Ellen O’Connor was born on July 5, 1865, the
youngest daughter of Patrick and Anna O’Connor. On Nov 27, 1889 she
was married to Matt Daly who farmed nearby. Together they owned the
“Tivola Stock Farm” until Matt was elected a County Supervisor and
they moved to Dubuque in 1910.
Several years later a tragic accident took the
life of their son. Then less than three years later her husband was
An article in the Dubuque Times Journal
on Monday, August 19, 1918 told of the death of Ellen Daly’s son
DEATH WAS SUDDEN
Walter Daly, I. C. Brakeman
Hit by Overhead Bridge
Walter Mathew Daly, only son of
ex-supervisor and Mrs. Matt Daly was almost instantly killed
Saturday evening while on an I. C. freight train between
Dubuque and Freeport. Brakeman Daly left here on Saturday
afternoon on an eastbound freight and when the train reached
Nora, Ill. other members of the crew noticed his absence. He
was found on the top of the train with a wound in the right
temple, which resulted when he struck an overhead bridge. He
lived but a few moments after being found, his death resulting
Saturday evening about 8 o’clock. Mr. Daly had been ordered to
report on the wrecking train which was called from Freeport
Saturday morning to clear the track at Julien, (where a train
wreck there had claimed the lives of three train crewmen the
day before) but it was found later that it would be better to
bring the train from Waterloo. The deceased was born at
Bankston December 10, 1890, and was educated in the schools
there and later attended Dubuque College. He worked at farming
until his parents removed here a few years ago. He was
employed at the American Express Co. for a time and entered
the employ of the I. C. about a year ago.
He made his home at Waterloo for a time,
but his run was changed lately and he had just completed
preparations to make his home in Dubuque again. Mr. Daly was
married to Miss Edna Ridgeway August 22, 1916. She survives
him with an infant son, Walter, his parents and one sister,
Mrs. Walter Lattner, of Bankston. The death of the young man
is sincerely mourned by scores of friends in Dubuque and
Bankston. He was a dutiful son and husband, whose untimely
death is a grievous loss. He was a devout member of the
Catholic Church, whose exemplary life offers a solace to those
bereaved by his death. The funeral takes place Tuesday morning
at 8 o’clock from the home of his parents, 356 Hill Street, to
St. Patrick’s church. The burial will be made at Bankston.
The article did not mention that Walter’s wife
was pregnant with her second child, another son, when the accident
Less than two and a half years later, more
tragedy struck the Daly family when Matt was murdered and Ellen was
critically injured in a brutal attack from a man who claimed he was
married to their deceased son’s widow.
The Dubuque Daily Times front page on February 8, 1921
headlined the murder of Matt Daly:
MATT DALY, PROMINENT DUBUQUER,
BRUTALLY MURDERED IN HIS HOME
At an early hour this morning, the
condition of Mrs. Matt Daly was considered precarious and
little hope was entertained for her recovery. Miss Lahey
showed slight improvement.
One of the most brutal and cold-blooded
crimes in the history of Dubuque county occurred early Monday
morning at 356 Hill street, when G. D. LaRue, alias John
Breywood crushed in the skull of former County Supervisor Matt
W. Daly killing him instantly and inflicted wounds on Mrs.
Daly, from which it is doubtful she will recover, and Miss
Constance Lahey a niece of Mr. Daly, which are considered very
serious. A heavy bar for shaking ashes out of coals in a
furnace was the weapon used by the slayer.
Breywood was arrested and has made a
complete confession to the police and the county attorney.
Determination on the part of Breywood to
“get” Edna Daly, widow of Walter Daly, a son of Matt Daly, who
lost his life in a railroad accident about three years ago,
was responsible for the horrible tragedy. Breywood claimed to
the police that Edna Daly was his wife and that she sent him
word recently that she would have nothing further to do with
him. He came to Dubuque, as a result, to revenge himself on
her, according to his statement. The young woman did not stay
at the Daly home Sunday night, but was at the home of her
mother. . .
Slayer tells Details of Horrible
Crime at Daly Home
The following is the substance of the
confession made to the police by G. D. LaRue, alias John
Breywood, of Chicago.
“It was noon Sunday when I reached
Dubuque from Chicago over the Illinois Central Railroad. I
went to the Julian Hotel and registered. Later I registered at
“Shortly after midnight, I engaged the
services of a taxi cab. It was about two o’clock when I
reached the Daly home. I crawled through the basement window.
Near the furnace I picked up a heavy grate shaker. I then
proceeded upstairs. On entering a room, I flashed a light on a
woman lying on the davenport. On seeing the light she partly
raised up in bed and screamed. I felled her with a blow on the
head from the shaker. Mr. And Mrs. Daly came downstairs. I hit
him over the head with the shaker and he fell to the floor.
Mrs. Daly came forward and I hit her across the head. Mr. Daly
started to get to his feet. I hit another blow across the
head. He crumbled to the floor, I knew then that I had killed
“I picked up Mrs. Daly and carried her to
the davenport where the other girl lay. I then heard a child’s
voice upstairs. I went to the child and brought him down and
laid him in bed with the two women. I searched for Edna Daly.
“Mrs. Daly rallied and I asked her where the key to the garage
was. She told me. I went out to the garage, but found that the
batteries were missing. I then returned to the house. I went
through the home. I took Mr. Daly’s watch, stick pin and
money—other valuables that I could lay my hands upon. “I then
addressed a note to Mrs. Edna Daly telling her that she was
the person who I was after and that I would treat her like I
have these – meaning Mr. And Mrs. Matt Daly and Miss Constance
Lahey – if it took me the rest of my life to do it. “I then
went to Mrs. Edna Daly’s mother’s home on Washington Street to
see if she was there. Not finding her, I reentered the Daly
home. I waited there a while and you know the rest”
New Angle Bared In Daly Tragedy
Show Love Tangle
Parents of George David La Rue,
Slayer of Matt Daly,
Claim He Is Insane—
Wife Started Divorce Proceedings Against
Arrested At One Time For Robbing Letters
In Post Office
BULLETIN Crown Point, Ind. Feb.
7—Edna Daly and George D. LaRue were married Nov. 9, 1920, by
Justice of Peace Howard H. Kemp. (The slayer of Matt Daly
stated to the police that Edna Daly is his wife, but this
claim was strenuously denied to the authorities by the woman.
Crown Point was a town that specialized in quickie marriages.)
“George had been subject to fits and
spells for many years.” Scammon LaRue, brother, said
today…”George married Mrs. Daly in November, but the marriage
was kept secret from the parents of her former husband. She
was receiving money from them and was afraid that they would
stop if they learned she was married….” “I am not surprised”
said Attorney F. C. Encell (Mrs. Edna Daly was formerly his
secretary) when he heard of the crime. “I met young LaRue last
summer when he was courting Mrs. Daly. It was plainly evident
that there was something wrong with him…I strongly advised
against the marriage.”
Edna Daly finally admitted she had
married LaReau but had filed for an annulment when she discovered he
had been divorced less than the year that Indiana state law required
(before remarriage) She maintained that her marriage therefore was
not legal under this law and that is why she said she was not
married to him.
Justice was swift in those days. Less
than four months after the murder, LaReau was tried and convicted of
murder. He was sentenced to life in prison where he eventually died.
The date of his death is not known.
Edna was always well liked by her
in-laws but the facts brought out in the trial caused “quite a
scandal” and after it was over, Matt Daly’s brother reportedly gave
Edna some money so she could leave town. She moved to Milwaukee
where she eventually remarried a man named Sweeney.
Ellen, affectionately known as “Aunt Nell” was
originally not expected to live. However, while she would always
carry a large scar on her forehead from the brutal attack, she lived
another 37 years to the ripe old age of 92, dying on Mar. 2, 1958.
Walter Daly are all buried in
St. Clement’s cemetery at Bankston.