The Davenport Times, dated July 21, 1902,
SUE FOR LEONIDASES
ESTATE WOULD RECOVER
DAMAGES FOR DEATH
P. W. McManus Appointed
Administrator of Estate of Men Killed On Dubuque
The first legal steps looking toward the clearing up of all hazy
facts in connection with the killing of Christopher and son
Leonidas on the steamer Dubuque on Thursday, July 10, were taken
in the district court of Scott County this morning when P. W.
McManus was appointed administrator of the estate of the two dead
men. Colonel McManus has taken immediate steps looking toward the
clearing of the mystery surrounding the whole affair.
Attorneys Frank Cooper and the firm of Letts and McGee have been
appointed to institute suit against the Diamond Jo steamer line,
proprietors of the Dubuque, on which the killing occurred. The
papers of the suit have not yet been filed but it is understood
that the suit will be for big damages and that it will be fought
to the end.
The Davenport Times, dated July 24, 1902, page 9
THE LEONIDAS STORY
DENVER KNEW LEONIDAS WHO WAS KILLED ON DUBUQUE BY ANOTHER NAME
Post yesterday published a very complete account of the past life
of Leonidases, who were killed on the steamer Dubuque, while off
this city, on July 10. The Post says that while they were in that
city the elder Leonidas ran a cheap dance hall, but that he with
his son suddenly disappeared from view and that nothing further
was ever heard of them. The Post does not deal with the son in
the article at all, presumably because at that time the boy was
too young. At that time the elder Leonidas went under the name of
Republican, Friday, July 25, 1902 page 5.
MEN KILLED BY BREEN HAD UNSAVORY RECORD.
Christopher Leonidas’ Real name was Joseph Taggert and He Was
Charged With Murdering a Young Mexican Girl, but was Turned Loose
Because of Want of Evidence Against Him-Denver Post’s Story
The first inside information regarding the
past history of Christopher and Ellsworth Leonidas, the men killed
on the steamer Dubuque, off Davenport, a few weeks ago, comes from
the Denver Post. The article shows up Christopher Leonidas to
have been really worse then believed. The article was published
in the Post in connection with a photograph of Leonidas and son
taken about ten years ago, and says Leonidas was driven East after
being tried for the murder of a young girl. The article follows:
“The two ‘medicine men’, Christopher Leonidas and son, who were
shot and killed by Dan Breen on the Diamond Jo Liner Dubuque,
plying between St. Paul and St. Louis, last Thursday, recalls most
vividly the erratic career of this misguided father and penitent
son in Denver.
“Mate Breen shot in defense of himself and the passengers aboard
“He had to shoot quick and he shot
unerringly. He is a brother of Peter Breen, once Colorado’s state
treasurer, and a colleague of John D. Morrissy at the particular
time when Morrissy was ‘Diamond Jo’ Reynold’s manager of mining
interests at Leadville.
“Leonidas and his son, at the time of the
killing, were en route from Chicago to Texas, plying their
hypocritical vocations of ministers of the gospel and doctors.
“They had ‘faked’ every corner of the
business portion of Chicago, and their rendezvous was at the house
of H. J. Latting, 489 Wabash avenue.
“At Davenport they had, according to report,
done a good day’s grafting and got drunk.
“When they boarded the boat they went to the
clerk and registered ‘Christopher Leonidas and son, the
long-haired medicine men.’ To part of their baggage was tied a
bloodhound, which growled and, on account of the accouterments of
warfare they carried the passengers were timid and kept close to
“They intimidated the clerk by telling him
they were ‘man killers’ from Central City, Col. They wore
sombreros and belts filled with revolvers and bowie knives. With
blacksnake whips they lashed the Negro roustabouts. Finally they
quarreled with the crew, and Mate Breen stepped in the fracas and
demanded silence. Both father and son made movements to pull
their revolvers. Breen was too quick, firing five shots, two of
which took effect in the father and one in the son. Both men had
fatal wounds. In falling to the deck coats fell apart and their
breasts were covered with metals for alleged rifle and revolver
marksmanship. The son was speechless while the father cursed.
Before the shots were fired Mate Breen had begged them to take off
their belts and arms, but they cursed him roundly for his
admonitions. The boat Dubuque returned to the wharf at
Davenport. In conveying the wounded men from the boat they died
on the gangplank. Within an hour a coroner’s jury exonerated Mate
Breen. The Dubuque then proceeded to her destination.
A Checkered Career.
“The elder Leonidas has a checkered career in
Colorado. Denver was the scene of his operations off and on for
many years, and the victims of his successful fakes include some
of the leading businessmen and clergymen of the city. John H.
Taggert was his real name. He was born in Missouri, and he first
came to this state in 1871. He had many escapades, but he did not
tarry long at that time, as he found a more fruitful field in
“He spent some time in Chihuahua and from
there went to Jesus Maria, where he became a ‘penitent.’ His
long, flowing hair, reaching to his waist, his erect commanding
figure and a soft effeminate face, together with his
silver-tongued manner, brought him at once into popularity among
the religiously inclined.
“He professed supernatural power, and crowds
flocked to hear him speak and to receive from him the ‘laying on
of hands.’ He got to be such a craze among the people of that
section of the country that miners left the mines in idleness and
women neglected their homes to follow him and the religion in
which he professed belief.
Met Francis Schlatter.
“It was in Jesus Maria that Taggert met
Francis Schlatter, the ‘healer’ who created such a furor in Denver
in 1894. In fact, it is said that Taggert, as early as, 1889, was
urging upon Schlatter the idea of taking up his abode in Denver.
Taggert himself came back here in 1890 as an attraction at
Schetts’s Wonderland theater in Curtis Street.
“Sackett advertised him as a Persian hermit, and as belonging to a
religious order that conversed only by signs. One of his
professions of belief was that the hair of a man should not be cut
because it was ungodly to do so. He drew well at the museum, and
Manager Sackett fairly coined money on the ‘Persian hermit.’
“After he had his course as a museum freak, Taggert was employed
by a local clothing firm and he daily made a tour of the streets
attired in the costume of a Tyrolese mountaineer and carrying a
Invented Hair Tonic.
“His next venture was to start in business and place on the
market an alleged hair restorer. Many drug stores and barber
shops were induced to sell it, and as he was supposed to be a
walking example of what the tonic would do for a person, the trade
flourished for some time, though the preparation was found by
purchasers to be a bunco game pure and simple. The long-haired,
long-bearded inventor of the tonic exhibited himself in drug store
windows. The same year Taggert turned up as a ‘soul-saver.’ He
succeeded in interesting some prominent clergymen in an
evangelistic scheme with surprising results from a financial
Charged With Murder.
“With the money he collected Taggert started a dance hall on Blake
street. One of his leading attractions was Alois Kuhene, a
17-year-old girl of good family from Mexico, Mo. His duplicity
being exposed in 1891, Taggert was virtually driven out of
Denver. He faked around for a while in Central City, Idaho
Springs and other towns, and finally landed in Cheyenne. He took
the Mexican girl with him and one morning the girl was found
murdered. Taggert was arrested and charged with the crime, but no
direct evidence was secured against him and he was turned loose.
From that time Taggert completely dropped out of sight as far as
Colorado was concerned, and the next heard of him was his tragic
end on the steamer Dubuque the other day. When the ‘Leonidas
brothers’ left Chicago to take the boat at St. Paul they said
their destination was Texas, where the courts a week ago decreed
that Leonidas was the rightful owner of an estate valued at
$200,000, which had for more than three years been tied up in
The Davenport Times, August 12, 1902, page 9.
PEORIA WOMAN RELATED TO
Writes the Police As "Friend" of Murdered Men But Other Theories
of the Davenport police force received a letter this morning from
Peoria which will in all probability prove the method of
discovering a living daughter of Christopher Leonidas, and a
brother of Ellsworth, the medicine men killed on the steamer
Dubuque on Thursday noon, July 10. It is also expected to have
the effect of unraveling the veil of mystery in which the lives of
these two men were enclosed. The letter will give the police a
clue upon which they and the administrator of the estate of the
two men, P. W. McManus, will be enabled to work in clearing up the
past history of the men, whether or not Ellsworth Leonidas was the
heir to a fortune as is accredited to him, whether they had other
funds than those which were found in their possession at the time
of their tragic death at the hands of Mate Dan Breen.
Letter Comes From Peoria
received this morning by chief Martens is from Peoria, Ill., and
is written in a hand plainly feminine but uneducated and a poor
scribe. The epistle is brief and is signed Nannie Taggart. The
address given is 511 Chester street. But it is in the name,
Nannie Taggart that the magic lies. There is no longer any doubt
but that Taggart was the right name of the Leonidases. It was
under this name that they went when they lived in Denver, Colo.
Under the names of Taggart they became famous there when Denver
was a rough mining city.
The letter is brief Its asks for information relative to the
manner in which Christopher Leonidas and his son, Ellsworth, met
their death, and as to the disposition made of their effects, and
lastly as to what was done with the bodies of the dead men. The
letter will be answered giving all particulars asked for and an
effort will be made to ascertain the exact relationship and
knowledge held of the dead men by Nannie Taggart.
There can be but little doubt but that she is a near relative and
people who have taken a close interest in the case say that there
is but little doubt but that she is a daughter, as the elder
Leonidas was known to have had a daughter at one time.
Will Solve the Mystery
Taggart be a daughter of Christopher Leonidas, or James Taggert,
as he was known in the earlier days, then the mystery which has
hung over the past of these men will be lifted and the truth
concerning them and their lives will be known to the public. Her
request as to knowledge concerning the disposal of their bodies is
regarded as indicative of a desire by her to either mark their
burying place or else to transplant the bodies to some spot sacred
through the presence of other relatives, possibly a wife. It is
regarded as by all means the most substantial find unearthed since
the tragic death of these men.
On the other hand the letter may be a fake, pure and simple. Some
one with a knowledge of the past life of these men may desire to
thus obtain their estate which is worth $200 or $300 as it stands
in this city in the shape of tents, clothing, etc. But the police
do not hold by this pessimistic view of the case.
Leonidas & Son
The tragic death of Christopher Leonidas and son, Ellsworth, on
board the packet Dubuque Thursday noon, July 10, is still fresh in
the minds of most people. Becoming involved in a dispute over the
removal of certain pieces of their luggage by the deck hands, they
were shot and killed by Mate Dan Breen. The coroner's inquest
speedily acquitted the mate of the crime, finding a verdict of
justifiable homicide. In the meantime it was discovered that the
two men were on their way to Girard, near McGregor, where the
elder Leonidas was to be married to Mrs. M. M. Gibbs, a widowed
lady. The tragic elements surrounding the scene aroused comment
in the papers throughout the country and the Denver Post looked up
the record of the elder Leonidas in that city and discovered that
he had lived there for several years, going by the name of of
James Taggart, undoubtedly his true name. The name of Leonidas is
thought to have been one assumed for the purposed of his business,
that of selling a corn cure and hair restorer of his own
Later Mrs. Gibbs of Girard engaged the Bergman Collection agency
of this city to look up evidence for her in the case. They
secured a great number of affidavits from witnesses connected with
the crime and these have been duly forwarded to her. What steps
she will take in the matter are as yet unknown.
But it is in this latest discovery of the probable daughter of the
late Christopher Leonidas that the interest of the case now
centers and it is believed that ere the matter is entirely cleared
up the whole truth concerning them and their affairs will be
Davenport Times, August 19, 1902, page 9
CHAS. TAGGART CLAIMS HIM AS HER HUSBAND
Bowling is Working on the Case And Hopes to Find Some Proof.
much interest being shown in discovering who Christopher Leonidas,
murdered on the Dubuque, really was. M. E. Bowling of the M. V.
Boles Undertaking company, has received a letter from Edward
Yates, a lawyer of Pittsfield, Ill., into whose hands Mrs.
Taggart, the woman claiming the murdered Christopher Leonidas as
her husband, has put her case.
seems to be conclusive proof of her rightful marriage. It reads
Ill., Aug 16, 1902.
M. V. Boles
& Co., Davenport, Ia.
Mrs. Charles Taggart of Griggsville, Ill., called at my office
today concerning the death of her husband, Charles Taggart, on a
boat near your city. Her marriage certificate shows that she was
married to Taggart in Denver, Colo., Jan 17, 1891, by Rev. A. E.
Chase of Hyde Park Presbyterian church. The witnesses to the
marriage are living and all identify the picture of Taggart and
son as published in newspapers. This woman and Taggart lived
together occasionally. She has one child by him--a boy, 10 years
old. Her proof is conclusive of marriage. If he had any estate
at time of death she would like to know it, and whatever articles
of value he had on his person. Any information you can give will
be of great interest to her. Respectfully,
is doing his best to discover any information that will show who
Christopher Leonidas and son really were. He will give Mrs.
Taggart all the proof he has as he wishes to see the rightful
heirs get the property of the dead man.
Republican, Wednesday, August 20, 1902, page 7.
LEARN ABOUT THE DEATH OF LEONIDAS
Woman Possesses Certificate Purporting to show Her Marriage at
Denver to the Long haired Medicine Man Who Was Shot to Death by
Mate Dan Breen of the Steamer Dubuque.
appears that the woman at Griggsville, Ill., who makes the claim
to be the wife of the long-haired medicine man, who, with his son,
was shot to death on the steamer Dubuque, by Mate Dan Breen of
that vessel, may indeed be the widow of the so-called Christopher
Leonidas, whose real name, according to this woman and to the
Denver papers, was Joseph Taggart. The Colorado reports are to
the effect that Taggart was an eccentric character, who lived for
some time as a hermit and later exhibited himself as a
representative of those who live by themselves in lonely places,
making their homes in caves and in huts in the seclusion of
It will be
recalled that Me. E. Bowling, manager of the Boles Undertaking
parlors in this city received a letter from the Griggsville woman
over a week ago. She then asked for information with regard to
the effects of her alleged husband and details of the manner of
his death. Mr. Bowling has now received a letter from a lawyer
representing this woman, who called her alleged husband Joseph E.
Taggert. The lawyer speaks of the dead man as Chas. Taggart.
This may be a clerical error, or a mistake on the part of the
lawyer, or it could be the woman has just found out the real name
of her supposed husband. The letter from her Attorney, Edward
Yates, provides proof of her marriage and inquires about any
estate held by her husband at the time of his death and whatever
articles of value he had on his person.
of the Leonidases found with them at the time of their death
consisted of seven dollars in money, a camping outfit, several
trunks full of bottled rubbish and a big dog of mongrel breed.
Davenport Democrat, August 22, 1902, page 6.
YATES STILL ASKING FOR TAGGERT.
OF THE WIDOWS IS ANXIOUS ABOUT ESTATE.
Martens Receives Another Letter From the Pittsfield, Ill. Attorney
Had Heard the Body Had Been Sold.
matter will not down. Despite the fact that Undertaker M. E.
Bowling had sent him a schedule of the effects found
of the two
men, Attorney Edward Yates, of Pittsfield, Ill., writes to Chief
Martens under date of Thursday as follows:
Ill., Aug 21, 1902,--Dear Sir: A few weeks ago Chas. Taggert and
son Harry (alias "Leonidas") were killed on a steamboat near your
city. One of Taggart's widows resides in this county (Pike) at
present. An undertaking firm in your city, at 318 Perry street
had charge of the remains so I am informed.
has reached me to the effect that the bodies were sold. Please
send me the name of the sexton of the cemetery in which they would
be buried, if they were buried.
information you can give me concerning the Taggarts, dead or
alive, will be appreciated. The widow thinks he had valuables on
his person when killed, and that he has an estate in Texas.
Davenport Times, August 22, 1903, page 9.
APPLIES FOR MORE PARTICULARS
Says He Represents "One of the
Wives" of Leonidas and Asks Chief Martens About It
Martens of the Davenport police department has a letter from
Lawyer Edward Yates of Pittsfield, Pike county, Illinois, which
asks the chief to make inquiries for him regarding the disposition
of the bodies of Leonidas and son, Ellsworth, who were killed on
the packet Dubuque, July 10. Lawyer Yates says that he represents
the interests of "one of the widows" of the late Leonidas or
Taggart and that he understands that that gentlemen had some few
valuables on his person at the time and that, likewise, he had an
estate in Texas. He wishes to know about these statements. He
also says that he understands the bodies of the two men where
sold. He wishes the chief to inform him of the name of the sexton
in the cemetery where the bodies were buried, if, indeed, they
were buried at all. His inquiries have aroused the police to an
investigation of what really became of the bodies. They are
supposed to have been buried in Pine Hill cemetery.
Alleged Wife of Leonidas in the City For That Purpose
Cathran of Peoria, Ill., claiming to be an uncle of Mrs. Taggart,
who in turn claims to be the wife of the elder Leonidas, who was
shot by Mate Breen of the steamer Dubuque last summer, is in
Davenport consulting with attorneys as to entering a suit against
the Diamond Jo company. It will be remembered that Mrs. Taggart
wrote to the city some time ago, claiming that she was the lawful
wife of Leonidas and asking for information in regard to his
death. Attorneys Frank cooper and Letts & McGee took the matter up
and are investigating it for Mr. Cathran.
Democrat dated September 22, 1902, page 8.
Steiner of Dubuque is in the city, summoned to attend the session
of the grand jury, which resumed its criminal investigations this
afternoon. It is thought that his presence here has something to
do with the Leonidas inquiry.
Democrat, September 30, 1902, page 8.
JURY MAKES ITS FINAL REPORT.
Dan Breen Passed Until the Next Term.
The case of
the State vs Dan Breen was referred to the next grand jury.
One of the cases which the panel left open for further
investigation was that of Dan Breen, who has been charged with the
murder of the two Leonidases, Christopher and Ellsworth. This
case was partially inquired into during the session of the grand
jury, but as further evidence is desired the case has been left
Davenport Democrat. October 23, 1902, page 6
$10,000 DAMAGE SUIT
of Christopher Leonidas and son will not down. The victims of the
tragedy on our river on July 10, 1902, like Banquo's ghost arise
as the accusers of Mate Dan Breen and the Diamond Jo company.
Sheriff McArthur served notice upon the corporation and upon Mate
Breen, an individual, advising them that Colonel P. W. McManus,
administrator of the estate of Christopher Leonidas, had brought
suit against them to recover damages in the sum of $10,000 for the
killing of the elder Leonidas, Christopher, while en route from
Rock Island to McGregor, Ia.
petition, which revives the story of the tragedy, alleges that on
the 10th day of July of this year the defendant, the Diamond Jo
company, a corporation was acting as a common carrier, and
operating a steamboat named the Dubuque on the Mississippi river,
and that Dan Breen was employed as mate, and agent of that company
on board the steamboat.
further alleged the said Christopher Leonidas had purchased and
paid for his passage from Rock Island to McGregor, Ia., and was
therefore entitled to safe transportation and carriage. That,
after taking passage as aforesaid, the said Christopher Leonidas
delivered his ticket to the clerk of the boat who retained it.
It is also
alleged that Dan Breen of Dubuque," acting in the capacity of mate
of the boat, insulted, abused and ill-treated the deceased
passenger, and that he, and others, made remarks, jeered and
threatened in words substantially as follows: They are tough men;
they think they are out West, but might be mistaken; we'll fix
them; they are cowboys without horses," etc., etc., and jerked the
box from under said deceased, and did order, threaten, and compel
said deceased to move his baggage, and otherwise bully him,
thereby provoking a quarrel, and that later the said defendant,
Dan Breen, procured a revolver from the clerk of said boat, and
ordered the said deceased to move his baggage, and upon his
refusal did without provocation, fire the contents of his pistol
or revolver two or three times into the body of the said deceased,
after which the deceased did lie down upon the box and did die
there shortly afterwards.
the plaintiff, acting as administrator of the estate alleges that
the aforesaid abuses, insults, ill treatment, shooting and killing
of Christopher Leonidas, and the failure of the defendants to
afford protection to their passengers, were wrongful, unlawful and
negligent acts, and constituted a breach of the defendant
company's contact for the safe transportation for the said
Christopher Leonidas. Therefore judgment for $10,000 damages is
asked for. Frank A. Cooper and Letts & McGee appear for the
The suit was
filed with the clerk of the district court today, and still
another one in the same amount on behalf of the estate of the son,
Ellsworth Leonidas, will be filed on the morrow.
Leonidas is alleged to have a widow resident in Illinois who goes
by the name of Taggert, which is supposed to be the real name of
the victims of the tragedy on board the Dubuque at noon July 10th,
Davenport Times, October 24, 1902, page 9
ESTATE SUES DIAMOND JO
$10,000 DAMAGES FROM BOAT CORPORATION AND MATE DAN BREEN OF
Brought By Administrator McNanus and is a Result of the Tragedy
Which Occurred Last Summer.
been served on Mate Breen of the Diamond Jo lines Dubuque and on
the Diamond Jo company for a suit of $10,000 to be instituted by
P. W. McManus, administrator for the estate of Christopher
Leonidas who was killed on board of the steamer Dubuque last
summer. The notices were served on Mate Breen last week and on
Agent Osborn of the Diamond Jo company yesterday.
F. A. Cooper
and Letts & McGee are attorneys for the administrator and the suit
will be filed with the county clerk the later part of the week.
The petition sets forth account of the death of the elder Leonidas,
claiming that it was not though any fault of Leonidas and was the
fault to Mate Breen.
will probably be made out soon for a like amount for the death of
the younger Leonidas, the son of Christopher. The matter has been
in the hands of Administrator McManus and Attorneys Cooper, Letts
& McGee for some time and they have been busy gathering evidence
for the suit.
The case, if
it will be remembered, is the result of the killing of Leonidas on
the steamer Dubuque last summer just after the boat left Davenport
and was out in the river. The two Leonidas, father and son got on
the boat at Rock Island and with their baggage were on the lower
deck. They had been peddling patent medicines in that city and
though the country. They were pronounced to be peaceful and quite
citizens, although for the purpose of advertising their wares
which were of a Mexican and Indian make, they had attired
themselves in cowboy outfits. They wore revolvers at their belts
and looked quite formidable.
altercation arose between them and Mate Breen of the boat and
Breen shot at both of them, killing them. It was claimed in his
behalf that the killings was in self defense, that the two men had
been unruly and that they had attempted to draw their revolvers on
him. The bodies were brought back to Davenport
and at the inquest Breen was discharged from criminal liability in
the deaths. The bodies of the men, no relative claiming them,
were in accordance with the law sent to the state university to be
used for dissection.
story of the death of the two men had spread and with it, false
accounts as to their wealth, there were many letters received from
people claiming that the men were related to them. These dropped
off in time and about the only claimant now is a Mrs. Taggert of
Peoria, Ill. She is said to be an invalid and to have papers,
certificates and witness to substantiate her claim of being the
wife of Christopher Leonidas.
will probably come up at the November term of the district court
and some interesting developments are expected to come up in the
Davenport Democrat, October 24, 1902, page 6
SUIT HAS BEEN FILED.
ELLSWORTH, THE SON, ASKS $10,000 DAMAGES.
Allegations Are That He Was Acting as the Peacemaker When He Was
Shot in the Back by the Mate of the Dubuque.
afternoon there was filed in the office of the clerk of the court
the second big damages suit growing out of the homicide which
occurred July 10 on the steamer Dubuque, and wherein Christopher
and Ellsworth Leonidas lost their lives.
F. A. Cooper
and Letts & McGee; the same attorneys who filed the suit on behalf
of P. W. McManus, administrator of the estate of Christopher
Leonidas, have filed it on behalf of the estate of Ellsworth
Leonidas, his son..
is similar in text to the one previously filed, in its allegations
pertinent to the Diamond Jo company, being a common carrier, and
that, under the law, when it accepted the ticket of Ellsworth
Leonidas it obligated itself to give him safe passage from Rock
Island to McGregor, and to protect him from abuse and insult while
however, from the Christopher Leonidas suit in that it alleges
that the said Ellsworth Leonidas was acting as a peace maker at
the time he was killed; that when his father was shot he implored
the mate Dan Breen not to shoot any more, but that the mate did
shoot while the said Ellsworth Leonidas was running away, and
while his back was turned, so that the lad was hit in the back and
so injured that he died soon afterwards.
judgment in the sum of $10,000 as damages is asked.
the filing of these two suits for damages have been served upon
the Diamond Jo company as also Mate Breen, who now resides in
Dubuque, and where the service upon him was made.
states that the second wife of Christopher Leonidas survives him
at Peoria. She is paralyzed in the left hand. She will be one of
the chief claimants of the estate before the court. A younger son
and brother of the second Leonidas reside with her. Mr. Cooper
received a letter from her this morning.
times, Tuesday, November 4, 1902, page 12
MRS. LEONIDAS HUNTS FOR MISSING HUSBAND
Chief Martens Concerning the Dead Man's Estate and Promises Him a
missing wife of the murdered Leonidas, who was killed on the boat
Dubuque, last July, has shown up and wants to know about her
departed husband. Like the rest the waiting widow seems more
anxious to know about the estate of the dead man but this one
comes out in big bold letters and says that he got just what he
deserved. Not only this but she wants to thank the man who did
communication from the latest Mrs. Leonidas came this morning and
was addressed to the chief of police. The communication was
written on paper bearing the letter-head of the St. Nicholas
hotel, Cincinnati, and the envelope also had the same head. The
letter bore a post-mark from the same place and so it evidently
was written by some woman there.
Leonidas, number last, takes the chief into her confidence and
promises him that if he will aid her in securing the estate of her
husband that he shall be fixed out all right and that his pockets
will be made the heavier for the job. She also states that her
home was in Jeffersonville before she was married and that her
maiden names was Sutton. The letter was written by a person who
evidently never had any great number of years of schooling and
there is an utter abandon of capitals, periods, etc., that makes
it rather hard to decipher. The meaning is there all right,
however, and the one drift of the entire epistle is the estate of
the dead man. The chief, contrary to the demands of the writer,
turned the letter over to the newspaper men and a copy is
attached. For the convenience of the readers the letter is
capitalized and punctuated somewhat.
Republican, Wednesday, November 5, 1902, page 7.
ONE HEARD FROM AT CINCINNATI, OHIO
She Heard Her Husband Had a Blond Woman With Him When He Was
Shot-Declares She Will Pay Mate Breen for Giving Her Spouse What
He Deserved to Have.
If a week
passes when Chief Martens does not learn of a letter from a person
declaring herself to be the only genuine wife of the late
Christopher Leonidas, who met his death by shooting at the hands
of Mate Breen of the steamer Dubuque last summer, the head of the
police department is inclined to think something must be wrong.
This week is all right in this respect, for the fourth woman to
assert her right to the title of Mrs. Leonidas has written.
Following is the missive from the fourth alleged wife of the
deceased medicine man. It is addressed to Ed Noth.
Nicholas Hotel Cincinnati, Nov. 1.-Edward N. Noth. Kind Sir:
Will you tell me what description Christopher Leonidas had? What
did he have? Long dark red hair, hazel colored eyes and where did
they take his body or who claimed him? Tell me all, I will make
everything O. K. with you. I want you to help me out. I am
coming in on his estate. I am the one that all belongs to. He
has got a mother and brother staying with me, and you will let me
know if he had anything with him.
there was a blond woman with him, and that Mr. Greene shot him. I
am going to pay him for doing the work. He (Leonidas) got what
was just. I can prove my way all through.
"You let me
know, and keep this to yourself, for his friends aim to get
everything. Hope I will hear from you soon. From Lovine De
is the name
me by. Address St. Nicholas Hotel. My name when he married me
was Lovine Sutton, Jeffersonville, Ind. If you want to find out
about me, you write to William Pfau, druggist at Jeffersonville.
What I say I do, I will do. Help me and I will help you."
Davenport Times, November 18, 1902, page 9
JURY HAS ABSOLVED BREEN
MATE IS HELD NOT GUILTY OF VIOLATING LAW
Report of Scott County Inquisitors State They Believe Killing Was
the mate on the steamer Dubuque, who shot Christopher Leonidas and
his son last June (July), cannot be held responsible for their
County grand jury in its report to the November term of court
today returned, among those against whom no bills were found, the
name of Dan Breen with the following explanation: "In the case of
the State of Iowa vs. Dan Breen, we wish to report that we have
given the evidence a very careful examination, calling all witness
who we thought could aid us in arriving at a correct conclusion
and giving the minutes of the coroner's inquest a careful
examination and although there is some conflicting testimony we
are of the opinion and have found no bill in the case."
connection with the Leonidas affair is well remembered. He was
the man who pulled the gun and shot the father and son, but
claimed that he shot them in self-defense as they were about to
attack him. Breen was afterward arrested and the case has been
hanging fire until the present time.
Davenport Democrat, November 18, 1902, page 7.
BILL'' REPORTED IN DAN BREEN CASE.
jury made its final report at 11 o'clock this forenoon. There
were 4 "no bills", among them being that of the State vs. Dan
Breen, whose case was investigated most thoroughly during the
September and the present court terms.
jury which reported today was composed as follows: Lois Hinz of
Blue Grass township, L. W. Pope of Princeton township, Thomas J.
Bawden of Rockingham township, John Greve of Allen's Grove
township, Charles Koch of Sheridan township, R. S. Whyte of
Buffalo township, Henry Lau of Lincoln township. Louis Hinz was
foreman of the panel and Ed. J. Dahms, clerk.
Republican for Tuesday,
25, 1902, page 5.
CHANGE LEONIDAS ACTION TO ONE IN TORT
Estate of Younger Man Increases Its Demand to $15,000.
Frank A. Cooper and Letts & McGee, the Attorneys for P. W. McManus,
administrator of the estates of the two Leonidas men, father and
son who were shot and killed on the deck of the Dubuque, of the
Diamond Jo Line last summer, have filed an amendment to one of the
damage suits they filed against the Diamond Joe Line steamers and
Mate Dan Breen, who did the fatal shooting. The original petition
in the case of the younger Leonidas asked for $10,000 damages on
account of breach of contact to give the deceased a safe passage
from Rock Island to McGregor, Ia. The amendment changes the suit
so that it becomes an action for compensatory and exemplary
damages instead of a suit for breach of contact. Ten thousand
dollars are asked on the one ground and $5,000 as exemplary
damages. The action in the case of the younger man, Ellsworth
Leonidas, has been thus changed to an action wholly in tort. Part
of the amendment filed yesterday is as follows:
"That the aforesaid abuses, insults, ill-treatment and the
shooting of Ellsworth Leonidas, were malicious acts and were the
joint, willful, wrongful and negligent acts of the defendants,
joined herein, and were committed without fault or negligence on
the part of Ellsworth Leonidas.
Davenport Daily Republican, Friday,
5, 1902, page 7
BREEN MOVES HIS NAME BE STRICKEN
Attorneys Allege He is Not Properly a Defendant.
A motion was
filed in the district court yesterday by Ely & Bush on behalf of
Dan Breen, one of the defendants in the suits of the estate of the
two Leonidas men, father and son, who were shot and killed on the
steamer Dubuque last summer, against the Diamond Jo steamers and
Mate Dan Breen of the boat just named. The motion filled by the
Davenport lawyers asks that all the part of the petition of the
administrator of the estate relating to Dan Breen be stricken, for
the reason he cannot properly be joined with the steamboat company
in an action on a contact between the company and the men who were
A motion of the same sort was made by the Diamond Jo Line, some
weeks ago, when they asked that the name of Breen be stricken.
The purpose is said to be to eliminate Breen, who is a resident of
Iowa and leave the steamboat company, which is not an Iowa
corporation, as the sole defendant in the matter, so that the
trial of the case can be taken into the federal courts on the
ground of the non-residence of The steamboat Co
Times, January 10, 1903
MADE IN LEONIDAS CASE
SUBSTITUTED PETITION PLACED ON RECORD
Waiting to See Whether Defendants Will Take Last Ruling to Supreme
A new move
was made in the suit being brought against the Diamond Jo line of
steamers and Dan Breen, the mate ,this morning, when a substituted
petition was filed asking for $10,000 compensatory damages and
$5,000 exemplary damages.
The petition recites that Dan Breen acting in the capacity of mate
of the steamer Dubuque on which the Leonidas people had taken
passage, insulted, abused and ill treated the two Leonidases and
immediately afterward shot them with a gun, from the effects of
which they both died.
The petition also stated that the acts were malicious and without
provocation and damages to the amount of $15,000 is asked for.
The last suit
that is filed changes the action from one of breach of contract to
that of tort and puts an entirely new condition of affairs
surrounding the suit.
The matter was much simplified in the decision handed down by
Judge House the other day denying the defendants' right to
separate the two parties in the action and the attorneys for the
plaintiff are now anxiously awaiting to see whether the attorneys
for the defendant will take exceptions to the ruling.
May Go to Supreme Court
If it is the pleasure of the defendants in the case an appeal
could be taken on the motion decided by Judge House and the matter
could be carried to the supreme court. In case this happened it
is a question as to whether the matter would come up for an
immediate hearing or would have to wait its turn.
If the latter case proved true it would delay the hearing of the
suit for a year or more as it would take that time to get the
matter before the judge.
The attorneys for the plaintiff will make every effort to get the
case ready for trial in the April term but it may be delayed
List of Questions
petition filed this morning the plaintiffs put certain questions
to the defendants which are to be answered as required in the
statute. The question pertains to the duties of the company and
as to whether the two men who were shot were regular passengers
and had purchased their fare. The questions are as follows:
1. State your name, age, occupation and in what capacity you are
connected with the Diamond Jo steamers.
2. You may
state whether or not the Diamond Jo line of steamers is a
corporation, and if not, what it is.
3. You may
state whether or not the Diamond Jo line of steamers is a common
carrier of passengers and freight on the Mississippi river between
St. Louis, Mo., and St. Paul, Minn., and whether or not its boats
are licensed for that purpose.
4. You may
state whether or not the Diamond Jo line of steamers owns property
and has an office or agency situated therein for the transaction
of its business in the City of Davenport.
5. You may
state whether or not a man known as Ellsworth Leonidas, deceased,
purchased a ticket from your agent for passage from Rock Island to
McGregor, Ia., on or before July 10, 1902, and if so, you may
state whether said ticket was received by the officers and
employees on the steamer Dubuque and accepted for transportation
on July 10, 1902.
6. You may
state whether or not one Dan Breen, the defendant therein, was
acting in the capacity of first mate of the steamer Dubuque on
July 10, 1902.
7. You may
state in full the duties of the first mate of the steamboats
operated by the Diamond Jo line of steamers, as to their relations
to the passengers and their baggage.
8. You may
state what the duties of the captain of the steamboats operated by
the Diamond Jo line of steamers are and in particular as to their
duties in cases of quarrels between passengers or between
passengers and members of the crew or employees.
9. You may
state what the duties of the clerk of the steamboats operated by
the Diamond Jo line of steamers are and particularly as to their
duties in case of quarrels between passengers or between
passengers and members of the crew or employees.
Times, February 20, 1903, page 4.
MOTION WILL BE ARGUED
HOUSE TO COME ON LEONIDAS MATTER
on the Arguments Will Bind or Relieve Steamer Company From Case
will come to Davenport Feb. 25, to hear the arguments on another
motion in the Diamond Jo case, which is one of the most important
factors in the case.
for the defendants have asked that, in the petition, the words in
regard to Dan Breen, which it states that he was acting in the
capacity of mate be stricken out.
mean that Breen was acting on his own responsibility when he
committed the act and would relieve the Diamond Jo Steamer company
from all liability in the matter.
It has been
requested that the words "in the scope of his employment" be
used-but even if the sentence was changed to this it would mean
the limitation of the case for the plaintiffs and lessen the
chance of recovery. The Diamond Jo company is using every effort
to get the two causes of action separated and the attorneys for
the plaintiff are just as persistent in keeping them both united.
What will be the effect of the Steamer company going into the
hands of a receiver, in the case is not yet known but it is
thought by the attorneys for the plaintiffs that in case a
judgment is secured that it will be considered as one of the
liabilities of the company and they will come in on the percentage
with the other creditors.
motion to strike out the words asked for be granted the Steamer
Co. will be released from further liability and the plaintiffs
will have recourse only to the mate, Dan Breen. This would lessen
the value of the judgment to a great extent and the arguments on
the motion will be hotly contested.