The time — July 2, 1863.  The place — the small, rural village of Medina, population 800.

At dawn, the bell at the Baptist Church on West Liberty rang the fire alarm.  Someone had seen black smoke coming from Shubal Coy’s home on 227 South Elmwood Street and had sounded the alarm. As fire-fighting volunteers broke through the bolted door,  they found  Shubal Coy, his wife and eight year-old son dead of multiple knife wounds. A blood-stained envelope was found on the floor — empty.  Missing was the $1,200 that Coy, a livestock dealer, had just earned in a sheep sale.

The murder shocked and terrified the village. In 1863 Medina did not have a police force — or even a constable.

Therefore, the city fathers decided to take justice into their own hands.  They convened a meeting at the Medina County Courthouse and pondered the following question: “Was anyone in Medina nervy and depraved enough to commit this crime?” The answer was – yes.  A secret ballot was taken and the name Frederick  Streeter won by a large majority. And so, Streeter became the unofficial — and only — suspect.

Who was Frederick Streeter?

A handsome 23 year old wastrel, he had come to Medina the previous year from Bellows Falls, Vermont, where he was suspected of burning down a building. He had narrowly escaped imprisonment in Boston for circulating counterfeit money. He deserted the Union Army in 1862 and a few months later, appeared in Medina, styling himself as Captain Streeter, recruiting officer for the same Union Army.

Streeter was also a known drinker and gambler, had boasted of killing two men in fights over money, and had, according to the Medina Gazette, “a most unsavory reputation as to fast women.” While in Medina, he married 16-year old Dode Whitmore, whose family lived a few doors from the courthouse — neglecting to mention that he still had a wife in Vermont.

Six weeks after the murder, Streeter, who had skipped town, was sighted  in Kenosha, Wisconsin  “with lots of money” by a Medina resident.  An Akron detective was dispatched to arrest him and bring him back to Medina.

What ultimately convicted Streeter was the bloodstained envelope.

Medina County courthouse as it looked in 1863.

There were blood smears on the money in Streeter’s possession–smears which matched perfectly those on the bloodstained envelope.  Also, the bills Streeter stole were crisp and new and matched  the fold in the envelope.  Furthermore,  Streeter was unable to explain how he had come into possession of the money.

Streeter’s trial lasted four days and the jury deliberated only one hour.  The judge sentenced him to be hanged on February 26, 1864. The courtroom was so crowded with spectators the day he was sentenced that the floor dropped a foot, causing a general panic.

On Christmas Eve, Streeter escaped from the county jail and left a note under the door step of his wife’s parents, wishing her a Merry Christmas. The note also  “asked her to remain true to him and hoped that they would yet spend a happy future with each other.”

He was apprehended a few days later, hiding in the barn of a relative.

On February 26, 1864, a scaffold was erected on a plot of land on the northeast side of the village. (Tradition maintains that it took place on the site of the present day County Administration Building.)  Streeter was taken to the site sitting on his own coffin in a wagon drawn by two black horses.

Just before the hanging, he was approached by the father of Mrs. McCoy. Streeter shook his hand and said, “I beg your pardon and ask your forgiveness, but I assure you I did not kill your daughter.”

And then he was executed. It was to be Medina’s only public hanging.

His victim, Shubal Coy, lies buried in a small graveyard outside of Medina on Rt. 162 next to the Medina Country Club.  The tombstone reads: Shubal Coy — Murdered in Medina.

4 Responses to “Murdered in Medina”

  1. business SEO solutions Says:

    Thanks , I’ve recently been looking for info about this topic for a long time and yours is the best I’ve found out so far.
    However, what about the conclusion? Are you
    positive in regards to the supply?

  2. Churn and Burn Says:

    There is definately a lot to find out about this topic.
    I like all of the points you have made.

  3. Tim Kalee Says:

    This article was very helpful in my researching this story while compiling some of my family history. I do question some of the statements given here, though, especially the line “In 1863 Medina did not have a police force — or even a constable.”. In the History of Medina County and Ohio, Baskin & Battey, Historical Publishers, 1881, there is a biographical sketch of one my ancestors, Jesse Seeley, from which I quote here: “Mr. Seeley was a farmer until 1863, when he took the office of Sheriff of Medina County, having been chosen by the people to fill that office the year before. He was an efficient officer, and, while in office, conducted the execution of Streeter, the murderer, a detailed description of which is found elsewhere in this work.” According to this, he was elected to the office in 1862, prior to the murder of the Coy family.
    Did the author come across Jesse Seeley’s name in any of their research on this story?

  4. what is the best guitar tuner Says:

    I got this website from my friend who informed me concerning this website and at the moment this time I am
    browsing this site and reading very informative articles at this place.

    My site what is the best guitar tuner

Leave a Reply