Sunday, September 1, 2013

Clara Schweiger Shot Her Husband in a Missouri Courthouse - 1915


FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 3): Kansas City, Missouri. – Louis C. Schweiger was shot by his former wife while standing In the corridor of the county courthouse Saturday. Mrs. Clara Schweiger, his assailant, will recover” from two bullet wounds, physicians said.

After firing five shots into the body of her former husband, Mrs. Schweiger turned the weapon on herself. In a statement, which he signed just before he died, Schweiger declared Mrs. Schweiger had made threats to shoot him.

Schweiger obtained a divorce last November and Mrs. Schweiger ha filed a petition for annulment of the decree.

The woman’s petition was refused. Schweiger was in court to oppose his wife’s request

When the court was dismissed: Schweiger walked into the corridor. His wife and a woman companion followed.

“Now I’ve got you for lying,” she cried. Then she turned the weapon upon herself.

[“Divorcee Works Vengeance - Kills for “Lying” and Then Tries to Commit Suicide.” Mexico Missouri Message (Mo.), May 6, 1915, p. 6]

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FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 3): Governor Hyde today granted a sick parole to Mrs. Clara T. Schweiger of Kansas City, who was convicted March 5, 1916 of the murder of her husband and sentenced to the penitentiary for 15 years. The prison physician certified that the woman, who is now 43 years old, is a victim of tuberculosis. She is paroled to Reverend Father John W. Keys of Kansas City.

Mrs. Schweiger shot and killed her husband in the corridor of the court house at Kansas City May 1, 1915. Apparently, the immediate cause of the killing was because the husband had secured the custody that day of an adopted boy of whom the woman was very fond. The pair had previously been divorced.

Mrs. Schweiger was born and reared in this city. She attended the schools here and has many friends in this city who will rejoice to learn that she will not have to spend her last days in prison. She is a sister to William Dulle, a farmer and stock raiser of near Elston. She is also a sister of Mrs. Herman Wallendorf of Kansas City, but who formerly resided here.

[“Clara Schweiger Is Paroled - Former Jefferson City Girl Is Released From Prison on Sick Parole. -  Was Sentenced For Killing Her Husband – Is A Sister to William Dulle of Near Elston – Raised Here.” Democrat-Tribune (Jefferson City, Mo.), Dec. 28, 1921, p. 1]

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FULL TEXT (Article 3 of 3): Kansas City, Mo., Feb. 2.— “If women would go into marriage with their eyes open, and if men; who are practical in all other things, would anticipate a general readjustment of their code of living when they bestow on their lady love the plain little circlet, divorces would be the exception, not the rule. In my opinion, there is no man some woman could not be happy with.”

So spoke Miss Tiera Farrow, lawyer, some three years ago, when she was appointed the first woman divorce proctor in the United States by a judge in the Jackson county circuit court. But Miss Farrow's philosophy of marriage received a jolt that caused gossip to “run wild” recently when she appeared before the tribunal that appointed her “divorce proctor” and appealed to Judge Burney to grant her a decree of divorce.

~ Surprised Them All. ~

Her action was just in the reverse of her prediction. And even the judge was surprised. The court house clerks, other judges and court reporters stampeded Judge Burney’s court to hear the former divorce proctor’s plea, for really Miss Farrow was the last person they ever dreamed of that would apply for a divorce.

Then came the story – her story – oft how cruel her husband had been during the period of their married life.

“Why, judge,” she declared, “he refused to establish a home. He did not want children. He would take me from one town to the other, leaving me at cheap rooming houses. He allowed me 80 cents a day for lunch. He neglected me for weeks at a time.”

As Miss Farrow ended-her plea for separation, she burst into tears.

~ Grants the Decree. ~

Then the judge looked down upon the woman who had. during her term as divorce proctor, advocated more stringent divorce laws, and also that “fewer” divorces should be granted he folded his arms, deliberated with himself a few moments, then said:

~ “Decree granted.” ~

Miss Farrow married Benjamin Moats, an oil man, in April, 1918, and separated on August 6, 1919. The judge granted her $8,250 in alimony.

Miss Farrow, besides holding record of being the first woman divorce proctor in the United States, also holds the record of being the first woman to defend a murder case in the state of Missouri. In 1915 she defended Mrs. Clara Schweizer, who shot and killed her husband in the Jackson county courthouse a few moments after he had obtained a divorce from, her.

[“Fewer Divorces Is Her Slogan; Yet This Woman Lawyer Gets One,” syndicated, The Evening Independent (St. Petersburg, Fl.), Feb. 9, 1920, p. 5]

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Other cases in which a wife shot a husband in the court house:

1919 – Emma D. Simpson – Chicago, Illinois

1930 – Clara Palscak – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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