[The following was selected from the editorial section of the Signs of the Times for July 15, 1866. We feel the reader will find it sadly interesting.]
The Rochester Union of Thursday gives the following particulars of one of the most revolting and outrageous crimes we ever read:
We learn from railroad men who came from Medina this morning, that there was great excitement in that village, arising from a report that a Presbyterian clergyman, named Lindsley, residing a mile south of the village, yesterday whipped his son, three years old, so severely that he died two hours afterwards, because he would not say his prayers.
Since writing the above, we have received by special telegraph, the statement of Mr. Lindsley, the father of the child, made to a jury summoned by Coroner Chamberlain: "On the 18th of June the child disobeyed his step-mother, and I commenced correcting him, using a shingle for the purpose, and continued to chastise him for more than two hours, when the child began to show signs of debility, and I ceased to punish him and laid him on a couch and called my wife.
When she saw the child, she said he was dying, and before twelve o'clock he was dead." The coroner's jury returned a verdict yesterday that "death resulted from chastisement by the father."
Lindsley's statement before the coroner's jury is corroborated by other witnesses called before the jury. The body of the child told more plainly and pathetically than words could, the terrible punishment it had undergone. Several of its fingers were broken and the nails knocked off; the skin was bruised and the blood had oozed from every pore. To conceal the crime the father tied the little one's hands behind his back and himself placed it in the coffin. While the physicians were making a postmortem examination of the body, he sat coolly looking at the proceedings. After a while he spoke and asked them if they had not carried this thing about far enough. The physicians discovered no disease about the child - it died solely from excessive and cruel punishment. The little one would have been three years old next August - whipped to death because it would not say its prayers.
We are told that Lindsley justifies his horrid work. He thinks it was his duty to punish the child until his will was broken and he was obeyed. Lindsley was arrested yesterday and committed to jail in Albion. It was with the utmost difficulty that the citizens who had him in charge could keep the citizens of Medina and neighborhood from lynching the murderer on the spot. Lindsley is a man about five feet eight inches in height, well-proportioned, has black whiskers, and dark complexion. He had the appearance of a man of violent temper. As to his character hitherto, we know nothing against him. He has a farm and is reported to be a man of some means. He has not had charge of an established church, but preaches occasionally - is what is called a Mission clergyman.
Of all the horrid examples of mad fanaticism we have ever heard, this seems to us the most revolting. Cain did not reek his hellish fury upon a motherless babe of two years and nine months, nor was Cain the parent and protector of his victim. In all the offerings of infants to Molech, they were quickly dispatched and not tortured for hours. In all the brute creation we know of no monster that tortures its young. The depths of hell must be reached to produce a fiend capable of such unparalleled cruelty. Only to think of a prattling babe of less than three years beaten to death, its bones broken, finger nails torn off, and mangled by perpetual blows from the hands of one who was solemnly obligated to be its father and protector; because accused by a step mother of refusing to say his prayers! Such monsters are, in these last days, employed as Missionaries to evangelize the world!
This missionary monster, we learn, has been admitted to bail, and to escape the wrath of an incensed community, has fled to Canada, there to wander like his prototype, "a fugitive and vagabond," with a more indelible mark upon him than that which branded Cain.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Signs of the Times
July 15, 1866
Republished: The Remnant
Volume 8, No. 4