The Murder of John Vitengruber
These materials were arranged by Tina Pastusic with permission of the Sullivan County Historical Society solely for use and display by the Sullivan County Genealogical Web Project. We are grateful for their permission and for Tina's effort.
The Sullivan Review
July 12, 1979
The Murder of John Vitengruber
and Trial of John Kamm, 1855-1856
Recently, The Sullivan Review ran a series of feature stories on the Jakey Marks murder, and the subsequent trial and execution of the murderers. This series led to an inquiry from Kathryn B. Myers concerning the murder of a shoemaker in the Elkland twp. area, during the 1800ís.
Well, our "Sully" research staff (Mrs. Stefana Shoemaker), began reading the past issues, recorded on microfilm, concerning coverage of the Vitengruber murder. In the meantime, the paper received the following information from Miss Jean Edkin Little, of Williamsport, concerning the case. This material was published in Grit at Williamsport as a feature in 1931, upon the re-discovery of the skull of Vitengruber.
Next week, the Sullivan Review will begin a series of articles on the Vitengruber murder, and the subsequent trial and confession of the murderer. This material has been taken from issues of The Sullivan County Democrat of that period, 1855-1856
To the Editor:
Enclosed is a copy of an article in Grit about the Vitengruber murder; the story was requested by Kathryn B. Myers in her letter published April 5.
Here are some additional sidelights:
When my brother (now Dr. Thomas M. Little of Bishop, California), furnished the Grit reporter with material for the article, the newsman erroneously gave him the title of "Professor"; actually Tom was studying for his Masterís degree, and assisting in the botany department for the magnificent sum of $500 a year. After the item appeared, Tom received a notice that his per capita tax had been raised. When he inquired as to the reason, the assessor said, "Well, you are a professor, arenít you?" I do not know whether or not the matter was satisfactorily settled.
On August 21, 1971, the Sullivan County Historical Society held their annual meeting, and I requested a few minutes time on the program. After briefly reviewing the story of the murder, I withdrew from a box, and held up for all to see, the brownish, battered skull of the victim, Vitengruber. You should have heard the gasps from the audience!
With approval of my sister and brother, I presented the skull to the Society for the museum, where it now reposes in a glass case. In passing from one pair of hands to another, the lower jaw has broken off; but what can you expect? It is over a century and a half old.
Please be assured I am happy to share the enclosed material with Mrs. Myers and other readers
Very truly yours,
(Miss) Jean Edkin Little
(From Williamsport Grit in April 1931)
Finding of Skull Recalls old Murder
Bucknell Botany Teacher Makes Discovery
Garrett Gives up Relic
Old Timers remember slaying of John Vitengruber
Wifeís Lover The Killer
Woman maintained innocence of herself and John Kamm, but broke down at trial and pointed accusing finger at man.
The old-fashioned garrettt is the worldís most famous container of trinkets. But residents of Picture Rocks are willing to wager that the garrett of Thomas M. Little contains one of the oddest articles to be found the country over.
Some days ago, Thomas Little, a Bucknell botany instructor, returned to his home in Picture Rocks to sort over the relics of his father, the late J. Wesley Little, famed landscape artist. In the depths of an antique trunk, he saw an ax-cloven skull browned with age. He lifted out the skull rather awesomely, and saw the word "Vitengruber" pencil-printed with a firm hand. Inside the skull, neatly fastened in the brain-chamber, was a time-yellowed clipping from the Williamsport Sun and Banner, a news account of Pennsylvaniaís strangest murder case.
SKULL OF VITENGRUBER
The skull is the one-time head of John Vitengruber, who was killed with an ax by his friend, John Kamm, 78 years ago. The story is known to all the old-timers within a 50-mile radius of Laporte, but the whereabouts of the skull had remained a mystery for 40 years, ever since the courthouse at Laporte was torn down to make way for the new one. F.K. Mylert, treasurer of Sullivan County, and George Ferrell, assistant superintendent of public schools of Lycoming County, were greatly gratified when they learned Mr. Little had found the skull. Both men are acclaimed the unofficial historians of their respective counties, and their knowledge of the Vitengruber murder case is now complete.
STORY OF THE SKULL
The story of this skull is one of the most interesting in American history. About 80 years ago, John Vitengruber, a cobbler, lived with his pretty wife who was 15 years his junior. Their home was a log hut in Elkland Township in Sullivan County. They had a three-year old son who greatly resembled his mother, but their life was not happy. Vitengruber was shiftless, irritable, and a drink addict, while his wife was often hysterical. Matters were not improved when one day John Kamm, a young carpenter, arrived from the same section of Germany where the Vitengrubers formerly lived. He shared the little log hut of his friends, and did odd jobs about the countryside. But quarrels between the Vitengrubers became more bitter. Soon gossip carried unpleasant rumors about Kamm and Mrs. Vitengruber.
As Vitengruber was a cobbler, he would travel about from house to house, staying with each family until his work was done. He arrived home unexpectedly on a Sunday evening and caught his wife in Kammís arms. Kamm was sprawled on the floor from one swirl of Vitengruberís huge fist. Kamm realized he was no match for the enraged Vitengruber. He dashed to a corner and got his ax. Viciously he cut Vitengruberís head from the crown to chin. Kamm and Mrs. Vitengruber wrapped the body in burlap excitedly, and buried it under a huge hemlock near the hut.
In answer to curious neighbors, the two said that Vitengruber had gone to Canton, Bradford County, to ply his trade. The story was believed until one month later when Kamm was seen wearing Vitengruberís clothing and watch. Kamm and Mrs. Vitengruber were then arrested, but they were firm in their stories, and Kammís avowals of friendship for Vitengruber seemed genuine. Charges were dropped. Mrs. Vitengruber and paramour continued to live together unmolested.
Interests and suspicions in the case were dormant until one stormy night four months after the murder. Joseph McCarthy, a lumberman, was plodding his way homeward through the woods along the zigzag path near the Vitengruber hut. A lightning flash struck the giant hemlock 50 feet ahead of him. The tree crashed to the ground, and in the arms of its upturned roots was the foul-smelling body of a dead man. The affrighted McCarthy ran pell mell onward.
Next morning McCarthy returned to the fallen hemlock with Sheriff Wilbur. The tree had been chopped off near its base, the roots severed, and the stump shoved back into the ground. The menís digging out the stump revealed bits of clothing, slivers of the hard skin that covers human heels, and patches of hair, identified to be identical to Vitengruberís. The men examined the chips from the felled tree. From the awkward shape of these they deducted that the chopping had been done by Kamm, who was an inexperienced woodsman.
Again Kamm and Mrs. Vitengruber were arrested. They were tried under Judge David Wilmot at Laporte, the county seat. But the commonwealth was unable to prove that there had been a human body buried beneath the hemlock. And even if they could have established this, they could not prove that the body was Vitengruberís. The state attorneys were nonplussed.
However, during the trial, Kamm and his mistress were confined in the county jail just a few yards up from Lake Mokoma. William Ennis, a retired ventriloquist, believed firmly that Kamm and Mrs. Vitengruber were guilty. Knowing something of psychology, he tried a secret experiment of is own. Every night he would go down to the lake. With his deep voice and practiced pallet he would imitate the frogs with their muffled syllables:
"Who killed Vitengruber?"
Kamm did it! Kamm did it!"
ALL LAPORTE FRIGHTENED
The people in those days were very superstitious, and Ennis was a clever imitator. All Laporte was frightened, believing the "frog voices" to be human ones. Mrs. Vitengruber became almost hysterical, but somehow she managed to control her nerves until the very end of the trial approached.
Her small son was the last witness to be called by the commonwealth. Judge Wilmot was inclined at first to rule out the witness because of his extreme youth, but finally allowed the little fellow to take the stand. This was the first time Mrs. Vitengruber had seen her son in two months, as he had been under a ministerís care during thee trial. She sobbed convulsively when he was placed on the chair. The boy was called upon to identify certain pieces of clothing. He recognized his fatherís coat. Then the lawyer held up a bright red cap.
"Thatís mine! Thatís mine! My mother made it for me!" the child screamed, running for the cap.
Here Mrs. Vitengruberís nerves totally gave way. She seized the child in her arms and hugged and kissed him passionately. Her eyes suddenly flashed with hatred as she looked and pointed at Kamm.
"He did it!" she yelled. "He killed my husband with an ax and threw him into the lake! Oh, my God, help me, help me!"
With these soul rending cries the woman crumpled to the floor unconscious. The courtroom was in such an uproar that court had to be adjourned until next day. That night Mrs. Vitengruber made a full confession. With nervous twitches, she told of her relations with Kamm, and how she aided him in burying her husband beneath the hemlock. She said that during the night of the storm, McCarthyís scream had alarmed them. When they peered from their hut, they saw the fallen tree. Immediately they then went outside, rolled the exposed body into a bed tick, and threw it into a lake from a boat. Before court commenced Monday morning, Kamm had also confessed. The lake was dragged with nets, and Vitengruberís body was recovered. The ax-cloven skull was introduced as major evidence. Kamm was soon convicted.
CROWD SEES HANGING
Kammís hanging drew a crowd of 2,000, the largest ever gathered in Laporte, which is noted as the countryís smallest county seat. Sullivan County was then but ten years old, and there were no provisions for an execution. Sheriff Wilbur was a kindhearted man; he devised a means for hanging so that he, as executioner, would not be seen by the crowd, and so that he would not see Kamm, his victim. He had a square platform built, with a rope attached to each of the four corners. These ropes were 15 feet long, and were tied to one main rope, which ran through the upstairs window of the courthouse and was connected to the wall inside over a chopping block.
The crowd murmured when the noose and hood were passed over Kammís head as he stood upon the platform. At the exact moment, Sheriff Wilbur inside the courthouse whirled an ax though the air; he struck the rope squarely over the copping block. The platform fell to the ground, and Kamm dangled by his neck. Kamm was the first person hanged in Sullivan County, but the eerie scene is still preserved in stories by the natives.
The hanging occurred Sept. 14, 1856. At that time Laporte did not have a cemetery. In the words of the village stutterer, "Lapor-porte is so h-h-healthy they h-h-had to h-h-hang a man to st-st-start a bu-bu-burying ground!"
DEMANDS SEPARATE TRIAL
Mrs. Vitengruber demanded a separate trial from Kamm. Her mental condition delayed her trial for weeks. Sheriff Wilbur was very kind to her, and permitted her more liberties than he would have allowed another prisoner. One day she disappeared. She has never been heard of since.
For many years after the trial, the ax-cloven skull of Vitengruber was an ornament for the bookcase of the county clerkís office. But since the new courthouse was built four decades ago, the skull was apparently lost. The secret of the missing skull is now known. When the old courthouse was being cleared of all superfluous material to make way for the new structure, Judge Ingham gave the skull to his good friend J.W. Little, the artist. Mr. Little stored the skull away carefully in an old trunk. The fact that Professor Thomas Little has just found the skull solves one of the most persistent mysteries that have lingered about Pennsylvaniaís strangest murder case.
Veitengruber Story: Kamm Hanged at Old Courthouse
Sullivan County Democrat
Nov. 14, 1856
Editorís Note: The hanging of John Michael Kamm actually took place in Laporte on November 14, 1856 as stated in the Sept. 12, 1856 issue of the Sullivan County Democrat, and we were able to find an account of the event in the November 21, 1856 issue of that paper. Other sources have indicated, apparently incorrectly, that the hanging took place on September 14, 1856)
EXECUTION OF JOHN M. KAMM
John Michael Kamm, who was tried and convicted of the murder of John George Veitengruber, at the February term of our Court, and sentenced by Judge Wilmot at May term last, was executed in the jail yard of this County, on Friday, the 14th instant.
Till within a few days of the time appointed for his execution, he appeared to be quite unconcerned, and entertained strong hope of being pardoned or escaping in some way the execution to which he was doomed. He being unable to speak much English, it was hard to ascertain the real foundation upon which he based his hopes. However, he did entertain the hope, and it was not till the workmen commenced erecting the temporary enclosure and gallows, that he seemed to realize his true condition.
On Thursday, the day before he was executed, Rev. Mr. Erla [Editor's Note: "Erle" was the correct spelling] , a German Minister, visited him in his cell. He has visited him several times before since he has been confined, but whether heretofore he (Kamm) made any pretensions to Faith, we are not informed. Mr. Erla labored earnestly with him during the day and a portion of the night, and on Thursday afternoon the Sacrament was administered to him, in the presence of several citizens, he having declared that he had received full pardon of his sins, and was not afraid to die.
Mr. Erla tried at various times to have him make a Confession, but he persisted in his innocence, and vehemently declared that he killed Veitengruber in self-defense. Mr. Erla asked him at one time why he did not consider what the consequences would be before he did the deed? He exclaimed "O, my God! How could I consider when closely pursued by a man with a large knife!" He said he had told the truth but people would not believe him but he forgave all freely who had taken part against him, but thought their conclusions were wrong. He said he had made his peace with God, and was prepared and willing to die. He asserted his innocence to the last, and died without making any further confession.
During the forenoon on Friday, his cell was thronged with idle spectators who gazed upon him apparently merely to gratify an idle curiosity. In all that crowd that surrounded him, there was not one friend or relative to drop a consolation to the unfortunate man. He was in a strange land among strangers the subject of idle curiosity to a curious crowd. There was none beside the Minister, save two or three, who exhibited the least sympathy for him, and they were comparatively strangers to him.
It was a heart-sickening scene. An old gray haired man, who could have but a few years more at the longest to live, weighed down with shackles, and who, in a few brief hours was doomed to die an infamous death upon the gallows. It was a scene which would arouse sympathy in the most stony heart, and any man possessed of a spark of feeling for suffering humanity, could not look upon that old man (even though he be guilty of foul murder,) weeping scalding tears, his strong breast convulsed with emotion, and sobs and groans escaping his lips, without being moved with compassion, and pitying the condition of the unfortunate being who had thus strayed from the path of rectitude and virtue, sinned against the laws of God and man, and was now about to forfeit his own life for the highest offence known to our law, that of taking the life of a fellow-being.
As we said before he was friendless. He had no friends in America, except one little daughter who is about eleven years of age, who visited him in his cell for the last time on Thursday. Their last parting can be far better imagined than described. It was of the most affecting character and the agony of this scene was such as a parent only can imagine.
At about 12 oíclock the Sheriff dispersed the crowd in the courthouse, and preparations for the execution were made. At two oíclock p.m. he entered the cell of the unfortunate man, and informed him that his time had come. He became considerably agitated, but soon became calm and seemed reconciled to his sad fate. He was led to the gallows and at ten minutes past two the rope was placed around his neck; the Sheriff then informed him that he had but fifteen minutes to live, when he exclaimed, "Too long! Too long!" then dropped upon his knees and uttered a fervent prayer to Heaven. When he arose he exclaimed, "Oh! Veitengruber! Oh! Veitengruber! If you had only stayed in bed on that fatal morning, I would not be here! I may have committed an error, but pray to be forgiven and that men will not believe me a willful murderer."
He was informed of his time till the last minute and when that expired the connecting link between time and eternity was severed, and John Michael Kamm was suspended between Heaven and earth, a cold and lifeless thing! There was not a struggle, for a moment the body writhed, then the muscles relaxed, and all was still.
In three minutes he was pronounced dead by the physicians present. He was then cut down and placed in a coffin, and in the evening was interred in the edge of the woods east of town. Truly "the way of the transgressor is hard!"
(Our Local historian, Pauline Holcombe, tells us that after the hanging, the sheriff sold lengths of the hanging rope to interested citizens and it may be possible that some of the rope may still be found among old family mementos.)
Escaped from the jail of Sullivan County on the night of the 19th of November, Anna Maria Veitengruber. She is a German woman of about thirty-seven years of age, rather above the medium height, with strongly marked features, and with light thin short hair. She has a gray blue eye and a large mouth. She generally wears a cap, and can speak the English language but very brokenly. The above reward will be given for her apprehension and return to the jail of this county.
Samuel Craft, Sheriff
Nov. 23, 1858
Here is one more summary of the Vitengruber affair that our contributor brought to our attention in August 2002:
The Sullivan Review
December 16, 1897
THE MURDER OF JOHN VITENGRUBER
We present this week some ancient history in regard to the murder of John Vitengruber, of Elkland Township, May 15, 1855. For this crime, Michael Kamm suffered the extreme penalty of the law, in the courtyard at Laporte, on Friday September 14, 1856.
John Vitengruber and wife emigrated from Germany to Elkland Township, near Elk Lake, some time in 1854. He was a shoemaker, and did not make much of a success of farming. In the spring of 1855, John Kamm came to live with them and work the farm. It seems he was the serpent in Eden, for from the day of his appearance until the final disappearance of Vitengruber, there were quarrels and bickering between Vitengruber and wife, and Kamm and Vitengruber. On May 15 Vitengruber disappeared and his wife said he had gone to Canton to work at his trade. Kamm and the woman continued to live in the cabin, and Kamm worked the little clearing, and went out to work for the more prosperous farmers in the neighborhood. The fact that he wore Vitenbergerís clothes and watch made folks talk, and in June the couple were arrested and taken before Justice John Black, accused of murdering Vitengruber. They maintained a solid indifference and asserted that they did not know what had become of him. There was no evidence, and they were discharged. The suspicions of the neighbors were thoroughly aroused, however, and close watch was kept of the guilty pair.
Nothing was discovered to justify further action until the 14th of November, when Joseph McCarty discovered what he thought to be a grave, in a little hollow made by an upturned tree near the house occupied by Kamm and the woman. He called to a man named Smith and they examined the place carefully.
It was dark, and they agreed to come back in the morning and open the mound. In the morning a number of men went to the place, but the mound showed evidence of having been lately disturbed. They dug down about 20 inches and came upon unmistakable evidence that the place had been occupied by a human body. They found toe nails, the thick skin of the heels, some human hair, and part of a face covered with beard. The stench was terrible. The trunk of the hemlock tree had been cut in two and expert woodsmen examined the chips, and declared they were Kammís chips. Handspikes were discovered near the tree, and efforts had been made to tip the stump back into place. The pair were immediately re-arrested and taken to Laporte to jail.
The trial came up at February term, 1856. Judge David Wilmot, (he of Wilmot Proviso fame) was President Judge, supported by John A. Speaker and William Colley, associates. District Attorney Henry Metcalf was assisted by Paul D. Marrow, afterwards President Judge of the Forty-second judicial district. For the defense appeared Ulysses Mercur, afterwards chief justice of Pennsylvania, assisted by attorneys Deitrick and Richardson. Quite an array of talent, was it not? James J. Steinback was sworn as interpreter.
February 27 the following jury was empaneled: John D. Robbins, Joseph Yonkin, Jacob Hoffa, David McMamire, Jeremiah Hunsinger, Benjamin Vaughn, Bemah Wentzel, Francis S. Baumgartner, David Vaughn, Joseph Daddow, Gotleib Bartch, Peter C. Little. The trial progressed until Saturday morning, the evidence showing as above, but nothing to directly implicate the pair in the murder. Indeed, no murder was proved. Vitengruber was gone, Mrs. Vitengruber and Kamm were living in adultery, a stinking grave had been found empty under a hemlock root. Where was the body? The commonwealth had not yet proved the death of Vitengruber. Saturday morning the seven year old son of Mrs. Vitengruber was brought into court. He had been placed in charge of Rev. Mr. Erle (we all remember the old man) for religious instruction, and was duly examined as to whether he knew the nature of an oath. His mother was greatly excited as soon as the boy, from whom she had been separated since her arrest, was brought into the room. The court decided he was a competent witness and his examination commenced. He said he saw his father the night before he went away. In the morning they told him his father was gone. Kamm was generally kind to him but had beaten him sometimes. He identified various articles of clothing as belonging to "father," speaking with a strong German accent. Finally a childís cap was shown him. "Itís mine, itís mine," cried he, and delightedly seized his long lost pretty cap and placed it on his head. The motherís heart broke, and with screams and sobs she rushed to her boy and clasping him to her breast, she turned to the court and cried in German "He done it," pointing to Kamm " he killed my husband and threw him in the lake. Oh my God help me, help me. The priest, the priest." She continued to scream and laugh hysterically until she became unconscious, and mother and child sank down clasped in each otherís arms, their tears and sobs mingling. It is unnecessary to say Court and spectators were deeply affected. Court was adjourned until Monday. Saturday evening, Mrs. Vitengruber made a confession to the interpreter, but her mind was shattered, and her statements incoherent and disconnected.
Sunday evening (March 2) Kamm confessed. We have before us the detailed confession, but will only give the substance of it. He knew Vitengruber in Germany, and they came to America together. They often quarreled while living on the farm in Elkland. Vitengruber was about 15 years older than his wife, Kamm was nearer her age, and when Vitengruber was away following his trade of shoemaking the guilty pair betrayed his honor. On the fifth of May, Vitengruber brought home potatoes and whiskey. They quarreled as to who furnished the most for the family, but finally made up and went to bed. In the morning Vitengruber and his wife began quarreling. Kamm said, "There you go again. This is Sunday and youíll keep it up all day." "It is none of your business" said Vitengruber, as he sprang out of bed and grabbed for a large knife. Kamm said he ran out doors, Vitengruber followed him and he caught up the axe and hit him with it twice. He was dead. He carried the body to the woods and buried it under the upturned tree. The night after McCarty discovered the grave he and the woman disinterred the body, put it in an empty straw tick and sunk it in the lake.
The evidence was concluded Tuesday evening (March 4) and after pleas by the lawyers the jury retired Wednesday afternoon and after being out about two hours returned with a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree, as to Kamm. A rule for a new trial was granted, returnable at May Court.
At May Court the new trial was refused. The point was purely a technical one and was very far fetched. Then Kamm was brought into Court and sentenced to death, and as before stated the sentence was carried out at Laporte September 14, 1856.
And the woman! As stated last September her trial was postponed from time to time, and finally she was allowed to escape, and it is supposed went back to Germany.
We have to thank for information on this matter R.C. R. Kschinka, of Cherry, J.W. Snyder, of Forksville, and Geo. H. Welles, of Wyalusing. It is the true story of the first and greatest tragedy that ever took place in the county.
In January 2005, Tina Pastusic sent us yet more information from old sources on this famous case:
The Sullivan County Democrat
30 May 1856
John Michael Kamm was tried and convicted of murder in the first degree, in the Feb. Session of Court for the murder of John George VEITANGRUBER. And on application by his counsel for a new trial, the Court appointed Tuesday last, the first day of May term, for them to show cause why a new trial should be granted. The very able counsel for the defense, Messrs. Mercur and Dietrick, argued the case with great force and eloquence, relying chiefly on the exception filed last term, that the Court had no jurisdiction to try the cause, as the Act of Assembly fixed the fourth Tuesday of February for Court to be held, but had not limited the term to any particular length, not specified any time for adjournment, and the Grand Jury did not find an indictment till Wednesday. The counsel failed to convince "His Honor" on this point, and as sufficient reasons were not presented, another trial was denied him. The Sheriff, by order from the Judge, brought Kamm into Court, to receive his sentence. He appeared considerably agitated, however remained calm and composed during the time occupied by his counsel in their application for a new trial. When the lawyers ceased speaking, a deathlike silence pervaded the court room. Although the room was crowded almost to suffocation, yet so deep was the silence that a pin could have been heard to drop anywhere in the room. It was an anxious moment. Judge Wilmot, with a firm voice, stated to the counsel that they had failed to convince him that any error had occurred in the trial, or that any circumstance had occurred since the trial, to substantiate their exceptions, and we believe Mr. Kamm had had a fair and impartial hearing, and it now became his painful duty to pronounce the sentence of death upon him. When he (Kamm) was asked Ė through an interpreter Ė if he had anything to say why the sentence of death should not be pronounced upon him? He rose weeping from his chair and asserted his innocence. He said he killed VEITANGRUBER, but it was done in self-defense, and he called on God to witness what he said. While he was speaking he was much affected Ė tears rolled down his cheek Ė his bosom heaved, deep agonized sobs escaped his lips. It was an awful spectacle to behold. An old gray haired man, who could have but a few years more, at farthest, to live Ė standing before the scrutinizing gaze of the multitude, convicted of the highest crime known to our laws. Notwithstanding the evidence was so conclusive against him, and public opinion so strongly prejudiced, yet the human heart is not capable of resisting and remain unmoved by sympathy for a fellow-being in his unfortunate position. When the strong man weeps, and the broad chest heaves with emotion, the most stony heart must yield, and drop a tear of sympathy for suffering humanity. When he ceased speaking and became composed, Judge Wilmot proceeded to pronounce the dreadful sentence upon him. He stood firm and comparatively unmoved, and heard his awful fate. When the Judge had concluded, the Sheriff was ordered to take him back to prison. When he entered his dreary cell, he burst into a passionate flood of tears, choked by groans and sobs. The door was closed, and the heavy bolts replaced, and the unfortunate man was left to brood over his wretched situation in solitude. Truly "the way of the transgressor is hard."
The Sullivan County Democrat
6 June 1856
The Body of VEITANGRUBER Recovered - On Thursday, 29th ult, Sheriff Wilber, accompanied by H. Metcalf Esq., and dr. C. H. Dana, proceeded to the lake, in Elkland Twp., for the purpose of finding, if possible, the body of VEITANGRUBER, who was murdered by Kamm, and sunk in the lake last fall. They commenced draining the lake on Thursday evening, and by Saturday morning had drawn it down about three and a half feet. Early Saturday morning, the body was discovered by H. Metcalf Esq., about six feet from shore, and some half a mile distant from the place where it was first buried. The body was enclosed in a sack and sunk by three large stones weighing about twenty pounds each. The sack not being long enough, the body was bent double, and put in with the feet and head together. It was immediately taken out and examined. Decomposition had commenced on portions of the body; one wrist was so much affected that the hand dropped off, Ö(Note: fold in paper)Öbeen laying there, the body was in a tolerable good state of preservation. Three distinct marks, made apparently by an ax, were discovered on the head, and the right side of the skull was entirely broken in. No other marks were found on the body. The head was decapitated and the body interred by the side of one of his children, in the grave yard. The skull is now in possession of Dr. C. H. Dana, of this place. The Sheriff informed Kamm on Sunday, that the body had been recovered. He appeared greatly agitated, but said very little.
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