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

Murder Victims

Max Noack
22-Year-Old Farmhand

Ora Minter, a.k.a Hazel Hammond
18-year-old Prostitute

Cause of Deaths: Gunshots
Motive: Robbery

Murder Scene and Date

Maud Hoyle’s Brothel
209 Fourth Street, Second Floor
Sioux City, Iowa
Woodbury County
August 25, 1895


By Nancy Bowers
Written July 2017

from the Sioux City Journal

Sioux City citizens knew Maud Hoyle’s bawdy house as a “bagnio,” a “house of ill fame,” a “resort,” and a “house of bad repute.” It was a place where “Cyprians, “sporting women,” and other dwellers of the “demi-monde” partook of wickedness.

Brazenly situated among restaurants and respectable businesses on Sioux City’s most prominent thoroughfare, the brothel promised a sinful good time.

Beer flowed freely while revelers danced to piano music and played pool. Crap games and card games offered a chance for riches or ruin; stolen goods were trafficked. And upstairs, beautiful young women, coyly called “inmates” and “roomers” by local authorities who looked the other way, catered to all desires.

Presiding over the house was the stunning and elegantly-dressed Maud Hoyle, who was barely older than the young girls she recruited and offered up to an eager clientele.

☛ “Languorous Lilies of Soul-Less Sin” ☚

location of Sioux City, Iowa

Maud was not above enlisting sex workers from her own family. In the spring of 1895, her 18-year-old cousin Ora Minter — daughter of her mother’s sister — traveled from rural Central City, Nebraska, to raucous and wide-open Sioux City for a visit.

The Sioux City Journal wrote of Ora:

“She was fair of face and had a trim, neat figure. She had lost none of the natural charm and simplicity of a girlhood spent amid quiet and pastoral surroundings. She was another pure, white blossom cast among the languorous lilies of soul-less sin. Until the latter part of last May she had never touched hands with unholy passion. . . . She came [to the city] . . . with all the freshness of a bud from the country. She was intensely enthusiastic over the conditions of her new life, and it was not at all difficult to get her to join in the company which nightly thronged the house of ill fame conducted by her aunt’s daughter. A little wine turned her head and after that it was the old, old story which is told in song and which forms a never-ending topic for melodramatic playwrights.

In a few days Ora Minter, the country girl, took up her residence with Maud Hoyle in the latter’s bagnio and became Hazel Hammond, the sporting woman.”

Ora, however, lived in Sioux City only a short time before attracting attention from authorities. After learning of her innocent origins, Police Matron Johanna Thurston staged an intervention of “reformation”; Ora was detained three days and nights in the women’s ward.

A young man appeared at the jail asking to visit “Hazel Hammond” but was denied after admitting he was not a relative. He became so confrontational that Police Chief George W. Young ordered him out; as he left, he angrily vowed to hire a lawyer to get “Hazel” released.

Ora Minter was freed from custody after promising to return home. She traveled back to Nebraska for a few days and then returned to Maud Hoyle’s establishment.

News of the back-sliding into her wayward life reached Ora’s family. A cousin traveled to Sioux City to investigate and claimed he found a terrible scene — “a wild orgy” — when he entered the brothel. Although he intended to bring back both Ora and Maud, he returned home alone.

☛ “A Jovial Fellow, A Perfect Gentleman ☚

Later it emerged that the young man who came to the jail demanding to see Ora had registered on August 12 at Louis Jeep’s City Hotel as “Max Noack, Marcus, Ia.”

Mr. Jeep told the Sioux City Journal:

“Noack came to my hotel and engaged a room and board. He seemed to be rather a jovial fellow, and was a perfect gentleman about the house. He generally retired at a reasonable hour and stayed about the hotel a great deal. I had several conversations with the man and, he being a German, like myself, we grew quite friendly. One time he spoke about being ill and said a day’s work made him tired and he had no ambition. While at my hotel he corresponded with some doctor in Chicago relative to [an] illness . . . . I would not consider him a very well-educated man or a man who had much to do with business. I should think he was probably about 23 years of age and a farmer boy.”

Noack’s naiveté extended to handling money, which he had plenty of. He paid his first week’s room and board with a $20 bill; the second week he flashed a roll. Landlord Louis Jeep warned him against carrying so much cash and urged him to put it in the bank.

Max acquired a few male pals around Sioux City with whom he frequented the bars and pool halls — Billy DeWitt, Harry Johnson, grocery clerk Billy Reel, and a barber named “Shorty.”

He soon found his way to Maud Hoyle’s brothel where he met Ora Minter, who was introduced to him as “Hazel Hammond.”

☛ On The Town ☚

Maud Hoyle (from the Sioux City Journal)

On Friday night, August 23, Max Noack was on the town with Billy Reel; the two took their revelries to Maud Hoyle’s. Max drank beer, played the piano, and danced with Ora Minter. When Maud returned from the bath house at 5:20 Saturday morning, she was furious to find Max and Ora asleep on the parlor floor.

At 9:00 a.m., Maud Hoyle entered “Hazel’s” room at the rear of the house on the second floor. She saw Max Noack fully clothed and lying atop the covers next to the girl. He was propped up on his elbow and peering intently at her face.

Max Noack was seen in the company of a rough-looking, dirty young man at 4:00 p.m. Saturday in Mel Powers’s saloon on Pearl Street. He played a few games of high five with friends Ben Hittle and Harry Johnson and drank some glasses of beer — paying with a $5 gold piece for which he got change.

Max did not return to his lodgings until supper on Saturday evening and then headed out again for more adventures. By 10 p.m., he was back at the bawdy house. Maud Hoyle changed a $20 bill for him when he bought a couple of beers; he shot pool with Jesse Chester and Bert Dull and waltzed three times with Ora.

☛ Tragic Sequence of Events ☚

from the Sioux City Journal

At about 1:00 Sunday morning, August 25, Maud Hoyle left the brothel for a meal at the Niagara Restaurant down the street. While she was gone, customers John and George Wood observed a nightgown-clad Ora on the front sidewalk looking about worriedly for Maud.

Shortly afterwards, Pacific Short Line conductor Roderick “Rod” Middleton was walking on the north side of Fourth Street on his way to breakfast before boarding a 4:00 a.m. train. He had just crossed over Water Street and was at the property line between a laundry and the bawdy house when he heard something unusual. He described it to the Sioux City Journal:

“I was attracted by loud and seemingly angry voices. There was a violent dispute over something. I waited a minute. The tumult appeared to come from the rear of the house. I could not hear the words definitely to tell what was said. I did not hear a woman’s voice. I feel certain the voices I heard were of men. At least two and I think three were doing the talking. It was a dispute. That’s what I would call it. Someone was very angry.”

About that same time, a waiter in a restaurant across the street heard a loud bang.

When Maud returned to the brothel about 2:45 a.m., she smelled smoke drifting from a locked cloak closet connected to the water closet on the east side of the second floor at the front of the house.

She sent her hack driver running to the Water Street Station to alert firemen.

Just then, train conductor Rod Middleton entered the Niagara Restaurant and, always aware of the time because of his job, checked his railroad watch; it was 2:55. Shortly afterwards, he saw the fire wagon race past.

When the fireman arrived at the brothel, they ran upstairs and broke down the closet door.

Layout of upper floor of the brothel (Sioux City Journal).

They stumbled over a man on the floor and through the smoke saw a screaming woman sitting with her back against a bureau. A lamp had tipped over when the woman bumped against the chest, and it set the man’s clothes ablaze. The firemen quickly extinguished the small fire.

The firemen believed the man was overcome by smoke and the woman only frightened; but when they pulled them out into the hallway, they saw he was dead and she was badly injured. Both had bullet wounds to the head — his on the right side, hers on the left.

The pair were Max Noack and Ora Minter.

Noack’s gun was located near the bodies. He was missing his shoes; and all his money, except a single quarter and a penny, was gone. His hat lay on the floor; imprinted inside it was a horseshoe trademark with the slogan “The Lucky Hat.”

Scuff marks in the dust at the top of a partition between the cloak closet and water closet indicated someone crawled over from the locked room and then exited into the hallway from the water closet.

A search of the premises discovered a blood-splattered hammer in the kitchen.

☛ Death On View ☚

from the Sioux City Journal

Max Noack’s body was taken to Millard’s Undertaking Parlor, where the doors were opened to any and all wanting to view it. Hundreds filed past the dead man.

The Sioux City Journal wrote:

“The morgue resembled a museum at times. The corpse lay stretched out on the embalming table and the people, some of whom were women, inspected the fatal wound and discussed the man’s general appearance. After a good look at the remains the people would look at his clothes, which were lying on a table nearby, with genuine interest. They also inspected the property found on his person when searched, consisting of a box of cigarettes, a 25-cent piece, a penny, a handkerchief and other trinkets. After this, they would advance theories for the crime, some of which were ludicrous. All day people came and went, and it seemed as if the whole town had been there when the doors of the morgue were closed in the evening. The appearance of the body . . . was sickening.”

Barely clinging to life, Ora was admitted to Samaritan Hospital and tended by Dr. Van Buren Knott, who told reporters she was unconscious, could not speak, and was likely paralyzed on the right side. The doctor made certain someone was in Ora’s room at all times in case she revived and could provide an account of the shootings.

She lived less than a day before succumbing to the gunshot wound.

Ora’s body was transferred to Millard’s Undertaking Rooms, where it was placed next to her partner in death. Max Noack lay with his feet towards the west. Directly east of his body with her feet near his head was the body of Hazel Hammond. Both were cleaned of blood, embalmed, and covered up to their necks with sheets.

Throngs of curious people — by some estimates 5,000 — viewed the bodies, including, according to the Journal, “some of Sioux City’s fairest young society ladies.”

The Journal wrote of the dead girl:

“She has a pretty, childish face, and her calm, peaceful look is marred only by the ugly wound in the left side of her head, made more manifest by the doctor’s probe in the search for the bullet . . . . Noack looks as if he were but sleeping, while Hazel’s face had depicted upon it a sad picture of intense suffering. A large part of the visitors are members of the demi-monde. These are the persons who are most visibly affected. They walked in the same path in life as did Hazel Hammond and probably knew her the best. Many girls not as old as Hazel looked on her cold body and turned away, while tears flowed down their cheeks.”

Ora’s colleagues from the brothel curled her hair with a hot iron. Standing at her feet while the others worked was “Babe Fisher,” described by the Journal as “a girl well known about town” and “little more than a child in years” with “big blue eyes and flaxen curls.”

The only sound in the morgue was the clicking of the curling iron until one of the girls pointed out to Babe she was the same height as the dead girl; she collapsed onto the concrete floor, where she lay unconscious for ten minutes. When she recovered, Babe fled the morgue.

☛ The Sunday School Teacher ☚

from the Sioux City Journal

The Sioux City Journal was the first source to reveal the victims’ identities.

Ora Minter — whose 19th birthday would have been September 14 — was the daughter of William H. Minter of Central City, Nebraska, a small town near the junction of the Platte River with the Pacific Short Line and Burlington railroads about 20 miles northeast of Grand Island.

Police Chief George W. Young telegrammed her father to come at once in hopes he could shed light on the shootings.

When Mr. Minter arrived, he told investigators his daughter was an active member of the Methodist Church and a Sunday School teacher who recited the Lord’s Prayer during daily family worship services. Her mother died when Ora was 12, at a crucial time in her life. She had, he said, “moved in the best circles” only three months before her death.

The Alton Democrat wrote that Ora’s father “[laid] the girl’s downfall to the proprietress of the house in which the girl stayed [in Sioux City] and who was a school chum . . . at Central City” — her cousin Maud Hoyle.

☛ The Farmer’s Son ☚

Little was known of Max Noack’s life. He had told Sioux City friends only that he’d lived in the Nebraska towns of Lincoln and Grand Island.

A search of Max’s room turned up almost nothing; it was as though he deliberately erased all traces of his life except for a box of cartridges that matched those in the gun at the crime scene. A piece of paper — apparently used to wipe his razor — was wedged in a window screen hole. It was part of a letter to a physician describing his symptoms and stating, “I am now contemplating suicide every day.”

Telegrams concerning the identity of the dead man began arriving at the Sioux City Police. One postmarked Shelton, Nebraska, said Noack was the unmarried son of a prominent and wealthy German farmer living north of that city who was not home much in recent years because he quarreled with his father. Clara Noack of Shelton asked for a complete description of the body, believing the dead man was her brother Max.

Another telegram said Noack was a farmhand for Charles Bird northeast of Marcus, Iowa, which corresponded to what Max wrote in the registration book at Louis Jeep’s hotel.

The body was positively identified at the morgue by Charles A. Lacey, who worked at the Leads Engine Works.

Maud Hoyle said she was certain Ora did not know Noack before meeting him at the brothel. At home, Ora was engaged for two years, Maud said, to Olney Fish and there were no other boyfriends or lovers.

☛ Sad Goodbyes ☚

Ora’s body was lifted from the morgue table into a black cloth-covered casket with a sliver plate inscribed “At Rest” which was placed, still open, in the shipping room. Hundreds more people took one last look.

photo by K. Horn

The Sioux City Journal reported that she wore “a handsome shroud and in one hand held a bunch of artificial flowers [and that] if it had not been for the wound which was plainly visible one would have thought Hazel Hammond had died a natural death.”

Resting on the casket was a bouquet of American Beauty roses wrapped in yellow paper on which was written “Sympathy, May Burke, Eunice Burn, Myrtle Steter, Cleo Perry,” presumably from Ora’s fellow prostitutes. A note on another spray contained the word “Sympathy” and initials “I.C.H.,” perhaps from a lover who dared not use his name.

The undertaker placed the lid on Ora’s casket at 6:15, her father came in to oversee the moving of it, and the body was loaded on the Short Line train at 7:00 to be sent to Waterbury, Nebraska, for burial beside other family members. Her funeral, held on Wednesday, August 28, was attended by hundreds of people.

Max Noack’s father Ernest claimed his son’s body to take it back to his mother Wilhemina and siblings Bruno, Clara, Minnie, Emma, and Anna for burial. As the 7:25 train to Shelton, Nebraska, pulled out, Mr. Noack was nearly inconsolable. The day before in the morgue he had sobbed out his son’s name while employees tried to calm him.

☛ Theories and Speculations ☚

Sioux City was morbidly obsessed with the double murder, a fixation fueled by the exchanges of what the Journal termed “wild and improbable theories” among gawkers at the morgue and funeral parlor.

from the Carroll Sentinel

There were unanswered questions. Where were Max’s shoes? What happened to his money? How did he come to be shot with his own gun? Why was the room locked from the inside with a slide bolt? Why did a third person, if there was one, not just walk out the door of the cloak closet instead of climbing over into the water closet and exiting that way?

Murder-suicide was the early favorite theory with varying scenarios that included Max being a relative — perhaps a spurned husband or half-brother, as it was rumored — who shot Ora when his efforts to bring her home failed and then killed himself out of overwhelming guilt. Or that Ora, when pleaded with by Max to return to her former, innocent life, seized his gun, shot him, and then turned it on herself in remorse for killing him or for having led an immoral life.

These theories were abandoned when the identities and backgrounds of the victims were revealed to the public.

Because Max’s money was missing, some speculated he angrily accused Ora, by herself or in collusion with someone in the brothel, of robbing him and showed her his gun. Ora ran outside in her nightgown looking for Maud to help. Failing to find her mentor, she went back inside and entered the closet to hide from Max or to get her hat and cloak to go find Maud.

Max followed her into the closet, slid the lock shut, shot her, and then killed himself. After all, the note found in his lodgings hinted he was suicidal.

The missing money bolstered the theory that Max was accosted by a thief or thieves, that he drew his gun and resisted, that the robbers seized it and turned it on him and then shot Ora.

☛ Arrests Are Made ☚

Daniel “Curly” Berry, a former boxer from Omaha and an habitué of the brothel, admitted taking Max’s shoes. While he claimed the act was only a harmless prank — he put them on his hands and pranced around the house — authorities thought it might have been outright theft or a ploy to prevent Max from running away while he was being robbed.

At 3:00 p.m. on Sunday — 12 hours after the shootings — the Police arrested and arraigned Maud Hoyle and Curly Berry on charges of first degree murder. Her preliminary hearing was set for September 4; his was to be scheduled after the Coroner’s inquest concluded.

When the two were brought in, the Police Station was crowded with local men anxious to learn if their names came up in the investigation; all claimed not to have been in the brothel at the time of the murders and to know nothing about them.

Maud Hoyle made a dramatic appearance. According to the Sioux City Journal,

“[She] was attired in a neat fitting dress of black sateen, trimmed in heavy lace. She wore a large hat with drooping plumes. Her complexion is white and her blue eyes seem to have grown larger and more luminous.”

She was taken directly into Chief George W. Young’s private office, where she was questioned by Young and City Attorney Asa Burton; no one else was allowed in the room.

Maud was not locked in a cell, but slept in the Police Chief’s office and had her meals brought in from the Niagara Restaurant, although she ate little, claiming to be too overcome with worry and with grief for her cousin Ora.

A Sioux City Journal reporter arranged to interview her the next morning; he described her then as looking “pale and haggard” and speculated that “the events of the past few days have begun to tell on her.”

When asked if she was hungry, Maud replied:

“Oh dear no. I never want to eat again. Isn’t this terrible? Why, they don’t think I committed that murder, do they? Why, I never had anything to do with it!”

Maud did not name names; she claimed her actions were not to protect the “rounders” who’d been in the house during the shootings but instead to shield from newspaper publicity any customers who had family in the city.

☛ Coroner’s Inquest ☚

Coroner Dr. J.P. Savage began hearing testimony at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, August 26 at Millard’s Undertaking Parlor. The rooms were packed with spectators who arrived early to get a seat.

from the Roland Record

Those present to testify included not only Ora’s doctor, Dr. Van Buren Knott, and officials — Assistant Woodbury County Attorney Thomas J. Stevenson, City Attorney Asa H. Burton, Police Chief George W. Young, and a Police detective — but also private detective Tommy Adams; the hack driver who summoned the firemen; a Sioux City Journal reporter; and friends of Max Noack who were with him at Maud’s the night of the shootings, including Jesse Chester, Bert Dull, Harry Johnson, and Billy Dewitt. Maud Hoyle and Curly Berry also were summoned to appear.

Doctors Savage and Knott testified they were called to the second floor of Maud Hoyle’s house during the early hours of Sunday, August 25. There they found a dead Max Noack and an unconscious Ora Minter clinging to life. Because her pulse was still strong, Savage tried to stimulate her heart.

A bullet entered Ora’s head above the left ear in an inward and upwards and backwards direction, causing a furrow of an inch before it penetrated the skull. Powder burns indicated she was shot at close-range. She also had three bruises: one the size of a 25-cent piece on her right breast just below the nipple; a recent one on her left shin; and an older, egg-sized one on her left hip.

The bullet which killed Max Noack entered the right temple two inches above the ear and lodged in the left side of the head, leaving no powder burns. Two bruises showed over his left eye, one circular and the other an inch long, wounds matching the blood-stained hammer found by police in the brothel kitchen.

The doctors did not think the victims’ bruises were caused by falls. Nor did they believe, from the nature and locations of their wounds, that either committed suicide.

Coroner Savage speculated that someone tried to rob Noack and Ora in the cloak closet; Max resisted by pulling his gun, which was wrested away and turned on him and then on Ora. Then the culprit or culprits climbed over the partition between the locked murder room and the water closet and fled the house by the back stairs.

On September 4, the Coroner officially ruled that “Max Noack and Hazel Hammond came to their death as the result of pistol shot wounds, inflicted by persons unknown, with intent to commit murder.”

☛ Suspicions Remain ☚

from the Atlantic Daily Telegraph

Maud Hoyle was released before her scheduled preliminary hearing and charges against her and shoe thief Curly Berry were dropped for lack of evidence.

That action did little to placate the suspicions of the community, which generally felt the investigation was mismanaged. The Burlington Gazette wrote:

“It is believed that Maud Hoyle knows a great deal more about the crime than she admits. She is a cunning woman, who has been on intimate terms with criminals . . . and her appearance at the [Niagara] restaurant and actions afterward indicate that she was carefully preparing an alibi.”

The Gazette was one of the first newspapers to mention suspects other than Maud Hoyle and Curly Berry, reporting:

“The evidence before the coroner proves that Noack had a considerable sum of money, and that for two days before the crime he was followed by three or four well-known thieves and confidence men, who knew he had money and were planning to rob him. They had him in saloons all Saturday afternoon, trying to get him drunk and several of them were at the Hoyle place Saturday night.”

☛ Reward Offered ☚

On September 12, the City Council, declaring it was time for Sioux City to act against “getting a reputation as the worst city in the west,” passed a resolution authorizing Mayor C.W. Fletcher to offer a $5,000 reward, which City Attorney Asa Burton declared financially impossible.

Citizens then circulated a petition to Iowa Governor Frank D. Jackson for a state-sponsored reward; Mayor Fletcher wrote an accompanying letter. On September 20, Governor Jackson issued a proclamation offering $300 for the arrest “and delivery” of the killers of Max Noack and Ora Minter.

☛ New Suspects ☚

from the Sioux City Journal

Although it appeared to the city’s residents that little progress was being made in solving the double murder, behind the scenes Sioux City Police and Woodbury County officials were steadily working on the crime. City Attorney Asa Burton was by that point heading up the investigation and met daily with Police Chief Young.

The new official focus was on members of what the Anita Republican called “the notorious McCarthy gang” that operated out of Sioux City and consisted of Vic McCarthy; Alexander “Alex” Chapin; and John “Jack” McGraw, a.k.a. “Kid Gallagher.” The three were thieves, confidence men, and bank robbers.

Chapin and Gallagher were of particular interest because they were seen in Maud Hoyle’s bawdy house the night of the murders and may have been two of the mysterious men who reportedly followed Max Noack through the city’s bars, trying to get him intoxicated in order to rob him.

The trio fled Sioux City after the crime, hoping to escape scrutiny by going west into Nebraska.

☛ Confessions Made ☚

At the end of October, Woodbury County Attorney Joseph W. Hallam traveled to Omaha to arrest Kid Gallagher and Alex Chapin for the murders of Max Noack and Ora Minter. The suspects were being held in Nebraska for the September highway robbery of Adam Kas and his son near Belle View in Sarpy County; Vic McCarthy had also been arrested for that crime, but he escaped jail and was on the run.

Gallagher and Chapin repeatedly refused to cooperate. After lengthy negotiations, however, they agreed to talk about the Sioux City murders to avoid the death penalty in Iowa in exchange for a 15-year sentence for the Kas robbery and assault in Nebraska.

County Attorney Hallam made public their confession. The suspects said they confronted Noack for his money, and he resisted with a gun. Kid Gallagher hit him in the head with a hammer and Alex Chapin grabbed the gun and shot him and then turned it on Ora to keep her quiet. They realized several hundred dollars from the robbery. Their cohort Vic McCarthy, they claimed, was not involved.

Presumably, they hoped they would not be tried for the Sioux City homicides at the end of 15 years; however, Iowa authorities stated they planned to file charges as soon as the two served their time in Nebraska.

☛ The Gallows Cheated ☚

In January of 1900 — five years after the double murder and the sentencing of Chapin and Gallagher — the Kid began exhibiting extreme stomach pain and other digestive symptoms. The prison doctors started treatments and were baffled when Gallagher continued to worsen. In May, he was placed in the prison hospital, critically ill.

from the Waterloo Daily Courier

Gallagher finally admitted he had been scraping plaster off his cell walls and eating it, drinking large quantities of vinegar, and swallowing bits of soap wrapped in tissue paper. His aim was to make himself ill — not to kill himself but to become so weak and sickly that the Governor would believe he was dying and pardon and release him.

He had played the game too well, however, and his strange diet had irreparably damaged his kidneys, stomach, and intestines. He died in late July of 1900 and was buried in the Nebraska State Penitentiary Cemetery as “Number 2849.”

The Dubuque Sunday Herald tracked down and interviewed someone who corresponded with Kid Gallagher during his confinement in prison, a man who knew him since childhood. He told the reporter “[Gallagher] was crazy to get out” of prison and then elaborated:

“He was called ‘kid’ I guess because of his smallness of statue [sic] for it could not have been on account of his age. He was at least 35, and he might have been 40. No, it would not be the truth to say that he came of a good family. He always was tough, but, at that, I don’t think he killed those people. I saw him after the crime and talked with him several times before he left Sioux City. After the newspapers began to print stories about him and Chapin he wanted me to send him clippings and keep him posted. I did this gladly. When he began to ‘do his bit’ of fifteen years, I knew he could not stand it out. He was too sickly, and then he pined for company all the time.”

With the death of John “Jack” McGraw, a.k.a. “Kid Gallagher,” the investigation into the murders of Max Noack and Ora Minter ended. The Des Moines Daily News reported that “the evidence that would have been used against him and which is now being held against Chapin, is very strong.”

However, there is no extant proof that Gallagher’s alleged accomplice Alex Chapin was ever brought back to Woodbury County for trial in the crime.

Justice for the victims was never accomplished, and the brutal murders of Max Noack and Nora Minter technically remain unsolved.


Please note: Use of information from this article should credit Nancy Bowers as the author and Iowa Unsolved Murders: Historic Cases as the source.



  • ☛ “Alleged Murderers Released,” Atlantic Daily Telegraph, September 7, 1895, p. 4.
  • ☛ “Ate Plaster And Vinegar,” Waterloo Daily Courier, July 21, 1900, p. 1.
  • ☛ “Ate Plaster And Vinegar,” Waterloo Semi-Weekly Courier, July 24, 1900, p. 4.
  • ☛ “Ate Soap, Vinegar And Plaster,” Dubuque Sunday Herald, July 22, 1900, p. 8.
  • ☛ “Believe They Have Noack’s Murderers,” Cedar Falls Semi-Weekly Gazette, November 5, 1895, p. 2.
  • ☛ “Believe They Have Noack’s Murderers,” Northern Vindicator, October 31, 1895, p. 7.
  • ☛ Burlington Gazette, September 21, 1895, p. 8.
  • ☛ “Condensed Items,” Ames Intelligencer, September 19, 1895, p. 14.
  • ☛ “Dark Murder Mysteries,” Waterloo Semi-Weekly Courier, January 12, 1900, p. 4.
  • ☛ “Died In Nebraska Prison,” Algona Upper Des Moines, July 25, 1900, p. 4.
  • ☛ “Died In Nebraska Prison,” Buffalo Center Tribune, July 26, 1900, p. 2.
  • ☛ “Died In Nebraska Prison,” Moulton Tribune, July 27, 1900, p. 2.
  • ☛ “Died In Nebraska Prison,” Palo-Alto Reporter, July 26, 1900, p. 2.
  • ☛ “Died In Nebraska Prison,” Pocahontas County Sun, July 26, 1900, p. 2.
  • ☛ “Gallows Cheated,” Semi-Weekly Iowa State Reporter, July 24, 1900, p. 3.
  • ☛ “His Death Regretted,” Glenwood Opinion, July 26, 1900, p. 2.
  • ☛ “Iowa News Condensed,” Ames Intelligencer, November 14, 1895, p. 5.
  • ☛ “Iowa News Condensed,” Eldora Ledger, November 7, 1895, p. 2.
  • ☛ “Iowa News Items,” Ames Intelligencer, August 29, 1895, p. 14.
  • ☛ “Iowa News Items,” Ames Times, August 29, 1895, p. 14.
  • ☛ “Iowa News Items,” Ames Times, November 21, 1895, p. 2.
  • ☛ “Iowa News Items,” Pocahontas County Sun, September 5, 1895, p. 1.
  • ☛ “Iowa News Items,” Pocahontas County Sun, September 12, 1895, p. 1.
  • ☛ “Iowa News Items,” Pocahontas County Sun, November 21, 1895, p. 1.
  • ☛ “Iowa News Items,” Progress Review (La Porte City), November 9, 1895, p. 3.
  • ☛ “It Cost Him $47,” Le Mars Semi-Weekly Sentinel, October 31, 1895, p. 3.
  • ☛ “Locally Miscellany,” Fairfield Ledger, November 20, 1895, p. 3.
  • ☛ “Man and Woman Dead,” Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette, August 27, 1895, p. 1.
  • ☛ “Maud Hoyle and Berry Held For Murder,” Atlantic Daily Telegraph, August 28, 1895, p. 1.
  • ☛ “Maud Hoyle and Berry Held For Murder,” Carroll Sentinel, August 28, 1895, p. 2.
  • ☛ “Maud Hoyle and Berry Held For Murder,” Rippey Reporter, August 31, 1895, p.1.
  • ☛ “Maude [sic] Hoyle Arraigned,” Atlantic Daily Telegraph, August 29, 1895, p. 2.
  • ☛ “Maude [sic] Hoyle Arraigned,” Atlantic Weekly Telegraph, September 4, 1895, p. 4.
  • ☛ “May Now Do Something,” Sioux City Journal, September 19, 1895.
  • ☛ “Murder Mystery Cleared Up,” Monticello Express, November 21, 1895, p. 2.
  • ☛ “Murderers Discovered: ‘Kid’ Gallagher and Alexander Chapin Sentenced to the Pen,” Burlington Gazette, November 13, 1895, p. 2.
  • ☛ “The News In Iowa,” Algona Courier, July 27, 1900, p. 6.
  • ☛ “The News In Iowa,” Eldora Herald, July 28, 1900, p. 6.
  • ☛ “The News In Iowa,” Webster City Tribune, July 27, 1900, p. 2.
  • ☛ “Noack Murder Mystery,” Sioux City Journal, August 26, 1895.
  • ☛ “Noack Murder Mystery: Little is Done to Clear It Up, But Police Are Sanguine,” Sioux City Journal, August 29, 1895, p. 1.
  • ☛ “Selected Hawkeye Mention,” Buffalo Center Tribune, November 22, 1895, p. 2.
  • ☛ “Sioux City Council Takes Steps to Rid the City of Tough Element,” Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette, September 12, 1895, p. 2.
  • ☛ “Sioux City Double Tragedy,” Carroll Sentinel, August 26, 1895, p. 1.
  • ☛ “Sioux City’s Double Murder,” Anita Republican, October 30, 1895, p. 6.
  • ☛ “Sioux City’s Double Murder,” Humboldt County Republican, September 26, 1895, p. 7.
  • ☛ Sioux City Journal, November 22, 1895.
  • ☛ “Sioux City Mystery,” Burlington Gazette, August 28, 1895, p. 2.
  • ☛ “Sunday Morning’s Tragedy,” Sioux City Journal, August 27, 1895, p. 1.
  • ☛ “Sunday Morning’s Tragedy: Both the Man and the Woman Are Identified,” Sioux City Journal, August 26, 1895, p.1.
  • ☛ U.S. Census.
  • ☛ “Very Important Witness: ‘Rod’ Middleton Heard a Quarrel at the Maud Hoyle Place,” Sioux City Journal, September 1, 1895.
  • ☛ “Was A Double Murder,” Alton Democrat, August 31, 1895, p. 7.
  • ☛ “Was Murder,” Roland Record, September 5, 1895, p. 2.

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