Hattie’s rented home suspiciously burned to the ground and the family barely escaped. Hattie and William quarreled over McConnell. William demanded that she and the children return to the ranch. McConnell gave Hattie a .44 British Bulldog “pocket” revolver to take with her for protection. In the meantime, a second arson fire destroyed the Dearborn City hotel. An investigation revealed that McConnell was the arsonist. However, he was never prosecuted.
|Hattie Moore. Courtesy Charleen Spalding, via Gayle (Moore) Tadday|
|William Moore. Courtesy Charleen Spalding, via Gayle (Moore) Tadday|
Several years later, on December 7, 1889, at a Helena hotel, J. C. McConnell put a .44 Bulldog to his temple. Was it the same gun he gave Hattie? McConnell may have had money troubles, but he was implicated in the two arson cases and there were suspicions about his complicity in the Moores’ deaths. McConnell took the answers with him when he pulled the trigger.