October 21, 2020,  Page 11

Contributed by "The Clark Co. Press"


Extracted by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.


Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Clark County News

October 20, 1927


Gus Handke is charged with murder


At the adjourned hearing of Gus Handke held before Judge O.W. Schoengarth, Gus Handke was charged with the murder of his sister-in-law, Mrs. Paul Handke, and he was bound over to stand trial in circuit court. District Attorney V.W. Nehs conducted the examination on behalf of the State and A.L. Devos appeared for the defendant.


The first and principal witness examined was Paul Handke, husband of the slain woman. He testified that at about 8 or 8:30 a.m. on the day that his wife was killed, Sept. 29, at his request she called up Frank Dubes, a neighbor living a short distance south to inquire if Mr. Dubes expected to fill silo that day and if so should Mr. Handke come to help him. On getting a reply that Mr. Dubes would like to have him help, Mr. Handke hitched up his team and started, first going to Harley Pigott’s place a quarter of a mile north to get his wagon which had been left there. As he came back past his own place on his way to Mr. Dubes’ he testified that he saw his wife coming from the hen house toward the barn, but did not stop at the house, and that was the last time he saw his wife alive. He stated that his wife had washed the day before and the clothes were still on the line as he went by. He arrived at Mr. Dubes’ place about 9 o’clock and worked at the silo filling until near noon, when it began to rain quite hard. He unhitched his team from the load and went home and put the team in the barn. It was then about 15 minutes to 12 o’clock. He found the door closed and hard to open, but apparently not locked and had to push or kick the door to get it open. Downstairs in the house are two rooms and a small closet under a closed stairway. He entered the room used as a kitchen and soon heard a noise in the other room used as a sitting room, the noise sounding like someone running, also another noise sounding like someone tipping the cot over. He went on into this room and there saw his brother Gus standing near the cot. He noticed considerable blood on the wall just above the cot and also blood on the clothes on the cot. He asked Gus what had been going on and Gus replied that he had better get his gun, for someone had killed his wife. He looked in the little closet under the stairs and then noticed drops of blood on the floor between the cot and stairway door, he followed these and opened the door, and there found his wife dead, head downward on the stairs. He then went to the telephone and called Dr. Rath at Granton, also called Frank Dubes, the Granton bank and his sister. Mr. Dubes and other men who were there helping fill silo came, also Dr. Rath and others. It was about 12:15 or 12:20 when Dr. Rath arrived. While he was telephoning, Gus went out but came back again in a few minutes. Gus said it was no use telephoning but said two or three times that Paul had better get his gun. He explained his presence there by saying that he heard screaming and came over to see what had happened. The furniture was all in disorder and a flower stand tipped over. The clothes which were on the line in the morning were in the clothes basket in the room. Paul further testified that his brother lived alone on the opposite side of the road some 15 to 20 rods north. Gus had lived there several years, and when he first came they had “changed work” on the farm more than they did lately. Paul also stated that his wife at first had done some washing for Gus and baked his bread but as she got nothing for it she had not done that work lately. The Sunday previous to her death, Gus came over and hinted that he would like to get the corn binder, but as Paul had to finish his own cutting he did not lend it to him, and he went home. He said that while Gus and he had never quarreled, there was not as friendly a feeling between them as there had been years before and that Gus did not get along very well with his wife. Gus lived alone and was never married and was about 37 years of age. He further testified that after he had done phoning and after Gus had come back after being out a few minutes, he went home and was gone for some time, returning in his milk truck.


Paul testified further that on the wall and near where the blood spots were, were four dents in the plaster board that were not there before, looking as if they were made with a round smooth article. He could not exactly describe the way Gus was dressed but said that he looked different when he came back the second time, his clothes looking cleaner and less ragged. He also noticed a little blood between the thumb and first finger of Gus’ left hand.


Dr. Rath testified that he was called as Paul Handke had stated and arrived at 12:15 or 12:20 and found Mrs. Handke dead. Rigor mortis had begun to set in; the body was cool but not cold and he judged she had been dead about one hour. He corroborated Paul Handke’s testimony as to the condition of the room and the spots of blood. Dr. Rath went back to Granton for dinner and returned about 2 o’clock to hold the inquest. He drove over to Gus Handke’s house and called Gus out saying he wanted to talk with him. Gus came out of his house toward Dr. Rath’s car and as he passed the well he stopped to wash his hands in a half-barrel tub that stood there, as he came forward he apparently stumbled and fell; he wiped his hands on the grass as he did so. He wanted to know if Dr. Rath had come to take him to the hospital. He came over to the inquest and remained during the proceedings. Dr. Rath, as coroner, had told Gus to consider himself under arrest and had detailed two men to watch him. At the inquest Gus testified that he heard screams over at Paul’s house and he had come over there about half past ten to see what was going on. This testimony was introduced at the hearing and was objected to by Atty. Devos on the grounds that it was given by Gus after he was under arrest. The testimony given by Gus at the inquest and taken down in long hand by Dist. Atty. Nehs and signed by Gus, was received however, and filed with the testimony in this examination.


Dr. Wink of Granton, who was called in by Dr. Rath at the inquest, testified that he made a close examination of the deceased. He found four distinct cuts on her head, cutting through the scalp to the bone. The skull was fractured. There were bruises on both hands and on her left arm. Her clothing was torn. He said that her death was doubtless due to the blows on the head. He judged that when he was called in the middle of the afternoon, she had been dead 4 or 5 hours.


Frank Dubes was called as a witness and gave testimony corroborating Paul Handke’s statements as to his wife calling on the telephone, and as to the time Paul arrived at his place and when he went home. Also testified that Gus went home after Mr. Dubes arrived at Paul Handke’s and remained 15 or 20 minutes as Paul also had testified, and then went away again remaining until the inquest. He testified that Gus had on a nearly new jacket and overalls and red rubber boots. Oluf Olson, deputy sheriff, testified that he went out with District Attorney Nehs to the Handke place in the afternoon. He corroborated the other testimony as to the condition of the house, etc. He also identified a short iron bar which he and the district attorney found near the steps outside on the day following the murder. This bar was partly concealed by some leather straps of parts of a bridle. The end of this bar exactly fitted into the dents in the wall near the blood spots. He said that Gus Handke has admitted that he was at the Paul Handke home about 10:30.This iron bar above mentioned was also identified by Paul in his testimony, but he said he had never seen it about his place until the day it was found.


On the strength of the testimony as above outlined the court decided to bind Gus Handke over for trial in circuit court.


Dist. Atty. Nehs has some other evidence which he did not use, but which he will doubtless present at the trial. He went to Madison with some of this to have analysis made.


No evidence whatever was put in for the defense at the examination, so it is not known what line of defense will be at the trial.


On Monday Handke was brought before Judge Crosby in circuit court and entered a formal plea of “not guilty” and in all probability the case will be held at the present term of circuit court now in session, the judge stating that it would be placed at the end of the calendar so as to give both the prosecution and the defense as much time as possible in which to make preparation.


Feed dealers meet at Neillsville


Last Thursday afternoon and evening a district meeting of the Central Retail Feed Dealer’s Association was held in Neillsville and was attended by about 25 feed dealers from cities in this locality. The business session was held at the director’s room of the First National Bank and the afternoon was devoted to round table discussion and brief talks on problems which confront the feed men. In the evening, a banquet was held at the Merchants Hotel.


The Central Retail Feed Dealer’s Association is an organization which is coming to the front very rapidly and gaining in membership right along until now over 200 feed men in the state are members. J.L. Kleckner of this city is president of the organization, Geo. Schlegel of Athens is vice-president and Frank Kern of Sparta secretary and Dan McKircher of Wisconsin Rapids treasurer. Mr. Kleckner went to Wausau Monday to meet Mr. Schlegel and other directors to arrange for a district meeting at that city.


 Halloween socials and programs


There will be a Halloween program and basket social at Fairview School Wednesday night, Oct. 26. Everyone welcome. Virginia Gallager, teacher.


There will be a Halloween program and basket social at Worchel School on Thursday evening, Oct. 27, 1927. Everyone welcome. Proceeds for our school. Mrs. T.V. Carleton, teacher.


Cemetery Plats


The county surveyor of Marathon County was called to Dorchester to re-survey the old cemetery there and after one day’s work, gave it up as a bad job. The graves had been placed so irregularly it was found impossible to replat the blocks and lots. C.S. Stockwell, Neillsville’s veteran surveyor has recently been laying out an addition to Neillsville cemetery and re-platting some of the old portions. When this is all completed and recorded our local cemetery will be properly platted and recorded so as to prevent confusion in the years to come. Many cemeteries throughout the country are in a very uncertain condition in this matter.




Mr. and Mrs. Joe Sweigle and family, Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Breseman and Laverne Gotter spent Sunday with W.E. Breseman and family.


Mrs. Scott Davis and Mrs. Wm. Schmidtke autoed to Eau Claire on Wednesday.


Verland Anding visited his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. J.P. Breseman, between trains Saturday.


Mr. and Mrs. Havlicek spent the weekend in this vicinity.


Mr. and Mrs. Henry Agin are enjoying company from Mendota.


Lydia Neinas spent Saturday with home folks.


Mr. and Mrs. W.E. Breseman and son spent Saturday with the latter’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Aug. Pieper at Loyal.


Mrs. L. Kien is visiting the F.E. Winn family.


Mr. and Mrs. Joe Nauertz are spending several days in Granton.


Frieda Wierenzenski is sewing for Mrs. W. Wyman.


Mrs. Oscar Lautenbach and children spent Monday with Mrs. J.P. Breseman.


Leilah Dopp and lady friend spent Sunday with Fred Dopp and family.


For sun and skies and clouds of June and days of June together; Ye cannot rival for one hour, October’s bright blue weather.


Another stolen car found


Another stolen car was found almost in the same place that the other two were found last Sunday. It proved to be the one taken from Taylor last Friday night when the store there was broken into and belonged to the meat market man. It was a Ford truck and probably used by the robbers to come this way. The county officials are using several clues along the line that there is some “gang” in this section who is doing the work. It may be interesting to state that three cars have been found almost in the same place lately. The first one belonged to a fellow in Granton, the second to a man in Whitehall and this one to a person in Taylor. That they were all found in the same locality seems logical that someone is well acquainted with the country and perhaps does not live far off. In the meantime, the officers are making quite an investigation. - Merrillan Leader.


Food sale


Royal Neighbors Camp 6710 will hold a food sale at Dangers Store Saturday afternoon, Oct. 22.


Goose and duck shoot


Sunday, Oct. 16, at the Fred Nemitz farm, 5 miles southwest of Neillsville. Bring rifles and shotguns.



Trag Theatre presents “It” and an “Our Gang Comedy”





© Every submission is protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.


Show your appreciation of this freely provided information by not copying it to any other site without our permission.


Become a Clark County History Buff


Report Broken Links

A site created and maintained by the Clark County History Buffs
and supported by your generous donations.


Webmasters: Leon Konieczny, Tanya Paschke,

Janet & Stan Schwarze, James W. Sternitzky,

Crystal Wendt & Al Wessel