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125 years ago - murder in Ada

The Mayor read the charge murder in the first degree,

to which he answered, “Not guilty,” and waived examination

The following account of an Ada murder is reprinted from a Bluffton News of January, 1899.  It occurred following a farmers’ institute, an annual event in nearly every community. The Bluffton News wrote its own brief account of the event, followed by a separate account taken from The University Herald, an Ada newspaper in 1899.


Bluffton News summary article

The murder of Homer Welker by his brother,  Bud [A full account of which appears in another column – Ed.] last Thursday in Ada caused quite a shock here as both men were residents of this neighborhood.


The funeral of the deceased was held at Bethel church on Saturday, conducted by a Methodist minister of Ada, who delivered a very impressive sermon.


The church was crowded standing room in sympathizing friends and neighbors. The deceased was 33 years of age, leaves a wife, little girl of ten years, a mother, four brothers and two sisters to mourn his sudden death and unexpected departure.


His remains were laid to rest in Hassan cemetery. Mothers who read of this tragedy should think of this mother, visiting the prison cell, there seeing the boy she loved so well behind its grates, and as soon as strength would permit, was taken to the undertaker’s room, there to see in the cold embrace of death another son, that a few hours before had passed by her door in good health.


Think, too, of these sorely bereft in so short a time.


We, in behalf of this community, offer our deepest heartfelt symphony to all of the sorrowing friends, in their great affliction.


University Herald account



Homer Welker Shot and Instantly Killed by His Brother Bert.


A shocking tragedy marked the end of the farmers’ institute last evening, Jan. 5.


Bert O. Welker, while fighting with his brother, Homer Welker, drew his revolver and fired three shots two of which struck Homer. He died ten minutes afterwards, with his slayer already behind the bars.


Not since the Salesburry tragedy seven years ago, has this city been so profoundly stirred as last night.


Homer and Bert Welker had been attending the institute. At its close they met at Ries Corner. Bert was standing by the pole there, when Homer accompanied by his brother-in-law, Mr. Shilling, passed him going north about 4 p.m.


There had been bad feeling between them for several years over the disposition of their father’s estate, and yesterday they had met several times and quarreled.


This time Mr. Shilling cautioned Homer not to stop and make trouble, but just as they passed he dealt Bert a stunning blow to the face. Then the two men began scuffling and moved a few feet southeast into the square.


Here Bert drew his revolved and fired three shots in quick succession. Homer fell to the ground. The dazed crowd on the square rushed in and to Tom George and James Kindle he said he was shot through the heart and was dying.


He was carried into the rear room of Young’s drug store, where Doctors Ames and Leonard came to his assistance, but he was beyond human aid.


The dying man said that family trouble had caused it all, and passed away in a few moments.


Immediately after the shooting, Bert Welker walked back to the Ries corner, where he stood until Marshal Rice came up, when he gave him his smoking revolver, a 32-caliber, saying he had to do the shooting.


Rice at once placed him in jail, where he paced the floor in moody silence and received the announcement of his brother’s death with apparent unconcern.


In a few minutes Undertaker Ream’s wagon was secured, and the body was taken to his establishment where it was kept for post mortem to-day.


Homer Welker was thirty three years old, and a perfect physical specimen of manhood. He leaves a wife and daughter, and his home three-and-one-half miles north of Ada.


His brother, now under the charge of fratricide, lives with his mother three miles north and is twenty-eight years of age.


Some time ago their father was killed by being thrown from his wagon. The division of his estate has since generated the enmity that culminated in the terrible tragedy. Both men have been industrious citizens, but when angered they were very vindicative, and in this trouble it seems that threats had been made on both sides.


Doctors Ames and Leonard made the post-mortem examination this forenoon. Both the shot in the front and the one in the side, passed beside the heart but did not injury it.


The ball in the side passed upwards diagonally across the thorax severing the jugular and causing internal hemorrhage.


Bert Welker was brought before Mayor Holland at 11 o’clock Friday forenoon for preliminary examination. The Mayor read the charge murder in the first degree, to which he answered, “Not guilty,” and waived examination.


His face showed a terrible strain of the past few hours and his weeping mother, brothers and sisters made a scene pathetic in the extreme.


He was committed to jail to await the grand jury sitting next week.


The funeral of the deceased will be held at his home Saturday at 10 a.m., conducted by Rev. Wean.








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