Six Points To The Scaffold

Using one of the many prompts from Geneabloggers I decided to document an interesting criminal case from the Winnipeg Free Press involving robbery and murder. Here is a digital version of an article from the Magazine Section of the Winnipeg Free Press printed on Saturday, June 6, 1942.

It is a dramatic account of the murder investigation of 23 year-old Peter Demcheson (Peter Demschyzn), a young settler from the Fork River area in the Mossey River Municipality that occurred approximately 10 years prior on Oct. 14, 1930. Peter attended the Mowat School for a number of years before leaving school to aid his family on their homestead. His murderer, Joseph Verhoski (Joe Veroski), was eventually caught and was hung for the crime on February 2, 1931.

Peter was buried at St. Michael’s Cemetery at SW-14-29-18-W1. You can find a picture of his gravestone linked to this blog post.

This story is interesting to note as it is revisited again in an article in the Winnipeg Free Press printed on Saturday, June 26, 2004. The article documents that the R.M. of Mossey had recently converted to the numbered road system thereby changing the once interesting name Murder Hill Road to Road 180 N. While changing the names of road to something that may be easier to mange we lose interesting tidbits that could identify what occurred in the community’s past.


Six Points To The Scaffold ~ By Edward Green (6 Jun 1942)

Months of the Most Detailed and Disappointing Investigation Work Ever Carried on by the Manitoba Provincial Police Were Rewarded by The Evidence of a Ballistics Expert and Another Rural Murder Mystery Was Solved.

GENERAL science is merciless, but the science of forensic ballistics is more so by its cold impartiality to life or death area in the criminal courts. Today it is accepted as irrefutable evidence, pro or con, in all Canadian courts of justice, but the following story deals with the time it was first reluctantly admitted to the courts of Manitoba.

Our story opens when William Demcheson, homesteader living near Fork River, a tiny settlement on the highway between Dauphin and Winnipegosis in northern Manitoba, looked anxiously at the darkening sky. The bleak October day was drawing to a close, and the steady downpour of rain had turned to snow. The first chill touch of a long prairie winter was in the air.

Demcheson wondered what could be delaying his brother Peter, who had left earlier in the day to keep an appointment with Dr. Medd, of Winnipegosis. Peter had taken William’s Ford car for the trip and he should have been home by this time. It was probable he was having a hard time negotiating the muddy highway, but somehow or other, William was not satisfied with this possibility. As the night wore on he grew more and more restless, his imagination running riot. Finally he went to bed.

Next morning William was still more anxious because Peter had not returned. Knowing his brother as he did, he was sure some hard luck had befallen him. He reasoned that if Peter had been delayed on some legitimate matter he would have sent word. He was of the quiet, studious type, not prone to staying out late or absenting himself from home without giving a sound reason. William turned to his work, his mind a prey to a million worries.

Two days later, Peter was still absent and William was new thoroughly alarmed. He sought the assistance of his neighbors and they organized a search party. They scoured the road and willow bushes for miles around, but there was no sign of Peter or the car. William immediately made his way to Winnipegosis, where he learned from Dr. Medd that his brother had supposedly left for home on the afternoon of October 14. The local practitioner could give no information as to where Peter might be, and with a fixed conviction that something terrible had happened, William lost no time in communicating with the Manitoba Provincial police at Dauphin. Sergeant G. A. Renton, in charge of the detachment, listened to his story and at once detailed Constable Bayfield to assist the local search party.

Under the able direction of the constable the entire country around Fork River was combed without result. On being questioned by Bayfield Dr. Medd said that Peter had had an abscess lanced while in his office. The abscess had been on his left cheek and had presented no difficulty. The doctor’s answers set at ease any doubts as to the missing man’s physical condition. It had been thought that Peter, weakened by illness, might have lost control of the car and met with an accident.

Many persons had traversed that highway, however, and if there had been a car smash they certainly would have reported it. That possibility was now scouted by the doctor’s opinion. The constable therefore decided to begin a methodical search, starting at Winnipegosis and working toward Fork River.

The occupants of every house along the highway were questioned. None of them had see Peter Demcheson or the Ford car. They were very emphatic on that point. Yes, they knew, and liked the young man, but as the weather had been very inclement they had not been outside as much as usual. No, they hadn’t even noticed any new car tracks, but the roads were so slushy that it would be impossible to identify any tire marks. However, they all agreed that it would be possible for Demcheson to have passed without being seen. Apparently, so far as the search party was concerned, Peter Demcheson and his Ford car had vanished in thin air somewhere between Dr. Medd’s office and the outskirts of Winnipegosis.

Discerned Something in A Thick Clump of Bush

But Constable Bayfield knew that men and automobiles do net vanish without trace. He spread the members of his party out and ordered them to proceed carefully covering an area a half-mile wide on each side of the road. So carefully and thoroughly did they search that it took them hours to cover a few miles.

But they went on in the biting cold until, while pushing through some heavy bush, one of the searchers discerned something in a thick clump of bush. Rushing forward, after calling his companions the man stopped when he saw a Ford car covered with brush. But there was no sign of its driver.

Though night was falling, a diligent search of the vicinity failed to uncover any trace of Peter Demcheson. There were no signs of a struggle; nor was there anything about the abandoned car to indicate that violence had taken place. This was puzzling, for if Demcheson had driven the car into the bush, where was he now? Why would he deliberately hide his brother’s automobile?

Bayfield turned to William Demcheson, who stood by, horror-stricken. Sympathetic, but persistent questioning by the constable elicited the fact that Peter had intimated he might go to Dauphin after visiting Dr. Medd. But if Peter had gone to Dauphin why was the car left in the bush just three miles out of Winnipegosis?

Winnipegosis was next subjected to a thorough canvass in an effort to discover if Peter had accepted a lift from other persons going to Dauphin. No information to this effect was discovered and William insisted that the search be continued along the highway.

Two hundred yards northeast of the point where the car was discovered, Thomas Bednas, a storekeeper, stopped about 15 feet from the road allowance and inspected a pile of brush. He noticed a heavy stone on top of the brush pile and wondered why it should be there. He called other members of the search party and when Constable Bayfield arrived he pointed to something in the brush. It was a piece of cloth.

The brush was hurriedly thrown aside by eager hands. Fearful, William Demcheson stood by.

There, on the muddy ground, lay the dead body of Peter Demcheson. Arms outspread, and hatless, with the surgical dressing still on his face, the unfortunate man’s sightless eyes stared up to the grey sky. A hasty examination for the cause of death showed he had been shot through the left breast. A ragged wound about one and one-half inches in diameter indicated that the weapon used was a shotgun fired at an angle.

Cautioning every member of the party to remain where they stood, Constable Bayfield began a minute search of the immediate surroundings. Nine feet southwest of the body lay a number of freshly cut poplar poles. A few more poles lay in a shallow ditch as though hastily cast aside. Bayfield inspected them certain they were connected with the tragedy.

Continuing his search, the constable covered the ground carefully. Twelve feet west of the body he found a discharged shotgun shell. It was a l2-gage Meteor, a popular brand, made by the Dominion Cartridge company. Close by he picked up another shell. It was from a .32 caliber pistol and made by the same company. About 30 feet farther on he found a plain cardboard wad, and 10 feet away, in the same line of flight, lay another wad. Bayfield wrapped these finds and placed them in his pocket for safekeeping.

Thirty-eight feet from the body, almost on the road, was a stained area about 10 inches in diameter, which Dr. Medd, who was with the party, decided was a bloodstain. According to the position of the stain, in relation to that of the wads, here was where Demcheson had been shot down. In a partial reconstruction of the tragedy, Bayfield deduced that Demcheson had alighted from the car for some reason and had been slain from ambush.

That the unfortunate youth had been murdered, there was not the slightest doubt. The sweater he wore had been pulled up at the back in a manner that indicated it had been used to drag the inert form along the ground. The stained spot proved that a large amount of blood had been spilled and after suffering such a wound no man could possibly have crawled that distance. Death, according to Dr. Medd, had been instantaneous.

PUZZLED as to who could have committed such a brutal murder, Constable Bayfield fingered the shells in his pocket. Judging from them, the slayer must be armed with a pistol and a shotgun. Why should any man in this peaceful district carry two deadly weapons? Bayfield didn’t know, but he was determined to find the answer. He ordered the body of Peter Demcheson removed to Winnipegosis to await the action of a coroner’s jury.

No information as to the motive for the crime was brought to light at the inquest. The post-mortem showed that the left lung had been disintegrated by a charge of shot, which had also shattered the spinal column. The wound ranged downward, and it was the opinion of the coroner that Demcheson had been shot while he was in a stooping position. Bayfield recalled those poplar poles. Evidently they had been used to block the road and when Demcheson alighted to remove them he had been shot.

Now that the crime of murder had been established, the police were faced with the task of apprehending the murderer. If a motive could be found the task would be simplified in this sparsely settled district. But if no motive were uncovered the apprehension of the slayer would be extremely difficult.

Sergeant Renton arrived from Dauphin to take charge of the investigation. Aside from the shotgun and pistol shells he had nothing to work on.

Inquiries in the district brought nothing but praise for young Demcheson. He was a like-able youth, just finishing his high school education. After school hours he helped his brother with the farm work and was steady and industrious. He had no love affairs and he had carried only five dollars on him when he left his brother’s home on that fatal day. Surely no one would murder a man for such a paltry sum. Yet, somebody had killed him and the reason was going to be hard to find, for all were agreed that Peter Demcheson was a fine young man who would have harmed no one.

Renton was up against a dead end for the moment. He sent out a police alarm for all suspicious characters to be picked up for questioning. There was little chance for strangers to slip through this part of the country unnoticed.

But on the day Peter Demcheson was laid to rest the general opinion of all was that here was a murder that would go unsolved. The police didn’t appear to be doing anything other than walk around and ask questions which produced useless answers. It seemed, someone suggested, as if they didn’t care whether the murderer was ever caught.

This idea was erroneous. Sergeant Renton and Constables Bayfield and Klapecki were quietly investigating every angle of the case.

On October 27, six days after Demcheson’s body had been found, a sawed-off, double-barreled shotgun was handed to Chief of Police Smith, of Dauphin, by J. Miles, Canadian National railways investigator. He said that the gun had been found by a yard clerk named Parrel in a disused bunk car on the icehouse tracks in the east yards. The door of the car had been open and the clerk entered. He had seen a coat, and under a seat he had found the gun. The weapon was turned over to Sergeant Renton.

Meantime a report came in from C. C. Baker, storekeeper at Gilbert Plains, a small town about 20 miles from Dauphin. He said his store had been broken into and a shotgun was missing. He wasn’t sure if ammunition had been taken, but if so it would be Meteor brand.

Likely Clue Has To Be Abandoned

Renton was trying to connect the shotgun theft with the killing of Demcheson when Chief Smith appeared with an old felt hat and a handkerchief. The latter had safety-pins in its corners as if it had been used for a mask.

If these were to be regarded as clues in the Demcheson case it might be said that they pointed nowhere. The felt hat was of a common type made by the thousands and could be found on the shelves of any country store. But the handkerchief had two initials, “J.W.,” worked in one corner.

Renton realized that an attempt to trace the owner of the handkerchief would be a tedious, if not impossible task. It was of cheap quality, to be found in any store, and so far as Renton or Smith knew, there was no one in town with the initials “J.W.” Like the hat, the handkerchief had to be abandoned as a likely clue.

Back in his office, Renton turned his attention to the gun found in the bunk car. It was too early yet for him to offer an opinion as to whether the weapon was connected with the murder of Peter Demcheson. Dauphin was fifty miles from the scene of the crime; and, moreover, Demcheson had not been killed with a sawed-off shotgun. In any event, who would carry a shotgun fifty miles to ambush a man unless he had a deadly grudge? Most certainly no one who knew the Demchesons would ever attempt to rob them. And if they didn’t know the family it was a far-fetched theory that a bandit would shoot a man down in cold blood on the off-chance that he carried a sum of money.

Comparing the shell found at the murder scene with those taken from the gun, Renton discovered they were identical. This fact proved nothing, for Meteor shells were common in that part of the country. They were a standard make and sold at a popular price. It was safe to say that almost every person who owned a shotgun in the district had a box of Meteor shells for it.

Methodically Renton began a thorough examination of the gun. He found it to be a Davis 12-gauge hammerless, double-barreled model. The two barrels had been raggedly cut and were not more than four inches in length. The cutting was evidently the work of an amateur, for the cut had passed through the cocking mechanism and destroyed its usefulness. It was possible to cock the weapon with a screwdriver, but it was a difficult task. The butt had been sawed off too short to get a firm grip on it for firing. Without doubt, the man who sawed this gun off knew little about firearms.

Working on this theory—if he had known so little as to cut the gun through the cocking mechanism it was reasonable to assume that he would not have sufficient intelligence to use a screwdriver in cocking it. Had he known enough to cock the weapon by other means he would have realized that in cutting it off too short he was destroying its usefulness. There were no fingerprints on the gun and Renton finally placed it in the police vault for safekeeping.

Seated at his desk, Renton went through his files. He noted that Oliphant and McDonald, hardware dealers in Dauphin, had reported a robbery on October 10, in which a shotgun had been stolen. A check showed it to be a Davis double-barreled gun. Going to the vault, Renton checked the numbers on the sawed-off weapon with those of the gun reported stolen. They were identical and proved that this was the gun stolen from Oliphant and McDonald.

Slightly piqued by this turn, Renton was endeavoring to straighten out the tangle when another startling discovery was made. Police, searching the latish, on the outskirts of Dauphin, found a 12-gauge Marlin pump gun. It was promptly identified as the one stolen from Baker’s store at Gilbert Plains.

Here again the gun was mutilated, so as to make it unworkable. The slide action was sawn through in an amateurish attempt to create a riot gun. The saw cuts had hopelessly mined the weapon and it could not be fired by any means.

THE finding of the second gun complicated matters. Apparently the man who had broken into the Gilbert Plains store was also responsible for the Oliphant and McDonald robbery. The two robberies were committed close together, and in both instances shotguns were stolen and sawed off. Who, in that part of the country, desired a murderous weapon to conceal on his person? The sawed-off idea pointed to a city gangster, but what man with any sense would attempt to contrive a weapon to commit a robbery, or murder, in a district far removed from city hideouts?

The carrying of shotguns was not forbidden by law, but coming back to the Demcheson murder, Renton remembered the pistol shell. It was possible this shell had been dropped by a hunter. On the other hand, the murderer might have fired with a pistol, and missed. In that case, Demcheson would have attempted to escape, whereas the bloodstain showed that he had fallen a few feet from the car. In any event, Dauphin, where the weapons were found, was over fifty miles away; not a great distance in some respects, but too far for a stranger to travel unnoticed.

Unlike many cases where clues were lacking, this one had many, but none pointed a definite lead other than there was an unknown individual with a mania for stealing shotguns and sawing them off—and that he was a rank amateur at the work.

In an attempt to uncover a motive, Demcheson’s past life was subjected to another minute scrutiny. No new information was uncovered. The boy had led a blameless life.

Renton was annoyed at his failure to locate a tangible hint of the identity of the killer. He took Constables Bayfield and Klapecki with him to the bunk car where the gun was found and they went over its interior with a fine tooth comb. It was evident that the car had been used as a living quarters for some time, but there was no trace of the whereabouts of its former occupant. If he were a hobo, why did he not go to the hobo jungle where he would find companionship and a bowl of mulligan?

Renton shrewdly guessed that the man who had occupied that car had good reason to lie low. Perhaps he had been seen by some of the yard men. Surely one of them would have noticed a man living in a bunk car.

Carefully and quietly the investigation went forward. Yard men gave varied descriptions of the man they had seen, from time to time around the old bunk car. None of them agreed. The well-known faculty of the human mind for error, or failure to recall essentials, was being displayed in full strength.

Once again, Renton subjected the movements of almost everyone in the Dauphin and Winnipegosis districts to scrutiny. So engrossed did Renton become in his task that a door-to-door canvass was made by him and his men; a gargantuan task, but not too great for this man-hunter. All interviewed gave satisfactory accounts of their movements on the day of the murder and a check proved them correct.

Such persistence, however, could not go entirely unrewarded. At last there came a break. One man in the Winnipegosis area had disappeared a short time after Demcheson’s death.

Here, Renton determined, was something on which to work. It was not very much, for the people who mentioned this fact were reticent when it came to mentioning names or giving information. They admitted they knew little about the man other than he had vanished shortly after the tragedy. Renton obtained a fairly accurate description of the fellow which was corroborated by comparing it with others received from different people.

Burglar, Killer May Be Same Man

Renton returned to Dauphin and commenced rounding up bits of information relative to the Oliphant and McDonald robbery. Checking back on his tiles he found an account given by a man who lived in an apartment opposite the hardware store. He said he had heard the breaking of glass and on looking out of his window had seen a man leaving the store. The man passed beneath an arc light and he had obtained a good view of him. On comparing the eye-witness description of the burglar with that of the missing Winnipegosis man. Renton felt a thrill run through him. The descriptions were identical.

Though he had little real evidence on which to base his theory, Renton was firmly convinced that the man who burgled the hardware store and the killer of Peter Demcheson were one and the same. True, Demcheson had been killed by a shotgun in good condition but that meant little to Renton. Shotguns were plentiful. If he could once lay this fellow by the heels he felt he would have something. He at once prepared a police circular and had it sent out all over western Canada.

Months passed, during which time, Renton and his men continued their quiet investigation of the Demcheson case. Nothing had been heard of the missing man and Renton was seated in his office one day when a woman appeared. She was a middle-aged woman, her wan face still retaining some traces of its former beauty, but in her eyes was the mark of tragedy and want.

“I am Mrs. Joe Verhoski,” she said simply.

Renton started. Verhoski was the name of the missing man. No one had mentioned that he had a wife. Concealing his elation, Renton asked the woman what she wanted.

“My husband is missing and I want you to find him,” she said. “I am poor, and I need him.”

Renton mentally reflected that he too wanted to find Joe Verhoski, but for an entirely different reason. He did not tell the woman this, however. Instead, he asked her to describe her husband.

In halting tones the woman complied. Renton mentally compared her description with that given by others. There were a few discrepancies, but when she had finished, the sergeant had an exceedingly accurate picture of Joe Verhoski.

Continuing his questioning, Renton learned that Verhoski had appeared from somewhere out of the west, settled in the Winnipegosis district and wooed and won this woman in a whirlwind courtship. She knew nothing of his past, but he had appeared to be kind and considerate of her and he seemed likely to make a good husband. That illusion was quickly dispelled, however, for he had vanished, taking with him her few valuables. Now she was destitute and about to become a mother.

“When did you marry Verhoski?” Renton asked.

“On October 17,” was the startling reply.

Despite his effort at self-control, Renton was jolted out of his calm. If his suppositions were correct, and he had no reason to assume otherwise, Joe Verhoski had married this unfortunate woman three days after slaying Peter Demcheson. What manner of a man was Verhoski?

RENTON was a man with a kind heart. He made arrangements that Mrs. Verhoski be cared for and then set about preparing new circulars. He was now certain that the hardware store burglar, the killer of Demcheson and the man who stayed in the bunk car in the yards were the same person.

To corroborate this, Renton went back to the yards again and interrogated employees. With their memories refreshed by a partial description, yard men were unanimous in identifying Joe Verhoski as the man who stayed in the bunk car. But, they said, Joe was a poor, hard-working homesteader, and he merely slept in the car when he came to town as he had no money to pay for a hotel room. They could, they said, have told the sergeant all about Joe Verhoski long ago had they even dreamed that he was anything but a homesteader. Yes, they knew he stayed in the car, but they didn’t think he ever owned a gun; in fact, they knew him so well that he was practically accepted as one of them, or something to that effect.

Renton sent out requests to all police officers that Verhoski be arrested on a wife desertion charge. He cautioned in his bulletin that under no consideration must there be mention made to him of the Demcheson killing. He did not wish to give Verhoski warning that he was suspected and thus give him a chance to prepare an alibi. Besides, Renton was only too well aware of the fact that he didn’t have a single thing to link Verhoski with the killing.

Weeks passed and nothing was heard. Renton continued his investigations. He now learned that Verhoski had wandered about the country, stopping here and there at scattered homesteads and going on his way next morning. He seemed to be bearing southeast, and then from out of the blue came a telegram from the governor of the Portage la Prairie jail, around 50 miles west of Winnipeg, that a man named Joe Verhoski was at present serving 60-day sentence and would be released in a short time. The telegram explained that it had been known that Verhoski was wanted, but the jail officials wished to be certain of their prisoner’s identity before notifying Renton that his man was in their custody.

Renton immediately got in touch with Portage la Prairie officials and learned that Verhoski was serving the sentence for carrying concealed weapons. He had been found in an abandoned warehouse in the railroad yards at Portage by railway police. On being searched he had been in possession of a sawed-off shotgun loaded with Meteor shells.

Though Renton was elated he was also skeptical. The mere possession of a sawed-off shotgun did not mean that its owner had killed a man. There must be some means by which that gun could be tied to the actual killing and so far no such methods of providing that evidence had been admitted to the Manitoba courts of law. Though the science of forensic ballistics was used in other parts it was not accepted as an exact science by the law courts of the prairie province.

When Joe Verhoski was released from the Portage la Prairie jail he swaggered down the steps with a sneer on his face. He turned and waved his hand in derision at the governor; turned again, and walked right into the arms of Constable Klapecki from Dauphin.

Before Verhoski was fully aware of what had happened to him he was whisked back to Dauphin and placed in solitary confinement. In their brief meeting, Renton had sized up his suspect and realized that questioning would only result in a pack of lies. There was, the sergeant reasoned, only one way to treat a man like Verhoski. Shut him up and let him stew in his own juice.

Prepared to Match Wits With Police Officials

Verhoski was puzzled. He had been prepared to match wits with the police on being brought to Dauphin and he now found himself in the position of a man with excellent weapons without the opportunity of using them. And like that man, since he was denied a chance to use them in a legitimate way he was eager to display their worth by demonstration.

This was what Renton was waiting for. Each time Verhoski sent for him he went to the cell, listened politely while his suspect gave an account of his wanderings for the past few months, and then walked away, disbelief on his face. Verhoski, now frantic because his stories weren’t going over so good, elaborated on his statements. Still Renton made no comment. He didn’t even reply when Verhoski demanded answers. But he did send Klapecki and Bayfield out to check on the stories. They were proven to be false in every detail.

But Renton wasn’t idle. His mind was working overtime on the problem of tying Verhoski to the Demcheson murder. No matter how certain he might be that he had Demcheson’s killer under lock and key he would have to have something more concrete than faith it he sent the man to trial on a murder charge. (Continued on Page Five.)

(Continued From Page Three.) He turned to the gun taken from Verhoski at Portage la Prairie.

It was in good order—a perfect specimen of he sawed-off type. Practice, Renton thought, makes perfect. It was possible that this was the gun used to slay Demcheson. A ballistic expert would be able to provide the answer to the puzzling question.

But the services of a ballistic expect cost money. The nearest one, Dr. Glen Murphy, of Winnipeg, was ready to conduct tests if he were so requested. He had the equipment and ample experience, but so far, the government had shown itself highly skeptical of results. Nevertheless, Sergeant Renton persisted in his requests that Dr. Murphy be allowed to test the weapon. Finally it was sent to him, with the shell found at the scene of the Demcheson murder.

As the days went by, Renters became anxious. If the gun found on Verhoski had not fired the death shell he would be forced to send his man to trial on a lesser charge and allow him to escape the more serious count. Which course he would follow depended entirely on the findings of the ballistic expert.

Seven days later, Renton received a report from Dr. Murphy. It was accompanied by micro-photographs showing the effects of the firing pin on the primer at the base of the shell. The report stated that the gun was a 12-gauge hammerless model made by J. Manton and company. But what interested Renton greatly was the last line of the report. The shell HAD NOT been fired from that gun.

Though a victory for the science of ballistics it was a bad setback for Sergeant Renton. All of his work seemed doomed to go for nothing. He was in that aggravating position that besets most police officers in the course of their work. He knew he had the guilty man, but he couldn’t prove it. If he could tie Verhoski to the gun found in the bunk car and the shell found at the crime he would have something that couldn’t be talked away.

But the province of Manitoba was loath to speed money on what it termed useless work. Conservative to the extreme, the authorities felt that ballistics were all very well in their place but that they did not represent a good investment in police work. They took the view that they were accepting the word of a scientist without question where the matter of life and death was concerned. This, they felt, was too radical a step to take. Unless, they said, the scientist could produce something that was easily understood by all concerned, they would have nothing to do with him.

SERGEANT Renton felt downcast over this decision. In a conference with other police officials he suggested sending the gun found in the bunk car to Dr. Murphy. The others observed that Demcheson had not been killed by a sawed-off shotgun, but Renton countered with the fact that the gun could have been sawed off after the crime. He had, he pointed out, a definite connection between the gun found in the car and the man now in custody. Though not wishing to go over his superiors’ heads he intimated that he was willing to bear the expense of the tests himself if he were given permission. After a talk with Inspector Brown official permission was finally given to send the second gun to Dr. Murphy.

It was all or nothing now. Renton was staking his reputation on the outcome of a ballistic expert’s finding. More than that he was staking the future of forensic ballistics in the courts of Manitoba. He determined that while waiting for the expert’s reports he would sound out his prisoner.

Verhoski was beginning to show the effects of silent treatment. He was nervous, and eager to talk. Renton stood before the cell and surveyed him with studied indifference. Finally, Verhoski could stand it no longer. In an effort to make conversation he blurted out:

“Did you ever find out who killed Peter Demcheson?”

Not by word or sign did Renton show he had heard the question. But he felt a thrill. For Verhoski had not at any time been given to suspect that he was being held in connection with that crime. Evidently, Renton thought, the fellow’s conscience was beginning to trouble him.

Verhoski became angered.

“You should be out looking for the man who killed him instead of keeping me locked up here,” he fidgeted.

Renton merely eyed him.

“What am I going to be charged with?” Verhoski finally demanded.

“You might,” Renton said meaningly, “be charged with the murder of Peter Demcheson.”

Verhoski stared in alarm as Renton turned and left the cell room.

Back in his office, Renton chafed with impatience. If he could only hear from Dr. Murphy he would know what to do. He was still fretting about what he thought was delay, when Verhoski suddenly sent word that he wished to make a statement concerning the Demcheson crime. Renton smiled grimly and left his office. Before going, however, he nodded to Bayfield and Klapecki to go and hear what Verhoski had to say.

Cautioned Accused As to Legal Rights

At the cell room, the two constables cautioned Verhoski as to his legal rights and asked him to reconsider his decision to speak. Verhoski refused to listen. He was determined, he said, to talk about the crime. A stenographer was sent for and the constables awaited Verhoski’s story.

Verhoski lighted a cigarette and began to talk. He said he came from the west and being unable to find work in Dauphin he broke into the store and stole the shotgun. The next day he went to Fork River and stayed at Nick Shewchuck’s place for the night. Leaving early next morning he wandered along the road until he saw a Ford car coming from Winnipegosis. He determined to rob the driver so he threw some poles across the road. The driver stopped the car and alighted to remove the poles. Verhoski then stepped from the bush and ordered him to throw up his hands.

The driver refused. He grasped the barrel of the weapon and in the ensuing struggle the gun was discharged. The man fell dead so Verhoski dragged the body into the bush and rifled the pockets, obtaining $1.35. He covered the body with brush and drove the car into the bush. He denied owning a revolver or pistol and could not account for the pistol shell found at the scene of the crime.

After this confession, Verhoski asked that his wife be sent for. She came, but the only words she could get from him were:

“Well, what are you going to do about it?”

The distraught woman did nothing. She walked out and left him. Verhoski became angry and said he wanted to talk some more.

He said that he later obtained a hacksaw blade and cut the gun off. He then found it was useless, but carried it with him to Dauphin and left it in the bunk car. He went to town and when he returned two hours later the gun was missing. He denied stealing the Marlin pump gun from Baker’s store at Gilbert Plains.

Renton scanned this confession with some gratification, but little solid comfort. He could spot holes a mile wide in the story and none knew better than he what an astute lawyer could do with a confession like that. It was possible that the confession would not even be admitted as evidence. If a single doubt were raised about it the defence would demand it be thrown out. If this happened, Renton didn’t like to think of the spot he would be in.

Even as he sat drumming his desk with a pencil a report was on its way. Renton was still pondering every angle of the case when Dr. Murphy’s findings were laid before him. A single glance at them and Sergeant Renton promptly laid a charge of willful murder against Joseph Verhoski. A swift preliminary hearing followed and Verhoski was ordered to appear before a higher court.

The legal fraternity of Manitoba watched this case with deep interest. It marked a turning point in the rules of evidence. Modern science was taking its place in the musty halls of justice and this was the test case. They awaited the outcome with crossed fingers.

Joseph Verhoski went on trial for his life before Mr. Justice Adamson. He was defended by D.D. Bates, a skillful criminal lawyer with a reputation for ripping evidence to shreds. C.S.A. Rogers, K.C., represented the crown.

A FEW preliminary witnesses: women who told of Verhoski coming to their homes and begging meals, made their way to the witness stand and departed without having said anything of much value. The only evidence given which did count was given when a woman said that Joseph Verhoski’s real name was John Wecheko.

The handkerchief found in the box car was initialed “J.W.,” but even that was worthless evidence when applied to a capital charge. Verhoski’s counsel was on his feet in an instant and demanded to know whether his client was being tried for murder or for changing his name. Justice Adamson ruled that Verhoski’s counsel was justified in his objection. The handkerchief evidence was stricken from the records.

Evidence was next given which proved Verhoski had a long, criminal record. He had served an eight-year term for a murderous assault on a prison guard and he had also caused a fire in which three lives were lost.

It was open knowledge that Verhoski had deliberately set the fire, but no actual evidence was uncovered that would warrant trying him on a charge of murder.

Once again, Verhoski’s counsel was on his feet in vigorous protest. Were they trying his client on his record or on a charge of murdering Peter Demcheson. Justice Adamson allowed this objection also.

So far the crown had been worsted at every turn. Bates was fighting a victorious battle for his client and Renton saw months of accurate police work going for nothing. Then Crown Prosecutor Rogers began to read Verhoski’s confession.

Bates now began to fight in real earnest. He said the confession was nothing more than a concoction of the police and that Verhoski had been coerced into signing it. He charged that the police, finding themselves at their wits’ end for evidence, had fabricated the confession and had promised Verhoski immunity if he signed it. He demanded that the confession not be allowed.

Justice Adamson promptly ordered the court cleared. He then called Constables Bayfield and Klapecki to the stand, and after putting them under oath, severely cross-examined them as to how they obtained the confession.

In reply, the constables denied any coercion and pointed out that Verhoski had described the crime and surroundings so accurately that this in itself was sufficient proof he had been on the scene. No other person, they persisted, could have given such a convincing word picture had he not been there. The stenographer also was called and told that Verhoski had given the statement of his own free will. The judge agreed with the constables that there had been no coercion. The confession was admitted as evidence and the trial continued.

Then things began to happen. The defence put up a spirited attack on the statements of every witness; and when the name of Dr. G. Glen Murphy was called, Bates went after him tooth and nail. He questioned his science, his ability to use it and its value in court. In effect, his words were intended to place Dr. Murphy in a questionable light. He asked the jury if they were going to allow themselves to be hoodwinked by a scientist using scientific terms which he himself did not know the true meaning of.

Ballistics Triumph In a Murder Charge

Dr. Murphy was calm and in reply to a question from Crown Prosecutor Rogers he stated that the gun now in court was the gun which had fired the shell found at the scene of the crime. Rogers turned to the jury in triumph, for it had been definitely established that Verhoski had stolen that gun from Oliphant and McDonald’s store and that he had carried it until he lost it in the bunk car. Instantly, Bates, the defence counsel, was on his feet.

“Are you prepared to swear that this gun fired that shell?” he demanded.

“I am,” replied Dr. Murphy.

“Are you prepared to prove to me, and this jury, that no other gun could have fired that shell?” Bates asked derisively.

“I am prepared to prove to you, or anyone else, in terms you can understand that the chance of any other gun having fired that shell are less than one in five million. In this case I might even say one in twenty-five million.”


At last the big moment had arrived. For the first time in Manitoba jurisprudence a scientist was going to give evidence that would, if accepted, send a man to the scaffold. The confession had faded into insignificance now. If Dr. Murphy’s evidence was unconvincing, Verhoski would walk from that court a free man. None knew this better than Renton.

Another important point had also arisen. Verhoski had admitted ownership of the gun and his counsel was hammering home the statement that Demcheson had been killed by accident. Dr. Murphy must not only prove that the gun in question fired the shot, but he must also prove that it had been deliberately fired.

Coolly, Dr. Murphy unfolded a set of micro-photographs and displayed them to the jury. He stated they were photos taken through micro-luminar lenses, of the primers in the base of the shell sent to him for examination. Two of the photographs were of the test shells fired from the sawed-off gun which Verhoski admitted owning, and the third was the shell found on the ground near Demcheson’s body. One of the photos differed from the others, which were exactly alike. The differing photo was from a shell fired from the left hand barrel of the gun. The others had been fired from the right hand barrel. And the gun that fired them lay on the table for all to see.

Dr. Murphy pointed out six different points where an accurate comparison could be made of the primer marks. The jury examined the photos with great interest. When they concluded their examination of the photos there wasn’t the shadow of a doubt about their being convinced.

The next step was to refute Verhoski’s statement that the gun had been discharged in a struggle.

The ballistician set up some heavy cardboard frames pierced with ragged holes and blackened around the edges. He explained that the holes were made by shotgun charges being fired at-measured distances. Referring to the post-mortem statement he said that the course of the wound showed that the gun had either been fired from a height, or that Demcheson had been stooping when shot. There were no powder marks on either the clothing or the body, which was significant. Pointing to the cardboard, Dr. Murphy showed that powder marks were visible up to a distance of eight feet. Taking the hole in Demcheson’s body as a comparison, he proved that Demcheson was at least ten feet away when he received the fatal charge. The charge, Dr. Murphy said, had been fired from a choke-bored barrel.

When Dr. Murphy left the stand, Bates spread his hands, eloquently, with finality. None knew better than he the futility of questioning that evidence. He glanced at Verhoski and shook his head as if to prepare him for the worst.

It came in the form of a verdict of guilty from the jury. Verhoski was sentenced to be hanged in the Headingly jail and at 7.15 o’clock on the morning of February 2, Joseph Verhoski went through the trap in the floor of the execution chamber; the first murderer placed there by the immutable findings of science as applied to the courts of Manitoba.


Murder Hill Road no more ~ By Billy Redekop (26 Jun 2004)

Dark name that recalled gruesome deed slips into town’s history.

WINNIPEGOSIS — If life is a highway, Murder Hill Road is where it ends.

Or so it did for Peter Demschyzn in a sensational murder case here 74 years ago. Local residents shrug when asked about the uncommon road name. Modern street names, usually dreamed up by developers, tend to promote happy thoughts, not tragic footnotes.

“It was stating a fact. The local council didn’t know what else to call it,” said Edna Medd, who runs the local museum in Winnipegosis, 380 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg. It was also a case of a fatal mix-up of Model T Fords. On Oct. 14, 1930, Demschyzn travelled to town to see Dr. Alfred Medd, Edna’s father.

“Peter Demschyzn had five dollars in his pocket. He’d borrowed the five dollars from his brother.
“He came here to get a boil lanced, and dad did it in his office. He had a couple pieces of adhesive on his face when he left,” said Medd.

Demschyzn came from a prosperous farm family. He and his two brothers farmed with their father. They were one of the few families to own a motor vehicle, a Model T Ford. Demschyzn’s family thought he had gone to Dauphin for the boil removal. So when they didn’t hear from Peter, they assumed he had stayed the night in Dauphin.

It was also before telephones, and electricity hadn’t even arrived yet. “We didn’t have electricity until 1939,” explained Medd.

Several days later, a farmer, out looking for his cattle, stumbled upon Demschyzn’s car hidden in some bushes. A search party was organized and found Peter’s body buried just off what became Murder Hill Road, about five kilometres south of Winnipegosis.

“The body had been dragged 25 feet, and covered with brush and a rock to hold the brush,” said Medd.

Demschyzn had been killed by a shotgun blast to his left chest at close range. The murder shocked the small community on the south basin of Lake Winnipegosis. “My dad carried a revolver after that for quite a long time,” said Medd.

“Winnipegosis was always a peaceful town,” she said. At its peak, the village on the south basin of Lake Winnipegosis had about 1,200 residents, compared to 770 today.
“My parents left their doors unlocked until after the Second World War,” said Medd.

Manitoba Provincial Police patrolled rural Manitoba at the time. Eight months later, the police arrested Joseph Verhosky of George Street in Winnipegosis. The key piece of evidence was an empty shotgun shell at the murder scene. The distinctive markings on the spent shell led police to Verhosky’s weapon. It was the first case in Manitoba in which ballistics were used to solve a crime.
Verhosky’s plan was to rob a cattle buyer as he left an auction in Winnipegosis, figuring he would have at least $100.

“The cattle buyer had a lot of money, and he was flashing it around town,” said local resident Ray Snyder. The cattle buyer also had a motor vehicle, a Model T Ford, one of the few vehicles in the area. Verhosky cut down some trees, laid them across the road, and waited in the bush. It is the oldest trick in the book by today’s standards, but not very old back then when there were few motor vehicles. Neither did Verhosky anticipate someone else with a vehicle coming along.

When Demschyzn drove up in his Model T, and got out of his car to move the tree, Verhosky assumed he was the cattle buyer. He let him have it with a shotgun blast from close range, killing Demschyzn so there wouldn’t be any witnesses. But all Verhosky got was three dollars. Demschyzn had spent two dollars in town filling up his vehicle. Verhosky was captured and hanged.

Known for over half a century as Murder Hill Road, the road sign finally came down last month.
The RM of Mossey, in which the road is situated, has converted to the numbered road system recently recommended by the Association of Manitoba Municipalities. Murder Hill Road is now Road 180 N. That indicates it is a east-west road 180 miles from the American border. The murder was at the fork of Road 180 N and Road 107 West.

Today in the Dauphin Herald – May 22 – 1913

1913 May 22 – Baran Executed

Portage la Prairie, May 20 – John Baran at one minute past eight o’clock this morning paid the death penalty in the yard of the Portage la Prairie jail for the murder of Constable Rooke. He walked to his death without a murmur and without even an expression of regret for his deed, and three-quarters of an hour after the drop on the scaffold he was buried in the corner of the jail yard in quick lime, no friends having made claim to his body. Baran spent a sleepless night, dozing off for a few minutes at a time, and at 7:30 this morning asked for his breakfast, which consisted of porridge, eggs, toast and coffee.
He did not eat it with a relish and was left quietly alone for his last meal. It was just 7:55 when Deputy Sheriff Muir read the death warrant to the condemned man, and preparations for the march to the scaffold was then begun.

1913 May 22 – Boy Lost

On Saturday last Mrs. Alex. Genik, who lives on the Drifting River north of Ashville, sent her seven year old son out for some wood. That was the last time he was seen. Search parties have since been organized and the country roundabout scoured, but no trace of the boy has been found. It is feared that he has been drowned.

Today in the Dauphin Herald – May 15 – 1913

1913 May 15 – Baran to Hang on Tuesday

A Portage la Prairie dispatch says: All hope of reprieve for John Baran under sentence of death for the murder of Constable Rooke, has been given up, and preparations will be started the latter part of the week for the carrying out of the sentence that he be hanged on Tuesday, May 20. Portage is without a sheriff and for that reason none of the new officials are to discuss the matter, but the duty will probably devolve on George Muir, the duty sheriff although he has yet received no definite instructions to prepare to carrying out the death sentence. It is known, however that the gallows will be erected in the jail yard the latter part of this week, and it is understood that a government official will arrive about Saturday to superintendent this week. Portage has never had a hanging and the official are not versed in what is really necessary.

1913 May 15 – Fork River

Mrs. W. Williams as returned from Dauphin hospital, where she has been for some time.
Mrs. J. Rice, of North Lake, is visiting Dauphin on important business.
Sandy Cameron, one of the bonanza farmers of Mowat Centre is through seeding. Got a hustle on and left the rest of us.
Mrs. C. Clark has returned from the south after spending a month there. She is greatly benefited in health by the trip.
J.D. Robinson, of Mowat Centre who had been ailing for some time, passed away May 9th at the ripe age of 80 years. The several members of his family have the sympathy of the people of this settlement in their sad bereavement. The funeral took place from the homestead on Sunday he 11th.
Rev. H.H. Scrase returned from Sifton, having held service there on Friday night.
We are informed that Fred. Tilt has rented the house on Nat Little’s farm and intends going into market gardening. We wish Fred. success in his venture.
Capt. Douglas passed through here on his way to Winnipegosis with his trotter.
Dunk Kennedy was a visitor to Dauphin on Tuesday.
Rev. W.A. Fyles, B.A., S.S. Field secretary, will hold Communion services at All Saints’ Church at 3 o’clock and at Winnipegosis at 7:30.

1913 May 15 – Winnipegosis

The ice is still in the lake but there are now indications of warmer weather and its disappearance will be hailed with satisfaction. Once the water is clear the gasoline and sail boats will again dot the water. This is a joyful time but altogether too short in this northern climate. Boating is a splendid pastime the world over. Winnipegosis, I may say, has some capable skippers, and time is destined to become a summer resort.
Frank Hechter returned last week from a trip to Dauphin and Canora.
J.P. Grenon and daughter returned from a brief visit to Dauphin and Winnipeg on Saturday.
It is understood the Commissioner of telephones has under consideration the extension of the telephone line from Sifton to Winnipegosis. Whether the old line will be utilized o an entirely new one constructed deponeth saith not.
Miss Parker, who spent a few days visiting in Dauphin, returned home on Tuesday.
Miss Bertha Johnstone is visiting at her home here.
With the approach of June wedding bells will peal.
Mr. Clarkson returned from Dauphin on Saturday with Mrs. Clarkson, who has been in the hospital there for a couple of weeks.

Today in the Dauphin Herald – Apr 17 – 1913

1913 Apr 17 – Petition For Commutation of Baran’s Sentence

John Baran was sentenced to be hanged on May 20th so that unless something it done to have his sentence commuted the gallows will be his fate. Baran’s friends, realizing this, set to work a couple’s weeks ago in the Galician settlement in the Riding Mountain, to circulate a petition asking the Minister of Justice to commute his sentence to imprisonment for life. The petition has between 200 and 300 signatures on it and will be sent in at once to the minister of justice at Ottawa to receive his consideration.

Today in the Dauphin Herald – Mar 20 – 1913

1913 Mar 20 – Baran Now Praying

John Baran, condemned to be hanged for the murder of Constable Rooke, now spends his time in prayer.

1913 Mar 20 – Fork River

Geo. Esplen was a visitor with W. King on his return from Mafeking, where he spent the winter in charge of one of the fishing posts on the north end of the lake.
Mrs. Morley Snelgrove left for Dauphin to visit among friends on her way to Dryden, Ontario.
Miss Pearl Wilson is taking a short vacation among friends at Sifton.
John Bykilo returned home after a two months rest for the good of his health at Portage.
Fred Storrar, of Mowat, has resumed his duties as assistant manager of the A.T. Co. Fred’s all right, a pleasant smile for everyone.
Miss Ena Fredrickson and Miss Kennedy returned from a visit to their folks at Winnipegosis.
We are informed that Professor Ike Robinson was scalded the other day while experimenting with a boiler, which exploded throwing the contents in his face. He is doing nicely. Ike says he don’t mind having solved the tea experiment.
The C.N.Ry. bridge gang is busy renewing the bridge on the creek north of town.
The vaudeville performance which the Laurier troupe has been putting on at the National Play house on Parliament Hill, is costly for the country. Ten thousand dollars a day or sixty thousand dollars for the week is the bill which the people of the Dominion will have to foot for the little game of politics which the Opposition has been staging for the first week in the opposition to the navy bill. That’s Liberal economy and loyalty everytime.
“Say, Mike, we overheard the Admiral trying to explain the need of that boundary bridge the other day and several took a hand in the debate.”
“Well, Pat, by what I see of the affair it is a fraud to take our taxes to build a bridge to accommodate one man and it on private property. He must have caught the rest of them napping to be able to carry such a measure.”
“Now, you’ve put your foot in it, Mike, sure. The Fork River Philosopher’s idea is to bridge the whole municipality and throw the dirt on top. Gee, what next.”
Rev. Dr. Page, travelling missionary for this diocese, held Communion and Baptismal service at All Saints’, Fork River, Winnipegosis and Sifton. There were large congregations at each service. The Rev. H.H. Scrase assisted.

1913 Mar 20 – Winnipegosis

Charles Johnson, of Makinak, was a visitor to Rev. Father Derome last week. He was much interested in his visit and inspected the hatchery on Snake Island, where he enjoyed himself. His father is interested in the management of a hatchery in Norway, Europe.

1913 Mar 20 – Winnipegosis

The ball in the Winnipegosis hotel on the 17th proves that the anniversary of St. Patrick is becoming very dear to the hearts of some, it being patronized by the elite, graced by those who love to trip the light fantastic, and enlivened by an appreciative crowd of onlookers. Many wore a souvenir badge supplied by willing workers of the W.A. and assistants. Fork River social element added materially to its success.
At the Christian League last Thursday Mr. Scott read a paper on “Commerce” touching on the German menace, that was worthy of a much larger crowd of understanding. He defined minutely the fundamental principles of commerce making it more interesting by apt illustrations, ably leading one’s interest up to appreciate the Empire’s present position. His reflections on England from Germany’s attitude served to illuminate her domain and in no way detracted from her greatness.
Mr. Mullens was the recipient of a handsome gift from his many friends in Winnipegosis last Wednesday evening as a token of their esteem and regret at his departure.
Mr. Hulme returns home for Easter holidays.
Mr. and Mrs. Clarkson are rejoicing in the possession of a young son, which was privileged to be baptized by the Rev. Dr. Page, archdeacon and general missioner of the diocese. A baptismal service was also held in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Walmsley on Sunday evening last.

Today in the Dauphin Herald – Mar 13 – 1913

1913 Mar 13 – Baran to Hang

Joh Baran, the man who shot Constable Rooke, was found guilty of the crime at the assizes and sentenced to be hanged on May 20th.

1913 Mar 13 – Fork River

Mr. W. King, County Master, returned form Winnipeg, where he attended as delegate the provincial Grand Orange Lodge of Manitoba.
Rev. H.H. Scrase was elected deputy grand chaplain for Dauphin country L.O.L.
John Clements spent a few days in Dauphin last week.
Everyone is busy trying to get their hauling done before the snow leaves us.
Dr. Page will hold baptismal and Communion services in All Saints’ Church, Fork River, at 2:45 o’clock next Sunday, the 16th March.
Mrs. W.R. Snelgrove returned from a visit to friends in Dauphin.
Miss Pearl Cooper left for Dauphin on a visit to friends.
D.F. Wilson has returned from the Brandon fair and reports a good time.
Mr. Vivian Hafenbrak has returned after spending a few days in Dauphin on important business.
We notice the Fork River correspondent in the Press has coupled the named of some of our esteemed citizens to his untruthful items the last two weeks. He must be hard up for news. But then he reminds us of the man who kept his spirits by pouring spirits down because he got pinched for keeping a pig within the two limits against the law. Take a tumbler, friend, and don’t be so anxious to use other people’s names.
Professor J. Robinson, who has been up the lake fishing all winter, has returned from Mafeking and is taking charge of the Fork River Quadrille club.
Rev. A.S. Wiley, rural dean of St. Paul’s Church, Dauphin, paid, Mr. H. Scrase a visit lately.

1913 Mar 13 – Winnipegosis

Rev. Dr. Page, of Winnipeg, is expected in town on the 16th to administer Holy Communion and baptismal services will also be held Sunday next, in the school house.
P. McArthur will be back shortly to town. Mrs. McArthur will probably remain in Winnipeg some time longer owing to having recently been suffering from a painful fall while south.
Mrs. Benoit, of Dauphin, who has been the guest of Mrs. Hall Burrell the past week, has returned home. Her visit was greatly enjoyed.
We’re glad to see Miss Evelyn Burrell looking well again, only minus roses. Get strong quick, Evelyn, there’s a good time coming.
Dr. Medd is rather a ? but confirms finally the fact that there are enigmatical people even here.
Mr. Scott says he would not have come to stay in this town but for its great attractions. Dear old, Winnipegosis! If we only had a daily train service.
St. Patrick’s anniversary will be celebrated by a ball in the Winnipegosis hotel.
The play, “when Greek meets Greek” is being practiced for the concert on the 28th promises to be exceptionally good.
A meeting of the W.A. will be held at the home of Mrs. Bradley on Friday evening.
Nearly all the families are down from the north end of the lake. Possibly about 20 people have yet to return. “Dad” Danby is as brisk as ever; a fine example of 70 years young.
The snow plough has made its best trip. It can transport 10 or 50 tons of fish on a single trip, and leaves the lake somewhat picturesque. A trip on a dog sled to Snake Island is fine and a visit to the hatchery most interesting.
Anyone keeping vigils now will have the dreamy canine cries as an accompaniment. ‘Tis a pity the dogs are not treated more as man’s true friends.

Today in the Dauphin Herald – Mar 6 – 1913

1913 Mar 6 – 100 Years Old

An old resident of Ethelbert, named Hogg, died this week. He was believed to be 100 years old.

1913 Mar 6 – Baran Pleads Not Guilty

The assizes opened on Tuesday at Portage la Prairie. The Baran case is the most important one on the docket. Contrary to expectations Baran has put in a plea of “not guilty.” The witnesses from here are Mary Peleck, the woman who was in the house at the time the shot was fired, E.A. Munson, S.A. McLean, J. Tomoski, A. Rzesnoski and Dr. Harrington.

1913 Mar 6 – Fork River

A. Hunt returned from Ottawa having spent two months visiting with his parents and friends. While in Ottawa he located our friend, “Bob” Cruise in his seat in the house. Ab. will know where his seat is when he goes to Ottawa again.
Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Ramsay, of Sifton, were visitors at the home of Dunc Kennedy this week.
Duncan Briggs returned from Mafeking having spent the winter fishing up north with Theo. Johnston.
Messrs. Johnston, Nowside and King were visitors to the Lake town on business recently.
Sid Howlet, of Million, paid us a visit last week and is returning with a road of supplies to his homestead.
Miss Pearl Wilson has returned from Dauphin after a month’s visit among friends at that point.
Sandy Munro is spending the weekend with his family at Mowat.
The Fork River Quadrille club got a little mixed up on Friday night. Part went to one house and part to another. They all claim to have had a good time. It’s no trouble to have a good time at Fork River.
John Nowsede, after spending two months with his parents, left for Aberdeen, Sask., to take up his duties as teacher for another term.
Miss Gilanders, who has been some time with her sister, Mrs. J. Lockhart, left on a vacation among friends in the south.
George Butler, assistant to Frank Hechter, of Winnipegosis, was a visitor at Wm. King’s recently.
Fred and Max King have purchased from the Ontario W.E. & Pump Co., Winnipeg, a 18 horse power gasoline engine of the Stickney manufacture, also a J.T. case separator and are taking them to Fishing River among the Ruthenian farmers to finish their threshing before spring opens.
S. Strasdin, of North Lake, paid us a visit overnight on his way to Winnipegosis and says everything is quiet in his district.
J.P. Grenon, manager of the A.T. Co., Winnipegosis, has purchased the west half of 36-29-19 from Morley Snelgrove.
Mr. Rowe, section foreman of Laurier, is visiting with C. Clark for a few days.
Rev. Dr. Page, travelling missionary for this diocese will hold baptismal service and holy communion in All Saints’ Church on Sunday afternoon, March 16th, at 2:45. Lenten service every Thursday night at 8 o’clock during the season.

Today in the Dauphin Herald – Feb 26 – 1914

1914 Feb 26 – Arrested on Murder Charge

The following dispatch was received from Edmonton on Saturday and concerns two parties which are well known around Sifton and Dauphin, Charles Turcunuk and his wife, who is better known as Mrs. Lena Wilson.
About four years ago Turcunuk worked for the railway being engaged cleaning out cars. He afterwards went West to Edmonton, where he started a boarding house among the foreigners and has been doing well up to the time of the advent of his wife a weeks ago. Those who were acquainted with him while he was in Dauphin speak highly of him.
Mrs. Turcunuk, or Wilson, as she was known about town, only left here a few weeks ago for Edmonton. During the Rooke trial she acted as interpreter for the crown.
Charles Turcunuk, a boarding and lodging housekeeper, was arrested this morning on a charge of murdering his four-months-old child in Sifton.
Mrs. Wilson has made a statement that Turcunuk murdered their four-months-old child and afterwards made her promise not to tell the police, or anyone else. She heard the child crying, and all of a sudden it stopped. She ran upstairs to the bedroom and found the child dead on the bed; her husband was standing a few feet away and looking at the corpse. It was then that he grabbed a carving knife and holding it over her head while she knelt on the floor commanded that her mouth be sealed and her tongue be silent forever.


Convinced that her husband would carry out his terrible threat, Mrs. Wilson obeyed and promised to keep the secret, and this morning after seeing Turcunuk escorted to the prisoner’s dock to answer to a charge of non-support, she told the story to Deputy Chief Wright, and other police officials and in doing so submitted a written statement that will be used in evidence at the preliminary hearing next Tuesday morning.
The charge of non-support had just finished and the man fined $75 and costs, when Magistrate Massie commanded him to stand up to listen to a second charge.

1914 Feb 26 – Fork River

Nat Little and daughter, Miss Grace, have left on a trip east on business.
W.J. Johnston, of Mowat, has returned from Mafeking where he spent the winter fishing.
W. King returned the latter end of last week from a business trip to Winnipeg, and states there are a large number there taking in the bonspiel and the Agricultural college course.
Prof. J. Robinson returned from fishing up north and there is little doubt but he will soon have the Fork River band in shape for any emergency.
We notice the minutes of the municipal meeting were published the following week after the meeting in the Herald. This is as it should be Promptness is what the people look for and appreciate.
Mr. T. Secord, homestead inspector, is spending a few days in this burgh.
Mrs. R. McEachern and son, Donnie, are spending a week in Winnipeg.
“B and K” are not breaking any law of the country, Mowat friend. So try again. We have no doubt that the late Oak Brae mail carrier thought it an interesting event every Saturday and we are also sure though it a more interesting and wonderful stroke of luck when the cheques came along. It is not everyone gets paid for carrying their own mail. We don’t hold our meeting on Sunday friend. Get wise and shake yourself. Nuff for this time. Practice what you preach.

1914 Feb 26 – Winnipegosis

The bonspiel will open on Wednesday at one o’clock with sixteen rinks. Keen competition is looked for, as there is a large number of very valuable prizes. Some of the fellows that have been saying all winter what they would do if they wee only skips, will have a chance to try their hand now.
A very serious shooting accident took place about 25 miles south east of here on Monday. A Galician by the name of Kusyk, being shot through the back with a 44. Calibre rifle. The bullet passed through his abdomen. Dr. Medd was sent for and advised him to go to Dauphin Hospital to undergo operations. Since it is learned he has died.
Mrs. A.E. Groff, who has been on the sick list, we are glad to report is much better.
Frank Hechter arrived home from the Winnipeg bonspiel on Friday looking as hearty as ever.
J.P. Grenon left on Monday for Winnipeg and points east.
The W.A. are giving an alphabet party at the home of Mrs. Bradley on Tuesday evening.
Since the parcel post rates went into effect there is a large increase in parcels passing through the mail. The mail carrier is talking about getting a horse. But we see that Eaton’s still left Morten handle their catalogues.

Today in the Dauphin Herald – Feb 13 – 1913

1913 Feb 13 – Baran Committed For Murder

The adjourned preliminary trial of John Baran, under arrest for the murder of Constable Rooke, was concluded on Saturday. Magistrate Munson remanded the prisoner to Portage la Prairie, to stand his trial at the next criminal court on a charge of murder.
The court was called to order at eleven o’clock, the court house being crowded by a throng who were anxious to hear the outcome of the trial.
The prisoner had to be assisted into the court by two officers and appeared in a very weak condition. Later he fell from his chair to the floor, where he was allowed to lie during the trial.
Dr. Harrington gave evidence as to his attendance on Constable Rooke, and stated death to have been caused by the bullet wound, and resultant weakness.
When the charge was read the prisoner declined to make any statement. Bertram Ryan, for the defence, admitted that Baran had fired the shot which killed Constable Rooke, but pleaded justification on a plea of provocation, claiming Baran could not have known it was an officer of the law who was demanding entrance and then breaking in the door of his house, and that Baran had a right to defend his home and had fired the shot with the intention only of frightening away whoever was forcing his door. He asked to have the charge at least modified to one of manslaughter.
In passing sentence, Magistrate Munson severely criticized the past character of the prisoner and had no hesitation in committing him on a charge of murder to stand his trial at the Portage spring assizes.

1913 Feb 13 – Salt Wells to be Worked

That there is abundance of salt in the Lake Winnipegosis region is well known. For years the springs there have been running freely with brine and thousands of tons of the best salt going to waste each year. It is now proposed to tap the springs and install machinery to reduce the brine and manufacture the output into salt for various uses. The quality of the salt, after it has gone through a purifying process is reported by those who have made experiments with it, to be of the highest grade. It is probable that a salt reducing plant will be built at Winnipegosis town. The salt can be brought down the lake in its raw state and later manufactured into various grades to suit the market demand. During the past three months three entries were made at the Dominion Lands office here for mines and as the capital to develop them is already assured the enterprise will undoubtedly be established.

1913 Feb 13 – Section Foreman Loses His Life

Harry Mushynski, section foreman for the C.N.R. at Pine River lost his life on Saturday in a peculiar manner. The pipes at the water tank froze up and Mushynski and another man descended into the well with a pot of live coals to thaw them out. When the two men got down the well the gas from the pot became too strong for them and Mushynski was overcome and fell into the water and was drowned. His companion managed to get out of the well. Coroner Harrington held an inquest on Mushynski on Sunday and the jury rendered a verdict in accordance with the above facts.
Mushynski was highly spoken of by Supt. Irwin as a faithful employee of the company. He was 28 years of age and leaves a wife and two children.

1913 Feb 13 – Fork River

Howard Armstrong left for a trip up the lake teaming.
Herman Godkin, one of Dauphin’s energetic real estate agents, is spending the weekend at W. Williams.
C.E. Bailey and Wm. King returned from attending the county L.O.L. meeting at Dauphin.
Pat Powers, who has been running a threshing outfit at Winnipegosis, returned and is renewing acquaintances.
Henry Benner left here with a car of cows and young cattle for his ranch at Lloydminster.
Professor G. Weaver of East Bay, passed through here en route to the North Pole to lecture on diversified farming, etc.
Mr. and Mrs. C. White, of Winnipegosis, were visitors at D. Kennedy’s on Sunday.
Mrs. Theo. Johnson is visiting her daughter, Mrs. D. Kennedy.
Mr. and Mrs. Cameron, of Neepawa, returned home after spending a few weeks with A. Cameron at Mowat Centre.
Mrs. Rice, teacher of North Lake School, was in town on business lately.
Sid Howlett and family have returned from the north end of the lake, where he spent the winter fishing and reports fishing good. He is going out on his homestead at Million.
“Say, Pat, it seems too bad the Mowat correspondent cant’s get his proper rest lately.” “What’s the matter now Mike?” “Well, he says the blooming politicians at Ottawa will keep haggling over the $35,000,000 Borden is sending to the dear old mother country after the assistance she has given us financially and otherwise for years. You remember a short time ago in the Press the M.C. wanted and howled for an all-Canadian navy. Now he turns around and poses for peace and spend the money in P.O. and roads.” Pat, “Well, I prefer it in Dreadnoughts as we have had enough of the sort of roads he has been instrumental in dishing up to us the last two or three years. I wonder which way he will jump next.” Mike, “Don’t be too hard on him, chure you know he handled the Liberal cheque book for years and there is a few blank forms left and our friend expected to be Admiral of Sir Wilfy’s dinky navy, but the election knocked that into a cocked hat and the blank cheques are no use now and the P.O. is like the elevator he twitted us about some time ago lost, strayed or stolen. When dear T.A. got licked we lost our telegraph office here and now we are getting the peace racket put up to us. Now someone has got to the end of their rope.” “Say, Pat, did yees notice divil a word does our Liberal friends print or say regarding the dredge contract let by the late Liberal government and that is being looked into by Borden.” “Oh, that’s a horse of another color.” M.C. stop grouching.
Wm. Amos, of Deloraine, travelling agent for the Ontario Wind Engine and Pump Co., was a visitor at Wm. King’s.
Miss Lizzie Clark paid a short visit to her parents here.
J. McAulay, traveller for the Massey-Harris Co., stopped over to see D. Kennedy on business for that firm.
Service will be held in All Saints’ Anglican Church every Thursday evening at 8 o’clock during Lent and next Sunday, Feb. 16, at 3 o’clock, D.D. at 2 o’clock.
Geo. Dickason, of Dauphin, is around soliciting patronage for the Laurentia Milk Co., at Neepawa, and offers these prices till Mar 1st. $2.50 per hundred lbs, of sour cream; thirty-seven cents per pound of butter fat; sweet cream; forty-two cents per pound butter fat.
Our genial friend, Andrew Powers, is wearing a broad smile these days owning to the arrival of a new baby girl and Bob Rowe is also the happy father of a little baby girl. We wish them both the best of luck.
We notice in the correspondence from our Mowat friend in the Press of last week’s issue some very sensational items, more especially the one referring to so much grouching at outside points on account of the high cost of living and would like to say the prices quoted are far from correct. We always were under the impression that our Mowat friend was at all times ready to advertise this district at its truth worth and endeavor to get more land settled up, but by the remarks referred to we are at a loss to know just what is meant by this sarcasm and would refer him to some time ago and his remarks regarding the loss of the late P.O. at Oak Brae to the district and the damage it would do to this part of Manitoba in the way of getting this land settled up. For the benefit of our Mowat friends and the public in general we would like to give the correct prices of the products of the farm and forest at Fork River today. He quotes wheat 50c to 60c, barley 25c, potatoes 35c, pork 9c, beef 6c, seasoned wood $1.65, greed wood, $1.25. Now the correct prices of these are as follows: (Elevator prices), wheat 89c, 88c, ble, according to grades. Barley 32c and 40c being offered by outside parties and refused. Green pole wood $1.75 a cord and season poplar $1.75; butter 30c, eggs 30c, pork 10c, beef 7c and 7 ½ in trade.
Council meets at Winnipegosis on Thursday, the 20th inst.

Today in the Dauphin Herald – Feb 11 – 1915

1915 Feb 11 – Death Under Suspicious Circumstance

Coroner Culbertson held an inquest on the remains of Pawlo Jura, which were found in the Duck Mountain, at Ethelbert on Wednesday. The verdict of the jury was that Jura came to his death under suspicious circumstances, and the jury request that further investigation be made. Wm. Barrie was foreman of the jury.

1915 Feb 11 – Selected to Fill Vacancies

The following twenty-five volunteers left on Friday for Winnipeg, where they will fill vacancies on the corps there caused by illness and death:
A. Wilson, R.D. Reeve, J.E. Welsh, T.M. Ray, J. Armstrong, W.C. Miltchell, R. Smith, P.E. Millard, W. Donaldson, W.E. Ridley, W.J. Hill, W. Miller, J.S. Blundell, W. McDonald, J. Nochol, W.J. Wallace, A. Baldwin, T.L. Rodway, I. Osman, B. Dilworth, R.E. Richards, P. Cowley, P. Boam, I. McGlashin, W. Munro.

1915 Feb 11 – “Winged Animals” at Ashville

R.J. Avison, the well-known farmer of Ashville district, was in town on Wednesday. He report people seeing aeroplanes and other “winged animals” in that part. From what we know of the people of that thriving district they would not be content to let other places get ahead of them in “seein’ balloons,” or anything else.

1915 Feb 11 – Mossey River Council

Meeting of the council held at Fork River, Monday, Feb. 1st, 1915. Councillor Hechter absent.
The clerk swore in the newly elected councillor for Ward 6, li. S.B. Reid.
The minutes of the last meeting were read and adopted as read.
Hunt-Yakavanka – Confirming by laws No. 107, sec.-treas. by-law.
Bickle-Yakavanka – Confirming by-laws 21 and 196, councillors’ fees and mileage.
A by-law appointing Dr. Medd health officer, at a salary of $50.00 was passed.
Hunt-Reid – That the councillors be instructed not to expend Ward appropriations or other funds on the municipal boundary roads without consulting the council.
Reid-Yakavanka – That the councillors Hunt, Bickle and Hechter be finance committee for 1915 and the Coun. Hunt be chairman.
Hunt-Bickle – That Councillors Reid, Yakavanka and Namaka be Public Works committee and the Coun. Reid be chairman.
Yakavanka-Namaka – That Councillors Reid, Hunt and Bickle be bridge committee and that Councillor Reid be chairman.
Communications were read from the Deputy Municipal Commissioner, the Red Cross Society, S. Hughes, M.P.P., Professor Black, the solicitor, the Rural Municipality of Dauphin and Ochre River municipality.
Hunt-Reid – That the secretary write the Municipality of Ochre River and express this council’s willingness to cooperate in the matter of a convention of the Northern Municipalities and that the reeve and Councillor Hechter be a committee to take up the matter.
Bickle-Reid – That a grant of ten sacks of flour be made to Siefat Mcushka and that the clerk purchase the flour where it can be obtained at the lowest price.
Namaka-Reid – That the accounts as recommended by the finance committee be passed.
Hunt-Reid – That if material and work can be obtained at a few months time the bridge committee be authorized to finish the boundary bridge between sections 5 and 6, tp. 29 rge. 18.
Bickle-Yakavanka – That the key of the council chamber at Winnipegosis be delivered to W.H. Hunking and that he keep the place in good condition and be responsible for the same.
Bickle-Hunt – That the reeve be appointed to go to Winnipeg and interview Mr. Hughes, M.P.P., and the Minister of Public Works regarding a grant to the Municipality for 1915.
Hunt – Reid – That W.H. Hunking be authorized to purchase two padlock and two pairs of blankets for use in the Winnipegosis lock-up.
A by-law was passed cancelling certain taxes.
Hunt-Namaka – That the council adjourn to meet at Winnipegosis at the call of the reeve.

1915 Feb 11 – Fork River

Mr. Shannon and daughter arrived from the east and are visiting at the home of Mr. Thos. Shannon, son of Mrs. Shannon.
Mr. Nat Little has returned from a trip to Brandon.
Mrs. Geo. Tilt is spending a few days on the homestead.
Mr. Wm. Russell has returned from Kamsack and is visiting at the house of his parents.
Ed. Morris and Max King have returned from their winter’s fishing up the lake and report a good season’s work.
L.E. Bailey, county secretary, and W. King, C.M., have returned from attending the L.O.L. annual meeting at Dauphin. Mr. King has filled the county master’s chair for five years and retired from that position satisfied that the order in the country is in a good healthy position.
There was a surprise party Friday night, the neighbours taking possession of the home of Mr. C.S. Bailey on the Mossey River. The visitors had a good time judging by the time they got home in the morning.
Mr. Steele, of Bradwardine, arrived here and has taken over this mission and will hold service on February 14th at Winnipegosis at 11 a.m., Fork River at 3 p.m. and Sifton at 8 p.m.
Mr. Green, lay reader of All Saints’ Anglican Church, Fork River, leaves for Winnipeg this week. He has been pining for the Sunny South and we wish him a pleasant journey to a warm climate.
A very pleasant time was spent by the young folks the other night at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Reid.
Mr. Wm. Howitson has been under the weather for the last week. We trust he will soon recover as this burgh will sure go broke without “Scott” to stir us up.
Mrs. K. McAulay and children, of Winnipegosis are visiting at the home of Mrs. P. Ellis.

1915 Feb 11 – Sifton

Jas. McAuley, the Massey-Harris collector, was in our midst last week.
Messrs. Baker and Kitt were visitors in town last week from Ethelbert, where they are drilling a well for the grist mill, and report that they are 105 feet down and no water, but we trust that by this time they have struck good supply of water.
The Catholic mission held a sacred concert on Sunday evening, which proved a great success.
The grist mill is running very steady these times.
Mr. Paul Wood received a carload of oats on Monday, which he is offering for sale, so there should not be a shortage of feed for a time now.
William Ashmore’s team took a jolly party of Siftonites out to a dance at West Bay School given by Mr. J. Adams. All report having a good time.
Business has been very quiet of late but we are looking forward to brighter times.

1915 Feb 11 – Winnipegosis

Mr. and Mrs. A. Meston returned last Friday from Minnesota.
Miss Jane Paddock, returned home from the west and says, “there is no place like the old burgh.”
James Fleming, from the Pas, spent the weekend with friend at South Bay.
Mammie Bickle entertained a few of her little friends at a birthday party.
Mrs. T. Morton, of Quill Lake, Sask., is visiting her son. Will, who has been very ill. We wish him a speedy recovery.
Tom Sanderson returned from the north last week.
Frank Hechter is a visitor to Mafeking this week.
Mrs. Theo. Johnston entertained ten of the pioneer ladies of Winnipegosis at a delightful tea in honour of Mrs. F. Morton, of Quill Lake.
Curling is the order of the day. A grand bonspiel is on. “Stoop her up,” is the by-word.

Today in the Dauphin Herald – Feb 6 – 1913

1913 Feb 6 – Baran Fired Fatal Shot

Monday was the most fateful in the life of John Baran. It opened with the death of Provincial Constable Charles Rooke in morning and in the afternoon the coroner’s jury found Baran guilty of the shooting.
Coroner Harrington held an inquest in the afternoon, when the following composed the jury: Geo. King, foreman; H.F. Caldwell, John Cole, A.B. Buie, Nelson Taylor, Stewart Baird, Thos. Shaw, F.J. McDonald, R.G. Ferguson, Thos. Jordan, Frank Beely, and Arch. Esplen. Witnesses examined were Dr. Culbertson, as to immediate cause of death; John Tomaski, the man who drove the sleigh that carried Constable Rooke to Baran’s house where he was shot, and Marie Pelech, the woman who lived with Baran.
The jury, in order to receive the woman’s evidence, proceeded to the hospital and for an hour listened to a well connected and intelligent reciting of the incidents which led up to the shooting.
The woman testified that Baran fired two shots from a rifle through the door when Rooke attempted to force an entrance; that she knew that one of the bullets took effect for she examined the spot where Rooke fell exhausted in the snow, when the man who accompanied him left to secure assistance. She stated that she found a pool of blood. She also testified that Baran forced her to state that she fired two shot through the door. The whole affair was brought home to Baran in a most vivid manner.


The following is the verdict of the jury:
“We, the jury empanelled to hear the evidence as to the death of Provincial Constable Charles Rooke, find that the said Charles Rooke on Sunday, Jan. 26, 1913, received a bullet in the breast from a rifle in the hands of John Baran and that the said Charles Rooke died on Monday, Feb. 3, 1913, from the effects of this shot.”
The death of Constable Rooke has cast a gloom over the community as he was a good citizen, as well a good officer, unassuming and kind to all.
Marie Pelech, who lived with Baran, is still in the hospital, but is doing as well as can be expected. If she recovers she will have to have her right arm amputated at the shoulder. Her brother, Michael, arrived from Winnipeg Monday morning and was overcome with grief to find his sister in such a pitiable condition. He says he has been looking for her for three years.
Baran appeared before Police Magistrate Munson on Monday on the charge of murder. He was remanded until Friday for trial.
Rooke was born at Redhill, Surrey, England. May 5, 1876, being the son of Inspector-General Rooke, of the Indian army, who was honorary physician to Queen Victoria, and was educated at Willington College. He came to Western Canada in 1895, and served five years with the Northwest Mounted Police. In 1905 the Manitoba government gave him the job of organizing the Manitoba mounted police, a body whose efforts were mainly directed to the suppression of lawlessness along the international boundary line. He made his name a terror to horse thieves, yeggmen and smugglers and soon made the frontier as safe as any other part of the province. Latterly, his headquarters have been here, where he had jurisdiction over much of the north country. In 1909 he married Elizabeth Surrey, who, with one son, survives him.
A brother, E.G. Rooke, news editor of the Nelson News, and former publisher of the Port Hope., Ont. Times, is here to attend the funeral as are also Mr. Geo. Surry, Victoria, B.C., Mrs. Rooke’s brother, and Miss Ellen Surrey, of Galt., Ont., sister of Mrs. Rooke.

1913 Feb 6 – Funeral Today

The funeral of the late Constable Charles Rooke is taking place this afternoon from the family residence 8th Ave., N.E. Vermillion Lodge No, 68, A.F. & A.M., of which deceased was a member having charge of the services. Rev. A.S. Wiley will conduct the service. Interment will be made at Riverside Cemetery.

1913 Feb 6 – Fraser Given Two Months

Wm. Fraser, who attempted suicide last week by cutting his throat, appeared before P.M. Munson on the 30th ult., and was sentenced to two months in jail. He was taken to Portage by Constable McLean.

1913 Feb 6 – Died From Bullet Wound

Fred Bichardson, a Barnardo boy who was working for Arthur Lee, a farmer at Togo, shot himself in the head Friday with a 22 rifle. He was brought to the hospital here on Saturday, but died shortly after his arrival. The remains were interred in Riverside Cemetery.

1913 Feb 6 – Fork River

Henry Benner, of Lloydminster, is visiting his parents up the Fork River. He is wanting a car of young cattle to take back with him. No objections to females being among them.
Howard Armstrong has returned from a business trip to Dauphin.
Mrs. R. McEachern and son Dony, left for Bayhead, Nova Scotia, for a two months visit among relations and friends.
D. Kennedy’s high flyer got kicked the other day and is out of business for a short time, consequently Dunk had to fall back on the old reliables for a trip to Winnipegosis.
All the threshing outfits got cold feet early this fall except for Fred Cooper and he is on his last job. Fred’s a stayer and there should be no kick from the farmers as there’s no money in it for either this year as far as threshing goes.
We were out the other day looking for a stray heifer and didn’t find her, but came across someone looking for a pig. They did not mention whether it was a live pig, or dead pig or a blind pig and judging from their track a few hours after they must have run across a pig of some kind. Moral, don’t try to carry more pig than you can handle unless you cover up your tracks.
There is considerable kicking being done among the owners of gasoline engines re the poor gasoline sent up here from Dauphin. It not only wastes our time but puts the engines out of order.
We notice in the Press a long rigmarole about compulsory education also an ad for a teacher for Mowat School. We hear there has been several application received. It seems a pity this school should be closed since the summer holidays, it being in the centre of a settlement where there is a large number of children. The parents seem to be anything but delighted to have the kids miss all the nice weather we have had. We bet dollars to doughnuts that the head push has no children to send or we would have heard of it every week for the last five months.
Can anyone tell us what benefit the majority of the ratepayers receive for their taxes in the Municipality. Of course there are some who go on a pilgrimage to all the meetings looking for snaps and they get them, by gum. The clerk has had a rise of fifty. Oh well, I believe he published the minutes of one council meeting since last June. The municipal auditor was around so look out for the statement three inches by four. We received a copy of the Auditor’s report in book form of 47 pages from Ochre River Municipality. Its good reading and looks like business. A few dollars expended like this would be more appreciated by the ratepayers than paying two road commissioners in ward five, as there has been done the last three years to spend two or three hundred dollars.
The new Oak Brae postoffice as officially opened today. It is situated at Janowski schoolhouse and should prove a great boon to the people of that locality as it has been a deeply felt want. Geo. Basham is postmaster and we feel sure he will fill the bill to all satisfactorily. We hear Billy is sore, but we can’t help these things, so Billy, please remember the little saying “No use crying over spilt milk.” Such is life in the Wolly West.
The annual clearance sale started today 1st Feb. at the Armstrong Trading Company’s store and they are sure slaughtering the prices. This has been a poor year for the farmer so now is your chance to buy right.
Wanted, a boarding house right away for the travelling public.

1913 Feb 6 – Sifton

A ball was held in the Kennedy hall in aid of the English church; about forty couples were present, and a very enjoyable time was spent.
Elaborate arrangements were made for a wedding here on the 31st ult. A large number of guests had assembled and everything was in readiness for the ceremony when it was found that the would-be bride was missing. Consternation reigned for a time and great disappointment was felt, especially by the intended groom.

Today in the Dauphin Herald – Feb 4 – 1915

1915 Feb 4 – Remains Found

Some time last fall Paulo Jura, a one-armed young Ruthenian, disappeared at Ethelbert. An investigation was held but no trace of the young man could be found. He went out shooting with another young man named Timothy Nakonectiny, and at the time and considerable money on his person. Recently his remains were found in the Duck Mountain, but the flesh had just about all disappeared from the bones. His clothes, however, were identified. No trace of the money could be found.
Detectives are now again investigating the case.
Nakonectiny, Jura’s companion, has disappeared from the district.

1915 Feb 4 – Third Contingent Complete

The 110 men allotted to the Dauphin district to be raised for the Third Contingent has just about been enrolled, the number now reaching 106. Taken altogether the men are a fine lot and compare favourably with the first that enlisted here. The following is a summary of the nationality of the men:

Canadian 37
English 43
Scotch 20
Welsh 1
American 3
South Africa 1
Danish 1

J.D. Munson, single. (Jack Devereux Munson, 1895, 424039)
G. Prieur, single. (Gabriel Prieur, 1896, 425219)
A.A. Day, single. (Arthur Archibald Day, 1896, 424013)
J.E. Welch, single. (John Edward Welch, 1891-1916, 74199)
C.W. Shaw, single. (Charles Wallace Shaw, 1875-1916, 424037 or A/24015)
W.C. Mitchell, single. (William Charles Mitchell, 1885, 74202)
I. Zufelt, single. (Isaac Zufelt, 1891, 425518)
H.W. Gardiner, single. (Hugh William Gardiner, 1894-1916, 424020)
J. Gallant, single. (Joseph Gallant, 1892-1916, 424019 or A/24019)
B.A. Whitmore, single. (Burton Alfred Whitmore, 1890, A/24250)
H.L. Pearson, single. (Harry Lindley Pearson, 1896, 425194)
J. Payne, single. (John Payne, 1892, 424066)
F.W. Clark, single. (Francis William Clark, 1890, 424671)
C.J. Ivens, single. (Charles John, xxx-1917, 424952)
G. Wildfong, single. (Gordon Wildfong, 1892, 424079)
S. Day, single.
J. Hicks, single. (John Hicks, 1895, 154745)
A.E. Arnold, single. (Albert Edward Arnold, 1895-1916, 424002 or A/24002)
P.E. Chard, single. (Percy Edwin Chard, 1896, 424657)
J.A. Justice, single. (James Amos Justice, 1896, 424028)
H.W. Minish, single. (Herbert Whitfield Minish, 1893, 424061)
G. Stewart, single. (Garfield Stewart, 1895-1916, 425364)
H. Bidak, single.
C.C. Stacey, single. (Clarence Crozier Stacey, 1896-1916, 425349)
J.E. Wells, single. (Joseph Edward Wells, 1889, 424076)
J.E. May, married.
J.J. Troyer, single. (Joseph James Troyer, 1887, 425428)
J.A. McLean, single.
J.S. Willis, single.
Jas. E. Cain, single. (James Edward Cain, 1894, 154744)
John Ball, single. (John Ball, 1895, 424539)
Edward Gordon, single. (Edward Gordon, 1893, 425870)
J.M. Crossland, single. (John Marshall Crossland, 1887, 154737)
Victor Lavalle, single.
John R. Levins, married. (John Richard Levins, 1880, 424033)
L.A. Campbell, single. (Lorne Alexander Campbell, 1879-1916, 460743 or A/60743)
Henry C. Batty, single. (Henry Charles Batty, xxx-1916, 424320)

A. Grove, single.
W.F. Percy, single. (William Freeman Percy, 1886, 425202)
P.E. Millard, single. (Percy Edward Millard, 18781916, 74190)
A.H.G. Whittaker, married. (Albert Henry Guilym Whittaker, 1891-1916, 424077 or 424245)
A.G. Sanderson, married.
Wm. Coleman, single. (William Coleman, 1876, 424688)
R. Smith, single. (Richard Smith, 1889, 74196)
F. Clark, married. (Frank Clark, 1883, 424009)
J.S. Blundell, single. (James Stuart Blundell, 1893-1916, 74201)
A.J. Middleditch, married. (Albert John Middleditch, 1892, 425078)
J.W. Thompson, single. (John Walter Thompson, 1891, 424072)
Ivo Osman, single. (Ivo Isman, 1892, 74204)
T.L. Radway, single.
H. Marchant, single. (Harry Marchant, 1891, 424194)
G.J. Dickason, single. (George James Dickason, 1887, 424035)
P. Cowley, married. (Paul Cowley, 1886, 74186)
G. Burkett, married. (George Burkett, 1870, 154735)
J.A. Hurst, married. (J Arnold Hurst, xxx, 424339)
T.W. Swannell, single. (Frank Walton Swannell, 1893-1918, 425389)
C. Recknell, single. (Cuthbert Bradshaw Recknell, 1890, 425232)
F. Pexton, single. (Fred Pexton, 1887, 424067)
A. Wood, single. (Arthur Wood, 1897, 424375)
A.E. Weeks, single. (Arthur Edward Weeks, 1880-1917, 425472)
C.P. Webb, single. (Charles Peter Webb, 1895, 424374)
W. Weeds, single. (Walter Weeds, 1894, 424371)
A. Baldwin, single. (Andrew Baldwin, 1889, 74184)
W.E. Ridley, single. (William Ernest Ridley, 1891, 74205)
R.E. Richards, single. (Robert Edmond Richards, xxx, 74207)
R.W. Watson, single. (Robert William Watson, 1891-1917, 424075 or 24229)
F. Pickup, single. (Frederick Pickup, 1893, 424068 or A/24068)
T. Pedley, married. (Thomas Pedley, 1878-1918, 425197)
A. Spence, married.
J. Gomme, single. (John Gomme, 1890, 424021)
C. Heather, single. (Charles Robert Heather, 1887, 424896)
B. Cheesmore, single. (Benjamin Cheesmore, 1887-1916, 424327)
W.J. Hill, single. (William James Hill, 1880, 74189)
P. Boam, single. (Percy Boam, 1883-1916, 74185)
T. Brown, single.
Herbert Townson, single. (Herbert Townson, 1896, 425426)
R.C. Crowe, single. (Roland Charles Crowe, 1897, 424012 or A/24066)
H.F.B. Percival, single.
Wm. J. Hickman, married. (William James, 1881, 424910)
F.L. Pearce, single.
Benj Dilworth, married. (Benjamin Dilworth, 1884-1916, 74187)

T.M. Ray, single. (T.M. Ray, xxx, 74206)
W.J. Wallace, single. (William John Wallace, 1895, 74200)
W. McDonald, single. (John Elliott McDonald, 1882, 424064)
Wm. Donaldson, married. (William Donaldson, 1885, 74188)
J. Nicol, married. (James Nicol, 1884, 74194)
J. Armstrong, married.
T. Latta, single. (Thomas Latta, xxx, 424031 or A/24136)
J.A. Craig, married.
A. Wilson, single. (Allan Wilson, 1895, 74198)
I. MacGlashan, single. (Isaac MacGlashan, 1885, 74193)
Wm. Miller, single. (William Miller, 1883-1916, 74191)
J. Alexander, single. (John Alexander, 1890, 425896)
R. Morrice, single. (Robert Morrice, 1892, 424343)
J.A. Whyte, single. (Joseph Alexander Whyte, 1893, 424078)
Wm. Lyon, single. (William Lyon, 1883, 424034)
R.L. Adams, single. (Robert Lawson Adams, 1896, 424001)
Wm. Munro, single. (William Munro, xxx, 74192)
Thos. Martin, single. (Thomas Martin, 1892, 424046)
N. McLeod, single.
T. Woodhouse, single. (Thomas Woodhouse, xxx, 425906)

E. Burnett, single. (Edwin Burnett, 1896, 424323)

E. Engebretson, single. (Elmer Rudolph Engebretson, 1890-1918, 424015)
Wm. Madden, single. (William Madden, 1878, 424341)
C.B. Shales, single. (Chester Berdell Shales, 1896, 622436)

H.E. Lys, married. (Hugh Ernest Lys, 1875-1876, Capt.)

A. Peterson, single.

1915 Feb 4 – Fork River

Mr. Nat Little and daughter, Miss Grace, have returned from a two weeks’ trip to Rochester, Minn.
Mr. W. Walmsley was in town last week.
Archdeacon Green spent a few days in Dauphin on church business last week.
W. King county Orange master, is away on his annual tour among the various lodges and expects to return to Dauphin in time for the annual county meeting to arrange business for the coming term.
Wm. Northam, one of the standby subscribers of the Herald at Fork River, sends in the following verse when remitting his subscription. We take it that Mr. Northam intends the lines as a warning to delinquents:
He who doth the printer pay
Will go to Heaven sure some day;
But he who meanly cheats the printer
Will go where there is never winter.

1915 Feb 4 – Winnipegosis

Five men are working on the dredge fitting her out for the summer.
A large number of the fishermen are back in town again, and things are moving a little faster than usual.
J.W. McAulay was a visitor to Dauphin on Wednesday to attend the trainmen’s ball.
Dancing is one of the chief pastimes in this town. Lately, hardly a week goes by without one or two dances being held. A surprise dance was given at the home of Hos. Grenon on Friday last and another dance on Tuesday night in the Rex Hall.
Will Morton, station agent, whose life was despaired of, is getting better.
Mr. and Mrs. Ravelli, left on Wednesday for Portage la Prairie, where they will enter the employ of Hugh Armstrong.
Mrs. Theo. Johnson was a visitor to Dauphin on Wednesday.
Born to Mr. and Mrs. Litwyn on the 28th ult., a son.
Mrs. (Dr.) Medd returned on Monday from a visit to Winnipeg.

Today in the Dauphin Herald – Jan 30 – 1913

1913 Jan 30 – Constable Rooke Shot

Thursday Jan. 30th, 11:30 a.m. – Constable Rooke’s condition critical, but he is holding his own well considering the wound is of such a dangerous character.

Constable Chas. Rooke was seriously shot Sunday by John Baran. A Galician, whom he was attempting to arrest, and is now in the general hospital. Mr. Rooke left early Sunday morning, taking a livery team and driver to arrest John Baran, who lives some twenty miles southwest of town, in the municipality of Gilbert Plains.
Baran has been giving considerable trouble of late and had deserted his wife, who has been a public charge for several years and was living with another woman at his farm in the Riding Mountain.
In driving out Sunday morning Rooke left his team at a neighbour’s a mile from Baran’s, and proceeded on foot accompanied by J. Tomaski, his driver, expecting that he would be able to approach and capture his man without giving him the alarm and perhaps escaping in the woods. After carefully approaching the house he rapped on the door but was told by the woman, who came to a window, that Baran was not at home. Rooke then proceeded to affect a forcible entrance, when three shots were fired in rapid succession through the door, the weapon used being a rifle.
The first shot struck the officer in the left breast over the heart.
His driver attempted to assist him to walk back to where the team was left, but after proceeding a short distance was compelled to leave him and hasten on for his team. Returning, with the assistance of the neighbour, he conveyed the wounded man to this neighbour’s house, but had to leave him there as he could not stand the jolting of the cutter. The driver drove down the mountain about nine miles to the home of H. McCorvie, who has a telephone, and summoned medical aid from town.
Upon receiving advice Dr. W.J. Harrington at once drove out, using all possible haste and getting a fresh team at McCorvie’s. A sleigh was fitted out in which to ring the injured man to the hospital and followed the doctor out.


Baran is a notorious character. He had been sent to jail two years ago for assaulting his wife. Baran deserted her and was living with another woman and his wife has to be supported as a charge on the town. It was only two years ago that Constable Rooke drove thirty-three miles in the coldest day of January, through a storm, in order to rescue Baran’s two little children, who were reported to be destitute and starving to death. These children were committed to the Winnipeg Children’s Aid Society by Magistrate Munson. Baran was summoned to appear before the magistrate for the non-support of his wife and children, and having disobeyed the summon, the magistrate issued a warrant and it was this warrant that Constable Rooke was endeavoring to arrest Baran on when he was shot.


The inquest on the death of the Baran baby, who was shot Monday by the police posse which went to the Galician settlement, was held, on Tuesday in the town hall. Evidence was taken from Dr. Ross, Chief of Police Bridle, F. May, W. Evans, W. Knight, E. Turland and Fred Little, members of the posse who did the shooting. The evidence produced showed that the child was killed almost instantly, the bullet passing through the body, causing a shock and hemorrhage.
The following jurymen were empanelled: Geo. King, foreman; Thos. Shaw, N. Taylor, E. Batty, H.F. Caldwell, D. Sutherland, T. Jordan, J.F. Neeley, R.G. Ferguson, F. Copeland, F.J. McDonald, H.R. Morrison.
After viewing the remains of the child and hearing the evidence, they returned the following verdict: –


“We, the jury empanelled to take evidence as to the death of the baby Baran, on Jan. 27th, find that the baby came to his death by being shot with a rifle in the hands of one of the posse under Chief Bridle, organized for the purpose of arresting John Baran, suspected of having shot Constable Rooke, and the death of the baby, while regrettable, was purely accidental under the circumstances and we attach no blame to any member of the posse.”

1913 Jan 30 – Woman Placed Under Arrest

Annie Chisyk, who is a patient in the hospital suffering from a bullet wound, was formally placed under arrest on Wednesday, charged with shooting Constable Rooke. Her trial was set for Feb. 4th.

1913 Jan 30 – Fork River

Mr. W. Murray, Municipal Auditor, has been here auditing the books of Mossey River Municipality and it has been a busy week for Clerk Wilson.
Wm. Northam, who has been spending a few months at Weyburn, Sask., returned home last week.
Fred Storrar and William Johnston returned from the north end of the lake and report the fishing not to good lately as some of the men are off work.
Dunk Kennedy and John Richardson attended the Masonic banquet at Dauphin and report a good time.
Fred Cooper has returned from a business trip to Dauphin.
Wm. King returned from a two weeks’ trip west on business.
The cordwood has been coming in lively of late and the place looks like a wood camp; wood bring piled on all the streets.
At the inter-diocesan examinations of the Church of England Sunday School, Mrs. H.H. Scrase teacher of All Saints’ S.S. was sixth place in first class work, securing a diploma and book. Mrs. C. Bradley, of Winnipegosis, passed with first class diplomas as teacher of Winnipegosis Anglican S.S. We congratulate these ladies.
Wm. Parker was at the Armstrong store on business Thursday and Friday.
Mr. Cockerill of the Peabody Company, was a visitor at Dunk Kennedy’s on Saturday.
Howard Armstrong’s nephew has arrived on a visit from Ontario.
J.W. Johnston has moved up with his family to the hatchery on Lake Winnipegosis and Miss Eva Storrar accompanied them for a visit.
Sandy Munro was a weekend visitor at home on Saturday and Sunday.
Billie Coultas is sporting around with a new cutter these days and seems right in line with the Educational Department in the speeding line and guarantees to take the curves safely.
We must ask our readers to excuse the want of news last week as our correspondent was off for a week’s trip and our motto is while we are alive we will crow.
Service will be held in All Saints’ Anglican Church Sunday afternoon at 3 o’clock, February.