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Peter Renfro Killed Charles Dorris~July 1888
Posted by: Laura (ID *****9353) Date: October 17, 2009 at 09:02:25
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St. Louis Republic (St. Louis, MO) July 21, 1888 Part 2 Page 10
Shot Through The Head
Special to the Republic
Cabool, Mo., July 20
At a Justice of the Peace trial at Summerville Wednesday last a young man, named Renfro, became bolsterous and exibited a revolver, where-upon the constable, Charles Dorris, attempted to arrest him. He retreated a short distance, then turned and shot the constable through the head, killing him instantly. Dorris was a man about 23 years old, unmarried, well liked in the community. Renfro is a dissolute, wild young man about 31 years old and would have been lynched had he been captured. He is still at large. Summerville is thirty-five miles from Cabool in the east part of Texas County.

St. Louis Republic (St. Louis, MO) July 28, 1888 Page 8
The Dorris Murder
Return of Deputy Wheeler From The Scene of the Killing
The Murderer, Pete Renfrew, Chased to the Woods by Indignant Citizens-Wheelers Experience With A Bully
Mr. O.K. Wheeler, United States Deputy Marshall, returned yesterday morning from Southern Missouri where he had been hunting for illicit distilleries and distillers, and he gave the particulars of the killing of Charlie Dorris by Pete Renfrew, which took palce in Summerville, Texas County, while he was there. Summerville has acquired an unenviable name because of the killings and many scenes of disorder that have occurred there, and though some excellent people live in the town, there are some who will never find a proper home until they are lodged within the penitentiary walls. The last killing was a particulary brutal one, and it arosed the whole populace, who refused to look at it as an ordinary occurrance, and started out to look for the murderer for the purpose of lynching him. The murderer was Pete Renfrew, a worthless vagabond whose principal occupation was stealing, a calling that several times brought him into court in the attitude of of a defendant. He killed Charlie Dorris, the town marshall and constable, a young fellow who bore an excellent reputation because of his steady habits and hard work. Bill Renfrew and George Dewoody were on trial for fighting in the schoolhouse yard and breaking up school, and a crowd had gathered about the courthouse to hear the trial. The jury convicted them, a fine was imposed, and when they paid it they were released. After the trial, Dorris and Marshall Wheeler were standing in the yard talking, but Wheeler soon left and went down to the hotel for dinner. Just after he left, Bill Renfrew began to abuse a witness that had testified against him, and knocked him down. Dorris pulled Renfrew off the man and separated them and just then, Pete Renfrew stepped to within a few feet of Dorris and drew a pistol from his belt. Dorris seemed to think that Renfrew was only making a bluff, for he looked at him and smiled, but Renfrew raised the revolver and fired. The ball struck Dorris in the forehead and he fell to the ground. Renfrew would have fired again but he saw his victim had fallen, and he started to run. Marshall Wheeler heard the shot and ran out of the hotel, but by that time Renfrew was some distance away and about twenty people were after him. They caught up with him in the chase but he had his revolver in his hand and they were afraid to stop him. He escaped to the woods but hundreds of people armed themselves and began to scour the county, hoping they would catch him and lynch him. No word has come from there, telling whether he has been caught, but, although the murder occurred on the 18th, the hunt is still kept up, and will be until the man is found or until it is known that he is no longer hiding in that neighborhood. Dorris' body was taken to his father's house, and the suffering of the old man when he saw the body was something pitiful. He cried and sobbed, and beat his breast and moaned until the doctor gave him a narcotic and put him to sleep. No one knows what reason the vagabond had for the murder, if any, but one cause of the many brawls about Summerville is a feud that exists between two factions of the bad elements of the community, and the Renfrews are the leaders of one side.
There was one incident that occurred just after the killing, that Mr. Wheeler, because of his modesty, did not relate. As he was standing by the body of Dorris, a ruffman walked up with a huge rock and raised it to throw it upon the head of the dead man and crush it, but Wheeler stepped before the brute and ordered him to throw away the rock. The fellow threw away the rock but put on a very bold front and told the deputy not to interfere with him; he would not permit it. Wheeler told him he should not touch the body, and the fellow began to curse and threaten and vowed he would kill the man that tried to hinder him. He put his hand to his hip pocket but before he could draw a weapon Wheeler thrust the muzzle of his pistol in his face and ordered him to not move his hand. He didn't, but he kept on swearing he would kill Wheeler; a bystander, thinking Wheeler was going to kill the fellow and cause a general fight, threw himself on the deputy. Wheeler was then in a predicament. He could not get away from this man and he expected the ruffman to shoot him at any moment. No. 3 was a powerful man but he lifted him from the ground and threw him bodily against the braggert who still kept his hand on his hip pocket, and before the two men could recover themselves, Wheeler rushed up to them and and threw his arms around them both, as he did so he reached in the ruffman's pocket and drew forth not a pistol, only a bottle of whiskey.

Kansas City Times (Kansas City, MO) August 19, 1888 Page 1
Reward For Missouri Murder
Jefferson City, Mo., Aug. 18
Governor Moorehosue offered a $200 reward this afternoon for Peter Renfrow, who killed Charles B. Dorris of Texas county.

St. Louis Republic (St. Louis, MO) September 3, 1891 Page 3
Renfro To Hang October 9
Springfield, Mo., Sept. 2-
In the Criminal Court here this forenoon Judge Oliver sentenced Peter Renfro to be hung on the ninth of next month. He was convicted of the murder of Constable Charles Dorris at Summerville, Texas County, his case being brought here on a change of venue. Renfro says that he could not get his witnesses here and doed not think he had a fair trial. His attorneys will appeal to the State Supreme Court.

Kansas City Star (Kansas City, MO) March 16, 1898 Page 10
He Escaped the Death Penalty Five Years
St. Louis, Mo., March 16-
Word was received at the office of the United States Marshall that Peter Renfro, who was condemmed to death for the murder, in Springfield, Mo., five years ago of Will Dorris, a constable, and who escaped from jail after killing a guard, has been captured on the preserves of the Current River Fishing Club, in Carter Co., MO. He was recognized by W. T. Brown, a deputy marshall, and arrested


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