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Clinton County, Iowa News Items

Breaking of the DeWitt Jail

We copy from the Clintonian an account of the breaking open of the jail at DeWitt, which differs somewhat from what we gave last week:

On Thursday about 6 o’clock p.m. our quiet populace was startled by the appearance of mobocrats, consisting of about forty men from Jackson County, who march quietly into our village (while most of our citizens were at supper) armed to the teeth, for the purpose of breaking open our jail and summarily hanging the Jackson County prisoners there incarcerated.

They marched to the jail and formed a straight line some eight yards in front of the building, evidently exhibiting their entire ignorance of form for a successful attack of the nature contemplated. The Sheriff and Jailer were absent, not a single county officer was at or near the court house, the prisoners were in the jail yard, and nothing seemed to offer an obstacle to the consummation of their blood thirsty designs. Our citizens began to congregate unarmed, around the scene of action, the mob allowed us to pass freely between them and the jail, but under the circumstances and excitement incident to such an occasion, it was impossible to effect any concentrated action on the part of our citizens to resist this shameful aggression upon our rights. A messenger was speedily dispatched for Sheriff Buchanan, who arrived after the mob had entered the jail. He was unarmed, and we do not believe that a single citizen of DeWitt, on the ground, had a deadly weapon on his person.

The Sheriff, not the least intimidated by the formidable appearances of the assailants rushed into their ranks and commanded them to disperse, but the mob overpowered him, and dragged the prisoners, Barger and Carroll from the jail. Sheriff Buchanan then manfully defended the prisoners he seized Barger with one arm and fought the infuriated mob with the other. The County Clerk, Hon. Loring Wheeler, our worthy Recorder, T. F. Butterfield and Dr. Kelley rushed to the assistance of the Sheriff. They fought bravely and undauntedly in defense of the prisoners and the majesty of the law.

[Lyons Mirror, Lyons, Clinton County, Iowa, Published June 11, 1857]
Submitted by Kenneth E. Wright

Charged with Forgery

Clinton, Ia., March 5 - special
Business circles of Maquokota are much agitated today by the indictment of E. D.Harrison, manager of T. R. King's produce establishment for forgery. What the extent of his crime is has not been made public. He has been in business in Maquokota for years, and has always been industrious and strict in business matters.

[Morning World Herald - March 6, 1891
submitted by Frances Cooley]

Rev. Edwards

Rev. Edwards of the Logan Baptist church, has resigned, and has moved to Camanche, in the eastern part of Iowa, where he will resume active church work.

[Daily Gate City, Keokuk, Iowa, published November 21, 1908; submitted by cddd]

E. H. Hansen

E. H. Hansen of near Elvira, Clinton County, Friday morning shot and killed his wife and two children, boys two and four years old respectively and then turned the shot gun on himself and pulled the trigger.

When found by the neighbors they had all been dead for a day or so. After killing the rest of the family he took off his shoe and placing the gun with the muzzle to his breast pulled the trigger with his toe and death was instantaneous. He left a note saying he intended to commit the deed and that it was on account of his wife’s people, but neighbors say that the couple had been heard quarreling the day before.

The evidence shows that the wife had been crying as she held a handkerchief in her hand and was holding it up to her face even in death. She and the little one were lying in the bed and the gun wound was in the back of the head.

He may have been insane and he may not have been. The only trouble is that he killed the wrong person first.

Maquoketa Excelsior Record, October 14, 1919
Submitted by Ken Wright

Newton Hellyer

Winona, Minn. , Aug. 19 – Newton Hellyer of Clinton, Iowa, a laborer for some time in the government quarries on the river near here, was murdered early this morning on a road across the river in Wisconsin. His skull was crushed and his head almost severed from his body. Robbery is supposed to have been the motive. The murderer is unknown, but clues are being followed.

District Attorney Fugina, of Buffalo county, is working up the case. Hellyer was seen in several Winona saloons yesterday. At the inquest, George Humerich testified that he saw Hellyer at the Mint at 8 o’clock last evening in company of Henry Kern. Three men, one of them Hellyer, are said to have gone over the high wagon bridge at 3 o’clock this morning. Another clue is that two men tried to board an east-bound freight train at Marshland soon after the murder is supposed to have occurred, and failing, started to walk down the track.

[St. Paul Globe, St. Paul, Minnesota, August 19, 1903]
Submitted by Alice Horner


Two Winona Young Men To Be Taken Into Custody

Winona, Minn., Dec. 6 – Within the next twenty-four hours, or at the most, forty-eight hours, two Winona young men will be arrested on the charge of murdering Newton Hellyer across the river from hear on the night of August 19 last. The murder was particularly atrocious, Hellyer’s body with the head almost severed, being found on the first small bridge from the end of the high wagon bridge.

Officers have been at work on the case ever since, District Attorney Fugina, of Buffalo county being assisted by Winona officials and a detective agency of Minneapolis. Announcement of approaching arrest of the suspects has been given out by one of the Minneapolis operators, who says that a strong case has been made out against the two suspects. While the operator has not so stated, it is understood the motive for the crime was robbery, and that the murder followed. Hellyer flashed a roll of bills in a Winona saloon.

[St. Paul Globe, December 6, 1903, submitted by Alice Horner]


DeWitt Man Shoots Wife

Mrs. William Hinrichs, who came to DeWitt from Germany as a bride only a few months ago, was shot in the head by her husband in DeWitt last week. Mrs. Hinrichs is recovering in a Clinton hospital and attending physicians say she is out of danger barring any complications.

The bullet from a small caliber rifle, entered Mrs. Hinrich’s head just below the left temple. X-ray examination by physicians have located the bullet which has not yet been removed. The bullet passed in almost a straight line inward without noticeable deflection and is lodged at a point near the left tonsil.

According to Dr. George Scanlan, DeWitt physician in charge of the case, Mrs. Hinrichs is suffering no ill effects from the presence of the bullet. A series of X-ray pictures has revealed the exact location of the bullet. An operation will be necessary for its removal, but physicians are undecided as to whether such operation will be performed. If the operation is considered wise, Mrs. Hinrichs will be allowed to fully recover from the shock and if such action is decided upon it will probably be done within the next week.

The husband took his life shortly after shooting his wife. –DeWitt Observer

[The Jackson Sentinel, Maquoketa, Iowa, August 5, 1930, submitted by Ken Wright]

George Lemar

Bellboy Robs The Mail.

Admits, When Arrested, that He Has Been In Habit of Opening Hotel Letters.

Clinton, Ia., Feb. 17 - George Lemar, aged 17, a bellboy at the Windsor hotel, was arrested here late last night, charged with robbing the mails. For some time reports were made of mail lost which had been left at the hotel by the guests. As a result inspector Charles Stewart arrived Friday and with Postmaster Gardner caught the boy by decoy letters which Stewart gave him to mail. He finally admitted the crime and said he had been robbing the mail left at the hotel since last October, extracting stamps, drafts and money.

[Omaha Daily Bee, published February 18, 1901, transcribed by cd]


Miss Delia Murray and brother Charlie have returned from Clinton, Iowa, where they have been spending the past two weeks with their aunt, Mrs. M. Frain (Fram?), and other relatives.

["Batavia (IL) Herald", Published 14 Sep 1893 - sub. by K.T.]

A Probable Murder

Frank Strohm, of Lyons, shot George Mealey, at Pringle’s saloon, in Lyons, about midnight, Sunday night. It appears that Strohm and some acquaintances had been frequenting the saloon and house of prostitution kept by one Minnie Meader in the rooms above the saloon, Sunday afternoon and evening. During the day Strohm had a quarrel with Billy Reagan, a Lyons cigar maker. Mealey, who is a stove moulder from Fulton, Illinois, had been spending the day with a number of companions in Clinton, coming up to Lyons on the last car at night, and dropped into Pringle’s saloon, which is near the end of the street car line, to get a glass of beer. The saloon was closed at twelve o’clock and when the crowd had reached the sidewalk Strohm and Reagan resumed their quarrel, the former drawing a revolver. Mealey, who was not in any manner concerned in the trouble, stepped between them and said “For God’s sake don’t shoot.” At that moment Strohm pulled the trigger, a 32 calibre bullet crashing into Mealey’s forehead about an inch above the nose. He fell and was weltering in a pool of blood when found by the officers. All parties who witnessed the affair were arrested, including the inmates of the rooms upstairs. Mealey was still alive Monday night, but little hopes were entertained for his recovery. Strohm has a bad reputation, having recently served a term in jail for deserting his wife, whom he married to escape prosecution for seduction. His mother died only a few days previous to the above escapade, and his father who holds a government position at Washington, but who is at present in Lyons, is almost heartbroken over the affair. Hon. W. I. Hayes has been employed to defend him. The fact which appears to be established that Pringle not only ran his saloon on Sunday, but until twelve o’clock at night, does not speak very well for the Lyon’s authorities.

[Preston Independent, Preston, Iowa, Published November 22, 1899]
Kenneth E. Wright

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