Thursday, July 7, 2016

On This Date in Minnesota History: July 7

July 7, 1938 – Three people were murdered in Osseo, Minn., early this morning as they slept: Kenneth Oswald, 24; his wife of just 10 months, Paula, 24; and their farm hand, John Kujawa, 25. All three were bludgeoned with a hammer and shot through the head.

Authorities believed the suspect to be Robert McLeod, the Oswald’s former farm hand, who had been let go by the Oswalds on June 20 after “serving a 20-day [sentence] for forgery.” McLeod was suspected because he brought two cows into the Farmers Union Livestock Commission Co. in South St. Paul, and sold them for $143. The two cows had been stolen from the Oswalds' farm; McLeod was identified as the seller, arrested and confessed to the murders.

August Robert Yaeger AKA Robert McLeod*

The hammer was found in the barn, where McLeod had thrown it; the gun was found in his St. Paul hotel room. Oh, and McLeod also confessed that his name wasn’t Robert McLeod, it was August Robert Yaeger.  He had killed the Oswalds and Kujawa because he was afraid they had heard him stealing their cows.

Yaeger was indicted on July 13, 1938 and pled guilty. On July 14, one week after the murders, he was in Stillwater State Prison under a life sentence.

New Ulm Daily Journal; “Newly married Couple, Hired Man Shot while They Slept”; July 8, 1938; p. 1

New Ulm Daily Journal; “Officials Not Satisfied With Killers Story”;  July 9, 1938; p. 1.

New Ulm Daily Journal; “Quiz McLeod on Old Killing near Preston. Admits Being Employed as Printer in Preston in Summer of ‘36”; July 11, 1938; p. 1.

New Ulm Daily Journal; “Twenty Witnesses Called in Osseo Case. County Attorney Goff Questions Yaeger on 3 Other Slayings.”; July 12, 1938; p. 1.

*New Ulm Daily Journal; “Yaeger Indicted on three First Degree Murder charges”; July 13, 1938; p. 1.

New Ulm Daily Journal; “Yaeger Begins Life Sentence”; July 14, 1938; p. 1.

If you are interested in finding out more about your family history in Minnesota, I specialize in researching  genealogical and historical records in Minn. and western Wis., including:
census records,  birth records,  death certificates, obits, grave site photos, ship passenger lists, marriage records and declarations of intent/naturalization records.  I will visit locations to research local history and county records, as well as take photos. Quick turnaround on MNHS records.  Both short searches and family history reports.

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