There is a book available on the internet and in some book stores which documents a history of the killings:
Murdering Indians
by Peter G. Beidler

New York Times - November 15, 1897
Contributed by Kim Callahan

Transcribed Newspaper Articles

Selected N. D. Weeklies
By William Fischer
Editor, Emmons County Record
Linton, N.D.

While North Dakota was still a part of Dakota Territory, there existed in what is now Emmons County, a thriving town, Winona, just across the Missouri River from the Fort Yates Military Post. It is said that no fewer than nine saloons operated in the town, drawing their patronage largely from the military personnel stationed at Fort Yates.

When North Dakota became a state, its constitution outlawed the saloon, but many saloon operators continued their "underground" operation--and their places of business were known as "blind pigs." Despite the law, Indians were sometimes able to procure liquor from the "piggers."

During the winter of 1896-97--said to be one of the worst on record--there lived a short distance from Winona, the Thomas Spicer family. In the household were Mr. and Mrs. (transcribers note: Mary Ellen Waldron) Spicer, Mrs. (transcribers note: William) Waldron (transcribers note: Ellen Nicholson Waldron), the elderly mother of Mrs. Spicer, and Mrs. William Rowse (transcribers note: Lillie Spicer, also in many other records, spelled "Rouse"), a daughter of the Spicers who was staying at their home while her husband was west of the Missouri River (on the Cannon Ball) preparing a home for his family. Two others daughters of the Spicers also lived with their parents, but both were absent on the day when the main events of this narrative occurred.

On Sunday, Feb. 14, 1897, Frank Black Hawk (Indian-Negro) and Alec Coudotte (Indian-French) attempted to obtain liquor in one of the Winona blind pigs. The proprietor informed them that his stock had been hauled away and cached by one Mr. Pepper, the town drayman and water hauler. The two then went to the Pepper home that night and asked where the liquor was hidden. It is believed that Pepper told them it was stored in the cellar of the Spicer home. It is further believed that this place was pointed out to them as a joke, because Spicer was known to be a religious man, who, although he was not an ordained minister, sometimes preached.

On Feb. 17, 1897, Alec Coudette, Black Hawk, George Defender, Paul Holy Track and Phillip Ireland went to the Spicer farm. Spicer was cleaning his barn when they came. The callers went into the barn and watched while Spicer hauled out a few loads of manure with his wheel barrow. The visitors had with them a muzzle loading shotgun and with this shot Spicer in the back on one of his trips out of the barn. They then mutilated his face and body with an axe, spade and pitchfork. One of the men then went to the house and told Mrs. Spicer that her husband wished to see her in the barn. Just as she arrived at the stable door, she was struck in the face with a charge from the shotgun. Her body was also mutilated.

The killers then went to the house, picking up a club on the way. They entered the house and killed Mrs. Spicer's elderly mother with the club. Next they tried to enter the room where Mrs. Rowse had taken refuge with her twin sons (transcribers note: about 1 1/2 years old, Alvin and Albert).

She seized a shotgun and clubbed Coudette across the chest, driving him out of the room. Paul Holy Track then went into the room and Mrs. Rowse swung a broken-bladed hoe at him, striking him on the head, cutting a hole through his hat brim and inflicting a wound on his forehead. She tried to swing again but the hoe caught on a wire stretched across the room, after which she was overpowered and beaten to death with a table leg. The killers then murdered the two babies, raising the total of deaths to six.

News of the murder didn't reach Williamsport, Emmons County Seat, until the following Saturday (transcriber's note: Feb. 20th). (Williamsport was located a short distance northeast of the present site of Hazelton. It, like Winona, is no longer in existence). H. A. Armstrong--state's attorney at $400 per year--made the trip to the scene of the multiple murder by horseback.

Eventually, investigation led to the arrest of the suspects. Paul Holy Track and Phillip Ireland were questioned and confessed, thus leading to the most unusual trial ever held in the county and to its first and only lynching.

Alec Coudotte was tried first and found guilty of murder in the first degree, the jury fixing the punishment as death by hanging. Much of the testimony required the services of an interpreter who could speak the English language and Indian. Walter H. Winchester, presiding judge, denied a defense motion for a new trial.

George Defender's trial was next. The defense, in the meantime, asked that a new judge be summoned to take Winchester's place. This request was granted and Judge O. E. Sauter (transcribers note: Otto E. Sauter) took charge. After hearing the testimony, the jury deliberated 60 hours but could come to no decision. A new trial was necessary.

In the meantime, the state Supreme Court ruled that Coudotte should be granted a new trial. At this time, Coudotte, Paul Holy Track and Phillip Ireland were in the county jail at Williamsport, having been shuffled back and forth several times between Williamsport and the Burleigh County jail at Bismarck.

Because of the Supreme Court's contention that the confessions of Ireland and Holy Track were not sufficient to warrant the conviction of Coudotte, it became apparent that all the defendants would be freed at the next trial since no additional evidence had been uncovered by the prosecution.

On Saturday evening, Nov. 13, 1897, a group of about 40 masked men appeared at the jail in Williamsport and demanded the cell keys from Thomas Kelly, the night watchman. When he failed to surrender them, he was overpowered and the prisoners were dragged from their cells with ropes around their necks.

The hanging was first attempted at a well curbing, then from a log house--and finally ended from the beam of Mile [Note: this may be "Mike"] Rush's beef windlass at the rear of the Williamsport hotel.

Although there was reason to believe that the identities of all the lynchers was known, no attempt at prosecution was ever made.

This transcription was taken from a very poorly made copy of the article provided by the Institute for Regional Studies, NDSU Libraries, Fargo, North Dakota.

Published in Bismarck Daily Tribune
27 December 1890 - The City

William Rouse and John Haley of Winona were in town yesterday, guests at the Custer hotel.

Published in Bismarck Daily Tribune
8 October 1898 - The City

William Rouse of Morton county and Miss Harriet Newberry were married in Mandan recently. The groom's first wife was the young woman so shockingly murdered in the Spicer murders two years ago.

Published in Bismarck Daily Tribune
17 December 1898

Editor Streeter of the Emmons County Record calls a feature of the Spicer murder case to publish attention as follows: It is an old saying that "republics are ungrateful." Whether this be so or not, it is certain that states are sometimes unjust. On the 20th of February, 1897, Governor Briggs made public the following:

"A reward of $500 will be paid to the person delivering into the custody of the sheriff of Emmons county, North Dakota, the murderer or murderers of Thomas Spicer, Mrs. Thomas Spicer, Mrs. Ellen Waldron, Mrs. Wm. Rouse and her twin infant children, who were killed near Winona, in said county, on or about Wednesday, Feb. 17, 1897. Said reward will be paid upon the conviction of such murderer or murderers."

The sheriff of this county spent much time and money in rounding up the murderers. He has not received from the state or from any other source a cent of the money he expended. The governor's offer was for the conviction of such murder or murderers. One of the murderers was duly convicted by a jury and sentenced by the court. When the conviction took place, was not the reward, as a matter of justice and equity, earned and due? If the members of the legislature believe that, when the governor of the state offers a reward for the doing of a certain thing, and the thing for which the reward was offered is done, the state should keep its faith, they will pass a bill appropriating money to pay the man or men who earned it the reward offered by Governor Briggs for the conviction of a murderer.

Published in Bismarck Daily Tribune
15 Janaury 1899 - State News

The halfbreed Indian Frank Blackhawk, the only survivor of the five men arrested for the Spicer murders, is a regular attendant at the Episcopal church at Cannonball.

All Above Articles Transcribed By Mike Peterson.