IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co. Li'l Bits
updated 02/21/2007

Murder of Henry V. Duffy
Waukon Merchant Found Murdered in His Own Store


Is Suspected of Murder
Was Killed by Burglars
Waukon Merchant Found Murdered in His Own Store

Waukon-Iowa, April, 28 [1897]-Upon the opening of the store of Henry V. Duffy yesterday, the dead body of the proprietor was found, shot through the heart. He was in his night dress and with an unemptied revolver in his hand. It is evident that he was disturbed by the entrance of burglars, came down and was shot by the robbers. He was the leading merchant of the city, prominent in social as in business affairs. The whole matter is as yet an absolute mystery.

Frank Arnold Arrested Charged with Waukon Tragedy

Dubuque, Iowa. Aug. 6 [1897] – On April 25 Last Henry Duffy was found dead in his store at Waukon when his clerks opened the store in the morning. He was lying on his back in his private office, and in his right hand he clutched a 38 caliber revolver. The weapon was cocked but not a chamber was empty.

At first it was believed to have been suicide, but the finding of all the chambers in the revolver loaded caused a change of opinion. The murder theory was further strengthened when; later another revolver with one chamber empty was found on the floor a short distance away. The general impression at the time was that he heard burglars in the store beneath his bed room, went down and was shot to death. The assassin then, in his hurry to escape hurriedly placed the revolver with all the chambers loaded in the dead man’s hand. There were no evidences, however, or robbery.

Two or three weeks ago a detective went to Waukon to investigate the murder and the investigation has resulted in the arrest of Frank Arnold, of that city, by Sheriff McGee. He was arrested at Omaha. The suspicion is based on the fact that the revolver which was found near Duffy’s body with one chamber discharged has been identified as belonging to Arnold, it having been redeemed from pawn a week or two before the murder. Arnold is about 25 years old and the son of a well digger. He has not been in the habit of doing much work and his reputation is not the very best.. It is stated that once he fired a shot at a man for some reason, and that the bullet cut a furrow in the target’s head. Other stories are told of him. He left Waukon about two weeks ago, but his whereabouts was known, and when the time came for his arrest it was not difficult to locate him. He claims that he loaned his revolver to a friend just before the killing of Duffy and that he had nothing at all to do with the crime. Who this friend is, is not Stated. Suspicion was directed towards Arnold immediately after the murder, but it was kept quiet and nothing done to apprehend him until the detective had completed his investigation.

Promises Interest
Duffy Must Answer to Alleged Murder of Frank Arnold

Charles City, Ia. Nov 3 [1897] – The trial of Frank Arnold for the murder of Henry Duffy at Waukon will come off in the next two weeks and bids fair to bring out several sensational matters.

It will be remembered the Henry Duffy was found dead in his stable with a revolver near him in which were one or more discharged shells, and shot through the heart. The question was whether it was a case of suicide or murder at the hands of burglars. Opinion was divided as his brother had suicided some years ago and he had had a great business loss by the destruction of his store and contents by fire a year before. After several months Arnold was arrested in Nebraska charged with the crime.

Will Have Strong Defense

Dubuque, Ia., Jan. 11 [1898] – Frank Arnold, charged with murdering Henry Duffy, a merchant of Waukon, will be put on trial there next Monday. He will be defended by an accident insurance company, which is interested in proving that Duffy committed suicide. Duffy slept over the store. One revolver was found in his hand and another by his side, and the state’s theory is that he surprised a burglar, who shot him. One of the revolvers was identified as Arnold’s. The accused disappeared and was arrested at Omaha.

Arnold Murder Trial

Waukon, Jan. 21 [1898] - The trial of Frank Arnold for the murder of Henry Duffy is on here and continues to excite the greatest interest. It will be remembered that Duffy was found dead in his store with a bullet in his brain; in his hand he grasped a revolver and it is supposed that he had suicided. Upon close examination, however, it was found that every chamber of the weapon contained an unexploded cartridge. Another revolver was found, one belonging to Frank Arnold, with a chamber discharged and this circumstance pointed to him as a probable murderer.

Arnold Not Guilty

Dubuque, Jan 25 [1898] - Frank Arnold, charged with murdering Captain Duffy, the leading merchant of Waukon, was acquitted, the jury returning a verdict by instructions of the court after the state had rested its case.


Another Duffy Brother is Killed

[June 1899] J. E. Duffy of Waukon, who was killed by the cars at McGregor a few days ago, was the third brother in the family to die an unnatural death with the past ten years.


- sources: Cedar Rapids Gazette, April 28, 1897; August 6, 1897; November 3, 1897; January 11, 1898; June, 24, 1899; the Humeston New Era, January 26, 1898 and Fredericksburg News, February 3, 1898

- the articles contributed by Diana Henry Diedrich, Cathy Joynt-Labath & Sharyl Ferrall

- transcribers notes: H. V. Duffy, J. E. Duffy and Frank Arnold are all buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Frank Arnold's death date is 1898.(Diana Diedrich)

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