Victim: Tony Wanner

The Accused: Hayden McFarland

Wanner Date of death: Wednesday, Nov. 25, 1891


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LeMars Sentinel, Nov. 27, 1891


A Struble Saloon Keeper Brained with a Punch.
His Assailant in Jail at LeMars
Particulars of the Tragedy-Hayden McFarland Fatally Wounds Tony Wanner.
Wanner Dying Makes His Will.

"Murder at Struble," was the word received at LeMars Wednesday night. "Tony
Wanner killed by Hayden McFarland."

McFarland went into Wanner's saloon early in the afternoon of Wednesday.
Wanner immediately drove him out and threaten to pound him. Particulars
about the quarrel are contradictory and confusing, but as near as can be
ascertained it appears that Wanner wanted to drive the boy out of town and
followed him around considerable during the afternoon, running against him,
and using threatening language. They had several little quarrels on the
street, Wanner having left his saloon. About six o'clock an older brother
of McFarland told Wanner to leave the boy alone. About this time the
quarrel became hot and McFarland's friends claim that Wanner took up a heavy
nine pound mason's hammer to strike with it. Hayden McFarland at this time
STRUCK WANNER on the side of the head with a heavy blacksmith's punch about
as large as the kingbolt of a wagon. Wanner fell senseless on the sidewalk
and his brains oozed out through a hole in his skull above his ear. He laid
there for a short time pleading and senseless, but was soon taken out and
cared for. McFarland went home in a short time to his father's house.

Drs. Wilson of Maurice, and Richey of LeMars, were summoned to attend the
wounded man. Sheriff Boyle was notified and promptly went to Struble. He
found McFarland in bed, at home, and brought him over to LeMars and lodged
him in jail before 10 o'clock that night. The general opinion seems to be
that McFarland did not intend to kill Wanner but that he did intend to knock
him down and hurt him badly.

McFarland is in jail, and of course will not be granted bail. He has
employed T.M. Zink to defend him. Wanner is still alive but cannot live

Struble is a tough little village, about 8 miles northwest of LeMars and has
had two saloons running in full blast for a long time. They have been an
intolerable nuisance to the community, and a few days ago, young McFarland
complained against one of them. This is supposed to be the reason why
Wanner was angry at McFarland.

The injured man, Tony Wanner, is a typical saloon keeper having been in the
business for several years. He started in at Remsen a few years ago and
became worth several thousand dollars. He then went to Dakota and operated
two saloons, drove a splendid team and was quite a man in his way while his
money held out. Later he started a saloon at Akron and was one of the
parties prosecuted there last spring. He lived there at the time of the
incendiary troubles last spring, when several fires were started after the
closing of those saloons. Wanner, however, was in Sioux City on the night
of the fire and was never proved guilty of complicity in the incendiaryism.
He this summer made arrangements to start a saloon at Kingsley and had a
building or rented, but did not find the Kingsley atmosphere good for the
health of the business. By this time he was dead broke again and some
friend loaned him a few dollars to start a saloon at James. He built a
little shanty there on credit, got on a spree and blew in his capital.
About two weeks ago he began tending bar at Struble, running the saloon on
shares. He was not usually quarrelsome when sober, but was of a low order
of intelligence. He was about 35 years old and has a wife and two children.
Wanner has no property, but expects to receive some from the old country. He
made his Will last night, and is rational, at times, but there is no hope of
his recovery.

The Prisoner.

Hayden McFarland, the young man who struck Wanner, is the son of Mr. Ruben
McFarland, a wealthy farmer of Grant township. The family came here from
Illinois a few years ago and have always stood high as peaceable citizens.
Hayden is 20 years of age and not in the habit of getting drunk or fighting.
He claims that the blow was struck in self-defense, and appears to be
certain of acquittal. The family is nearly distracted at the sad

Latest Report.

At noon today Wanner was resting easier. There is a hole in the side of his
head over an inch square through which his brains protrude and a small
portion has sloughed off. Dr. Ritchey is attending him and Dr. Hackett has
been employed by the McFarlands to assist.

LeMars Sentinel, December 11, 1891


After the death of Tony Wanner, the accused, Hayden McFarland, came to
LeMars and he was also at the courthouse on Wednesday. He is still at large
on bail. After the grand jury indicts him, the district court will fix the
amount of his bonds to appear for trial. His case will not come on before
the next term of court.

Alton Democrat
November 5, 1892

The jury in the McFarland murder case at LeMars, brought in a verdict of
murder in the second degree Wednesday, which means not less than ten years
and possibly life imprisonment. McFarland has not yet been sentenced. The
case will be appealed to the supreme court on the ground of an error in the
date of the murder in the indictment, and for the further reason that the
instrument does not state that Wanner died in Plymouth County. This murder
occurred at Struble, in Plymouth County, and the murdered man, Tony Wanner,
was formerly a resident of Alton.

Alton Democrat
November 19, 1892

Because of a mistake in the indictment of McFarland for the murder of Tony
Wanner in Plymouth County, a new trial will be had and it is said McFarland
can only be tried for assault. It is little mistakes of this kind,
defeating the ends of justice, that leads to mob law.

LeMars Globe
May 6, 1893

The May term of the District Court for this county will convene Monday with
Judge Ladd presiding. The copy for the bar calendar is now in the hands of
the printer and contains 166 cases, divided as follows: criminal 20, new
cases 74, noticed for trial 45, probate 27.

This will be one of the most notable terms of court ever held in this
county, if all the criminal cases are reached. Among the more prominent
cases are the following:

State vs. Hayden McFarland for the murder of Tony Wanner, November 25, 1891.
This is the case where the jury at the last October term of court found
McFarland guilty of murder in the second degree, but owing to a defect in
the indictment a new trial was granted.

LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel
June 5, 1893

The Celebrated McFarland Case Closed.

Nearly all of last week was consumed in trying Hayden McFarland murder case,
which was an action brought by the state against Had McFarland for the
killing of Anton Wanner, at Struble in the fall of 1891. In the first case
the jury found a verdict of guilty as charged in the indictment, but that
verdict was set aside by the court and a new indictment found. Upon the last
named he was just tried. Able council appeared for both sides. P. Farrell
and George W. Argo, for the state, and T. M. Zink assisted by one of the
most noted criminal lawyers of the country, William Erwin, of St. Paul,
appeared on behalf of the defendant. Messrs Argo and Erwin’s arguments
before the jury were both of a high order. Messrs Zink and Farrell
concluded the case Friday about 2:30 p.m. The jury retired at 3:00 p.m. and
at 4:50 p.m. returned with a verdict of “guilty of murder in the second

The jurymen were: J. F. Berner, J. W. Klise, Wm. Reintz Sr., Charles Kanago
Sr., J. W. Love, T. Flanney Sr., J. D. Trow, John Brown, J. D. Reese, Chris
Stortz, Wm. Brady, S. M. Hawkins.

W. W. Erwin, who assisted T. M. Zink in the defense of young McFarland,
received $1,000 for his services. Simply counting the time, he was employed
in arguing the case before the jury, it amounted to nearly $500 per hour.
Long years of experience in criminal law, with native genius to back it,
commands a good remuneration. Nothing was left undo by Messrs Zink or Erwin
to save this young man from a term in the penitentiary. The evidence was
against him and the penalty must be paid.


Le Mars, Ia., June 4. --- Hayden McFarland was convicted of murder in the
second degree for the killing of Anton Wanner in November 1891. Wanner was a
saloonkeeper at the town of Struble, and he and McFarland had trouble and
Wanner drove him out of the saloon. The quarrel was renewed outside later
and Hayden McFarland struck Wanner on the side of the head with a kingbolt
of a wagon, crushing the skull. McFarland was convicted of murder in the
second degree last November, but obtained a new trial on a flaw in the

LeMars Sentinel
Thursday, June 15, 1893


LE MARS, IA., June 9. -In Plymouth county district court, Judge Ladd
sentenced Hayden McFarland to 20 years in the penitentiary for killing Tony

Iowa, Registers of Convicts, Men's Reformatory, Peniteniary at Anamosa

Name: Hayden McFarland
County: Plymouth County
Crime: Murder, second degree
Term: 20 Years
When Committed: June 7, 1893
Age: 23
Complexion:  Light
Sex: Male
Nativity: Born in Illinois
Mental Culture:
Religious Education: Christian
Social State: Single
Commitments: First
Date Expiration with Diminution: Sep. 6, 1900
When & How Discharged: June 15, 1897, Suspended Sentence

Hayden McFarland 1870-1897

LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel, December 6, 1897
STRUBLE: (Special Correspondence)
Died, Hayden McFarland at the home of his parents on Tuesday evening of consumption in the 27th year of his age. His remains were taken to this old home in Illinois for interment. His brothers, Thomas and John, accompanied the body.

LeMars Globe-Post, December 8, 1897
Hayden McFarland died at the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. McFarland, of Struble, on Saturday, November 27, of consumption, aged about 27 years. The remains were taken back to the old home in Illinois for burial and were accompanied by the brothers, John and Will. For several months, he had sought relief in Colorado from the dreaded disease, which had fastened upon him, but he got weaker each day and was finally brought back to the home of his parents where he passed away.

Plymouth County Courthouse Death Record:
Name of Deceased: Hayden McFarland
Age: 26yrs, 11mos, 13das
Birth Place: Henry County, Illinois
Date of Death: 27 Nov 1897
Place of Death: Struble, Iowa
Burial: Cambridge, Henry County, Illinois