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Three Tragedies for 7 young McCann children

     Seven young children of Charles and Jessie (Hutchcroft) McCann had three tragedies between November 1916 and June 1917. The oldest child was Mary Ann, age 14. The children lost both of their parents and their guardian, an uncle, Robert (Bob) Hutchcroft, a brother of Jessie McCann.

     Jessie their mother, died Nov. 8, 1916, at the age of 38 due to illness; Charles, their father, was shot by Forest Arthur “Artie” Cave April, 12, 1917 at the Cave farm; and Bob Hutchcroft, their uncle, was struck by lightning June 4, 1917 and killed.

      The seven children were: Mary Ann, Lulu, Lily, Plin, Ralph, Nellie Aleen, and Letha May.

      Ralph and Letha May were adopted by Dan and Connie McDowell; and Nellie Aleen was adopted by Forrest Hood and Edna Isbell (Brand) Perkins.


1. MARY ANN MCCANN, (CHARLRS A., SAMUEL) b. Jan. 21, 1903, Des Moines County, IA.; d. June 12, 1976, Winfield, Henry; IA; m. WILLIAM GLEN CUMMINGS, Nov. 1, 1922;

2. LULA FRANCES MCCANN, (CHARLES A, SAMUEL) b. Aug. 12, 1904, Des Moines County, IA.; d. December 1973;

3. LILY MCCANN (CHARLES A, SAMUEL) was born 1906 in Decatur Co., IA. She married LESTER SNYDER;

4. GEORGE J MCCANN, (CHARLES A., SAMUEL) b. July 04, 1908, Lamoni, Decatur Co., IA; d. Sep. 24, 1908, Lamoni, Decatur Co., IA.;

5. PLIN AGUSTUS MCCANN (CHARLES A. SAMUEL) was born Nov. 20, 1909 in Lamoni, Decatur Co., Fayette Twp., IA, and died June 08, 1987 in Bakersfield, Kern, CA. He married RUTH MUNS Dec. 4, 1933 in Chadron, Dawes, NE., daughter of BURL MUNS and ANNIE;
     More About PLIN AGUSTUS MCCANN: Military service: Army Master Sergeant (Ret) Residence 1: November 1954, 8519 Winona Ave SW Tacoma, WA; Residence 2: December 1933, Crawford, NE

6. RALPH O (MCCANN) MCDOWELL (CHARLES A., SAMUEL) b. March 19, 1911, Decatur Co., IA; he was adopted by Dan and Connie McDowell; he married CORA GARLAND March 18, 1935 in Monmouth, ILL.; Ralph died April 30, 1982, London, KY.;
     Notes for RALPH O MCCANN: May 2, 1982 -- Winfield, IA -- Ralph O. McDowell, 71, Winfield, died Friday, April 30 in a London, KY, hospital.
     He was born March 19, 1911 in Decatur County, and was the adopted son of Dan and Connie McDowell. He married Cora Garland March 18, 1935 in Monmouth, ILL He was Louisa County Sheriff for many years before his retirement. He was a member of the Loyal Moose Lodge of Burlington and the United Methodist Church of Winfield.
     Surviving: his wife; one son, Dean, Ft. Madison; one brother, Plin McCann, Tacoma, WA; one sister, Letha Marshall, Muscatine; five grandsons. Funeral: 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, United Methodist Church, Winfield, the Rev. Brown Garlock; Winfield-Scott Township Cemetery. The body will be at the McKasson-Honts Funeral Home, Winfield, after 9 a.m. Tuesday.
     Children of RALPH MCCANN and CORA GARLAND are: 1. MARY RITA and 2. DEAN.

7. NELLIE ALEEN MCCANN (CHARLES A, SAMUEL) was born Nov 12, 1912 in Lamoni, Decatur Co, IA, and died August 1976. She married CLARK BISHOP; 1913-1996;
     NELLIE ALEEN was adopted by Forrest Hood and Edna Isbell (Brand) Perkins.

8. LETHA MAY MCDOWELL (CHARLES A., SAMUEL) was born Dec. 31, 1914 in Decatur Co., IA, and died Dec. 21, 2001; she married OLEY WILLIAM MARSHALL Aug. 7, 1937. More About OLEY WILLIAM MARSHALL: Resided: Muscatine, Muscatine, IA.;
     Children of LEATH MCDOWELL and OLEY MARSHALL are:
     1. JOYCE MARIE b. June 02, 1938;
     2. OLEY WILLIAM JR MARSHALL. b. April 08, 1940.


Posted By: Nancee (McMurtrey) Seifert

Decatur County Journal [Leon, Decatur County, Iowa], Thursday, April 12, 1917

CHARLES MCCANN, formerly engaged in business at Decatur, was shot and killed Thursday evening of last week by ARTHUR CAVE at the CAVE farm near Decatur.

CAVE was placed under arrest by Sheriff John A. Fulton and brought to Leon and placed in jail.

ANDREW SELL and ED CAVE, father of ARTHUR CAVE, had gone to ARTHUR CAVE's home to look at some pigs. MR. SELL had gone for the purpose of buying the pigs but was unable to make a deal and went back to Decatur. A little later JOHN WOODARD, his son, CLIFF WOODARD, ARTHUR CAVE and CHARLES MCCANN got MR. WOODARD's car and drove out to CAVE's farm to look at the pigs, JOHN WOODARD bought all the pigs that had been offered for sale. The party then went out in front of ARTHUR CAVE's house where their car had been left and MR. WOODARD started to pay for the pigs. He had no blank check, MR. MCCANN had one so at MR. WOODARD's request he started to fill it for the amount due for the hogs. He was sitting at the time on the fender writing the check when someone said that MRS. ED CAVE, ARTHUR's mother, was coming over from the ED CAVE home a quarter of a mile east. She had seen the men over there and came over to see what they were doing suspecting that some of them had been drinking. She was afraid that her son was going to sell the pigs at too low a price.

She began talking to ARTHUR about being drunk. She told him that he had promised her that he would stop drinking and that he had failed to keep his promise. Those present say that as a result of the argument between mother and son, ARTHUR finally ordered his mother to leave and stated that if she did not go he would see that she did. He went to the house and soon returned with a revolver. ED CAVE told his wife that she had better go as ART was drunk and in a bad humor and she started away. When young CAVE came out with the gun his father tried to pacify him. JOHN WOODARD also made an effort to quiet CAVE but he lined them up alongside a fence and told them to stay there.

Then he turned to MR. MCCANN and ordered him to get over with the rest. MR. MCCANN did not refuse to do so but tried to talk young CAVE into giving up the gun. He was standing close to CAVE and each time CAVE drew the gun on him he knocked it out of the way with his left hand. The third time young CAVE fired twice, one ball striking MR. MCCANN in the temple and the other shot going wild.

The others then started to run and young CAVE shot three times presumably in their direction. JOHN WOODARD and son, CLIFF, ran to ORVILLE FLETCHER's home and telephoned to Sheriff Fulton. Sheriff Fulton, accompanied by his Deputy, John Osborne, and Frank Farquhar, started immediately in a car for the scene of the shooting. Drs. Layton and Bowman, of Leon, were also summoned and Dr. Eiker, who happened to be near, also rushed to the CAVE farm. Earl Riley joined Sheriff Fulton and party in Decatur and accompanied them to the scene of the crime. As they neared the CAVE home they met Dr. Eiker, who, accompanied by Earl Riley, hastened to the body of MCCANN lying not far away. They found that he was still living. Sheriff Fulton found young CAVE in the car that had been left standing near the house and quickly placed him under arrest.

The body of MCCANN was carried to the house. Doctors Layton and Bowman who had arrived by this time, and Dr. Eiker, did what they could for the wounded man but death occurred in a short time after the arrival of the physicians and officers.

Young CAVE made no resistance when disarmed by the Sheriff. The gun with which he had done the shooting was a 32 calibre and had been fired five times, leaving one cartridge in the gun when it was taken away from him.

CAVE was brought to Leon and placed in jail.

A coroner's inquest was held in the Court Room in Leon last Saturday morning by Dr. H.R. Layton, Coroner of Decatur County. Testimony of a number of witnesses was heard after which a Coroner's Jury composed of G.R. Farquhar, F.C. Gardner and Charles E. Hurst, returned the following verdict:

We do find the said deceased came to his death by a gunshot wound in the head inflicted by a gun in the hands of ARTIE CAVE, with felonious intent, on the twelfth day of April, 1917, in Decatur Township, Decatur County, Iowa, and we further find that he did come to his death feloniously; and that a crime has been committed upon the deceased and that ARTIE CAVE is the name of the person whom the Jury believes has committed it. The date for the preliminary hearing has not been decided upon by County Attorney Wm. J. Springer, but it will probably be in a few days.

The funeral of CHARLES MCCANN was held at Decatur, Sunday and the body taken from there to Lamoni and placed beside his wife, who died last November. MR. MCCANN leaves a family of seven children, the oldest being fourteen years of age. Just what will be done with the orphaned children has not been decided at this time. The family has many good friends in their home community and they will undoubtedly see that they are placed in proper hands for the future.

Nearly one hundred cars accompanied the funeral party on Sunday to Lamoni. There were over eighty cars when leaving Leon and many additional cars joined the procession at Davis City.

Copied by Nancee (McMurtrey) Seifert; March 30, 2002

     Notes about Forest Arthur “Artie” Cave. This is information that I, Karen (Bedell) Peery has put together on the famiies.. Artie was born 1895 Dallas County, IA., and was the son of Edgar Edward (1864-1919) and Terressa Florence (Harper) Cave (1859-1934). He had the following siblings: Francis Lucille (1883- ); Pearl Edwin (1886-1959); Albert Ray (1888-1908); Florence Goldie (Cave) Andrew (1892-1958); and Earl (1903-1903). Artie married Mildred E. Hale (1900-1963) on Dec. 14, 1916 in Leon, IA.

According to Iowa, Consecutive Registers of Convicts 1867-1970, Artie, 23, was admitted to Fort Madison, IA prison on Mar. 18, 1918 for 2nd degree murder. On the 1920 census, Artie, 24, is at Fort Madison, Lee Co., Iowa; and on the 1930 census he is living with his parents and family in Decatur County, IA. He died Oct. 2, 1932 at a Kansas City hospital at the age of 37 years, 3 months, 29 days. FAG #75965134,

His grandparents were: John Smith Cave (1801-1891) and Sarah E. (Payton) Cave (1822-1903). John and Sara Cave had the following children: Caroline (Cave) Naylor (1856-1911); Francis Marion (1858-1909); Jasper (1860-1869); and Granville (1861-1933) and Edgar Edward (1864-1919).


Descendants of Samuel McCann

1. SAMUEL1 MCCANN married Laura E. Hoffman daughter of Joseph Hoffman and Catherine Zimmerman.

2. CHARLES A. MCCANN (SAMUEL1) was born 1878, and died April 05, 1917 in Decatur Co., IA. He married JESSIE HUTCHCROFT Sep. 13, 1902 in Mediapolis, Des Moines Co., IA, daughter of GEORGE HUTCHCROFT and JANE DRINKALL.
     Notes for CHARLES A MCCANN: Buried in same plot with wife and George McCann infant son. Death Bk D 1906-1913. 151. Decatur Co. Courthouse.
     More About CHARLES A MCCANN: Burial: Rose Hill Cemetery., Fayette Twp., Decatur Co., IA Cause of Death: gunshot; Occupation: At one time - Mail Carrier

  The Decatur County Journal
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa; Thursday, November 16, 1916

JESSIE HUTCHCROFT was born on 3 Nov. 1878, Yarmouth, Des Moines Co., Iowa and died Nov. 8, 1916, at the age of 38 years and 4 days. She was united in marriage on Sep. 13, 1902 to Charles McCann. To this union were born eight children, one dying in infancy, leaving the father and seven children to mourn her loss.

The surviving children are: MARY, age 13; LULU, age 12; LILLY, age 10; PLINN, age 7; RALPH, age 6; ALEEN, age 4, and LEATHY MAY, age 2; also two brothers, ROBERT HUTCHCROFT, of Lamoni, and ALBERT, of Davenport, Washington, and one sister, MRS. FRED SIEDMAN {sic Siekman}, and a step-mother, MRS. HANNAH HUTCHCROFT, of Lamoni, besides a host of friends and relatives too numerous to mention.

The funeral services were held at the home on Friday, Nov. 10th, conducted by the Pastor of the M.E. Church, of Decatur, interment being in the Rose Hill Cemetery, at Lamoni.

We wish to thank the many friends and neighbors who kindly assisted us during the sickness and death of our wife and mother. Chas. McCann and Children.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, August of 2015

  *JESSIE (HUTCHCROFT) MCCANN, wife of CHARLES MCCANN died November 8, 1916, age 38 years and 4 days. There were 7 children left with their father, CHAS. MCCANN. *Article, dated June 7, l9l7 -- Bob Hutchcroft Killed by Lightning. The last sentence of the article states: He is the uncle also the guardian of the children of CHAS. MCCANN, who was shot and killed near Decatur recently. *These children certainly suffered great losses of mother, father and uncle in a short time...

     More about JESSIE HUTCHCROFT: Burial: November 10, 1917, Rose Hill Cemetery, Decatur Co., IA.; Death Bk D 1906-1913. 143. Decatur Co. Courthouse.

Jessie (Hutchcroft) McCann, daughter of George and Jane (Drinkall) Hutchcroft of Des Moines County, IA., had two brothers, Albert and Robert; and a sister, Mary. All four children of George and Jane Hutchcroft’s were all born in Des Moines County, IA.

Jessie’s three siblings were also living in Decatur County, IA at the time the tragedies. Albert married Clara Stromberg; Robert married Lucy Marshall; and Mary Hutchcroft married Fred Sieckman. On the 1920 census Fred and Mary (Hutchcroft) Sieckman were listed with their daughter, Freda; and Lulu Frances McCann, age 15, and Olice [sic Plin} McCann, age 10. Fred and Mary (Hutchcroft) Sieckman were listed on the 1910 and 1920 census as living in Decatur County, IA and they were listed in Henry County, IA., on the 1930 census.

  THE LAMONI CHRONICLE, Lamoni, IA, 20 Sep. 1906

– E. H. Dancer sold his Big Creek ranch, Monday, to Robert Hutchroft. The ranch consisted of 525 acres and sold for $22,000. Mr. Dancer is talking of going to Saskatchewan, Canada.

  Decatur County Journal
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa
Thursday, June 07, 1917

Bob Hutchcroft, a well-known farmer residing near Lamoni, was struck by lightning Monday morning shortly before 11 o'clock and killed. Mr. Hutchcroft was out in the pasture at his farm when the bolt came that caused his death. Mrs. Hutchcroft was standing at the window when the bolt came that caused her husband's death and she saw him fall. Help was quickly summoned and the stricken man carried to the house and physicians called. Death had resulted and medical skill was of no avail.

Mr. Hutchcroft leaves a family. He resided upon a fine farm which he owned, west of Lamoni. He was highly respected by all and was one of the county's successful farmers. He is the uncle, also the guardian, of the children of Chas. McCann, who was shot and killed near Decatur recently.

[Interment was made at Rose Hill Cemetery, Lamoni, Iowa.]

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, August of 2015



--Robert Hutchcroft was instantly killed by lightning at his farm west of Lamoni Monday Robert Hutchcroft, a well-known farmer residing four miles northwest of Lamoni, was instantly killed Monday forenoon, about 11 o’clock, by being struck by lightning. Mr. Hutchcroft was out driving a bunch of his cattle to the barn, being a couple of hundred yards from the house. Mrs. Hutchcroft was standing in the upstairs window in the house watching the storm, and saw the bolt strike her husband, knocking him to the ground. She gave the alarm and her son went to his father, and found that he had been instantly killed, the bolt striking him on the back of the head, and the only marks were slight burns on his head. Mr. Hutchcroft was about 44 years of age, and is survived by his wife and five children. His funeral will be held this (Thursday) afternoon. He was one of the most popular and influential farmers of Fayette Township and his death is regretted by a large circle of friends. Mr. Hutchcroft was a brother-in-law to Charles McCann, who was killed at Decatur City a few weeks ago, and was the administrator of the McCann estate, and guardian of the McCann children, whose mother was a sister of Mr. Hutchcroft and died about a year ago.

Robert (1873-1917) married Lucy Esther Marshall (1875-1970) on Sep. 6, 1898 in Sperry, Des Moines County, IA. They had six children: Robert 1899-1936; Marshall 1902-1961; Walter 1904-1906; Alberta May 1909-1988; Wayne Michael 1911-1985; and Cecil 1916-1997.

THE LAMONI CHRONICLE, Lamoni, IA, 20 Sep. 1906;
The Decatur County Journal, Leon, Decatur County, Iowa; Thursday, November 16, 1916;
Decatur County Journal, Leon, Decatur County, Iowa, Thursday, June 07, 1917;
Decatur County Journal; Thursday, April 12, 1917;
Leon Journal-Reporter, Leon, IA., April 19, 1917 page 1 & 2;
Biographical Review Des Moines County, Iowa, published 1905; pages 618-620 (George Hutchcroft);
Pennsylvania Death Certificate 1906-1996; Laura E. Hoffman
Information posted by: Sharon R. Becker and Nancee (McMurtrey) Seifert on http://iagenweb.org/decatur/

Submission by Karen Bedell Peery, May of 2018