History of Clayton County, Iowa

Chapter XVI

(pages 558-569)

Hagerty Murder * Killing of Lewis Hartge * Murder of Patrick Riley * Gould Murder *
Murder of J.G. Walton * Drowning a Man * Murder of Alonzo Sherman * Killing of Conrad Schulte * Killing of John Winett * Murder of Brad Prichett * Murder in Mallory twp. * Killing of Neeman Ingalls * Killing of Michael Kinney * Murder in Cox Creek * A Fatal Collision * Killing of Barnard Bangard * Poor House Murder * Rechfus Murder Case

pg 564

Murder of Brad Prichett

Brad. Prichett was a trapper temporarily stopping in McGregor. He was known to have some money, and on the evening of April 28, 1866, he exhibited a considerable amount in a saloon in the presence of Franklin Linhart. Shortly after exhibiting his money, Prichett passed out of the saloon followed by Linhart, and both were seen to pass up and down Main street several times during the night, and passing in and out of several saloons. About 12 o'clock at night they were seen and recognized by Mrs. Gaffeny, who lived about one mile below McGregor on the river bank. In the course of an hour Linhart returned alone and was again seen by Mrs. Gaffney.

The dead body of Prichett was found the next morning clinging to a log, one end of which was upon the shore and the other in the river, his body being In the water. Upon examination his skull was found to be fractured. He had evidently revived after being thrown into the water and had caught hold of and held on to the log. Pools of blood were found on the ground near and signs of a terrible struggle. From that place for about forty feet to the river bank the ground showed that a body had been dragged over it. Human tracks were found which upon measurement were found to correspond with the size of Linhart's boots.

Linhart was at once arrested and on his boots was found human blood, together with spots of blood upon his clothes. An indictment was found against him for murder. He plead not guilty, Nov. 5, 1866. His trial was then had, lasting three days. The jury disagreed and was discharged. A new trial was held in May of the following year, when he was found guilty and sentenced to imprisonment for life. An appeal was taken to the Supreme Court, pending which he was admitted to bail under bonds of $15,000. The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Lower Court and he was incarcerated in the penitentiary, but has since been reprived.

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pg 569

The Rechfus Murder Case

Giard Towwnship was the scene of a cold-blooded murder on the evening of March 31, 1881. Gustav Rechfus, a wealthy German bachelor, made his home with his brother Henry in Giard Township. On the day in question he had been to Monona, returning in the evening. After eating his supper he took up a newspaper, and turning his back to the table began reading. His brother Henry and wife were also sitting by the same table. While thus seated, as narrated by Henry and his wife, a shot was fired through a window, and Gustav Rechfus fell backward on the table, pierced with a number of buckshot and other small shot. The candle was extinguished by the shot. When lighted it was found that the victim was dead. A reward of $1,500 was offered by the brother of the deceased for the arest and conviction of the murderer. John B. Sutter, Jr., was arrested on suspicion, an examination held and he was at once discharged. George Ellinger was subsequently arrested, indicted by the grand jury, and is now in jail awaiting trial.

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-transcribed by Sharyl Ferrall
-source: History of Clayton County, Iowa, 1882, Chicago: Inter-State Publishing Co., 1882. Reproduced by the sponsorship of the Monona Historical Society, Monona, Iowa, reproduction Evansville, Indiana: Unigraphics, Inc., 1975;
page 318-355


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