Monday, January 10, 2011

Amanuensis Monday: Shooting Deaths of James Septimus McPherson and his mother, Henrietta Elizabeth Ireland McPherson

The following May 11, 1922 newspaper article is the account of the shooting deaths  of James Septimus McPherson (reported as James B. McPherson, Jr.) and his mother, Mrs. James B. McPherson, and the wounding of his father, James B. McPherson.  Although, the reporting tells about Mr. Brandt, there is no mention of the fact that the deaths of James Septimus McPherson and his mother, as well as the wounding of his father, not only  orphaned five children but effectively left them homeless.  After James S. McPherson's wife died, he had brought his five young children home to live with his parents.  At the time of the shooting, the children ranged from 18 to 12 years of age.

Brandt of Barrows, Returns from Minneapolis and Murders Relatives

Wife, Twenty-one Years old, Left Without Her Parents or Husband
E. M. brandt of Barrows, shot and killed his wife's father, James B. McPherson and his mother J.B. McPherson, Sr., Monday afternoon shortly after 3 o'clock.  The shoting occurred at the home of James McPherson, Jr., and was done with a new .32 Smith & Wesson revolver.
Mr. Brandt had  had trouble with his 21-year old wife, Gladys, and had left Barrows and gone to the cities.  He returned to Barrows a few days ago and was told to leave and not to return.  He came to Brainerd and registered at the Chamber of Commerce for work.  Monday afternoon he hired a taxi from the Lively Auto Co., and went to Barrows.  There the shooting occurred.
Gives Self up
Sheriff Claus Theorin declares that Monday afternoon someone called him and said he was Chas. LaFavor of Barrows.  He had a man there at the store that Theorin should come and get.  He said, "He will talk with you."  The man said: "This is Ernest Brandt of Barrows, Minnesota, come and get me, I shot a couple!"  Thinking there was something queer about it Theorin asked to speak with LaFavor and he confirmed Brandt's story.  He told him to hold Brandt there and they would come at once.  They left Brainerd as soon as possible and between here and Barrows they met the Barrows bus bringing LaFavor and Brandt to Brainerd.  They turned around and returned to Brainerd behind the bus.  Brandt was taken at once to the jail ans washed and put to bed where he at once fell asleep.
Admits Shooting 
Tuesday morning Brandt admitted to Mrs. Theorin and Mr. Theorin that he had done the shooting.  To Mrs. Theorin he said, "I wish I had killed myself too."  He has slept and rested well from that time.  However, he ate his first real meal Wednesday noon.  Until he is thoroughly rested he will see no one, then perhaps he will make a statement.  This no doubt will clear up many things.
Five Shots
Brandt fired five shots, one at James McPherson, Jr. which resulted in immediate death to him, one at Mrs. J. B. McPherson, mother to James, which resulted in death to her, one at J. B. McPherson, father to James, which was hindered  from taking effect by a watch which McPherson carried in his pocket.  This watch shows the mark of the bullet.  Brandt fired a second time at McPherson, this shot going wild and striking him in the knee.  He then shot into the air and threw his gun away.  It is very evident that his intentions were to end his own life as well, but lost his nerve.  He then went to the home of LaFavor and La Favor went with Brandt to the Morris store at Barrows, where he called up Theorin here as stated before.
Disclosures Made
At the inquest held Tuesday morning, Mrs. Brandt, although she could not be held accountable for the statement, disclosed the following in regard to the shooting:
Brandt returned to the home of James McPherson where they had been living, after being absent for about two weeks.  Mrs Brandt went into the yard and asked him what he wanted and why he came back, after being told to go and not come back.  He said that he had come back to hill himself and her too.  He then showed her the gun he carried.  The grandmother, Mrs. J.B. McPherson, came into the yard and told Mrs. Brandt to go inside and not talk with him.  She went inside and told her grandmother that she was afraid Brandt would kill someone as he had a gun.  Her grandmother said, "He is too much of a coward, he wouldn't shoot anyone."  Later James McPherson with with Brandt to the barn and Mrs. Brandt ran upstairs.  In a few minutes she heard a shot and ran downstairs.  The grandmother had already run out toward the barn and Mrs. Brandt saw her fall but did not hear the shot.  Then the grandfather came running and screamed that the grandmother was shot.  He had a pitchfork and when he got near Brandt, Brandt shot him as stated before.  Brandt then went to LaFavor's, from where they went to the store and called Theorin.  After the inquest, Brandt stated to Theorin that he did not tell his wife that he was going to kill himslef and her too.  He said, "I love my wife and never intended to do such a thing."
Brandt carried a half pint bottle which is in the sheriff's office.  Mrs. Brandt stated that it was half full when Brandt came and she had gotten hold of it and emptied it out.  There is sand in the bottle showing that it had evidently been thrown in the sand.  The taxi driver, Peterson, who took Brandt to Barrows, states that Brandt took several drinks on the way out.  Brandt stated to Theorin that he had been drinking for 12 days, while in the cities.
Brandt Arraigned
Brant was arraigned in municipal court before Judge Warner at 10 o'clock Wednesday morning.  He was bound over to the grand jury.  It is probable that a special jury will be called and the case taken up at once.  Otherwise the case will be held over to the grand jury in November.  Brandt will no doubt plead guilty.
Grandfather Recovering
The grandfather, who was shot in the knee is recovering at the Northwestern Hospital.  He will be able to be out in a short time.

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