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

Murder Victim

Henry V. Duffy
33-year-old Dry Goods Merchant
Captain, Iowa National Guard
Cause of Death: Gunshot
Motive: Unknown

Murder Scene and Date

J. Duffy & Sons Store
Williams-Stillwell block
Waukon, Iowa
Allamakee County
April 27, 1897


By Nancy Bowers
Written February 2013

Henry Duffy was killed in his store, at left  (from Past and Present of Allamakee County)

Henry Duffy was murdered in his dry goods store, the second building from the right (Past and Present of Allamakee County)

Henry V. Duffy was one of Waukon’s most well-regarded citizens, the son of an original Allamakee County settler and member of a large, successful Catholic family.

He operated the J. Duffy & Sons dry goods store in the Williams-Stilwell block just east of the intersection of Main and Allamakee streets.

Henry and his brother James E. Duffy, a local banker and co-owner of the dry goods store, were civic-minded; both helped charter Waukon’s volunteer firefighters organization and were involved in numerous town matters.

Duffy’s sense of duty and leadership also steered him into the Iowa National Guard, where on July 1, 1893 he was promoted from First Lieutenant to Captain of Company I. He routinely led groups of guardsmen on drills and encampments.

Later, newspaper reports termed Duffy as “capable” and “prominent.”

Henry Duffy also enjoyed a social life with other active young people in Waukon and the surrounding rural areas.

☛ Problems and Challenges ☚

Duffy & Sons store building, 2012 (Google Street View)

J. Duffy & Sons building, 2012
(Google Street View)

Henry Duffy’s life was not without difficulties, however. In 1890, his 30-year-old brother Patrick “Pat” Duffy took his own life. Then, his father and business partner, Michael J. Duffy, Sr., passed away on February 25, 1895.

Barely two months after his father’s death, another blow struck Henry Duffy. On April 17, 1895, a fire — one of several in the area believed to be arson — was started in the J. Duffy & Sons store and spread to nearby businesses, completely destroying several.

The building which housed his store was rebuilt and expanded to three stories and Duffy reopened his business, but the construction costs and the destruction of merchandise were a financial setback for him.

☛ Tangled Personal Life ☚

During the late winter and early spring of 1897, Henry Duffy’s life became even more complicated as he was thrown into a personal and moral crisis.

While she clerked in his store, Duffy became sexually intimate with Mary Alice McMorrow, the 27-year-old daughter of another large local Irish family.

In the fall of 1896, Mary Alice — sometimes called “Mame” — discovered she was pregnant.

Mary Alice McMorrow

Mary Alice McMorrow

Duffy secretly arranged for Mary Alice McMorrow to live in a Chicago boarding house during her pregnancy — out of sight of prying eyes in Waukon. Henry occasionally visited Mary Ann and the two exchanged letters, hers pleading that the two should wed and raise the child together.

Rev. Hishem, a Catholic priest in Chicago who was aware of Mary Alice’s plight and looked out for her in the city, also wrote Duffy entreating letters begging him to save the young woman’s reputation by marrying her.

Duffy repeatedly refused to do so; and as pressure was exerted on him, he threatened to kill himself if forced to marry Mary Alice McMorrow. There was no way of knowing if he possessed the will to follow through with that threat or was even serious about it.

☛ Day Before the Murder ☚

Street view of early Waukon, Iowa (courtesy)

Street view of early Waukon, Iowa
(Past and Present of Allamakee County)

On Monday, April 26, 1897, Henry Duffy spent part of the late afternoon drilling with the volunteer firemen. During the fire exercises, his mood seemed excellent to his friend and fellow Waukon clothing merchant Robert J. Alexander.

After the fire drill, Duffy and some friends took their bicycles on a “wheeling party.” Twenty-four-year-old Blanche Pettit — a sometimes clerk in the Duffy store — Ella Stevens, 28, and Henry’s long-time friend J.B. Buggy were part of the group.

Before disbanding in the failing April light, the “wheelers” rode out to the Makee Township farm of Blanche’s father, Elias Pettit. Like that of the other cyclers, Henry Duffy’s mood was light-hearted and he behaved and interacted as he always did.

After the party broke up around 9:00 p.m., Henry Duffy returned to the dry goods store, where he had a second-floor apartment above the business.

☛ At the Back of the Store ☚

At 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 27, J. Duffy & Sons clerk Emmet Hall, 27, arrived and unlocked the front door to get ready for the day’s business.

Hall moved items out onto the front sidewalk for display and started sweeping the floors. The store was quiet, and Emmet Hall assumed Henry Duffy had not yet come down from his rooms.

As he broomed, Hall gradually moved back into the store towards the southeast corner office which housed financial records and a safe. To the right of the office were stairs leading up to a carpet showroom; beyond that room was the area where Duffy lived.

It was about 7:00 a.m. when Hall’s sweeping reached the store’s office. There, he made a shocking discovery — Henry Duffy was lying dead on his back with a foot protruding through a broken heat register on the floor.

Duffy was dressed in his nightclothes and clutched a gun in his right hand, his index finger on the trigger.

Early postcard view of Waukon's business district

Early postcard view of Waukon’s business district.

Emmet Hall ran from the store to raise the alarm on the street outside.

Duffy’s brother James was fetched from the Citizen’s State Bank where he worked; and his sister Alice, an unmarried school teacher who still lived in the Duffy family home, was brought to the scene.

Allamakee County Sheriff James H. McGhee arrived about 8:00 a.m. with Deputy H.A. Hewett and local physician Dr. John W. Cain. At first look, the men could see a bullet wound in Duffy’s chest.

To ensure the scene remained intact, McGhee stayed with the body until the investigation was completed later in the day.

Sheriff McGhee and Dr. Cain examined the gun clutched in Duffy’s hand and determined it was a .32 caliber revolver with all the chambers full. It had been cocked but not fired.

At 10:00, Allamakee County Coroner Dr. S.C. Meyers of Rossville came to the store to officially examine the body.

Immediately, Meyers empaneled a coroner’s jury comprised of prominent attorney Hilas H. Stilwell, Allamakee County Board of Supervisors Chair M.W. Eaton, and Waukon merchant J.N. Eddy. The men would observe the post-mortem and hear testimony.

The autopsy revealed that Duffy was dead for five to six hours before being found, placing his time of death between midnight and 1:00 a.m.

He died instantly from a shot fired at such close range that it burned his nightclothes.

A.38 caliber bullet was removed from Duffy’s lower back near the right ribs where it had lodged. It entered the left side of his chest about two inches from the nipple, cut open the lower end of the heart, and nicked the liver on its downward path to the right side of the body.

Sheriff James McGhee

Sheriff James H. McGhee

There were only two other marks on Duffy’s body: a bruise on his thigh made when he fell onto the heating register and some discoloration on his right wrist from “severe compression,” likely received during a struggle with his assailant.

The office safe was intact and no merchandise was disturbed or missing. There was no sign of damage to anything in the store, other than the heating grate which broke when Duffy fell across it after he was shot.

As word of Duffy’s death spread through Waukon, the store was flooded with townspeople moved by curiosity or perhaps a true desire to help.

While Sheriff McGhee stood guard, local men John M. Murray, David R. Walker, C.W. Jenkins, James Hayes, and Citizens’ Bank Assistant Cashier Carlton Hedge Earle entered the store to look at Duffy’s body; then they scoured the store for clues.

from the Burlington Hawk-Eye

from the Burlington Hawk-Eye

Local Merchant Thomas Kelleher and Waukon Standard publisher Alonzo M. May walked down the alley behind the store to examine windows opening into the cellar of the building. In the dirt in front of one, they found a footprint and a knee impression and saw damaged cobwebs, indicating someone entered the basement through the window.

Inside the basement, Kelleher and May could see that the door at the top of the stairs which opened onto the store’s first floor had been forced.

From the first floor, John M. Murray suddenly shouted:

“Here is another gun!”

Murray had discovered a second revolver lying on a counter 15 feet away from Duffy’s body. It was barely visible among the folds of a woman’s cloak, which was determined to be store merchandise.

The second gun, described by investigators as a .38 caliber of a “cheap make,” had one empty chamber; the remaining bullets were the same size as the one taken from Duffy’s body.

The Postville Review wrote about this gun:

“The revolver was one never seen around the store before and not such a one as a professional burglar would carry.”

James Duffy examined the weapon, and declared with certainty it did not belong to his brother Henry.

Sheriff McGhee impounded as evidence both the .32 caliber revolver from Duffy’s hand and the .38 caliber found on the store counter.

☛ Murder or Suicide? ☚

from the Postville Review

from the Postville Review

Early newspaper reports of the death conflicted. Some articles reported Duffy was shot during a burglary. Others said he killed himself because of personal problems, which were just beginning to emerge into the public consciousness.

Certainly, suicide was a strong undercurrent in local gossip; and the Postville Review noted about rumors that Duffy took his own life:

“As usual there is said to be a woman in the case.”

The coroner’s jury, however, ruled the death a murder and declared it would have been impossible for the victim to inflict the fatal wound on himself with the .38 caliber revolver, place the weapon on the counter, and pick up his own .32 caliber gun before he died.

After the official verdict of murder, conjecture about what might have happened formed into an accepted account.

It was assumed that Henry Duffy, as usual, retired on Monday night in the apartment above the store. When he was awakened in the early hours by a noise below, he took his .32 caliber revolver and walked from his bedroom through the carpet sales area and then down the steps to the main floor.

He may have walked towards the front of the store and then gone behind the sales counter towards the office. There, he encountered an intruder who saw he was armed and tried to wrest the gun from his hand, causing the bruises on his right wrist.

The intruder shot Duffy in the chest with the .38 caliber revolver and fled the store after flinging aside the murder weapon, which became entangled in the cloak on the counter.

☛ Local Indignation ☚

location of Waukon, Iowa

location of Waukon, Iowa

The murder was all the community thought about. The Postville Review reported about the furor:

“We have known of nothing during our residence of thirty years in Waukon that has so stirred up our citizens with horror and indignation and the earnest hope that the guilty may be discovered and receive a punishment adequate to his awful crime. The sympathy of the community is unbounded toward the stricken family. Henry Duffy was a splendid young man, active, energetic, always pleasant, and as far as we know everybody was his friend.”

Sheriff James McGhee offered a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Henry Duffy’s killer.

Although indignation about Henry Duffy’s murder was strong in Waukon and the surrounding area — the Dubuque Daily Herald called the crime “one of the most sensational tragedies northern Iowa has ever known” — it seemed that no immediate resolution, despite the sizable reward, was forthcoming.

☛ Victim’s Posthumous Child ☚

On June 11, 1897, Mary Alice McMorrow gave birth to Henry Duffy’s child, a daughter named Mary Elizabeth. The baby lived only 23 days, dying on July 4.

☛ Quietly, Patiently Waiting for Arrest ☚

Although he later declared he had immediate misgivings about a certain man in connection with Henry Duffy’s death, Sheriff McGhee kept his counsel and quietly sought evidence to back up his suspicions.

from the Algona Carrier

from the Algona Courier

Then came news in August that a St. Louis private detective had obtained proof that the .38 caliber murder weapon was once owned by 25-year-old Waukon resident Frank Arnold and that Arnold pawned the gun to local tailor H.C. Dean for fifty cents and redeemed it before the murder.

The detective tracked Arnold to Omaha, Nebraska, and notified Sheriff McGhee, who traveled there to arrest Arnold on a warrant issued by Allamakee County Justice of the Peace Frank Robbins.

The Dubuque Daily Herald compared the victim and suspect:

“Both have lived all their lives in Waukon. Arnold has never been engaged in any steady occupation, however, and is not quite so widely known as the deceased, who has always been in business.”

Frank Arnold was one of three children of Makee Township teamster and well driller Jackson Arnold and his wife Ellen Marsden. Although only 25, Arnold was a widower.

Arnold seemed to lack ambition and had exhibited earlier reckless trouble-making, although not necessarily hardened criminal behavior.

The Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette wrote of Frank Arnold:

“He has not been in the habit of doing much work and his reputation is not the very best. It is stated that once he fired a shot at a man for some reason, and that the bullet cut a furrow in the target’s head. Other stories are told of him.”

Arnold, if guilty of Duffy’s murder, made no attempt to leave Waukon quickly — he didn’t disappear until mid-July and then was easily apprehended in Omaha.

☛ Preliminary Hearing ☚

from the Daily Iowa Capital

from the Daily Iowa Capital

At a preliminary hearing in December of 1897 that lasted well over a week, 75 witnesses testified.

Among them was Sheriff James McGhee, who revealed that his suspicions fell on Arnold from the beginning of the investigation because Arnold approached him the day after the murder and claimed to know details about it that he said were provided to his brother Fred Arnold by two other young Waukon men.

Arnold, McGhee said, seemed highly nervous during these conversations and entirely focused on collecting a reward for his information. When McGhee made follow-up inquiries two weeks later, Arnold said he was unable to confirm the identity of the killers.

Sheriff McGhee also testified that he showed H.C. Dean the two revolvers found at the death scene and Dean identified the .38 caliber — which fired the fatal shot — as belonging to Arnold.

H.C. Dean himself swore in court that the .38 caliber revolver was Frank Arnold’s, the one the suspect pawned and redeemed.

For his part, Arnold claimed he loaned his gun to a friend just before the crime and had no access to it at the time of the murder. He also said he was in his parents’ home by at least 10:00 p.m. the night of the murder and never left, an assertion verified by his family.

After the preliminary hearing concluded, Arnold was bound over to the grand jury, which indicted him for the murder of Henry Duffy. He was released on $5,000 bond.

☛ Trial Strategy ☚

Judge Liberty Eaton Fellows (from the Grand Lodge Bulletin)

Judge Liberty Eaton Fellows
(from Grand Lodge Bulletin)

When the trail of Frank Arnold for the murder of Henry V. Duffy began in District Court on January 7, 1898, it promised sensational testimony — over 100 witnesses were expected — and offered a star-studded array of prominent legal men.

The judge, Liberty Eaton Fellows, was a former Iowa State Representative and State Senator.

County Attorney and well known Allamakee County resident Hilas H. Stilwell headed up the prosecution. However, because Stilwell served on the coroner’s jury in the case and would be required to testify during the trial, he left most of the duties to a team composed of Iowa State Senator James H. Trewin, prominent Waukon attorney and businessman D.J. Murphy, and revered Iowa National Guard officer Col. Albert G. Stewart.

Arnold was defended by former Clerk of Court Henry Orin Dayton, M.R. Hendrick, and highly-regarded attorney James Patrick Conway of Lansing.

The lawyers for the defense were no doubt skilled attorneys, but what gave them their greatest advantage and ultimately directed their line of defense was that they were being paid by the two insurance companies — Northwestern of Milwaukee and North American Accident Association of Chicago — with which Henry Duffy had held life insurance policies totaling $5,000.

James H. Twewin (iowa/leg)

James H. Twewin

Neither company wanted to pay out the money for Duffy’s death so they needed to show that he killed himself, thus voiding the policies. But to prove suicide, they first needed an acquittal of accused killer Frank Arnold.

from the Dubuque Daily Herald

from the Dubuque Daily Herald

The defense’s attack was two-pronged: to show that Arnold did not kill Duffy and to prove that Duffy had reason to kill himself.

Duffy was driven to suicide, they claimed, because of his moral entanglement with the pregnant Mary Alice McMorrow, his unrecovered financial reversals from the 1895 fire, and a self-destruction trait in the Duffy family that caused his older brother to kill himself in 1890.

The jurors were chosen from widespread areas of the county: John Eckert of Franklin Township; Joseph Ahlstrom and Emil Gamme of Lansing; John Huffman of Linton Township; Gus Troendle and Paul Worm of Makee Township; C.C. Fiadberg and Fred Bockhaus of Waterloo Township; M. Halvorson of Hanover Township; John Doonan of Taylor Township; E.T. Courson of Post Township; and Charles H. May of Iowa Township.

In court, Frank Arnold showed sign of the strain he was under. The Dubuque Daily Herald described him as:

“Pale and delicate looking, this condition having been brought about since his arrest and indictment.”

However, he had moral support from his mother Ellen and sister Addie, who exuded calm hopefulness in the crowded and agitated courtroom of citizens obsessed with the case.

The Dubuque Daily Herald reported:

“The trial and the tragic incidents connected with it is the topic of conversation everywhere among business men, attorneys and farmers on the street corners, and its end will be awaited with much interest.”

Many who followed the developments believed that while Arnold had a poor reputation, he likely did not kill Henry Duffy.

Allamakee County Courthouse (courtesy

Allamakee County Courthouse

Every day the courtroom was crowded to capacity. In particular, the rows were filled with faithfully-attending young women, a phenomenon of murder trials that continues to exist in contemporary times.

The women hoped to hear lurid — or romantic — testimony about a dashing and prominent businessman and military officer who seduced and abandoned a young woman like themselves.

And they were lured by the promise of hearing read aloud personal letters between the wronged woman and her seducer, as well as those written by a Catholic priest who championed the girl and urged the victim to save her reputation.

No doubt, the young women were also attracted by the accused as well, someone a newspaper termed “a sporting man” who was just enough of a rogue or “bad boy” to be fascinating. The story of his firing a shot and creasing another man’s scalp no doubt made him seem dangerously adventuresome. Also, he possessed an appealing story as a young widower.

☛ Prosecution’s Case ☚

from the Dubuque Daily Herald

from the Dubuque Daily Herald

Knowing that the defense intended to blame Henry Duffy for his own death, the prosecution needed to establish that it was impossible for the deceased to kill himself.

To establish the layout of the store and show that the death was an ambush, the building’s architect G.P. Lefelt brought a drawing into court and Henry’s brother James described the arrangement of boxes, merchandise, and counters in the establishment, particularly the room where his brother died.

The prosecutors then presented an impressive array of medical authorities to claim that Duffy’s death was not suicide.

Dr. J.W. Cain, the first physician on the scene and the autopsy assistant to Allamakee County Coroner Dr. S.C. Myers, described the path of the bullet and declared it could not have been made by a self-inflicted wound.

Dr. J.H. Green (from American School Board Journal

Dr. J.H. Green
(from American School Board Journal)

Coroner Meyers, as well as area doctors Philip H. Letourneau, John H. Thornton, and Theodore Brockhausen, testified that Duffy would have died instantly from the bullet and, therefore, been unable to perform any voluntary act after he was shot.

Dr. J.H. Greene of Dubuque said that Duffy’s wound would have caused:

“Profound nervous shock, fainting, an abolition or doing away with the power of voluntary action, and rapid death.”

Respected local physician and Iowa State Representative Dr. Daniel H. Bowen agreed; he declared that after he was shot Duffy could not have voluntarily thrown a gun 15 feet across the room onto the counter where it was found. Nor could he have then picked up the .32 caliber revolver found clutched in his hand.

The state also needed to place the .38 caliber revolver in the possession of Frank Arnold before the shooting.

from the Dubuque Daily Herald

from the Dubuque Daily Herald

Caledonia, Minnesota, resident Sylvester O’Brien, brother of Frank Arnold’s late wife Ellen, testified that Arnold visited his in-laws in mid-April of 1897 shortly before the murder.

During that time in Minnesota, Frank Arnold slept in the same bed as Sylvester O’Brien and was permitted to store his belongings, including a .38 caliber revolver, in a trunk in their shared room.

O’Brien stated that he purchased fifteen cent’s worth of .38 caliber cartridges in La Crosse, Wisconsin, at Arnold’s request and that after Arnold left he found one of the bullets in the trunk — he held it up for the court to see. In addition, O’Brien said Arnold seemed “nervous” and not his usual self during the visit.

Dr. Daniel H. Bowen (from ialeg)

Dr. Daniel H. Bowen

Arnold’s sister-in-law Lucille O’Brien agreed in court that Frank Arnold had visited her father James’s Caledonia, Minnesota, home in mid-April and that she, too, saw a gun at that time similar to the one found at the Duffy crime scene. In addition, she remembered noticing a similar revolver in Frank Arnold’s Waukon home during a visit she made to Iowa in the summer of 1897.

Caledonia Town Marshal John Palen also testified he’d seen Arnold during his trip to Minnesota — which he believed was in the winter or early spring of 1897 — and he had with him a .38 caliber revolver “exactly” like the one found in Duffy’s store.

To counter these witnesses by attempting to show that Duffy himself owned the .38 caliber gun, the defense brought to the stand Waukon resident Jerry Cummens — who served with Duffy in the volunteer fire department as well as in Company I of the Iowa National Guard. Cummens said he saw a weapon similar to the .38 caliber in Henry Duffy’s trunk in his tent during the large September 1894 military encampment in Monticello, Iowa.

However, others members of Company I swore they had never seen it.

☛ Abrupt and Unexpected Conclusion ☚

from the Dubuque Daily Herald

from the Dubuque Daily Herald

A huge and surprising blow was dealt to the prosecution’s case when it called its star witness H.C. Dean, the man who swore during the preliminary hearing and before the grand jury that he could positively identify the .38 caliber murder weapon as the one Frank Arnold pawned to him for fifty cents and then redeemed.

During the time which passed between the murder and the trial, Dean had given up his Waukon tailor shop and moved into the Iowa Old Soldiers’ Home in Marshalltown.

When he was called to the stand and shown the murder weapon, Dean said he was not sure it was the one belonging to Frank Arnold and thought, in fact, that it wasn’t.

from the Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette

from the Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette

With that dramatic change in testimony combined with Arnold’s contention — backed up by his parents Jackson and Ellen Arnold — that he was home in bed at the time of Henry Duffy’s murder, the state’s case was destroyed.

On January 25, 1898, Allamakee County Attorney Hilas H. Stilwell rested his case. He told Judge L.E. Fellows that because of Dean’s changed testimony and because of other facts that came to light during the trial, the state would ask that the prosecution be withdrawn, the jury instructed to return a verdict of not guilty, and the accused released.

The case had come to an unexpected and sudden end with no conviction of a killer and no resolution to the death of Henry V. Duffy.

☛ Aftermath ☚

The end of the murder trial did not signal the end of legal matters surrounding Henry Duffy’s death. The principals continued pressing for settlements and redress.

First was the matter of Henry Duffy’s life insurance policies totaling $5,000.

After the trial, Northwestern of Milwaukee paid out $2,000 in benefits on Duffy’s policy with them.

However, North American Accident Association of Chicago balked at paying off their $3,000 policy, declaring that the trial concluded Frank Arnold did not kill Duffy but had not substantiated that Duffy was actually murdered. They insisted that Duffy killed himself, making his policy with them void.

In January of 1898, James E. Duffy, who administered his brother Henry’s estate, filed suit compelling the North American Accident Association of Chicago to pay.

D.J. Murphy (from Past and present of Allamakee County)

D.J. Murphy
(from Past and present of Allamakee County)

In April of 1898, two suits were filed against Henry Duffy’s estate simultaneously, one on behalf of Duffy’s spurned lover Mary Alice McMorrow and the other on behalf of acquitted murder defendant Frank Arnold.

Both claimants were represented by attorney D.J. Murphy, who had helped prosecute Arnold, and by James Patrick Conway, who defended Arnold in the murder trial by claiming Duffy was suicidal because of McMorrow’s pregnancy.

Mary Alice McMorrow — calling herself “Mary A. McMorrow-Duffy” — asked that James E. Duffy be required to pay her $5,000 of Henry’s life insurance as well as “her dower interest in his estate.” She claimed she was Henry Duffy’s “lawful wife . . . his lawful widow, and mother and heir at law of their daughter.”

Arnold asked for $10,000 as remuneration for his arrest, incarceration, and trial for murder.

☛ Henry V. Duffy’s Life ☚

Possible photo of Henry Duffy's funeral procession (from Allamakee IA GenWeb)

Possible photo of Henry Duffy’s funeral procession
(from Allamakee County IAGenWeb)

Henry V. Duffy was born in Waukon, Iowa, on April 12, 1864 to Irish immigrants James Duffy and Mary A. McCaffrey. He had five siblings: Mary Duffy, Alice E. Duffy, John W. Duffy, James E. Duffy, and Katie W. Duffy.

During Henry Duffy’s funeral on Thursday, April 29, all Waukon businesses closed in his honor. Company I of the National Guard, of which he was Captain, provided military rites and led a procession of 200 teams to the Mount Olivet Cemetery.

The photo at right — identified only as a Waukon street scene from about 1890 — is posted on the excellently researched Allamakee County IAGenWeb page known as

It seems to capture a most solemn occasion led by a military fife and drum corps. Behind the musicians is a group of soldiers heading up a long procession of men and horse-drawn vehicles through the city’s business district. Visible towards the back of the line near the flags is a conveyance which may be a hearse.

Is this the funeral procession for Capt. Henry V. Duffy as described by newspapers?

If you have information on this photo, please email me by clicking on my name above or by leaving a comment.

 ☛ Loose Ends ☚

photo by Patty Wisher

photo by Patty Wisher

Frank Arnold, the man accused of murdering Henry Duffy, died at the age of 28 within months of his acquittal. He was buried in the Mount Olivet Cemetery, where Duffy is interred under an impressive monument.

On June 11, 1899, Henry Duffy’s brother James E. Duffy — the executor of his estate — was struck and killed by a train in McGregor, Iowa.

Mary Alice “Mame” McMorrow, whose pregnancy was cited by the defense in their claim that Henry Duffy killed himself, married John Joseph Coakley in 1903 and they had three children. She died in Hennepin, Minnesota, on September 26, 1948 at the age of 82.

Katherine “Katie” McMorrow — sister of Mary Alice McMorrow — married Emmet Hall, the J. Duffy & Sons store clerk who discovered Henry Duffy’s body.

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


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  • Past and Present of Allamakee County, Iowa: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement by Ellery M. Hancock. Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.
  • ☛ Postville Review, August 6, 1897.
  • ☛ “Proving It Was Murder,” Dubuque Daily Herald, January 22, 1898.
  •, Allamakee County IAGenWeb.
  • ☛ “Shot By A Burglar,” Burlington Hawk-Eye, April 28, 1897.
  • ☛ “Shot By Burglars,” Le Mars Semi-Weekly Sentinel, April 29, 1897.
  • ☛ “State Brevities,” Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette, April 30, 1897.
  • ☛ “State Brevities,” Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette, August 14, 1897.
  • ☛ “Sues for $10,00 Damages,” Postville Review, April 8, 1898.
  • ☛ “A Supposed Waukon Murder [sic] Caught,” Elgin Echo, August 12, 1897.
  • ☛ “Telegrams Condensed,” Daily Illinois State Journal, August 13, 1897.
  • ☛ “Trial Of Frank Arnold,” Daily Iowa Capital, November 2, 1897.
  • ☛ U.S. Census.
  • ☛ “Was Killed By Burglars,” Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette, April 28, 1897.
  • ☛ “Waukon Murder Trial,” Dubuque Daily Herald, January 20, 1898.
  • ☛ “Will Have Strong Defense,” Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette, January 11, 1898.
  • ☛ “Woman In The Case,” Dubuque Daily Herald, January 19, 1898.
  • ☛ “Woman In Duffy Case,” Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette, January 19, 1898.

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