August 1, 2013
Nevada's Online State News Journal
[Murder on the Merced River, Stockton Argus article reprinted in the Sacramento Union, December 10, 1857]
MURDER ON THE MERCED RIVER. — About 8 o'clock on the evening of Dec. 5th, a man named W. W. C. Edwards shot William Snelling, at Snelling's Ranch. It seems a difficulty had existed between Edwards and Snelling's brother-in-law which was transferred to Snelling himself. The Stockton Argus remarks :
The parties had eaten supper at the hotel in that place, when Edwards, while in the barroom, turned upon his victim, whom he had preceded out of the dining room, and said, " There's William Snelling, a s—— of a b—————," and at the same moment raised his pistol and fired at him, the ball entering Snelling's side, passing through the lungs and coming out on the opposite ride. Snelling fell against the partition, but recovering himself, drew a Derringer pistol and fired at Edwards, who jumped over the counter and dodged behind it as he saw Snelling drawing a weapon, thus escaping injury. Edwards then ran out of the house, when he was met by the Sheriff, who caught him and wrenched his pistol from him. Edwards managed to escape, however, into a thicket close by, and was soon out of reach. Snelling's family was immediately sent for, who came to find their protector in a dying condition, as the attending physician stated there was no hope for his life when our informant left, about half an hour after the cowardly deed. Three parties started out in pursuit of Edwards, and are determined to spare no effort to arrest him. Snelling is said to have been a very peaceable man.