I continued east from Cicero that late December afternoon of 2016 for another five miles to pay my respects to 71-year-old Walker McClintock and his 42-year-old son, Enoch, buried at Carey Cemetery near Strawtown on State Road 37. Both had been victims of an unwelcome caller at their Strawtown farm on October 3, 1907.
Their killer was James W. Hensley, then 30, reportedly a “dancing master, comedian, impersonator and joker,” who had traveled from Indianapolis to call on Walker’s 18-year-old daughter, Mary. Almost a year had passed since the elder McClintock learned that Hensley had a wife and banned him from seeing Mary.
The situation quickly escalated. Hensley pulled a gun, shooting both father and son. Then, as the McClintock men lay bleeding to death, Hensley turned his anger and his gun on the three McClintock women—Mary; her sister, Cora; and their mother, Manilla. Imagine Hensley’s humiliation, when the women pooled their ingenuity, beat him senseless, and summoned the sheriff.
Hensley was tried in a Hamilton County court and, despite the McClintock women’s damning testimony, the jury found him guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter, carrying a prison sentence of two to twenty-one years. Hearing that, Hensley exhaled. He figured he’d be out in two. He wasn’t. Instead, he was out in five, after Mary unexpectedly recanted her testimony, thus restoring her old flame’s freedom. No matter how you slice it, Hensley was lucky.
Walker and Enoch McClintock had not been so lucky. They were murdered and laid to rest the next day in Carey Cemetery. It’s a pretty enough place to spend eternity, I suppose. However, had it not been for the heinous act of a madman, the McClintocks’ eternities wouldn’t have started so soon. Hensley, on the other hand, died peacefully in bed at the ripe age of 89. •
While I was unable to find photos of the McClintock men, I did stumble across this photo and graphic about Hensley, which appeared in the October 5, 1907, edition of the Indianapolis Star. Newspapers had a knack back in those days for reporting crime stories with all the drama of a Martin Scorsese film. Papers were the Netflix of that day.