Iowa News from the

Plymouth County Scrapbook....dated 1910 - 1920

A Plymouth County, Iowa, Scrapbook
Saved from ruin..and transcribed by Linda Ziemann.
Dated 1910 - 1920

Page 1

Miss Martha Bohlken, daughter of Siefke Bohlken, of this city and Chris
Braun, of Akron, were quietly married at the German Methodist church
parsonage on Wednesday afternoon at three o'clock, the pastor Rev. F.H.
Thiel, officiating.  The young people were attended by Miss Lydia
Bohlken, a sister of the bride, and A.C. Krause, of this city. 

The bride is a well known LeMars young woman with many friends in this
vicinity.  Mr. Braun is a carpenter in Akron where he is well known and
respected.  A wedding supper was served in their home and they left on
the night train for a visit with relatives in Holland, Mich.

LeMars Sentinel newspaper
Dated December 25, 1917
Had Been in Ill Health For Two Years
and End Was Hastened by Tragic
Fate of Her Stepdaughter, Alta
Braun, Last August.

Mrs. Chris Braun died at the home of her father, Siefke Bohlken, in the
east part of town, Sunday evening, after an illness of almost two years
duration. Mrs. Braun was stricken with paralysis in March, 1916, and
has been practically helpless ever since. Last summer she seemed to
improve somewhat but after the tragic death of her stepdaughter, she
failed so rapidly she was removed to the home of her father where she
might be better cared for by relatives.

Martha Braun was born in Plymouth County on January 20, 1877, being 38
years, 11 months and three days old. In 1902 her Mother died and from
that time she was a home maker for her father and took the place of a
mother for the younger children. On December 7, 1910, she was married
to Chris Braun, and to them a daughter was born, who is now three years
old. In addition to the husband, daughter and father , she leaves to
mourn her loss five brothers and five sisters. The brothers are John
Bohlken, of Ireton; Dick, Will and George of Akron, and Albert, of
LeMars. Her sisters, Mrs. Ed Alrich and Lydia Bohlken of LeMars; Mrs.
G. Luschen, of Pipestone, Minn.; Mrs. M. Gabel, of Akron, and Mrs. Will
Gaudian, of Sioux City. One brother died in infancy and a brother,
Henry, in 1908.

The funeral services will be held on Wednesday afternoon at 1:30, at the
house, and at 2 o'clock at the German Methodist church, of which she was
a member. Rev. Benz will be in charge of the service which will be
largely in English.
[Calculated: Date of death, Sunday, December 23, 1917.]

LeMars Sentinel newspaper
Dated May 20, 1921

Jacob Braun, a resident of Plymouth county for 40 years died at his home
on High street, this city at 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning [May 17,
1921,] following an illness of eight days. Death was due to failing
powers, Mr. Braun being 80 years of age.

Jacob Braun wan born at Wenderhahn,* Germany, on May 8, 1841, and grew
up in his native land and was married to Miss Catherine Eickenrod. They
came to Plymouth county in 1881 directly after landing in New York and
settling on a farm ten miles west of LeMars. Mrs. Braun died a year or
two after the arrival of the family in this country. In 1884 Mr. Braun,
while on a visit to his former home in Germany , was united in marriage
to Maria Schmidt. They lived on the farm until about 20 years ago when
they moved to LeMars and took up their residence. Mr Braun is survived
by his wife and a large family who are: Peter Braun of Johnson township;
Mrs. Maggie Borchitt, living in Belgium, Europe; Mrs. Walter McLain,
Akron; Mrs. Alvin King, Smithland, Iowa; Clarence Braun of Palmyra,
Neb.; Mrs. Jerome Betsworth of LeMars; Mrs. Ernest Attrill, Adaville,
and Chris Braun of Sioux City. A daughter, Mrs. Mary Beaulieu, of Hinton
preceded her father in death. There are twenty-six grandchildren.
Mr. Braun was a good citizen and neighbor and was highly esteemed in a
large circle of friends.

The funeral services were held yesterday morning at St. Joseph's church,
Mgr. W. A. Pape officiating and was attended by many friends and
[NOTE* I have not found this location in Germany but the index of
Jacob's Declarations of Intention in the LeMars court house as well as
the death records list his birthplace as Wiesbaden, Germany.]

Funeral services for Chris Braun, 70, 1211 Eighth Street, who died
Tuesday (Feb. 14, 1950) at a hospital after an illness of a year, will
be held at 9 a.m. Friday at St. Joseph Catholic church. Rev. Edward C.
Lilly will officiate. Burial will be in Calvary cemetery.
The rosary will be recited at 7:15 p.m. Thursday at the Rutledge funeral

Mr. Braun was born October 19, 1879 in Germany. He came to the United
States 65 years ago and to Sioux City 30 years ago. He worked with the
Great Northern Railroad for 22 years until he retired in 1935.
Mr. Braun was a member of St. Joseph Catholic church, the Knights of

Survivors include the widow Anna, three sons, Leonard, Lloyd and LeRoy,
all of Sioux City, one daughter, Dorothy Johnson, of Sioux City, one
sister, Mrs. Josephine Betsworth of LeMars, and four grandchildren.

CHRIS BRAUN (another obit, same person as above obit)       
Chris Braun, 70, 1211 Eighth street, died Tuesday at a hospital after a
year's illness. Mr. Braun was born October 19, 1879, in Germany. He came
to the United States 65 years ago and to Sioux City 30 years ago. He
worked with the Great Northern Railroad for 22 years until he retired in
1935. Mr. Braun was a member of St. Joseph Catholic church, the Knights of
Columbus and the Knights of Pythias.

Survivors include the widow Anna, three sons, Leonard, Lloyd and LeRoy,
all of Sioux City, one daughter, Dorothy Johnson, of Sioux City, one
sister, Mrs. Josephine Betsworth of LeMars, and four grandchildren.
The body was taken to the Rutledge funeral home.

LeMars Girl is Murdered by a Fiend
Twelve-year old child is strangled to Death
Body is Left in Alley
Some Old Clothes Had Been Used by Outrager to Hide the Corpse of His
Victim-Officers are Hunting for Clews

LeMars, Ia, Aug. 21, 1917-Special:  The body of Alta Braun, aged 12, was
found in an alley in the residence part of town at 11 o'clock today.
Some old clothes were piled on the corpse.  The child had been waylaid,
outraged and murdered. A black underskirt, torn from the child's waist, was wrapped tightly
around her neck.  Marks were visible on the child's arms and legs where
she had been fiercely gripped.

The little girl was last seen alive at a merry-go-round in the business
district last evening.  She had been given permission to go to the
business district by her parents and was to be back home by 9 o'clock.
The murdered child was a daughter of Chris Braun, who is employed by a
LeMars implement firm.

The coroner and sheriff are making an investigation of the tragedy, but
have no good clews to work on.

The Yankee Robinson circus showed here yesterday and there were a number
of tough characters in town.

Sioux City Journal, August 24, 1917
LeMars Council to Take Action This Evening-Sleuths May Be Imported

LeMars, Ia., Aug. 23, 1917-Special: The authorities who are
investigating the murder of 12-year-old Alta Braun, of LeMars, say they
are following up a clew and that outside assistance will be obtained in
the prosecution of the case.

The city council will meet tonight to take action in the matter of
offering a reward for the apprehension of the murderer, and the county
supervisors are expected to do the same.

The funeral of the dead girl was held from the home today and the body
taken to Akron to be interred beside those of her mother.
It has been learned positively that the girl was seen alive on Monday
night between 9:30 and 10 o'clock on her way home about two blocks from
the railroad crossing, near where the body was found the following

LeMars Sentinel newspaper, Friday, August 24, 1917
Twelve Year Old Girl is Victim of a Brute
The Body is Found in an Alley
Alta Braun was Waylaid, Outraged and Murdered at Lonely Spot When on her
way Home-Authorities Are Following Meager Clue

Alta Braun, the twelve year old daughter of Chris Braun, residing on
Fremont street, was foully outraged and murdered some time on Monday
night.  That the murder had been committed was not discovered until
nearly eleven o'clock on Tuesday morning when her dead body was found in
an alley near the Illinois Central railroad tracks between Cedar and
Howard streets.  The gruesome find was made by Mrs. Herman Becker, after
Mrs. Porsch, a neighbor, had told her that there was a dummy figure
lying in the alley.  Mrs. Becker went out into the alley and was
horrified on seeing a corpse.  She immediately notified the police and
sheriff and Coroner Barnett, of Merrill, was quickly summoned.  From
appearances the girl had been strangled to death.  A black underskirt
had been torn from her waist and wrapped in a roll around her throat
with a tight knot under the chin.  The body was prone on its back with
the head towards the north, the arms and legs extended.  There were
bruises on her arms and side.  Her corset had been torn open.  Her limbs
were covered with dust and marks on the ground in the alley showed where
she had struggled with her assailant or assailants.  Marks on her throat
indicated where she had been seized in order to silence any outcry for

The body was removed to the Beely undertaking parlors and an inquest
held on Tuesday afternoon.  W.G. Munro, Lee Maynard and W.M. Barr were
impaneled as a jury.  The evidence given before the jury was by Dr. J.M.
Fettes and the father of the child.

Chris Braun, the father of the girl, stated she had left home at 7:30
o'clock that night to go to the home of her grandparents, living in the
west end of town, on High street, and from there proposed to go to the
merry-go-round which was operating on Main and Seventh street in
connection with the Robinson show.

Her father testified he had given her a dime to get two rides on the
merry-go-round and then come home.  In the afternoon her mother gave her
a quarter, with which she bought some white stockings, which she was
wearing when she was killed.  She had a nickel tied in her handkerchief
when the body was found.  Braun said he arrived home himself at a little
before 11 and went to bed, supposing the child was at home, as he said
she had never failed to return at the hour she promised.  In the morning
he called her to get breakfast, as her stepmother is an invalid.
Receiving no response, he went to her room and found the bed had not
been occupied.  He then telephoned to the homes of his father and his
father-in-law and to the houses of some of her girl friends, and not
learning her whereabouts, informed the police.

Dr. Fettes described the condition of the body.  The face was swollen
and of a blueish color and there were black and blue marks on her throat
and arms.  He also described the torn condition of her clothes and
stockings.  The jury asked as to whether the child had been outraged and
the doctor said a fuller examination would determine that fact.  Later
Dr. Fettes and Dr. Larson made a thorough examination and established
the fact that the victim had been ravished.

The coroner's jury returned a verdict that the deceased had come to her
death by strangulation at the hands of some person or persons unknown.
The Yankee Robinson circus was in town on Monday and the sheriff and the
police are working on the theory that the crime was committed by one of
the employees or one of the tough characters usually in the wake of a

Alta Braun was last seen alive between half past nine and ten o'clock on
Monday night.  She had been to the merry-go-round which was operating at
the corner of Seventh and Main streets.  It is learned from the police
that she went to the Vienna bakery and purchased a five cent sack of
candy and walked in the direction of her home with Mrs. T. Adney, who
lives on Cedar street between Fifth and Fourth streets.  The body of the
child was found just two blocks from where she had parted with Mrs.

The supposition is that she was waylaid on the track and dragged into
the alley which is dark at that point.  The streets to the north and
south of the Cedar street crossing are well lighted.

It is stated that S.B. Tingley, who lives near the track on that street,
was awakened by a noise.  He and his wife had retired.  They thought it
was someone running past the window.  They heard no outcry.  Spilled
candy was found near the spot, leading to the inference that the girl
tried to run away and escape her pursuer.

The railroad crossing at the end of Cedar street is a lonely
unfrequented spot.  It is directly on the way to where the girl lived
several blocks south at the corner of Tremont street.
Sheriff Maxwell made a trip to Cherokee on Tuesday following the Yankee
Robinson show to that place and to Correctionville the following day but
no developments have resulted so far.

A local man reported on Tuesday evening to Mayor McLain, that he had
heard a negro at the merry-go-round make an obscene remark to a
companion that he would "get" that girl before he left town but it is a
question whether his remark applied to the victim.  Mayor McLain
furnished the man with funds to go to Cherokee, it being a few minutes
before the time for the evening flyer to leave and told him to hunt up
Sheriff Maxwell, who had gone to Cherokee earlier in the day and
identify the negro.

The man, who had furnished the information, is stated to have said that
he located the negro who made the remark and asked the Cherokee marshal
to arrest him but that the officer refused to hold him unless Sheriff
Maxwell made the request.  The local man failed to find Sheriff Maxwell
in Cherokee.  The two went to Correctionville on Wednesday but the negro
in question was not to be found.

The local authorities are pushing the case vigorously and outside
assistance will be secured in tracing the crime.

Public indignation runs high over the crime which has been the topic of
conversation since the discovery of the body of the murdered girl.  The
city council met last evening to formulate plans for the raising of
money with which to offer a reward for the apprehension of the murderer
and it is thought the county will also offer a reward.  Many citizens
have expressed a wish to contribute towards a fund for a reward.
In preparing the body for burial the undertaker found a man's stickpin
in the girl's clothing where it had evidently fallen.  It may furnish a

The funeral of the girl was held yesterday afternoon at the home on
Tremont street conducted by Rev. J.E. Benz, of the German Methodist
church and was attended by a large number of people.  Many floral
wreaths and flowers were sent by sympathizers of those bereaved by the
tragedy.  The body was taken to Akron to be laid beside that of her

Alta Braun made her home with her father, Chris Braun, and her
stepmother, who is an invalid.  She also leaves a little stepsister
three years old.  Alta Marie Braun was twelve years old on January 18
last, and was born in Colorado Springs, Col.  From there they family
moved to Akron where they lived for some years and moved to LeMars about
a year ago.  Mr. Braun is employed with the Hamm Petry Implement

Alta Braun was attending school here and was a member of the German
Methodist Sunday school.  She was well thought of by her school
companions and a number of girls with whom she associated.

Father Doubts Guilt of Negro Held For Crime
Suspect is Spirited Away
Captors Hold Prisoner in Sioux City, Fearing Feeling in Home Town-
Victim Followed by Two Men, Braun Asserts

LeMars, Ia., Aug. 25, 1917. - Special: 
While sheriff's deputies are
following the Yankee Robinson circus from town to town attempting to
locate a negro who answers the description of one who was seen here on
the morning that the body of Alta Braun was found in an alley, Chris
Braun, the father of the unfortunate girl, maintains that the murderer
of his daughter was a resident of this place.

So firm is the father in his belief that he will personally coner with
state agents and ask them to investigate the murder.  Mr. Braun,
overcome by the shock of the brutal crime, declared yesterday that he
felt positive that the fiend who assaulted his daughter and then
murdered her was acquainted with the surroundings where the body was


According to the father of the girl, two men had followed her and a
companion home several weeks ago.  At that time, the murdered girl
related to her father the circumstances of the affair.

At 9:30 o'clock the night of the crime, Alta left the home of Mrs. Tom
Adney, where she had stopped for a few minutes.  Mrs. Adney was the last
person to see her alive.  At that time the girl reassured Mrs. Adney
that she was not afraid to go home alone.

The body was found three blocks from the Adney residence.

Scores of people who visited the circus on Monday recall the presence of
several negroes about the merry-go-round where Alta and other girl
companions were riding.

Elmer Pearson, who heard one negro remark about the girl, has been
following the circus from town to town in hopes of apprehending this
negro.  There is no positive evidence to connect him with the crime.
Another negro who quit the show Wednesday was suffering from a badly
swollen hand, authorities have been told.  He is being sought.

Alta, 12-Year-Old Daughter of Chris Braun, Formerly Lived in Akron-Was
Victim of a Fiend

One of the most terrible crimes in the history of Plymouth county was
enacted in LeMars Monday evening, when, Alta Braun, aged 12 years, who
formerly resided in Akron with her parents, met a cruel death at the
hands of a fiend in human form.  A dispatch from LeMars yesterday gives
the following details:

"Officers today declared that so far they had failed to unearth the
slightest clue as to the identity of the person or persons who last
Monday night murdered 12-year-old Alta Braun.  On a chance that some
development would reward his visit there, Sheriff Hugh Maxwell, made a
hurried trip to Cherokee, where the circus and merry-go-round that was
in LeMars on the night the girl was killed, had gone.

The sheriff said that he had learned nothing at Cherokee which is likely
to throw light on the case.  A report that several persons are under
suspicion was branded as being without foundation.

Not in recent years has a crime here caused the resentment that
surcharged the community upon the circulation of the news that the child
had died the victim of a fiend.

Groups of men and little knots of women in all parts of the city
discussed the crime in a manner that boded ill for the murdered, if

The dead girl had been living with her father and stepmother.  Her
stepmother having long been an invalid, the burden of the household
duties had fallen on the little one.  On the day of the night she was
killed, Christopher Braun, her father, had given her money with which to
attend the circus.  She chose to spend a part of the money for a pair of
white stocking and the remaining 10 cents for rides on a merry-go-round.

Marks on her body and the torn condition of her clothing gave evidence
of a struggle."

Funeral services were held in LeMars this (Thursday) afternoon, and
large number of relatives and friends accompanied the sorrowing father
and the remains to Akron late this afternoon, interment being made in
Riverside cemetery, beside her sister and grandmother, Mrs. Garrison,
who died here a number of years ago.

Failure to Act Quickly Hurts

Failure of authorities to arrest and question all the Negro roustabouts
with the circus on the day following the murder now makes the task more
difficult, if the theory that a Negro committed the crime is borne out.
It has been learned that several Negroes have quite the circus since the
commission of the crime.

Little groups of men gathered around the streets of the town last night
when the report was received that Ed Nelson, a Negro suspect, arrested
at Carroll, was to be brought to LeMars.  The sheriff returned without
the prisoner.

Threats to lynch the guilty person have been made freely about the
streets of the city.  The feeling in the town was at a high pitch
yesterday when the report was received that the murderer had been
captured at Carroll.

The murdered girl was the main dependent of her mother, Mr. Braun
explained last night.  The child's own mother died three years ago.  The
stepmother is paralyzed and Alta, large for her age, had assumed the
responsibility of the household.

The mother is grief stricken.  She has gone to Akron, Ia., their former
home, for a few days.  The Brauns have one more child, a girl, 3 years


Ed Nelson, the negro arrested yesterday at Carroll, is locked up in the
Woodbury county jail.  Plans to take the negro to LeMars were abandoned last
night, when it was learned that a mob might storm the jail and lynch the

"Nelson is not the negro who killed the girl, if a negro committed the
crime, " James Risden, state agent, declared today.

The LeMars authorities are looking for witnesses who saw a negro at
LeMars on that day.  It is likely that they will be brought to Sioux
City to see Nelson. 

Local detectives have not been called....[there is not any more of this
article on the scrapbook page.]

Continue to Page ?

Iowa News from Scrapbooks index

Iowa Old Press Home