Esther Alger, wife of Lyman Alger was brutally murdered in SE Iowa in 1872. No one was found guilty, however the story tells who may have done it.
Lyman Alger's sister, Eleanor Alger Hancock was my great great great grandmother. Her daughter Abigail Hancock Beebe and husband Alanson beebe and my great grandmother Anna Beebe Hanson lived with this family in IA for a time in the mid 1860s about 6 years before the murder, but were in WI when the murder occurred!
Margo and I were down there doing family history 10 years ago and visited the Alger farm and house where the murder occurred (no relatives living there anymore) and heard the story from the current owners.
an exerpt from the website story:
" Around 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 25, 1872, Lyman Alger left his home for a prayer meeting conducted by his son-in-law DeWitt Curtis at a school house a quarter-of-a mile away.
Not wanting to leave Esther alone, the old man asked his 19-year-old grandson Lyman Judson “Jud” Curtis — the son of Marie Alger and DeWitt Curtis — to stay with his step-grandmother.
No one is certain what happened after that. The only version ever told was from Jud Curtis.
Not long after his grandfather left for the prayer meeting, Jud said he decided to return to his father’s house, leaving Esther Alger alone. He claimed that just as he was nearly home — 48 rods away — he heard a gunshot and rushed back towards the Alger place. As he ran towards the house, Jud stumbled over something.
The rooms inside were empty; however, Jud said he could see by lamplight that there was blood on the floor.
Jud said he ran back outside and then realized that what he earlier stumbled over was his step-grandmother Esther Alger, lying on the ground near the side of the house.