The Thursday, Oct. 31, 1912, edition of The Paonian carried a shocking headline, "Triple Murder And Suicide." The newspaper called it "one of the most shocking crimes in the history of the state" and "The blackest page in the criminal history of Delta County."
The article reads like a compelling murder mystery. Yet, everyone concerned and the newspaper editor believed they knew who had committed the murder and why.
Carl G. Fox had shot each of his children once and then turned the gun on himself. Verna was the eldest, just six years old. Her brother Glenn was four and her baby sister was one year and five months. According to the newspaper, Fox was a "victim of paranoiac hallucinations."
In several letters found during the investigation by deputy sheriff W. T. Bross, Fox told how he was being persecuted by a secret society of which he once was a member. He believed they had pursued him to Colorado and that he was doomed as were his children. The family had lived in Paonia for three years. Those letters told of his suspicions of local people, including his employer, who Fox believed were involved in a plot against him.
The morning of the shooting, Fox had told his wife to go to town and pay his life insurance premium and pick up a photograph of their children. Sometime between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., Fox killed his children and himself. On her return, Mrs. Fox made the gruesome discovery.
The article from the front page of The Paonian was discovered by Mark Sprinkle who was looking through stacks of old newspapers. He was looking for ones from 100 years ago to frame and display in the hallway between Ollie's Ice Cream Shop and The Glennie Coombe Gallery. The corner building at Second and Grand in downtown Paonia was the former site for the Paonia Public Library. When the library moved, the historic newspapers remained.
Sprinkle was moved by the Fox family tragedy, and looked for their gravesites. With the help of caretaker Gregory Mellott, four gravesites each marked unknown were located. The four are adjacent to the flag pole at Cedar Hill Cemetery.
"I read this and it haunted me. I didn't feel it was right for these kids to be in unmarked graves and just forgotten," Sprinkle said.
He decided to do something to rectify the situation. Sprinkle has set up a fund to put a memorial head stone for the three children and a separate one for their father. Sprinkle is hoping members of the community will help in the fund raising. Donations can be made at Ollie's or the Glennie Coombe Gallery.
Sprinkle found a mention of Mrs. Fox in a newspaper in 1922. She was attending a social event in Flint, Mich. She is not buried next to her family in Paonia.
For 100 years the young Fox family lay in graves marked unknown. Perhaps in 2012 their lives can be recognized.blog comments powered by Disqus