Wednesday, January 26, 2011

John Krebbs Shot By His Wife

Centerville Daily Citizen - 23 October 1902
John Krebbs, of Jerome, Met Death From Shot Gun
  John Krebbs was shot and killed by his wife in Jerome about 6:00 o'clock this morning. He lived but twenty minutes after being shot. The shooting was done out in the yard just at day break as Mr. Krebbs was starting to his work in the mine. The shooting was done with a shotgun and Mrs. Krebbs claims it was accidental and that she did not know the gun was loaded. The Krebbs family consisted of husband and wife and two children who have but recently moved to Jerome and but little is known about the family. Mr. Krebbs was about forty years of age and was a miner. It is not known if any ill feeling existed in the family. It is said that Mr. Krebbs was out in the yard and the wife standing in or near the door when the shot was fired. The full charge shot struck the man in the abdomen making a terrible wound which caused death in twenty minutes. There were no eye witnesses to the shooting.
  Sheriff Davis was telephoned about the shooting and in company with the coroner left for the scene of the shooting early this morning to hold an inquest over the body.
  Later: A telephone message this afternoon from Jerome states that the coroner's jury came to the verdict that John Krebbs came to his death by means of a shotgun wound from a shotgun held in the hands of his wife and that she is criminally responsible. Mrs. Krebbs has been placed under arrest and will be brought to Centerville tomorrow by Constable George King, of Jerome, and placed in jail. In the meantime she is under guard. 
  Coroner Allen Shaw, Sheriff W. P. Davis and County Attorney E. M. Probasco have been in Jerome nearly all day investigating the case. J. N. Dooley acted as clerk of the coroner's jury which was empanled (sic) from among the citizens of Jerome.
  The Citizen's informant says that the evidence given before the coroner's jury showed that Mr. Krebbs had arisen early this morning in order to go to work in the mine but that his wife would not get up to get his breakfast for him. Thereupon he threw a bucket of water upon her as she lay in bed and then the trouble began which ended in the loss of the man's life. It is alleged that Mrs. Krebbs got the shot gun and coming to the door pointed it at her husband who was leaving the house for the mine. She had said she "would fix him". She still claims however that she meant only to scare her husband and that the gun went off by accident The Krebbs have resided in Jerome off and on for about nine years.
  The husband will be buried sometime tomorrow.
Semi-Weekly Iowegian - 20 February 1903
Mrs. Krebbs On Witness Stand
Defendant Testifies to Charge of Killing her Husband
Large Crowds Attend the Trial Daily
  The trial of Mrs. Krebbs for the murder of her husband is still occupying the attention of the district court.  The sensational part of the trial took place on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday, when Mrs. Krebbs was placed on the witness stand in her own defense. After leaving the witness stand she fainted and the episode made considerable stir in the court room. Her story as told to the jury had the air of truthfulness and was in corroboration of the story told by her daughter, who preceded her on the stand. Her story was substantially as follows:
  She had been married three times. Shed was divorced from her first husband some years ago; her second husband was killed in a mine accident. She married John Krebbs in 1891 and the little girl, Clara, is their child, the older daughter, Lena, being a daughter of her first marriage.
  Her story was to the effect that Krebbs was always cruel and brutal and of an ungovernable temper and had beaten her on a number of occasions and that she was confined to her bed two months at one time as the result of his abuse and that she was afraid of him, as he had threatened to kill her on many occasions. The last straw was when he assaulted her daughter (his stepdaughter) and then she decided to ask for a divorce. On the day before the shooting she came to Centerville to consult a lawyer concerning a divorce. When he came home that night he was drinking and very angry about her consulting a lawyer. The next morning about five o'clock he got up and built a fire, something very unusual for him to do, and then took a quart cup of water and going to the bed where her daughter, Lena, was sleeping, threw it in her face, then getting another cup full he threw it on her. She then got up and he caught her and threw her on the floor and beat her head against the wall, asking her if she told the lawyer about his assault on Lena and when she said she did because she had to, he said "that settles it, I'll fix you so you won't tell anybody else and I'll do it right now". She says she really thought he intended to kill her and when he went out of doors apparently to get some weapon to do it with, she rushed into the kitchen and caught up the shot gun and as she got to the door he came in the kitchen door and grabbed the gun by the muzzle and tired (sic) to wrench it from her grasp. In the struggle it went off the charge striking him in the breast, from the effects of which he died a few minutes later.
  She says she had no intention of shooting him but took up the gun in strict self defense.
  This is the gist of her evidence and if the jury takes it at its face, the result will not be in much doubt. She told it in a low voice and very brokenly and was frequently overcome with emotion. The case will probably go to the jury tonight.
  The defense closed yesterday and then came to the rebuttal and surrebuttal  evidence which occupied a comparatively short time and the attorneys commenced their plea. Assistant prosecutor Wycoff opened for the state and will be followed by C. H. Elgin and C. F. Howell for the defense, County Attorney Porter closing for the state It is expected that the case will go to the jury tonight.
Centerville Daily Citizen - 21 February 1903
Mrs. Krebbs Not Guilty
Jury in Krebbs Murder Case Returns Verdict of Not Guilty
Jury Went out at 11:20 and Was out Four Hours
Verdict Received by Judge Eichelberger In Presence of Large Crowd
Emma Clara Krebbs a Free Woman 
Closing Events of the Trial
  "We the jury find the defendant, Emma Krebbs, not guilty".
  The above is the verdict in the Krebbs murder case that was returned to Judge Eichelberger's (district court this afternoon at 2:20 o'clock) and on which hung the fate of Emma Clara Krebbs, who has been on trial the past twelve days for the murder of her husband, John Krebbs in Jerome the 23rd of last October. The verdict was returned to court in presence of a large crowd, it having been learned that the jury had arrived at a verdict and everyone who heard it started for the court room. Estelle Gordon, the deputy clerk, received the verdict from the bailiff who had received it from the foreman of the jury, Albert L. Gale. She opened the paper, and with a trembling voice read, as it appears above, and Emma Clara Krebbs was a free woman. A cheer of approval went up from the people. Judge Eichelberger ordered that she be released. Her daughters threw their arms around her neck and the three wept for joy. Many friends pressed forward to congratulate the defendant, her attorney's being first. 
  The Krebbs Murder case went to the jury this forenoon at 11:20 o'clock. Mr. Porter closing his argument at 10:45 and Judge Eichelberger then read his instructions to the jury and then it retired. Mr. Howell closed the argument for the defense last evening shortly after four o'clock, having talked almost five hours. Mr. Porter commenced at once with the closing argument for the state and talked an hour last evening before court adjourned. His argument was a fine effort and demonstrated that he has left nothing undone to secure a conviction. His oratorical powers were brought out to a marked degree and all who heard his address say that it was a good one. He reviewed the came from the beginning to end and touched heavily upon the argument of the defendant's attorneys. He scored Mr. Howell unmercifully, just as Mr. Howell had rubbed it into him and from the arguments of these two attorneys it appeared that the contest was between the attorneys as much as anything else. Mr. Porter made all out of the case there was in it and acquitted himself well.
  The court room was again crowded this morning with people eager to hear Mr. Porter's closing argument and the instructions of the court. A large percentage of those present were ladies and the interest was intense. As the trial drew nearer and nearer to the close the interest grew more intense and the people were on the tip toe of expectancy watching for every word or action from the parties connected with the trail.
  The reading of the instructions by Judge Eichelberger consumed about twenty-five minutes. After he had closed Mr. Howell offered additional instructions and requested that they be given to the jury.  The court looked them over and replied that they would not be competent and marking them refused, put them in a drawer and called the bailiff to take charge of the jury. The big crowd lingered in and around the court room thinking the jury might return in a short time with a verdict. But as the noon hour ? ached and nothing was heard from the jury room the crowd melted away. The defendant and her two daughters slowly walked from the court room to the jail, as if the defendant had a feeling that perhaps that would be the last out door walk she would have as a free woman. 
  The editor sincerely appreciates the contribution of the above news articles to The Jerome Journal by Marion Zemo of Centerville, Iowa, who had received them from Gary Craver of Centerville.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Letha Lane Hungate, 1923-1993

Daily Iowegian - January 1993
  Letha Hungate, 69, of Centerville, died Monday evening, Jan. 18, 1993, at the Centerville Care Center.
  She was born in Missouri on June 27, 1923, to Sidney Guy and Florence (Shepard) Lane. She was united in marriage to Robert Hungate in Unionville, Mo., in 1972. He survives.
  Also surviving are her three children, Richard Barger of Leon, James Barger of Oskaloosa and Carol Barger of Florida; several grandchildren; a sister, Betty Jean Corbin of Ames; two brothers, Paul Lane of Des Moines and Max Stover of Indianola.
  Funeral services will be held Friday afternoon, Jan. 22 at 1 at the Lange Funeral Home with John Lewis officiating. Burial will be in the Jerome Cemetery. Visitation will be held Thursday evening from 7 until 8.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Working in a Coal Mine

Newsletter of the Wayne County Historical Society
December 2010
By Brenda DeVore
  One of the interesting exhibits in the 20th Century Wing in Prairie Trails Museum tells the story of coal mining in eastern Wayne County. Covering the time from 1870 to 1960, when the last mine in Wayne County closed, it is a story of hard work and many men toiling away in dark dangerous underground mines.
  When the pioneers began to arrive in eastern Wayne County they found coal near the surface of the ground. Some of the early pioneers dug out coal for heating their cabins.
  Wayne County was officially organized on Feb 13, 1851 and by 1855 practically the entire county was settled. The 1850 census reported county population at 340. By 1860, just ten years later, the population had jumped to 6,409, and it continued to grow until it reached a peak of 17,491 in 1900.
  In 1855 the only mine in operation was in Wright Township a few miles north of Promise City. By 1875 Wayne County had nine coal mines open, which employed 49 workers and put out more than 4,000 tons of coal, valued at $9,068.00. As the population grew so did the number of coal mines.  All operation coal mines were located in the eastern townships of Wayne County continuing east into Appanoose. As rail service grew in importance some of the larger mines were owned by railroad companies.
  A vein of coal twenty-five to thirty inches thick was found within the city limits of Seymour and extended about eight miles west of town and an unknown distance eastward. The first coal mine in Seymour was in 1883; it was owned and operated by L. F. Thatcher. Called the "Sunshine" mine, it was located directly east of the railroad which was convenient for shipping coal. In 1884 another mine, the "Occidental Coal Mines" opened at the west edge of Seymour, thus there were two mines within the city limits.
  The Big Jim Mine, one and one-fourth miles east of Seymour was the largest mine in Wayne County. At its height it employed 500 men and put out five hundred tons of coal daily. With so many mines around Seymour it was known as a Coal Camp. With a need for more miners the Coal Companies hastily erected rows of small cheap houses to rent to the new immigrant miners. Even today a few of the small square houses remain in Seymour, Centerville, Cincinnati, Exline, Brazil, and Mystic.
  In The Past and Present of Lucas and Wayne Counties published in 1913 it was stated, "The coal in Seymour is of superior quality producing white ashes and comparatively free from clinkers. A little mountain of cinders and debris within the town limits, removed from the mine, is about one hundred feet high and has been burning for several years. The Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad Company has built a track to this debris and is using it for ballast."
  In 1900 Seymour boasted a population of over 2,000, the largest town in the county, mostly due to the many miners living and working there. Immigrants came from Croatia, Italy, France, England, Sweden, Lithuania, Ireland, and Wales to work in southern Iowa coal mines in search of a better life in America. Descendants of those early immigrants are still part of the community today.
  In some of the communities, not only did the mines rent housing from the coal company, there was a company store where they shopped. In the classic Tennessee Ernie Ford song the chorus line was - You load sixteen tons, what do you get, another day older and deeper in debt, Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go; I owe my soul to the company store. Interviews of retired miners show many felt this way as the prices at the company store were inflated and they had no choice but to shop there. One retired miner reported that if your wife shopped elsewhere the mine might suddenly no longer need you.
  Where the coal deposit lay near the surface and was visible from a hillside, a drift mine was dug horizontally. If the coal deposit lay not more than a hundred feet from the surface, a sloping tunnel could be cut to the coal. If the vein was deep but the materials above could be easily removed workers stripped off the overburden and formed a strip mine.
  If the deposit was too difficult for a slope or strip mine then a vertical shaft was sunk down to the coal vein. From this shaft horizontal tunnels were cut into the deposit forming a room and pillar mine. If the mine was large there would be tunnels leading out in different directions. The mine entry averaged about eight feet in width, keeping the entry as narrow as possible to allow stronger roof support. Tunnel height was usually about five feet. 
  Transporting the coal from the mine involved building a rail system for small coal cars to be pulled by ponies or mules. Shetland ponies were the choice in many mines due to their short stature. Sometimes the ponies remained in the mine for extended periods and were blind when finally brought out to the surface.
  Coal mining was a dark, dusty, dirty job and the men came from the mine covered in coal dust. The miners felt they were cleaner than others in the community because they had a daily bath while others at the time bathed weekly. Of course many former miners suffered from black lung in later years.
  Mining was, and still is, a dangerous occupation. The miner worked in cramped dimly lit conditions with only a carbide lamp attached to his helmet and, at times, on his side swinging a pickax into a dark dusty wall of coal. Looking through clippings from early Seymour newspapers there are numerous stories of men injured or killed while working in the mines.
  The miner who "shot" the coal had one of the most dangerous jobs. He entered the mine at night after other miners had gone home. Using a large hand crank drill he would burrow a hole in the wall and then set a charge of dynamite. The resulting explosion loosened coal to be picked and loaded the following morning.
  Each miner had a unique set of brass or metal tags with a number stamped on each. Once the rail car was filled with coal the miner attached his tag to the front so when the car was pulled to the surface he would get credit for that load. There are three of these tags on displayin the coal mine exhibit at the museum.
  Pictured above is a plat of the Confidence High Test Coal Company mine. This plat was determined by a survey done on Jan 18, 1937 by engineer M. S. Hall and updated in 1940. Constructed as a slope mine, it was on the east side of the roadand the entrance opened toward what is now highway S56. This mine was just south of where Sunny Slope Church now stands. This map is on display in the coal mine exhibit and was donated by Larry Martley.
  In 1926 an article in the Times Republican reported, "Prospecting for coal near Promise City was rewarded by finding a vein 32 inches thick at a depth of 122 feet. The vein was struck by the drilling outfit Saturday evening on the Noble Brothers farm 1-1/4 miles eat of Promise City on the south bank of Walnut Creek. This became known as Noble Coal Company and was an underground mine. Evidence of this mine can still be seen today on the south bank of Walnut Creek, south of Highway 2 on the route to Seymour.
  Enterprise Coal Mine north of Promise City was owned and operated by Maurice and Mary Maddaleno from 1933 until it collapsed in June 1960. The mine had the distinction of having a woman as engineer, Mary Maddaleno; her husband drafted her for the job after son Joe joined the Navy in 1943 during World War II. "I didn't have a bit of trouble learning," said Mary. "Easier than working around the house."
  As the demand for coal decreased and the coal veins played out, mines began to close down. The collapse of the Enterprise Coal Mine in 1960 brought an end to coal mining in Wayne County.
  To learn more about Wayne County's coal industry check out the coal mine exhibit in the 20th Century Wing of Prairie Trails Museum.
  The editor sincerely appreciates the permission of the Wayne County Historical Society to publish in The Jerome Journal the article "Working in a Coal Mine" written by Brenda DeVore and the accompanying pictures from the Newsletter of the Wayne County Historical Society of December 2010.  The Wayne County Historical Society operates the Prairie Trails Museum of Wayne County and the Historical and Genealogical Library, 515 East Jefferson Street (State Route #2) Corydon, Iowa.

Ellen M. E. Norris & John Hayes Murphy

The Idaho Republican - 10 January 1919
Ellen Minerva Elizabeth Norris Murphy, 1852-1919
   Ellen Minerva E. Norris was born October 13, 1852 at Des Moines County, Iowa. Died at her home near Blackfoot, Idaho January 1, 1919 of heart trouble.  The deceased was a true faithful member of the Methodist Church which she joined when quite young.  She was always ready to lend a helping hand and was loved by all who knew her.    On September 12, 1872 she was united in marriage at her home in Numa, Iowa to John H. Murphy of Burlington, Iowa. To this union were born ten children, four of whom have gone on before.  Her husband and three children, J. Elbert, Nellie Roberts, and Brenice G. Queen were at her bedside at the time of her passing.  The others, Mrs. Carrie R. Rose, W. Ernest of California and Claude I., of Camp Funiston, Kansas. 
  In the year 1883 she moved with her husband and family to Osborne County, Kansas where they resided until 1901.  They then moved to Sheridan County, Kansas where they lived for fifteen years. They left that place in 1916 for California for her health. In 1917 they located near Blackfoot, Idaho where she resided until her death. 
John Hayes Murphy and Ellen Minerva Elizabeth Norris
  The editor sincerely appreciates the contribution of this obituary to The Jerome Journal by Darren Totten of Longmont CO.
The Daily Bulletin - Blackfoot ID - 26 September 1933
John Hay Murphy, 1850-1933
  J. H. Murphey [sic] died at the family home west of Blackfoot this morning at 9:30 following a stroke of paralysis two weeks ago. He was born near Des Moines, Iowa in 1850, and has been a resident of this community since 1917. His wife died in January, 1919, and he is survived by three sons and three daughters, Mrs. W. R. Roberts, Mrs. L. J. Queen and Elbert Murphey [sic] of Blackfoot, and Claude and Ernest Murphyand Mrs. Pohn [sic] Rose of Riverside, California.
  Tentative arrangements for the funeral have been made for Thursday afternoon from the Methodist church.
Gravestone in the Grove City Cemetery, Blackfoot, Idaho
  The editor sincerely appreciates the contribution of this obituary and the two photographs to The Jerome Journal by Debbie Hess Edward.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Mary Magdaline Norris Dershem, 1878-1933

Daily Iowegian - May 1933
  Mary Magdaline Norris, youngest child of Jacob and Mary Jane Norris, was born Jun 8, 1878, in Appanoose County, Iowa, and passed away at the Centerville hospital May 1, 1933, after a short illness at the age of 54 years, 10 months and 23 days.  She was united in marriage to James E. Dershem May 12, 1903.
  She was converted and united with the M.E. church in Numa at the age of 12 years. She was organist at the church for five or six years, attended church and Sunday school until the failing health of her husband prevented it.  She was of a cheerful disposition making friends with everyone who made her acquaintance and was never happier then when doing something to make some one happy. 
  She will be greatly missed in the home and community.  She leaves to mourn her untimely departure her devoted husband, James E. Dershem, three sisters, Glendora and Pheba at home, Lona (sp) Brown of Seymour, three brothers, Lewis of near Numa, Guthrie of Cedar Rapids, Charlie G. of Cincinnati, and a host of nieces and nephews and friends. She was preceded in death by her father and mother, four brothers and two sisters. 
  Funeral services were held May 3rd in the Jerome M.E. church, conducted by Rev. Lanning of Centerville, and she was laid to rest in the Jerome cemetery.
Card of Thanks
  We wish to thank the friends and neighbors for their kindness and help during the illness and death of our dear wife and sister, and for the beautiful floral offering and to those who furnished the music.
James E. Dershem,
Glendora and Pheba Norris,
Lona Brown,
Lewis, Guthrie, and Charles Norris
Gravestone in the Jerome Cemetery
  The editor sincerely appreciates the contribution of this obituary to The Jerome Journal by Debbie Hess Edward.  It also appears among the obituaries posted on the Appanoose County IAGenWeb site