Saturday, February 17, 2018

A Maniac's Deed.

For several weeks in November 1892, Herman Siegler had been depressed and melancholy. Siegler was a wood carver employed by Wolf Bros. of West Erie Street, Chicago and was known as a man of good disposition who had, to all appearances, a happy domestic life. He and his wife Emilia had been married for eleven years and had three children, the oldest was 10-years-old and the youngest just a few months old. None of his family or friends could explain his recent depression.

The Sieglers lived on the first floor of a house on North Paulina Street and Emilia’s parents, Heinrich and Caroline Siels, lived in the upper story. The morning of November 20, as Caroline Siels walked down the stairs she said “Good morning” to Herman. He responded by raising a shotgun to his shoulder and firing one barrel at her. Caroline’s head was nearly blown off, and her dead body rolled the rest of the way downstairs.

Emilia ran into the room to see what the trouble was, just as her father came running down the stairs. Siegler raised the gun again and fired at Mr. Siels. The shot tore off one of his arms and lodged portions of the shot in his neck and chest. Some of the shot hit his wife, wounding her left ear, arm and breast.

The old man did not die immediately; as Siegler was reloading the shotgun, Siels ran outside to a neighbor’s house. He was taken in and laid on the floor, but he died soon after. Emilia gathered up the youngest two children in her arms and with the oldest clinging to her skirts, she too ran from the house and took refuge at a neighbor’s. 

By this time, neighbors had been attracted by the noise of the shooting and the congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bethlehem – between 1,200 and 1,500 people – were exiting the church. A crowd gathered in front of the Siegler’s house and someone called for a patrol wagon. 

Two policemen arrived and officer Simonson went inside and tried to arrest Siegler, but when Siegler raised the gun Simonsen turned and ran back out. Siegler followed him out and when he threw the door open wide the people who had gathered out front fell back. Officer Simonson drew his revolver and ordered Siegler to surrender. Siegler replied by firing again, this time the shot went high and injured no one. Simonson fired back hitting Siegler in his right side. Siegler went back inside and the officers waited for reinforcements. 

Another patrol wagon arrived and the officers approached the house. Officer Donaghue knocked on the door but got no response. Just as he moved his hand away, the door was shattered by a shot from inside. Siegler had put the muzzle of the gun against the door and blown a two-foot hole through one of the panels. As this transpired, Officer McCarthy entered the back of the house and got the drop on Siegler. McCarthy disarmed him and led him out of the house. 

Outside the house, men in the crowd had drawn their own revolvers and were hoping to punish Siegler before the police could take him away. Others landed punches on Siegler until the officers had hin safely inside the wagon. The horses were whipped into a gallop and Siegler was taken to the West Chicago Avenue Station. 

When Siegler had been subdued and was calm enough to speak he dictated and signed the following statement:
About 8:30 o’clock this morning I went to my brother’s house, William Siegler, at No. 832 North Hoyne Avenue, for to get a gun. As I was told by our Lord up above to go and get a gun, I did it. I was born to release this country. The Lord said to me: ‘To-day is the day of judgment, and you’ve got to be there.’ I brought the gun and put it in the closet and after a while, I took it out. Then my mother-in-law came downstairs. She is a witch. She said to me, ‘You’ve got to die,’ and I said, ‘I will not go where you want to send me.’ I shot her in the hall. I then came downstairs and I was confused. I fired at my father-in-law and shot him. I then went out on the steps and the patrol wagons came up. Then I was confused altogether. I belong to the Plattdeuische Guilde and the Red Men. I have been sick and have had trouble. 

“His Fearful Crime.,” Daily Inter Ocean, November 21, 1892.
“A Maniac's Deed,” National Police Gazette, December 10, 1892.
“Seigher Taken to Jail,” Daily Inter Ocean, December 9, 1892.
“Siegler's Awful Crime,” Evansville Courier and Press, November 21, 1892.
“A Terrible Tragedy,” Cleveland Leader, November 21, 1892.


Tracieann says:
February 17, 2018 at 2:03 PM

What a sad tale. I guess this sort of thing has been happening for much longer than we'd like to think.
Thanks for sharing your stories each week. They are all extremely interesting and I've gone through all your posts from beginning to end. I look forward to each new post evrry week and it's the first think I check on Saturdays.

Unknown says:
February 19, 2018 at 8:49 PM

This evil man did not hear from the Living God, for He abhors murder. It is written in the Word of God; "Those who hate others are murderers, and you know that murderers do not have eternal life in them". 1 John 3:15, also it is written: "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out his desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, refusing to uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, because he is a liar and the father of lies". John 8:44, and finally;"You shall not murder". Exodus 20:13

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