Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thriller Thursday - Doctor's Murder of 1858 Remains Cold Case

The murder in April 5, l858, of the first doctor in the settlement known today as Ashland, Oregon, remains a mystery 152 years later. The assassin has never been identified.

Within two years of arriving in town with his wife, Celeste, British immigrant David SISSON had opened a medical practice, bought the Ashland Mills Boarding House, set up a general store, purchased 160 acres east of town, and built the town’s first hospital.

In the month before he was fatally shot while drawing creek water, Sisson had been shot in the hand and his barn burned to the ground. He was survived by his widow and daughter, Augusta. Someone then burned down the Sisson home and the boarding house, shrinking the Sisson property values from $10,000 to $100.

In 1880, daughter Augusta, now 20 years old, sued Abel Helman and others, claiming a conspiracy to kill Sisson and destroy land ownership documents. Although she lost the suit, she raised the question of murder, arson, and fraud.

A hundred years later Kay Atwood investigated the slaying in her book titled Mill Creek Journal: Ashland, Oregon 1850-1860, but the murder remains a very cold case.

Originally written by Maryann Mason, Dec 2. 2010
Source: Daspit, M.J. “Kay Atwood Takes On Cold Case,” Ashland Daily Tidings, June 15, 2009.

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