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The Fenton Independent
Thursday January 24, 1974

Fenton Had Two Murders
Back In The 1800's

In the 1800's Fenton had two murder cases, a quick perusal of the files of the Fenton Independent this week shows. The search was made in an effort to find what murder cases, other than the Matla one, had occured in Fenton in the past.

In March, 1879 Philip F. Runyan was killed by his father-in-law James H. Lacey who threw a weight used on a weighing scale at him, hitting him in the head. Lacey was arrested and charged with murder in the second degree. Lacey had operated a bakery store on S. LeRoy street near the wooden bridge that crossed the Shiawassee river.

In November, 1873 Lacey was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to prison at Jackson.

Another murder case was that of Fred Foote who stabbed Andrew J. Brink in January, 1886 in a quarrel in Brink's saloon. Brink died of his wounds 10 hours later. In March, 1886 Foote was sentenced to life in Jackson prison but in August, 1901 the newspaper files disclose he again got into trouble in Fenton when he attacked a police officer. He evidently served a comparatively short term at Jackson.

Files of the Fenton Independent between 1906 and 1946, when Solomon Beach was publisher, are scanty as Beach (who became highly religious in his later years), one day burned all the back issue files, not wanting to have anything mean he had written about anyone left behind. The Phillip's library has gaps in its filing system also. Files of the Independent have been microfilmed from its founding in 1868 to 1906 by the state, with copies available at the Flint city library. The Independent is Fenton's oldest continuing business, now in its 104th year.

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