Cemetery marker for Benton Tracy
The grave marker of Benton Tracy, a 52-year-old murder victim in 1902. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Published as it appeared on May 24, 1902, in the Corvallis Times, Page 1, Column 6.


Faithful Old Friends Attended
The mortal remains of Benton Tracy, who was murdered in Junction early Tuesday morning were interred in Newton cemetery, west of Corvallis, Thursday afternoon. The body arrived in a hearse from Albany. The wife and other bereaved relatives came in from Junction on the afternoon train. On account of no notice having been given of the funeral but few persons were aware of the burial occasion, and but little more than a dozen old friends of the deceased went out to the cemetery. At the grave, W.E. Yates made a few brief remarks, and the body was lowered into the grave, old friends of past years throwing in the shovels-full of earth that are to separate the dead clay from the busy world.

On the first page of this issue is to be found an article, giving further details of the murder, a brief account of which appeared in Wednesday’s Times. Beyond the statements there made, nothing is known of the midnight scene in which Ben Tracy lost his life. Late Tuesday afternoon Chief Alexander received by telephone a description of the man who is suspected of the crime. The message said that the suspect had been seen in the vicinity of Harrisburg bridge about half past one o’clock the day of the murder, and it was supposed that he was making his way northward. Since that time nothing further has been heard of him.

Benton Tracy was born in Noble county, Ohio, and was 53 years of age at the time of his death. In 1952 (1852), his parents moved to Montgomery county, Missouri, where they live for five years. In 1857, the family moved to Guthrie county, Iowa, and in 1864 crossed the plains to Oregon.

At the age of 20, Mr. Tracy went to Albany to learn the blacksmith’s trade. Later, with a partner, he owned and conducted a shop in Corvallis.

In January 1878, he married Miss Ella Abbey of Corvallis, who survived the union but a few months. About four years after her death, he went into business at Yaquina Bay, where with the exception of a few years spent in various places in the Willamette Valley, he has since resided. September 28, 1892, he married Miss Hattie B. Hargrave, of Ashland, who, with three brothers and one sister survives him.

Published as it appeared on May 21, 1902, in the Corvallis Times, Page 2, Column 4.


Ben Tracy, Well-Known in Corvallis — Shot by an Unknown Hand.
Ben Tracy is dead. He was murdered at the entrance of the Monogram saloon at Junction shortly after midnight yesterday morning. A special telegram to the Times gives the following particulars:

Mr. Tracy was leaving the saloon. It was fifteen minutes past twelve o’clock. He was alone at the time. The rapid reports of pistol shots attracted the attention of neighbors. When they arrived on the scene, a few minutes later, Mr. Tracy was found in a pool of blood near the saloon entrance. Through his stomach there was a bullet wound, made by a revolver ball. In his hand was his own revolver with all chambers empty. Whether it was emptied in an effort to bring down his assailant or to attract assistance is not known. He lived about five minutes after the shooting. The coroner’s inquest brought in a verdict that he came to his death by an unknown hand.

The question of who did the shooting is yet involved in mystery. It is not yet known what disposition will be made of the body, everything being held in waiting for the arrival of Mrs. Tracy, who was absent from home. Ben Tracy was well known in Corvallis. He resided for a long time at Yaquina Bay, where he conducted a saloon for several years. He was highly respected by all who knew him.

(Editor’s note: A man named Burt Heaton was convicted of murder later that year).