Democrat and Chronicle
20 Aug 1891
Murder in Harrison. Cold-Blooded Assassination. Frank Koehn Shot Down by his Neighbor, Anton Hoersch, Without Cause – The Murderer in Jail.
Chilton Times - Saturday - August 22, 1891 - p. 1 - c. 4 & 5
There has been no crime in Calumet County in years that caused so much excitement as the cold-blooded murder in the Town of Harrison, four miles north of Stockbridge on Monday afternoon last. The news of the murder reached this city and Sheriff Egerer started for the scene of the crime. The murderer had been arrested in the meantime by Deputy Sheriff H.W. Schwobe of Stockbridge and was taken to this city. A Times reporter visited Hoersch in the jail and found him to be morose and untalkative. When asked why he committed the crime, he said he knew nothing of the shooting. He stated that his wife left him some four weeks ago and went to Kaukauna. He tried to persuade her to come home but she refused. On Sunday he sent his boy to Kaukauna for his wife, he returned in the evening alone, saying his mother would not come back. Monday morning he went to Sherwood and drank several glasses of beer and procured a jug of whiskey. He stopped and talked with Koehn and Koehn walked with him to his home, where they talked over the matter of his wife’s leaving home. Hoersch says, that he was full and don’t remember anything that transpired after that until he woke up in jail in this city Tuesday morning. He claims that he had no quarrel with Koehn. The only witness to the shooting was one of Hoersch’s sons who was pumping water near where the deed was done. On Tuesday district attorney Reynolds, sheriff Egerer and Dr. Luce went to Harrison to attend the inquest which was held before justice August Dorn. The verdict of the jury was that Koehn came to his death from a pistol shot fired from the hands of Hoersch. The prisoner was taken before Squire Fox on Thursday morning, and an adjournment taken until this (Saturday) morning at nine o’clock.
Another report of the murder is to the effect that there has long been existing between Hoersch and Koehn, a hard feeling which has manifested itself whenever an opportunity was offered. The former party has also had more or less family trouble and at time has been on very poor terms with his wife. For the last few weeks Mrs. Hoersch has been visiting friends at Kaukauna. Monday Mr. Hoersch sent his son after her, but not being ready to come, the son was compelled to return without her. This afforded Frank Koehn an excellent opportunity to make his neighbor angry, which he lost no time doing. He stated that his wife had left him for good and made many other remarks calculated to rouse Mr. Hoersch’s temper. Things soon became so unbearable that Mr. Hoersch, after threatening his neighbor, drew a revolver and shot him through the heart, killing him instantly. As soon as he saw what he had done, the murderer fled for his life.
Two Stockbridge boys, Walter Croak and Gabe Sampson were driving cattle by Koehn’s place just previous to the shooting, and while taking of water at Koehn’s pump, saw the two men together talking. During the conversation Hoersch said to Koehn, “I will shoot you and then shoot myself.”
The following communication was received from Sherwood under date of Aug. 17, giving a report of the tragedy that has caused so much excitement: Anton Hoersch, a notoriously bad man, shot and instantly killed Frank Koehn, at the corners called “Harrison,” about 5 o’clock this afternoon. Hoersch, who has lived in this vicinity for seven or eight years, has been a terror to the community, and should have been put where he could do no harm long ago. Scarcely a month has elapsed during his residence here that he has not brutally beaten his wife, or children, or some of his animals. His wife has had him arrested and taken before Justice Dorn, who gave him a great deal of friendly and good advice which had no effect on his temper. His family has usually taken refuge among the neighbors, until his natural ugliness subsided. And a short time since he was determined to kill his wife, but she succeeded in getting away from him and has remained with her relatives in another town ever since. Hoersch, who lived in the Bast place, only separated from Mr. Koehn by the highway, got on one of his customary mad fits, and began to abuse his children, who stay at home some of them calling on Mr. Koehn for assistance. The good friend and neighbor stepped over there and sought to reason with the vicious Hoersch. The boys say that Koehn was telling their father that if he would govern his temper and treat his family well, he might lead a happy life, that he had a good home and enough to make them all comfortable and contented, if he would allow his wife and children to live in peace. This so enraged Hoersch that he drew a revolver and shot Koehn, killing him instantly. The ball penetrated the right suspender in front and doubtless passed through the body and entered the heart. A little son of Mr. Koehn says he heard the body of his father strike the board walk when he fell. Great excitement prevails and a great crowd of people have gathered around the tragic scene where the sight of Mrs. Koehn and little family sitting beside the murdered husband and father, is heartrending. About three months ago her oldest child, an unusually bright and promising girl of 14 years, and the hope and pride of her parents, was taken away by sickness, and this sudden and violent death of her husband seems almost too much for reason to endure.
As were write, news comes that deputy sheriff Schwobe, of Stockbridge, captured Hoersch in the woods south of his house on the opposite side of the road, secured him with hand cuffs and he is on his way to Chilton. The excitement and indignation is so intense that had he been found by the neighbors who tracked him through his cornfield, it is very doubtful if the villain would ever have seen our county seat. Mr. Koehn, who located here several years ago, engaged in the grocery and saloon business, but afterwards gave up the saloon, saying that it was a bad business to raise a family in and he was too peace loving a man to run such a place. He was a kind and obliging neighbor with a host of friends and not a known enemy. His death, in any event, would have been a great loss and keenly felt by all, and is now doubly so. His family have the sympathy of everyone, and if needed, it will be put in substantial form by voluntary subscription. Hoersch formerly lived in Marshfield and engaged in the furniture business, but his abuse to his family and general ugliness caused the people of that place to extend a forcible invitation to him to go where there was more room, thereby saving themselves from the tragedy we now witness. He has always been a vicious, unsocial, unneighborly crank, who, it is now hoped by all who know him, will be imprisoned for life. His own children declared their hopes that he may never be released again, and well they may, for they have been horribly beaten, and one little boy laid for three days in a stupid condition and suffered a long sickness in consequence of his father’s abuse.
Fond du Lac Daily Reporter - Wednesday - August 19, 1891 - p. 3 - c. 2
A Desperate Man
A Desperate Man
A Chilton dispatch says: The cause of the murder of Koehn, Monday night was the Hoersh was quarreling with his children, and whipping them in a brutal manner, when one of the boys went overt Koehn’s grocery story, and summoned him for assistance. Mr. Koehn went over to Hoersh’s place, and began talking to him in a quiet peaceable manner, trying to get him quieted down, by telling him that he had everything to make his home pleasant and his family happy. This enraged Hoersh so much that he threatened to shoot Koehn. Mr. Koehn tried to quiet him. This made Hoersh so angry that he fired four shots at Koehn, one striking the left breast and going through the heart. Those hearing the shooting rushed into the house to see what had happened, when they were terror-stricken to see the dead body of Mr. Koehn lying on the floor. The murderer escaped, and hid in a cornfield. There he fired three shots fro some unknown cause. He then strolled from the cornfield toward Stockbridge, and there was captured by Deputy Sheriff Schwobe, and brought to Chilton. About a month ago his wife left him. After he shot Mr. Koehn he said he was going to shoot his wife. He is now in the county jail there.
Comment: Image source . My wife is the great granddaughter of Anton Hoersch and granddaughter of Anton's son John. The 1881 record (source) reports:
Surnames: Hoersch, Best ----Source: History of Northern Wis. (Wood County, Wis.) 1881, page 1211 ANTON HOERSCH, furniture dealer, Marshfield. Came to Marshfield, from Oshkosh, July, 1877. He was born at Polg, Rhine Province, May 11, 1846. He is a son of Mathias and Anna Maria Hoersch. He came to Detroit, Mich., July, 1872; stayed there about six months, then came to Sherwood, Wis., and has also worked at Appleton, Menasha and Fond du Lac and Oshkosh, at his trade of cabinet maker, which was the trade of his father and his grandfather also. He was married, Sept. 22, 1874, to Miss Margaret Best, of Sherwood. They have three boys — Mark, Joseph and John.