And blew his brains out with a gun.
When he saw what he had done
He did it to his other son.
— Hoosier folk song, author unknown
At high noon, he climbed into his rented horse-drawn carriage and headed north out of town. A couple hours later, he walked up to the house in West Liberty, where Sarah and the kids were staying with her sister, and banged on the kitchen door.
Sarah let the boys go, which she soon regretted, and off they went, rolling down the road. Within the hour, Homer was dead, and Dee was barely clinging to life, both of them shot in the head by their loving daddy.
As for McClure, following a lucid moment during which he imagined a lynch mob with himself on the wrong end of the rope, he hightailed it for the Grant County sheriff’s office in Marion to turn himself in. The next day, he was transferred to the Tipton County jail, and was later tried in Tipton Circuit Court.
When a reporter asked McClure why he’d done it, he couldn’t answer. Instead, he shifted the blame to a higher power. “God told me to do it,” McClure said, “and He will take care of me.”
Although Homer had died instantly at his father’s hand, Dee, lingered in a coma for almost two weeks before he died. The boys were buried in the Knox Chapel Cemetery, located in the southwest corner of rural Grant County, two miles north of the Madison County line. According to newspaper reports, Dee was interred during a driving rainstorm as hundreds of friends and neighbors gathered in an outpouring of love.
Sarah McClure had little money and may have been unable to purchase headstones for her children, as none bearing their names can be found in the old cemetery today. When I visited Knox Chapel in mid-August of 2020, I studied every stone, hoping to find the McClure boys’ markers. Unfortunately, I didn’t. Many were so broken and worn, their engravings were no longer decipherable.
However, as I made my way through the grounds, two small stones, side by side, seemed to call to me. The time-worn names and dates chiseled into them long ago were impossible to read, so I selected them as proxy markers to represent the brief lives of the McClure boys. Who’s to say they aren’t the children’s actual stones anyway?
And what about the burial place of their father?
Ironically, less than four years after McClure — who soon became Indiana State Prison Inmate No. 2718 — had smugly told a reporter that God would take care of him, God followed through. However, it probably wasn’t what McClure had in mind. How could he have known that in those days, the I.U. School of Medicine wasn’t picky and would accept the remains of anyone, even a deplorable monster like him? ... Rest in pieces, Jesse McClure •