Joseph Inman Sen.,was an early settler in Orono, where he came 1783, in
June. In July 1801, one Oliver Homes, alias Chapman, also a resident was
missing. Homes and Inman had quarreled perhaps when under the influence of
rum. With almost entire unanimity the people charged Inman with the murder
of Homes. Complaint was made to Col. Jonathan Eddy, of Eddington.
To Jonathan Eddy, Esquire, one of the Justices assigned to keep the Peace within and for said County. Whereas we whose names are under written, have strong suspicions and serious reasons to apprehend that Oliver Homes, late of Colbornton Plantation, has bee murdered; and we have violent reasons to suspect that Joseph Inman, Amble Inman, wife of the said Joseph Inman, and Asenath Homes, with of the said Oliver Homes, and James Page all of Colbornton Plantation aforesaid, have murdered him the above said Oliver Homes, or been accessory to the above said murder. We therefore request you the said Justice to isssue your warrant to apprehend the said Joseph Inman, Amble Inman, Asenath Homes and James Page, and bring before me the said Justice, for examination, touching the above complaint theat they may be further dealt by according to law.
July 22, 1801 Emerson Orcutt,
Col. Eddy issued his warrant the same day for the arrest of the parties,
and Joseph Inman Jr., William Inman, Hannah Page, John Mansell and David
Reed were summoned as witnesses. The examination was had the 23d of July
at the house of Esquire Eddy, in Eddington - his house was nearly opposite
end the Veazie Dam. Nearly the whole population of the upper Penobscot were
there; the roads were few, and they came by water. Public opinion was
against the prisoners - one or all of them. As to the testimony, tradition
says that William Inman swore that he saw his father strike Homes. One piece
of testimony has come down. The original I have now have before me worn and
soiled by 86 years. I give a copy:
This day being on Sunday morning about 8 oclock, William Inman son of Joseph Inman of Cobenton Plantation so called, being about 22 or 23 years old, came to me with the following account of what appeared to him the evening before:-
I, William Inman being at a place called Mashs Island on Penobscot river in a house of Joseph Treat, and John Spencer came in with a pint of rum and told me if I would fetch some watter I should have some grog to drink with him. I took a pail in my hand and steped out of the door and stepped two or three steps towards the watter and something appeared before me but I went on to get some watter and looking about it seemed to be a Gost. I dipped some watter and turned about to go back. It rose right up before me and seemed to go backward toward the house, and whether it ----- or not I can not tell for I was very much surprised but it spoke to me and said you may now no what you wanted to no. Your Father was the very man that killed me, and walked away and this I am willing to take my oath of.
William X Inman
But whatever the testimony, it was sufficient to commit Joseph Inman to
the Pownalboro Jail, which is now Dresden, to answer to the charge of murder,
at the nest term of the Court for the County of Lincoln, where murder cases
Inman laid in Jail some months; when to the surprise of every one Homes
appeared at Orono. He had been to Rhode Island visiting, and saw in some
newspaper, the account of the arrest, of Inman, and came back to show
people that he was not dead.
Inman was soon discharged, and a petition was sent to the General Court
in his behalf.
To the Honorable the Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts in General Court Assembled:
The subscribers beg leave to represent that Joseph Inman of a plantation
called Colburntown on the county of Hancock, a settler on land of the Common-
wealth and who has stated to the subscribers that he is indebted to the
Commonwealth for said land in the sum of about one hundred and fifty dollars,
was in the summer of the year of 1801 very unjustly arrested and committed
to prison on suspicion of having murdered one Oliver Homes of said Colburn-
town, who had then been sometime absent from his family, that he, the said
Inman, was in close confinement for about four months, and that in conse-
quence of said suspicion and confinement he incurred many and very great
expenses in endeavoring to discover said Homes, and many suits were commenced
against him by persons to whom he was indebted, his property taken and sold
for a very small part of itsreal value, by reason of which the said Inman
is rendered unable to pay the said sum due to said Commonwealth. The
Petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Court may take into consideration
the peculiar inconveniences and injuries the said Inman has sustained in
consequence of said arrest and confinement, and release to him the whole or
part of said sum, or otherwise relieve the said Inman as the Court may in
their wisdom deem expedient and in duty bound the Petitioners will ever pray.
May 31, 1804.
Amos Patten, John Crosby
Allen Gilman, Saml Greenleaf,
Henry Reed, John Barker,
Sam. E. Dutton, Moses Greenleaf,
Boston, Feb. 5, 1805.
Sir: - Joseph Enman, one of the 32 settlers who settled on the Lands
purchased by the Common-wealth, of the Penobscot Tribe of Indians before
August 1796, has purchased one half of Archibald McPheters lot as I am
informed, who was returned as one of the sd 23 settler. The sd Archibald
McPheters had got a deed of the other half of said lot. There is nothing
in the way to hinder the said Enman having 150 acres but his poverty, with
me as his agent.
To Jonathan Maynard, Esq.
Indorsed Genl Townes Certificate.
Resolve: On the petition of Amos Patten directing the Hon. Salem Towne Esq.
To make and execute a deed to Joseph Inman of 150 acres of land in the 9
townships of land purchased of the Penobscot Indians.
February 15, 1805.
On the petition of Amos Patten and others, in behalf of Joseph Inman who
suffered a long confinement on close goal on suspicion of having murdered
one Oliver Homes.
Resolved, for reasons set forth in said petition, that the prayer thereof
be granted, and that the Hon. Salem Towne, Esq., as commissioner of agent
for the sale of the nine townships of land purchased of the Penobscot
Indians, he directed and he is hereby authorized , and empowered to make and
execute a good and sufficient deed to the aforesaid Joseph Inman, of 150
acres of land, free of any expense to him the said Inman, in the same way
and manner as though he, the said Inman had complied with a Resolve of the
Legislature passed March 21, A. D. 1798, he being one of the settlers
therein described any law or resolve to the contrary notwithstanding.
The source of these articles is unknown other than the following notation given as a part of the article. JW
[From the Columbian Informer and Eastern Advertiser, Castine, pg. 160, April 29, 1802.]
For the supposed murder of whom, Joseph Inman and said Homes wife,
uffered several months imprisonment in Castine Goal, IS ALIVE, and to be
seen at the house of the subscriber in Orrington, until the 10th of May,
that those who doubt Inmans innocence, or my veracity, may not only see
him him, but have as much proof as the unbelieving Thomas had, upon other
Mr. Leonard was the first lawyer in Orrington; residing there from 1796 to 1822.