Murders in Shawano County

Transcribed by Editor Jim Glasheen & Cathe Ziereis

Shawano County Journal

Thurs 27 Sep 1923

Shawano Man is Murder Suspect

Shiocton Farmer Lays Crime at Door of Former Shawanoite

The people of Leeman and of the town of Maine are stirred up over the alleged murder of Edward Bedor, who after he was shot, lived several hours, and in this time described to the officers the detail of the killing, and accused Henry Dietzler of being the guilty person.  Henry Dietzler is a former Shawano man, he having lived here most of his life.  A few years ago he and his wife ran the Wallrich farm near Gumaer’s on West shore for two years, and later they worked for the Wallrich Land Company for three or four years in Hollister.  When Mr. Dietzler was arrested by the Outagamie sheriff and his undersheriffs he offered no resistance and at his hearing before municipal court he entered no plea.  To his neighbors he denied all knowledge of the crime and expressed great surprise that suspicion was cast upon him.

His hearing is set for October first and he will be defended by P.J. Winter of Shawano and Hugo and Gustav Koeller of Appleton.

The following account is the result of investigation by Appleton newspaper representatives. 

For the past six years, Mr. Bedor and his family lived on a farm, owned by J.J. Curtiss, Mrs. Bedor’s father nine miles north on Shiocton on the Shawano road, and during a part of that period Mr. Dietzler conducted a meat market in the village of Shiocton. 

During the high waters a few years ago, Mr. Dietzler lost some of his out buildings in Shiocton and met with other reverses and he gave up the butcher business and moved onto a small farm north of the Allen farm on the Shawano road where the family is now living.  Bedor, at the request of Dietzler moved the Dietzler household goods to the farm.

From the start after the moving, the two families became very intimate.  They visited back and forth and enjoyed dinners together.  The members of one family rarely passed the home of the other without stopping to chat.  Together they took automobile trips over county roads.

Bedor, it is said, was a moonshiner in a small way and as he had no car the past year, it is said Dietzler drove him over the country to supply customers.  The younger children played first at one house and then in the other and the older girls of one family seldom passed by the home of the others without stopping for a visit.

It is said in Leeman that for some time Dietzler was suspicious of his wife, that he abused her on several occasions and threatened her life and that owing to such treatment; Mrs. Dietzler left her home several times and remained away from two to six weeks each time.  She had been away two weeks visiting the home of her parents the day the Bedor murder took place and come back the day after when her husband was in jail.

On the day of the alleged murder, Bedor crossed the river in a skiff as he had announced to his wife he would, moored his skill, but instead of chopping firewood, he built a fire under his still as he had a half barrel of mash that he wished to strain and convert in0t moonshine that afternoon.

Meanwhile, Dietzler it is said, left his home walking in the direction of the river to a spring, and according to sheriff Otto Zuehlke, continued his trip beyond the spring to the river as is indicated by tracks from the house which the sheriff is said to have followed. 

After Bedor had started a fire, he needed water for condensing purposes about the coil of his still.  To get the water he carried a pail to the river, stepped down the embankment to the edge of the river, and was filling his pail, when, without warning of any kind whatsoever, his chin was stung by a hissing bullet, followed by the sharp crack of a high powered rifle.

Turning in the direction of the report, Bedor, according to his statement to Mr. Allen and others, saw the smoking rifle in the hands of his former friend.  “For God’s Sake” he yelled, “don’t shoot, Hank.”

Bedor started toward the cabin and a second shot crashed into his body just below the belt, striking him in the back, and passing through his body.  Bedor fell to the ground, and he says a third shot went wild.

Bedor, in a statement before he died, said he saw Dietzler skulking away from the river through the timber.

Bedor struggled to his feet, staggered into the shack, crawled into the lower of two straw-covered bunks.  After a time, perhaps a half hour, he recovered sufficiently to begin his tottering march, closing the wound in his abdomen with his hand, to tell his story.

Weakened by the loss of blood, Bedor wobbled over bogs, through brush covered swamps, over sandbars, across muddy ravines, along creek bottoms, sinking here and there in quick sands, and stumbling over bogs.  Utterly exhausted, Bedor fell three times on the trip.  The bloody sand and mud still mark the spots where he fell.

Finally he staggered into the farmyard of Len Allen.  “Len I’m a dead man.  Henry Dietzler shot me on the river bank in front of the river shanty,” Allen declares Bedor said.

Bedor, according to Allen, minutely described his movements of the day, the shooting and everything connected with it, His movements after he was shot, where he laid down to rest and why he wanted to tell his story.

Mr. Allen, as soon as Bedor had finished his statement, loaded the man into his car and started for the Bedor home.  As the party passed the Dietzler home, Mr. Dietzler was encountered in the road going north.  Allen spoke to Dietzler who appeared startled, Mr. Allen said.  At the Bedor home, Mrs. Bedor was picked up and the car moved toward Shiocton to get medical assistance.  From Shiocton, the wounded man was conveyed to Appleton.

Shawano County Journal

Thurs 11 Oct 1923

Tragedy Fails to Estrange Friendship

The tragedy of the murder of Edwin R. Bedor, town of Maine and the arrest of his neighbor, Henry Dietzler, on a charge of committing the crime, has not estranged the children of the two families.  Best of friends before the shooting, they remain staunch friends afterward.

This friendship, which even a tragedy of this kind could not shatter, was evidenced when a newspaper reporter visited the scene of the shooting recently to obtain some pictures.  The country thereabouts is wild and a total stranger would soon lose his way in the swamps and cut over land.

The reporter secured Doris Bedor, daughter of the slain man, to guide him to the sugar shanty near where the shooting occurred.  The young woman, acquainted as she was with the country, could not find the shanty after a long hunt, but she didn’t want to disappoint the reporter and she sought help.  Her first thought was of the Dietzlers and she led the reporter back to the road and then to the Dietzler home.  The reporter and his guide found a family at dinner and they were welcomed most cordially.  Mrs. Dietzler was too busy to act as guide, but she promptly delegated the task to her son Marlon and in a few minutes the daughter of the slain man, the son of the man accused of slaying him and the reporter were picking their way through the fields to the shanty.

On the way they passed a little bog of sand where the water had washed on the land and Doris stopped to look for tracks made by Marlon’s father on the day of the shooting, but the youth objected declaring his father had not been in the vicinity for several days.

The youngsters and the reporter went on to the shanty where Doris was shown where her father was dipping water out of the Wolf River when he was shot.  The two youngsters went over the entire place together.  They talked about the shooting but there wasn’t a word to indicate that the tragedy might break up their friendship.

 

Shawano County Journal

Thurs 11 Oct 1923

Dietzler to Stand Trial for Murder

Whether a dying man’s words will send a man to prison for life for murder is the question which will be decided in one of the most involved cases ever tried in the courts, following the binding over for trial at Appleton of Henry Dietzler, former Shawano man, held in connection with the shooting of his neighbor Edwin R. Bedor.

The alleged affections of Bedor for Dietzler wife, the jealousy existing in the minds of both men, because both were said to have been suspicious of one another and other strange activities are factors that are expected to be revealed in the testimony at the coming trial, for which no date has been set.

Dietzler has been in jail since September 20th, the day Bedor was shot from the Wolf River near Leeman.  His hearing was held at Appleton last week before the largest crowd ever assembled in circuit court.  Most of the spectators were former neighbors of the two men involved in the case.

The only witnesses summoned were: Roy C. Sawyer, undertaker at Shawano, Dr. Robert S. Mitchell, of Appleton, who operated upon Bedor after the shooting, and Leonard Allen, a neighbor, to whose home Bedor dragged himself after being shot.

Bedor’s dying statement heard by Allen was to the effect that he saw Dietzler disappear through some trees opposite the river, holding a smoking rifle in his hands, after the shot had been fired.

Judge A. M. Spencer declared after hearing the testimony that the evidence was sufficient to hold Dietzler on the charge of first degree murder and ordered him bound over to circuit court for trial.

Dietzler was calm when he came into the courtroom, and showed little or no emotion whatever during the hearing.  He conversed pleasantly with his attorneys and smiled and nodded in recognition to neighbors whom he recognized in the curious throng.  He has remained as stole as to the shooting ever since arrested, refusing to discuss it further than to deny his guilt.

Advocate Tues 17 June 1924

Murdered Near Wittenberg 

Mrs. George Cummings of Grand Rapids Killed By Her Husband 

 

A woman, named Mrs. George Cummings, a bride tourist, was murdered early Sunday morning near Wittenberg by her husband, whose name is learned to be George Cummings.  The Milwaukee Sentinel immediately sent a staff of reporters to the scene of the murder, and we give the story here-with, just as it was given Monday morning by the Sentinel.

Every automobile highway  in Wisconsin north of Milwaukee was patrolled Sunday night by sheriff’s posses to intercept a man following the finding the body of his bride of a week at a tourist camp in Wittenberg Sunday morning.

The man, George P Cummings is reported to have fled from the tourist camp about 8 o’clock Sunday morning.

Early Sunday afternoon an inquisitive farmer who had helped Cummings get his Chevrolet touring car out of a roadside ditch, discovered the nude body of Cumming’s wife wrapped in an army blanket for a shroud, in a shallow grave in the woods.

The officers were informed that Cummings in 29 years old, of dark complexion weighing 150 pounds, 5 feet 10 inches tall, and is rather shabbily or roughly dressed.  He is said to be driving a Chevrolet touring car considerably the worse for wear.

 

On Outdoor Honeymoon.  The farmer who discovered the body of Mrs. Cummings notified the authorities and an alarm to intercept the fleeing husband was broadcasted throughout the state.

Cummings and his wife appeared at the tourist camp on Saturday with equipment for a long stay in the north woods

The woman appeared to be about ten or fifteen years older than her husband and she told other tourist campers that she and her young husband had been married only last Saturday.

“I expect a nice long summer in the woods,” she said.  “We are from Grand Rapids, Mich. and I have always wanted to spend a summer out next to nature.”

The couple pitched a tent beside their car and appeared to be enjoying their honeymoon.

 

Curiosity Leads To Find.  Sunday morning Cummings appeared about the car.  He was alone.

Other campers had wondered what had become of the bride but made no inquires

A farmer whose land is near the tourist camping ground encountered Cummings with his car in the ditch about nine o’clock Sunday morning.  Cummings appeared very excited.  He offered the farmer $25 to bring his horse and drag the car out of the ditch.  This was accomplished and Cummings drove to Wausau where he obtained gasoline from Hall’s filling station.

Several hours after the farmer, reflecting upon Cummings excitement, and the fact that his bride was not with him, returned to the scene of the accident.

 

Flees Toward South.  There was a slight mound on the ground a few yards away and the farmer found under two feet of loose earth, the body of Mrs. Cummings.  She was wrapped in an old army blanket and tied with a rope.

She had been killed by three blows on the head, apparently inflicted with a hatchet.

County Attorney R H Fischer and Sheriff William Grosnick were notified and they started from Shawano, the county seat, and took charge of the body.

Late Sunday night District Attorney Fischer stated that there had been evidence that Cummings had fled toward the south, and word was flashed to the police of Milwaukee and Chicago to head him off.  Every sheriff in the northwest will be notified on Monday, Mr. Fischer said.

 

Posed as Lumberman.  The Sentinel learned from Grand Rapids, Mich. Sunday night, that Cummings was married to Mrs. E. Rae on June 7 by the Rev. Earl A Miller, pastor of the First Congregational church of that city.

Mrs. Rae had conducted a furnished apartment house in Grand Rapids for several years.  She was considered shrewd and successful in business affairs.

George Cummings appeared on the scene a few weeks ago.  He had a car and engaged an apartment at the widow Rae’s house.  He told her he was a wealthy lumberman from Victoria, B. C. and laid siege to the widow’s heart.

The day before they were married the widow Rae sold her apartment house.

Two days later they bought camping equipment and set forth to enjoy a summer in the Wisconsin Woods.

 

 

SCJ

Thurs 17 June 1924

Tourist Bride Found Murdered

Killed By Ax In Hands Of Man She Married A Week Before

 

Mrs. George Cummings, a bride of only a week, was murdered in cold blood by the man whom she had taken as her husband only ten days before in a quiet wedding at Grand Rapids, Michigan.  The murder took place just a few miles north of Wittenberg early Sunday morning, at the camp site at Christensen’s corners.

The couple had been in Shawano Saturday afternoon during the business shopping hours and had made some purchases at the Shulz & Carr Drug store and had some repairs made at the Popp garage.  They then went directly to Wittenberg.

At Wittenberg they stopped at a garage to have a brake fixed on their car.  They drove a Chevrolet sedanette.  While the man got a nut from the garage, the car rolled forward about a hundred feet down a little incline in the side-walk.  There the woman talked to a Mrs. Lee.  She told Mrs. Lee that she had been married in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on June 7th, and that her name was Mrs. Cummings.  She said that they were going up through Duluth to Victoria, British Columbia where her husband had lumber holdings.  He was supposed to be a rich lumberman.  The couple then asked the way to a camping site.  Directions were given and they drove north to the Christensen camp ground and pitched their tent, at about 9:30 Saturday evening.

Later in the evening the man walked to the little restaurant and garage there on the corner and seemed to be very nervous.  He gave conflicting orders for lunches and drinks.  He asked first for a hot lunch and then for a cold one, and again he asked for a hot drink and before it came he asked for a cold one.

At fifteen minutes to five the next morning the man drove alone past the restaurant and down the road toward Eland.  He drove with a nervous jerk and a few blocks down the road he turned around to look into the back of the car, and although the road was wide he ran his car into the ditch, off an embankment of about three feet.

The accident proved his undoing.  He went to the home of a Mr. Buntrock, the nearest farmer, and offered him twenty five dollars to pull the car out of the ditch.  Mr. Buntrock told him he would do it as soon as he finished milking.  A young lad named Colson, about fourteen years of age, went out to the barn door between the milking of one cow and the next following, and each time he saw the man busy carrying out bundles.

Presently the milk wagon came back from the factory and Mr. Buntrock and the Colson boy hitched up the team and pulled the car out.  There in front of the car, about thirty feet ahead, was a pile of stones and some logs, but no importance was attached to this fact and the man suggested that they pull the car right over it.  Mr. Buntrock asked five dollars for his trouble and the man, pulling out a big roll of bills, paid him ten and then hurried away.

Mr. Wolfinger, a garage man from Eland drove by and was about to assist but the car was out of the ditch and he turned to get back into his own car.  He noticed some blood on the door of the Chevrolet, the fender was jammed and the side of the car was covered with mud.  Wolfinger asked in the “other felloe was hurt much” and the man answered that he was hurt just a little.”

Then the man drove hurriedly away and Buntrock and Colson went back to the farm house.  But boy like, Colson was curious about the pile of stones and he went back to roll them away.  Upon seeing the dead body he ran back to the house.  We have it from the Eland marshal that Mrs. Buntrock wanted to notify the authorities at once, but Mr. Buntrock being afraid that thereby the family might be involved argued and directed against it.

It was fifteen minutes to eleven before District Attorney Fischer was notified.  Within three minutes he and Sheriff Grosnick were on their way to the scene of the tragedy.  They found the body wrapped up in burlap so compactly that it seemed to have been done by a master hand.  The body was tied up closely, the limbs and head folded down and tightly roped.  The whole package was so small that one would scarcely believe that it could contain a human body

The woman appeared to be about forty years o age or more and the man about thirty-five.  The woman had bobbed hair and was of refined appearance.  Both were dark of complexion and had appearances of Southern Europeans.  Near the car was found some bread wrappers from Manistique and a time table from St. Ignatz, both being towns in Upper Michigan.  Off in the swamp was found the lady’s empty pocket-book, a lady’s boudoir cap and a rain coat.

Three distinct cut were found on her head.  One was a dull heavy bruise over the temple which was evidently inflected with the back of the hatchet.  The other two were deep sharp cuts that had laid the scalp open to the width of three fingers.  The blood-stained hatchet was found in the debris.  Rigor mortis had not set in which indicated that the woman had not been dead over eight hours.

From Grand Rapids it was learned that the murdered woman had recently sold her apartment house and that she had received five hundred dollars as initial payment.  It is supposed that the motive for the killing was desire to obtain this money.  The man made such a bungling mess of his dastardly act that the theory that he is crazy has some support.

There were all kinds of wild rumors afloat Monday that the man had been seen in Wausau, in Antigo, at Tomahawk, and Crandon, but none of these were substantiated.  There is good reason to believe however that he was seen in Caroline Sunday afternoon.  The failure of those who knew of the case to report the matter at once robbed the officers of the opportunity to take the man into custody at once.

It would have been an easy matter to capture him that day if notice had been given the officers just the minute the facts were known.

Mrs. Cummings daughter telephoned the coroner Monday afternoon that she would come at once to Shawano to claim the body.

Mrs. Jean Rae’s marriage to Geo. Cummings was her fifth matrimonial venture, according to dispatches from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Although Mrs. Rae’s age was given as 38 in the marriage license issued there, she was really 62 years old, Mrs. Percival X Bailey, daughter of the slain women, said.  Both she and Cummings lived in Grand Rapids.

Cummings was a salesman, according to the license.  He was 39 years old.  The two were apparently devoted to each other, neighbors said, when they left Grand Rapids on their fatal honeymoon.

 

 

Advocate Tues 1 July 1924

Suspect May Be Cummings 

Man Arrested Last Week at Antigo, Said To Be Man Who Murdered His Wife 

 

Last Wednesday a man who gave his name A J Alexander, was arrested at Antigo on the charges of being drunk, and from the description, it was thought that he was George Cummings, wanted for murdering his aged wife recently in a tourist camp at Wittenberg.  Several from here and Wittenberg went there to see the man, but they were not positive about the man, as those from here only saw him once or twice and it was hard to tell whether he was the same man, as he had recently had his hair cut.  He also wore a different suit of clothes.  District Attorney Fischer went to Antigo and grilled the man for several hours, trying to get some evidence against him, and while there were some things that were conflicting, they did not have enough evidence to hold him.  He was sent to the city jail at Antigo for twenty-five days on the charge of drunkenness which would give the Shawano county authorities time to get someone from Michigan who had known him for some time.  The two ladies who knew him in Grand Rapids, Michigan, arrived in Antigo Saturday night and District Attorney Fischer drove there Sunday and did not return until late Monday afternoon.  The Advocate reporter was talking with a gentleman from Antigo, who stated that one of the ladies was positive that he was the man, and that his name is Cummings. 

It is said that Cummings has been in Grand Rapids and is also wanted at Alberta, Canada, and that police at Antigo found in the man’s belongings a menu card from Grand Rapids and printed matter from Alberta.  It is said that with discrepancies in the man’s story, from the evidence the officers have against him, they are certain that they have the right man.

From the Antigo Journal of Monday we learn that both of the women who went to Antigo from Grand Rapids are positive that the prisoner is Cummings and one of them said that she saw Cummings when he had the hatchet in his pocket, the green handle sticking out of the pocket.  District Attorney Fischer and Sheriff Grosnick left Monday for Rice Lake with the prisoner to see if his story that he tells about being a traveling man is true.  They are expected home in a day or two.

 

Shawano County Journal

Thurs 26 June 1924

Honeymoon Slayer Makes a Get-Away Leaving no Tangible Clue 

George P. Comings, who killed his bride of ten days in a tourist camp north of Wittenberg nearly two weeks ago is still at large and county authorities have about given up hope of bring him to trial for his crime.

Handicapped by a late start, because of the delay in transmitting the information anent the discovery of the victim, District Attorney Fischer and his sides were unable to notify authorities in surrounding counties in time to head off the slayer, and it is believed that he has made a clean “get-away” possibly having abandoned his car, which was the principal clue to his identity.  He is known to have a good camping outfit and a good supply of food stuffs, which would enable him to hunt out a secluded spot and hide until the incident was forgotten, and then wend his way into Canada where he would be more than reasonably safe from apprehension.

There is a possibility that he may be traced through his mail, which is being sent to Victoria, B.C., but it is also probable that a man of the slayer’s type of education would not take chances on being apprehended for the sake of a few love missiles directed to him by patronesses of the matrimonial agencies.

Cummings has been “seen” several times since his disappearance from the scene of the shallow grave in which he buried his victim, at Caroline on the Sunday afternoon, at Pelican, also on the same Sunday afternoon, at Wausau on the same day, near Iron Mountain early Monday, and at other points.  In Fact, nearly everyone who drives a battered Chevrolet was opened to suspicion at one place or another, but no tangible clues have been forthcoming and the whereabouts of the wanted man are as much a mystery now as they were a week ago.

S.C.A.

Wed 23 May 1928

 

Bowman Buried at Red Springs

Wife of Killer is being protected by Friends, $200 Reward is offered

John Bowman, age 61, who was shot to death last Tuesday by his son-in-law John Nunway, was brought to the home of his son, Mr. Herman Bowman, on Wednesday afternoon.  Funeral was held at the Presbyterian Church at Red Springs on Friday afternoon.  The Rev. Westfall officiated.  Pall-bearers were Ike Mohawk, O. Bowman, Mack Tousey, Hal Hammer, Louis Hammer, and Clark Cuish.  Besides his wife he leaves two sons, Herman and Dick and six daughters, Ruby and Gertie, Adeline, Angeline, Margie and Leona.  Two brothers, Sam and Mont Bowman and sisters, Mrs. Emeine Littleman also survives.  The life of Mrs. Nunway was threatened by her husband; so she is being protected by friends until he is found.  A reward of $200.00 is being offered to anyone who knows of his where abouts.  Two of the little daughters of Mr. Bowman were shot at.  In all it was a terrible experience.  Mr. Bowman had gone home to move his family down to Morgan for the summer, as he had worked here.  The sympathy of the entire community is extended to this family.  Mr. Nunway is the father of four little girls.

 

SCJ Thurs 31 May 1928

John Nunway Is Caught Off Guard 

Alleged Murderer Arrested In Green Bay And Now In Antigo Jail 

 

John Nunway, the man who has been sought all over the Menominee Reservation for the murder of his father-in-law, John Bowman, was captured at Green Bay Saturday morning.  He was taken to Antigo where he was arraigned in municipal court, and pled Not Guilty.  The preliminary hearing for him is set for June 8th.  The finding of Nunway at Green Bay was quite a surprise for it was very generally believed that he was hiding in the woods on the Menominee Reservation.  Placards offering award for his arrest were posted all over the reservation and the Indians as well as the government officials were on a sharp lookout for him.

He had been employed at the Northern Paper Mills since May 17 as a bark peeler, while officials were putting forth every effort toward his apprehension.  A fellow worker at the mills told Grognet Friday that he suspected the man, known to his friends there as John Skenadore, was Nunway.

Investigation disclosed that Nunway had quit at the mill Monday evening, and had returned in a state of intoxication Friday morning, to call for his check.  He had wandered away from there in the direction of the Green Bay and Western railroad bridge, evidently intending to cross to the west side of the river, but, finding the draw open, had fallen asleep in a ditch beside the trestle.

 

ADMITS IDENTITY.  Awakened from his nap by the officers, he at first denied being the man sought, but when he was shown a circular giving his description sent out by Langlade county officials, he said “That’s me” and accompanied the officers in a car, in which he was taken to the Brown county jail.

W J Jones, Langlade county sheriff and C E Jones, undersheriff, were notified immediately and came to Green Bay at once, taking their prisoner back to Antigo at 9 o’clock Saturday night. 

Nunway, it is alleged, shot and killed John Bowman, his father-in-law, after the two had quarreled over family matters.  He walked a half-mile to a daughter’s home after the quarrel, and borrowed a rifle, saying that he was going hunting.

 

FIRED 7 SHOTS, CLAIM.  Returning to his father-in-law’s home, he is said to have fired seven shots through the side of the house and then to have shot through the door where Bowman was attempting to gain a view of the grounds through a crack in the wood.  The bullet entered Bowman’s body just above the heart and came out through the back.  He died a few minutes later.

Nunway fled into the woods near Lily, and then “bummed” his way south to Green Bay.  He found work at the Northern, giving there the name of Jochlyn John.

The Green Bay and Western bridge proved a boon to him, since by means of it he could cross to and from work each day without walking through town.  He wore the same clothes he had on when he left Lily, the most conspicuous part of his attire being a red jacket with a purple band, mentioned in the circular.

The name Skenadore, an Oneida name, he adopted with a view to throwing off the track any of his Indian friends who might have suspected him.  It was one of these friends, however, who “tipped” Grognet as the officer walked down Main street Friday.  He refused to give his name, but said that he suspected the man known as Skenadore was the one wanted.  Whether Nunway “talked to much” or whether the friend had known him before was not learned.

 

BIDS OFFICERS “GOOD BYE.”  The alleged murderer displayed no emotion following his arrest.  Taken to the county jail, he asked if he might sleep for a while.  Granted this right, he took advantage of it for the greater part of the time until the arrival of the Antigo officials.

Earlier, after he had been awakened from his stupor in the ditch beside the bridge and was being led to the car, he had remarked to the officers that he “guessed this was his last drunk” and if Langlade county officials prove their case against him, it is.  Wisconsin puts its murderers away for life.

 

OFFICERS GET $200 REWARD.  Officer Grognet received the tip that led to Nunway’s arrest Friday morning, and worked on it until 3 o’clock Friday afternoon, when he and Gutzman found their man.  He looked everywhere that he thought the Indian might be likely to go, and finally enlisted Gutzman’s aid in a most through search through the neighborhood of the mill and the bridge.

The red jacket with the purple band made the officers certain that Jochlyn John or John Skenadore was none other than John Nunway.  A joint on his little finger, pushed back and out of place, and scars on his face made the identification more certain.

Gutzman shook him, and the Indian, looking up and seeing the officers said “Hello.”

He wasn’t Nunway, and he wasn’t married, and he didn’t know anything about the murder, he said when they first talked to him.  Officer Grognet’s “gat” and the circular changed his mind, however, and he admitted that he was Nunway.

The county officers are to receive a $200 reward for his arrest.  Grognet and Gutzman Saturday was the recipient of felicitations from county officials for their initiative and enterprise in running down the tip on Nunway.

 

 

 

Advocate

Thurs 28 Mar 1929

John Martin, 70, Seneca Farmer Takes Two Lives  

Despondent and Tired of Life, Aged Man Shoots Son and Himself After Feeding Team at Dawn 

Finances in Bad Shape

Is Believed Murder Had Intended to Kill Wife, But Nerve Failed When He Found Her Awake

 

John Martin, 70, Town of Seneca farmer, after becoming despondent and without hope in his life, shot and killed his son and self at day break at his farm home after arising and feeding a team of horses.   It is believed that Martin had intended to kill his wife, but finding her awake when he returned to the house, limited his job to his son and himself.

 

TAXES NOT PAID.  Taxes were not paid, Martin had lost his job at Bowler, and he could not get the new position he was promised in Appleton.  But that is not believed to be the only reason why the crime was committed.  About a year ago Mrs. Martin hid the old rusty Iver Johnson 38 which Martin had purchased and laid up on the shelf.  He told her that it was no use hiding it, as he would only purchase another one.  With this statement Mrs. Martin returned to old gun to the former place of keeping.  There it lay for one year, until last Monday morning.

About 5:30, just as day was breaking, John Martin arose and fed old dobbin.  He returned to the house and entered the room where his wife was supposedly sleeping.  She moved somewhat at which the old man left the room.  Just a minute later, she heard three shots which she thought were on the outside of the house.  She ran to her thirty-eight year old son’s room just in time to see the father fall to the floor.  Reinhold, the son, she found had been shot and killed.

Although three bullets had been fired, only two were to be accounted for—one through the skull of each of the men.  Immediately Mrs. Martin hastened to the nearest neighbor, John Dahl, who lives three quarters of a mile from the martin home and summoned help.  From there she and Dahl went to Claude Felts, hardware man in Tilleda, who called County Coroner Garfield.  The Martin farm is three quarters of a mile off the main road, and had the old man shot Mrs. Martin, the three probably would not have been found for several weeks.  The Martin family seldom mixed with the neighbors, and Dahl admits that sometimes he did not see then for several weeks at a time.

 

SCJ

Thurs 28 Mar 1929

Farmer Kills Son, Then Shoots Self

 

The consummation of a life of discouragement was enacted in the dastardly double killing by a Seneca farmer early Monday morning, when John Martin, aged 70, shot and killed his sleeping son, 38, and then shot himself through the head, and fell to the floor, dead, before his sleeping wife aroused herself to an understanding of what had transpired.

The Martins lived in a little backwoods, board house on the Bowler road in the town of Seneca, quite off the beaten trails.  They had eighty acres of cut-over land, and were quite recluse in habits.

Early Monday morning Mr. Martin got up, went to the barn at five o’clock, fed the stock, watered the horses and then came back into the house.  He went into the wife’s bedroom, and as she roused up to face him, he walked out of the room.

The wife went back into a half-dose.  She is naturally hard of hearing and so when the first shot was fired, she thought it was the report of the husband shooting the dog which had become ugly.  She heard another shot, and another, and by this time she was aroused from her sleepiness enough to realize that something more than a casual shooting had occurred.

She jumped to her feet and went into her son’s room just in time to see her husband falling prone and helpless to the floor, two bullet wounds to his head, and a tell-tale hole in the head of the son.

The father had gone into the son’s bedroom and with a thirty-eight caliber revolver, had shot the son as he slept.  The shot which killed the son was fired into the right temple.  The young man never moved, not even a fraction of an inch.  His earthly sleep was simply turned into eternal repose.

The father then turned the revolver upon himself. 

 

He shot himself twice.  Investigation indicates that the first shot was through the right temple, and the second up through the mouth and through the top of his head.  Either shot would have killed him.

It is evident that when he went into his wife’s room he had in mind to make a clean sweep and annihilate the entire family, and that seeing her awake, he lost his nerve.

The cause of the gruesome act is believed to have been discouragement through poverty.  The old man had for some time been night watchman in the Bowler mill, but the mill shut down some months ago and he had nothing more to do.

His taxes for the year were unpaid.  He lived on the backwoods piece of land with his old wife and bachelor son, securing what they could to eat from the meager farm supplies and getting along with such clothes as they had.

There could have been no other motive, for there had been no discord in the family.  The son was the apple of his father’s eye; he did not even want the son to work because he believed he was not strong enough.  There could possibly, have been another cause for the tragedy, and that, insanity.  The mother was at one time confined to the asylum and the younger son shot himself to death about seven years ago in a fit of despondency.  If this were the cause, there was no motive.  The officers, however, believe there was no insanity, but that discouragement over poverty was the direst cause and motive.

As soon as the aged wife discovered the horrible tragedy that had been consummated, almost before her face, she hurried to the neighbors.  The neighbors notified the authorities and Louis Cattau, assistant district attorney and Walter Garfield, coroner, hurried to the scene.  They found the facts so evident that no inquest was ordered.

Investigation showed that there was no drink or booze connected with the affair, nor any family row, or domestic trouble.  The neighbors all corroborated this finding.  All day the Sunday before, the family had played at a simple game of cards and had enjoyed themselves in their stoical way.

The only living relative found is Paul Schefelbein of Bowler, relative of the aged wife.  It is possible that this Schefelbein family will go onto the Martin eighty and make a home for Mrs. Martin.  If they do not she will become a county charge and will be brought to the county home.

The bodies were put into charge of Undertaker Ruppenthal, at Tigerton.  The funeral was held yesterday, under expense of the county.  The bodies were buried in the lot secured for the younger son when he took his life seven years ago.

 

 

SCJ Thurs 9 May 1929

Whoopee Trip Ends With Tragic Death 

Andrew Kinnepoway Fires Shot That Kills His Sister-in-law

 

Andrew Kinnepoway of Neopit is in jail in Keshena under arrest, charged with the murder of his sister-in-law, Maggie Matchekoma.  He was placed under arrest by John Winans after he had fired the shot that caused instant death of his wife’s sister.

According to Winans, Kinnepoway had been drinking considerable of late and has recently been in jail for drunkenness.  But there are only four cells in the jail and six to occupy them.  Kinnepoway was therefore let free on belief that he would sober up and behave.

Sunday night, his wife and sister-in-law, with Henry Dodge, went to Morgan siding and there made whoopee.  They returned at one-thirty, all showing indications of having been drinking, and a quarrel ensued between Andrew Kinnepoway and his wife Theresa.

That the quarrel was not one-sided is shown by the scratch marks on Kinnepoway’s face, which is pretty badly clawed.  In the heat of the fight, Kinnepoway left the room and went down stairs.

The women slammed the door shut, and stood against the door to hold it shut as there was no hook on the door.

The scene is in the Kinnepoway residence at Neopit.  The time is a few minutes after one-thirty on Monday morning.

Kinnepoway demanded entrance into the room where the women were ensconced.  The two women only pressed harder against the door to resist entrance.  Kinnepoway brought up his trusty single-barreled shotgun and fired through the door. 

Maggie Matchekoma was directly in front of the shot on the other side of the door and she received the entire shot in her body.  It went directly through her liver and carried with it splinters from the door.  She died instantly.

Walter Garfield, coroner, was called and took charge of the body and John Winans took charge of Kinnepoway.  The arrested man said that the shot gun he had was minus the trigger and that It was his intention to fire it up through the ceiling to frighten the women into opening the door, but that his thumb slipped on the broken trigger and the gun went off before he intended.   This will probably be his defense in court.

His case is under federal jurisdiction.  The procedure is this:  Bernard Dillett, United States Court Commissioner for this section of Wisconsin, has sent the warrant and complaint to the United States Marshall at Milwaukee, who will come in due season and set a hearing before Commissioner Dillett.  The hearing will be set for the time and place decided upon by the Commissioner and the Marshall.  It may be at Neopit or Keshena, or Shawano, or even Milwaukee.

The penalty for murder under federal law is life imprisonment in the federal prison at Fort Leavenworth. 

LATER:  Kinnepoway was arraigned before Commissioner Dillett yesterday morning and the case was continued to Wednesday, May 15th, to permit the appearance of U. S. Attorney.  The hearing will be at the Court House in Shawano at 10 A.M.

 

 

Advocate

Thurs 9 May 1929

Neopit Indian Shoots and Kills Own Sister-in-Law

Maggie Miller is Victim of Shot Gun After Returning From Dance  Moon is Evident

 

Maggie Miller or Maggie Matcheikoma, age 35, as shot and killed by her brother-in-law, Andrew Kinipaway, early Monday when the man directed the charge of a shot gun through a door and killed the Indian women.  Both of them are Menominee's.

Two stories are circulated concerning the affair, both of which have it that the Indian was full of drink.  Mrs. Kinipoway and Maggie had gone to a dance with Henry Dodge and Kinipoway.  After Dodge had departed, the women woke up Andrew after which some shoving around was done.  The women attempted to hold a door between then and Andrew.  Andrew shot, killed the sister-in-law, and then claimed he intended to shoot through the roof.

Another report has it that the man and his wife had quarreled about the returning of their daughter to the Keshena government school.  Maggie Miller was supposed to have intervened and became the victim of the discharged gun by accident.  The two stories may be linked together when U.S. Com. Dillett questions the Indians here next Wednesday.  Deputy Marshall Phillips from Milwaukee went to Keshena yesterday and brought Kinipoway to the county jail where he will rest until his hearing next week

If the court follows the laws of Wisconsin, the killer will serve a life sentence for first degree murder.  He will hang if Federal jurisdiction is used under the same circumstance.

 

 

SCJ

Thurs 23 May 1929

Kinipoway Set Free

 Shooting Accidental  Hearing Terminates When Prosecution Moves To Dismiss Charges 

 

Andrew Kinipoway, who shot and killed his sister-in-law, Maggie Matchekoma, about three weeks ago, was given his hearing before United States Commissioner C B Dillett, last Friday.  John Winans, government officer, Eric Jansen, police officer at Neopit, and Myrtle Kinipoway, ten-year old daughter of the defendant, were the witnesses called.  Their evidence disclosed that Kinipoway was drunk at the time of the tragedy, that he was merely trying to scare the women who sought to prevent his entrance into the room they were in, and that the gun he had was accidentally discharged.  Upon the closing of the evidence, U.S. District Attorney E J Koelver, made a motion to dismiss the case, and Kinipoway was discharged from custody.

The case attached an unusual amount of interest because, had the defendant, Andrew Kinipoway, been found guilty, the death penalty by law would be in place.

 

 

SCJ

Thurs 23 May 1929

Kills Wife, Then Shoots Himself   

 

Domestic difficulties, leading up to the separation of Leonard Schmidt and his wife, resulted in the killing of Mrs. Schmidt by her husband, and the taking of his own life shortly afterward, last Thursday night.

Five years ago Leonard Schmidt and Louise Schmidt were married, and since then have made their home with Mr. and Mrs. Avery Miller, parents of Mrs. Schmidt, on a farm about two and one-half mile north of Gresham on County Trunk A.  Mr. Schmidt had claimed for some time past that he had to support the parents of his wife, as well as his family, and complained about the work he had to do to furnish such support.  Pleading with his wife to leave her parents’ home and make a home with and for him, she refused and he went to make his home with a brother, Edward, whose farm adjoins the Miller place.  The situation came to a climax last Wednesday morning when Mrs. Schmidt again refused to leave her home with her parents and a violent quarrel ensued.  Thursday morning, Mrs. Schmidt came to Shawano and started divorce proceedings.  Returning to the parental home, she was visited by her husband, who had driven in with his brother’s car, and went outside to talk to him.

It Is apparent that his pleadings were still unheeded, for after about ten minutes, Mrs. Miller heard a shot and went outside to find her daughter lying beside the road with a mortal gun-shot wound in her side.  Mr. Schmidt had driven away.  Mrs. Schmidt died, her last word being “He got me, I’m dying.”

Fred Leischer, Marshall of Gresham, Sheriff Hoffman and Coroner Garfield were summoned and went to the scene of the shooting.  From there they went to the Edward Schmidt home, arriving just after the body of Leonard Schmidt had been found on the running board of the auto he had driven, the top of his head blown off by the shotgun with which he had killed his wife.

The case was pronounced one of murder and suicide, and the body of Schmidt was turned over to Undertaker Mader of Gresham.

Mr. Schmidt’s funeral was held on Friday afternoon.  Rev. Westphal of the Gresham Presbyterian church conducting the services.  Funeral services for Mrs. Schmidt were held Sunday afternoon from the home of her brother, Ernest.  Rev. Westphal conducting the services also.

The couple has one son, Garfield, aged three years.  Mrs. Schmidt is survived by her parents, two brothers, Ernest and Roy, and one sister, Mrs. Charles Lind, of Morgan.  Mr. Schmidt is survived by his parents, three brothers, Edward, Louis and George, all of Morgan, and two sisters, Angeline and Margaret, both at home on the Schmidt farm three miles west of Gresham.

 

Advocate 

Thurs 23 May 1929

Leonard Schmidt Shoots Wife Who Was Seeking Divorce 

Leave 1 Child 

Immediate Reason For Killing Not Known, Trouble Was Apparent In Home Since Marriage Of Couple 

 

Leonard Schmidt, Twenty-five year old Lyndhurst farmer, shot and killed his wife and then committed suicide this evening after he had made a threat that he would commit the deed just yesterday.  Mrs. Schmidt, who is twenty-one years old, was in District Attorney Fischer’s office this afternoon to proceed to get a divorce which would have been granted her, according to authorities.

Yesterday, the young wife left her husband and went to stay with her sister, tonight the husband came to the home of the sister and kept good the promise he had recently made.  He had no knowledge that he was to be a divorcee when he did the deed.

Louis Cattau and Sheriff Hoffman went to the scene this evening.  While they were phoning the happening to Shawano, Schmidt who was believed to have fled, shot himself.

The two had been married about two years, and had two children, one of which is dead, and lived on the Will Bucholz farm in Lyndhurst.

 

 

Advocate 

30 May 1929

Morgan – The funeral of Mrs. Leonard Schmidt was held at the Presbyterian church at Red Springs, over crowded with friends and relatives who attended the funeral of the young wife who met death at the hands of her husband, Mr. Schmidt, who then shot himself.  He was buried in the same cemetery, Saturday afternoon.

Mrs. Schmidt leaves a 3 year old son, father and mother.  Mr. and Mrs. Avery Miller, at Roosevelt, one sister Mrs. C Lind, two brothers, Ernest and Roy all of Morgan, besides a host of other relatives and friends.

Rev. Westphal preached the funeral sermon.  Burial took place in the public cemetery.

Sympathy of the entire community is extended to the relatives of both Mr. and Mrs. Schmidt.

Advocate

Tues 6 June 1929

William Crowell, Shawano Boy, is Held for Murder

Had Left Home Here at Age of Fifteen Years to Become Jockey, Has Toured Europe

William “Nuts” Crowell, former Shawano boy and son of Mr. and Mrs. William Crowell is being held at Mobile, Alabama, in connection with the killing of a street car conductor. 

According to the boy’s parents, he ran away from home at the age of 15 years and became a horse jockey at a southern riding track.  Later he shipped on steamship freighters, and toured Europe last winter.  His parents heard from him not more than a week ago when he wrote from the state of Mississippi.

Shawano County Journal

Thurs 19 Dec 1929

Embarrass Barber Meets Violent Death

William Koehn is killed by Automobile in the City of Milwaukee

A little black satchel, wedged in between the bumper and the radiator of an automobile, figured prominently in the arrest of two men who, last Friday night, ran into and killed William Koehn, a barber who comes from Embarrass, and who is well known to many of the brother-members of his profession in this locality.

After striking Koehn, the two men stopped, according to report, viewed the prostrate figure of the barber and then told each other “We didn’t kill that man.”  Then they drove on without attempting to give aid to their victim.

People who saw the accident obtained the license number of the automobile, and reported to the police.  Investigation revealed that the car belonged to Herman Schwartz of 541---50th street, Milwaukee.  Upon visiting the home of Schwartz, and then looking over the automobile, police found the bag of tools and the shears-sharpening outfit of Koehl wedged between the bumper and radiator of the automobile.  Schwartz and his companion, Henry Wagenknecht, who lives but two doors from Schwartz, were taken into custody and held without charge pending inquest.  Koehn was a Spanish-American war veteran and also served in the World War.  He at one time ran a barber shop in Belle Plaine, but later became an itinerant barber, moving frequently from shop to shop, working a good share of the time in Milwaukee.  When tiring of barbering he was wont to take his outfit and go out and sharpen barber shears, and it was this sharpening outfit that was in the black bag at the time Mr. Koehn met his premature death.