Bio: Krueger, Frank (Statement to Sheriff – 27 Sep 1918)

Contact: Ann Stevens

Surnames: Krueger, Jensen, Connell, Marks, Gantz, Rasmussen, Vater

----Source: Neillsville Times (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 10/3/1918

Krueger, Frank (Statement to Sheriff – 27 SEP 1918)

Chippewa Falls, Wis., Sept. 27 – Frank, one of the four Krueger boys alleged draft evaders, who was wounded resisting capture in their barricaded home near Owen, Wis., nearly three weeks ago, was removed from the hospital here, where he was taken after surrendering, and taken to the County jail at Neillsville Thursday night. He will face trial on the charge of murder as the result of the killing of Harry Jensen, station agent at Owen, who was a member of the posse that engaged in a pitched battle with the Kruegers.

Before he was taken to the Neillsville jail last evening, Frank Krueger made the following statement to Sheriff Connell of Chippewa County at the Krueger side of the trouble on the Withee farm:

“Myself and Ennis were working in the cornfield when the deputy marshals drove to the house and inquired for us. Mother told them we were down in the corn field. They drove their car down and got out, saying, ‘Come here, we want to talk with you.’

“I replied, ‘If you want to say anything, say it where you are for we can hear you.’

“Then the deputies told us to come to the fence. I was not armed. Ennis had a 45 Colt automatic pistol. The kid got excited and whipped out his gun and began shooting at the officers. Deputy Marks, who was with Gantz and Peter Rasmussen of Owen says he (Marks) was almost shot, one bullet passing over his head and one shot cutting his coat at the shoulder. I guess Ennis fired all ten shots. I was excited.”

“Then we ran zigzag across the meadow. As I neared the house the shots from the officers’ guns were cutting close to us, increasing out zigzagging and speed. Suddenly I felt an intense burning sensation on the calf of my leg. A bullet struck me from Peter Rasmussen’s gun as I learned afterward. This was only a slight flesh wound, but the bullet must have been red hot for it burned the flesh to a crisp and that burn was something awful. It hurt me worse than the other wounds I got later. We ran to the house and the burn on my leg made me crazy.”

“Ennis has a terrible temper and we got out guns at once and went out and gave those officers a fusillade down by Vater’s house. Then we went back to the house and talked over matters. Leslie was in the barn and had been there all day. He did not come out. Soon afterwards we saw a bunch of automobiles driving and Ennis at once opened fire on the front car. Ennis was doing the first firing and he killed Jensen and wounded other men near the first auto. The bullets then came zinging through the house everywhere. There did not seem to be any part of the house where they were not coming through. We made a dash for the barn. I was shot twice on this run. I dropped near the traction engine behind the barn as the wound in the calf of my leg was large and the blood rushed out. I got sick and dragged myself back to the house and crawled down in the cellar and by the stairway where I got to the bathroom on the second floor. There the blood flowed so freely that I fainted.”

“Just before I lost consciousness, Ennis came back from the barn. When he saw the blood all over the floor, he went crazy.”

“I said, ‘Ennis, you surrender and quit this for we are up against it.’

“ ‘No,’ he said, ‘I’ll never surrender, I will stick to the finish. I’ll get some more of them, we have guns and ammunition. We will show them.’

“Then I lost consciousness and mother thought I was going to die. Then she surrendered and after Mr. Vater came, I was revived and taken out.”

“As to Louis and Leslie, they claimed that on account of their religion, they should not go into the army. Leslie lived in the woods of Clark County all summer. He came to the house and slept in the barn every night, except that he would be gone two or three days at a time, but he always came back. When he was away two or three days he would simply sleep in the woods or maybe put up at a neighbor’s barn and he would pick berries in the woods, though he always had a lunch basket filled at the house. I do not know of any rendezvous that the boys had at Clark County.

“Louis, early in the summer, flew the coop and travelled the country over. He was in Minnesota and North Dakota and perhaps Montana. He would work on farms and stay only as long as he thought he was safe. When the government agents would be getting near him, he would leave and seek a new place. Louis came back this fall, but he had not been at the house for a week prior to the battle September 14.”

“I do not know where Louis and Leslie are. If I did, I would write a request to them to come out of their hiding and give up. I have not the slightest idea where they are. It looks now as though we must all stand on our pins.”

“I did love Ennis and his death is a terrible blow. Now I am comforted that I know where he is buried. If he went to France in the army, he would be killed and buried over there, somewhere that I never would know. None of the soldiers who have left this country to fight in France will come back. I am sure of that. So if Ennis went across the sea to fight, he would not return, and he might just as well be dead here.” – Eau Claire Leader



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