Statehood to Turn of the Century: Iowa Unsolved Murders 1846-1899


Click on a title below to read about defenseless victims, heartless killers, and unfathomable motives associated with historical Iowa unsolved murders from the early days of statehood up to the eve of the 20th century.

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 frequently.


☛ 1846 – 1899 ☚

“Old Feud Fueled by Drink”: Murder of Nathaniel Carnagy 1847

Narrowly Escaping the Lynch Mob: Murder of Mr. Knisley 1848

Dying For Land: Murder of Andrew Brown 1852

Highwaymen: Murders of Andrew and Nancy Casteel 1856

A Dream of Murder: Mysterious Disappearance of Mr. Thomas 1857

West of Coffin’s Grove: Unresolved Murder of J.N. Covey 1856

The Battered Corpse: Murder of John Doe 1858

Driftwood: Murder of an Unknown Child 1859

Death by Politics: Unresolved Murder of Silas McCart 1860

Flesh and Blood: Murder of Aaron Smith 1864

The “Peaceable Negro”: Murder of John Allen 1864

Death Going West: Murder of Apple Grove John Doe 1866

Pointblank: Unavenged Murder of James Alfrey 1866

The Broken Clevis: Murder of Samuel Cronk 1867

The Dead Horse Trader: Murder of William Clugston 1867

Bullied and Bantered: Unresolved Murder of Jesse Wilkerson 1869

Miller’s Toll: Murder of John Smith Ross 1869

Poison Kiss: Murder of Edwin Hodges 1869

Taken to the Grave: Murder of Juliette Thomas 1871

Blood by Lamplight: Murder of Esther Alger 1872

Too Long at the Fair: Murder of Robert McQuestian 1873

Two Coffins: Death of Mary and Murder of Eli T. Coffin 1873

Assassination: Murders of Lizzie and Andrew Brownlie 1874

The Veteran Who Lived Alone: Murder of Henry Millard 1874

Unwitnessed: Murder of Washington Irving Crow 1875

Christmas Day Death on Mud Creek: Murder of Henry Stephens 1876

The “Menial Drudge”: Murder of Lovina Kneeskern 1876

Strictly Strychnine: Murder of John P. Stickles 1876

The Brave Girl: Murder of Augusta Kading 1877

Dead In Bed: Murder of Thomas Tolbert 1877

Lynch Law: Murder of Reuben Proctor 1877

The Czech Marble Cutter: Murder of Matej Straka 1878

“A Vaudeville of Troubles”: Murder of Deborah Simmons 1879

Stealing Away: Murder of John Ford 1880

“Walking Corpse”: Suspicious Death of Nancy Duncan 1880

Baby in the Pasteboard Box: Murder of a Newborn Girl 1881

The Body in the Pasture: Murder of Elmer Penderson 1881

The Money Lender: Murder of Gustav Rechfus 1881

Death Comes to the Mayor: Murder of Robert W. Stubbs 1882

“Violent Excitement”: Murder of Robert Lee Clingan 1883

“A Miserly Life”: Suspicious Death of Gideon Hall 1884

The Irish Carpenter: Murder of William Martin 1885

The Cooler: Suspicious Death of David T. Todd 1887

Bright, Bold Blackmailer: Murder of Alice Kelley 1888

The Fatal Glass of Beer: Murder of George Diggle 1888

The Wrong Man: Murder of Joseph Hair 1888

Last Accounts: Murder of Henry Nurre 1890

“Thick Veil of Mystery” On New Year’s Eve: Murder of C.H. Wessell 1891

“Foully Treated”: Murder of Thomas McGary 1892

The Gun in the Privy: Murder of Louisa Fritzsche 1893

Killer in the Tombstone: Murder of Lena and Martin Schultz 1893

Murder Behind the Meat Market: David P. Sutton 1893

“None But a Frenzied Woman”: Murder of Anna Wiese 1893

The One-Armed Man: Murder of William A. Hunt 1893

“That Old —“: Murder of John Rohrer 1893

The Wabash Trestle: Murder of James Chamberlain 1893

Wages in Gold: Murder of John Hill Beal 1893

Death In the Rail Yard: Murder of Bill Dayton 1894

“Furiously Angry”: Murder of Wesley Wilson 1894

Boxcar Hanging: Murder of Leopold Glatzer 1895

Dead In a Cornfield: Murder of David Conners 1895

Dead at the Gate: Murder of Jeremiah Zollinger 1895

The Frozen Body: Murder of James Edgar “Ed” Knotts 1895

“Lilies of Soul-Less Sin”: Murders of Max Noack and Ora Minter 1895

“A Splendid Gentleman, A Good Scholar”: Murder of Price V. Evans 1895

The Well Digger: Murder of Peter Hendrickson 1895

“A Bitter Taste”: Murders of Alta Paul and Maria Dulin 1896

Corpse in the Pump House: Murder of Mary Gilfillan 1896

Lumberyard Tramps: Murder of Officer Jacob Neibert 1896

The Poison Strawberry: Murder of Lelia Long 1896

Obsession: Murder of Mamie Peterson 1896

Picture Imperfect: Suspicious Death of Oliver Pearson 1896

Poisoned and “Outraged”: Murder of Maud Straw 1896

Riding the Blinds: Murder of Elmer Dudrey 1896

The Tramp at Breakfast: Murder of Andrew Hart 1896

The Clue in the Dress Pattern: Murder of Fred Quade 1897

The “Criminal Operation”: Murder of Belle Sutliff 1897

Down in Darkness: Murder of Officer Pitt McClellan Doxsie 1897

Green Corn Dance Tragedy: Murder of Se-Ton-a-Qua 1897

“Ground Into a Hundred Pieces”: Murder of Elmer Anderson 1897

The Insane Tramp: Murder of Will Sargent 1897

“Living Funeral Pyre”: Murder of Jerome Curran 1897

“Shot Into Eternity”: Murder of John Legall 1897

A Spoonful of Medicine Makes the Poison Go Down: Murder of Sarah Kirker 1897

Two Guns, Two Policies, One Woman: Murder of Henry Duffy 1897

“The Whole Affair is a Deep Mystery”: Murder of Adelbert Rowland 1897

Apparition: Murder of Edward Hughes 1898

Death of the Photographer’s Daughter: Murder of Clara Gray 1898

Drinking Bout: Suspicious Death of John F. Brennan 1898

In the Corner Under a Blanket: Murder of George Sulzberger 1898

Sandbagged: Murder of George Carter 1898

Shot Down in the Street: Murder of Dr. William F. Swisher 1898

Tracks in the Night: Murder of Edward Moore 1898

Below the Melan Arch Bridge: Murder of Baby John Doe 1898

Deadly Holiday Excursion: Murder of Alexander McArthur 1899

Mangled Bodies: Murders of Jack Wilson and Con Matthews 1899

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