The Gentle Man: Murder of Charles Englehart 1935

Murder Victim

Charles Englehart
70-year-old Retired Barber
Wholesale Business Owner
Cause of Death: Bludgeoned
Motive: Robbery

Murder Scene and Date

700 block of Main Street
Davenport, Iowa
Scott County
September 23, 1935


By Nancy Bowers
Written April 2010

location of Davenport, Iowa

location of Davenport, Iowa

On Sunday evening, September 23, 1935, 70-year-old Davenport resident Charles Englehart parked his car in an alley in the 700 block of Main Street. Just as he was getting out, an assailant struck him on the head with a blunt object. Gravely wounded, Englehart slumped unconscious in the front seat.

He was found by local resident R.C. Townsley, who summoned helped. Englehart was rushed to a hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery on his crushed skull. But he could not be saved and died later that night.

from the Oelwein Daily Register

The community was shocked. Everyone knew Charles, a retired barber, as a gentle and community-minded citizen. He belonged to several fraternal groups and was a stockholder in a large and successful Davenport wholesale business. No one was aware of any grudges against him.

He was, however, known to carry large amounts of money and his wallet was gone. But the murderer left behind a diamond ring and stickpin, which called robbery into question as a motive.

The killer left behind no clues, and an extensive investigation went cold as leads and tips dried up.

☛ Charles Englehart’s Life ☚

Charles Englehart’s tombstone, photo by Jim and Lori Rowe

Charles Englehart was born in Louisa County, Iowa, in June 1865 to Iowa native Louisa Rexroth and German-born Charles Englehart, Sr., who ran a grocery store. He had two brothers, Harry and Richard Englehart. After she was widowed, Louisa Englehart married George Hummel. From that marriage Charles had a half-brother, William P. Hummel. The family moved to Davenport in Scott County sometime before 1900. Charles Englehart never married.

Englehart was buried September 25, 1935 in the cemetery in Grandview, Iowa, his hometown. Rev. W.H. Upton of the Davenport Edwards Congregational Church conducted the graveside services and members of the Masonic Lodge, of which Englehart was a member, were Honorary Pallbearers.


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



  • ☛ “Haroffs Spend Day at Cocklin Residence,” Muscatine Journal and News-Tribune, September 27, 1935.
  • ☛ “Killed and Robbed Davenport Man,” Oelwein Daily Register, September 23, 1935.
  • ☛ “More News,” Muscatine Journal and News Tribune,” August 8, 1929.
  • ☛ U.S. Census.
  • ☛ “Who Could Have Killed Kindly Charles Englehart?” Morning Democrat, October 14, 1955.

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