Taylor Strauder Case

Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
April 19, 1872

Horrible Murder.

A Colored Woman Tomahawked by Her Husband.

He Brains Her With a Hatchet.

The Murderer Escapes.

A terrible murder was committed at an early hour yesterday morning, in a house at the corner of Market alley and Fourth street, above Union. The house was occupied by a colored man, Taylor Strauder, Anna Strauder, his wife, and Fanny Green, her daughter by a former husband, a little girl nine years old. The testimony recited, and printed below, shows the tragedy to have occurred in this way: Strauder and his wife had risen from bed. Mrs. Strauder was sitting in a rocking chair in her night clothes. Strauder was sitting partly dressed on a lounge behind her; and the little girl was yet in bed. Strauder asked his wife where his shoes were. She replied that they were where he had left them the previous night. Thereupon, without further ceremony, Strauder reached and picked up a hatchet lying on the floor and dealt his wife two blows with the poll of it, one on the temple, crushing it in, and another behind the ear. She appears to have been killed instantly, at least to have died without a struggle, as she was still sitting in the chair when found. While the awful tragedy was in progress the little girl became alarmed and [?] to get out of bed. Strauder commanded her to lie still and make no noise, on pain of death. She obeyed and Strauder left the house; but she not knowing but that he might return and execute his threat, did not stir from bed.

The murder was discovered by Mrs. Lucinda Thomas, a sister of Mrs. Strauder, who went to the house between six and seven o'clock. She found her sister sitting in the chair, her head hanging down covered with blood, quite dead, but the body still limp and warm. She ran at once to the house of Justice Gillespy and communicated what she had seen. 'Squire Gillespy went directly to the house and found the dead woman as stated, and the little girl still in bed and greatly frightened. He communicated with the police, and summoned the following citizens as a jury to sit upon the remains: E. J. Stone, P. E. Zinn, Stephen Ripley, Godfrey Price, Felix Dold, Thomas Colvin, Daniel Arndt, John A. Morrison, John H. Ball, James M. Baird, Daniel Schambra and J. G. Gillespy.

At nine o'clock the jury met, and took the testimony of Mrs. Thomas, the little girl, and of Dr. R. H. Cummins, who examined the body. The following is the substance of the evidence elicited:

Lucinda Thomas sworn - Says about 7 o'clock A. M. I came to my sister's (the deceased) house to leave my children and found her sitting upon the chair with a cut on her head. I think she was dead then. There was blood on the floor and she was still bleeding. I ran out of the house and went as fast as I could to 'Squire Gillespy's house, and told him that Taylor Strauder had done killed my sister Annie over at the house. He (the 'Squire) told me to go and tell Mr. Junkins, and I went after Mr. Junkins; I usually came to my sister's house every morning at, or before, 7 o'clock; I last saw her alive yesterday evening at quarter past six o'clock; I have heard Taylor Strauder say that he would kill her; he beat her and threatened to kill her about six months ago, and she had him arrested for it, and he has continued to quarrel with her ever since that time. I wanted her to leave him, but she was afraid he would kill her if she did, and was afraid he would kill her if she lived with him, so she told me herself, but I have heard him myself threaten to kill her; it was about six months ago, and before he was arrested then.

Squire Gillespy here stated to the jury that when he was informed of the fact, he went immediately to the house and found the deceased sitting upon the rocking chair, with her body leaning over on the right side and the head down; and just under the head, on the floor, was this pool of blood; and he found her warm, and supposing her not dead he lifted her out of the chair and just laid her down on the floor, and then found she was dead, which accounts for the body being on the floor, and not on the chair as the last witness states; and when he got there it was about 7 o'clock in the morning.

Fannie Green (a child of nine years) Sworn - Says the dead woman is my mother; my name is Fannie Green, my mother's name is Annie Strauder; Taylor Strauder killed my mother with a hatchet; he struck her two times on the head with it; my mother was sitting on the rocking chair; Taylor Strauder was sitting on the lounge just back of her, and I was lying on the lounge; he asked mother where his shoes were, she said they were where he had left them last night, and he picket up the hatchet and struck her. (The hatchet, which was bloody, was here shown to the witness and identified by her as the one used) It was lying on the hearth; it is always kept downstairs, and used for chopping wood; don't know how it came to be in there; mother did not scream nor [?] neither did I, for as I was going to he told me to not do it, for if I made any noise or get out of bed he would kill me too, and I did not scream but was afraid, and laid down; he then went out; they were quarrelling last night and he struck her; I don't know when mother got up, but when I first saw her this morning, she was sitting in the rocking chair.

Dr. R. H. Cummins sworn - After a careful examination of the head I find that there have been two blows; one on the temple sufficient to cause her death, the one that in all probability produced death; and another blow behind the ear, which I don't think was a fatal one, but would render her insensible so that she could not give any alarm by screaming. In answer to a question of one of the jurors, the Doctor said it would be hard to tell just how long the deceased would continue to bleed after a blow of the kind that was given. It would depend upon the condition of the system, the state of the blood, &c.; a person might bleed for two or three houses, or for only a few minutes.

The jury after a brief consideration of the testimony returned the following verdict:


Ohio County, to-wit:

An Inquisition taken at the house of Taylor Strauder, in the township of Madison, in the county of Ohio, on the 18th day of April, in the year 1872, before Robert H. Gillespy, a Justice in said township in said county of Ohio, upon the view of the body of Mrs. Anna Strauder, there lying dead. The jurors sworn to inquire when, how and by what means the said Anna Strauder came to her death, upon their oaths do say that the said Anna Strauder was killed by means of a blow or blows made with a hatchet upon the temple and behind the ear by her husband, Taylor Strauder, on or about the 18th day of April, 1872, between the hours of [?] P. M. April 17, 1872, and 7 o'clock A. M. April 18, 1872. In testimony whereof the said justice and jurors hereto append their hands.

E. J. Stone, foreman.
P. E. Zinn.
Stephen Ripley.
Godfrey Price.
Felix Dold.
Thomas Colvin.
Daniel Arndt.
John A. Morrison.
John H. Ball.
James M. Baird.
Daniel Schambra.
J. G. Gillespie.
Robt. H. Gillespy, Justice.

Upon the rendition of this verdict, a warrant was formally issued for the apprehension of Strauder, though the officers had been out after him since seven o'clock. It was ascertained that he had taken the early train north at Bridgeport. The conductor was telegraphed to know where such a person got off, but no answer had been received at the hour of writing this. A Wheeling gentleman (a sewing machine agent) heard of him at two o'clock in the afternoon at a house some five miles up the river on the Ohio side. He had left there two hours before. There are other stories about the direction of his flight. He was seen in East Wheeling about seven o'clock in the morning. He was seen on the Island about half past four on his way to Bridgeport. The toll keeper says he did not cross the bridge. There was a rumor last evening that he had been arrested near Steubenville but it lacks confirmation.


Taylor Strauder is a very light mulatto about 32 years of age; about 5 feet 10 inches in stature and stoutly built. He has rather a spare face with high cheek bones, and wears a scattering beard on his chin. He is a carpenter by trade and has been working the past winter for Ben Emhoff of Centre Wheeling, and has recently been working for Wm. Exley.

Anna Strauder was a daughter of Henry Schley, a barber of this city. She married one "Dr." Green, who used to drive the medicine wagon of McBride, the "King of Pain." Green deserted her, and she married Strauder about a year ago. The little girl Fanny is her daughter by Green. It appears from the testimony of her sister that the relations between her and Strauder have not been agreeable; that they frequently quarrelled and that he had threatened to kill her. It was testified by Fanny that they quarrelled the night before the tragedy. It is understood among the neighbors that the cause of this domestic infelicity was jealousy on the part of Strauder.

African Americans

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