Murder in Gales

A Rose Hanged Twice

by Patricia Lubeck

 

Book Details

Bitter Feuding Leads to Murder

This is a true murder mystery involving two families, the Lufkins and the Roses, who were neighbors living in southwestern Minnesota in the late 1800s. William Rose fell in love with Lufkin’s beautiful daughter, Grace, but her father put a stop to the budding romance. This sparked the bitter feud between the families. In the spring of 1888, Moses Lufkin sold his farm and moved in with his niece, Fannie Slover and her family. They lived in Gales Township in Redwood County. On the evening of August 22, 1888, Moses was conversing with the Slover family while seated on a lounge with his back against the window. Suddenly a shot was heard and Lufkin placed his hand on his heart, collapsed, and was dead within minutes. Eli Slover rushed to the window, saw a man fleeing the scene, and thought it was William Rose. Two days later Rose was arrested. The evidence presented was entirely circumstantial, and Rose was acquitted at the first two trials. At the third trial, the jury brought in a guilty verdict, and Judge Webber sentenced Rose to hang. Appeals to the highest courts were made, but to no avail. Governor Merriam sets the date of execution for October 16, 1891. At the gallows, Rose gives his last speech, declaring his innocence; stating Eli Slover is the man to watch. At 5 am Sheriff Charlie Mead pulls the lever, a crash is heard, and Rose’s body lies in a heap on the floor; the rope had snapped in two. The deputies pick up Rose’s limp body, carry him to the gallows, and adjust another noose around his neck. The trap gets sprung a second time and this time the rope holds, launching Rose’s spirit into eternity.

 

Book Excerpt

The following is Rose's last letter to his parents, written on October 15, 1891, the night before his execution: Dearest Ones at Home, It is with a sad heart that I pen these last few lines, realizing that the time is drawing near when I will be launched into eternity. The thought of those that are dearer to me than life are my only regret, but the hope of the future sustains me. You cannot realize the feeling I have. Oh God, if I could only prove to the world my innocence, what would I give. Ah, willingly would I lie down my life, dear though it may be, were it 10,000 times dearer to me than it is. Yes, would I gladly do it to wipe the terrible stigma from the path of my poor heartbroken parents. But we have a blessed truth that whosoever believeth on Him shall have everlasting life. In Him, and Him only, do I place my trust. I am reconciled to my fate, and ask God's blessing to rest upon you all, and assist you in bearing the burden of your grief, and hope and trust that when the great reaper gathereth his harvest, I will meet you all in that bright home of love. I had my picture taken today, and N.B. Anderson will send you one dozen, and I want to send one to the following address, John C. Geiger, New Ulm, Minn., as I promised him one. One also to this address, if she wishes it: Miss Alma, New Ulm, Minn. I wish also to enclose a letter to her with this last request. Bidding all good-bye and asking you all to bear your trials bravely as you may believe I shall, again I will say good-bye, and God bless you all. From your affectionate son and brother, William Rose.

 

About the Author

Patricia Lubeck

Patricia Lubeck, Curator of the Redwood County Museum is active in preserving and promoting Redwood County history. She is a member of the Sons of Norway and the Wood Lake Battlefield Preservation Association. A Bachelor’s Degree, University of California, Santa Barbara; focused on anthropology, psychology and sociology. She has a passion for history, and enjoys visiting museums and historic sites.

Also by Patricia Lubeck

Murder, Mystery & Mayhem in Minnesota
Crime and Calamity in Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota