Episode 80: Who Killed Thaddeus Fancher?

All Thaddeus Fancher wanted to do was have a drink. But when a group of robbers came into the bar, his night would end in death. Who had killed him, and what ties did they have to one of the most vicious killers in prohibition-era Chicago?




Two Seized on Girl’s Charge of Attack in Auto. Chicago Tribune, 11/17/1917

Murder Case Kidnaper Held in Los Angeles. Chicago Tribune, 6/16/1918

Dear and 3 Bandits Break Jail. Chicago Tribune, 9/13/1918

Bopp, Near Gallows, to Appeal to Lowden Today. Chicago Tribune, 12/5/1918

City’s ‘Big’ Crime Laid to 11,000 Drug Addicts. Chicago Tribune, 12/7/1918

Guard in Jail Break Talks Self into Cell. Chicago Tribune, 9/15/1918

M’Erlane, Last of Jailbreakers, is Brought Back. Chicago Tribune, 11/3/1918

Crown Point Lawyer Fatally Shot by Bandits. The Times, 5/5/1924

Bandits Shoot Two Who Didn’t Respond. The Huntington Herald, 5/5/1924

Victim of Bandits is Dead. The Times, 5/6/1924

Frank M’Erlane is Sought as Lawyer’s Slayer. Chicago Tribune, 5/6/1924

Roadhouse Bandits Are Captured After Chase. The Star Press, 5/6/1924

Man Shot by Bandits Dies. The Indianapolis Star, 5/7/1924

State News. The Star Press, 5/7/1924

Police Search for Suspected Slayers. Journal and Courier, 5/7/1924

Affairs at the County Capitol. Thaddeus Fancher Funeral, The Times, 5/9/1924

Conroy and McAleer Refuse to Aid Defense. The Times, 5/9/1924

Fancher Slayers are Indicted. The Times, 5/14/1924.

May Seek a Change of Venue. The Times, 5/17/1924

Cedar Lake Killers on Trial Next Week. The Times, 5/27/1924

Murderer Gets Life Sentence. The Indianapolis Star, 11/12/1924

M’Aleer to Prosecute Bandits. The Times, 9/25/1924

Indicted Girl for Murder. The Times, 10/4//1924

Woman Indicted for Shooting Man. The Star Press, 10/5/1924

Case Opens Today at Valparaiso. The Times, 10/13/1924

Sets Aside Venire in Murder Trial: No Women in List. The Star Press, 10/16/1924

Sensation in Murder Case at Valparaiso. The Times, 10/17/1924

Change of Judge Delays Hearing Til October 27. The Times, 10/18/1924

Jury is Expected This Eve. The Times, 10/29/1924

Still Struggle for a Jury. The Times, 10/30/1924

Fancher Murder Case On. The Times, 10/31/1924.

Testimony in Fancher Murder Trial. The Times, 10/31/1924.

Roadhouse Shambles a Witness Says. The Times, 11/1/1924

Identifies Shooting Gunman. The Times, 11/3/1924

Gangsters Branded as Ruthless. The Times, 11/4/1924

Trail of O’Reilly Resumes. The Times, 11/6/1924

O’Reilly is Found Guilty. The Times, 11/12/1924

M’Cabe On Trial Next Week for Killing Fancher. The Times, 11/19/1924

Valpo Court Fans Find Out All About O’Brien. The Times, 11/22/1924

Getting Jury for M’Cabe at Valpo. The Times, 11/25/1924

Cochran Tells of Murder. The Times, 11/29/1924

Jury Disagrees in M’Cabe Trial at Valparaiso. The Times, 12/4/1924

McCabe, Happy but Happy, Awaits Action of the State. The Times, 12/6/1924

Mrs. Anna Tulke Released on Bond. The Times, 1/24/1925

Second Trial of Alex M’Cabe Starts Monday. The Times, 2/4/1925

Bremer Will Handle M’Cabe Case. The Times, 2/6/1925

Valparaiso Speculates on M’Cabe Case. The Times, 2/7/1925

Court Refuses Honor Motion. The Times, 2/26/1925

Rapid Work on State’s Side in McCabe Trial. The Times, 3/25/1925

Murder Case to Jury at Valpo. The Times, 3/27/1925

McCabe Guilty of Second-Degree Murder. The Times, 3/28/1925

New Angle in M’Cabe Case. The Times, 3/28/1925

Convicted in Slaying of Thaddeus Fancher. The Star Press, 3/29/1925.

Miss Anna Tulke Involved. The Times, 4/30/1925

Brutal Gang Slays Murder Witness. The Times, 5/11/1925

Gang Queen Hides from Vengeance. The Times, 5/12/1925

Still Search for Gang Members for Cochran Slaying. The Times, 5/13/1925

M’Cabe Appeal Again Postponed. The Indianapolis Star, 5/15/1925

M’Cabe is Given New Trial. The Times, 5/21/1925

Judge Smith Bans Stewert and O’Brien From His Court. The Times, 5/27/1925

Third Trial for M’Cabe. The Times, 9/24/1925

M’Cabe Trial Starts at Valpo. The Times, 10/6/1925

Dead Man’s Evidence Read In McCabe Trial Yesterday. The Times, 10/7/1925

Road House Proprietress for M’Cabe. The Times, 10/8/1925

Murderer Brought from Pen, Testifies for Alex M’Cabe. The Times, 10/9/1925.

M’Cabe On Witness Stand. The Times, 10/10/1925

McCabe Freed on Third Trial. The Star Press, 10/12/1925

Seize Gunman for Slaying of Indiana Lawyer. The Times, 10/15/1925

M’Erlane Finally Caught. The Indianapolis News, 4/23/1926

Sheriff Will Try to Get M’Erlane for Fancher Killing. The Times, 4/24/1926

M’Erlane Extradition Up to Small. The Times, 4/26/1926

Issues Writ for McErlane. The Times, 4/27/1926

Sheriff Strong Renews Fight. The Times, 4/28/1926

Gangster’s Hearing on Monday. The Times, 4/29/1926

Sheriff Strong Goes to Springfield Monday. The Times, 5/1/1926

Trying to Save McErlane’s Hide. The Times, 5/11/1926

  1. M’Erlane Fights Trial. The Times, 5/12/1926

Bar Removal of M’Erlane. The Times, 5/25/1926

M’Erlane Threatens Suicide. The Times, 6/10/1926

Judge to See O’Reilley. The Times, 6/14/1926

Link M’Erlane with Gang of Killers. The Times, 8/2/1926

M’Erlane has Case Continued. The Times, 8/7/1926

Famous Gangster in Crown Point Jail. The Times, 8/17/1926

Speedy Trial for M’Erlane. The Times, 8/18/1926

Plain Fare for Gangster. The Times, 8/19/1926

Sheriff Strong Laughs at M’Erlane Yarn. The Times, 8/20/1926

Faces Trial (Photo of Frank McErlane). The Times, 8/23/1926

Notorious Gang Leader Goes on Trial at Valpo. For his Life. The Times, 2/8/1927

Extra! The Times, 2/15/1927

Holmes in Tirade for M’Erlane. The Times, 2/21/1927

M’Erlane Jury is Sworn In. The Times, 2/23/1927

Fixes M’Erlane as Present at Slaying. The Indianapolis Star, 2/24/1927

Sheriff Strong Hard Witness for M’Erlane Defense. The Times, 2/25/1927

State Scores a Point in M’Erlane Case. The Times, 2/26/1927

Hammond Witnesses Testify in M’Erlane Case Saturday. The Times, 2/28/1927

In Michigan and Indiana. The South Bend Tribune, 6/24/1938

‘Thad’ Fancher’s Ghost Stalks County Courthouse. The Times, 10/31/1939

McKinlay, Archibald. Lawyer’s death led to wild sort of justice. Calumet Roots, The Times, 6/10/2001.

May, Allan. Frank McErlane and the Chicago Beer Wars. Crime Magazine, 10/14/2009

“I’ll Take Care of It.” Frank McErlane’s Revenge. Weird Chicago Tours, 2/25/2017

May, Allan. Frank McErlane – Chicago’s “Murder Machine.” www.allanmay.com

Find a Grave. Find a Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi.

History.com Editors. Prohibition. www.history.com

Chermak, Steven and Frankie Y. Bailey, Editors. Crimes of the Centuries. ABO-CLIO, January 25, 2016.




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