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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday's Obituary - Stabbed To Death

Another fun attention grabbing headline this time from a 1889 newspaper article of the East St. Louis Journal from East St. Louis, Illinois.  I found this a long time ago, before I knew the value of citations so unfortunately I don't have the exact date.  East St. Louis is right across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri.  St. Louis a major migration point in the 19th century with East St. Louis becoming a large suburb in the 20th century.  Again this is not so much an obituary but an article in the paper.  However, the details read like an obituary:

1889 East St. Louis Journal
Belleville Public Library
Belleville, Illinois

"On Sunday afternoon, Fred Mehring and Peter Leesey, or Lese, engaged in a game of cards at the Strobel House.  For a while, everything passed pleasantly.  After two hourse elapsed, Leesey accused Mehring of taking ten cents which the barkeeper had placed on the table and which had been returned as change from beer. Mehring denied taking the money.  Hot words were exchanged.  The lie was passed and re passed.  Then the two men left the saloon and proceeded in the direction of Mehring's house, not far away.   The latter entered the house and it is supposed procured a knife.  Leesey stood near the house talking to some other parties who appeared to be trying to quiet the difficulty between them.  Mehring came out again and called Leesey a liar for stating that he (Mehring) had taken his dime. Leesey said you lie; you did take my dime for when you were searched it was found in your mouth.  Mehring then struck at Leesey but the blow fell short or was warded off, but in the next instant, before anyone could interfere, Mehring used his knife with terrible effect.  Leesey fell to the ground after walking about three steps [illegible.........]"

Peter Leesey was actually Pierre Leezy or Lisee.  He was from a French Canadian family that had been in the area since the mid 1700s.  The newspaper at the time suffered from yellow journalism and the journalist was trying hard to illicit some sort of strong emotional response from the reader.  Unfortunately, coroners reports from this time period are sketchy.  Also, court records do not contain much more information.  Continuing:

".......The coroner's jury held Mehring for murder and he has been taken to the Belleville jail.  The deceased was about 40 years of age and leaves a wife and three children.  Mehring is unmarried.  he is represented to be a mean man, always seeking quarrels and difficulty.  His new trouble may terminate at the end of the rope."

In looking through the newspaper for additional information, there was no other information about Fred Mehring.  So he probably did not "terminate at the end of the rope".