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April 21, 1909


Switch Engine Derailed by Clothing
of Night Watchman Killed
on Belt Line Track.

L. Hougardy, night watchman for the Cypress Incubator Company, was decapitated and his body mangled by switch engine No. 2118 about 100 feet east of Penn street on the Belt Line tracks at 9:45 o'clock last night. Money in the man's pockets, together with his clothing which wadded up in front of the wheels, derailed the engine.

Engineer William White and Fireman Stoiver, by their combined efforts, could not dislodge the body, so No. 3 police station and the coroner were notified.

"I was keeping a sharp lookout on all sides because of the rain," said Engineer White. "I did not see the man, and can not yet understand how he came in front of the engine unnoticed, unless he had been murdered and laid across the rails or had been hit by another engine. The first notice I had of the accident was the jolt of the front wheels leaving the rails."

Engineer White has the reputation of being a careful engine driver of many years' experience. He lives at 2107 Belleview. Fireman Stoiver lives at 2719 Holly street.

Hougardy's identity was learned through his failure to pull the Western Union hourly call box. He lived near Broadway and Southwest boulevard.

An autopsy will be held today.

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October 25, 1908





Father and Son Had Finished Count-
ing Up and Dividing Day's
Receipts When They
Were Attacked.

At 10 o'clock last night Elle Bassin, 60 years old, and his son, Nathan, 30 years old, were sitting in their little frame shoe shop mending shoes. Without warning the door of the little frame building was pushed open.

"Throw up your hands," commanded a voice.

At the same moment a hand clasping a revolver was thrust into the room. The young man arose from his seat and fell forward on the floor with a bullet through his heart. After firing the shot the assassin fled.

"There were two men," said the father of the murdered man. "I could see their faces for an instant, but not long enough to recognize them. They were young men, probably 20 to 25 years old."

Bassin said this in German. He is of German Jewish extraction. He cannot speak English. The father lives at 213 Circle avenue and the son, who is married, lived at 2111 Mercier avenue. He leaves a widow and two children, Ida, 5 years old, and Samuel, 2 years old. There are four brothers. The father and the murdered man conducted the business in partnership.


Robbery is thought to have been the motive of the crime. The Bassins' place of business is a little frame shack, 8x10 feet, at 1221 West Twenty-fourth street, with one door and a window about four feet wide in front. Every night they took the money received during the day out of the drawer in front of the window where it was kept, counted it, and the young man put it in the pockets of his trousers. This process had just been finished a few minutes before the fatal shot was fired last night. The money in the drawer usually amounted to $7 or $8.

The police say that a very tough gang of young fellows infest the neighborhood where Bassin's shop is located, and the old man himself complained that they had bothered him by throwing stones and refuse against his shop. It is thought that, seeing the young shoemaker count the money taken in by the day's work, two men who were passing by planned to step in, hold the shosemakers up with their revolvers and rob them of the money. When the young man rose as though to make resistance, the robbers, being amateurs and therefore nervous, fired.


Mrs. Enoch Dawson, who lives at 1208 West Twenty-fourth street, heard the shot and looked out in time to see two men running east on Twenty-fourth street. She saw one of them turn north in an alley between Mercier avenue and Holly street. Patrolman Maruice Scanlon, who walks the beat where the shooting occurred, heard the shot and came running toward the place. As he crossed Twenty-fourth street at Holly, under the electric light, he saw the man run across the street and disappear in the alley. The patrolman did not give chase but hastened to the scene of the shooting.

Dr. E. C. Rieger, 1105 West Twenty-fourth street, was called and pronounced the man dead. He had died almost instantly, saying no word. Coroner George P. Thompson was notified and the body was taken to Eylar Bros. undertaking rooms.

So far as can be ascertained, Bassin had no enemies. He was a quiet man and a steady worker. He had lived in the neighborhood three years, and before entering into partnership with his father had worked in the shoe repairing department of the Jones Dry Goods company. No arrests have been made.

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October 4, 1908



The Two Men Arrested While
Hiding Near Troy, Kas.

TROY, Kas., Oct. 3. -- (By telephone.). Thomas Norris and James Thompson, the "mad motorists" whose speed mania sent one person to death and seriously injured four others in Kansas City last Tuesday night, were arrested on a farm near this city early this morning.

They immediately admitted their identity and confessed that they had driven the car which killed Pearl Gochenour. They are now in charge of Kansas City detectives and are returning to Missouri without requisitions. It is probable that they will reach Kansas City this afternoon. Both men are badly frightened and despondent.

Shivering from the cool morning blasts on their cots in a tent on an isolated portion of a farm five miles south of Troy, Kas., Thomas Norris and James Thompson were arrested at daybreak yesterday morning by Sheriff M. C. Kent and Deputy Sheriff Griffin of Doniphan county. The "mad motorists" have been hidden away on the Carpenter farm for the past two days and seemingly felt secure from pursuit in their retreat. They were taken to St. Joseph, Mo., and were brought to Kansas City yesterday afternoon by Detectives Wilson and Ghent, who have been working on the case since the night of the automobile tragedy in which little Pearl Gochenour was killed and four other people seriously injured.

Captain Walter Whitsett had set his net so thoroughly that the fleeing chauffeurs have never had a chance of making their escape. The captain of police got in communication last night with Sheriff Kent of Troy over the telephone and instructed him to go to the farm five miles away where he would catch the two men wanted so badly in Kansas City for criminal negligence.

Norris, who was a chauffeur for the Woodward Automobile company, and Thompson, recklessly drove a car, going at a speed of forty miles an hour, into a frail spring wagon on Broadway, near Hunter avenue, last Tuesday night. Of the occupants of the wagon, 10-year-old Pearl Gochenour was instantly killed and Mrs. Jennie Bucher of Forty-seventh and Holly streets was seriously injured. Robert Gochenour was internally injured, but will recover. Miss Florence Bucher and Mrs. Alice Gochenour sustained severe bruises.

Without waiting to ascertain the extent of the havoc they had wrought, the motorists sped away laughing over their shoulders at the picture of the writhing victims they had brought about. After returning the car to the Woodward garage at 1929 Grand avenue, Norris and Thompson fled to the home of Norris's mother in Kansas City, Kas., where they spent the night. At an early hour Wednesday morning they set about eluding the officers and succeeded until last night, when it was learned that they might be near Troy, Kas., where Thompson's father lived on a farm.

Norris and Thompson were seen in Brenner, a small village three miles from Troy, Thursday afternoon, where they were purchasing several days' provisions for their camp on the Carpenter farm two miles from the town. They bought everything in the way of eatables from spring chicken to flour, and were continually joking about the long stay which they expected to make in their camp. Sanford Thompson, the father of one of the chauffeurs, occupies a portion of the Carpenter farm, and it was on this portion that the tent had been pitched. According to the information received over the 'phone the young men were much excited when they were informed that they were under arrest, but they gave in without attempting to escape. They will be held without bail until they can be given a hearing.

Automobile men of the city are clamoring for the prosecution of the mad drivers, as well as the general public. It may fare harder with Norris than with Thompson, as it was he who drove the car and who had taken it without permission from the Woodward garage. Since their arrest both have grown despondent and refuse to talk of the tragedy which resulted in the death of Pearl Gochenour.

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September 22, 1908


"Taxpayer" Says a Crowd of Toughs
Keep People Away From Parks.

A property owner who is afraid of "the gang," in a letter signed "Taxpayer," told the park board in a letter yesterday that an awfully bad crowd of toughs hang around two saloons at Seventeenth street and West Prospect. The "taxpayer" said the operations of this gang keep people out of the park out there because the gang invariably goes to the park to "fight it out" when there is trouble in the saloons.

"A doctor accompanies the gang when it goes in the park to fight," says the "taxpayer," "presumably for emergencies." The board will investigate the complaint. The park board had a saloon closed at Seventeenth and Holly streets because it was too near a park.

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