Point in History: March 1911
By Kris Leonhardt
After a long, lonely year without his wife, 56-year old August Krueger searched for a housekeeper to assist in providing a comfortable home for his eleven children.
When 49-year-old Mary Ann Elizabeth walked through his door, he welcomed her into his home. He knew little of the widow’s history, but felt confident that she would be a great help on his 160-acre farm.
After months at the residence, Krueger asked for her hand in marriage and the two were wed.
The two were married for just a year, when trouble began. After months of abuse, several of the children went to their father to report their suffering at the hands of their stepmother. When the fact was confirmed by one of the older children, contention between Mr. and Mrs. Krueger ensued.
On a Saturday morning in March, as Mr. Krueger cleaned himself up for breakfast, he kept a watchful eye on his wife and his youngest daughter. As he observed the two in the kitchen readying for the morning meal, he saw his wife push his young daughter away from her duties pouring his coffee, something she had done every morning.
Krueger grew suspicious when his wife turned away, putting her back to the others, as she poured his coffee. Concerned about what she had put in the coffee, he poured half of it out, replacing it with hot water before sitting down for breakfast.
Later that morning, as Krueger went about his morning chores, he was stricken with terrible stomach pains. Summoning his son, the two drove into Plover, where he told doctors that he may have been poisoned.
After he was given a mixture of lime water and milk, along with a shot of morphine, Krueger returned home where he rested in bed the remainder of the day.
The following morning, as Mr. Krueger and his son returned from chores, they found Mrs. Krueger in her rocking chair as the youngest daughter was busy making breakfast.
Once at the table, Mrs. Krueger began making complaints on the daughter’s lack of toast at the meal, stating the under-cooked bread of the day before was probably the reason her father’s illness.
An argument between the Kruegers followed, in which the elder Krueger accused his wife of poisoning him. Growing more heated by the moment, family members began to make their exit from the room, including Mrs. Krueger, who went to summon one of the sons.
Black with rage, Mr. Krueger ran for his single barrel shot gun. Standing just feet from his wife, he fired the loaded shell, spewing a dozen or more shots into the air. Eight of the shots hit Mrs. Krueger in the area of the heart. She staggered through several rooms before tumbling to her death in the summer kitchen.
Krueger then sent his son to Plover to retrieve the authorities. At 9 AM, the coroner, district attorney, and sheriff arrived and Krueger was placed under arrest.
The 40 year Plover resident pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seven years in prison.
After the trial, newspapers report that Mrs. Krueger had been married twice before, with both husbands dying on her watch. In addition, records were discovered where she was once accused of hiring someone to burn down her house.
Kris Leonhardt may be reached at [email protected]