Matthews - Carl - Montgomery InGenWeb Project

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Matthews - Carl

Source: Crawfordsville Weekly Journal 1 July 1898
Thorntown, Ind., July 1—This morning about 4 o’clock, Carl Matthews, the operator of the Home Telephone Company, was fatally wounded by a masked robber. The telephone exchange is under the bank and Matthews never closed the door in the summer time. Business being slack during the night he lay down toward morning and fell asleep. About 4 o’clock a masked man entered the exchange and drawing a revolver fired at Matthews, who lay sleeping on the couch. The bullet missed him and striking a nail just above him fell back on the couch. Matthews was awakened by the shot and leaped up. As he arose the robber shot again and this time with better effort, the ball striking Matthews in the breast about two inches above the heart. He fell back and the robber proceeded to rifle the cash drawer of about two dollars, all it contained. He then took Matthews’ watch and stepped to the door. At the door he paused and tossed the watch back into the room. He then hurried away. Help soon arrived and Matthew made an ante mortem statement. He said he did not know the man but thought that he had red hair and that he was quite tall. His features were hidden by the mask.  Later in the morning it was ascertained that the robber had torn three leaves out of the toll book, for what purpose is not known. Matthew is reported as sure to die and at last accounts was sinking rapidly. He is 18 years old and has lived in Thorntown all his life. Some people think that robbery was not the real motive of the murderer and that the rifling of the drawer was only a blind. Others think that Matthews did not tell all he might have told of the affair. As yet no trail of the murderer has been found, although a strict search for him is being made. -s

Source: Indianapolis News 2 July 1898 p 10

Thorntown, July 2- J. Karl Matthews, who was reported to have been shot by an intruder at the telephone exchange early yesterday morning, has confessed that the injury was self-inflicted. The young man’s recovery is doubtful. -k

Source: Crawfordsville Weekly Journal 2 July 1898

A special from Thorntown last Saturday says: “Karl Matthews, the night operator of Thorntown Independent Telephone Company, confessed tonight that he shot himself in the telephone company’s office, at four o’clock this morning, and then gave a wild alarm that a robber had assaulted him. The strange case has caused more excitement all day in Thorntown than anything since Dewey sunk the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay.
All day the wounded man lay on his bed of pain while the officers were searching for clues. Everything pointed to the guilt of the operator, but in the excitement and the desire to avenge the attempted murder the telephone company offered $100 reward, and the town trustees authorized another $100 reward for the arrest of the robber. The burglar story was discredited from the start. Matthews claimed that the fellow was four feet away when he fired the second time, yet Matthews’ shirt, where the ball entered, is powder burned. Some of the sheets missing from the telephone ledger, which Matthews says the robber carried off, are said to have been found in the stove and partly burned, as if some one had an object in destroying them. Two Thorntown citizens were on the streets in the vicinity at the time, one in front and the other at the side of the building. They heard the shot, but saw no one leave the building. Matthews described his assailant as being a tall, slender man, who was dressed in light pantaloons and dark coat, and had red hair. Matthews is the son of one of Thorntown’s most prominent citizens, and the affair has caused intense excitement. Matthews’ confession simply verified what was suspected. The cause of the shooting is said to be known to his friends, but it has not been made public. -s

Source: Logansport Pharos-Tribune 2 July 1898 p 22

Thorntown, Ind July 2- Yesterday morning about 4 o’clock, J. Karl Matthews, night operator in charge of the telephone exchange was found with a bullet through the left lung and according to his story a man heavily masked and with red hair entered and fired two shots at him, one of them flying wild and the other taking effect as stated. The robber then tore away the pages of the toll book running back to December and after securing $1 in change he made good his escape. Matthews was able to telephone to the superintendent of the line for help and he was then removed to his home. His condition is alarming. -k

Source: Elwood Free Press Thu 7 July 1898 p 3

- Notices have been posted in this city by the town of Thorntown, offering a reward of $300 for the arrest of an unknown man who shot Karl Matthews there on July 1.  

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