Saturday, July 20, 2019

A Day of Blood.

Adolph Stein was a 35year-old Polish immigrant living in Cedar Rapids, Iowa when he met Lizzie Loering, a widow with two little children and $30,000 in assets. After a whirlwind courtship, the two were married in June 1880.

Stein had been prominent in political circles in Cedar Rapids, but earlier that spring he was indicted for illegally selling liquor. He decided to move his new bride to Iowa City and open a saloon there with his wife’s money. Lizzie’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hess packed up and moved to Iowa City as well.

Before long, the marriage turned sour. There were several opinions as to what had gone wrong. Lizzie’s mother, who was always present, had never liked Stein and Lizzie, began to share her mother’s opinion. Together they made Stein’s life miserable. The saloon had acquired a bad reputation, and Stein took to drink. Some said that Stein had been determined to marry money and had only married Lizzie for her $30,000. He treated her badly, and when he turned violent, she left him and moved back with her parents. 

Stein was determined to get Lizzie back, and a few weeks after she left, he attempted to abduct her. He was caught trying to force her into a carriage against her will. Lizzie filed for divorce then, and the police ran Stein out of town. Before leaving, Stein said that he would not live without Lizzie.

Lizzie’s divorce became final on November 4, 1881. The following morning, Lizzie’s mother, Mrs. Hess, ran from her house screaming, with blood running from a gash in her throat. Dr. Shroder, who was across the street on another call, saw her come out the door and ran to her aid. He bound the wound with a handkerchief and left her in the care of others while he went into the house. 

As Dr. Shrader entered the front door, Adolph Stein came into the room from the kitchen door with a revolver in his hand. He raised his arm and said, “It’s all over now.”

Without paying any attention to him, Dr. Shrader rushed past him into the other room where he found Lizzie on the floor dying. She had a terrible gash in her throat and multiple stab wounds in her chest. As the doctor knelt to help her, she took a few short gasps and breathed her last.

From the front room, he heard Stein fall to the floor, and at first, he thought Stein had turned the revolver on himself. He found Stein lying dead on the floor of the front room, but he had no wounds. A postmortem examination determined that he had poisoned himself with belladonna. 

 “The horror of the deed threw a chill over the entire city, and the remembrance of it will not pass away for many years,” said the Chicago Tribune.

“Adolph Stein and Wife,” National Police Gazette, November 20, 1881, 13.
“A Day of Blood,” Chicago Daily Tribune, November 6, 1881.
“News Article,” Chicago Daily Tribune, November 6, 1881.
“A Terribly "Insane" Man Kills His Wife and Chops Up His Mother-in-Law,” Jackson Citizen Patriot, November 5, 1881.
“Triple Murder in Iowa City Last Night,” Rock Island Argus, November 5, 1881.


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