Introduction

There is no known "official" history of Darrtown. The best we have to work with are the Darrtown-related articles, journals, and/or stories that are handed down from one generation to the next. This "History" section of Darrtown.com provides an unofficial, well-intentioned, collection of such information.

 

Some items, in this website, conflict with others; such is the lot of those who attempt to capture history. We gather as many pieces of the puzzle as we can, position them to the best of our ability, and a more accurate record of the past gradually evolves.

 

If you have information that enriches this collection of Darrtown-related history and/or makes it more accurate, please contact the Webmaster.

"History never looks like history,

when you are living through it."

John W. Gardner (1933-1982)

Overview of the george schneider murder case

The story of a murder near Darrtown in 1884 and the subsequent trial of George Schneider was unknown to this website, until November of 2015.

 

As indicated by the following graphic, several individuals helped bring this story to the Darrtown website.

 

Additionally, the book titled, "Where's Your Mother, George?" is central to the information that appears here.

 

Below the following graphic, you will find:

  1. A synopsis of the story about the George Schneider murder case.
  2. Information about the Darrtown connections to this story.
  3. Information about the author and how you may purchase a copy of "Where's Your Mother, George?"
Imagine...one of your loved ones is missing for five weeks. and then, the awful truth comes out...  "Everyone in the Schneider family presumed that the widow matriarch, Catherine, was staying with her favorite son, George, on his remote Ohio farm. When George, his wife, Margaret, and their seven children showed up to a family dinner without her, suspicions ran high. No one could believe the story he told about a pair of highway bandits and a shallow grave. George said that he was taking his mother to a train in the fall of 1883, when they were overcome by two robbers at the end of the lane, at the edge of his farm. In the course of the robbery, he claimed, the robbers killed his mother, and buried her in a ravine on George’s property. He fetched a shovel for them. George said they threatened his family, so he kept quiet about it for five long weeks. This novelette-length story details the unraveling of George’s story and the terrible price he paid for his rage."

The above synopsis of "Where's Your Mother, George?" was taken from the back cover of the novella.

Darrtown Connections to the Schneider Murder Case What we learned, by reading "Where's Your Mother, George?" darrtown area: Pg. 3: Catherine Schneider, the victim in this 1884 murder tale, was a 74 year-old widow, who lived in Hamilton, Ohio. She was the mother of two sons, George Schneider and Henry Schneider and one daughter, Mary (Schneider) Betz. Pg. 3: On the afternoon of October 31, 1884, on a quest to visit her son George and his family at George's farm near Darrtown, Catherine rode in a horse-drawn buggy, driven by Henry's wife, Gretchen, from Catherine's residence to Darrtown. Pg. 3: Gretchen dropped off her mother-in-law at the road which led from Darrtown to George's farm. Catherine Schneider, carrying a basket that may have contained valuables, "walked the rest of the way, about two and a half miles west of the village." Pg. 3: The road that led from Darrtown to George's farm is described as being a "bad, broken road in a remote area of Butler County." A creek bank ran along George's property and his house was located "another 200 yards or so off the road on an even rougher lane." Pg. 4: After finishing dinner with George and his family, Catherine "wanted to go to McGonigal Station, about two miles away." From there, she would ride the traction (railroad) back to Hamilton. Pg. 8: George Schneider's farm is described as land that was formerly known as "the Peter Winson farm west of Darrtown..." darrtown People: Pg. 4: On Friday, December 5, 1884, after suspicions of family members focused on George Schneider, Henry Schneider, (George's brother), and Henry's brother-in-law, Jacob Betz went to George's farm and confronted him. After George told them his explanation of his mother's death, the two men traveled to Darrtown to relay George's story to the Darrtown constable, John Bunce. Pg. 4: Constable Bunce and his assistant, Robert Carnahan enlisted the help of local farmer, John Mee, as they prepared to visit George Schneider at his residence and investigate the reported death of his mother. Pg. 6: Eventually, the burial site was located and the body of Catherine Schneider was exhumed "under the direction of Dr. h. e. twitchell, one of Darrtown's two practicing physicians." Pg. 6: George Bowman, a farmer who lived nearby "helped dig up the body."

Reviewing Catherine Schneider's intended route

On the day of her disappearance, October 31, 1884, Catherine Schneider rode in a horse-drawn buggy, from her residence in Hamilton (Ohio) [1] to Darrtown (Ohio) [2]. She then walked about two and one half miles to the residence of her son, George [3]. She planned to have George deliver her to McGonigle Station (Ohio) [4] where she would ride a traction car back to her home in Hamilton. We now know that Catherine Schneider did not live to complete her planned trip.

 

NOTE: The map image (above) is a section of an 1875 Butler Couny map.

Locating George Schneider's farm

The location of George Schneider's farm is not specified in the novella, "Where's Your Mother, George?" However, the farm's location has been deduced by considering the following facts reported in the novella.

 

  • Shollenbarger Road had to have been the road that Catherine Schneider walked, after being dropped off in Darrtown - as it is the only road that leads west from Darrtown and winds up two and one-half miles later, near a creekside. (NOTE: On December 2, 2015, Rick Martin, a Darrtown resident, drove from the beginning of Shollenbarger Road in Darrtown to the believed location of the Schneider farm on Lanes Mill Road and reported that the distance measured 2.4 miles.)
  • In the novella, the distance between the Schneider farm and the McGonigle Station railroad stop is reported to be approximately two miles - which is also factual.

 

The following image illustrates the findings that are presented above.

 

Bonus information:

 

The contention that the George Schneider farm was located on Lanes Mill Road (site #2 in the following image) was bolstered on December 2, 2015, when Rick Martin shared the following anecdote:

 

Rick remembers, from when he was boy, riding in a car with his father and Luther McVicker, along Lanes Mill Road. Just south of the bridge over Four Mile Creek, Luther pointed out a gravel lane on the east side of the road and remarked the last man ever sentenced by a Butler County jury to hang until dead had lived back that driveway.

 

George Schneider was the last man sentenced to hang by a jury in Butler County, Ohio.

 

RIGHT: Rick Martin shared this hand-drawn map to clarify his account of Luther's story.

Acknowledging the author

Richard O Jones, of Hamilton, Ohio wrote the novella titled "Where's Your Mother, George?" His telling of the 1884 murder that occurred about two and one-half miles west of Darrtown and the trial that followed is the genesis for this web page.

 

 Richard O Jones explains that he intentionally does not use a dot after his middle initial. Other than that, Mr. Jones gives ample attention to detail - especially when retelling stories about murderous misdeeds.

 

Information about how to buy "Where's Your Mother, George?" appears at the bottom of the column at the right.

© Darrtown.com established 12/03/07

Questions/comments? Please contact the Darrtown Webmaster