Wednesday, April 29, 2015

On This Date in Minnesota History: April 29

April 29, 1917 – Two St. Paul detectives, Peter Lavalle and George Dawson, are in Mont. meeting with and interviewing people who knew the late Alice McQuillan Dunn when she worked as a stenographer in Billings and Forsyth, Mont. last year. More specifically, they are searching for two men to whom Mr. Dunn is alleged to have paid money to murder Mrs. Dunn, and when that fell through, paid them blackmail money to keep silent regarding the alleged murder plot.

Forsyth, Mont., Train Depot1

If the men being sought are apprehended, the police must get their statement that they were approached with an offer of money to murder Mrs. Dunn, or must prove such an offer was made; or that theory fails.

While the media was unaware of where this information (and theory) came from at the time, it was given to St. Paul Police Chief John J. O’Connor by the mysterious Madam D, who had been married to one of the men in Mont., but was now divorced and living in St. Paul.

St. Paul Daily News; “Search narrows in Murder Case. Material Progress Made in Dunn Mystery, Say Police Authorities. Theory is Working Out. Encouraging Report Received From Detectives Working in Montana.”; April 29, 1917; p. 1.

St. Paul Daily News; “Montana Clues May Unravel Dunn Mystery. Two St. Paul Detectives in Western State to Trace Life There of Dead Woman and to Seek Two Alleged Blackmailers. Engagement to Lawyer is Reported and Denied. Solution of Strange Murder May Rest in Ability to Locate Men Now Sought by Chief Connor’s Force.”; April 28, 1917; pp. 1 & 2.1

Murder of Alice McQuillan Dunn; see April 26, 2015 blog

St. Paul Police Chief John O’Connor tells reporters he expects to arrest a man he thinks was paid a large sum to murder Alice McQuillan Dunn.; see April 27, 2015 blog

Elks are willing to pay the expenses of detectives; believe Dunn innocent; see April 28, 2015 blog


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 MHS records.  Both short searches and family history reports.

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