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Louis BRUEY shoots, kills Sam McNEESE, 1925

BRUEY, MCNEESE, RAIBLE, TONKINSON, WALMER

Posted By: Joey Stark
Date: 9/2/2020 at 01:21:52

"The Fairfield Daily Ledger"
Monday, December 7, 1925
Front Page, Columns 6 and 7, and Page 2, Column 1

BRUEY OUT ON $15,000 BOND
FIRST DEGREE CHARGED IS LODGED AGAINST HIM

Appeared Before Justice Spratt at 10 O'clock Saturday Night and Hearing Set for Thursday

Louis BRUEY and his two daughters will not go back to the farm, 5 miles southeast of the city, the scene of Saturday's tragedy, until after the preliminary hearing Thursday before Justice D. F. Spratt. Neighbors are taking care of his stock and BRUEY is greeting friends on the street as he awaits the procession of events.

The following statement of the tragedy that occurred at the BRUEY farm Saturday morning, was given out by Leo D. Thoma, BRUEY's attorney, today:

Louis BRUEY was born and reared in Cedar township, Jefferson county, Iowa. He has been a very successful farmer and has always been held in high esteem by his neighbors and friends.

Brooded over Wife's Death

In December, 1924, Mrs. BRUEY died, leaving beside her grief stricken husband two children, both girls. At that time these children were 13 years and 16 years of age respectively. Since the mother's death, Louis BRUEY has been both a father and a mother to these girls. They continued to live upon the farm. Louis BRUEY, however, continued to brood over the loss of his wife and has never been quite himself since that loss.

Forced Entrance To Home

About the first of last August, just before the youngest daughter's fourteenth birthday, and while Louis BRUEY was away from the home dragging the roads, Sam McNEESE came to the BRUEY home. He forcibly effected an entrance to the house and criminally assaulted this 13-year-old girl. After accomplishing his purpose he threatened to kill the girl if she ever told her father what had occurred. She was so frightened that she did not reveal to her father what had taken place until last Friday night when her condition could no longer be kept secret. After telling her father all of the details of this criminal assault, he never went to bed Friday night but paced the floor throughout the night. BRUEY had never permitted this young child to keep company with any boys and yet he could hardly believe that any one could break into his home and criminally assault a thirteen year old child.

Didn't Realize

Saturday morning BRUEY called for McNEESE to come to the BRUEY home to see if he would corroborate or dispute what his little girl had told him. When McNEESE came and was confronted with the girl's statement he admitted it all. The loss of his wife less than a year ago and the awful wrong that had been committed upon this little girl so unbalanced BRUEY that he did not realize the thing that he was doing when he stepped into the kitchen, secured his gun and fired the fatal shot.

In a session of Justice of the Peace D. F. Spratt's court at ten oclock Saturday night, he had been charged with murdering 18-year-old Sam McNEESE, a neighbor boy, his case had been set for next Thursday, and he had been released under $15,000 bonds, signed by himself, his sister, Mrs. Fred RAIBLE and her husband. The formal charge had been murder in the first degree. His defense will be temporary insanity.

An Old Problem

It is one of the most unusual tragedies that ever happened in Jefferson county, and has its roots in the garden of Eden, where the original couple partook of a tree of knowledge of good and evil. It perhaps is complicated by the influence of the movies and sex novels and the modern spirit of jazz. But it has as its basis the age-old problem of illicit love, with an avenging father entering to give the denouement, and the late arrival of the messenger that would intervene to save a life.

For if Ralph Miller, hurrying to intercept young McNEESE, had been a few minutes earlier, he would have warned the boy and turned back from his doom. Miller's wife, knowing the circumstances, had listened in on the party line telephone when BRUEY had sent the decoy message that brought young McNEESE to his home, and when her husband came in a few minutes later from his chores, had him rushing down the road to warn McNEESE.

Delay Was Fatal

But the few moments delay had been enough to allow him to meet his fate, and almost before Miller had returned to his house, the report of a shot rang out and BRUEY called over the same party line to Frank Cornell, a neighbor, to come down, later following it with the message to Sheriff Charles C. Butcher, surrendering to the law.

For hours that was all that Fairfield knew about the matter. BRUEY would answer his telephone, standing within a few feet of his victim, slumped down in a chair, to make calm reply to all inquiries. But he would tell nothing. J. R. McNEESE, father of the slain boy, would answer on the same line, but would tell nothing. The neighbors, snowbound by one of the worst storms that had swept this county in years, listened eagerly to these in interchange of messages, but, when appealed to over the line, hastily would disclaim all knowledge of the shooting.

Battle Snow

In the meantime Sheriff Butcher and County Attorney John G. Barwise, Coroner W. T. Webb, Deputy Sheriff Clarence Glass, in a borrowed farm wagon, driving a work team, were battling their way through the drifts, cutting fences, extricating themselves from ditches into which they had floundered in the snow, trying to reach the scene. They were three hours in traveling the five miles that intervened. And when they got there, this is what they discovered:

The lifeless body of an undersized boy of 18 slumped in a rocking chair with a hole bored through his upper chest by a charge from a 12 gauge pumpgun, fired at ten feet. An attractive girl of 14, Edna BRUEY, the victim of the dead man's perfidy. BRUEY, 46, sturdy, decisive, energetic, "a pushing fellow," his neighbors say highly respected. Another daughter, Beulah, 17. All were in the big farm kitchen simply waiting for the law to come and take charge.

In the corner of the front room and a dozen feet from the dead body, stood the tiny shotgun that the lad had brought along when BRUEY had telephoned for him to come over, that "he had something treed."

"Don't Bring Gun"

The boy's mother had answered the phone and the lad had told her to ask if he should bring a gun.

"Tell him to never mind," was the answer, "I have a gun." But the boy, hoping to get a shot himself at whatever game was at bay, had caught up his weapon and had hurried down the hill and across the road to the BRUEY home. Entering without knocking he had set the gun in a farther corner and had sat down in a rocking chair in the front room, tidy, orderly through the efforts of the two girls, Edna, 14, and Beulah, 17, whose mother had died less than a year ago.

BRUEY, thrifty farmer of French descent, was proud of his farm, proud of his daughters. Early and late he toiled for them, and it was while he was working in a field last summer, that young McNEESE is said to have come to the younger daughter alone in the home and committed the act that brought his death.

The matter had become neighborhood gossip, but the father, was seriously ignorant of it all. Friday afternoon a neighbor told him of the gossip. That night he spoke to the girl about it. She admitted everything.

Walks Floor All Night

BRUEY grew cold with fury. Outside, a storm was raging. He thought he would go then and bring the boy to account. Then he decided that he could not accomplish it in the midst of the wind and snow. He walked the floor all night and, as soon as breakfast was over the next morning and he thought the time ripe he called the McNEESE home.

A few moments more and the course of three lives had been changed and BRUEY, vengeance satisfied, was waiting patiently for the officers to come.

Three neighbors were assembled as a coroner's jury. They were: Ralph Miller, who had forseen the killing, Frank Cornell, who was the first neighbor advised of the trouble by BRUEY, and W. C. Pattison. They went through all the formalities and found that McNEESE had come to his death by a gunshot wound made by BRUEY.

Then BRUEY hitched up his team to the buggy, wrapped his daughters carefully in robes against the long, cold drive, and came on to town ahead of the Sheriff. He put the girls out at his sister's home, drove his team to the livery stable, went to his attorney's office, and then appeared in court.

~~~~

"The Fairfield Daily Ledger"
Tuesday, December 8, 1925
Front Page, Column 8, and Page 2, Column 1

YOU'VE GOT NO SAM; I SHOT HIM
M'NEESE THUS LEARNED OF SON'S DEATH

When Father Went To The BRUEY Home Soon After Shooting That Was the Greeting, He Says

* * * *
DES MOINES, Dec. 8 (United Press)--The state may ask for a change of venue in the case of Louis BRUEY, Fairfield farmer, who shot and killed Sam McNEESE, neighbor boy and alleged traducer of BRUEY's 14-year-old daughter, Edna.

This was the statement of James Risden, chief of state agents, today in a commentary of the murder, which has shocked the country.

Risden pointed out that under a new law passed by the 41st General Assembly the state was given the same right as the defense to ask that a trial be taken from one county to another.

He expressed doubt that a jury selected from Jefferson county would convict BRUEY of first degree murder.
* * * *

"You've got no Sam; I've shot him."

That was the way the news of his son's death came to J. R. McNEESE Saturday morning when he went to the home of Louis BRUEY, after BRUEY had shot and killed the 18-year-old boy for the alleged seduction of his 14 year old daughter, Edna.

McNEESE, after his son had been decoyed to the BRUEY home on the pretext that BRUEY "had something treed" followed to see what was happening, and was met by BRUEY at the door.

McNEESE, a little man, living on a rented farm neighbors to the BRUEYs, was in Fairfield yesterday making the simple arrangements for the burial of his son today, and gave his version of the affair which has stirred the whole county,

"You haven't done that, have you?" McNEESE demanded.

"I have, and you'd have done the same," BRUEY replied.

McNEESE, without another word, turned away and walked back to his home, three-fourths of a mile away on a hill across the road.

Funeral Today

The funeral of the slain boy took place today from an undertaking room, and was conducted by Rev. W. C. Monroe of the Baptist church. Interment was in the Evergreen cemetery here. The rites were simple and the arrangements few. The father, mother and two younger sisters followed the coffin to the cemetery.

The father seemed dazed as he went about the streets yesterday. It was just a chance that he did not meet BRUEY, free on $15,000 bond and who mingled with his friends on the streets and did not seem to understand that he had committed a terrible deed. He often smiled, and was eager to talk.

"I didn't have a person to talk to except the girls. If I just had had somebody to discuss my troubles with. I might have thought differently about it" he exclaimed.

Up to the time that the officials reached his home Saturday, he seemed self-possessed but as soon as they came and he began to talk, he broke down and sobbed, his daughters, the 14-year-old victim of McNEESE's attack and her sister Beulah, 17, both sobbed distractedly with him.

Brooded Much

Since the death of his wife, about a year ago, BRUEY is said to have been a sad figure. The responsibility of bringing up his daughters weighed heavily upon him. His attorneys, Thoma and Thoma, in a statement yesterday, said that young McNEESE had broken into the home while BRUEY was away, had committed his deed and has threatened the girl's life if she told. The enormousness of that offense, they hold made him insane.

The case still is the talk of the whole county, and nearly every person has announced an opinion. It will be hard to get a jury when the case comes to trial.

Told Story In French

The neighbors, having heart the gossip about the relations of the boy and girl, were all alert Saturday morning, awaiting the results of BRUEY's knowledge of it which came to his ears only the night before. He talked with the girls about it until ten oclock and then paced the floor the rest of the night.

They knew when he called the sheriff, for they were listening in on the country telephone line. But BRUEY, who told Sheriff Charles G. Butcher that he was in trouble and asked him to come out, did not explain the situation. Instead he called his sister, Mrs. Fred RAIBLE and told her in French, which both speak fluently. Then he called the sheriff again and told him to go ask Mrs. RAIBLE what had happened.

~~~~

"The Fairfield Daily Ledger"
Tuesday, December 8, 1925
Page Four, Column 1

THE BRUEY CASE

Jefferson county will be discussing with the utmost interest for days to come the BRUEY case, and there already have been expressed the most decoded opinions as to the merits and as to the punishment that should be meted out. There is a pretty clear line of cleavage between those who believe murder never justified, and those who hold that the unwritten law should apply. There is not much middle ground taken.

But here is an illustration of where good citizenship ought to prevail, and the cause of justice furthered by a calm and unprejudiced contemplation of the case. We doubt if anybody in the whole county knows enough of the facts on which to base a safe judgment. Surely the writer of this, who for three days has lived and written it by thousands of words, who has talked first hand with officals (sic) and lawyers and BRUEY himself and the McNEESE boy's father, would not dare to pass judgment on it. Every additional bit of information changes his view and makes him feel that there may be unearthed a good many more facts as to the situation and conditions and that these facts may have a vital bearing.

There are elements present that cannot be weighed casually, nor appraised hurriedly. Nobody yet knows we believe, just how and what happened, taking into considering the psychology of the matter. There are facts, still coming to the surface, that will affect the decision.

In trying to get a fair and accurate account of what happened, we have been faced with a most amazing array of statements and deductions. Saturday morning, before anything more than the first message had come from BRUEY saying that the tragedy occurred over his daughter, somebody misunderstood the word and went about proclaiming that it was over a dog. The story grew that Young McNEESE was out hunting, had come over to BRUEY's land and had shot a dog and that BRUEY had killed him for that. Who knows but half the stories afloat today are not of similar origin? Even when making statements for publications, men of the most honest intent have given wholly wrong information.

A jury from this community will act sometime on this case, if the usual routine is followed through. It is inconceivable that anyone in the county will not have read and heard about it. The men called for service will be more or less affected by what has been said about it. The sentiment that has been built up for one side or the other, will have become public sentiment, and will be a background of consciousness.

Th part of good citizenship now is to be sure that one knows the facts before forming an opinion. Until these are brought out at the trial, witnesses summone3d to tell under oath and with the consequences of their utterances before them, all the facts cannot be known, nor the situation rightly appraised. This newspaper is checking its information as closely as possible and guarding its statements with care, but it can not pretend to know all the circumstances. It has rejected rumors without number, as being wholly wrong and unfortunate. But they are still afloat and, contradictory and inconsistent as they may be, are influencing public sentiment.

~~~~

"The Fairfield Daily Ledger"
Wednesday, December 9, 1925
Front Page, Column 5

GIRL'S NOTES TO FIGURE IN BRUEY'S CASE
For Two Years Daughter Had Been Writing Amazingly Frank Letters To Young McNEESE

Letters that would put to shame Kip Rhinelander will be introduced in evidence in the murder case of Louis BRUEY, 46 years old, who shot and killed 18-year-old Sam McNEESE after he had decoyed McNEESE home Saturday morning by telling the lad he had "something treed."

The letters, scores of them in a shoe box were found among the lad's effects by his mother after the tragedy. They were signed E. B., and presumably from the girl for whose alleged seduction, BRUEY shot the boy. They are addressed to Sam and he is called "Dear Hubby" all the way through. There are many references to other boys and girls, usually by initials, and the letters indicate that knowledge of what was going on between her and the lad were common property.

In all the correspondence which seems to have begin January 1, 1923 when the girls was but 12 years old, and to have ended Dec. 1, four days before the shooting, there is the frankest statement of their relations one of the early letters being illustrated by a crude drawing. Every letter ends with x's for kisses, and all through the letters there is expressed the fear that the girl's father will discover what is going on.

School Girl Notes

The letters really are crude notes written on scratch paper at school, and one of them explained the difficulty of dodging the attention of the teacher and the pupils around. One girl especially seems to have sensed what was in progress and to have been unusually curious. At other times the letters have fallen into other hands, and sometimes others have been recovered after they were lost, much to the relief of the writer.

Along at the last the girl told over and over of her anxiety over the situation and the impending necessity of telling her father. She indicates in one letter that the lad may be growing cold and declined to deny the parentage of the unborn child. She assures him that none other could be.

Always, however, she protests the most devoted affection toward him and never at any time reproaches him or expresses any regret. Evidently he had expressed some uneasiness as to his fate, for she tells him she will do everything she can to keep him out of jail.

As to her father's actions when he learns the truth, she is much concerned. She writes that she does not know what he will do, but thinks he will carry on a great deal. It does not seem to occur to her that he might to go the lengths that he finally did.

At one time she thought that he might know, and relates an incident that leads to that belief. She also thought that perhaps her aunt knew. She indicates that her sister was fully aware of the situation.

Another letter rather chuckled over the fact that so much had been going on before his eyes, and that Sam had visited her when he was away.

At various times she write stories she has heard and draws personal application, and always the notes refer to the other school children and what they are doing and thinking. Always she signs the letters with initials only and her references to her sister are to "B. B."

It is believed that when the letters are made public at the trial, there will be a good many secrets revealed in that community, as the neighbors recognize the various initials.

~~~~

"The Fairfield Daily Ledger"
Wednesday, December 9, 1925
Page Four, Column 1

TRAGEDY STALKS ABROAD

Fairfield has had more than its share of tragedy the last few weeks. Death has been striking down our old and well beloved citizens, and the deplorable affair at the BRUEY home has stirred the community to al high pitch. Wt (sic) are unsettled and distraught by it all and it will be days before we regain our wonted cam and spirit;

All this week this paper has dealt in nothing much but our own misfortunes. Sorrow has come to many, and the effect of the many deaths has been widespread. It is a sorry approach to Christmas, when we plan to be light-hearted and merry, unburdened by care of calamity. But the Christmas spirit will have to overcome obstacles here this year. We are too much concerned with our deep troubles.

Our readers, picking up the paper these evenings, almost are afraid to read the headlines, so many times have these headlines shocked with their revelations of death and crime. They have read interestedly, and regretfully, and the nearness of death and loss has blotted out our concern over distant matters whose importance otherwise would challenge our close attention.

The opening of congress almost has been forgotten in our attendance at funeral s. The President's speech in Chicago was overshadowed by our concern over the BRUEY affair. It has been a tragic week for this community, and the front page of the Ledger has reflected it all.

It is right that we be concerned and absorbed in our own affairs. They are our problems. We must settle the difficulties and we must find someone to take the places of those faithful workers among us who have gone so suddenly to their reward. It is a community's business to heed its own history in the making, to cast up its accounts in human values.

We trust that tragedy, having stalked so ruthlessly across our path, may leave us for a long time. We have been devastated enough. We need time for remembrance and readjustments.

Especially at this time, when approaches the most valuable two weeks of all the year as regards the humanities, do we need to be free from disaster. But Christmas, while it will bring sad reminders to those who have suffered the loss of loved ones, is really kind to them. There is a gentleness of action, a consideration of others, a kindly feeling that cannot help but serve as a balm to wounded hearts and aching spirits.

We trust that the tragedy has passed on, not to harrass some other community, but to leave us free to make the most of the holiday season. For we need to a very great deal of the spirit of love and giving to help us bear the sorrows of the last few days.

~~~~

"The Fairfield Daily Ledger"
Thursday, December 10, 1925
Front Page, Column 7, and Page Two, Column 1

DEMAND JAIL FOR BRUEY NOW
BARWISE IN STRONG PLEA FOR THE BARS

Five Witnesses Summoned in Justice Court Today In Preliminary Over Saturday's Shooting

* * * *
The McNEESEs Speak

Editor Ledger--We do not believe that the Ledger would intentionally lend the aid of its columns for the purpose of creating a public sentiment in favor of one who has admitted his guilt of a murder. But the statement made in your issue of Dec. 7th that our son had been guilty of a criminal attack on a young girl is a charge against one whose lips are silent in death, and a statement that should not have been permitted in public print without absolute proof of its truth.

Sam McNEESE is dead and can not speak for himself, but there does exist written proof that will establish beyond questions the relations that actually existed between this boy and girl for more than a year. These written proof will demonstrate the absolute falsity of the statement that he was guilty of any criminal assault or of any other offense which justified his killing in cold blood.

J. R. McNEESE
LILLIE McNEESE
* * * *

NOTE--The Ledger itself did not make the statement as intimated above, but merely printed the state of Leo D. Thoma which included that charge. This paper is making no charges, drawing no conclusions in regard to this unfortunate affair, but is trying to give its readers a faithful report of what is transpiring. The Thoma statement was printed just as the above statement is being printed--as a part of the popular record.

Demanding that Louis BRUEY go to jail to await the action of the grand jury, John G. Barwise, county attorney, was in the midst of his plea as this paper goes to press.

Five witnesses were summoned at the hearing which began at 10 oclock and probably will occupy the rest of the afternoon. Sheriff Charles G. Butcher was the first witness, Coroner W. T. Webb followed, and the three members of the coroner's jury, Ralph Miller, Frank Cornell and H. C. Pattison were summoned, but not all examined.

Since the arraignment at 10 oclock Saturday night, BRUEY has been out on $15,000 bail, the bond being signed by himself, his sister, Mrs. Fred RAIBLE and her husband. The state is contending that the seriousness of the offense does not justify bail, although bond is allowable in some first-degree murder cases.

The session of the court opened at 10 oclock when BRUEY and the officials appeared, but the court did not get down to business until nearly 11 oclock.

Miss Olga Rains, stenographer, was sent for to take a short hand report of the proceedings, and a number of curious people, who had assembled on the chance that they might be allowed to remain, were told of the decision for a private hearing.

Sheriff Charles G. Butcher was the official in charge of the prisoner and when BRUEY came in the Sheriff searched him to be sure he had no weapon. J. R. McNEESE, father of the slain boy, also was searched. He was subpoened (sic) as a witness.

Davis W. Bates of Albia, had been employed to assist the state in the prosecution. He arrived last evening and spent some time with County Attorney John G. Barwise in going over the situation.

Sheriff First Witness

Sheriff Butcher went onto the stand as the first witness and his statement was taken carefully down for the record, under the questioning of the attorneys. He told of the phone call from BRUEY Saturday morning, of the trip to the farm through the snow, what was discovered at the BRUEY home and what took place after the arrival.

Up to this point nothing but the routine of the trial developed. Leo. D. and Rosco P. Thoma represented BRUEY and kept an ear cocked for any point that would be to their client's advantage or disadvantage.

Neighbors Here

A considerable time before the trial began neighbors of the McNEESEs and BRUEYs began to arrive in the city by auto and horse-drawn vehicles to hear as much of the trial as possible. They congregated at the bottom of the stairs leading to the Justice's office on the east side of the square and eyed closely every person connected with the case as he went up.

And then, with nothing else to do, they began discussing the case and adding neighborhood gossip to what already has been made public. The conditions in the neighborhood were argued out and admitted, and it was said that great anxiety exists among a number of the young people of that school district over the question of what might be divulged in Edna BRUEY's letters to Sam McNEESE when they are read at the trial.

Trial In February

The actual trial of the case cannot come until the February term of district court. The grand jury at that term, or sooner if called in special session, will pass upon it and return an indictment. It is possible, too that a continuance may be asked pending development sin the situation.

The Private Hearing

The law under which the hearing was in private, is as follows: Chapter 626 Sec. 13, 539--"The magistrate must also, upon the request of the defendant exclude from hearing the examination of persons except the magistrate, his clerks, the peace officer, who has the custody of the defendant, the attorney or attorneys representing the state, the defendant and his counsel.

~~~~

"The Fairfield Daily Ledger"
Friday, December 11, 1925
Front Page, Column 5

BRUEY IN JAIL TO AWAIT THE GRAND JURY
Legal Battle in Justice Spratt's Office Ends With Denial Of Bail To Boy's Slayer

Louis BRUEY is in a cell in the Jefferson county jail today awaiting the action of the grand jury at the February term of court. He was denied bail in Justice D. F. Spratt's court late yesterday afternoon, at the close of a hot legal battle between County Attorney John G. Barwise and D. W. Bates for the state and Leo D. Thoma for the defendant.

The preliminary hearing was held in private with only the officials, necessary attendants and witnesses there in addition to the defendant.

The case began at 10 oclock in the morning and did not end until 5 o'clock in the afternoon when the Justice decided that BRUEY must go to jail. He had been at liberty since last Saturday night, after he had come to town voluntarily and surrendered, following the killing of Sam McNEESE at the BRUEY home, 5 miles southeast of Fairfield early in the morning. His bond was fixed at $15,000 and was signed by Mr. and Mrs. Fred RAIBLE.

The four-block journey from the little court room to the jail was a spectacular one. Sheriff Butcher pushed his closely curtained car up to the curb, Deputy Clarence Glass, with the prisoner handcuffed hurried with him down the stairs, and city police cleared the way through a throng of spectators. Then with an officer on each side, the auto whirled to the jail. Here BRUEY was searched, the search reveling only a house key. He was put into a cell and everything taken out that might lend itself to suicide as he sobbed out his desire to be dead. Then he would switch to the defiant statement that no jury would hang him for his act, and then break out in sobs again

When He Broke

BRUEY was confident and almost arrogant until Attorney D. W. Bates, assisting the prosecution, began to picture the atrocity of his act. He began to grow nervous and as Bates waxed more eloquent, BRUEY scarcely could restrain himself. When the handcuffs were slipped onto his wrists, he broke completely and since then has been dazed and weeping in turn.

The two daughters Edna, 14 and Beulah, 17, are at the home of their aunt, Mrs. Fred RAIBLE, and the neighbors are taking care of BRUEY's stock on the farm.

McNEESEs Knew

It became known today that Mr. and Mrs. J. R. McNEESE, parents of the dead boy, were aware of the relations between their son and Edna BRUEY, and had been making plans to establish them in a home. But to BRUEY the revelation made to him by a neighbor when they met at the little country school house, both there to get their daughters home through a raging blizzard, came like a bomb. From that time on he laid his plans to kill McNEESE, and was only deterred from doing it that night by the blizzard.

~~~~

"The Fairfield Daily Ledger"
Friday, December 11, 1925
Page Four, Column 1

PARENTS AND TEACHERS

If the lesson of the BRUEY case goes home as it looks to us it should be accepted, there will be a parents-teachers association formed in every school district in Jefferson county and that association will not be merely a perfunctory organization, but will will (sic) work in the closest harmony and cooperation.

Most of the mischief in schools, it is developing now, is among children ten to fourteen, just when nature is asserting itself and the children are bewildered and upset by their new realizations. Then is it the time that they need the guidance of a kindly, understanding hand, and to be kept under continual vigilance lest impetuosity do them damage and restraint be unable to cope with desire.

There is a hiatus between home and school that is going to have to be bridged if the children are to be saved from themselves. From the time they quit the one until they arrive at the other is a space of menace. Authority does not mete. It is an interval during which much may happen--and often does.

But the greatest function of a parents-teachers' organization comes through arriving at a constructive cooperation between parents and the teacher. Too often there is a feud, and more often there is an indifference and misunderstanding. The child, shrewder than he is give credit for being, plays off the teacher against the parents and creates a situation of which he takes cunning advantage. He misinterprets the statements of one, twists the rejoiner of the other, and thereby leaves a gap through which he may gambol to immunity for his misdeeds, or an evasion of discipline.

But in a district where there is proper parent-teacher organization, there is built up an acquaintance and sympathy between the two authorities. One supplements the other because there is realized that both are working toward the same result. The teacher is strengthened by the confidence that is displayed, and the parent, coming to know the teacher, sees that she is striving to do an honest job of teaching.

The effect on the child is most helpful. Here is a combination that he cannot work. His attempts to set them at odds usually fail because they have come to an agreement in ideas and methods and aims. He is balked in his artifice, thwarted in his mischief, brought to book for his delinquencies.

The most distressing feuds in the world are those that arise over children in school. They disrupt a school and rob the children of all benefit for a term, perhaps, while the evil influende (sic) of a row over a child is farreaching and enduring. The children are bereft of the education they so sorely need and they form bad habits of mind and spirit, patterning their lives on discord and incrimination and revenge.

We venture to say that had the patrons and teachers of the Ankrom district established a close cooperation through the medium of such an organization, there would not have been so much sorrow there now. For conditions would have been healthier, the spirit better.

And this is not singling out Ankrom district for contumely. For the conditions that exist there are duplicated in thousands of districts over the country, and the same potential situation is common to a great many of them. The Ankrom situation merely was revealed, that is all. The truth of this is proved in the widespread interest that exists over this case from one end of the country to the other, and which is not a desultory interest at all, but a study with the prospective of distance, of a situation that most of them know close at hand.

~~~~

"The Fairfield (Ia.) Daily Ledger"
Monday, December 14, 1925
Front Page, Column 6

JAIL LIFE NOT BREAKING BRUEY
Had A Shave Today, Receives Relatives and Exercises In the Corridor

Louis BRUEY, held for murder of young Sam McNEESE, is adapting himself to cell life and confinement is not telling on him, it was reported from the jail today. He eats with relish, exercises in the corridor of the jail, had a shave today by a barber called in for that purpose, and receives visits from his daughters, Edna and Beulah, as well as from Fred RAIBLE, his brother-in-law.

A good many rumors are going about to the effect that he is breaking under the strain, but these are denied at the jail.

Roscoe P. Thoma, one of the attorneys for the defense, said this afternoon that the question of asking a change of venue from this county never had been considered by the defense.

~~~~

"The Fairfield Daily Ledger"
Wednesday, December 16, 1925
Front Page, Column 4

BRUEY SQUARES AWAY FOR HIS COURT FIGHT
Deeds Away Farm and Interest In Estate To Sister, Who In Turn Mortgages One

Louis BRUEY, whose fight for his life in court will begin in the February term here, is squaring away for that contest by arranging his financial affairs to that end. He has just filed deeds in the recorder's office to his own farm of 183 acres, five miles southeast of the city, where on December 5 he shot young Sam McNEESE for the alleged seduction of his 14 year-old daughter Edna, to his sister, Mrs. Fred M. RAIBLE and her husband, who in turn have mortgaged the land to the Iowa State Savings band. (sic) The amount names ad consideration is $12,000 and the mortgage $10,000.

BRUEY also has deeded his undivided interest in his father's estate, consisting of 160 acres of land, to his sister.

This is taken as the process of getting ready money for trial expenses.

BRUEY's farm of 183 acres on Cedar creek is will improved and well stocked, with only a small indebtedness on it and enough livestock to liquidate that. It is being taken care of now by Frank Emonin, employed for that purpose, after neighbors had volunteered to care for it temporarily.

Court convenes February 22, at which time the grand jury probably will meet to consider the BRUEY case. It is supposed that an indictment will be returned promptly and that the case wlil (sic) be given precedence on the criminal docket when the petit jury appears March 1.

~~~~

"The Fairfield Daily Ledger"
Saturday, January 23, 1926
Page Six, Column 2

MORE JURORS FOR THE BRUEY CASE
Additional Twenty-five Are Drawn for February Term For That Trial

Because the murder trial of Louis BRUEY comes up at the February term of court, an additional twenty-five names were drawn for service then. An additional twenty-five were announced today, and the jury will be selected from the seventy-five which that totals.

The first order was for the usual fifty, but when it was seen that the BRUEY case would come up, Judge W. M. Walker, who will try the case, ordered the number increased.

The additional twenty-five are:
Anderson, George, Lockridge.
Anderson, ross, 4th Ward.
Bridgeman, Chas. O., Cedar,
DeGood, Bryant, Batavia.
Ehrhardt, Will, Center.
Eller, Bess, 3rd Ward.
Boehner, Mrs. John, 2nd Ward,
Godwin, Oscar, Walnut.
Garmoe, Carl, 1st Ward,
Hartman, W. E., 4th Ward
Hodger, D. B., Center.
Johnson, Elmer S., Lockridge City.
Kessel, Jacob, Penn.
Kosman, John, Penn.
Kurtz, William J., Penn.
Kurtz, William J., Penn. (sic - listed twice)
Louth, Harvey, Liberty.
Lowenberg, W. E., Batavia.
Lawson, Van, Liberty,
McCumber, J. V., 4th Ward
Nelson, Andy, Liberty.
Nelson, H. A., Lockridge.
Peebler, R. V., Liberty.
Pearson, Charles E., Des Moines.
Shy, Clarence, Black Hawk,
Trent, Jesse, Batavia.

~~~~

"The Fairfield Daily Ledger"
Friday, February 5, 1926
Front Page, Column 7

SUES BRUEY FOR BOY'S DEATH
SAM M'NEESE ESTATE ASKS FOR $10,000
Administrator Cites Boy's Expectancy Of Life As Being Forty-three Years

A. J. Robertson, administrator of the estate of Sam McNEESE, 18-year-old boy shot by Lois BRUEY the morning of December 5, as a result of alleged admission of intimacies with BRUEY's 14-year-old daughter Edna, today filed suit against BRUEY for $10,000 damages.

The action was brought through Starr & Jordan, attorneys.

Mr. Robertson, who is the dead boy's uncle, was appointed administrator of the estate several days ago for the purpose of this suit. He lives in Washington county and is a brother of Mrs. J. R. McNEESE, mother of Sam.

BRUEY, who is in jail awaiting his trial in March on a first-degree murder charge, has transferred mush of his property since the tragedy. His own farm of 183 acres, five miles southeast of the city, where the shooting occurred, was deeded to his sister, Mrs. Fred M. RAIBLE and her husband about ten days after the affair, and his undivided interest in his father's farm of 185 acres, to Mrs. RAIBLE. The consideration was $12,000, for the 183-acres, which in turn was mortgaged to the Iowa State Savings bank for $10,0000 (sic).

This auto was transferred to RAIBLE, and some of the live stock and other property has been disposed of, it is said.

In the event of a verdict for the estate, court action probably would be taken to have some of these deals set aside.

~~~~

"The Fairfield Daily Ledger"
Saturday, February 13, 1926
Page Five, Columns 1 and 2

108 NEW CASES FOR FEBRUARY TERM OF COURT
BRUEY Trial One of Four In the Criminal List for Attention of Judge W. M. Walker

One hundred and eight new cases have gone onto the docket for the February term of district court to begin February 22. Of these four are criminal cases, with the murder trial of Louis BRUEY as the most important. There are twenty-eight probate cases, three juvenile, thirty-nine law and thirty chancery.

... Criminal

... State of Iowa vs. Louie BRUEY, Recognizance. ...

... A. J. Robertson, admr. vs. Louis BRUEY, damages. ...

... Chancery

... Maggie BRUEY Crawford et al vs. Louis BRUEY et al partition. ...

... P. R. Laughlin vs. Louis BRUEY et al, partition. ...

~~~~

"The Fairfield Daily Ledger"
Tuesday, February 23, 1926
Front Page, column 5

COURT BEGINS AN IMPORTANT SESSION HERE
BRUEY Case, the Big Event of the Term, Probably Will Get Under Way On Tuesday

BRUEY was in court for a half hour this afternoon while the grand jury was selected from the twelve men drawn for service. The prospective jurors were examined by Leo D. Thoma, attorney for BRUEY, and were asked if they had made up their minds. When the answers were found satisfactory, the following were picked:

Paul Coleson, foreman
Arch Black
J. H. Gorman
H. D. Hiatt
Harry Ramsay
Lewis Trabert.

Those excused were: T. M. Adkisson, A. O. Louden, Henry Schaefer, L. K. Wallace and H. C. Wright.

The jury was instructed and at once retired to begin its deliberations. It had some case other than BRUEY's under consideration at first.

The Jefferson County district court convened yesterday afternoon for a session that probably will attract attention the country over, as the celebrated BRUEY case will be the first one to engage the attention of the jury.

Judge W. M. Walker of Keosauqua is presiding, and this grand jury, which will be selected this afternoon from the list drawn, is expected to begin the consideration of the BRUEY case at once and likely will return an indictment without much more than a formal consideration.

Louis BRUEY killed Sam McNEESE, an 18-year-old neighbor boy at the BRUEY home, 5 miles southeast of Fairfield the morning of December 5, as the result of an alleged intimacy with BRUEY's 14-year-old daughter Edna.

County Attorney John G. Barwise and David W. Bates of Albia will prosecute, and Thoma Brothers will defend. The defense is expected to be emotional insanity.

The case probably will be called next Tuesday, and will be the first case to come before the jury.

Judge Hunter has taken particular care to keep his mind clear for the consideration of the case and has avoided reading any of the news paper accounts. ...

~~~~

"The Fairfield Daily Ledger"
Thursday, February 25, 1926
Page Six, Column 1

BIG FORECLOSURE CASE ON TODAY

... P. R. Laughlin vs. Louis BRUEY, et al; case dismissed at the cost of P. R. Laughlin and ordered that judgment be entered if not paid during this term of court. ...

~~~~

"The Fairfield Daily Ledger"
Friday, February 26, 1926
Front Page, Column 4

INDICT BRUEY TODAY IS BELIEF
Grand Jury Is Due To Report Its Deliberations Late This Afternoon

The Grand Jury is expected to report late this afternoon its various findings, among those being the indictment of Louis BRUEY for the murder of 18-year-old Sam McNEESE at the BRUEY home December 5.

The jury has been delayed considerably on account of the roads, some of its members being unable to reach here the first day. ...

~~~~

"The Fairfield Daily Ledger"
Saturday, February 27, 1926
Front Page, Column 7

BRUEY TRIAL BEGINS TUESDAY
Court Docket Is Cleared For the Case and Jury Has Been Summoned--Six Indictments

Louis BRUEY will go to trial Tuesday morning on a first degree murder charge as the result of slaying 18-year-old Sam McNEESE in the midst of the blizzard of December 5th, at the BRUEY home, five miles southeast of Fairfield.

An indictment was returned against him yesterday afternoon late by the grand jury and charged him with the crime in the usual language of the law "willfully, unlawfully, feloniously, deliberately and premeditatedly kill and murder."

Five other indictments also were returned by the jury, three of which have not yet been made public. Ralph Carlson was indicted for desertion after seduction and marriage and L. F. Bogardus for driving a car while intoxicated.

Seventy-five veniremen will report Tuesday morning and it is expected that this number wil (sic) be exhausted before the juhy (sic) is picked. Eight women are in the list.

Judge W. M. Walker, who will hear the trial will returned to Fairfield Monday to pass on any motions or other routine, in order to be ready for the murder trial.

Emotional insanity is expected to be the defense and Dr. J. Fred Clarke and Dr. L. D. James have examined the prisoner at the instance of the defense.

BRUEY has stood his three months' confinement well. He reads much of the time and has spent much time in studying the case. He does not expect, he says, a severe sentence. ...

~~~~

EXTRA! "The Fairfield Daily Ledger" EXTRA!
Saturday, February 27, 1926
Front Page, Columns 1 and 2

BRUEY COMMITS SUICIDE
Hangs Himself With A Towel

Louis BRUEY, who in the early morning of December 5, last, shot and killed 18-year-old Sam McNEESE, himself early today measured out the full retribution of his crime.

The sentence was death, and he was his own executioner.

He was found hanging from a steam pipe in the corridor of his cell in the county jail at 8:30 oclock when his breakfast was taken to him.

To make his death daubly (sic) sure, he had turned on the only gas jet in the corridor which was still going when his body was found.

He had been dead for hours, and it is thought that he must have committed the deed sometime after 2 oclock, for the other prisoners in the jail, who did not retire until that hour, heard no sounds of a struggle.

He had tied together two towels, climbed upon a radiator and let himself off. The indications are that he choked slowly to his death as his face, feet and hands were a light purple.

Evidently he had retired sometime after 9 oclock last night when his sister, Mrs. Fred RAIBLE and his daughter, Erna (sic - Edna), had left him, for his cot showed that he had lain in it. He was dressed in a heavy union suit, and over that he wore a night gown of dark gray striped flannel.

Another Prisoner Finds Him

John Glensenski, 66 years old, who has been in jail for more than a year for contempt of court in refusing to pay alimony of $20 a month, took his breakfast to BRUEY as usual and not finding him in his cell, walked around the narrow corridor and came upon him, almost blocking the narrow passage.

Glensenski is less than 5 feet tall and BRUEY's head was perhaps four feet from the ceiling and two feet from the floor. Glensenski saw the body and didn't even so much as let his eyes wander upward, when he rushed back to tell the other prisoners that "BRUEY has stretched his neck."

Mrs. Butcher wife of Sheriff Charles G. Butcher, was called and in turn notified her husband who verified the act and then called Coroner W. T. Webb. Leo D. and Roscoe P. Thoma, attorneys for the defense in the trial which was to have begun Tuesday, were notified, and Sheriff Butcher went in person to break the news to Fred RAIBLE, the brother-in-law.

The Settings

BRUEY's cell is on the ground floor of the southeast corner of the jail and has a wide corridor on the south and a narrow one running along the east and north. The west side of the cell is formed by a heavy masonry wall shutting it off from the rest of the jail. The entrance to the corridor is through a heavy steel door in which at the height of a man's shoulder is a little door that can be opened for communication.

The cell is equipped with a barred door and is divided into two parts, one with cots and toilet facilities and the other as a sort of ante room.

There are windows on the east side of the suite, barred and opening to the outside. These are usually kept open for ventilation, but were closed carefully by BRUEY before he turned on the gas.

In Remote Corridor

It was at the end of the narrow corridor, leading around from the south and east, that a steam pipe, coming down in a bend like the trap of a kitchen sink, provided a convenient gallows. The pipe leads to a radiator faciliting (sic) the suicide's designs. He evidently had climbed carefully and laboriously onto the radiator, one of the ordinary tall sort, and then by the light of the moon and the dim radiance of the electric lamps around the corridor, adjusted the end of the spliced towels in an artful way about the 2-inch pipe. It was not a usual knot, but the towel was wrapped about the pipe in such a way that it would draw tightly upon an underwrapped portion as soon as a weight depended from it. In taking the body down all that was necessary was to relieve the weight and then pull the loosened improvised rope free.

In his cell there were scraps of the short jail towels provided, which had been torn into strips and found inadequate for the purpose.

's through a heavy steel door in which entrance to the corridor. (sic)

Excited Last Night

Other prisoners this morning said that BRUEY was excited during Mrs. RAIBLE and Edna's visit last night and that they heard the sister trying to calm him and telling him that he must be quiet or they would have to call the sheriff.

But after that they heard no confusion or struggle.

Says BRUEY Insane

Leo D. Thoma declared this morning that BRUEY never had recovered from the insanity that overtook him on that blizzardly night when, all alone he paced the floor of the quiet little farm home, after discovering the truth of the rumor he had heard but a few short hours before, he wrested with the blow of his sorrow.

Other prisoners say that he frequently became very excited, and that every time a story appeared in the newspapers, he was freshly arounsed. (sic) Papers were kept from him by the sheriff as a rule when news of him was in them, but sometimes he would demand them and would be supplied. Mrs. RAIBLE herself, it was said, supplied him with the paper last night that told of the latest development of his case.

What Caused It All

BRUEY shot and killed Sam McNEESE early in the morning of December 5 after he had heard rumors about Edna when he went through the blizzard of the night before to bring her home from school. He had demanded the truth of Edna, and had been told by Beulah, 17-years-old, that McNEESE had broken into the house last August when BRUEY was out dragging the roads and had assaulted Edna.

BRUEY waited until morning, calling young McNEESE by phone and told him that he "has something treed" and to come over. The boy caught up his empty 20-guage shotgun and hastened over. He walked into the house, set the gun in a corner and took his seat in a rocking chair. BRUEY charged him with the act, and declared that Sam had admitted it.

"Aren't you sorry," BRUEY demanded.

"Without waiting for him to reply" he said afterwards, "I turned back into the kitchen, got my gun and shot him."

Mrs. McNEESE Sympathizes

Mrs. J. R. McNEESE, mother of the slain boy, expressed her sympathy with the orphaned daughters of BRUEY as soon as she heard the news this morning.

"I feel a deep sympathy for Edna and Beulah," she said. "My own sorrow gives me some idea of what their feelings may be, and I sympathize with them from the bottom of my heart."

(same publication and page, but Column 6 -- )

INDICTED LATE YESTERDAY BY GRAND JURY
Court Docket Is Cleared For the Case and Jury Has Been Summoned--Six Indictments

Louis BRUEY will go to trial Tuesday morning on a first degree murder charge as the result of slaying 18-year-old Sam McNEESE in the midst of the blizzard of December 5th, at the BRUEY home, five miles southeast of Fairfield.

An indictment was returned against him yesterday afternoon late by the grand jury and charged him with the crime in the usual language of the law "willfully, unlawfully, feloniously, deliberately and premeditatedly kill and murder."

Five other indictments also were returned by the jury, three of which have not yet been made public. Ralph Carlson was indicted for desertion after seduction and marriage and L. F. Bogardus for driving a car while he was intoxicated.

Seventy-five veniremen will report Tuesday morning and it is expected that this number will be exhausted before the juby (sic - jury) is picked. Eight women are in the list.

Judge W. M. Walker, who will hear the trial will return to Fairfield Monday afternoon to pass on any motions or other routine, in order to be ready for the murder trial.

Emotional insanity is expected to be the defense and Dr. J. Fred Clarke and Dr. L. D. James have examined the prisoner at the instance of the defense.

BRUEY has stood his three months' confinement well. He reads much of the time and has spent much time in studying the case. He does not expect, he says, a severe sentence.

~~~~

"The Fairfield Daily Ledger"
Monday, March 1, 1926
Front Page, Columns 1 - 5, continued on Page 2, Columns 5 and 6

BRUEY RITES PRIVATE AT 2 TOMORROW
Will Be Held In Chapel Of First Methodist Church And Interment To Be in Evergreen

(For an account of the suicide, see Page 6.)

(Note: This article starts with funeral arrangements for Louis, which have been transcribed to the Obituary Board entry for him. The remainder of the article is below: )

The Story of the Crime

When the storm of Dec. 5 came on Louis BRUEY, sturdy 50-year-old farmer of French descent, five miles southeast of Fairfield, became anxious about his 14-year-old daughter, Edna, at the Ankrom school, a mile and a half away.

It was a storm such as southeast Iowa had not seen in decades and the wind whipped through the valley of Cedar Creek and drove the snow like needles through the air.

So BRUEY hitched up his old fat team to the little used family buggy, took an armful of robes and wraps and jogged off down the winding byroad, plowing through drifts to bring his daughter home.

He drew up and the little bleak school house which has weathered the ravages of half a century, and sat patiently in his buggy to await the time when school would be "let out."

But he soon was to have company. For presently his cousin Frank BRUEY, from the other side of the community drove up on a similar mission, hitched his horses to a rambling rack that runs about the school grounds and came over to Louis' buggy. Louis thought Frank just wanted to pass the time away and moved over to let him in, but Frank was trouble's own messenger.

"Have you heard what they are saying about Edna?" he asked.

"My God! No, what is it?" demanded the father.

And then Frank whispered a few words that before another twenty-four hours were to lead to murder, the setting of a thousand tongues in gosip (sic), and to bring tragedy into two homes.

Once home BRUEY did the chores with his usual meticulous care of detail. Then there was supper with the silence still brooding.

But when the meal was over and the three, BRUEY, Edna and the older sister, Beulah, gathered about the roaring fire in the sitting room, Louis gave voice to his thoughts. He asked bluntly and fearfully if the rumors were true. The question was directed to Edna and opened the matter that both girls had been dreading for weeks.

But it was Beulah who was ready with an answer. She said that the rumor was true, but that Sam McNEESE, a neighbor boy, had broken in at the screen door, back in August, while the father was away dragging the roads and had committed an assault.

It was late when the girls retired -- late for farm folk on a wintry night -- 10 o'clock at least. But there was no sleep for BRUEY. The ornate coal lamp on the little desk in the corner of the living room cast its beams out into the darkness all night as BRUEY walked the floor with his problem. The fire died down and was replenished. But BRUEY kept up his restless pacing of the floor, fighting his battle.

Calls McNEESE on Phone

Dawn came but there was no breakfast in that home. The girls, cowed by the situation, were in no mood to harry out and face their father again. It grew lighter--light enough for carrying out the plan which BRUEY had matured. So he turned to the party line phone near the door and called the McNEESE home three-quarters of a mile away. Mrs. J. R. McNEESE, the boy's mother, answered.

"Tell Sam," said BRUEY in controlled tones, "to come over. I've got something treed."

"Ask him," said Sam, when the message had been repeated to him, "if I should bring my gun."

"Tell him to never mind," answered BRUEY. "I have a gun."

Mrs. Ralph Miller, a half mile across a field, heard the conversation. She scented trouble for she knew the neighborhood gossip. So when her husband came in from doing his chores a few minutes later she told him of the message. Miller acted quickly. He ran out to intercept the lad. He got out just in time to see Sam disappear into the BRUEY home.

A moment later Mrs. McNEESE heard a shot. She was vaguely uneasy. She said to her husband that perhaps he had better go over and see what they had shot. McNEESE cut through the fields walking in his son's tracks. He knocked at the door. BRUEY, shotgun still in his hand, met him at the door.

"You've got no Sam; I shot him," was BRUEY's greeting.

"You didn't do that!" exclaimed McNEESE.

"Yes I did, and you'd have done the same," returned BRUEY.

McNEESE without another word turned and went sorrowfully home to bear the news to the boy's mother. For hours they sat dazedly in the house, afraid to venture again to BRUEY's listening with bated breath at every call that went over the party line telephone.

They had heard BRUEY call Frank Cornell, a neighbor, a half mile away and ask him to come down. They had heard Cornell in excited tones call H. C. Pattison, a half mile away in the other direction. They had heard BRUEY call the Sheriff and tell the official that he was in trouble and for him to come out. They had heard him call Mrs. Fred RAIBLE, his sister, in Fairfield, and talk to her in French. They had heard the sheriff call a second time, asking for more information as to the trouble. They heard BRUEY tell him to see the RAIBLEs and get the story from them. They had heard a number of calls from the Ledger, asking what all the troumle (sic) was about, and BRUEY's calm statements each time to "wait till the law gets the matter."

And at every call BRUEY had almost to brush past the body of his victim, sitting slumped down in an old fashioned rocking chair with his eyes staring into space.

Sam had come in without knocking, as was the easy way of the neighborhood. BRUEY was in the kitchen with the girls. Sam set his weapon still unloaded, in the corner and took the big chair in the middle of the room. Presently, BRUEY came out of the kitchen. He says he charged Sam with breaking into the house and attacking Edna and that Sam admitted it.

"Aren't you sorry for what you've done?" BRUEY demanded. But before the lad could answer, he turned back into the kitchen, snatched up his 12-gauge pump gun, turned to the door and shot the boy without another word.

The girls in the kitchen were terrified. It never occurred to them that their father would slay. A hurried marriage was their solution of the trouble.

And then came the interminable telephoning.

Sheriff Butcher got his first call at 8 oclock. It was 10 perhaps before he had got enough information to know what the situation was, and was ready to start for the BRUEY home.

What Happened Early

The fatal shot was fired about 7:30 o'clock. BRUEY first called Cornell, who saw at once the seriousness of the situation, and felt that others should be there to help advise. So he called the Pattison home. Pattison was out doing the chores, but came in a ew moments later. He thought that probably there was some trouble with the BRUEY stock, and cut across the field to BRUEY's barn. He spent several minutes there, wading about in the deep snow from one part of the barn lot to another, calling out to BRUEY, and finding that everything was safe. Then he went to the house, asking what the trouble was.

"I've shot Sam McNEESE," said BRUEY.

"No you didn't," exclaimed Pattison in incredulity.

"Yes I did," was the reply.

Notifying the McNEESEs

The first move was to advise BRUEY to call the sheriff. Then came the task of notifying the parents of the slain boy whose body was still sitting in the chair with a raincoat thrown by BRUEY over it.

Pattison offered to stay at the BRUEY home while Cornell went to McNEESEs, but Cornell demurred. Pattison offered to go and let Cornell stay. But Cornell had not had his breakfast and wanted to get back home. He had on his house slippers thrust into big overshoes in his haste to answer BRUEY's call.

So they went together to Cornell's home and Pattison struck off across the field to McNEESE's. By that time however, McNEESE had started over to see what was the matter. Pattison did not tell Mrs. McNEESE what had happened, but went back to Cornell's and the two returned to the scene. Then Ralph Miller came over, and the three awaited the coming of the sheriff and his party.

Sheriff Travels in Wagon

The blizzard of the night before was still raging. The snow was drifted ten feet high in the country roads. Underneath the mud was soft and deep. No auto could get through. The livery stable long had been obsolete in Fairfield. Horses were not for hire. Finally he found a farmer who could furnish him a team and wagon, and in that snow and laborious equipage, he, his deputy, Clarence Glass, County Attorney, John G. Barwise and Coroner W. B. Webb began one of the most unique journeys that has taken place in Jefferson county in many a year.

Coroner Webb impaneled a jury of three neighbors, Cornell, Pattison and Miller. BRUEY's statement was taken by County Attorney Barwise. BRUEY was questioned, as were the girls.

"If more fathers would do as I have done, fewer young girls would be ruined," BRUEY told Sheriff Butcher. "It would have happened last night, except for the big storm." It voiced his attitude for days after.

The question of getting the prisoner back to Fairfield was soon solved. He was allowed to hitch up the old farm team again, and, with Edna and Beulah tucked in beside him, to come unguarded to the city. The officers, again in their wagons, followed, stopping to get something to eat at a farmhouse. It was after 6 oclock when they finished the trip.

When at ten o'clock that night BRUEY was arraigned before Justice of the Peace D. F. Spratt he was admitted to $10,000 on bonds signed by himself, his sister, Mrs. Fred RAIBLE and her husband.

BRUEY Takes Case Lightly

The next day was Sunday and BRUEY was about town, talking to his friends and taking the matter lightly. He prepared to go back home and take up life where it had been interrupted by him thirty-six hours before. He telephoned the neighbor who was tending his stock and said that he himself would be out to do the feeding.

Mrs. McNEESE heard the call. She telephoned the sheriff and told him that there might be trouble and urged him to keep BRUEY away. BRUEY was warned, and remained at his sister's home. He never again saw his home.

Sam McNEESE's funeral was held in Fairfield Monday. Twenty-two of their old neighbors from near Rubio where they had lived until they came to Jefferson county six years ago, came on the train in a round about way to the funeral. The undertaker's chapel was crowded and many stood in the street outside.

BRUEY's attorney issued a statement, putting the onus of the crime on the dead boy. The McNEESEs produced a shoe box full of notes written by Edna to Sam over a period of nearly two years.

When the preliminary hearing came on before Justice Spratt Wednesday, the defense exercised its legal right to a private hearing, and the public and press were excluded. But a crowd, some of the neighbors of the McNEESEs gathered in the street below the justice's office and heard much of the vehement argument.

At noon BRUEY tripped jauntily down the stairs and through the crowd to his dinner, still feeling that nothing serious would happen to him. But at 4 o'clock when a formal charge of first degree murder had been repeated and he was held to the grand jury without bail, his skies began to darken. And when Sheriff Butcher slipped the handcuffs upon him, and he was rushed down the stairs and through a lane of spectators cleared by the city police and whizzed off to jail in an auto, he wept bitter tears and declared he wanted to die.

BRUEY Goes to Jail

He was placed in a cell to begin the long wait for trial. But his time has not been idle. There were many preparations to make. His farm of 183 acres was transferred to his sister and husband, Mr. and Mrs. Fred RAIBLE, who in turn placed a mortgage of $10,000 upon it, supposedly to obtain a defense fund. His undivided interest in his father's estate, consisting of a 133-acre farm, also went to the RAIBLEs. His auto was transferred to Mr. RAIBLE, and considerable of the stock on the farm was sold.

Another development came during the holidays when Beulah married W. P. TONKINSON, a 24-year-old farm hand of the neighbor and went to live on the old homestead. Edna has been living with the RAIBLEs and was a daily visitor to the jail.

Just as discussion in the case had about run out of material, a suit was brought here by Sam McNEESE's estate for $10,000 damages, setting forth that the boy's expectancy of life was forty-three years and that his estate was damaged to that extent. The case was filed in time to come up at the present term.

There are some who believe that the decay of a little Presbyterian church on the way from the BRUEY home in the Ankron (sic) school house, has been typical of a change in the spirit of the community that made the situation possible and led to the tragedy. The church was built in 1898 at a cost of $2,500 and was the pride of the neighborhood. It gleamed with white paint was seated with opera chairs and had a regular minister. Its membership was flourishing.

But as time went on the members began to move away and the church began to go down. From a center of religious activity, with preaching and weddings and funerals and an occasional mass said there, it went into a decline. Its roof sagged its windows were broken, it became dull and dingy. A half dozen years ago it gave up the idea of a regular minister, and when a revival was started by an evangelist from the outside, the meeting was a failure.

Mrs. BRUEY, three years or more ago, was stricken with tuberculosis. She was sent to the sanitarium at Oakdale and remained there for a year, her condition mending. But she pined for home and was brought back. She failed steadily after that and died Dec. 12 (sic - 21st), 1924. After that Beulah did not go back to school, but took over the management of the home.

~~~~
Copied with permission from The Fairfield Ledger, Inc. IAGenWeb Bylaws PROHIBIT the COPYING AND RE-POSTING OF THIS MATERIAL IN ANY PUBLIC VENUE such as Ancestry or Find A Grave without WRITTEN permission from the poster ~ copyright restrictions apply.
*Transcribed for genealogy purposes; I have no relation to the person(s) mentioned.

Note: Louis 'Louie' BRUEY was buried in Evergreen Cemetery, in Lot Old.P.037, with his wife Marie Ethel WALMER BRUEY. Sam McNEESE was also buried in Evergreen Cemetery, in Lot 2nd.151.

Louis BRUEY's obituary - click here
 

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