The folllowing is a transcipt of a local news article written Sept 11, 1925 for the Boston Globe. The article was uncovered by Kianga Lucas researching the Palmer Lucas line. Palmer and Hilda were first cousins, once removed, two of several Lucas family members that emmigrated to Massachsetts.
Wilmington Sept 11 – Residents of this town who knew William James 26-year old colored chauffeur and father of six children who was found murdered in a well at his home yesterday have been summoned to appear today at the office of Dist Attrny Arthur K Reading to tell what they know of the relations of James with Frank Johnson, Roxbury who is wanted in connection with the killing.
Palmer Lucas, brother-in-law of James and one of those present when the body was recovered from beneath a pile of stones in the bottom of the well, has been summoned, together with John Guy of Winchester , a workman at Lucas’ place, Mrs Lucas, Mrs Hilda James, widow of the murdered man and Angelo Valente the farmer who first directed attention to the well.
The police are inclined to the belief that Frank Johnson, the man who was befriended by William James, taken into his home, fed and sheltered when he was in trouble can throw considerable light on the mystery.
Body Found Yesterday
James’ body was found yesterday afternoon at the bottom of an old well about 100 yards from his home. The well is situated in an open meadow and has not been used for some time. Valente was working on his own place nearby when he noticed a peculiar odor. He tried to trace it but was unsuccesful until yesterday afternoon when he located it coming from the well.
Valente called Palmer Lucas , but both men were afraid to examine the well and they called in Charles E Reilly a special police officer of the town. Reilly uncovered the well and found it filled with rocks, a half ton of them. He took out rock after rock and finally came to the body, six or seven feet down. Medical Examiner Roscoe D Perley of Melrose found a bullet hole through the head and another through the left arm at the elbow. The man had been dead nearly three weeks.
Last Seen Two Weeks Ago
Jamees passed out of sight two weeks ago last Monday morning. It has been his custom to ride to Woburn with Palmer Lucas in the latters machine on his way to Winchester where he was a truck driver for George M. Bryne who is also a public trustee of the Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway Company and former chairman of the Selectmen of Winchester. On that day Frank Johnson went over to Palmer Lucases’ house about [sic] o’clock in the morning and told Lucas that James had gone on the bus. He was never seen again.
Just why James befriended Johnson and took him into his home, none of James’ friends could tell. They said however that James was a generous and good natured young man and that anyone in distress would find him sympathetic. The police declared that Palmer Lucas took a revolver away fron Johnson about a week ago and that a bullet was fired at Mrs Lucas from the bushes last Friday. It was on Friday night that Johnson left the vicinity of the Lucas and James homes.
Father of Six Children
James was the father of six children the oldest seven years and the youngest 6 months. The family lived on Border Road about a mile from the main road and the cart path leading in runs about three-quarters of the way. The rest of the way is by footpath over the Boston and Maine tracks. There are very few habitations there and it is one of the lonliest spots in town. The funeral for the murdered man is scheduled for tomorrow morning with services at the undertaking parlors of Edgerley and Bessom, Winchester. Burial will be in Wilminton.