Idaho Coutny Free Press

Thursday, July 30, 1908

BENSON IS KILLED - Florence Hotel Keeper Killed by Chas. Spaulding 

CAUSE SETTLEMENT OF DEBT - Looks Like Self Defense Preliminary Held Friday

A tragedy was enacted early Friday evening in the old mining town of Florence which is ordinarily as quite as the deserted village.  The story as briefly told from the information we are able to gather at the present writing is as follows.

It seems Charles Spaulding, a young mining man, was owing O.? Benson, the keeper of the hotel, a sum of money ranging in the neighborhood of fifty dollars and Friday evening, along about mail time, 6:30, Spaulding went to the post office, which is located in the hotel and conducted by Benson, to get what mail there might be for him.  Upon his entrance to the building, Benson demanded the payment of the sum of money and Spaulding replied he intended to settle the debt when he could procure the funds with which to do it.  Benson then asked Spaulding to give his note for that amount for one year which he agreed to do.  Benson then drew up the note and Spaulding looked the same over, he discovered the note was made out for sixty days and refused to sign it.  Then with an oath Benson remarked to high voice that he would make him sign the note before he left that house and with these remarks, reached to his hip pocket, presumably for a revolver.  Quick as flash Spaulding had him covered and fired, the bullet striking just below the heart.

A courier was dispatched to Adams Camp, the nearest telephone station, and medical aid summoned and the officers notified.  Immediately after the deed Spaulding walked to the cabin of Claud Flint and delivered over his gun and gave himself up.  Dr. Campbell and Deputy Sheriff Byram left at 10 Friday evening for the scene of the tragedy.  On their way in they met Spaulding coming out to surrender himself to the officers of the law so the deputy told him to come on out and he would go in and investigate.

The hearing is set for Friday at which time a number of witnesses will be examined.  From the evidence obtained here it seems the act was justifiable for while investigation after the death of Benson showed he did not have a gun but a sling shot, there is no question judging from this action but that he intended to put Spaulding out of business. 

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