Archive for April 6th, 2010

A Fatal Kick for Humbug Schuster

April 6, 2010


Reading Officers Leave to Make an Arrest at Millerburg.

A report reached Reading that a homeless man, who goes by the name of “Humbug Schuster,” and well known in and about Millersburg, this county, had died after being kicked by a resident of that place. His injuries were of such a severe character that it was thought advisable to put him to bed. He failed to rally and in less than 24 hours was a corpse. Schuster was about 55 years of age. The dead man was a traveling umbrella mender, and it is said had been drinking heavily. He strolled into the bar-room of the Bordner hotel, kept by Levi Knapp, and soon became engaged in a conversation on politics. William Goodman, a cigarmaker, came in and joined in the discussion. Schuster became angry, and it is claimed made an effort to assault Goodman, who seized him and threw him aside. The umbrella mender made another dash for Goodman and struck him. In return Goodman knocked him down and kicked him, fracturing three ribs and inflicting internal injuries. Schuster’s remains were buried at Salem cemetery, Millersburg, the funeral being held from Dieffenbach’s undertaking establishment. Goodman is a married man with a family and a well known cigarmaker. He gave himself up immediately after he learned that the kick had proved fatal and he has since been confined in a room in his residence. His house is being guarded by citizens. District Attorney Rieser and Coroner Rothermel were notified of the affair.

County Detective Bauknecht swore out a warrant before Alderman Kirschman, at the instance of the district attorney, charging the accused with aggravated assault and battery. No charge of manslaughter will be brought until the exact cause of the death can be ascertained. At 9 a.m. Mr. Bauknecht and Constable Beck left in a carriage for Millersburg. They will proceed to Womelsdorf and then drive 14 miles to their destination.

Reading Eagle – Apr 9, 1898


Wm. Goodman, Who is Charged With Causing the Death of “Humbug Schuster,” Prostrated.

William Goodman, a Millersburg cigar manufacturer, was arrested, Saturday, by Constable Beck on a charge of aggravated assault and battery and placed under $1,000 bail.

This is the outcome of the death of Julius Londor, alias “Humbug Schuster,” at the Bordner hotel, Millersburg, Thursday morning.

The affair has created a sensation in that part of the county, and Goodman is confined to bed at his home with nervous prostration because of the affair, and at times is said to be delirious.

The affair was reported to District Attorney Rieser, and he placed the matter in the hands of County Detective Bauknecht, who swore out the warrant, which was served on Goodman while in bed, in the presence of ‘Squire Klinger. Mr. Snyder, a well-to-do farmer, living near Millersburg, and Goodman’s father-in-law, went the accused’s bail.

The officers were told that last Tuesday evening Mr. Goodman and Levi Snyder were talking politics at the hotel, when Schuster interrupted, and Goodman said, “Go away, I don’t like you.” He refused, when Goodman threw him between two chairs. Schuster arose and made a rush at Goodman, when he knocked him down and kicked him once. Schuster was unable to get up, when he was carried to bed. Dr. Henry Batdorf was summoned, and it was found that several ribs had been fractured. Schuster is reported to have been intoxicated. He died on Thursday morning, and on Friday morning the remains were interred in the Millersburg cemetery.

An inquest was held by Deputy Coroner Swope, of Frystown, Thursday at midnight. The jury consisted of Henry Kline, Israel M. Kline, William Deck, Frank Wagner, Isaac Barr and Henry Dieffenbach. Dr. Batdorf testified that sever of deceased’s ribs were broken, but there were no other bruises, when the jury returned a verdict of death from heart failure. James Spangler was employed by Mr. Goodman as a nurse for Schuster, and remained with him until his death.

Detective Bauknecht reported the facts to District Attorney Rieser, and stated that there was a sentiment in the neighborhood that the body should be taken up and an examination made. Mr. Rieser could not understand the verdict of the coroner’s jury or the hast to hold the funeral. He stated that it was quite likely that he would order the body exhumed and a post mortem held to determine the cause of death. It is likely that a warrant charging Goodman with manslaughter may follow the post mortem. Because of his condition it was impossible to move Goodman on Saturday. William Rick will likely be his counsel.

Goodman told Constable Beck that he was sorry it had occurred and that he knew his temper had gotten the best of him. He has the reputation of being a quiet inoffensive citizen.

Reading Eagle – Apr 10, 1898


Coroner Rothermel heard testimony at Millersburg in the case of Julius Landover, alias “Humbug Schuster,” who, it is alleged, died from injuries received by being kicked by William Goodman. The commonwealth was represented by Coroner Rothermel and County Detective Baucknecht, while Mr. Goodman has Attorneys Wm. Rick and J. Howard Jacobs to look after his interests. Among the witnesses examined were: Levi Napp, proprietor of the hotel; John Miller, Wm. Stupp, Edwin Weber and Eli Emerich. Dr. Schmehl, who held the post-mortem on Sunday, as not present, but presented his written report through the coroner. The jury deliberated for nearly 2 hours, when they returned a verdict that “the deceased, aged 56, while having a brawl in the barroom at the Bordner house with Wm. Goodman, was fatally injured. According to testimony, Landover was kicked on the chest and on the left side, fracturing the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th ribs. We, the jury, are of the opinion that the above named’s death was caused by injuries of the left pleura, superinduced by fractured ribs.” While the inquest was being held a second post-mortem was made by Drs. Loose and Wethered, of Reading, and Drs. Brobst and Beyerle, of Bernville. The result of this examination was not given out.

Reading Eagle – Apr 13, 1898


Only Minor Cases Disposed of the First Day.

District Attorney Rieser consulted the court in reference to the trial of the 2 manslaughter cases down on the calendar. There are so many cases to be heard that it was feared these cases would not be reached. It was decided to draw 2 juries at the end of the week, and try William Goodman, charged with manslaughter, in connection with the death of “Humbug” Schuster, and Chas. A. Ludwig, William Richards and H. Killian on a similar charge, in connection with the death of Josiah Mauger, next week.

Reading Eagle – Jun 13, 1898


A Day’s Doings in Criminal Court — Surety of the Peace Prosecutions.

…In the case in which Wm. H. Goodman is charged with causing the death of “Humbug” Schuster at a hotel at Millersburg, the accused will be defended by Wm. Rick, and Jacobs & Keiser, while Assistant District Schaffer is for the prosecution. Goodman plead not guilty. His jury was drawn in the afternoon.

Reading Eagle – Jun 18, 1898


Wm. H. Goodman on Trial on the Charge of Causing the Death of “Humbug Schuster.”

William H. Goodman, cigar manufacturer, of Millersburg, was tried before Judge Endlich, charged with manslaughter and aggravated assault and battery in connection with the death of Julius Landau, alias “Humbug Schuster,” an umbrella mender, on April 5. County Detective Bauknecht is the prosecutor. J. Howard Jacobs and William Rick represented the defense, while Assistant District Attorney Schaeffer was for the prosecution. The court room was well filled. Manslaughter is the killing of a person without malice.

County Detective Bauknecht said he had heard of a bar room fight at Millersburg, made an examination and was ordered by the district attorney to bring the present suit.

Levi Knabb, the landlord of the hotel at which the affair took place, testified: “Humbug Schuster came to my hotel on the morning of April 5, and remained all day. Goodman came in between 6 and 7 in the evening. Schuster was in the room at the time. A man named Snyder, and Schuster were talking politics. Goodman and I transacted business. Snyder told Schuster to talk politics to Goodman. Schuster went to Goodman and wanted to take hold of his vest. Goodman told him to go away. The bar room was full. Then Goodman started to leave the room, when the 2 came together. I saw Goodman push Schuster away. He fell between 2 chairs, when he jumped up and struck at Goodman, and he was pushed over the second time. It was  fair push. Schuster swung about and fell on his knees and elbows, when Goodman kicked him. I saw him, but don’t know whether it was a hard kick. Schuster could not get up, when I put him on a bunk and placed blankets on him. He was not quite sober when he came, and he drank 5 whiskies during the day. He groaned when kicked. Both seemed to be cross and excited. Later I placed Schuster on a lounge, and the next day put him to bed. I called in a doctor. This happened on a Tuesday evening, and on Thursday morning, 36 hours after, he died. I sent word to ‘squire to notify the township coroner. An inquest was held, Thursday evening and he was buried on the 7th or 8th. As soon as he was kicked he groaned and said he had pain.”

Cross-examined by Mr. Jacobs: “Schuster was annoying Mr. Goodman. Schuster was offensive when he was drunk. When he went to Goodman I told him to sit down and he went to the stove and when Goodman started for home Schuster met him before he got to the door. I heard Schuster swear and fuss at somebody. After the first fall, Schuster got up at once and struck Goodman, when he was kicked. Goodman became excited a little after being struck. The injured man walked upstairs unaided afterwards. I told Goodman after the first push not to kick. Schuster was then down.”

Elias Emerich, living above Millersburg, who was at the hotel at the time, testified: “Don’t know how the men got together, but saw Schuster fall between the chairs, from a push, and then he was pushed down again, and kicked in the left side. Don’t know if it was a hard kick. Then I went out, aid Schuster yelled a little. I think both were very excited. Goodman said he did not want to have anything to do with Schuster because he had once sold him a stolen shirt.”

Cross-examined: “I took a drink with Mr. Goodman, and remained at the bar all the time. Schuster may have struck Goodman, but I did not see it.”

John Miller, living 3 1/2 miles from Millersburg, at the hotel at the time, testified: “I heard Goodman tell Schuster to keep quiet, as he did not want to have anything to do with him. Schuster went behind the stove and grumbled, and when Goodman left the bar Schuster went in front of him and was pushed down. Goodman moved away a little. Yes, he could have gone out. Schuster got up and they struck at each other. Schuster was struck in the face, and it drew a little blood from the nose. He tried to strike Goodman, and was pushed away, so that he fell, when he was kicked, while down on his knees and elbow. It was a hard kick, I judge. Don’t know how hard it was — not feeling it. I heard Mr. Knabb tell them to stop. The men were angry.”

Cross-examined: “Mr. Goodman only got cross after Schuster went for him. I was 10 or 12 feet away, and the room was crowded. Schuster may have struck Goodman, but I did not see it. Schuster always went toward Goodman, and had more liquor than he should have had. Don’t know if he was generally abusive when in that condition. He was a tramp. The barroom is about 14 by 20 feet.”

Frank Wagner corroborated the other testimony, “Schuster after being told to sit down, said he was not afraid of Goodman, and I saw him strike at Goodman. After being pushed down, he got up and tried to strike the second time, and when pushed down the second time, he got tangled in the chair, and then Goodman kicked him in the left side. He drew his foot back for the kick. Schuster groaned. Another man and I helped him up. He was buried about 8 a.m. on Friday.”

Cross-examined: “When Schuster came the second time, Goodman took several steps away from him, Schuster followed. He swore before and after he was kicked. Goodman was prevented from going out by Schuster.”

Wm. Deck corroborated the other witnesses, “When Goodman came in, Schuster caught hold of him, and when he was going to leave the room Schuster stopped him.”

Mr. Goodman is a little above the medium height, florid complexion, well built, has dark hair and is dressed in a gray business suit. He has the appearance of a man laboring under a mental strain. All of last week he was about court awaiting the calling of his case, scarcely speaking a word to any one. He sits at the defendant’s table closely listening to every word of the testimony.

Coroner Rothermel testified that on April 10 he had the body exhumed, and was present when the post mortem was held, and several ribs on the left side were fractured, one of them in 3 places, and there were other injuries.


Mr. Goodman’s defense was that he entered the hotel to transact business, when Schuster caught hold of him. He was told to go away, and when he started to leave the bar room, Schuster attacked him, with a violent blow from behind, and in turning, he blow landed in his eye. He admitted pushing him down and giving him a shove with his foot.

Reading Eagle – Jun 20, 1898


Verdict of Not Guilty in the Millersburg Manslaughter Case.

It required the jury in the case of William H. Goodman, charged with manslaughter, 4 hours to agree on a verdict. The case was given to them at 2:30, Tuesday, they came in at 6:30 and handed their verdict to Judge Endlich, Wednesday morning. Mr. Goodman was charged with causing the death of an umbrella mender, named “Humbug Schuster,” at the Millersburg hotel, April 5. There was a racket and Mr. Goodman is alleged to have kicked deceased. William Rick and J.H. Jacobs were counsel for defendant, while Assistant District Attorney Schaeffer was the prosecuting attorney.


The jury found Mr. Goodman not guilty and were discharged with pay for 3 days. There were 7 ballots taken. On the first there was one vote for guilty and 2 jurors did not vote. On the 3d ballot, there were 4 for guilty, and on the 7th, all were for acquittal.


Levi Cramp, heater, Robeson; A.F. Dotterer, farmer, Longswamp; John R. Gerhart, farmer, Lower Heidelberg; Oscar Graeff, carpenter, Penn; David F. Gresh, shoemaker, Douglass; John Ludwig, farmer, Spring; Frank E. Meitzler, laborer, Longswamp; S.D. Merkel, sawyer, Greenwich; H.H. Miller, farmer, Perry; John Rourke, laborer, 2d ward; S.S. Wolfskill, merchant, Lower Heidelberg; Peter Worst, laborer, Longswamp.

Reading Eagle – Jun 22, 1898