The Murder of Sheriff John Dierker

Compiled from articles taken from the St. Charles Banner News and St. Charles Cosmo 1913

Dateline: St. Charles, Missouri

January 2, 1913

St. Charles Banner News


Judge Dierker also Gives Way to Judge John H. Sandfort December 31

    On December 31 Sheriff Hines will retire from office and will shortly afterwards move his family into the rooms above the old Hallway Saloon on Main Street.

John Dierker will take possession at once and enter upon the official duties.  Phil Rupp, as deputy, taking possession of the residence part of the jail.

John H. Sandfort, the newly elected judge, will take his place in the county court also and Judge Dierker will retire.

Dateline:  St. Charles, Missouri

Thursday, February 3, 1916

St. Charles Weekly Banner News


Ceremony Performed Tuesday by Holy Ghost Church Pastor, Grand Avenue, St. Louis

     That Sheriff John Dierker was married to Miss Emma Holtmann, is no mere rumor.  The marriage license, which was issued here Monday was returned today.  It shows that the Reverend Braun, of the Holy Ghost Evangelical Church on Grand Avenue, performed the ceremony yesterday afternoon.

The sheriff has, in fact, captured his “prisoner” that he so nonchalantly informed the newspaper reports on the morning of the same day, had “been trying to catch for over a year and a half”.  Some of his friends are (unknown word) enough to say he understated himself, and that in truth, he has been trying to capture the said prisoner for the past ten years.

Deputy Sheriff Phil Rupp it is understood, received a note this morning from Sheriff Dierker telling him that he and his bride were leaving for Kansas City to be gone several days.

The Banner News joins friends in tendering hearty congratulations and best wishes to the newly weds.

From Tuesday’s Daily–

Sheriff John H. Dierker went to St. Louis this morning on the 7 o’clock car to bring back, as he said, an important prisoner.  It developed today, if the facts are true, that the “important prisoner” will bring the Sheriff back with her, for it happens to be a woman, not to be put behind the bars, however, but to be the mistress of our handsome sheriff’s new home.

If the story as told is true, Mr. Dierker and Miss Emma Holtmann, who resided with her mother at Wentzville for a number of years, were married in St. Louis to-day.  Miss Holtmann is 31 years old and Mr. Dierker is about 45 years old.

The sheriff confided his secret to Fred Horst, the Court House janitor and told him not to give it away before 12 o’clock, which promise he faithfully kept.  The couple is expected back in St. Charles either to-night or to-morrow morning, the exact time is not known.

Dateline: St. Charles, Missouri

April 6, 1916

St. Charles Weekly Banner News


Ollendorff Badly Wounded in Legs

Two Barns Burned

Attempt on Life of Ernst Plackemeier Followed by Two Battles with

Irresponsible Criminal Negro

 From Wednesday’s Dailey:

Sheriff John H. Dierker died at St. Joseph Hospital at 1:15 this afternoon.  His young wife, who was driver down from Wentzville, their home this morning was at her husband’s bed side when he passed away.  He was 48 years old.

Mr. Dierker was an able officer. He was serving his second term as Sheriff of the County, holding office from 1900 to 1904 previous to his present term which would have expired next November.  His mother also survives him.  The body will be shipped to Wentzville for interment.

The flag on the court house is at half mast in honor of Sheriff Dierker’s memory.

The county court at their meeting this afternoon adopted resolutions of condolence in honor of his memory and will attend the funeral in a body.

Sheriff Dierker, dead having died at 1:15 p.m. of a wound in the stomach, Mr. Ollendorf badly shot in the lower limbs, two barns burned and Lafayette Channel, the negro assassin killed and his body partly burned this forword, is the summary of the tragedy that occurred at the home of Richard Flesch, its closing chapter at the home of Ed Boschert, during the last hours of Tuesday night and this morning, Wednesday.

About 10:30 a.m., he was located in the barn of Ed Boschert and surrounded.  After setting the place on fire he appeared at the door and was killed by rifle bullets.  Twelve rounds were found in his body which was afterward burned up in the barn.

The negro in the early part of the evening had attempted to shoot Ernst Plackemeier.  He had sought refuge in the barn on Flesch’s place.  When he saw himself surrounded, he set the barn on fire, and in the ample light made by the flames, managed to bring down the two officers and then made his escape.  He carried a latest model repeating shotgun which he had stolen at the home of Richard Flesch.

Blood hounds supplied by the Stocker-Grigsby Detective Agency about 6 a.m. today, Wednesday, followed his scent along the railroad back straight to town.

The story of the frightful incident is about as follows:

Channel, or Pannel, as he was sometimes called, was a no-account nigger, thought to be harmless.  Recently he has been talking about shooting somebody but no attention was paid to him.  He formerly worked at Ernst Plackemeier’s but recently had been employed about the home of Richard Flesch, Plackemeier’s neighbor.

Last night he made his start by first severing the telephone wires at the home of Mr. Flesch, and thence proceeding to the Plackemeier home.  The family was at the supper table.  They heard him come on the porch and were expecting a knock on the door, when suddenly the door flew open and the negro stood rifle in hand, which he lifted to his shoulder, aimed at Ernst Plackemeier and fired.  Plackemeier dodged the shot by bending almost double, and the negro, probably thinking he had killed him, fled out into the open and disappeared.  The shot narrowly missed the little child sitting by her father at the table.

The telephone at Plackemeier’s home was instantly used to notify the sheriff who accompanied by Deputies, Joe Ollendorff and Phil Rupp, was soon at the place.  Rupp stopped off at Boschertown to watch the road, but later, after the assassin had been located at Flesch’s barn, he and Ernst Hallbruegge arrived on the scene.

They were the only ones who came prepared to capture the negro dead or alive.  A large crowd of neighboring farmers had gathered and a crowd of young men from town were there including in their number Hawes Davis, Ed Grote, Ed Remer, Wm. Meyer, Francis Hackmann, Elva and Nang Kuechler, Henry Schoeneich, C. L. Fitzgerald.

The crowd was gathered near the house while Sheriff Dierker and Deputy Ollendorff were lying on the ground within about 40 feet of the barn.  Phil Rupp had crept around to the rear of the barn and was lying behind a wagon keeping a close lookout.

Suddenly the barn was seen to be on fire.  Among the crowd it was generally supposed that the___14 colored man with the automatic shotgun was going to burn himself up but he had no such intention.  Earlier in the evening he had taken a random shot from the hay mow and all eyes were centered in that direction.

Joe Ollendorff, according to his own story, told to Hawes Davis, heard him getting down from the hay mow and whispered over to John Dierker, “He’s coming down”.

By that time the flames were lighting up the blackness in a pretty thorough fashion.

John Dierker then yelled out, “Are you down?: to which the negro replied, “Yes, John, I am down”.

“Then”, said Dierker, “come out and give yourself up like a man. We are not going to hurt you”.

The negro at that made his appearance in the door of the barn, holding the shotgun across his arm.  Dierker started to get up and move toward him.

“Don’t go near him, John; that d–d nigger can’t be trusted”, but it is not known whether Dierker heard him or not.  He advanced, and when about 20 feet away, again addressed the negro by the first name, “Now, Laf,” he said, “don’t shoot and we will promise not to shoot you”.

“No, I won’t shoot you, either, John”, replied the negro, when, with hardly the breath from his lips, he lifted the gun and “whaled” away.

The shot went wrong, and almost instantly the report from the sheriff’s revolver was heard.  It is thought that the sheriff’s arm had been wounded and hence his aim was untrue.  By that time the negro had hammered down again, sending the second load full in the sheriff’s stomach.  Joe Ollendorff rushed forward with revolver in hand, but before he could use it, the automatic shot gun had worked a third time and Joe Olendorff lay on the ground with his lower extremities peppered full of bullets.

At this juncture the negro made a rush from the barn.  Lucky for him, he took the opposite side from where Phil Rupp lay waiting, for a different story might be told.

As it so happened not a shot was fired at the retreating form and it made good its escape in the shadows.

The Fight at Boscherts.


            Early this morning Mr. Ed Boschert noticed that the door of his barn flew open and closed on its own account.  He immediately thought of negro and refrained from going to the barn.  About 10 o’clock his son came to the conclusion that the fears were groundless and went out to feed the horses.  He was making his way to the mow when he encountered the refugee who swore at him and called to him to get back.  He did not need a second invitation.

The telephone was immediately used and soon Deputy Sheriff Rupp, ExSheriff Hines, Sheriff Bode of St. Louis County, armed with rifles and supplemented by a large crowd of St. Charles men and farmers from the surrounding country, including Teho. Bruere, Henry Broeker, Gus Halbruegge and scores of others, like wise armed with every kind of fire arm possible, were on the spot.  The barn was barricaded at a distance where shotgun charges were ineffective, but which rifle bullets could easily carry, and a general attack was made on the barn.

This brought Channel to a side door where for one moment he showed his face. Instantly the firearms broke loose.  He must have been wounded.

A minute later a shot was heard inside of the barn, followed by a period of utter silence.  It was thought to be his intention to make the crowd believe he had committed suicide, and perchance secure the opportunity to add another killing before he gave in.

Patiently waiting, the men with rifles, were forwarded finally by seeing the murderer appear at the door with hands up.  Beside him, just inside the door, was his shotgun, ready to pour forth its deadly volley as soon  as somebody should accept him on his word as Sheriff Dierker did, and approach.  They were next to his game, and replied in the only fashion he deserved.  He staggered back.

A few moments later smoke and flame arose from the barn.  Again the murderer appeared at the door with hands up.  This time he was met with a volley of shots again.  He rushed through the barn to another doorway driving out a mule.  One other mule and a horse perished.

In attempting to escape he afforded a good mark and fell pierced by bullets as the flames closed over him.

His charred body will be brought to Dallmeyer’s Undertaking establishment for burial.

The County Court, this morning offered a reward of $200 for his capture.

Channel is described as being a yellowish negro, wearing a blue coat, gray sweater, 5 feet 8 inches tall, 150 pounds, slightly pock marked.

Ernst Plackemeier says that he does not know why Channel should plot against him.  “It may be possible that he is jealous of another man I have hired to do the work he formerly did”, he said.

Waldo P. Hines took his place at the desk in the marshal’s office and worked faithfully organizing the various parts of the county to capture the negro.  His intimate knowledge of every cross road in the county as in the case of the Black Brothers, enabled him to perform the work efficiently, though not as successfully as before.

Owing to the threatening attitude of a number of people towards the Black brothers who are convicted of killing Officer John Blair and Dave Lamb about two years ago and are being held in the county jail awaiting action from the supreme court, Constable Rupp had the prisoners taken to St. Louis county this noon and placed in jail at Clayton for safe keeping.

On a request of Mayor John N. Olson, for the people of St. Charles who expect to attend Sheriff Dierker’s funeral, the Wabash will stop all their fast passenger trains, both east and west at Wentzville to-morrow, for their accommodation.

The funeral of Sheriff John H. Dierker, who died at the St. Joseph’s Hospital yesterday afternoon (Wednesday) from gunshot wounds received at the hands of the negro Lafayette Channler, will take place to-morrow afternoon at 1:30 o’clock at Wentzville from the home of his mother to the cemetery, where interment will be made.

Mr. Dierker leaves beside his young widow, his aged mother, Elizabeth Dierker, a brother, Harry, of Wentzville and a sister, Mrs. Gustave Knippenberg, of Fort Worth, Texas.

The body was taken to Wentzville this afternoon on the Wabash through train which arrives at St. Charles at 3 o Clock.  Special arrangements have been made with the railroad management to stop this train at Wentzville.

The coroner’s jury summoned by Dr. Leroy Belding last night, viewed the body of the Sheriff and the skeleton remains of Channler.  The verdict in the former case was “death due to gunshot wound fired by Channler” and in the latter, “suicide by burning”.  The following men sat on the jury:  Frank Feuerstein, William A. Meier, Peter Hackmann, F. N. Leach, A. G. Smith and Benjamin Rehling.


            The $200 reward offered yesterday by the county Court for the capture of Channler will probably be given to Liver Boschert who first gave the alarm that the negro was hiding in his father’s barn.  According to Presiding Judge Edward H. Hollrah, the court feels that young Boschert is entitled to the money, because he was the first person to sound the alarm that led to the final capture and killing of Channler.  “Of course, final action will not be taken until the court meets next Monday, but I do not think they will change their present stand on the matter”, said Mr. Hollrah.


The remains of the negro who murdered Sheriff Dierker and who later was shot and partially burned up, at Ed Boschert’s place, have been at Dallmeyer’s up until today when they were given burial in the potter’s field at Oak Grove Cemetery.  Hundreds of citizens viewed the charred fragments of burned flesh.  Both legs had been burned off at the knees and both arms at the elbows.  The head also had been burned off, but the top of the skull was clapped down on the stump of the neck.  The only suggestion of flesh was near the throat where a slight redness as if of blood appeared.


            Mr. Ed Boschert, at whose farm took place the shooting of the negro assassin of John Dierker, says that he considers it almost a miracle that nobody was killed.  Bullets were flying in all directions.  Revolvers and guns in  the hands of inexperienced marksmen made the air sing merrily about the faces of everybody. It is said that among those who had narrow escapes were Martin Almstedt, whose coat sleeve was torn by a bullet and who also had his hair nipped by one.  A fence to one side not especially in line with the barn, toward which all bullets were supposed to be directed, was peppered with lead.

Mr. Boschert who lost heavily by the fire which consumed his barn, having it is reported 700 bushels of grain burn, is sure that he could have decoyed the negro out of the barn had the crowd but granted him permission.  The crowd,  however, impatient.  Rupp, Hines and others did their best to (words unreadable) shots, but it was a task impossible. Rupp (word unreadable) made an impassioned plea to let him do the shooting if it had to be done.  The crowd was there to kill the negro, and they did it, both to their satisfaction and the satisfaction of their friends at home.

Mr. Boschert told a reporter of the Banner News that the men bearing arms at his place were the worst mob he ever saw.  He pleaded and begged of them not to shoot, but they were deaf to his entreaties.  The men not armed, he added were the real heroes and he wants to thank with all his heart those men who helped him get seven head of live stock away from the flames and who further helped him save the other buildings.  Mr. Givens was the only man bearing arms he says who assisted him save his stock.

“After all the efforts of the mob to kill the negro, it was not their bullets that did it.  He walked as straight as a whip until he came in contact with the downpour of heat that sent him withering to the stable floor.”  Thus Mr. Boschert sizes up the killing.

He says that one horse perished by the fire.  One mule was hit by bullets and killed before the barn was burned.  The mule that was saved had part of its teeth shot out by bullets.

Edward Boschert valued his barn at $1000.  It was insured for $400.  Seven hundred bushels of corn were burned with a horse and mule that were unable to get out before the flames got to them.  Mr. Flesch’s barn is valued at $500 and insured for $200.


County Court Must Select the Man and Judge Woolfolk Must Give His Endorsement

            Under the law the filing of a vacancy in the office of sheriff must be performed by the county court and approved by the circuit judge.  In the meantime the coroner is vested with the authority of acting sheriff, and Coroner Belding is now at the head of the county police department ably assisted by Deputy Rupp and others.

The County Court will meet and appoint the new sheriff next Monday.  In the meantime communication with Judge Woolfolk will be had so that the endorsement may be expeditious.

The law formerly was that the Governor had the appointing power.

Another version:

Dateline:  St. Charles, Missouri

April 7, 1916

The St. Charles COSMOS


Lacy Chanley Who Attempted to Kill Ernst Plackemeier and Shot Sheriff Dierker and

Deputy Olendorf Was Surrounded by 500 Men at Edw. Boscherts Barn and

Riddled With Bullets


Chanley Set Fire to Fleisch’s Barn Tuesday Night and Repeated His Effort to Escape by

Burning Boschert’s Barn To Day after H Had Attempted to Surrender and the

People Were Unwilling to Trust Him.

Black Brothers, Murderers of Officers Blair and Lamb Hurried to St. Louis To-Day for Safe Keeping                                        

      Sheriff Dierker was shot in the abdomen by a negro Tuesday night and died at 1:15 o’clock this afternoon.

The man who shot him was shot and killed by several hundred people at Edward Boschert’s barn at 12:30 Wednesday.

Sheriff John H. Dierker was fatally shot by a negro named Lacy Chanley and Deputy Sheriff Joseph Ollendorf shot in the legs and arms at 11:40 o’clock Tuesday night when officers attempted to arrest Chanley upon a serious charge at the home of Richard Fleish, six miles northwest of St. Charles.

Perhaps 40 shot entered Sheriff Dierker’s stomach.  His arms were also shot and he suffered terrible pain and an inward hemorrhage before he could be brought to the hospital and morphine was administered as soon as the doctors could arrive.

Chanley had a grudge against Ernst Plackemeier, claiming that money was due him for services as a farm hand.  He had made threats against Plackemeier and was arrested about 3 months ago by Sheriff Dierker but later released.  Recently he had worked for Fleisch who lives about one mile from Plackemeier.

Tuesday evening at about 6 o’clock while Mr. Plackemeier, wife and two little daughters were eating supper suddenly Chanley opened the kitchen door and fired a shot gun at Plackemeier.  The latter was across the table from the negro, and the load barely missed hitting Plackemeier’s little daughter who was sitting in a baby chair.  The shot went over her head.  Plackemeier fell backwards and the negro thinking he had killed him left the scene on the run and returned to the Fleisch home where he demolished the telephone by breaking the receiver and hanging a stove poker on the telephone hook so as not to attract the attention of the telephone operator.  He then hid in Fleisch’s barn loft.

Herman Hunterbrinker, of the State Highway Garage, answered Plackemeier’s call over the telephone and was the first man from town upon the scene.  One of the first things he did was to repair the telephone.  The officers soon arrived and surrounded the barn.  Feisch and family were visiting a neighbor at the time and when they had returned home a search revealed that the negro had taken Fleisch’s automatic shot gun and some 30 shells.

A search of the lower part of the barn failed to locate the man and after the officers had come out and were debating upon a plan of searching he hay loft, suddenly the negro fired out a window, the load only missing Deputy Ollendorf several feet.

Sheriff Dierker then asked Chanley to come out and give himself up like a man that he would not be hurt and treated right.  The negro replied that he would do so soon.  Later when Deputy Rupp asked him to surrender he said he wouldn’t do it.  He is said to have fired four shots out of the barn.  Many St. Charles people went in cars to the scene of the trouble, most of whom were near the Fleisch house, which is considerable distance from the barn.  When Deputy Ollendorf said he would go up into the loft after the man Chanley yelled that he would shot the head off the first man who came up.

The siege was continued up to about 11:30 p.m., when suddenly smoke was seen coming out of the loft, the man had set the hay lot on fire.  Soon he was heard coming down from the loft and Deputy Sheriff Olendorf called to Sheriff Dierker warning him of his danger.  Chanley came to the door with one hand apparently up in the air, saying that he would surrender.  Sheriff Dierker stepped several feet toward him and when only 25 feet from the man, Chanley suddenly fired, the load entering the sheriff’s stomach.  Dierker then fired his revolver but owing to the deep shadow in which the negro stood he was not hit.  Ollendorf placed himself between the negro and Dierker and when Chanley fired again he was shot in the legs and arms.

Deputy Sheriff Rupp who was on guard at the side of the barn and others on the watch were afraid to fire, as many people were near and they were afraid some one would be killed.  As it was many people were struck with falling shot.  Many ran to assist the wounded officers, others rescued cattle from the burning barn and in the excitement the negro escaped and none pursued.  He ran down a fence row toward St. Charles.

Chanley seemed cool at all times.  He planned the murder of Mr. Plackemeier very carefully and when he fired the barn he did so to light up the barn lot so that he could see the officers.  He was careful to stand in the shadow before he made his murderous attack upon the officers and when leaving the scene, was careful to keep down the fence row in as much shadow as possible.

Drs. Wentker, Tainter and Schulz were summoned and soon arrived at the Fleisch home.  Prosecuting Attorney Bruere also arrived and took Sheriff’s Dierker’s statement.  Deputy Sheriff Ollendorf was brought here in an automobile but the condition of Mr. Dierker was thought too serious for him to be placed in an automobile and Feuerstein’s ambulance was used.  At 3:15 the ambulance reached St. Joseph’s Hospital, Mr. Dierker being cared for on the way by Deputy Sheriff Rupp and Henry Schoeneich.  At the hospital it was decided to postpone the operation until this morning at 8 o’clock owing to the wounded man’s weakness from suffering and the loss of blood.  Reports came to town fast and the facts being learned the St. Charles police and many citizen deputies guarded places where the man might have appeared at the Wabash depot, Officers Lamb and Lane went on duty, Officer Hopkins on the Katy  track in the northern limits of town, Officer Blessing and Deputy Alex Kiuth and brother on the road at the county asylum, Deputy Edw. Grothe and assistants at the highway bridge while ex-Sheriff Hines, went to the city hall and notified surrounding towns and Deputy Sheriffs.  Many automobile parties secured the roads and had Chanley been caught by some of them their anger might have proven fatal to him.

Sheriff Dierker’s wife arrived here from Wentzville on an early morning train and was accompanied by Miss Vera Talley, the sheriff’s niece.  Mrs. Dierker was almost prostrated when she arrived at the jail and as soon as she was able they took her to the hospital.  Mr. Dierker was married to Miss Emma Holtmann of Wentzville on February 1st.

A gentleman from East St. Louis owner of a blood hound arrived here at 5 o’clock this morning with the dog.  He was accompanied by Sheriff Bode and Constable Ellwanger of Clayton.  They went to Flesh’s home in company with a part composed of Deputy Sheriff Heady, Constable Grothe, Deputy Rupp, Wm. Meier, Hopkins, Alex Kiuth Jr., Bob Blackshaw, Mr. Hackman and other with the dog.  The dog was given an overcoat worn by Chanley and immediately took the trail leading the party out by Elm Point, d own the Wabash railroad track.  The man had stopped at several places, marks of which could be found where the dog stopped.  He came on about a hundred yards west of the water tank where the dog lost the trail and could not take it up again.  When the dog lost the trail the party came back to town.

At about noon Oliver Boschert,  17 year old son of Edward Boschert, a farmer living 1-2 mile from the Fleisch farm went to the hay loft to get feed for three mules when the negro who was hiding there pointed the gun at him and told him to get out.  Oliver got down at soon as possible.  An alarm was sent to St. Charles and elsewhere and about 500 men surrounded the barn.  Chanley attempted to surrender but the angry men were determined to have his life.  He appeared at the barn door and 100 shots were fired at him.  He then set fire to the barn and again he appeared at the door with his hands in the air when perhaps 1000 shots were fired at him and he fell in the door.  The barn, one of the largest in the country, was burned to the ground.  Two mules were consumed in the flames and considerable contents.  Chanley’s body was left to burn with the barn.

When the man’s body fell backwards into the barn John Givens who is here visiting from his home in Montana, had the nerve to run up to the door, enter the barn and cut one of the three mules loose and it ran out of the stable with his hair burning.  The mule was not badly injured.  When Givens started out of the barn he tried to throw the body out but it was too hot for him to remain longer.

After the fire had died away the only thing that was left of the man who had mortally wounded Sheriff Dierker, shot Deputy Olendorf, shot at Ernst Plackemeier and burned two barns within twelve hours, was his skeleton.  The hundreds of people there took a look at the body and started for their homes.

The $200 reward offered by the county court for the man, dead or alive, should be paid to Oliver Boschert as it was he who lead to his capture, it may be called.

The crowd was composed of the best citizens of St. Charles county.

Under the law the county court will appoint a sheriff who will serve until the general election next fall, it not being more than nine months until the general election.

W. D. Wilson of Hardin, Ill, who was an on looker had a narrow escape from serious injury.  A rifle ball passed through his coat sleeve.  Martin Almstadt also had a narrow escape when a bullet passed so close to his neck that it burned the skin.  These shots were fired at the man and the men were in range of the guns.

The Black brothers who have been in the county jail for the past two years, convicted of killing of Police Officers Blair and Lamb, were transferred to the jail in St. Louis this morning.

Dateline:  St Charles, Missouri

April 6, 1916

St. Charles COSMOS


In Wentzville at 1:30 o’clock — Inquest Reveals Fact that Chanley Committed Suicide

     The funeral of Sheriff John H. Dierker will take place to-morrow (Friday) afternoon at 1:30 o’clock from the home of his mother, Mrs. Eliza Dierker in Wentzville thence to the Methodist Church, Rev. J. W. Frankenfeld of this city, will have charge of the services, and burial will be made in the family lot in Linn Cemetery.  The body was shipped from Steinbrinker’s undertaking parlors Thursday afternoon on the 3 o’clock Wabash train which made a special stop at Wentzville in honor of the dead Sheriff.  The county officials will attend the funeral in a body.  At a session of the county court held Wednesday afternoon resolutions of condolence were passed in honor of Mr. Dierker and it’s sympathy extended to the bereaved family.

Coroner Belding came to St. Charles Wednesday afternoon and held an inquest of the body of Sheriff John H. Dierker.  The jury was composed  of Frank Feuerstein, A. G. Smith, L. N. Leach, Ben Reiling, Peter Hackmann and W. A. Smith.  After hearing the evidence of Joseph Olendorf, the deputy sheriff who was with Mr. Dierker, and who himself was also hot at the same time, the jury returned a verdict that his death was due to a gun shot wound in the hands of Lafayette Chanley.

After holding the inquest on Sheriff Dierker the same jury went to Dallmeyer’s undertaking rooms where the remains of the body of Chanley had been taking, and held an inquest there, the verdict of the jury being that he came to his death at his own hands, suicide being the verdict of the jury.

There is not much left of the colored man’s body. The legs, arms and head were burned off.  The man’s back was about the only part left in tact on which he was laying.  The back shows a number of bullet holes.  The body was buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery Thursday afternoon in the Potter’s field.  Chanley’s father is said to reside in the vicinity of Defiance.

The court house will be closed all day tomorrow on account of the funeral of Sheriff Dierker.  Crepe will be placed on the door and the flag will float at half mast during the entire day.  No business will be transacted.  All the county officials will attend the funeral.

St. Charles should be well represented at Mr. Dierker’s funeral.  A large number of automobiles will make the trip and will be filled with people in honor of the death of the man who died in the discharge of his duties.

The pall bearers for the funeral will be Judge Edward H. Hollrah, Henry C. Sandfort, county clerk, Herman Kansteiner, county collector, Sheriff Bode of St. Louis county, Robert Blackshaw and M. L. Comann.

John H. Dierker is dead and gone–he is no more.  In the death of this good man St. Charles county has lost a good citizen and a faithful ad efficient officer of the law, and his death is mourned by many friends, true and tried, who realize that they have lost a man whom they all loved, honored and respected.  John H. Dierker was one of the best sheriffs St. Charles County ever had.  Twice he was honored by election to the office on account of the faithful manner in which he performed the duties of the office and confidence the people had in him.  When he took the oath of office he swore he would faithfully discharge his duties as sheriff, and in the faithful discharge of those duties he lost his life.  He lost his life on account of his good heartedness, his confidence in man, his desire to save the life of a lonely colored man who in justice could have been shot down, but Mr. Dierker had hoes of taking the man alive, a fatal false hope, a confidence misplaced.  He is gone but he died at his post of duty.  To his wife, aged, mother, brother and sister the Cosmos-Monitor extends its deep heart-felt sympathy and we mourn with them in their sad bereavement.

Edward Boschert was in town today and he requested the Cosmos-Monitor to express his appreciation to the boys who helped him save his stock Wednesday when his barn was burning.  He says he especially ants to thank those who risked their lives when they went to the barn yard gate and opened it to let the horses out, and to the man, John Givens, who went into the barn and saved one of the mules.  He says he appreciated the favors.  While Mr. Boschert deplores the incident at his home, yet he realizes the importance of capturing the man.

He says his son, Oliver, the boy who found the man in the hay loft, had a narrow escape from death from a stray bullet.  The bullet went through his shirt and left a red mark across the boy’s breast.  Another son Robert was struck in the face by a shot which left a red spot.

Mr. Boschert says Oliver, in talking of finding the man in the barn, said he could not see what went with the steps in the ladder leading to the barn loft as the only one he found in coming down was the bottom one.  Oliver said when he picked up the hay fork he saw the man sitting on the haw with his gun across his lap.  He picked it up and leveled it at the boy with the remark ‘You—of a—- if you don’t get out I’ll kill you. Oliver’s answer was “I won’t hurt you a bit,” as he “got out” without further argument and was glad to get out.

Deputy Sheriff Getting Along Nicely and Was Removed from the Hospital

     Friends of Deputy Sheriff Ollendorf are glad to know that he is getting along nicely and the report that one of his legs had to be amputated is without foundation.  He is getting along so nicely that he was taken to his home this morning from the hospital.  Joe Displayed great courage in his attempt to arrest the man who killed the sheriff, and made a host of friends by his display of courage.

Dateline:  St. Charles, Missouri

April 13, 1916

The St. Charles Weekly Banner News


            Joe Ollendorff, lying on his bed at his home on North Fourth Street, told the story of the murder of John Dierker, to a Banner-News reporter, and strange to say, it is a different one from any that has been printed to date.

Everybody who was at Flesch’s home on that fearful night knows that Joe Ollendorff is a hero.  He stood beside the sheriff and shared equally every peril.  That he was not killed is truly an accident as will appear when the true story is known.

Mr. Ollendorff not only showed his sterling qualities of manhood during the fight but afterward his constant thought was not of himself but of his friend and fellow officer John Dierker.  More than once he cried out “Don’t pay any attention to me; go to John who needs your help”.

Last night while talking to the Banner-News reporter he burst out in sobs twice and could hardly be restrained.  He said he promised to stay by John until death, and nobody can doubt that he made good his word. “He was the only real friend I had” explained Olendorff, “when I needed work, and others turned me down, John took me in and helped me; and not only that, John believed in me and trusted me.  He told me that he had his own estimate of me, and knew that I was all right, and he did not care what others thought of me”.

Ollendorff is a great sufferer.  Up to last night he had slept only two hours since the night of the killing.  He could not sleep during the time he was at the hospital, but when they brought him home he managed to get two hours rest.

His faithful wife is by his bedside.  Ollendorff’s own story of the fight is about as published except in one or two respects.  First, it is not generally known that he entered the barn alone in the early part of the evening and chased the negro up into the hay mow and that he placed two lighted lanterns near the barn within gun-shot of the barn door in order that the negro might be seen should he try to escape.  The negro took two shots at him but missed him on both occasions.

He pleaded with the sheriff to command the negro to disarm and if he refused, not to shoot him down instantly.  But the sheriff insisted that their man could be taken alive.  Olendorff then asked to be the one to go forward and deal with him, but Dierker said “No, Joe, if you do he will shoot you, but he will not shoot me, as I have known him all his life.  Just keep cool and let me handle him.”

“When John went forward, “ said Ollendorff, “I went forward too, but from a side direction. I did not see the shooting as the smoke of the burning barn was raining down between me and the barn door where the negro was standing.  I was trying to get to an open place when I heard the crack of the shotgun and the next instant. John came staggering forward and threw his arms around my neck and hung on like a drowning man crying ‘O, he has shot me, I am dying.’  I tried to lay him down, but he clung to my neck and I fell backward with him on top of me while he was crying ‘O Joe don’t leave me, stay with me, I am dying.’  My revolver, which I thought was in my hand was gone. I do not know where it went.  While he was lying there on top of me the negro took another shot at us.  John received almost all the whole load but I got a few bullets in my shoulders and arms.  With that I shook myself loose from John, yelling ‘Let me go, I’m going to kill that nigger,’ and staggered to my feet trying to find where my revolver was.  Right then was when the black devil let fly the third load of gunshot which took all the breath out of me and caused me to holler with pain.  As loud as I could, I shouted to the others, ‘Come men, Help! Help! He’s getting away!’ and then I fell backward into a faint.  When I came to myself I learned the worst, that John had been hit in the stomach.”


The County Court in session today voted to grant Oliver Boschert the $200 reward offered by that body last Wednesday morning for the information leading to the capture of Lafayette Channel, the negro who shot Sheriff Dierker.

Among the list of representative bodies to recognize personal bravery and self-sacrifice is the St. Charles County Court who have pledged $2 towards a purse which Mr. Ollendorff’s friends are contributing to him through the Banner-News.

Quite a number of other pledges have been given, the full list of which will be published in this paper next Friday.

It is all a free hearted and purely voluntary offering.  The people of St. Charles realize that t o a man of Ollendorff’s circumstances a little real aid is worth whole volumes of sentiment.  They know that he did his duty, even in the face of death and that it is mere accident he is here today.

The many friends of Mr. Ollendorff will be glad to learn that he is feeling much better.  This afternoon his physician gave him permission to be taken to the court house in an automobile where he spent several hours sitting in a chair in the sheriff’s office.

Philip Rupp is now sheriff of St. Charles County to succeed the late John H. Dierker, who met death at the hands of Lafayette Channel last week while trying to arrest him.  The County Court confirmed the appointment this morning, to take effect immediately.

Mr. Rupp resigned his position as jailer and constable and will assume his new duties at once.  Mr. Rupp will hold the office until January 1, 1917.


Lafayette Chandler is alternatively called Lacy Chandler, Laf Chanley, Channel and Pannel.  According to the 1900 St. Charles County census, Calloway Township, Lafayette, is one of fourteen children born to Joseph and Ellen Chandler.  He is enumerated as Lefia Chandley, born May, 1887.   Although both  his mother, father and older sister, Verlena could read and write, Lafayette and the rest of his siblings could not.

Lafayette’s Death Certificate #15639 lists his name as Layfartte Chandler, age about 30 and lists Joseph as his father.  His cause of death is listed as “Suicide by Burning” and his burial was in Oak Grove Cemetery.

John Henry Dierker, born January 20, 1858 was the son of Ernst Henry Dierker and Elizabeth Michel.  He was born in Wentzville.  His cause of death, according to his Certificate of Death was gunshot wounds inflicted by Layfette Chandler with murderous intent.

Sheriff John Dierker and wife, Emma

Photograph from St. Charles County Historical Society Archives


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