Here is the story of the Coy murders as it appeared in the July 4, 1863 edition of the Medina County Gazette:


A Most Horrible Tragedy

Probably the most terrible crime a quiet village ever witnessed occurred in Medina some time past midnight this (Thursday) morning; and on account of which we hasten to issue our paper, so that our readers and the public generally may have a few of the facts.

At a very early hour, perhaps by 4 o’clock, some of our citizens discovered that the house occupied by Mr. Shubel Coy was on fire. On gaining an entrance, Mr. Coy and Mrs. Coy were found dead in their bed, and the little boy of 7 or 8 years, also lying in his blood – all the work of some horrible monster or monsters in human shape. The throat of the boy, beautiful in death, was cut skillfully, nearly half round the neck, but the neck of Mrs. Coy is cut not only at the throat, but there are some rough cuts on the side and back, giving indications that there was some struggling ere the deed was fully accomplished; while Mr. Coy’s neck seemed to be pierced through by some sharp instrument, evidently done by a steady hand, and perhaps one not unused to such deeds.

Notwithstanding the early hour, a great number of people gathered, as the scene of the tragedy was on West street, near the center of the village. In an hour or so, the fire being to a great extent quenched, Hon. Mr. Blake, after consultation, called for a hearing and committees were appointed, both to examine the circumstances about the house, as also to look after strangers and suspicious characters who may be or have been in town for a few days past; and others to ride into the country, particularly to the section Mr. Coy visited the preceding day, and do all that can be to discoverer the murderers. A meeting of the citizens at the Court House, at 10 o’clock, was called for a little later in the morning.

Nothing is yet known of the object or design of this atrocious and fiendish act, unless it were for money. Mr. Coy and family were known to live happily and peacefully together, and though Mr. C. traded in cattle considerably, and often had large sums of money with him, we have not been able as yet to learn whether he had or was supposed to have any amount in his possession at the time the calamity transpired.

We trust the whole county, as also neighboring counties will be awake and on the alert, for who can feel safe when such diabolical deeds are committed to the very midst of us! Every man must be interested in bringing such criminals to justice.

Here is the story from the following week’s (July 11, 1863) edition:


Our last issue was made so early in the morning (just after 9 o’clock) on the Thursday last, that only a few facts could be given of the sad affair, and those not strictly true to the letter in every case; yet many really false and mischievous statements have since been made not only by people who are met travelling about, but also in some of the public journals. (In another column some facts pertaining to affair, which may be specially interesting to those who did not see the Gazette of last week, the extra copies of which were too soon exhausted.)

In the first place, no arrest or arrests have yet been made on any charge relating to this case, and though the proper officers may suspect some person or persons, we know nothing about it, nor do the public; and more – we have no right to know who (if there be any) may be watched by those whose duty it is to protect the public from the depredations of desperate characters – else we should defeat the whole object for which such officers are chosen and sustained at public expense.

Probably more than one or even two were engaged in the planning and carrying out of this diabolical deed, though but one may have used the fatal weapon to take lives of the victims. Those who imbrued their hands in the innocent blood, or helped share the spoils as the result, may meet us in the streets, or dwell quietly in houses neighboring to some of ours yet we know nothing of it, and may never suspect it, unless, perchance, by some unintentional remark, look or movement – some sigh or nervous twitch of the muscles, caused by an ever restless conscience – may betray a guilty party and the truth become known. Yet years may pass and not till on the deathbed or on the scaffold when the culprit sees a horrible eternity before him, under the goadings of a sense of this great guilt may this matter be cleared up.

As it is, a mystery, profound, dark and unveiled, enshrouds the whole affair. So sudden, so terrible and unexpected was the event, together with the utterly impenetrable cloud that hangs over the transaction, as regards the perpetrators, their names, and their mode of escape, that the whole would seem like a dream, had not our eyes been again and again convinced that a frightful drama had been coacted among us.

Early in the forenoon of Thursday places of business were closed, and companies went out with orders to search every house, look along the creek, into cellars, barns and piles of brush, while officers and others went into the country in search of the murderer or murderers; yet no valuable facts seemed to be elicited then, or since.

Coroner Beckwith summoned a jury, composed of Hon. Samuel Humphreville, Hon. H.G. Blake, N.H. Bostwick, Esq., and Messrs S.J. Hayslip, Geo. Shook, and Chas. Hubbard, who after examining a large number of witnesses and the report of the committee of physicians, returned the verdict that Mr. Coy, his wife and child, were brutally murdered by the hand of some unknown person or persons.

The committee of physicians – Doctors Tiffany, Babcock and Munger – examined the bodies of the murdered, and from their report we gather the following facts:

On the body of Mr. Coy was found a knife cut through the throat from the angle of the lower jaw, obliquely cutting the jugular vein and large artery; also four or five slashes in the right side. Mr. Coy was 36 years old.

On the body of Mrs. Coy were found no less than twenty-four wounds. The throat was cut nearly from ear to ear, the palm of her right hand was severed to the bone, and her left arm was pierced entirely through in two places. There were two stabs on the left side of her chest, in one of which a rib was broken, and the weapon reached the lungs. Three large slashes on the neck, down to the bone, complete the list of the more serious wounds – the rest being of a less severe character. In an incision on the top of the head, penetrating the skull, were found three quite small pieces of metal, evidently portions of the knife.

The throat of the boy was cut in but one place, severing the large arteries.

On Friday afternoon a gathering of several hundred met on the green, or square, to listen to appropriate remarks by Rev. Mr. Hurd and Rev. Mr. Davis.

Bills were issued offering $1,000 reward for the apprehension of the murderer or murderers, and this was increased, on Tuesday, to $3,500 for their “arrest and conviction”.

It may be stated, that Mr. and Mrs. Coy were out visiting the evening previous to the murder, until perhaps 10 o’clock, and the one or ones who committed the crime may have entered and concealed themselves at an early hour, as those who first went to the house to quench the fire, had to force the doors, and the fiery element had evidently made slow progress. Yet these men tell us that, had they delayed ten or fifteen minutes later to visit the bedroom, we might not have suspected that there had been any foul play; as the bodies were badly burned as it was.

It is quite well settled that Mr. Coy had in his possession $1,000 or more. The envelope in which he had the money, is said to have been found.

Any blood that may have been found on the fence must have resulted from the wiping of the hands of the friends who carried out the bodies from the burning house.
A man by the name of Frederick Streeter was later arrested, tried, and convicted of these murders. He was sentenced to death by hanging and his public execution – the only of its kind in the history of Medina County – occurred on February 26, 1864.