From TARTT’s History of Gibson County, Indiana, p. 87



The first legal execution in this county was that of

William Thomas Camp, for the murder of J. R. Bilder-

back. They were both residents of Pike County. The

murder took place in Johnson Township, near Haub-

stadt, on the night of July 31, 1871. Camp and Bil-

derback had traveled together to Haubstadt , the for-

mer walking, and the latter riding his horse. Not

finding a place to stay at Haubstadt they concluded

to sleep in a small piece of woods a short distance

from the village. On the way there Camp picked up

a hickory club, which he used as a cane. On arrive-

ing in the timber Bilderback lay down with his head on

the roots of a tree and went to sleep, after which

Camp struck him on the head several times and killed

him. There had been no grudge or quarrel between

them, but the motive for the crime was shown by the

larceny of a note for seventy-five dollars which Bilder-

back held on Camp and had with him. Camp threw

the dead body into the top of a fallen tree. He also

appropriated to his own use a part of the clothing of

the murdered man and rode Bilderback's horse down

to New Harmony in Posey County, where his arrest

was caused by William L. Bilderback, a brother of the

deceased. Camp was brought back to Haubstadt and

afterwards pointed out to the brother of the slain man

and the officers in charge where he had thrown the

body. A coroner's jury was summoned, and in the

presence of the remains, which were found horribly

mangled by hogs, Camp made a confession under oath

to the above facts. After being put in jail at Princeton,

and before his trial he made an escape, and was hid

out for some time in the neighborhood of his mother's

home. He subsequently went to Kentucky, where a

short time afterwards he was arrested for horse-stealing

and incarcerated in the jail at Owensboro. News of

his arrest reached the sheriff of Gibson County, who

brought him back here to stand his trial. He was tried

and convicted at the July term of the Circuit Court,

1872, found guilty of murder in the first degree and

sentenced to be hung on Friday, October 4th. Gov.

Baker gave him a respite until Friday, Nov. 22, 1872,

when, at 2 o'clock p. M. of that day, he was execu-

ted by Sheriff F. W. Hauss. The prisoner was ably

defended by Col. Charles Denby and the eloquent and

able lawyer, Hon. C. A. Buskirk.