Genealogy Trails' Kansas

WYANDOTTE COUNTY, KANSAS

Newspaper Items

KILLED ON A BURGLAR CALL

Police Sergeant in Kansas City, Kan., Victim - Companion Wounded

Sergt. Elmer Biggs, Kansas City, Kans., police department, was shot and killed and Patrolman Fred Wheeler was wounded dangerously, according to a report received at police headquarters at 2:30 o'clock this morning, after the policemen answered an alarm at 952 Ruby avenue in the Argentine district. (Kansas City Star, September 1, 1922, page 1)

TWO POLICEMEN DIE IN FIGHT WITH THUGS

Kansas City, Mo., Sept. 1 - Two police officers, Sergeant Elmer Biggs, 61 and Fred Wheeler, 35, were shot and killed in a gun battle with bandits here today. (Trenton Evening Times, September 1, 1922, page 1)

BANDIT ADMITS PART IN SLAYING TWO POLICEMEN

Toledo, Ohio, Sept. 8 - James Roberts, alias Barrow, one of the two men held in connection with the killing of Detective William Martin in a gun battle here Wednesday, admitted to the Toledo and Kansas City police today, they announced that he was a member of the gang which shot to death Police Sergt. Elmer Biggs and Patrolman Fred Wheeler of Kansas City, Kansas.

Identified by Photos

Chicago, Sept. 8 - Photographs of two men captured by the Toledo police after a revolver fight in which a third man was killed, were identified today, according to the police by Sergt. Stanley Beatty of Kansas City, Kan., as the bandits who are wanted for the killing of Night Marshal Leroy Damron of Bonner Springs, Kan., and Policemen Elmer Biggs, and Fred Wheeler.

Earl James was killed in the fight with the Toledo police, and James Roberts, also known as James Barrow of Kansas City, Mo., and William Mandel, alias William Stroh, were captured. The trio had been sought here and when the photographs of the men were sent here by Toledo police, Sergeant Beatty immediately identified them local police said.

Five bandits fought with Night Marshal Damron and the two policemen at the Kansas town Aug. 24. Two were captured and the other three started in an automobile toward Chicago. Sergeant Beatty came to Chicago and was here when word came that one of the men had been killed and the others captured in Toledo. (Fort Worth Star Telegram, September 8, 1922, page 1)

DARING ESCAPED CONVICT ELUDES ARKANSAS POSSE

Jonesboro, Ark., Dec. 16 - Benny Casey, escaped Kansas convict, tonight had apparently eluded the posse which for nearly twenty four hours has trailed him in the river bottoms between Bono and Sedgwick in Lawrence county, following the capture of his fellow prisoner, Charles O'Keith.

Casey and O'Keith escaped from a train Friday, after fatally wounding David Burns, a parole officer who was returning them to the Kansas penitentiary. Their next appearance was last night at Bono, when O'Keith was cornered in a restaurant by a deputy and Marshal James Coward. Casey, who saw that his companion was trapped, fled from the town. A posse sighted him once last night in the Cash river bottoms, but no trace of him has been found since that time.

Every railroad station within fifty miles of Bono is being guarded as it is expected Casey will attempt to board a train. Sheriffs Walter Johnson of Craighead county, George Hays of Newport and Neal Cole of Lawrence county are directing the posse in the search, their latest clue leading them in the direction of Sedgwick, where it was reported late today a man answering Casey's description had been seen. (Montgomery Advertiser, December 17, 1923, page 1)

BUTCHERY!

Bloody Tragedy in Open Court

Ghastly Crime of the Notorious Crook, "Red" Smith

At the Very Bar of Justice he Cuts His Captor's Throat

Swift Vengeance Visited upon the Bold Assassin

His Body Riddled with Bullets From Three Revolvers

The Dying Detective Himself Fires Three Fatal Shots

A Wyandotte Justice's Court A Scene of Slaughter

Safe Blower Smith Almost Decapitates Detective John Gilley in the Presence of a Dozen Witnesses and Is Shot Down in His Tracks - Another Ex-Officer Stabbed and a Bystander Wounded in the Leg

In Justice Lewis' little court room, across the line in Kansas, James Smith, accused of burglary, sat yesterday afternoon by a table, just behind Detective J. W. Gilley. Suddenly he leaned forward, his arm swept forward, and a knife gleamed in his hand. It entered the detective's neck behind the right ear. With all the strength of his right arm, the burglar forced the keen blade through the detective's throat. It cut a circle under the chin twelve inches long and three inches deep, severing all the muscles gashing the jugular artery and laying bare the carotid artery. The detective's head fell heavily forward. It was half cut off.

"You have killed me," he gurgled as the blood spurted from the frightful wound.

Then by a superhuman effort, he staggered to his feet. He drew his revolver, supported himself against the justice's desk and opened fire. He shot four times. Smith staggered to the open door leading to the rear room and fell stone dead. The detective with his life blood streaming from his ghastly wound, had put four bullets into this murderer. Other officers had also opened fire.

Five Bullets in his Body

When Smith was picked up there were five bullets in his body. The four from the detective's revolver had struck him in the back as he was attempting to escape and a fifth had penetrated his abdomen. Another ball had grazed his side. The detective, who had fallen to the floor, was picked up and laid on a table. His wound was pronounced to be a mortal one.

It was the most exciting and sensational scene ever witnessed in a court room. Gilley's throat was cut from ear to ear and the desperado was fighting his way out of the room almost before anyone realized what had happened. The prisoner had been brought into the court room shortly before 2 o'clock and seated on a bench on the east side of the room.

When his handcuffs were removed by Deputy Constable Woodruff he talked garrulously and seemed in high good humor. Finally Detective Gilley came in with Sergeant Sol Meluney. Smith scowled at him and his good humor gave way to sullen silence.

In a few minutes, Mr. Dow McLain, who represented the state, called Detective Gilley into his office, which adjoins the justice's. After a brief consultation they returned to the court room and Mr. McLain announced that the state was ready for trial. Gilley and McLain sat down by the justice's table, Gilley sitting directly in front of Smith. Constable Woodruff, Sergeant Mcluney, Tim Lavin and other witnesses sat in a row along the bench by the prisoner.

Mr. McLain began calling the names of the witnesses for the state. When he reached the name of William Graver he pronounced it Grover.

The Struggle in the Court Room

"It is William Graver," said the detective.

The words were scarcely out of his mouth before Smith's knife was in this throat.

Then the prisoner made a dash for liberty and the scene that followed was one of indescribable confusion. Sergeant Meluney and Deputy Constable Woodruff sprang upon the desperado with drawn revolvers. Smith was struck on the head, but he fought desperately.

His Knife Again Brought in Play

His knife, dripping with the blood of the detective, was again brought into use, and plunged into Mcluney's thigh. Then he broke from the officers, and forced his way to the center of the room. Gilley, crimson with his own blood, supporting himself against the justice's desk, saw his opportunity, and his revolver cracked four times in as many seconds. McLuney and Woodruff also began to shoot. The court room was cleared in a twinkling, but the desperado's dead body lay on the floor before all the terror-stricken spectators had reached places of safety. In the excitement Tom Lavin, Smith's accomplice, escaped. Charles Duke, one of the witnesses, received a flesh wound in the leg from a stray bullet.

As Smith fell and the firing ceased the officers looked for Gilley. He was not in the room. Justice Lewis found him groping blindly in the hallway. He was a terrible sight. He was literally running blood and his head was sagging forward in a grotesquely horrible manner. He was taken into the court room and stretched on a table, and medical assistance summoned. Drs. Fairchild, Ramsey, Steman and Downs soon arrived and dressed the wound.

A Sickening Scene

The scene in the court room was a sickening one. The walls and furniture were smeared with blood and a stream of blood trickled across the floor to the hall doorway. Up and down the hall an irregular line of blood marked the spot where the detective had staggered after the cutting. The room looked more like a slaughter house than a court of justice.

The knife with which Gilley received his death wound was a small "Barlow" with a blade two and one-half inches long, ground to an edge as keen as a razor's. The wound is a ghastly one, the head being almost severed from the trunk. The knife entered the neck behind the right ear, and passing it to the left came out at the throat, cutting a gash fully twelve inches long and from one to three inches deep. All the muscles were severed and the carotid artery was laid bare. The detective bled profusely and when placed upon the table he had almost bled to death.

Doctors say the Wound is Mortal

The doctors pronounced the wound mortal, although it was stated that similar cases had recovered; but the loss of blood and the excitement through which Gilley had passed left him only one chance in a thousand of recovery.

The tragic scene in the court room created great excitement on the streets and in half an hour a crowd of 1,000 persons had assembled on the street in front of the justice's office. The efforts of half a dozen men could not keep the crowd from the stairway leading to the office.

The body of the dead burglar was placed on a stretcher and carried across the street to Swingley's undertaking establishment, followed by a throng of excited people. An examination of the body disclosed the fact that six bullets had taken effect. Of these four entered the back at various places, and another grazed the left size under the arm, while the sixth entered the top of the abdomen about four inches above the naval. It is thought that any one of five of the balls would have produced death. The ball entering the abdomen lodged under the skin to the right of the spine, and one of the bullets from the rear was discovered just under the skin about one inch from the abdominal wound. It is thought that four of the shots fired by Gilley and one each by Meluney and Woodruff took effect, either of three of the shots fired by Gilley producing mortal wounds.

No one seems to have anything but a vague idea as to how the tragedy occurred, and those who were not injured during that awful moment can not explain how they escaped alive.

The startling plan of murder was evidently premeditated by the desperado out of revenge. The detective had secured evidence that would have surely convicted Smith of complicity in the burglary of the Badger lumber company's office at Armourdale and there were other charges awaiting him, which would have given him a long term in the penitentiary. Upon leaving his cell to go to the court room, he made the remark to his jailer: "If I could only kill that man Gilley I would be willing to sacrifice my own life."

How he got the knife is as yet unexplained. Sheriff Bowling stated last night that Smith was thoroughly searched upon leaving the jail and that no knife was upon his person then. It is thought that some of his pals furnished him the weapon after his arrival at the court room.

At 3 o'clock this morning Detective Gilley was barely alive and it was thought that he could not live through the night.

Justice Lewis Story

He graphically Describes the Incidents of The Awful Scene

"I was leaning over my desk writing," said Justice J. D. Lewis, "when Gilley arose to his feet and said: "Boys, you've killed me." I sprang to my feet and seized the chair upon which I had been sitting to strike Smith, when I saw Woodruff, Gilley and Meluney spring upon Smith with their revolvers. They began beating him over the head and shoulders and he was attempting to cut them with his knife. I saw him plunge the knife into Meluney's hip and then he was sent whirling across the room, followed by a volley from the revolvers of the three officers. Gilley first leaned against the table and then he threw his arm on my shoulder, and while standing thus with the blood flowing down his side, he fired three shots in rapid succession. It was an awful moment. Smith had fallen to the floor dead with his body full of bullets and the excited crowd was surging toward the hall. I looked at Smith to see that he was dead and then I called for some one to run for the doctors. Gilley was walking up and down the hall with his revolver still smoking and it was with difficulty that he was induced to sit down on the chair while I prepared the table for him to lie down upon. (Kansas City Times, May 12, 1889, page 2)

DETECTIVE GILLEY'S REMAINS

Kansas city, May 14 - The remains of Detective John W. Gilley were taken to the Union depot this morning and forwarded to Ottawa, Kan., the home of his mother and brother, where they will be interred by the side of the remains of his wife, who died four years ago.

There was no services at the house. The remains were escorted to the Union depot by the Kansas City, Kan., police, under the command of Chief Peterson and thirty Kansas City, Mo., police under the command of Captain Branham, Mayor Coy, Postmaster Serviss, the city council. The police commissioners, police judge, and about thirty-five carriages containing citizens.

At the Union depot the casket containing the remains was placed on board a Kansas City Southern train, which bore them to Ottawa.

James Dumphry and John Leydon were arrested yesterday afternoon on suspicion of being implicated in furnishing James Smith with the knife with which he killed Gilley Dumphry was in the court room at the time of the tragedy Leydon is an old "pal" of Smith. Both deny leaving, given Smith the knife or knowing anything about it. They will be examined tomorrow.

Arrival at Ottawa

Ottawa, Kan., May 14 - the remains at Detective Gilley, who was murdered at Kansas City, Kan., arrived here today and were interred this afternoon. A large delegation came with them and were met by the sheriff, police force, constables and prominent citizens. The deceased being a former resident here, was highly respected. (Topeka Weekly Capital, May 16, 1889, page 1)

THE LAST ROLL CALL

Services Held Over the Remains of the Late Detective Gilley

The remains of Detective John W. Gilley were forwarded to Ottawa, Kan., the home of his mother and brother, yesterday morning. The remains were escorted to the union depot by the Kansas City, Kan., police force in a body under the command of Chief of Police Peterson, thirty policemen of this city, May Coy, Postmaster Serviss, the city council, police commissioners and police judge of Kansas City, Kan., and about thirty-five carriages containing citizens. The remains were placed on board, a Kansas City southern train, which reached Ottawa shortly after noon yesterday. The train was met at the depot by hundreds of the dead officer's friends, who accompanied the remains to the residence of Dr. H. W. Gilley, 615 Hickory street. The funeral services were held at 3:30 o'clock in the afternoon and were conducted by Rev. Preston McKinney assisted by Rev. J. G. Dougherty of Kansas City, Kan. The remains were interred in Hope Cemetery by the side of the father and wife of the dead officer. The funeral was attended by the Ottawa police force in a body. Detective Gilley's untimely end was mourned as sincerely in Ottawa as in the consolidated cities. His early manhood was spent in Ottawa and in that city he was married. It was the home of the only surviving members of the Gilley family, his mother and brother. Detective Gilley was in business in Ottawa for several years, employed as a clerk in a shoe store. (Kansas City Times, May 15, 1889, page 10)

POLICEMAN MURDERED

CAUGHT TWO MEN IN ACT OF ROBBING CAR BARN AT KANSAS CITY

Kansas City, Sept. 2 - At 3:30 this morning an attempt was made by two masked men to rob the Metropolitan street railway car barn at Tenth and Osage streets, Armourdale, Kan. Watchman Minsker was ordered to hold up his hands and was taken inside the office, but before the robbers secured any booty, Policeman J. W. Morris entered through the back door. Morris dealt one of the robbers a heavy blow on the head with his club and was shot through the heart and instantly killed by the second robber. Watchman Minsker was also shot and slightly injured. Both robbers escaped.

Ike Johnson, a negro well known to the police is being held for investigation. (Salt Lake Telegram, September 2, 1902, page 1)

IS DROWNING A MURDER?

A KANSAS CITY, KAS., BOY FACES A UNIQUE CRIMINAL PROSECUTION

Only One Other Case of the Kind in the State So Far as Known---Let a Younger Companion Die, the Charge


The prosecution in Kansas City, Kas., of Clarence Shaylor, 18 years old, for the drowning of George Bratchi, 11 years old, is a unique criminal case. Only once before, in Kansas, it is believed, has a person been tried on a charge of drowning another person. That occurred following a quarrel, and the person drowned was thrown into the river by his antagonist. The man was found guilty of manslaughter in the first degree by a lower court. The case was appealed to the supreme court, and the lower court's decision reversed. The case was remanded to the lower court for a new trial, and the defendant found guilty of manslaughter in the fourth degree.

In Kansas there is no act specifically covering cases of criminal drowning. These have to be prosecuted under the murder laws governing instances where one person contributes to the death of another in any way.

THE ACCUSED BOY'S STORY

Shaylor was arraigned this morning in the North City Court before Judge A. A. Brooks, and his preliminary hearing set for June 23. He was released on $500 bond.

At his home, 328 Everett Avenue, this morning, Shaylor denied that he asked the Bratchi boy to come into the water, and said he was not teaching him to swim.

"All the boys had left the water except Bratchi and myself," Shaylor said. "I was swimming toward the bank of the river when Bratchi slipped from a step-off and seized me around the neck. Both of us went under. He let go, and the current took me out into the river. When I came up, Bratchi was gone.

WHAT THE OTHER BOYS SAY

Other boys who saw the drowning said Shaylor urged Bratchi, who could not swim, to go into the water. Bratchi aft first refused. He did not know Shaylor. Shaylor persisted and the small boy accepted Shaylor's invitation to learn to swim. When Shaylor had the boy out in the current he let him drown, the other boys say. The witnesses declared to the police that Shaylor swam to the bank without attempting to rescue the boy. The drowning occurred at the mouth of the Kaw River in the Missouri River June 7.

Shaylor's record is not a particularly good one in Kansas City, Kas. He previously has been in trouble with the police.
(Kansas City Star ~ June 17, 1911 ~ Submitted by Lori DeWinkler)

BIG CITY HAS HEART

Kansas City, Nov. 11 - Three daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Harry V. Hurtt, killed recently by a hit and run motorist in front of St. Mary's hospital, are certain that a big city is not the heartless place often pictured. Contributions to a fund for the three small girls, received by a Catholic priest and newspapers today had reached $4,902.44.

Mr. and Mrs. Hurtt were leaving the hospital after a visit to their oldest daughter, also injured by a motor car when they were killed. There was no insurance. (The Hays Daily News, November 11, 1929, page 3)

A YOUTHFUL SUICIDE

Kansas City Boy At Burlington Kills Himself For Love

Burlington, Kan., Dec. 1---Wayne Fulton, a youth from Kansas City, Kan., committed suicide here yesterday afternoon by shooting himself through the head with a 38-caliber revolver, dying an hour later. Young Fulton was infatuated with Edna May Wood, who was his schoolmate at Kansas City until she moved here with her parents a few weeks ago. Her parents forbade her marrying him or corresponding with him. He left his home Friday without telling his widowed mother where he was going and came here to see the Wood girl.

He had threatened to kill himself and had also threatened to kill W. H. Wood, the girl's father, and the girl. Yesterday afternoon he hired a riding horse from the livery stable and rode around the Wood home firing his revolver. He then turned the horse loose and went into the yard, going to the back door, where he knocked, and when Mr. Wood came to the door, he retired to the back yard and shot himself. The bullet entered the head back of the right ear and lodged on the left side. The coroner's inquest last night found a verdict of suicide.

Wayne Fulton was 14 years old. That he was not responsible for his actions is the belief of his mother, Mrs. Grace Fulton, a widow, 1136 Waverly avenue, Kansas City, Kan., and friends of the family. The boy was injured in a street car accident at Sixth and Minnesota avenue on January 17, 1907. Since that time he frequently manifested symptoms of mental derangement. He had been under the constant care of a physician.

The boy left his home in Kansas City, Kan., about 9 o'clock Friday morning. When he failed to return Friday evening, his mother became worried and notified the police of both Kansas Citys. A few months ago he left home and was gone for several days.
(Emporia Gazette ~ December 1, 1908 ~ Submitted by Lori DeWinkler)

CONSECRATE LIVES TO CARE OF DUMB ANIMALS

Brother and Sister Open Modest Home at Kansas City to Ameliorating Lot of Man's Often Neglected and Abused Companions

KANSAS CITY --- Would you be willing to give more than half of your modest income to make life less rigorous for neglected or suffering animals?

Such is the sacrifice being made by Miss Sarah and H. H. Jacobs of Kansas City, Kan., across the river from here. And it is no mere passing hobby---they have been doing this for the last quarter century. The Jacobs are nationally known for their unselfish work.

CONSECRATE LIVES

Living in a little cottage, surrounded by rose bushes, bird houses, flower beds and fruit trees, these two have consecrated their lives to ameliorating the hardships visited upon man's often neglected and abused companions.

H. H. Jacobs provides the income by working as a bookkeeper on the Missouri side, while Miss Sarah looks after the home and its numerous pets.

And there are man pets in the Jacobs' home---ten dogs, two score cats and two parrots. The care of these pets, however, represent only a minor part of the activities of the two workers. Both are officers in the Wyandotte County Humane society and labor incessantly to benefit animal life through that source. With all this the Jacobs are not unmindful of the needs of unfortunate children, and even adults of their city, as they are active in the Associated Charities.

FATHER POINTS WAY

Miss Sarah, who was found at home busy with her charges said that her first instruction in humane work was when she was a little girl and her father taught her that it was just as easy to step around an ant hill as to crush it with her heel. The father was Samuel Jacobs, formerly of St. Louis, Mo., who helped build the Hannibal & St. Joseph railway, now part of the Burlington system, and who was editor of The Jefferson, an anti-slavery democratic paper of Fairfield, Ia.

While thoroughly orthodox in their theology, the Jacobs believe firmly that most of the sin and suffering in the world has followed man's habit of killing and abusing animals. There is nothing mawkish about their views, however. Miss Sarah, as president of the Humane society, has personally chloroformed hundreds of diseased, deformed and homeless animals.

"It sometimes is expedient," she said, "to remove them to avert further suffering. When it is necessary to put an animal to sleep, I always utter a word of prayer, taking full responsibility for the act."

HUMAN INTEREST FEATURES

Most of the pets in the Jacob's home have been brought there by persons who had found them suffering in the streets or were too poor to look after them. Many carry a story of human interest, with sometimes a tragedy.

There is Cinderella, who had been brutally wounded. The Jacobs decided to chloroform the animal to relieve its intense suffering. Finally it struggled over to the open fireplace and curled up in the warm ashes. Soon it showed signs of rallying and they concluded it should live. It did recover. The incident strongly reminded them of the fairty story of the little girl sitting in the ashes and who later was able to wear the glass slipper and the spotted hound became Cinderella.

Little Topsy once was owned by a woman of the streets whose precarious existence did not permit her to care for the pet. She brought Topsy to the Jacobs and up to the time of the woman's death, she regularly came to visit the dog.

CAT SAVES LIVES

Miss Jacob told of a cat that saved their lives. A leaky gas jet had filled the house with fumes while they slept. The cat meowed in vain and finally leaped upon the bed and scratched Miss Jacobs to a waking position and a realization of their danger.

Yarrow, a cat with an interesting career, was named after Mary Craige Yarrow, a noted humane worker of Philadelphia. This cat once was a companion of a little boy. The boy died and on the night of his funeral the animal was carried away and locked in a freight car bound for Arkansas. A fortnight later the cat returned home, nearly starved. The boy's mother took it to the Jacob's home.

Some of the animals of other days, especially favorites who had earned some mark of dinstinction are buried in the flower garden. There are no markers save a stone border around the grave of Hermano (Mexican for 'brother'), long in the family. Hermano had saved Miss Jacob's life in Tecax when a big rattler was about to strike her. The dog pounced upon the snake and received the poisonous bite. He became blind but lived many years.

Asked about the cost of pursuing their humane work, Miss Jacobs said it amounted to six or seven hundred dollars a year. She insisted, however, that this did not constitute a sacrifice, that they derived please from it and preferred to spend their money in this way, even if it forced them to give up many comforts.
(Twin Falls News ~ June 20, 1921 ~ Submitted by Lori DeWinkler)

WAR OVER PAUPER DEAD

Undertakers of Kansas City Are Engaged in a Lively Fight

Kansas City, Jan. 25 --- Across the line in Kansas City, Kan., at the county poor farm, the pauper dead are playing an important part in a merry war now going on between local undertakers. Recently the Sawyer Undertaking company was awarded the sole contract for burying the county's poor and as a result the other competitors declared that rather than allow this they would do the work for nothing. They have already assumed a warlike attitude toward the favored company, and body snatching, they declare, will, untill peace is declared, be the order of the day. Before the present differences the competing undertakers made each pauper's death the cause for a fight, oft times snatching bodies from one another in their eagerness to get the $10 fee.

A tug of war with a cadaver as the object of contention was no uncommon sight at the poor farm, and not until one avaricious undertaker was luckless enough to get away with only a head, arm or leg, his opponent securing the larger portion of the body, did the disgraceful proceedings cease. But it only ceased until some other poor victim died, when the contest was repeated with all the eagerness of the previous one.

To put a stop to such work, Coroner Stevens opened bids for taking care of the bodies, the lowest bidder to receive the contract. When the Sawyer company was given the contract, the other firms set up the claim of fraud, asserting that the company's bid was not the lowest, and that it received preferment over them. Until the difficulties are amicably settled the dead pauper must naturally prove an important adjunct much sought by many and a source of saving to the county.
(Salina City Journal ~ January 26, 1895 ~ Submitted by Lori DeWinkler)

DEATH CAME TO FORMER KENTUCKY EDITOR, AND SISTER FELL DEAD ON SEEING CORPSE

OSKALOOSA, Kansas, Feb. 9 --- A. T. Patrick, one of the first editors of the Louisville Courier-Journal, is dead here at the age of eighty. Patrick was a forty-niner, having been in the first rush to California. He published papers at Oskaloosa and Valley Falls, Kansas.

When Patrick's sister, Mrs. S. S. Cooper, looked at the body, she fell to the floor unconscious, paralyzed on one side. She died within a few hours.
(Kentucky Morning Herald ~ February 10, 1903 ~ Submitted by Lori DeWinkler)

TWO DAYS MARRIED AND THEN A CORPSE

Wyandotte county (Kansas) now contributes a bloody and fatal rencontre, which, for romance and sanguinary results, entitles her to more than passing mention. Last Sunday night an energetic lover absconded, taking with him a daughter of Colonel Dronning, with whom he had been associated as an employee on the farm. While away the lovers were married and Monday night they returned, stopping at the house of a neighbor. The newly-made husband sent word to his wife's father, informing him where they were. An invitation was returned for them to return to the girl's home, which they did on Tuesday. When arriving there they were cordially received, and the son-in-law supposed that all differences had been amicably settled. While there he met Henry Ferrier, who resides on a farm near Tonganoxie, and who had formerly been paying his attentions to the daughter of Colonel Dronning. After leaving the house, it is reported that these two men met and became involved in a quarrel which resulted in a fight. The dead body of the young husband was afterward found with two bullet holes in his head.
(Jamestown Journal (New York) ~ September 3, 1875 ~ Submitted by Lori DeWinkler)

RICHARD HOGAN'S BODY TO BE RETURNED TO ITS GRAVE TODAY

The Stolen Corpse Viewed at Daniels Bros.' Morgue---Sexton Edwards Tells How the Body Snatchers Surveyed St. John's Cemetery---A Negro Scared Into Fits by Stories of the Grave Robbing

The exhumed body of Richard Hogan, which was found Saturday afternoon in a gunnysack near St. John's cemetery, lay yesterday and last night at Daniel Bros.' morgue, in Armourdale. Several friends of the deceased called yesterday to gaze on the work of the body snatchers. F. M. Henderson and T. E. Noonan of Kansas City, Mo., were among those who called. They expressed the greatest indignation at the outrage that had been perpetrated on the remains of their late friend.

The body has been redressed and laid out in a new coffin. It will be reburied at 10 o'clock this morning. The relatives of the dead man have not yet been officially notified of the state of affairs. As the body had been embalmed before burial, it is still in a good state of preservation.

Hogan's grave will be reopened this morning and the broken coffin taken therefrom. Coroner Stevens has issued a new burial certificate, and the corpse will be consigned to the earth for the second time at 10 o'clock this morning.

W. M. Stillwell, an employee of Daniels & Comfort, undertakers, of Kansas City, Kan., stated yesterday that he had found a piece of Hogan's coffin near the grave from which the body was snatched. He also noticed that several other graves had been disturbed. A closer examination of the cemetery will be made today.

Sexton Logan Edwards of St. John's cemetery, believes he was interviewed by intending grave robbers last Monday.

"I was wheeling dirt from the southwest to the northeast corner of the cemetery, about 3:30 p.m.," said the sexton to a Times reporter last night, "when two well-dressed men drove up in a buggy and hitched to the north fence. Once was about 45 years old and of a professional appearance. He was tall and slender, with keen blue eyes, dark hair and beard of a lighter shade. He wore side whiskers and short chin whiskers. His clothes were dark, with the exception of the overcoat, which was white. The younger man's age was about 30 years. He was heavier built than his companion, and was dressed in black. He wore no overcoat. With the exception of a black mustache he was clean shaven. His hair was dark.

"After alighting from their buggy, they entered the burying ground and approached an old colored woman, who was planting some flowers on a grave. They asked her if I were the sexton. When answered in the affirmative, the younger man walked leisurely toward the Potter's field, where I was loading my barrow. The older man sauntered around the cemetery, apparently examining the grounds.

"When the young man reached my side, he opened a conversation in the usual manner, after which he asked if St. John's were a Catholic cemetery. I informed him that it was. He then said that he had once marked out a Catholic grave yard, but that the ground contained too much water and had to be abandoned. 'This appears to be a dry piece of land,' said he. I said, 'Yes, it is.' In this way he pumped me and found out many things about the cemetery.

"After a while the older man came up and talked in a pleasant way. The young man saw a tombstone marked, 'Hurley,' and said to his companion: 'Hello, here is a Hurley's grave. We have some Hurleys down our way, haven't we?' The two then examined the inscription on the monument with apparent interest.

"When the men turned away from Hurley's resting place, one of them pointed toward the grave of Jacob Smith, who was buried in the potter's field in October, and said he believed the headstone was at the wrong end of the grave. I said he was mistaken. Both men then examined Smith's grave. The young man asked when the burial took place. I gave the desired information, and the young man walked away toward the buggy.

"After the young man's departure the old man said: 'Is this cemetery under the control of Daniels & Comfort, the Kansas City, Kan., undertakers?' My reply was: 'Yes, and I am employed by them.'

"The old gentleman then rejoined his younger friend. The two climbed into the buggy and drove away toward the city."

Sexton Edwards thinks he could recognize either of his visitors.

Henry Steele, a negro "trusty," at police headquarters, fell into a fit last night at 1012 Washington avenue, as a result of the grave robbing scare. Steele was arrested a month ago for fighting another negro. Being a good-natured fellow, and willing to work, the police took him as a "trusty," to work around the station. During the long hours of the "dog watch", Steele often amused the officers and newspaper reporters with his comic songs and nimble feet. He is by nature very superstitious, and since the capture of the five grave robbers last Thursday night the boys have told him terrible stories, in which dead bodies, cemeteries, surgical instruments and other awe-inspiring things predominated.

Steele got worked up to a high pitch over these stories, and was in constant fear of being taken by the students. Last night he drank several glasses of beer and was taken sick. He was soon in a fit and suffering from a high fever. All the gruesome tales ever told to him came to his memory and made him believe that he had been drugged by the students, who were after his body for a subject. He begged to be protected from them, and it took two men to hold him down. Dr. Campbell was called in and finally succeeded in quieting him.
(Kansas City Times ~ November 26, 1894 ~ Submitted by Lori DeWinkler)

FOPEANO, PETER

Nobody can say why Peter Fopeano was in Kansas City, Kan., in the early evening two days before Thanksgiving.

What is known is that shots were fired about 5:45 p.m. near North Fifth Street and Troup Avenue. By the time police arrived, Fopeano was dead. He was in his car, and the engine was running.

The news sent shockwaves through the local theater community, where the 43-year-old actor was known and respected. He was a talented man whose stage skills will be missed.

He had been hired as an understudy for the American Heartland Theatre's production of "A Tuna Christmas" and had rehearsed the show the day before he was killed. The Heartland also had signed Fopeano for a comedy in the spring.

The first time I recall seeing Fopeano onstage was in the Coterie Theatre production of "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" in early 2006. The play was sort of like "The Crucible" for kids, and Fopeano played a Puritan judge who has to decide whether a young woman is a witch or simply eccentric.

I recognized the name, of course. His mother, Jane Fopeano, is a well-known professional actress. But I recall thinking: Why haven't I seen this guy before?

The answer was found in Fopeano's decision to divide his time between community theaters and professional companies. He had never joined Actors' Equity Association, the union for actors and stage managers, in part because he wanted to keep his hand in semi-professional and community theater.

That shouldn't come as a surprise, considering his roots. He grew up on the stage of the Bell Road Barn Players, the oldest community theater in the Kansas City area, that his grandparents founded 54 years ago. It was at the Bell Road that Peter, like his siblings, cousins, uncles and aunts, got his first taste of performing.

"It was my parents who started the theater in 1954, and that's how I grew up, and that's how I got started in theater," Jane Fopeano said. "Peter started when maybe he was 2, just a walk-on or something. I think out of the grandchildren he was the one who everyone thought would probably become an actor."

Peter Fopeano had lived almost his entire life in Platte County, with the exception of a few years in New York after he graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in the mid-1980s.

His mother said Peter was one of those gifted actors who always looked at home on stage. She said she couldn't recall a time when he came to her for professional advice.

"We both had the same teacher, who was my father, Jenkin David," she said. "He directed all the plays in the early years of the Barn. So we learned the same things and had the same ideas about acting, so I don't think we ever sat down to talk about it. He was just a natural. He just was. He learned what he learned, and the rest was just in him."

Jane Fopeano recalled that in the early '80s Bell Road staged a production of "Our Town" with most roles filled by members of the extended family. She played Mrs. Webb, and Peter played George Gibbs.

"There were 17 people in the play, and all but a couple of them were family members," she said.

Peter had two sons, JT, 13, and Alex, 11. JT studies piano, and Alex -- representing the next generation of family actors -- made his stage debut in 2006 in "The Nerd" at the Heartland. "He was the little, bratty boy," Jane Fopeano said.

Peter was the youngest of three children and from an early age exhibited an ability to make people laugh.

"He had a very dry sense of humor," Jane Fopeano said. "He got away with so much in this family because whenever there was something tense going on ... he would just know the funny thing to say to make everything all right. He was just very quick and clever, and he used it to his advantage."

Director Sidonie Garrett said Fopeano's sense of humor was an important attribute during last summer's production of "Othello" by the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival.

"I had never worked with Peter before," said Garrett, the festival's artistic director. "He was terrific. He worked really hard. He was a good company member. And he was always ready to laugh. He had a great sense of humor."

Garrett said she cast Fopeano in a supporting role after he showed up at an open audition and gave a good reading.

"He told me how much he really wanted to do it, which was great to hear," she said. "He told me how much he had always liked the festival and was excited to be part of it. He gave a strong reading, and he certainly knew what he was doing. He proved to be pretty much a delight. He was very professional and friendly -- everything you want when you're putting together a company that has to sweat together."

Jeff Church, artistic director of the Coterie Theatre, cast Fopeano in "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" and had hoped to use him again. Church called Fopeano's death a personal and professional loss.

"I just had a voice message from him last week," Church said. "I was going to call him back and talk to him about what projects at the Coterie might be a good fit for him. A professional actor, a non-Equity male of a certain age, is useful to me. It's something we're going to miss."

Church also said Fopeano was a smart actor and fun to work with.

"He was absolutely terrific," he said. "Peter was very affable and a hard worker."

Jane Fopeano said Peter never really had a distinct style. Instead he shaped his skills and personality to fit the individual role.

She said she didn't know why he would have been in a rough neighborhood in Kansas City, Kan. Based on her conversations with police, she believes Peter may have been inadvertently shot during a gunfight involving others.

"It was just a catastrophic tragedy that he was in a place at absolutely the wrong time," she said.

Memorial service

A memorial service for actor Peter Fopeano will be at 7 p.m. Monday in Parkville.

The service will be in the Jenkin and Barbara David Theatre -- named for Fopeano's grandparents -- in Alumni Hall on the campus of Park University.

Jane Fopeano, his mother, said casual attire is OK. The theater is not handicap accessible.

A campus map is available at www.park.edu/about/ campusmap.pdf.
(Kansas City Star ~ December 7, 2008 ~ Submitted by Lori DeWinkler)

MAN FROM KANSAS WAS ON HIS TRAIL

ACTOR MURRAY TELLS ANOTHER STORY TO DETECTIVE

Left Kansas City With Wife of Another Man

Joe Murray, supposed to be a vaudeville player, who was found on North First street near the Vendome at night some time ago, suffering from a fractured skull, and who, at the time, said he had been the victim of a thug, has made admissions to Detective Starbird indicating that the thug story was a myth. Murray is getting better, and it is expected by the doctors in charge, that he will recover. The story Murray told to the detective, it is said, is to the effect that he was a vaudeville performer; that in Kansas City he met a woman who was doing a dance; that they became partners in an act and traveled together; that the woman had a husband in Kansas City who was much annoyed at her association with Murray, and took up the trail of the couple who were known on the theater programs as Raymond and Good.

It is related that Murray further told the officer that while they were appearing at a theater in Vancouver the woman saw her Kansas City husband in the audience. Not wanting to encounter him they were out of town before morning, playing various vaudeville houses down the coast until they reached San Francisco. In the latter city, Murray is reported to have stated, he had a row with the woman and left her and came to San Jose, only to encounter more trouble in the person of the Kansas City man, whom he met on North First street near the Vendome in the early evening. The Kansas City man, he says, hit him with something hard and that is all that he remembered until he woke up in the hospital and the nurse said, "Sit up and take this."

Detective Starbird is not sure that the story is correct, for the reason that the man has made misleading statements before; that there was some morphine in his pocket when he was found and he is said to smoke cigarettes.

"Morphine, cigarettes and a crack on the head are a bad combination," said Starbird today, "and it is a difficult matter to get an accurate story from a man to whom this combination has been applied. I am satisfied, however, that the man was not the victim of a thug."
(California Evening News ~ February 23, 1911 ~ Submitted by Lori DeWinkler)

SISTERS HURT IN A RUNAWAY

Mary Small of Kansas City, Kas., in a Dangerous Condition---Both Teachers

Miss Mary and Miss Margaret Small of 822 Tauromec avenue, Kansas City, Kas., were hurt in a runaway accident near Rose Hill, a suburb one mile west of that city, about 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon. Mary Small was hurt internally and the attending physicians say her recovery is doubtful. Margaret Small was severely bruised about the head and body. Both young women are teachers in the Kansas City, Kas., schools.

They were returning home when the horse became frightened and ran down a steep hill, overturning the buggy and throwing both of them out. Mary Small ran almost half a mile to the nearest farmhouse to summon aid. A message was sent to Kansas City, Kas., for a physician. This morning Mary Small was brought to Bethany hospital in Kansas City, Kas.
(Kansas City Star ~ September 9, 1905 ~ Submitted by Lori DeWinkler)

CHASTINE HUGHES IS A PRINTER

Chastine Hughes, who lies in jail in Topeka, charged with murder in Kansas City and bigamy in various places, is a printer. We do not remember him by the name of Chastine. When the writer used to work with him in Missouri, at Sedalia aud Lexington, he was known among the boys as "Nibs." The fact is, we used along back in 1874 and 1875 to consider "Nibs" a splendid fellow, but with a decided leaning to the too-fast side. He could ride on almost any conductor's train without paying a cent, while we always had to pull out and fork over. ["Western Kansas world". (WaKeeney, Kan.) August 29, 1885 - Sub. by K.T.]

THIRD MURDER MYSTERY IN KANSAS CITY, KAS., IN THREE WEEKS

Granville Culbertson Dies from a Slight Stab While in the Police Ambulance - Police Believe a Negro Killed Him

The third mysterious murder in Wyandotte county within three weeks was committed last night in Kansas City, Kas., just after midnight. The murderers in all three cases are still at large. The murders have no connection with each other. August 15 James Cannon was found with his throat cut from ear to ear at the west end of the Missouri Pacific bridge. A week ago last Friday Edmund F. Fauteck was killed near his home west of Kansas City, Kas., and his mutilated body placed on the tracks of the Kansas City - Leavenworth line to hide the crime. Last night Greenville Culbertson, aged 58 years a laborer was found lying in the hallway of the building in which his rooms at 5 Central avenue. A knife blade had penetrated his body just below the extremity of the breastbone.

E. G. McCormack who rooms in the same building heard a scuffle and a fall in the hallway. This was followed by groans. McCormack got up and found Culbertson lying on the floor and was still alive but was unable to talk coherently enough to tell who stabbed him. He repeated the word negro several times.

McCormick notified the police and Culbertson was taken in the patrol wagon to the Central police station. He died on the way there in the wagon. Police Surgeon Eager made a hasty examination. He found that the wound was a small puncture or stab hardly noticeable. The man had evidently bled internally enough to cause death. The body was taken to the morgue where Coroner Tracy will hold an inquest.

The police are wholly in the dark about the case. They are inclined to the bullet that Culbertson was stabbed in an altercation with some negro. He was seen walking along West Ninth street, Kansa City, Mo., toward his home, which is just across the state line about midnight. A negro was with him. The police have a good description of the negro and believe they will have him under arrest in a short time. One negro suspect was arrested this morning on suspicion but the police believe now he was not implicated in the murder. One man who saw Culbertson walking with the negro said the man under arrest was not the man who was walking with him. Culbertson had been drinking during the night.

Culbertson had no relatives here so far as is known. He had worked steadily. He was for a while at the Riverside Iron works and later ran a freight elevator at Armour's packing house. (Kansas City Star, September 6, 1900, transcribed by Peggy Thompson)

CRUSHED BY ELEVATOR

Fredrick Kellum, of Seneca, May Die From Injuries Received at Armour's

Armourdale, Kan., April 20 - Frederick Kellum, a watchman at Armour's packing house, was crushed by an elevator about 8:30 o'clock this morning and will probably die. He was struck across the chest and badly mangled. He was removed to Bethany hospital and was still alive at noon. Kellum is 25 years old and boarded with a family at the corner of James street and Pacific avenue. His mother lives at Seneca, Kan. He left there only a short time ago. (Kansas Semi Weekly Capital, April 23, 1897, page 2)

CAPTAIN I. G. McKIBBEN COMES BACK TO WYANDOTTE COUNTY TO LIVE

Captain I. G. McKibben, who, in 1862, rode away from Quindaro at the head of his company in the Sixth cavalry, has come back to Wyandotte county to live. (Sedan Lance, December 5, 1895, page 4)



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