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The Fairfield Weekly Ledger

April 6, 1881

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Fairfield Weekly Ledger
Jefferson County, Iowa
Transcribed by:  Joey Stark

Note:  Typographical errors (followed by [sic]) and spelling variations in names in this document are intentional and reflect the actual newspaper articles.   Transcriber’s notes are occasionally included and are indicated with [Ed. note:….].  Surnames shown here are in UPPER CASE for easy location; not rendered as such in the newspapers.

April 6, 1881


Two Men Decide that Life is not Worth Living.

Death by one’s own hand is a startling crime, particularly in quiet communities, and our people learned with surprise of two crimes of this kind committed in the county the latter part of the week.  The first case was at Lockridge, Saturday morning, where a man jumped from the west bound mail, when it was a short distance west of the station, but no one appeared to think at the time that it was with the intention of self-murder.  After jumping from the train the man proceeded to the post office, took a chair near the stove in rather a queer manner, and after going through the contents of his pockets, very deliberately took out his jack-knife and began stabbing himself in the throat.  The blood gushed from the wounds in great streams.  Messrs. CARTER, Than. PIERCE and others who were present soon engaged in a struggle with the desperate man, and after considerable trouble succeeded in wresting the knife from him, but not until he had inflicted such horrible stabs as to endanger his life.  No surgeon was at hand, but the wounds were bandaged as well as possible and a cot prepared in the store, where the man lay until Sheriff CHESTER, accompanied by Dr. CAMPBELL, arrived.  In the afternoon the patient was brought to this city and given a room in the jail, where his wounds were more carefully attended to, and where he now lies in a precarious condition.  In addition to the self-inflicted wounds it appears that in jumping from the train he alighted astride of the cattle guard, rupturing himself frightfully, and also fractured one of his ankles.  His recovery is very doubtful, but he is better at this writing.

Sheriff CHESTER tells us that after entering the post office his first work was to tear in pieces a railroad ticket from Ft. Wayne to San Francisco, which was afterwards put together and is now in possession of the authorities.  The ticket was issued to one BIDDALL, presumably this man’s name.  A baggage check from Chicago to Council Bluffs was also found on his person and a scrap of paper bearing the name of John NEUHAUSER, Berne P. O., Adams County, Ind., but no money.  BIDDALL is a German, about thirty to thirty-four years of age, dark complexion, with mustache, about medium height, comfortably dressed, and is apparently a laboring man.  There is little doubt that he is insane, but in his lucid intervals he has told in German that he has a wife and children in the Fatherland, and that he was robbed of a considerable sum of money while on his way west.  At times he has begged piteously for some one to kill him and end his suffering.  It is evident that he has not been in this country long.  He is now in the hands of the county authorities and will receive good care.  A letter has been written to the address mentioned above, but no reply received.  It is probable that the man referred to may be able to throw some light on the matter.  [Ed. note:  See also a related article on April 13th : “The Would-Be Suicide”.]

Case No. 2 was one of a successful attempt at self-murder.  Saturday forenoon John A. KELTNER, who was near by, went to school house No. 6, in Buchanan township, about a mile east of Beckwith, to get a drink.  Not finding a cup at the well, he entered the house, the doors being unlocked, and was astonished to see the body of a man suspended from the ceiling.  He summoned assistance as soon as possible, and an examination revealed the fact that the body was perfectly cold, frozen almost, and that life had been extinct for many hours, perhaps several days, as the building had not been in use for some time.

No one who saw the body was able to identify it, although some persons thought they had seen a man on the road near that place a few days before who pretty fully answered the description.  Whatever the motive of this stranger was it is probably buried with him.  Whoever he was his work was carefully and methodically done.  He was completely and comfortably dressed, even his hat was on his head, and he wore four shirts.  His drawers had been taken off, torn into strips and a rope made of them.  This done, he had tied the rope to an iron poker, placed the poker across a scuttle hole in the ceiling, so that it formed a secure cross-bar, adjusted the other end of his rope carefully about his neck, took his place on a table near his improvised scaffold and then swung easily off.    [Ed. note:  See also a related article on April 13th : “A Clue to the Suicide”.]

The Leggett House Change

Last evening a change was effected in the management of our old reliable, best hotel in Iowa, Mr. John DENNEY, lately proprietor of the Curtis House at Mt. Vernon, Ohio, having purchased the furniture of the popular hostelry and leased the building for a term of five years, beginning May 1st.   Mr. DENNEY is an old hotel man, comes highly recommended, and will be a valuable acquisition to Fairfield and Iowa’s hotel interests.


The court house question failed proportionately more in this township than any other voting precinct, but not because Blackhawk had the sulks or did not want a court house.  The board of supervisors may have thought it unnecessary to define what was to be done with the tax and that was our answer.  It may reflect on the members of the board, but it will not reflect on our pockets like the court house, the jail and the poor farm.  It was a general expression at the polls that if a draft of the main features of the building was posted up along side of the election notices it would have changed the vote.  Blackhawk did another thing:  under the leadership of Theo. DIXON, a petition for restraining stock in the township was circulated and signed by over eighty voters, enough to bring it before the board of trustees, who will now proceed to put it to vote at the next election.  The school board is as follows:  District No. 1, H. McCRACKEN;  No. 2, L. JOHNSON;  No. 3, G. SNIDER;  No. 4, F. WOLLINS;  No. 5, W. CLINGAMAN;  No. 6, J. NOBLE;  No. 7, J. DAVIES;  No. 8, J. HEDGE;  No. 9, A. HERALD.

Members of the Brighton creamery are trying to extend their business into Penn and Blackhawk, and will address the Alliance Thursday evening.  The N. & G. R. R., proposes to run west from Pleasant Plain, one mile south of the north line of Jefferson county, through this township, if it can get a subsidy of $7,500, and will make a station at or near GREGORY’s or HINSHAW’s corner – the name is to be Farewell.  W. R. CULBERTSON will talk up this interest at No. 1 school house, Thursday.  Miss Emma ROSS is at home from a winter’s visit in the east.       K.

County Correspondence
Lockridge Notes

C. J. GUSTAFSON, one of the oldest Swedish residents of this township, died at his home March, 15th, after a year’s illness from consumption.  He had lived in this county thirty-five years and was a good citizen.  He leaves a family well provided for.  A new school house will be built in Pleasant Hill independent district in the coming summer, the matter being decided by vote at a special meeting.  John A. ANDERSON secured one hundred subscribers for an eastern magazine in four days.  Stock owners complain of a scarcity of feed, and are wishing for warm weather.  Andrew SAMUELSON is very ill with a disease of the lungs.  Adam CARLSON has sold his farm and will soon remove to Nebraska.  John MELCHER has rented his new store building at Lockridge to Dr. WRIGHT, of Glasgow, who will soon put in a stock of drugs.          Gust.

Death of an Old Citizen.

George W. WORKMAN died at his home in this city, Friday, April 1, 1881, aged 69 years, 4 months and 17 days.  While physically failing for several years, his general health has been fair.  He was taken seriously sick four days before his death with pneumonia.  Mr. WORKMAN was born in Brownsville, Pa., where he resided until 1835.   From there he went to Chillicothe, Ohio, and in 1838 was married to Miss Mary ROADS.  He was in the hotel business for about 12 years.  In 1865 he moved to this county with his family, and settled on a farm near this city, where he resided for nearly seven years.  He then moved into the city and engaged in the hide and leather business, which he pursued for about 12 years.  He was strictly honorable in all his dealings and was esteemed by his fellow citizens.  Seven children were born unto him, of whom five are living and with the bereaved widow mourn their loss.  The funeral took place Tuesday morning, and was attended by a large number of relatives and friends.  Mrs. Sarah LEA, of Keosaqua, Mr. John POSTTLEWAIT and wife, and Mrs. E. M. B. SCOTT, of Ottumwa, and Mrs. R. S BECK, were in attendance at the funeral.  The religious exercises were conducted by elder A. J. WHITE.

Death of M. V. B. JONES

Many friends in this vicinity will learn with regret of the death of Martin V. B. JONES, which occurred at Batavia Sunday last.  The death was very sudden, though not unexpected, for he had been a sufferer from congestion of the lungs since 1874, when he had a severe attack of fever.  He was in this city the latter part of the week, and it was not known he was ill until word came of his death.  Mr. JONES was forty-three years of age, was born in Johnson county, Ind., but had been a resident of this state thirty-six years, making his home in this vicinity most of the time.  He was a soldier in the Union army and did three and a half years’ good service.  He was twice wounded, once in the thigh in a Missouri engagement, and in the knee at Champion Hills, Mississippi.  He leaves a wife and one daughter, the latter married.  The remains were interred in Bethesda cemetery four miles east of this city yesterday.

Marriages, Births and Deaths

Marriages.--- March 30, in Perlee, by Willis S. SPERRY, J. P., Bernard B. STUFF and Miss Gussie SUNDWALL.

March 21, in Black Hawk township, to Reuben HERMAN and wife, a son.
March 23, in Fairfield, to Nelse. Du BOIS and wife, a daughter.
March 1, in Fairfield, to C. P. SIPPEL and wife, a daughter.
Feb. 8, in Fairfield, to Jacob S. GANTZ and wife, a son.
March 7, in Buchanan township, to John HISEL and wife, twins – a son and daughter.
Dec. 31, in Fairfield, to H. H. WILDER and wife, a daughter.
Jan. 9, in Fairfield, to Andrew ANDERSON and wife, a daughter
Jan. 1, in Fairfield, to M. W. ROTH and wife, a son.
Nov. 22, in Fairfield, to J. E. ROTH and wife, a son.
Nov. 15, in Fairfield, to Jos. R. WILSON and wife, a daughter.
March 7, in Fairfield, to John C. LEEDS and wife, a daughter.
Nov. 17, in Fairfield, to M. A. McCOID and wife, a daughter.
Dec. 22, in Fairfield, to S. H. HEDRIX and wife, a son.
March 8, in Penn township, to John R. GIBBINS and wife, a daughter.
March 27, in Perlee, to Alexander BELL and wife, a son.

Dec. 27, in Fairfield, of consumption, Ralph W. E. BICKFORD, aged 22 years, 4 months.
March 23, in Penn township, of apoplexy; Nancy Ann PARKS, aged 40 years, 4 months, 1 day.
Nov. 23, in Fairfield, of scarlatina, Frederick S. BEATTY, aged 11 years.
March 25, in Fairfield, of pneumonia, infant child of J. C. LEEDS and wife, aged 17 days.
March 2, in Walnut township, of heart disease, Andrew JOHNSTON, aged 79 years, 1 month, 16 days.
Jan. 29, in Walnut township, of cold, George GRISH, aged 42 days.
March 2, in Salina, of paralysis, Wm. T. SMITH, aged 80 years, 11 months, 17 days.
March 19, in Lockridge, of erysipelas, Mary E. L. FREEBERG, aged 3 months.

Mr. Richard H. LEGGETT, who retires, has borne the reputation for some time of the oldest hotel keeper in Iowa, if not in the United States, and is one of the most successful.  He has been in the business in this city for over twenty-five years, and all told has lodged and fed the traveling public for nearly half a century.  The reputation of his house has always ranked high, and people who once stop with him never wants to change [sic].  Fairfield will regret to lose Mr. LEGGETT as an active business man, but will be pleased to learn that he will still make his home here.  While giving credit to the old host, we don’t know that he deserves all, for certainly he has had an efficient and invaluable aid in Mrs. LEGGETT, who knows the business as thoroughly as one can, and has devoted her time for many years to the management of the house.

Golden Wedding

Thursday last, in this city, Mr. And Mrs. John GANTZ celebrated their golden wedding – fifty years ago that day, March 31st, 1831, John GANTZ having been united in marriage with Miss Mahala SHAFFER, in Tuscarawas county, Ohio, the ceremony being performed by George DAVIS, justice of the peace.  Mr. GANTZ was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania, April 1st, 1807, his wife in Stark county. Ohio, March 3, 1813.  After their marriage they lived in Franklin county, the latter state, until 1841, when they removed to this county, settling on the farm near Brookville, where they have lived until a few weeks ago, when they removed to this city.  Six children, two daughters and four sons, have been born to them, five of whom are now living, and all but one son, William, were present on this happy occasion.  A number of neighbors and invited guests assembled with the family at the new home, and a most pleasant day was spent, in social enjoyment and wound up with a grand dinner.  Children and grandchildren were gathered round Father and Mother GANTZ, and all was happiness.  Many friends throughout the entire county will wish their old acquaintances who have reached this unusual epoch of life many more anniversaries of their wedding day and that they may live and enjoy together many more years of wedded bliss.

Not the least of the pleasant features of this celebration was the presentation of a number of fitting gifts to Father and Mother GANTZ which they will cherish as precious souvenirs .  J. A. RAINES acted as spokesman and made many happy little speeches as the tributes were presented.  Following is a partial list:  Oil chromos, fruit piece, J. S. GANTZ and wife; summer scene, E. G. DEARDUFF and wife; China cups and saucers, J. F. DEARDUFF; fruit dishes and cake stand, Mrs. E. G. DEARDUFF; two pairs gold spectacles, John T. GANTZ and W. E. ENNIS; jet mounted gold pin, Minnie and Ernest GANTZ; gold ring and pin, Andrew GANTZ and children, John and Florence; gold chain and charm, E. G. DEARDUFF; handsome ebony, gold headed cane, J. S. GANTZ; gold ring and shirt studs, Levi HOWARD and wife;  gold pin and tooth-pick, J. A. RAINES and wife.

Real Estate Transfers

Reported Monday of each week by LEGGETT & McKEMEY, abstracters and real estate agents.  Office over Farmers’ bank:

March 28, John W. Du BOISE and wife to Reuben D. Du BOISE, 10 acres in 23-72-10, $1.
March 28, Reuben D. Du BOISE and wife to John W. Du BOISE, jr., 5 acres in 23-72-10, $400.
March 28, John W. Du BOISE and wife to John W. Du BOISE, jr., 10 acres in 23-72-10, $1.
March 28, John W. Du BOISE, jr., and wife to Joseph C. MONROE, 15 acres in 23-72-10, $1600.
March 28, G. A. POLLOCK and wife to Z. T. MOORE, 40 acres in 13-71-11, $120.
March 28, Henry DAVIS and Charles BEDDOES to I. H. BROWN, 7½ acres in 27-73-9, $250.
March 29, Gilbert W. HEWITT and wife to Henry DAVIS and Charles BETTIS, 7½ acres in 27-73-9, $200.
March 30, W. H. BARTHOLOMEW and wife to S. C. WALKER, one acre in 31-72-11, $300.
March 31, John C. FIERCE to Asa S. FRY, 40 acres in 24-71-9; 20 acref [sic] in 27-71-9, $1567.50.
March 31, John C. FIERCE to Oren L. FRY, 40 acres in 24-71-9; 20 acres in 27-71-9, $1567.50.
March 31, Theodore CASE to John C. FIERCE, his interest in 80 acres in 24-71-9; 40 acres in 27-71-9, $1.
March 31, Wm. S. LYNCH, adm’r estate Wm. McCOMB, dec’d, by sheriff, to Clark VANNOSTRAND, 80 acres in 19-72-9, $1813.15.
April 2, J. W. CHURCH and wife to Burton LITTON, 10 acres in 24-71-8, $110.
April 2, L. C. BALL and wife to Peter H. FISHER, their interest in 160 acres in sec. 12; 40 acres in sec. 13; 40 acres in sec. 15; 13 acres sec. 35, all in 71-9; also 16½ acres in 7-71-8, $650.
April 2, Lorenzo D. SMITH and wife and Margaret SMITH to Wm. J. and Geo. L. BONNETT, 30 acres in sec. 14; 80 acres in sec. 15; 5 acres in sec. 16, all in 71-10, $2515.20.
March 28, Joseph C. MONROE and wife to John W. Du BOISE, jr., mid. ? lots 7 and 8, block 3, old plat of Fairfield, $970.
March 29, J. V. BLAIR and wife to George A. POLLOCK, lots 4 and 5, block 5, Keech’s addition to Libertyville, $500.
March 30, Fairfield Evergreen Cemetery to Allen KING, lot 374 in cemetery, $45.
April 1, Milton MENDENHALL and wife to Elisha HICKENBOTTOM, lots 3 and 6, block 6, Pleasant Plain, $300.
April 1, Martha A. NICHOLS to John YOUNG, lot 44 in Centennial addition to Fairfield, $800.
April 1, Waltus and Rebecca M. EDWARDS to Elisha HICKENBOTTOM, out lot 7, Crumley’s addition to Pleasant Plain, $250.
April 2, Maggie C. ROCK to Edward DEALY, lots 7 and 8, block 21, R. R. addition to Fairfield, $800.
April 2, Charles W. CHASE and wife to Trustees Ohio Lodge, No. 120, I. O. O. F., n hf lot 65, Whitwood’s addition to Batavia, $600.

[Ed. note:  The three-number location codes for the properties are interpreted as Section-Township-Range.  For example, the first transaction shows 23-72-10;  this would be Section 23 in Township 72, Range 10 (West), and would be located in present-day Center township on the north side of the city of Fairfield.]

College Notes

Commencement exercises will be unusually interesting this year.  A number of ex-students, alumni and friends from a distance will be in attendance.  The graduating class numbers six.  The Aldine Society will probably lead out with exercises similar to those of last year.

The Baccalaureate Address will be delivered by Dr. EWING, Sabbath, June 12.  Sabbath evening Herrick JOHNSON, D. D., whose fame is co-extensive with Presbyterianism, will address the society of Religious Inquiry.  During the three following days the Seniors will hold their class day exercises, the class of ’80 will renew their bonds of love and friendship in a reunion, and the contest and the commencement will close the chapter of school life for some of the children of Parsons.

The contest for prizes – in declamation twenty dollars, open to the Freshmen, and in oratory, thirty dollars, to the Seniors – bids fair to take the lead, although the greatest interest should center on commencement day.  The prizes are worth working for and the contestants, no doubt, are fully conscious of this.  Hereafter the prize for oratory will be transferred to the Junior class.  All through the exercise will be fully up to those of last year and the number of visitors will be much greater.

The Senior vacation begins May 9.

The Alethean Society will make its debut May 6th, at the Presbyterian church.  The program will be interesting and novel.  The exercises will be conducted entirely by ladies.

The District Court Racket.

Until further light was thrown upon it THE LEDGER has refrained from referring to the troubles among the judges and lawyers at the late term of district court, but now that the matter has been amicably adjusted mentions it.  The gist of the affair is this:  At the November term of court when a motion of dismissal of the KNIGHT case was made Judge BURTON overruled it, reluctantly, as he said, but made a further entry, in substance, that if the case was in his own court he would dismiss it.  As matters progressed toward the March term it was evident that the case would be dismissed, and very probably the dismissal would be based upon the record of Judge BURTON at the preceding term.  Knowing that if such were the case, in the line of his duty as an attorney he would feel compelled to criticize the action of Judge BARTON in court, Mr. LEGGETT wrote Judge BURTON a letter to advise him beforehand of what he might be called upon to say.  He considered, as others have done, the record as extra judicial and more thoroughly the action of an attorney for the defense than that of judicial dignity, and referred to other proceedings which seemed to make the bringing of the case to trial doubtful at least, and which have been freely commented upon.  The letter offended judicial dignity, and was brought to Judge COOK’s notice by his brother official, who demanded a retraction or an investigation.

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