The Murder of Samuel Dowhower

Taken from the Marshall County Republican

November 28, 1867

Tragedy in Putnam County

Little Putnam has been the scene of another murder, this time, cool, deliberate willful murder. It took place on Friday afternoon last, about 10 miles from Hennepin and 6 from Peru. The particulars of this horrible affair is given as follows: Aaron Sherman and Samuel Dowhower are both farmers, and with their brothers lived near each other. They had been to Peru to do business, and had all imbibed liquor. They started home together and on the way Sherman accused the Dowhower brothers of stealing a hive of bees from his brother, which they resented, and a fight ensued, Sherman being thrown out of the wagon.

This made the latter desperate, while the former drove home and left him behind. Sherman determined to shoot them, and called on a Mr. Walker to borrow his gun, saying he wanted to shoot a man, but Walker seeing that Sherman was in a state of mind not to be trusted with so dangerous a weapon, and fearing he might carry out his purpose, refused to let him have it. He then stopped at his brother’s Isaac Sherman, got his gun, a double barreled piece, one barrel of which was loaded with buck shot, and stared over to where the Dowhowers lived.

The latter had just set down to the table for tea with the family, when Sherman called for the Dowhowers from the road, when the one married started for the door, and as he reached the threshold, the fatal shot was fired, which killed Mr. D. outright, one shot having struck him in the temple, one in the throat, and another near the heart. The brother at the table was also struck in the hand, the shot passing through it.

The murderer returned the gun to the house of his brother greatly agitated, and exclaiming, "Save me, they are after me." A coroner’s jury was summoned, and the guilty man arrested and brought before them, when the evidence being conclusive, he was committed to jail at Hennepin, to await trail at the next term of court in March.

Mrs. Dowhower’s health is very delicate, and this terrible loss, and the excitement and grief attending it has prostrated her, and fears are entertained that she will not recover. Thus it may result in a double murder. The whole county are terribly agitated over the tragedy, and the criminal court at its spring term will have three important cases to settle – two murders, both to be substantiated upon circumstantial evidence, and the terrible case of incest at Magnolia sometime since.

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