Iowa Old Press
May 19, 1894
A DUAL TRAGEDY
SHOOTS HIS NIECE AND THEN KILLS HIMSELF
Another Case of An Unloaded Revolver Which Causes the Loss of Two Lives
Great excitement was caused here Monday evening by the announcement that a
double tragedy had been committed about eight miles southeast of town on the
farm of N. Hansen.
Monday morning, Mr. and Mrs. Hansen went to Remsen to attend a church
celebration and left their home in charge of their daughter Anna and Mrs.
Hansen’s brother, Herman Peters. Dinner was eaten and then came the tragic
act which brought so much grief to the stricken family. Miss Hansen was in
the act of clearing the table, when her uncle, fooling with a revolver which
he thought was unloaded, exclaimed, “Shall I shoot you?” and not thinking
what he was doing, he pulled the trigger and fired the revolver which killed
his niece instantly. Realizing the dreadful crime he had committed, he ran
to a neighbor’s house and informed them of what had happened. Julius
Ewaldson and Will Shafer returned with him to the house, where he showed
them the girl lying dead on the kitchen floor. He talked with them a few
moments becoming more excited all the time, and finally, not being able to
think longer of the dreadful deed he had done, he rushed out to the barn
with them after him and pointed the revolver at his own head. He was stopped
by his friend shouting to him not to shoot himself, to which he replied,
“You get or I’ll shoot you.” He then fired two shots killing himself
instantly, one ball taking effect in the right temple and the other just
above the right eye. Thus ended the lives of two useful persons, who but a
few moments before were enjoying the hopes of a bright prospective future,
but by one foolish act had both been hurled into eternity.
Mr. and Mrs. Hansen were immediately informed of the sad accident, and
Coroner DeBey of Orange City, was telegraphed for. In the meantime the body
of the man was removed from the barn to the house. The coroner arrived at 9
p.m., a jury was empanelled and an inquest held at once. The jury,
consisting of E. C. Oggel, B. Bassett and L. Snyder, returned the following
“We, the jurors, find that the deceased Anna Hansen, came to death by a
pistol shot wound in the temple, the ball entering the brain, said pistol
being discharged by one Herman Peters by pointing it at her and saying,
‘Shall I shoot you.’ The jury also find that said Herman Peters had said he
did not know it was loaded and pulled the trigger. The jury further finds
that Anna Christiana Hansen came to her death in this way.
The said jury find that Herman Peters came to his death by two bullets
entering brains, fired from a revolver by deceased own hand, and they
further find that said Herman Peters committed suicide out of remorse for
having accidentally shot his niece, Miss Anna Christiana Hansen.”
The whole thing was a surprising and sad affair. Miss Anna Hansen was a
quiet girl of 17 years of age, and affectionate daughter, and loved by all
who knew her. She leaves a heart broken mother and a grief stricken father
to mourn the loss of their only daughter.
Herman Peters had been in the employ of Mr. Hansen for the past three years.
He was 31 years of age, bore a good reputation and was a man of quiet and
unassuming manners. Nothing but friendly relations existed between him and
Miss Hansen and without a doubt the shooting was an accident resulting from
The funeral of both occurred at the Evangelical church at Remsen, Wednesday.
TRIED TO BURN A SCHOOL HOUSE.
Sheriff Boyle went to Seney Wednesday morning and arrested J. L. Britton,
who is charged with setting fire to the school house in that place on
Tuesday night, says the LeMars Globe. The same attempt was made on Monday
night but they party escaped. On Tuesday night, W. H. Kennedy and J.
Alderson kept watch of the building and caught Britton in the act of
applying the match and kept him in custody until the sheriff arrived. What
Britton’s object is in burning the building the Seney people do not know, as
he has had no trouble with the school or the school board. He is said to
have been drinking pretty hard and this may be the cause of his rash act.
Britton was taken before Justice Kain yesterday and a hearing set for next
Monday, his bail being fixed at $500, which he was unable to secure and he
was taken back to jail. It is probably the grand jury, which is now in
session, will investigate the case before it gets back to justice court.
FIRE AT HAWARDEN.
Last Wednesday at about 1:45 o’clock, fire broke out in the lumber yard of
J.H. Queal & Co. of Hawarden. Owing to the very high wind it was a
difficult task to get the fire under control. At one time it looked as if
the whole town would burn and some of the business men had their stocks
ready to move on short notice, but the united and faithful work of the
citizens, finally succeeded in getting the fire under control, after about
two hours of hard fighting. The total loss is estimated in the neighborhood
of $5000, partially insured. It is thought the fire originated by a spark
from a C. & N. W. engine.
ROCK VALLEY NEWS.
Ed Meehan, of Hull, was here this week.
Tennis Klay was in Dakota this week.
P. D. Kelly was in Sioux City this week on business.
A. A. Roberts was down from Larchwood on Monday.
Born, on Tuesday, to Mr. and Mrs. C. M. Elder, a girl baby.
Wilson Hinkley made a trip to South Dakota this week.
Hurlburt & Leftwich’s circus shows here next Tuesday and a big crowd is
The running races take place today (Saturday) at the race track. $35 in
purses will be given.
A traveling fakir attempted to do business here on Monday, but was quickly
shut off by Mayor Schemmer.
This evening (Saturday, May 19th) the Rock Valley Firemen give one of their
delightful dances. Good music and all are invited.
At a meeting of the school board held last Tuesday evening, it was decided
to figure on the cost of an addition to the school building and it is likely
an addition will be built.
The Rock Valley baseball club defeated the Alvord nine at the latter place
on Sunday last, by the healthy score of 31 to 22. On today (Saturday) the
same clubs play at this place. The game will be called after the horse races
The festive burglar again made his appearance in Rock Valley. On Monday
morning at about 2 o’clock entrance was gained to G. D. Reynolds drug store,
the post office and Queal & Co.’s lumber office. At the drug store the
burglars obtained $6 or $7 in money but got nothing at the post office or
the lumber office.
Sioux County Herald, Orange City, (Sioux), Iowa, May 23, 1894, Page
Firebug Caught at Work.
J. L. Britton, of Seney, was brought to LeMars and turned over to Sheriff
Boyle for attempting to burn the school-house at Seney. Monday night a fire
was discovered under one corner of the house and was put out. Some one was
seen running away at the time, but was not recognized, and no attempt was
made to capture him. A watch was kept with the result of capturing Britton
in the act of setting fire to the building. A cloth soaked in kerosene was
stuck under the building and set on fire.
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