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Geo. A. Griswold of Manson Murdered by Highwaymen

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: March 23, 1903

Geo. A. Griswold of Manson Murdered by Highwaymen

Was a Passenger on Electric Car Between Los Angeles and Santa Monica California – Shot While Concealing His Watch and Died in His Mother’s Arms

George A. Griswold, son of the late H.J. Griswold of Manson, heir to the large Griswold estate, and a young man well and favorably known to many Fort Dodge people, was shot down by hold-up men in a street car in Los Angeles on Saturday night. His mother and his aunt, Miss Anna Funk of Manson, with whom he was riding, were spattered with his blood.

The body will be brought to Manson for burial, but the time of the funeral has not yet been decided upon.

H.J. Griswold, father of the murdered man, was one of the most prominent citizens of Manson. George was an only son. His death leaves his mother alone in the world.

Mrs. Griswold, and her son, and Miss Funk were spending the winter in California, in accordance with their regular custom. They were expected to return to Manson in a short time.

George A. Griswold was prominent in Manson and was very popular. Mr. Griswold was a member of the Fort Dodge Chapter and Commandery of Masons. If his body is buried in Los Angeles, the rooms of the order will be draped in mourning. If the funeral occurs in Manson, it is probable the Fort Dodge Masons will have charge of the exercises.

Los Angeles, Cal. March 23 – Three masked robbers attempted to hold up a car on the Los Angeles-Pacific electric line, running between Los Angeles and Santa Monica, about a mile west of the city limits, and after a pistol duel between C.W. Henderson, one of the passengers, and one of the robbers, the other two highwaymen began shooting right and left through the crowded car. One passenger was killed and three wounded.

The dead: G.A. Griswold, Manson, Ia.

The wounded: J.C. Cunningham of Los Angeles shot through the left thigh, serious; Ellis Pearson, shot through the left leg; Dr. C.H. Bowles, shot through the left hand.

It is believed that one of the robbers was badly wounded. Mr. Griswold was a wealthy citizen of Manson, Ia. He came here several months ago for the  benefit of his mother’s health.

The hold-up occurred at the head of a deep cut. The robbers had placed a steel rail, a large bench and a cement barrel on the track. The motorman saw the obstruction when the car was several hundred yards from it and at once turned off the current and ran slowly to the place. The moment the car struck three men, wearing masks over their faces, sprang from the weeds alongside the track. One boarded the front end of the car and the other two the rear end. The first man commanded the passengers occupying the open seats to put up their hands, and when one of them did not comply, he fired a shot. Henderson then opened fire on the robber, shooting as fast as he could pull the trigger. The robber turned his gun upon Henderson, but as he did so he was seen to bend over and cry out as if in pain. Then straightening up, he began shooting at the passengers huddled int he front seats. One of his bullets struck Ellis Pearson in the left leg. Henderson continued firing and the robber was seen to fall.

While this was going on on the outside of the car a tragedy was being enacted inside. The two robbers who had entered the rear door commanded the passengers to raise their hands, and most of them did so. Before any attempt could be made by the robbers to search teh passengers for their valuables, the shooting began on the outside of the car. Then the other two robbers began shooting right and left into the crowd of passengers. At the command, “hands up,” he tried to secrete his watch under his legs, and one of the robbers, thinking he was about to draw a gun, fired point blank at him. The bullet struck him in the back of the neck, and he fell over into the lap of his aged mother, who was seated at his side.

Dr. C.H. Bowles was near the front door and at the command of the robbers he raised his hands. When he had them in the air one of the bullets from a robber’s revolver struck his left hand and shattered the bones. After emptying their revolvers the robber backed out of the door and sprang off the car and disappeared.

That many more were not killed or wounded is little short of miraculous. Inside the car was thirty or more passengers and there were more than ten shots fired. Bullets were found imbedded (sic) in the woodwork in many places when the car reached this city.

Griswold expired before the car had gone a mile. He never spoke after he was shot and when his body was lifted from the car at Santa Monica his watch was found under him on the seat. His mother was covered with his blood and was almost insane from fright and grief. The bullet which killed him grazed the cheek of Miss Anna Funk, who was traveling with him. The highwaymen secured nothing whatever from the passengers.

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