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A Home Tragedy
March 1, 1883 - North Vernon Plain Dealer

    A most lamentable affair occurred in this place on Friday noon in the accidental shooting of Mr. W. A. Verbarg in his saloon by Frant Rottger, a traveler for a Cincinnati wholesale grocery house. As the news spread upon the streets within a few moments after the occurrence of the accident our people were horror-stricken. One can read of such things in the daily newspapers without feeling almost for they are so common everywhere, but this occurring right among us where the victum was widely known and liked was a complete shock.
    At noon on Friday "Gus" had just finished his dinner and entered his business room, he living upstairs, when he was called on to wait upon customers. He had hardly placed himself behind the bar when Rottger, who had been engaged in a slight altercation with Gib Monfort, formerly of Lovett, and being somewhat excited pulled his pistol from his pocket and dashed it down on the counter, emphatically declining an invitation of Monfort's to drink with him. The contact of the pistol with the counter was so violent as to cause the discharge of a cartridge the bullet from which penetrated the body of Verbarg, who stood directly opposite within two feet of Rottger. Immediately the effects of the shot were seen, though Verbarg made no outcry, only asking to present to be quiet, and showing his wound. He was assisted to his rooms above and friends gathered around to render him aid and to console his distressed family. Physicians were quickly summoned and pronounced the ball to have passed through both side of the stomach and lodged on the right side of the spinal column. It was thought he had a bare chance of recovery, but ere twelve hours had elapsed he had passed away. He had always been stout and healthy, and for this reason his friends had hoped for the best results. He was a little over 32 years of age.
    The unfortunate cause of the accident, was an intimate friend of the victim of the reckless handling of his revolver, and remorse took complete possession of him. He did what he could for Verbarg while he lived. We are informed they were always on the best terms and that there was no shadow of feeling between them on that fatal day or any other. Rottger was arrested soon after the firing of the shot and after a brief preliminary examination before Mayor Passmore, was bound over to the court. He readily found bail, and much sympathy was expressed for him. He was a man without family, (single) and lives at Cincinnati, we believe. He is well known here.
    Was an ordinaty revolver, 38 calibre. Where the hammer struck the counter it made a large dent from an eighth to a quarter inch deep, and the blow undoubtedly pulled back the hammer drawing the cylinder around until the cartridge was under the hammer, when it fell.
    The Verbarg's late residence on Sunday at 1 o'clock the casket in which he had been placed was opened for the inspection of the remains, which were then taken to the Lutheran church where services were conducted by Rev. Hugo Fischer, of Seymour. At the close the body was taken in charge by the lodge of Knights of Honor, of which Mr. Verbarg had been a member, and accompanied by the Seymour lodge of the same order and the Seymour Band proceeded slowly to the cemetery, the Band playing appropriate music. Arriving at the side of the grave the Knights, amid a very assemblage of people brought there by the unusual circumstances of tragedy, music and unfamiliar rites, conducted their services and deposited their brother.
    Mr. Verbarg left his family-wife and two small children, in not uncomfortable circumstances in regard to this world's goods, and was insured as a Knight of Honor for $3,000, which amount will be paid to his family within 30 or 60 days.

Mr. Rottger was acquitted of charges in the killing of W. A. "Gus" Verbarg.

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