Early 20th Century through WWI: Iowa Unsolved Murders 1900-1917


Click on a title below to read about defenseless victims, heartless killers, and unfathomable motives associated with historical Iowa unsolved murders from 1900 through WWI.

All the following articles were researched and written by Nancy Bowers between 2009 and the present, some with the assistance of David Jindrich. For many of the victims, these stories were the first preservation of the facts other than newspaper articles from the time of the murders.

This is the only legally authorized site for the research and articles — many never seen before. Check back soon; articles are added often.


☛ 1900 – 1917 ☚

“All Around Crook”: Murder of Joplin Red 1900

The Christmas Eve Brawl: Murder of Charles Johnson 1901

Delirium Tremens: Suspicious Death of Sam Anderson 1901

“Trio of Thugs”: Murder of Officer Rolland P. Smith 1901

After Church: Murders of Lena and Tommy Peterson 1902

Back to the Window: Murder of William Mullikin 1902

A Woman and Her Dog: Murder of Maude Lambert 1902

Halloween Homicide: Murder of Walter D. Schenck 1902

“Bones In A Haystack”: Murder of Justus Herwig 1903

“Love and Absence of Love”: Suspicious Death Of William F. Lewis 1903

“Sensational and Cold-Blooded Affair”: Murder of Arthur Mead 1903

The White-Spotted Woman: Suspicious Death of Kate Slifer 1903

Acting Oddly: Murder of Daniel Kelleher 1904

The Coffee That Killed the Frog: Murder of Winfield Carpenter 1904

Horse Medicine: Murder of James Banda 1904

The “Inoffensive, Harmless Man”: Murder of John Murphy 1904

Knockout Drugs: Murder of Harry Salisbury 1904

Poison in the Whiskey: Murder of Leonard DeLong 1904

Struck Down: Murder of Frank Sandquist 1904

Under the Willows: Murder of John Doe 1904

What the Medium Saw: Murder of John Pierson 1904

The Beckoning Hand: Murder of Alma Harrison: 1905

“Belle of the Tribe”: Murder of Ma-Sha-Che 1905

The Boy on the Train: Murder of Addis Lyman 1905

Double Identity: Murder of George Griswold 1905

The Interrupted Funeral Procession: Murder of Josiah Pratt 1905

Taking the Waters: Murder of Frank Callahan 1905

Coldblooded Desperado: Murder of Officer George W. Wilson 1907

“Very Maw of Death”: Murder of Officer Fred P. Widmann 1908

Mistaken Identity: Murder of Peter Ross 1909

Babe in the Woods: Murder of an Infant Girl 1910

The Dead Bulgarian: Murder of Welio Tsnoff 1910

Elgin Watch Number 138033: Murder of John Doe 1910 (Delaware County)

Family Annihilation: Murders of James, Earl, and Mary Hardy 1910

Dark Byway: Murder of Marshal Joseph Kashmetter (Kaeshmetter, Kashmitter) 1911

“He’s Got A Roll”: Murder of Jared Ham 1911

“Slay Utterly”: Villisca Axe Murders 1912

Dead From a “Wallop”: Murder of John Schnellbacker 1913

“Thin Veil Over Her Face”: Murder of Chester N. Van Horn 1914

Leave Town or Die: Murder of Richard Huggins 1914

Letters in Russian: Murder of Ben Mikovitch 1914

Ancient Vendetta: Murder of Joseph Busemi 1915

Blood in the Barn: Suspicious Death of John L. Rogers 1915

Butcher, Baker: Murder of Otto H. Samp 1916

After the Merry-Go-Round: Murder of Alta Marie Braun 1917

Black Hand at the Bridge: Murder of Francis “Frank” Oliverio 1917

The Eccentric Baggage Hauler: Murder of William Kniffin 1917

In the Head and Heart: Murder of John Doe 1917

“True Disciple of Pollyanna”: Murder of Thecla Gerken 1917

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