Marshall County
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Ottawa Free Trader

29 Jun 1867

Found - The young man David Grove, of the town of Rutland, mentioned in our last as having strangely disappeared, has been found. ...

04 Sep 1869

Sharp Swindle - Mistaken Identity. ... Thursday all parties appeared at the trial. Mr. Hatheway and Mr. Butler swore very positively to the identity of the man - not possible they could be mistaken. On the other side, Mr. Thomas produced the boy with whom he rode from Buck Creek into town on teh 11th, who swore that he had left Thomas about 12 o'colck at the depot; W. P. Henery, who knew Thomas very well, further swore that Thomas had got on the cares with him at 1 o'clock on the same day, and rode with him to Sparland, opposite Lacon, where he left him at 4:30 p.m. Another man, Mr. James McCormick, of Lacon, who was well acquainted with Tomas, also swore that he met him on the cars at La Salle at 2 o'clock on Aug. 11th, and rod with him to Lacon; and half a dozen of witnesses from Lacon, all of the highest respectability, swore that they had seen Thomas arrive at Lacon by the 4:30 train on the 11th Aug., and had seen him there the balance of that day and the next. The alibi was so clearly made out, that the State's Attorney, Mr. Blanchard, abandoned the case, and Mr. Thomas was set at liberty. ...

08 Jul 1871

... Mrs. Turner, of the Sparland Chronicle, ...

24 Feb 1883

Mr. W. H. H. Holdridge got back from Florida Tuesday morning, and stopped in Wenona over one train. He roports Mr. and Mrs. John O. Dent and daughter getting along nicely, and that they will probably return about April 1st. Messrs. Holdridge and Dent bought a plantation and propose starting an orange grove. Oranges are cut up and planted in Florida just as potatoes are in this locality, and Mr. Holdridge says they finished planting about sixty thousand the day before he left. He will return to Florida, accompanied by Mrs. H., about the first of April, with the expectation of making it his home.

28 Jun 1884

Wenona Index: On Tuesday a barn on J. D. Fyffe's farm, two miles north of town, was struck and set on fire. Fortunately one of Isaac VanHorn's boys had just returned from the field and discovered the fire in time to extinguish it before any particular damage was done. The Climax school house, near Evan, was also struck. The children and teacher, Miss Ryder, of this city, were in the building at the time. The casing around the door was torn loose and the building otherwise slightly damaged, but the inmates all escaped with but a slight shock.

Wenona Index, 26th: The oldest inhabitant's memory fails to run back to the time whenthere was such a rain as that of Tuesday. Milt Bayne says a tin can six inches high, setting on his gate post, was rained full, ....

William Hoge, the first settler in what is now Grundy county, died on last Sunday evening at his home in the town of Nettle Creek. The Morris Herald says:

He was born at Rector Cross Roads, Forquier county, Va., July 5, 1801. In 1825 he was married to Rachel Bowles, who died in December, 1848. In 1829, accompanied by his father, Mr. Hoge came west and settled a piece of land in this county, then returned to Virginia, remaining until 1831, when with his wife and children he took up the weary march to his new home in the west, there to come incontact with the many hardships that are the lot of the pioneer. Hardly had he become settled in his new home, a rough log cabin which is still standing within 100 yards of the house in which he died, when the Indian disturbances broke out known as the Blackhawk war, and with his family he was compelled to flee to the nearest place of refuge, the old fort near Hennepin. While there his first son Joshua was born. In August 1832 the Indian war was at an end and Mr. Hoge returned to his home, and on May 6, 1884, his second son, James B., was born - the first white child born in the county. He built the first saw mill in the county and was one of half a dozen who built the first school house in the county, which is still standing near his residence. He was the father of 9 children, all of whom survive him.

21 Jul 1888

Gapen - Mr. T. E. Gapen and wife atteded a family reunion at Sparland this. Mr. Gapen's father, Mr. C. C. Gapen was eighty years old on Tuesday.

17 Nov 1888

Murdered for Revenge
Charles Burkhart Murders Banker Howe and his Wife and Commits Suicide at Wenona

A deed that, for ferocity and brutality, has no counterpart in the criminal history of central Illinois has turned the usually quiet, sedate and conventional village of Wenona and tranquil Marshall county into chaotic excitement. Banker Howe, the old patriarch pioneer of Wenona, and one of the first settlers of Marshall county, and his aged wife were murdered in a most brutal and cold blooded manner between ten o'clock on Saturday night, and five o'clock on Monday morning.

Banker Howe and his wife, one of them quite beyond three score and ten, lived alone in a small two-storied house near the fair grounds for many, many years. He had been the mainstay and paternal adviser of his little city from its infancy, when from log cabins of the prairie to Chicago or St. Louis was a journey of great consequence, requiring a coupl eof weeks in going and returning. As soon as the town became somewhat of a commercial center he established the Wenona Bank, in the business of which he became a familiar figure in the history of Marshall county, and warmly identified with the best elemetns of society. He was a plain, sagacious man, with none of the vices of many of his fellows, and although in his latter years possessed of nearly a half million dollars, preferred to end his days as he had begun them, in industry and frugality. Mingling little with the purely social circles of his little town; his love for the fireside and his sons, caused him to select a habitation removed from others, and though cosy and filled with every comfort, his home was nearly a mile from his nearest neighbor; but the pretty, well-kept home has ever been the admiration of passers by.

Thus living simply and homely, the household duties until a few weeks ago, being of a simple nature, were performed by Mrs. Howe, but her age, she being well along in the sixth decade, caused her to employ a young girl named Sarah Richardson to do the general housework.

Sarah was industriuos and expended but little of  her earnings. Her stepfather, a low, worthless fellow, knowing her disposition and suspecting that she might possess a few dollars, went to the banker's homestead on Saturday afternoon to demand it. He was intoxicated and abusive. Banker Howe and his wife, who were sitting in the parlor, hearing high words and the noise of a struggle in the kitchen, hurried out and finding Burkhart attempting to injure the girl, assisted her to put him out and bar the door. Rendered frantic at being baffled, he raved about the place fo an hour or more, threatening the lives of the inmates, and at about dark went away. After the evening meal the usual Scriptural passages were read, and the old couple retired. Instead of going to Wenona immediately after supper as was her custom, the girl, fearing trouble from Burkhart, remained at the house until ten o'clock, and after searching the premises to see that he was not lurking about, retired.

She arose at five o'clock on Monday mornign to begin the usual prparations for doing the week's washing, and while passing the door of the banker's bedroom saw blood on the mat. The door was ajar, and fearing to investigate, she left the house. As was usual with him, one of the bankers sons called in at about eight o'clock and finding everything still, went to his father's room, and, getting no response to his call stepped inside, and almost fainted at the sigh which confronted him. On the bed, the banker and his wife, with heads crushed and bodies mutilated, were surrounded with blood soaked and blood bespattered clothing and furniture. Blood covered the walls; it had congested upon the ceiling; was present upon the nice mat carpet in great blotches, and the door and window sill bore the imprint of gory fingers. A coupling pin, covered with blood and hair, lay on the floor. The banker and his wife had been murdered in their night cloths, fairly slaughtered in their sleep. The postiion of the bodies seemed to place Banker Howe as the first victim. He lay squarely upon his back, and, while sleeping, his brains had been beten out with the instrument which lay upon the floor. His wife, who had apparently been awakened by the stuggles of her husband, seemed to have struggled for some moments for her life. She lay crosswise of the bed. A deep wound upon her gbreast, her clinched hands, and the tossed and wildly disarranged bed clothing, gave evidence of a battle for life. The murderer had then tarried to vent his spite upon the lifeless remains of his victims, by beating their heads into unrecognizable masses of blood and brains and flesh.

Almost crazed with grief and terror, the son ran wildly to the nearest habitation and gave the alarm. It spread from tongue to tongue, and the hosue and grounds were soon filled with excited men, demanding the murderer that he might be liynched upon the spot. The girl told about how her stepfather had stomed about the house on the Saturday previous, and threatened the life of the banker and his wife, and unhesitatingly declared him to be the murderer. Footprints in the rain-softened earth beneath the window led out over the lawn to the highway. Leaving a guard over the dead, the farmers galloped madly to the village, and the news spreading quickly, business was immediately suspended, and a dilligent search was instituted for the murderer, who, until the announcement of the murder, ha been walking the street moking his pipe as though he had not harmed a dove. When it became apparent to him that escape was out of the question, hurried to his rooms over Gable's meat market. At about nine o'clock, being assured that he was in his rooms, the infuriated citizens, with Marshall Wingate at their head, rushed to the house and was met by Burkhart's wife who said he was killing himself. They rushe dup stairs and found his body lying upon its back with the throat cut from ear to ear, and severed to the spinal column. He lay in a bath of blood, with a razor grasped tightly in his right hand, a deep gash upon his right cheek and a number of old blood stains upon his clothing, which coupled with his suicide confirmed the suspicion of his guilt and though circumstanial were substantial witnesses.

Peter Howe, the murdered banker, was born in Connecticut, and had just celebrated his seventy-sixth birth day. Mrs. Howe was also a native of the east, and was well advanced in the sixties. Two sons, who had latterly shouldered the weightier cares of business, were partners in the bank with their father. Banker Howe, respected and loved by his townsmen, and identified with all that has been of lasting benefit to Wenona, with his wife, are sincerely mourned.

Coroner Clendennin, accompanied by Sheriff Morrissey and two deputies, repaired at once to the scene of the murder, and an inquest was held in the sitting room of the Howe residence. The evidence given by the Richardson girl and Mrs. Burkhart was very meager, Mrs. Burkhart stating that her husband was at home all evening and had not left the house, while the girl swore that she heard nothing of a sturggle nor any noise whatever. THe jury rendered a verdict fastening the blame on no one. The inquest was very unsatisfactory to the coroner, who thought that the evienc eof the girl and her mother was incomplete, and he re-assembled the jury and held another inquest. He then succeeded in forcing the mother and daughter to confess the entire truth, which makes the entire matter as plain as daylight. The girl said that she was awakened by Burkhart who came to her bedside with bloody hands, and told her that he had murdered the old folks, and that it was all on her account, and then outyraged her person. Mrs. Berkhart testified that her husband came home at about eleven o'clock and said that he had murdered Banker Howe and his wife, and asked for a weapon to destroy himself with. He then suggested that they die together, and next morning, after finding that he was suspected, he committed suicide.

Burkhart, a worthless drunkard, has cheated the gallows. a fate which he most richly deserved. He is first identified as residing in Streator, later, he served a term of confinement for robbery at Minonk, and had resided but a short time in Wenona. His reputation was that of one who was utterly debased.

Banker Howe and his wife were buried on Tuesday. Their funeral was the largest held in Marshall county for many years.

28 Dec 1889

... The couple had seventeen children and grandchildren. Howe left a will which gave to his wife a homestead and 160 acres of land. All the real estate in Illinois less than 160 acres and all the real estate other than in Illinois was to be loaned at interest and held in trust by the executors until such a time as the grandchildren became thirty years old, when it was to be divided equally among them. In case one of the children died, that one's share was to be divided equally among the other grandchildren.

20 Apr 1889

Rev. Bryer, formerly of Wenona, was recently married in Rob Roy, Ind., and is about to sail with his bride for Gaboon, Africa, to enter upon his work as Presbyterian missionary in that country.

18 May 1889

Wenona Index, May 17 - John Young, an old resident of Wenona, died on Friday night, aged 60 years.
The Grays of Wenona, are going to Henry on the 23d.
C. H. Tisdale has contracted for 60,000 bushels of corn to be delivered within the next few months.
James Hunt while sinking a well, at 40 to 45 feet down, had his augur strike a well preserved log or block of wood.
The finishing touches have been put on the Catholic church which will be dedicated by Bishop Spaulding on Sunday.
Charles J. Russell, a prominent Odd Fellow of Wenona died on the 10th of typhoid fever. He was 34 years od.
On Friday evening Mrs. Capt. John Card died at Wenona at the age of 83 years. She had returned from California only a fortnight before her death. She had been a member of the M. E. church for 48 years.ive him except one.

01 Jun 1889

Ambrose Everly, son of A. G. Everly, has shown signs of insanity for some time. on Thursday last the unfortunate young man was taken to Lacon for examination before the county court and adjudged insane, and the following day taken to the Insane Asylum at Kankakee.

Rev. W. W. Coe, of the Presbyterian church of Wenona, and Miss Anna B. Woollscott were married at Lake View on the 28th.

Hon. J. O. Dent and wife, and Mrs. W. Lloyd, arrived in Wenona from Florida on Saturday evening.

A large tree in the yard of Mr. John Work was struck by lightning last Thursday morning. Thomas Work was standing on the porch at the time, and reports decidedly queer feelings when the lighting struck as well as being thoroughly frightened, but he escaped injury.

02 Nov 1889

Charles Gapin has taken a week off, and will visit friends in Sparland, Ill.


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