Iowa Old Press
May 17, 1895
IS IT SELF DEFENSE?
Conrad Kohl, a Wealthy Union Township Farmer Shoots His Former Hired Man,
Claims It Was in Self Defense.—Has Many Friends.—Story of the Shooting.
A fatal shooting affray occurred last night in Union township near the
village of O’Leary. Wm. Dockey, a farmhand, was shot and killed by his
former employer, Conrad Kohl, a prosperous and wealthy farmer and one of
Plymouth’s old settlers. The shooting was the outcome of a disagreement
between Kohl and Dockey dating from Sunday last. Upon that day Dockey, in
company with other O’Learyites got up on a big drunk, presumably at Neptune.
Returning at night he slept in the barn and the next morning was not in a
condition for work. Kohl told him that he was no longer required about the
place and sent him to Warner’s store to receive the balance due him, about
$22 for labor. Warner gave him about $11, withholding the balance for an
account that he (Warner) had against him. Either that day or the following
one Dockey went to Sioux City in company with one Warner. He returned to
O’Leary last night and was seen in the town about 9 o’clock in an
intoxicated condition. Shortly before ten, Kohl’s family returned from a
prayer meeting and reported seeing Dockey, first in the road and then near
the outbuildings. Putting a pistol in his pocket, the old man sent out to
the buildings. When near one of the grain barns he met Dockey and asked him
what he was doing there. “None of your d---n business” was the reply and
with the words he dealt Kohl a blow on the left side of the head with a
heavy monkey wrench, making an ugly scalp wound. The old man upon being thus
assaulted, pulled the pistol from his pocket and shot Dockey in the forehead
almost squarely between the eyes. Death was instantaneous. Kohl
immediately spread the news, and sent Watson Monroe, a neighbor, and a clerk
in the store, to LeMars for Sheriff Boyle. The latter was out of town but
Deputy Lewis accompanied by Coroner Gray hastened to the scene of the
killing. Kohl was tan into custody and a jury empanelled preparatory to an
inquest. The evidence taken was principally that of Mr. Kohl and was
substantially as given above. The jury at 4 a.m. returned a verdict of
“death caused by a bullet fired from a pistol in the hands of Conrad Kohl.”
The pistol was a small affair, rather old looking and known as Red Jacket
No. 4, of 32 caliber.
The deceased had been working around O’Leary for several months past, first
for Tom Dunbar and, since last fall, for Farmer Kohl. He was a short heavy
set fellow with sandy moustache and light hair, drank a good deal and was
not of prepossessing appearance. He has a brother at Ellendale, N.D., and
it is also rumored that he has a wife and two children in that state,
although he has generally posed as a single man. The brother has been
telegraphed. His parents lived in Chickasaw county.
Mr. Kohl is one of Plymouth’s most substantial and well-to-do farmers, the
owner of a half section of rich farming land in Union and has a host of warm
friends all of whom are firm in loyalty and stand up right royally for him.
At the preliminary hearing he was released upon $3,000 bond to appear June
25th for trial. Besides himself, C. E. Haas and J. C. Huebsch are upon the
bond. Mr. Kohl alone is worth many times the required amount.
Great excitement prevails both in the neighborhood of the shooting and in
LeMars Sentinel, LeMars, (Plymouth), Iowa, Monday, May 20, 1895,
Page 4, Column 3:
WITH A REVOLVER
Farmer Conrad Kohl, of O'Leary, Fatally Shoots Wm. Dockey.
CLAIMS IT WAS SELF DEFENSE
Immediately Send For the Sheriff, and Gives Himself Up--Released on
$3,000 Bonds to Appear June--25th--Coroner's Jury Held and Verdict Rendered.
The little village of O'Leary was the scene of great excitement Friday
over the killing of William Dockey by his former employer, Conrad Kohl, the
previous night, and the subsequent appearance of the sheriff and coroner and
the holding of an inquest in the early hours of the morning before many of
the neighboring farmers were awake.
The scene of the killing was Kohl's farm yard, a distance of about forty
rods south of O'Leary, and the only witness to the encounter between the men
resulting in Dockey's death was Kohl's son, a lad of about fourteen years.
Father and son give the same details in describing the affair, both claiming
that the shot was in self-defense, but their is considerable public opinion
against Kohl among some of his neighbors who regard him as very hot-headed.
According to the stories of himself and son and W. L. Warner, the O'Leary
storekeeper, it appears that the man, Dockey, worked for Kohl about eight
months and up to the preceding Monday when Kohl dismissed him on account of
his coming home drunk Sunday and being unfit for work. He went with him to
Warner's store and there paid him what money was still due him, nearly $30.
Dockey accompanied Warner to Sioux City that day and they remained there
until Wednesday evening. Thursday, the day of killing, Dockey went to
Neptune and got a keg of beer and returned and was drinking during the
afternoon at Nugent's blacksmith shop. It is reported that he told Nugent
when he left in the evening that he was going over to Kohl's to get some
sausage and dried beef which he knew Kohl had stored in an outbuilding. At
about eight o'clock he entered Warner's store and secured pen, paper and ink
and did a little writing after which he went out and an hour later was
Mrs. Kohl and a daughter had been at church that evening and in
returning after nine o'clock saw Dockey in the yard. They told Mr. Kohl and
he took his revolver and went out with his son against their wishes. He saw
nothing of Dockey for some time, but finally noticed him at the granary
door. He immediately said "What the h---- are you doing, Bill?" and the
latter replied "None of your d----- business," whereupon Kohl rushed up and
grabbed him by one arm telling him to put up his hands. With his disengaged
arm Dockey struck him on the head with a monkey wrench he had in his grasp
and Kohl immediately fired, the ball taking effect just over Dockey's right
eye, killing him instantly. The revolver was a small 22 calibre weapon.
Mr. Kohl at once proceeded to Warner's store and told Warner the
particulars and Wallace Munroe and Geo. Farrell were dispatched to LeMars
for the sheriff and coroner. Deputy Sheriff Lewis, in Sheriff Boyle's
absence, went out at once, and Coroner Gray followed. A jury consisting of
W. L. Warner, Sam Harvey and George Farrell was empanelled and a verdict
found that the deceased was brought to his death by a bullet from a revolver
in Conrad Kohl's hand.
Conrad Kohl is a wealthy and highly respected farmer of over fifty years
of age, the father of several children who are leading members in church and
social life in the community and upon whom the blow falls heavily. Mr. Kohl
himself is suffering greatly from the act committed in a moment of
excitement and he has the sympathy of a host of friends who easily find
excuses for him on the grounds of self-defense. he is, however, regarded by
some of his neighbors as very hot-headed and exciteable and a fact, with
unpleasant connections with the shooting, is that he purchased cartridges to
fit the revolver used that same evening at the store. On the other hand
most any man would be liable to shot after being struck on the head with an
iron wrench. he was given a hearing Friday morning and was bound over for
preliminary examination until June 25, and was released on a bail bond of
$3,000 which was signed by himself, C. E. Haas and J. C. Huebsch.
Zink & Roseberry have been retained for the defense.
Dockey was a man of about 33 years of age, of short, thickset build, and
had been injured at some time in the leg and in one hand, somewhat crippling
him. He has a brother in Ellendale, S. D., where he previously lived, and
his parents reside in Chickasaw county, this state. His relatives were
telegraphed, but could not be found in time to arrange for his burial and
his funeral occurred on Saturday from Beely & Fissel's undertaking rooms.
Previous to his working for Kohl he had worked six months for Ben Dunbar who
stated that he was a hard-working, honest man with no worse proclivities
than a slight inclination to drink.
LeMars Sentinel, LeMars, (Plymouth), Iowa, Thursday, May 23, 1895,
Page 4, Column 3:
To Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Thomson (sic--Thompson), Friday, May 17, a girl.
May 27, 1895
MARCHANT-ADAMS—At the home of the bridegroom on Cedar street, Saturday, May
25, Mr. D. O. Marchant and Mrs. Louise Adams.
The wedding occurred in the evening at 7 o’clock very quietly and was a
great surprise to the relatives and friends of the contracting parties. Mr.
Marchant is a widower with a family and is well known and respected in the
community. His bride is a widow, the daughter of Mr. S. Moist, with whom she
has been residing for some time past. The happy couple are making their home
in LeMars and were entertained yesterday at dinner at the home of John
WESTFIELD TOWNSHIP SCHOOL PICNIC.
The six schools of Westfield township will hold a picnic June 7 on the
Westfield school grounds. There will be recitations and music by the
children in the forenoon and an address by Superintendent Wernli followed by
a ball game in the afternoon. All patrons and people interested in school
work are cordially invited.
Geo. W. Wilson was over from Ft. Dodge Friday and Saturday.
Miss Primrose, of Cherokee, is in town a guest at the home of Joseph Long.
Mrs. Ed Brandon went to Storm Lake Saturday morning on a visit to relatives.
Hugh Boyle, of Darlington, Wis., arrived last week for a visit with his
Mrs. W.A. Treat and Mrs. E.A. Coombs returned last week from a visit in
George Buchanan, of Pittsburg, Kan., is visiting in town with his sister,
Mrs. J.C. McMahan.
Mrs. H.J. Pfeiffer, of Cedar Falls, arrived in town last week and is a guest
at the home of S. Brunskill.
John Horrigan, who was formerly on the police force here, was in town
Saturday shaking hands with friends.
E.D. Trotter, of Kingsley, won the state cup for live birds at the shooting
tournament at Cedar Rapids recently.
M.A. Moore and W.H. Perry were in attendance at the convention of
northwestern Iowa lumberman at Sheldon last Thursday.
Mr. Campbell, of Des Moines, formerly a member of the board of railway
commissioners of Iowa, was in town last week on business.
Mrs. Hazard, who with her children, has been visiting her sister, Mrs. N.W.
Gilbert, left Friday to return to her home in Kansas City.
Reuben Rogers, of Correctionville, was in LeMars over Sunday, the guest of
J.L. Krosen, while on the way home from a business trip to Minnesota.
Cherokee Times: Miss L. Emma Jones, a stenographer of LeMars, spent a couple
of days in town this week assisting JD.F. Smith in taking depositions.
Mrs. L.D. Clay and daughter, Mable, will leave at the end of the week for
Iowa Falls where they will spend the summer. They will be accompanied by
Miss Aimee Diehl.
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas left last night for a few weeks trip to different points
in the northwest. Mrs. Thomas will return to visit her parents again before
returning to Chicago.
Miss Stanley, who taught during the past winter in the Akron schools, left
on Saturday to return to her home in Ft. Dodge, after visiting relatives and
friends in town for a few days.
Mrs. W. H. Dent returned home yesterday morning from Chicago, where she has
been visiting a short time after her return from the south. Miss Dent
visited a short time with relatives in Canada and will return next Friday.
John Gitz, of Freeport, Ill., was here last week visiting his sister, Mrs.
Albert, and also looking after his farm property near Sibley, which was in
the path of the late storm which materially injured the buildings on the
place, moving the house off its foundation and unroofing the barns.
A BREAKFAST RE-UNION.
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Sammis, of Chicago, spent Sunday in the city with
relatives. They were entertained at a breakfast at the home of Mr. and Mrs.
Geo. A. Sammis yesterday morning and there were present in addition Messrs.
And Mesdames J.U. Sammis, P.E. Sammis and H.M. Sammis and several friends.
The gathering of cousins made quite a festive re-union at the breakfast
DEATH OF RICHARD RICKETTS
Word has been received in LeMars that Richard Ricketts died in Albuquerk,
New Mexico, on Sunday, May 19, after a long illness. He had been sick for a
long time in Chicago and had been taken to the mountains for his health. He
was in the neighborhood of seventy-five years of age. He was for many years
a resident of LeMars, being at one time one of the proprietors of the LeMars
SONS OF VETERANS ORGANIZATION.
The organization of the camp of Sons of Veterans of this city will be
completed tonight and the officers will be elected. A.L. Serter, of Mason
City, will be here tomorrow evening in the capacity of mustering officer and
the members of the camp will be mustered in. The camp will be organized with
a membership of over thirty.
OUR COUNTY NEWS
By our Correspondents and From Exchanges.
KINGSLEY: (Special Correspondence)
About two o’clock Thursday afternoon the alarm of fire was turned on. It was
found that the old livery stable near Schneider’s blacksmith shop was on
fire and the smoke was issuing from every crack and crevice. The firemen
were soon on the scene in force and two streams conveyed to the burning
building and soon had the fire under control, but not until a part of the
building was consumed. This is the first fire the town has had since the
water works system was completed and it was found to work to perfection and
no doubt saved a large portion of the town as the wind was blowing a heavy
gale from the southwest directly across the business portion.
Clay Wilson made a trip to South Dakota last week to look at some land he
thinks of trading for.
J. N. Butler arrested a Swede by the name of Charley Johnson Wednesday. It
seems he had been getting some goods of some of our merchants through false
representation. He claimed to have received a draft for two thousand dollars
from the old country which he had to take to Sioux City to get cashed. On
his examination this was found to be wholly false. Some one had put an awful
head on him and his face presented a sad appearance. He was kept in the
cooler over night when he was released and left town a more sober if not a
The W.C.T.U. gave a supper and rendered quite an interesting program on
Friday evening. The program consisted of songs, recitations, and essays,
while the cornet band furnished music in front of the hall. It was intended
to have the entertainment take place in a grove, but the cool evening
Mr. James Mattison and her sister, Mrs. Vanbuskirk, was called to
Jamesville, this state, to attend the funeral of their father, who died very
The memorial services on Sunday at the rink under the auspices of the G.A.R.
and Sons of Veterans was well attended in fact there was a jam. The several
churches joined in the service. Rev. John Croker preached the memorial
sermon assisted by Rev. Gardner in the service. The music was rendered by a
chorus of voices and was very appropriate to the occasion. One of the
features of the hour was the flag presentation to the camp by Uncle Dean
Whitney. The presentation speech was made by O.B. Heald in a very feeling
manner and was responded to in behalf of the camp by C.E. Smith. The flag is
a beauty and the boys may well feel proud of their colors.
Arrangements have been completed for the proper observance of May 30. The
schools will render a program in the rink in the forenoon and the main
exercises will take place at the cemetery and the rink in the afternoon. The
observance of the day is wholly in charge of the Sons of Veterans and will
be different from anything seen here before. The Kingsley and Henry township
cornet bands and drum corps will furnish the street music while the
orchestra and a chorus of voices will render the music in the rink. A large
crowd is anticipated to join in the proper observance of the day.
Uncle Dan Whitney is feeling quite poorly and is under the doctor’s care.
Joe Larman’s infant daughter which was thought could not recover is now on
the road to health again.
Hugh Mason and son, William, we learn, are trying to arrange for the old
Maitland drug store in which to 0pen a mercantile business. Maitland is
having the building refitted preparatory to occupancy.
Lambert Gasper has gone to his old home near Dubuque to visit his mother and
other relatives. John Ellis is working in the store during his absence.
AKRON: (From the Register)
Wm. Tillotson died of pneumonia at his home in Akron, May 17, 1895, aged 65
years, 4 months and 14 days. The deceased was born in New York, January 3,
1830. When he was eight years old he went to California and followed mining
in that state for fourteen years. He then returned to his old home in New
York and remained a short time. He came to Iowa in 1869 and has since made
this his home. He was married twice. He leaves to mourn his departure three
brothers, one in Iowa, one in Washington and in Florida, a wife and three
C.G. Chandler and J.N. Raish are boiling out at Hot Springs, S.D. Mr.
Chandler will start for California from there in a month.
After enjoying the bracing breezes in Wisconsin for several weeks, H. J.
Thode and family returned to Akron last Thursday afternoon.
Wesley Burrill is rarely seen in his store nowadays as a nine and a half
pound boy came to claim his home last Monday.
The 13-year-old boy of Mr. and Mrs. August Hanke died early Sunday morning
and was buried in the Catholic cemetery at Elk Point last Monday.
NEPTUNE; (Special Correspondence)
Miss Mary Geelan, of Spencer, S.D., is visiting at P.K. Martin’s. She and
her sister, Mrs. Martin, were in Sioux City, last week on business.
Bill Richards led up the Lincoln nine last Sunday to bat the Neptune nine,
but the Neptunites held their own and took the colors from the invaders.
Miss Nellie Sullivan and Miss Mamie Dunn will unite their schools for a
picnic in P. K. Martin’s grove and they intend to have a good time and a big
Court Konkel has built a reservoir for his windmill back of his house on
which he can draw when the wind is still.
Charley Worth is building a nice new house near Happy Corner on the old
Hogan farm and will soon occupy the same. It will be a fine addition to the
farm and street.
Adam Tritz has put up an addition to his store and is filling it with
supplies for his increasing trade.
Theodore Longinius has gone back to Hazel Green, Wis.
Henry Slentz is engaged to work for W.J. Westfall at Sergeant Bluffs.
O’LEARY: (Special Correspondence)
The Presbyterian minister at Sioux Center sent a call for help for the
cyclone sufferers to Rev. Wm. Semple and a collection was taken amounting to
nearly fifteen dollars, Sunday, May 19.
Lem Bullington, Mrs. McLain and son, Lyman, have returned from a month’s
visit at Decatur, in the southern part of the state. They drove down and
Mr. Eaton is visiting his grand daughter, Mrs. Clint Reynolds.
Charley Mars, of Cherokee, came on his bicycle to visit over Sunday with
Arthur Sloan has his bicycle here now so he can ride back and froth to his
home in Perry township.
Miss Nettie Pinney was somewhat hurt by being thrown from her cart in making
a short, quick turn last week.
A little daughter of Rob Cunningham, of Henry township, was buried in the
Union township cemetery Sunday, May 19. Rev. Thomas preached the funeral
sermon and Rev. Russell preached in his place at Mt. Hope. The child was a
year old and died of pneumonia.
Geo. Phillipps and James Mase drove to Cherokee last week to visit a few
days with relatives.
REMSEN: (From the Bell)
Mr. Nicolas Kaiser returned from his southern trip last Saturday evening and
is very well pleased with that country. He intends to make Louisiana his
Mr. Peter Lotz has been very sick recently and for some time it was feared
by his friends that he was in the greatest danger. Dr. Hunter, assisted by
Dr. Jepsen, of Sioux City, now have the patient in the best way toward
M. Beck, H. Nothem, C.G. Wagner and daughter, P. Burcher, Miss Anna Brucher
and J.P. Kieffer attended the Third Luxemburger Congress in Dubuque. Mr.
Beck and Mr. Nothem will from there to the sunny south.
Master Wm. Peters, son of Mr. P.H. Peters, was suddenly taken ill, May 13,
with nervous prostration. A heart failure combined itself and the young man
succumbed Monday morning, May 20. Willie was seventeen years old and a
model young man. The entire community has the most sincere sympathy for the
parents who are prostrated over the loss of a most dutiful son.
The baseball grounds on the south end of Main street were cleaned and
scraped last Thursday and everything is being done to make the grounds level
and smooth. When everything is completed we will have a first class ball
ground and will be prepared to meet any surrounding ball team for money,
marbles or chalk.
MERRILL: (From the Record)
John McGarie is laid up with a severe attack of inflammatory rheumatism.
A large number of teams came in from O’Leary Friday for the purpose of
helping Charles Worth to get his lumber out for his new house.
Miss Lottie Wallis of this city is instructing several church choirs in the
country. Miss Wallis is a good musician and the people will receive No. 1
Merrill will celebrate the nation’s birthday in a right loyal style. The
firemen, civic societies and the citizens generally, are enlisted in the
grand celebration to be held in the Floyd park, July 4. A speaker of
prominence will be present to address the people, singing by the Glee club
and other lite and musical exercises will occupy the forenoon. The afternoon
will be occupied by all sorts of sports and amusements such as baseball,
foot racing and a grand croquette match between Merrill and LeMars teams. In
the evening there will probably be a grand display of fire works. A bowery
dance will be run from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. The proceeds of the day will go to
the Merrill Volunteer Fire Co. Everybody is cordially invited.
STANTON: (Special Correspondence)
The school board met last Saturday to examine bids for the building of a
school house in sub district No. 4 and accepted the bid of W.A. Croft, he
being the lowest bidder. The usual number of bills were allowed.
It is rumored that one of our bachelors is about to be married to a young
lady of America township. We wish them long life and prosperity.
Supervisor Bixby is doing some good work on the highways now.
Henry Newell and wife was visiting in Union township last Thursday.
The scarcity of water made it necessary for Landlord Blodget to sink another
well for the convenience of his tenant.
Miss Becker, teacher in sub district No. 2, attended the picnic in Elgin
township last Friday.
Rev. Pittsmeyer held services at the Center school house yesterday.
SENEY SCHOOL GRADUATION.
The graduation exercises of the Seney School were held Friday evening and
quite a number from here were in attendance. A most elaborate program had
been prepared by the teacher, Miss Belau, and it was rendered to the delight
of the large concourse of patrons and friends who were present. The standard
of the Seney School is high and the graduates, Misses Mabel Pinney, Alice
McArthur, Belle McArthur and Carrie Darville, are well advanced in the
course of study. The valedictorian was Miss Carrie Darville. Following is
the program of the evening:
Voluntary – Mrs. Walter Bailey
Invocation – Rev. Fox
“Louisa May Alcott” – Mabel Pinney
“Sketch of Portia” – Alice McArthur
Male Quartet, selected – Geo. & Chas. Wernli, C.E. Haas, O.H. Hinds
“The Blind Girl of Castel Quille” – Belle McArthur
Review of Enoch Arden with Valedictory – Carrie Darville
Address – Prof. Coleman
Solo, selected – Miss J. Tierney
Address – Prof. Wernli
Awarding of diplomas
May 30, 1895
NOT THE SENEY SCHOOL.
The graduation exercises which were reported to have taken place last week
in the Seney school, of which Miss Belau is the teacher, should have been
stated as taking place in the school in sub-district No. 8, Elgin township,
of which Miss Plumb is the teacher. Mrs. Drew assisted in the musical
program arranged for the evening.
OUR COUNTY NEWS.
CHURCHVILLE: (Special Correspondence)
Working on the roads is the general order of the day in this vicinity at
Rev. Mr. and Mrs. L. Smith and Mr. and Mrs. Henry Koenig visited with Wm.
Kehrbergs near Kingsley Friday.
Samuel and Mrs. A. Uthe, of the Gateway, visited here Sunday.
Messrs. Paul and Ed Lucke and sisters and Miss Desda Delavan, of LeMars,
were visitors at H. Koenig’s on Sunday.
Chris. Schultz while out hunting last week accidently shot one of the Boyer
boys in the nose. The wound, however, is not serious.
A pleasant gathering of the young folks was had at the home of Rev. L. F.
Schmidt, which proved to be a surprise to the family.
The Y.P.A., of the Salem church is in a flourishing condition, several new
members were recently taken in and quite interesting programs are being
rendered every alternate Sunday evening. The program for June 9th will be as
follows: Duet: Rev. and Mrs. LO. Smith; Debate, resolved that riches are
preferable to knowledge. Affirmative, J. G. Prince, G. G. Koenig. Negative,
Mrs. Wm. Uthe, Miss Minnie Koenig. Declaration, Miss Meta Lentz. Select
reading, Miss Martha Prince. Recitation, Miss Laura Hieke.
HINTON: (Special Correspondence)
Mr. S. Moist, of LeMars, visited his daughter, Mrs. B. F. Bogenrief, Monday
Misses Tillie and Louisa Karley, of LeMars, were Melbourne visitors last
Miss E. Grimes, of Galena, Ill., visited with her friend, Amelia Held, last
There will be a school picnic at the Floyd river on C.H. Bender’s farm June
8. Preparations are being made to accommodate 300 people. A good literary
program is being prepared by the different schools. In addition to this
program there will be speeches delivered by Prof. J. Wernli, county
superintendent; W.E. Palmer, G. A. Young and others. Amusements of the day
will be baseball, croquet, boating, fishing, etc. All interested in the
school work are cordially invited to attend. A grand time is anticipated.