393.1123 Coveyou, Walter/5: Telegram

The Consul General at Hankow (Lockhart) to the Secretary of State

37. Following details have been received concerning the killing of the three Catholic missionaries referred to in my telegrams Nos. 34, April 27, 11 p.m., and 35, April 29, 1 p.m.: The three Catholic [Fathers] were taken by 30 bandit soldiers at Hwachiao, Hunan, near Chenki. The army to which these soldiers formerly belonged is not known. The three priests were marched into the hills about five miles away to the mouth of a mine pit 50 feet deep. After stripping all clothing from them, Reverend Walter Coveyou was shot first, then [Page 506] Reverend Clement Seybold and finally Reverend Godfrey Holbein. The three bodies were then thrown into the pit. The motive for the inhuman killing is unknown. Servants accompanying the missionaries were released and returned to Chenki. Reverend Anthony Maloney and Miles McCarthy with a bodyguard of 90 soldiers from Chenki found the pit on April 26 and on following day recovered the bodies and arrived with them in Chenki on April 28. The magistrate held an inquest at Chenki, after which the bodies were taken to Shenchow, Hunan, and arrived there on April 30. Burial will take place at Shenchow on May 4. Please inform Very Reverend Stanislaus Grennan, Provincial of [Community of] Passionist [Fathers], Union City, New Jersey. Repeated to Legation.42

  1. In his telegram No. 350, May 4, the Minister in China informed the Department that telegram No. 37 had been repeated to Nanking “with instructions to make immediate representations to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the apprehension and punishment of the guilty parties, Hankow Consul urgently to renew representations to Ho Chien.” (393.1123 Coveyou, Walter/6)