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Attempted Murder - Wallace H. Foote


Posted By: Cheryl Locher Moonen (email)
Date: 7/11/2016 at 22:54:09

Jackson Sentinel
Maquoketa, Jackson County, Iowa
August 5, 1875

On Monday afternoon, July 26th, the good people of the usually quiet town of Wyoming, Jones County, were thrown into a terrible tremor of excitement by the announcement that Miss Etta Green, daughter of Thomas Green, a well known citizen of that place, had attempted the murder of Wallace Foote, teller of the National Bank there, by shooting at him with a revolver. The causes that impelled her to this rash act, as stated by herself, were that Foote had accomplished her ruin, under promise of marriage, and then refused to make good his promise. That this is true he solemnly and emphatically denies, and his friends who are as numerous as those of Miss Green, assert that a chronic love of notoriety, induced mainly by the reading of yellow covered, blood and thunder romances, was the real reason for this attempt upon the life of the man she professes to love. From the Journal of that town we condense the following particulars of the affair, from which our readers can draw their own conclusions:

Wallace H. Foote is teller of the First National Bank of this city. He has been elected to this position twice by the suffrages of the directors of the bank. There is yet to be an instance in which he has abused the confidence of those who have confided in him. His conduct since his residence in Wyoming has been exemplary, and his attentiveness to business has won for him many warm friends. He is about twenty-four years of age, in build heavy set, of rather low stature, wears his face smooth, is good looking, dresses plainly, but genteel. In disposition he is retiring, and by some would probably be called backward, and withal is a young man whose appearance would indicate that he is not guilty of such serious charges as are laid at his door.

Etta Green is a daughter of Thomas Green, Esq., one of the oldest settlers and much respected citizen. Miss Green is about seventeen years of age. She is rather handsome, of medium stature, has a beautiful form, is a blond, and in disposition (until the sad denouement which we are about to give an account of commenced) was of a vivacious, lively turn, loved fun, appeared well, and withal was not only very attractive, but fascinating enough to start cupid’s arrows to darting in many young gallants’ brows. Her conduct until the last three months has been lady like, and her manner at that time did not indicate that she possessed the latent furies which she is now exhibiting to such an alarming extent.

In December last Mr. Foote first kept company with Miss Green accompanying her to a festival given by the Masonic society. Not long after this club dance was organized, they were both members and regular attendants. Previous to the time that Mr. Foote began going with her she had kept company with a telegraph operator at Centre Junction, by the name of T. Harry McKelvy. She states that she was engaged to this gentlemen and that the engagement had been broken shortly after she had been keeping company with Mr. Foote. It was now noticed generally that he was quite frequently with her and that she evinced quite an attachment for him, which was averse to the wishes of her parents, who had forbid her keeping his company.

The parents finding that she was determined to keep company with Mr. Foote, concluded to not interfere with her. It was soon noticed that Mr. Foote was not paying her as much attention as formerly, and that he seldom was seen with her.

On Sunday evening the 12th of June, Miss Etta was down town and exhibited to several persons a six shooter, heavily loaded, with which she said that she “was going to blow Foote’s brains out unless he done as he agreed to.” She sent word to Foote that she wanted him, and he made his appearance. They took a walk down the street and he, during the evening, took the revolver from her, and she returned home. It was now currently reported upon the streets, that she was enceinte and in fact openly asserted it herself and that it was by Foote. That in fact under promise of marriage, he had seduced her, and had not come up to the terms of the contract, and she proposed that he should.

On Friday evening, June 18th, Foote went to Onslow, accompanied by a young man named Hurd, and returned about 10 o’clock. They immediately went to the room that Foote occupies in Johnson Block with the intention of retiring. As they turned to go through the hall, after leaving the top of the stairway, Hurd said he believed there was someone sitting there. They went into their room, a lamp was lit, and Hurd returned to the hall. Before he had advanced far (and as yet he had seen no one) the light was blown out by a current of air, and he returned to the room and the door was immediately closed after him, and at the same time someone was heard to fall heavily against the door. Foote lit the lamp while Hurd remained at the door. When Foote returned to the door, a noise of bottles rattling against each other, and soon a gulping, gurgling sound, as though some one was taking medicine, and a moment after a heavy fall accompanied with loud and terrible screaming “I have taken poison, I have taken poison, help, help.” The door was immediately opened and Miss Etta Green was lying prostrate on the floor. Hurd endeavored to assist her up, while Foote went for Doc Calkins, who would not come until he got Mr. Green, which was done, and it was ascertained that she had taken a large dose of strychnine. She was immediately taken to her home, and every means was used to save her life, though Dr. Calkins found it a rather difficult task. At times she lay very low, and her life was despaired of. But she recovered after a month’s sickness and is now well.

During Miss Green’s sickness, Mr. Green, who had hitherto refrained from interfering in any manner, or even saying anything about the affair, sent for Foote, as he wished to see him. Foote went to Mr. Green’s residence that evening and he strongly denied that there had been anything criminal since he had kept company with Miss Green.

On Wednesday morning, June 22, Miss Green again put an appearance at the Bank and demanded of Foote “that he do as he had agreed to.” Foote made but few replies, and she playfully threw notes of thousands of dollars from one desk to another, while he began to pick them up and put them in the safe and also the tin cash box, and other valuables. She finally told him she was going to Anamosa that morning to procure a marriage license, further that he must pay the doctor bill while she was sick, and she then took her departure taking the train north for Centre Junction.

On Monday afternoon last, at about 1 o’clock, Miss Green arrived in Wyoming on the train from the north, and immediately betook herself to the bank where Foote was busy with the daily routine of business. Foote came around the front of the counter, which runs nearly across the room, except at one end where there is a door, his intentions being to keep her from going in the rear of the counter. There had hardly been any conversation between them, before she drew a five-barreled revolver of Smith and Wesson make carrying about a quarter of an ounce ball, and fired, apparently at the abdominal regions. Foote jumped behind the picket gate, drawing it to after him, and stooped down behind the counter. She went to the delivery window, and fired at him again, the ball passing an inch above his head, through his hat, through a door panel, and into the wall. By this time a crowd had gathered on the sidewalk, and Milo Van Horn and Tom Reynolds rushed in and succeeded in throwing her arm up so the pistol discharged and went in the ceiling. The mayor soon made his appearance, took possession of the pistol, and ordered her arrested. She was fined $1.00 and costs for discharging firearms within the city limits contrary to ordinance, released and is now at home.

Miss Green openly states that Mr. Foote is guilty of breach of promises and seduction, and he per contra, as stoutly asserts there has been no wrong-doing or promises of any kind on his part. The reader can draw his or her own conclusions. Legal proceedings have not as yet, as near as we can learn, been instituted by any of the parties concerned.


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