Murder & Mayhem In Harvey County
Domestic disputes and affairs, forsaken loves, robbery and revenge. This volume recounts over 90 murders in one Kansas county during the early 1900's, directly from the notes of those who lived through them.
Murder in the 20th Century became less about revenge and territory, as the cowboy days had passed and the residents of the Central Plains focused on building their farms and communities. Motivations to commit murder became more personal – domestic disputes and affairs, forsaken loves, and of course, money. This volume recounts over 90 murders in one Kansas county during this period of time, which includes plenty of mystery still waiting to be solved. Was there a reason that a cut up man stuffed under a building, with no knife to be found, was announced as a suicide? Who killed the young man walking home from his fiance’s house – or was that suicide also? Whose skeleton was found burned on a strawstack in the middle of a country field? Harvey County was also connected to 2 notorious train robberies, a mechanic killed as he slept in his shop, a police officer who was said to be set up and shot by members of his own department, a piano teacher shot by an enraged father, a farm owner who was killed by his own nephew over a dispute over planting wheat or corn, another killed because of a fence, and still another for walking across a neighbor’s field. This volume also recounts by eyewitness testimony the amazing stories of murder committed by the famous Aggie Myers, the first woman convicted of murder who was released because the Governor refused to be the first to hang a woman. In Harvey County, Kansas, a man killed his wife, a father killed his child, a nephew killed his uncle, a man killed his son-in-law, men killed their girl friends, a mistress killed a wife, and a policeman shot a drunken man in the back. Conflicts such as these may be common in some cities, but in a small rural county they shocked and stunned the peaceful residents who called it home.”A shocking tragedy, the most terrible and revolting ever recorded in the annals of Newton, took place in the city and the citizens have not yet recovered from the horror and indignation which the crime aroused in their breast” wrote one reporter. Another writes, “All through this confession one is impressed with the thought that this man who says that he helped to commit one of the most fiendish murders in the history of Kansas and Missouri, was lamentably weak and compelled in the power of a woman.” What caused hard-working Kansans to become so frenzied that murder appeared to them as a reasonable solution – and who were those who became the object of their wrath? Follow the progression in the development of a county seeking peace in the early 1900’s by reading the stories of the most atrocious and fiendish crimes committed in her midst.