Search billions of records on Ancestry.com

3/17/1888
Forreston Illinois, Saturday Morning, March 17, 1888

Foul Murder and Suicide
George Albright Shot Down in His Own House,
Barbara Albright Shot While Flying From the House
Sam Whitmyer, the Wretch Who Did the Shooting,
Puts a Bullet into His Own Brain and Escapes Lynching Thereby.
The Murderer Lodged in Polo Jail, Died at 5p.m.

Ogle County Press Extra, March 17

Wednesday morning, the home of Mrs. Barbara Albright, 4 miles N.W. of Polo, in Eagle Point township, was the scene for one of the most brutal, shocking and unprovoked murders ever perpetrated in this part of the state. While sitting quietly beside the table, without a warning, George Albright was shot dead by Samuel Whitmyer, his hired man. Mrs. Barbara Albright, mother of George, and Miss Albright, witnessed the deed. Mrs. Albright fled from the room to call her son John, who lives near by, and the daughter got as far as the porch when she too was shot and fell on the sidewalk. The murderer then fled to the barn, where he shot himself in the hay mow, and was found apparently unconscious. The weapon with which he did his murderous work was found by his side with five chambers empty.
The murderer is a single man, about 24 years old, named Samuel Whitmyer. He is a native of Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania. His father is dead but his mother still resides at the East. He came to this vicinity first about five years ago, and with the exception of a short absence in Dakota, he has resided in the vicinity of Brookville ever since. He is spoken of as a surly, bad, morose fellow, addicted to drink, and when under the influence is said to be reckless and disposed to shoot. While in liquor some time since he began shooting about the porch of the Albright residence. He has worked for George Albright for a year or so but had recently hired to John Albright, who lived perhaps 40 rods from George, and had gone to John's this week to stay.
Monday, Whitmyer, came in Polo and bought a 32’ caliber revolver at H.M. Funk’s hardware store. Monday afternoon he and George Groft, a neighboring young man, went to Freeport. Monday they drank some beer, but Groft says they did not become intoxicated. They stayed all night at the Pennsylvania House Tuesday, Groft says they drank two glasses of beer just before starting for home when they bought a pint of blackberry brandy and whisky mixed. They came on the evening passenger and when they reached Forreston they drank half the mixture and when they reached Polo they treated Sam Metz and then drank what little was left and started home on foot. Whitmyer spent the night at John Albright's and there he displayed his new revolver and talked of shooting if people did not quit talking about him. Mrs. Beck, Albright's mother-in-law cautioned him not to talk so, telling him he would bring up in the penitentiary if he was not careful.
His reply was to the effect that that would be the end of him then, or some remark indicating that he did not care for the consequences. It seems he had the idea that George Albright did not like him, and Mrs. Beck gathered from what he then said that he meant George who was present in his brother's home. George went home around nine o’clock Tuesday evening and shortly after sent Sam to bed. Nothing unusual was noticed Wednesday morning in his behavior.
After breakfast when John had gone out to work Whitmyer made up an excuse to go up to George's saying he wanted his working clothes. He went into George's kitchen where the mother and daughter were. Miss Barbara being engaged in the store washing dishes, George came in from milking, washed his hands, and sat down by the table with his back to the window – in the corner, in his left, about two feet away, stood a closet or cupboard. Across the corner of the room, in front of this extended a small line about even with the top of the window, over, which had been hung a shirt, which hid the top of the cupboard, Whitmyer, being close to it. Sam Whitmyer rose, stepped on a chair beside this cupboard, and pretended to be hunting something on top. He then remarked, apparently to George Albright, that “if some people said to his face what they said to his back he would shoot them.” George replied that probably no one had said anything about him. His reply was two quick shots from his revolver, which he had in his hand hidden behind the shirt hanging on the line. Mrs. Albright sprang out the door and ran down through the orchard calling for John. Their daughter Barbara ran after her, but received a shot (probably on the porch) which entered her right cheek just below the cheek bone, and came out on her neck. Mrs. Albright, as she fled for help saw Sam run into the yard midway between the horse and the barn. On her return with her son, John, they found Barbara lying on the sidewalk, beside the porch, shot as described above. George lay upon the kitchen floor in a pool of blood, dead. John hastily carried his sister to his own home, gave the alarm and returned to the house. Neighbors were speedily summoned and the dead man was taken from the great pool of blood on the floor and his face and head washed. There were two bullet holes in his left eye brow, one immediately in front of the ear, and a forth opening in the neck about two inches below the ear and in the vicinity of the jugular vein, which judging from the profuse bleeding was probably cut. About the wound in from of the ear the powder marks showed that the weapon must have been close to the head, and it seems probable that as he left the house he fired a third shot into the victim at close range. The wound over the eye, though it seemed like two may have been caused by a single bullet, for though there seemed to be four wounds it is clearly evident the murderer fired only five shots, three at George, one at Barbara, and the fifth into his own brain. There was intense excitement among the neighbors of the murdered man, and had not the doctor assured the crowd that the murderer but a very short time, it is probable they would have involved the aid of Judge Lynch.
A tight search through the hay mow did not at first reveal the presence of the murderer, but on entering the mow a second time his cap was seen and he was discovered in a holo in the hay, with a bullet hole in his right temple and the deadly pistol, with five empty chambers, by his side. He was carried out of the barn and laid upon some hay where the doctor probed for the bullet, but could not reach, it. The murderer was placid in a wagon, and brought to Polo jail about noon. At four o’clock he was alive and the doctor was probing the wound for the ball, but a six-inch probe failed to reach it. The man at times seemed to have considerable strengths but was not conscious, and though he seemed to understand has not spoken.
Dr. J.F. Snyder, of Monroe, the coroner of Ogle County, was telegraphed for at ten o’clock and requested to reply at once if he could not come. As no reply had been received it is expected he will reach Polo on the five o’clock train and hold the inquest tonight. It is perhaps needless to add that the shock to Mrs. Albright, mother of George, has been terrible, and to see her mourning over her dead son as he lay out on the lounge was pitiful beyond the power of language to describe.
Later – Whitmyer died at five o’clock.

Return to Ogle Co. Genealogy Site