Leon Reporter, Leon, Iowa
Thursday, January 28, l904

'Omaha Police Believe that Minnow C. Hill, Former Wife of R.L. Clark Set Fire to the Mill'

Last Thursday there appeared a special dispatch in all the big dailies with a sensational story that MRS. MINNOW CLARK, the divorced wife of R.L. CLARK, of Omaha, was being hunted by the police authorities who believe she is responsible for the burning of the Clark Mills at Omaha on Dec. 3lst. The dispatch created considerable excitement in Leon, as the CLARKS were former residents of this city, where they were engaged in the milling business, moving their mill to Omaha from this city a few years ago. The story of R.L. CLARK's marital difficulties are well known to Decatur County people. MRS. CLARK has many friends here who are inclined to doubt the story that she burned the mills. The telegraphic dispatch from Omaha is as follows:

Omaha, Neb., Jan. 20. -- (Special.) -- A society girl turned incendiary is being hunted by the police of a dozen cities at the direction of the officers of Omaha.

Detectives have discovered what they regard conclusive proof that the fire which destroyed the big mills of the Model Milling Company the last day of the year, was not accidental, but was kindled by someone actuated by malice. That someone, they say, is MISS MINNOW C. HILL, of Davis City, Iowa. The divorced wife of RUFUS L. CLARK, one of the mill proprietors.

The motive for the destruction of the mill is found to have been chagrin at being allowed small alimony by the court.

Diligent as the search of the police has been, no trace of the missing girl is to be had. Friends and relatives are unable to give an inkling of her whereabouts. One of the odd circumstances of the situation is that MINNOW HILL's absence is not at all assuring to the mill proprietors. They fear to invest capital in the rebuilding of the plant, because she may return and burn it again. For this reason they plan to remove to Los Angeles, Cal.

The Model Mills at Thirtieth and Boyd Streets were burned to the ground the night of December 3l. The loss was $50,000, and only a small part was covered by insurance.

An empty kerosene bottle outside the basement window of the mill and a threat MRS. CLARK made the day of the divorce to get square with her husband by burning the mill if it took her twenty years were the first circumstances to arouse suspicion. Several persons told the police they saw the woman at the place of the fire close to the time it took place.

Since the divorce, MISS HILL has lived at Kidder, Mo. Her married life was unhappy. The divorce was one of the sensations of the court year, because of the prominence and wealth of the CLARKS. MISS HILL and young CLARK were married in secret, and lived together a year before the wedding was discovered. MISS HILL came from Webster City, Iowa. Her parents were wealthy. Infidelity was the plea in the divorce suit. MRS. CLARK asked for $25,000 alimony and received $l,000. She was bitter against the CLARKS, because they all sided against her.

In Saturday's Des Moines Register and Leader appeared the following special from Webster City, where MRS. CLARK was raised:

Webster City, Ia., Jan. 22. -- (Special.) The dispatch sent out from Omaha to the effect that MISS MINNOW HILL of this city was suspected of having burned down the CLARK Mills of that city by the metropolitan police and detectives caused a profound sensation in this city, where MISS HILL's parents live. MISS HILL is a divorced wife of RUFUS L. CLARK, one of Omaha's wealthy men. J.L. HILL, MISS HILL's father in this city, was greatly shocked at the report sent out in the Omaha special. MRS. CLARK is his eldest daughter, and is 34 years of age, having been born and raised in this county. MRS. CLARK was married l4 years ago to MR. RUFUS L. CLARK, the son of a wealthy miller then located at Davis City, Iowa. The daughter and the husband lived there for several years, and then moved to Leon, Iowa, where the CLARKS built another large flouring mill, having sold their mill at Davis City.

Four years ago the mill was moved to Omaha, and MR. and MRS. CLARK moved to that city. Two years ago, on her return from a visit to her parents here, MRS. CLARK discovered that her husband had been maintaining two households -- or she alleged that he had -- during all the time of the residence in Omaha. At once she sued for divorce. A decree was granted, and a short time afterwards RUFUS married the woman whom it was alleged he had been supporting. Since securing her divorce and being given her maiden name, MISS HILL has been living with a sister at Kidder, Mo., who is the wife of a prominent physician there, and with her parents in this city. She spent the last eight months with her parents here, coming to Webster City last May, and leaving for her sister's home in Missouri the day before Christmas. The JAMES HILL family have lived in Hamilton County and this city for many years, are now among the most deserving and highly respected families.

Copied by Nancee(McMurtrey)Seifert

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