William Bell journal  1830-1833
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection is made up of a letter book, stenographer's notes, and scrapbook pertaining to the trials of Clark W. Hatch of Boston, Massachusetts. Hatch was accused of murdering his uncle, Henry Hatch of Kit Carson County, Colorado, and, later, of defrauding his employer, the Travelers Insurance Company.

The letter book (102 pages) contains correspondence regarding Hatch's arrest and trial for the murder of his uncle, Henry Hatch. Most items are copies of letters by William J. Lewis, an acquaintance of Clark W. Hatch. Lewis requested information from officials involved in the case, including a local sheriff, and on at least one occasion provided information on Hatch's movements around the time of the murder (September 5, 1889). Lewis also affirmed his loyalty to Hatch and urged the accused to maintain a calm demeanor, lest he raise suspicions about the funding of his legal assistance (March 3, 1890). The letter book also includes letters from Hatch and other parties interested in the case; some of these are pasted onto the letter book's pages.

H. C. Hollister, the official stenographer for Clark W. Hatch's initial trial under Judge Lewis C. Greene in Burlington, Colorado, in May 1889, composed typed copies of witnesses' testimonies (189 pages). Witnesses included Henry Hatch's acquaintances, the boys who discovered his body, and several people who had seen Henry Hatch or Clark Hatch around the time of the murder. Clark W. Hatch and his father-in-law, Orrin Poppleton, also testified. The testimonies provide details about Henry Hatch's life, Clark W. Hatch's life and occupation, and their mutual histories.

A 70-page scrapbook contains newspaper clippings about Clark W. Hatch's murder trials and his later legal difficulties. Most clippings are from the Burlington Blade, the Burlington Boomerang, and the Rocky Mountain News. The editors of the Burlington papers wrote about the case and its background, and shared their stances regarding Hatch's guilt. The scrapbook also contains recapitulations of Hatch's arrests and trials. Later clippings detail a late investigation into the forgery charges against Clark W. Hatch. The final clipping, dated May 1891, pertains to Hatch's disappearance.

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