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Title: Obituaries Williamsport, IN. Warren Review- Thursday, February 20, 1896 Edition
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Dan Keller, his wife and sister, Miss Maggie Keller, were acquitted by the jury after being out twenty tow hours, about 9:30 o'clock last Friday morning, and the Kellers left for their old home near the dividing line between Parke and Fountain Counties about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. They completely broke down at the end of the long strain, the trial having been in progress for the past sixteen days. On the seventh of last July Miss Clara Shanks a well developed blonde of about 18 years old, disappeared from her home in the extreme south part of Fountain County and her body was found on the morning of the 8th in a pool known as Wolfe Creek Falls on Wolfe Creek. A coroner's inquest was held and a verdict of suicide by drowning rendered, and the body interred in the neighborhood cemetery. The neighborhood was not satisfied with the verdice and it was soon noised abroad that there had been trouble between the Shanks and Kellers whose places joined and whose houses were only a short distance from each other on opposite sides of the road, the Shank's homestead being in Fountain County and that of the Keller's in Parke. Later developments showed that miss Clara Shanks had carried water from Keller's well and that Keller's wife became jealous of her husband and miss Shanks, this leading on the day of the 6th and morning of the 7th of July to an open rupture between the two families. Keller's wife, who it seems wore the pants, compelling him to cloud the girl's character by his admissions and a serving of the friendly relations heretofore existing between the two families, and was also the grounds for the first suspicion that the Kellers were the parties instrumental in the death of Clara Shanks. It further developed that the trouble was being discussed at the Shank's family's noon meal on July 7th, the day of Clara's death, when she suddenly left the table, going in the direction of the Keller's house which was the last time she was seen alive. Her body was found in the pool the following morning with certain marks upon it and her neck broken. About two week after her death, public sentiment became so strong that the body was exhumed and a post mortem made which developed that the girl had died from violence and not from drowning and further that the charges made by Keller and wife as the girl's character were utterly false. The Kellers were arrested on August 7th adn given a preliminary hearing at which evidence was obtained so damaging that Dan Keller, his wife and sister, Maggie were bound over on a charge of murder to await the action of the Parke County Circuit Court in which county the crime was thought to have been committed. The best attorneys that both the state and defense could obtain were employed and it beacme evident that the legal battle would be a hard one. The case was venued to the Vigo County Circuit Court where the Kellers were confined and come up for hearing, January 27th and continued in progress until last Friday morning when the verdict of not guilty was returned by the jury. The state relied almost wholly on circumstantial evidence, tracing Clara Shanks from the dinner table on July 7th to the home of the Kellers, where, it was the theory of the state that she went to try to fix up matters, and was killed. It showed that three women were seen by passersby in the Keller house just after dinner, that Clara was never seen alive afterward, taht human blood spots were found upon the floor of the Keller house, that Mrs. Keller had threatened to kill Clara should she enter her premises again, that blood was found upon a pair of Keller's pants and upon a rail fence and log upon a trail leading from the Keller house to the falls, that the body was not in the water up to 6 o'clock on the afternoon of the 7th of July, that there were finger prints upon the girl's throat, that her neck was broken, and her skull crushed by a blow, and that there was no water in teh lungs or internal organs, conclusive evidence that the girl was dead when thrown into the pool, the theory of the state further being that the girl had been killed and her body concealed in the house until night when it was carried and thrown into the water. To all this chain of silent evidence and circumstances the defense made no rebuttle not a witness being put on the stand,, the attorneys trusting wholly to argument with the result as announced above. The feeling all along among prominent attorneys who have been acquainted with the nature of evidence has been that the Kellers would be acquitted. Prosecutor Stansbury, who was upon the scene and heard most of the preliminary examination, when it was the thought the case came under the jurisdiction of Fountain County, expressed his opinion upon return that the Kellers could never be convicted with the evidence in hand, and when asked what he thought of the verdict, said, "It is just what I expected. I was satisfied the Kellers never coube be convicted upon the evidence." The verdict has shown Mr. Stansbury who is an able lawyer and whose wide and varied experience especially in criminal law, to have understood the heart of the matter, and also the keen insight in to a case he possesses. The question now is, will hte murder of the innocent girl, Clara Shanks, add another to the long list of such atrocious crimes, which have gone unpunished. But it is better that the guilty go unpunished than that the innocent should suffer. Mary Bruce Briggs (nee Molk) was born September 15th, 1848 near Paris, Illinois. She was married July 5th, 1863 to Joel S. Briggs. To this union was born seven children, four of whom are living- Victor M., Henry, Mrs. Ella Miller and Laura B., the youngest. Mrs. Briggs departed this life Feb. 5th at Eureka Springs, Ark., being 47 years and 5 months old. She had been a member of the Baptist Church for 30 years. The funeral services were held at the family residence in this place Thursday at 12 o'clock, conducted by Rev. Mavity, after which the remains were interred in the West Lebanon Cemetery. Mathias Luppold, whose death we chronicled last week, was born in Wurtenburg, Germany, November 12, 1825, where he lived until ninteen years of age when he came to America, settling in Berk's County, Pa., in 1844. Here in the same year, he was united in marriage to Miss Anna Keifer, with whom he lived most happily until his death. To them were born three children, John, Mary and Bettie, all of which are living in this place and have extraordinary good business ability. Mr. and Mrs. Luppold came to Williamsport from Pennsylvania in 1861, settling in Williamsport where he engaged in business. In 1877 he moved with his family to the farm on Fall Creek where he resided until 1890 when he again moved to this city taking up his residence where he died February 9th, 1896. Mathias Luppold was a straightforward man and full of energy and by his personal effort acquired a good amount of this world's goods, leaving some three or four farms in different sections of the county to his children. He had been in poor health during the last three years and being of a very strong constitution went down very slowly. During his last sickness from stomach and bowel trouble, which lasted ten weeks, he often said he would not recover, and often expressed himself that everything was right and that he was ready to die. The funeral services conducted by the Rev. Eli Myers, were held from the family residence Wednesday, Feb. 12th at ten o'clock, after which a long list of friends followed the remains ot Hillside Cemetery where they were leaid gently in their last resting place to await the call of the trump of God at the last day.

Date: 2/20/1896
Origin: Warren Review Extracted from Microfilm
Author: Sharon Roberts
Record ID: 00003538
Type: Obituary
Source Archive: Williamsport-Washington Township Public Library
Date Entered: 4/15/2014
Entered By: Chris Brown

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