Jun 23, 2015

WHAT?!?!? Another murder in the family???

Would you believe another murder mystery in the “family”???  This one is 101 years old! It’s in Bill’s ancestry and begins at his second great grandparents, Michael and Mary Marie Schatz Allspaugh.  They were of German heritage, both having been born in Baden-Württemberg, Germany in 1808 and 1827 respectively.  Their first son was Leonard John Allspaugh, born in 1850 in Rome, Oneida County, New York.  (Leonard's younger sister, Mary Anna was Bill's direct line ancestor.)  Leonard had migrated to St. Joseph County, Indiana by 1900 and was working in a foundry in 1910.  They had a son, William Henry Allspaugh born in 1888 in New York before they had migrated to Indiana.  In their Indiana home in 1910 was a boarder by the name of Dora Macklin.

Dora (Dora Alice McGowan Macklin) was divorced from Ira Jacob Macklin whom she had married in 1898 and had a daughter, Hazel, born in 1899.  Dora and Ira divorced about 1906 and it was Dora’s contention that Ira kidnapped the daughter and took her to live with him.  In May of 1910, the boarder in the Allspaugh home was licensed to marry the son of the Allspaughs, William Henry Allspaugh.  William was 22 and Dora was 29.  Dora is reported to have four living children in the 1910 census, but none of them are living with her at the Allspaugh residence.

On or about August 19, 1914, Dora and Ira’s 15 year old daughter, Hazel, was brutally murdered in St. Joseph County, Indiana, where she had been living.  Her body was found in a vault in a deserted amusement park known as Island Park on October 24.  Hazel had supposedly been living with her father, but had been “farmed out” to work at a neighboring farm.  Her aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Miller, also occasionally looked after her and Hazel had lived with them a short time, but Hazel was considered by them to be her father’s responsibility.  No one had reported her missing until members of her Sunday school class had inquired of police as to her whereabouts because she had been missing from class.  When the father was questioned, he said the daughter, Hazel, had not lived with him more than a few months.  It developed that the girl had met her mother at some point in a street car station and that upon her refusal to go with her, her mother had said threateningly: “Never mind, I’ll get you yet.”  When this story was repeated at home, Mr. Miller decided the girl should be sent from South Bend for a time.  He then inserted an advertisement in a South Bend paper asking for a position for the girl as nursemaid or helper for a farmer’s wife.  Mr. Miller received a call from a man who gave no name but said “I am a Dunkard farmer, and I live two or three miles from Spring Brook park.  My wife wants a girl as nurse for our little daughter.  I believe the girl you refer to in your advertisement will do.”

Hazel packed a telescope satchel with her clothes and departed.  An acquaintance of the girl later reported he had seen Hazel step into a buggy in South Bend, and that the reins were held by a man who looked like anything but a Dunkard farmer.  That was the last seen of the girl.

It was not long before the attention of the police was focused on Silas N. Eversole, a “disfellowshipped” former Dunkard* preacher whose moral reputation was “very bad.”  He favored young girls and had quite a record, which led to his forced retirement from the Dunkard church.  It was rumored in a nearby town that he had talked about the killing.  The clue leading to the arrest was the finding in the house formerly occupied by the Ebersoles in South Bend the satchel belonging to the murdered girl.  It also came out that Mr. Eversole had shaved, dressed differently and had traveled to Wisconsin shortly after the murder, supposedly to look for work, although he already had a farm - and it was presumed this was to create an alibi.
*Dunkards were a Swiss/German pietistic sect much like the Mennonites, Moravians, etc.  They were called Dunkards, or Dunkers, or Tunkers--because they believed in baptism by dunking (immersion).  They wore plain clothing, coats with standing collars for the men, plain bonnets and hoods for the women. Men were urged, but not required, to wear beards; they should not wear mustaches alone. Women should not wear jewelry. 

On August 16, 1915, just a few days after Silas N. Eversole was arrested and charged with the murder, but before the police were able to obtain a confession,  Silas committed suicide by hanging in jail utilizing a piece of lead pipe that had been used in the disinfecting of the cells.  He left a disconnected note for his wife, which suggested some mental imbalance, mostly instructing her about farm work – but leaving no clue as to the murder of Hazel.  Police had constructed a network of evidence, which though circumstantial, was considered by them to be conclusive.  


While this girl is not in the blood line of Bill, it is still a story to associate with the Allspaugh name.  It is a wonder what historic newspapers will turn up!

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