Waukesha Daily Freeman from Waukesha, Wisconsin on February 20, 1971 · Page 15
Get access to this page with a Free Trial

Waukesha Daily Freeman from Waukesha, Wisconsin · Page 15

Publication:
Location:
Waukesha, Wisconsin
Issue Date:
Saturday, February 20, 1971
Page:
Page 15
Start Free Trial
Cancel

Murder left boy Unknown but not unloved By Len Worzalla Freeman Staff This grave marker tells the story: “Unknown Boy Found in O’Laughlin Quarry, Waukesha, Wis., March 8, 1921.” Harold Howitt, administrator of Prairie Home Cemetery, recalled that for years after the burial a woman (Mrs. Conrad) would visit the cemetery to place flowers on the grave. The sketch in the upper right- hand corner appeared during the search for the boy’s identity. “JT WAS 2 o’clock in the afternoon of Tuesday, March 14 (1921). A tiny white casket reposed amid odds and ends of an undertaking and upholstering establishment on Broadway. It was dark within and dark without, even the weather being mournful . . .” Thus began, according to the Freeman’s pages of 50 years ago, the final chapter in Waukesha’s “Little Lord Fauntleroy” murder case — a tragedy that brought a lump into the throats even of law officers hardened by the daily happenings of a nation already well into that boozy 10-year-fling remembered as the “roaring 20’s.” Six days before, in the O’Laughlin quarry on the north edge of town, a workman had discovered the body of a 5- or 6-year-old boy, dressed in clothing that indicated “he might have come from a fairly well-to-do family.” The workman, John Brlich, reported his discovery to Waukesha County Sheriff Clarence Keebler who, along with County Coroner L. F. Lee, drove out to the quarry and retrieved the body. Even before autopsy began, county officers notified Milwaukee police of the discovery and a Midwest search began for clues to the boy’s identity. And for this lack of identity, and because of the body’s rather dandified appearance — long, curly hair and clothing that included patent leather shoes with cloth tops — newsmen called the boy Little Lord Fauntleroy. Estimates of how long the partly decomposed body had lain in the quarry pool ranged all the way from a few days to six months, but Mike Koker, pump­ man at the quarry, told police he had seen a young woman wandering around the property the evening of Feb. 6, a month before the body was found. The weeping woman asked Koker if he had seen a young boy in the neighborhood. Upon being told he had seen no one, Koker said, the woman joined a male companion who was peering down into the quarry. The pair talked for a moment and then entered a car nearby and drove off. Immediately a clandestine aura surrounded the case. Officials speculated the couple told the boy to take a walk about the grounds while they made love inside the car. While wandering about, police thought, the boy fell into the pool and drowned. The fearful couple failed to report the drowning, police speculated. But this theory was dispelled when the coroner reported the boy had been beaten on the head before falling into the pool, and there was an unusually small amount of water in the lungs, certainly not enough to drown him. Know This Boy? LARGE. LIGHT blue eyes STRIPED ROMPERS iCj «•> j ^ \ **U5ta» m ~l sj : ( I 1 ; lii >■/ 1 i Ji 1 !!•/ I ll ! -1 j j / [/ 1 ■ I 1* 1 1 * i. M B 1 1 • 1 i 1 i j » ' . / • BLONDE,CURLY HAIR. < - j BLACK 5 T 0 CKIMGS BLACK. RUBBERS,SL 2 E e-P Freaman Staff Photo But police still hoped to identify the body, particularly because David Dobrick, proprietor of the Liberty department store, told them he was positive the boy’s underwear, shoes and rubbers had been sold by his clerks during a January sale. Dobrick, according to a Freeman account, said he remembered the clothing because the garments were not part of his regular stock but had been purchased as part of another store’s bankruptcy sale. Then police received another “break.” A Chicagoan in the city, J. B. Belson said the boy was his nephew, the son of his sister Mrs. G. E. Hormidge, also of Chicago. A divorcee, Mrs. Hormidge had two sons, ages 3 and 5, who, according to her brother, had been “stolen” by her former husband. The husband had threatened “to do away with them many times,” Belson said. Police were informed positive identification would be made by the mother when she arrived from Chicago the next day. But no positive identification was made, and during the next two days police were besieged with more rumors and theories. Area residents then were invited to view the body in hopes someone would recognize the boy. Hundreds filed past the pitiful remains lying on the slab at the morgue here, and many more viewed the body in Milwaukee, where it was transferred for a second autopsy. But the name of the boy remained Little Lord Fauntleroy. Then a report reached the sheriff’s department that the woman seen earlier by the quarry employe had committed suicide there. The pond was dragged and DARK _ ;.>/ (FRAY SWEATER, WHITE. CLOTH- TOPPED 0UTTOH SHOES Wisconsin News sketch charges of dynamite were set off on the surface, in hopes the explosions would bring up her body. But no second body was found. After another day of rumors and discouraging reports, a committee comprised of Sheriff Keebler, C. A. Dean and District Atty. Allen D. Young offered a $250 reward for information leading to identification of the body and arrest of the murderer. The next day the reward was raised to $1,000, but no correct information was forthcoming. When the sheriff announced the body would be taken to the Weber Funeral Home, 726 N. East Ave., and buried in the next few days, Waukesha’s conscience was aroused. I^ed by Mrs. Minnie Conrad, of 156 4th St., citizens began collecting funds “to give the child a decent burial.” Others took up the cause. The boy was the subject of an anonymous poem published in the Freeman which said, in part: “I must have known a mother’s love, A mother must have bent above And kissed my baby lips and hair. Oh, does no one know, does no one care That I’m dead? But Waukeshans did care. The Freeman editorialized: “ . . . Somewhere, someplace, perhaps, is the mother, and some other place, perhaps, is the father. No one envies them the burden lying upon their conscience.” And thus Little Lord Fauntleroy went to his simple grave in Prairie Home cemetery A marker at the gravesite today calls him “unknown” — but certainly he was not unloved. Before his tiny, carnation strewn casket was lowered into the grave, an unknown mourner had inscribed across the top — “Our Darling.” Wmkwlu Frttmw — Saturday. Fifcimry 20, 1971 — Pa#* 5

Get access to Newspapers.com

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 15,400+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Try it free