Archive for Saturday, August 24, 2013

100 years ago: Lawrence relatives suspect foul play in woman’s death

August 24, 2013


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Aug. 24, 1913:

  • "Lawrence and Eudora relatives of Mrs. Eva Moeller, who was found dead in Holliday, Kansas, last Tuesday afternoon, are inclined to disbelieve the story that she took her own life and suspect that the young woman met with foul play. Mrs. Moeller, according to the report, went to Holliday on Tuesday morning after a quarrel with her husband in Kansas City. It was said that she was to meet her husband at the home of his father in Holliday and that the pair should agree upon a separation at this time. It is said that the parents were not at home when Mrs. Moeller arrived and that in the afternoon she became despondent and shot herself with a revolver. The bullet entered her heart and death must have been instant. Following the finding of the body of the woman the Johnson county coroner was summoned from Olathe, Kansas, and the body was ordered removed to that place. The funeral was held yesterday and the body buried in the Olathe cemetery. However, relatives of Mrs. Moeller disbelieve the story of the suicide and have instigated an investigation of the case. The Johnson county authorities are working on the case and the relatives of the woman hope to establish more definitely the cause of her death. The body was viewed by several persons before burial in an effort to obtain some clew. Today the investigation is being continued at Olathe and a number of Mrs. Moeller's relatives from Lawrence and Eudora are in that city conferring with the officers. The death of Mrs. Moeller, whether by suicide or foul play, is said to be the outgrowth of family troubles. It is alleged that the woman had made complaint against her husband in the Kansas City courts and that their domestic life had been very unhappy for some time. It is said that the couple had quarreled several times and that there was a violent dispute only a short time before Mrs. Moeller left Kansas City and went to Holliday."
  • "Charges of vagrancy have been preferred against one John Green of Kansas City who was arrested by the officers last night. Green was carrying a suit case filled with 48 pints of whiskey when he alighted from Number 17 last night. Further than this Green is said to have left the train on the wrong side. He aroused the suspicion of the officers and they took him in charge. In court this morning he pleaded not guilty and will stand trial on Monday."
  • "Eleven Haskell Indian boys could not resist the lure of the circus and last Friday followed Yankee Robinson's show to Leavenworth. The boys were found there and taken into custody and sent back to Lawrence. The boys stated that they had hoped to be able to join the circus and had hid on the circus train and made the trip to Leavenworth."


Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 9 months ago

Those boys wanted to run away and join the circus? Maybe they read 'Toby Tyler, or Ten Weeks with a Circus', by James Otis Kaler, which was initially serialized in Harper's Young People in 1877, then published as a book in 1881! In 1913 it was already a rather old book, but it has been consistently popular through the generations. It was even made into a Walt Disney movie.

In about 1965 I bought read the book as a ten year old, and really liked it. I read it a few times, until I lost my copy. Decades later I learned that the edition that I read was a much later edition, rewritten for a more modern reader. I discovered that by buying a copy on ebay, and within the first two pages I realized that the copy I bought was worded far differently than the book I remembered and loved so much.

As an aside, years ago I had a very interesting conversation with a woman whose job was to rewrite the 'Nancy Drew' books for each new edition. She told me that it took about two years to work through the series and make it into a modern book. For instance, 'hotel' was replaced with 'motel', any reference to running boards on cars was removed, and of course, 'clew' was respelled 'clue'. And, after the first few editions, Nancy Drew no longer drove a Ford Model A roadster.

The following is clipped from:,_or_Ten_Weeks_with_a_Circus

Toby Tyler tells the story of a ten year-old orphan who runs away from a foster home to join the traveling circus only to discover his new employer is a cruel taskmaster. The difference between the romance of the circus from the outside and the reality as seen from the inside is graphically depicted. Toby's friend, Mr. Stubbs the chimpanzee, reinforces the consequences of what happens when one follows one's natural instincts rather than one's intellect and conscience, a central theme of the novel.

,,,most readers don't remember Toby Tyler for its wholesome message, but as a romantic story of running away to the circus and adventures on the road.

Sarah St. John 4 years, 9 months ago

I read some version of it when I was little (it was a very old and ragged copy, so I bet it was the unrevised version) and then, just after finding this OHT tidbit earlier this month, re-read it on Gutenberg!

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