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COUNTY OFFICERS IN 1882.
Clerk of Courts—M. W. Harden; N. H. Nelson, Deputy.
At the November election, 1876, a tax was voted for the erec
, tion of a new County jail, the majority for the tax being 290. The erection of a substantial brick building on the southeast corner of the Court House grounds was promptly commenced and duly completed, and improved steel cells put in. Besides being a handsome structure, it is the safest in this part of Iowa. It is referred to elsewhere.
Population; Court House and Jail; Court House Grounds; Poor
House and Farm; Murder Trials; Railroad History; Our Products; Educational and Literary; a Gratifying Exhibit; Good State of the County Finances; Census of 1880.
By the United State census of 1880 the population of Winneshiek County was 23,937. And yet up to the commencement of the previous year, the court house erected in the early days, with a jail and residence for the sheriff in the basement, was so good a building that it had done service for a little over thirty years, and now with a new jail, containing sheriff's residence, improvements made in the court house and enlargement of quarters of county officers, the latter building will answer the purpose for the county for some years yet. A few words about the county buildings:
COURT HOUSE AND JAIL. The present Court House was commenced in 1857, a tax having been voted in 1856, and was completed in 1858. The courts previous to that time were sometimes held in rented rooms, though for a while at first in the log house of Wm. Day, and afterwards in Newell's Hall. The cost of the Court House buildings, including the jail in the basement, was about $18,000. The land for the grounds was donated by Wm. Day and Wm. Painter, and occupies one square, being bounded on the north by Main street, on the east by Winnebago street, on the south by Broadway, and on the west by Court street. The Court House building has a basement of stone in which were originally the jail and sheriff's residence, and above this two stories of brick; the court room occupying the upper floor and the county offices the remaindea of the building.
After the erection of the new jail the basement was given up to the Recorder's office with a large fire-proof vault, the Clerk's office with also a fire-proof vault, and the office of the County Surveyor. The offices of the County Treasurer, Auditor, Sheriff, and County Superintendent, are now on the floor above. The court room is on the upper floor as originally constructed.
In the fall of 1876, a county tax of $12,000, to be divided between 1877 and 1878, was voted for the erection of a new jail, as stated at the close of the preceding chapter. The jail was commenced and completed in 1878. It is a handsome brick building, two stories high, with stone basement and tin roof-size on the ground being 344x56 feet. The Sheriff's residence is on the first floor and the jail proper on the second floor, provided with Pauley's patent steel cells, considered very secure and proof against jail breakers. The cost of building, with cells, etc., wasJail building:
$5,434.25 P.J. Pauley's patent steel cells and corridors with sewer pipe and water tank..
6,097 00 200 barrel cistern..
175 00 10 inch sewer pipe connecting with dry run.
208 00 Total ....
...$11,114 25 There was also expended in 1878, on stone walls and terracing the Court House grounds, about $5,000. Much smaller amounts have since been expended in continuing the walls and terracing, and the work is mostly finished, except on the south side, where the excavating of Broadway by the city is not yet completed. The main front of the Court House is on the north side, the building being a little back of the centre of the grounds, and the jail at the southeast corner of the grounds.
With the outer wall there are five walls and terraces, covered with grassy lawu, presenting a beautiful appearance. The court house was, for that time, a magnificent building, and is still respectable looking, though a little ancient. Its position is commanding, overlooking the city and surrounding valley, and will some of these days, no doubt, be the site of an imposing edifice.
POOR HOUSE AND FARM. The poor house and farm of Winneshiek County are located near the village of Freeport, on the southeast quarter of section 14, township 98, range 8 west, in Decorah township; the farm contains 130 acres. Sixty acres were purchased in 1866, and on it stood a large frame house; a brick house, barn and other buildings have since been erected, and seventy acres of timber land purchased.
Winneshiek County has had some half a dozen murders, or cases in which that crime was charged, the trial in the last case being still to come. Several of them have been exciting ones.
The first trial for murder was held in 1861. The defendants were John Livengood and Delilah A. Telyea, who were tried for the murder of Charles Telyea, the husband of Delilah A., in the October term of court, 1861, before Judge Williams. When the charge was first made against the guilty parties, the grand jury failed to find an indictment, on the ground that the body of the murdered man had not been found; but the case was brought before the next grand jury, who brought in a bill. Public opinion was strong against the accused, and great excitement prevailed. The public was agitated to such an extent over the matter that the defendants' attorneys sued for a change of venue, which was granted. The case was taken to Clayton County, where the parties were tried. Livengood was found guilty, and sentenced to the penitentiary for life; while Mrs. Telyea was acquitted, although public opinion generally considered her guilty. Livengood was pardoned out at the end of ten years, and is supposed to be now living somewhere in Northern Wisconsin.
The next case to enlist attention, and set the public in a state of ferment was that of Charles D. Seeley, for the murder of Wm. McClintock, tried before Judge McGlatherty, February 11th, 1872. Seeley was convicted of manslaughter, and sentenced to the penitentiary, at hard labor, for fifteen months.
The third murder trial, and by far the most exciting, was that of Helen D. Stickles for the murder of her husband, J. P. Stickles, by poison. On January 4, 1876, John P. Stickles, to all appearances was enjoying perfect health. That afternoon he was suddenly taken sick, and died within a few hours, with all the attendant symptoms of poisoning by strychnine. The next morning as the news circulated from mouth to mouth, giving in detail the sudden and horrible death, the conviction was forced upon the community that either a fatal mistake had been made in administering medicine to the unfortunate man, or a wanton and terrible crime had been committed. A post-mortem examination was held, which served to strengthen the previous theory that J. P. Stickles had died from poison. The stomach was sent to Chicago for analysis. Dr. M. P. Hatfield, the chemist who made the analysis, sent back word that he had found strychnine.
As a result of the continual agitation of the question by the public, and the evidence produced, the Grand Jury, at its March session, 1876, indicted Helen D. Stickles for murder. The case came on for trial in the District Court, Judge Reuben Noble presiding, in June. The trial lasted nine days, during which time the excitement was intense and unabated. 0. J. Clark, Prosecuting Attortorney, was aided by J. T. Clark in prosecuting the side of the State, while C. P. Brown and Cyrus Wellington made themselyes noted as criminal lawyers, by the ability with which they defended the accused. It was one of the most stubbornly-contested trials ever held in the county.
Public opinion very generally condemned Mrs. Stickles, but the jury disagreed, standing five for acquittal to seven for conviction. A change of venue was granted the accused, and the case was taken to Fayette County for trial, where she was finally acquitted. She afterwards married Harry Shufelt who was an intimate friend of the family at the time of the death of Mr. Stickles, as well as of the accused at the time of the trial, and moved to the northeastern part of the State, where several years later she attempted suicide on account of being scolded by her husband for too much hilarity; but the dose of poison was pumped out.
On the 9th of July 1876, a fatal shooting encounter took place at the residence of Simeon Oleson. They had some supplies left over from the 4th of July and concluded to have a bowery dance on Sunday evening; Andrew Throndson, who was not invited, attended; but it was a fatal visit to him. It seems that one or both of the parties to the affray had been drinking. As Throndson, who, with some others, were shooting in a grove not far off, approached the house of Simeon Oleson, who with some others, went out to meet him, it was charged that both parties shot at eachother. Throndson fell in the field where he stood, but the others thought that he meant to decoy them, or at least they did not go out there until the next morning, where the dead body of Throndson was found. Oleson was bound over for trial. At the first trial the jury disagreed, and at the second he was acquitted.
The next murder case or affray resulting in death, occurred on the 21st of December, 1876. Four brothers, named Torfin, living not far from Locust Lane postoffice, which is near the northeast cor
ner of Pleasant Township, were going home from Decorah in a sleigh, several other sleighs following along behind them. Some of the sleighs passed them, and in some way the parties got into a quarrel. Peace was apparently soon restored, however, and they continued on their way until the sleighs that were ahead of the Torfin brothers, reached a cross road where they halted; some of the men jumped out, and when the Torfins came up, wanted to settle this thing right here.” Some of the Torfins jumped from their sleigh, and while walking about, Ed. Torfin was felled to the earth with a club. It was found that Helge Nelson struck the blow: Torfin sprang up and ran and got into his sleigh, drove home, and came down to his breakfast the next morning. The affray occurred on Thursday evening. Sunday morning he died. Nelson was arrested, tried, and sentenced to six months in the penitentiary.
The last murder was committed on Sunday, June 4, 1882, and the trial has not yet taken place. We take the following particulars from the Decorah Journal, June 7.
Peter Peterson Krogsund, a well-to-do farmer near the Peter Olson stone mill, in Glenwood township, will have no more trouble about his cattle trespassing; and Hans Hansen Skjerdahl, who rents a farm near there, will probably have a life time to repent the killing of his neighbor, whether that life is suddenly brought up at the end of a rope or spent in prison walls—or possibly ended in some other way-who can tell.
To state the case briefly, and not to try to prejudge it, or give evidence on either side that might prejudice it, as that will more properly came before a jury, it is as follows:
Some years ago the deceased, Peter Peterson Krogsund, bought a farm, on which he lived up to the time of his death. After his purchase he was ordered to move back his fence, which was built before he owned it, and which it seems trespassed a little on the road. He thereupon removed his fence entirely, leaving his neighbors to look after their stock, as the stock law did not compel him to keep a fence. That seems to have been the beginning of illfeeling
The recent trouble between the deceased and Hansen, the man who shot him, first commenced last fall, but has not been renewed again, particularly, it appears, until recently, though Hansen purchased a revolver about a month ago.
Two days before the shooting there was a little trouble about the deceased's stock getting on to Hansen's premises. Last Sunday afternoon Krogsund's cattle came on to Hansen's place, when the latter shut them up and sent word by a girl to the owner. It does not appear that the cattle had done much damage.
The deceased, who had the reputation of being quarrelsome, came to the field about sun down, and began to throw the bars down to get his cattle. Hansen was lying just a little behind the point of the bluff near the bars, and rose up and told K. not to