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Gross, Matilda "Tillie" 1879 - 1898


Posted By: Joy Moore (email)
Date: 11/16/2020 at 15:34:27

Source: Decorah Republican Dec. 1, 1898 P 1 C 4

J. J. Gross, living three miles from Decorah, horribly wounds his daughter and then kills himself.
He beat her with a club, shot her through the abdomen and broke the gun over her.
Son Attempts to Shoot the Father in Endeavoring to help His Sister, but fails.
One of the most Blood-curdling deeds Ever Perpetrated in the County.
We hope that never again will such a deed as was enacted on the Barthell farm, three miles northeast of town, yesterday morning, be recorded against the fair name of Winnesheik county.
John J. Gross, in a fit of temporary insanity, beat and shot his daughter Tillie, a girl about eighteen years old, inflicting wounds from which it seems impossible for her to recover. He then took another gun and blew the top of his own head off. The story of the affair as related to us by Sheriff Christen is as follows:
Gross has been subject to fits of insanity and during Tuesday night was up and about the house creating considerable disturbance. The daughter had threatened to leave because of inhuman treatment, and he had threatened to kill her if she did. In the morning he called her upstairs, apparently in the best of humor, and asked her to make her will. This she did to appease him, signing over the interest which he imagined she possessed in the farm to her mother.
Then trouble began in which he proceeded to beat her over the head with a club, inflicting ugly scalp wounds. She called to her brother to help her and the lad went upstairs with a revolver or rifle, firing two shots through the door, both of which went wide of their mark. After beating the girl Gross shot her through the abdomen with a gun and then broke the gun stock over her head.
Having done this he opened the door and was confronted by the son and his wife, but he drove them out of the house. A few minutes later another shot was heard. Returning to the house the mother and son found that Gross had taken another gun and blown the top of his head off. Blood and brains were scattered everywhere, presenting an awful sight.
Through all of this the girl had never lost consciousness, and after her father left the room she crawled out and into another room. The boy came to town at once and going to the court house told Sheriff Christen of his fatherís deed. Coroner Gibson was also notified and went out to hold an inquest. Drs. Swezey and Barfoot were called to attend the girl, and did everything possible for her, but her condition is such that very little hope is entertained for her recovery.
Those who visited the house say they never saw such a horrible sight as there presented. Blood was scattered in every direction, and the mangled corpse of Gross lying on the floor was hideous to look at. Only the strong could view it without turning sick.
LATERóMiss Gross died last night between 12 and 1 o'clock.
Since the above was put in type we learn that the news of the affair was brought to town by neighbors, and not by young Gross.

Transcriber's Note: Find a Grave shows she was born Nov. 22, 1879 and died December 1, 1898. She is buried in Phelps Cemetery. Her gravestone shows her name as Matilda.

Phelps Cemetery

Winneshiek Obituaries maintained by Bruce Kuennen.
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