In alphabetical order by victim's last name.


Grant County in its earlier and middle-age history was the abode of many representatives of the rougher elements of society, drawn hither by the mines and its proximity to the Mississippi, that famous water-way which served for many years previous to the war as a promulgator of vice as well as a pathway of commerce. This roughness gradually wore away under the natural and social laws of the advancing civilization, until the cuttings, shootings and brawls, of which the county was so prolific in an early day, are now remembered only as vague traditions the past. It does not come within the province of the present chapter to take note of every disturbance which resulted in loss of life, but only of such as at the time created a strong ripple of excitement, so as to for the time being shake the foundations of society in the neighborhood where the crime was committed.

Source: "History of Grant County Wisconsin," 1881, by the Western Historical Company - Submitted by a Friend of Free Genealogy


Lancaster Wis., April 26, 1886
As has heretofore been reported in these dispatches, tramps are infesting Grant county, stealing sheep, hogs and horses, and causing much trouble. John Stippich, a farmer by pursuit, recovered a pair of valuable 2 year-old colts that were stolen in the northeastern part of the county. A band of tramps have headquarters in a hut on Wisconsin river, and are raising terror generally by compelling women and children to yield to their demands and helping themselves to property which they take to their den, where they hold high carnival. A posse of men armed with muskets and headed by an officer are on their track.

Source: Wisconsin State Journal 30 Apr 1886 - Sub. by a Friend of Free Genealogy

Information Wanted.

OF Michael Banninghan, a young man of about 20 years of age, of county Monaghan, Ireland, who arrived at Milwaukee, Wisconsin last fall. Any information concerning him will be received by his brother, the subscriber, at Platteville, Grant county, Wisconsin.

April 9--'47

Patrick Banninghan

Source: The Ottawa Free Trader, 23 April 1847

Frank Barr of Lancaster was Tuesday adjuged insane by County Judge, Geo. B. Carter, and sent to the Mendota Asylum near Madison. Since the suit which Mrs. Wilkinson won against him, wherein he lost $1600 (or thought he did) he has been very much depressed and it was thought he would eventually become insane. He is probably worth a quarter of a million and has no near relatives.

Source: Grant County Democrat, 25 Mar 1886. Transcribed by MCK.


Potosi Youth Shot at Party
Beer Driver Is Found Dead by Sweetheart; Inquest Ordered

Lancaster, Wis.--The mysterious shooting of Leo Conrad, 21, who drove a beer truck for a Potosi brewery, at a party at 1:30 a.m. Saturday, was under investigation here Saturday. Conrad's sweetheart, Susie Jansen of Kieler, Wis., was the last person to see Conrad alive and the first to see him dead.

Dist. Atty. Otto F. Christenson and Coroner George B. Harrower called an inquest for 3 p.m. Saturday, at which the 11 young men and women who attended the party at Victor Irish's home were to testify.

Gun Beside Body
Conrad's own gun, an automatic pistol which he had said he carried for protection against hi-jackers, was found beside his body. Mr. Christenson was uncertain, he said, whether the death was suicide because no powder burns were on Conrad's forehead, where he had been shot.

Miss Jansen and Conrad had had a lovers' quarrel, Mr. Christenson said, before the shooting. Conrad left Miss Jansen at a rear door of the Irish home and walked outside. She heard a shot, the prosecutor said she told him, and found Conrad's body 10 feet from the house. No one else had heard the shot, mr. Christenson was told.

Witness in Accident
The other couples were dancing to radio music when Conrad was shot. Conrad had brought Miss Jansen and Innes Driscoe, Dubuque, Iowa, who was Irish's girl friend, to Potosi while returning from delivering beer to Iowa.

Mr. Christenson was called to Potosi after discovery of the death. He made no arrests.

Conrad had been in grant county [sic] about six weeks, working for his brother, Michael, who did the trucking for the brewery. He was a witness in a fatal automobile accident at Dubuque and was to have testified in the case soon. Mr. Christenson said that he believed there was no connection between the case and the shooting.

Source: The Milwaukee Journal 24 Oct 1931 - Transcribed by Mary Dutcher

Driver for a Brewery Truck Was Attending a Party.

Lancaster, Wis., Oct 24--(AP)--Leo Conrad, 21, driver of a beer truck for the Potosi brewery, was shot and killed early Saturday at the door of the home of Victor Irish in Potosi.

Conrad was a witness to an automobile accident in Dubuque, Ia., in which a child was seriously injured.

Beside Conrad's body was his automatic pistol of small caliber, which he carried for protection against hi-jackers, friends said. A bullet had entered his temple.

The shooting followed a party of 11 persons in the Irish home. At 1:30 a.m. Conrad stepped out alone and a moment later the shot was heard.

Quarreled With Girl.

Coroner George Harrower of Grant county ordered an inquest for 3 p.m.

The shooting followed a quarrel with Susie Jansen of Keeler, Wis., brought to the party by Conrad after a run with his beer truck from Dubuque, Ia., according to Undersheriff Stanley Sloan. But the couple had made up, and when Conrad stepped from the house he was in a cheerful mood, other members of the party said.

The shot was heard only by Miss Jansen. She stepped out alone and in a moment rushed back to say she had stumbled into Conrad's body. A doctor, Sheriff Joe Greer of Grant county, and Coroner Harrower were called.

Check Pistol Story.

Authorities are investigating statements of Conrad's friends that he carried a pistol for protection against hi-jackers. Robbers once held him up on the road, it was reported.d The brew he transported was a legal beverage made by the Potosi brewery, but hi-jackers probably supposed he was carrying real liquor or beer, his friends explained.

Conrad was in Dubuque Friday, and there he met Miss Jansen, another young woman, and a young man. They came to Potosi in Conrad's truck and in the evening went to the party.

Source: The Milwaukee Sentinel 25 Oct 1931 - Transcribed by Mary Dutcher

Test Pistol That Killed Young Man
Accuse Sweetheart, But She Denies Shooting

Wisconsin's experts in crime detection were called upon Monday to aid in the solution of the mystery death of Leo Conrad, whose 20 year old sweetheart, Susie Jansen, is being held in the Grant county jail on a charge of first degree murder. The aid of Milwaukee police was enlisted by Dist. Atty. Otto F. Christensen and the weapon found beside the body of Conrad was examined for finger prints. Then the prosecutor left for Madison to confer with Dr. J. H. Mathews, director of the University of Wisconsin chemistry department, and criminologist.

The prosecutor, while here, declared he and others who investigated the death of Conrad are satisfied he did not commit suicide; that he was shot to death and that his own gun was used in the crime.

Conrad, a near beer truck driver, was attending a party at the home of Victor Irish, in Potosi, Wis., the district attorney said. While there Conrad and his sweetheart quarreled violently. Members of the party disagree on the subject matter of the protracted quarrel, but Miss Jansen contends that the argument was brought on by Conrad's insistent demands that she marry him immediately. Mr. Christensen quoted the young woman as saying:

"He wanted to marry me, and kept insisting on it. I was firm in maintaining that we should wait a while. Our little spat had been patched up, and Leo was happy and cheerful before he stepped out of the house. I heard the shot and went out to see what the trouble was and stumbled over his body."

The prosecutor said Miss Jansen was the last person who saw Conrad alive, and only person at the party who heard the shot and the first person to find the body in the rear of the Irish home. He said there were no powder burns on Conrad's head, precluding the possibility of suicide. He declared there were discrepancies in the sworn testimony of Miss Jansen and for that reason she is being held.

Tests of the gun will be made in Madison to determine whether the weapon might be used by a person committing suicide without leaving burns and traces of powder. Ballistics tests will also be made to determine whether the shot was actually fired from Conrad's gun or from another .25 caliber weapon.

In the meantime the young woman asserts her innocence. She has retained counsel; she stands by the story that Conrad was dead when she reached the yard, that she does not know who shot him, if he did not kill himself, and that she can prove her innocence.

Source: The Milwaukee Sentinel 27 Oct 1931 - Transcribed by Mary Dutcher

Girl Is Freed in Potosi Case
Prosecutor Says Evidence Is Insufficient; Inquiry Continues

Lancaster, Wis.--The murder charge against Susie Jansen of Dubuque, Iowa, was dismissed at a preliminary hearing Friday on the motion of Dist. Atty. Otto Christenson, who informed the court that the county authorities would continue their investigation to determine who shot Miss Jansen's sweetheart, Leo Conrad, 21. The hearing had to be transferred to the circuit courtroom by R. J. Sweeney, justice of the peace, because 300 persons attended.

Conrad, a beer truck driver, was found dead about 1:30 a.m. last saturday outside a home at Potosi, Wis, where he was attending a party with Miss Jansen and other. He had been shot through the temple and his own pistol, with one cartridge discharged, lay at his feet. He and Miss Jansen had had a lover's quarrel and it was she who found his body.

Dist. Atty. Christenson informed Justice Sweeney that no powder burns were left by the shot and that a scientific test had shown that suicide with this gun without leaving powder marks was impossible. He said that an investigation had found nothing more than insufficient circumstantial evidence against Miss Jansen, wherefore he moved dismissal of the charge.

Source: The Milwaukee Journal 31 Oct 1931 - Transcribed by Mary Dutcher


A few months after the murder of Latimer, namely, in April, 1845, occurred another murder, the murderer and his victim residing at Beetown. The ownership of a certain lot was claimed by two parties Brewer, a miner, and a companion ; and De Lasseaux, the owner of a smelting furnace in that vicinity, he also being engaged in trade at that point. De Lasseaux had fenced up the lot in question, and the day on which the murder occurred, had started to remove some rails from the ground. This Brewer had forbidden him to do. As De Lasseaux approached the lot. Brewer seized a rifle which he had concealed in the limekiln near which he was standing, and, as he did so, the gun, which was at half cock, went off. De Lasseaux was a large, powerful man, of whom the other stood much in awe, and supposing that this accidental discharge of the gun would be taken as an excuse for an attack, he did not wait to see if his surmise should prove true, but, shifting the gun in his hand, he brought it down on the head of the unfortunate man, knocking him down. Brewer then drew a long knife he had upon his person and stabbed De Lasseaux in a savage manner, from the effects of which he died in a short time.

Brewer was immediately arrested. The court had barely closed its spring session, Judge Dunn not having left Lancaster. The grand jury was summoned to return, a true bill was found, and the trial commenced. The result, under the popular feeling which, owing to the general lawlessness which had seemed lately to develop, ran high was a foregone conclusion, and the unfortunate victim to an insane craving for vengeance was sentenced to expiate his crime upon the gallows, and his execution took place a few weeks later. The gallows was erected a little to the northeast of the village, and up to a recent date the posts were still to be seen, but were dug up afterward by future owners of the ground. Brewer's claim that his gun went off accidentally on the fatal day, was not very generally received. Some time after his execution, the person to whom the gun had been given by him was hunting in the woods, when, on two different occasions, the weapon was discharged at half-cock, showing, when too late, that the unfortunate man spoke the truth.

Source: "History of Grant County Wisconsin," 1881, by the Western Historical Company - Submitted by a Friend of Free Genealogy


An Infant Beaten and Stamped to Death by a Young Girl.
(From the Dubuque Herald, 18th.)

One of the most horrible cases of child murder it has been our lot to record occurred on Sunday on what is known as the Waterloo ridge in Wisconsin, about six miles west of Potosi, near the Waterloo mills, twenty-two miles from this city.

About two weeks ago Jacob Sickle, a farmer residing on the Waterloo ridge, came to Dubuque, bringing with him a soldier’s widow named Annie Field, who was seeking employment by which to earn support for herself and two small children. Mrs. Field had been at work for Mr. Sickle since the death of his wife, which occurred about fifteen months ago. In this service she had been employed not only in the house, as housekeeper, but in the field, as a farm hand, receiving in compensation only board for herself and little girl, aged three years. Farm labor being nearly over, Mr. Sickle had no further employment for Mrs. Field, and she came to this city for work. Her little boy had meantime been taken by her brother, Morgan Reed, and Mr. Sickle promised to keep the little girl, Ellie Field, while the mother was away earning a livelihood. Jacob Sickle has a daughter about fifteen or sixteen years of age, said to be the unfortunate possessor of a bad temper. About 12 o’clock of that day the daughter, Lizzie Sickle, for some cause unknown as yet, fell upon the little girl and beat her in a most brutal manner. When the child became unconscious and was apparently dying, she became alarmed at the result of her brutality and called in a neighboring woman. To her she told a story improbable on its very face. She said that the child had fallen from a chair by accident and hurt its head. But it required only a glance at the mutilated body to show the falsity of this story. The body was one mass of bruised and broken flesh. On the head was a frightful wound, giving every indication of a broken skull, and one of the hands was crushed so badly that, it is said, not a bone in it remained unbroken. A physician, Dr. Graham, of Potosi, was sent for immediately, and everything possible was done for the little sufferer, but to no avail, the child dying at 2 o’clock on Monday.

Mrs. Field, the mother, had been employed in the family of Mrs. P. Quigley, in this city. Monday afternoon a messenger was dispatched to her bearing the terrible news of the death of her child, and she started immediately to take a last look at the face of the murdered innocent and see the mangled body laid away in the grave. Such sorrow as fell upon the heart of this poor widow comes not to other mothers. Death in any form is terrible, but to think of her child tortured to its death must have been a burden without the possibility of relief.

Our informant had heard of no confession being made by Lizzie Sickle, the murderess. She probably holds to the lying statement first made. An examination of the body of the murdered child shows that it was first beaten until the flesh became black, and then the culmination of the barbarity was reached in throwing it upon the floor and stamping upon its head. The skull was broken, the forehead being crushed in evidently by stamping it with a heeled shoe. The hand may have been crushed by stamping, or may have been broken by pounding.

The child had also been violently kicked in the stomach, and received injuries there which alone would have caused its death.

An officer was sent for immediately to arrest Lizzie Sickle, and she will be placed upon trial for murder. The case justly creates great excitement in the neighborhood.

Since the Rev. Lindsley whipped his infant child to death, in Orleans county (N.Y.), because it would not say its prayers, we have not heard of a case approaching the horror of this in Wisconsin. Child-murder may not be uncommon, but happily for the credit of human nature, it is rare that the crime has these details of ferocious purpose.

Source: Daily Evening Bulletin (Pennsylvania) 16 November 1867; transcribed by MCK.

Sheriff Says Bullet Glanced Off Tree; Probe Started

Edward Foht, 36, of Kimball Park, Wis., died in a hospital here Monday from bullet wounds received when shot by prohibition raiders near Eagle Point, Wis., Thursday.

Foht was shot as he attempted to elude raiding officers, witnesses said. Sheriff Joe Greer of Grant county, Wisconsin, a member of the raiding party, said Foht was struck by a bullet that glanced from a tree.

Dist. Atty. N. S. Block of Grant county said an investigation was being made Monday night. No charge has yet been preferred.

Sheriff Greer was accompanied by Prohibition Agent Edward F. Smith, Madison, Wis., and Deputy Sheriff Stanley Sloan. The officers had completed a series of raids on Bishops island in the Mississippi river when Foht drew near them in a boat. He refused to heed their commands to stop, the officers said.

Sheriff Greer said he fired a shot in the air to halt the man. The bullet, the sheriff said, glanced from a tree and struck Foht.

Source: The Milwaukee Sentinel, 28 Apr 1930


The southern portion of the county was the scene of an atrocious murder in 1865, which stirred the social strata of that section to its very depths. On Monday, September 25, of that year, Dr. Harney, an old resident of Fair Play, in a fit of passion shot and trampled to death his step- daughter, besides inflicting serious injuries upon his wife, the murdered woman's mother. His victim was the daughter of Mrs. Harney by a former marriage, and had been brought up in the family. Several years previous to the tragedy, she had been married to Joseph Hunsaker, who, at the time of the fatal affair, was in Idaho. Some few months previous, Mrs. Hunsaker had expressed a desire to keep house by herself, and accordingly had moved into a house opposite the Harney residence. This move had been strenuously opposed by Dr. Harney, who upon finding that remonstrances were of no avail, and that the move had been made, forbade any of the family associating or having any communication with Mrs. Hunsaker. This command was not heeded by Mrs. Harney, except to choose such time for visiting her daughter as when the doctor was not about the premises. It was claimed by the friends of Dr. Harney that his naturally choleric temper had been augmented for some time previous to the fatal day by troubles with his head, and that arrangements had been made for his starting on a tour of travel, accompanied by some one of the members of his family. Be this as it may, on the day of the tragedy, while Mrs. Harney was out making calls with a lady boarding at Mrs. Hunsaker's, the doctor acted in a most unaccountable manner in following them from place to place, finally waiting for his wife on her return, and following her into the house, where he instantly knocked the unsuspecting woman down with the butt of a revolver he earned. Mrs. Harney screamed for help, and Ellen Harney, her step-daughter, hurried upon the scene, and seizing the infuriated man compelled him to desist from his work.

Upon the first outcry, Mrs. Hunsaker, who had been sitting on the steps of her house with her friend, started to run over, expressing herself as fearful that the doctor was attacking her mother. She stopped suddenly, afraid that he would kill her if she appeared before him, but her friend thought otherwise, and Mrs. Hunsaker rushed on and into the house where she round her mother lying on the floor. Hardly had she sank by her side before the now doubly-infuriated man threw her to the floor and stamped and trampled on the unresisting woman, fracturing her skull in several places, and ending his diabolical work by sending a ball through her brain, killing her instantly. During this terrible scene his daughter Ellen had been trying with the terror of despair to prevent the consummation of his murderous intents. As the murderer attacked the daughter, Mrs. Harney struggled to her feet and ran into the street crying for help. The doctor tore himself away from his daughter and started in pursuit, and fired two shots at the fleeing woman, happily without effect. He had just caught up with her, and was about to again begin an attack with the butt of his revolver, when it was wrenched from him by his son Harrison, who took his mother to the house. The murderer passed through the room where the lifeless body of his victim lay, making some bitter remark, and, securing a lancet attempted to cut his own throat. In this, however, he was not successful, and although when afterward confined in jail at Lancaster, he tore the bandages off in order to bleed to death, his wounds finally healed, and he was tried, convicted and sentenced to State Prison for life. Mrs. Harney also recovered from her injuries, leaving only one victim to the insane fury of the murderer. The excitement created in the immediate neighborhood of the place where the crime was committed knew no bounds. During the summer of 1880, a petition was circulated for the pardon of the doctor, but the result of the petition is as yet unknown.

Source: "History of Grant County Wisconsin," 1881, by the Western Historical Company - Submitted by a Friend of Free Genealogy


By far the most horrible crime ever committed in the limits of Grant County was the murder of the Haggerty family, near Lancaster, in December, 1868, by Andrew Thompson, a paramour of the woman. The first acquaintance of the parties dated back to ten years previous to the date of the murder. At that time, John Haggerty kept a saloon at Bull's Head, some six and a half miles west of McGregor. At the breaking-out of the war, Haggerty enlisted, and Thompson continued his visits to the place, finally becoming criminally intimate with the woman. Upon the return of the husband from the war, he was not long in finding out the exact status of affairs, and he soon after left for California, leaving his family to shift for themselves. A child was the result of this intimacy, which was killed by the mother, Thompson being accessory to the murder. The saloon was then sold out, and the woman with her children moved into a little house on Thompson's farm, but did not remain here long before they again were moved to McGregor, where they remained until December, 1868, when, yielding to the importunities of the woman, Thompson took her and the children in a covered sleigh, and started on the journey which was to end in a crime the like of which is hardly surpassed in all the criminal annals of the country. Crossing the river at McGregor, they came down through Grant County, passing down through Bridgeport, Patch Grove, Bloomington, North Andover, Cassville, Beetown and Lancaster. At the latter place, the family, consisting of Mrs. Haggerty, her daughter and two sons, were last seen alive. In a confession made after his conviction and sentence, Thompson referred to the motive of the trip as being a desire to find some place where he and the woman could live together without disturbance, but as he himself acknowledged having previously tried to get rid of her, it is extremely probable that the trip was undertaken with the intention of ridding himself once and for all of this encumbrance by fair means or foul. This belief is strengthened by numerous incidents and circumstances observed by persons in the places through which he passed.

After a week's absence, Thompson returned to his family in Clayton County, Iowa, but gave no explanation of his absence or where he had been. May 29, of the following year, trunks and other articles were discovered by some fishermen in a slough near Prairie du Chien, and a few days later the corpses of Mrs. Haggerty, her daughter and the two boys were discovered in the river near Cassville. On the 2d day of June, a warrant was issued for Thompson arrest, but upon the approach of the Sheriff, his " man " escaped to the woods near his farmhouse, and eluded for a short time the officer of the law. But not for long, as the woods were soon alive with infuriated men armed with guns, and who were only too ready to use them, this brought the fiend to a realizing sense of his danger, and he came out of his hiding-place and gave himself up to the Sheriff. After some debate as to jurisdiction, his trial took place in Iowa, resulting in his conviction. He was sentenced to be hung September 9, 1869, but the execution was postponed, pending a settlement of some question of jurisdiction by the Supreme Court, and his sentence was afterward changed to life imprisonment in the Penitentiary. During this interval, Thompson wrote out and published a confession, in which he claimed that the girl Anna had been sick when they started from McGregor, and at Lancaster he wished to remain all night and save the girl from the exposure of camping out, as they had heretofore done since leaving McGregor. To this Mrs. Haggerty objected, charging him with being desirous of delay so that his family might overtake them, and give him an excuse for deserting her and returning home. They accordingly made a start, but had not gone more than about a mile beyond Lancaster on the road to Platteville, and were just on the brow of the hill south of Pigeon Creek, when the boys cried out that Anna had fainted. Her mother threw snow in her face and chafed her hands, and thus brought her to. Thompson again urged a return to Lancaster, but the woman would hear none of it, and they proceeded on toward Platteville, until they reached the timber, about four miles from Lancaster, when they turned off the road, and drove into the woods, intending to encamp for the night. They had hardly stopped before Mrs. Haggerty informed him that the girl was dead, and upon examination he found it to be so. The woman then insisted that they must dig a grave and bury the body, but to this Thompson objected, saying they must go back to Lancaster, as, if the body was found buried there without a coffin they would be arrested for murder. The woman said that if they returned they would be detained, and have to give an account of themselves, when Thompson's people would hear of it and follow him. The discussion ended by the latter announcing his intention of going back, when his paramour seized a hammer, and saying, " I'll have your life first," struck him on the neck and shoulder. This enraged him, and he snatched the hammer from her, and in turn struck her several blows on the head. Realizing, however, what he had done, he endeavored to apologize for his harshness, but although the woman stopped her cries for the time, 'she motioned him away. Just then sleighs were heard approaching from the direction of Platteville, and voices of their occupants were heard chatting and laughing. It being a still night, the sleighs were not so near as was at first supposed, but as they approached, the woman re-doubled her cries, which he begged her to stop but to no purpose. The suspicious light in which he would be placed should his position there be discovered, with a dead girl in the sleigh, and the woman and two boys screaming as if in mortal terror, Thompson claims at once crossed his mind, and he picked up a feather bed that lay at his feet, and threw it over them. The woman struggled and threw it off, screaming louder than ever, so that if the sleighing party had not been so boisterous themselves they must have heard them. He then seized the bed and put it over them again, and held it down until the struggles ceased. As soon as the sleighs, which traveled leisurely, had passed, he pulled it off, but no one spoke or made any noise. He lighted the lantern and looked at them, shook them, and then the truth dawned upon his mind they were dead. He sat down stupefied by the crime he had committed, and remained uncertain what to do for some time. Then the thought that he must conceal what he had done seized him, and he started for Beetown, near which he had observed some mineral holes, in which he thought 'he might hide the bodies. He drove back through Lancaster, lost his way, and stopped to procure directions, and having driven for hours with his ghastly freight, came to the mineral holes, but found them too shallow for his purpose. He then determined to go on to Cassville, and hide the evidences of his crime in the river. Again he had some difficulty in finding the road, and it was not until nearly daylight that he passed through Cassville. Making his way to the river, he threw the bodies in, and then, driving a short distance further, he burned his sleigh cover to destroy the identity of his outfit. He then drove rapidly toward Prairie du Chien, and near that place put the baggage of the murdered family into the river, and then made his way home. How much of truth there is in Thompson's narrative is hard to decide. Whether the murders were committed as he relates, or whether, as many believed, they were taken to the river and then murdered while under the influence of opiates, will never be known. The terrible experiences of that awful night will remain a sealed book. But justice was not to be thwarted, and Andrew Thompson now undergoes the punishment inflicted for his horrible crime.

Source: "History of Grant County Wisconsin," 1881, by the Western Historical Company - Submitted by a Friend of Free Genealogy


Lancaster, Sept 20.--Joseph Ivey, for manslaughter, was sentenced to two years. In the Judge case, Pat Buttle and John Judge were each sentenced to one year. Pat Judge is sentenced to pay a fine of $100 and John Judge, Jr. to $50. Petition to the governor in behalf of those in the Judge case are in circulation. McClosky and Delaney were fined $25 each is the assault cases. Court has adjourned.

Source: Wisconsin State Journal September 25, 1883 - Sub. by A Friend of Free Genealogy


Among the earliest assassinations which took place in the present confines of Grant County and one that, at this date, seems most brutally cold-blooded, was the shooting of "Jim Crow " at Potosi, by a gang of claim-jumpers. The following account of this murder is compiled from different sources, chiefly from a history of the crime that appeared in the Grant County Herald some years ago

The Long Range was one of the most prolific ranges of mineral ever worked in the Potosi mines. It was originally discovered by a man by the name of Fipps, who, failing to discover the fortune it contained, and, after working awhile on side crevices, sold out for a trifle to more fortunate parties. A mining claim, at this time, was a lot two hundred yards square, as allowed by the Government. Moor & Watson held one of these lots, and, in proving their claim, struck the main body of mineral, or, in more modern parlance, the 'bonanza.' There was living in ' Snake Hollow,' at this time, a gang of roughs, whose business was to make an easy living by any means that might subserve their own nefarious purpose. Sometimes they would decoy their victims into the saloons and fleece them out of their ' piles ' at the gambling table. Failing at this, they did not hesitate to adopt means that would compass their design and place them in possession of the coveted treasure of the fortunate and hard-working miner ; and woe be to the man who fell under the ban of their displeasure. Their plan once devised and adopted, they did not fail to execute it, however hazardous and villainous the means used in its accomplishment. No retreat, however secure, was safe from their invasion. With the stealth and persistence of the India thug, they pursued their victim, and, once within their meshes, there was no escape. The ' Long Range,' with its deep, capacious crevices of glittering ore, was a prize, and the band resolved to have it by fair means if possible, by foul if necessary. Moor & Watson learned their design, and resolved to beat them in their own way. They gave ' Jim Crow' a, fighting interest. He was a man formed in a perfect mold, and well skilled in the ' manly art of self-defense,' his right name being James D. Morgan, but, through the mines, he went by his sobriquet of ' Jim Grow.' It was a pastime for him to ward off the blows of his antagonist and send him sprawling to the ground with a force that beats the Keely motor. He was never known to seek a quarrel nor to back out from one in behalf of an insulted or injured friend. A few well-directed blows was sufficient for the occasion, and the recipient never asked to have them repeated. Bill Goodfellow, also a powerful man, thought to dispatch him once, at a saloon in Dubuque, striking him in the back with an ax, severing his ribs from the bone ; but Jim, quick and fierce as a she tiger, turned on him, wresting the ax from his hands, and, before feeling the effects of his severe injury, dealt him such a thrashing that Bill ever after kept the peace. Such was the new partner in Moor & Watson's diggings, whom the miners had learned to respect for his unobtrusive devotion to the right, and the roughs to fear for his swift and terrible punishments of the wrong. A fellow by the name of John Calder was the first to assert his claim to the diggings, and, for this purpose, armed himself with a gun. Jim saw him coming and advanced to meet him half way. His first move was to wrest the gun from his hand, and then administering a few well-placed kicks, ordered him to return by the path he had come, or he would blow the top off his head, Calder obeyed, and relinquished all further claim. A few days after, the whole gang, consisting of Sam Roundtree, Bill Clark, Cyrus Harper, Jake Derrich, Bill Cooley and Lindsey Evans, all armed, were seen approaching the diggings. Jim Crow was prepared for them. He stood, as they approached, leaning on the windlass at the mouth of the 'hole,' armed with his knife, pistols and rifle. When they came within thirty yards, Jim ordered a halt along the whole line. They knew too well the determined character of their foe, and to advance farther was certain death to one or more, and they wisely concluded to obey the order and remain where they were. Harper tried to commence conversation and said : ' Crow, we have come up to settle this difficulty, and would like to talk with you a little. Crow replied, ' You can't talk to me ; you have come with a d d pack of thieves. Now, take the path you came, and go home and attend to your own business.'

They did leave and were only too glad to get beyond the reach of the well aimed rifle. Though held at bay and baffled in their nefarious purpose for the time, for there is little doubt they purposed to kill Crow then and there, if they could do so without endangering their lives, they were not to be thus easily thwarted, and slowly returned deliberating a more successful revenge. It was not long delayed. All was kept quiet. No intimation was given of the work they had in view, and it was supposed the strife was at an end, and Moor & Watson were to be left in the peaceable possession of their rich diggings. A few weeks after, Jim Crow was sitting in Owen McLaughlin's grocery, quietly smoking his short pipe, when Bill Cooley, Jake Derrich and Lindsey Evans entered. It was observed that Evans wore a cloak. All walked up to the bar and called for something to drink, inviting Jim Crow to do the same. There was nothing in the words or movements of the men to betray suspicion when the two turned to leave the house. Cooley and Derrich had passed out, when Lindsey Evans turned suddenly round sent a ball whizzing through Crow's heart, and left him weltering in his blood. He expired in a few moments thereafter, while the assassins mounted horses that were held in waiting by their cowardly associates without and escaped down the Hollow. Crow was buried in Whittaker's field, on the hill, to the left of the road leading from Potosi to Galena. The events succeeding the cowardly assassination stop not here, and were fraught with more than mere local interest. The number and influence of the gang, some of them being men of means and holding respectable connections, defied the law. The local authorities were mere minions of their authority, and, if not willing tools, were but too anxious to avoid giving offense. The three principal murderers, after skulking a few days in the neighborhood, were arrested, and, after a farcical examination, were set at liberty. It was then the people became aroused. Nelson Dewey was serving his first term of Justice of the Peace in the town of Lancaster; From him a new warrant was procured, and the villains re-arrested and brought into court. The prisoners were held to bail and committed to the guard-house at Prairie du Chien, there being no jail yet in the county. The examination lasted all night and some time into the next day. Many of the persons who attended were known to be armed, and their previous intimacy with prisoner and known desperate character fastened the rumor that an attempt at a rescue would be made. A guard was organized to protect the officers, and thus under a strong guard the prisoners were started for Prairie du Chien. They were afterward brought before Chief Justice Dunn on a writ of habeas corpus and admitted to bail. This action on the part of Judge Dunn aroused the slumbering passions of the better class of citizens. These lawless desperadoes again at liberty, defiantly returned to their old haunts in Potosi. Forbearance had ceased to be a virtue in this case, and meetings were held to take into consideration the best mode of getting rid of them. It was finally determined to drive them out of the country, and a limit fixed to the number of days they might remain to adjust their business. At the end of the time an armed body of men numbering two hundred and over, marched into the town ; but the desperadoes had made good their retreat, and put the waters of the Mississippi between them and all danger. The principals never returned. As an episode snowing the animus of the times and of the kind of characters that went to make up a mining town, the following incident will show : Dr. Hill was a friend of some of the parties implicated in the murder, whom the mob compelled to leave. One of them went to him for advice. The doctor said : ' I will not advise you one way or another, but there is not men enough in Wisconsin to drive me out.' This remark identified him with the gang, and a meeting was called to dispose of his case. Dr. Hill hearing of it armed himself to the teeth and walked into the meeting. Taking off his hat, and standing straight as a lamp-post and bringing his rifle to a ground arms, he addressed the meeting as follows : Mr. President, I understand this meeting has been organized for the purpose of driving me out of Potosi. Sir, is that the object of this meeting. (G d d m your souls! you can't drive me out! and you shall not discuss a matter of the kind. Any every one present knew that speech portended death to the first man who could open his mouth. The meeting was cowed into silence and one by one they dropped out glad to get beyond the range of the belicose doctor's rifle. He was not driven out. Harper, a merchant was, however, afterward arrested and brought before the Vigilante Court and proven guilty of loading the pistol with which 'Jim Crow' was killed, his own clerk testifying against him. He was then given two days in which to settle up his affairs and leave town. Before the expiration of the limit set, he was out of town glad to escape so easily." Nearly forty years have elapsed since these events occurred, and but few remain who were cognizant of the facts. Lindsey Evans was never tried, and few if any learned the squalor his life. Some returned Wisconsin soldiers, while in a Southern prison, relate that one of their keepers, learning whence they came, confessed himself to be Lindsey Evans, and by kindly acts to the prisoners seemed to desire to atone for his great wrong. But his name and memory will ever be attached to the most infamous assassination that ever occurred in the lead mines.

Source: "History of Grant County Wisconsin," 1881, by the Western Historical Company - Submitted by a Friend of Free Genealogy


The most diabolically cold-blooded and brutal murder that ever occurred in Grant County was perpetrated June 15, 1868, by William Kidd, of Glenn Haven, who at that date killed Catharine Jordan, of the same place. Kidd and his victim had been brought up together, being children of farmers in the neighborhood, and for some years he had been paying to Miss Jordan considerable attention, and, to all appearances, was deeply in love with the young lady. This affection, however, was not by any means mutual, and Kidd had threatened to take her life if she did not marry him. Nothing more was heard of it until on the evening of the 15th of June, when Kidd drove over from Cassville with a two-horse carriage to the residence of Mr. Samuel Mclvor, where Miss Jordan was stopping. He remained talking with the young lady for an hour and a half, when she was finally induced to get in the carriage and take a ride with him. This was the last that was seen of the girl until the next morning, when her mutilated body was found by a neighbor, looking for his cattle, near the farm of Mr. Mark Scott, of Glen Haven. Her throat was gashed from ear to ear, while the hands and arms were cut and bruised badly, giving evidence of the terrible struggle which must have taken place between the murderer and his victim. It was afterward discovered that Kidd, after committing the dastardly crime, had driven his team to his father's stable, hitched them, saddled a horse of his own and rode to Boscobel, where he left his horse and left for parts unknown.

The news of this horrible event fled like wildfire, and public feeling was lashed into the fiercest waves of excitement, which drowned every feeling but the one for vengeance on the murderer. The citizens of Bloomington and Glen Haven offered a reward of $550 for his arrest, and to this was added |500 by the county and $500 additional by the State, making $1,550. to this was added $250 offered by the citizens of Fennimore, making $1,800 in all. No traces of the ruffianly fiend were found, until, in October of the same year, he was captured in Nobles County, Minn., by J. T. Delaware, formerly of Glen Haven, but at the time a resident at Omaha, Neb., and Frank Winship, of Sioux City. During the interval elapsing between the commission of the deed and his capture, Kidd had been rambling around through Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota, where he was engaged with a companion, whose acquaintance he had made, in trapping, when the pursuers closed in on him. He confessed the whole of his crime to one of his captors the first night after his arrest, saying after they left the house he had drove on for some ways, and had stopped his horses near a ravine, and, turning them across the road, had drawn his revolver and asked his companion to shoot him. This she of course refused, at the same time demanding his intentions, saying she was afraid of him. He then took out a knife, and Miss Jordan cried out, " My God! William, are you going to cut my throat?" To this the fiendish wretch replied in the affirmative, and endeavored to accomplish his designs. The girl resisted stoutly, but he finally wrenched the knife from her hand and succeeded in effecting his purpose. This portion of his fiendish story was told with a cold-blooded particularity horrible in its coolness. After being satisfied that life was extinct, Kidd alighted from the carriage, intending to throw the body in some sink hole, but the horses started, and he thought some one was coming, so, leaving the remains in the road, he jumped to the seat and drove hastily away. The reason given by the murderer for his hellish act was that he was in misery for fear she might marry some other person his excuses being as feeble as his crime was dastardly.

The murderer cheated the law by taking a dose of poison while on the cars on his way to Grant County. His body was brought to Lancaster and identified, after which it was buried, and the crime passed into the dim region of remembrances.

Source: "History of Grant County Wisconsin," 1881, by the Western Historical Company - Submitted by a Friend of Free Genealogy



While temporarily insane, Mrs. Paul Klass killed her four small children and then committed suicide at her home near Kieler, Wis.

The woman used a large butcher knife, cutting each of the children's throats.

When she had cut the first one, the others tried to get away, but it is said, the woman had barred the doors of her home, and they could not escape.

The eldest child was 6 and the youngest a baby.

The woman had been in ill health.

Kieler is a village in Grant county, Wis., thirty miles southwest of Lancaster and eight miles east of Dubuque, Ia. Its population is but 100. There is no railroad through the place.

Source: The Milwaukee Journal (Dubuque, Ia.), 16 Jun 1905; transcribed by Mary Dutcher

Klingensmith Taken.

John Klingensmith, the murderer of Archibald Reeves, was arrested in Platteville, Grant Co., Wisconsin, at the instance of George Smale, formerly of this county, and lodged in jail at Lancaster, to await a requisition from Gov. Dennison. Smale was acquainted with Klingensmith, when both were boys, and living in Western Pennsylvania. Smale who resides at Platteville and keeps a store there, had seen a notice of the murder of Reeves, and that a reward of $500 had been offered for the arrest of Klingensmith. About two weeks ago, Klingensmith entered the store of Smale, and probably recognized him, as he asked him if he had not at one time lived in Western Penn. Smale, who was reading a newspaper at the time, replied that he had lived there formerly, and although he knew Klingensmith, at the first glance, he very coolly resumed the reading of the newspaper. When Klingensmith went out of the store, Smale had him watched until the preparation to arrest him were made.

When arrested he was on horse-back, just starting for some other part of the country. He was unarmed and made no resistance.

Sheriff Lyman left Galena with his prisoner on Thursday evening at 9 o'clock, and arrived at Salem on Saturday at 12 p.m., and here on Sunday morning at 4 o'clock. He says, that Klingensmith gave him little or no trouble while on the road, and made not the slightest attempt to escape.

As the jail of this County is notoriously unsafe, and the cost of hiring guards to watch on the outside, every night, would not be less than from two to three dollars per night, the probability is that he will be taken to the jail of some neighboring county, probably to Cleveland, and there safely kept until the next session of Court in this County. He is now in the same cell with two or three other prisoners. Trumbull County has reason to be proud of the nice school for crime which is afforded when those accused of petty larceny are thrust into the same cell in company with a murderer. They are in a fair way to be fitted to receive a diploma in the shape of a hangman's rope, or a life sentence to the State's Prison, at some future day.

Source: Western Reserve Chronicle (Warren, OH), 22 August 1860

The death of Charles Latimer in February, 1844, at the hands of one Gloster, at Potisi, created at the time much local excitement and was characterized as "the most tragical occurrence that has disgraced this portion of the Territory for years." Latimer was an Englishman by "birth, and had fled from Canada in consequence of his participation in the patriot war. He was a lawyer by profession, a man of brilliant parts and a ripe scholar, but unfortunately addicted to intemperance and the abuse of the American eagle. The former habit was viewed according to the custom of the time, with a great deal of tolerance, the latter with quite the reverse.

On the evening, about the middle of February in the saloon of Clark & Woods, Latimer became involved in a discussion on the right of foreigners to vote, and during the discussion he animadverted somewhat severely upon American character and customs, when he was knocked down by Gloster, who was present. Latimer continued his remarks and was again knocked down, he making no show of resistance. Soon after this, having in the meantime indulged in more liquor, Latimer approached Col. White and charged him with being the cause of his having received a black eye. The Colonel was a professional gambler, a Kentuckian by birth, and a man of fine physique and polished manners, who had the reputation of having upon more than one occasion "winged his man." The tone used by Latimer was highly insulting, and the Colonel immediately knocked him down. This was on Saturday night. On the following morning Gloster went to Latimer, begged his pardon, and they parted apparently good friends. On Monday morning, a note was received by Col. White from Latimer asking for the satisfaction usual among gentlemen. The challenge was accepted, and weapons rifles, at one hundred yards agreed upon, the time being set for the next morning. Gloster acted as the friend of Col. White, Latimer being also provided with a friend who acted as his second. At 3 o'clock on the morning of the intended meeting, the two principals were arrested and held to bail. This however, only resulted in changing the place of meeting from Wisconsin to Iowa Territory. Promptly to the hour all were on hand, and the principals posted. At this juncture, Samuel Morris, an Acting Constable of the county, James F. Chapman, Justice of the Peace, Maj. John R. Coons, and one or two others appeared upon the scene to assert the majesty of the law and act as peacemakers. Being worthy citizens and men of honor, averse to all such bloody proceedings, they went earnestly to work to stop the combat and succeeded. After much solicitation, both parties agreed to refer the dispute to a committee, who after a review of the case, decided that it was a misunderstanding all around, and no apologies were necessary on either side. The reconciliation having been effected, they returned to town and all might have been well had not malicious busybodies whispered in the besotted ear of Latimer that Gloster had further intentions against his person. Maddened with the fumes of the poisonous liquor, each day added to his frenzy until the erstwhile talented gentleman was reduced to an irresponsible maniac. On the night preceding the fatal encounter, Latimer was again informed that Gloster had used menacing language against him. In the state of delirium which then enveloped him, this was like touching a match to powder, and after passing a sleepless night, Latimer armed himself with a Bowie knife and two horse pistols, one of which, in his deranged condition of mind, he loaded with powder and the other with ball and sallied forth to met his foe. Intercepting Gloster as he was going to breakfast, he fired at him once, but as the pistol was only loaded with powder it simply burned and blackened his face. Gloster cried that he was unarmed and asked his antagonist not to kill him, and the latter told him to go and arm himself Gloster hastily withdrew, and some time afterward re-appeared armed with a double-barreled shotgun. Latimer had been impatiently awaiting his return, whittling a pine stick with a Bowie knife in the meantime, and as his eye caught sight of the man approaching with the gun in his hand advanced with raised pistol. His gait, however, was unsteady, and his aim uncertain. Gloster cocked his gun and raised it to his shoulder, but retreated step by step until he came to an open culvert where the branch runs near the corner of Lewis' store. Here he stopped and warned Latimer and his friends that if he advanced a step nearer he would fire. The words were unheeded, and a second later, poor Latimer lay weltering in his gore. Samuel Wilson who was his friend and intimate, and who, during the morning had made several unsuccessful attempts to disuade him from his purpose, received him in his arms as he fell and conveyed him to a place near by where he expired. The authorities were strongly censured for not preventing this untimely meeting. Gloster surrendered himself to the officers, and, upon examination, was acquitted on the ground of self-defense. He remained but a short time in Potosi after the commission of the deed; and died a few years later in Chicago. The pistols used upon the occasion were preserved by a citizen of Potosi, and one of them still remains in his possession. The other was donated to a California emigrant and by him lost in the country of gold. They were savage and formidable looking instruments.

Source: "History of Grant County Wisconsin," 1881, by the Western Historical Company - Submitted by a Friend of Free Genealogy

Fighting Over a Will.

Lancaster, Wis., April 27.--The heirs of Isaac P. Lord, a wealthy resident of Platteville, who died in 1877, are engaged in litigation over the estate, which is worth nearly $100,000. The will gave to Paul Lord, son of the deceased, half of the estate, which is mainly real estate, and appointed as executors L. J. Washburne, O. F. Griswold and Frank Huntington. Mrs. Lord was dissatisfied with the will, as it imposed conditions upon her which were not satisfactory and this fact many have had something to do with the refusal. The executors to quality. [sic] Mrs. Lord has controlled the estate for the past nine years, and no settlement has been made. Her daughter Mrs. Mills, whose children are residuary ligatees, is desirous of having the estate settled, and has made application to the court for the appointment of C. W. Hill as administrator with the will annexed. Judge Carter to-day granted the application. Mrs. Lord desired the appointment of her son, Paul. There is little doubt that the litigation will go to the supreme court.

Source: St. Paul Daily Globe (St. Paul, MN), 28 April 1886


Lancaster, Wis., April 28, 1886--Judge Carter has appointed C. W. Hill administrator of the estate of the late Isaac P. Lord, who died at Platteville in 1877. This action was in accordance with the petition of Mary E. Mills, a daughter of the deceased. The estate, which consists mainly of real estate, is worth about $100.000. The will appointed as executors L. J. Washburn, O. F. Griswold and Frank Huntington. For some reason they did nonqualify ana hare never acted in that capacity. The estate has remained in the hands of Mrs. Lord and has never been settled. The will contained a number of provisions which were not in accordance with Mrs. Lord's wishes, and on one occasion she threatened to destroy the will. The children of Mrs. Mary E. Mills, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lord, were by the will made residuary legatees and consequently Mrs. Mills was desirous that the estate should be settled. Mrs. Lord contested her daughter's application for the appointment of C. W. Hilt as administrator, but was defeated. She desired the appointment of her son, who is heir to half of the estate. The decision of the county judge will, no doubt, be appealed from, and this is the commencement of a family contest over the distribution of the estate.

Source: Wisconsin State Journal, 30 Apr 1886 - Sub. by a Friend of Free Genealogy

(James Ray Insanity Stabbing)

At Platteville, Wis., Sunday morning, a young man named James Ray became suddenly insane, and attacked two men, stabbing them fatally.

Source: Huntingdon Journal (PA), 28 May 1873

On Tuesday a most cold blooded murder was perpetrated near Potosi, in Wisconsin. It seems that for some time there has been existing a bitter feud between Robt. Sawyer and a man named Ross. On Tuesday it culminated in the murder of the latter. Mr. Ross had been to Potosi during the day, and was returning home when in British Hollow, he was met by Sawyer, or waylaid by him. Sawyer fired two shots, one taking effect in the fine horse ridden by Ross, and the other inflicting a mortal wound upon Ross. Two men traveling the road near by heard the shooting and immediately repaired to the spot. They found the horse dead, and Mr. Ross in a dying condition. He lived only long enough to tell them who had murdered him. Information was given to the officers and active pursuit was made for the arrest of Sawyer. An officer was in this city on Wednesday to secure aid from our city officers. The greatest excitement prevails at Potosi, and it is thought that if Sawyer should be caught and taken perhaps he would be lynched.

Source: Daily Dubuque Harold (Dubuque, IA) 6 Nov 1868; transcribed by Mary Dutcher
(James Noland Family)

James Noland will probably be remembered by some, as an engineer in the employ of Parfrey & Pease during last summer. He lives near Boscobel; has a wife who is now in the insane asylum, and seven children, the oldest seven years; the youngest ten months. Noland hired a neighbor to keep the babe for $1 a week, but on being informed that the cow had gone dry, and that milk would have to be bought at an additional cost of 25 cents a week, Noland refused to pay it and took the child home where it had the care of a five year old child, the two older ones attending school. The house is a mere shed and Noland spends his time and his money in drinking. The youngest died last week and he obtained a coffin and went alone and buried it, the neighbors not knowing the child was sick.

Not feeling satisfied, the neighbors took legal steps to have the child taken up and a post mortem examination held and had Noland arrested. Nothing was proved against him and he was released but the belief among the people at Boscobel is that the child was smothered, but they are charitable enough to believe that Noland did it unwittingly when drunk--Richland Republican

Source: Grant County Witness (Platteville, WI), 7 Jan 1875

Slaying of Deputy a First for County

Lancaster, Wis.--Sheriff's Deputy Thomas Reuter, who was shot to death Sunday night after stopping a tractor on a town road, was the first Grant County deputy ever killed in the line of duty, authorities say.

Reuter, 38, of Livingston, was killed by a shotgun blast after he stopped a person driving a tractor about 11:30 p.m. Sunday on a town road south of Livingston, Sheriff's Deputy Jim Muller said. Livingston is 12 miles northeast of Platteville.

"This is something we always think about, but we really have no concrete thoughts about it until it happens," said Muller, who had known Reuter for nine years. "We aren't used to this around here, so when it happens it's really a blow.

"Every officer has run into a potentially dangerous situation. Basically, what he was getting into here wasn't what we'd classify as dangerous.

An 18-year-old Livingston man was arrested at 4:05 a.m. Monday in a barn five miles from the shooting scene after canine units from Spring Green and Dane County aided in the search, Muller said. The suspect remained in custody Tuesday.

The man apparently had fled on foot. He was found alone in the barn and did not have a weapon when he was arrested, authorities said. He was being held in the Grant County Jail pending his initial court appearance.

A criminal complaint had not been filed Monday, but Chief Deputy Lloyd Runde said a charge of first-degree intentional homicide would be sought.

When Reuter failed to respond to radio calls, another deputy went to the scene 20 minutes later and found his body, Muller said.

Muller said 40 officers from numerous law enforcement agencies were involved in the search for the assailant.

Reuter had worked full time for the department for six years and part time for about three years before that. He had lived in the Livingston area all his life.

"He was basically an all-around wonderful person who had an open heart for everyone," Muller said.

"He was a very good listener, a very outgoing person who was very active in his family life. This is going to be a big blow for us and the department.

He is survived by his wife, Diane; a daughter, Sherry; four sons, Dan, Doug, Tim, and Andy; his parents, La Verne and Frances Reuter, of rural Platteville; and two sisters, Shirley Mayo, or West Bend, and Mrs. Jack K. Maisa of Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Source: The Milwaukee Journal 20 Mar 1990 - Transcribed by Mary Dutcher


On the 1st day of March, 1838, Edward Oliver and John Russell, living near Cassviile, Became involved in a discussion arising from the loan of a skiff which Russell had borrowed from Oliver to go across Turkey River, and had not returned as he agreed. The wordy warfare aroused Oliver's passions to such an extent that he drew a pistol and attempted to shoot his antagonist. Parties near by interfered, but reaching around the would-be peacemaker, Oliver pulled the trigger and the ball from the pistol struck Russell in the left breast killing him instantly. Oliver was arrested and tried at September term of court and sentenced to be hanged. This sentence was carried into effect a short time later, the gallows for the execution being erected a short distance from where the old jail now stands. Harvey Pepper was Sheriff at the time, but a deputy named Reynolds released the fatal drop that sent the murderer into eternity. Previous to his execution, Oliver expressed a wish to make a confession as well as give a history of his past life, and Judge Barber, then a young lawyer, went to his cell to commit this recital to paper. The entrance to the cell was effected by first going into the upper story of the old log jail and then descending into the cell. As Mr. Barber sat writing, he happened to notice Oliver slip his hand from the shackles which he had unloosened in some manner and stealthily reach for an iron bar that lay near him, his evident intention being to brain his visitor and then perhaps escape.

Mr. Barber stopped writing and looking the murderer squarely in the eye, commanded him in a stern voice to replace his hand in the shackle. For a moment they sat eyeing each other, but the piercing, unflinching gaze was too much for the murderous ruffian, and he sullenly obeyed the command, and when he was securely fastened, his visitor took his leave informing him that some other time he would take the remainder of the matter. But no further attempts were made to gratify the fellow's desire for posthumous notoriety.

Oliver's son, a young lad, threatened, previous to his father's execution, to kill the officers should the sentence be carried out, and a short time after the verdict of the court had been fulfilled to its awful end, young Oliver was found in a thicket on the edge of the town with cocked gun waiting for his victim. He was, however, seen and captured before he had time to do any damage. His weapons were taken from him, and he made, so far as heard from, no further attempts for vengeance.

Source: "History of Grant County Wisconsin," 1881, by the Western Historical Company - Submitted by a Friend of Free Genealogy


Fred Irle Arrested at Dubuque on Serious Charge.
May Explain Recent Murder on Great Western Train.
Circumstantial Evidence Has Every Look of Guilt.

Dubuque, Aug. 31--Fred Irle was arrested in a saloon here Tuesday evening for the murder of Guy Shelliam and Henry Speth, of Platteville, Wis. The crime of which he is accused was committed July 23d. The victims were young men from Platteville, Wis., and before their tragcail [sic] death they were in Dubuque in search of employment. While here they stopped at the Windsor hotel. The evidence against Irle is that he was with them shortly before their dead bodies were found. On July 22 the bodies of Shelliam and Speth, were found beside the Great Western tracks at Savannah, Mo. There were bullet holes in the back of their heads, and the supposition at the time was that they had been murdered. Irle had been seen with the murdered men shortly before their bodies were found, but he disappeared afterwards and no one had seen anything of him until tracked by a description and notice that he was wanted to Woodson's saloon in this city last week. He submitted to arrest calmly, and Marshal John Shelliam of Platteville, the father of one of the murdered men, had been sent for and is expected at any time.

The Dubuque Telegraph of yesterday says:

"Fred Irle, the young man who is now in jail here, charged with murdering two young men at Savannah, Mo., has a rather bad reputation, according to reports. Mr. Shelliam, city marshal of Platteville, who is the father of one of the boys murdered, is in Dubuque and called at the jail today to see Irle. Mr. Shelliam is naturally interested, as his son was cruelly murdered, and he is also anxious to have the murderer run down and punished. He says that Irle bore a very hard reputation in Platteville, and was looked upon as a bad character and the evidence against him is very strong. He left here with two Platteville boys and was seen with them very shortly before they were murdered at Savannah, and he then disappeared and has not been located since, until found in a saloon in this city Tuesday night when he was arrested.

Mr. Shelliam, father of the murdered boy, who is now here, says that Irle has had it in for him for several years because he had driven him out of Platteville, and is of the opinion that he would not hesitate to commit such a deed. While the evidence is all circumstantial, it is very strong. The local authorities are awaiting an answer from the Missouri officers, where Irle will, no doubt, be sent for trial.

Source: Waterloo Semi Weekly Courier (Waterloo, IA) September 4, 1900; transcibed by MCK
A Wholesale Murderer Arrested in Wisconsin.
Milwaukee, January 17th.

On the 6th of December, Bob Turner, of Potosi, Grant county, was arrested for the murder of his brother Albert. The inquest, which has just been concluded, reveals a bloodthirsty depravity rivaling that of the Bender family. The murdered man was killed with an axe, the head being nearly severed from the body, as he was coming out of a mineral hole in which he was at work. He fell back speechless, and never moved more. The murdered then called out to another brother, Newton, who was in an adjoining shaft, to come, and Newton commenced to climb up, but when he reached the surface he perceived the body of the murdered Albert, and was about to run, when Bob seized him, and showing him the bloody axe threatened to kill him instantly, while he swore him to assist in putting the body away, and to preserve silence. This Newton assented to, but on the first opportunity he escaped to Potosi, where he gave the alarm, and the murderer fled to Lancaster. He was pursued, arrested, and lodged in prison, where he soon attempted the life of his keeper. The second murder which has just come to light is that of Olney Neely, a youth of the town of Ellenboro. Bob Turner was there cutting hoop-poles for Bell. On Tuesday, December 23d, the boy Neely started from Bell’s to see his mother, who resides in New California. His road lay through the timber belonging to Bailey, where Turner was at work. That was the last seen of Young Neely until the 9th of January. The people residing in the neighborhood having heard of Turner’s murderous propensity, and knowing that young Neely had to pass near where he was at work, turned out on Friday last to hunt for his remains. Eight men started out and reached the grounds on each side of the road. When they arrived upon the premises where Turner had been choppoing they found the body, which lay as it had fallen six weeks before. The indications showed that Turner had commenced to cut down a sapling, having struck two blows on the left side and one on the right. The second blow evidently was the one that killed the boy. The position in which the body lay and the course the blow from the axe had taken, all indicates this. The boy’s head was nearly cut from the body, only hanging by a small piece of skin on the back and front of the neck, the axe having gone clear through the neck. When found young Neely had a paper parcel under his arm, just as he was carrying it. The body was taken care of, and a jury impaneled to hold an inquest. The verdict was that Olney Neely, aged fourteen years, came to his death by the blow of an axe in the hands of Robert Turner. Several other mysterious murders have taken place in the localities in which Turner has been seen, and Marshall Bennett visited the prisoner and asked him to confess if he had not had a hand in them. He finally confessed that he remembered the killing of two men, strangers, whom he had encountered in a deep ravine, back of the Poor farm. He attacked and murdered one of them, hiding the body, and the other he met on the road to Muscado, where he was going to get work. He says that the latter made threatening gestures, and he feared he was going to take his life, so he closed with him, and with a four-pound weight, which he carried in his pocket, struck him two blows over the eyes, smashing in the skull and killing him instantly. He dragged the body into the bushes and secured it there. He has confessed that he delights to talk of the many persons he has killed. He gloats over the skill with which he has concealed the bodies, and declares that nobody can find them but himself, and that if they were got together there would be nearly forty of them.

Source: Sacramento Daily Union, 19 Jan 1874; transcribed by MCK

Robert Turner, of Potosi, Grant county, Wisconsin, has been arrested for the murder of his brother. He has confessed to the murder of about forty persons.

Source: Los Angeles Herald, 20 Jan 1874; transcribed by MCK


Madison, Wis., April 9.— James Allen and James W. Wilson, two desperate burglars, were arrested at Boscobel, this morning, by Sheriff Charlton, for blowing open a safe a week ago, in a flouring mill, and pillaging a lumber office at Stoughton, and burglarizing a store at Mazomanie a few nights ago. One hundred and fifty dollars in cash, and several revolvers, and burglars' tools, were found in their possession.

Source: Daily Globe. (St. Paul, Minn.), April 10, 1878 - Sub. by K.T.


One of the most inhuman of the many diabolical crimes that has marked the pages of Grant County history was the murder of the Hon. Milas K. Young, by his son, in May, 1875, near Glen Haven. The causes leading to the commission of the crime dated back some time previous to that date. Albert Young, the murderer, had been engaged in business at Glen Haven, and through various causes, was unsuccessful. Mr. Young endorsed his notes for some time, but then refused to do so any longer. Albert then resorted to extensive forgeries in order to keep himself above water. These forgeries included the names of friends as well as his father. He also obtained control of the title to the homestead, and was endeavoring to raise |2,600 by a mortgage on the place. In the meantime, he attempted to drive his father off from the farm. In this quarrel the young man had the sympathy of his mother, between whom and her husband there had existed a coolness for years, there being at the time a lawsuit pending between them in regard to the title to the farm. In a collision between father and son, the former was injured by an ax in the hands of his offspring, but this wound was claimed by the latter to be accidental, and by many, cognizant of the facts, so accepted. At length, Mr. Young learned of the forgeries and sent word to his attorneys to have the forger arrested. Previous to this he had expressed to some of his neighbors the fear that his life was in danger, but these fears were regarded as groundless, and Mr. Young continued to remain at the homestead. By some means, Albert Young learned of the danger in which he stood, and Friday, May 14, early in the forenoon, he came into the yard surrounding the house and sat down on a cart, occupying his time with whittling, evidently waiting for his father to come out. The latter was in his room lying down, with the door locked. After waiting in this manner for some time, the young fiend, it would seem, could no longer control his desire for revenge, and he entered the house and inquired of a servant where his father was. and upon receiving the reply that he was asleep in his room, Albert went to the door and threw himself against it with a view of forcibly entering the room. This he partly succeeded in doing, when the noise awoke his parent, who jumped from the bed and ran out of a door leading from his bedroom on the east side of the house. His pursuer then turned and hastened to the front door and met Mr. Young as he came around the house, drawing a revolver as he did so. He commenced firing and discharged four shots, two of which took effect upon his victim. The latter also drew a revolver and fired once at his unnatural son, the bullet grazing his abdomen and inflicting a painful, but no wise dangerous wound. But determined that his victim should not escape, the young ruffian seized a hatchet and rushed upon the fatally-wounded man and dealt him several crushing blows upon the head, breaking the skull in a ghastly manner.

Several neighbors heard the cries of the wounded man, and hastened at once to the spot, but did not arrive until the murderer had finished his work and started to make his escape. He ran west to a grove standing some sixty yards away, and there stopped to examine his own wound-The hasty examination appeared to produce the impression that he was seriously, if not fatally, wounded, and, reloading his revolver, he placed it to his head and sent his blood-stained soul into the presence of its Maker.

Mr. Young was picked up by his neighbors and carried into the house and laid on the bed from which he had fled but a few moments before. He lingered in great pain until the Sunday following, when death came to his relief, and he passed through the doors into the great hereafter.

The excitement in the community was intense, the murdered man had been universally respected wherever known, and his sudden and horrible death aroused all the indignation lying dormant in the breasts of the citizens of that section. Had it not been for a few of the more conservative among them, there is no doubt but the stern rule of a mob would soon have reduced everything about the scene of the tragedy to ruins ; as it was, the body of the murderer was refused burial in the village cemetery, and was quietly interred upon the farm. Of the murdered man, the following testimony was borne by the papers of that date:

Milas K. Young had a reputation as wide as his adopted State. His form graced our legislative halls during the years from 1862 to 1865. Intelligent, faithful, earnest, his constituents felt that their interests and their welfare were wisely understood and well defended by him. Endowed with a laudable ambition and great mental energy, he early became a leader among his fellow-citizens, capable of molding and guiding public opinion. With wide sympathies and views, he felt a deep interest in all public questions, especially those that concerned the profession that he had chosen. To increase the quantity and quality of the productions of the soil.; to provide for his fellow-farmers competing markets for their productions, were the problems he most studied. It was this devotion that gave him such a strong hold on the esteem of the farming class with whose interests his inclinations and tastes were identified."

Source: "History of Grant County Wisconsin," 1881, by the Western Historical Company - Submitted by a Friend of Free Genealogy