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by Sue Rekkas

Davenport Daily Leader, June 13,1897, page 6.
Last Seen on Thursday When Leaving Princeton--
Clothes and Money Found On Boat--
Believed She Was Drowned--
Was to Have Been Married to Edward Warnken of This City.
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.

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.

At 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.
Was it Accident or Suicide?
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 purchased.
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 found.
Davenport Sunday Democrat, Sunday Morning, June 13, 1897, page 1.
Disappeared from the Verne Swain Thursday--
Is Believed Not to have Drowned, but to have Run Away--
Her Absence Mourned Here.
 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 since then.
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 girl.
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.
Davenport Daily Republican, Sunday, June 13, 1897, page 6.
Disappears From the Verne Swain at Princeton.
Did She Suicide?  Was engaged to be Married June 23--
Whole Affair Shrouded in Mystery.
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.
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 accident theory.
The Davenport Daily Times, Tuesday Evening, June 15, 1897.
Not Much Light Thrown Upon It During the Past Cycle.
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.
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.
Captain 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.
The Davenport Daily Times, Monday Evening, June 16, 1897, page 2.
No Clue Exists as to Her Whereabouts--
Theory of Suicide Scouted by Her Friends--
An Elopement the Most Probable Explanation.
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.
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 home.
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.
Everything was 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 Davenport Daily Times, Friday, June 25, 1897.
Whereabouts of Miss Bertha Knaack Still Unknown.
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.
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.
The Davenport Weekly Leader, Tuesday, July 13, 1897, page 1.
Startling Bits of Information Comes From Port Byron.
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.
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.
The correspondent winds up the sensational bit of news by stating that Mr. Warnken will either die or become hopelessly insane.
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.
The 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.
The Davenport Daily Times, Wednesday Evening, July 28, 1897, page 2.
Fully Identified by Her Uncle Capt. Knaack of the Verne Swain--
The Body Will Arrive in This City on The City of Winona at 6:30 O'clock This Evening.
A ghastly find was taken from the waters of the Mississippi river near Woodward's grove at shortly after 10 o'clock yesterday morning. 

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.
Upon 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 generally accepted.
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.
The 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.
Miss Bertha 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 city.
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.
Davenport Daily Republican, Wednesday, July 28, 1897, page 7.
Bertha Knaack's Remains Found at Port Byron.

Identified by Her Uncle Capt. Knaack Will be brought Down this Morning.
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 this morning.
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.
The remains 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 later.
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.
The 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 announced later.
The Davenport Democrat. Wednesday Evening, July 28, 1897, page 1.
Her Body Found Above Port Byron Tuesday Evening and Fully Identified--
The Truth of her Disappearance and Death May Never Be Fully Known.
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 known.

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 missing girl.

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 Davenport Weekly Reader, July 30, 1897, page 5.
Identified By the Clothing by Her Uncle Capt. Knaack of the Verne Swain--
Was Brought to Rock Island This Morning Where Funeral Will Be Held--
Verdict of Accidental Drowning
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.

It has 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.

The theory 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 Princeton. 

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 relatives.

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.

Miss Knaack 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 Davenport Daily Times, Thursday, July 29, 1897, page 4.
Remains of Miss Bertha Knaack Interred at Chippiannock.
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 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 evening.

The pallbearers were Messrs. John Ruths, George Meyer, Phil Ruths, Julius Krell, Henry Pries and Rudolph Lage.
Davenport Daily Republican, Thursday, July 29, 1897, page 6.
Body Brought to Rock Island for Burial Last Night.
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.

The 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.
The Davenport Democrat, Thursday Evening, July 29, 1897, page 1.
Other News of the Day From the Mississippi.
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.
The Davenport Democrat, Friday Evening, August 6, 1897, page 1.
The Illness of Capt. Knaack.
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 time.
The Davenport Daily Republican, Saturday, August 7, 1897, page 6.
 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.

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."

"At 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."

Alma 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 Killed Self
  Ed Warnken  

Ed Warnken, a candy salesman, of Davenport, shot his wife last night and then killed himself.  His wife will probably recover.
The Davenport Democrat and Leader, Wednesday, May 28, 1913, page 15.
Edward Warnken Victim of Quarrel in Home on Case Street.
Three Shots Fired, Two of Which Injure Wife Now in Hospital.
"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."
--Bedside statement of Mrs. Warnken.
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 o'clock.

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.
Cause Not Known.
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 surmised.
Faints; Calls Police.
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 tragedy.
Both Married Before.
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 Davenport.
In Weakened Condition.
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 muscles.
Inquest Date Not Set.
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.
Participant's in Last Night's Tragedy
  Ed Warnken  &  Birdie Warnken  
The Daily Times, Thursday, May 29, 1913.

Will Get Well Unless Complications Develop, According to Dr. P. A. Bendixen
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 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 Daily Times, Saturday, May 31, 1913, page 7.
Warnken Funeral
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 Davenport Democrat and Leader, Sunday, June 1, 1913, page 11.
Warnken Funeral
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 pallbearers were Otto Hill, John Goetitig, Herman Doelinger, William Stark, Herman Meier and Hugh Braunlich.

Could Bertha 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 be told.
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