|The Murder of J. Schenefield
|Newspaper Article Transcriptions
The Shooting of J. Shenefield*
Foreman of the Western Salt Works
22 April 1899
*Note that name has been misspelled in the articles.
Saturday, 22 April 1899
Jake Shoenefield Shot
The foreman of the Western Salt Works in a Critical Condition
At 4 o'clock this evening word was received by telephone of the shooting of J.
Shoenefield, foreman of the Western salt plant by J. V. Dicks, generally known as
Mr. Shoenefield was shot in the head and is in a very critical condition. No reason for
the shooting is known.
Dicks had been working full time, and there had been no trouble between the men so
far as known. Dicks was arrested at once. He was drunk when he did the shooting.
Monday, 24 April 1899
Murder Most Foul
J. Shoenafield, Foreman of the Western Salt Works Shot by J. V. Dicks, who
was crazed with Alcohol Died Saturday night
Seems to be no cause for the Crime but, Liquor
The Murderer in the County Jail and Refuses to Talk.
The terrible affair which occurred at the Western salt plant Saturday evening, which
was briefly given in Saturday's News, turned out quite as badly as was feared. Ex
Councilman Jacob Shoenefield, who was shot by J. V. Dicks died in a few hours
breathing his last about 9:30 Saturday evening.
While Mr. Shoenefield lay dying at Mrs Reed's hospital on East Fourth avenue, Dicks
was unconscious in a drunken slumber in his cell at the county jail.
Dicks has talked but little if any about the affair since the occurrence. He was visited at
the jail this morning by. H. Fierce whom it is said he has employed to defend him.
There have been several stories talked about as to what caused Dicks action, but, so far
as is known, there were no cause for the deed, other than that Dicks' brain was crazed
by drink. A careful investigation is being made and an earnest effort will be made to get
at the truth.
The killing of Shoenefield appears to have been entirely unprovoked and as dastardly a
crime as was every committed, and still Dicks acquaintances claim he has been a quiet
and peaceable man whose worst feature has been an occasional but always harmful
Saturday afternoon Dicks came downtown and proceeded to get drunk. He says he
drank alcohol but it is not known where he got it or who he was drinking with. He
went to the repair shop of Mr. Blivens at 314 North Main where he stayed almost an
hour. He finally picked up a shot gun and said to Blivens "If this was loaded I'd fix
you". He had no quarrel with Blivens and this language was unaccountable. When he
left the shop he took the gun with him, paying no attention to Mr. Blivens orders to
leave the gun alone. He was seen on Sixth and Seventh avenues later and pointed the
gun at different people.
Dicks was next heard of at his home a short distance south of the Western salt block.
Here he gave his wife an awful beating and she ran to the salt plant to seek protection.
Dicks staggered after her, taking the gun. He had secured several cartridges after
leaving Blivens shop and had both barrels of the gun loaded. Just before he reached the
office of the salt plant he stumbled down at a dirt pile and before getting up leveled the
gun on some one at the building. He made some inquiry about his wife on reaching the
building and appeared have little choice about who he pointed the gun at.
When he shot Mr. Schoenefield he was but a short distance away and raised the gun
four or five times before pulling the trigger. After this he walked out on the open
prairie near by, carrying the gun as though ready to shoot any one who might follow.
There were employees from the plant upon all sides of Dicks, but at safe distance when
the police arrived from town, having been summoned by telephone.
Marshal Benedict and Policeman Lowry, followed by Policeman Champion and Charles
Phillips approached Dicks, watching his movements carefully. He advanced toward
them holding his gun in readiness but not raising it to his shoulder. When in pistol
range officers Benedict and Lowry drew their revolvers and ordered Dicks to drop his
gun. He threw the gun to one side and kept advancing. The marshal asked him what he
had been doing and he said "I've been looking for meadow larks, I guess" I have a
right to do that, havent I?"
When Dicks was taken in the cab past the salt plant where the crowd had gathered to
look at his victim, he asked "What's going on here?" soon after the cab had started to
the jail Dicks fell into a sound sleep and did not awake until he reached the jail.
Mr. Schoenefield was taken at once to Mrs. Reed's hospital. After taking stimulants he
was able to speak a few words, but, soon became unconscious and did not revive
The examination after death showed that thirty-two shot had struck his face, most all
of them being above the eyes. Out of all these wounds only one could have had serious
effect. This shot entered the eye, severing an artery and lodged in the base of his brain,
causing his death. All of the other wounds were not through the skull.
At the coroners inquest the facts connected wtht he killing of Schoenefield were
established, but, no cause further than the intoxication of Dicks was brought to light,
and the general opinion appears to be that it was simply a drunker frenzy on the part of
It appeared by the evidence that Dicks was equally bent upon killing Shoenefield, who
was superintendent of the works, and Kirk, the foreman.
Mrs. Dicks was sent for to appear at the inquest but refused to come, saying that she
was not able to leave the house. She is with her husbands people at the Avenue B
flats. When talked with she said she would not testify at the inquest. She has a deep
gash above one eye where she was struck by her husband Saturday.
The fellow laborers who worked with Dicks have little to say regarding the murder.
They are investigating the case to see if there was any cause for the deed other than
appears upon the surface. It is not known yet whether any of them will come to the
aid of Dicks when his case comes to trial.
The fact that Dicks threatened people downtown before going to the salt plant would
make it appear that he was merely crazed with drink and possessed of the idea of doing
mischief. There has been no proof that he loaded up with alcohol for the purpose of
getting even upon some difficulty with the foreman and superintindent of the salt
works. Even when he went to the plant it was in pursuit of his wife who went there
Mr. Kirk the foreman, says he is not acquainted with Dicks wife and knows nothing of
their domestic troubles if they had any, and Mrs. Dicks, it is said, claims that he had no
aquaintance whatever with the superintendent, Mr. Shoenafield.
The inquest was continued until this afternoon while the officers were searching for
The coroner's jury brought in the following verdict this evening:
That Jacob Dicks died willfully, deliberately, premeditatedly and with malice
aforethought, on the 22nd day of April, 1899, shoot with a shot gun and murder and kill
Hutchinson Daily News
Tuesday, April 25, 1899
The last sad rites over the remains of Jacob Schoenefield were witnessed by a large
number of his friends and fellow workmen. The funeral was one of the largest ever
held in Hutchinson. The G & H and Western Salt plants, of which he was
superintendent at the time of his death, were closed down today as well as the offices
of the Kansas Salt Company, out of respect to the deceased, aand the officers and
employees attended the funeral.
The services were conducted by Dr. Irwin at the home on Avenue F East and were
Letter from Ms. Miller, great granddaughter of J. V. Dicks, to Pam Shoenefield
Long, great granddaughter of J. Schoenefield
20 March 2005
Recently I found some papers on the research of my mother's family tree. I have
reason to believe that my great grandfather was sentenced to 10 years in prison in the
Kansas State Penitentiary for the murder of your great grandfather. I have a copy of
the record book where my great grandfather was received at the prison, as well as
copies of several newspaper articles printed during the time of the trial starting April 22,
I heard this story from the time I was a small child, details of the story being someone
different than the official account. Never being told names, the family story was my
great grandfather came home and found his wife in bed with the other man and shot
him. I'm sure you know how stories being passed from generation to generation
acquire their own embellishments through the years. I have also been told through the
years that my great grandfather either rode with or knew Jesse James.
I find it almost spooky that you posted this article on the web, February 6th of this
year, and I just discovered these papers last week. I knew of their existence, but had
never read them. A cousin of mine did the research of our family in the late 80's and
early 90"s. My mother was a Dicks and passed away in 1998. My stepfather just
passed away recently and we are in the process of cleaning out the house.
I always knew my great grandfather as Joseph. The records I have also show his name
as Jacob Eli, but the newspaper articles refer to him as J.V Dicks. When I knew him,
he was married to Susan Ferguson Dicks. The "Record of Prisoners received in the
Kansas State Penitentiary" shows he wife's name as Lida, of Hutchinson Kansas with 2
children. My family records do not mention the names of those children. I knew
Susan was his second wife. My great grandfather was a big man well over 6 ft tall.
He had a big booming voice and to this day I can hear his laugh even though he passed
away in 1964. My great grandmother was under 5 ft tall and ruled him with an iron
hand. I would have to say he was rehabilitated in prison.
I also have a copy of the certificate that his sentence was commuted August 19, 1905,
signed by E.W. Koch ( I think, could be Hoch) then governor of Kansas.
I hope to do further research on my family in the coming year when time permits
There are some things that aren't quite clear such as the name differences.
I hope I have not offended you by sending this email. You will be glad to know for the
most part, his descendants were and are law abiding citizens.