A.L. WERTZ & SIMEON SNOWDEN
Posted By: Nancee(McMurtrey)Seifert
Date: 6/4/2021 at 11:22:42
Decatur County Journal
Thursday, August l2, l9l5
SIMEON SNOWDEN, aged seventy-three years, one
of the prominent residents
of Leroy in the north part of Decatur County,
shot and killed A.L.
WERTZ, a collector, near Humeston last Friday
noon. SNOWDEN, who was
later arrested and taken to the county jail
at Corydon, committed
suicide by hanging in his cell about 4
o'clock Monday morning.
MR. SNOWDEN had some time ago purchased a
stallion from A.B. HOLBERT, a
horse importer located at Greeley, not far
from Humeston. MR. HOLBERT
had his notes for $l,250 which he had sent
MR. WERTZ to collect. MR.
SNOWDEN it seems, was unable to secure funds
to pay the notes which fact
it is believed led to the murder.
The murder occurred, it is believed, about
noon near the farm of ELMER
RICHARDSON about three and one-half miles
northwest of the town of
Humeston. The two men were on their way from
Leroy to Humeston in a
buggy belonging to SNOWDEN.
The body was discovered by MRS. ROY BARNETT
and three little daughters
who were on their way from the home to the
residence of MRS. BARNETT's
parents, MR. and MRS. JAMES RICHMAN, not far
MRS. BARNETT summoned her husband from the
harvest field and he in turn
notified the coroner of Wayne County and
summoned Dr. H.T. Smith, of
Humeston. The neighbors had also been
notified and in a short time
after the discovery of the body a large crowd
had collected at the scene
of the crime. C.C. Hutchinson, the Wayne
County Coroner, and Dr. Smith
arrived at the place where the body was lying
a few minutes before two
A short time before the murder was committed,
MRS. BARNETT had seen
SNOWDEN and WERTZ pass her home in a buggy
and later she saw SNOWDEN
drive back past the BARNETT farm alone.
Suspicion rested upon SNOWDEN
and he was arrested about two miles northwest
of Leroy. Officers caught
up with SNOWDEN who was driving a single
horse hitched to a cart and was
enroute to the home of a friend.
No resistance was offered. He seemed calm
and quite collected. The
arrest was made by Deputy Sheriff, H.E.
Morrett, County Attorney H.F.
Garrett, and Constable O.W. Stevens, of Wayne
County, and taken to
A Coroner's inquest was held at Humeston, the
jury being composed of
A.D. McCullough, N.J. Kipper and H.M. Hart,
the verdict being that the
bullet wound that caused the death of WERTZ
had been feloniously
inflicted and that in the opinion of the
jury, SIMEON SNOWDEN committed
the deed. After his arrest SNOWDEN was
searched and two notes, one for
$450 and for $400, due A.B. HOLBERT and
signed by S. SNOWDEN, were found
in his possession. They had been marked paid
with a lead pencil. The
buggy in which the two men had been riding
was found and it was
discovered that the cushion and the bottom of
the buggy were covered
with blood. An attempt had been made to wash
the blood out of the buggy
but it was plainly visible. SNOWDEN also had
blood on his clothing.
The officers were able to trace the course of
the buggy and locate the
vehicle by a perculiar mark in the road made
by one of the feet of the
horse drawing it.
MR. WERTZ, who is an expert collector, has
been in the employ of MR.
HOLBERT for many years. He was a large man
and weighed 375 pounds.
There is a small stream near the place where
the body was found.
The Coroner and the Jury were of the opinion
that MR. SNOWDEN had
expected to throw the body over the edge of
the bridge spanning the
stream but that the horse became frightened
at the report of the
revolver and ran up the hill before he could
be controlled. There it is
supposed that SNOWDEN pulled to the side of
the road and dumped the body
of his victim into the weeds. The body was
sitting in nearly an upright
position when found. Two large envelopes
containing notes and checks
amounting to near $l,300 were found on his
arm. His suit case was lying
near. There was $74 in money on the body.
MR. SNOWDEN was taken to Corydon and placed
in jail. In some way he
obtained a piece of electric light wire and
at an early hour Monday
morning succeeded in hanging himself with it.
The body was found by
Sheriff A.J. Surbaugh, who had gone to the
cell to give the man his
breakfast. Saturday evening SNOWDEN had
confessed to Sheriff Surbaugh
that he had committed the crime.
MR. SNOWDEN, who is seventy-three years old,
has a wife and three fine
daughters and a son. He was a man of good
reputation and had been an
ardent church worker. At different times he
has had financial
The body of WERTZ was taken to Humeston and
was on Saturday sent to
Grand Junction where he has a brother living.
He was divorced from his
wife. He is survived by two children, two
sisters and the brother
residing at Grand Junction.
Copied February 24, 2002
Decatur Documents maintained by Constance McDaniel Hall.
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