Canyon Murder, Death Valley, California
A local Desert Rat found and marked Ed's grave a few years ago.
to Tom Murray in his book; "Seldom Seen Slim", During the
Depression, Death Valley Prospector Ed McSperrin was murdered by Jimmy
Madden, alias Jimmy Clebourne.
Tom states that he was a personal friend of Ed and knew what a nice guy Ed was. According to Tom, Ed McSperrin took in Madden who was hungry and had no place to stay. Ed allowed Madden to stay for several months, but eventually Ed's welcome wore out and he asked Madden to move on. Tom Murray believes this led to Madden killing Ed McSperrin.
John Thorndike and Pete Auguerberry made a coffin out of rough planks and dug a grave for Ed by the road that runs through Wildrose Canyon near the springs where Ed had his cabin.
Newspaper reported the results of the jury trial on November 26, 1932;
Clebourne (Madden) actually waited till the next day to go to see Deputy George Griest in Ballarat.
After the acquittal,
Madden returned to Wildrose Canyon to make camp, but the prospectors there
ordered him to leave the Wildrose Mining District immediately. Madden
headed over to Keeler where he stole coal from his neighbor. The neighbor
locked up his coal supply, this in turn infuriated Madden, so one
night he knocked on the neighbor's door, when the neighbor answered,
Madden stabbed him with a 8" butcher knife.
Back to California Desert Page