|Miami County Historical Museum - 12 E. Peoria, P O Box 123 - Paola, KS 66071 Phone: 913-294-4940 - all rights reserved
The Miami Republican, June 14, 1912
FIENDISH DOUBLE MURDER
Rollin Hudson and Wife of Paola Murdered While They Slept
No Known Motive for the Crime and no Clue to The Murderer.
Worst Crime In The History Of Miami County
Thursday afternoon, June 6, 1912, this community was shocked by the discovering of the
most fiendish murder ever committed in Miami Co. About 4 o'clock the bodies of Rollin D.
Hudson and his wife, Anna Hudson, were found with their heads crushed in a most
horrible manner in their bed in a five room cottage which they rented from Sid Aker, at 710
West Wea street, Paola. The murder was discovered by Mrs. Charles Musick, Mrs.
Sherman Stump and Mrs. William Pryor, neighbors of the murdered couple. Not seeing
either Mr. Hudson or his wife about the house all day, they became suspicious that
something was wrong, and going to the house and not receiving any response to their
knock at the door, they pushed it slightly ajar and could see the outline of the two forms
lying in the bed in the back room. Herman J. Hintz, who is deputy marshal for the west
part of town, came driving by in his buggy and the women told him of their suspicion. With
Fred Hogan, Mr. Hintz went into the house and saw a ghastly sight. Turning back a
coverlid and sheet that covered their heads, they found Mr. and Mrs. Hudson dead. Mr.
Hudson was lying on his right side with the left side of his head and face crushed. He was
evidently murdered while he slept, without having made a struggle. Mrs. Hudson was
apparently awakened when her husband was killed and raised her head, when she was
struck on the back of the head and on her face with some partially sharp instrument and
inch or and inch and a half wide, as there were several holes in her face. It is thought
both were chloroformed before the fatal blows were struck.
The pillows and bed clothing were soaked with blood, which had soaked through the
mattress and dripped on the floor under the bed. It was a horrible sight and was the work
of a veritable fiend.
From holes in the coverlid and other indications, the murderer had evidently thrown the
sheet and coverlid over their heads before he struck the fatal blows, his purpose to
prevent blood spattering on his clothing. There was no blood on a coverlid that hung over
the head of the bed and little anywhere except on the pillows and bedding beneath them,
on the covers over their heads and where it had soaked through and run on the floor.
Mr. Hintz notified Sheriff Chandler and when the news of the murder became known, a
great crowd gathered and the little house was soon the scene of an excited and
expectant throng. Dr. J. V. Ferrell of Louisburg, the county coroner, was notified and
hastened to Paola in an automobile. He made an examination of the bodies and premises
and ordered the bodies taken to Johnson's undertaking rooms, which was done about
The little cottage where the crime was committed is about two blocks east of the Frisco
depot. It contains five rooms, which were scantily furnished, but the little furniture which it
contained was tastily arranged to make the best appearance. In the front room there was
straw matting on the floor, a square center table, a new trunk and a few pictures on the
wall. Back of this room was the bed on which they were murdered. Beside the bed, there
was a box neatly covered with paper, on which were several little baskets containing
trinkets belonging to Mrs. Hudson, and a coal oil lamp without a chimney. Mr. Hudson's
overalls were lying on the floor at the side of the bed on which he lay and his other
clothing and some of Mrs. Hudson's were hung on brackets on the wall. The center room
contained a neatly blackened cook stove, two chairs and a table, on which set their
supper dishes. In the north room, there was a wash tub and washboard. In the other
room were a few small articles of furniture, and in the closet, neatly hung up, were Mrs.
Hudson's wearing apparel, which had not been disturbed. The floors were clean and every
thing indicated that Mrs. Hudson was a neat, careful housekeeper.
Mr. Hudson came to Paola, April 9 and Mrs. Hudson came the following Monday. Mr. and
Mrs. Geo. W. Coe, who live on the opposite side of the street, knew Mr. Hudson a year.
They then lived at Centerville, where Hudson worked on the railroad and boarded with
them. Mr. Hudson staid at their house when he first came to Paola, and when his wife
came they bought a small amount of second hand furniture, rented the house where they
were murdered and went to housekeeping. They had little acquaintance outside of the
neighborhood where they lived, were apparently honest and industrious, paid the rent of
their house both months in advance and were well spoken of by the neighbors.
Since coming to Paola until May 30 Hudson had been working on the M.K.& T. section
under Chas. Musick, the foreman. There had been some disagreement between Hudson
and his wife on that day, and he left, going to Beagle, where he worked on the section
two days. Returning home the following Sunday, he and his wife fixed up their
disagreement and the neighbors say they seemed happy and contented. He went to work
on the M.K. & T. coal chute and worked two days, when engaged to work for Sherman
Stump, section foreman on the Frisco. He was to begin work Thursday morning, but he did
not show up, and this fact, with the suspicion aroused among the neighbors in not seeing
either of them about their home, led to the discovery of the murder.
The murder was committed with some sort of blunt instrument, first thought to be a coal
pick, but the present theory suggested is that it was a brick mason's hammer. A careful
search has been made for it, but it has not been found. The care with which the murder
was committed leads to the belief that it was done methodically and with extraordinary
precaution as to details. Had it been done as a result of a hasty quarrel or a sudden
impulse, it is evident so much precaution to guard against discovery of the murderer
would not have been taken. It was committed either by some one who knew the Hudsons
before they came to Paola, probably in their Ohio home, who was actuated by jealously,
or by a mad man. No other theory is tenable. It could not have been done for the purpose
of robbery, as they had nothing to be robbed of.
Every clew has been followed, the only one that revealed anything worth while, and it is
quite significant, being the fact that the day before the murder a stranger went to Peiker
& Scheer's and Wishropp's stores and at several others places and inquired where the
Hudsons lived. He is described as weighing about 150 or 160 pounds, rather ordinary in
appearance, dark mustache and wearing a dark blue coat. Mr. Johnson, a wholesale
grocery salesman who makes Paola, says such a man boarded the same train that he
took at Paola Thursday morning, and C. W. Archer, who lives north of Paola, says a man of
that description asked for work at his place on Thursday morning and was told to go to
work, but he did not show up again.
G. W. Coe relates a conversation he had with Hudson while Hudson and his wife were
separated the last time, at which time Hudson said he would send his wife home if he
dared. He was afraid to send her, however, he said, or to go himself, and said he would
rather be dead than in such trouble. Then he took a letter from his pocket and said if Coe
knew what it contained he would sympathize with him. He also told Coe that he had
caught his wife with another man three times.
Every effort to find the letter Hudson had has failed. Coe says he saw Hudson and wife
wife meet near the Missouri, Kansas & Texas depot Sunday, June 2, when Mrs. Hudson
said: "How could you go and leave me this way."
Hudson said: "You have not treated me right, Anna."
After this, they walked away together and were seen that evening in the garden,
apparently happy. The husband was singing and all differences appeared to be settled.
William Pryor, night man at the Frisco coal chutes, who lives the first house east of where
the murder was committed, says he went home Wednesday night about 9 o'clock after his
midnight lunch, and while he and Mrs. Pryor were standing on the porch a strange man
went to the Hudson home, and he heard the man say to Mr. and Mrs. Hudson he wanted
to detain them a few minutes, and stepped into their house. He was undoubtedly the
murderer. This is the last time Mr. and Mrs. Hudson were seen alive by any one in the
Mr. Hudson was a son of Mr. and Mrs. J. S. Hudson, who live at North Industry, a suburb of
Canton, Ohio, and Mrs. Hudson's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Axxe, live at Massillon, Ohio.
They were married at Massillon on April 10, 1910, and after a time did not get along well.
The father of Hudson arrived in Paola Saturday. He is a prominent attorney at North
Industry and has been prominent in politics there. He knew the late President McKinley
and Judge Day well and was counsel in cases there with them and against both of them.
He is a man of education and refinement, and great sympathy was expressed by all who
met him while he was in Paola, over the terrible calamity that has befallen his family. He
says his murdered boy was not quite twenty-one years. His son was born and raised at
Canton, had a common school education and was a member of the Christian church. He
worked as a cone grinder in an automobile factory there, but was compelled to give up his
work an account of the steel dust affecting his lungs. He came west and returned to his
Ohio home last December. He remained at home until April, when he again left for the
west. During his absence, his wife worked as a housemaid and Mr. Hudson spoke well of
Dr. Ferrell called an inquest Friday morning, and after hearing all the evidence obtainable,
an adjournment was taken until Wednesday afternoon. As nothing further had developed,
the jury rendered its verdict on the evidence that had been submitted, as follows:
"That Rollin Hudson and Anna Hudson came to their deaths some time during the night of
June 5, 1912, by means of being willfully and feloneonsly killed and murdered by some
person whose name is unknown to the jury and with a weapon supposed to be a coal
pick or some similar instrument."
The jury was composed of John J. Yeater, Fred W. Schmitz, Dan F. Amick, Char. M. McKoon,
J. T. Logan and Wm. A Wilgue.
Mr. Hudson is survived by his parents, a brother and sister, Mrs. Grace Caley, at North
Industry and a brother, Ira Hudson, a farmer near there. Mrs. Hudson leaves her parents,
several brothers and sisters at Massillon and other relatives at Ashland, Ohio.
Mr. Hudson left Tuesday afternoon with the bodies for Canton where they will be buried in
West Lawn cemetery.
Mr. Hudson expressed himself as being well pleased with the handling of the matter by
the officials here and is grateful to County Attorney Sheldon, Sheriff Chandler and all the
officials for their efforts to locate the murderer. Governor Stubbs offered a reward of
$300.00 for the apprehension and conviction of the murderer, as a result of which several
detectives were here and were now at work on the case.
It is earnestly hoped that the man who committed this awful crime will be speedily
arrested and convicted. Hanging is too good for him. He should be made to live the
balance of his days in the Kansas penitentiary, with the memory of his crime to haunt his
waking and sleeping hours as long as he lives, and when he dies to suffer the torments of
a hell that is made for such fiends.