St. Joseph has a gruesomely murderous history beyond the Jesse James assassination. People have used axes, drills, baseball bats, hammers and razors to kill people.
For example, Hattie Byrd killed her husband with an axe in the 1960s in the South Side.
Stewart Allen, a minister’s stepson, killed a church member with a hammer and drill in the 1940s.
Those and other weapons used to commit murder are on display inside the police room exhibit at the Patee House Museum. These items are something most people don’t get a chance to see, said Gary Chilcote, Patee House Museum curator.
“Today the police department never releases weapons,” he said. “So it creates a rather macabre but interesting exhibit that a lot of people are interested in.”
Chilcote said the weapons displayed, which date back approximately 150 years, were donated to the museum when the police station moved its offices.
The drill and hammer 15-year-old Stewart Allen used to kill a member of his minister father’s church in 1947 is among the items on display.
“He attacked the manager, beat him to death and then used a very primitive electric drill to drill holes in his head and other parts of the body,” Chilcote said.
A piece of the rope used in the Lloyd Warner lynching also is on display. Warner, a black youth, was in jail awaiting trial in the 1930s when a vengeful mob stormed the jail and dragged him out into the street where they hung him and burned his body.
In 1913, 19-year-old Madeleine Rowbotham had her throat slit with a razor at the entrance to Krug Park by a jealous ex-boyfriend. The razor is on display at the Patee House. Lawrence Root’s 30/30 rifle that he used to kill a woman, her three daughters and eventually himself in 1973 is also on display.
Some artifacts and news articles from the kidnapping and murder of 6-year-old Bobby Greenlease in 1953 are in a separate display of its own.
“So these are the fascinating stories that happened and the weapons that killed people and this is something most people don’t get a chance to see,” Chilcote said.