Wednesday, January 8, 2014

52 Ancestors Challenge:#1- William Schrader 1901-1930

I started working on my husbands genealogy just about a year ago, maybe a bit more. His family is swimming in the sea of Jones and Rogers, and as those of you with ancestors of the same namesake (or even you Smiths, well especially you Smiths) know, there are a million of them out there. I got to the Schrader line on my husbands maternal line and as someone who loves a good black sheep story, I hit the jackpot.

William was born as the fifth child to Henry and Emma (nee Helmers) Schrader on December 29, 1901. He was born on the family farm near Hudson, Kansas and at age 13 moved with his family to Hutchinson, Kansas. Little is known of his personality as he passed long before any nieces or nephews were born, and he never had children of his own.

On the afternoon of March 23, 1930, William's body was discovered in a parked car on the side of the road 11 miles from Raymond.  Along with William's body was the body of Helen Starr. All evidence pointed to a murder suicide. Artciles went on to state the use of a double barrel 12 gauge shotgun.

Bill, as he was often referred to, and Helen were a couple, and according to the atricles, people thought well of them and thought they would be married as they seemed to be a good match. Bill was a farm hand for Helen's parents, while Helen had just left her employment at Raymond cab to take on domestic work at the home of George Gill. On March 16th, Bill arrived at the Gill residence to pick her up and take her home. That was the last time they were seen alive.

Investigators believed that Bill had parked the car and exited going around the back  to retrieve the shotgun from the "turtle-back" compartment of his Ford Model T. He then walked around to the passenger side, where an unsuspecting Helen sat, and shot her point blank. He then returned to the driver's seat where he reloaded and turned the gun on himself, bracing the butt of the gun in the corner of the windshield in the opposite corner of the car.; the recoil breaking the windshield in front of where Helen sat. There were no signs of struggle from Helen, no sign that she left the car at any time.

There absence was thought to be caused of their elopement.

The only explanation of motive was that Helen had started seeing another man recent to the crime. Bill was let go from the Starr's employment two weeks prior to the shooting due to lack of work. It was said that he was leaving to find work elsewhere.

Bill was 28 at the time of his death; Helen only being 20.

According to an article published in the Lyons Daily News, Thursday , March 27, 1930, more than a thousand turned out for their funeral and packed the Methodist church that held services for both. They were later buried together on March 26, 1930.

According to Bill's death certificate, his cause of death is listed as suicide by firearms with a contributory cause of jealousy. The manner death is listed is a gunshot wound to the head via 12 gauge shot gun "double" Date of death was cited as March 16, 1930.

William Schrader 1901-1930

4 comments:

Kessa said...

What a tragic, and fascinating story. Those are the gems that make doing this research a treasure hunt. Good one!

..and yes...my family has quite a few Smiths, Wildes/Wilders and Roberts - which make the hunting all the more challenging!

Karen said...

How sad - and never to have any additional information on what was going on. Great post!

Nia Jai said...

A tragic (but intriguing!) story. But how awful is it that they were buried together! Wonder why....

Wendy said...

If Helen was seeing another man, I'm surprised the families would bury them together. However, maybe the families WANTED these two to be together and now they are.