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William Henry and Effie Elizabeth (White) Anderson Family

Montgomery Standard, Montgomery City, Montgomery County, MO, 04 Nov 1932

    Wesley Preston Confesses To Killing Jas. Anderson.  Leads Sheriff
and Dupties to Place Where he Buried Body Under Brush Pile.

    The disappearance of James M. Anderson, 30 year old farmer, who had
been missing since August 3, 1932, was solved Friday of last week, when
Wesley Preston, aged 26, confessed to killing him.
    When the alarm was given that Anderson was missing, Prosecuting
Attorney O.A. Kamp and Sheriff Claude Gregory instituted an investigation,
and arrested Wesley Preston, who had been known to have paid attention to
Anderson's wife, and held him for 20 hours for questioning.  Mrs. Anderson
was in a hospital at the time, and after returning was confined to her bed
until last week, when Kamp and Gregory felt that a second questioning might
accomplish something.
    The sheriff brought Preston, Mrs. Anderson, wife of James Anderson,
and her daughter Hazel, age 10, to the jail Thursday night.  Friday morning
the Sheriff and Prosecuting Attorney continued to question the three.  Mr.
Kamp was called away at noon and the Sheriff continued the grilling through
the afternoon, and about 6:30 Preston broke down and said he was going to
tell the whole story.  He then related his story, and took the sheriff and
coroner's jury to the place where the body was buried in a thick woods about
1? miles west of Montgomery City.
    Preston first said that he shot Anderson in the head with a shot
gun, after Anderson had fired at him twice.  He later said he struck him
over the head with the gun barrel.
    Preston stated that on the night of August 2d he stayed all night at
the Anderson home and after breakfast the next morning he started out to the
barn to get his horse and go to his home.  He said Anderson followed him out
and fired at him.  He dodged behind an automobile and then ran into the home
where he secured a shot gun, and as he came out they met and he fired at
Anderson, the charge grazing Anderson's stomach, and as he bent over he
stuck him on the head with the gun barrel.  He then dragged the body into
the brush and came back that evening and buried it.
    The body of Anderson was found with only a shirt and sock on.  His
trousers and shoes were buried in another place.
    An inquest was held Saturday before Judge James F. Ball, acting
coroner.  The jury, E.B. Graves, M.B. Vaughn, Joe Covington, W.L. Schlanker,
Ben Graham and John G. Miller, charged Preston with first degree murder.
Mrs. Anderson and her brother William Dillion, are both being held as
accessories after the fact, for confessing the crime.
    The case will come up for trial at the adjourned term of circuit
court, which meets November 14.

Montgomery Standard, Montgomery City, Montgomery County, MO, 18 Nov 1932 Circuit Court Notes: State vs. Wesley Preston, charged with murder in the first degree, defendant pleads not guilty and trial is set for Wednesday November 30th. William Dillon and Mrs. May Anderson, held as accessories after the fact, having no funds to employ an attorney, the court appointed Wm. Barton to defend them, and with their attorney, they will appear before the court Saturday, at which time the case will be set for trial.
Montgomery Standard, Montgomery City, Montgomery County, MO, 25 Nov 1932 Circuit Court Notes: State vs. Wm. Dillion and Mrs. May Anderson, charged as accessories in connection with the killing of James Anderson; defendants arraigned and on plea of not guilty, cause is continued.
Montgomery Standard, Montgomery City, Montgomery County, MO, 02 Dec 1932 Prisoner Escapes. Wesley Preston, Charged With Murder, Makes Successful Dash For Freedom. Wesley Preston, who was being held in the county jail, charged with the murder of James Anderson last August, made his escape on Wednesday night of last week and has not been since apprehended. Sheriff Claude Gregory had Preston in the jail office, questioning him further about the manner in which Anderson met his death, Preston having previously confessed the killing, saying he shot him with a shotgun as Anderson was running around the house on the farm west of Montgomery, where Mr. and Mrs. Anderson and a daughter lived. He had different statements about the matter and the sheriff was trying to get a true confession. Preston was sitting near the side door of the jail office. One of the other prisoners called the sheriff and when Mr. Gregory turned his back Preston made a quick dash out the office door and was in hiding before the sheriff could prepare to give chase. No definite clue has developed, although the tenant on E. B. Groves' farm three miles east of town, reported Thursday that a stranger had slept in his barn and ran hurriedly away when he went out to feed that morning. Search later failed to disclose if the stranger was the escaped prisoner. Preston's trial had been set for Wednesday, and a jury panel had been summoned but the case was necessarily continued and the jury notified not to appear.
Montgomery Standard, Montgomery City, Montgomery County, MO, 06 Jan 1933 Circuit Court Notes: State vs. Wesley P. Preston charged with murder in the first degree. ... State vs. William Dillion and May Anderson, charged accessories after the fact, knowing a murder to have been committed.
Montgomery Standard, Montgomery City, Montgomery County, MO, 20 Jan 1933 Circuit Court Notes: State vs. Wesley Preston, murder in first degree, cause continued; defendant not in custody. ... State vs. Wm Dillion and May Anderson, accessories after the fact, knowing a murder to have been committed, cause set for trial February 15th.
Montgomery Standard, Montgomery City, Montgomery County, MO, 27 Jan 1933 Sister And Brother Are Sentenced. Mrs. May Anderson and Her Brother, Wm. Dillion, Sentenced As Accessories in the Murder of the Former's Husband. At a Session of circuit court here last Monday, Mrs. May Anderson, and her brother, Wm Dillion, who were being held in jail in this city as accessories in connection with the killing of James Anderson, Mrs. Anderson's husband, whose body was found buried under a brush pile about 9 miles west of Montgomery City last October, were both given sentences by Judge W. C. Hughes. After each of them had entered a plea of guilty, Mrs. Anderson was given two years in the penitentiary and Dillion was sentenced to serve a year in the county Jail. Anderson had been missing since August 3, 1932, and Wesley Preston, who had paid attention to Anderson's wife, was suspected of having something to do with his disappearance. He was questioned repeatedly by the authorities, and finally confessed to killing Anderson. He first said that he shot him when Anderson attempted to kill him, but later said he hit him on the head with the barrel of a gun and buried the body under a brush pile near the scene of the crime. he took the sheriff to the spot and the body of Anderson was found. Preston was lodged in the county jail here on a charge of murder but made his escape shortly afterward and is still at large.
Montgomery Standard, Montgomery City, Montgomery County, MO, 21 Apr 1933 Circuit Court Docket: State vs. Wesley P. Preston, murder in first degree.
Montgomery Standard, Montgomery City, Montgomery County, MO, 28 Apr 1933 Circuit Court Notes: State vs. Wesley P. Preston, murder in first degree; defendant not having been apprehended, on motion of Prosecuting Attorney cause is continued generally.
[4 February 1999 - Unable to find out any more information beyond April 1933 about Wesley P. Preston except to locate info about his parents. Wesley Irvin Preston (b about 1874) seems to be the father of Wesley P. Preston (b about 1908) who killed James M Anderson Jr in August 1932 - wfb] 1920 Missouri Census Soundex, Preston (P623), Montgomery Co., 70,123,1,3 Preston, Wesley E H 45 MO Lillie W 44 MO McKinley S 19 MO Wesley S 11 MO Della D 9 MO Lawrence S 7 MO Pansy D 3 MO ----- Cemetery Records - Montgomery County, Missouri Preston, Wesley died 10-23-1945, buried New Providence cemetery ----- The Clarksville Sentinel, Clarksville, Pike County, MO, 25 Oct 1945 Notes from obituary for Wes Preston: Mabel and Wes lived in Montgomery County until 1939 when he moved to Clarksville. Survived by wife & four sons: Mack Preston of Clarksville, Lawrence Preston of Elsberry, Earvin Preston of St Louis and Raymond of Clarksville and six daughters ... ------ Montgomery Standard, Montgomery City, Montgomery County, MO, 02 Nov 1945 Last Rites For Wesley Irvin Preston. Wesley Irvin Preston, son of James Preston, was born in Calhoun County, Illinois, and passed away at his home in Clarksville, Missouri, on Monday night, October 22, at the age of 72 years. His wife, Mabel Preston, survives him. Also mourning his loss are five boys and six girls, thirtyfour grandchildren and a host of relatives and friends. Funeral services were conducted at the Assembly of God, Calvary Church, by Rev. E. B. Turner, and interment followed at New Caledonia. We extend our sympathy to his bereaved family and friends.