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Sigourney, Iowa
News Review
December 17, 1896

Accused of stealing chickens --- acquitted at the trial ---supposed to be work of vigilantes---Coroner Adams' statement

The little and quiet town of coal Creek, in this county, was thrown into great excitement Friday morning last, when it was discovered that Milton Brunson had been shot down within a few yards of his mother's residence.  It seems the shooting took place between 1 and 2 o'clock that morning.

We were not acquainted with these acts until this occurrence, and of course a great many rumors in in circulation as to his former misdeeds, and we have tried to arrive at the true facts as nearly as possible.  It is claimed that the deceased served two terms in the penitentiary, one out West and one in Illinois.  As to that we have no personal knowledge, but it seems to be conceded that he served twice in the pen.

A few years ago he went West and was gone for a number of years.  After remaining at home for some time he took a trip East and was gone for several years.  For the past five or six months he had made his home with his mother at Coal Creek.  His mother is post mistress of that town and has been for a number of years, but since the son returned the last time the bondsmen notified her that they would not retain on the bond if her son was going to remain at home.  It seems they were fearful he might do something while around the mail in the office that would get her and the bondsmen in trouble.  So she sent in her resignation, but no one as of yet has been appointed to the place.

His mother is quite aged, and is a woman that stands high in the community.  The deceased was about 47 years of age.

It is claimed that he made night raids through that section of countryand then go to What Cheer and other appoints with a supply of chickens and sell them.  Some time since he was arrested for stealing chickens, convicted, and let off with a small fine.  Thursday last he was arrested again for stealing chickens and taken before the Justice of the Peace at What Cheer, but he asked for and got a change of venue and the case was sent to Keswick.  He was tried at Keswick the same day, but the evidence did not seem sufficient to convict him, so he was discharged.  The trial lasted several hours and he did not get to return home until late at night, and it being several miles away he was late in getting home.  Keswick is several miles from Coal Creek, and as he had no conveyance of his own he rode within about two miles of his home with Constable Dansdill (What Cheer) and walked the rest of the way.

On his arrival home between 1 and 2 o'clock in the morning he was fired on, and it seems there were several in the party from the number of shots fired and the different kinds of shot and bullets found in the body.  The parties that did the shooting no doubt were sure he was on his way home, and perhaps shadowed him all teh way to see if they could not catch him doing some devilment.  At any rate, almost as soon as he got inside of his mother's and while on the way to the house he was shot down and several shots were fired in succession.

It is claimed the shooting was heard by a number of persons in the village and by members of his own family, but they thought he had returned home and was cleared, and was firing a salute in honor of his victory.  The mother herself did not think enough about it, not dreaming anything of a serious nature had occurred.  It is claimed he often fired his revolver around the premises as he most always carried firearms.  He lay where shot down until daylight next morning before discovered.


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