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3:43 PM Fri, Oct. 19th

Murder in the Palace Saloon, August 1884: Part I

The murder of Jennie Clark took place in the new Palace Saloon, seen here to the right of the bath-house, before a sign was painted to identify it. (Sharlot Hall Museum/Courtesy photo)

The murder of Jennie Clark took place in the new Palace Saloon, seen here to the right of the bath-house, before a sign was painted to identify it. (Sharlot Hall Museum/Courtesy photo)

In the wee hours of a Friday morning in late August of 1884, business was still at full-throttle in the Palace Saloon on Prescott's Whiskey Row when Fred Glover, an employee of the Sazerac Saloon on Gurley Street, got off work and walked over for a few drinks before going home.

About 12:30, his girlfriend, Jennie Clark, who lived with Fred on Granite Street behind the Palace, came looking for him and dragged him home. The two got ready for bed, but after a bit of arguing, Jennie decided to go out for a few drinks herself. Over Fred's objections, she and friend Dora Palmer, another resident of the house, headed out to the bars. Fred caught up and tried to coax them back, but they were determined to do some drinking of their own.

In the ensuing hour or more, the two girls and Fred did some serious bar-hopping, but not together. They eventually all wound up back at the Palace, and by that time, they were all fairly inebriated. The girls wobbled over to the piano there, where Dora played and Jennie sang. Afterward, they revisited the bar and ordered more drinks. Fred had met a couple of friends in the saloon who tried to get the girls to drink with them. They were met with refusals and insults. When Jennie took offense at Fred's friend, a teamster, her language became cruder and more insulting. Fred attempted to intervene, but had no success. Things went from bad to worse. Jennie became incensed at her lover's defense of his friend. Fisticuffs soon followed, and both Jennie and Fred struck each other. Jennie got the worst of it and was knocked to the floor.

Jennie got up and took refuge behind the bar. Drunk and angry, she picked up a bottle and hurled it at Fred. He retaliated by picking up glasses and throwing them at Jennie. One may have struck her in the head - no one was sure. Then, for several minutes, Fred tried to placate her. He held her hands, and she seemed to calm down. But as soon as he released her, she resumed with vile epithets, earning her another trip to the floor. Altogether, she was knocked down as many as four times, one of the blows coming from the teamster.

The brawl ended when Fred knocked her down and gave her a final kick. Jennie lost consciousness. Two men picked her up and carried her home. Fred followed shortly afterward and found her dead. A doctor was called, and Fred went to the home of the police chief, James Dodson, telling him that he was being accused of killing Jennie but had not done so.

Chief Dodson said he would look into the matter and told Fred to go home, not realizing "home" was where Jennie lay dead. Instead, Fred went back to the Palace.

Finding the badly bruised body of the young woman being attended to by Dr. James McCandless, Dodson went to the saloon and placed Fred under arrest.

Jennie Clark was 26 years old. Her real name was Nellie Coyle. She had lived in Prescott for perhaps three years, having first lived in the Granite Street brothel owned by Annie Hamilton. After a couple of years there, she went into business next door with Mamie Pearson. She and Fred had been living together for about seven months. Fred had paid off her debts and found an apartment for her, which almost certainly became another brothel.

Was Jennie Clark murdered by Fred Glover? That remained for a jury to determine. But local newspapers had a field day with the incident. "Stamped to Death. An Infuriated Man Kills the Woman Whose Generosity Has Maintained Him," headlined the Arizona Daily Miner. "Kicked to Death. Brutal Murder of Jennie Clark by Fred Glover in a Drunken Quarrel" was the Daily Journal headline.

A grand jury was impaneled, and the next day an indictment of first-degree murder was brought down. Meanwhile, Jennie was unceremoniously laid to rest in an unmarked grave in Citizens Cemetery, as Fred wept in the courthouse jail.

Next week: The trial of Fred Glover.