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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Chauncey Page and the Long-Page Murders of 1867

The Long-Page murders of 1867 are mentioned in all four of the major published histories of Porter County, Indiana. Unfortunately, the details concerning this tragic incident are very incomplete, leaving the reader pondering about the people involved, the motive for the murder, as well as the aftermath. Here, an attempt is made to tie the information of the county histories together along with facts from the innumerable newspaper accounts that were published soon after the murders took place. Please note that, as compared to today’s standards, accounts of tragic events were typically much more graphically detailed in newspapers of the late 1800s and early 1900s; the contemporary coverage of the Long-Page murders was no exception.

One of the most heinous acts of violence to occur in Porter County was committed by a man named Chauncey F. Page. Very little is known of Page’s early life. From the 1870 Federal Census, we learn that Chauncey was born in 1844 in Pennsylvania. In addition, various historical accounts indicate that he was educated in Valparaiso and learned the trade of jeweler and watchmaker.


Physically, Page was reported to be a “good looking man,” six feet tall, and weighing 165 pounds. He had light colored hair and a full ruddy beard about one inch in length.


According to Porter County marriage records, Chauncey F. Page married Emaline E. Goss on January 29, 1865, in Valparaiso. Emaline, commonly referred to as Emma, was born December 10, 1848, in Enon, Clark County, Ohio. Emma’s mother was Rachael (Hastings) Goss Long, who was born July 17, 1810, in Lancaster, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Rachel married John Goss, a union that resulted with at least eight children - the youngest being Emma. John passed away in Enon in 1848, and Rachael remarried to widower Benjamin Long on April 5, 1857, in Enon.


By 1860, Benjamin and Rachael, along with children from each of their previous marriages, including Emma, were residing in Porter County near Wheeler. It should be noted that one of Emma’s sisters, Margaret, was the wife of Colonel Isaac C. B. Suman, who led the 9th Indiana Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War and later became the mayor of Valparaiso.


Chauncey F. Page was employed as a jeweler by Aaron Rogers in Valparaiso at the close of the Civil War. Seeking his own independent future as a watchmaker, Page moved to Crown Point in Lake County and engaged in his own business. He spent much effort as an itinerant salesman, going door to door to offer his goods and services rather than relying on a storefront.

Va
rious accounts strongly suggest that the marriage of Chauncey and Emma was an unhappy one, quickly becoming intolerable by the first anniversary. Chauncey reportedly traveled often leaving Emma home alone, and he seemed to restrict Emma’s social life and interactions. Furthermore, Emma’s family resided in Porter County. Given that travel was much more cumbersome in the late 1860s relative to today, it is suspected that Emma was not able to visit her relatives near Valparaiso perhaps as often as she would have liked. Within a year of moving to Crown Point, Emma had left Chauncey and returned to the home of her step-father and mother, Benjamin Long and Rachael (Hastings) Goss Long. The Long home was located at Pearce’s Mills, also known as Union Mills, a very well-known location in early Porter County history where farmers took their grain to be ground into flour; the mill was approximately two miles southeast of Wheeler.

An 1876 history of Porter County written by A. J. Hardesty, who lived less than a mile from the Long residence, provides a first-hand account of the relationship between Chauncey and Emma:


“[Chauncey Page] was without cause jealous of his young wife who was a lady of more than ordinary mental qualities, and was as lovely in person as in mind. She was also very fond of society, and was the life of the parties and gatherings at which she was often found. But her husband, like the dog in the manger, would not enjoy life himself, and refused to allow his wife to do so. Consequently there was not always peace in the family, and matters went from bad to worse until his wife (Emma) was forced to return to her mother's house.”

Contemporary reports indicate that Emma sought a divorce about one year into the marriage. The stated grounds for the divorce included abandonment, failure to render support, and ill treatment. Her case was dismissed based on an “informality,” but in the fall of 1866 Emma had again filed for a divorce. The January 24, 1867, issue of the Marshall County Republican states:


“Page has made frequent and open threats that his wife should never obtain a divorce from him, and went so far in his malignity as to offer a man fifty dollars to seduce his wife so that he would have ground on which to base an application for separation.”

The divorce proceedings were to take place during the third week of January 1867.

On Monday, January 14, 1867, Chauncey traveled to Valparaiso and registered as a guest of the Gould House, situated on the southeast corner of Main Street and Lafayette Street where Central Park in now located. He signed his name in the hotel register and indicated that his residence was Chicago, though he initially had written “Io,” possibly in reference to Iowa, and crossed that out.

 Postal cover from the Gould House, Aaron Gould, proprietor,
circa 1860s. Chauncey F. Page was staying at the Gould House
prior to venturing to Benjamin Long's home in Union
township to confront his wife Emma.
Source: Collection of Steven R. Shook.

Pa
ge then made plans to venture to the Benjamin Long home at Pearce’s Mills in Union Township. At approximately 10:00 am on Tuesday, January 15, he traveled there in a sleigh driven by Champ Buel, a long-time acquaintance. On the way to Long’s residence Page queried Buel about Emma’s social activities. He asked Buel whether he had seen his wife at any dances during the winter, to which Buel replied that he had not attended any dances that season. Chauncey then remarked that he had heard that some young men were quarreling about taking Emma to a dance. As they approached the Long home they passed by Benjamin Long and saw Rachael peer out of a window of the Long home.

Page and Buel continued just past the Long home to the mill nearby where Buel dropped Chauncey off at the railroad tracks. Buel indicated he would pick Page up at the Long home upon his return to Valparaiso, though Chauncey replied that he would likely find another way back to town. During the ride westward Buel had joked with Page about jealous husbands shooting their wives. There was some discussion about the joke, but Chauncey reportedly made no threatening remarks toward Emma.

Re
ports also mention that Chauncey spent “some time with his wife and her mother, apparently in a friendly manner.” During his visit, Chauncey had learned that Benjamin Long would be away from his home that evening. Benjamin was traveling to Coffee Creek, now Chesterton, to visit his son Christian. Christian Long owned and operated Liberty Mills, another flouring mill, in the far northeastern corner of Liberty Township on Coffee Creek, located approximately one-quarter mile north of the present day Duneland School Corporation’s bus barn. Chauncey presumably traveled back to Valparaiso at some time in the afternoon to his room at the Gould House.

Be
njamin’s visit to Coffee Creek left three woman at his home, namely: wife Rachael, step-daughter Emma, and Fredericka Ludolph. Ludolph, commonly referred to as “Ricky,” had been invited by Rachael and Emma to stay with them during Benjamin’s absence; she lived with her parents one-quarter mile from the Long home. After conducting extensive research, little could be found regarding Fredericka Ludolph’s life. It is known that Fredericka was born in 1849 in Kurhessen, Germany, the daughter of Martin and Louisa (Kirschner) Ludolph. She immigrated to the United States with her family in 1854 and resided with her parents in Union Township in Porter County.

Em
ma and Fredericka had retired together to the southwest bedroom in the Long home early in the evening of Tuesday, January 15, while Rachael also went to bed early and slept in a room nearby. Page, taking advantage of Benjamin’s absence, first called upon the Valparaiso establishment of Lewis H. Mandeville at 8:00 pm; Mandeville was a prominent area photographer. He inquired of Mandeville if he had any negatives or photographs of him in his possession. Given the time of day, Mandeville later admitted that he spent very little effort searching and eventually told Page that he had no such items in his possession.

Page then proceeded westward to the Long home at Pearce’s Mills to apparently confront his estranged wife. Accounts of the visit are consistent in stating that at approximately 9:00 pm Rachael was awakened by someone pounding violently upon the entrance door. Rachael lit a kerosene lamp that stood on a stand, approached the door, and asked three times who was there. The person replied “Page,” and he demanded the he be given entrance to the home. Rachael then asked Chauncey “What do you want?” Page replied he wanted to see “Em.”

Rachael informed Page that since only ladies were currently in the home that evening that she would have to deny him entrance. Enraged, Page broke down the entry door with an ax and was immediately confronted by Rachael. No words were spoken as Chauncey then fired two shots from his pistol into Rachael, who fell to the floor uttering a moan, then screamed, and afterward was quiet.

 
Photograph of Rachael (Hastings) Goss Long, murdered by
Chauncey F. Page on Tuesday, January 15, 1867, in Union Township,
Porter County, Indiana. Date of photograph unknown.
Source: Find A Grave memorial for Rachel Goss (Memorial No. 54819098).

Emma had heard the report of Chauncey’s pistol and sprang out of bed to see her mother drop a corpse to the floor. Emma approached Chauncey and fell to her knees. She begged and pleaded for him to spare her life and said “Page, my dear husband, don’t do so anymore.” Page pulled Emma upward by an arm, partially raising her from her kneeling position, placed the muzzle of the revolver against her head, and pulled the trigger, the bullet entering her skull and killing her instantly. Page then fired two additional shots, one at Rachael and one at Emma.

It is believed that Page was completely unaware of Fredericka’s overnight stay at the Long home. Fredericka had witnessed the dispatch of Rachael and Emma, and then pulled a bedcover over herself in an attempt to hide from Chauncey. Sadly, in her attempt to conceal herself by pulling up the bedsheet, one of Fredericka’s feet became exposed and was discovered by Page. Page fired at the bed but missed hitting Fredericka. He then seized her foot and yanked Fredericka from the bed, hauling her to the floor. Fredericka begged and pleaded with Chauncey not to harm her, even promising to never divulge that he had killed Rachael and Emma.


  
Photograph of Chauncey F. Page, date unknown.
Source: The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County,
Indiana; August 16, 1936; Section 3, Page 3.

Page was reportedly initially confused to learn that another individual other than Rachael and Emma was in the Long home. According to Fredericka’s testimony, Chauncey had contemplated sparing her life. He changed his mind, however. He pulled Fredericka up by her left arm to a nearly standing position and then violently shoved her to the floor. Fredericka began to stand and Chauncey caught hold of her left wrist. Placing her at arm’s length, Chauncey positioned the barrel of his pistol against the side of her head, just below and behind her right eye, and pulled the trigger; the ball passed behind her eyes. A second shot pierced Fredericka’s arm, while a third passed through her right knee.

Insensible at first, Fredericka recovered and saw Chauncey take the kerosene lamp that was earlier lit by Rachael and smash it upon the floor, lighting it with a match. Page then dragged Fredericka by her hair through the some of the flames. Fredericka raised herself onto her elbows and begged that Chauncey kill her so that she would not burn alive. Fredericka again begged for her life saying she would never tell anyone about the incident. Page responded that he did not believe her and, at the same time, began to beat Fredericka upon her head with a heavy chair until her groaning ceased and he supposed her life was extinct. Chauncey then knelt down to feel for breathing; Fredericka testified that she could feel Page’s warm breath upon her cheek and that she had held her breath feigning death. Satisfied that Fredericka was indeed dead, Page escaped into the nearby woods.

Unbeknownst to Page, however, is that Fredericka was not deceased. Becoming conscious, Fredericka found herself with her hair and chest in flame. Using a shawl that was lying nearby to quench the flames, she then miraculously dragged herself out the home. Upon making her escape to the snow-covered ground, Fredericka again lost consciousness, saturating the snow into a crimson color with her blood.


 The Long-Page murders took place at the home of Benjamin
Long at Union Milled (denoted by blue arrow). The house was
located in the SW1/4 SE 1/4 of Section 8, Township 35 North, Range 6
West in Union Township. Aaron F. Winslow later purchased the property.
Today [2015] this property is bounded on the north by State Route 130,
on the south by County Road 400 North, and on the west by County Road 375 West.

Source: Hardesty, A.G. 1876. Illustrated Historical Atlas of Porter
County, Indiana
. Valparaiso, Indiana: A. G. Hardesty. 90 p.

Approximately three-quarters of a mile east, quite a different scene was transpiring at the house of Mr. Eglin Smith, where a party was enjoying a social evening. The Long home, now heavily engulfed in flame, was observed by Homer Smith from Eglin’s home. Homer gave the alarm and rushed to the Long home to render assistance in fighting the blaze. Another neighbor, Thomas D. Bushore, was sleighing home from a dance and also noticed the Long home ablaze and immediately proceeded to site. Upon arrival, however, Smith and others who had gathered at the scene were horrified to discover Fredericka at the gate with her night clothes drenched in blood and unconscious. Homer removed his coat and wrapped it around Fredericka and took her to the home of her father, Martin Ludolph, where Valparaiso physician Dr. William Charles Paramore was summoned to tend to her injuries.

The charred remains of the two women were soon found in the ruins of the home, and as other facts were learned, alarm was given and a group of men organized to pursue Chauncey F. Page. This group of men was led by Porter County Sheriff Stephen Leroy Bartholomew, and included Marquis L. McClelland, Thomas A. E.Campbell, T. A. Hogan, Aaron H. Goodwin, Andrew Jackson Buel, and Augustus A.Starr. Soon after, the pistol used in committing the murders was found by several boys rummaging through the debris. When Lewis H. Mandeville, the Valparaiso photographer whom Page had visited prior to venturing to the Long home, learned of the murder, he conducted a detailed search of his negatives and photographs and was able to locate a negative of Page. He developed positives and then soon distributed these to the Valparaiso police and various detective agencies.

According to the January 19, 1867, issue of The National Republican published in Washington, D.C.:


“The excitement in Valparaiso is intense. Business is entirely suspended, and the entire population is out to-day scouring the country for the murderer. The only person to escape from the house was a young girl, who was terribly mangled, and is not yet expected to recover.”

A total of $500 was quickly raised through subscription by area residents and offered as a reward for the arrest of Page.

Various newspaper accounts appear to agree as to details of the manhunt for Chauncey F. Page. After escaping the scene of the crime, Chauncey proceeded by foot two miles northwest to the village of Wheeler. A group of individuals that were sleighing on their way home from a party in Hobart observed Page walking along the Pittsburg, Fort Wayne & Chicago Railway in Wheeler. Page then apparently boarded a westbound freight train arriving in Chicago at 8:00 am on Wednesday, January 16.

Upon his arrival in Chicago, Chauncey took a hack from the depot and requested that the hack driver deliver him to the City Hotel located at the southeast corner of the intersection of State Street and Lake Street. Here, Page registered as “Chauncey F. Page, Dyer Station, Illinois.” Page’s aged mother resided in Dyer Station, located in Will County. Given that he did not use a fictitious name, it is believed that Page had assumed that all evidence that could possibly point to his involvement to the tragedy that took place at the Benjamin Long residence had been destroyed by his act of arson. Page was shown his room. He stayed quietly in his room throughout the day, only venturing out to take his meals in the hotel’s dining room. Neither the proprietor nor guests viewed anything unusual concerning Chauncey’s behavior at the hotel that Wednesday.


City Hotel, located at the southeast corner of the intersection of
State Street and LaSalle Street in Chicago Illinois (building on right).
The hotel was destroyed on October 10, 1871, by the Great Chicago Fire.
Chauncey F. Page registered in City Hotel on Wednesday, January 16, 1867,
the morning after having murdered Rachael (Hastings) Goss Long and
Emaline (Goss) Page in Union Township, Porter County, Indiana.
Source: Jevne, Otto, and Peter M. Almini. 1866. Chicago Illustrated,
Part 6
. Chicago, Illinois: Chicago Lithographic Company. This
illustration was drawn by Louis Kurz.

On Thursday, January 17, Page purportedly ate a “hearty breakfast,” and then proceeded to the hotel’s reading room. He took up a copy of a Chicago newspaper, which contained an account of the murder at Long’s residence, and “glanced leisurely over the sheet; then clenching the paper in his fingers, returned to the [hotel] office.” At the office, Chauncey requested that the clerk figure his bill, which was then calculated and handed to him. Without examination of his bill, Page informed the clerk that there was an error in the bill since he said that he had arrived on Tuesday rather than Wednesday. Page then obtained the hotel’s register and turned back the pages to Tuesday and registered his signature among the entries. Next, Chauncey paid his bill, including for Tuesday’s accommodations, and left the City Hotel. When leaving the hotel, he forgot to take his overcoat though the weather at the time was bitterly cold.


At 10:00 am on Thursday, Deputy Superintendent of the Chicago Police John "Jack" P. Nelson, while he was sitting in the Central Police Station, spotted Page crossing LaSalle Street. He quickly approached Page who immediately stated to Nelson that “I have come to give myself up, because I am innocent.” Nelson took Page into custody, informing him is was okay to give turn himself into the police even if innocent, and locked him in a cell in the basement of the station.


Interestingly, Deputy Superintendent Nelson intentionally did not inform anyone at the station about the apprehension of Page. With secrecy, Nelson made preparations to return Chauncey back to Valparaiso. However, experience led Nelson to believe that returning the prisoner back to Valparaiso during the daytime would lead to his discovery, and possibly his death given the lynch mob behavior being displayed by many of the residents of Porter County. Thus, Nelson decided to return Page to Valparaiso on a night train and find lodging for him in the Porter County Jail before the local inhabitants found out that he had been apprehended.


Deputy Superintendent Nelson dispatched Chicago Police Detective Moore to Valparaiso on the 3:15 pm train. Moore’s responsibility was to prepare the Valparaiso authorities for the arrival of Page. Nelson and Page, who was handcuffed, left for Valparaiso that evening on the 10:00 pm train.
According the January 28, 1867, issue of the Harrisburg Daily Telegraph [Pennsylvania]:

“When Page ascertained that he was to be taken back to Valparaiso, he became very much excited, and begged piteously of Mr. Nelson to be either locked up in the Cook County jail, or else to be conveyed to Laporte, Indiana, averring that his life would certainly be taken by the infuriated citizens of Valparaiso, the moment he reached that town.

On the way down to the depot the murderer begged Mr. Nelson to tell the Sheriff of Porter county that he (Page) voluntarily delivered himself up. His conduct on the cars was very submissive. He would not talk with his conductor on the subject of his crime; but when Mr. Nelson remarked: ‘Page, the evidence of Miss Ludolph will go hard against you,’ ‘That’s so,’ and again sank back in his seat and was silent. About twelve o’clock in the night, Page seemed to drop off into a quiet slumber, which last about fifteen minutes. Then suddenly, as if he had been dreaming something horrible, the poor wretch started out of his sleep, and with a startled air burst into a flood of tears. He begged and prayed he be not taken to Valparaiso, as he would sooner be detained in the Chicago jail.”

The train reached the Valparaiso depot at 4:00 am on Friday, January 18. The Valparaiso City Marshal and Chicago Police Detective Moore were waiting at the depot for the arrival of Nelson and Page. The marshal had brought a fast horse and cutter to the depot to convey Page to the Porter County Jail. The marshal had also prepared to transport Page to the LaPorte County Jail twenty miles east in the event that the citizens of the Valparaiso vicinity had found out that Page was arriving in the city by train. The citizens of Valparaiso and vicinity were unaware of Page’s arrival, however, and Page was provided escort to the Porter County Jail.
Later, it was soon discovered by Valparaiso residents that Chauncey had become a resident at the Porter County Jail. Citizens reportedly gathered in the streets, at stores and groceries, and the city hummed about the murders and the best method that could be employed to dispose of Page. The general consensus was that Page “should immediately be taken out and hanged.” The lynch mentality was especially strong among the area’s German population given Fredericka Ludolph was German.

Obviously sensing that citizen justice was not in line with the criminal justice process, Porter County Sheriff Bartholomew had Page removed from the jail and placed into a stage coach for transport to the LaPorte County Jail. At this time Chauncey emphatically denied any involvement in the murders and stated that Fredericka Ludolph was a complete stranger to him. When informed, however, that Fredericka was still alive, Page reportedly hung his head and refused to speak. The German population, still outraged, sought to travel to LaPorte County and lynch Page there.


On Saturday, January 19, per standard protocol, a Coroner’s Inquest was held at Valparaiso to determine the cause of death of Rachael (Hastings) Goss Long and Emaline (Goss) Page. Testimony was provided by G. W. Pierce about what he observed at the site of where the bodies were recovered soon after the incident. The other individual to testify at the inquest witnessed the crime – Fredericka Ludolph. The inquest jury’s verdict was as follows:


“In accordance with evidence submitted the jury find that the deceased came to their death by violence at the hand of Chauncey F. Page, and that the death was occasioned by shots from a pistol which the said Page caused to be discharged at the bodies of the deceased, feloniously and with premeditated malice.
Signed – A. A. Starr, James Kelly, Wm. Parkhurst, D. V. R. Skinner, Joseph McElsee, Wm. Brooks – Jurors.
Attest – J. H. Leatherman, Coroner.”

Within six months, Chauncey F. Page was tried for the murder of Emaline (Goss) Page and Rachael (Hastings) Goss Long and the attempted murder of Fredericka Ludolph. A request for a change in venue resulted in the trial taking place in LaPorte County rather than in Porter County. The case opened on June 27, 1867, and was presided over by LaPorte Circuit Court Judge Andrew Lawrence Osborn. Chauncey was represented by Judge James Bradley and Judge Mulford K. Farrand, and the prosecuting attorney representing the State of Indiana was Valparaiso resident Thomas J. Merrifield. The first day of proceedings consisted of empaneling a jury, which concluded at 7:00 in the evening.


 LaPorte County, Indiana, courthouse, January 1871. Chauncey F. Page's
trial for the murders of Rachael (Hastings) Goss Page and Emaline E.
(Goss) Page and the attempted murder of Fredericka Ludolph took
place at this venue.
Source. Collection of the LaPorte County Historical Society Museum.

The following day, beginning at 9:00 am, witness testimony was heard, with the first witness called to testify being Fredericka Ludolph. Though Fredericka was severely wounded in the incident, she was able to appear at Page’s trial as the principal witness for the state. Eyewitness accounts of the trial state that Chauncey almost fainted when he saw Fredericka enter the courtroom. After direct and cross examinations, Fredericka was requested to point out Page by approaching him. She stepped within a few feet of Chauncey, looked him in the eye, and pointing, said, “This is the man.” Page reportedly looked at Fredericka, smiled, and bowed.

Other witnesses for the prosecution included the following:

  • Porter County Sheriff Stephen L. Bartholomew
  • Champ E. Buel, a long-time acquaintance of Page. Buel testified that he was with Page on the day of the murder and that Page had questioned him about his wife’s social activities.
  • Thomas Bushore, a neighbor living one-quarter mile east of the Long residence who observed the Long house on fire and went to assist in extinguishing the blaze.
  • R. L. Caldwell, a clerk at the City Hotel in Chicago. Caldwell maintained the hotel register and testified as to Page’s registration at the City Hotel.
  • Thomas A. E. Campbell
  • Mr. Carpenter, a clerk at the City Hotel in Chicago.
  • Walter DeCourcey, a railroad employee that witnessed Page at the depot in Hobart, Indiana, soon after murder.
  • Azariah Freeman, testified as to the location of Dyer Station, indicating that it is located at the Joliet Cut-off in Lake County, Indiana. He also provided information as to the distances between Valparaiso, the Long house, Wheeler, Dyer Station, and Chicago.
  • Elias Goss, Emma’s brother. Elias testified about familial relationship and ages of Rachael Goss and Emma Page.
  • Austin R. Gould, proprietor of the Gould House in Valparaiso where Page had stayed prior to the murders.
  • T. A. Hogan, overheard conversations between Marquis L. McClelland and Chauncey Page indicating the Page had been seen leaving the Wheeler area the night of the murder.
  • Erasmus J. Jones, Porter County Clerk familiar with Page divorce proceedings. Jones’ testimony was used, in part, to show Page’s motive for the crime.
  • Anna Kitchell, a woman in a sleigh that passed by Page in Wheeler soon after the murder. Kitchell was returning with a group of Good Templars from a party at Hobart, Indiana.
  • J. H. Leatherman, Porter County Coroner who conducted the coroner’s inquest.
  • George Longshore, witnessed Page in Valparaiso a few hours prior to the murder.
  • Martin Ludolph, Fredericka’s father.
  • Lewis H. Mandeville, Valparaiso photographer visited by Page a few hours prior to the murder.
  • Marquis L. McClelland, examined the Long house after the arson and transported Page from the Porter County Jail to the LaPorte County Jail.
  • Dr. Daniel Meeker, of LaPorte, testified that he had 35 years of experience in forensically examining gunshot wounds and had examined Fredericka Ludolph’s wound to the head. Given the size of the wound, Dr. Meeker testified that it was inflicted by a small pellet, or “common ball.”
  • O. P. Nellis, a clerk at the City Hotel in Chicago.
  • Columbus Pierce, visitor at Thomas Bushore home who discovered Fredericka outside of the burning house
  • George W. Pierce, was returning home to Valparaiso at about 11:00 pm on January 15 and saw the Long home on fire.
  • Miss Vine Sperry, a woman in a sleigh that passed by Page in Wheeler soon after the murder. Sperry was returning with a group of Good Templars from a party at Hobart, Indiana.
  • Colonel Isaac C. B. Suman, Emma’s brother-in-law.

Surprisingly, Page’s attorneys did not present a defense.

After closing arguments were made in the case, Judge Osborn stated that the “law is not a weapon in the hands of vengeance, but is made to protect human life and property, and it is for the jury to say how these can be best protected. If in their opinion, in the view of these facts, the taking of a life is necessary, to bring such a verdict, but to otherwise look at it in the light that laws were made more to prevent crime than punish the perpetrator, and bring in their verdict accordingly.”


On July 2, 1867, at 3:00 pm the jury indicated that it had reached a verdict; this after deliberating the case for approximately 23 hours. The courtroom was soon packed, every seat on the floor and gallery taken by spectators. Hundreds of people waited outside the courthouse door. Page was escorted into the courtroom by the deputy sheriff, reportedly appearing “pallid, and as one tortured with suspense,” but he exhibited no “unusual emotions.” A short delay occurred as one of Chauncey’s defense attorneys, Judge Bradley, had to be summoned to the courthouse.


Upon Judge Bradley’s arrival, Judge Osborn queried the jury if they had decided upon a verdict. The jury foreman, Willard Allen Place, replied in the affirmative, and the handwritten verdict of the jury was handed to Judge Osborn. According to eyewitnesses, the courtroom was as “still as death” as Judge Osborn read aloud the following verdict:


“We, the jury, do say and find the defendant, Chauncey Page, is guilty of murder in the first degree, in the manner and form as he stands charged in said indictment, and that he be imprisoned in the State Prison for and during his natural life.
W. A. PLACE, Foreman.”

Before the jury was polled, Page stood up to apparently make a statement and lifted his right hand as if taking an oath. One of his counselors, Judge Farrand, however, touched him and Page said nothing and sat down. Individuals sitting near Chauncey stated that he appeared to receive “his doom with a faint smile,” as he probably was expecting a death verdict.
Polling of the jurors revealed that they agreed upon a guilty verdict on the first ballot. With respect to punishment, however, the jurors were equally split on their first ballot – six voting for life imprisonment and six voting for death by hanging. A second ballot, taken an hour or two after the first, saw seven votes in favor for life imprisonment and five for hanging. Balloting for punishment continued until a final verdict was reached whereby all jurors agreed to life imprisonment. Regarding the verdict, a court reporter writing a special dispatch for The Chicago Tribune observed:

“The outside feeling is strong against the prisoner, and the verdict invites considerable comment, but while the mass of the community think the extreme penalty of the law might have been most fitly inflicted on so desperate a malefactor, they do not in the least censure the jury, composed as it was of our most upright and intelligent citizens, or the Judge, who is deservedly considered one of the most enlightened and incorruptible jurists in the state.”

On July 3, 1867, Page was transferred from the LaPorte County Jail to the Indiana State Prison, North, at Michigan City to begin serving his life term. Note that at this time, Indiana operated two state prisons – one prison named Indiana State Prison, North, and the other referred to Indiana State Prison, South, which was located in Jeffersonville. When Chauncey entered the prison in Michigan City, it was quite new, having taken in its first residents in 1860. While the prison located in Michigan City continues its function as a prison, the prison in Jeffersonville, which opened in 1822, was destroyed by fire in 1922 and prisoners there were removed to Michigan City.

 Indiana State Prison, North, located in Michigan City, LaPorte
County, Indiana, built in 1860. Chauncey F. Page's residence
beginning July 3, 1867.
Source: Higgins, Belden and Company. 1874. An Illustrated
Hist
orical Atlas of LaPorte County, Indiana. Chicago, Illinois:
Higgins, Belden and Company.

It should be noted that Fredericka Ludolph filed a civil suit against Page, setting her damages in the amount of $10,000. Ludolph’s civil case was heard prior to Chauncey’s criminal trial. Upon hearing the civil case, a judgment was rendered by the court on May 31, 1867, where Fredericka was awarded $3,000 in damages for the wounds and assault she received at the hands of Page. Incidentally, the ball fired from Page’s pistol into Fredericka’s arm was never removed; Fredericka refused to have it extracted so that she could “carry it as a reminder of the night.”


As an aside, one reporter covering the Page trial for The Chicago Republican wrote in his column:


“I do not believe in kicking a man because he is down, but the following would only be a fit companion piece to place beside the crime for which he stands arraigned. I have it from the best authority, that a lady in Valparaiso has received a letter form a lady friend, at present residing in Colfax, Cal., but formerly a resident of Idaho Territory, in which it is alleged that Page, who sojourned in Idaho about four years ago, was suspected of being a party to a murder in that locality, and that he fled the country to escape from the clutches of the law. It is said that this letter will be introduced as testimony – or that at least an attempt will be made to do so; but this is highly improbable, as such testimony must of necessity be inadmissible. But of one thing the public can rest assured – this matter will be further looked into and developed, and if they cannot hang him in Indiana, by means of a requisition from the Governor of Idaho they may succeed in that Territory.”

Little is known of that period Page spent incarcerated at the Indiana State Prison, North, though his residence was certainly not an extended stay. During the evening of Tuesday, April 2, 1872, Chauncey committed suicide by choking himself in his cell. Despite the widespread coverage of Page’s crimes in newspapers across the United States in 1867, his suicide was but a footnote in the press. In some notices, Page’s name was not even mentioned; instead he was simply referred to as “a life convict in the Indiana State Prison.” The Jasper Weekly Courier, published in Jasper, DuBois County, Indiana, was one of the few Indiana newspapers to print a notice of Chauncey’s death, writing:


“– C. F. Page, the life convict at the Northern Prison, turned over the last leaf of his desperate history last Tuesday night by choking himself to death in his cell. His way of shuffling off his mortal coil showed the desperate character of the man and his determination to succeed in this, his second attempt at self-destruction. He made a slip noose of his suspenders, placed it around his neck, sat down and tied his hands across his knees, fastened the suspenders to his hands with a piece of tarred twine, leaned back and choked himself to death. – In this condition he was found dead in his cell last Wednesday morning.”

Dr. Isaac P. Sinclair’s Physician’s Report from the Medical Department of the Indiana State Prison, North, to the prison’s board of directors, dated December 15, 1872, suggests the Page was tormented by his crime. Dr. Sinclair writes:

“I have one case of suicide to record. The murderer, Chancy [sic] F. Page, procured ropes from his fellow prisoners, and strangled himself to death, while in his cell, having previously made several unsuccessful attempts to bring his life to a close. Poor man! He could no longer endure the burnings of his conscience; his was indeed a sad end.”

Page’s remains were removed from the prison grounds and interred in an unmarked grave at Kimball Cemetery, located in Liberty Township in Porter County, just a few miles northeast of the Long home. Emaline E. (Goss) Page is also interred at Kimball Cemetery.

Photograph of the Emaline E. (Goss) Page tombstone at Kimball
Cemetery located in Liberty Township, Porter County, Indiana, 2016.
Source: Dan Lukes.

 Enumeration of prisoners who died while incarcerated at the Indiana State
Prison, North, in 1872, which includes the death of Chauncey F. Paige [sic.]
Source: Loughridge, W.B., J.J. Smiley, and G. Block. Annual Report of the
Officers of the
Indiana State Prison North for 1872. Indianapolis, Indiana:
R. J. Bright. 78 p. [p. 34]

 
It is speculated that Rachael (Hastings) Long was interred at the Blachly Cemetery located in Union Township, Porter County, Indiana, though there is no tombstone marking her burial. Benjamin Long, Rachael’s husband, was buried in Blachly Cemetery after he passed away in Valparaiso on November 20, 1878, his resting place marked today by a weathered white marble tombstone.


Fredericka Ludolph was residing with her parents in Union Township as late as 1880; the Federal Census of 1880 indicates that her occupation was that of a dressmaker. It has been reported that Fredericka never believed that Chauncey Page committed suicide at the prison in Michigan City, and she eventually left Porter County for San Francisco, California, due to her fear of Page. Indeed, she is listed in the San Francisco City Directory of 1916 as Miss Fredericka Ludolph. After extensive research, no trace of Fredericka could be found after 1916.


Ironically, 48 years after the attempted murder upon Fredericka Ludolph, her elder sister, Eliza Catherine (Ludolph) Vogel, and her brother-in-law, Jacob Vogel, were murdered in their home located in Fruitvale, Alameda County, California.


Jacob Vogel was born in Hesse-Cassel, Germany, on November 27, 1830, and, after apprenticing as a shoemaker for three years, left for the United States in 1857, arriving in New York City. Jacob soon made his way to Chicago and, after four months of residency in that city, moved to Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, where he was employed for a short time as a mason. Jacob was able to establish himself as a shoemaker in Bloomington, and remained in that trade until the outbreak of the Civil War. Jacob enlisted as an infantry soldier during the war and was honorably discharged from service in July, 1865.

Jacob married Eliza C. Ludolph on February 14, 1866, in Bloomington, Illinois. Together, they became the parents of six children. Jacob, still engaged in the shoemaking trade after the Civil War, was encouraged by his employer in Bloomington to start a shop of his own, so off went the Vogel family to Clinton, DeWitt County, Illinois, where Jacob met with success in owning and operating his own shop. With his profits, Jacob began investing in farming property, which he improved.


In 1866, while serving as a delegate at the Grand Army of Republic Encampment in San Francisco, California, Jacob visited several sections of the state; he purportedly enjoyed the climate and potential business opportunities that California had to offer. Upon arrival back to Illinois, he soon sold his business interest and farm lands and invested in real estate and livestock near Fresno, Fresno County, California. Jacob and Eliza built a fine home in Fresno, purchased and improved a 40 acre vineyard, and purchased other agricultural land that was improved and used to grow and harvest alfalfa.


In 1900, Jacob and Eliza moved to Fruitvale, where Jacob retired, while still maintaining some business interests in Fresno. For instance, he was the vice president and a director of the First National Bank of Fresno and president of the Fresno Street Improvement Company. At the time of his retirement, Jacob was also a significant stockholder in the Peoples Savings Bank of Fresno, the Fresno Abstract and Title Company, the First National Bank of Selma, the Selma Savings Bank, the First National Bank of Dinuba, and the Dinuba Savings Bank. Thus, the Vogel family was well-known as capitalists in the communities of Fresno and Fruitvale.


At some point in time after 6:50 pm on February 11, 1915, when their servant, Rosalie Rist, had left for the evening to attend a dance, Jacob and Eliza Vogel were murdered in their Fruitvale home and the residence was ransacked. Rist discovered their bodies upon her return to the home at 2:00 am the following morning. The Lompoc Journal, published in Lompoc, Santa Barbara County, California, provided the following details of the incident in their February 20th issue:


“Oakland. -- Jacob Vogel, aged 75, former president of the Citizens’ Bank of Fruitvale, and his aged wife, Elise, aged 70, were found murdered Friday morning, February 12, in their home at 3108 Galindo street, Fruitvale. The house was ransacked.

Both had been tied first, Vogel with his hands behind him and Mrs. Vogel with her hands in front of her by her apron strings.

When their victims were bound, the police believe the thugs tortured the aged man and woman to force them to tell where their wealth was hidden, and when they refused to do so, deliberately killed them.

Their skulls had been crushed by some blunt instrument but the instrument of death was carried away.

A second theory investigated by the police is that the aged couple recognized the thug or thugs while they were ransacking the house and finding themselves detected killed Vogel and his wife to hide their crime.

The bodies were found in the front or sitting room, where the couple had been near the stove reading the evening papers.

Their wealth is believed to have been the motive for the crime. The Vogels were reputed to be worth upwards of $100,000.”

The violence perpetrated upon the Vogels was extreme. Jacob’s neck was broken and medical reports indicate that nearly every one of Eliza bones was broken. The house “was blood-spattered from top to bottom.” In their search for cash and valuables, the perpetrators had even slashed open the mattress

Approximately one month subsequent to the Vogel crime, Charles E. Sligh, also known as One-Eyed Sligh, was identified as a potential suspect. After four hours of interrogation, Sligh declared that he knew that Alfred L. Sells, an ex-convict, and M. E. Cox, a male nurse, had planned to rob the Vogel home. Sells had told Sligh that he intended to rob the Vogel house and later threatened to kill Sligh if he ever spoke of the crime.


Early police mugshot of Alfred L. Sells. Sells murdered Jacob Vogel and
his wife Eliza Catherine (Ludolph) Vogel at their home in Fruitvale,
Alameda County, California, on February 11, 1915.
Source: Livingston, Alberta. 1930. "The Strangest Third Degree." True
Crime Mysteries
12(4):50-52 and 85-88. [see p. 51]

Sells was certainly no stranger to the criminal justice system; he served a term in the state prison at San Quentin for manslaughter for having disemboweled a keeper of a rooming house in Oakland, California, several years before. Detectives described Sells as and educated man, “wise as an owl and hard and cold as steel; dangerous in the extreme, and an excellent conversationalist, who could talk intelligently on any subject.”

 Photograph of Alfred L. Sells. Sells and Charles E. "One-Eyed" Sligh, criminal
associates in California. Sells murdered Jacob Vogel and his wife Eliza Catherine
(Ludolph) Vogel at their home in Fruitvale, Alameda County, California, on
February 11, 1915. Immediately before this photograph was taken, Sells reportedly
stated that he would like to add Sligh to his life of murder victims.
Source: Livingston, Alberta. 1930. "The Strangest Third Degree." True
Crime Mysteries
12(4):50-52 and 85-88. [see p. 51]

The nurse, M. E. Cox, had previously been employed in the Vogel home to care for Jacob. Cox had allegedly provided information to Sells about the residence. On February 7, Sells requested that Sligh, a close associate in other crimes, participate in the robbery of the Vogel residence, but Sligh refused. Sligh had recently married and had also served time in prison. He was not interested in being incarcerated again. Sligh then traveled to Los Angeles, thereby establishing a solid alibi.

Given the information provided by Sligh, Sells was detained in Oakland. On March 5, 1915, Alfred L. Sells confessed to the Vogel crime after the district attorney of Alameda County promised Sells immunity from the death penalty if there was a confession. In his confession, Sells indicated that he had killed Eliza C. (Ludolph) Vogel just prior to midnight by striking her on the head with his revolver and then proceeded to choke her to death. Alfred stated that his partner in the crime, whose name he could not remember, murdered Jacob Vogel. Testimony from a man who had driven Sells to the Vogel home confirms that another man had entered into the Vogel home with Sells, but this person was never identified and thus never apprehended and punished for the crime. Detectives, however, were convinced that Sells committed the crime alone. Nurse Cox was vindicated after Sells testified that he had nothing to do with the robbery other than having told Sells that the Vogels kept $4,000 in their home.

Sells was convicted of robbery and murder and sentenced to a life term by Judge Gavin Craig, beginning his residency in the prison at San Quentin on March 20, 1915. He was not a model prisoner. He once attempted to escape from the prison in 1918, using a “straw man” in his cell as a decoy, but was later found hiding in a shack on the prison grounds.

Sells was described as a “morose and vicious prisoner, feared by his guards and fellow convicts – always on the alert for a chance to escape.” California policy was to eventually transfer all recidivists in the state prison system to Folsom State Prison, and Sells was no exception. Similar to Chauncey F. Page, Sells did not reside for an extended period of time in prison. He died at the age of 48 years on November 29, 1924, in the Folsom State Prison hospital while undergoing surgery for ulcers of the stomach. At the time of his death, he was described as going to the “operating-table a broken man, steeped in bitterness and hatred, the wreck of a misspent life.” One can surmise that Chauncey F. Page also died a broken man.


 Prisoner No. 12333, Alfred Sells, San Quentin State Prison, San Quentin,
Marin County, California.
Sells was convicted of murder in the deaths of
Jacob Vogel and his wife Eliza Catherine (Ludolph) Vogel at their home
in Fruitvale, Alameda County, California, on February 11, 1915.
Source:
Department of Corrections. San Quentin State Prison Records, 1850-1950.
Identification No. R135, California State Archives, Office of the
Secretary of State, California.


Source Material

Books and Periodicals
Daniels, E.D. 1904. A Twentieth Century History and Biographical Record of LaPorte County, Indiana. Chicago, Illinois: The Lewis Publishing Company. 813 p. [see p. 386]

Goodspeed, Weston A., and Charles Blanchard. 1882. Counties of Lake and Porter, Indiana: Historical and Biographical. Chicago, Illinois: F.A. Battey and Company. 771 p. [see pp. 196-197]

Hardesty, A.G. 1876. Illustrated Historical Atlas of Porter County, Indiana. Valparaiso, Indiana: A.G. Hardesty. 90 p. [see p. 26]

The Lewis Publishing Company. 1912. History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests. Volume I. Chicago, Illinois: The Lewis Publishing Company. 357 p. [see p. 338]

Livingston, Alberta. 1930. “The Strangest Third Degree,” True Crime Mysteries 12(4):50-52 and 85-88.

Loughridge, W.B., J.J. Smiley, and G. Block. 1872. Annual Report of the Officers of the Indiana State Prison North for 1872. Indianapolis, Indiana: R.J. Bright. 78 p. [see pp. 15-16]

Skinner, Hubert M. January 15, 1878. Complete History of Porter County, Indiana. Valparaiso, Indiana: Valparaiso Messenger. Unpaged.

Vandor, Paul E. 1919. History of Fresno County, California, with Biographical Sketches of the Leading Men and Women of the County Who have been Identified with its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present. Los Angeles, California: Historic Record Company. 1,287 p. [see p9. 778-780]

Newspapers (listed by date of publication)
The National Republican, Washington, D.C.; January 19, 1867; Volume 7, Number 45, Page 2, Column 6. Column titled “Bloody Tragedy in Indiana.”

The Evening Telegraph, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania; January 21, 1867; Volume 7, Number 18, Page 1, Columns 2 and 3. Column titled “A CHAPTER OF HORRORS: Midnight Tragedy near Valparaiso, Indiana -- An Infuriated Husband Shoots His Wife and Mother-in-Law, and Fires the House where They Lay -- Narrow Escape of a Young Girl from Murder and the Flames."

Marshall County Republican, Plymouth, Marshall County, Indiana; January 24, 1867; Volume 11, Number 11, Page 1, Columns 2 and 3. Column titled: “Terrible Tragedy: Double Murder and Arson at Valparaiso, Indiana.”

Marshall County Republican, Plymouth, Marshall County, Indiana; January 24, 1867; Volume 11, Number 11, Page 2, Column 5. Column titled: “The Murderer Page taken to Laporte Jail to avoid Lynching -- The Coroner Inquest -- Testimony of Miss Ludolph, the only Surviving Witness of the Deed.”

The Daily Journal, Wilmington, New Hanover County, North Carolina; January 24, 1867; Volume 16, Number 100, Page 2, Column 6. Untitled column.

Harrisburg Daily Telegraph, Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania; January 28, 1867; Page 1, Column 6. Column titled “THE INDIANA TRAGEDY: Full Particulars of the Horrible Double Murder at Valparaiso.”

Harrisburg Daily Telegraph, Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania; January 28, 1867; Page 2, Column 5. Column titled “The Valparaiso Horror -- Capture of the Murderer in Chicago.”

West Eau Claire Argus, West Eau Claire, Eau Claire County, Wisconsin; February 27, 1867; Volume 2, Number 11, Page 2, Column 5. Column titled “The West.”

Alton Weekly Telegraph, Alton, Madison County, Illinois; May 24, 1867; Volume 37, Number 12, Page 2, Column 5. Column titled “From Chicago.”

The Chicago Republican, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois; June 29, 1867; Volume 3, Number 25, Page 4, Column 6 and Page 5, Columns 1 and 2. Column titled “The Valparaiso Horror: Trial of Chauncey F. Page, the Murderer.”

The Chicago Republican, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois; June 30, 1867; Volume 3, Number 26, Page 5, Column 1. Column titled “The Valparaiso Horror: Trial of Chauncey F. Page, the Murderer.”

The Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois; July 3, 1867; Volume 11, Number 3, Page 1, Column 5. Column titled “The Page Murder Case, at LaPorte, Ind.”

The Pittsburgh Commercial, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania; July 6, 1867; Volume 4, Number 35, Page 2, Column 8. Column titled “A Murderer Sentenced to Prison for Life.”

Inter Ocean, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois; April 11, 1872; Volume 1, Number 16, Page 2, Column 6. Column titled “Indiana.”

The Jasper Weekly Courier, Jasper, DuBois County, Indiana; April 12, 1872; Volume 14, Number 10, Page 4, Column 3. Untitled column.

New Orleans Republican, New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana; April 21, 1872; Volume 6, Number 11, Page 8, Column 8. Untitled column.

The Daily Phoenix, Columbia, Richland County, South Carolina; April 24, 1872; Volume 3, Number 30, Page 1, Column 1. Untitled column.

The Edwardsville Intelligencer, Edwardsville, Madison County, Illinois; April 25, 1872; Volume 10, Number 25, Page 2, Column 5. Column titled “Incidents and Accidents.”

Juniata Sentinel, Mifflintown, Juniata County, Pennsylvania; May 8, 1872; Volume 26, Number 19, Page 2, Column 4; Untitled column.

The Lompoc Journal, Lompoc, Santa Barbara County, California; February 20, 1915; Volume 26, Number 40, Page 2, Column 5; Column titled “Capitalist and Wife Murdered.”

The Ogden Standard, Ogden City, Weber County, Utah; March 1, 1915; Volume 45, Number 50, Page 1, Column 7; Column titled “Men Admit a Series of Crimes.”

Red Bluff Daily News, Red Bluff, Tehama County, California; March 6, 1915; Volume 31, Number 105, Page 1, Column 4; Column titled “Confessed Robber Connected with a Murder by Police.”

Mariposa Gazette, Mariposa, Mariposa County, California; March 13, 1915; Volume 60, Number 41, Page 2, Column 3; Column titled “Sols Confesses to Murder of Vogels.”

Tonopah Daily Bonanza, Tonopah, Nye County, Nevada; January 16, 1918; Volume 17, Number 169, Page 1, Column 6; Column titled “Prisoner Hides in Shed in Jail Yard.”

© 2015 Steven R. Shook. All Rights Reserved.

2 comments:

  1. Nice article. Can you tell me your source for the final paragraph about Sells? I'm writing a short bio of Harry Raymond, who was the detective that Sells bound and gagged in Fred Harlow's home in Los Angeles.

    Patrick Jenning

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Patrick,
      The source of the last paragraph is the following:

      Livingston, Alberta. 1930. “The Strangest Third Degree,” True Crime Mysteries 12(4):50-52 and 85-88.

      Delete