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ANDREESSEN, Nanno 1892-1932


Posted By: Tammy (email)
Date: 9/3/2015 at 19:34:02

Grundy Farmer Slays Family of Four and Kills Himself

Nanno Andreessen Shoots Family with Revolver and Himself with Shotgun

Tragedy the Most Appalling in Grundy County's History

The most atrocious tragedy in the history of Grundy county took place at the farm home of Nanno Andreessen a half mile east of Stout Wednesday morning. Mr. Andreessen shot and killed his wife, his fourteen year old son, Elmer, his six year old daughter, Verna, and his wife's sister, Miss Margaret Hessenius. All four were shot through the temple with a revolver. After wiping out the entire family, Andreessen blew the top of his head off with a 12 gauge shotgun.

The tragedy took place early in the morning. Breakfast had been served on the table for three in the kitchen. Mr. Andreessen had breakfast with his wife and his sister-in-law and it is believed that immediately after breakfast that the shooting took place. The wife's body was lying by the side of the kitchen stove, a few feet from the table. Miss Hessenius' body was in a corner of the room back of the table. The supposition is that she was shot while at the table and had not yet gotten up and that she fell from the chair and died instantly. The children who were still in bed had evidently been awakened by the shots and came down stairs. Their bodies were lying in the doorway between the living room and the kitchen. The bullet passed through the skull of the victims and two of them were lodged in the woodwork.

The telephone line was cut at the home which indicated that Andreessen had been prepared to stop any call for help coming from the house.

It is believed that after the four members of the family had been shot that Andreessen drove to town in his car. He left a note pinned on the door of the Dilger-Heerts garage. The note read: "Call at the Nanno Andreessen place and you will find five dead bodies. Every one is dead."

The note was unsigned but those who were familiar with Andreessen's handwriting are sure that the note was written by him.

While he was in Stout early in the morning he left a letter with the local rural mail carrier. One of the letters was for his father and the other was for Dick Hessenius. Both of the sealed envelopes contained currency but no written message.

After leaving the note and the message in town Andreessen returned to his home and it is believed that he ended his life immediately thereafter. His body lay directly inside the kitchen door about six feet from the body of his wife. The entire part of his head was blown off from the bridge of the nose up.

The shotgun was lying over Mrs. Andreessen's body.

Henry Dilger one of the owners of the garage saw the note in the door when he came to his place of business shortly after seven o'clock. He got Albert Nieman, C. H. Wilson, and Will Andreessen to drive out to the Andreessen farm with him. When the four entered the kitchen door they were appalled at the gruesome slaughter before them. Each of the five dead bodies was lying in a pool of blood.

County Coroner L. D. Coffman and Sheriff Mamminga were notified at once and they went to the home immediately. The bodies had not been removed. The coroner has been on the case all day. He arranged for a coroner's inquest this afternoon.

Later the three jurors that were selected were of one mind that Andreessen shot the four members of the family and later killed himself and no inquest was thought necessary.

The theory that the wife shot her husband after the bullet had passed through her head was regarded as not worth serious consideration. It appears that Andreessen wiped the blood from his wife's face after she had fallen to the floor. The cloth with which this was done was near the body.

No one can give any reason that would warrant such an appalling crime. Andreessen had been engaged in the live stock business in Stout for about sixteen years and he did a large volume of business. His business has been large the past few months but he suffered some financial losses. The only reason anyone can give for the crime is that the man was driven to it thru financial worries. The family lived in a fine home on a good 250 acre farm. The farm was mortgaged but the indebtedness was not heavy. The day before the tragedy he left a note with Oliver Jungling, assistant cashier of the Stout bank in which he requested that certain of his checks be taken care of that within a few days there would be $5000 to take care of his obligations. He carried $15,000 in life insurance.

On Tuesday evening Andreessen came to Stout and asked that his sister-in-law Miss Hessenius come out to the farm to stay all night. The sister spent much of her time at the farm helping Mrs. Andreessen and the request for her to come to spend the night was not regarded as unusual.

Mr. Andreessen was 39 years old. He was born on a farm near Stout and always lived in the same community. He was regarded as a good farmer, an ample provider, and he bought livestock over a wide range of territory. He had been complaining some of late about bad business conditions. Those who met him the day before can not remember that his actions indicated that he had the terrible deed in mind at the time.

Mr. Andreessen and Christene Hessenius were married fifteen years ago. They resided during all of their married life on the farm which formerly belonged to Mrs. Hessenius' father and which Mr. Andreessen bought about thirteen years ago. Mrs. Andreessen was about two years older than her husband. Her sister Margaret was 44. The son Elmer was attending the high school at Parkersburg for the first year. He drove back and forth nights and mornings. The little daughter Verna was in the second grade in the Stout school. Both were lovable children.

Mr. Andreessen is survived by his father and mother who are living in Stout. There are four brothers, Dan, Henry, Herman, and Will. The four sisters are Mrs. Fred Fiklenborg, Mrs. Chas. Juel, Mrs. Arend Arends and Miss Elske Andreessen who clerks in the DeBeer and Ellinger store at Stout.

Mrs. Andreessen and Miss Margaret Hessenius are survived by six brothers. They are Henry from Gary, South Dakota, John from Des Moines, Ned from Brownsdale, Minnesota, and Dick, Cap, and Ben from Stout.

Both the Andreessen and the Hessenius families have a wide acquaintance throughout northeast Grundy and the terrible tragedy has seriously affected all of their friends.

Funeral services will be held at the home at one o'clock Saturday afternoon and later in the church at Stout.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 18 February 1932, pg 1


1500 Attend Last Rites For Murder Victims

Body of Nanno Andreessen, His Wife and Two Children Buried In One Grave in Stout Cemetery

1500 people attended the funeral services for Nanno Andreessen and his four victims at the Reformed church in Stout Saturday afternoon. The services were in charge of Rev. W. J. Heyenga, local pastor of Stout. He was assisted by Rev. John Schafer from Parkersburg. Both the main auditorium of the large new church and the basement were packed and many hundreds were unable to get into the building.

Rev. Heyenga addressed the large congregation in the auditorium in German. Rev. Schafer spoke to the assembly in the basement in English. A short service at the grave was held in both German and English at the cemetery at Stout where the father and mother and the two children, Elmer, the 14 year old son, and Verna, the seven year old daughter, were laid side by side in one grave. The body of Miss Maggie Hessenius was laid by the side of her father and mother.

The bodies of the five victims of Grundy county's most atrocious tragedy were prepared for burial at the Andreessen home. They were brought to the church in the forenoon where they were viewed by more than a thousand people between the hours of eleven and one o'clock, when the services began. All business in town was suspended during the funeral services. Some of the business houses opened to permit those who were not able to get into the church from getting out of the cold.

No New Light on Murder Mystery
Little has been learned that would help to bring out the reasons for the wholesale murder other than were published in The Register's report a week ago. A diligent search has been made --unreadable-- to end the lives of four of the victims but it has not been found.

That the trouble that lead to the murder was financial has been more clearly verified within the past week when now revelations of unpaid obligations have come to light. Andreessen shipped two cars of stock the night before the murder. Checks given to farmers in payment of this stock have not been honored. The commission house to whom the shipment was made held the proceeds to apply on what they claimed Andreessen owed them.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 25 February 1932, pg 1


(By Rev. W. J. Heyenga)

Nanno Andreessen was born Oct. 20, 1892, in Beaver township, Grundy county, Iowa, where he lived to the time of his departure on Dec. 12th, 1917, when he was married to Christine Hessenius. Two children were born to this union, Elmer and Verna. He passed out of this life Feb. 17th, 1932, at the age of 39 years, 3 months and 27 days. Those that mourn his untimely death are his grief-stricken parents, Mr. and Mrs. H. N. Andreessen, four brothers, Dan, Henry, William and Herman, and four sisters, Mrs. Fred Eiklenborg Jr., Mrs. Chas. Juel, Mrs. Arend Arends and Eska, besides other relatives. One brother as an infant preceded in death in 1900.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 25 February 1932, pg 4


Grundy Obituaries maintained by Tammy D. Mount.
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