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Murder of Washington McQuern


Posted By: Karen Brewer (email)
Date: 5/17/2016 at 09:43:21

The Osceola Weekly Sentinel, Osceola, Iowa
December 1, 1887, Page 3

The Murder of McQuern.

Washington McQuern, the young man whose home was in Liberty township of this county, and who was murdered near Silver City, Mills county, was brought home, after the inquest, by his brother, Robert McQuern, and the funeral occurred on last Thursday near Liberty. From his brother-in-law, B. W. Black, we gather the following particulars of the tragedy. On Sunday afternoon, the 20th, McQuern was sitting reading in a room with his employer, Isaac Rook's children. Some pranks of theirs annoying to him he stepped to the kitchen and requested Mrs. Rook to interfere. She refused and grew angry. Finally he accused her of lying and she flew out to the barn where her husband was. He came in and a quarrel ensued between the two men, ending by Rooks ordering McQuern to leave which he refused to do until he was paid for his service husking corn. Mr. and Mrs. Rook left the house, and in a few moments McQuern opened the door to go out. He was met by the pair and struck on the head by Rook with a hoe, and his wife with a single tree, the last being, physicians say, the final blow. He was found in a few minutes later lying insensible on the door step by a neighbor who noticed the affair at a distance, and the door barricaded. He called help and had McQuern taken in and laid on a bed where he remained till Tuesday, watched by his friend, the man and wife in the mean time being arrested for the deed, but released on bail. On Tuesday he was moved to the house of a friend, and there made a deposition in the presence of the sheriff and six other persons to the above rants. He suffered greatly until Wednesday afternoon when he sunk into insensibility and died. A post mortem examination was had at the inquest and the doctor found he had died from concussion of the brain. The Rooks are now held for his murder, the only eye witness against them being their own daughter about thirteen years of age who testified at the inquest to their striking him as above stated. A revolver found in his pocket was not loaded it is said, and he said he had no ammunition for loading it, simply carrying it there for a place. Nor is there, as far as we hear, any charge that he attempted to use it. He is reported to have been a very quiet, inoffensive young man, nineteen years of age. His mother is a widow and this blow falls very heavily on her, as well as the family of brothers and sisters. It seems to have been a piece of hot blooded work, with very inadequate provocation for such a sad result.


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