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The following information is from my mother, Phyllis Nicholson. Milton Brunson was Hattie Brunson Craig's brother. Hattie married Joseph Edgar Craig (brother to WA Craig). -Rebecca Miller

Death certificate

Milton Brunson 47
Died: December 11, 1896
12:30 A.M.

He was a peddler
Born in Ohio
He was an American
He died of gun shot wounds at Coal Creek, Iowa
Burial at Highland Cemetery in What Cheer, Iowa; Keokuk County.

I don't know if there is a marker or not. Phyllis

A group of neighbors murdered him. Mom's father W.A. Craig was on the jury and at one time she did have a list of names. I tried to find the trial information at the Courthouse and never found it. It may have been in the Keswick town records, which are probably long gone by now.

The Story....
Brunson Murder

M.S. Brunson went West to seek his fortune for a time he led an honorable life, then for some unknown crime he served a term in the Kansas penitentiary under the name of Blanchard. When he was released he returned to the home of his parents at Coal Creek. When he left again, he is supposed to have taken his parents' money with him. Later he was supposed to have served a term in the Joliet prison.(Illinois) He then returned to What Cheer, and was unable to make a living repairing gasoline stoves. Failing at this, he returned to Coal Creek to live with his mother. She supplied him with a stock of granite ware, and he became a peddler. Occasionally he would come home with a lot of chickens and sell them in What Cheer, explaining that he had taken them in exchange for the granite ware.

It was about this time that people began to complain about losing chickens, some having large flocks stolen. Soon it was initimated that Brunson was stealing them. Public sentiment was against him. Finally he was arraigned in Justice Court....a change of venue was requested, and the trial was taken to Keswick. He was acquitted.

After the trial was over, Brunson left for home, riding as far as Prairie Bell School with the constable. From there he walked to Coal Creek about a distance of 2 miles. In a little less than an hour, the neighbors heard shooting, one neighbor reported hearing 22 shots, but apparently no one went to investigate. In the morning Brunson was found in a pool of blood riddled with bullets, near the barn of his mother's place in Coal Creek. It was later rumored that there was more to it than chicken stealing...that Brunson had made advances to some of the men's wives.

The cornoner's jury secured no evidence and returned a verdict that "the deceased came to his death from gunshot wounds at the hands of unknown parties." Public sentiment in the community seemed to favor dropping the matter.

Mom said that his family were warned as to what was going to happened and were told to lock the doors and windows, which they did. She said that there were claw marks on the window sill and door where he tried to get into the house.


I am thinking this is Milton's wife.
Mary Ann Brunson age 51
Born in Ohio
Died from exhaustion from Melancholia
Buried in Davis County

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