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Stratford centennial
(1891-1991)

I saw it in the news...,   pp. 245-249


Page 245

mouth two or three times and was dead. He and Albert
Blanger, William Yonkon and Rudy Fulweiler had stayed
with the body until the authorities had been notified.
Louis Burdick testified that he knew the girl and had seen
her going to church that Sunday and the next information he
had was about her death from Rudy Fulweiler that same eve-
ning.
Dr. W. C. Dickens, Wausau, testified to his being called
on July 1 to investigate the death of Jennie Riehle. Upon
arrival at the site of death, reported finding the body on its side
with the hands tied behind the back with a piece of clothes line,
the hair matted and messed up, blood and mucus about the
nose and mouth, an imprint of human fingers to the left of the
neck and a thumb mark on the right, and torn underclothing.
Dr. C. 0. Fuller, in the presence of the jurors, conducted
the autopsy when the body was brought into Stratford. No
other external injuries were found other than a broken rib on
the left side, and that there had been a good deal of internal
bleeding as a result of the suffocation and choking and that, in
Mr. Fuller's opinion, death had been caused by strangulation.
The jury rendered the verdict at the end of the hearing that
some person unknown at the time had caused Jennie Riehle's
violent death.
While Sheriff O'Connor was taking Fulweiler back to the
jail following his hearing on July 26, the prisoner made an
escape while the cell door was being unlocked. However, his
freedom was short as he was soon captured and returned to the
Marathon County jail. Fulweiler became very communica-
tive after the attempted escape, telling Sheriff O'Connor that
he had planned the break away. He also related how he would
go home and hide in the woods awhile until he could see the
family and then head West where he would not be known.
Rudolph Fulweiler confessed, on Monday, August 5, to
the murder of Jennie Riehle on June 30, 1907. Following the
confession, Fulweiler was arraigned before Judge Silver-
thorn.
Word had gotten out that there was the possibility of
Fulweiler pleading guilty.When he was being taken to the
court room a group of forty or fifty men followed. From the
point of leaving the carriage at the court house entrance until
he was seated in the court room, Fulweiler never raised his
head.
After the court proceedings had commenced, District
Attorney Regner appointed Brayton Smith as counsel for the
accused. The court being satisfied that the guilty plea had been
a voluntary act of the accused then pronounced sentence.
Rudolph Fulweiler was sentenced to life in the state prison and
on each June 30 to be placed in solitary confinement. The day
following the sentencing, by Judge Silverthorn, Rudolph
Fulweiler was taken to Waupun to spend the rest of his natural
life.
Thirty-six years after he had taken the Stratford girl's life,
he entered the Wisconsin General Hospital for treatment. He
appreciated the care and concern shown by the doctors and
nurses at the hospital and thanked the staff for their caring in
an interview with the writer for the July issue of the prison
magazine, "The Candle." Except for the time at the state hos-
pital from 1910-1912, Fulweiler had given his life to the state
but, at age 72, after returning to Waupun from the hospital, he
still had hopes of getting out.
(Information pertinent to the murder of Jennie Riehle has
been obtained from the published articles appearing in the
Marshfield News, July 4-Aug. 8,1907 and a June 30 article in
the Milwaukee Sentinel.)
I saw it in the news...
Epidemics
Spanish Flu
From Stratford Journal - April 7, 1976:
The following article, written by Don Hale, was printed
in the Stratford Journal, recalling the Spanish Flu Epidemic
that swept the world in 1918. At the time Mr. Hale wrote the
article, the nation was preparing for the predicted "Swine Flu
Epidemic".
Fifty eight years ago the Spanish flu struck a devastating
blow to the whole world. Even the First World War in Europe
took second interest of the people for fear that the Spanish flu
would strike your family next.
I was 15 years old at the time. I well remember that in so
many cases, well, healthy people would come down with the
flu. They would stay at home for a few days, get better, go
outside, come down with pneumonia, and be dead within a
couple of days. It was a peculiar thing that it was the big,
husky people, both men and women, who seemed to succumb
the easiest. But the flu was not choosy. It picked on all ages,
sizes and members of both sexes.
Over much of the United States, September was the
month that was considered the worst. But that was not the case
in Stratford. October was a deadly month in this village. The
flu had hit earlier in Europe, and because of the massed
conditions necessary in the army, there was little chance to
avoid the disease. Deaths among the service men in the war
zone from the flu were far more numerous than the casualties
of war.
Using the issues of the Stratford Journal from the fall of
1918, it would seem that the flu struck quite suddenly here.
The October 4, 1918 issue did not contain the obituary of a
single flu victim, but in the next issue, there were five, two
close neighbors, and both were big husky men who laughed


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