October 27, 1909
OF TRIPLE MURDER.
Declares that He Alone Killed His
Two Sisters and Brother-in-Law,
Alonzo Van Royen, at Their
Home on the Reidy Road.
MURDER OF RELATIVES
PLANNED FOR MONTHS.
Despite James's Exoneration of Pat-
rick McMahon, Both Brothers Are
Arrested and Hurried to Lansing
to Prevent Possible Lynching.
"CRAZY JIM" McMAHON, WHO
CLEARS TRIPLE MURDER MYSTERY.
James McMahon, 35 years old, commonly known to his associates as "Crazy Jim," admitted to County Attorney Joseph Taggart yesterday that on Tuesday, October 19, at the Van Royen farm, five miles west of the Kansas City, Kas., limits in Wyandotte county, he slew his brother-in-law, Alonzo R. Van Royen, and his sisters, Mrs. Margaret Van Royen and Miss Rose McMahon.
Expressing inability to give any reason for his act, McMahon calmly told in minute details the facts in regard to this triple tragedy.
Going to an isolated section of the farm, where Van Royen was chopping wood, McMahon said that he first gave Van Royen a drink of whisky out of a bottle, then, when the latter's back was turned, shot him four times. Assured that the man was dead, he picked up his body, carried it across a small stream and deposited it in a narrow, lonely ravine, which was shadowed by a great oak tree.
Half a mile away was the home of Van Royen, and there, as McMahon knew, were the two women. The murderer proceeded immediately to the Van Royen home, opened the door without knocking and confronted Margaret and Rosie. A quarrel ensued, the nature of which he says he cannot remember.
Within a few minutes he drew the revolver from his pocket, and standing within two feet of Margaret, shot her dead. Turning the weapon on the terror-stricken Rosie, who was a few feet away, he shot her through the heart.
Without stopping, McMahon returned his attention to the prostrate form of Margaret and fired two more bullets into her body. Rosie lay motionless, but to make sure of his work the slayer directed the revolver at her again and shot until it was empty of shells.
Then he reloaded and fired three more bullets into the form of his unmarried sister.
After completing the triple butchery McMahon went to his own home, hitched his horse and drove to Kansas City, Kas. He visited the grocery store of Reitz & Reitz, 1005 Minnesota avenue, paid a bill and returned to the farm. The shooting of Van Royen occurred about 2 o'clock. The murder of the women was accomplished about three-quarters of an hour later.
TOOK RINGS FROM BODY.
Upon his return to the farm McMahon ate supper, and after it was dark he returned to the Van Royen house, carrying a lighted lantern, and by its dim rays inspected the house, taking such valuables as were in sight so as to give the impression that the motive of the murder was robbery.
From the fingers of Margaret McMahon he removed a diamond ring and a wedding ring. Around her neck was a little bag in which she had some little trinkets of value. He removed this, too, and taking his booty, carried it over to his own home and hid it along with the revolver and unused cartridges, in a corn shock about 100 feet from the McMahon house.
For seven days, while the authorities were bending every effort in an endeavor to establish the identity of the murderer, Jim McMahon kept his secret. For seven days he held his head up, talked frequently and freely to officials and reporters and offered no word that would tend to solve the mystery.
TRAPPED INTO CONFESSION.
The stolen property, hidden in the corn shock, was McMahon's undoing.
If McMahon committed the murder the jewelry is hidden about the farm, was the theory upon which Sheriff Becker and his deputies directed their work. That they must find the stolen property and work upon that to force a confession was the decision of the officers.
J. W. Elkins of Beloit, Kas., a friend of McMahon's who is also a friend of the sheriff's was invited into the game of unraveling a mystery. And the plan decided upon and which was successfully executed was for the friend to go to McMahon and inform him that the officers intended to search every part of the premises.
"If these things are hidden here give them to me; let me take them over to my house," was the suggestion offered and McMahon stepped into the trap.
He showed the man the hidden articles and gave them to him. This was a 7 o'clock yesterday forenoon.
Two hours later, after McMahon had ample time to reflect, he went to his man to beg for the return of the evidence, but Elkins was not at home.
After his unsuccessful mission, McMahon drove to the home of his aunt, Mrs. Ellis, and there nervously awaited the fate which he knew was bound to come.
NERVED TO THE CRIME BY WHISKY.
In his confession, James McMahon exonerates his brother, Patrick, who has been under surveillance ever since the tragedy.
"He didn't help me; he knew nothing about it," the murderer insisted, when questioned by the officers. "Nobody knew anything about it; I did it myself; no one advised me, and I don't know why I did it."
"Did you meditate on this crime?" he was asked.
"I've thought of doing it for the last three months. It was in me to do this thing. I knew I would do it."
"Did you ever start to do it before?"
"Yes, several times, but I lost my nerve."
"How did you get your nerve up, finally?"
"Whisky got my nerve up. I had a bottle the day I killed them. I took several drinks out of it. I gave a drink to Lon before I killed him. That nerved me up to it."
"Where did you get the revolver?"
"I bought it about a week before the killing. I told the folks I wanted to practice with it."
NO GRUDGE AGAINST VICTIMS.
"Had you ever quarreled with these people you killed?" McMahon was asked.
"Not to any extent."
"Have any grudge against Lon or your two sisters?"
"No, Lon and I always were friends."
"Can you advance any reason at all for this act?"
"I can not; I was out of my head, I guess."
In a little over an hour the McMahons and Patrick Lamb, an employe at the McMahon farm, were in the county jail, once the officers decided to make the arrest. The officers are confident that Lamb had no connection with the crime, and are holding him only as a witness.
As to Patrick McMahon's status in the case that is a matter that will have to be decided later. Patrick McMahon maintained yesterday that he had no part in the tragedy and knew nothing about it. At the jail James McMahon was the only prisoner subjected to a severe sweating, and the county accepts his statements as true.
AUNT SAYS, "TELL THE TRUTH."
While the inquiry was in progress the outer door of the jail was kept locked and hundreds of persons, apprised of the arrest, stood anxiously about the jail yard and wondered what the termination of the case would be.
During the inquiry Under Sheriff Joseph Brady and Henry T. Zimmer, a deputy sheriff, who had arrested James McMahon, emerged from the jail building and rode north of Seventh street in an automobile. Presently they returned in company with Mrs. Ellis and she was taken into the sheriff's home. The prisoner had asked for her repeatedly and said that his statement would depend upon what she said.
Mrs. Ellis, a nervous wreck as the result of the ordeal to which she had been subjected to for a week, asked McMahon what he wanted her to do. He said he wanted her advice as to what he should say.
"Tell the truth," said Mrs. Ellis.
It was after this that McMahon yielded to the entreaty of the county attorney, and told the story of his crime.
THEIR UNCLE ASTOUNDED.
James Downs, uncle of the McMahon boys, was astounded yesterday when he heard that James McMahon had confessed to the murder.
"I was absolutely confident of their innocence," said Mr. Downs, "and I can give no explanation of it. The boy must be insane."
In regard to a statement that had criticised Sheriff Becker and his deputies for the manner in conducting the inquiry, Mr. Downs said:
"I did not harshly criticise the sheriff and had no intention of doing so. I wanted the boys to talk to him at all times and urged them to tell him everything they knew, to tell the whole truth. I did object to the sheriff and his men harassing the mother, as she is in poor health, and I feared that the examinations, if made before her, might cause serious results."
Labels: alcohol, County Attorney Taggart, guns, jewelry, Kansas City Kas, mental health, murder, Reidy road, Sheriff Becker, Van Royen Murders
October 23, 1909
TRIPLE MURDER NOT
WORK OF ONE MAN.
TWO PRINCIPALS, SAYS COUNTY
Inquest Develops That Slain Women
Were Alive at 5:30 P. M. Tues-
day -- Prosecutor to Let Guilty
"Sweat" Two Weeks.
RELATIVES OF REIDY ROAD MURDER VICTIMS AND WITNESSES AT INQUEST.
Click to Enlarge.
The coroner's inquest into the deaths of Alonzo R. Van Royen, his wife, Margaret Van Royen, and Mrs. Van Royen's sister, Rose McMahon, who were murdered at the Van Royen farm, west of Kansas City, Kas., last Tuesday, was continued for two weeks yesterday after County Attorney Joseph Taggart of Wyandotte county had examined James and Patrick McMahon, brothers of the dead girl; Dr. W. F. Fairbanks, who made the autopsy; Sheriff Al Becker and James Down, an uncle of the McMahon boys.
"I want this investigation to rest two weeks," said Mr. Taggart. "I want the persons who are guilty of this murder to have time to sweat. I believe there are circumstances in the affair that have not as yet been surmised. There has been a brutal and well planned crime committed, and I want the assistance of everyone in Wyandotte and Jackson counties in getting at the true facts in this case.
TO LET THEM "SWEAT."
"I believe there were two persons actively concerned in this murder. The testimony of Dr. Fairbanks as to the powder burns on the breasts of both women leads me strongly to the belief that two guns were held close to those women, and that they were shot to death at the same time.. It is improbable that one man was holding the two weapons; it looks highly probable that two persons were each standing over the women and putting their lives out.
"There is not going to be any haste in this trial. It's a big case; a deep one, and a case, I believe, that will develop endless circumstances. The persons guilty of this crime are going to sweat, and they won't sweat in my office; they'll have to sweat at home."
BOTH ALIVE AT 5:30.
That James McMahon saw his two sisters, Rose and Margaret, as late as 5:30 o'clock last Tuesday afternoon, that there was friction between Mrs. Van Royen and her mother to the extent that neither called at the other's home; that Patrick McMahon spoke to his brother-in-law, Van Royen, when he met him, but that he had never called at the little home of the Van Royen's until after the murder, that Patrick opposed his sister and her husband in their desire to move out of the farm -- a wish resented by Patrick McMahon -- were some of the incidents of the family life brought out in the testimony yesterday of James and Patrick McMahon.
It has been the understanding of the officials all along that there had been no accounting for the three victims of the tragedy after 2 o'clock Tuesday afternoon. At about that time Van Royen was seen to drive over the Reidy road into the valley of the stream which runs through the farm. He was bound for the place while he had been cutting dry wood, and from where, according to all evidence given, he never returned alive. The county attorney argues that Van Royen must have been murdered before 3 p. m., for he could have secured his load of wood and returned to the house within an hour. If Van Royen was murdered early in the afternoon, says the county attorney, and Margaret Van Royen and Rose McMahon were seen as late as 5:30 o'clock that same day what was the murderer doing in the meantime, and how long after 5:30 were the women slain?
TRAMP THEORY EXPLODED.
The testimony of James McMahon that the women were alive at 5:30 explodes the theory that the much discussed wandering tramp committed the crime, for that person, according to a score of witnesses, was well beyond the Leavenworth city line at that hour.
The inquest will be resumed November 5.
The funeral of Van Royen, his wife and Rose McMahon will be held at 10 o'clock this morning, from the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Chelsea Place. Three priests will officiate. Burial will be in St. John's cemetery.
Labels: Armourdale, churches, County Attorney Taggart, Kansas City Kas, Leavenworth, murder, Reidy road, Sheriff Becker, undertakers, Van Royen Murders
October 22, 1909
TRIPLE MURDER NOT
COMMITTED BY TRAMP.
THEORY ON WHICH SHERIFF
BECKER IS WORKING.
Believed Crime Was Carefully Plan-
ned and Deliberately Carried
Out -- Robbery Not Motive,
the Officers Say.
An important development in the case of the murder of Alonzo R. Van Royen, his wife, Margaret, and her sister, Rose McMahon at the Van Royen farm on the Reidy road, five miles west of Kansas City, Kas., last Tuesday afternoon, is expected when the coroner's inquest is held in the Daniel Brothers' undertaking rooms, Armourdale, at 9 o'clock this morning.
Following his visit to the home of the McMahons and the Van Royens yesterday afternoon, Joseph Taggart, county attorney, made an earnest request of the county coroner, Dr. J. A. Davis, to hold an inquest. Sheriff Al Becker, who obtained important information in two visits to the farms yesterday, also requested the inquest. Dr. Davis had announced that there would be no inquest, but he finally acquiesced.
Taggart made this statement to The Journal:
"The murder of these three persons was a deliberate one. It was not committed by a begging tramp, a wayfarer or a skilled criminal, but it was planned deliberately and executed by a man thoroughly familiar with the Van Royen home and the territory surrounding it; a man who knew the people that he murdered and a resident of Wyandotte county.
PURPOSE WELL FORMED.
"That is my firm opinion of the case after reviewing the evidence at hand. True, the evidence is negative, but the man who committed this triple murder carefully formed his purpose and knew just what he was about."
Taggart, in company with Sheriff Becker and Henry T. Zimmer, former chief of police in Kansas City, Kas., made a visit to the scene of the tragedy yesterday afternoon. Sheriff Becker had made a visit in the morning and had reported his findings to the county attorney. In the opinion of Sheriff Becker there was not the slightest doubt that some deep motive lay back of the tragedy, and the uncommon circumstances, evident at every hand, convinced him that some person or persons, after long study, had formulated a plan that was so skillfully made to arouse the very suspicion that it had been aimed to divert.
THIRTEEN BULLETS FIRED.
Thirteen bullets were fired in the killing of the three persons, yet not an empty shell could be found, either at the place where Van Royen was killed or in the home where the two women met their death. There were at least nine shots fired in the home, that many bullets having been taken from the bodies of the two women. Unless the murderer carried two loaded revolvers he would have had to reload his gun and release the empty cartridges.
Another interesting and convincing point is that while nine empty purses were found in the Van Royen home and no money could be found anywhere, two trunks, filled with clothing and various articles, were not disturbed. A man with the sole intent of robbery, it is argued, would have ransacked the trunks and the cupboard.
The authorities believe that if a wayfarer had seized the opportunity to murder and rob, Van Royen, who was a full half mile from the home, would not have been killed, even though the robber would have been compelled to slay the women. The location of Van Royen's body, placed in the mouth of a small ravine, which was barely large enough to conceal it, indicated beyond reasonable doubt that the murderer awaited his chance when Van Royen should be a safe distance from the house, slew him and after placing him in the ravine and covering the body with dried leaves, proceeded to the home to slay the unprotected women. That this theory is beyond reasonable doubt is Sheriff Becker's opinion, after canvassing every part of the territory.
BROTHERS VISIT PLACE.
Many persons visited the home yesterday. James McMahon, a brother of the girls, was there in the morning, and Patrick McMahon, another brother, looked after the property in the afternoon. As on Wednesday, when the murder was uncovered, the brothers could give no tangible information as to what caused the killing.
James McMahon still thinks that the man in whose company he found his brother-in-law Tuesday may have been the slayer. His description of the stranger is not complete, as he says he paid little attention to him.
It is believed now that the mysterious stranger, who visited so many of the farmers in the neighborhood Monday afternoon, begging money from them, had no connection with the crime. The man was bound west, and inquiries from the farmers living several miles beyond the scene of the murder developed the fact that the stranger at sundown Monday night was near the Leavenworth county line.
The sheriff thinks the man would hardly return over the same route Monday with the hope of receiving more money.
Labels: Armourdale, County Attorney Taggart, murder, Reidy road, Sheriff Becker, undertakers, Van Royen Murders
August 11, 1908
"BLACK HAND" IN ROSEDALE.
Christopher Egers Gets Skull and
Cross Bones Messages.
There is an active "Black Hand" organization in Rosedale, according to Christopher Egers, a druggist of the west end of Kansas City avenue, Rosedale. He complained to County Attorney Joseph Taggart yesterday that warnings had been pinned on his door.
He said that on several occasions he had found notices left on his premises during the night, previous, threatening his life and supplemented by a fairly well drawn skull and crossbones.
"I have no enemies in town that I know of," said Egers . "I do not suspect anyone and the only reason I can guess why anyone should want to frighten me is to obtain money."
Labels: black hand, County Attorney Taggart, Rosedale
May 4, 1908
SHE'LL FACE SECOND JURY.
Mrs. Morasch's Trial Begins in Kan-
sas City, Kas., Today.
The second trial of Mrs Sarah Morasch, accused of killing Ruth Miller of 634 Cheyenne avenue, Armourdale, will begin this morning in the Wyandotte county district court under Judge McCabe Moore. Sixty-five jurors have been summoned for the panel, and the selecting of jurors to try the case may consume today and possibly tomorrow.
Attorney Joseph Taggart for the prosecution announces that he will have at least sixty witnesses for the state, some of them called from distant states, and that he will introduce some features in this hearing not introduced in the first one, a month ago. Attorneys Maher and Wooley, for the defense, are confident that the state will utterly fail to make a case against the accused.
Mrs. Morasch is confined in the county jail. The strain of the past two months, if there has been any, has left no visible effects, and her face, while a little pallid from the confinement, is much fuller.
The crime with which Mrs. Morasch is charged is that of sending a box of poisoned candies through the mails to Ella Miller, stepsister of Ruth Miller, Wednesday, February 12, this year. All the five children of Charles and Malinda Miller at home when the candy was received there tasted of the sweets, but only Ruth, 4 years old, died from the effects. Mrs. Morasch was captured by Sheriff Fred Hamilton of Cass county, Mo, a few days later. She had fled to Harrisonville.
Labels: County Attorney Taggart, Death of Ruth Miller, jail, Judges
April 22, 1908
NEGRO POLICEMAN NOT GUILTY.
County Attorney Taggart Dismisses
Case of Press Younger.
County Attorney Joseph Taggart in the north city court yesterday noon dismissed the case of Press Younger, a negro policeman, who was accused of shooting three ex-street car men at Fifth street and Oakland avenue in Kansas City, Kas. M. E. Martinson, one of the men shot, said on the witness stand that he knew Younger well and that it was not he who did the shooting. Following this the accused officer proved an alibi.
The day before the arrest of Younger by the county authorities, the police arrested Reuben Harpole, another negro, on the same charge. Later, two little negro girls who saw the affair and are said to have been the cause of the shooting, positively identified Harpole as the one guilty of the shooting. His preliminary trial has been set for April 29.
It is held by the police that Joshua Wells, Charles Johns and M. E. Martinson had been drinking on the night of April 10 and met the two negro girls, to whom they made some insulting advances. Negro bystanders joined in the row and blows followed. Both parties drew revolvers. Martinson received a slight wound on the right leg, but Wells and Johns were shot through the breast and are still in critical condition at Bethany hospital.
Labels: County Attorney Taggart, courtroom, hospitals, Kansas City Kas, police, violence
April 6, 1908
MORASCH JURY IS
UNABLE TO AGREE.
WILL BE ANOTHER TRIAL SOON,
PERHAPS NEXT WEEK.
Eight Jurors Continued to Vote for
Conviction and Four Asked for
Acquittal During Twenty-eight
After being out since 4 o'clock Friday afternoon, the jury in the Mrs. Sarah Morasch case in Kansas City, Kas., was dismissed by District Judge McCabe Moore at 8:30 o'clock last night, after Charles Sass, the foreman, had reported an insurmountable difference of opinion among the members. The first ballot, taken Friday, soon after the jury had left the court room, show eight in favor of conviction and four against. The last ballot, taken last night at 8 o'clock, indicated that none of the jurors had suffered a change of heart during the twenty-eight and one-half hours of mediation.
It is probably that the case will not be called for another trial Monday, although the defense has challenged the state to appoint that day for the opening. Most of the state's fifty-six witnesses have gone home, one of them to Indianapolis, Ind., and the county attorney says he may need more time in which to summon them back. Mrs. Morasch was returned to the county jail last night. When word was sent to her that the jury had "hung," and that she would have to go through again a trial before the district court, she laughed and said:
"Well, I don't wonder they 'hung.' I'm innocent, you see. There's no evidence Taggart can bring up that will convict me of the killing of Ruth Miller, and I ain't going to lose any sleep. The next jury will acquit me, but oh, I hate to sit there in a chair in that court room and hear all the bad things said of me by the lawyers."
Mrs. Morasch was told that the lawyers probably hated the return engagement as much as she does and are under almost equally as much nervous strain, to which she replied, laughing again:
"Well, they get paid for it and I don't."
Labels: County Attorney Taggart, courtroom, Death of Ruth Miller, Kansas City Kas, murder
April 4, 1908
MORASCH ARGUMENTS TODAY.
Jury Will Soon Pass on Fate of the
The last evidence in the Sarah Morasch murder trial, which has been running over two weeks in the Wyandotte county district court in Kansas City, Kas., was heard by the jury at 4:50 o'clock yesterday afternoon. The argument will begin this morning at 9 o'clock. In it all phases of the mysterious circumstances surrounding the kiling of 4-year-old Ruth Miller of Armourdale will be reviewed. Yesterday afternoon the court room was packed with visitors.
Mrs. Morasch finished testifying before noon and was suceeded on the witness stand by her oldest daughter, Mrs. May Gillin. Mrs. Gillin told of her dealings with County Attorney Taggart prior to the capture of her mother in Harrisonville, Mo., with which she seems to have played the leading role.
According to her own words $20 was the renumeration which she received for her services. She said that she had been assured by the county attorney that no harm would come to her mother, and thus led to believe it was for information only Mrs. Morasch was wanted by the state.
After Mrs. Gillin, Attorney Daniel Maher for the defense called his assistant, Judge F. H. Wooley, to the witness chair to testify as being the person who wrote the note introduced by the defense to the state's handwriting experts as having been written by Ella Van Meter. He succeeded in misleading two of the experts by the note.
Labels: Armourdale, attorney, County Attorney Taggart, courtroom, Death of Ruth Miller, Kansas City Kas, murder
April 3, 1908
MRS. MORASCH TELLS
HER STORY TO JURY.
DENIES SENDING POISONED CAN-
DY TO LITTLE GIRL.
Says She Fled Wyandotte Because
She Feared County Attorney
Would Prosecute Her
in Baby Case.
Mrs. Sarah Morasch testified yesterday in her own behalf before the district court jury in Kansas City, Kas. She was called by counsel for the defense to tell the jury of her whereabouts at the time of the murder of little Ruth Miller of Argentine.
On direct examination the story told by the defendant in many ways differed from that told by her daughter, Blanche, in connection with the doings of the Morasch family the night before and the night following the killing of the child. Some of her statements, according to court records, were diametrically opposed to statements made by both herself and Blanche at the preliminary trial in the South city court.
The testimony of the defendant was mostly a series of negatives. She positively denied having sent the box of candy to Ella Van Meter. She had never sent Ella any candy at all, had never in her life been the possessor of a grain of strychnine, and Ella had never written for her the address of the Millers at 634 Cheyenne avenue, she said. In regard to the baby alleged to have been adopted surreptitiously by Mrs. Morasch from the U. S. G. Hughes maternity hospital last January, the defendant likewise blocked all further inquiry about details from the prosecution and defense by an emphatic denial.
The baby had been in good health while in her hands, she said. She had not at any time claimed it as her own, as her neighbors unanimously testified, nor had she, at any time, said she was about to give birth to a child.
When in cross-examination the prosecutor parried with her answers and tried to pin her down to an acknowledgement that she wrote some of the letters exhibited, her voice rose shrill in reply:
"I wrote some of that letter, not all of it!" The damaging parts of the missives, she freely swore, had been inserted by someone else. As she leaned far over in her chair to designate the questioned sentences or paragraphs, the had with which she pointed shook perceptibly, and her voice frequently broke.
SAID TAGGART SCARED HER.
"Where was I February 11?" Why at home, of course. Where do you suppose I'd be?" the witness answered to one of the queries of the county attorney.
"I had just been let out of your office, Mr. Taggart, where you know you bluffed me and nearly frightened me to death, until I could jump into a river at the sound of your voice. I went straight home after quitting the court house. You told me there to go home and to pull down the blinds, lie on my back and think over all I knew of the Hughes home and then, if I remembered anything about it that I had not told you, to come back.
"I went straight to a rooming house across the line and hired a room and paid 25 cents down on it, leaving me with a nickel. I had started with only 35 cents."
"Did I knot tell you before you left my office," interposed County Attorney Taggart, "that you would never again be arrested on the charge of mistreatment of the Hughes baby?"
SHE WAS NERVOUS WRECK.
"Yes, you did, but I did not place much faith in it. You also told me that if I did not return to you with full information concerning the maternity home you would see to it I got a six months' jailing. You said I would be followed everywhere I went and that I could not escape you.
"I tell you, I went out of your office a nervous wreck compared with what I was when I went in."
As to the flight of herself and daughter, Blanche Morasch, form the temporary home at Eighth and Locust streets to Harrisonville, Mo., subsequent to the murder, defendant alleged it was inspired by a fear of the county attorney, who had bulldozed her, she said continually.
She said that on the evening of Wednesday, February 12, she had left the rooming house to buy bread for the children. Before she had gone far she turned a corner of a street and came face to face with Taggart standing on the opposite side of the street with his hat pulled well down over his eyes.
In great fear she had but then turned about without buying the bread, she swore, and had then fled to her room, there stating to her daughter, Blanche, that the two of them must at once leave the city and go to Wichita, Kas., or again face the juvenile court and Taggart on a charge of child abuse.
WROTE LETTER DURING FLIGHT.
County Attorney Taggart then showed the witness the letter purported to have been sent by Mrs. Morasch to her daughter, Mrs. May Gillin, while on the flight to Harrisonville. It is "No. 8" in the exhibit.
Witness stated that part of the letter was in her handwriting and part in that of a girl at the farm house, where the two were stopping for the night. She said she had asked this girl to finish her letter to her daughter.
"Mayme was her name," testified Mrs. Morasch, "and I don't know what she might have added to my letter. She also wrote my signature on it."
"Now, you say you wrote the forepart of this letter. Are you responsible for the line on page two of which says: 'Did the police inquire about Blanche?' "
"The line does not say Blanche," replied the witness, sharply.
"Well, it indicates it by the letters, B and L together, with a dash following."
Mrs. Morasch took the sheet referred to and satisfied the prosecutor that the two letters spell 'me' and are no abbreviation at all. The lines following practically repeat the question, using the name Blanche spelled out in full. Mrs. Morasch denied having written that part of the letter, ascribing it to "Mayme," whose last name she could not recall. The defendant will be called upon for further cross-examination this morning. Counsel for the defense, Daniel Maher, will today call upon his assistant, Attorney Wooley, in regard to the mysterious not introduced by the defense as a sample of Ella Van Meter's handwriting where on the experts disagreed.
The case may not go to the jury before Monday.
Labels: Argentine, attorney, children, County Attorney Taggart, courtroom, Death of Ruth Miller, Harrisonville, murder, Wichita
March 31, 1908
MORASCH GIRL TELLS
OF THREE DAYS' TRAMP.
WENT TO HARRISONVILLE TO
ESCAPE COUNTY ATTORNEY.
Mrs. Morasch Feared Prosecution for
Death of Hughes's Foundling.
Grieved to Hear of Ruth
In low, even tones, Blanche Morasch, 17-year-old daughter of Mrs. Sarah Morasch, now being tried in the Wyandotte county district court, Kansas City, Kas., told the jury of the flight of Mrs. Morasch and herself to Harrisonville Mo., subsequent to the poisoning of Ruth Miller. While talking, Blanche seldom withdrew her eyes from those of County Attorney Taggart, except to cast them down toward the thin, nervous fingers of her left hand, which kept continually twisting at the folds of her skirt. he turned states' evidence upon the charge against her being dismissed.
"We were three days and as many nights on the way to Harrisonville," said the girl. "The first night we were at Peculiar, Mo., the second at Belton, the third half way between Belton and Harrisonville. We went all the way afoot, except one short ride in a farm wagon. There was snow on the round.
"Mother and I left Kansas City, Mo, about the morning of February 13. Mother was worried about something and insisted we leave at once for Wichita, Kas., She wanted to stop over a few days with friends at Harrisonville, Mo. We had a little money, which I had earned working at a laundry, and I turned this all over to mother, for I knew very well she could manage the expenses of the trip much better than I could.
"If mother knew anything of the poisoning she told me nothing about it and indicated in no way any knowledge of it. When we were talking over the walk to Harrisonville, the previous night, she told me she that she had just met County Attorney Taggart near our rooms at Eighth and Locust streets. She described him as having his hat pulled down over his eyes.
" 'The county attorney is following me everywhere,' she explained as a reason for our hasty departure from Kansas City. 'I've just got to go somewhere to get away from him. He thinks I killed the baby, which I adopted from the Hughes home If we don't pack up and leave the city he's going to get me sure. I can't stand his following me all the time.
"We set out on the trip about dawn. Both of us had new shoes and the walk to Peculiar, which consumed the greater part of the day, went off nicely. We stayed at a private home that night.
"The next morning, early, we got up, dressed and started out. Both of us were very tired yet from our tramp of the day before, but by noon the stiffness disappeared. Our shoes gave out in the uppers for the slag on the railroad grade was sharp as knives The center of the railroad track was filled with water and snow.
"We did not stop long at Belton, but passed through to a farm house a few miles beyond Before we left there the following morning the farmer's wife brought out a pair of shoes for mother, old ones, which she had thrown away.
""When we got to Harrisonville our feet were very sore and we were a sorry sight. Mother was completely exhausted."
GRIEVED OVER RUTH'S DEATH.
"When did you first see the Kansas City papers and get your first information of the death of Ruth Miller?" asked County Attorney Taggart.
"At Belton," replied the witness. "Mother went into a hotel or some place there and got a paper. When she saw on the first page the account of the little girl's death she wrung her hands and said over and over again: 'Poor Ruth! Poor Ruth!"
After dismissing Blanche from the witness stand, Taggart recalled Coroner A. J. Davis. Ella Van Meter, to whom the candies were sent, was recalled. Her testimony was similar to that given on the stand a week ago and went to show that the slip of paper containing the address, now marked 'exhibit No. 1,' was the one originally on the package.
Thomas D. Taylor, superintendent of the mails in the Kansas City Mo., postoffice, and Postoffice Inspector John C. Koons, partially identified the stamp on the candy box wrapper, on exhibit, as the one used in Kansas City, Mo., at the time.
CASE TO JURY FRIDAY.
Judge Newhall of the Kansas City, Kas., south city court, who presided at the preliminary, is to testify this morning as to statements made by Blanche and Mrs. Morasch at the preliminary hearing.
According to County Attorney Taggart, last night, the state will rest its case tomorrow, but has another handwriting expert to introduce. The defense has announced that it will produce only a few witnesses and is even now willing for the case to go to the jury without argument.
Mrs. Morasch has borne up well since the opening of the hearing. While being returned to her cell at the county jail, after court adjournment she kept up a lively and childish conversation with her little daughter, Hattie, who has spent most of her time in her lap, asleep.
Labels: attorney, County Attorney Taggart, courtroom, Death of Ruth Miller, Eighth street, Harrisonville, Judges, Kansas City Kas, Locust street, murder, Wichita
March 27, 1908
NEW KIND OF EXPERT
IN MORASCH TRIAL.
IT'S A WOMAN WHO HAS HAD
Called to Bear Witness That Mrs.
Morasch Did Not Give Birth to
Child She Claimed as
Ollie Jones, the mysterious witness for the state in the prosecution of Mrs. Morasch, accused of poisoning Ruth Miller, did not testify yesterday and, according to County Attorney Taggart, will not today. Court is adjourned until 9:30 o'clock Monday morning. The prosecutor says there is a world of minor testimony to be heard before Jones can be called to the stand. Jones was subpoenaed in Indianapolis, Ind, Monday.
Professor Beshong of the chemical department of the Kansas university finished his testimony at 11 o'clock yesterday morning and was dismissed. In cross-examination, Professor Bushong could not be certain that the symptoms of a certain kind of ptomaine do not resemble the effects of a dose of strychnine. He held, however, that ptomaine cannot exist in ordinary glucose such as used in making the white center portion of a chocolate cone.
The first witness called in the afternoon was Mrs. Laura Brooks, special witness for the state. Mrs. Brooks testified that the child Mrs. Morasch took from the Hughes maternity hospital a month or two before the poisoning, and which she claimed she had given birth to, could not have been her own.
"But, how do you know?" questioned Attorney Maher for the defense.
"The day after she said it was born I examined it and found it to be at least three weeks old."
"Three weeks old? I venture to assert t here is not a woman in the court room who could be sure on that point after a child is three days old. Are you a mother yourself?"
"Oh, yes; I have thirteen children, most of them grown," sighed the witness wearily. She was then dismissed by counsel for the defense without further cross examination.
Dr. Z. Nason of Packard and Osage avenues, Armourdale, was then called. Dr. Nason said he had been the first physician called after the poisoning and had seen Ruth die. He said she died of strychnine poisoning as far as he could judge. Her symptoms did not resemble those of ptomaine poisoning.
Labels: Armourdale, attorney, County Attorney Taggart, courtroom, Death of Ruth Miller, doctors, murder, poison, women
March 22, 1908
MRS. MORASCH TELLS
STORY OF HER LIFE
REARED IN THE SQUALID PACK-
ING HOUSE DISTRICT.
Still Wears the Wedding Ring of
Bill Morasch, Her First Hus-
band, Whom She Loved.
Case Goes On.
MRS. SARAH MORASCH, ACCUSED OF MURDERING 4-YEAR-OLD RUTH MILLER.
"I did not send the candy. Who thinks I sent it? Not my associates in the West Bottoms, who have known me for years Not little Ella, the poison was intended for. Ask her; look her in the eyes and see if she doesn't tell you on the square she loves me, and will come back to my house to visit as she used to, when this dreadful trial is over. I am innocent, I tell you; I am innocent."
Mrs. Sarah Miller, better known as "Mrs. Morasch," said this yesterday to a reporter for The Journal. She is the accused woman in the case of the poisoning of little Ruth Miller, the 4-year-old daughter of Charles and Ida Miller, 634 Cheyenne avenue, Armourdale. Ruth sickened and died apparently from strychnine poisoning, ten minutes after eating bonbons from a package anonymously sent by mail to her step-sister, Ella Van Meter, 14 years old, at noon, Wednesday, February 12. The case is now being tried before Judge McCabe Moore, in the district court of Wyandotte county in Kansas City, Kas.
Mrs. Morasch spoke earnestly. At the mention of Ella Van Meter, who testified against her Friday, her deep-set gray eyes softened, and the lines about her mouth thawed visibly. All facial evidence of years of hardship, toil and companionship in the packing house district of both Kansas Cities became temporarily erased. She did not look the woman who could deliberately poison a 14-year-old girl and a family of little ones.
Mrs. Morasch is only 49 years old, but stooped shoulders and gray hair make her appear 60, at least. Two front teeth are gone, and this discrepancy makes sinister a smile which otherwise might be motherly and kind Her voice is a trifle harsh at times.
BEEN HERE ALL HER LIFE.
"Where was I born? In Dayton, O., 49 years ago. I was brought to Wyandotte county, Kas., by my father, Edward Davis, and my mother, Elizabeth Davis, when I was but 3 years old. My father was a veteran of the civil war and a farmer.
"Everyone loved dad. He was such a neighborly soul and so fond of children that he at once won the hearts of everybody who got acquainted with him. I think that if I have really gone to the bad, it cannot be justly laid at his door or my mother's. Good, kind souls, both of them.
"I remember when I was a little girl father took me on his knee and told me to grow up to be a good woman like mother. We were in the kitchen of the old farm house near Quindaro. Mother was knitting a pair of leggins for me by the fire. Father took the family Bible off of a stand near his chair and read some part of it which meant 'be a credit to the old folks that they may live long and die in peace and know in heaven you did the best you could.'
"I think he cried a little then, for I remember he took a big, red handkerchief out of his pocket and after wiping his own eyes, wiped mine as though I had been crying, but I hadn't After that he lectured me on how I should behave when I had grown up.
FORTY YEARS AGO.
"About forty years ago, father moved to what they call the West Bottoms now. It was known as Kansas City, Kas., then and was not a packing house district at all, but a little village of two or three thousand people. He had some money laid up and invested in a home and truck patch in the rear I was to go to school. I believe that was the object my father had in view when he moved into town Mother wanted to move in so as to be near a Presbyterian church, for she was an old Scotch woman.
" 'Come to church with me,' she used to tell me of a Sunday morning, as she tidied me all up ready for the service 'You be a wee bit Scotch and Presbyterian yourself, do you know it lassie?'
"Father seldom went to church or to Sunday school, himself, but believed in it. I think I must have been Sunday schooled to death in my younger days."
Mrs. Morasch laughed harshly at the recollection. She seemed for the moment to have forgotten the dreadful charge hanging its threat of life penal servitude over head.
"Sunday schooled to death," she repeated seriously, returning to the story of her life in the West Bottoms.
MARRIED BILL MORASCH.
"When I became 20 years of age," she went on, "I married Bill Morasch. I was a little wild at that time. Fond of boys and kiting around to parties and dances at my own free will, but Bill was a steady fellow and we settled down to housekeeping. I married again after he died three years ago, but I have never taken his wedding ring off my finger and like best the name he gave me."
Mrs. Morasch, as she prefers to be called, then crowded a thin, wrinkled left hand through the small opening in the door of her cell, through which her victuals are passed to her by the jail matron. On the third finger was an embossed gold band ring, which she turned reminiscently with her thumb.
"Oh, I can stand this murder charge," she assured suddenly, "if it pans out all right in the end. I'll tell you what I'll do. When the trial is all over, and Ella comes back to me, I'll take her up to your office, wherever it is, and let you see for yourself.
"I know what you think. You think she will not, but she will. Ella knows in her heart I did not send the candy, and when she comes back to me she will say, 'Mrs. Morasch, I thought all the time you didn't send it, and I was sorry for you all the time I was testifying against you.' "
The accused woman seemed to think most of the attitude of Ella Van Meter, whose testimony more than that of any other witness, according to the prosecutor, condemns her. Several times during the interview she pronounced the name, always following it with a statement that Ella was her friend and would come back to her after the trial.
Ella testified Friday that she knew no reason why Mrs. Morasch should try to poison her, but insisted she had been to the latter's home only twice and had not been more than ordinarily intimate with her. When Daniel Mahe, attorney for the defense, asked the witness why she did not refer to the defendant as "auntie," Ella had replied sharply:
"She's not my aunt!" and manifested in other ways that the law relationship existing between herself and the prisoner was a matter of repulsion to her.
SAYS SHE'S PREJUDICED.
Mrs. Morasch said yesterday that this attitude was affected and that Ella has been prejudiced against her by older persons.
It was said by her counsel last night that both Ella and her mother, Mrs. Ida Miller, would be recalled for further cross-examination before the conclusion of the trial.
Her lawyers profess to have suffered for the failure of the state in locating Ollie Jones, a 19-year-old half-brother of Charles Miller. Jones is said to have left Kansas City the night following the poisoning, and later it was learned he went from here to Indianapolis, Ind.
When County Attorney Taggart tried to subpoena him there a few days ago he could not be found. What use the state intended to put Jones to and why the attorney for the defense should be disappointed because he could not be found is studiously screened from the public gaze. It was stated by counsel last night that Jones was a close friend of the Millers. County Attorney Taggart, who is bending every resource of a fertile and brilliant mind toward the conviction of the prisoner, practically admitted the same thing in the same mysterious manner less than an hour later.
"We need him badly," said the prosecutor. "There is one important phase of this case he must cover with his testimony If he will not come when subpoenaed, then a bench warrant will bring him."
EXPERT WOMAN WITNESS.
Taggart further said that a woman witness, mother of thirteen children, would be employed by the state as a special witness tomorrow in proving Mrs. Morasch's physical condition prior to the time the baby is represented to have been adopted out of the U. S. G. Hughes maternity home, and that the handwriting experts would probably be called in the afternoon of the same day.
Attorney Maher said last night that a great deal of the defense would lie in showing up Mrs. Morasch's past.
"She is a poor woman in two senses of the word," he said. "Poor from the standpoint of health and means of financing her case. She has been a wanderer in the West Bottoms, without money and almost without friends, for years. Her first husband died three years ago, killed himself with carbolic acid. Her second husband likewise died. Children she has kept and mothered, from the Hughes home, have sickened on her hands. One of them died after it had passed to the care of others in the hire of the county and the revolting suspicion that she had killed it with drugs and slow poison was expressed in her presence. She was warned by Attorney Taggart to leave town. Haggard and worn, dogged by the law and shunned by her intimates because of her misfortunes, Mrs. Morasch hurriedly gathered up her few belongings and fled to Harrisonville, Mo. But the Nemesis followed her even there, strangely coincident with her flight the poisoned bonbons arrived at the Miller home, so she was arrested on the murder charge and brought back to face trial."
Labels: Armourdale, children, Civil War, County Attorney Taggart, Death of Ruth Miller, murder, poison, The Journal, women
March 20, 1908
JURY CHOSEN IN
THE MORASH CASE.
ELLA MILLER'S TESTIMONY WILL BE
Prosecutor, in Statement to Jury,
Says the Accused Woman Had
No Cause, Other Than
Fear, to Fly.
The preliminary statements of the prosecution in the case of Mrs. Sarah Morasch, held for the murder of Ruth Miller, were made yesterday by County Attorney Joseph Taggart, beginning at once after the jury was sworn in precisely at 3 o'clock.
The process of impaneling had been tedious, covering the greater part of two days, and the spirit of battle was constantly evident in the minuteness of the examination of each prospective juror. By 2 o'clock the defense, which had six challenges left from the day before yesterday, had used these up. As the six challenges allowed the state under the laws of Kansas were exhausted Wednesday afternoon, the last challenge of the defense left the selection of jurors largely to the option of the court, and in fifteen more minutes Z. Bellamy filled the one vacant chair on the jury platform. The jury, as it stands, follows:
John Bruns, farmer, Piper.
D. C. Roberts, haberdasher, 1961 North Fifth street.
J. Murry, baker, Eleventh street and Minnesota avenue.
A. C. Hartman, laborer, 1943 North Third street.
E. H. Baker, merchant, 47 South Valley street.
Charles V. Sass, farmer, Bethel.
R. A. Alleman, grocer, 1032 North Sixteenth street.
B. H. Hoppe, engineer, R. F. D. No. 4.
J. M. Smithcarpenter, 2300 North Ninth street.
A. T. Delameter, baker, 727 Central.
Z. Bellamy, dairyman, Bethel.
All through the impaneling of the jury Mrs. Morasch sat between her counsel, Daniel Maher and Judge E. H. Wooley. She has seldom smiled. The lines about her mouth, always marked, have grown deeper with the worry of the past three weeks.
When County Attorney Taggart took the floor to deliver the usual preliminary statement on the part of the state, the prisoner smiled feebly, drew down the corners of her mouth and bent forward in her seat as if to catch every word spoken against her. From the beginning to end of the statement she did not once relax from this posture.
Prosecutor Taggart, in introducing the stand of the state in the case, began with the incident, two months ago, when the prisoner took a child from the Hughes maternity home and claimed it as her own. He reviewed facts which brought Mrs. Morasch before the juvenile court on a charge of mistreating the child, stating that the state would attempt to show she had not then sufficient cause to fly the city in fear of the law. When he represented that the prisoner had chaimed to have given birth to the Hughes child, which was 6 weeks old when she obtained it from the institution, Mrs. Morasch laughed and whispered something to counsel, who nodded reassuringly.
Labels: children, County Attorney Taggart, courtroom, Death of Ruth Miller, laborer, murder
March 18, 1908
HE PLEADS GUILTY TO ARSON.
Action of Freeman Bennett Frees
Aged Wife From Charge.
In the Wyandotte county district court yesterday afternoon, Freeman Bennett, who lives at Fourteenth street and Argentine boulevard, Armourdale, pleaded guilty to burning his cottage at that place last spring in order to get $1,000 insurance. Bennett had, at his preliminary hearing before Judge Newhall in the south city court, entered a plea of not guilty and was firm in maintaining this stand until his wife, 60 years old, burst into tears while under cross-examination in court yesterday afternoon.
"I can't stand this," he exclaimed. "My wife there, is getting to be a nervous wreck and is too old to stand all this harangue. For her sake, this can't go on. If I plead guilty will you excuse her from the charge?"
County Attorney Taggart recommended to Judge McCabe Moore that under this condition the name of the wife be stricken from the complaint, and it was granted.
"Guilty," was all Bennett said as he sat down. He was taken to the county jail in default of bond. He will not be sentenced until other cases are cleared from the docket.
Labels: Armourdale, arson, County Attorney Taggart, jail, Judges, marriage, Seniors
March 14, 1908
SET TRIAL IN POISON
CASE FOR WEDNESDAY.
STATE HAS MANY WITNESSES
AGAINST SARAH MORASCH.
Less Than Month Ago Little Ruth
Miller Died From Eating Bonbons
Sent Her Half-Sister in
Next Wednesday is the day set for the trial of Mrs. Sarah Morasch in the Wyandotte district court, where she will be called to answer the charge of murdering Ruth Miller by sending a box of poisoned candy through the mails to her father's household. he child, who was 4 years old, died February 12. She was the daughter of Charles and Malinda Miller of 634 Cheyenne avenue, Armourdale.
Since her arrest in Harrisonville, Mo., on February 20, Mrs. Morasch, in default of bond, has been confined in the Wyandotte county jail. Her stories of her relations with the Miller family told at different times to Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Taggart, Chief of Police Bowden and others, have not agreed one with another, and her description of her flight from Kansas City, Kas., to Harrisonville is vague and not convincing, according to Taggart.
Among the fifty-six witnesses who have been called to testify for the state next Wednesday are: Charles Miller, father of the dead girl; Malinda Miller, the mother; Ella Van Meter, their step-daughter, to whom the poisoned box of bonbons was addressed; Coroner A. J. Davis, Professor of Chemistry Bushong of the Kansas state university, Chief Bowden and Detective Harry Anderson.
The defense is in the hands of Attorney Daniel Maher and will rest chiefly upon statements of relatives of Mrs. Morasch and boon companions, who were with her during her stay in the West Bottoms. In the event of her being proved guilty by the state, she cannot be hanged and will be admissible to bail under the revised criminal statutes of Kansas
Labels: Armourdale, children, County Attorney Taggart, Death of Ruth Miller, detectives, Kansas City Kas, murder, poison, women
February 21, 1908
MRS. MORASH IS
SHE MAY KNOW SOMETHING OF
FOUND IN HARRISONVILLE.
WHERE SHE HAD WALKED WITH
Ella Miller Says She Wrote Her
Address, as on Candy Box, for
Mrs. Morash Three
The first arrest in the murder case of Ruth Miller, poisoned by eating candy containing strychnine
at the home of her father, Charles Miller, 634 Cheyenne avenue, Armourdale, Wednesday noon, February 12, was made at 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon on state warrant by Sheriff Fred J. Hamilton of Cass county at Harrisonville, Mo. It was that of Mrs. Albert Morash, sister-in-law of Charles Miller. Sheriff Hamilton acted under orders of Attorney Joseph Taggart of Wyandotte county, who telephoned him to the effect that Mrs. Morash was wanted in Kansas City, Kas., on a murder charge, Wednesday and again Thursday. One-half hour after the telephone message, Hamilton had her in the county jail of Cass county. Chief Bowden of the Kansas City, Kas., police department and Detective Harry Anderson returned with the accused woman to Kansas City, Kas., early this morning and she was lodged in the city jail.
Sheriff Hamilton said last night over the telephone that the woman and her daughter, Blanche, had arrived in that city last Sunday afternoon, after having walked fifty-eight miles, all the way from Kansas City. They were jaded and their shoes worn through in many places Sunday. They stopped at the home of a farmer a mile outside the city limits that night, but Monday and Tuesday nights stayed at local hotels.
Chief Bowden and Captain U. G. Snyder have expended every resource to find her, on accoun of information it was thought she might be able to give concerning the poisoning. Yesterday morning they arrested Blanche Moran, the daughter, and compelled her to tell where she and her mother had gone after quitting Kansas City. Blanche had returned on a train to the home of her sister, Mrs. May Gillin, 634 Armstrong avenue, Tuesday afternoon.
County Attorney Taggart says he has discovered that the sender of the poisoned candy did not write all of the inscription on the wrapper. He says that Ella Miller, to whom the bonbons were addressed, wrote the words, "Ella Miller, 634 Cheyenne ave. Corner Packard and Cheyenne ave." appearing on the wrapper for Mrs. Morash, three months ago, and writing of the little girl corresonds exactly with the writing on the package. He says Ella has denied writing the rest of the inscription, "From S. S. Girls."
Blanche Morash cried when questioned by Captain U. G. Snyder, captain of police, at headquarters. She said she thought her mother was wanted by police in connection with an ocurrence of a month ago when Mrs. Morash was found guilty of mistreating and neglecting an infant taken from the Hughes maternity home.
Blanche furthermore said she was willing to make a statement regarding the sending of the box of bonbons, but did not say whether or not her statement would be in in the form of a denial of any knowledge concerning them.
Labels: Armourdale, County Attorney Taggart, Death of Ruth Miller, detectives, jail, Kansas City Kas, murder, poison
September 7, 1907
SEEKS RIGHT NAME.
ELLA POTTER WANTS TO KNOW
WHO HER PARENTS ARE.
WILL APPEAL TO THE COURT.
REARED TO WOMANHOOD BY MR.
AND MRS. POTTER.
Has Lived With Them Since She Was
3 Years Old -- Remembers, She
Says, Her Mother Taking Her
to Strange Place to Live.
Suit in equity to compel Mr. and Mrs. Eli Potter, who have reared her from infancy to young womanhood, to reveal her right name and history is to be brought in the Wyandotte district court by Miss Ella Potter, an accomplished and pretty 18-year-old girl of Kansas City, Kas. She has employed County Attorney Joseph Taggart to represent her.
Miss Porter declares she is not the child of Mr. and Mrs. Porter and has known so ever since she was taken to their home. However, she says they have always claimed her as their own, and when she would plead with them to tell her the facts and make known her true parentage, they would simply laugh at what they called her foolishness.
POSITIVE NOT THEIR CHILD.
"I am positive that I am not their child," said Miss Potter yesterday afternoon at the home of Mrs. Effie Struttle, 804 Minnesota avenue, where she is now living, having left the Potter home July 4 last. "I can just faintly remember playing with two little boys and a little girl, whom I believe were my brothers and sister. I recollect leaving them one day with my mother, who took me on the cars and left me in a strange house with a strange woman. I cried when she left me."
"Do you remember ever seeing your mother again?" Miss Potter was asked.
"Oh, yes. She frequently visited me for what seems now to have been several months, but finally she came and left and I have never seen her since then, that I know of. I used to cry for her and ask to see her, but Mrs. Potter would tell me to hush, that she was my mamma. After I grew to be a good-sized girl I often pleaded with them to reveal to me my right name and tell me who my father and mother were, but they would invariably treat my pleadings lightly, insisting that I was their child and for me not to be so foolish as to think otherwise.
"I am now a young woman, and I am more than ever convinced that I am not the child of Mr. and Mrs. Potter. My only desire and ambition at present is to ascertain my true parentage and see my real mother, if she is living. It is a terrible mental strain to be under, but I shall never have any peace of mind until I have learned the mystery that seems to surround my birth. I believe the courts will do justice to me and compel Mr. and Mrs. Potter to lay bare the secret."
FIRST REMEMBERANCE OF HER.The people of Kansas City, Kas., first remember Miss Potter as a child of about 3 years old. It was generally understood that Mr. and Mrs. Potter had adopted her. Mrs. Potter has always shown a great fondness for the girl, and until the last year or two they were almost constantly in each other's company. When Miss Potter became of school age she was sent to the Columbia, Mo., seminary. Later she attended school at Aurora, Ill., and at Mt. Carroll, Ill. Miss Potter states that her terms at these schools were short, as Mrs. Potter would send for her to come home.
In speaking about her suit, Miss Potter stated that she had engaged County Attorney Taggart to take care of it for her, and that he would commence an action in the next day or so.
County Attorney Taggart was seen last night and stated that Miss Potter had consulted him in the matter of bringing a suit to ascertain her identity, and that he had taken the case. He didn't know just when he would file the petition.
"I never heard of such a suit being brought before," he continued, "but I am inclined to believe that a suit in equity would hold in court, and that Mr. and Mrs. Potter can be compelled to reveal the name of the girl's parents, if they know."
Mr. and Mrs. Potter have lived in Kansas City, Kas., for more than a quarter of a century. They erected a handsome mansion at Eighth street and State avenue in the '80s, which was used for a while as a private hotel. It was burned to the ground about seventeen years ago. They have since erected a home on the same site. Mrs. Potter years ago was a candidate for mayor of Kansas City, Kas., as an independent woman candidate. She was defeated, but received quite a vote.
Mr. and Mrs. Potter could not be seen last night.
Labels: County Attorney Taggart, custody, Eighth street, Kansas City Kas, State avenue
April 27, 1907
WOMAN FAINTS ON STAND.
Was Testifying Against Her Husband
in South City Court.
Mrs. Mary Lovalette fainted in the South city court, Armourdale, yesterday morning while testifying at the preliminary hearing of her husband, Charles Lovalette, who was charged with assaulting her with intent to kill. Mrs. Lovalette swore out a warrant for the arrest of her husband last week. He immediately left the city and was arrested and brought back to Kansas City, Kas., Sunday. Judge Newhall, of the South city court, bound Lovalette over to the district court and placed his bond at $1,000. County Attorney Joseph Taggart said yesterday that in case Lovalette succeeds in giving bond for his appearance in court he will probably put him under additional bond to keep the peace.
Labels: Armourdale, County Attorney Taggart, courtroom, domestic violence, Judges
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