Obit: Hagen, John (1918 - 1934)

Contact: Ken Wood

Surnames: HAGEN

----Source: MARSHFIELD NEWS HERALD (Marshfield, Wood Co., Wis.) 10/15/1934; P 1

Hagen, John (14 OCT 1918 - 14 OCT 1934)

Neillsville, Clark County, Wis. - Yesterday was John Hagen's sixteenth birthday. His mother had baked a birthday cake for him and it was to have been a gala day for John and his parents and his little sister, Anna, aged 8. But today John and Anna are dead, and the birthday cake is still untouched.

"I feel like shooting somebody," John told his mother as he came from his bedroom Sunday morning. And then, "Where will you bury me, Mother, when I die?" A few minutes later, although his mother had hidden the only bullets she knew were in the house, John shot his sister, Anna, through the head and then killed himself.

The tragedy occurred at the farm home of Mr. and Mrs. Gus Hagen, five miles northwest of here, shortly after 7 o'clock Sunday morning, as the parents of the tow children were in the barn, busy with the morning milking.

Anna, the victim of her gun crazed brother, was seated on a couch in the home, when without warning, John, who was seated on a chair across the room, aimed his .22 caliber rifle at her head and discharged the weapon, the bullet entering her forehead over the right eye and lodging in her brain.

Reloading the single short rifle, the brother then turned the gun on himself, shooting himself upwards through the chin, the bullet passing through the brain and lodging against the skull, resulting in almost an instant death.

The victims of the dual slaying were found a short time later by the parents on their return from the barn located about 150 feet from the home. Coroner Milton C. Rosekrans, summoned to the home, found the boy dead on his arrival.

Anna had already been taken to the Neillsville Hospital, where an examination and X-ray pictures disclosed the bullet lodged in the brain. No hope was held out for her recovery and she remained in an unconscious state until death overtook her at 4:20 o'clock Sunday afternoon.

Interviewed by a News-Herald reporter Sunday at the home, the grief stricken father could give no reason for the act of the son, other than that the boy had complained of pains in his stomach the past week, which left him in a nervous state and prevented him from sleeping.

Pressed further, the father stated the boy had admitted to him Saturday that he had been kicked in the back by one of the horses a week previous and had failed to tell his parents about it because he felt no ill effects from the kick.

The father stated that the boy's back, on examination, showed no visible marks of having been kicked by a horse. Whether the boy's nervous condition and the pains her complained of during the week were the after effects of the kick is problematical.

Going into the events that preceded the grim tragedy the father gave his story as follows: "I had gone into the barn to milk and a few minutes later, my wife came to the barn and exclaimed, ‘John is talking funny in the house, saying that he felt like shooting someone or something, and asked me where we would bury him when he died.'

"I told her to go back to the house and hide his gun or bullets. My wife left the barn and went to the house and returned a few minutes later, saying she had found his bullets and hid them. We then continued with the milking. When finished with the chores, my wife went tot he house first and her shouts brought me to the house where we found the two children lying."

Continuing, the father said that the boy seemed all right the past week, and barring his nervousness and inability to sleep well, had been doing the plowing and helped with the chores.

"John had several times during the week driven the car and took Anna to her school several miles away and went after her several times in the afternoons."

"The two children always got along well together and why this should have happened is a puzzle to us. Today was John's birthday and my wife had baked a nice birthday cake for him. We always gave the children everything they wanted, even if we had to go in debt to do so.

"I intended to take John to the hospital right after the chores were done this morning so that he could have an examination made, but now it's too late. John must have had some bullets in his clothes or hid in the house besides those my wife found and hid."

After hearing the facts of the case from Coroner Rosekrans, and Sheriff Herman Olson, District Attorney Hugh G. Haight stated today that no inquest would be held.

Funeral services will be conducted for the boy and his sister at the Schiller Funeral Home at 2 p.m. Wednesday, the Rev. G. W. Longenecker officiating, and burial will take place in the town of Weston Cemetery.

John was born in Chicago on Oct. 14, 1918, and Anna was born in the town of Weston on July 7, 1926. The boy had completed his rural school education two years ago.

The two children are survived by their parents and by an older sister, Rose, 20, who is employed a the home of Hal Richardson, a farmer living north of here.



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