"From History of Scott County, Iowa 1882 Chicago: Interstate Publishing Co."
On Monday morning, May 15, 1854, the body of a German was found lying in the middle of Fourth street, stabbed to the heart. On evidence at the inquest, it was found that he passed Sunday evening at a dance house and a saloon in the lower part of the city. About one o'clock Sunday morning a fight occurred at the house, and shortly afterward the man left in company with a woman for Rock Island. The woman testified that two men followed them until they reached Fourth street, when one of them dropped behind, and the other came up and struck her companion with something in a hankerchief. The blow was repeated, and the man shrieked and fell. The man when discovered was found to have been stabbed between the third and fourth ribs, through one lobe of the lung and penetrating the heart.
On Sunday night, Oct. 8, 1854, as Thomas Pritchard was leaning against the railing in the dance-house in the lower part of the city, Charles Beener, a negro, knocked him down and then seized and brutally dragged him down the steps and twice plunged a large knife into his breast, either one of which would have caused his death. Beener and two accomplices were arrested.
On Sunday night, Oct. 23, 1859, Henry Stoddard together with some others were making a noise in Wiedeman's saloon, and refusing to be quiet when requested, Mr. Wiedeman took him and another young man by the collar and shoved them toward the door. As he was putting them out, Stoddard drew his bowie knife and inflicted two very dangerous wounds upon the person of William Herrig, and a slight flesh-cut upon Charley Deitmire. Before Stoddard could be arrested he made good his escape. Herrig died of his wounds Oct. 29.
Mother Kills Children then Herself
The citizens in the vicinity of Warren and Second streets, in the city of Davenport, were horrified on the night of Aug. 21, 1870, by hearing that a German woman named Koenig, who had but a short time before come to this country from Schleswig-Holstein, had murdered her two children and then killed herself. On hastening to the spot it was found that the report was too true, for, lying upon the bed in a cold embraces of death, were the bodies of a little boy and girl, the latter four years and the former only two years of age. A visit to the yard discovered another horror, for there, in a well of not more than three feet in diameter, some 18 feet deep, and containing but about two feet of water, lay the body of the unfortunate mother whos rash hand, under the pressure of impending poverty, had committed the rash act, and hurried herself and innocent children into the presence of God. The body of the poor demented creature was taken from the well, where it had been drowned in a kneeling position, with the face buried in the water. The following statement by the husband was recived before the coroner's jury, which was composed of Messrs. Tichenor, Charles Echardt and Jacob Grobe: He had been up town Saturday evening, and returned home about 10 P.M.; found the light out, and supposed his wife and children had gone to bed. He struck a match and lighted a candle, and saw upon the floor his two children lying dead. He picked them up and laid them upon the bed. He then passed into the yard and saw his wife sitting by the well. He went to her, and she told him she had drowned the children in a bucket of water in the house, and intended to drown herself, as she had no desire to live; she was discouraged and sick. Koenig says he told her to come in, but she did not want to. Then he led her in. Here she repeated what she had said at the well, and said it would be better if they were both dead, and proposed that they both drown themselves in the well. He said he consented, and they both went to the well and jumped in, but the depth of the water was not sufficient to drown him. Then he climbed out and went down the street, and not knowing what to do, went and told Mr. Jacob Rold, a tailor on Second street, who returned with him to the house and remianed until he was taken into custody by Deputy Sheriff Feid.
W.L.F. Keonig was about 35 years of age. He and his family had only been in this country three and a half months, the greater portion of which time had been passed in Davenport. Ignoirant of our language and unfitted by his profession, a school-master, for manual labor he found it impossible to secure employment, and their bare living had exhausted the small capital they brought with them from the old country. They were reduced to such extremity that they had endeavored to part with some antique and cherished family plate which they had brought with them, which only rated as old silver by the jeweler to whom he offered it; marks of former prosperity in the way of expensive and good clothing were found in the house, although the furniture was scanty in quantity and of the poorest description. The health of the wife had failed after their arrival in Davenport; some chronic desease of the eyes had nearly destroyed her powers of vision.
As questioned by the coroner the following was gleaned from the prisoner: "Went out about 7 o'clock; when I got home I found my wife sitting alone by the well. I asked her how she could make up her mind to do such a wicked thing as to kill her children; she told me we were so poor and had nothing to live on; she had talked about it before and we had agreed to join the Amana Society. I do not rememher the first thing I said to her when I found her at the well. I was down-hearted. I carried her into the house and went to work to try and restore the children to life, my wife declaring she would drown herself, and ran away several times but I brought her back. She was always kind to the children. I found the oldest child lying dead on the floor, the other in a bucket of water. I thought it must be my wife who had killed them When I found them, I could not restore the children we agreed to go and drown ourselves together in the well. We took hold of each other's hands and jumped into the well; the fall did not stun me. I knew where I was when we struck the bottom and immediately tried to drown myself. My wife laid down in the water. I laid down too; don't know how long; stooped forward while standing and put my head in the water, don't know why I took my head out of the water; then I thought I would get out again and go into the house and shoot myself, but was too weak to reach up and get my gun; thought it best to see Rolfs before killing myself. I told him all about it and that I was going to kill myself, but he kept me from it." The jury returned a verdict in which they found the prisoner guilty of being accessory to the death of his wife.
Dr. George F. Lyon Fatally Stabbed
The city of Davenport was very much shocked and public feeling very much excited over an event which happened there on the evening of Oct. 14, 1871. The news was circulated that Dr. George F. Lyon had been fatally stabbed by one Dennis Delaney, an Irishman who was employed in the railroad shops at the depot. The facts seem to be these: The Doctor and Delaney resided next door to each other on Seventh street. It appeared that Delaney's dog was poisoned a few weeks previous, much to the wrath of its owner, who had charged the Doctor with doing it. On the 11th Delaney had another dog die in the same way in front of his house which he let lay there until the evening of the 14th. There was an alarm of fire on that evening and the Doctor had gone out on the porch to see where the fire was. The gate opened to the street from the steps, which was raised some five feet above. No sooner had he reached the steps than Delaney who had been brooding over the loss of his dog, came to the gate and said in a threatening tone: "If you don't bury that dog I'll fix you," saying he would give him five minutes to do it in. The Doctor at once denied the poisoning of the dog, saying he knew nothing of the matter whatever. Delaney again accused him, when the Doctor replied, "You cannot prove that, Delaney. I never had anything to do with it and don't know who did do it." Delaney then said, "I will settle that when I get inside," and, suiting the action to the word, rushed up to the Doctor, caught him around the waist and stabbed him in the abdomen, bringing the kife around and laying open his left cheek.
The deed was done in a instant. The Doctor tore himself away from his would-be murderer, leaving his vest in his blood-thirsty hands, and jumped over the fence out of his own yard into the street, his bowels protruding, calling for help while his murderous assailant went home. Moses Hobbs and F.C. Gilman, neighbors, came to his aid carrying him into the house, where he was soon attended by Drs. Worley, Peck, Middleton and Cantwell, who dressed his wounds, which were of a very dangerous character, about five feet of his intestines protruding through a wound about two inches long in the abdomen. The assailant was arrested and lodged in jail to await trial.
Killing Of Joseph Wilson
Surnames: Messenger, Donahue, Wilson, Niles, Fied, Crawford, Fox, Maquire and McQuestian.
On Tuesday evening, Aug. 12, 1873, James Messenger left the house of John Donahue, on Twelfth street, where he worked, and went to the house of Mrs. Emeline Wilson, on Fourth street, near the corner of Harrison, in Davenport, taking some clothes alone to be washed.
Arriving at her house he sat down on a bench near the door and commenced talking to Mrs. Wilson quite loud and earnestly. In the house, lying upon a lounge, was a colored man named Joseph Wilson, who boarded with Mrs. Wilson. The two, although of the same name, were not related. Not long before, Wilson had returned from his work, and was very tired. He was trying to sleep, and the loud talking outside annoyed him. He ordered Messenger and Mrs. Wilson to stop. Messenger replied with angry words. Wilson then told Messenger to go away, or he would make him, to which Messenger replied that he would not go for him. Then Wilson got off the lounge and came to Messenger and led him out to the sidewalk. Then Messenger cried: "I will kill you; I will shoot you."
Wilson did not seem to take much notice of Messenger's words, or else did not believe that he would shoot, as he told him he dare not shoot, or words to that effect. But messenger did shoot; he drew a revolver and a moment afterward a pistol report was heard. Wilson slowly turned to the house and staggered in and fell upon the floor. He told Mrs. Wilson to run for a doctor, and this was the last time he spoke.
When Mrs. Wilson and the doctor returned Joseph Wilson was dead. The ball entered Wilson's left side, striking the heart, and the only wonder is that death did not result sooner.
A crowd soon gathered and the alarm spread. A murder had not been committed in Davenport for several years before, and a feeling of curiosity and horror was excited.
Officer Niles and Feid also appeared, but did not find Messenger on the place. He was captured, however, about 11 o'clock in the stable at Mr. Donahue's place. He did not know until told by the officers that Wilson was dead. The coroner brought in a verdict of murder by James Messenger.
The Murder of Robert McQuestrian
One of the most mysterious murders that ever occurred in Davenport took place Friday night, Sept. 5, 1873. About half-past 11 o'clock on the night of Sept. 5, 1873, John N. Crawford, living on the corner of Eighteenth and Brady streets, was awakened by a terrible noise at the next house, occupied by Mr. Fox. He soon ascertained that it was made by a man on the back porch of the next house, knocking at the door and begging to get in. Mr Crawford went down town and got Officers Feid and Maquire, who returned with him, and took the man into custody. They found him very weak, so much so that they had to send for an express wagon to remove him to the hospital on Main street. Mrs. Fox says the man beat her back door loudly and persistently, and begged most piteously to be taken in. But they feared to do so, fearing he was a burglar. The man had gained his entrance through the back gate, the front one being locked. On the way to the hospital the officers questioned the man and he said his name was Robert McQuestian and that his home was in Alpha, Ill. He said he had been attending the fair and had been in a fight that night, and had been kicked and struck in the head and robbed of $80 in money. He had received a terribel kick in the stomach and died from the effects of internal injuries. He appeared to be under the influence of liquor and was evidently in great pain. He died that night. The body had on a gray scotch suit of clothes. The vest pocket on the right side was slashed open, and one would naturally suppose he had been robbed of watch and chain. He bore the appearance of being a man of 40 or 45 years of age, weighed about 130 pounds and was about five feet eight inches in height. His face was covered with clotted blood, which had flowed from a wound in the temple, and he was otherwise badly bruised and cut about the head and body. The body was placed in a receiving vault at Oak Dale Cemetery, to await recognition. On the morning of Sept. 9, a brother and two friends of the murdered man from Alpha came to Davenport and identified the body as that of Robert McQuestian, of Alpha, who had left his home for the purpose of attending the fair at Davenport. He was a quiet, inoffensive man, but to some degree addicted to drink. He was a widower with one child. Nothing was elicited as to the cause of his death.
Surnames: Egnor and Fitch.
The readers of this history will hardly expect a record of duels in a State so highly civilized as Iowa. But there were once advocates of the code living here, and there are on record two instances of a resort to it.
In the Spring of '37, the first duel on record, in Iowa, was fought between a couple of Winnebago Indians. A party of the tribe was here fishing, and encamped on Rock Island. A couple of young men were carousing at Stephenson, and, in a little while commenced quarreling. The blow was passed. Too refined, by their intercourse with the whites, to avenge the blow with knife or tomahawk, they resorted to the code of honor. Unfortunately for one of them, the choice of weapons was not fully up to the prevailing principles of the code duello. One had a shot gun, the other wisely took the rifle. On the willow island, below the city, they drew up the required distance, and blazed away. The heavy lead of the cracking rifle was 'too much' for the lighter pellets of its more noisy brother - the shot gun. The shot gun and its holder went down, and the latter was buried not far from the graveyard below the city, and upon the banks of the noble Mississippi, whose everlasting voices hymned his advent to the Spirit Land.
"The rifle hero fled to his home in Rock River country. But vengeance overtook him even there. The friends and relations of the slain clamored for the blood of the slayer - and the sister of the latter went for the survivor. She found him - entreated him to come back to Rock Island, and be killed, to appease the wrathful manes of the departed. Such logic was irresistible - he came - and in a canoe paddled by his own sister, he reached the island, singing his death song. A shallow grave was dug, and kneeling upon its brink, his body tumbled into it, and his death song was hushed as the greedy knives of his excutioners drank the blood of his brave heart. Can the white man show a nobler act than this, among all his bravest deeds in the arena of the duellist? The chiaro oscuro of Spartan deeds presents no more beautiful blending of heroism and duty then this - nay, verily.
"A duel, the second on record in Iowa, and the first among white men, occurred in 1841, between Messrs. Egnor and Fitch. Love, as is the case generally, was the cause of the emeute, and pistols alone could quell it. They met early one morning on the banks of a stream below Davenport - which stream, in consequence has been immortalized as 'Bloody Run.' They fired, and returned to the city unharmed, save that Egnor's arm was bandaged, and carried in a sling. Posterity is divided in regard to the nature of the wound - a minority asserting that it was caused by a bullet, while the remainder assert that neither pistol had anything more deadly in it than powder and wadding."