Searching for my family history in the microfilms of old newspapers such as the St. Charles Cosmos-Monitor and the St. Charles Banner News, I realized what great, colorful stories were written in the late nineteen and early twentieth centuries. St. Charles and its surrounding communities were the sites for many homicides, suicides and accidental deaths that were vividly written by reporters of the day, and being a commissioned police officer for almost 30 years, these stories were right up my alley.
I compiled examples from each decade from the 1870s to 1920s in a book entitled “Crime Beat: Murder, Mayhem and the Mundane, As Reported in Newspapers of St. Charles, Missouri 1871-1916.”
A rather comical entry from 1890 Letter to Editor of the St. Charles Cosmo complained about the “cow question”. Taypayer writes:
“What protection has a property holder got in our city where cows are left to destroy his beautiful lawns, gardens and shade trees…what protection has a merchant got who pays his license to the city for doing business, and has perfect right to set vegetables, produce, etc., two feet from his building for display, and a cow comes along eats them and goes its way happy…when a cow jumps his 4 1/2 ft. fence or knows how to open his garden gate, steals in, destroys the nice garden and shrubberies that the housewife has been cultivating for yard and ruins all?”
Some other entries are:
- The Assassination of President Garfield
- The Assassination of President McKinley
- The Death of Etta Stone and her Children
- The Murders of Officers Blair and Lamb
- The Murder of Judge Henry Dierker
- The Murder of Sheriff John Dierker
The cover art was designed by me using Photoshop from a photocopy of an ad in the St. Charles Banner News. The article “Murders of Officers Blair and Lamb” was published in Vol 28, No. 4, October 2010 issue of the Saint Charles County Heritage, The Bulletin of the St. Charles County Historical Society.