Adam Empie WIMPLE

Male 1812 - 1852  (39 years)

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  • Name Adam Empie WIMPLE 
    Born 18 Dec 1812  Lenox, Onida County, NY Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 08 Oct 1852  Dallas, OR Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I1887  Wemple Family Ancestry
    Last Modified 13 Dec 2017 

    Father John Van Epps WIMPLE,   b. Abt 1772, Fonda, NY Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1852, Wampsville, NY Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 80 years) 
    Mother Maria Adam EMPIE,   b. 1779,   d. 19 Jul 1852, Wampsville, NY Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 73 years) 
    Married 09 Jun 1793 
    Family ID F526  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Mary ALLEN,   b. Abt 1839,   d. 01 Aug 1852, Cooper Hollow, OR Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 13 years) 
    Married 1850  Portland, Oregon Territory Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Last Modified 13 Dec 2017 
    Family ID F590  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Although Adam Wemple is referred to as WIMPLE in all these printed articles and in all the Oregon history books, there is some doubt that he may have spelled his name WEMPLE. In one paper I viewed in Salem in the State Capital Library, Adam signed his name with an E rather than an I. However in a family Bible owned by Morton Wimple, of Sloanville, NY, it shows that this entire branch of the family family spelled their name Wimple. DRW

      Saturday, August 7, 1852


      The wife of Adam E. Wimple was murdered in Polk county Oregon on the 1st of August, and an attempt was made to conceal the crime by setting fire to the house containing her remains. The home was totally destroyed, but the body was so far unconsumed as to be identified. The husband has fled, and it is supposed he was the murder. The sheriff of Polk county has offered five hundred dollars reward for his arrest, and parties are in pursuit of him. It is believed he has fled north, and will endeavor to escape on some vessel. He is described as being about thirty-five years of age, five feet ten inches high, and has black eyes. We have not been able to obtain fuller particulars of the foul deed. Wimple was married about 18 months since in Washington county, to a girl less than thirteen years of age. They quarreled soon after and parted. Mrs. W returned to her father. Subsequently they were reconciled, but it was said never lived happily together. He formally resided in Portland and we believe still owns property in that city.

      LATER - Just as we were going to press we were informed that Wimple had been taken and was in irons in Polk county. We do not know whether the report is correct or not.

      Saturday, August 14, 1852


      Wimple has been examined before a justice, and committed to await his trial at the district court. The sheriff has notified Judge Nelson of the commitment. A special session may be holden for his trial.

      We learn that the examination elicited the following facts. Wimple formally lived in Benton county; when the mines were discovered (in California DRW) he visited them and made considerable money. Returning about two years since, he sold his farm in Benton county and removed to Portland where he married a girl less than thirteen years of age (he being about thirty-five). He remained in Portland about eighteen months, during which time he and his wife quarreled and parted. They were afterwards reconciled, and lived together, but never happily. Last Fall he removed to Polk county - five miles south of Nesmith's mills - taking his wife, where he settled up a claim. The conduct of his wife displeased him more than ever, and increased his deep-seated jealousy. His own story is that on Saturday, the 1st of August, they had a quarrel; that she shot at him with a revolver; the ball passing through the sleeve of his shirt; that he caught the pistol from her hand and struck her with it on the head two or three times, which blows killed her; he placed the body under the floor of he house, locked the door, set fire to the building and fled to the hills, where was found on Tuesday, and taken without resistance.

      It is said he as heretofore sustained the reputation of an honest, industrious and inoffensive man.

      Saturday, September 11, 1852

      Clackamas County District Court

      The U.S. District Court for Clackamas County (in Oregon City) has been in session here during the present week. The first three days of the term were occupied by the trial of Wimple, an account of which will be found in another column.

      Saturday, September 11, 1852


      Adam E. Wimple, indicted for the murder of Mary Wimple, his wife, in Polk County, was brought to this county upon a change of venue, for trial. His trial commenced in this city on Monday, before Judge Nelson, and lasted until Wednesday evening, when the jury returned a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree. They stood, upon first retiring, six for conviction of murder in the first and five in the second degree, and one undecided. After remaining out about one hour, they came in and asked if premeditation was sufficient evidence for a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree. The court instructed them that it was, and they again retired, soon returning with the above-named verdict. The defendant's gave notice of a motion for the arrest of judgment, and for a new trial on the grounds of misdirection of the judge and that the verdict was against evidence. The motion was argued Tuesday evening, Mr. Deady in favor of, and Messrs. Campbell and Boice contra. It was denied by the Court, the counsel for the defense taking exception to the ruling. The sentence of the law was pronounced on Friday, and there, was that he be remanded back to Polk county, and there, on the 8th day of October, 1852, and between the hours of 9 and 11 A.M. be hanged by the neck until he is dead.

      The prisoner is about forty years of age and of about medium size. His countenance indicates a weak mind and a harmless disposition. He seemed to be perfectly indifferent during the trial, and scarcely conscious of what was going on around him. When the verdict was announced he exhibited no change and manifested no perceptible interest. The only occasions on which he manifested much sensation was when his domestic difficulties and the last tragic scene was referred to. Then he manifested much sensation, and was, sometimes effected to tears. He seems, from all the evidence, and from his conduct during the trial, to have been devotedly attached to his unfortunate wife, notwithstanding his destruction of her life. The prisoner was ably defended by M.P. Deady of Yamhill, and A.B.P. Wood of Polk county. The prosecution was also ably sustained by Messrs. Campbell and Thorton.

      The jury was composed of the following persons: Harden Gammon, teamster; Wm. F. Highfield, watch-maker; Ronald Crawford, wharf-boat keeper; William Gird, grocer; Jno. Potter, shoemaker; Wm. S. Baker, farmer,; Jno. M. Bacon, farmer; Wm. Barlow, town proprietor; Thomas Waterbury, farmer; Wm. Hawkins, farmer; David Burnsides, mechanic; Orville Rislay, farmer. Eleven were preemptory challenged by the defense and two by the prosecution. Three were challenged by the defense and two by the prosecution for cause. Three had formed an opinion adverse to the prisoner's innocence, and two had conscientious scruples against rendering a verdict of guilty where punishment by death may follow.

      A large number of witnessed were called on the part of the prosecution, who were aware mainly of the same set of facts. Several witnesses were also called on the part of the defense, who did not materially contradict the testimony of the witnesses for the prosecution. The evidence was, in substance, as follows: - they were married in the fall of 1850. In the course of a few months she left him and returned to she step father, with whom she formerly lived. Wimple instituted legal process and caused her to return to him. About six months before the murder he was heard to threaten to kill her if she ever left him again. On the morning of the murder, and two or three hours prior to its commission, persons were at Wimple's house, but saw nothing unusual. All the testimony described in his deportment towards her as being of a kind and affectionate character; hers towards him was shown to have been, on many occasions, rude and violent. The dwelling was found burned, and the burned bones of a body, together with a lump of flesh weighing five or six pounds and being a portion of one of the hips, was found among the ashes.

      We believe, also, some rings and beads - identified as those sometimes worn by Mrs. Wimple - were found among the remains. No medical testimony was offered to prove that they were parts of a human body. Beyond this, the evidence of guilt depended entirely upon the prisoner's confessions. They were to the following effect: That, on the morning of the murder, his wife quarreled with him, tearing off his shirt, pulling his hair, and biting him in several places on the arm; and that while he was in the act of putting on another shirt, she caught up a pistol, and saying, By God, I can shoot as well as you or anybody else, fired at him, the ball passing through the shirt held in his hands; whereupon he seized the pistol and struck her three times on the head, felling her at the first or second blow, and she saying before the third was given, Don't kill me and I will go to the States with you. (He had desired her to go to the States with him, and she had refused to go.) He says he thought he had inflicted a mortal wound, and he stuck her the third time, to put her out of her misery. He then, for the first time, became conscious that he had killed her, and was very much troubled about it. He put the body in a hole under the floor, and, setting fire to the house, saddled his horse and fled, intending to destroy his own life, but he had no cap for his pistol, which he re-loaded, and therefore could not shoot himself as intended. He then ate many roots he supposed were poisonous, designing to destroy his life in that way. But they had no effect. He was found by Judge Nesmith in the woods. Seeing him at a distance, Wimple came towards him and inquired if Judge N had seen his horse, which he had lost. Judge N asked him if he knew his house was burned; he answered, No. The Judge then seized hold of his arms, and said, Wimple, I must tie you. He said, Very well, tie me then, and offered no resistance. He had the pistol with which the fatal deed was committed, and also a knife in his bosom. He also had of the shirt which he says received the pistol ball fired by his wife. Both that, and the pistol were produced in court. The shirt had a large hole through one of the sleeves, the edges of which were scorched and blackened. The pistol was a large one, of the kind commonly called a horse pistol.

      It seems the when the prisoner left his wife, her life was not extinct, for the remains were found in one corner of the room, and not in the place where he says he put the body. She was probably but stunned by the blows inflicted with the pistol, and afterwards reviving, crawled to the corner of the room, where she was burned. When told of this fact, he manifested great sorrow, bursting into tears, and exclaiming, Is it possibly I didn't kill her, and that the poor, dear, thing was burnt to death?

      After his arrest he made his escape, and, as he states, visited the ruins of his former residence, (about five miles distance) in the neighborhood of which he remained for two days and nights, but finally, getting hungry, he gave himself up. He says he has respectable relatives in New York, and does not want them disgraced by his execution. He has been in Oregon since 1845, and at one time had acquired considerable wealth. He dug about ten thousand dollars from the California mines (gold fields DRW). He established the character of an industrious, peaceful man as stated by several witnesses, a number of them called by the prosecution. His wife was less than thirteen years old when married, and from her own confessions had been unchaste both before and after the marriage.

      Saturday, October 23, 1852


      Before parting this life, I deem it my duty to make an open and full confession to the world of my past life and conduct. I was born in the State of New York, Oneida county, in the town of Lenox, in the month of December, 1815. I was raised by religious and upright parents, who spared no pains in teaching me religious and moral habits, and whose advice, had I taken, would have saved me from the shameful death that now awaits me. I remained in my native state 'till 1845, at which time I bid adieu to kindred and friends, and set to to seek a new home in this Territory. I arrived here in the month of October following, and on the 15th of that month took a claim on Mary's river, and proceeded to improve it. I resided on my claim 'till the autumn of '49 - then left my claim and went to the mines; came back in June following. My people had written to me to come home, so I concluded to sell my claim and go. I sold, and proceeded on my journey as far as Portland, O.T., and by persuasion of my friends bought property in that town and proceeded to improve it. About the 4th of July, I commenced keeping tavern. Sometime after rented my property, and peddled goods in Tuality Plains during the summer. In the fall left my goods at Mr. Davis' to be sold. In a short time afterwards, put up a store in that neighborhood. Soon afterwards Mr. Allen came to my store to buy goods, and observed that I was well situated, and ought to marry - observed that he had a fine girl at his house and would be much pleased to have me call over to see her. I told him I would come at some convenient time, but did not go. In about three weeks Allen came again and made known to me his desire as before. I told him I would come, and in a few days went - had a conversation with Miss Allen, (as she was called) and told her that I liked her appearance, and if she wished to marry and liked me, that I hoped she would make up her mind in a week, and I would come back. At the end of the week I went - asked her if she had made up her mind. She replied, I have, and could have told you before. She said that she wanted to get married soon. I told her to set the date, and she said, Next Sunday. I wanted to make a wedding. Mr. and Mrs. Allen and Mary said they didn't want to make any, and said for me not to tell any body about it. I asked Mary if she had any wedding clothes. She said that she had none. I told Mr. Allen to come to my store and get the necessary articles, which he did to the amount of $40.00. The next day came and we were married. Mr. Allen requested me to move to his house to live. I told him I could not. In a few days we went home accompanied by Mrs. Allen - (this was January, 1851). The next spring, by the permission of Mr. Allen, I moved my goods and family to his home, which many of my neighbors said was a bad move for me; but having the utmost confidence in Mr. Allen, I would not hear in them.

      I soon saw my property was going to wreck, and that I must leave there if I wished to preserve my property, so I told Mr. Allen I was going to move home which made him, Mr. Allen, and my wife very angry. The more I insisted on going the more their anger appeared to increase. I told my wife we must leave - that it was our duty to take care of our property. We went, however, greatly to the displeasure of Mr. and Mrs. Allen and my wife. After staying at home sometime, Mr. Allen (being very much displeased with my situation) said that my wife was a fool to live with me, and if she would leave me he would protect her, and shortly afterwards she ran away. I went several times after her to get her to come back, but she would not come. Finally, Mr. Allen told me that if I would sign away half of my property to my wife that she would come back. I told him I would not, for all that I had was hers. He replied, If you do not you shall leave my premises and never come back. I then left Mr. Allen's and afterwards wrote a letter to my wife informing her that if she did not come back I would have her back by law; but she would not come. I than proceeded in law and got her back. I paid the cost rather than distress my mother-in-law. After this my wife would not live in that settlement, for the reason that the neighbors talked about her. She requested me to move to Polk county, near her uncle (Mr. Lee's) and I did so. After living there two or three months during which time they treated me very well - I moved to a claim that I bought of Mr. Jenkins. In a short time afterwards I left my wife at home with a girl of Mr. Bowman's and went to Portland [HE WENT ON A BUSINESS TRIP TO BUY GOODS FOR A BUSINESS HE PLANNED TO START. DRW], and returned in a few days. My wife told me that, during my absence, Mr. Cheory (who was living at Mr. Lee's) had insulted her on the highway, and she wanted me to take my pistol and blow his brains out. I told her I would not, but would tell Mr. Lee and if he was a gentleman he would drive him off. So my wife and I went to Lee's and I told him about Cheory, how he had acted towards my wife. He and Mr. and Mrs. Lee observed that he only said a few particular words to my wife. I told my wife that we had better go home and we went.

      Previous to the of my wife we visited her grandfather's where we were well treated. They visited us during our stay here. My wife and I visited her parents every two or three months and we requested them to visit us. But they would pass by and not call. From the appearance of things I thought that was a pleasure for me unless I could change my situation. So I proposed to move to the States to my wife to which she consented. I then advertised my claim and property for sale. Soon afterwards we went to her mother's to stay for awhile while I was making preparations to go. In a few days I had an opportunity to sell my claim and had to go home to sign the deed. Previous to our leaving Mr. Allen's, Mrs. Allen said she was glad we were going to the States. That she believed it was best for us and that Mr. Allen would die in a few years and then she would come. Before leaving I gave Mrs. Allen $8.00 to buy my wife some dresses. I supposed she was willing and that was alright. We shook hands and parted in peace, little thinking that we would never see each other again. My wife, we took dinner at Mr. Shelton's on Yamhill. After we left my wife commenced abusing me; said that I made her tell a story; that I was the meanest man in the world; that she would not go with me anywhere and caught at my hair to pull it. I told her that I was not. She said I made her acknowledge to Mr. Allen's conduct towards her. I told her she knew better. She said, You should not have told my mother. I told her that she had told her mother first and that after long persuasion by her mother I told her. We had a very unpleasant time the remainder of the way home. After getting home, we went to bed peacefully. The next morning she told me that she would not go with me to the States. I ask her why she had not told me at her mother's so that we could have brought her clothes home. She said that I told her to leave them. I observed that I thought she was going with me to the States and that was the reason I I told her to leave them. This was Saturday morning. Sunday morning we had visitors. One of the ladies asked me how I got along. I told her I had not seen any peace since I was married. They stayed awhile and went home. I told Mr. Cox, one of the visitors, that my wife and I would pay them a visit in the evening and I intended to go not thinking what was to befall me. After they left, my wife commenced abusing me and saying that I had not seen any peace since marriage. I told her it was the truth, but if she would be a good girl that we would live happy. She said she treated me better than I deserved and she intended to leave me and started in the direction of Mr. Cox's. I went after her and persuaded her to come back. She came back. She got angry, caught hold of my shirt and tore it off and bit my arm. I told her to be a pretty girl and not do so. Then I went and sat down at the table and said, Oh, Mary, my beloved companion, I wished you would only hear to me and take my advise.

      She replied, Yes, I'm a damned pretty, beloved companion. I asked her if she had a clean shirt. She said I had one in the other room. I went to put it on and when I was raising the shirt to put it over my head, she came in with my pistil in her hand and said, Damned you, I can shoot as well as you, and fired at me. I held the shirt in the same position and dodged to one side. The ball passed through the shirt sleeve, not the body. I became enraged. My brain appeared to turn up. I caught hold of the pistol and struck her on the head. She fell towards me with her face down. I followed up the blow and as I raised the pistil to strike a second blow she said in a low tone, I'll go the States. I struck her a second time and she expired. I then put her in the cellar and set fire to the house. I went out and caught my mare and saddled her and went and saw that she, my wife, was dead. I shut the door on my house and went in the direction of Mr. Foster's. When I got to the divide between my place and Mr. Foster's, I came to myself. I then began to think of what I had done. Oh, I had killed my beloved companion. I would give a thousand worlds that I had not done it. I then went on a long route to the mountains where I was taken.
      Adam E. Wimple

      I hereby certify to the above confession of Adam E. Wimple, that it is a true copy of ht original now in my possession.

      B.F. Nichols,
      Sheriff of Polk County

      October 23, 1852

      Letter from Adam's sister, Adaline Wood

      Camden, N.Y.
      July 30, 1852
      My Dear Brother,

      I must sit down to write you once more with trembling hand and it becomes my painful duty to inform you that our dear mother is no more. She is forever gone from your sight. And if you and I live as our dear and much loved mother did, we shall meet her again in heaven. She very often would say to me if she could see you once more on earth, if it was the Lord's will, and if not all was well. If the Lord would have it she would not murmur at the dealings of providence with me and she wanted us all to have the life of the righteous that we may never taste our deaths.

      My dear brother, you cannot tell you how lonely I am without my dear mother. I feel to weep while writing you. It was not long since my dear mother and me, we were talking about you and saying that we should have a letter from you soon. For I have written to you last November and nothing. And Mother thought it was very long and I did and you did not answer my letter. I thought perhaps you did not receive it.

      Oh, our mother, we truly had the most pious and devoted mother that I have ever known. Her life was exemplary and worthy of imitation. I cannot tell you all. If I could only see you and I am so lonely. I miss my dear mother every place in my house. She often would let every breath breathe a humble prayer. My mother died the nineteenth of July 1852 at five o'clock in the evening. She was so happy. She said, Sweet afflictions. I am happy within and I can taste and have sweet communication with my God. Oh, glory in the highest strains.

      Dear Mother last illness was the hectic common faith. She said she should die and it was very sudden to me. I was not thinking that my dear mother was going to leave us so soon. She expired like a candle going out.
      Do write soon.
      I remain your affectionate sister,
      Adaline Wood

      P.S. Sister Sara is well and her family. Mr Wood sends his best respects to you and your wife and receives a great share of love from me to yourself and dear sister, Mary.

      Oh, when will the time arrive. Oh, you cannot tell or feel the love of your mother as I do. My dear brother, you have been absent almost sixteen years from us. How can it be so? But it is so. I miss my dear mother. She was such a good and blessed mother and patient and mild and meek and humble. Always a smile on her face and loveliness. She looked so beautiful and one said she looked peacefully beautiful. The Lord's will be done, not mine.
      Good night,
      Adaline Wood

      Dallas, Polk Co., Oregon
      October 8, 1852

      Dear Bush - Wimple was hanged at this place (the county seat) today, at 11 o'clock A.M. He ascended the gallows with a firm step, and appeared perfectly collected. He addressed the concourse for about ten minutes from the scaffold in a loud and distinct tone. His remarks were appropriate and dictated by ordinary sense. He stated that he had been raised by pious and affectionate parents; that he had visited this place only a few months previous for the purpose of seeing Everman hung and little thought he should be brought to the same ignominious end. He advised his hearers to read the Bible and obey it's precepts, and said if his deceased wife, Mr and Mrs. Allen had been Christians that he would never have been in his present situation. He appeared more rational than I ever saw him before confessing that he killed his wife, but declared that he could not have done it if he had been in his right mind. He was very penitent. He made no statements which conflicted with those before made. His confession (the confession is published in this number of the STATESMAN, and also the letter below to Ed. - States) was read in his presence, and he declared that it was correct and true. The letter from his sister, which he requested should be published with his confession, confirms the truth of his confession so far as it goes.

      Before he was swung he offered up a prayer in a firm and audible voice. The order was then given, and he was launched into another state of existence. Before he had done struggling, the circus company were engaged in putting up the canvas and exhibited to a crowded audience in the evening. Such is the moral effect of executions.

      Polk county is filling up rapidly with new emigrants. Yet there is room for just a few more.
      Yours, & c., Western

      Spring 1963
      Vol. II Number 2 page 12
      Later coming on the widened trail road that is into the Corvallis area, 1845, the only avenue of access for wagons to this part of the country, they choose locations about springs or near streams crossing this road. Thomas Reeves, Dan McKissick, Adam Wimple, Johnson Mulkey, with wagon drawn by a cow and a mare, James L. Mulkey and others, each of whom built a small temporary shack or hovel, spent the winter here or left someone on his claim. J.L. Mulkey, having lost his wife, left his nine children at a previous camp and hurried his permanent cabin to completion about 2 miles northwest of the post office's location of today and, with the family, occupied it April 16,1846. Late in the fall of 1845 men began to select claims along the Willamette River and near it. Among other was J.C. Avery (founder of Corvallis), William F. Dixon, H.C. Lewis, J.S. Kindall and others.

      It is offered in the HISTORY OF CORVALLIS 1846-1900 by Bruce Martin that Adam E. Wemple (Wimple) may have been the one who named Mary's Peak, Mary's River and Marysville, later renamed Corvallis. This article also offered two other possibilities as how the name Mary came to be used, both of which have long escaped my memory. Mary's Peak is the most prominent peak in the Corvallis area and is to the west of the city. Mary's Peak can readily be seen while traveling along Interstate 5. Mary's River is more of a stream that floes through the section of land that Adam took up in 1845, under the terms of the Provisional Government of the Oregon Territory. The Provisional Government was formed by the citizens of the area before any government was available to give them the peace and comfort afforded citizens by a government. As soon as America claimed the northwest territory, the Provisional Government was disbanded in favor of the government of the Oregon Territory run by the Federal Government. (DRW)

      October 8, 1852
      Yesterday, Friday, was the day appointed for the execution of this unfortunate man for the murder of his wife several months since. And we suppose he suffered the penalty of the law in accordance with the sentence. Now he declared he would never hang. Several days previous to the time appointed for his execution, he attempted to escape by getting one of the guards to go out with him in obedience to a call of nature. When out he then jumped off from a high bank onto the creek and we were informed that he came near effecting his escape. but was retaken by the sheriff. He had loosened the irons from his legs. On being brought back he told the guard he would leave them yet, that he was not going to be hanged. He made his will and when our informant wrote, was having his confession written out. So far he did not vary from his former statements.

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