TAFFNER, WILLIAM-newspaper article

Worland Grit no. 25 June 13, 1918, page 1

The preliminary hearing in the case in which Frank McDade, sheep herder, shot and killed William Taffner, dry land rancher, on Monday evening about sundown on the mountains, 15 miles above Tensleep in Washakje county, was heard in the justice court before Justice of the Peace J. W. Pulliam, yesterday afternoon. H. W. Rich was attorney for the defendant, while C. H. Harkins, prosecuting attorney of Washakie county, argued the state's side of the case.

   Claude Hillhouse, sheepherder, and John T. Burns, night policeman, were the only witnesses examined. From the evidence given in the case by Hillhouse, Mr. Taffner, the deceased rode up to the wagon with a bunch of horses and asked for a drink of water. After receiving it he and Harold Pearson, partner of Healey Bros, in the sheep business and in charge of the outfit on the mountain, got into a heated argument over a tent which Taffner had located near a spring, and Pearson told him to get it off there, when the other said that was his homestead and he intended to stay and that he couldn't drink the water on account of the sheep and stock keeping it muddy and dirty.

   One word lead to another until Pearson started for Taffner, who "pulled a gun from his hip pocket which he had wrapped up in a red handkerchief. Pearson told him to drop the gun and come and fight fair if he wanted to fight.

   During this time Frank McDade went to the wagon and got a Winchester rifle, which he discharged through the floor of the wagon, later coming to the door. He ordered

Taffner to throw up his hands, this he refused to do after being told twice by McDade. McDade told Hillhouse that he thought Taffner was raising his gun to shoot, so he fired, and killed Taffner almost instantly, but none of the three at the sheep camp went over to see, but left the camp shortly after the affair. Pearson went to the ranch of Taylor Bros, and notified them of the affair. David Taylor then telephoned the sheriff at Worland.

   About 11 p.m. Monday night Israel Dougherty (Daugherty) and Louis Hankins went to the camp and found Taffner dead. Hillhouse was alone in the wagon. They went out and got Taffner's brother (body) and remained with the body until just before sunup, when Sheriff Koontz, Prosecuting Attorney Harkins and Policeman Jack T. Burns arrived. They found McDade and Pearson and another sheepman sleeping at another camp about a mile from where Taffner was shot. They said they did not know whether Taffner was badly injured or not, as they left the scene immediately after the shooting and had not remained. Taffner was shot with a bullet from a 236 U. S. N. rifle, made by the Winchester company; the bullet went in just below the shoulder and came out  in the back of hit body.

   His remains will be laid at rest at Tensleep.

   McDade is well and favorably known in and around Worland, where he has wintered for the past number of year, and is known as "Red."

   McDade has been bound over to the September term of the district court. Pearson, who was arrested as an accessory before the fact, has been discharged and released.


Worland Grit no. 41 October 03, 1918, page 1

Just before closing our forms to go to press we learn that the jury, in the case of the state of Wyoming vs.Frank McDade, brought in a verdict of not guilty. On Monday evening,evening, June 10th, William Taffner, a homesteader, visited the sheep camp of Healey Bros., which was located

15 miles above Tensleep and while at the camp got into an argument with Harold Pearson, a partner of Healey Bros, over a spring of water and the sheep drinking from it—one word led onto another until Taffner pulled a gun from his pocket. McDade thinking that he would kill Pearson went to the sheep wagon and loaded an old army gun which he shot Taffner with. The preliminary hearing was held in Worland on Wednesday, June 12, and McDade was bound over to the district court. The case was tried in Basin this week, as the parties concerned asked for a change of venue, it started in Monday with Attorney C. H. Harkins representing the state and H. W. Rich the defendant. The jury went out at 12.00 o'clock Midnight, Tuesday, returning with eight jurors for conviction and four for acquittal. They were again instructed by the judge, that a man has a right to shoot to kill the assaulting party to save his fellowman, if it becomes necessary. They went out again returning at 9:00 o'clock Wednesday night with a verdict for acquittal.