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Calumet County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History

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These are the 9 newpaper articles about the murder of my grandaunt Theresa Friedel Schneider and the trial of the "murderess" Anna Lenz exactly as they appeared in the Chilton Times in 1922-23.
These were contributed by: Janet Henrickson

Special Note: Janet and the Calumet County page owner would like to extend a special Thanks to John R. Ronk of Chilton for Sending Janet these articles.



Mrs. Frank Schneider Expired on Tuesday Shortly After Eating Candy Received in the Mail

One of the saddest deaths in this vicinity for some time was that of Mrs. Frank Schneider, who passed away at her home in the town of Brothertown on Tuesday forenoon about 11:00 o'clock. On the Friday previous Mrs. Schneider gave birth to a son and was doing nicely until about twenty minutes previous to her death whe she was taken violently ill, expiring just as a physician, who was hastily summoned, arrived at the home. Theresa Friedel, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Math. Friedel, was a native of Austria, where she was born April 27, 1890. In 1895 she came to this country with her parents who settled in the town of Brothertown, which town had since been her home. She was married at Jericho to Frank Schneider on June 23, 1907 and they located on a farm two miles northeast of Jericho. She was a true wife and mother, leaving nothing undone that might contribute to the welfare and happines of her family. She was a good neighbor and was highly thought of by everyone who knew her. Her sudden and unexpected death is a sad blow not only to the family but to the entire community. The funeral was held on Friday morning at 10:30 o'clock from Holy Trinity church at Jericho of which she was a devout member and was largely attended. Rev. Fr. J. H. Huhn celebrated Requiem Mass and interment was made in Holy Trinity cemetery.

She is survived by her husband and eight children, the oldest twelve years of age. She is also survived by her parents, two brothers, Joseph Friedel of Jericho, Michael Friedel of Racine, and three sisters, Mrs. Frank Schimasky of Racine, Mrs. John Goeser of Fond du Lac and Miss Anna Friedel of Brothertown. In connection with the death of Mrs. Schneider the following facts have been given out which may have a bearing on the cause of the tragedy. Mrs. Schneider was in the best of spirits that morning and had enjoyed a visit with her mother, Mrs. Math. Friedel. When the mail arrived it brought a package addressed Mrs. Schneider and upon opening it she found a box of candy and a letter telling her that the one chocolate bar in the box was for her especially. The letter is said to have been signed by her sister, Mrs. John Goeser of Fond du Lac. Mrs. Schneider ate a portion of the chocolate bar and gave the remainder of it to her little daughter, who after tasting it threw it aside, saying that it was sour. Mrs. Schneider's death followed quickly after partaking of the chocolate. Later in the day Mr. and Mrs. Goeser appeared at the Schneider home and denied all knowledge of the package or letter. Mr. Goeser was deeply concerned over the matter and immediately began to trace, if possible, who the sender of the package might be.





Anna Lenz of the Town of Brother- town when Confronted by Evi- dence Admits she is Guilty.

The sudden and tragic death of Mrs. Frank Schneider which occurred at her home on Tuesday of last week and which appeared in The Times of Saturday was the only topic of conversation on the street, in the business houses and homes of the county since it became known that the deceased met her death at the hands of a woman. Mrs. Schneider, the victim, gave birth to a child on Nov. 17th and was doing so well that it was expected she would be able to leave her bed in a short time. Her sudden illness and death following the eating of candy received through mail, purporting to come from her sister, Mrs. John Goeser and the denial of Mrs. Goeser of sending the same caused an investigation. Staff reporters from Milwaukee and Fond du Lac papers soon arrived in the neighborhood of the tragedy and began investigating and no stone was left unturned until the person guilty of the crime was landed. At first it seemed hard to get a clue, but in casting about for information in the neighborhood the name of Anna Lenz of the town of Brothertown was dropped and she was interviewed and denied all knowledge of the poisoning. However, sufficient evidence was run down to bring her to this city Monday. Breaking down after being grilled for six hours in the office of District Attorney H. F. Arps, she finally confessed to sending the poison package of candy to Mrs. Frank Schneider which resulted in the latter's death on Tuesday, Nov. 21st. Miss Lenz was submitted to a questioning by the district attorney, under sheriff Groeschel and F. N. Niles, postal inspector of Fond du Lac and for six hours she denied everything. Even when confronted with the poison registed upon which she had signed her name and by the clerk who sold her the poison, she still denied that she was the guilty party and it was only by the tireless efforts of the district attorney, under sheriff Groeschel and Mr. Niles that she finally broke down and told her story. According to her confession she purchased the poison at the McGrath Drug store in this city on the Saturday preceding the murder. She told the clerk she wanted to get some rat poison but when offered rat bis kit she wrapped the package up with the bar outside the other candy, addressed it to Mrs. Frank Schneider and wrote a letter calling Mrs. Schneider's attention to the bar, it being for her special benefit. She then took the package and walked down to the corner where she waited for H. A. Doolan, rural mail carrier on Route three and gave the package to him. Mr. Doolan brought the package back to the post office in this city and it was carried to the Schneider home on Tuesday by rural mail carrier Frank Broker. The girl claims that she made a mistake in the address and that the poisoned candy was meant for Mrs. Henry Schneider and not Mrs. Frank Schneider. She claimed that she had no ill feeling toward the deceased but that she wanted to "fix" Mrs. Henry Schneider for saying things about her. Mrs. Schneider, the murdered woman, died on Tuesday of last week after eating a portion of a bar of candy. Dr. J. W. Goggins of this city, who was summoned by Mr. Schneider when his wife showed symptoms of illness diagnosed as one of poisoning immediately, but before he could get an antidote, Mrs. Schneider passed away. A nine-year-old daughter also ate part of the candy but fortunately spit it out on account of its peculiar taste, or she, too, might have been a victim. The case was reported to the local authorities on Friday and District Attorney Arps and undersheriff Groeschel immediately started an investigation. Owing to the fact that the letter and package purported to have come from Mrs. John Goeser of Fond du Lac, a sister of the dead woman Mrs. Goeser and her husband were called in by the district attorney and the former denied having sent the letter. Then suspicion swung to the Lenz girl but the officers were handicapped by lack of evidence, the letter, box and candy being destroyed before the officers were called in. Miss Lenz worked at the Schneider home several years ago and on account of the attentions she paid to Mr. Schneider she was ordered by Mrs. Schneider to leave and not come back. Evidently this is the motive of the crime and it is thought by relatives of the deceased that the Lenz woman never intended to poison Mrs. Henry Schneider as she has confessed, but deliberately set out to eliminate Mrs. Frank Schneider the woman who, she imagined, stood in her way. After searching for clews for a couple of days, undersheriff Groeschel uncovered the fact that Miss Lenz had been in Jericho on the Saturday before the murder and had purchased the candy at Mahlberg's, which was confirmed by the girl's confession. It was also discovered that she had been in this city on Saturday and had purchased an eighth of an ounce of strychnine at the McGrath drug store, to which facts she confessed after two hours of grilling. With these clews in hand, the district attorney brought the girl to this city, together with a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Schneider and Mrs. E. Buechel. The murder is one of the most cold blooded in the history of Calumet county and it is a miracle that several of the children of Mrs. Schneider did not share the same fate. The murderess is about 30 years of age and is said to have the mind of a child. However she planned the crime with remarkable shrewdness and cunning and after the woman was dead, went over to the Schneider home and assisted in the work, showing no signs of remorse. It was thought she destroyed the letter and box containing the candy but she denied having done that. She viewed her victim calmly and gave no evidence that she was the one responsible for the death. District Attorney Arps has ordered the body of the murdered woman exhumed and a chemical analysis will be made to fix the cause of death so the state will have evidence if the girl refutes her story. A warrant was issued on Tuesday for her arrest on a charge of murder and she was brought before Justice of the Peace John P. Hume on Tuesday afternoon. The case was continued until today, Saturday, to await developments of the post mortem examination and autopsy. The offense being a capital crime, Miss Lenz was unable to obtain bail and is being held in the county jail. Dr. Daniel Hopkinson, pathologist of Milwaukee arrived here on Wednesday morning and conducted a post mortem examination of the body of Mrs. Schneider assisted by Drs. J. W. Goggins, E. T. Rathert and N. J. Knauf. He found that the death was not due to natural causes and there were traces of poison in the organs. The symptoms pointed to strychnine poisoning but the exact nature of the poison cannot be determined until a chemical analysis is made. A coroner's jury was empanelled on Wednesday afternoon to render a verdict on the cause of the death and fix the blame on the guilty parties. In connection with the poisoning which cost Mrs. Frank Schneider her life and left eight children motherless, The Times must give credit to Harry R. Zander of The Milwaukee Journal staff, who dug up the clue connecting Anna Lenz with the case. He also established the fact that she purchased strychnine at McGrath's drug store and the candy in which it was sent at John Mahlberg's store at Jericho. He laid these before district attorney Arps who took action.





Dr. Daniel Hopkinson's Report of Chemical Analysis Shows Trac- es of Strychnine in Stomach.

The coroner's inquest in the death of Mrs. Theresa Schneider, wife of Frank Schneider, of the town of Brothertown, was held on Saturday last and the jury returned a verdict of death through poisoning. The text of the jury's verdict is as follows: "That the said Theresa Schneider came to her death on the 21st day of November, 1922, in the town of Brothertown, in Calumet County, Wisconsin, as the result of strychnine poisoning, administered thru the mouth through eating poisoned candy. That the said Theresa Schneider came to her death by unlawful means.
The jurors further recommend that Anna Lenz be held to answer to the charge of murder in connection therewith."
A coroner's jury was summoned on the 28th day of November to view the body of the deceased woman and the inquest was adjourned until Saturday, Dec. 9th, awaiting the report of Dr. Daniel Hopkinson, pathologist of Milwaukee, who conducted the post mortem examination. The jury consisted of O. L. Dorschel, Jos. Hanert, Otto Pohland, Wm. F. Stauss, Geo. J. Berger and Arno Tank, Justice John P. Hume presiding. Dr. J. W. Goggins, who was the attending physician of Mrs. Schneider was the first witness called and testified that he had been summoned to the Schneider home on the 21st day of November by Mr. Schneider. When he arrived there, he found Mrs. Schneider in a state of titanic convulsions and diagnosed the cause as one of poisoning. The woman died about ten minutes after his arrival and before he could get an antidote to combat the poison. Dr. Goggins inquired of the family what the patient had eaten and was told that she ate a portion of a candy bar which had been sent that day to Mrs. Schneider through the mails. He unable to find the bar nor the package in which it was wrapped, but found some other candy that was sent at the same time the bar was sent. Mrs. Schneider had been a patient of Dr. Goggins for several days preceding her death, a child being born to her and on the day before she died was getting along in excellent shape. The doctor was satisfied that his diagnosis was correct and asked the undertaker to send a portion of the stomach to a pathologist for analysis but by mistake the undertaker sent a portion of the large intestine instead of the stomach. Meanwhile the doctor reported his fears to the district attorney and action was taken to determine the cause of Mrs. Schneider's death. A search was made for the candy and a letter sent with it, signed by Mrs. John Goeser of Fond du Lac, who when asked about it denied any knowledge of the same. This led the officials to believe there was foul play connected with the death and they started their investigation. Chas. Groeschel, sheriff elect, was called as a witness before the inquest and he testified how the investigation proceeded and of the establishing a chain of circumstantial evidence about Anna Lenz which resulted in her being brought to the office of District Attorney H. F. Arps, where she finally admitted sending the poisoned candy to Mrs. Schneider. Miss Adeline Schneiss, stenographer in the district attorney's office, testified that she took the statements of Anna Lenz in short hand and these statements were introdnced as evidence by District Attorney Arps. Dr. Hopkinson's report was then introduced as evidence. Dr. Hopkinson stated positively in his report that death was due to strychnine poisoning administered through the mouth. The chemical analysis of the stomach contents showed about one-twentieth of a gram of strychnine poison and the vital organs all showed congestion as a result of a virulent poison. Dr. Hopkinson stated positively that death was due to unnatural causes and there were no embolisms present in the body. The finding of the jury paves the way for the hearing of Anna Lenz, which will be held at the court in this city on Tuesday, Dec. 19th before Justice John V. Hume. The case is one of the worst in the annals of crime in Calumet County and has caused considerable excitement. Anna Lenz was placed in. jail after her statements to the district attorney and now awaits her trial. She was sick for several days following her arrest but is now somewhat better and able to eat her food regularly.


Hearing is Adjourned.

The preliminary hearing of Anna Lenz on a murder charge which was scheduled to be held before Justice John P. Hume on Tuesday morning was continued to Monday, Jan. 15th owing to the illness of the defendant, she being unable to appear in court. District Attorney H. F. Arps, who is handling the case for the state asked the court for a continuance because of the illness of Miss Lenz and the motion was granted. A large crowd of people from the town of Brothertown and other parts of the county gathered at the court house before 9:00 a. m. to listen to the trial and were disappointed when they learned that it was postponed. Many of them drove in several miles through the cold to be present at the hearing. The case is attracting considerable attention, not only in the county but throughout the state. The defendant, Anna Lenz, is charged with the murder of Theresa Schneider of the town of Brothertown, who according to the verdict of the coroner's jury, met her death through strychnine poisoning administered through the mouth by eating poisoned candy. Miss Lenz is charged with sending the poisoned candy to Mr. Schneider which resulted in her death the day she received the package.

Since her arrest several weeks ago, Miss Lenz has been a prisoner in the county jail where she has been suffering from a nervous breakdown and other complications and has been under the care of a local physician. Apparently she was getting along much better the past week but when the news of her approaching hearing was given to her on Monday she went all to pieces and suffered a relapse of her illness and was physically unable to appear in court Tuesday. The date for her hearing has been set for 9:00 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 15, 1923 and will be held in the supervisors' room in the Calumet county court house this city. The hearing is open to the public and will not be secret as seems to be the opinion of a great many people. Miss Lenz is still under the care of a physician and it is hoped she will be well enough to have her preliminary hearing on the date above.



Miss Anna Lenz Suffered Another Breakdown; Monday the date set for the Preliminary.

The preliminary hearing of Anna Lenz, charged with the murder of Mrs. Theresa Schneider on the 21st day of November 1922, was held at the court house in this city on Monday morning, being adjourned to the sheriff's office, owing to the poor health of the defendant. The action was dismissed by Justice John P. Hume on the grounds that he lost jurisdiction by granting a continuance of over ten days at the request of District Attorney H. F. Arps, without consent of the defendant. A new warrant on the same charge was immediately issued and served upon the defendant and she was again placed in custody. Miss Lenz was represented by her attorney, Geo. C. Hume and the state by Sheriff Chas. Groeschel, who appeared on behalf of District Attorney H. F. Arps, the latter being out of town. Attorney Hume made a motion that he be given a court order allowing him to see his client, he being denied that privilege by the sheriff. Mr. Hume produced a letter in court signed by Anna Lenz in which she asked him to act as her attorney. Owing to the fact that the district Attorney was not in court in person, the court adjourned until Saturday morning at 9:00 o'clock at which time the matter will be disposed of.

Miss Lenz suffered a breakdown during the hearing on Monday and her condition is such that the least bit of excitement will cause her to swoon away. The case, which has attracted state wide attention, brought out a large crowd of people from various parts of the county and from other counties and all were disappointed when they learned that the hearing could not be held. The defendant is charged with having sent poisoned candy through the mails to Mrs. Frank Schneider, which resulted in her death shortly after partaking of it. The crime was traced to Miss Lenz a few days after the death occurred and a warrant was issued for her arrest on November 29th since which time she has been in jail awaiting her hearing. It was necessary to postpone the hearing twice owing to her physical condition.





Preliminary Hearing held at Court House on Saturday Last. Several Witnesses heard.

After repeated adjournments, because of the physical condition of the prisoner, the preliminary hearing of Anna Lenz, charged with the murder of Mrs. Frank Schneider of the town of Brothertown on Nov. 21, 1922, was held at the court house in this city on Saturday morning. After the testimony of the first witness, H. E. Doolan, it was necessary to adjourn until Miss Lenz recovered from a swoon and was able to be present. The adjourned hearing was held in the reception room of the jail. At both sessions of the hearing large crowds filled the court room and hall leading from it, eagerly listening to the testimony. The first witness called was H. E. Doolan, rural mail carrier from the local postoffice, who testified to receiving a package from Anna Lenz on the 20th of November, it being addressed to Mrs. Frank Schneider. Mr. Doolan identified the defendant as the person who gave him the package personally and he stated that she purchased postage at the time she gave him the package. He brought the fatal package to this city and turned it over to Frank Brocker, rural mail carrier on the route past the Schneider home. Mr. Brocker testified to carrying the package to the Schneider home on the morning of November 21, 1922.

Dr. Daniel Hopkinson, pathologist, of Milwaukee was the next witness for the state and he explained in detail the post mortem conducted on the body of Mrs. Schneider and stated positively that death was due to strychnine poisoning. Dr. Hopkinson stated that no trace of any disease which might have caused death was present in the body of the murdered woman. His testimony was corroborated by Paul Sampon, chemist, of Milwaukee, who made the chemical analysis of the stomach contents taken at the post mortem examination. A quantity of strychnine was found present in the stomach under this analysis. Dr. J. W. Goggins of this city was then called by the state. Dr. Goggins was the attending physician of Mrs. Schneider and on the day of her death was called to the Schneider home by a telephone message from Mr. Schneider. When he arrived there he found Mrs. Schneider in a state of titanic convulsions and a few minutes later she died. Dr. Goggins had attended Mrs. Schneider a short time before for childbirth and stated that she was in good health before his summons by telephone. James Wagner, pharmacist at the McGrath Drug Co. store and Lester Lehner, drug clerk at the same store, then testified to selling the strychnine to Miss Lenz. According to their testimony she approached Mr. Lehner and asked for some rat poison. She was offered Rat-bis-kit but did not want the poison in that form, saying she had used that before and it did no good. She purchased instead a bottle of strychnine containing about one-eight of an ounce of that deadly poison, a record of the sale being made on the poison register, together with the name of the purchaser. Both Mr. Wagner and Mr. Lehner identified Miss Lenz as the person who purchased the poison. Little Helen Schneider, twelve year old daughter of the murdered woman then took the stand and her testimony was the most sensational of all the witnesses. She told how she met the mail carrier, Mr. Brocker, and received the fatal package from him and then took it into the house to her mother, who was in bed, still being in confinement after childbirth. She testified that she opened the package and found it contained a letter and candy of various sorts, including the fatal bar containing the strychnine. She took the letter and opened it and read it to her mother. The letter was signed Mr. and Mrs. J. Goeser and family and called special attention to the chocolate bar, which was for Mrs. Schneider. The little girl said she did not see her mother eat the candy but that a short time after the package was opened her mother called to her and gave her a piece of the chocolate bar, remarking of its bitter taste. Helen said she ate a portion of the bar and that later on it made her sick. Her mother was taken violently ill shortly afterward and died. Helen stated that she placed the letter on the clock shelf and that when search was made for it later, it had disappeared. She stated that the defendant had arrived at the Schneider home shortly after the death of her mother and had assisted in the cleaning off the shelf. Helen said she took the box of candy and threw it into the stove, saying "she did not want anymore people to die from it." Her story was told in a clear and concise manner but it was easy to see that the tragedy was still fresh in her young mind. This closed the testimony for the state and: no testimony was offered by the defendant. After listening to the arguments of both counsels for the state and defense Justice Hume determined that the offense had been committed and that there was probable cause to believe the defendant, Anna Lenz, guilty of the charge in the warrant and complaint. She was then bound over for trial at circuit court. The hearing brought out a large crowd of people and the reception room of the jail and hallways were crowded with people who wanted to hear the evidence in this sensational case. Perhaps never before in the history of Calumet county has a murder case caused such excitement as the Anna Lenz case. It was a cold blooded affair and only by a miracle were the lives of other members of the Schneider family saved. When the case was reported to the local authorities they immediately began an investigation which resulted in a chain of circumstantial evidence being wound around Anna Lenz. She was brought to the office of District Attorney H. F. Arps and after a grilling of six hours, finally broke down and confessed to having bought the candy and poison and having sent it to Mrs. Frank Schneider. She maintained, however, that the candy was sent by mistake to the murdered woman and that it was intended for Mrs. Henry Schneider of the town of Brothertown, who she alleged had been talking bad of her. This phase of the case was not brought out at the preliminary hearing, the state contenting itself with evidence sufficient to warrant her being held for the crime.

Will Determine Sanity

Circuit Judge Fred Beglinger of Oshkosh has ordered an inquisition to be made to determine the sanity or mental capacity of Miss Anna Lenz, who is being held here for the murder of Mrs. Theresa Schneider, and has appointed a commission of three expert alienists to conduct such inquisition. As members of the commission Judge Beglinger has named Dr. Frank I. Drake and Dr. W. F. Lorenz, both of the State Hospital for the Insane at Mendota, and Dr. J. M. Conley of Oshkosh. The order for the appointment directs the physicians to make the examination as speedily as may be at the Calumet County jail, where Miss Lenz is confined. They will report the result and their conclusions to the court. The appointment of the commission to determine the sanity of Miss Lenz is the result of an application and motion by District Attorney H. F. Arps, with the consent of the defendant's attorney L. P. Fox to have such examination made. Miss Lenz was to have her trial in the circuit court for Calumet county on March 19th, but it is thought that the case will never come to trial on account of her mental condition.

The case is one that has received state wide attention. Miss Lenz is charged with having sent poisoned candy through the mails to Mrs. Theresa Schneider of the town of Brothertown which resulted in her death on Nov. 21st, 1922. She was arrested on Nov. 28th, 1922, after an investigation which disclosed that she was the party who had sent the candy and was given a preliminary hearing last month which resulted in her being bound over to stand trial before the circuit court on a murder charge. If the commission to determine her sanity finds that she is not responsible for her acts, she will undoubtedly be sent to some state institution for the insane, but if the commission determines that she is mentally sound she will have to stand trial.



Closing Chapters in the Anna Lenz Murder Case. - Judge Beglinger Issues Order Tuesday.

The closing chapter of one of the saddest crimes in its effects ever perpetrated in Calumet County was heard at the term of Circuit court held in this city this week and the defendant, Anna Lenz, held for the murder of Mrs. Frank Schneider of the town of Brothertown, was ordered placed in a state institution for the feeble minded. The murder of Mrs. Frank Schneider attracted state wide attention and since the arrest of Anna Lenz last November it has been given considerable space in the state press. Miss Lenz is charged with having sent poisoned candy thru the mails which resulted in the death of Mrs. Schneider, leaving her eight children motherless. She was given her preliminary hearing on January 15th, after several adjournments and was bound over for trial at the present term of circuit court. However, her actions led the authorities to believe that she was either insane or feeble minded and at the request of District Attorney H. F. Arps, and with the consent of the defendant's attorney, L. P. Fox, Judge Beglinger appointed a commission of alienists to determine her mental capacity. This examination was conducted here a few weeks ago and the result was reported to District Attorney Arps on Saturday last. The doctors' report stated that she was feeble minded and subject to epileptic fits. The report was read into the court records on Tuesday and Judge Beglinger issued an order committing her to a state institution for the feeble minded. She will be taken either to Chippewa Falls or to Union Grove as soon as an order has been received from the state board of control.


Taken to Chippewa Falls

Anna Lenz, sender of poisoned candy that resulted in the death of Mrs. Frank Schneider of the town of Brothertown, began an indefinite term of confinement in the state institution for the feeble minded at Chippewa Falls on Wednesday. She was taken to that institution on Tuesday morning by Sheriff Chas. Groeschel, who was also accompanied by his wife. It was the first time that the Lenz woman had been out of the jail since her arrest on November 28th, except to cross the street once or twice to the court house and members of her family were at the depot to bid her farewell. Miss Lenz has been ill for several weeks but stood up well on her departure for the state institution, being able to walk about unaided before the train pulled in. She was somewhat nervous after the train arrived but was hurried into the passenger coach by Sheriff Groeschel and his wife before the crowd of curious ones got on her nerves. Commitment was ordered by Judge Beglinger about a week ago but Miss Lenz was held in the county jail until a place could be found for her in one of the state institutions. The order for committing her at Chippewa Falls arrived on Saturday last. Miss Lenz is subject to epileptic attacks and has been in a serious condition during the time she was in jail and it is doubtful if she will ever be able to leave the institution. In case she should recover sufficiently to warrant her release from the institution she would have to face a trial for murder.

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