Art, 20, a Buffalo County farmer’s son, was sent to penitentiary for
After a month he
escaped, but was captured near the Colorado border
November 22, 1903
– Art was released after serving 1 ½ years in the pen.
Returned to Kearney
About March 10, 1904 – Art left
Kearney; went to Fremont
March 15 – Art, now calling
himself Harry Rogers, and another man, Jake Kelly, were arrested for
intoxication and quarreling.
Put in Dodge County jail at Fremont.
Kelly, 42, was a plumber and well known crook in
suspected of helping with a murder in Holdrege in 1891
March 16 – They were released the next day if they
would leave town;
They did not leave so they were arrested again and given 10 days
During that time, other prisoners heard Art &
Kelly said he would kill Art, whom he knew as Harry Rogers, first chance he
That Rogers knew
too much about him
March 26 – After 10 days they were released again; this time they headed
day they were both seen in Humphrey
At night they burglarized a store
March 28 – Art was
murdered and left in a vacant house between Columbus and Norfolk.
He had a bullet in the
head. The theory he was killed outside the house and dragged in.
When the body was first
found a couple days later, his identity was unknown
Cards found in his pocket had name Harry Rogers;
written by a man in Fremont jail when Art was there
Sheriff in Fremont recognized clothes as those
belonging to man he knew as Rogers
Body taken to Lincoln to turn over to medical
college if unclaimed
A heavily veiled woman and a man came to the under
woman identified body as her son and arranged for burial under
the name William Bell.
She refused to give her name.
investigation (Sheriff in Columbus
near the murder site)
Went to the penitentiary and found Art’s record
Found that a young
lady from Hastings knew Art was using the name Harry Rogers
Buffalo County deputy
sheriff went to Lincoln and identified Art from a photo
[he had apparently
brought with him]
April 28 – Kelly arrested in late April
May 3 – A picture of the dead
man was brought to Kearney by the Buffalo County deputy sheriff.
parents positively identified him as their son.
Deputy wrote to the
Lincoln undertaker asking were the body was buried
Undertaker said it was not Art and that relatives
had identified him and paid for burial
Sheriff’s investigation continued (Now gathering
evidence against Kelly)
Included evidence that Art and Kelly were in
Humphrey the day before the murder
and Kelly was there alone the day after,
before the body was found
Trial against Kelly
place in Columbus June 16 & 18, 1904
mother testified and broke down when questioned about the waywardness of her
Two men in
Fremont jail with Art and Kelly swore they heard Kelly tell Art he knew too
and he would have to “put him away”
Another man testified that when he went to see the
corpse, Kelly entered with a policeman and said
“If you send a photograph of
this man to Kearney you will find his relatives.”
Kelly testified on his own behalf.
He admitted they were in
jail together in Fremont and both released at the same time
But he did not see Art again until he saw the body
at Humphrey the day of the murder
June 18 – After 15 hours of deliberation, jury
declared Kelly guilty of murder in 2nd degree
Sentence to be life in prison
Addendum: One of the two men from the Fremont
jail, apparently brought from jail to testify, eluded the sheriff, jumped
from a second-story window of the courthouse and escaped the day after
Attempted Murder –
Frank shot by wife
June 28, 1911
in serious condition at WCTU hospital, shot by wife, Nellie, because husband continued to
annoy her by watching her windows
They were operators of a room & board house on
was standing out front when he felt the sting of a bullet in his neck
Tried to run but was hit in the thigh
Managed to get a block east to offices of Dr. G.M. &
where they worked over him for an hour to stop the bleeding and
then took him to the hospital
Nellie said she was sitting under one of the trees
near the house
Doctors said that was not possible, judging from the angle of the bullets
which was downward. They said it had to have been someone sitting up in the
deputy, & city policeman, however, believed the wife shot him.
She had been threatening recently she would kill
him if he did not stop annoying her
A few weeks earlier she had filed for divorce,
citing cruelty, not providing proper support and although able, food for the
said he refused to pay the doctor’s bill when she was ill, that he brought home stale
dry bread and doughnuts expecting her to make them fresh by steaming them,
and that she had to
do all the washing and housekeeping for him and his two small children.
She also said that
when she came to the house when they were married six months ago, it was
dirty and full of dirty clothes.
Frank was about 50 years old.
This was his fourth
first three wives had died of kidney disease.
This was Nellie’s fifth
not known each other very long before they married