Posted By Norman Gasbarro on September 14, 2016
Through the pages of newspapers of the time, this horrendous murder story will be told. Sarah Ann [Reed] Klinger, a widow of a Civil War veteran and a pensioner, was brutally murdered in her home near Shamokin, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, on 21 November 1906.
Jacob Klinger was born on 3 April 1843 in Lower Mahantongo Township, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. During the Civil War, he served in the 172nd Pennsylvania Infantry, Company D, as a Private, from 27 October 1862 through 1 August 1863. Jacob Klinger died in early 1899. He had been collecting a pension, which, after his death, Sarah applied for and was receiving at the time of her murder. The Pension Index Card from Ancestry.com is shown above.
Today’s post gives the initial reports of the murder, speculates on the motive, and resolves into charges levied against Henry Snyder, a boarder in Mrs. Klinger home.
From the Wilkes-Barre Evening News, 22 November 1906 and the Pittsburgh Press, 22 November 1906:
WIDOW WAS MURDERED [MURDERED BY UNKNOWN MAN]
Old Shamokin Woman Was Killed by Robbers
SHAMOKIN, Pennsylvania, 22 November 1906 — Mrs. Sarah Klinger, a widow, sixty years old, was murdered in her home early today. The assassin battered her head with a club after which he robbed here of a small sum of money and disappeared. Parties are searching the surrounding country.
From the Indiana Gazette (Indiana, Pennsylvania), 22 November 1906:
OLD WOMAN MURDERED
Robber Beat Her to Death and Took Her Money
Shamokin, Pennsylvania, 22 November 1906 — Mrs. Sarah Klinger, a widow, aged about 60 years, was murdered in her home early today.
The assassin battered her head with a club after which he robber her of a small sum of money and disappeared.
Searching parties are bunting for the murderer.
From the Allentown Leader (Allentown, Pennsylvania), 22 November 1906:
MURDER AT SHAMOKIN
Shamokin, 22 November 1906 — Mrs. Sarah Klinger, 60 years old, was brutally murdered by some unknown person early this morning at her home. The assassin battered her head with a club and secured a small sum of money.
From the Lima News (Ohio), 22 November 1906:
BRUTAL MURDER OF SOLDIER’S WIDOW
By the Associated Press.
Shamokin, Pennsylvania, 22 November 1906 — With her head horribly battered by a club and her throat black and blue, Mrs. Sarah Klinger, aged 60 years, the widow of a Civil War veteran, was found dead in her home here today. The woman lived alone and there is not the slightest doubt in the minds of the police that she had been murdered. The authorities have no clue to the murderer.
From the Harrisburg Daily Independent, 22 November 1906 and from the Mount Carmel Item, 23 November 1906:
Head Was Horribly Battered With a Heavy Club
By Associated Press
Shamokin, Pennsylvania, 22 November 1906 — With her head horribly battered by a club and with her throat black and blue, Mrs. Sarah Klinger, aged sixty years, the widow of a Civil War veteran, was found dead in her home here today. The woman lived alone and there is not the slightest doubt in the minds of the the police that she had been murdered. The marks on her throat plainly show that an attempt had first been made to choke her to death, The authorities have no clue to the murderer and are not yet able to decide whether the woman was killed by robbers or whether her life was taken to accomplish some other purpose.
From the Mount Carmel Item (Pennsylvania), 22 November 1906:
AGED WOMAN MURDERED FOR HER PENSION
Terrible Crime Committed in Shamokin Last Night — Suspect Lodged in Jail
Lying in a pool of her own blood, with her head crushed by a blow dealt evidently by some powerful person, Mrs. Sarah Klinger, an aged Shamokin woman, was found dead in her home late last evening, and another foul murder has been added to the already long list on the record of this blood stained and blood cursed county.
The murder was discovered by Harry Fisher, who called in neighbors and notified them of the crime. At present, Fisher is lodged in jail, charged with the crime, and the chair of circumstantial evidence against him is particularly strong.
Mrs. Klinger was a pensioner, and yesterday received her pension, amounting to $26.00. It is this money that is supposed to have invited the dreadful crime of murder.
Fisher was recently thrown out of a house for failure to pay his rent. Her and his wife were taken by Mrs. Klinger, a kind-hearted old soul.
According to Fisher’s story, he and his wife left the Klinger house about ten o’clock yesterday morning, and did not return until about 5:00 in the evening, when he discovered the dead and horribly mutilated body lying at the bottom of the stairs, the scull crushed in as though it had been an egg shell.
Some persons doubt the murder story, and claim that death as accidental. But the post-mortem examination by Coroner Dreher showed every indication of crime. The inquest is now in progress.
Fisher, who is in jail, tells several conflicting stories, and the Coroner has advised that he be held until a complete examination has been held.
From the Mount Carmel Item, 23 November 1906:
FISHER IS ACCUSED OF THE MURDER
Coroner’s Jury at Shamokin Says He Killed Mrs. Klinger on Wednesday
Henry Fisher, of Shamokin, is accused of the atrocious murder of Mrs. Sarah Klinger, who as was told in this paper last evening, was found dead in her home Wednesday evening, with her head crushed into a shapeless mass.
The accusation is made by the coroner’s jury which met at noon today, the verdict reached being as follows: “The Mrs. Sarah Klinger came to her death before the noon hour on Wednesday, November 21st, by a murderous assault and choking at the hands of Henry Fisher, now in custody.”
This crime is one of the worst in the history of Northumberland County. The man who struck down the aged woman, choked her into insensibility, and then killed her with a blow on the head which clove her scull was befriended by her when in trouble, was taken into her home when others evicted him for non-payment of rent, and then for a paltry sum of money he slew his benefactress and branded himself with the mark of Cain.
The only new evidence brought forth at the inquest was of a very damaging nature against the accused man. A shirt, stained with the blood of the murdered woman, was found in an outhouse by the authorities, and the garment was identified as belonging to Fisher.
At this time the evidence against Fisher seems conclusive and the prospects are that the one hundred and twelfth murder committed in this county will find the perpetrator properly punished.
From the Pittston Gazette (Pennsylvania), 23 November 1906:
Woman Found Slain in Her Home
Shamokin, Pennsylvania, 23 November 1906 — With her head horribly battered by a club and with her throat black and blue, Mrs. Sarah Klinger, aged sixty years, the widow of a Civil War veteran, was found dead in her home here. Henry Fisher was arrested charged with the murder of Mrs. Klinger. Fisher and his wife were recently ejected from a house because they could not pay their rent, and Mrs. Klinger gave them shelter. When taken into custody Fisher is alleged to have told several conflicting stories. He insists that he is innocent.
From the Wilkes-Barre Times (Pennsylvania), 23 November 1906:
WOMAN’S HEAD CRUSHED
Motive For Crime Was $36 Pension Money.
SHAMOKIN, Pennsylvania, 23 November 1906 — Mrs. Sarah Klinger was found dead at her Water Street home yesterday. Her head had been crushed in with a blunt instrument. Henry Fisher and wife were arrested on suspicion of knowing something about the murder. Mrs. Fisher was later released.
The motive for the crime was the aged widow had $36 in pension money which she kept in a trunk, and the police found that the money was missing. A post-mortem examination showed that the woman’s skull had been crushed by a blunt instrument. Her neck was black and blue, the assassin having also choked her. She was found in a pool of blood on the first floor.
From the Wilkes-Barre Times (Pennsylvania), 24 November 1906:
DECLARED THE ASSASSIN
Coroner’s Jury Finds Henry Fisher Guilty of Murder
SHAMOKIN, Pennsylvania, 24 November — Henry Fisher, who has been arrested on suspicion of knowing something about the murder of Mrs. Sarah Klinger in her home, where she was choked, also beaten on the head with a heavy instrument, has been declared the assassin by a coroner’s jury.
Blood-stained clothing was found near the scene of the murder, and it is said to have been worn by Fisher at the time Mrs. Klinger was killed.
From the Wilkes-Barre Evening News, 24 November 1906:
SAYS BOARDER KILLED WIDOW
SHAMOKIN, Pennsylvania, 24 November 1906 — Henry Fisher was accused by a coroner’s jury as the assassin of Mrs. Sarah Klinger, who was choked and clubbed to death in her home early Thursday morning. Evidence of a most damaging nature was presented against the accused.
Newspaper articles are from Newspapers.com.