The killing of Walter Howard

Contributed by his great-granddaughter Judy Palm

Walter Howard's wife, Roseanne Holton, was the granddaughter of John Harvey Holton b. 1798 in Tingewick. Their son Harry was killed in a mine explosion in 1911, and their son Raymond in an accident with runaway horses in 1915.

From the Casselton Reporter, Casselton, North Dakota, Friday, September 22, 1899, Front Page


W. Howard and E. Jenkins
Held Up on an N. P.
Freight Train.

Jenkins Escapes, But Howard
Is Pitched Off and Dies
From His Injuries.

Last Friday night occurred a "hold-up" on a freight train from Jamestown to Fargo, the result of which cost Walter Howard, of West Superior, 52 years of age, his money and his life.

Coroner Mitchell was notified of the death, which took place at Casselton Saturday afternoon, and on Sunday came here and empaneled a jury consisting of Messrs. E.G. Guthrie, Dr. A.A. Walker and M. N. Goff, which after viewing the body, adjourned till Monday afternoon. At this session of the jury the principal witnesses were present, and we will let them tell their own story.

Emanuel Jenkins testified that the deceased man, Walter Howard, was his father-in-law; that the two were returning from Montana, where they had been looking for work; that they came from Mandan to Jamestown on a freight; that there crews changed, and that in the freight yard they were accosted by the forward brakeman as to their destination and contracted for a ride to Fargo at 75 cents each, which they paid. This brakeman ordered them to keep on the bumpers until dark and then told them to go ahead to the fourth or fifth car from the engine, where they sat most of the time until after leaving Wheatland, dodging over the side of the car several times to avoid being seen by some trainman as he made trips up and down the train. When west of Wheatland two other fellows appeared on the train and the forward brakeman drank with one of them, a good sized darkish faced man, who later came and sat down by him. Soon the second man, a smaller fellow, came and sat down by him, and the first thing he knew a rope was about his neck and he was lying flat tied to the running board, his hands held by the small man, while the big one got across his leg and robbed him of $8 and his silver watch. He was then held while his father-in-law was called up by the big fellow from between the cars, where he had gone to get out of the wind, and he supposed from seeing this fellow stand and look over the train and say something about the old man getting under the train that he had robbed him and thrown him overboard, and deceased's statements before his death, to him and to others, showed this was correct. These events happened just before Casselton was reached, and he was allowed to get off on one side of the train as the two robbers got off on the other. He came to town, got Night Police Koplitz and went back as far as the crossing. Not finding Howard he concluded he must have been on the train and he came back to town and spent the night in the depot. On the arrival of No. 2 early in the morning his father-in-law was taken off, having been seen about two miles west beside the track after an all night's exposure to wind and rain, and suffering from internal injuries. Deceased was unconscious on arrival, but after being given care at the jail building regained his senses and told him (the witness) of his robbery and his being thrown from the train by the dark-hued man.

The story of Jenkins and of Howard set the officers at work and Sunday the brakeman, Chas. Erickson, and the other brakeman on the train, D.R. Taylor, were arrested by Police Inspector Flannigan of Fargo and brought here.

Erickson was taken before the coroner's jury at the close of Jenkin's testimony. The two men recognized each other. Erickson's testimony as to train matters was exactly the same as Jenkins', except that he did not see Jenkins and Howard until after the train left Jamestown, and that he did not drink with the dark man. He also testified that he never before saw the men who were said to have committed the hold-up, and until his arrest didn't know a hold-up had been committed.

The jury withheld their verdict, as more evidence might turn up. Later Erickson and Taylor were arraigned before Justice Fisher and discharged, no appearance being made against them.

Monday night Jenkins left for home with the body of Howard. Deceased leaves a wife and ten children to mourn his sad ending.

Up to date no clue has been gotten to the men who did the above terrible work, but they evidently have been continuing in the same line - as will be seen from items which follow.

Other Hold-Ups

The same night that the murder of Howard occurred two men were attacked near the crossing, but got away by raising a cry. Their description of the intending robbers conforms to that of the men who robbed Howard and Jenkins.

Sunday night four men were comng in from Valley City and after paying the brakemen were put in a car of wheat. Two of them got scared at other parties put in the same car and went out on a lumber car and dropped asleep. They were awakened by two fellows and robbed of their wad. The description of these holders-up exactly tallies with the men who did the act with Howard and Jenkins.

Another case of robbery was reported Monday afternoon when, a fellow was held up between Wheatland and this city. Two fellows robbed a third of $12.50, and strange to say, the two scoundrels who killed Howard and robbed Jenkins seem to have been the fellows who did this act - according to the victim's story.

Page last updated Feb 18 by SKF