On January 25, 1913, Dr. T.T. Clohessy of Maud took matters into his own hands after Judge George C. Abernathy in superior court ruled on a custody case against him. Judge Abernathy refused to issue an order giving him custody of his two sons and dismissed his application. Dr. Clohessy followed his divorced wife to the Rock Island depot and shot her down in the presence of the boys.

DOCTOR SHOOTS WIFE AFTER JUDGE’S RULING

On January 25, 1913, Dr. T.T. Clohessy of Maud took matters into his own hands after Judge George C. Abernathy in superior court ruled on a custody case against him. Judge Abernathy refused to issue an order giving him custody of his two sons and dismissed his application. Dr. Clohessy followed his divorced wife to the Rock Island depot and shot her down in the presence of the boys.

Four shots were fired, one being fired at Deputy Sheriff C.J. Bocher, who grabbed him at the first shot. Clohessy gave up without a struggle and was hauled off to jail. Mrs. Clohessy was removed to the general hospital, where she was in critical condition.

The Clohessys were divorced during the past March. The doctor had filed a petition against his wife, charging her with improper relations with a dentist at Maud. She filed a cross-petition and secured a divorce and custody of the children, two sons, ages eight and 11.

Recently, Dr. Clohessy asked the court for custody of the boys. The case was scheduled for Judge Edgar Reasor’s court. However, he was detained, and the session was reset for the afternoon in Abernathy’s court. Trouble was feared from the start. Dr. Clohessy’s actions were suspicious and his manner threatening. After the adverse decision, Mrs. Clohessy and her attorney, George Eacock of Oklahoma City, asked that Dr. Clohessy be searched for weapons. Also, that the woman be guarded until she could got back to Oklahoma City. After the search, Dr. Clohessy was found to be unarmed.

Deputy Sheriff Bocher accompanied Mrs. Clohessy and Eacock to the Rock Island depot. After arriving there, Eacock stepped to the ticket window to buy tickets. Bocher was standing under the station shed, and Mrs. Clohessy at the north end of the shed with her children. Dr. Clohessy suddenly appeared in the door of the station and began firing. At the first shot, Mrs. Clohessy fell. Before he could fire again, Bocher had seized him. The next two shots were diverted. The fourth was fired at Bocher and passed close to his head.

Former County Sheriff William “Bill” Grace and Rock Island Detective Pony Moore were nearby at the time. They rushed to the scene and helped take control of Dr. Clohessy. The police were notified, and the doctor was loaded in a buggy and carted off to the county jail.

“Well, I’ve done it,” said the doctor. “Hang me if you want to,” when he gave up his gun. Dr. Clohessy secured a revolver after court from a local dealer.

Mrs. Clohessy eventually recovered from her wounds and the doctor was charged with attempted murder. He did not ever gain custody of his children.

EXCITEMENT AND CONTROVERSY SURROUND COUNTY SEAT ELECTION

The county seat election held on February 3,1913, was filled with all kinds of emotions. The aftermath led to what appeared to be the necessity of an official canvass of the returns by the governor’s office. The Tecumseh committee claimed to have secured 41.5 percent of the vote; a total of 2,800 of the 6,300 cast. They asserted that the addition of the mutilated ballots to the total votes would increase their total significantly. However, up to that point, only 18 mutilated ballots were reported.

The Shawnee committee had a different story. They claimed to still have a margin of 20 votes necessary to achieve the 60 percent necessary for victory. They said all the corrections made in the election were in their favor. Anymore corrections made would obviously add to Shawnee’s total. The report was that all returns were received by long distance over the telephone, or by messenger, and were not accurate.

The Tecumseh committee stated that they believed Shawnee lacked 110 votes for the victory, not counting the mutilated ballots. They still insisted that it should take two-thirds majority to move the county seat, not 60 percent. The Shawnee backers said that even the two-thirds margin would be achieved and were confident of the win.

There were many discrepancies rumored from several of the precinct boxes that had to be cleared up. Two days later, the final tallies still had not been verified.

This led to the formation of a grand jury in the superior court investigating the matter. The final report was submitted to Judge George C. Abernathy of the superior court on February 12. It read as follows:

“We, the grand jury for the February 1913 term of said court, having completed our investigations of the matters submitted have to submit this as our final report.

“We find that in Brinton Township, precinct number two, several illegal votes were cast, the exact number of which it is impossible to determine. We find that persons voted there who did not live in the precinct. We also find that in this precinct the election inspector failed to swear the voters to the affidavit as provided by law.

“We find from the evidence that in Avoca Township, precinct three, a number of votes were cast, in which no affidavits were signed by the voters and that later in the day the affidavits were secured from practically all of those who had voted. In our opinion, this was the fault of the inspector and not the fault of the voter.

“We find from the evidence that in Eason Township, precinct two, that the inspector allowed a crowd to congregate in the polling place, where the voters were voting. We also find that this was because of the inspector and not the fault of the voters.

“We find from the evidence that in Forest Township, precinct two, the votes of colored men were cast, and that no test was applied by the inspector to the voters.

“We find from the evidence that in what is the town of Dale, that many attempted to vote twice. We have found no evidence where money was used, or where the money was taken by the voter. While no action was taken in offering money to influence votes, we desire to strongly condemn the practice, and recommend to the county attorney to vigorously prosecute all cases arising from this or any other election where legal evidence can be obtained.

“We find generally that certain of the inspectors who were sent to hold the election permitted illegal votes to be cast, that some of the inspectors did not enforce the Grandfather clause of our law, that in some instances voters were permitted to vote without having signed and sworn to the affidavit provided by law for voters at such elections and permitted irregularities, which should not have been done.

“We have tried to make our investigations fair and impartial. It is not considered by us that we are a body to determine the merits of the county seat controversy, to count the vote or to declare the results. We have simply investigated the conditions surrounding the election, to determine the manner in which the election was held, to find actual violations of the law if the law was violated and to leave the merits of the controversy to that tribunal provided by law for the purpose.

“In closing this report, we desire to thank your Honor for the courtesies extended us during our investigations and ask that we be discharged from further attendance upon the court.”

(These stories and hundreds more appear in Volume One of “Redbud City: The Early Years, 1830-1929.” The publication is at the printer and should be ready for distribution before the end of July. A pre-pay discount of $50 dollars will enable you to save $5. Once the publication is available, the cost will be $55. It is also available in digital form for $30 and $35. It contains 426 pages and hundreds of photos. Volume Two, 1930-1949, will be available in September. Volumes Three through Five will come in the next couple of years, bringing the story up to the current date. The first volume may be purchased at the Pottawatomie County Historical Society or by calling Clyde Wooldridge at 918-470-3728. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Society.)