Wednesday, March 14, 2018

On This Date in Minnesota History: March 14

March 14, 1917 – After being confronted with the picture of wife murderer Joseph Bowen, which was published Tuesday in Minneapolis papers, a man under arrest in Glenwood, Minn., Pope County, returned to his cell this evening and shot himself with a revolver he had smuggled past searchers and concealed in his bed.

Joseph Bowen1

His description tallied to the most minute detail with that of Bowen, and the Minneapolis police were positive that he was the man who killed his wife in that city.

When arrested Tuesday night, the man gave his name as Charles Miller, which is the surname of Bowen’s stepfather. He said his home was in Chippewa Falls, Wis.

Miller/Bowen, was found on a Soo Line train that left Minneapolis Tuesday. The seal on a merchandise car was seen to be broken as it passed through a small station; at Glenwood, Patrick Burns, a Soo Line detective, investigated. He found a man almost numb with cold asleep on the car floor. The car was going to Winnipeg, which coincides with the police theory that Bowen would go to Canada. He was formerly a U. S. cavalry man and it was expected he would try to enlist with the Canadian troops.

Detective Burns did not at first suspect the man of anything but stealing a ride and made only a superficial search of his clothing. He did not search his canvas mittens and it is believed that the man smuggled the revolver into his cell in one of them. This afternoon the prisoner was brought into court in Glenwood and his remarkable similarity to Bowen in height, age, weight, clothing, small scar near the corner of his mouth, black eye and scratches, was noticed. A picture of Bowen was produced and shown to the prisoner.

Glenwood, Minn.2

The man trembled and according to witnesses, nearly broke down, but recovered his composure and denied that he’d ever heard of Bowen. He was told that he would be released as soon as Detective Burns made certain that nothing had been stolen from the car in which he rode. He appeared relieved.

The Minneapolis police were notified at once of the arrest. This evening David Bogie, chief of police at Glenwood, left the city hall, in which the man was held, to get a supper for the prisoner from a restaurant. Twenty minutes later he returned accompanied by his son.

Miller/Bowen, was staggering about the cell with a revolver in his hand, and blood streaming from his right temple. He collapsed as the men entered the cell and was unable to speak. Chief Bogie was unable to make sense of any of the dying man’s mutterings. A doctor was summoned but the man died within an hour. A hole in the mattress in his cell showed where he had concealed the revolver. The weapon was a .32 caliber, the same as that which Mrs. Bowen was shot.

The man was later confirmed to be Joseph Bowen.

The Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “Bowen Believed to Have Killed Self at Glenwood. Man Thought to Be Wife-Slayer Takes Life in Cell.”; March 15, 1917; p. 1 & 2.

1The Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “Hundred Police Hunt Teamster Who Slew Bride. No Trace Found of Joseph Bowen Who Shot Wife to Death.”; March 13, 1917; p. 1.


Bride of one month shot and killed by her “cruel” husband; see March 12, 2018 blog.


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