South Dakota

Grant County, South Dakota

Newspaper Items


Contributed by Suzanne Folk

Committed Suicide
T. Clifford, Formerly of Wessington Committed Suicide in Albee, by Drowning.
Many Huron people will remember T. Clifford, formerly station agent for the Chicago & North-Western railway at Wessington, and who, with his wife frequently visited friends here, and will be greatly surprised to learn that on Sunday he committed suicide. Mr. Clifford was agent for the Great Northern at Albee, and with his family lived in the station house. A few days since his wife and son came to this city to visit friends. Sunday evening Mr. Clifford deliberally went to a barrel nearly full of water and jumped head foremost into it, and soon drowned. He left a note addressed to the section hand to take his body from the barrel Monday morning, and notify his wife of what he had done. Mrs. Clifford started for home on the early train on the Great Northern, Monday morning, but did not learn of the death of her husband until her arrival in Watertown.
The information given above was gleaned from reports sent to the Great Northern agent here, on Monday.
The Daily Huronite, Huron South Dakota
December 22, 1891, page 4

T. Wilson, the man who committed suicide at Albee, on the Great Northern railway, on Sunday, is not the Mr. Clifford who was formerly station agent for the C. & N. W. at Wessington. Although it was so reported in that city and here.
The Daily Huronite, Huron South Dakota
December 24, 1891, page 4

Charged With Murder
A South Dakota Man Charged With the Murder of Thomas Clifford.
Milbank, S.D., Dec. 23. - Richard Laughlin, of Watertown, section foreman on the Minneapolis and St. Louis railroad, is having a preliminary hearing before city Justice Pasco, charged with murdering Thomas Clifford one year ago Wednesday, Clifford was station agent at Albee, on the Great Northern railroad, and was found one morning dead head foremost in a barrel of water. No formal inquest was held, as the coroner was satisfied the death was a clear case of suicide. Recently Clifford's widow conceived the idea her husband was murdered, though no motive is assigned. Laughlin and the deceased were good friends, and the defendant has always sustained the best kind of character, and not a solitary person who knows him believes he is guilty. Public opinion is united that he will be discharged. The action of the widow in bringing the charge at this late date is a puzzle.
The Daily Huronite, Huron South Dakota
December 23, 1892, page 1


Evening Huronite, Huron, South Dakota
July 31, 1941, Pages 1 and 5

Contributed by Suzanne Folk

Milbank Sheriff Is Shot To Death; Ex-Convict Held
Peace Officer Slain After Attempt To Question Man Recently Released From Prison; Stray Bullets Hit Two Others

Milbank, July 31 - (AP) - Grant County Sheriff Melbourne Lewis was shot to death last night and his slayer charged with first degree murder by State's Attorney Frank Tait, was taken to Sioux Falls today for safekeeping as indignation seethed among residents here. A 12 year old boy and a filling station attendant were wounded by rifle fire from the same gun.
Lewis, elected only last fall, was slain as he sought to question Clifford Hayes, about 30, formerly of Lemmon, who had been released from the state penitentiary at Sioux Falls but 24 hours before. A native of buffalo, Minn., Hayes was sentenced to the prison from Aberdeen in a burglary charge in 1933. It was reported here he had served terms in Minnesota institutions at Red Wing, St. Cloud and St. Paul.
There were conflicting versions of the shooting, but Tait said the most plausible was this: Hayes had threatened several children who had been "teasing" him and this led to a report to the sheriff's office that a strange man was in town with a gun. It was in investigating this report and seeking to question Hayes that the sheriff was killed.
With Lewis at the time were U. S. Deputy marshal Ben E. Hughes of Aberdeen and Frank Miller of Milbank, Grant County commissioner. Upon arriving at the scene, Lewis discerned Hayes crouched with the rifle in a vine-covered arbor between a house and a small shed, Lewis ordered Hayes to "throw up your hands!"
Hayes shouted "go ahead and shoot. You haven't got anything On me" Lewis and Hughes, who had been crouched behind a pile of failroad ties at one side of the arbor, then walked around the house to the opposite side of the arbor. Before the sheriff could give another command, Hayes fired, the bullet striking the sheriff in the chest. The officer fell and was able to crawl a few feet before he died.
As the sheriff and the marshal walked around the house to the arbor's other entrance, from which Hayes fired the fatal shot, Hayes apparently noticed [?]deen Nelson, filling station attendant pering around the corner of a filling station shed about 100 feet away. Hayes fired at nelson, the bullet grazing the youth's chest, passing between his arm and his body and hitting Ben Tillesman, about 12, son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Tillesman of Milbank, in the chest. The bullet did not penetrate the lad's chest wall and was later removed at the Milbank hospital. The boy will recover, his doctor said.
Although Hughes pumped several bullets into the arbor after the sheriff fell, the killer, screened by high weeds, fled eastward across the street. He was reported to have stopped at the home of Mrs. Dan Conright nearby, leaned his rifle against the house, and asked for a drink of water. Mrs. Conright, noticing the gun and becoming alarmed, refused and Hayes continued his flight, "ditching" the rifle a short distance away.
Making his way along a creek bottom, he reached a filling station on highway 12 at the east edge of Milbank where he went into the washroom and washed his hands and face. It was there that he was seen by Harold Roble, A.P. Harvey, Robert Holm and Dr. D.A. Gregory, members of the hastily formed posse. Dr. Gregory had stopped at the station to secure cartridges for a rifle he had borrowed for the hunt.
The killer offered no resistance when apprehended. He was taken to the Milbank jail and his clothes removed to forestall a possible attempt at suicide. Later he was spirited to Sioux Falls. State's Attorney Tait said he had set no time for arraignment of the killer.
Tait said Hayes arrived here Wednesday morning and had purchased a rifle and ammunition. The state's attorney said Hayes admitted he planned to hold up some local establishment.
Hayes at times has been known as Haas, Tait said.
Besides his widow, Sheriff Lewis is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Will Lewis, and four children, Betty, 12; Marwood, 11; Neil, 7, and Larry, 2.

Under Close Watch
Sioux Falls, July 31 - (AP) - Clifford Hayes, 30-year-old ex-convict charged with the first degree murder of Grant County Sheriff Melbourne Lewis, was under constant guard at the Minnehaha County jail here today.
Hayes was brought to Sioux Falls by Deputy Sheriff Russell L. Griese and Morris Carlson of Milbank and Sheriff Pay Daly of Ortonville.


Mitchell Daily Republican, Mitchell, SD
September 18, 1887, page 2

contributed by Suzanne Folk

A. H. Lewis of the Milbank Review Arrested on a Serious Charge

Milbank, Dak., Sept. 17. - A. H. Lewis, editor of the Review newspaper, was arrested today on a requisition from the governor of Pennsylvania on a charge of arson. It is alleged the crime was committed in 1876. His real name was Harry S. Volkmar. He jumped his bail and assumed the name by which he has been known since coming to this city. He was appointed postmaster by President Arthur. Lewis waived examination and was taken to Philadelphia.


The Daily Huronite, Huron SD
November 29, 1887, page 1

contributed by Suzanne Folk

Eleven Exemplary Years

Philadelphia, Pa., Nov. 26. - After having been confined in the county prison since last September on a charge of arson, Henry S. Volkmar was liberated tonight and allowed to return to his western home. Volkmar was accused of setting fire to his printing establishment in the Evening News building in this city in January, 1876. He left the city at the time, and all trace of him was lost until a few months ago, when it was learned that he was editing a paper in Milbank, D.T. Since his arrest numerous letters have been received by District Attorney Graham from prominent citizens of Minnesota and Dakota interceding for the prisoner and representing that for the last eleven years he had been leading a most exemplary life, had married, and was universally respected. Under these circumstances Judge Mitchell allowed a nolle pros. To be entered, and Volkmar was discharged.


The Daily Huronite, Huron SD
April 16, 1891, page 1

contributed by Suzanne Folk

Mrs. Hocum is the wife of a prominent merchant at Milbank. She is charged with being the fellow sinner with the Rev. Mr. Gifford, of that place, who is now in jail in default of $1,000 bail.


Daily Huronite
01 April 1887

Contributed by Suzanne Folk


Milbank, Dak., March 30 - Charles Schuehardt, a market gardener, living near the city limits, was caught last night in a compromising situation with the wife of a citizen and being warned by the injured husband to leave the territory before morning, went to his home and shot himself. He was found by a neighbor this morning lying dead just outside his door. A shotgun was lying on his body with one barrel discharnged. He had one boot off and had evidently pulled the trigger with his toe, the muzzle of the gun having been placed in his mouth. Schuehardt was a widower living alone, an only son being at college in the east. He had always been regarded as a moral man and a good citizen and general surprise is felt in the community at the developments.



The Daily Huronite, Huron South Dakota
March 22, 1886, page 1

contributed by Suzanne Folk

Milbank, March 19. - William M. Evans, ex-county treasurer and one of the railroad and warehouse commissioners, was indicted to-day by the grand jury for embezzlement of county funds to the amount of $15,200. His counsel, J.W. Bell of this city and M.J. Gordon of Aberdeen, requested until to-morrow in which to plead, which was granted by the court. Bail was fixed at $7,000. W.F. Glass, Esq., of Watertown has been engaged by the county commissioners to assist in the prosecution.



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