March 15, 1918 Newspaper Article

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Newspaper Article - Provided to Lucile Tate from LaFaun C. Slagowski about her father and Uncle Chris

March 5, 1918

Six Men Arrested
Another chapter in the now famous Christensen case was enacted at 11 a.m. today when Sheriff Lowham and a force of deputies placed four Mt. View residents and a transient under arrest upon warrants issued by County Attorney B. N. Matthews charging them with arson. Those arrested were Joseph C. Hatch, prosperous sheepman Russell Hatch, his son: Clifford Hackman, Ralph Hicks and R. T. Davis. William Harnebrook, a brother-in-law of the elder Hatch, was arrested in Salt Lake City last night on a similar charge, and will be brought to Evanston. The officers making the arrest were Sheriff Wm. R. Lowham and Deputies W. S. Twombly and Sam Ryder. They were accompanied by W. E. Davison, head of a well-known detective agency: Sam King, the famous criminal lawyer of Salt Lake City; and county Attorney B. N. Matthews.

These men passed through Lyman just at noon today on their way to Evanston.

The men were taken completely by surprise and offered no resistance to the officers. Jos. C. Hatch and Ralph Hicks were taken at their homes in Mt. View, and young Hatch and Hackman were arrested while feeding their sheep at the ranch about three miles east of the town.

The crime for which the men were charged is the burning of the crops of hay and grain belonging to L. D. Christensen and C. I. Christensen on September 30, 1917 and of the residence of L. D. Christensen on November 21, 1917. Another residence on the same ranch belonging to Mr. Christensen was burned in the fall of 1916.

In July last L. D. Christensen received a note bearing the postmark of Cheyenne, Wyoming which foreshadowed the dastardly deeds which followed. The note which was signed with skull and cross bones, read as follows: "we will give you three months from date to fix up your business and get out of here."

On September 15, while the Christensen family were sleeping in their ranch home five miles east of Lyman, a horseman rode into the yard and threw a flaming torch onto the roof of the building. The family was awakened by the fumes from the torch and burning roof and aroused themselves in time to save their lives and put out the blaze. September 20, a second attempt was made to burn the residence and in a similar manner.

Guards were then stationed at the ranch, and two nights later, when the prowlers returned, Mr. Christensen opened fire, and believes that one of the men was wounded. September 30, the hay and grain stacks on the C. I. Christensen farm were burned and while returning from the fire to defend his home, L. D. Christensen was fired upon, by someone in the darkness. The bullet passed through his coat. Several shots were exchanged between the fire bugs and guards, none of which took effect.

Oct. 2 C. I. Christensen, manager of Bennion Livestock Co., was shot by his own son who mistook him for the fire bug returning to continue his nefarious work.

The residence of L. D. Christensen was burned November 21, 1917 while he was at a sheep camp a short distance away.

Detectives have been working on the case for several months past, but until today no arrests have been made.

J. C. Hatch and family came to Mt. View from Heber, Utah, about 12 years ago and have run sheep through this section since that time. So far as we can learn, there has never been any trouble between the Hatch and Christensen families. The Christensens are also sheepmen, but about two years ago they homesteaded land that had heretofore been used as range for sheep and cattle.
The preliminary hearing will be held at Evanston at once and the result will be awaited with interest by the residents of this section.

Local Land Personal
Mrs. Elsie K. Bartholomew and family moved Friday to their ranch east of Lyman, where they will spend the summer.


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