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Posted By: Nancee(McMurtrey)Seifert
Date: 6/4/2021 at 11:22:42

Decatur County Journal

Thursday, August l2, l9l5

SIMEON SNOWDEN, aged seventy-three years, one

of the prominent residents

of Leroy in the north part of Decatur County,

shot and killed A.L.

WERTZ, a collector, near Humeston last Friday

noon. SNOWDEN, who was

later arrested and taken to the county jail

at Corydon, committed

suicide by hanging in his cell about 4

o'clock Monday morning.

MR. SNOWDEN had some time ago purchased a

stallion from A.B. HOLBERT, a

horse importer located at Greeley, not far

from Humeston. MR. HOLBERT

had his notes for $l,250 which he had sent

MR. WERTZ to collect. MR.

SNOWDEN it seems, was unable to secure funds

to pay the notes which fact

it is believed led to the murder.

The murder occurred, it is believed, about

noon near the farm of ELMER

RICHARDSON about three and one-half miles

northwest of the town of

Humeston. The two men were on their way from

Leroy to Humeston in a

buggy belonging to SNOWDEN.

The body was discovered by MRS. ROY BARNETT

and three little daughters

who were on their way from the home to the

residence of MRS. BARNETT's

parents, MR. and MRS. JAMES RICHMAN, not far


MRS. BARNETT summoned her husband from the

harvest field and he in turn

notified the coroner of Wayne County and

summoned Dr. H.T. Smith, of

Humeston. The neighbors had also been

notified and in a short time

after the discovery of the body a large crowd

had collected at the scene

of the crime. C.C. Hutchinson, the Wayne

County Coroner, and Dr. Smith

arrived at the place where the body was lying

a few minutes before two


A short time before the murder was committed,

MRS. BARNETT had seen

SNOWDEN and WERTZ pass her home in a buggy

and later she saw SNOWDEN

drive back past the BARNETT farm alone.

Suspicion rested upon SNOWDEN

and he was arrested about two miles northwest

of Leroy. Officers caught

up with SNOWDEN who was driving a single

horse hitched to a cart and was

enroute to the home of a friend.

No resistance was offered. He seemed calm

and quite collected. The

arrest was made by Deputy Sheriff, H.E.

Morrett, County Attorney H.F.

Garrett, and Constable O.W. Stevens, of Wayne

County, and taken to


A Coroner's inquest was held at Humeston, the

jury being composed of

A.D. McCullough, N.J. Kipper and H.M. Hart,

the verdict being that the

bullet wound that caused the death of WERTZ

had been feloniously

inflicted and that in the opinion of the

jury, SIMEON SNOWDEN committed

the deed. After his arrest SNOWDEN was

searched and two notes, one for

$450 and for $400, due A.B. HOLBERT and

signed by S. SNOWDEN, were found

in his possession. They had been marked paid

with a lead pencil. The

buggy in which the two men had been riding

was found and it was

discovered that the cushion and the bottom of

the buggy were covered

with blood. An attempt had been made to wash

the blood out of the buggy

but it was plainly visible. SNOWDEN also had

blood on his clothing.

The officers were able to trace the course of

the buggy and locate the

vehicle by a perculiar mark in the road made

by one of the feet of the

horse drawing it.

MR. WERTZ, who is an expert collector, has

been in the employ of MR.

HOLBERT for many years. He was a large man

and weighed 375 pounds.

There is a small stream near the place where

the body was found.

The Coroner and the Jury were of the opinion

that MR. SNOWDEN had

expected to throw the body over the edge of

the bridge spanning the

stream but that the horse became frightened

at the report of the

revolver and ran up the hill before he could

be controlled. There it is

supposed that SNOWDEN pulled to the side of

the road and dumped the body

of his victim into the weeds. The body was

sitting in nearly an upright

position when found. Two large envelopes

containing notes and checks

amounting to near $l,300 were found on his

arm. His suit case was lying

near. There was $74 in money on the body.

MR. SNOWDEN was taken to Corydon and placed

in jail. In some way he

obtained a piece of electric light wire and

at an early hour Monday

morning succeeded in hanging himself with it.

The body was found by

Sheriff A.J. Surbaugh, who had gone to the

cell to give the man his

breakfast. Saturday evening SNOWDEN had

confessed to Sheriff Surbaugh

that he had committed the crime.

MR. SNOWDEN, who is seventy-three years old,

has a wife and three fine

daughters and a son. He was a man of good

reputation and had been an

ardent church worker. At different times he

has had financial


The body of WERTZ was taken to Humeston and

was on Saturday sent to

Grand Junction where he has a brother living.

He was divorced from his

wife. He is survived by two children, two

sisters and the brother

residing at Grand Junction.


Copied February 24, 2002


Decatur Documents maintained by Constance McDaniel Hall.
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