Saturday, January 04, 2014

Grandpa John Metzner was shot

Found an interesting tidbit while searching through old newspapers, the fact that in 1872 my grandpa John Metzner was shot. 

Portland Commercial, Portland, Indiana, May 2, 1872, page 2
The case of the State vs. John A. Bergman for shooting John Metzner was tried last week.  The Jury returned a verdict of guilty of an assault and battery, and accordingly fined him $26.

Question is, which grandpa John?  Was it my 2nd-great grandfather John Adam Metzner (1840-1895), or his father John Metzner (1805-1888)?  Will have to go to the Jay County courthouse to sort this out, though I am leaning on the victim being the younger John, a Civil War veteran.  However, there is the fact that he was often referred to by his middle name "Adam", and the article clearly states the victim was John.

Unfortunately, I've been unable to find any other mention of the incident in the local newspapers that have survived.

Who was John A. Bergman?  I believe he was the husband of Caroline H. Metzner, daughter of John (b. 1805).  This would mean that Mr. Bergman shot either his brother-in-law or his father-in-law.  Either way, this must have made for an interesting family dynamic

Caroline Metzner (b. 1852) and John A. Burgman were married March 11, 1869 in Jay County, Indiana.  The image of their marriage license was located at Familysearch.  Indexed as Burgman, his surname is spelled both Bergman and Burgman in the same document.

"Indiana, Marriages, 1811-1959," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 04 Jan 2014), John A Burgman and Caroline Metzner, 1869.
In the 1870 census, I've located John and Caroline (Metzner) Bergman living in Bearcreek Township, Jay County, Indiana, with their 5 month old son, George W.  John A. Bergman was working in a saw mill.  Bearcreek Township is where several Metzner families lived.

 I know that Caroline married again in Jay County, Indiana on January 1, 1874 to James W. Huston, and that they had a daughter, Della.  So John and Caroline must have divorced sometime between 1870 and 1874 in Jay County, another avenue for me to research.  A good guess would be that the divorce occurred shortly after he shot John Metzner.

By the 1880 census, John A. Bergman was listed as a 38 year old divorced male living in the village of Bellfountaine, Noble Township, Jay County, Indiana, still listed as a sawmill worker.  I've found no other record other than the 1870 census for son George W. Bergman.  A search of Mt. Zion cemetery records at FindAGrave did not locate a memorial.

Once the weather improves and I can get up to Jay County, will definitely be researching this court case to see what all of the particulars were.  Sounds like an interesting family feud.

No comments: