This story posted features the MIDDLETON surname. Research & transcriptions done by Mary Holub and Linda Ziemann.

Buck Middleton

Born 24 Jul 1896, Morrison, Illinois

Died 24 Jul 1924, LeMars, Iowa




Yester Year Stories, Backed with Today's Research


LeMars Globe-Post
July 24, 1924

Le Mars Ball Player Dies of Gunshot Wound in Temple Following Quarrel

Gerald “Buck” Middleton, well known LeMars ball player and electrician by
trade, was found early this morning by his aunt, Mrs. M. E. Fletcher, 335
First Avenue NE, dead with a .32 caliber revolver bullet through his had
about an inch and a half in front and above the right ear.

Mrs. Fletcher went to Mr. Middleton’s room this morning to call him. Not
finding him in, she went out to the garage to see if his car was in. She saw
the car in the garage with the headlights still burning, and Mr. Middleton
lying over in his seat. Suspecting something wrong, she went over to the
Water and Light Company and called Wilbur Jones, Earnest Schmidt and Jack
Stevens, telling them that she could not wake Buck up. They went over and
quickly saw that the young man was dead.

Coroner Lloyd Mauer was called and removed the body to the Beely morgue. He
had evidently been dead six or seven hours, as rigor mortis had set in and
the body had stiffened in the attitude in which it had fallen. The pistol
was still in his hand. There were two bullets gone, though only one wound
was found. The other cartridge must have been discharged some time before.
Mr. Middleton must have died suddenly, though there was considerable loss of
blood. The right-hand cushion of the Ford coupe was soaked with blood,
which had run down through the chassis of the car and formed a pool in the
dirt floor of the garage, which is loosely covered with boards.

No one heard the shot. It may have been fired during the thunderstorm last
night, and if it was heard, was probably taken for thunder.

A note, not bearing any address, was lying in the seat beside the body. It
sated that his death was due to a disappointed love affair with a LeMars
girl, whom he mentioned. A souvenir pencil given out by a local garage was
found. There was also a broken package of mints, a stick of chewing gum, a
pocket comb, and a silver pencil with screw point. Several bank books and
about $11 in change were found on the body. Coroner Mauer decided that it
was a plain case of suicide and that an inquest would not be necessary.

According to those who knew the principals of the tragedy, “Buck” and his
sweetheart went out riding about 9 o’clock that night, going over to Remsen.
On the way they had a quarrel, and the man showed her his revolver, which he
bought three weeks ago from his cousin, John Fletcher.

He discharged the gun once, to show that it was loaded. This accounts for
the extra cartridge. They returned home without patching up their
difficulties. They young Middleton went home, and according to reports,
telephoned to the girl from the house. After this he wrote a lengthy note
and then went out to the garage.

A friend of the deceased states that several months ago Middleton made the
remark, “If my girl goes back on me, I’ll kill myself.”

“You don’t mean that, do you, Buck?” the friend laughingly countered.

“Oh, don’t I?” Middleton replied.

The news of Mr. Middleton’s death was received with incredulity when it
first came out. There was no one who knew him who would have expected his
action. Persons who saw him last night say that he appeared to be in
excellent spirits. He bought a Green River at a candy kitchen about 8:30
last night, he “kidded” his friends, and remarked that he was “going to
stroll over and see his girl” after a while. He said that he had not been
out for baseball practice that night, that he was “all dressed up” and might
go to the dance.

Gerald Middleton came to LeMars about four years ago last October, coming
from Illinois. He was about 28 years old. He worked as electrician and has
been playing on the local baseball team. His mother, Mrs. Minnie Colebaugh,
lives at Marshalltown, Ia. She was informed of her son’s death by telegram
this morning. Funeral arrangements will not be made until Mrs. Colebaugh

LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel, July 25, 1924

Buck Middleton Found Lifeless in His Car in Garage
Bullet Wound in Head
Was Popular Member of the LeMars Baseball Team

Gerald Middleton, aged 28, a well known resident of LeMars, committed
suicide by shooting himself sometime between the hours of midnight and dawn,
Wednesday night or Thursday morning. The tragedy came to light about 7
o'clock yesterday morning, when his aunt, Mrs. M. Fletcher, residing at 325
First Ave. NE, went to call him to go to work. Middleton was employed with
the Henn Electric Shop, roomed with Fletcher family. He was last seen alive
by Mrs. Fletcher Wednesday evening when he entered the living room and used
the telephone. This was about half past ten in the evening.

Mrs. Fletcher, on going to call him in the morning, noticed the bed had not
been occupied and proceeded to the garage to see if his car was there. The
doors of the garage were wide open and the lights burning, also the lights
on the car. This unusual condition caused anxiety in the mind of Mrs.
Fletcher and apprehensive of something untoward or wrong, she called men
from the LeMars Water & Light company plant, a short distance west of the

At her request men came over and entering the garage were greeted by a
gruesome sight. A pool of blood was coagulating on the floor of the garage,
and blood was seeping from the door of the Ford coupe, on the seat of which
was lying prone the lifeless body of Middleton. In his right hand was
clasped the handle of a 32-calibre revolver.

Coroner Lloyd Mauer was called and took charge of the remains. Death in his
opinion had taken place several hours previously and was instantaneous. The
dead man had apparently placed the revolver at the right temple and pulled
the trigger. The weapon was a five chamber revolver.

Two bullets discharged. One shell, in the opinion of the official, had been
discharged some time ago. The single shot that penetrated the brain and
caused death.

A note was found in the car, the contents of which are known to the family
and the coroner. It is understood by the tenor of the letter which relatives
decline to make [unreadable], that in the [unreadable] he bade goodbye to
his mother and said [unreadable] that unrequited love was the [unreadable]
his act.

Middleton had been [unreadable] to a well known LeMars woman, to whom it is
said, he was devoted attached. They [unreadable] together during the evening
preceding the fatality.

The mother of the dead man was notified yesterday of the tragedy. Her name
was Mrs. Minnie Colbaugh, of Marshalltown, Iowa. She was here last spring
and nursed Mr. Middleton when he suffered a spell of sickness lasting
several weeks.

The body is being held at the Beely undertaking rooms pending arrival of
relatives. The coroner decided that no inquest was necessary as it was
evidently a plain case of suicide.

Gerald Middleton had resided in LeMars the past four or five years. He came
here from Illinois and worked for Nic Mathey in the plumbing business and
then entered the employ of A. Henn over three years ago.

Mr. Henn speaks in the highest terms of Middleton, saying he was one of the
best men he ever employed and in addition to being a good worker, was
willing, obliging and courteous at all times and a general favorite.

As a member of the LeMars baseball team, "Buck" Middleton became known to a
large number of people in Plymouth county. He was a hard working member of
the team and was always in the game, and if not the most brilliant of
players, was willing to take a chance at any time. He was a dashing fielder
and a consistent hitter in the seasons in which he played for LeMars. He
never crabbed at his fellow players and took the cheers and roasts of fans
in a good natured spirit, winning him many friends.

LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel, July 29, 1924

The funeral of Gerald Middleton, who took his own life Thursday morning, was
held yesterday at the First Baptist Church and was largely attended. Rev.
J.W. Davis, of Hildreth Memorial Church, conducted the services.

Fitzgerald Middleton was born at Morrison, Ill., July 24, 1896, and was
twenty-eight years of age. He leaves to mourn his death, his mother, Mrs.
Minnie A. Colbaugh, of Marshalltown, Iowa; two brothers, Walter Middleton
and Leo Middleton, of Prophetstown, Ill; and a half-brother, Lysle, of

Fitzgerald Middleton served in the World War and was attached to the
artillery branch of the service. Owing to ill health he was given an
honorable discharge.

He came to LeMars about four years ago where he made his home with his aunt,
Mrs. Mattie Fletcher, 335 First Avenue NE. He was employed as an electrician
by the Henn Electrical company, and was a good workman, valued highly by all
those with whom he came in contact. "Buck" Middleton was a member of the
LeMars baseball team for the first three or four seasons and was popular
with the players and fans.