Augustus Edwin Austin was my great grandfather. I know from his death certificate that he died from a cerebral hemorrhage (brain bleed) that resulted from a cranial fracture. i knew that he died at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City. My understanding, based on various comments, was that the injury was sustained elsewhere, possibly in Idaho, but I could not prove this. I had no idea why he wouldn’t have been hospitalized before returning to Utah. I also had no idea what the nature of the accident (I assumed it was an accident) was that could lead to such an injury.
I tried Google, looking for Augustus Edwin Austin and accident, but to avail. When that didn’t work, I tried turning to newspaper archives but didn’t make much more progress. I found death notices and the cause of death, but no details. In retrospect, one mistake I made was searching for information about an accident. He wasn’t injured in an accident, it was assault.
I learned this through another archive (this time using MyHeritage.com. Here’s what I found:
Ed Austin Dies, Third Victim in a Row over a Robe
Kalispell -Oct. 6 (AP) – Edward Augustus Austin, who died at Salt Lake City yesterday, was struck over the head at Kila, Aug. 17 by Dan “Dody” Duncan after the latter had shot and killed Bud Neas and Russell Austin.
Edward Austin was in a hospital here until September 11, when he was discharged. His physician said that he lost the sight in one eye and that a fractured skull received in the beating could have produced the death at Salt Lake City.
The fatal shooting and beating climaxed a quarrel over the ownership of a cowhide robe.
Authorities said Duncan was pummeled by Russell Austin and retaliated by shooting him and Neas and beating Edward Austin with the weapon.
Now that is some story! I still don’t know who any of these other people were, even Russell Austin. I’m not sure what the “row” was. That’s a word that almost makes it sound like a bar fight. I’d expect a mugging, but it sounds like there was quite a fight, involving several people. It could have been almost anywhere: in a home, a business, camp. Anywhere. We may never know the details, but this certainly adds character Edwin Austin (and yes, that is his correct name).