News: Withee - Krueger Gun Battle (18 Sep 1918)

Transcriber: Robert Lipprandt 

Surname: Krueger

----Source: The Star News (Medford, WI) 9/20/2018

Originally published in the Medford Star News, September 18, 1918

One man was killed and about twenty wounded in a battle, not in France but near Withee only twenty five miles south-west of this city (Medford) last Saturday evening.

Two United States Marshalls called at the home of Frank Krueger, two miles south of the village to arrest two of the four Krueger boys who were slackers and were fired upon by two of the boys.

They sent for help and soon companies of home guards from Colby, Neillsville and Marshfield were on the scene, but not until the above mentioned battle. 


News: Withee – Posse Battles Draft Evaders (Sept 1918)


Surnames: Jensen, Krueger, Laino, Page, White, Mattson, Marks, Rasmussen, Gantz

---------Source: Vernon County Censor, Viroqua, Wis. (25 Se[p 1918)

Owen, Wisconsin, Sept 17, 1918 – One man was killed and five wounded during a pitched battle between a posse of armed citizens and state guards and four alleged draft evaders at the Krueger farm, two miles west and two miles south of here.

Harry Jensen, station master at Withee, was instantly killed while reloading his rifle 800 feet away from the farmhouse. Emil Laino of Withee sustained five bullet wounds and nearly died from loss of blood. Other injured are Angus Page, Frank White and Mattson. All are expected to recover.

Two special agents of the Department of Justice called at the Krueger farm to arrest the four Krueger brothers, Frank, Louis, Ennis, and Leslie, on charges of evading the selective service, and were fired upon by two of the young men. The officers returned to Owen and formed a posse of 200 armed men, who surrounded the farm house, from which they were immediately fired upon.

After an all-night siege, during which hundreds of shots were exchanged, it was discovered at daylight that there was no one in the beleaguered house. Frank Krueger, one of the men the posse sought to arrest, surrendered after being shot through the leg. The other three brothers, Ennis, Lewis, and Leslie, who were known to be in the house when the battle began, had disappeared during the night. It is claimed it would be impossible for them to escape from the premises through the cordon of guards and it is is believed they are still hiding on the farm.

Mrs. Krueger, moth of the four boys, was taken to Eau Claire and lodged in the county jail, while her wounded son, Frank, was taken to a hospital at Chippewa Falls. Neither would say anything. Frank is being carefully guarded. Mrs. Krueger is near a nervous collapse. The whole county and neighborhood are at fever heat, and it will be short shrift for the boys when they are caught.

Frank Krueger, who is being held by the authorities, is 36 years old. The other three brothers, who are being sought by the authorities, are: Ennis, 20; Louis, age 23, and Leslie, aged 26. Frank and Ennis are charged with having failed to register on September 12, while Louis and Leslie have failed to obey summons from the local boards and are charged with desertion.

When the attacking party stormed the house early Sunday they found it had been struck by many bullets. There were bullet holes through every wall, through windows and the roof. A search of the basement, the only place where the boys could have hidden, brought no clue to their whereabouts. The house was stocked with food, ammunition and several high powered rifles, indicating that the Kruegers had expected a siege and prepared for it. Dead animals, including a huge bull that had come within the range of fire were found in the yard.

The huge barn on the Krueger farm, which was set ablaze after formaldehyde gas had been introduced in an effort to drive out the men if they had hidden in the loft, proved to be a veritable arsenal. Hundreds of cartridges popped during the blaze, and in one corner a secret chamber was disclosed, in which the brothers evidently intended to hid on the approach of officers. An accident causing the burning of the barn, and explosion resulting when the air suddenly came into contact with the strong gas. Destruction of the barn apparently dissolves the theory that the men had hidden on the premises.

C. E. Marks, agent of the Department of Justice at Madison, Town Marshal Peter Rasmussen and Deputy United States Marshal Joseph Gantz barely escaped with their lives when they went to arrest the four brothers. Harry and Frank Krueger were in the corn field when the officers approach. A moment later the boys opened fire on the officers with automatic pistols, it is claimed. A bullet tore through Marks’ coat at the shoulder, while other bruised Rasmussen and Gantz. The officers returned the fire and the brothers retreated to the house from which they continued to fire.


News: Withee – Leslie Krueger arrested at Brainerd, Minn. (Oct 1918)


Surnames: Krueger

---------Source: Iowa County Democrat, Mineral Point, Minn. (31 Oct 1918)

Leslie Krueger, draft evader, arrested at Brainerd, Minnesota and brought to La Crosse, Wisconsin on a charge of resisting arrest with force of arms at his former home at Owen, Wisconsin, where the four Krueger brothers fought a posse, will be turned over to the military authorities to be tried for desertion.


News: Withee – Leslie Krueger Draft Evasion Explanation (Dec 1918)


Surnames: Krueger

---------Source: Baraboo Weekly News, Baraboo, Wis. (2 Jan 1919)

Leslie Krueger, Owen, Wisconsin, draft evader, who fought a posse at his farm home, when examined by local registration board at La Crosse on Monday to determine if he was a willful deserter from the Army, declared he asked God whether he should go to war, and the Almighty appeared in a vision and told him not to join the Army.

Krueger also claimed that people in Clark County called him a pro-German, and that one night he was shot at from ambush on the road between Owen and his farm.

“I finally decided that I would nigh fight for people that treated me like that,” said Krueger. “I got my notice to go into the Army only two hours before I was to leave, but had made up my mind not to go to war, and went into the woods and to a place twelve miles from home, where I stayed a month.”

Krueger said he attended the Congregational Church and prayed every day. He said he believed in war, but was opposed to manslaughter.

He insisted that neither his brothers nor his mother advised him to evade the draft, and that he made up his mind what to do after talking with God.

Leslie Krueger was arrested in North Dakota, two months after escaping the posse at his farm home. In the battle between the Krueger boys and the posse, one man was killed and several shot and wounded. Enos Krueger, the youngest boy, was later killed by a federal officer while attempting to escape.


News: Withee – Krueger’s Convicted of Murder (Apr 1919)


Surnames: Kruger, Jensen

---------Source: Courier-Democrat, Langdon, N.D. (10 Apr 1919)

Neillsville, Wisconsin – Frank and Leslie Krueger were convicted of murdering Harry Jensen, Withee Station Agent, last fall while their mother, Caroline Krueger, was acquitted. The penalty for murder is life imprisonment.

Harry Jensen, Station agent at Owen, Wisconsin, for whose death the Krueger’s were placed on trial, was killed on September 14, 1918, while a member of a posse, which was endeavoring to assist federal officers in capturing Frank and Louis Krueger, alleged draft evaders.


News: Withee – Fourth Krueger Brother Caught (Nov 1920)


Surnames: Krueger, Jensen, Crane

---------Source: Wood County Reporter, Wis. Rapids, Wis. (25 Nov 1920)

Chippewa Falls, Wis. – Louis Krueger, 30, alleged draft evader, the last of four brothers, charged with the same offense, was arrested here and turned over to a United States marshal from Madison. Krueger will be arraigned in federal court at La Crosse.

Krueger was recognized by E. J. Crane, a former resident of Owen, Wisconsin, near where the Krueger brothers lived with their mother. He denied his identity until question at the police station.

The prisoner said he spent the last eight months in Montana and in the Dakotas, and that he was on his way to the north woods of Wisconsin to become a timber worker.

Krueger escaped August 18, 1918 when a posse surrounded the farm home, after federal agents had met resistance in an effort to arrest the four brothers on charges of evading the draft. Harry Jensen, station agent at Owen, and a member of the posse, was killed when the brothers began shooting.

Two brothers, Frank and Leslie, are in prison at Waupun. The third brother was killed by the posse when he attempted to flee.

Louis returned to the home in April, but escaped when federal agents went to arrest him



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