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A case of assault occurred in Center township May 7, 1877, which attracted a great deal of attention, the victim being a respectable young lady of that township, who had been engaged to one Olaf T. Engebretson, a young fellow about twenty, but her parents knowing him to be a shiftless, worthless fellow, had induced her to cast him off and refusehis attentions. Monday morning Miss --- was to commence teaching in the neighborhood, and as she went to her school Enge bretson was seen with a shot gun, apparently going to intercept her, but she arrived at the school house before him. Following her up he rapped at the door, there being but a few small children present, and as she appeared in the door-way he grabbed hold of her, declaring that as they were about to part forever he wanted a "farewell kiss," and attempted to bite off her nose, in which he was nearly successful, lacerating that member so as to horribly disfigure her face. He then disappeared, and all efforts of the Sheriff to find him were fruitless, until the following Friday when he put in an appearance at Harper's Ferry, where he was arrested and taken to Waukon. Waiving examination he was released upon $300 bail to appear at the next term of District Court. Early in July he again invaded Miss --~'s schoolroom, flourished a revolver and badly frightened both teacher and pupils, but the opportune arrival of a director prevented any mischief. Failing to appear at the November Court, he was re-arrested in April following, and convicted of assault with intent to commit great bodily injury, receiving a sentence of one year in the county jail.
A shooting affray occurred in a Lansing saloon July 5th, 1878, the saloon keeper, Philip Bieber, killing a man named Seiple. Bieber was arrested and gave bail in $2,000. When his trial came on he plead guilty of assault with intent to commit great bodily injury, and escaped with a judgment of $50 and costs.
A fatal affray occurred in Waterville October 20, 1878. James G. Savage was an experienced railroad hand and section boss on the narrow gauge. He was an intelligent, well disposed man, and peaceable when sober; but the demon of intemperance had gained the mastery of him, and he was given to indulgence in "regular sprees," at which times he was an ugly customer, as liquor made him wild and quarrelsome. In the few months preceding he had figured prominently in numerous fights and one serious stabbing affray. In company with several congenial spirits, Sunday morning, Savage went down to Johnsonsport by handcar and procured liquor, returning to Waterville in the afternoon considerably intoxicated. In this condition his party went to the Adams House, a tavern kept by Ed. Neudeck, and called for liquor. They were refused, whereupon Savage proceeded to demolish things generally, throwing bottles, glasses, etc., out of doors, and treating the boys" all around. They afterwards went out, and returning about dusk, found the doors locked, and Neudeck warned them to keep away, and that he would shoot them if they forced an entrance. Regardless of this in his drunken bravado, Savage kicked in the door, and as he did so Neudeck fired one barrel of his shot-gun, the charge not taking effect, and immediately fired again as Savage pressed forward to seize the gun, whereupon the unfortunate man fell to the floor, and Neudeck in the excitement slipped away. Neudeck was a man of more than ordinary intelligence and ability, a miller by trade, who came from Clayton county the preceding fall. The next day he presented himself to the Sheriff at Waukon, and was lodged in jail. At the next November term of the District Court he was acquitted, on the ground of self-defense.
In March, 1880, Daniel McLoud, of Linton township, was arrested upon a charge of rape, the victim being his own daughter, only fourteen years of age. At the May term of court he was convicted, and sentenced to ten years in the penitentiary.
Early on the morning of August 24, 1879, two burglars went through the office and safe of the mill coinpany-Hemenway, Barclay & Co., at Lansing; first overpowering the night watchman, Ř. G. Edwards, whom they beat nearly to death and left bound and gagged, and in an insensible condition. They blew the safe open with powder, but for all their trouble obtained scarcely fifty dollars. They then joined their companion who was awaitiag them with a skiff, and escaped At first it was supposed there were four men in the transaction, and a party of that number were arrested below McGregor in a skiff the next day, but proved to be not the ones wanted. Two of the burglars, Charles Wood, alias "Pittsburg Kid”, and Frank Lucas, were captured at LaCrosse two or three days later, with tools in their possession and checks of the firm. Wood owned up the crime, and tried to exonerate Lucas from any participation in the affair, further than rowing the burglars to the scene and away again, claiming that his companion was one James White, alias "Sandy," or "Red;" and this one was arrested at Lansing shortly after. They were all placed in the Decorah jail to await the next term of the district court, our county jail not being sufficiently secure. It was ascertained from Wood, or the "Kid" as he was generally called, that he was one of the parties who burglarized two or three stores in Waukon the previous spring; and it was evident he was a hardened criminal and skillful cracksman, besides being much older in years than his looks would imply. The three had been in the Decorah jail but a short time, when they one night made an unsuccessful attempt to overpower the Sheriff and escape. November 12th following, indictments were filed against them, and the “Kid" at first plead guilty with the view of being sent to the reform school, but the law fixing the age of admission to that institution at under sixteen years, the plea was witherawn. That night they en
deavered to gopher out of the county jail, but were discovered and their plans frustrated. The “Kid" had his trial at this term, and received sixteen years in the penitentiary. The cases of the others were continued, and they remanded to the Decorah jail, from which they escaped on the evening of January 22d following, by sawing off a bar to a window. Lucas, and another prisoner by name of Bernard, were re-captured in the Yellow River timber, not far from Myron on the fo:lowing evening, but White got clear off and has not since been heard of to our knowledge. Lucas, trial came on in May, 1880, when he was convicted and sentenced to twelve years. On an appeal to the Supreme Court, a new trial was granted, which took place in May, 1881, with the same result-a sentence of twelve years, less the time already served.
County Seat Contests; Selecting the "Old Stake;" The First Elec
tion; Second Election, Columbus Carries the Day; Lansing vs. Columbus; a Commission Selects Waukon; Commissioners' Decision Ratified at the Polls; Other Rival Claimants; Waukon Again Ahead; Lansing. Once More in the Fight; Waukon Wins; Another Election, and Re-Location of County Seat, this Time at “The Point;" A New Election, and an Appeal to the Courts; Waukon Finally Wins a Conclusire Victory; Interesting and Exciting Episodes.
The county seat contests since the organization of the county form an important feature of its history; but at times they created so much excitement and bitter sectional feeling that it is a delicate matter to treat of them even now in such a manner as would seem to all parties strictly impartial. Of course the location of the seat of county government at any place was considered to be a great advantage, and numerous villages, which can now hardly be called villages, at one time or other each had high hopes of securing a prestige thereby that would establish their prosperity on a permanent basis. They who entertained these hopes were doomed to disappointment, however, and when the contest was narrowed down to the principal towns of the county, the other sections turned in on one side or the other, according as they were moved by feelings of local advantage, public weal, or disappointment and revenge, and the contest between Lansing and Waukon was prolonged and bitter, until repeated decisions by the public voice settled it permanently in favor of the latter place.