The trouble began when Thomas Kelsey’s horses broke loose and killed a young horse owed by Isaac and Adaline (Cleveland) Hosner. The year was 1857; the place was their farm in Jacksonville, Tompkins County, New York.
According to Adaline her husband could not reason with Mr. Kelsey in getting payment for the dead horse. Isaac was forced to sue. The case was brought before Esquire Ralph, who told Mr. Kelsey to pay $100, which was said to be the value of the horse. Mr. Kelsey refused to pay. The suit carried on. Then on New Year’s Day, the Hosner boys started for the local mill. When they had gone only a short distance, one of the horses fell ill. The boys ran back to get Isaac and when they returned the horse was dead. The Hosners suspected the horse was poisoned. The horse was taken to Ithaca where more experienced vets could do an autopsy. Veterinarian Doctor Parker examined the horse and found poison.
The Hosners brought another suit against Mr. Kelsey, but this trial was held in Ithaca before Esquire Drake. During the trial Mr. Purdy testified seeing Mr. Kelsey come into Monell’s drug store and ask for arsenic and wanted it put into a bottle. Dr. Parker then testified the last days of December he was in Monell’s Drug Store and saw a man who resembled Mr. Kelsey, more than anyone in the room, come into the store and ask for poison.
Alas, everyone expected the verdict would be against Mr. Kelsey, but it seems it did not.
It appears we have several candidates as the “Black Sheep.”