Editor’s note:  The name of Clark Browne was spelled with an “e” at the end of Clark in most of the newspaper accounts, however, there is no “e” included on his grave marker.   

The death of Clark Browne was a shock to the town of El Dorado.  Browne, 24 and a member of the G.E. Browne & Sons retail meat dealers, died in the El Dorado hospital of a knife wound in his left side, inflicted at the shop, northwest corner of Central and Gordy Streets, around 9 p.m. on a hot summer night in 1916.
Clark  Browne was the oldest son of Mr. and Mrs George E. Browne and had been a popular young man in the community.  In high school he was the center and captain of the basketball team.   He moved to Atlanta, Ga. in 1913 to work with the Dold Packing Company.
Clark and his father formed a partnership in 1915 and the shop was modernized with icing equipment and refrigeration.  Clarke married Miss Muriel Spain later that same year.
Immediately following the stabbing on the evening of  July 19, 1916, the young man groaned, left the shop and walked alone to the hospital, one block west on Central, and up the stairs to the office of Dr. C.E. Boudreau.
Medical and surgical attention was given by Boudreau and Dr. J.E. Evans, who had been summoned from Wichita.  The knife had pierced vital organs and nothing could help.  Browne was conscious until he died around 7:30 the next morning.
Clark’s mother arrived at the hospital soon after the stabbing.  She stayed with her injured son until he died.  The grieving mother stated that her son had declared the stabbing an accident.
“It was an accident.  Clark exonerated Joe.  Joe had the knife and was cutting steak and Clark ran into it.  It could not be helped.”
Joe, 19, also a partner in the business, was Clark’s younger brother and he, along with four others, had been present in the shop at the time of the stabbing.  Their father G.E. Browne, Mrs. Phoebe Green, proprietress of the White House Hotel, Ed Hennessey and S.W. Wright, both meat cutters, were present.
Inquest held
Coroner W.E. Turner’s  inquest revealed a sad story of a contentious relationship between brothers.  
Dr. Boudreau was the first witness to take the stand.  He testified that he found a clean knife wound in the lower part of the left wide, which went through the seventh rib and about three inches into the abdominal cavity.  The knife cut away a portion of the lobe of the liver, probably perforating the intestines.  He died of internal bleeding.
“He was conscious until 20 minutes of the time he died,” said Dr. Boudreau.  “He made no statement except that it was ‘purely an accident,’ saying that ‘I ran into a knife. He was going one way and I the opposite,’ said Clark.”
Miss Virginia Robbins, the nurse at the hospital who attended Clark, testified that she heard Clark make no statement, except to ask for water.
Joe did not visit his brother in the hospital, but chose to go to the movies.
Fred Peterson’s testimony cast suspicion and blame on Joe Browne.
“Mr. Peterson, what were the relations between Clark and Joe? asked County Attorney Steiger.
“Very very unpleasant,” replaced Peterson after a slight pause.  “Clark was never aggressive and got along with everybody except his brother.  Time after time when he as given Joe an order to make up, Joe would refuse and walk out of the shop.”
“Last week was the last time I heard Joe threaten Clark.  At that time he said, ‘I’ll get him.’ And I have heard him make that threat many times.  Only last week he threw a heavy cleaver at Clark.  After these quarrels Mr. Browne would usually send Joe home.  And in all of these Clark never touched his brother.  He told me that didn’t want to touch him - that he didn’t know his strength and that he might hit too hard.  So he always let him alone, and was never aggressive.”
Samuel Wright, another meat cutter at the Browne Market, explained, “I didn’t pay any attention to them, and I heard no conversation.  Clark was standing at the block facing east and Joe was on the opposite side of the block facing Clark.  That was all I noticed until I looked up again and saw Clark put his hand to his left side and heard him utter a gasp, walking out of the meat market.  Joe followed him a minute later, but soon returned. He made no statement except that Clark was hurt and was going to the doctor’s.”
Mrs. Green, who was in the market at the time, stated, “There was nothing unusual in it, so I paid no attention until heard a moan from Clark and saw him with both hands over his left side.  His father then said, ‘Joe, go home; we don’t want you here.’”
The inquest adjourned until the next day and failed to issue any statement.
Funeral held at in-laws' home
Funeral services were held for Clark Browne  at 314 Taylor Street, the home of his in-laws Mr. and Mrs. A.C. Spain.   
The pallbearers were composed of school friends and basket ball teammates.  They were Ralph Wiley, Hobart Kilgore, Lawrence Green, Luther Tolle, Herbert Smith, Edgar Golden, Harry Cousland, and Robert Dillenbeck.  
 Inquest continues
Joe Browne was the only witness when the inquest continued.  He spoke of frequent quarrels with his brother, with one a couple of weeks prior was more serious and he was knocked down twice.  Joe explained that on the night of the tragedy, he was cutting meat when Clark threw some cheesecloth on the block where Joe was working.  Joe threw the cloth to the floor and Clark picked it up and again threw it on the block.  A few words were spoken.  The brothers were a short distance apart when Clark  started in Joes’ direction.  Joe thought he was approaching “to slap” him.  He held the knife in a defensive position and stood still.  Clark  stumbled and fell forward onto the knife that was in Joe’s hand.
Verdict of inquest
A few days later the coroner’s jury returned a verdict declaring Joe Browne, the brother, inflicted the death stab with felonious intent.
County Attorney C.W. Steiger immediately prepared a warrant and Coroner Turner delivered it to Sheriff Newt Purcell for service.  The 19 year-old would be held on the warrant until a murder in the first degree charge could be prepared and filed by the county attorney.
Young Browne was arrested by Undersheriff Hughes about an hour after the warrant was issued.  He accompanied the officer without protest.
Joe was remanded to the district court for trial and released on a $2,500 bond signed by his father G.E. Browne.  He was immediately released.
Aikman & Aikman were counsel for the defendant, and County Attorney C.W. Steiger and K.M. Geddes would prosecute.
The case had been continued by request of County Attorney Steiger, but one of the eye witnesses E.W. Hennessey, could not be located and served with a subpoena.  It was believed that Hennessey was in Kansas City, but Sheriff Newt Purcell had no luck in finding him.
Joe’s attorneys advised that they were ready for trial.
 The case of the State of Kansas vs. Joseph W. Browne, did not come to trial during that term  or any later term of district court. In June of 1917 the case against of Joe Browne was dismissed because of the failure of the State to find the whereabouts of an important witness.
The next mention of Joe Browne in the  newspapers came in March of 1919 when he had returned home from a trip around the world.  He was in the Merchant Marines on an Army transport.
Joe was a respected businessman and citizen,  living to be 80 years old, and dying in August of 1977.  Entombment was at the Belle Vista Mausoleum, near his parents.  Older brother Clark’s resting place is in nearby Belle Vista Cemetery.

Sources: El Dorado Republican, Aug. 13, 1915; The Walnut Valley Times, July 20, 1916; El Dorado Daily Republican, July 20, 1916; The Walnut Valley Times, July 21, 1916; El Dorado Daily Republican, March 22, 1919.