. This outfit Miss Harshman had just finished making for herself and she had expected to wear it to Wolfsville to attend the Lutheran Church on the very day that she lay still in death.
Large numbers of people visited the scene of the tragedy on Sunday and there was quite a crowd at the home of the murdered girl. Many persons viewed the remains of both. Miss Harshman's body was in an ice-box in the parlor of her home, while that of her slayer was in a casket in a room in the warehouse. All along the road from Ellerton to Wolfsville, little groups of people could be seen discussing in a quiet manner the details of the horrible affair.
The Register representative secured a half dozen fine photographs of the scenes connected with the tragedy. ; The faithful Wolfsville correspondent of The Register, Mr. J. Luther FREY, was on the scene soon after the tragedy, and through his valuable assistance Sunday afternoon, the Register reporter was enabled to secure much information. Mr. Frey has since furnished us with an account of the funerals of the victims, which appears below.
Dr. Lamar, of Middletown, went to Wolfsville on Monday, and returned with the pistol with which Morgan did the shooting, also the bullet-marked stone from the fence. The news of the tragedy reached Frederick on Saturday night, and Sheriff PATTERSON, with Deputy Samuel ROWE, coroner Thomas TURNER, Dr. Ira J. McCURDY and a Frederick newspaper correspondent of the Baltimore papers, chartered an electric car and started for Myersville at 2 o'clock Sunday morning. From Myersville they went to Wolfsville in a private conveyance. Arriving there, they were informed that Justice Warrenfeltz had taken charge of the case and they had nothing to do but return home.
(Edward Morgan's mother was Delilah [RECHER] MORGAN d/o John and Ann Maria RECHER; she died
15 Dec 1885, aged 47 years, 8 months and 15 days; buried in the Reformed Cemetery in
Wolfsville, as are her parents. - provided by Kim Harman)