Dick Kreck, author of the recently published book Anton Woode, The Boy Murderer, had a little help figuring out what happened to the “boy murderer” after he left Colorado. In the Acknowledgments of the book he writes:
“My first and greatest thanks go to researcher Lou-Jean Holland Rehn, who used genealogy magic to track down the final days of Anton Woode. I spent a year and countless hours trying [to] find the elusive fellow, only to be stymied by his sudden disappearance from Menomonie, Wisconsin, in 1923. Without her tenacity and her skill mining public records, there literally would have been no satisfactory ending to the story.”
Lou-Jean, a certified genealogist, attributes her success to collateral family research. She says, “I solved the puzzle of what happened to him by following his wife’s family. The obit of her brother helped me to locate his whereabouts. Once I had a location that I could confirm, it wasn’t difficult to find their deaths, the cemetery, their obits etc. Basically, I used the collateral relatives to get to the person of interest.” A good lesson for all of us to remember.
The book is about Anton Woode, an eleven year old boy from near Brighton, who murdered a man for his pocket watch in 1892. The first sentence of the book really grabs your attention – “Anton Woode was at that awkward age – too old to set free, too young to hang.” It’s a little piece of Colorado history that you don’t often hear about.
Colorado State Penitentiary Index 1871 – 1973 Anton Woods, #3199 Colorado State Archives Correction Records
When I searched in the Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection there were 88 hits for “Anton Woode.”
It seems that Anton Woode made the news not only in Colorado but elsewhere in the country, as well. I found an article in the The Evening News of Lincoln, Nebraska dated 24 April 1893 in the Ancestry Newspaper Collection titled “A murderer at eleven.” He was the subject of an article which accused him of being “without a moral nature.” [To access this article, you need to subscribe to Ancestry.com.]
Dick Kreck, Anton Woode: The Boy Murderer (Golden, Colorado: Fulcrum Publishing, Inc., 2006).