Source: Crawfordsville Weekly Journal Friday, 12 May 1899
Last Monday in the circuit court Crane & Anderson, as attorneys for Miss Emily Cox, of Darlington, filed a suit for slander against John McCain, of the same place. The case is a very sensational one and all the parties connected with her are among the most prominent in the community. The plaintiff is a daughter of Wm Cox, who is probably the wealthiest man in Montgomery County, having large realty holdings in Indiana, Illinois and Iowa. She is fifty years of age and has been all her life a most estimable woman, living with her father and devoting her life to her domestic affairs, quietly and unostentatiously.
The defendant has long been a resident of Franklin Township and for the few years has resided in Darlington. He is a substantial citizen and his life has been given to hard work. It seems, however, that he has found diversion in wagging his tongue and this has resulted in his undoing.
The complaint recites that the defendant is a woman of excellent character and has always lived a life of honor and chastity. She has since the death of her mother in 1893 been the housekeeper for her father.
The allegations against McCain are then made in four paragraphs. The first states that he came to W. B. Mount last month and told him in effect that many years ago Emily Cox had had a son born while she was in Iowa, having gone there for the purpose of avoiding the scandal. McCain then went on to relate that the boy had been kept in college in Iowa for ten years by his mother and had come home to her now and had been recognized. He then began to speculate as to how this alleged son would come out in the division of the property on the death of “the old man”. Mr. Mount expressed his unbelief in the existence of such a child but stated that he would come in for property all right if Emily really had a child. “Oh, she’s got one, I know,” replied McCain.
The second paragraph recites the statements made by McCain in the presence of Isaac Larrick, George Lynch, Lew Cooper, and Wm Hutchins. McCain came up to these gentlemen and said: “Ike, have you heard the news? John Buskirk’s girls have been over to old Billy Cox’s and Emily’s son has come from Iowa.” He then went on and made other statements in substantiation of his remarks..
The third paragraph recites what the defendant said in the presence of Rosa Buskirk, Mary Buskirk, and J. O. Graham. He told them the story given above and added that the child was born about thirty years ago and that he knew it at the time as he then lived on the Billy Woods’ farm near the Coxes but that he had always been afraid to say anything about it until now when the boy had come home and been acknowledged.
The fourth paragraph recites the statements made by McCain in the presence of John Buskirk and wife. It is alleged that McCain told them the story and added that he had it that William Cox intended to buy the young man a drug store and set him up in business. When Mrs. Buskirk expressed a doubt as to the truth of the story he became very positive and declared that he had positive knowledge on the subject. “I know it’s so,” he declared. The complaint also recites that on May 4, 1899, the defendant conveyed to his brother-in-law, Perry McManama, all his property, doing so in the knowledge and from the fear that he would be sued for slander. McManama is recited as being a poor man who could give McCain no pay for the real estate placed in his name. The court is asked therefore to set aside the conveyances.
The plaintiff demands judgment against the defendant in the sum of $10,000 and all proper relief. If the conveyance to McManama is set aside and the plaintiff’s claim is allowed in full, McCain will have enough to pay out.
It seems that the scandalous story of the Iowa child has had circulation for over twenty years but strangely enough the Cox family never heard of it until a few days ago. Then they immediately began an investigation, with the result that the whole thing was traced back to McCain. That is, the story of the alleged return of the alleged son was traced to him. Of course, at this late day it is impossible to discover the original defamer of an excellent woman. The story was started maliciously and that it has kept alive all these years is a bad commentary.
It seems that the story of the alleged son’s return was given rise to by the fact that some years ago a young man arrived at the Cox place from Iowa, he being an agent entrusted with the purchase of a farm belonging to Mr. Cox in Iowa. The neighborhood was not informed of his mission and speculation led to the adoption of the McCain story. The affair has caused a great sensation in Darlington and Franklin Township and the gossips are hunting the cover. It looks now as though Uncle John McCain would have to stand the whole thing himself.