Last Wish: Argosy

Asks for Copies of Argosy Magazine to Finish Serial Story

Who in Livingston has copies of the Argosy magazine for August 17 and 24? The Enterprise wants one copy of each.

The request is made in order that Rollin Davisson, condemned to die Oct. 30. may be able to complete a continued story which he has started and which he has read to the dates named. The condemned man called in the sheriff of Park county and asked him whether or not he could get these copies of the Argosy stating that he would like to complete the story which he had started.

Sheriff Gilbert was of the opinion that The Enterprise might be able to locate the two numbers by publication of the story. Those having this magazine may either bring them to The Enterprise or take them direct to the county jail where they will be delivered to Rollin Davisson.

The prisoner is becoming more an inveterate reader during his confinement. The rules that govern his conduct permit him to read magazine stories but they do not give him access to daily newspapers, or newspapers of any kind. Because of this fact, he has taken to reading continued stories, usually getting older magazines that bid fair to have the story completed by the publication of the current issue.

No change in his demeanor has been noted since the first day he entered the death cell. He is not given to conversation, but he does visit occasionally with his guard, discussing commonplace things in a general way. Since the third day of his confinement in his cell he has said nothing as to his forthcoming execution. At that time he gave instructions concerning the disposition of his body and expressed a lack of any desire to have spiritual advice.

The latter was rather surprising to those who had known Davisson because of the presumption that for several years past he had leaned toward religious things, particularly in his reading. He has not asked for any literature of this type, not even the Bible, and most of his reading is devoted to the rapid-fire stories of human interest evolved from ! the minds of authors with vivid imaginations.

The issues in question are, like most issues of Argosy, flush with serials beginning, continuing and ending in those issue. However, only one serial finishes in the second issue. That’s Otis Adlebert Kline’s The Planet of Peril.

The issues he wanted are these:

Davisson, a 44-year-old white man, was a native of Missouri who arrived in Liningston, Montana, in 1927 and worked as a day laborer, occupying a small cabin which he rented. During touch of the fall and winter of 1928-1929, he was unemployed, sick and lacking food until a local Elks Lodge came to his assistance. During the spring his health returned and their aid ceased.

He eked out a living as best he could but was in arrears with his rent when, on the morning of August 21, 1929, the owner of his cabin informed him that he would have to move. He went to City Kali and complained of this and the fact that a man who owed him would not pay him to Chief of Police Peter Holt who advised him to “forget” the debt and move from the cabin without causing any trouble.

Enraged by the Chief’s advice, Davisson went home and procured a Luger pistol, he then returned to the Chief’s office and shot him, killing him instantly, He turned his pistol on Patrolman Martin Zollman and inflicted a fatal wound in spite of which Zollman managed to leap across a desk and throw him to the floor before he could shoot the city clerk and another man in the office.

A fireman, attracted by the shots, rushed into the office and knocked Davisson unconscious with a cement block. He was speedily brought to trial, convicted and sentenced to die. There was no appeal but the Governor granted him a one week reprieve to allow an examination of the evidence but then declined to intervene further and Davisson was hanged at Livingston on November 6, 1929.

Even though he claimed to have been a member of three different churches, he professed no religion and his only request was that no clergyman be allowed to call on him for consolation. He also asked that he be buried in Montana, saying that he did not want his family in Missouri to have his body, declaring “they have never given me any consideration.

On the night before [his execution, he asked the jailer to call him at 5:30 the next morning, saying “I don’t want to miss this party,” He went to the gallows nonchalantly and unassisted and his only remark there was to inform the Sheriff that he was ready. As he had reouested, he was buried in a county plot in a Livingston cemetery.

Source: Summary of the execution of Rollin Davidson

I hope he got them and read the serial.

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