Obits - NJ - 1888 - Adolph Homann and wife

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Obits - NJ - Monmouth - Adolph Homann and wife

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Last Thursday afternoon Adolph Homann, a clerk employed by Morford, Brown & Co., of Long Branch, shot and killed his wife and himself at the Highlands, near the Highlands light-house. Homann's wife was killed instantly, but Homann himself, although he had fired two bullets in his head, lingered for two hours. Just before Homann killed his wife he fired one shot at his mother-in-law, which happily missed her.

On Thursday of last week Homann and his wife and Mrs. Ellen Hayes, his mother-in-law, went to the Highlands on a picnic. Homann wanted to hire a sailboat to make the trip, but the boatman refused to let him have it unless he took someone with him who knew how to handle the boat. This he refused to do and the three, afterward went in Norman L. Munro's steam launch, the Jersey Lily. After the tragedy the conclusion was reached that Homann, who could swim, wanted to take a sailboat because he had determined to upset the sailboat as if by accident and let the two women drown while he saved himself.

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The bodies were taken to Undertaker Morris's place of business at Long Branch and prepared for burial. A jury was impaneled, who viewed the bodies and then adjourned until Monday. Mrs. Hayes took charge of the funeral of her daughter, and the interment was made at Branchburg cemetery on Sunday, the funeral services being held in St. Luke's church in Long Branch. She refused to have anything to do with the body of Homann, and it was buried in the Potter's field at public expense.

Mrs. Hayes was divorced from her first husband some time ago and afterward married Charles Hayes. She gave a reporter the following account of the shooting while she was at the Highlands on Thursday afternoon.

    "I am the wife of Charles Hayes, a carpenter, who lives in Long Branch. I had two children, Elvina, whom we always called Milly, and a son fourteen years old. Homann planned a picnic here today. he wanted me to accompany him and his wife. I at first refused, but he was so urgent in his invitation that I consented to come here with them. We left Branchport on Norman L. Munro's steam yacht, the Jersey Lily. When we landed here we walked up the hill. When we were about half way up Homann began picking at his wife, and when she replied sharply he drew his revolver out of his pocket and pointed it at her. I made him put it back in his pocket.

    After we reached the top of the hill we ate the dinner which we had brought from home. Homann renewed the quarrel with his wife. I was standing with my back to them, when I heard Milly scream. I turned and saw that Homann had again drawn his revolver and had pointed it at my daughter. I ran over to them and told him to put the revolver up. He replaced it in his pocket and then caught up a stick and began beating Milly with it. I caught hold of the stick and tried to pull it out of his hands. He let go of it and pulling out his revolver and cocking it, deliberately fired at my head. The bullet whistled by my ear and my face was blown full of powder. I started to run, when I heard another report and a shrill scream from my daughter. She was able to go only about forty feet, when she pitched forward upon her face. I heard two other reports and saw Homann her stagger down the hill on the other side and then fall. I ran to Milly and turned her over. Blood was running from her left breast. She gasped faintly and died in less than two minutes. Homann lived about two hours. Milly was twenty one years old. Homann was three years older. The murder of my child was the outgrowth of Homann's terrible temper. He had no reason to be jealous of her as she never received the attentions of other men.
    paragraph ommitted "

Homann was born in Germany and was an illegitimate child. He was brought up by his mother's brother, and when he was sixteen years of age he left Germany and came to the United States. In Germany he had been employed as a bookbinder, and he and another workman or apprentice stole a number of books and afterward fled to this country to avoid punishment. He worked for a time in New York city, bu was discharged for theft, and he then went to Long Branch. He was employed by various people there before he went into Morford, Brown & Co.'s store as a porter. Just after he married Mrs. Hayes daughter he went into a room where the daughters of his employers were, and in a tragic way impersonated a peddler. He carried a small bundle of suspenders in one hand and a revolver in the other, and with a flourish of the weapon he called upon them to "Buy or die." The pistol was accidentally discharged and the bullet struck one of the young women in the abdomen. She finally recovered from the wound, but still carries the bullet in her body. Homann was tried at Freehold the following November and pleaded guilty to simple assault and battery, all the parties testifying that the shooting was purely accidental. He was fined $30 and costs, which he worked out in the county jail. This occurrence has been greatly magnified and distorted into a love affair in the reports of the present tragedy. It was during his imprisonment that Homann first became suspicious of his wife, and that was the cause of their frequent quarrels.

Mrs. Homann was well known about Long Branch, having worked as a servant girl for different families. The couple had no children.

When Homann first began courting his wife her father and mother were living apart from each other. Her mother favored the match, but it was vigorously opposed by her father. Homann had a violent temper, and the girl, who was then only seventeen years of age, was rather afraid of him than otherwise. She was unwilling to marry him, but through her mother's entreaties she finally yielded. Just after the shooting a member of the family said that when Milly and Homann went up to the minister's house on the evening of the wedding the girl turned back at the door and declared she would proceed no further, but again yielded to her mother's persuasion and allowed the ceremony to go on. Mrs. Hayes lived with her daughter and her son-in-law nearly all the time they were together. Homann never attacked her, but often beat his wife. He gave the young woman a severe beating the Saturday night before he killed her, and just before that he burned up their marriage certificate.

Homann was regarded at Long Branch as surly and ill-tempered. He was fairly well educated, and was handy with tools. About a week ago he gave his wife a slip of paper, written in German. After the shooting Mrs. Hayes had the writing translated into English and had found that it was a brief account of Homann's parentage and early life.

A short time ago Homann was arrested for beating a woman whom he accused of interfering with his domestic affairs. According to the neighbors Homann was very jealous of his wife, and there was a very bitter hatred existing between him and his mother-in-law.

Source: Red Bank Register Wednesday, August 22, 1888