Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A grim anniversary...

It’s been almost 100 years since a mine worker named Marshall noticed a strange fellow hanging around a neighborhood in what was then known as West Colorado Springs. The time was about midnight and the Marshall thought nothing of it at the time. Ninety-seven years later I am left wondering just who it was he saw. Mr. Marshall may have been one of the only people to actually see the person responsible for one of the most brutal series of crimes in U.S. history. We probably will never know; no one was ever caught and Marshall was never called to testify before the Coroner’s Jury. Those involved with the investigation would call the inquest a “farce” and useless. Sheriff George Birdsall would pass the investigation off to Pinkerton’s who would soon give up on a case with few leads and little chance of paying money. In 1929 Birdsall would become a very successful mayor of the city and even worked for a period in 1918 as a special agent for the FBI in Utah. The murders in Colorado Springs would be headlines for a less than a year and very soon, the worst crime in Colorado Springs history, labeled by newspapers as a crime that would never be forgotten, would be forgotten. History forgets more than it remembers. The people most affected by the murders are long gone. Arthur Burnham had no family left to mourn; Blanche Wayne’s parents had died before her and her siblings have all passed; the same with Henry Wayne and May Burnham. Maybe somewhere in Indiana is a trunk or box filled with old photos or a little diary whose owner cannot be identified. For today, remember the victims or ignore them. They are not the first and they were not the last. They simply lived; and 97 years ago tonight, they were brutally killed.

No comments: