WHAT HAPPENED TO BERTHA KNAACK?
AN ACCIDENT, SUICIDE OR MURDER?
Researched and Transcribed
Yesterday at Rock Island the fact developed that Miss Berth
Knaack of that city, and a niece of Capt. William C. Knaack
of the steamer Verne Swain, has been missing since Thursday.
Leader, June 13,1897, page 6.
|ROCK ISLAND LADY
MISS BERTHA KNAACK DISAPPEARS FROM THE
|Last Seen on
Thursday When Leaving Princeton--
Money Found On Boat--
Believed She Was Drowned--
Was to Have Been Married to Edward Warnken of This
Miss Knaack was temporarily engaged on the steamer as
cabin girl, and was last seen on Thursday when the steamer
left Princeton. She had finished her work and about 4:30
o’clock went down into the kitchen and asked the cook if her
work was done. Receiving an affirmative reply she returned
to her cabin, and that was the last seen of her.
Hampton Mrs. Capt. Knaack and a few lady friends boarded the
boat and when she asked for Bertha the young lady could not
be found. Her room was visited and her money and clothes
were found, but she was missing.
At first it was
thought that she might have stepped off the boat at Port
Byron or LeClaire, but how she could have got off without
being seen unless disguised, was a question.
Capt. Knaack scoffs at the idea of suicide, and says no
accident could have befallen her without someone knowing it.
She was engaged to be married to Edward Warnken of this
city, and the wedding day had been set for the 23rd of this
month, and the furniture for the new home had been
|Was it Accident
At first it was thought that the couple
had planned a surprise and had eloped, but when Mr. Warnken
was found at his home in this city this theory was exploded.
Miss Knaack was an attractive, good natured girl of 19
years, and lived with her grandmother and uncle in Rock
Island. No cause for her disappearance is known.
Capt. Knaack is of the opinion that she had another beau at
either Port Byron or LeClaire, and that have eloped. He is
grieved to think that she could do such a thing, but cannot
accept the accident or suicide theory. Up to a late hour
last evening no news of the missing young lady had been
A mysterious disappearance was that of Bertha Knaack, niece of Capt. Wm.
Knaack of the steamer Verne Swain. She dropped out of sight
Thursday, at or near Princeton, and nothing is known of her
Democrat, Sunday Morning, June 13, 1897, page 1.
|OUT OF SIGHT.
MISS BERTHA KNAACK ANXIOUSLY SOUGHT AFTER.
the Verne Swain Thursday--
Is Believed Not to
have Drowned, but to have Run Away--
The young lady had been working on the
boat for about ten days. Thursday morning, as the Vern
Swain lay at Princeton, she asked the cook if there was
anything more for her to do down in the kitchen, where this
conversation took place, and on being told there was
nothing, said she was going upstairs. Since then she has
not been seen. Her valise and hat and wraps were left on
the boat. She was not missed till the Swain had come 10
miles from Princeton. It was thought at first that she had
gone overboard, but there was nothing to justify this
theory, and it is now believed that, for some reason
unknown, she changed her clothing so as to escape being
recognized and slipped ashore. There is no known cause for
the conduct. She had been as cheerful as usual, apparently
in her right mind and unburdened with any secret troubles or
plans of this sort, but it is believed that she left the
boat at Princeton. Capt. Knaack refuses to believe that the
girl is in the river.
Miss Knaack is a resident of
Rock Island. She has made her home with her grandmother,
Mrs. Anna Knaack, her mother having married a man named
Singelman after the death of the girl's father several years
ago. She is between 18 and 20 years of age, of medium size
and weight, perhaps of less than medium height, has brunette
complexion, dark brown hair, blue eyes, and is a very pretty
Miss Knaack was the fiancée of Ed. Warnken of
this city, and their wedding had been set for June 23.
Mr. Warnken is almost heartbroken over the disappearance
of his sweetheart, to whom he was devotedly attached, and of
whom he was very proud. He has spent most of his time in
weeping over her disappearance. He does not believe that
she is drowned, but fears, it is said, that she has given
him the slip for some other man. There is nothing so far to
verify his suspicions in this direction.
Miss Bertha Seigelman, niece of Captain William C. Knaack,
of the steamer Verne Swain, disappeared Thursday afternoon
and has not been seen or heard of since. She had been
employed temporarily as cabin girl on the Swain which
position she had held for several weeks. The idea of
suicide is scoffed at by all who knew her as she was bright
and happy when last seen and as far as known had no troubles
of sufficient weight to merit self destruction.
Republican, Sunday, June 13, 1897, page 6.
the Verne Swain at Princeton.
Did She Suicide? Was engaged to be Married
Whole Affair Shrouded in Mystery.
Thursday afternoon the Verne took the Winona's trip, coming
down in the afternoon to take an excursion out in the
evening. Miss Seigelman was aboard the boat when it left
Clinton and finished up her work in the cabin about 4:30
just before the boat landed at Princeton. She went to the
cook house on the lower deck and inquired if the work had
been completed. Receiving an answer in the affirmative she
left with an apparent intention of returning to the cabin.
She has not been seen since.
Mrs. Capt. Knaack and
a party of lady friends who boarded the boat at Hampton
inquired for Miss Bertha. Her room was visited and the boat
searched but the missing girl could not be found.
It was first thought that she had gone ashore at Port Byron
or LeClaire, and missed the boat, and inquiry of her uncle,
the captain, was made. He had seen nothing of her and was
positive she has not left the boat as he makes it his
special duty to keep an eye on all passengers leaving and
boarding. She could, however, have disguised herself and
slipped off in the crowd but no motive for such an act is
known. Her clothing and money were left on the boat.
Miss Seigelman resided with her aunt, Mrs. Anna Knaack,
and her uncle, Capt. Knaack in Rock Island, where she was
well known and highly respected. She was 19 years of age
and was a very attractive girl of a happy disposition and
the affianced wife of Edward Warnken, of this city. The
wedding day was to have been the 23rd of this month, and the
furniture for the home had been ordered. Miss Seigelman had
kept company with Mr. Warnken for a couple of years, and her
parents were well pleased with her prospective husband.
The supposition that Miss Seigelman and Mr. Warnken had
planned a little romance and had been quietly married in a
small town up the river failed when Mr. Warnken was found at
his home in this city.
The girl's family are all
much affected over the mysterious affair and are daily
hoping for her return. The suicide theory is discredited by
them and her friends. She could not have fallen from the
boat without being seen as it occurred in broad daylight and
people were moving all over the boat at the time.
Capt. Knaack is inclined to believe she has run away. Miss
Seigelman may have had another beau at Port Byron or
LeClaire, he says, and eloped with him. It grieved Capt.
Knaack to think that she would do such a thing but he
believes that it is more probable than the suicide or
The whereabouts of Miss Bertha Knaack, who disappeared from
the Verne Swain between Clinton and LeClaire is still
shrouded in mystery. No one believes that she has been
drowned or that she has committed suicide. The theory which
obtains the most general belief is that she got off the
Verne during the frantic activities of her transshipment
when there was only five minutes to spare before setting out
for the run over the rapids.
|The Davenport Daily
Times, Tuesday Evening, June 15, 1897.
Not Much Light Thrown Upon It During the Past
Miss Knaack might
easily have gotten off during the excitement and walked
along the river shore until she met her lover, who could
have easily have driven down from Clinton and met her upon
an appointed time.
The fact of the Van Sant's
stoppage up the river is proof sufficient that she had the
opportunity to interview the engineer and fix up the
trysting place. There appears to be no doubt but that Miss
Knaack eloped with the engineer of the Van Sant and news of
her whereabouts will very soon be learned.
Knaack is silent. He refuses to express any opinion,
trusting to the future to do his talking. No doubt he is
right and it is to be hoped that the mystery will be cleared
up before long.
Considerable mystery surrounds the disappearance of Miss
Bertha Knaack, niece of Capt. Knaack of the Verne Swan, who
has been missing since Thursday, and the girl's relatives
are much concerned about her. She has acting temporarily on
the Vern Swan as cabin girl, and last seen she finished her
work on the boat near Princeton Thursday afternoon.
|The Davenport Daily
Times, Monday Evening, June 16, 1897, page 2.
|MISS KNAACK MISSING
THE YOUNG LADY DISAPPEARS FROM THE VERN SWAIN.
No Clue Exists
as to Her Whereabouts--
Theory of Suicide Scouted
by Her Friends--
An Elopement the Most Probable
Since her disappearance every effort has been made to locate
the missing girl, but thus far without success. At Hampton
on Thursday afternoon, it was found that the girl was gone,
and the boat was searched. At first it was thought that she
might have gone ashore at Port Byron or LeClaire, but Capt.
Knaack doubted if she would have left the boat unnoticed.
The young woman was to have been married on the 23rd of this
month, to Ed Warnken of this city, and is nineteen years of
age. At first it was thought that the young pair had met at
one of the river towns and had been married for the purpose
of surprising their friends but this theory failed when the
young man was found at home in this city. The girl's family
was pleased with her choice and there was no reason for an
elopement unless the girl had found someone else whom she
liked better and took this means to avoid complications at
The members of the family doubt such a thing
as an accident and place no confidence whatever in the
theory that the girl took her own life as she was a young
woman of cheerful disposition. Her clothing and money were
left on the boat when she disappeared. Everyone about the
boat is reticent about the matter. The cook, who was a chum
of Miss Bertha, apparently knows more than she cares to tell
about the matter. The lady who has so mysteriously
disappeared did not intend to make the trip upon which she
dropped out of sight, but was prevailed upon by her uncle to
go aboard, which she did at Clinton.
arranged by which she was to meet her fiancé that morning at
10:30 o'clock and go with him to select a wedding cake at a
West Third Street confectionery as also a bridal dress at a
local dry goods store. The Verne, however, on that day
exchanged runs with the Winona from LeClaire to Clinton, the
J. K. Graves having been substituted to serve her patronage
pending her own repairs and the lady was obliged to return
with her to Clinton.
Miss Knaack was on board as
far as LeClaire on the down trip and was not missed until
Hampton was reached. A search discovered her missing. The
matter was kept a secret and even denied to a Times reporter
as late as last Friday afternoon. However, pressure
prevailed and the story was given out for the use of the
Sunday morning papers.
There are those who say that
the young lady cherished a secret affection for the engineer
of the Van Sant, and inasmuch as that steamer went up the
river at about the same time it is thought probable that she
simply eloped with her new flame, leaving her purse
containing $5 behind her as a blind. Clerk Kuehl said that
the Vern was very busy at LeClaire that morning and that it
would not be very difficult for the young lady to pass off
the boat without being noticed.
The suicide theory
is scouted as the passenger list was heavy and if such an
occurrence took place someone would surely have noticed it.
Meanwhile Mr. Warnken, the driver of the yeast wagon,
is firm in the belief that his sweetheart is true to him and
has spent most of his time since her disappearance in
bewailing her misadventure. Yesterday he, with his brother,
the mail carrier, and a Mr. Knaack, a relative of the
missing lady, went up to LeClaire to search for her. But
their mission was productive of no results whatever. It is
to be hoped that the young lady will turn up safe and sound
after a few days.
The mystery concerning the disappearance of Miss Berth
Knaack, who so suddenly disappeared from the steamer Vern
Swain, is still unsolved and continues to deepen.
|The Davenport Daily
Times, Friday, June 25, 1897.
|THE MYSTERY DEEPENS
Whereabouts of Miss Bertha
Knaack Still Unknown.
Although stoutly denied by her relatives, some thought that
she had eloped with the engineer of the steamer Van Sant,
but this theory too, has been partially exploded.
Yesterday the Van Sant came down for the first time since
the disappearance of Miss Knaack, but upon inquiry, it was
learned from the pilot of the boat that the engineer, George
Horton, had been on duty all the time and that Miss Knaack
was not on that boat.
All sorts of stories are
afloat concerning the disappearance of the young lady, but
most of them have no truth in them. It is to be hoped that
the relatives and friends of the missing girl will be soon
able to know what has become of her.
A startling bit of information regarding Ed. Warnkin, of
this city, the young man who was to have married Miss Bertha
Knaack, who so mysteriously disappeared off the Verne Swain,
some time since, has come from the Port Byron Globe.
Weekly Leader, Tuesday, July 13, 1897, page 1.
|WARNKEN NOT INSANE
Startling Bits of Information Comes From Port
Some Davenport correspondent, who must have a great
desire to spread sensational news, has written the Port
Byron Globe that Mr. Warnken is about insane from grief
concerning the disappearance of Miss Knaack. He pictures
Ed. Warnken as being under the care of three prominent
physicians of this city, and refusing to take any medicine,
calling for Bertha to come and give it to him.
correspondent winds up the sensational bit of news by
stating that Mr. Warnken will either die or become
This is only another of the
foolish and sensational stories circulated in connection
with the mysterious affair. Mr. Warnken is neither sick or
insane. It is true that he is worried about the
disappearance of his betrothed, but who in his position
would not have. He is putting forth every effort to solve
the mystery of Miss Knaack's disappearance, and is slow to
believe her guilty of playing him false, but he is as well
as ever, and attends to his business as usual.
sensational item was shown to Herman Knaack, the uncle of
the missing girl, and he was most wrought up over it. It is
not true said he, and I wish people would quit talking about
things they know nothing about.
A ghastly find was taken from the waters of the Mississippi
river near Woodward's grove at shortly after 10 o'clock
|The Davenport Daily
Times, Wednesday Evening, July 28, 1897, page 2.
|A GHASTLY FIND.
THE REMAINS OF MISS BERTHA KNAACK TAKEN FROM THE
Fully Identified by
Her Uncle Capt. Knaack of the Verne Swain--
Body Will Arrive in This City on The City of Winona
at 6:30 O'clock This Evening.
It was the bloated, discolored,
almost unrecognizable body of a woman in a frightful state
of decomposition. The ghastly discovery was made by a party
of picnickers, so some say, and by a party of young fellows
who were out on a day's camping from Port Byron. At any
rate the body was found and taken from its entanglement in
the willows which apparently without reason grow rank
thereabouts. When towed ashore the coroner of Rock Island
county was summoned to hold the inquest. He decided to hold
the inquest today and the body was prepared for burial.
At 6 o'clock last evening the Verne Swain with Capt.
Billy Knaack in command, touched at Port Byron, whither the
body was removed, and where the captain viewed it and
identified it as the remains of his niece, Miss Bertha, who
so mysteriously disappeared from the Verne on June 10th, and
who was supposed to have eloped with another lover. The
identification is positive, having been made though the
clothing and the rings upon the fingers.
discovery of the sad fact the captain ordered that the
remains be given all the attention which the best skill of
the undertaker can command.
As the arrangement of
the coroner, was for the holding of the inquest this
morning, the Verne could not take the body back to Rock
Island to the home of Mrs. Anna Knaack, Miss Bertha's
grandmother, at 523 Twenty-second street, as was expected
for interment at 11 o'clock today. Consequently
arrangements were made by which the remains will be brought
to Rock Island on the City of Winona at 6:30 this evening,
the interment taking place immediately upon their arrival.
In the finding of the body and its identification as
that of Miss Berth Knaack's a mystery has been cleared up
which the past seven weeks has cast the entire Knaack family
under the cloud. All sorts of rumors were afloat regarding
her disappearance. There were imaginative persons who has
seen her (but none had talked with her) after her
disappearance and these circulated wild stories concerning
her elopement. That later theory, however, was the one most
Capt. Knaack, it is well known,
never gave any credit to the story that his niece eloped
with another lover. He all along contended that she was
drowned, and the substance of his hasty remarks to The Times
reporter this morning was in the nature of the "I told you
so" argument. He also scouts the idea of suicide, and most
firmly believes that his niece, by some mishap, had fallen
off the boat, presumably near the rear end of the packet and
from the hull deck, and without cries, or rather warnings,
to the people aboard, sank into her watery grave.
The finding of the body will also remove a great deal of
weight of anxiety from the shoulders of the engineer of the
Van Sant, who was, at one time accused of being the party
with whom she is supposed to have eloped.
particulars of the disappearance will no doubt be remembered
by all our readers, Miss Knaack had only been serving as
cabin girl on board the Verne for several days. Upon the
afternoon of June 10th she has finished her work, and the
last seen of her was shortly before the boat reached
Princeton on the down trip. She had left the cabin with the
expressed intention of going to the kitchen. She was not
missed until the boat had reached Hampton at which time a
thorough search of the steamer was made. It was then
thought that she left the boat unobserved at Port Byron or
LeClaire, but when she did not return the next day her
uncle, Capt. Knaack of the Verne became alarmed, and caused
a quiet investigation to be made.
Knaack was born in Germany and was 21 years of age. She was
prepossessing in countenance and quite popular. She came to
this country when six years of age and after the death of
her father resided in Rock Island with her grandmother, Mrs.
Anna Knaack, at 533 Twenty-second street, as with her uncle
who resides at the same number when not occupied with his
duties on the river. Besides her grandmother and her uncle,
the captain of the Verne, she is survived by a mother who
has remarried, as also by an uncle, Herman Knaack of this
The unfortunate deceased is also survived by
her fiancé, Ed. Warnken, a well-known young man of this
city, who mourns her lost with her relatives. The young
people were to be married some time during the month of
July, which is just now moribund.
The body of Bertha Knaack, the young girl who disappeared so
mysteriously from the steamer Verne Swain, the afternoon of
June 10, was found in the river near the town of Port Byron
at 6:00 last evening and will be brought down on the Verne
Republican, Wednesday, July 28, 1897, page 7.
|FOUND IN THE RIVER
Bertha Knaack's Remains Found
at Port Byron.
Her Uncle Capt. Knaack Will be brought Down this
The body had been in the water about
seven weeks, but was identified by Capt. W. C. Knaack, of
the Verne Swain, the girl's uncle, by the clothing and there
is no doubt in his mind, or in the minds of others who were
familiar with the young lady, that it is her body. The
remains were frightfully discolored, and the clothing was
all that made identification possible.
will be taken to the home of Miss Knaack's grandmother, Mrs.
Anna Knaack at 533 Twenty-second street Rock Island, where
the funeral will take place at an early date to be announced
The finding of Miss Knaack's body clears up
a mystery which was thrown a shadow over the Knaack family
for some time, all sorts of rumors and reports being
circulated, regarding the mysterious disappearance, the
prevailing one being that she had eloped.
particulars of the disappearance will be recalled by many.
She was serving as cabin girl on the steamer, and had been
employed for several days. She had finished work the
afternoon of June 10 and the last seen of her was shortly
before the boat landed at Princeton when she left the cook
house with the intention of going to the cabin. She was not
missed for some time after, and the boat reached Hampton
before a thorough search of the steamer was made. It was
thought at that time she might have left the boat unobserved
and been left at either LeClaire or Port Byron, but when she
did not return the next day her uncle Capt. Knaack of the
Verne Swain, became alarmed and caused a quiet
investigation, which resulted as fruitlessly as the first,
to be made. She disappeared on a Thursday, but it was not
until the following Sunday that the papers learned of it.
The fact that she was not seen after the boat left
Princeton does not signify that she fell overboard at that
city. She could have remained unnoticed on the boat until
Port Byron was reached where there is a possibly of her
having fallen overboard, and been held in one place by
submerged snags or rocks. Some in fact claim positively to
have seen her as the steamer was crossing the river between
LeClaire and Port Byron.
Miss Knaack was born in
Germany and was 21 years of age. She came to this country
when she was six years old and resided, after the death of
her father, with her grandmother, Mrs. Anna Knaack, and her
uncle Capt. Knaack in Rock Island. Besides her uncle and
grandmother, she is survived by her mother, who is
remarried, and another uncle Herman Knaack of this city.
She was to have been married in July to Herman Warnken,
a well-known young man of this city, who mourns her loss
with the relatives. The date of the funeral will be
The mystery of the disappearance of Bertha Knaack is
revealed. She was drowned in the Mississippi river,
doubtless on the day and at the time of her disappearance
from the Vern Swain. The exact manner of her death is not
known. Her relations insist that she did not commit
suicide; that she never had such a thought, and this is
borne out by the fact that she seemed cheerful and bright
and happy almost up to the time she vanished from sight. On
the other hand there are others who hold to the opinion that
while she was engaged to one man she loved another, and
being unable to see an honorable way out of the situation,
drowned herself. The truth of this will never be accurately
Democrat. Wednesday Evening, July 28, 1897, page 1.
THE FATE OF THE MISSING BERTHA KNAACK.
Her Body Found Above Port
Byron Tuesday Evening and Fully Identified--
Truth of her Disappearance and Death May Never Be
Bertha Knaack, as has been told, was the niece
of Capt. Wm. Knaack of the Verne Swain, and with his mother,
Mrs. Anna Knaack, was a member of his household in Rock
Island. It had happened several times that when they were
short-handed on the Swain she did serve as a cabin girl to
help them out. She had been in this line of duty a few
weeks when, on the afternoon of June 10, she was missed.
The boat had landed at Princeton, and she had been seen
aboard of it there. When it landed at Hampton, a few miles
below there, she was not to be found. Some of her clothing,
her hat, her purse and the money it had contained, were
found on the boat. There was no clue to her whereabouts.
It was learned that she had conceived a fondness for a
steamboat engineer named Horton, running on the Ten Broeck,
and it was thought possible that she had fled to him, to
avoid her marriage with Ed. Warnken of this city, to whom
she had been engaged, her disappearance occurring a day or
so before the date set for her marriage. Warnken was very
fond of her, and very proud of her, as he had reason to be,
but she had, it is said, wholly transferred her affection to
Horton. But interviews and investigations with Horton
disproved this theory. He knew nothing of her or her
whereabouts. Tuesday afternoon, about half past 5 o'clock,
the truth as far as it will ever be known, was made plain by
the discovery of her body on the Illinois shore at
Woodward's grove, below Princeton. Though it had been in
the water for six weeks, and was totally unrecognizable,
there were articles of clothing upon it that could be
identified. At least two witnesses, one of them Capt.
Knaack, attested the fact that it was the body of the
This morning an inquest was held at
Port Byron, and the body was given such care as was possible
in view of its sad condition. It will be brought down on
the City of Winona this evening, and will be taken to
Chippiannock cemetery for interment, the burial taking place
directly from the boat.
The body of Bertha Knaack who on June 10 last mysteriously
disappeared from the steamer Verne Swain near Princeton has
been found floating in the river. This was the news
conveyed to an uncle of the young lady Herman Knaack, living
in this city last evening about 6 o'clock.
|The Davenport Weekly
Reader, July 30, 1897, page 5.
|BERTHA KNAACK WAS
BODY WAS FOUND FLOATING IN THE RIVER AT
Identified By the
Clothing by Her Uncle Capt. Knaack of the Verne
Was Brought to Rock Island This Morning
Where Funeral Will Be Held--
been seven weeks since Miss Knaack disappeared, but up to
the finding of the body in the river yesterday her
whereabouts has been a mystery and furnished food for all
sorts of wild and sensational reports that have been
published in the three cities and the surrounding country.
The fact that Miss Knaack was engaged to be married to a
young man of this city and that the wedding day had been set
for June 23 made the case more sensational and gave rise to
some very wild rumors.
The story of the alleged
elopement with another man so generally published and
maintained by some of the press is too well known to be
repeated. This story of course was emphatically denied by
her relatives and those who knew the girl the best as
something that she would not stoop to.
held by her relatives and which has been maintained by the
Leader that Miss Knaack was either accidentally drowned and
that her body was lying somewhere in the waters of the
mighty river, or that she was being probability detained by
some person as yet unknown. It now proves correct and it is
to be hoped that in justice to the dead girl's character
some of the wild rumors published will be retracted by the
sensational loving publishers.
Miss Knaack at the
time of her disappearance was serving as cabin girl on the
steamer of which her uncle is captain and on that eventful
day was making, as she had planned, her last trip, before
her marriage. Little did she or anyone else dream that it
should be her last trip forever. On the way up that
afternoon the Verne exchanged trips with the Winona at
LeClaire, and on the return trip she was last seen at
When the boat reached Hampton she was
missed, but no trace of her could be found. She had fallen
overboard between these two places. Just where or when that
took place no one will ever know.
After seven weeks of
fruitless searching and much sensational talk, the waters
have given up their dead to silence the mouth of the
slanderer and to sooth, if possible, the broken hearts of
The body was taken to Port Byron, near
where it was found last evening, and a coroner's inquest was
held there this morning. The verdict was accidental
drowning. The body will arrive on the steamer City of
Winona this evening and the funeral will take place at once
from the home of her grandmother, 533 Twenty-second street,
Rock Island. Interment will be made at Rock Island.
Miss Knaack's relatives and her promised husband, Herman
Warnken, are much affected by the developments but will be
much relieved now they know the truth.
was born in Holstein, Germany. She came to this country
about fifteen years ago. She is survived by her mother,
grandmother and two uncles. She was 21 years of age and
much respected by all who knew her. The sympathy of the
whole community will go out to the relatives.
The funeral of Miss Bertha Knaack whose body was taken from
the willows near Woodward's grove, below Princeton, Tuesday,
was held last evening. Undertaker Wendt of Port Bryon had
prepared the body for burial and it was taken to Rock Island
on board the Winona yesterday afternoon, arriving at 6:30 in
the evening. The remains were taken from the boat landing
to Chippiannock cemetery, where they were consigned to their
last resting place.
|The Davenport Daily
Times, Thursday, July 29, 1897, page 4.
|CONSIGNED TO EARTH.
Remains of Miss Bertha Knaack
Interred at Chippiannock.
The funeral service was conducted
by Rev. C. F. Finger, of this city, and the hymns were
rendered by a quartet composed of the Misses Finger, Rev.
Mr. Finger and W. C. Happe. The grave was literally covered
with flowers sent by friends of the dead girl whose fate for
so long a time was a matter of uncertainty, and grief for
her relatives and friends.
The Davenport Turner Drum
Corps, of which Ed Warnken the betrothed of the deceased, is
a member testified its regard for their bereaved confrere by
sending a magnificent tribute of roses which were brought
aboard the City of Winona when she touched at Davenport last
The pallbearers were Messrs. John Ruths,
George Meyer, Phil Ruths, Julius Krell, Henry Pries and
The body of Miss Knaack, which was found in the river near
Woodward's grove Tuesday evening, arrived on the steamer
City of Winona last evening and was taken off at Rock Island
and taken to Chippiannock cemetery for burial.
Republican, Thursday, July 29, 1897, page 6.
Body Brought to Rock
Island for Burial Last Night.
result of the coroner's inquest, held yesterday at Port
Byron, was a verdict of accidental drowning. Many beautiful
floral tributes were presented by the friends of the young
lady, who was highly esteemed by all who knew her.
Capt. Knaack of the Swain is not on duty today, his place
being filled by Capt. Patterson of Clinton. He is at home,
sick, the distress attendant upon the disappearance and the
sad discovery of his niece, Bertha Knaack, has seriously
disturbed him. His aged mother, who raised the girl from
babyhood, is likewise in a sad state of mind.
Democrat, Thursday Evening, July 29, 1897, page 1.
Other News of the
Day From the Mississippi.
Commander Wm. Knaack of the steamer Verne Swain is at his
home in Rock Island, looking and feeling badly, and unable
to work. Distress over the drowning of his niece, and the
freshening of that sorrow by the finding of her remains
after six weeks in the water, has been too much for him. He
has not abandoned the river, but he is off of it for the
Democrat, Friday Evening, August 6, 1897, page 1.
|ON THE RIVER.
The Illness of Capt. Knaack.
The Verne came down with a big crowd as usual, some of the people
complaining that the boat was so crowded that they could not
find seats. Capt. Knaack of the Verne, is at his home in
Rock Island and feeling badly and unable to work. The
drowning of his niece and the finding of her body six weeks
late has proven too much for him. He has not, however,
abandoned the river.
|The Davenport Daily
Republican, Saturday, August 7, 1897, page 6.
|NOTES OF THE RIVER.
Even though the Coroner's
inquest returned a verdict of accidental death due to
drowning, it would be more probable that a deck hand would
fall overboard than a cabin girl. As to a motive behind a
supposed suicide as the cause in Bertha's death, the life
and death of her fiancé Ed Warnkin should be examined.
On October 9, 1901, Ed Warnken married Alma Siens. They
were divorced in 1909, with Alma claiming abuse backed up by
the testimony of one Ethel Dautsch who stated that "Used to
fight all the time, used to treat her awful. Would beat her
at least once a week and he would raise a disturbance at
every meal. I used to live downstairs and she lived
upstairs in the same building. Plaintiff told me that
defendant had treated her that way for over six years. At
one time defendant was chasing plaintiff to front part of
the house and I told him to stop it and he said if I did not
like it I could close my door. Most every night he would
chase plaintiff though the house to beat her."
one time Defendant beat her and caused her to be confined to
her bed. She had to call a Doctor. She, the plaintiff,
showed me marks on her neck where defendant had choked her
and marks on her face where he had beat her. I saw these
marks on her face at least three different times. Plaintiff
was sick a good many times because he beat her."
also accused Ed of committing adultery with one Birdie
Fuller. On January 31, 1911, Edward Warnken married
Birdie Fuller. But the marriage ended in his death.
|The Daily Times,
Wednesday, May 28, 1913, page 7.
|Candy Salesman Who
Ed Warnken, a candy salesman, of Davenport, shot his
wife last night and then killed himself. His wife will
"I'm sorry this all happened and it was farthermost from my
mind. My husband was extremely jealous of me at times,
although I never gave him any reason to be. Last night
after he came home, he learned that I had been talking with
a neighbor for a few minutes and this made him wildly
jealous. When we were preparing to retire, we had a few
words in which he accused me of not caring for him, and,
without a word of warning, he shot me. I tried to protect
myself and the second shot hit me in the back. He then put
the gun to his temple and killed himself. I then swooned
and don't know how long I remained in that condition. When
I regained consciousness, I staggered to the telephone and
summoned the police."
Democrat and Leader, Wednesday, May 28, 1913, page
|HUSBAND SHOOTS WIFE
TWICE AND THEN KILLS SELF
Edward Warnken Victim of Quarrel in Home on Case
WOMAN MAY SURVIVE
Three Shots Fired,
Two of Which Injure Wife Now in Hospital.
Edward Warnken, salesman for the Halligan Candy company is
dead and his wife is in a serious condition at St. Luke's
hospital, as the result of a quarrel which occurred between
them at their home, 746 Case street, last night about 11
|--Bedside statement of Mrs. Warnken.
Warnken, after firing two shots at his wife,
both of which took effect, turned the gun on himself and
fired one shot through his temple dying almost immediately.
His body is now at the Runge undertaking parlors. One shot
took effect in Mrs. Warnken's right shoulder and another
passed through her body above the heart. Neither is
considered fatal and her physicians reported today that she
would probably recover. A 32 caliber revolver was used.
The incentive which lead up to the crime is not known as it
was supposed that they were extremely devoted to each
other. According to neighbors and friends of the couple,
they had been sitting out on the front porch of their home
last evening until nearly 11 o'clock. They then prepared to
retire and it was within a short time that the shots were
heard and the police were notified. No one in the
neighborhood, as far as could be ascertained, had ever known
them to quarrel and the cause of the tragedy can only be
According to the story given by the police, Mrs. Warnken,
after being shot, fainted dead away. She told the
authorities that she did not know how long she remained in
this stupor before recovering. She then staggered to the
telephone and called the police station, informing Sergeant
Nagel that she had been shot and that her husband was lying
on the floor of the home, dead.
Detective Bishop was
at once rushed to the scene with the auto patrol and the
injured woman was taken to St. Luke's hospital where her
injuries were dressed. She remained unconscious most of the
time from the effects of the wounds but today was entirely
conscious. She has refused to give out any statement of the
Both Mr. and Mrs. Warnken have been married before, she
being about 37 years of age and he about 40. They have made
their home on Case street, or Charlotte Avenue, as it is now
known, for many years. Mr. Warnken was formerly salesman
for the Fleischmann Yeast company in this city. His former
wife was Alma Siems, while her husband before her second
marriage was W. C. Fuller, a painter.
Warnken is survived
by his mother, Mrs. Laura Warnken, three sisters, Mrs. Emma
Latham, Mrs. Olga Balluff and Mrs. Hannah Ruths, and two
brothers, Herman and Harry Warnken, all residing in
Reports from the hospital this afternoon are to the effect
that Mrs. Warnken is not as well as she was this morning and
her chances for recovery are about even. One bullet was
found to have entered her left breast about two inches above
the heart, penetrating the left lung and passing entirely
through her body. The second shot fired entered from the
back, striking her in the shoulder and lodging in the
Coroner Rudolph has decided to hold an inquest over the body
of Mr. Warnken, but has not as yet determined the time.
Several witness will be subpoenaed for the inquisition.
Last Night's Tragedy
||Ed Warnken &
The condition of Mrs. Edward Warnken, who was shot twice by
her husband at their home, was somewhat improved today and
according to Dr. P. A Bendixen, the attending physician, she
will recover unless complications develop. Mrs. Warnken is
at the ST. Luke's hospital.
|The Daily Times,
Thursday, May 29, 1913.
|MRS. WARNKEN WILL
CONDITION OF WOMAN WHO WAS SHOT TWICE IS
Will Get Well Unless
Complications Develop, According to Dr. P. A.
The inquest over the body
of Warnken will probably be delayed until Mrs. Warnken is
able to testify. The funeral services will be held at 2
o'clock tomorrow afternoon from the home of Herman Warnken,
1905 Bowditch street.
The funeral of the late Edward Warnken, who committed
suicide after attempting to kill his wife, was held from the
home of his brother, Herman Warnken, 1905 Bowditch street,
yesterday afternoon at 2 o'clock. Gustav Donald spoke at
the home and grave. The pallbearers were Otto Hill, John
Goettig, Herman Doelinger, William Stark and Hugo Braunlich.
Interment took place in Fairmount cemetery.
|The Daily Times,
Saturday, May 31, 1913, page 7.
The funeral of the late Edward Warnken, who killed himself
after making an attempt to kill his wife Tuesday evening,
was held at 2 o'clock Friday afternoon from the home of his
brother, Herman Warnken, 1905 Bowditch street, with
interment in Fairmount cemetery. Gustav Donald officiated
at the home and also at the grave.
|The Davenport Democrat and
Leader, Sunday, June 1, 1913, page 11.
were Otto Hill, John Goetitig, Herman Doelinger, William
Stark, Herman Meier and Hugh Braunlich.
have changed her mind and not wanted to marry Ed Warnken and
did not know how to tell him, or could the rumors of a
possible romance with George Horton be true and Ed found out
about them and became extremely jealous? No one will know
what really happened to Bertha Knaack but her story cries to