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The Advertiser, Collinsville, Illinois
Volume 8, Number 6
Saturday, April 6, 1918, Pages 1 & 12
LYNCH PRO-GERMAN
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Fellow Who Talked too Much Strung Up by Angry Mob Thursday Night
      Robert P. Prager, aged 29 years, of German nativity, and who has for a number of. years lived in this city, and been employed as a baker at the Bruno bakery, and for some weeks was employed as a company man on the night shift at Maryville mine of the Donk's Brothers Coal Company, was lynched by a mob at 12:30 Friday morning, after having been taken from the city jail by the mob which was after his life.
 
      The lynching was the culmination of a night of excitement in the city. Prager had been in trouble earlier in the day at Maryville. He had been discharged from his position at the Maryville mine, owing to the protest of the men employed at that place over his further continuance in his position. The men employed had expressed their fears for the safety of the mine, owing to suspicions of Prager pro-German sentiments and the fear that he might endeavor to wreck the mine. There are many rumors as to expressions the man is alleged to have made at different times. It is said that he wished that all of the United States soldiers might be placed in one mine and he would like to blow them up. He also had quarrels with a number of men employed at the mine, and on his person Thursday night was found a typewritten letter addressed to members of the Maryville local of the union, which read as follows:
Collinsville, Ill., 4-4-18
Proclamation to the Members of Local Union No. 802 Maryville, Ill.
"Dear Brothers:
      "In regards to affairs of last night I am compelled to make this statement in public to you. My name is Robert P. Prager of 203½ Vandalia street Collinsville, Ill., through statements uttered by your President of your local No. 809. Mr. J. Farnero and also the action taken by him to take away my daily bread in such a manner as herein stated is not the action or will of your people as a workingman's Union. I have respect for your officials if on legal duty and will obey their commands to a letter I have been a Union man at all times and never once a scab in all my life and for this reason I appeal to you. An honest working man as myself is entitled to a fair hearing of your committee, I ask in the name of humanity to examine me, to find out what is the reason I am kept out of work, I have kept the union informed from the very beginning of my employment at Maryville mine, have put in and signed up two applications, the first with Mr. Wilhelm and the second with Mr. Ben Kettle. I have also had my application signed by three of your good standing members who have worked with me at various mines. I do not claim to be a practical miner, but do claim to have worked over four years in the mine as a laborer, most of this time as timberman.. In regards to ny loyalty I will state that I am heart and soul for the good old U. S. A. I am of German birth of which accident I can't help, and also declared my intention of U. S. citizenship, my second papers are due to be issued very soon if I am granted same. Please give this appeal due consideration and allow me to return to work.
      "Yours in respect,
            "Robt. P. Prager."
 
      "I further wish to state that I was branded as a liar in public by your President Jim Farnero, by him I was branded a German Spy, which he cannot prove, also this gentleman tried to have me arrested at Edwardsville, Maryville, and Collinsville, Ill., and did not succeed in any of those places. Mr. Farnero tried hard to have an angry mob deal with me. I also was informed by him to leave my home at once and never again come to Maryville if I knew what was good for my health. Also please state to your Union about of what reason you have kept a brother working-man, that is honest, law-abiding and loyal and take his bread away.

      The above letter was found on Prager's person after he had been taken in charge by the Collinsville police, after a mob had forced him to parade the streets, with a flag on his person and been forced to sing patriotic songs and give expression to patriotic sentiments. When the man was driven from Maryville late in the afternoon, he came to his home in this city, and about 9 o'clock was sought by a crowd of men and boys and was found near his home on Vandalia street. He was decorated with the flag and marched down Main street, where he was forced to take off his shoes and marched in his bare feet back east on Main street. At the corner of Seminary the procession was halted by the police and were told that the police would place the man in jail and turn him over to federal authorities. He was taken to the jail and placed in a cell, and many followed to the station, where ring leaders urged that the crowd demand that he be turned over to them and that he be punished in some manner. Mayor Siegel and others plead with the crowd to exercise patience, that the man would be turned over to the Federal authorities and would be punished if anything was found against him, and for a time it appeared as if the trouble was quieted down. But the crowd was in an ugly mood, although at 10:30 the mayor had ordered the saloons to be closed for the day. Leaders continued to incite the mob to violence, and finally it was demanded of the police that the crowd be allowed to examine the jail to see if the man was still there, as they had been told that he had been removed secretly by the police and ostensibly taken to East St. Louis for the Federal officials. He had been taken from the cell and the crowd was admitted, and at first search failed to find the prisoner, who had been put in the basement, and again it seemed as if the affair was over, and many went home. But in a short time it was proclaimed that the man had been found in the basement hiding among some sewer pipe, and he was dragged forth and the mob again quickly formed and the man was marched down Main street towards the city limits. By this time the crowd was not over 200 strong, and many half grown boys were in the number. There was no great amount of noise but as the crowd marched the captive, was made to sing and repeat expressions suggested to him, and when near the city limits he was made to take off his shoes and walked bare foot. He was also frequently struck on the head by the fists of those following behind. A. number of automobiles, were met and these joined in following the parade to the edge of the bluff, and just opposite the scene of last Sundays egg hunt, a halt was made.
 
      Up to this time the crowd seemed doubtful what to do with the man. But after a short wait a machine came from the west, and it then was seen that the occupants had gone for a rope, and when this arrived preparations were made for the lynching. Prager was told that he was to die, and was asked to write his last message to his folks if he had any word he wished to leave. He was given a piece of paper and pencil and allowed to write on the front fender of an automobile by the light of the headlights, and addressed his last letter to his parents. The address was Father Carl Henry Prager, York street. Tresten, German, and a translation of the text in English is as follows:
Dear Parent -- I must this day, the 4th of April, 1918, die. Please pray for me my dear parents. This is my last letter or confession of mine.
      Your dear son and brother,
            Robert Paul.

      A youth climbed up the tree and fastened a rope to one of the limbs, the other end was put about the neck of the prisoner. These significant preparations stilled all outcries from the mob, and many shrank back. It was also noticeable that most of those who had been conspicuous in the demand for the mans life up town now dropped into the back ground. Prager was told that he would be allowed to pray and going down on his knees began fervently to pray in German, which he called on his God to witness that he was innocent and that he was made the scapegoat of unreasonable hate. He also called on God to forgive his persecutors saying that they knew not what they did, and asked for remission of his sins. He said that he had sinned in many ways, but that he was loyal to the United States. His voice was firm at this time and his face stoical and he had evidently become resigned to his fate. Finally those who had assumed charge stopped his praying, and calling for all to get hold of the rope and string the man up. But the response was not eager and there was a drawing back. An appeal was made that all at least touch the rope so all would be equally involved, but that most of the crowd continued to back away. An automobile which had its headlight focused on the scene started to back away, and in the darkness the man was jerked from the ground by those who had taken hold of the rope. The automobile headlight was called for and the driver again faced the victim dangling in the air. Prager's hands had not been tied, and he grasped the rope above his head and held himself from strangling. The leader called to him to let go, but he did not obey and the body was lowered to the ground and it was apparent that he had not been badly hurt so far. Somebody tied his hands at his back, and he was again pulled into the air, and then the other end of the rope was tied to a telephone pole. He did not struggle much, and after about fifteen minutes the crowd had melted rapidly and only a few remained to watch the last convulsive movements of the dying man.
 
      The crowd went to their homes, and somebody telephoned to the undertaker who went down and cut down the man and found him dead and the body was brought to Hern's establishment and the coroner was notified of the affair and stated he would come down Friday morning.
 
      Coroner Roy Lowe arrived in the city Friday morning and announced that the inquest would not be held until the forepart of next week, as he had received word from Attorney General Brundage that the attorney general's office would .have a representative at the inquest to conduct the investigation and ferret out the leaders of the mob, and if evidence is secured to conduct prosecution later.
 
      The St. Louis papers all had. representatives in the city Friday to cover the story for their papers, and the city is due for considerable notoriety over the happening. There was absolutely no excitement Friday after the happening, and only a calm discussion of the events of the night before. The general comment is that the action of the mob was hasty and unfortunate, not in paliation of the victim, but for the reason that Federal authorities would have seen that punishment was given if the facts were proven to be as rumors state.
 

The Advertiser, Collinsville, Illinois
Volume 8, Number 6
Saturday, April 6, 1918, Page 11
PROSECUTION PROBABLE
Governor and States Attorney Announce Such Will be the Case
      There were no startling developments Friday in the lynching case. Governor Lowden made a statement denouncing the rule of mob law and stating that an investigation would be made and the leaders of the mob and those who incited to the hanging would be prosecuted if evidence could be found to convict them. In view of the sensational publicity which has been thrown into the case, the governor also stated that martial law would be declared if civil authorities could not handle the situation, although Collinsville was as quiet as usual, and the police were given no trouble of any kind, and citizens discussed the affair with the utmost calmness. But starting headlines and glaring newspaper stories had done their utmost to inflame the sentiment and arouse a false view of the situation. States Attorney Streuber also made a statement that he would act when evidence was available. Coroner Lowe empaneled a jury consisting of Messrs. John Bruso, Frank Rice, Chas. Holding, G. B. Noel, John Wappler and J. 0. Monroe and set the hearing for Monday morning at 10 o'clock. At this time Attorney General Brundage will send a representative to the city to keep in touch with the situation.
 

The DeKalb Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Illinois
Volume 19, Number 113
Tuesday, April 9, 1918, Page 1
Collinsville Boy Placed Lynchers' Rope
      Collinsville, Ill., April 9. -- A boy in knee pants played a leading role in the lynching of Robert Preagar, alleged pro-German, witnesses at the coroner's inquest testified today. Directed by a leader of the mob, the boy climbed the death tree and put the rope in place for the execution.
 

The Ashton Gazette, Ashton, Illinois
Volume 24, Number 7
Thursday, April 11, 1918, Page 6
U. S. TO DENOUNCE LYNCHING BY MOB
Gregory Brings Hanging of German in Illinois Before Cabinet
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CONFERS WITH PRESIDENT
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Robert P. Prager Was Killed for Making Alleged Disloyal Utterances to Miners at Maryvllle, Ill.
      Washington, April 8. -- Attorney General Gregory took to the cabinet meeting on Friday a report of the lynching of a German, Robert P. Prager, at Colllnsville, Ill., for discussion with President Wilson. The government is expected to denounce the mob's lawless act and to express the hope that there will be no repetition elsewhere.
 
      Officials made plain that they deplored the incident, both because of the effect In this country and also because it is feared reprisals may be made in Germany on Americans.
 
      Until power Is given the federal government, as provided In a pending bill, to punish persons making disloyal utterances, department of justice officials fear more lynchings.
 
      This outbreak was the first report reaching here of such extreme mob violence to a German, although officials who have observed the general feeling against Germans have feared such occurrences.
 
 
      Springfield, Ill. April 8. -- In a statement Governor Lowden declared he would use the force of his office to see that persons guilty of the lynching were brought to punishment. To this end representatives of the office of the attorney general and the adjutant general were dispatched to the scene of the mob violence.
 
      If the regularly constituted peace officers in Madison county and vicinity were not able to maintain order, the governor said, there would be nothing left for him to do but declare martial law
 
 
      Collinsville, Ill., April 8. -- Robert P. Prager, forty-five years old and German born, after twice escaping mob violence, was hanged to a tree on Thursday by a mob of 350 persons, who declared he had made disloyal utterances. He was dragged from the basement of the city hall here where he was hiding, escorted barefooted through the main street of the city to a point one mile west of here on the road leading to St. Louis, and there his body was found later dangling to the limb of a tree.
 
      Prager was a coal miner and on Thursday was in Maryville, Ill., where he addressed miners on socialism. In his talk he is said to have made remarks derogatory to President Wilson. Miners there became angry and when they threatened to do him bodily harm he escaped to Collinsville, his home. Some of the miners, however, followed him and described his actions to local persons.. A crowd soon gathered and Prager was taken from his home and led barefooted through the street waving an American flag.
 
      He was dragged down the street and beyond the, city limits, the crowd threatening to shoot if the officers approached. The lynching followed.
 

The Cairo Bulletin, Cairo, Illinois
Volume 50, Number 102
Friday, April 12, 1918, Page 4
FIVE MEN HELD FOR HANGING PRAGER AT COLLINSVILLE
      Collinsville, Ill., April 11. -- Joseph Riegel, Wesley Beaver, Richard Dukes, jr., Enid Elmore and William Brockmeier, charged in a coroner's jury verdict tonight with the murder by hanging of Robert T. Prager, an enemy alien, were arrested tonight and taken to the county jail at Edwardsville, Ill., where they will be held without bail for action by the grand jury.
 
      A representative of the Attorney-General's office is quoted as saying tonight that when the grand jury convenes next Wednesday he will present a transcript of all the evidence adduced at the inquiry this week, and will request indictments for the five men.
 

The Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, Illinois
Volume 31 Number 110
Friday Evening, April 12, 1918, Page 4
JURY HOLDS FIVE FOR COLLINSVILLE LYNCHING
      Collinsville, Ill., April 12. -- The coroner's jury returned a verdict today finding Robert Paul Prager met his death by hanging by a mob and recommended Joseph Riegel, Wesley Beaver, Richard Dukes, jr., William Bockmier and Enid Elmore be held for murder.
 

The Advertiser, Collinsville, Illinois
Volume 8, Number 7
Saturday, April 13, 1918, Pages 1 & 16
CORONER'S JURY HOLDS FIVE
 
After a Three Days Session Brings in a Verdict of Murder.
-- Accused Arrested Afterwards.
      The city of Collinsville has been agog this week with the developments following the lynching affair of last week. The interest has been kept alive by the holding of the coroners inquest into the happening, which was started Monday morning. And the matter has not been, allowed to lose interest through the horde of newspaper reporters who have been on the scene and have written of every angle of the affair, and of many angles that never happened. The publicity men were sent to this city to get a story and they have followed instructions fully. The Coroner, contrary to all custom, and very unwisely we believe, had decided that the inquest would be held behind locked doors, and all were tarred with the exception of the jurors and officers of the court. This was probably thought wise by the coroner, but it has only resulted in a vast amount of unfounded rumors and the city papers handling a large amount of sensational matter that has been most detrimental to the city. One of the Chicago papers carried a story to the effect that the streets of the city were being patrolled by armed guards to avoid bloodshed and rioting, while the fact is that the city has been as calm as any community at all times. But little attention has been paid by citizens to the inquest and there has been absolutely no excitement and very little discussion. All of the furor has been imaginary, and what excitement has been evident has been caused by yellow journalism of the basest sort, glaring headlines and distorted rumors published under the guise of facts. Pure greed for lucre may account for sensational head lines and fake extras but it does not justify such vilifying of the city. It is hardly to be wondered at that the residents of other cities look askance at the city and imagine the worst, but the fact is that a quieter community than Collinsville does not exist anywhere.
 
      Senator Sherman of Illinois, a jumping jack who loves the limelight as the duck does water, could not resist the temptation to draw attention to himself and in the United States Senate descended to the tactics of the veriest demagogue, and made a vicious attack on Mayor Siegel, using as his text the telegram sent by Mayor Siegel to Senator Overman, advocating the passage of his bill to make more severe the penalties for disloyalty. Further than this Sherman made a vicious attack on the entire southern part of the state, stating the lynching was the work of drunken miners and inferring at all who follow that occupation are hoodlums. He based his attack on false and wrongful premises, apparently caring nothing for the facts, permitting blind partisanship to sway his mind and giving way to anger and pique. Sherman has been disgruntled ever since he was defeated for the presidential nomination and now is the worst muck raker in the business. He is blindly morbid and a rank despiser of union labor and never misses a chance to lambast union organizations. He disgraces the office he holds, he misrepresents the great state of Illinois, he vilifies his own community and befouls his own nest whenever possible. He tries to make a 42 centimeter noise with a BB brain, and his latest amues would be ludicrous unless they were so spiteful and tended to do harm.
 
      William Trautmann, assistant attorney gerenal, arrived in the city Monday morning to assist in the taking of evidence before the coroner's jury and' State's Attorney J. P. Streuber also was present. The coroner was in charge of the inquest, and four of his deputy coroners attended the taking of testimony as spectators. The jury consisted of John Bruso, Frank Rice, Chas. Holding, G. B. Noel, John Wappler and J.O. Monroe. While the inquest was supposed to be secret, the Post Dispatch carried a very complete summary of the first day's testimony, with questions and answers and it is evident there must have been a leak somewhere. It is admitted by the jurors that the report of the Post Despatch was very accurate.
 
      A large number of witnesses were examined each day, and as testimony was given it was disclosed as to who had been present and these were in turn examined as to the happenings as they had seen them. The larger part of these witnesses were merely spectators of the scene, and had followed the parade for curiosity without an idea that it would result in a hanging, and many left before the final act.
 
      But when the examination of witnesses began it was found that the testimony of each one revealed the names of others who had some knowledge of those who were present, and these were in turn called to the stand, and in this way the full story has been drawn out piecemeal. Many citizens who had been drawn to the city hall by the gathering at that place gave their testimony as to what took place at that point, and told of those who had been conspicuous in inciting the mob to violent acts, and then others who bad followed down Main street gave additional testimony as to what happened on the way to the scene of the lynching. It was harder to get positive testimony as to what happened at tr at place, but it gradually developed that the real active participants were known and finally Joseph Riegel made a full confession on the stand which gave the details of the lynching and identified many of those who took part in the hanging. Riegel admitted that he had been himself one of the most active and prominent and that he had become remorseful over his part in the affair. He admitted that he had known nothing against the victim, and that was partly under the influence of liquor at the time, and that afterwards he was so conscience stricken that he had been unable to sleep. He also stated that he had been active in inciting the crowd at the jail and was one of those who dragged the victim from the cellar where he had been concealed by the police, and gave the names of others who had assisted in dragging the man down to the place of lynching and in adjusting the rope and committing the hanging. In fact he told the whole story as he remembered it, others corroborated the details fully, and all of this evidence appeared in the Post Dispatch daily just about as it was given on the stand. The other reporters also were busy in their interviews and in fact the papers dug up more testimony than the coroner's jury was able to secure. The coroner's jury held sessions Monday and then adjourned until Wednesday morning, and the taking of testimony was not completed until 2:30 Thursday afternoon, and a night session was held Wednesday. All of the testimony was similar in effect, and largely related to the actions of the crowd at the city hall and to some extent of the actions of the crowd at the scene the lynching. Many were able to give graphic details of the happenings, but as it was almost entirely dark were unable to identify the active participants by name. The police, some of the aldermen and others who had been attracted to the city hall told of the occurrences there, and many citizens told of the march down Main street, and the whole story finally became revealed quite accurately. From this story it is evident that few thought that serious harm would befall the man Prager, and that the crowd that really was responsible for the hanging was very small, and acted largely from a motive of being afraid that they would be ridiculed for showing a yellow streak after so much profession of their willingness to go the full length. It is extremely probable that nothing worse than a case of tar and feathering of the victim would have taken place if the means had been found to apply that punishment, but when the rope was secured it was used under the stimulus of the excitement and the urging of a few violent agitators.
 
      Much of the newspaper articles printed during the week were only giving publicity to rumors heard on the street, but there is much conjecture as to where the Post Dispatch was able to secure its full report of the evidence. The members of the coroner's jury were sworn to positive secrecy, but there was either a leak or that paper was able to plant a reporter In such a manner as to overhear the entire proceedings. It was possible for an eavesdropper to have reached the attic of the city hall and then locating himself over a ventilating register directly above the point where the inquest was held, and some are positive that this was the method used. At any rate the inquest might as well have been open to the newspaper men, and they would have respected any request that might have resulted in the miscarriage of justice.
 
      The daily papers naturally pad their accounts to fill space, but it is hard to find any palliation for the publication of the picture of Mrs. Joseph Riegel, who is an entirely innocent party to the acts of her husband. To make her suffer the torments of notoriety is like the ghoulish work of the Hun in warring on women and children in unprotected zones.
 
      The taking of evidence was completed at 2:30 Thursday afternoon and the case was given to the jury who were in consultation until 6:30 before arriving at a verdict, at which time they brought in their decision. As was expected the jury held a number of men to the grand jury without bail. Their verdict was that they had found that "Robert Paul Prager come to his death by suffocating in and strangulation by hanging by a rope around his neck by a mob and we further recommend that Joseph Riegel,Wesley Beaver, Richard Dukes, Jr., William Brockmeier and Enid Elmore be held to the grand jury without bail for murder." The coroner at once issued warrants for the arrest of the men, and police officers went in search of the accused, and by 8:30 had brought to the police station the five men. Deputy sheriffs Robert Ferguson and Vernon Coons came down from Edwardsville in a machine, and took charge of the men and they were taken back for safe keeping in the county jail. The grand jury meets Monday but this case will not be taken up until Wednesday, and it will probably take several days for the grand jury to find bills or dismiss the case. The action of the coroners jury acts as, a preliminary trial, and the grand jury after hearing the evidence can use their judgment, and can if they choose make other indictments. In the East St. Louis riots the coroners jury held only fourteen men, while the grand jury returned indictments against more than a hundred. The evidence before the grand jury will be handled by States Attorney Streuber and he will be assisted by a representative from the office of the attorney General of the state of Illinois.
 
      The body of Robert Prager, the victim of the lynchers, was last Sunday sent to St. Louis; and the funeral was held Wednesday from an undertaker's chapel at 2002 South 12th street. The interment was at St. Matthews cemetery and the funeral was in charge of Harmonie lodge of the Odd Fellows, of which the deceased was a member. Over 500 people attended the services and the deceased was buried with an American flag pinned to his shroud. Harmonie lodge also passed a set of resolutions denouncing the lynching and calling on the state authorities for a vigorous prosecution.
 
      This is the story of the happenings of the week without embellishment and given in a concise manner. It covers all of the essential facts, briefly stated, and without attempt at sensationalism. It would be as well if the street corner news mongers would restrain their volubility and let the law act with deliberation and without bias. There are some scandal peddlers who are repeating stories for the purpose of injuring their enemies, which are surely destined to land them in a court of law unless they desist from their slanderous aspersiors.
 

The Advertiser, Collinsville, Illinois
Volume 8, Number 8
Saturday, April 20, 1918, Page 1
BEFORE THE GRAND JURY
Witnesses Being Examined in Relation to the Praeger Lynching.
      The grand jury of Madison County is in session at Edwardsville this week, and Thursday afternoon began taking testimony in the lynching case from this city. Only four witnesses were before the jury during the afternoon, but a large number have been called to testify as to their knowledge of happenings before and during the affair, and it is expected that the examination will not be completed before Monday, after which the grand jury will consider the evidence and will bring in their report. Assistant Attorney General Wm. Trautman is assisting States Attorney Streuber in the examination of witnesses, and the Grand Jury is going into the case most thoroughly. It is against the law to divulge the name of the witnesses called before the grand jury or the nature of their evidence it is likely that nothing will be known of their findings until the last of next week, when the findings will be given publicity after the jury has reported.
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The Advertiser, Collinsville, Illinois
Volume 8, Number 8
Saturday, April 20, 1918, Page 5
A COMMON SCOLD
Edwardsville Democrat Comments on the Collinsville Lynching.
      The Edwardsville Democrat refers to Senator Lawrence Y. Sherman as a common scold, in connection with his rabid attack on Mayor Siegel anent the Collinsville lynching. Says the Democrat: "Dr. Lawrence Y. Sherman had best belong to the school for medics who 'throw all patients into fits and who are hell on fits. The misfortune is that Sherman's patients die while waiting for his remedy. He is only a common scold, a class who get nowhere." In another paragraph the Democrat comments as follows on the complaint that the closing of the saloons caused the mob to form. "Mayor Siegel, closed the Collinsville saloons, which it is claimed forced the patrons into the streets and the mob too. It is the old rule over again. 'Be dammed if you do, and be dammed if you don't.'" A clipping bureau has sent The Advertiser a package of clippings relating to the affair from various parts of the country. The clippings are from Maine to Florida, and indicate the wide extent of the undesirable notoriety which this city has received from the happening. Some of the editorial comment is very bitter in its criticism of the act of the mob, and there is occasionally an article which commends the hanging. But they are mainly interesting from the wide publicity which the affair has led to.
 

The Advertiser, Collinsville, Illinois
Volume 8, Number 9
Saturday, April 27, 1918, Page 4
GRAND JURY INDICTS
Returns a Number of True Bills in Connection With Lynching.
      The grand jury of Madison County completed their investigation Thursday evening in connection with the Prager lynching case and returned a number of true bills.
 
      The five men now held in the county jail on the verdict of the coroner's jury were indicted on first degree murder and ordered held without bonds until their trial. These five men are Joseph Riegel, Richard Dukes Jr., Enid Elmore, William Brockmeier and Wesley Beaver. It is also rumored that the grand jury found true bills against seven others for murder, but their names were not made public at this time, but bench warrants will be issued in a few days for their arrest, when the names will become public property. But the number so indicted is only conjecture at this time.
 
      The grand jury also found true bills against Patrolmen Martin Futchek, Fred Frost, John Tobnick and Harry Stephens, charging them with malfeasance in office and neglect of duty in not making greater efforts to prevent the lynching, and fixed their bonds at $1200 each. The bench warrants have been served and the bonds division consisted of the Maryville given in these four cases. schools, the parochial schools, the
 
      In all 76 witnesses were examined by the grand jury and many angles to the case were looked into, and a vast variety of testimony was brought before the grand jury and made a record of.
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Seven More Arrested
      Late Friday afternoon deputy sheriffs arrived in the city with bench warrants for the arrest of seven additional persons whom the grand jury had indicted for murder, and ordered held without bond until action by the court. They can be admitted to bond only after habeas corpus proceedings are instituted. The warrants were served as soon as the men could be seen and the arrested were taken to Edwardsville where they will be held pending further action in their case. The seven additional men arrested and held on the charges against them are as follows :
      John Hallsworth,
      Calvin Gillmore,
      Frank Flannery,
      George Davis,
      James DeLuth, alias James Dematis,
      Cecil Larrimore,
      Chas. Kramner.
 

The Advertiser, Collinsville, Illinois
Volume 8, Number 10
Saturday, May 4, 1918, Page 2
TO BE TRIED MAY 13TH
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Time Set for the Hearing of the Prager Lynching Case
      The eleven men indicted by the Madison County grand jury for the lynching of Robert Paul Prager, in this city, has been set for May 13th. The men are to be defended by Attorney James Bandy, his son Harol Bandy and Jerry Sullivan, of East St. Louis, and it is probable that other attorneys will be engaged in the defense when the time for the trial comes. As the men are in custody an early trial has been arranged for, and the states attorneys, office will be assisted in the prosecution by representatives of the attorney general's office. The time for the trial of the four police officers indicted for neglect of duty has not been bet as the men are at liberty under bond. The trial will probably be a long one as much evidence is to be heard.
 

The Advertiser, Collinsville, Illinois
Volume 8, Number 12
Saturday, May 18, 1918, Page 1
ADMONISHED BY COURT
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Witness Censured for Remarks Before Possible Juror
      Bernhardt Mueller, a barber of this city, who is to be one of the witnesses in the Prager case at Edwardsville, and who has been in Edwardsville in attendance on the case, was hailed before Judge Bernreuter Wednesday for having spoken to one of the men summoned as a juror in a manner calculated to influence him. The details of the incident are given as follows by the Intelligencer: "Mueller was in the barber shop of Louis Borman on Second street and a conversation started about the lynching. John Lewis, a farmer living west of Edwardsville mentioned that he had been called as a prospective juryman and could not discuss the affair. Mueller made a remark that it did not matter if Lewis was to be a juryman and added that the death "was the most cold blooded murder ever committed." He added that the defendants should get just what Prager got. Later in the afternoon the incident was reported to Deputy Sheriff Coons, who took Mueller before Judge Bernreuter. The judge called the attorneys into private conference where Mueller was reprimanded. He was excused until later, Judge Bernreuter saying that he. would take up the charges after the case was disposed of."
 
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WAS KNOWN IN NEBRASKA
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Robert Prager was Driven from Niobrara for Radical Talk
      Robert Prager, the German who was lynched in this city, seems to have had a varied career in various parts of the country, and much of his record is known to certain parties in this city, and has not been made public at this time. There is a vast stack of correspondence and affidavits in existence to prove that he had been known as a most radical pro-German in other places and had been engaged in a number of most questionable transactions, and some of this is gradually becoming public. The Norfolk, Neb., Daily News, of a recent date contains the following item from Niobrara, Neb., relative to the record of the man in that place:
      "Robert Prager, who was lynched by a mob at Collinsville, Ill., worked here for Joseph Stejskal as a baker about three years ago. He began to work in January 1915, and left Stejskal's employment in September, 1915. Prager was a radical pro-German, and when the Lusitania was sunk he told Mr. Stejskal that President Wilson was nothing but an English cur. The remark cost him his job. Then he idled around town, getting in debt wherever he could, and one morning the town woke up to find that "Bob the Baker" had disappeared. That was the last heard of him until the news printed the story of his meeting his Waterloo in the mining town of Illinois."

 

The Advertiser, Collinsville, Illinois
Volume 8, Number 12
Saturday, May 18, 1918, Page 5
ON TRIAL AT EDWARDSVILLE
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Eleven Defendants from This City in the Prager Case.
      The trial of the eleven defendants from this city indicted by; the Madison County Grand Jury for the lynching of Paul Prager was begun at Edwardsville this week. The case is being heard before Judge Louis Bernreuter, and the progress being made is very slow. When the case was called at 1 o'clock Monday the defense filed a demurrer to the indictment on the ground that it was faulty in that all of the names of the witnesses before the grand jury failed to appear on the back of the indictment as the law requires. It was shown that the name of Charles. Cramner, who is one of the indicted men, failed to appear on the back, although he was a witness before the grand jury. Judged Bernrueter overruled the demurrer and the case went to trial. As each side has a large number of premptory challenges it was realized that there would be great, difficulty in securing a jury. Each prospective juror was closely questioned as to his opinions and leanings, and as almost everybody in the county has read of the case and formed an opinion, many were discharged and the original panel was soon exhausted. A special venire was ordered of a hundred men and none of these were permitted from Collinsville and the work of trying to secure a jury continued slowly.
 
      A large, number of witnesses have been summoned from this city and many of these attended the sessions of the court and the audience present in the court room has been very large. States Attorney Streuber for the state is being assisted by Assistant Attorney General Middlekauf and William Trautman, from the States Attorneys office and the defendants are represented by James Bandy of Granite City, and Thos. Williamson, of Edwardsville. The cases of the, police officers charged with neglect of duty are not up for hearing at this time, and the defendants who are on trial on the charge of murder are Joseph Riegel, Wesley Beaver, William Brockmeier, Richard Dukes, Jr., Enid Elmore, John Hallsworth, Calvin Giilmore, Frank Flannery, James De Mattis, Cecil Larremore and Charles Cramner. The first five were held by the coroners jury and the other six were also indicted with the original five by the grand jury. George Davis was also indicted at the same time, but was never apprehended.
 
      Wednesday on the motion of the state, Judge Bernrueter disqualified the sheriff's office from the duty of summoning any of the special venire needed to make up the panel from which the jurors were selected. The application was made on the alleged grounds that the office was prejudiced in favor of the defendants and had shown an inclination to select only men who would be favorable to the defendants in the case. Also that Sheriff Jenkins was lacking in judgment and ability to properly perform, his duties and that there had been neglect on his part in proper attention to the duties of the office. It was decided by the judge to name special bailiffs who would select the talesmen needed and would complete the panel wanted.
 

The Advertiser, Collinsville, Illinois
Volume 8, Number 13
Saturday, May 25, 1918, page 12
THE PRAGER CASE
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All of the Present Week Occupied in Securing Jury.
      The circuit court at Edwardsville has been occupied all of this week, as well as last week in securing a jury for the trial of the eleven defendants charged with murder in the lynching of Robert Prager in this city. Owing to the wide publicity which the affair has received it has been difficult to secure twelve men who have not formed an opinion on. the case, and the reluctance of men to serve on the case has unquestionably caused many of the panel to disqualify themselves by their answers. The court has been compelled to draft panel after panel of prospective jurymen from all parts of the county, but the examination of hundreds after hundreds of talesmen has been most tedious and the work of securing a jury has proceeded very slowly.
 
      The prospect is that the trial of the case will be similarly delayed by the vast number of witnesses who are to be examined in the case.
 
      It is expected that the work of securing a jury will be completed before the end of the week, and then the taking of the evidence will be begun next week.
 

The Advertiser, Collinsville, Illinois
Volume 8, Number 14
Saturday, June 1, 1918, Pages 1 & 10
COLLINSVILLE MEN ON TRIAL
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Jury Secured Finally to Hear Evidence in Lynching Case
      The balance of the twelve jurymen who are to try the eleven defendants charged with the murder of Paul Prager, were secured at Edwardsville Monday. After two weeks effort only eight men had been selected and accepted Saturday evening and it was thought that the work of securing four men additional would occupy the time of the court for a number of days this week, and t was considerable of a surprise to the audience in the court room Monday evening when Attorney Bandy for the defense announced to the clerk, "Swear the Jury" thus closing a most protracted examination, in which over 700 men had been questioned as to their fitness to hear the evidence.
 
      As finally constituted, the twelve men who are to sit in judgment in the case are as follows:
      Keith Eby, Edwardsville, Clerk.
      I. T. Bennett, Edwardsville, railroad car accountant.
      George, Neary, Sr., Edwardsville, janitor.
      Walter Solterman, Worden, teamster.
      W. C. Dipoeld. Edwardsville, miller.
      Marion Baumgartner. Edwardsville tailor.
      D. W. Fiegenbaum, Edwardsville, branch manager.
      John Groshums, Edwardsville, farmer.
      A. E. Challacomb, Alton, plumber.
      Frank Oben, Alton, horse and mule buyer.
      F. W. Horn, Alton, tailor.
      Frank Weeks, Edwardsville, clerk
 
      The eleven defendants charged with being guilty of murder for their participation in the hanging of Prager are Wesley Beaver, Joseph Riegel, Richard Dukes, Jr, John Hallsworth, Frank Flannery, Cecil Larremore, William Brockmeier, James Dematies, Enid Elmore, Charles Cramner and Calvin Gillmore.
 
      The statement made by the attorneys for the state and for the defense were both brief and simply recited what each side expected to prove and the examination of the witnesses began Tuesday morning, the states witnesses being called first as is the custom. Those who had been witnesses of the gathering of the crowd at both the city hall and who were present at the scene of the lynching were taken over the ground and questioned as to the actions of the mob and the participation of the defendants in the actual hanging. The number of witnesses was extremely large, and the larger number were unable to give any details of the act, and only able to identify some of the defendants as having been present. Each had seen only part of the affair, and in this way a complete story was pieced out. Mayor Siegel told of the happenings at the city hall when the mob first gathered and of the incidents leading up to the taking of Prager from the jail. J. O. Monroe testified as to being at the scene of the hanging immediately after the event, and only saw in the mob of two or three hundred men a single man that he recognized. John Bruso testified as to the evidence given before the coroner and of which he had acted as foreman. Losis Girding told of having driven to the scene in his automobile and witnessing the hanging. Harry Linneman and Edward Nagel were members of a party that were in a service car and testified to the rope being taken from the car, and that Joseph Riegel had placed the rope around Prager's neck and thrown the other end over the limb of the tree. Linneman testified to substantially the same effect. Bernhardt Mueller told of being a witness to the hanging and related incidents that took place. A. W. Schimpff told of the actions of the crowd at the engine house and city hall and also of the parade of the crowd to the scene of the hanging.
 
      After about thirty of the states witnesses had been examined Wednesday State's Attorney Streuber asked for a postponement until Friday morning on the ground that he had a few more witnesses to examine and would require time to get them into court. Thursday being Memorial day no court would be held, and owing to the delay in securing a jury certain witnesses had been excused for the time being. Streuber stated that he would be able to conclude the state case in a few hours Friday morning, and in this event the case will probably be finished for the jury by the end of the week. But the expectation is that the arguments of counsel will consume a long time. The defense has a mass of testimony to prove that Prager was disloyal and that he had been forced to leave a number of cities owing to his avowed pro-German sentiments. There is some question as to whether they will be able to get this before the jury and the general line of their defense indicates that they will depend on the size of the crowd to deny the particular responsibility of their clients for the lynching, and claim that it was the spontaneous act of an American sentiment that was indignant over repeated, outrages committed by German propagandists and in the nature of self protection against the commission of similar acts in this vicinity.
 
      During the taking of the testimony there were many tilts between the attorneys, the defense contesting the admission of any damaging testimony against their clients. This has prolonged the trial considerably and it is probable that before all of the witnesses are heard many days will elapse. It is generally assumed that the defense will try to mitigate the directness of the evidence against the men and will take the position that the affair was so confused that the incrimination of their clients has not been proven, and will rely to a large extent on their forensic efforts before the jury to secure an acquittal of their clients.
 

The Advertiser, Collinsville, Illinois
Volume 8, Number 14
Saturday, June 1, 1918, Page 5
OFFICIALS IN FIGHT.
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Sheriff Jenkins Strikes States Attorney Streuber
      At May & May's restaurant at Edwardsville Monday evening Sheriff Jenkins and States Attorney Streuber became engaged in a controversy over personal matters which have arisen as the result of the motion filed last week by the states attorney to disqualify the sheriff's office in the Prager case, and Sheriff Jenkins struck a number of blows at the states attorney, which did but little damage to that gentleman. They were separated by bystanders before the affair had gone very far.
 

The Advertiser, Collinsville, Illinois
Volume 8, Number 15
Saturday, June 8, 1918, Page 1
ALL FOUND NOT GUILTY
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Jury Finds Verdict Quickly in Prager Lynching Case
      The eleven defendants charged with the lynching of Paul Prager, who had been on trial at Edwardsville for three weeks, were discharged from custody last Saturday afternoon after the jury had taken their case under deliberation for a few minutes. The taking of the evidence was finished Friday evening and Saturday the attorneys made their arguments to the jury. States Attorney Streuber opened for the state, and was followed by Harold Bandy for the defense, after which James Bandy made an impassioned plea for the defense, and Thos. Williamson closed for the defense, and Assistant Attorney General Middlekauff closed for the state. The jury took only two ballots, on the first of which they stood 11 tor acquittal to one for conviction and in a few minutes another ballot was taken in which a verdict of "Not Guilty" was agreed on, and reported to the court. The announcement of the verdict was received by spectators in the court room with rousing cheers and enthusiastic demonstrations of approval. It was known in Collinsville a few minutes afterwards and was, similarly received in this city, and when the defendants arrived in the city later in the evening they were heartily congratulated by their friends and acquaintances. No other result had been anticipated for a few days, as it was seen that the case of the state was very weak, and it was generally supposed that the attorneys for the defense would be able to make their addresses bring a favorable verdict for the defendants.
 
      Monday States Attorney Streuber moved the court for the dismissal of the cases against the police officers, and this closes the event, to the relief of the community at large who have been surfeited with the vast amount of publicity which hs come about in connection with the affair.
 

 
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