Murder of Judge Henry C. Dierker 1913

Murder of Judge Henry C. Dierker

Dateline: St. Charles, Missouri
Thursday, January 1, 1914
St. Charles Weekly Banner News


Man Walks to Town and Gives Himself Up.  Funeral Dec. 31.

A full Account of Shooting

From Saturday’s Daily:

        Judge Henry C. Dierker was wounded with a shot gun in his right breast this morning, Saturday, by a stranger whom he attempted to order away from the Elm Point School House. The stranger by a struggle possessed himself of the weapon of the judge and let fly at him taking him in the right breast. Later the stranger who gives his name as A. Sampson, of Glenn Ferry, Idaho, made his way to town and gave himself up voluntarily. Judge Dierker’s condition is very serious. His vitality is at low ebb and the Doctors Morgner, Hardin and Schultz, who examined him, give very little encouragement.

        For a long time the neighbors about the schoolhouse had been troubled with tramps who invaded the school building and spent the night there, leaving things in a disorderly fashion, when they went away.

        About 7 a.m. Judge H. C. Dierker noticed smoke coming from the chimney of the school house and taking his shot gun in his hand and putting his revolver in his pocket went over to the premises to order the man out. Before he went, however, he telephoned to Henry Haggeman and told him he had better come over too.
Mr. Haggemann and his hired man, Tom Yates, hastened to the school house at once. Henry Haggemann tells the following story.

        When we got to the foot of the hill about 20 feet away from the school house we heard the discharge of the gun. We ran as fast as we could and found the Judge down on the ground, and about a hundred yards away was a man running as fast as he could. The Judge exclaimed, “I am shot” and pointing to the running stranger. “He took my gun away from me and did it.” The shot gun was lying on the ground about ten feet away. Henry says that he shouted to the fleeing stranger to stop, and that the latter replied, “I didn’t do it, I haven’t any gun.”

        Henry says that from what the Judge told him the stranger leaped from a window upon his shoulders. A struggle ensued in which the Judge says that he might have shot the stranger but that he really did not intend him harm.  After the shot gun had been jerked from his hand and as he lay on the ground he still had (unknown words) to use the revolver but declined to do so.  The stranger waited for him to get to his feet and then fired.

        There was one witness to the shooting.  Mr. Fred Haggemann was also coming down the road and saw the stranger lift the gun to his shoulder and shoot.  He saw the act, but the corner of the school house obscured Judge Dierker from view.

        Fred differs from Henry in describing the shooting.  He says that Judge Dierker opened the back door of the school house and ordered the man out.  The latter replied, “Who in the hell has got the say so about this?”  At that he leaped at the Judge and the tussle which ended so disastrously, at once ensued.

        As soon as Henry Haggemann could reach a telephone, he called for Jaromack’s automobile, and asked Mr. Jaromack to bring Doctors Morgner, Hardin and Schulz as fast as he could.  Mr. Jaromack responded and deserves credit for his quick work.

        The wound, says Dr. Morgner, is quite severe.   No attempt has been made to pick out the shot; the whole load when point blank to the right breast of the Judge.  The charge passed through a jumper he wore, then perforated a jersey coat which he wore, also his shirt and undershirt.  It is an ugly wound indeed and at 9 a.m. was making heavy drafts upon the vitality of the helpless man.

        As soon as the news spread Sheriff John Dierker, Deputy Sheriff Phil Rupp, City Marshal Henry Linnebur and Policeman Andy Kern and others took the lead in organizing searching parties out of St. Charles.  Phones were used and a drag net was spread over the entire county in an effort to head off the stranger.  The latter made his way to St. Charles and went directly to the house and waited for the Sheriff’s office to be opened.  When Judge Bruns arrived he was in a different part of the building.  Judge Bruns immediately began working the telephone by calling up various localities over the county and describing the man who was wanted.  While he was thus engaged, Sampson stepped in and said “You don’t need to call up for that any more because I guess I am the man you want.”  The Judge asked him to tell what happened and he replied, “We got into a scuffle over the gun, and it went off; that’s all I know.”

        To a reporter of the Banner News he refused to say anything about the shooting.  He gave his name as A. Sampson and said he was a tax payer of Glenn Falls, Idaho.  He said further that he was a taxpayer in several other states of the union.

        As soon as the sheriff could be advised, he hurried back to the court house and took the prisoner in charge.  The man was searched.  A note book, a Modern Woodman Emblem, a bottle of olive oil in which floated a few onion peels, a bottle of medicine which he said was “hypophosphates,” and other trinkets were taken from his pocket.  He asked to keep his handkerchiefs, his M. W. A. emblem and his two bottles.  His request was granted with the exception of the emblem, which was hard metal, and possibly might be used as a file.  This, with his money, note, books and other articles not needed by him were put away for future use.

        Sampson looks to be about thirty years old.  He is neatly dressed and clean in appearance, about 5 feet in height, light complexioned, with blue eyes and wears a “goatee” on his chin.  His complexion is ruddy, skin fair and his hands soft in appearance as if unused to manual labor.

        At 3 p.m. Dr. Hardin received a hurry up call on account of the profuse bleeding at the lung of the wounded man.  His condition, otherwise, was about the same.

From Monday’s Daily.

Judge Dierker Dies


             The sad, but not unexpected death of Judge Henry C. Dierker, occurred at his home at 5:50 a.m. Sunday, December 28, 1913, surrounded by family and loving friends.  He retained his consciousness and reasoning faculties almost to the last minute.

        The funeral will be held Wednesday, Dec, 31, with services at the house and services at the Evangelical Lutheran Church at 2 p.m.  From then the remains will be taken to the cemetery of that congregation for interment.

        The Judge was stricken down in the prime of his manhood and the death is particularly sad.  Besides his widow, he leaves two children, George, 16 and Gertrude, 14 years old. The entire community extend them the deepest sympathy in this, their great bereavement.

        At the inquest, which was held Sunday at the Elm Point School House, the jury gave the verdict of “Death by gun-shot wound inflicted by a shot gun held in the hand of A. Sampson.”

        The inquest developed the fact that there were no other eye witnesses.
Attorney Wm. Waye, acting for Prosecuting Attorney Charles Daudt, took the statement of Judge Dierker, before he died.  He says that he was attempting to hold the man in the building until Sheriff Dierker could be called.  He thrust the barrel of the gun against the shutters of the window attempting to close them, when Sampson seized the gun and vaulted through the window.  A struggle took place in which Sampson possessed himself of the gun.  Judge Dierker then turned and ran, but at the corner of the building he  turned to see if the man were following him, at which time he received the contents of the gun in the shoulder.  He drew his revolver and the man threw down the shot gun and ran.

        A. Sampson, the prisoner related the following story of the shooting to a reporter of the Banner-News, last Saturday evening. “He”, meaning Judge Dierker, “called me names and said that if I attempted to get out of the building he would shoot me.  The shot gun was cocked and holding it this way he shoved the barrel up in the window. I saw my chance and grasped the end of the shot gun holding it away from me and at the same time leaping from the window, and coming down almost on toop of him.  While we were scuffling together the gun went off.”

        “Did you shoot him?: asked our reporter.  “No, I don’t think I did.  If I did, I did not know it, there was so much excitement.”

        Asked how he happened to be in the building, he replied, “I was told to go there.”  “Who told you?”  “I don’t know.  It was dark when I asked some man where I could find a place to sleep, and he said “Go to the School House,” and told me where to find it.  I did as he directed, climbed into the window and put some wood in the stove.  There were live coals in the ashes.”

Tells of Royal Birth


        “Have you ever been in jail before?”  “O, yes, I was in jail within the last six months in Missouri.  I won’t say where, because I have good reasons.  People high up in governmental affairs have been seeking my life.  I was put in jail on a trumped up charge and my jailer was hired to administer me a dose of poison.  That’s why I am taking this medicine.” and he pointed to a bottle, “to get the poison out of my system.  I have been poisoned twice now.  Once I was taken to the hospital and a sign of ‘Typhoid Fever” was hung above my bed; but below it my physician scribbled the antidote for bi-choloride of sodium.  As I was well acquainted with chemistry and know something about drugs, I recognized the formula immediately.” You see, if I would ever get what was rightly coming to me I would be in control of something about as big as the United States.”

        “How’s that?” said our reporter. “Well, although they call me Sampson, that name must have been wished on me, for I found out by  leafing over an old Bible, that my real name was Cyrus Townsend Thompson, and that I am the son of Edward the VII of England.

        “Then you are heir to the Kingdom of Great Britain?” asked our reporter. “Now you have said something.  My father was the consort of the kin and my mother’s maiden name was Victoria Townsend.  I just can’t figure it out, but I come in for something, somewhere pretty strong. Evidently Sampson had seen the word “consort” used in connection with kings and queens, and he was not very familiar with its exact application. Incidentally, the “Van Dyke” of style of beard which he wears corresponds with the style of beard which the late King Edward wore.

        Sampson, later said that his father lived in “Abe’s” Town, (Springfield, Ill.) and that he was born and raised there.  He said he did not have much of an education, which statement one might readily believe by hearing him talk although he has a natural attractive way of speaking and uses many terms that are truly elegant, except that he occasionally mispronounces them.

        Mr. A. Sampson says that he was imprisoned at Marshall, Mo.  He says that he has a friend there in the secret service.  His father, who is now living with his second wife resides in San Francisco.  His brother, so he says is an army officer in the 28th U.S. Infantry, Company A, recently stationed at Fort Snelling.

        Sampson claims to be a Mason, but a member of that order who talked to him says that his boast is idle.  He repeats a few sayings about rectangles, keystones, etc., and remarks that he has been told that he is a “thirty”.  “I’ve been traded off for my life”, he says “and when you get a little further along in a certain organization, you perhaps can understand what I mean.”

        Sampson inquired with some apprehension in his voice as to what the sentiment was about town. Evidently he is afraid of being lynched.

At Xmas Dinner in St. Charles


        Mr. Ed Gruenewald has discovered that Sampson is the man whom he entertained for dinner on Christmas Day.  He came to the door and asked for something to eat just as the Gruenewalds were sitting down to chicken, cranberry sauce, potatoes, etc., etc., and Ed says that he could not turn him away.  Sampson came in and sat down to the table and ate with the family.

He said he was settling up his mother’s estate and told Mr. Gruenewald that he had enemies “high up” and that they had poisoned him twice and shot him twice.  He said that he was a mine chemist and had been working out west, but had come to Missouri to work in the lead mines.  “I can’t work any one place long”, he explained “for my enemies contrive to get me discharged.”  He related that recently he went to his mother’s grave.  Something told him to dig up her body.  He did so and found that it had been removed.  His enemies had done it. He spoke of his health being rundown on account of poison and showed Mr. Grunewald a depression near the thumb of his hand.  “That is where the poison is working itself out,” he announced. Mr. Gruenewald says that Sampson paid no attention whatever to the children.

        Sampson likewise told the Banner News Reporter that he was a mine chemist and that he had worked for the Gugenheimers out west (unreadable words).

Dateline:  St. Charles, Missouri
January 8, 1914
St. Charles Weekly Banner News

Sampson Suspected to be Unbalanced at Marshall, Mo.

             The Banner News sent a message of inquiry concerning A. Sampson to Marshall, Mo., the town where Sampson claims he was put in jail and poisoned by his jailor.

        The reply from a newspaper man there, we received, is as follows:

“All we know with reference to the man is, that he with another tramp were here for a few days last summer. Sampson’s actions were somewhat suspicious, and he was arrested and kept in jail for a day and night, hoping that something definite might be found out about him.  It was thought that he was unbalanced, as his actions here were not as sane as they might have been.  There were no charges, however and he was released and left the city soon after.  As to the sheriff of Saline having poisoned him this is another evidence of a crazy man and there is nothing to it.  No charges of that kind were made by Sampson while here.”

Dateline:  St. Charles, Missouri
Thursday, November 12, 1914

St. Charles Weekly Banner News



If Cured He Will be Brought Back to St. Charles to be Tried on the Charge of

Murdering Judge H. C. Dierker


        The jury decided that Sampson, the man accused of shooting Judge Dierker was insane and he was ordered sent to the asylum at Fulton.  If he is ever cured the charge of murder still rests against him, and he can be brought back and tried, but of course his insanity can be offered in testimony as a mitigation.

        The fact that he is to be sent to Fulton will mean quite an expense to St. Charles County, which will be forced to pay the bill.  It may be that he is hopelessly insane and can ever be cured.  In that event it will be up to the county to pay his expense indefinitely.

        From another standpoint there can be no doubt but what the prisoner is insane.  His wild rantings which extend over a period antedating the crime at Elm Point School House, are ample evidence that he is decidedly unbalanced. If perchance he should have been found sane by the jury and his trial had been carried forward, he might have been given a small sentence and set free.  Such a man as Sampson is dangerous if allowed to run at large.  His trip to the insane asylum may be the means of saving another life.

        The jurors on the case were:  Frank J. Smith, J. W. Williams, F. A. Toehtrop, Anton F. Wilmes, Edward Burns, David J. Brummel, Jonn Bonduront, Edward Hemsath, Gus Meyer, Henry Henke, Hugo Luetkemeyer and Jo Loeffler.

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