Freaky Flint History with Joe Schipani - When the Cow’s Come Home December 12th, 1921

Flint is well known for its modern violent crimes but Flint's history is filled with little known stories that read stranger than fiction. Gruesome murders, weird accidents, and violent deaths. Join us every Thursday as Joe Schipani details some of the odd but true deaths he found in Flint's archives.

When the Cow’s Come Home December 12th, 1921

This story starts with an incident that happened just after Thanksgiving Day.

Two young men, Charles Austin and Clifford Thorpe worked for Paul De Lisle, a well-established cattle buyer. De Lisle was accused of shorting the two young men some of the pay they were owed.

A week later the two men, who still worked for Mr. DeLisle, decided to steal the money since the rich cattle buyer did not give them what he promised. After a couple days De Lisle realized the money was missing. He accused the two young men of stealing it.

The arguing and fighting went on for over a week. De Lisle threatened the young men with garnishing it out of their next pay. That only made the situation worse. He then threatened to have them arrested. That scared the Charles and Clifford enough to stop the arguing.
On Saturday December 12th, the two men came to De Lisle’s home on Twelfth Street to pick up their pay. De Lisle made good on his promise and garnished the stolen money. They left angry, but not before stealing De Lisle’s bottle of whiskey.

Charles and Clifford took the bottle of whiskey to the barn where they could enjoy the hooch when they noticed a bottle of carbonic acid. They drank the whiskey and replaced it with the acid. They took the bottle back to De Lisle’s home.

Walking in they found the older man was sitting alone at the kitchen table. They told him they wanted to bury the hatchet.

Charles went to the cupboard, grabbed a glass and poured the man a drink. De Lisle drank it down, got up, thanked the two men and went into the other room and sat on a rocking chair.

They turned to leave when another employee showed up at the house to collect his pay. Charles and Clifford continued on their way but the other employee came running out of the house screaming that their boss is dead.

Charles and Clifford didn’t know what to do so they stayed and pretended to be shocked by what happened. The other employee ran next door to get Paul De Lisle’s brother.

When the police arrived they first thought De Lisle had died from drinking illegal whisky that was bad. Then they found the cup that smelled like acid.

Charles and Clifford were brought down to the station for questioning and finally confessed after hours of interrogation. The men were tried and convicted of murder.

Lloyd Lash, who sold the whisky to De Lisle, was arrested and charged with violation of prohibition laws.

~ Joe Schipani is the Executive Director of the Flint Public Art Project and the FFAR Project Assistant at the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.  Find him on Facebook at 

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