Murders in Shawano County

Transcribed by Editor Jim Glasheen & Cathe Ziereis

 

SCJ June 22 1865

 

Two Indians Shot - We learn by Mr. Robinson of the Lake Superior Route, that two Indians were killed near Rice Lake seventy miles north of this place, on last Friday. Last fall an Indian at work for Mr. Robinson was killed by another Indian who settled with the father of the murdered man by paying $60. in money and the affair was supposed to be settled, according to the Indian idea of justice, until last Friday when the father, nephew and two friends of the murdered man tool the avengers path, tracked the murder and his brother about twenty miles, to the bank of a little stream and shot them. The object of shooting the brother, who was a large powerful Indian and quite popular with the band was to prevent him avenging his brother's death. A second cousin of the brothers shot on Friday has exposed the quarrel and is on the track of their murders. The parties all belong to the Chippewa Tribe of Indians.

Shawano County Journal

22 June 1871

Stabbing Affray

 

Mr. Augustin Grignon, and old resident of this county, residing near Keshena, was stabbed last evening at his home by

Ah-qua-no-mie, the head chief of the Menominee Tribe of Indians. He was stabbed in the bowels, near the naval with a common pocket knife. And we learn from Dr. LaCount, that there is little hopes of his recovery. The chief stopped at Grignon's house yesterday on his way to Keshena, somewhat in liquor, and Mr. Grignon had made preparations for his staying all night. What the trouble was we did not learn. Sheriff Robinson arrested him this morning and confined him in jail.

 

 

 

Shawano County Journal

6 July 1871

 

Ah-qua-no-mie, the Indian Chief who stabbed Mr. Grignon, was released from confinement last Monday, on bail. Mr. Grignon remains in about the same condition, quite comfortable, but helpless.

 

N.B. - Since writing the above we learn that Mr. Grignon died last evening. Funeral takes place to-day.

 

Shawano County Reporter

27 Jun 1872

Circuit Court

 

The June term of the Circuit Court fro the county commenced it's session last Tuesday, Judge E. H. Ellis presiding with his usual urbanity and prompt disposition of business. Among the legal gentlemen in attendance from abroad we notice Charles W Felker and James Freeman, Esq.'s of Oshkosh. Several minor cases being disposed of, the trial of Aquanomie, Head Chief of the Menominee tribe of Indians, for the alleged murder of Augustin Grignon last June, was taken up on Wednesday morning. It was with much difficulty that an impartial jury could be empanelled to try the case. As we go to press we learn the jury have returned a verdict against the prisoner of manslaughter in the third degree, and the judge has sentenced him to three years imprisonment at hard labor.

 

C.F. Felker, Esq., defended the Chief and the prosecution was conducted by District Attorney D. P. Andrews, assisted by Jas. Freeman, Esq.

 

Andrew J Nas, a Norwegian living in the town of Waukechon, cut his left hand thumb with an axe so badly on Tuesday of this week, while hewing a piece of wood, that it had to be amputated, which operation was performed by Dr. LaCount to-day.

Shawano County Journal

19 May 1877

Synopsis of the testimony in the Lange, Buth --- Plunderman Murder

 

Shawano, Wis., May 10 1877

Court called to order at 10:30 A.M. G. W. Latta District Attorney appeared in behalf of the State, and K. M. Phillips appeared as the attorney for the defendants. The complaint was filed by Wm. Hanka, and alleges that Ferdinand Plunderman was found dead Tuesday, May 8th, 1877, and that he, Hanka, has just cause to suspect that he was murdered by the defendants Buth and Lange.

The prisoners plead “Not Guilty.”

The District Attorney opened the case with a few preliminary remarks, stating the points he should try and establish. He said he had nothing but circumstantial evidence to offer, based on the facts that the parties have been quarrelling for the last two years or so, and that the defendants had on several occasions made threats against the life of the deceased. It appeared from what he could gather, that the defendant Lange is a brother of the defendant Buth’s wife; and that the murdered man and Lange were at one time rivals for the hand of Buth’s daughter, but owing to certain things that transpired, Plunderman after a time discontinued his attentions to the lady. Many threats were made by the prisoners and the family at that time against Plunderman.

Summary of Evidence

The first witness called was Wm. Binder. He said; “I have been acquainted with Ferdinand Plunderman eight or nine years, and with the prisoners about the same length of time. I live about two miles by road from Ferd. Plunderman’s place, and about eighty rods from the residence of the prisoners, who live together. I was at home on the 8th of May, and was called on the jury of inquest a little before noon that day; it was held in the road where the body was found. The body must have lain where it fell one day or more, for it was beginning to mortify. It lay about one half miles from Buth’s place and about two mikes from my place by road. The shot took effect in the breast – I counted fourteen buckshot holes; we found one that was stopped by the collar bone.” (This shot was produced in court, with a piece of bone embedded in it.) the body lay on the back near a log fence, a short distance from a wood; the indications were that the party who fired the shot was concealed behind the fence on the opposite side of the road, a distance of about twenty feet/ Fragments of gun wadding, consisting of German print and a yellow colored paper was found between the fence and body. The district attorney produced some fragments which the witness identified. Some shot found in the defendant’s house was brought into court and compared with the one taken from the body; they appeared to be the same size. Mr. Binder resumed; “I was not at home Sunday, the 6th of May. I did not see Ferd. Plunderman that day. The defendant Lange came to my house about four o’clock P.M. took supper with me, then we went up to Albert Keller’s, distant about one half mile from my place, on the road to Buth’s. Chris Vorphal was at my place that night, and went with us to Keller’s place, we all started home from Keller’s at half past eight, or a little after. I did not see Buth that day. Saw Lange next at the body, Tuesday. The last time I saw Ferd Plunderman alive was about a week ago. He was a good neighbor and a quiet man. Never heard of him quarrelling with any one but the prisoners; their quarrels began about two years ago; before that they were good friends. They quarreled about several matters first Plunderman (this part is cut off from the paper) Plunderman’s dog died, and he said Buth poisoned it; then Buth, a cow died, and it was said Plunderman poisoned it.” (The defending attorney objected to this testimony, but it was admitted.) “Both the defendants have stated at my house, that ‘old Dick,’ a nick name they had for Plunderman, ‘was worth shooting.’

Sheriff Wescott of Shawano Co., testified as follows; I visited the premises of the prisoners, also the place where the body was found, yesterday. (The Dist. Atty. exhibited some fragments of gun wadding, which the Sheriff identified.) He said: “I found part of them in the road where the man was killed, and part of them on the premises of Buth, near the barn door.” (These fragments corresponded with each other, and with those heretofore mentioned.)

The Dist. Atty. Exhibited a double barreled shot gun and asked, “Did you find this on the premises of Buth?”

“Yes, the boy got it from the barn for me, it was not loaded. I inquired if there was any ammunition in the house, the boy handed down some fine shot from a shelf – I did not take any of them. They said that was all the shot they and, but on searching I found the paper of buckshot now in your possession, in a pasteboard box, in the buttery.”

Albert Kellersworn. He testified in regard to seeing Aug. Lange on Sunday.

Wm. Hanks, complaining witness sworn. He testified as follows; “I live in Belle Plaine. I have been acquainted with Ferdinand Plunderman about seven years – am also acquainted with Buth and Lange. I was at home on the 8th of May. I did not see Plunderman that day. He and I rode together in a wagon on the Pella Road, Sunday, May fifth. I left him at the path leading to his house about one hour before sundown; this was the last time I saw him alive. He has told me many times of his troubles with Buth and Lange, and they have told me of it also. Aug. Lange told me last year, that Plunderman deserved a bullet. Plunderman told me Buth, a girl had said he (Plunderman) must die anyway. Plunderman as a good man in the neighborhood – never heard of him having any trouble with anyone but Buth and Lange. Can’t say anything against the prisoners – never have had any deal with them.”

Testimony of Albert Hanka, of Belle Plaine: “Was well acquainted with Ferd. Plunderman. He told me last Friday that he overheard a conversation last fall between Lange and Buth’s boy and girl, in which the girl said that he (Plunderman) must be killed. Plunderman was a good neighbor – never heard of his having any trouble with anyone except Buth and Lange.”

Testimony of Wilhernena Tescom, of Belle Plaine; “I am the sister of the murdered man. The last time I saw my brother alive was last Sunday afternoon. He was with me several hours. Our homes are about three fourths of a mile apart. He told me of his troubles with Buth and Lange. He said to me last winter, It is awful to be shot down but if I am, have Buth and Lange arrested. The reason he had for thinking they would shoot was the conversation he over heard, as given by the last witness.”

Testimony of Anne Stransky, of Belle Plaine; “I have been acquainted with Ferd Plunderman six or seven years. Got acquainted with prisoner this spring. I have lived where I do now since Easter. The last time I saw Ferd. Plunderman alive was last Sunday – he came to my house about 9 o’clock in the evening and staid until 10:00. Shortly after he left we heard the report of a gun and a man scream. I think these sounds came from the direction in which the body was found. We went out doors and listened, but heard nothing more. I think it was Plunderman that screamed. I think he would have had just enough time to walk from where the body was found when we heard the report of the gun and screaming.”

May 11, Court Called at 10 O’clock A.M.

Testimony of Michael Noah, of the town of Mattson, Waupaca Co., Wis.; “I am a shoemaker. Have lived where I now live for five years. Have been acquainted with Ferd. Plunderman and the prisoner, Buth, since I first settled here. Have known Lange about one year. Last saw Plunderman alive about three or four weeks ago. Saw the prisoners last about a month ago. Lange bought a revolver of my brother about a year ago at my shop. After he bought it we went out to my barn together. While there, he said he was going to watch Ferd. Plunderman some night, as he passed through a certain path in the woods, and fix him, and that is what he wanted the revolver for – he was going to have satisfaction. He had reference to the woods through which Plunderman had to pass in going home to his place to the main road, coming out near Vorpahl’s. I used to get cartridges for him, as he could not get them at home. The last time he asked me for cartridges was about four or six weeks ago, but he made use of some words of spite toward Plunderman and I would not get them for him. He has not been to me for cartridges since. Never have seen Plunderman and the prisoners together since they commenced quarreling, which was about one year ago, I think. I think there was a personal quarrel between Plunderman and Lange about Buth’s daughter, Plunderman having told that there were improper relations existing between Lange and Buth’s daughter, who are uncle and niece. Lange has told me several times that it was a lie. Plunderman used to talk against me cause he thought I was a mason. Lange has told me several times that Plunderman carried money, and hinted that we had better take steps to get possession of it. He said, Plunderman is against both of us, and we ought to be killed. Plunderman boarded with Buth all one winter two or three years ago before the quarreling commenced. Lange has lived with Buth a year or more. I never heard Buth or any of his family say anything expressing threat or ill-feeling towards Plunderman.”

Testimony of Mathilda Buth, daughter of the prisoner, Wm Buth; “I knew Ferd, Plunderman. The last time I saw him alive was last Sunday – he was going to his sister’s. I was at home Sunday evening. My father mother, grandmother and brother were also at home. We all went to be a little before dark. My father and brother sleep in the granary and the rest of his sleep downstairs in the house. Lange was away and came in late, I don’t know what time, but my mother said it was after 10 o’clock. He is not in the habit of staying out nights, because he is lame.”

Testimony of H. Nabor, of Shawano; This simply in regard to a conversation he had with the prisoners the next morning after they were arrested. He said: “Lange appeared worried and uneasy, but Buth appeared innocent, and asked who was going to pay him for coming up here and leaving his work.”

There were several other witnesses, but the State rested the examination of the case at this point.

The defending attorney recalled Matilda Buth, but questions put elicited no information. Her brother, Otto Buth, was then called. He corroborated his sister’s testimony, as given when first examined, and said, “I slept with my father in the granary that night. He was not out during the night. I do not sleep sound, and should have known had he went out.”

No further testimony was offered on the defense.

The district attorney gave the opening to the defense. The defending attorney made no attempt to clear Lange, admitting that as the evidence stood, it was strong enough to hold him for trial, but argued that there was nothing on Buth. The district attorney reviewed the testimony, arguing that the testimony furnished probable cause to suppose that Buth is guilty as an accessory to the crime, which is all the statutes require to hold a person for trial.

The court summed up the case, expressed surprise at the small amount of evidence bearing in at least on the prisoner, Buth, and decided he should be released from custody, and Aug. Lange be held in close confinement for trail at the next term of court.

C. B. Clip

 

P. S. The testimony of several witnesses we do not publish, as it is either unimportant or a repetition.

 

Shawano County Journal

30 Jun 1877

 

Court Case – A change of venue was taken in the case of Aug. Lange the accused murderer of Pluderman.  The case will be tried at Appleton in November.  Considerable dissatisfaction is expressed by our citizens that it should have been taken out of the county, as many of the witnesses are poor and can ill afford to spend the money that a trip to Appleton will cost, and the it will be an additional expense to the county.

 

15 Jul 1881

Murder and Suicide

The most horrible tragedy in the history of Shawano county occurred in the town of Grant on last Monday. Frederick Laatsch, an old German about 64 years of age, some months since gave his farm to his son Ferdinand, on condition that he would furnish him with certain products of the farm each year during his life, etc., and build him a new house to live in. He was also given the privilege of crossing his son's field in carrying water, as it was a long way around, and he had no well of his own. The son however, did not stand by his agreement, giving his father such produce off his farm as he could not sell or use himself and finally forbade his father and step-mother crossing his field for water. His step-mother would not submit to this, and tore the fence down repeatedly on her way after water, letting the cattle into her step-sons wheat field. He finally said that if occurred again someone would suffer. The old woman accordingly went to her husband and told him that his son had threatened to kill him. It was the straw that broke the camel's back. On Monday morning of this week, as his son was mowing some clover in front of his house, the old man deliberately shot him through the window with a gun loaded with buckshot, two of them striking him, one in the shoulder and the other in the breast, inflicting a perhaps fatal wound. The young man dropped his scythe and started to run. Seeing that he had not killed his son, the old man picked up an axe, ran out of the house and threw it at him, but did not strike him squarely with it. Going back to the house he loaded the gun again, sat down on a chair, placed the muzzle of the gun to his breast and pulled the trigger with is foot. The charge entered his side and killed him instantly. There was no one in the house when he shot himself, his wife having gone to Caroline on that day. An inquest was held over his body Tuesday by the Justice of the Peace, and on Wednesday he was buried on some land in the town belonging to the county, the Lutheran refusing to have him interred in their cemetery. At last accounts the son was yet alive, but no hopes entertained of his recovery.

7 Sep 1883

Fatal Shooting Affray at Tigerton

Charles Hebricht of Tigerton, got on a rampage on the evening of August 30th and made an attempt to kill his wife. A warrant for his arrest was placed in the hands of Charles Klug, constable, who with a number of assistants made an attempt to arrest Hebricht. After a short parlay, Hebricht said he would kill the first man who came inside of the house. At this stage of the proceedings the officer burst in the door, when Hebricht, who was provided with a gun, opened fire on the officer and his assistants, but fortunately doing no harm The officers returned the fire and made a charge on the house, and in a back room they found Hebricht lying dead on the floor. Upon examination of the body it was found that two bullets had taken effect, one in the left breast near the heart, the other in the wrist. At an inquest held by the Justice Martin a verdict was rendered to the effect that the deceased came to his death by a pistol shot fired by the hand of some unknown, during his resistance to arrest.

 

12 Oct 1883

Peter Dominick, the half breed Indian who was supposed to have been pounded with a club at the row which occurred on Wednesday night of last week, at the ranch near the old mill kept by Jed Wilbur, and who died on Monday morning, turns out to have been shot. An examination by Dr Williams shortly before his death revealed this fact, and at the inquest on Wednesday the bullet which had entered the right eye and penetrated the brain, was removed. Two other Indians, Louis Wapoose and Tom Feather, were shot in the melee, but neither seriously. Whether anything will be done with the persons who did the shooting remains to be seen. Agent Andrews is looking the matter up quietly and may possibly commence legal proceedings.

Thursday, Aug. 3, 1893 

 

Langlade county farmer by the name of Noonenmacher murdered his wife and 3 children, Saturday night last, and then tried to break his own neck by jumping from the top of the barn.  He is still alive, but will die.

 

 

 

 

Friday, Sept. 7, 1883

Fatal Shooting Affray At Tigerton 

 

Charles Hebricht got on a rampage on the evening of August 30th and made an attempt to kill his wife.  A warrant for his arrest was placed in the hands of Chas. Klug, constable, who, with a number of assistants made an attempt to arrest Hebricht.  After a short parley, Hebricht said that he would kill the first man who came inside of the house.  At this stage of the proceedings the officer burst in the door, when Hebricht, who was provided with a gun, opened fire on the officer and his assistants, but fortunately doing no harm.  The officers returned the fire and made a charge on the house; and in a backroom they found Hebricht lying dead on the floor.  Upon examination of the body it was found that two of the bullets had taken effect—one in the left breast near the heart, and the other in the wrist.  At an inquest held by Justice Martin a verdict was rendered to the effect that the deceased came to his death by a pistol shot fired by the hand of some person unknown, during his resistance to arrest.

 

 

18 Jul 1884

It is now claimed that the murdered man found in the town of Washington 2 weeks ago was a man by the name of Charles Eckelbury, a Swede, who worked on the railroad, and who suddenly disappeared about 4 weeks ago. A man by the name of Munson who worked on the railroad with Eckelbury and was personally acquainted with him, was in the city the latter part of last week and while here identified the clothes worn by the murdered man as belonging to to Eckelbury. He was particularly certain about the hat, claiming to have given it to Eckelbury himself. As further proof, it is stated that a pair of spectacles, known to have been worn by Eckelbury, were picked up a few days ago near the place where the body was found. Eckelbury it is said, was last seen at the head of the lake on the evening of June 21st, in company with a man named Smith. They were going to their work near the Oconto river, but never reached there.

26 Jun 1885

John Corcoran, a young man residing temporarily at Wittenberg, this county, was shot and killed at that place on Saturday night last by one Henry Schultz, keeper of the boarding house at which Corcoran was staying. Immediately after the shooting Schultz was taken in custody by the local authorities and the following day brought to this city and turned over to Sheriff Robinson for safe keeping. All efforts to obtain bail for him were futile and he now lies in the county jail awaiting examination July 10th before Justice Sommers. From what the Journal reporter can learn the shooting seems to have been entirely uncalled for. Two reputable persons who were witnesses to the act, pronounce it a cold blooded murder. The particulars are these; Corcoran had been drinking rather heavily during the evening, and shortly after retiring for the night, became engaged in an altercation with a room-mate. Schultz, on hearing the scuffle, went to the room in which the men were and demanded that the row cease. Not being obeyed at once, he stepped in the room and struck Corcoran with a revolver which he held and knocked him down. Corcoran on regaining his feet made a rush for Schultz and was then shot, the ball entering the abdomen and coming out near the left shoulder. He lived about two hours, and the following day was taken to his home at Oshkosh. After the shooting Schultz claimed that is was done entirely in self-defense. A very different opinion, however, is held by those who witnesses the deed.

 

Friday, June 26, 1885.  John Corcoran, a young man residing temporarily at Wittenberg, this county, was shot and killed at that place on Saturday night last by one Henry Scholtz, keeper of the boarding house at which Corcoran was staying.  Immediately after the shooting Scholtz was taken into custody by the local authorities and the following day brought to this city and turned over to sheriff Robinson for safe keeping.  All efforts to obtain bail for him were futile, and he now lies in the county jail awaiting examination July 10th before Justice Sommers.  From what the Journal reporter can learn the shooting seems to have been entirely uncalled for.  Two reputable persons, who were witnesses to the act, pronounce it a cold-blooded murder.  The particulars are these:  Corcoran had been drinking rather heavily during the evening, and shortly after retiring for the night, became engaged in an altercation with a room-mate.  Scholtz, on hearing the scuffle, went to the room in which the men were, and demanded that the row cease.  Not being obeyed at once, he stepped into the room and struck Corcoran with a revolver which he held and knocked him down.  Corcoran on regaining his feet made a rush for Scholtz and was then shot, the ball entering his abdomen and coming out near the left shoulder.  He lived about two hours, and the following day was taken to his home at Oshkosh.  After the shooting Scholtz claimed that it was done entirely in self-defense.  A very different opinion, however, is held by those who witnessed the deed.  Corcoran was usually quarrelsome when drunk, but the general belief is that he could have been pacified without resorting to violent means.  Scholtz is known at home as a “hard case,” and has very few friends, if any.  The indignation was so great against him at Wittenberg the day following the shooting that had he been there he might have decorated one of the numerous elms which surround the village.  When taken in custody he is said to have remarked, holding up his right hand, that “this is the hand that did the shooting, and may shoot another.”  Corcoran, waiving his besetting vice, was considered a very good fellow, and generally liked by his acquaintances.  Through somewhat quarrelsome when drunk, he was always quiet and gentlemanly when free from liquor.  His parents, who reside in Oshkosh, are very respectable people.  Scholtz, recognizing the importance of keeping his council, has nothing to say regarding the affair except that the shooting was done in self defense, and will try to escape the penalty of the deed on this ground.  He has retained Col. Bouck, of Oshkosh, and K. M. Phillips., of this city, as his counsel.  The general opinion seems to be that if he gets his just deserts it will be a life time in Waupun.

 

Friday, April 22, 1887

John Connolly Shot And Killed

 

John Connolly, so well known to our people as a “rough” of the roughest kind, received his death wound in a drunken row at New, Langlade County, on Friday night of last week, the person inflicting it being Mike Caughlin, also well known here.  Connolly, it seems, had long cherished a grudge against Caughlin, and when in liquor often threatened to kill him.  They were both in the Truesdell saloon at New Friday and had several fistic encounters.  Connolly getting the worst of it.  Finally Connolly started toward his enemy with the express purpose of “doing him up” with a razor, when Caughlin produced a revolver and fired, the fatal bullet striking Connolly in the abdomen.  The wounded man was taken at once to Antigo and died there Sunday morning after exonerating Caughlin from all blame in the matter and expressing the wish that he be not arrested.  Caughlin also went to Antigo and delivered himself to the authorities and is now out on bail.  Both parties, as has already been stated, are well known here.  Connolly was addicted to drink in excess and bore the reputation of being a quarrelsome, vindictive fellow, treacherous to his best friends.  He always carried a knife or razor, and did not hesitate to use them in his drunken rows.  He will have few mourners.  Caughlin, on the contrary, has many friends among the river boys.  It is thought that he will have no difficulty in clearing himself on the grounds of self-defense. 

Friday, Oct. 14, 1887

To Hide Her Shame 

Miss Brady Gives Birth To A Child And Places It In A Stove To Burn 

 

DePere, Oct. 8.—News of a horrible affair at the Oneida reservation reached here today.  About a week ago Miss Brady, a white teacher in what is known as the Union school, gave out that she was sick and in consequence the school would be closed for a time.  She went to her room in the upper story of an Indian dwelling and locked herself in, permitting no one to enter.  After she remained there nearly a week the other occupants of the house perceived a strong stench, and yesterday the door was broken open, revealing a horrible state of things.  In the stove was the body of an infant, with one leg and part of the head burned off.  The mother was also in a precarious condition from the sufferings of childbirth and lack of care and food.  It is believed that the child would have been totally consumed had there been sufficient fuel.  Miss Brady had taught at Keshena in the Menomonee reservation about two years, and in August was transferred to Oneida.  She is at present under the care of a couple of squaws, and if she recovers will doubtless be arrested.  As stated above, Miss Brady taught in the government school at Keshena, and was well known in Shawano.  Her intimacy with a young half-breed residing at Keshena, and supposed father of her child, was common talk for months, and it is believed was the cause of her transference to Oneida.  Her terrible crime is said to have nearly heart-broken her parents, who are highly respected residents of Clintonville.

Thursday, Feb. 12, 1891

A Leopolis Tragedy

John Knocke, an Aged German, Shoots His Wife and Then Himself

Domestic Infelicity the Cause

 

The little village of Leopolis, 12 miles west of the city, was the scene last Saturday of a domestic tragedy more befitting one of the large centers of population than a quiet county village.  Sometime during the early hours of the morning, the exact time is not known, John Knocke, an aged German, shot and killed his wife, Anna Knocke, and then put a bullet through his own brain.  Domestic infelicity was no doubt the cause of the tragedy.  The weapon was a large 38 caliber revolver, and the shots were so well aimed that death must have resulted instantly in both cases.  The old couple lived by themselves in a small one-story house on the Edwards Mill Co. property.  They had been married about 2 years.  Knocke, according to the testimony of neighbors, was of an ugly, vindictive disposition, and inordinately jealous of his frau, so that quarrels between them were of frequent occurrence and their married life a most unhappy one.  Several times the woman had been driven from home by her ugly spouse, and forced to take refuge with neighbors.

 

THE KILLING. The shooting, though there were no witnesses, probably occurred shortly after breakfast Saturday morning during one of the couple’s numerous quarrels.  Knocke was missed from his usual haunts during the day, and an unusual quiet noticed about the Knocke homestead.  These facts finally gave rise to the suspicion that all was not right there, and about 4:00 in the afternoon Barbra Boehm, a niece of the murdered woman, went over to see what the trouble was.  She found the door fastened, but on going to a window in the rear saw the bodies of her uncle and aunt lying on the floor of the main room.  A few moments sufficed for her to give the alarm, and in a short time the doors of the house were broken in by neighbors and an entrance effected, when the full significance of the terrible tragedy that had been enacted in the Knocke household was revealed to view.

 

THE GHASTLY SIGHT.  On the floor of the main living room, with head to the north, lay the body of John Knocke, cold and stiff in death.  A bullet wound just over the right ear testified to the manner of his sudden taking off.  The weapon had been held so close to his head that a large patch of hair was burned off and the scalp blackened with the burning powder.  About a foot or two distant from his, partly on her side, with head to the south, lay the body of his wife, a bullet through her heart.  Plainly the work of death had been quickly and effectually administered.  Between them and near Knocke’s outstretched hand, lay the deadly weapon with which he had committed murder and suicide, a large 38 caliber revolver.  Three chambers of the weapon were found to be empty, but there was no evidence on the bodies that more than two shots had been fired.  The body of the woman, which had been lying partly on its face, was turned over, and the horrible discovery made that part of the nose and right cheek had been eaten off by the household cat, which had thus fed upon the mistress.  The cat was found in the house.  On the table were found some remnants of food and on the stove a coffee pot containing a quantity of coffee, showing the unfortunate couple had partaken of the morning meal before the fatal quarrel.  Henry Welch, constable of the town, arrived in Shawano with intelligence of the occurrence about 2:00 Sunday morning.  Dist. Attorney Dickinson immediately got together a party, composed of himself, Justice Wavrunek, Drs. Cantwell and Bishop, City Marshal Kesler and C C Naber, and went out to institute the necessary inquiry into the matter.  Arrived here, a jury was empanelled composed of the following persons: Chris. Schmall, L J Brunner, J Cerveny, Henry Welh, Wm. Reschke and Albert Rietz,--and a post-mortem examination made by the Drs. Cantwell and Bishop, after which the jury adjourned, to meet in this city on Monday.

 

THE INQUEST. The inquest was called to order in Justice Wavrunek’s court at 10:00 A.M. Monday.  Barbara Boehm, the young woman who visited the Knocke house at 4 P.M. Saturday, was the first witness sworn, and testified to the finding of the bodies.  Had been told by her aunt, Mrs. Knocke, that she lived unhappily with her husband.  She last saw her alive on Feb. 3.  Geo Sackett, one of the parties who forced the door of the Knocke house, was next on the stand, and testified to that fact and the finding of the bodies.  Had known Knocke and his wife for some time and from reports judged they did not live happily together.  Saw Knocke alive Feb. 4 or 5, cutting ice.  Identified the revolver shown him by the District Attorney as the one found in the Knocke house.  On re-examination testified that Knocke as of a quarrelsome disposition, very quick tempered and easily angered.  Considered him a good man to let alone.  Albert Reatty, sworn.  Lived in Leopolis 11 years, and knew John and Anna Knocke.  Lived 40 or 60 rods from them.  Knew they did not live happily together.  In June last Mrs. Knocke came to his place between 11 and 12 o’clock at night and called for help; said her husband was going to kill her with an axe.  I said I couldn’t do anything for her, and sent a man living with me home with her.  Heard Knocke complain about his wife.  Along last fall he told me he would kill her.  Was going by one day and he called me into his house and showed me a revolver, saying he had bought it to kill his wife and himself.  I told him he had better not do it.  About a week after that he went to Clintonville, where Mrs. Knocke was, and told her to look out for Knocke.  Witness was here shown the revolver found in Knocke’s house and said it looked like the one shown him by Knocke.  John Zoback, son of Mrs. Knocke by a former marriage, sworn.  Saw his mother alive about a week ago.  Had been told by her that her husband was very jealous and continually quarreled with her.  His mother was about 56 years old; Knocke pretty near 70.  John Reatty, sworn.  Knew the deceased, John and Anna Knocke.  Took Mrs. Knocke home at the time testified to by Albert Reatty and had her quarrel with her husband.  That was last June between 11 and 12 o’clock at night.  She went to the house and Knocke had it locked.  She rapped and he let her in.  I listened awhile and saw her come out with an axe.  She asked Knocke why he had that axe inside.  He made some reply, but I could not catch it.  Last saw Knocke alive Feb. 6, between 12 and 1 P.M.  Passed by Knocke’s house on morning of Saturday, Feb. 7, between 8 and 9 o’clock, and saw smoke coming from stove pipe, also noticed curtain in front window was half way up.  Passed by again between 10 and 11 o’clock, and noticed curtain was entirely down and no smoke issuing from stove pipe.  Doctors Cantwell and Bishop, who made the post-mortem examination, were now swore, and testified to the cause of death, location of wounds, etc.  Neither could say positively how long before the finding of the bodies death had taken place, but judged it to be 6 to 8 hours.  This finished the testimony, and after a few minutes deliberation the jury returned a verdict substantially that Anna Knocke had come to death by means of a wound inflicted by a bullet fired from a revolver in the hands of her husband, John Knocke, and that John Knocke had come to his death by means of a wound inflicted by a bullet fired from a revolver in his own hand.  The bodies of the deceased were buried at Leopolis on Tuesday.

 

1893 NOONEMACHER tragedy

 
Shawano County Journal

Thursday, Aug. 3, 1893

A Langlade county farmer by the name of NOONENMACHER murdered his wife and 3 children, Saturday night last, and then tried to break his own neck by jumping from the top of the barn. He is still alive, but will die.

 

Thursday, Aug 19 1893

Brutal Murder 

 

A brutal wife murder was committed in the town of Hartland, Saturday last, for which one Albert Rosin, a farmer of that town, is now under arrest.  It seems that he had a quarrel with his wife Saturday afternoon, and beat her terribly with a club, after which he hitched up his team and drove away.  The women’s screams were heard by her children, at work in the field, and when they arrived at the house they found her lying on the bed, more dead than alive.  They helped her to a neighbor’s, a short distance away, and there she told what her brutal husband had done.  The women’s condition was terrible, and medical aid was at once summoned from Bonduel, but she was beyond help and died Monday afternoon.  Rosin was immediately place under arrest and committed for examination, pending a coroner’s inquest.  This was held Tuesday by Justice Klebesadel, of this city, and a verdict rendered by the jury, composed of Chris Bonnin, Aug. Westphal, Albert Seering, Mat. Wagner, Aug. Froemming and F. W. Lehman. citizens of the town, that the woman had come to her death from injuries inflicted by her husband.  A post mortem examination of the body was also made by Drs. McComb and Cantwell, and disclosed the fact that the women had her right wrist and two ribs broken, besides a terrible wound on the head, which alone was sufficient to cause death.  Rosin was present at the inquest, but betrayed no feeling whatever, and maintained a stolid countenance throughout.  He has nothing to say about the crime.  His examination will take place the 15th before Justice Klebesadel.

 

 

Charles L. BINGHAM


Shawano County Journal

Thursday, Dec. 21, 1893

Mr. & Mrs. Jerome Buck, of this city, received the sad news Tuesday of the death of the husband of their granddaughter, Mrs. C. L. BINGHAM, nee Rena Gibbs, who formerly resided in Shawano. Mr. Bingham was killed in the woods, a log rolling over him and causing death almost instantly. Mrs. Bingham is said to be nearly crazed with grief.

December 28, 1893
The following regarding CHAS. L. BINGHAM, who was lately killed in the woods, is taken from the Duluth News; CHARLES LOUIS BINGHAM, who was born in Bloomington, Ill., Oct. 26, 1866, and who was fatally crushed by a rolling log Dec. 8, 1893, deserves more than passing notice. He was a faithful member of the church at Eagle River, Wis. and while in Duluth was much interested in the Bethel. The funeral services were conducted by Rev. Mr. Salter, and reference was made to the sincere and noble life of this industrious worker, kind son, thoughtful husband and consistent Christian. His employers Messrs. Thomas and Londen, bear witness to his faithfulness while in their employ.

 

Thurs 29 Mar 1894

 

Murder in Herman

John Hahn, a farmer living in the town of Herman, was taken in custody Tuesday for the murder of his brother-in-law, John Koller, of the same town.  The circumstances are as follows: Bad feeling has existed between the parties for some time.  About two weeks ago Koller’s wife left him and went to reside with her brother, Hahn.  This angered Koller, and at a christening party which took place at Albert Schmidt’s Easter Sunday the brothers-in-law met and had an altercation, in which it is alleged Koller made the threat that he would do Hahn up.  At all events, he went home, procured a gun and about 12:00 Sunday night presented himself before Hahn’s house.  The family was on the point of retiring for the night and was first made acquainted with the fact of Koller’s presence by a loud call from him to “come out” coupled with a volley of oaths and threats, and a shot from the gun which he carried.  This alarmed the family, and finally Hahn took down his Winchester rifle and going to the door, fired 4 or 5 shots at Koller.  Koller stood quite near the house, within a couple of rods and two of the shots took effect, one in the hand and another in the abdomen, the latter being the fatal shot.  After the shooting Koller went off and next morning his dead body was found lying on the road, some 7 or 8 rods from the house.

 

 

Shawano County Journal

July 18, 1895
 

JOHN KELLER MURDERED

 

The Journal received a letter from Springfield, Mo., Wednesday, conveying the sad intelligence of the murder of JOHN H. KELLER, a former resident of this place. He was a deputy sheriff in charge of a gang of convicts at work in a stone quarry and was brutally struck down by one of them, a notorious character known as Pea Ridge. The following short account of the tragedy is taken from the Springfield Republican; Pea Ridge, a notorious character, while at work in the chain gang yesterday afternoon attacked Deputy Sheriff John Keller with a heavy iron pick and after fatally injuring him was in turn shot by Guard Jack Bettisworth with a double barreled shot gun, but not seriously hurt. There were about 16 prisoners at work in the stone quarry 3/4's of a mile north of the Zoo Park on the Grant street road leading north from the city. Deputy Sheriff Keller and A. J. Betisworth were in charge of the gang. About 2:30, while the men were all at work, Keller stooped over to examine where the prisoners were drilling to see if the work was being done right, when Pea Ridge came up behind him with a pick in his hand and without any warning whatever struck the deputy a severe blow in the back part of the head and on the left side just above and behind the left ear. Before Guard Bettisworth could interfere he repeated the blow on Mr. Keller's head striking him on the frontal bone or forehead, Keller fell into a small ditch in front of him, face down, from which he was removed shortly after in an unconscious condition. His skull was split in twain and he never regained consciousness, dying that night at 11:15. The murdered man was a resident of Shawano for 2 or 3 years previous to 1890, having came here from Springfield, the present home of his family.

He was a young man of pleasant temper and industrious habits and made many friends in the community to whom the news of his brutal murder will be a great shock. During his residence here he married a young lady from Waukechon by the name of Lund, whose parents still reside in that town. He was a member of the I. O. O. F. lodge in this city and also of the Masonic fraternity in Springfield where he enjoyed the respect and esteem of all and held the position of deputy sheriff during the terms of several incumbents. His murderer it is expected will soon expiate his crime upon the gallows.

 

 

Thursday, Oct. 1, 1896 

Several Theories Advanced Concerning The Death Of John Kittson 

 

The body of John Kittson, Son of Alex Kittson, of Keshena, a Menomonee Indian was found floating in the pond on the west side of the bridge Tuesday night.  Just how this Indian meet his death is not known.  A jury impaneled by Justice Bold, held an inquest Thursday and reserved their decision until October 12, to which date the inquest was postponed to obtain further evidence.  About 9:00 Tuesday night Thos, Ainsworth heard cried for help coming from the bridge.  He hurried down and after summoning help, the body of the dead Indian was found.  A story to the effect that the man was foully dealt with was generally circulated.  It seems that Kittson was known to have had a considerable sum of money and a watch on his person when last seen early in the evening.  At the time the body was discovered no articles of any value were found in his clothes.  There is still another report that a man and women were seen on the bridge at the same time Kittson’s first cries for help were heard.  A post mortem examination held by Drs. McComb and Williams showed that several heavy blows had been struck upon the man’s head.  Whether these blows were injuries received previous to, or during the fall is a part of the mystery connected with the Indians death.  Kittson is known to have been drinking during the day and this supports still a third theory that he was under the impression that the iron rails of the bridge were a part of Mr. Ainsworth’s fence, and that he climbed over to lie down and sleep off the effects of the liquor with fatal results.  The jury having charge of the inquest comprises E E Breed, Joseph Bibelhausen, C B Klebesadel, J Colwell, F D Schweers, and John Hartman.  Kittson was 22 years old and so far as is known, had no enemies who could possibly be benefitted or revenged by his death.  After the inquest undertaker Bauerfeind turned the body over to his relatives.

 

 

 

Kaukauna Sun

12 March 1897

 Premeditated and Deliberate Murder !

Porter Ross Shoots His Wife and His Sister-In-Law

Wounds Fred Scharbo of Appleton and Badly scares a Companion

 

A case so rotten in details that a full report is unfit for publication - the end of a long drawn out family quarrel – the murderer tries to shield himself under the plea of self-defense – the statement of Mrs. Beaulieu keeper of the resort – dying statement of Nellie Duprey – reads like a mystery.

 

Porter Ross of this city killed his wife, sister-on-law, and Katie Duprey, and wounded Fred Scharbo of Appleton, in Mrs. Louise Beaulieu’s resort, just north of the city limits, Monday afternoon at three o’clock. Ross claims the shooting was done in self-defense, but from evidence gathered by a representative of The Sun we believe the murder to be premeditated, deliberate and most foul. His wife was a frequenter of resorts before he married her and Ross was fully cognizant of that fact as he stated in his confession at the jail. His sister-in-law was a woman of the same character.  The three were continually at sword’s point and could not live together. It was the final termination of a family quarrel that had been running fire for the past three years.

 

Ross went out to the resort determined to put an end to his wife and her sister and all concerned. We print his confession and version of the affair, although we do not believe a word a word of the account of the shooting. It was written and set up before we were fully acquainted with all the details of this demoralizing case.

 

The reader will notice that Ross makes himself appear as though he was a piece of abused humanity, all through his recital. Following is the statement made by Ross;

 

Monday afternoon about two o’clock my wife, her sister and two men drove past my house in a sleigh attached to a team of horses. My little girl saw the party go by and she called my attention to them. When I came out of the house I saw my wife looking back and laughing – apparently at me. This was more than I could stand and I went directly to the livery stable, hired a horse and cutter and followed the party out in the country to Mrs. Beaulieu’s boarding house.

 

I saw they had stopped there as I expected – their team being hitched in front of the house. I hitched my horse and went inside. I found a young man sitting in the left hand corner of the front room. Mrs. Beaulieu was there also. I asked her for the two women that just came and she told me they were upstairs. I asked for the other young man and she said he was upstairs with them. I then asked the young man sitting in the corner if he was the one that came out with my wife, and he replied “no, I am a stranger here, I just came from Canada.” I told him that he was the one that drove the rig past my house. This he denied.

 

I told a girl I saw there to watch my horse, and Mrs. Beaulieu and myself went upstairs. She told them to open the door, but they would not, she made another demand and the door was opened. The two women were standing in the middle of the room and the man that I shot was standing at the left side of the door with his coat off. I went up to my wife, placed my hand on her shoulder and said: “My God Nellie, I have caught you in another place, same as I did a week ago.” I urged her to go home with me but she would not listen to me. She said “Go away I will not live with you, I am going to lead a gay life and a fast one.” I then told her that I would get a warrant for her arrest, as she must leave this place at once.

 

I turned around and all four of us went downstairs. As we were going down my wife said to her sister ”My God Katie! You have lead me to this.” After going downstairs we all stood in the kitchen talking when my wife’s sister addressed Scharbo saying, “Fred, kill the old --- of a -----.” Scharbo made for me and backed me up against a table that was standing in the corner. He struck me on the face, as you can see by the marks on my nose and cheek, in backing up I shoved my elbow through the window. I saw I was getting the worst of it and I pulled my gun and fired four times at Scharbo. When I shot the last time I saw my wife fall and I said, “My God what have I done; I have killed my poor wife.” I then turned the revolver on myself but it would not go off, all the chambers being empty.

 

While Scharbo was attacking me my wife kept saying “Give it to him Fred, give it to him.”  I then turned around to go and saw the man holding his hand on his breast; the other young man was still sitting in the corner. When I went outside to go away, I saw two other men running away going in the direction of Wrightstown. I went directly to the depot and gave myself up to Officer Reardon. This is a true statement of the whole affair as it took place as I remember it.

 

Ross although having murdered his wife was very talkative, continuing he said: My name is Porter Ross; I was born in New York state in 1842. I came to this city eleven years ago, and have lived her ever since, up to within three years. My first wife died in this city on the 24th of April, 1891. She left me three children, two girls, Carrie age 9 and Katie age 14 years and one son. I am a stone mason.

 

I first met my present wife at DePere in her father’s house, shortly after my first wife died. One of my neighbors told me about her, saying she would make a first class housekeeper. She worked for me several years and we were married. She had two children when I first knew her, Mamie who is now 7 and Willie 5 years old. When I married her I knew she was a bad woman, but she promised me so faithfully that she would reform, that I married her.

 

Three years ago my wife had me arrested claiming that I shot at her. The case was brought up in the justice court of this city, but I got cleared. I then went with her to Aniwa where we remained for six weeks, after which time I moved to Shawano. I lived there up until two months ago when I went to Menominee to live. My wife left me several times but I always managed to persuade her to quit her life of shame and return to her home and live with me.  After I was in Menominee a few weeks I met my wife and her sister on the street they were keeping rented rooms. I got my wife to return home with me and she stayed for three days, this was Sunday, January 1st of this year. She went over to Winneconne and stayed there Sunday night. She returned home Monday and her and her sister left the house again – her sister swore out a warrant for my arrest the charge being assault and battery. On Tuesday I had a jury trail and was acquitted.

 

I stayed in Menominee until three weeks ago, when I moved to this city. My wife nor her sister did not return with me but went to a place north of Menominee, called the “shanties.” Three weeks ago they returned to their home in DePere, and were also seen on the streets of Kaukauna, about the same time. They visited the resorts near this city for several days and then went to Appleton. One week ago last Saturday I went to Appleton and found my wife at a resort. I tried to get her to come home with me. While I was talking with her the woman of the house went upstairs and returned with a revolver under her apron. She scared my wife so that she would not leave with me. I then returned home and did not see my wife until she passed my house in the sleigh with her sister and two men.

 

Mrs. Louise Baeulieu, the keeper of the “Boarding house” where the tragedy took place, tells a different story regarding the shooting. Her story in conversation with a representative of The Sun is as follows;

 

Monday afternoon at two o’clock a sleigh containing two men and two women drove up to my house and stopped. One of the party entered the house and asked if they could stop and get warm. When the party got in the house and were seated, one of the girls said, “Here comes Ross.” He tied his horse, I opened the door for him and he walked in. He asked me if two men and two women were here. I answered yes. Ross said “I have a warrant for their arrest.” I told him that they went upstairs. He said I want to see them. I went upstairs and Ross followed. I asked them to open the door which order they obeyed at once.  Ross said to his wife; “Well Nellie I want to you to come home me.” Her answer to him was “She would not go home with him; neither would she live with him.” He said “you two have to go along with me, I have a warrant for both of you and you must go.” The two women then started downstairs followed by Ross. When I got to the foot of the stairs the two men were scuffling in the kitchen and I went on through the front room. While I was in there I heard the shooting. In a few moments Ross came into the room followed by Mrs. Ross. She said to him: “I will go home with and live with you but I am shot.” After saying these words the last that she uttered, she turned around and went back into the kitchen. Ross followed her as far as the open door, deliberately pulled his revolver, pointed at his wife shooting her in the back. She fell in her tracks without saying another word, and in falling her face struck against the corner of the door casing at the foot of the stairs.

 

Her sister came into the front room and said that she was shot. Scharbo went out the back door, I called him back and told him to go for the doctor. His answer was; “I am shot too.” The whole affair happened in a few minutes and I was so excited I did not see everything that was going on.         

The first shot struck Mrs. Ross in the right shoulder, making a skin wound and was undoubtedly the ball that lodged in the wall near the stairs. The other shot struck her in the back, under the right shoulder blade, taking an upward direction and coming out at the base of the forehead between the eyes. Scharbo was shot on the left side under the lower rib and the ball lodged against the right hip bone. Its course was between the muscles of the abdomen. Katie Duprey was shot in the right breast above the lung, the bullet dropping into the cavity of the lung.

 

Kittie DuPrey in conversation with a reporter said Ross intended to kill me for he threatened to kill me before. He sent me a letter while I was in Menominee to that effect. Ross pounded me when I was at Menominee and I had him arrested; he had a jury trail and got free. He came out Monday to kill me. He shot me first, the fellow next and his wife last. I had started to run upstairs when I was shot; I fell over my sister trying to get out of his way. He only shot at me one time. Ross and Scharbo were scuffling before the shooting started.

 

Ross begged us for a revolver to kill himself, while in jail. We do not believe he ever wanted to kill himself. No one at Beaulieu’s saw him turn the revolver on himself after the shooting. If Ross wanted to do away with himself so bad, he had plenty of time to relieve the county of a great expense, during the time when he was returning from the scene of his deeds and the meeting of Officer Reardon. Ross, kill himself! Don’t you believe it.

 

Chief of Police Reardon attempted to secure a statement from the dying girl Tuesday afternoon, but being very weak it was almost impossible to understand what she said. She claims that Ross shot her and her sister on the stairway, while they were fleeing from Ross, going back upstairs, and that it was his intention to kill them as he threatened to do so on several occasions, and also in a letter she received from Ross and which is in her trunk at Appleton.

 

Bertha Mills of Shawano the sixteen year old girl who has been living with the Ross family, tells a story on Ross that if true and we do not doubt it in the least, places Ross among that class of criminals that are executed by the limb route, there being an unwritten law as to their manner of being dealt with. Her evidence is sufficient to send him to jail even if he is not charged with the crime of murder.

 

Ross was taken before Judge Mitchell Monday evening for examination. District Attorney Bottenseek was present. The case was adjourned until tomorrow morning at nine o’clock. The charge against Ross is the killing of Mrs. Nellie Ross. Phillip Brown being a material witness was held in the sum of $200 with sufficient sureties for his appearance when wanted.

 

When Ross was going out to do the deed that made him a murderer, he met Chas. McCarty walking to town. After the shooting he returned to the city overtaking Mr. McCarty before he reached the railroad track, where it crosses Lawe Street. Ross remarked “I have killed three of them since I saw you last.” The time was very short, showing that his deadly work was done in a hurry.

The coroners jury consisted of Thos Malone, Richard Conlon, C.W. Larson, N. M. Kettenhofen, William Hayland and Peter Lappens. The jury viewed the dead body of Mrs. Ross, also the premises on Monday afternoon, the jury adjourned until nine o’clock Tuesday and from that time to 9 o’clock this afternoon.

 

Nellie Duprey claimed that she was shot first, her sister second and Scharbo last. She said that she was shot while going upstairs. It is supposed that both women started to run upstairs, to escape Ross and that he followed them to the foot of the stairs. One of the bullets entered the wall about half way up the stairs.

 

The revolver is in possession of Judge Mitchell. It is 38 caliber, five shot, self-acting and of the American Bull Dog pattern. It is an old gun and as ugly looking as it’s name implies. When asked by a Sun Representative where he got the gun, Ross Said he did not know that he had it for sometime.

 

When Ross came to town he went to the depot and told Chief of Police Reardon that he had killed three persons. The officer asked him for the revolver. He said he had it in his pocket and could take care of it. Dan got it.

 

Ross has been inventing new stories since he went to Appleton. He told a reporter up there that Katie Duprey had a dirk concealed under her apron. No one of the participants saw her with a knife or weapon of any kind.

 

The most of the letters received Katie Duprey were received in the name of Miss Katie LaClar, the name that she was generally known by among the class of people who were her associates.

 

Fred Scharbo was taken before Judge Mitchell Tuesday morning, to answer to the charge of Assault and Battery. He was bound over in the sum of $100 for his appearance at the trail set for today.

 

 

Shawano County Journal

Reprinted from The Oshkosh Northwestern

Three Persons Shot, Porter Ross, of Shawano, Spills Much Blood in Kaukauna, Jealousy Prompts the Husband to an Awful Crime in a Disreputable Resort - Both Women Involved are well known in this City - - Ross's Past History

 

The following account of frightful tragedy which occurred in Kaukauna with a well known Shawano character as the principle, appeared in Tuesday's evening's Northwestern of Oshkosh:

Kaukauna, Wis., March 9--- One of the worst shooting affairs that ever occurred here happened yesterday at the notorious Beaulieu resort about one and a half miles east of town, adjoining the race track on the river road to Wrightstown. Porter Ross, a stone mason, aged 55 years, lost his wife about 6 years ago, and soon married a young woman then 26 years of age, with whom he has been living about four years.

Lately they have been having much trouble, as Mrs. Ross insisted on leading a fast life, having been found several times by him in places of questionable resort, and on being remonstrated with at a resort in Appleton, refused to go with him, remaining a willing inmate and utterly refusing to again go back to her family, which consisted of two children of her own, aged 7 and 5 years, and 2 children of Mr. Ross by his first wife, aged 9 and 14 ears, three girls and a boy in all.

Ross came home from this call on his wife in no sociable frame of mind, and yesterday on seeing his wife driving by his house in company with a man, he rushed from his home in a rage and hired a rig with which to follow and catch them. He succeeded in traveling them to the Beaulieu place of ill fame, and upon ascertaining that they were in an upper room, immediately followed them up. He found his wife and her sister, Miss Kittie DuPrey, of West DePere, and also Fred Schabau, of Appleton, in a room by themselves. Ross at once demanded that his wife accompany him to Their home and received an angry refusal from his wife, who requested Schabau to put her husband out of the room and down the stairs. This Schabau, assisted by Mrs. Ross, succeeded in doing, nearly forcing Ross out through a window, cutting his face and hands badly. Upon getting so badly worsted Ross drew his revolver and commenced shooting. He first shot at Schabau, the bullet striking him in the abdomen. Ross claims to have fired all the shots at the man, but his wife received two, one in the back and one in the forehead, which killed her instantly. Miss DuPrey was also shot through the right lung, and the ball being a 38 caliber made a fearful wound, from which she is bleeding internally, with no hopes of her recovery. Her age is 17 years. Schabau's wound is not considered of a dangerous character, as it was a glancing shot, passing through his body between the muscles outside of the abdomen. It was extracted by Dr. Boyd at his office without much trouble. Schabau is about 25 years of age.

 

Immediately after the shooting Ross drove to town and voluntarily gave himself up to Marshal Dan Reardon, saying that he had just "done up" three of them, showing the empty revolver and acknowledging that it was fully loaded when he started. Ross was lodged behind the bars in this city lockup and District Attorney Bottensek came down on the 6:25 p.m. train and took the prisoner to Appleton on the 7:01 train. The driver of the double rig that came down from Appleton with the party, was placed under arrest, having been a witness to the shooting affair. His name is Phillip Brown, of Appleton. The dead body of the woman was removed to Fargo's undertaking rooms, where she was viewed by hundreds during the evening.

 

The wounded girl, who was in a very critical condition, yet remains at the Baeulieu place, and her parents at West DePere were at once notified of her terrible misfortune by telephone. Her parents are |Mr. and Mrs. Thomas DuPrey of the above place and are respectable French people. Fred Schabau, the wounded man, occupies a comfortable bed at police headquarters, where he is receiving the best of attention. Porter Ross talked freely with everyone who was allowed access to him. He told  his story over and over to several reporters and newspaper men who were early on the scene, each time denying that he had shot his wife. The same story subsequently was repeated of Chief Reardon and perhaps a hundred people while at the Northwestern depot. A coroner's jury was empanelled, consisting of Thomas Malsone, Richard Conlon, William Hayland, C W Larson, Peter Lappen, and N Kettenhofen, who were instructed to hold the post mortem examination tomorrow morning at 10:30. One favorable feature of this terrible affair is that the Beaulieu resort will be forever closed and without ceremony.

 

Later--- Katie DuPrey died from the effects of her injuries this forenoon. Porter Ross is well known in Shawano, where he has lived for many years. He has for many years been looked upon as a tough character and has a record of two imprisonments at the state penitentiary in Waupun for horse stealing. It is claimed that Ross is a near relative of Ford who shot the noted desperado, Jesse James. The two women implicated have also been familiar figures in Shawano. Justice Andrews is authority for the statement that there has been continual trouble in the Ross family for a long time and he has been appealed to on many occasions to right domestic wrongs. Porter Ross left Shawano a short time ago with sensational suspicions connected with his departure.

 

DePere Newspaper

March 1897

Is a Double Murderer

Porter Ross' second Victim Dies at Kaukauna

 

The death, Friday night, of Kate Duprey at Kaukauna, makes Porter Ross a double murderer, and he now rests under the charge of killing his wife, Nellie Ross, and her sister Kate Duprey, besides the attempt on the life of Fred Schabau, whom he found with the women in the Beaulieu resort at Kaukauna, the scene of the tragedy.

 

The body of Kate Duprey was brought to DePere by her parents and interred Monday by the side of her sister, Mrs. Ross.

At the post mortem examination held on the body of Kate Duprey, it was ascertained that the right lung through which the ball had entered her body was found almost entirely gone, only a few shreds of it remaining. The bullet was found embedded in her backbone.

 

 

March 13, 1897

Ross in a Tight Place

 

Kaukauna, March 13. - Thomas Malone, R. Carlon, N. Kettenhorfer, C. W. Larsen, William Hylant and Peter Lappen composed the jury at the coroner's inquest in the case of Mrs. Ross who was killed by her husband, Peter Ross, at a low resort a few days ago. District Attorney Bottensick of Appleton conducted the case for the state. The defendant was held for murder.

 

Thursday, March 18, 1897.  Rose Zoldoski Case.  A Woman Charged With Poisoning Her Husband In Shawano.  Pauline Piotraszewecz Locked Up In The Jail On A Serious Charge—A Bride Of Three Weeks—Her Actions Are In No Way Those Of A Murderess.  Perhaps Shawano has a murder case that will rival the famous story of Rose Zoldoski in sensational features.  Pauline Piotraszewecz, who lives in Hofa Park, A Polack woman, is now confined in the county jail waiting to answer to the charge of poisoning her husband.  Notwithstanding the generous allowance of letters in her unpronounceable name, Mrs. Piotraszewecz is a very pleasant faced, happy appearing woman, perfect picture of an ideal peasant woman such as the artist use for models and if she is a murderess, her looks and actions strongly belie the fact.  The alleged crime with which she is charged is that of poisoning her second husband.  No one seems to find any motive for so heinous a crime unless it was to marry another.  In the commitment papers it is stated that the woman poisoned her husband Peter Pasterski sometime during the month of November, from which poisoning he died November 13, 1896.  The journal reporter used up two new lead pencils in trying to write correctly the names of the persons on whose oath the woman is charged with murder.  As near as the reporter was able to decipher the chirography of the commitment papers they were: A J Dillett, Przrybelspei, W B Hutchinson, C Fenzwa, George Hollman and G S King.  Some of the names contained in the papers look as if the entire alphabet had gone off on a seven day “jag” or that the names were those of prominent citizens set up in type by a new apprentice printer’s devil.  But the charge of poisoning her husband was there plain enough.  The testimony given at the jury trial before Justice Keating in Maple Grove was according to reports of a very varied nature.  Some loving neighbor testified that she had seen poisons in the Pasterski home and thought she had seen the wife put some in hers husband’s cup.  There were several other neighborly souls who pushed and elbowed each other in the eager attempts to get before the jury and after their testimony in the hope that it might in some way construed or misconstrued into circumstantial evidence.  If the story told by the woman charged with the crime is to be believed, her husband had more than sufficient excuse for dying when he did.  She says that last November he was suffering from some bowel trouble and he used to take raw alcohol to relieve the pain.  She says that just before he died he had a pint of raw alcohol and was drinking it out of the bottle.  She told him he would kill himself and gave him some coffee to take it in.  She then claims that he drank the entire pint of raw alcohol.  And the next day he died.  It seems that after the man died, Mrs. Posterski found solace for her sorrow in the affections of Mr. Piotraszewecz, a farmer who owned a small farm in Maple Grove.  Apparently it this at this time that the good people of Hofa Park began to circulate stories regarding the woman.  About three weeks ago the widow again became a blushing bride, and then it was the envy of her sister Polacks knew no bounds, and their dark sayings and insinuations culminated in the charge of poisoning her husband.  It is pleasant to be able to record that the woman had some friends.  Constable Krumroi, who brought Mrs. Piotraszewecz to the county jail, firmly believes in the woman’s innocence, and there are many others.  A Journal reporter called to see her, but the interview was somewhat limited owing to an equal lack of knowledge of the English language on the part of the polish woman and the rusty condition in which the reporter found his polish vocabulary.  German was tried as a compromise, and after much labor, mental and physical, in the making and interpreting of signs, it was learned that Mrs. Piotraszewecz was the woman’s first husband.  The reporter learned also that she had a son 19 years old, and he was quite incapable of finding out how old she was at the time of her first marriage.  Continued efforts in this direction brought out such inconsistent answers as “one forty in Hofa Park and two forties in Maple Grove” or, “I married 12 years ago,” and all the time the industrious woman kept right on with her knitting.  She is evidently a very bright woman and most affable.  It has been stated that her happy, sunshiny disposition is responsible for her trouble, as it has made her a popular woman among the men and a source of envy to the women in the neighborhood in which she lived.  She is 36 years old, well preserved with a generous supply of flesh.  Her hair is thinly sprinkled with grey, which only aids to her matronly appearance.  The rotundity of her figure was decidedly aided by a superabundance of clothes.  The woman did not bring a trunk with her, but wrapped around her buxom waist was a full wardrobe of all the belongings that go with a Polish bride, while from her waist hung a profusion of skirts that rustled and “frou-froued” with every passing wind.  The groom accompanied his bride of 3 weeks to the county jail, and the leave-taking between the two was most touching.  The big Polander grasped her and folded her as closely to his breast as the superfluous clothing would allow, and in this position they talked an unknown language in a soft voice that could not be understood.  There was no mistaking the fact that he trusted her perfectly.  Then he left her, promising to try and get bonds.  During his absence she sits and knits swiftly and steadily.  During her short stay at the jail she has knitted two pairs of warm sock.”For my man,” she said, holding up the stocking, and it is evident that she is thinking of him every minute, for her eyes are often dimmed with tears, but as soon as she is spoken to she brightens up quickly and does her best to appear cheerful.  There are none among those with whom she is associated that believe her guilty.  When the charges were made Drs. Hittner and Fuller, of Seymour, ordered the body of Pasterski dug up and a post mortem examination was made.  There was no evidence of death due to poisoning, but the body was removed and went to specialists in Chicago for further examination.  Mrs. Piotraszewecz refuses to worry over the future and is sure that she will soon be cleared of all suspicion.  Her husband did not return Tuesday night with the bonds, as she had expected.  This proved to be a great trial and she wept softly to herself far into the night.

 

DePere Newspaper

March 20, 1897

Ross Held for Trial

Kaukauna Murderer Attempts Suicide by Swallowing Tin

 

The examination at Kaukauna of Porter Ross, who shot his wife, sister-in-law and their male companion, was closed by Justice Mitchell ordering that Ross be held for the crime of murder as charged and committed to the county jail, there to await the action of the Circuit court. On account of the importance of the case it is thought that it is not likely to come to trial at the April term. The evidence offered at the examination was not materially different from that at the coroner's jury. The witnesses were Mrs. Baeulieu, who swore to seeing Ross shot his wife in the back, and that she fell dead; Marshall Readdon, who arrested Ross on his assertion that he had done up three of them at the Beaulieu place and that he went there to kill them, meaning those he shot, and Schabau, who received the shot in the abdomen. All made strong witnesses for the state. The prisoner was sent back tot eh county jail by the 3:45 train, a great crowd following him to the depot.

 

Sunday, Ross tried to end his life by scraping the tin from some empty cans and swallowing it.