Sisters seek answers about McDonough murder of 1903

McDONOUGH – The year is 1903, and as the wedding bells ring for Tracy Barrows’ daughter and her groom, so does gunfire on his farmstead in the “Village of McDonough.”

Tracy lay dead on his front lawn. His wife Hattie and her “lover” Frank Gale head to the doctor. Frank is wounded by a shot fired by Tracy.

In a time where horse back was the primary means of travel and medical care was minimal, Barrows lay dying of internal bleeding following an argument where Gale literally beat him to death.

After being charged with murder in the first degree, Gale was convicted of manslaughter in the second degree, tried in the Chenango County Courthouse, and sentenced to five years on a work crew in the State Prison at Auburn.

The story, although apparently cut and dry, takes twists and turns. Some believe the whole thing was a conspiracy.

What ever happened to Hattie and her two children? Why did neither parent attend their daughter’s wedding the same afternoon of the murder? Was the murder really in self defense or was it a plan masterminded by Gale and Hattie? And, how and why did Gale’s (the murderer) defense attorney’s gain the Barrows property just shortly after their client was sentenced to prison? Will what really happened that September day ever be known for certain?

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