Putnam County, Ohio
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Genealogy and History


Crime News

At a recent term of Defiance Common Pleas. Court, Lemuel Olds was convicted of shooting with intent to kill and sentenced to the penitentiary for three years. Dennis Chapman, convicted of horse stealing was sent for five years. [The Kalida Sentinel, November 5, 1859; Sub. by T. Rigney]

Ottawa, Ohio, Sept 21, 1874 -- Two weeks of intense yet subdued excitement on the part of the citizens of our town and county finally culminated in the conviction of John Goodman, on Wednesday, of murder in the first degree; for which crime he was sentenced to be hung in the jail yard on the 30th of December.
The Story of the Murder as developed by the testimony, was as follows: John Hayward and his wife each aged about 60 years, lived alone on a farm in the south-west part of this (Putnam) county, their nearest neighbors being a Mr. and Mrs. Funk, who lived about 400 feet south of the Hayward house.. Old Mr. Hayward was known to be well off, and to be in the habit of keeping considerable money about the house. John Goodman, the murderer, knew the old folks well being the brother-in-law of Mrs. Funk, their nearest neighbor. Sometime last winter he remarked to one of his companions that old Hayward "would be killed for his money some of these days, and it would serve him right too." On the 6th of last April April Goodman endeavored to buy or borrow a revolver in Columbus grove, where he lived. Failing in that he borrowed a gun, saying that he was going hunting. He powder and ran some bullets in a neighboring shop, making the same statements as to what he intended to do. He was traced by a succession of witnesses along the road from Columbus Grove to Hayward's house, until he got to within less than a mile of the place; from that time until after the fearful deed was done. No eye saw him, but some time in the afternoon Mrs. Funk heard a gunshot in the direction of Hayward's house, but apparently some distance beyond it. Coming out of the house, she heard however a singlular moaning sound. Then she got up on a stump standing in the yard, but still seeing nothing, she returned to the house. Shortly after her return to the house, Goodman came in from the direction of Hayward's. He seemed to be much excited, so much so that she asked him what he had been doing. He answered," I did it". What did you do? asked she. I have put the old folks out of the way, was his reply. He seemed from his remarks afterward, to have thought she had seen him, as while he was in the act of killing Mrs. Hayward he had seen her from where he stood. He then threatened, if she told any one what he had said, he would kill her. As soon as he was gone she informed some of the neighbors and a search for the bodies was instituted. These were found on the 8th, the old man's in Sugar Creek, held under about three feet of water by the end of a heavy log, a bullet hole in the head; and the old lady's in the same creek, about thirty rods further up, kept down by a stone. Goodman was then arrested and amid intense excitement, taken before a justice's court for examination. On his way to the justice's, and while "being conveyed from there to jail, he stated that he had asked the old man to go down and help him shoot a squirrel, and while down there shot him through the head." While this was going on old Mrs. Hayward came out of the house, and when she saw Goodman coming back alone she started to run Funk's. Goodman cut her off, and overtaking her, with the old man's knife which he had taken from the dead body. Cooley cut her throat, he then returned to the house and ransacked it, breaking open chests and cupboards, but finding nothing of value. What little money the old folks had about the house, being mostly gold and silver, escaped his notice. He took the old man's watch, which was found on his person when arrested. After ransacking the house he went to Funk's, as before stated, and when he left there proceeded to conceal the bodies where they were afterward found. Then he returned to his home in the Grove, some seven or eight miles distant, arriving there some time in the night. After his arrest he was confined in our County Jail. On the evening of the 27th of July, he in the company with four others, knocked down and trampled on the Sheriff, and succeeded in breaking jail. The Sheriff, who has "lots of sand", recovered himself, and wounded as he was overtook and recaptured Goodman.
[From The Inter-Ocean, Sep 24, 1874]

Think Lover's Tiff May have Led to Murder
Ottawa, O., Aug 28 -- Putnam county authorities will turn their efforts to penetrate the mystery which shrouds the slaying of John Trowant, whose stone-weighed body was found in the Auglaize river Saturday, to the family of the young woman to whom the son of the wealthy Dupont farmer was to have been married in two weeks.
Miss Bessie Baehr, his fiancee will be closely questioned by Deputy Sheriff Miller. Other members of the family will be examined in an effort to learn whether the young people had quarreled or whether the Baehr family objected to the young man as a suitor for the girl's hand.
Also Deputy Sheriff Miller will seek to learn why William Baehr, brother of the young woman is absent. Baffled in every direction, in their search for a motive for the slaying of the youth, who was sent Tuesday from the home of his father Daniel Trowant, to Cascade, a few miles distant, and who was not seen again until his body, a bullet hole in the temple and stones wired to his ankles, weights about the neck and about the waist, was found in the river Saturday afternoon, the authorities have decided to bend every effort to learn whether a lovers' quarrel did not precede the tragedy.
This theory, county officers declare, seems the only explantion which has in it any hope of success in its working out. The deputy sheriff will visit Miss Baehr and ask her to relate the particulars of any quarrel the young people may have had. He also will investigate tales of several young boys who say a stranger they met in the road to Cascade told them that if a body was found in the river it would be that of Trowant. The officers have met a stumbling block in the search in the attitude of the Trowants. The four families of the name in and about Dupont are reticent. All the members of the family are Dunkards whose religious training teaches them to avoid the law and its agents. The parents of the young man have thrown no light on the tragedy, declaring their ignorance of any trouble which might have had a bearing on the case.
[From the Boston Journal, Aug 29, 1907]



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