Newspaper Clippings for
7 September 1916
Mr. and Mrs. Spring moved into their new home Wednesday.
A. K. Bain and family motored to Racine Sunday to visit his
brother and family.
Archie Webb, wife and son motored to Pontiac. Ill., to visit
relatives for a week.
Ray Eusden spent the past week with the Bonner families before
returning to his home in Iowa.
The Millburn Ladies Aid society will have their regular monthly
meeting on Sept. 14. Supper served.
Lawrence Gail of Chicago and Bert Gail of Highland Park are
visiting their aunt, Mrs. Menzo Webb.
The Angola Cemetery society will meet at the home of Mrs.
Lucinda Cribb in Antioch, Friday, Sept. 15.
Mr. and Mrs. D. M. White and Earl White entertained Mrs. Baker
and Miss Johnson of Ithica, N. Y., the past week.
Miss M. Watson and neice Miss Ruth Pollock were Chicago
visitors Saturday. Miss Inez Pollock accompanied them home.
Miss Annie McCredie will teach the Grubb school. The school is
having extensive repairs made and they are not finished.
Ray Backus and a friend from Chicago spent the week-end with
his mother. They caught 18 pickerel in Hasting Lake.
Roy Dawson of Minnesota, formerly of Millburn spent the week-
end with his sisters, Mesdames L. S. Bonner and V. H. Strang
Vera and Max Irving, Lyman Thain, Ruth Pollock and Stanley,
Elmer and Marshall Jack are attending High School at Antioch.
14 September 1916
FAMILY FEUD ENDS IN KILLING
Joseph Claus Takes the Life of Harry Kerr
in Self Defense it is Claimed
CASE BEFORE GRAND JURY
Saturday evening the village of Lake Villa
was agog with excitement when, a quiet
little trial in a justice court terminated
by one man loosing his life.
The principals in the affair were Harry
Kerr, the victim of the attact and his
brother-in-law Joseph Claus, the man who
did the shooting.
The former has for a number of years been
working a portion of the eighty acre farm,
owned by his father, sitnated northeast of
Lake Villa, and the latter the husband of
Harry Kerr's sister Edna, whose home up to
a few weeks ago was at Oshkosh, Wis., had
moved to Illinois to reside and at the time
was staying at the home of George Kerr,
Jr., another brother of Mrs. Claus.
It appears that money was at the root of
the whole trouble, according to Geo. Kerr,
father of the deceased, who was the only
witness to the tragedy. The controversy
began on Thursday, Claus, at the suggestion
of his father-in-law asked Harry for the
back rent on the portion of the farm which
he occupied, at that time it is claimed
Harry produced a receipt for the rent which
the other called a forgery. In the clash
blood was shed. Edna Claus is said to have
been slapped upon the face by Kerr, the man
now dead. Her husband is said to have been
stunned by a blow from the same fist. As a
result of this Kerr was arrested on a
charge of assault and the hearing was held
in Justice Millers Harness shop at Lake
Villa Saturday evening.
Kerr was fined one dollar and costs by a
jury of six men who heard the evidence.
Directly after the jury had reached the
verdict finding Kerr guilty, he walked up
to Claus and said, "I would give another
dollar to take a punch at you. I will get
you before you reach home." Geo. Heim, a
carpenter living at Lake Villa heard him
make this threat.
As the party left Miller's place quite a
few people were gathered about but as a
political speech was going on elsewhere in
the village and the excitement of the trial
appeared to be at an end, the crowd drifted
away to hear what the candidate had to say.
Suddenly two shots rang out and the crowd
which quickly gathered saw the dead form of
Kerr lyigg in the dust, just across the
street from the D. R. Manzer store. Geo.
Kerr, the deaf mute, was the only witness
and while he did not hear the shots he saw
the smoking weapon in the hands of Clause
and saw his son walk around to the horses
heads and then fall in the dust.
The story told by Kerr was an unusual on in
that it was told by the hands and fingers
in the language of the mutes. It is said
that never before in the history of Lake
county has the story of the death or
possible murder of a human being been told
by the sign language, but that is exactly
what happened in Lake Villa Sunday.
He told of Harry having come to their place
on the previous Thursday and of his having
picked a quarrel with Claus. He told of the
justice trial and of the events which
followed. In part he said:
We walked across the street to a post where
I had hitched the horse. That was directly
in front of Manzer's store. Harry followed
us across the street and addressed us in
the following terms:
"You are no father. I'll shoot both you
when I get a chance.
Joe and I were standing at the horses' heve
at the time. We untied the horses and both
climbed to the seat in the wagon. Joe
picked up the reins. He had driven less
than two rods when Harry attempted to climb
into the wagon. He was on his knees in the
wagon when I heard a concussion. When I
looked up I saw a weapon in Joe's hand's. I
did not see him shoot. I felt the
concussion. After the two shots had been
fired I saw Harry press his two hands
against his stomach and race towards the
horses head. He walked a few feet and fell
on his side into the roadway. Then some one
grabbed Joe. Later in the evening he was
taken to Waukegan. I went home to Joe's
wife and family."
In all close to fifty-five witnesses were
called during the inquest. A majority
merely heard the two shots. They ran to the
side of the wagon where the dead man lay in
the dust. They saw Marshall Fisher pull
Claus from the wagon. They saw the mob
A sensation was caused during the inquest
which was held in the Woodmen hall. James
McKenzie, a laborer, told of a story of a
threat which he had heard Claus utter
earlier in the day. His story:
"I was at work loading a car with gravel in
the freight yards about the middle of the
afternoon on Saturday when Claus and his
father-in-law came through the years.
Sheehan called to them and they came to the
car. I heard Sheehan invite Claus to ride
home with him as far as Walker's corners
and Claus said, "No. I can't. I have got to
be here in town at 6 o'clock. I've got to
get him tonight."
That was all of the conversation McKenzie
heard between Claus and Sheehan. A
messenger was sent to the Sheehan home to
call him as a witness.
His story is as follows:
"Yes, I saw and talked with Claus yesterday
afternoon about 3 o'clock. I invited Claus
to ride home with me and he said he
couldn't. He told me that he was going to
have that guy-meaning Kerr-cooped up. He
told me that he would see me about 7
He was asked if he ever heard Claus make a
threat and his answer was:
"Yes, I heard him make threat on Thursday
noon last. My wife was present so was Mrs.
"He told me that Harry had threatened him
and that he had made up his mind that he
would have to protect himself. He said that
he intended to buy a revolver. I told him
he was foolish to think of such a thing,
but I fear he went to Attioch that
afternoon and bought the gun which he used
the night of the killing. I saw him in
Antioch that afternoon. In fact he rode
part of the way with me. On the way he said
he had had trouble with Harry that morning,
that Harry had slapped his wife's face and
had struck a blow in the face, and had
raised a hammer to hit him and had called
both his wife and him bad names.
The men who served as jurors at the bearing
in the Justice Court were: Geo. Burnett,
Mr. Witt, E. Jensen, Frank Huber, Andrew
Bebour and Frank Nadr.
The verdict made by the coroner's jury is
"We, the jury, find that Harry C. Kerr came
to his death from a gun shot wound being
shot from a 32 calibre revolver held in the
hands of one Joseph Claus, between 8 and 9
o'clock on the night of Sept. 9, at Lrke
"The jury further recommencs that Joseph
Claus be held to the grand jury on a charge
of murder until discharged by due process
The men who composed the coroner's jury
were: E. Wald, foreman; C. Donnelly, Fred
Hamlin, John Cribb, E. T. Shepardson and F.
Kerr was thirty one years of age, a married
man and the father of three children, the
eldest of which is less than six years of
Claus is about twenty six years of age and
is the father of two children.
The alleged murderer now occupies a cell in
the county jail, and is held without bail
until the grand jury investigates the case
When questioned by a reporter before the
inquest at Lake Villa Sunday, Mrs. Claus
threw both her arms around her husband's
neck, and made this statement which she was
willing should go to the public.
"When I was a girl of but nine years, my
father was worth quite a lot to my mother.
My mother was a mute. She died of
consumption about nine years ago. Soon
after her death my father and I went to
Oshkosh. It was there I met the man who is
now my husband the man whom the law
charges with a crime. He killed Harry Kerr.
Harry is of my own flesh and blood, and I
want to tell you that Harry is a coward.
Why when I was but nine years old, I can
remember Harry attacking my mother and I
can remember distinctly that he struck her
down. At that time my mother was suffering
from consumption. Tuberculosis and worry
caused her early death. Why, I can remember
a time when Harry struck my father a blow
on the face with a horse whip. I believe
the mark of the whip still decorates my
father's face. Why Harry is a coward. He
had driven poor father nigh onto
bankruptcy. Why, one time he forged a note
for $800 on father. He forged many notes
but I remember the one for $800 well. He
reduced father from a man of wealth to a
man who is depending on his own children
for support. Father still owns the farm,
but he hasn't received on cent in rental
for the 28 acres which Harry has farmed in
over eight years. Harry forged a receipt in
payment as rental of the 28 acre tract and
when my husband asked him to pay the rent
he produced the forged receipt which caused
the fight between my brother and my
husband. Will I stick to Joseph. I should
say that I will. He has given me every sent
he has to his name – about $27. I will
starve before I will spend that money and
rob Joe of a lawyer.
21 September 1916
Dr. Jamieson was in Chicago Saturday.
Mr. Spring is building a new barn on his home place.
A number from here attended the Milwaukee fair.
Bert Trotter is visiting his sister, Mrs. A. K. Bain.
Mrs. Menzo Webb was a Highland Park visitor the last of the
Mr. Denman's father returned to Highland Park the last of the
The Ladies Aid society met at the chruch Thursday. Supper was
Mr. and Mrs. Bonner have a new auto and Warren Hook has a new
J. B. Denman and wife and C. E. Denman and wife and Mrs.
McGuire were Antioch callers Friday.
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