Looking Back Through The LaBelle Star

Compiled by Emilie Rumble

THE STAR – Thursday, OCTOBER 8, 1885 – KNOX CITY – Before this article appears, our friend, R.B. Scofield and Miss Sallie Kaylor of Newark, Mo., will be married.  We cannot express our good wishes in words for this happy couple.  No more worthy pair ever embarked on Life’s stormy sea.

WILLIAMSTOWN – The whistle of our town mill “tooted” on last Friday, after quite a vacation. The mill is again in running order and we hope it will so continue.

ADVERTISEMENT – W.R. Allen, Dealer in Furniture – Undertaker and Upholsterer. A complete stock of furniture, picture frames, coffins and caskets, a fine line of burial robes always on hand. LaBelle, Missouri.

THE LABELLE STAR – Friday, October 18, 1895 – STEFFENVILLE – The three week old infant of Mr. and Mrs. Irvine Steffen of this place was buried last Thursday. As it is their first and only child, the affliction bore heavily upon them.

Steffenville is surrounded by a good fertile country where wheat can be raised to great advantage, and settled by enterprising farmers.  We have a good No. 1 roller process mill with all modern improvements up to date, and second to none in Northeast Missouri, except the one in Canton and then only in capacity. In connection with this there is wool carding machinery and a good saw mill, capable of turning out many thousand feet of lumber per day.  The plant is owned by Steffenville Milling Co.

MISSOURI – A petition is being circulated at Sedalia asking for the pardon of Cole and Jim Younger, who are serving life sentences in the penitentiary at Stillwater, Minnesota. The petition will be presented to the governor of Minnesota in a few weeks.

A fire in the Missouri Penitentiary last week destroyed the Strauss saddle shop. The total loss on building and stock was about $155,000, of which the state loses $60,000 with no insurance. The origin of the fire is unknown.

DEATH – Patrick L. Gregory, born October, 1825 near Nashville, Tennessee, died October 11, 1895, at his home in LaBelle, Mo.  In early manhood he moved from his native state to Ralls County, Mo; from there he came to Lewis County, where on December 29, 1853, he was married to Miss Nancy A. Thompson. He was a member of the Baptist Church. His funeral service was conducted by Rev. G.C. Kell. He leaves his wife and three children, C.A. Gregory of Council Grove, Kansas, and Ed Gregory and Mrs. Effie Gunion of this county.

WED – Edina was the scene of a very pretty double wedding Tuesday, the contracting parties being Mr. L.G. Lamb and Miss Bessie martin, and Mr. Walter Meriwether and Miss Lizzie Zimmerman of LaBelle.  The ceremony took place at the residence of the officiating clergyman, Rev. Tatlow.

Wednesday morning the wedding party returned home and found a wedding feast awaiting each couple at the homes of the grooms.

THE LABELLE STAR – October 29, 1915 – LEWISTOWN – Dan Turpin, a farmer living at the edge of town was badly injured this morning when he was kicked by a mule. Mr. Turpin’s jaw was broken and his teeth knocked out.  He was taken to the Edina Hospital by Dr. Brown in his automobile, and although his condition is not considered serious. Mr. Turpin was at work in his stable this morning when the accident occurred. He is a man of middle age and has a family.

BIRTH – Clyde Russell Watson and wife are rejoicing over the arrival of a fine twelve pound boy at their home Sunday morning, October 24.

THE LABELLE STAR – October 25, 1935 – GUILTY – In Chicago, Illinois on October 18, 1935, Mandeville Zenge was convicted tonight of the emasculation murder of Dr. Walter J. Bear, his rival in love, and heard a criminal courts jury recommend a sentence of life imprisonment.

The 26 year-old Missourian, central figure in one of the most sensational criminal trials here in recent years, maintained the same impassivity as the foreman read the verdict that he had maintained throughout the trial.

His counsel, Attorney Joseph Green, announced immediately that an appeal would be taken.

The jury deliberated four hours and twenty-five minutes before reaching its decision, which disregarded entirely the defense contention that Dr. Bauer was attacked during a fit of temporary madness.

An impassioned plea from Prosecutor Charles S. Dougherty for the death penalty sent the young Missourian’s fate into the jury’s hand.  Zenge’s two defense attorneys urged the jurors to free their 26 year-old client, a farm youth from Canton, Missouri, as driven temporarily insane when pretty Louise Shaffer, of Kirksville, Missouri, nurse, jilted him.

The jurors, a dozen relatively young men whose average age is 29, were given all six forms of verdicts.

The Judge declined to permit a seventh possible verdict-that of manslaughter. That verdict would have left it to the Judge to impose the statutory sentence of one to fourteen years in the penitentiary.

Zenge became one of the most enigmatic figures in Chicago’s crime annals.

He was the apex of a widely publicized love triangle.  He had the principal role in a police case that eclipsed plenty terrible friction.  He was the central character in a trial that brought eager, pushing, curious crowds to the courtroom.

But through it all, this all, taciturn, 26 year-old farm boy moved with the inscrutability of a sphinx.

His life story had but one noteworthy chapter. It was reconstructed thus in testimony at his nine-day trial.

Mandeville, scion of a farm family, at Canton, Missouri, fell in love with pretty Louise Schaffer at high school. He turned to carpentry. She became a nurse in a Kirksville, Missouri, hospital. The romance waxed for ten years.

Last year, Louise, then 23, pressed the question of marriage. Mandeville demurred. He wanted to save $1,000.

Dr. Walter J. Bauer, 38, chemistry instructor at the Kirksville College of Osteopathy entered the scene. Last July 14, the comely Louise jilted Zenge and married the professor.  Three hours later, Dr. Bauer, who did not know Zenge, left to pursue post-graduate work at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Mandeville, disconsolate on learning of the wedding from Louise herself, returned to his home.  He acted strangely. Abruptly, he departed for an unannounced destination on July 24.

That destination was Ann Arbor. The prosecution contended Mandeville hurried there, took a room next to Dr. Bauer’s under the assumed name of E.L. Jones and waited his chance.

On the night of July 30, 1935, the professor was forced into his car at pistol point and compelled to drive to Chicago.  Early the next morning, the car rolled into the driveway of a filling station.  Startled attendants found Dr. Bauer, bleeding profusely, on the seat.  He had been mutilated with a pen knife. He died within four hours, naming Jones as his assailant.  With a guilty verdict due to the emasculation slaying of his rival in a love triangle, the jury disregarded the plea of insanity and gave Zenge a life term.

THE LABELLE STAR – Friday, October 28, 1945 – BANK OPENING – A Red Letter Day! The opening of the Bank of LaBelle on Saturday drew a great many to our little city and business at the bank was good, deposits far exceeded expectations of Cashier C.C. Downing and directors.  Dr. Downing said he had to put in longer hours than bankers to keep up with the records, and that the bank has passed the first hundred thousand mark.

The building and fixtures, all newly decorated, and with three gorgeous bouquets, presented by LaBelle businessmen; Standard Printing Company, of Hannibal, and John W, Mintor, president of the United Bank & Trust Company of St. Louis, gave the room a lovely appearance.

A helper from United Bank & Trust Company, of St. Louis, together with Cashier Downing, his daughter, Miss Dorothy; Miss Margaret Day and N.D. Coder, were busy until dark.

OPENING OF FUNERAL HOME – The late J.T. Coder residence has been remodeled and transformed into a modern funeral home by the new owner, N.D. Coder, son of the late James T. Coder. The home will be open to the public Sunday, October 28, from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. The building is centrally located in LaBelle and will be adapted especially for community burial services, and in addition there are several laboratory rooms and an especially built preparatory room to take care of the body.  Entrance has been made large enough to permit the casket to be brought in an out without interference, and every appointment is perfect pertaining to the care of the dead, and sorrow of the living. Mr. Coder has spared neither time, nor expense in making this institution a credit to LaBelle and community.

The building is large and spacious, enabling Mr. Coder to utilize a large portion for living quarters, which like the funeral home has been remodeled and redecorated, together with hardwood floors, makes an ideal residence for Mr. and Mrs. Coder and daughter, Miss Virginia Louise.

PRE-INDUCTION EXAM – The following 18 year-old registrants reported at Jefferson Barracks October 16 for pre-induction examination: Robert Lee Farr, LaGrange; Francis McDermott, Canton; Charles R. Smoot, Lewistown; William F. Hocraffer, Canton; Walter Lee Adams, Lewistown; Applying on this call also were Lorenzo A. Gnuse, of Lewistown, transferred to Indiana and Marion Warner Spurgeon, Canton, previously accepted in the Navy V-5 program.

THE LABELLE STAR – Friday, October 28, 1955 – WEDDING PLANS – Mr. and Mrs. Lyle Hamilton of Lewistown are announcing the engagement and approaching marriage of their daughter, Lyla Sue, to Richard (Dick) Merrell, son of Mr. and Mrs. Dorsie Merrell of LaBelle.

Miss Hamilton is a graduate of Lewistown High School and is employed by the ASC office t Monticello. Mr. Merrell is a graduate of LaBelle High School and attended the University of Missouri, Columbia.  Miss Hamilton is the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Hamilton of LaBelle and Mrs. Lourinda Osborne of Louisiana, Missouri.  The wedding will take place in June, according to plans.

GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY – Mr. and Mrs. R.E. Steffen of Steffenville observed their Golden Wedding Anniversary at their home last Saturday. They were married October 22, 1905. They are the parents of one son, Fremont Steffen and have a grandson, Donald Steffen.

DEATH – Edd Webster, operator of the Webster service Station in LaBelle, died Tuesday, October 25, 1955.  Burial was in LaBelle Cemetery.  Mr. Webster was born in Columbus, Indiana, May 24, 1890. He was married to Mary Webster October 14, 1926. His wife, four sons, John, James Donald and Richard, one daughter, Edith Fulton and two grandsons survive.

EWING – The hot-mix plant at the rock quarry near here was damaged considerably by fire Thursday. A definite estimate of the loss has not been made.

ADVERTISEMENT – Bring your radios and TV for servicing to Manyx TV & Appliance in LaBelle.

EXHIBIT – Virginia Terpening’s oil painting, “Rodeo” is included in the current exhibits at the Isaac Delgado Art Museum in New Orleans.  Two of her paintings, “Anger” and “Canyon” are being shown in the Artist Equity Association’s member exhibit in the St. Louis City Art Museum.

THE LABELLE STAR – Wednesday, October 22, 1975 – LaBelle Bank Robbery cont’d. – Larry K. Smith and Mike Manley, who were conversing on the lot of Phillip Ross & Co., across the street from the bank saw the robbery in progress. He then took one of two guns from his truck and aimed at the robbers as they were fleeing. However, the gun was not loaded and they escaped unharmed. Smith returned to his truck and pursued the bandits east on Highway 6. He was able to contact a C.B.’er in a gravel truck, who blocked the highway with his truck at the 4-way stop in Lewistown.

The robbers spotted the roadblock, turned north by the Coder Funeral Home, then east into the alley, continued on by the American Legion Hall out into the street, around the city park, back to Highway 6. During the maneuvering in Lewistown, observers state there were still two men in the car.

With Smith still in pursuit, the thieves continued east on Hwy 6 toward Ewing. A Missouri Highway Patrol car near Ewing was alerted and gave chase to the vehicle over gravel side streets in Ewing.  The car continued north on Route C at a high speed, missed a curve and ran off the road into a ravine. The officer in pursuit saw one man racing up a hill and fired three shots at him with a shotgun but failed to hit him.

Officers found the clothing and masks worn in the robbery in the car but no money. The car was almost demolished and police said they believed one of the men may have gotten out of car before it crashed. Police also believed the crash would probably have injured the occupant but did not find any blood at the scene.

Highway patrolmen and sheriff’s officers formed a large manhunt which continued through the night and is still in progress at the time this newspaper goes to press.

The bandits were described as about 6 feet tall, thin and black.

Audrey Richardson, who came into the Bank of LaBelle during the holdup said, “I didn’t see anyone when I walked into the bank. The bandit was standing along the east wall. When I stepped in he said, lay down on the floor. I just stood there dumbfounded, unable to grasp the situation for a second. Miss Morrow said something to me and as I turned the gunman repeated his order much louder. I laid down on the floor right in front of the door. When the man behind the counter finished, I was instructed to get up and get into the vault. I did and got only a glimpse of the gunman behind the counter.”

Huebotter related, “The robbers had two advantages, surprise and time. They knew what they wanted and went about the robbery with precision and no wasted motion.

Two other bank employees, Robert Wilson and Charlotte Cawthorne were out to lunch when the robbery occurred.

Bank LaBelle Robbery -Larry K. Smith Larry K. Smith of LaBelle, a Pinkerton Security Guard, pursued a duo of bank robbers in this truck east on Highway 6 Tuesday afternoon, October 21, 1975.  Smith, who observed a robbery in progress at the Bank of LaBelle, notified the Highway Patrol on his CB radio unit. Following an attempt to stop the thieves, Smith chased them to Ewing, where the get-away car crashed into a ravine.