The Kitchen Table Historian

I am an author and historian who writes about long-forgotten and out of the way events and places. I love the bizarre, the unusual, and the downright weird. I write a regular blog at my website, www.johnbrassardjrcom.wordpress.com, and also manage a facebook page about things of historical interest called The Kitchen Table Historian.

Pastor’s Wives Charred Remains Found in Parsonage Furnace

  When the Reverend Clarence Valentine Sheatsley walked into his house on the afternoon of November 11, 1924, the first thing he noticed was the smell of cooking meat. The smell permeated the parsonage where Clarence lived with his wife, Addie. They had been married for twenty-seven years, and she had been an excellent wife …

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Episode 86: Pastor’s Wives Charred Remains Found in Parsonage Furnace

When Reverend Clarence Sheatsley found his wife, Addie, in the parsonage furnace, he believed that she had committed suicide. The county prosecutor thought that it was murder. What really happened to Addie Sheatsley?   Sources Police Check Minister’s Story After Wife is Burned to Death. The Dayton Herald, 11/18/1924 Find Pastor’s Wife Burned in Furnace. …

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Man Uses Train to Sever Own Head

Competition amongst growing cities on the Midwestern frontier could be fierce. Throughout the 1800’s, towns vied with one another for their successes. Successful farmers, businessman, and manufacturers became leading citizens and politicians, having every interest in making their towns and regions thrive. Some wanted to make their mark on the world and leave their name …

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Episode 84: William Engelberg’s Wives Commit Suicide Only A Few Years Apart

William Engelberg was probably looking for a better life when he came to America. But his efforts were met with tragedy after two of his wives committed suicide only a few years apart.   Sources Engelberg. Chicago Tribune, 7/17/1916 Mother Takes Her Life. Chicago Tribune, 6/17/1916 Mother Drowns Baby in Bathtub; Kills Herself. Chicago Tribune, …

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William Engelberg’s Wives Commit Suicide Only A Few Years Apart

  When William Engelberg came to America, he was probably looking for a better life. Born in Russia in 1872, he immigrated to the United States in the late 1880’s, possibly seeking escape from persecution for his Jewish faith. He initially landed in New York City, and then made his way to Chicago, Illinois. Eventually, …

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Episode 83: Was the 1962 Crash of Flight 11 Really An Accident?

In 1962, Continental Airlines Boeing 707 Flight 11 crashed in Unionville, Missouri. It had been hit with enough force that a tornado was originally to blame. But was it really a tragic accident, or had something far more sinister caused the crash?   Sources Missouri Office of the Secretary of State; Jefferson City, Missouri; Missouri Death …

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Was the 1962 Crash of Flight 11 Really An Accident?

  It was just another day for James Clarity. He and his wife, Georgia, lived in Chicago, Illinois, with their five children. Born in Minnesota, Clarity had served in the Navy during the Second World War. After he left the service, he had become an advertising sales representative with Wallace’s Farmer, a prestigious agriculture magazine …

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Episode 82: Gayno Smith Massacres Five People in Southern Iowa

While investigators were dealing with a devastating plane crash near the Iowa-Missouri Border, they had no idea that a man named Gayno Smith was about to commit one of the most horrific crimes in Iowa history only an hour away.   Sources 45 Die in Iowa Jetliner Disaster. The Courier, 5/23/1962 Massive Hunt for Killer. …

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Gayno Smith Massacres Five People in Southern Iowa

Carefully, the fireman removed the man from the fuselage. He lay on his back, stretched across three passenger seats. Everything inside had been tossed around in the crash, leaving a tangle of seats, luggage, and bodies. Slowly as they could, the rescuers put the injured man on a stretcher and slowly carried him to a …

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