Sunday, January 30, 2011

Another Sunday Murder

Source: Evansville Courier, Evansville, Indiana, n.d. [probably Sept 16, 1883]


Chas. Schaefer Shoots His Wife To Death

And is Afterward Stabbed by His Brother-In-Law, Andy Rieber

The sun again rises this morning on another tragedy, single so far, but which later may become a double one.  The pistol and knife were both factors in the occurence of last night, backed by unlimited quantities of whisky and beer.  The parties to the tragedy are Charles Schaefer, a German varnisher, living at 812 Second avenue, his wife and her brother - Anton Rieber.  Schaefer and Rieber work at the coffin factory.  Last night Mr. and Mrs. Schaefer started out on a drinking tour, the result of which is the death of the wife and the probable fatal cutting of the husband.  The facts which led immediately to these results are as follows: Mr. John W. Ashby, residing at 712 Second avenue, while sitting at his bed-room window, being unable to sleep, saw a man and woman pass his house, coming from toward Franklin street.  They stopped on the corner of the alley, and seemed to Mr. Ashby to be in earnest convesation.  As it was in German he could not understand it.  They had not been there but a moment, when Mr. Ashby heard a pistol shot, and looking out of the window saw the woman fall.  He dressed himself quickly as possible and started out to see what was the matter, but before reaching them the woman had gotten up and walked away, while the man run off.  A short distance further, and nearer her residence, the woman fell again and it was then that Ashby discovered the woman was shot.  At this time a number of persons attracted by the shot had arrived and took charge of the woman, while Ashby went to hunt the man that did the shooting.  Knowing who he was from knowing the woman, it was an easy matter to find him, which he soon did, with Officer Schutler, not far from the scene of the shooting.  The woman Schaeffer was taken to her home, when medical attendence was immediately had in Dr. McClurkin.  Mrs. Schaeffer was undressed and the wound probed.  The ball which was of 28 calibre, had entered her body about one and half inches from the narel [sic], ranging downward.  The ball could not be found, as it had entered the cavity of the stomach.  Schaeffer was taken by Ashby to the central station while the officer hunted for Rieber, had between the shotting and the arrest of Schaeffer been at work on the latter with a knife.  Schaeffer, when taken to the lock-up, was found to be bleeding from a wound in the right breast and a couple of cuts in the hands.  His wounds were dressed by Police Surgeon WIlton, and at the time the reporter saw him he was resting easily.


Schaeffer gave the reporter the following statement.  He said: I work at the coffin factory, and last night my wife and her brother and I went to Zacheres saloon, on the corner of Third avenue and Franklin street.  I hadn't drank anything before for three weeks.  I was surprised at my wife wanting to go along, for I never knew of her doing anything of that kind before.  While Reiber and I drank beer she drank whisky.  After sitting there awhile we started for home.  When we got there my wife went and got a pitcher of beer, but wouldn't drink any of it.  I said to her, 'Mammy will you have a drink of whisky?  She said she would, and we started out to get it.  While she was gone for the beer Andy Rieber said to me: "She is trying to make you jealous." "I said I don't care what she does, she can't do that."  My wife and I went and got the whisky and in coming back she said that she must have another.  I said to her: "Mamy if you take another drink, we will both die together." I then pulled out my revolver for the purpose of showing it to her, I suppose, and somehow it went off.  I saw that her clothes were on fire and I took my hands, put it out.  She started to walk but fell down.  I then went to the house and told Andy.  Andy I suppose I have shot my wife."  He then started out to find her and the next thing I knew he had cut me two or three times, and pushed me down.  While he was cutting at me I grabbed his hand and held it, telling him, "Look here Andy you can't do anything of that kind with me if you have got me down, for I'm a better man than you are."  Just then I was arrested and Reiber ran off.  I said to the men, I suppose I am under arrest and I will go with you whenever you want me to.


Through Capt. McCutchan THE COURIER reporter heard Rieber's statement, the drinking part of which does not materially differ with that given by Schaeffer.  He says, however, that when Schaeffer and his sister left the house they were in excellent humor, laughing and talking with each other, and he cannot account for Schaeffer's murderous assualt on his sister.  Rieber admits stabbing Schaeffer, and said, God damn him; if they had let me alone I would have killed him.  Rieber was brought to the central station, but as his dying sister kept constantly calling for him, the captain concluded to let him return to her with a policeman as a guard over him.

At this hour of writing, 3:30 this morning, Mrs. Schaeffer is in dying condition, she bein pulseless.

Source: Evansville Courier, Evansville, Indiana, n.d. [probably September 17, 1883]


Schaefer Committed to Jail to Await the Action of the Coroner,

Who Was Engaged all Day Yesterday in Taking Testimony

Mrs. Schaefer, who was shot by her husband between 11 and 12 o'clock on Saturday night, lingered until Sunday evening when she died at 6 o'clock.  Schaefer, as soon as her death was known, was locked up in his cell by Captain Newitt and was yesterday transferred to the county jail to await the result of the Coroner's verdict.  The incidents of this shooting will be found in the testimony given by Mrs. Schaefer's brother and her sister-in-law, Mrs. Rieber, and are sustantially as reported in Sunday's COURIER.

Coroner Carter held a post mortem examination on the body of Mary Schaeffer yesterday and discovered that the ball (32 calibre) entered one and a half inches below the navel and to the left of the median line, and found that it had perforated the intestines six times, passing backward and downward and to the right, and finally lodged in the muscles of the hollow of the sacrum.

Anton Rieber said: I am the brother of Mary Schaeffer, to whom Chas. Schaeffer has been married about 11 years.  Schaeffer was sometimes the best of men, and then again he was as mean as he could be.  Mr. and Mrs. Schaeffer have had frequent quarrels, but none lately.  He had been touchy ever since last Thursday, and has not been in a good humor with her since Friday night because she wouldn't give him a dime to get shaved with.  He has never threatened directly to kill her, but has intimated it.  Schaeffer drank a good deal.  He would get on the street about once a month.  On Saturday night my wife and I and Schaeffer and my sister were at our house, and my wife proposed getting some beer and she and my sister went after it; soon after Schaeffer wanted to go and get a drink, and his wife said, "If you go, I'll go," and they went off together.  This was about 11 o'clock; they hadn't been gone more than five minutes when I heard a pistol shot.  I started in the direction from which it came and when I got part of the way, I met my sister, and found that she had been shot by Schaeffer; I then went into Hoffman's saloon; when I got there they told me that S. had gone into the backyard; I yelled to him to come out as I wanted to see him; I then went back through the saloon and ran down Franklin street to the middle of the block; I then saw my sister and carried her home and laid her on my bed; I found her under the gas post on the corner of Michigan street and Second avenue, lying on the pavement; my wife was with her; she couldn't speak at first, but afterwards told me that Schaeffer had shot her; she said that she didn't think he would do so or she would not have gone with him by herself; she said that he shot her while in front of Ashby's; that he was standing on the left side of her and that after he shot her she wrenched the pistol from him fearing that he would shoot her again, she threw the pistol in my brother's yard, on the other side of the alley; he never owned a pistol, nor was he in the habit of carrying one; I knew he had a pistol that night, for he showed it to me two or three times and wanted me to go out and practice with it; the pistol, he said, he had taken away from a drunken friend of his, Billy Russ.

Josephine Rieber said that she was the sister-in-law of Mrs. Schaeffer, and that S. for the past few days had been very cross; he had threatened to hit her and once to kill her for her saucy mouth; Schaefer was drunk a couple of weeks ago, and had drank something before he came home Saturday night; he was in a good humor then; I saw the pistol, as he showed it to all of us, and wanted Andy to go out with him in the morning to practice with it, but Andy said "no;" about 11 o'clock on Saturday night, Mr. and Mrs. Schaefer left the house by themselves; both were in a good humor, and in about five minutes I heard a pistol shot and Mrs. S. scream "Oh, my God," three times; I ran toward her and met her on the corner of Michigan street and Second avenue; she walked across the street with me, clinging to my neck.  I said, "Mary, what's the matter?" She said, "Oh, dear, Joe, I'm shot."  I asked her who shot her, and she said, "Charley shot me."  She said, "He's jealous; oh, dear me, he'll kill Andy," and she fell.  She said that she didn't think Charley would have done it; that as they were walking along, he said: "Mary, I'll go to the alley with you, and then our separation will be death."  He said that on the corner of Second avenue and Franklin street, and we walked on; I laughed at him, not thinking he was in earnest; when we reached the alley by Ashby's house, he pulled out his pistol and shot me."  Mrs. Schaeffer said that she was afraid that he would shoot Andy, and she took the pistol away from him.  She said that Charley was jealous of Andy.  She said that after being shot she wanted Charley to come and see what he had done and how she suffered."

John J. Hoffherr said: On Saturday night I was in Pregler's saloon getting a glass of beer, when I heard a pistol shot, and right afterwards a police whistle.  I went out to assist the officer who had called for assistance.  As soon as I found out what had happened I left him and went up to Schaeffer's house.  I found Mrs. Schaeffer lying on the bed speechless, but suffering very much; I rubbed her with camphor, and then Dr. McClurkin came; she then came to herself and told me that her husband and herself were going to get a drink and as they were coming back home he said to her "that was the last drink she would ever take with him."  "This was at the alley, but no hard words had passed between us; he then pulled out his pistol and stepped around and shot me."  She said that she thought jealousy was the cause of it; she didn't know what else it could be.

Fred Kroener said in his testimony: On Saturday, I went to the Apollo theater, and after, I went and got shaved and was going home.  At the corner of Franklin street, between Michigan street and Second avenue, I heard a pistol shot, and met George Gerst and a Mr. Smith; went down the street and saw a man and woman standing by they alley; they were quiet for a moment, and then the woman began to yell, "Murder! Help!"  We went toward them, and Schaeffer said: "You so-o-bs, stand back."  We went back and around the corner and then came up Franklin street, when Schaeffer passed us, running, saying to some one, "I shot her!"

George Gerst's testimony was substantially the same as Mr. Kroener's.

Will Russ, on being sworn, said: That he had known Schaeffer for the last six months; he works in the same shop that I do; I never heard him say anything about his wife or his family; the pistol that Schaeffer used was mine.  On Thursday or Friday morning Schaeffer was talking about killing his dog and I proposed to sell him my pistol; he said that he had no use for it, that he had a gun or two at home; he told me to bring it around anyhow, and he would try to sell it for me; I told him that all he could get over a $1.25 he could have; he told me to bring it up; I forgot it until Saturday night, but he reminded me about it every morning and noon, until he finally started to tie a string around my ear to make me remember it; I then told him to meet me at the Court house, Saturday night; he met me there and we went up the alley between Third and Fourth streets, back of the jail; I gave him the pistol, and then we went out through the alley to Third street; from there I went to get shaved, and he waited for me; we then went down Main street to the art store, where we met Jake Rieber, when they started home together, and that was the last I saw or heard of him, until Sunday morning.

The case will be continued to-day and a verdict reached.

Mary (RIEBER) SCHAEFFER was Corinne's paternal 3rd-great grandmother.  Additional articles relating to her murder can be found here and here.  These articles were provided to me by Ray Bland, a Rieber researcher.

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