1860s Chicago Crime

©Susan Cook;Illinois Trails History and Genealogy


The Chicago Times
November 1862

A most shocking and brutal murder was committed in the civinity of Camp Douglas, a little before 10 o'clock on Saturday night, an honest, peaceable German being the victim. The assault, affray, and death struggle are shrouded in mystery; and nothing is known of the attendant circumstances, except that the murder was committed by two soldiers whose names are unknown.

The murdered man was Michael STEPHEN, foreman of Conrad SELPPS' brewery, situated on the corner of Johnson street and North avenue. On the night of the murder he was performing his customary duties in the brewery, and, being delayed there until 9 o'clock, finally started for home in the company of a friend, Jacob SCHRICTER. They walked quietly and undisturbedly to Cottage Grove avenue, where they exchanged greetings and parted, Stephen, the murdered man, going southward on the avenue in the direction of Camp Douglas. This is all that is definitely known until he was found in a dying condition. It is supposed that he proceeded on his way homeward, and that he was met by a squad of drunken soldiers, who involved him in a quarrel and at last dastardly took his life. At all events, a few minutes before 10 o'clock several persons then in the saloon of Richard WAHLEN, were suddenly arounsed by cries of "Peter Shank, Peter Shank, I am a dead man. Soldiers have killed me," apparently coming from someone in great pain. They immediately rushed to the door, and on opening it the deceased staggered into the light. His face wore a ghastly aspect, and he was fast sinking into death. Medical aid was instantly summoned. Restoratives were applied, and everything was done thata could possibly save life, but all these humane efforts were without avail, and the unfortunate man expired in a very few minutes. Before his death he rallied sufficiently to reiterate the assertion made in his cry for help, and stated that he was murdered by two soldiers.

The recent family bereavement of Coroner James prevented him from attending the inquest. A jury was therefore summoned by Justice Calvin D'Wolf, on Sunday, and some fourteen witnesses were examined, but without throwing any great light upon the case. The jury returned a verdict as follows:

"That the deceased, Michael Stephens came to his death on the 1st of November, about 10 o'clock in the evening from wounds in the breast and side, inflicted by a soldier, or by two soldiers, whose names, companies and regiments are unknown to the jurors. And the jury further agree to censure the city authorities for not affording a sufficient protection to the southern part of the city, there being no policemen south of Ringgold Place, and we request that protection be afforded to that part of the city."

The deceased was a highly respectable citizen and has always been considered a very peaceable man, one not likely or willing to engage in broils. He was about thirty-eight years of age, and leaves a wife and two children. The witnesses testified to the fact that several rows had occurred on the avenue during the evening, and that several citizens had been attacked by the soldiers. Some of the military men got enraged and vowed vengeance against some of those with whom they had been quarreling. It is probable that the soldiers mistook the deceased for one of their late antagonists, though it is quite possible that having been previously excited they were willing to wreak their vengeance upon anyone who might cross their path.

Such a state of affairs as has existed in and around Camp Douglas for some weeks past is disgraceful to any civilized community. As time rolls on these outrages become more frequent and more brutal. Has the climax yet arrived? Rapine and murder have now joined hand in hand; the two most terrible of the passions find expression together. It was but on Sunday last that we were called upon to chronicle the gratification of the lusts of more than twenty beasts upon the person of a woman in open day. Now we have the fitting sequel to that act, the murder of a defenceless citizen while peaceable going home from his daily toil. It has been time and again whispered that these prisoners were going hom, but stilll they stay, and "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick." At whatever cost, the citizens of Chicago must be protected from the possibility of a repetition of these outrages. The increase of the present police force has been urged as a necessity required by the presence of the paroled prisoners at Camp Douglas. Without discussing the question whether the city of Chicago has sufficient policemen to preserve peace and quiet, we will affirm what we do know, that double the number of the whole police force stationed in the vicinity of Camp Douglas would not result in any greater security or to property. These paroled prisoners, some of them we should, perhaps, say, are thoroughly reckless and insubordinate. They brook no restraint, and so long as they are at Camp Douglas, we may expect repetitions of all those outrages we have been compelled to narrate.

Another cold blooded and premeditated attack was also made on Saturday night upon a German citizen on the Archer road. Though not so serious as the mysterious murder on Cottage Grove avenue, chronicled above, it was a bloody affair, and may yet result in the death of the injured man.

Between 6 and 7 o'clock on Saturday evening, as Jacob FUSCHLIN and his wife were eating their evening meal in their house at the corner of Archer road and South street, they were aroused by a knock at the door. Mr. Fuschlin immediately answered the summons and opened the door. A man named Jacob SCHULTZE rushed in and commenced to pour forth a torrent of abuse, stigmatizing Fuschlin with every opprobrious epithet he could think of. Fuschlin bade the intruder leave the house, and upon the latter refusing to comply, seized him and ejected him. Outside the door the two commenced fighting and grappling with each other. Each alternately had the advantage, until Mrs. Fuschlin interfered to separate the parties. Schultze then drew a dirk knife and stabbed Fuschlin, then driving away the wife by threatening to stab her, rushed violently upon Fuschlin, who was still down, and struck him in the side. DRawing out his knife he inflicted another wound upon Fuschlin's arm and a still more dangerous one in the neck. Some neighbors, who were now opportunely coming to the rescue, frightened Schultze from his murderous work, and he escaped. The wounded man was immediately taken into his own house, and a physician was sent for. Meanwhile, the police authorities were notified of what had happened, and patrolmen were put on the track of the assailant. Their labor was successful, and before night had gone Schultze was lodged in the stationhouse. Yesterday morning he was arraigned for examination at the Police Court. Dr. Otto Knoblogh testified, that he had dressed the wounds of Fuschlin; that they were very severe, though he did not then consider them dangerous. Other witnesses swore to the facts as given above, and Schultze was held to bail, in the sum of $600, to answer the charge of "assault with a deadly weapon," at the next term of the Recorder's Court.

Both the parties, the prisoner and the wounded man, are coopers, and have borned the character of respectable, industrious citizens. It is supposed that Schultze was animated, in his attack, by some previous quarrel with Fuschlin.