15 July 2010

More on Peter Nelson

The death of Peter Nelson sounded rather straightforward in the previous obituary. Then we came across 2 more articles from a different point of view. These were from the Grand Rapids Evening Press (later the Grand Rapids Press, GR MI) in January of 1913. Unfortunately the clippings we received were missing the ends of the story. But still a fascinating read.


Hans Nelson (another misspelling of his name) of Newaygo is Found Dead in Embers of Building.


(Special to The Evening Press)
Grant, Jan. 2--Peter Nelson, 26 years old was burned to death yesterday in a barn on the farm of Rev. J. E. Roberts several hours before he was to have married Miss Sena Nelson of Mailey, daughter of Mr. and Mrs Hans Nelson.
Today the girl who was to have been a bride is prostrated with grief at her home. The man who was to have been her husband lies in a casket at the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hans Nelson, three miles southeast of here.
Nelson was the manager of the Roberts farm, which is across the road from the home of his parents. At dawn yesterday morning his mother, standing near her house, saw a curl of smoke issue from one end of the barn. At the same time she saw her son enter the doors of the structor in a mannor so careless that she is certain that he did not know the building was on fire. He carried a milk pail on one arm and his lantern on the other.
Nelson Is Forgotten.
The mother gave the alarm. Neighbors flocked to the scene to find the structure doomed. Amid the excitement of saving other buildings no one though of young Nelson.
When the barn was nothing more than a pile of blackened ruins the first questions as to the groom were asked. First they were put in whispers, but as soon as it was realized that he was nowhere around a search was instituted about the neighborhood.
Worry changed to fright. After an hour or two the bolder of the farmer friends of the young man, with tense, set faces started to search through the ruins.
It was 2 o'clock in the afternoon before the corpse was found in a sitting position at the foot of a ladder leading to the top of a silo tank. The lantern was beside the body.
The word was broken to the bride. who with her friends had spent several days in making her home pretty for her wedding. The girl went into hysterics.
Damage Is Heavy.
The property loss in the fire was heavy. The building itself was a new structure which cost about $26,000. Six hourses, a like number of blooded cows, several head of young stock and .........amount of grain and beans..............

And there that article ends. But the story doesn't end yet. Here is this from the next day:


Officers Go to Grant to Solve Mystery of Noose Found on Neck of Corpse.


Coroner's Inquest Returns Strangulation Verdict in Case of Peter Nelson.

(Special to The Evening Press.)
Grant, Mich., Jan 3.--As the body of Peter Nelson, twenty-six years old, whose charred body was found in the ruins of a barn on the farm of Rev. J. E. Roberts near here New Year's day, was lowered into the grave in the Danish cemetery this afternoon, Sheriff John Rasey of White Cloud was following up a theory that the young man was murdered.
The sheriff arrived here this morning after a coroner's jury had come to the conclusion that Nelson had died from either strangulation or a blow on the heard, rather than from fire.
This verdict was reached at 9'clock last night after the jury had deliberated for five hours.
It was reached after a witness testified that a small rope was found around the neck of the blackened corpse and........................

And there ends the second article. Frustrating? Tomorrow I have a followup.

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