A Civil War Murder at New Tennessee
Authorities apparently did not locate Joseph Townsend, but they did take a statement from his older brother, John Townsend, on July 29. John Townsend told them that he lived in the New Tennessee settlement (located in the southern part of Ste. Genevieve County) and that it was "generally known in the neighborhood that Andrew Burnett, a rebel, murdered the man and that Eli Vansickles, now under arrest as accessory to said murder, was at the time and place in company with said Burnett and that said Eli Vansickles is also a rebel and was in the Rebel Army."
John Townsend went on to say that, after the murder, he and Joseph Townsend (whom he did not identify as his brother) went to the place where the body was lying dead, that Joseph Townsend helped bury the corpse, that he saw Joseph Townsend take a watch and some other articles off the body before the burial, and that, as far as he knew, Joseph Townsend had never accounted to anyone for those items.
The same day, July 29, William Thomas Arendall also gave a deposition in which he stated that he knew Andrew Burnett, now deceased, was the person who killed the school teacher (name not given), and he recalled the date of the murder as approximately November 1, 1861. He said the school teacher was just passing through and was shot down about 300 yards from his (Arendall's) house. Later that same evening, Arendall saw Burnett at a mill about three-fourths of a mile from where the murder had occurred and that Burnett told him that he was the one who had killed the man and that Vansickles was with him when he did it. Burnett, according to Arendall's testimony, said that both he and Vansickles belonged to Jeff Thompson's Rebel army.
Whether Vansickles (sometimes spelled Van Sickles or Van Sickle) was ever punished for his part in the crime and, if so, how severely, is not known. What is known is that Vansickles continued to live in Ste. Genevieve County after the war and died there on the last day of 1882 after "a long, painful illness."