"This is a photograph of Carrie L. Parsons, wife and three children murdered by Joseph Hamilton about two miles east of Success, MO on Friday October the 12, 1906. Parsons had sold his crop to young Hamilton. On the day of the murder Parsons loaded his Family and household effects in his wagon and started for Miller Co, MO when about two miles east of Success at what is known as the old Vance Place he was murdered this was about 2 o'clock in the day. The wagon was then driven into thicket of brush and left until about midnight that night when young Hamilton returned hitched up Drove to Piney River and threw all of the Bodies into the water two of the children was found by Fishing Party with in one hour after were thrown in. Hamilton was arrested two Days later trying to make his escape. He made a full confession of his crime. He was tried at the November term of Court and Sentenced to be Hanged Dec the 21st. His Father came here and made quite an effort to have his sentence commuted to life imprisonment - but to no avail he was Hanged at 11 o'clock December 21st 1906 at Houston MO. Young Hamilton was 21 years old and a son of J. Bill Hamilton that is said to Preach at the New Church. This is a true likeness I was Present when it was Taken [signed] G.W.S"
Joseph "Jodie" Hamilton.
Photo from the HOUSTON HERALD, December 27, 1906.
On Friday, October 12, 1906, a murder occurred just outside Houston, MO. The event involved a man by the name of Joseph "Jodie" Hamilton and Carney Parsons.
Parsons, a sharecropper of whom Jodie was employed, offered to trade Hamilton twenty-five dollars cash and a single-barreled shotgun for a saddle. Hamilton agreed but later began to feel as though he had been cheated.
Parsons then loaded up his family in a wagon and headed for Miller County where he had purchased some farmland. Hamilton, growing more and more furious over the deal, headed out to catch up with them less than an hour after their departure. Parsons and Hamilton had an argument resulting in Parsons heading on toward Miller County. Hamilton waited and then decided to catch up with them again. At the second meeting, Hamilton fired the shotgun he had traded for at Carney Parsons, striking him in the right knee. The gun broke into three pieces. Hamilton then took the barrel portion of the gun and struck Carney Parsons in the head. Carney's wife Minnie then tried to wrest the barrel from Hamilton and Hamilton struck her as well. Hamilton then killed two of the Parson's three sons, Frankie and Jesse, by striking them on the head with the barrel and then cutting their throats with a knife Carney had produced in the scuffle. Hamilton then returned to Minnie, who had not yet died, and struck her with an ax after covering her head with a blanket. Hamilton then dealt the final death blow to the remaining infant son with a swing of the gun barrel. He, then, dumped the bodies into the river and headed back to town, planning to leave for Cabool the next day and board a train to Kansas. Fishermen discovered the bodies of Jesse and the infant Edward floating in the river the following morning. Authorities immediately suspected Hamilton because of the mule he had been seen riding into town. Once the authorities caught Hamilton, he quickly confessed to the murders and assisted authorities in finding the other three bodies.
On Monday, November 12, Hamilton was tried for murder. Though he admitted to the crime, Jodie attempted to plead insanity due to a kick he received from a mule as a child. Doctors examined Jodie and found him to be sane. He was sentenced to be executed on December 21. At 11:02 am in Houston, Jodie's execution was attempted but was unsuccessful. The rope had failed. Two minutes later, after tying another noose on the same rope, Jodie was hanged again. His death was pronounced at 11:15. The hanging was the only one ever conducted in the county.