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Murders Husband of Former Wife (1913)


Posted By: Ida Morse (email)
Date: 3/12/2008 at 11:27:39

Winterset Madisonian, July 30, 1913
Winterset, Iowa

Murders Husband of Former Wife
Wm. I Shetterly Empties Revolver into Thomas Allen, Husband of
Divorced Wife.

Wm. I. Shetterly of Olatha, Kansas, shot and killed Thos. Allen on a train just south of New Virginia, on Friday of last week, emptying five chambers of a .38 caliber revolver at Allen at a distance of only a few feet. Four of the five shots took effect, one went wild and inflicted a slight flesh wound on a fellow passenger.

The deliberate murder of Allen is the sequence of and unbridled passion and marital infelicity. Wm. I. Shetterly and family moved to Madison county about ten years ago, locating on a farm three miles southwest of St. Charles. Some few years later, the farm was traded or sold, and Shetterly engaged in business at Lorimor. About three years ago, Shetterly agreed to a divorce, which was secured by the wife on the grounds of cruel and inhuman treatment. Shetterly went to Olatha, Kansas, where he has extensive farm interests and Mrs. Shetterly moved to the Thos. Allen farm near the Elm Grove church, the farm being a portion of her one-third of the property division agreed to. She sold the farm last year, and in March moved to Winterset, where she resided until she left about two weeks ago, to marry T. J. or Tommy Allen of New Virginia. Allen and Mrs. Shetterly were married in Des Moines on the 17th and were living in New Virginia, where Allen conducted a meat market. On last Friday, they boarded a train at New Virginia, to go to Osceola to attend to some business matters. In the meantime, Shetterly, hearing of the marriage of his former wife, boarded a train at Olatha, Kansas, and arrived at Hanley on Thursday. He walked to Saint Charles. At St. Charles, he talked freely with former neighbors about Mrs. Shetterly’s marriage and announced his intention of going to New Virginia. His friends tried to dissuade him in this but he put them off with the assurance that he was not going there to make trouble, but that he simply wanted to talk over some matters. When the southbound train reached New Virginia Friday, he went immediately to the drayman, and enquired for T. J. Allen and was told that Mr. and Mrs. Allen had just taken the train for Osceola. He rushed to the platform and by swift running, was able to swing on to the last coach of the train. He walked down the aisle until he saw his former wife seated beside her husband of one week. Addressing Allen, he inquired if he was T. J. Allen, and when answered in the affirmative, at once opened fire. With the smoking revolver still in hand, he addressed Mrs. Allen saying “Now, you are mine again”.

The shooting created a panic on the train, women screamed, and one or two passengers jumped through the car windows. Gail Creger of Winterset and a national guardsman, who were on their way to the national guard encampment at Chariton, disarmed Shetterly, who gave himself up without resistance. The train was backed into New Virginia, where Allen’s body was removed. At Osceola, Shetterly was turned over to the sheriff of Union county, who afterwards gave his prisoner to Sheriff Kimer of Indianola, upon ascertaining that the murder was committed in Warren county.

Shetterly expresses no regrets over his action, but contends that he was justified in killing Allen, in order to free the woman who was once his lawful wife.

When the Shetterlys resided in this county, the husband was known to be possessed of an uncontrollable temper. In one of these outbursts, he smashed the family piano. Many years ago, his wife announced her intention of securing a separation as soon as their children were grown. Shetterly urged no legal objections to the divorce, but frequently urged his divorced wife to return to him. Since her marriage two weeks ago, both she and her husband received letters from Shetterly. The letter to Allen bore a threat of his murderous intentions when he wrote that New Virginia had been the scene of several tragedies and might be the scene of another.

The Allens are among the oldest and most highly respected citizens of the Elm Grove neighborhood. The murdered man was a brother of John Allen, who still resides in that vicinity, Madison Allen, who lives at Van Wert and another brother, Ed, resides at Elida, New Mexico. He is survived by six children, Ernest, the oldest son, was partner with his father in business, Mrs. Lester Smith and Roy reside in the old neighborhood near Peru, and three younger children lived with their father in New Virginia.


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