I am not a researcher of any of the names involved, just found this and thought it would be of interest to someone.It is hard to read but I made the best attempt at transcribing it that I could.
The trial of John Dahman for the willful murder of Frederick Nolte, came on the circuit court for this county, on Monday the 14th day of May instant.The prisoner was charged in the indictment with having on the 29th day of May last, feloniously, willfully, and of malice aforethought killed and murdered the deceased by a blow with an ax in and upon the left temple of his head, and also by cutting his throat with a razor.Of these two _____ charges the prisoner on his arraignment pled NOT GUILTY.
A case, perhaps, is rarely to be found in the annals of jurisprudence, where public excitement has been carried to so high a pitch, or public indignation at the atrocity of the crime has been more widely and generally expressed.The prisoner being an alien availed himself of the right to a jury de meditate linguae.Not more than one or two of the regular panel of jurors, returned by the sheriff, were found upon examination to be impartial men, having previously expressed their belief in the guilt of the prisoner; and before the panel was filled near fifty talesmen, denizens and foreigners, were examined who on their oaths declared they were confirmed in their beliefs or had decidedly expressed, their opinion of the guilt of the prisoner.
The evidence against the prisoner was clear and explicit, consisting of his own full and voluntary confessions; corroborated by strong and flagrant circumstances.
Two days after the arrest and commitment of the prisoner (the 5th of June last) he, in the presence and hearing of two or three magistrates, and other citizens, unable to withstandthe positive and pointed circumstances, that seemed to thicken around him, & sinking under the burden of his guilt, made a full and ample disclosure of the horrid transaction.He declared that on Wednesday the 24th of May, then past, he fell in company with Nolte in Shippingport, Kentucky, that being countrymen, and having came to America together, some years before, he at the friendly request of Nolte accompanied him to New Albany where Nolte then carried on the baking business; that they merrily passed away the night till a late hour, when N. having made the necessary preparation for baking in the morning laid himself down on a buffalo robe on a bench and fell asleep.“Then it was,” said he, “that the devil put it into my heart to murder him!”He, prompt to follow the diabolical suggestion, took an ax, and approached his defenceless, unsuspicious, sleeping victim.The horror of the dreadful deed at first appalled his fiend-like heart – he seems to relent – he yet withholds the fatal blow – he retires for a moment but it is _____ harder a heart, by being familiar with crime, already more obdurate than adamant.Here he accuses himself of cowardice – of being a pitiful paltroon – daring not forever blast the expectations and hopes of a fellow man – a friend and he asleep!At length _____ and fortified in his hellish principles, he again approached the unfortunate man – he raises the ax, and directs a blow upon his forehead!Nolte utters a groan and rolls from the bench: - that blow the prisoner confessed would have been sufficient to despatchhim; but the scene of horror was not yet complete, from mere wantonness, and, as he expressed it, to see the blood flow, he seizes a razor, and cuts from ear to ear the throat of slaughtered Nolte.He then sowed the body in a bed sack, bound it upon a plank, and drew it a distance of sixty rods to the river, put it on board a skiff, rowed it to the middle of the river, and cast it over – he returned to the shop, wiped up the blood with rags, strewed flour on the floor, took every necessary precaution to elude detection, and retreated across the river to Shippingport.
The next day he boldly showed himself in town, takes possession of Nolte’s shop and when interrogated of him he replies that Nolte was owing him a sum of money, which he was unable to pay, that he had at last concluded to give up his shop and business to him, and had gone, as he declared to some, to Shippingport, to others to Louisville, and agin to others, down the river.Thus he lulled suspicion by an unheard of boldness, while he should arrange the affairs of Nolte, and make good his retreat, which he did on the Monday following.Such was the stupid and hardened boldness of the wretch, that suspicion yet slept, and perhaps forever would, had not the body of the unfortunate, murdered Nolte been found floating in the river several days after, by some fishermen, two or three miles below New Albany.This aroused suspicion; the shop, the scene of desolation and death of Nolte was examined, and here was discovered but too sad a proof of the fate of that inoffensive unfortunate butchered man.Circumstances irresistibly attached the crime to the stranger who had in a mysterious manner obtained possession of the dec’d. shop.Pursuit was soon resolved upon.Three or four efficient resolute citizens, with the sheriff of the county, immediately proceeded down the river, as that was found to be the direction the culprit had taken; but the hardened monster fled no farther than about 16 miles below New Albany, where his family then was on a small plantation, which he had a short time previous rented.Here he was soon after discovered, having in his possession the goods of Nolte, his watch, his purse of small change, the buffalo robe besmeared with blood, and various other articles, the most minute and trifling.He was arrested, brought to New Albany, examined and committed to await his trial at the September term, previous to which he found means to escape and fled to the province of Upper Canada, where he was taken some time in March last, and brought back to this place to meet the punishment due to his crime.
The jury retired late on Friday night, and on Saturday morning returned a verdict of GUILTY.
The presiding judge in a solemn and impressive manner pronounced against the prisoner the awful sentence of the law, which he received with an indifference bordering on madness, the ebulitions of his hellish spirit, bursting forth in frequent and repeated curses and imprecations upon the court, the witnesses and himself.
The prosecution was learnedly and skillfully conducted by M. C. Fitch, esquire, prosecuting attorney for the Floyd circuit court; And the prisoner was zealously and ably defended by R. Kidder, Wm. P. Thomasson and John N. Dunbar, Esqrs.
There had been another indictment found against the prisoner for the murder of John Jenzer, a German.Dahman, at the time he made his confession of the murder of Nolte, declared that he also killed Jenzer, whose body was found about that time afloat in the river.He said, that when he returned home with the property he had taken from Nolte, he persuaded Jenzer to go with him; as they proceeded down the river, he, to pass away the time that the shades of night might cover the perpetration of his foul and wicked purpose from mortal view, took the victim of his depravity on shore to make, as he told him a little hunting excursion.Darkness coming on he told Jenzer, that it would be impossible to reach his house that night, and their only alternative was to strike up a fire and camp out.– They did so; and as Jenzer set by the fire, his head inclined, and resting upon his hand.Dahman from the opposite side of the fire, armed his rifle and shot him through the head.He then beat in his scull with an ax, dragged the body to the river, made it fast to his skiff, towed it some distance from shore, and cut it afloat.The fruit of this murder consisted in about 40 English capt watches, a rifle, some cash and several notes of hand, all which were found buried in a stable near his house.
The Indiana Intelligencer, Charlestown, Indiana, 20 June 1821