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Double Hanging At Clayton

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St. Louis, Feb. 16.- At Clayton. a BUburb of this city, and the county seat of St. Louis county. Peter, better known as "Cottonhead" Schmidt, and Sam Foster, eolored. vvere hanged Tuesday. Peter Schmidt, who is only 16 years of age, was swung ofE first. He died gamely at 7:05 a. m. with a sullen look on bis face and without any sign of repentance. Sam Foster, the big, brutal negro, who followed him to death fifteen minutes later, was so weak that he almost had to be carried to the scaffold. His lips quivered and his eyes filled with tears as the black cap was drawn over his head. Both died almost instantly. The murder' of Bertram A. Atwater oceurred at Webster Groves, a few miles from St. Louis, on Jan. 23, 1S96. Atwater was a well-known young artist of Chicago, and had come to Webster Groves to see his affianced, Miss Genevfeve Orton. They were soon to be raarried. Atwater rode out from St. Ijouis on an electric car. arriving at Webster Groves about 8 o'clock p. m. He engaged Peter Schmidt, a worthiess young fellow, better known around the village as "Cottonhead" on account of his extreme blonde hair, to take his valise over to the Orton residence. Then he went into a.barber shop to be shaved. Schmidt hurried away, saw his cousin, Johr. Schmidt, and Sam Foster, and quickly formed a plot to attack Atwater while on the way to the Orton residence and rob him. The two secreted themselves awaiting the approach of Atwater and Peter Schmidt. and when Schmidt gave the signal John Schmidt and Foster jumped in.front of Atwater, telling him to throw up his hands. As his hands went up there was a pistol in the right one, and he shot John Schmidt through the breast. Sam Foster then fired two shots, one of which pierced Atwater's heart, and he feil a corpse. "Cottonhead" and Foster ran away. "Cottonhead" went back to town and reported the affair to the sheriff. John Sehmidt was found lying near Atwater, badly wounded. Several days afterward, when he thought he was dying. he told the whole story. John Schmidt is to be hanged also, but not untll March 10.


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News