FentonSays What Fenton Says: Fenton Michigan's 1937 Triple Murder
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Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Fenton Michigan's 1937 Triple Murder

The following is an exerpt from the book "The Village Players" republished with permission from the Fenton author, Robert G. Harris. If you would like to purchase the complete 307 paged book, with over 60 photos, you can find it at the Lil Professor Book Store in Fenton, Michigan. This book is a narrative history of the Village of Fenton, 1937-1941.

Fenton's Triple Murder

The town’s people had by and large recovered from the bank robbery in February, 1937…a real rarity for Fenton…when the news of a much more tragic event hit them head on! It was the most shocking crime ever committed in Fenton and at the time the most brutal in this section of the state.

Dr. C. H. White was making a house call on Mrs. Eleanor Davis at her farm home on State Road, just south of the county line. When no one appeared to answer his call, he returned to Fenton to the home of Mrs. Davis’ son, Jay Davis. Accompanied by Mrs. Jay Davis, they returned to the farmhouse, where Mrs. Jay Davis found entry to the house through an unlocked window. After entering the house she discovered the dead body of her father-in-law, Jehiel Davis lying on a bed. Eleanor Davis and her sister-in-law, Mrs. Lydia Hilderbrandt, who had been visiting her, were not to be found in the house. They immediately called for help.

When the officers from Livingston County and Fenton arrived, they conducted a search of all the farm buildings and found both women in the barn. They had been stuffed into a grain box, which had the top nailed shut. Mrs. Hilderbrandt was dead, but Eleanor Davis was still living. Mrs. Davis was rushed to Hurley Hospital in Flint, Michigan where she died four days later.

In reconstructing the crime, it appeared as if Ray Larsen, a farm hand employed by the Davises, had lured the two women to the barn where they were attacked and thrown into the grain box. Larsen then returned to the house where he murdered Mr. Davis. After killing Mr. Davis, he took his clothes and all the cash in the house and escaped in the Davis’ Ford truck. Later that night, the truck was found abandoned in Flint, Michigan, but Ray Larsen had disappeared and was never captured.

In just a few months the people of Fenton had experienced four horrific events…an accidental drowning, a bank robbery, the death of a young boy and, worst of all, a brutal triple murder …things like that “just didn’t happen in our town”. Some folks were wondering, “What’s going to happen next”? In spite of these tragic events life went on as usual for most of the villagers


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