September 2, 2014

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This and That — Murderers hit Delphos & Van Wert PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, July 10, 2014 8:06 PM

The following articles were carried in newspapers as far away as New Orleans, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Concord, New Hampshire. My friend, Evy Martin, subscribes to an interesting newspaper website where she finds all sorts of interesting stories. The following story tells of three of the meanest men to ever have been in this area. The original reports of the crimes came out of the Van Wert newspaper.

Van Wert, O. January 1, 1880

A desperate fight took place here last night in a house of ill-fame which Sheriff Stith, of this county, was mortally wounded. The following are the particulars: Last week, Bernard Pickens, a farmer, living north of Delphos in this county, was murdered by three men who wore masks. After shooting Pickens they drew his wife up to the fireside and roasted her in a most shocking manner before she would divulge where their money was secreted. She finally told, but not before she was so badly burned that her recovery is still a matter of doubt.

Last night a prostitute of Delphos came here on the 10 o’clock train with two men, who were suspected of perpetrating the Delphos crime. They were tracked to Tucker’s house. Sheriff Stith and Deputy Crothers went in, leaving City Marshal Gaskill outside. Stith at once recognized Crist Groserman as a man he had trouble with before. He made the arrest, but Groserman drew a revolver and fired five times, two balls taking effect in Stith’s arms and another taking off two fingers. Groserman then blew out the lights, and a general free fight ensued. The sheriff received two balls in his breast. He is still living, but cannot possibly recover.

Constable Bedrup was also shot twice in the breast, one ball passing entirely through his body. Recovery impossible. Crothers was badly beaten about the head with revolvers, but is not dangerously injured.

The two men then ran out of the house and made their escape. Marshal Gaskill fired several times without effect. The fire alarm was sounded and the citizens turned out in pursuit. One of them was captured and had in a valise $400 in silver and in an overcoat $500. A mask, supposed to have been used in the Delphos murder, was also found. He refuses to give his name, but was arrested in the Tucker house.

Another report came out of Van Wert on January 1.

The following are the facts concerning the big shooting affray that occurred here Wednesday night: Two or three of the parties believed to be connected with the robbery that occurred near Delphos a few days ago, by which an old man lost $1,500, besides being severely injured, were discovered to be in Van Wert, at a house of ill fame, in the west part of town.

About 11 o’clock Sheriff Stith, Deputy Edson, Marshal Gaskill, Constable Redrup and a man named Carothers, went to the house to make the arrests. Edson went to the back door, Gaskill and Carothers took post near the front door, and Sheriff Stith and Constable Redrup entered the house. One of the men, named Groseman, was sitting on a chair when the officers entered. Stith advanced with revolver in hand, and said: “Groseman, I want you.” The culprit made some answer; and immediately commenced a rapid firing. Stith returned the fire. Redrup interfered and was shot two or three times before he could draw his revolver. Stith was wounded in four or five places. Groseman then left the house and fled, being fired at without effect by those stationed outside. Carothers attempted to detain him, but was knocked down and severely injured about the head.

Groseman fled again and was followed some distance by the officers, who, however, did not succeed in arresting him. His companion, who remained a silent witness to these events, likewise took his departure, now that the chief excitement was over, carrying with him Groseman’s overcoat and a heavy satchel or valise. By mere accident the officers returning from the pursuit met him and took him into custody.

Today the satchel was found to contain $406.20 in silver coins, believed to be the same money that was taken at the Delphos robbery. Sheriff Stith is wounded five or six times in the fingers, chest and face, but none of these injuries, it is thought, are dangerous. Redrup’s wounds, though fewer, are more serious, being also in the chest.

In the forenoon of the day following this affray, news came from the country that a man had applied for lodging at a house two miles southwest of town. This individual has a bullet in his arm which he said he got in a “shooting match with the Sheriff up in town.” Being refused lodging he went to another house in the neighborhood where he was again denied admission. The officers are now on this track and will certainly succeed in capturing him. Groseman is well known in this vicinity, having worked for several parties south of town, and finally served a term in jail for robbing a shoe store here. It was during this imprisonment that he threatened to kill Sheriff Stith if he ever got a chance. He is about 20 years of age, and has repulsive features and the general aspect of a criminal.

The excitement is great, and during the absence of the posse in search of Groseman, shows no signs of abatement. There has been some talk of lynching, but it is not thought that anything of the kind is seriously contemplated.

The next report came as a Special to the Enquirer from Van Wert, O., on Jan. 3.

Groseman, the desperado who has been eluding the officers for the past three days, was arrested early this morning at the residence of Mrs. Dailey, 13 miles southeast of here. He called at Mrs. Dailey’s last evening and asked permission to stay all night, which was granted. Mrs. Daily suspected him as being the fugitive, and quietly sent word to Jacob Beamer, the City Marshal at Wiltshire. Beaner and a posse surrounded the house and Marshal Beamer then went to Groseman’s room, threw open the door and pointed a revolver at him, commanding him to throw up his hands, which he did. He was apparently glad to surrender, as he had a wound in one of his arms, which he had received on the night he had resisted arrest here and made such a murderous assault upon the officers. Two hundred dollars was found is his possession.

He was brought here this morning, and is securely jailed. It is likely that the three will be lynched tonight, as crowds of people are in town this evening and expressing threats. The jail is guarded by a military company, who will make a strong resistance before the mob will take possession.

Kate Tucker, at whose house the three men stopped when the fight occurred, and James Goss, who came to town the next morning, procured a coat, had boots and ammunition for Groseman. They have been arrested and jailed as accomplices and on the charge of harboring criminals.

LATER – Up to the present time, 12:30 a.m. the excitement has died down somewhat. The 10th city train from Delphos brought a goodly number of people over and knots of people still congregate at various places. A strong guard is being kept over the prisoner.

The various spellings of the names of the criminals and the officials are typed just as they appeared in the old newspapers. The name of farmer Perkins was also spelled Picker. Does anyone have information as to Perkins or Picker?

Continued next week


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