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THE PBKKY&BURG JOURNAL, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 1905.
OF BLUEBEARD HOCH
NEARLY SIXTY DESERTED WIVES CLAIM
HIM AS LOST LIFE-MATE.
1F0VRTEEN THOVGHT MVHDER.ED
Finding of Poison, in. Stomach
Last" Spouse Points Accusing
Versattile Germain Whose
of as much curroncy as llmo would per
mit. Probably tho most notablo of
his poses lsthat In which ho is said
to havo represented hlmsolf as tho
Count Otto von Kern, of Gorraany.
This llttlo advonturo took him to St
Paul. Hero ho Is said to havo Intro
duced himself to Mrs. Hulda Nngel,
whom ho married aftor a brief court
ship, In May, 1902. Very soon aftor
tho slmplo coremony tho count induced
tho nowly-mado "countess" to turn her
roal estato and other possessions into
cash, preparatory to taking a trip
abroad, in which, Incidentally, tho pair
Were to inspoct tho estato of tho
"nobleman" in Gorninny. Ho left tho
"countess" to herself while ho wont to
tho city to purchaso tickets for their
trip. Tho count was nover heard of
after that, although n warrant was
sworn out for his arrest. Just at pres
ent the "couutcss" conducts a boarding
and furnlturo on Union avenue. 1
went with htm to the bank and got the
money and gave It to him. Then ho
disappeared." Mrs. Fisher says sho
beliovos that sho and her slstor have
been mado victims of a deep-laid plot
to deprlvo them of their earnings nnd
savings. Sho declares that sho bollovoB
that, seeing that ho could not disap
pear from tho presenco of Mrs. Wclkor
and marry her without tho knowledgo
of both, ho formulated tho plot
to murder tho first wlfo by somo sys
tem and, securing what money ho could
from Mrs. Fisher, disappear for all
time. Poison found in tho stomach of
Mr Welker, tho polico believe, prac
tically corroborates tho statement of
tho latest wlfo of Hoch.
Cases in Other Cities.
Word has come to tho local polico
from St. Louis, Cincinnati and San
Francisco that a man who operated ex-
Covers Two Grea.t Countries.
JHolmes, Archfiend of History, Declared to Have Been
His Teacher in the Terrible Art Bigamist Then
Known to Authorities as Edward Hatch.
Chicago. Johann Hoch, whoso record
as a bigamist Is said to surpass anything
of tho kind in police annals, and a for
midable rival of "Bluebeard" Holmes,
-hanged in Philadelphia somo years ago,
.has arrled hero from New York to an
iBwer charges of homicide and bigamy.
"The Chicago authorities ha already
.placed on this man responsibility in nu
merous cases of bigamy and murder,
hut hardly a day passes that somo de
serted wlfo does not make herself
known to tho polico, and, after having
.seen Hoch's picture, declare that in
tho versatile German lies her long-lost
.husband. Tho number of theso cases
ihas reached nearly CO, and new ones are
vconstantly coming to tho fore.
Hnch's alleccd doings are, to say tho
iont rnirinrknhln In the extreme. It
'.Is declared that ho has operated in towns
in all parts of tho country, and the
.names which ho assumed In his deal
ings are, as ono polico official puts it,
na numerous as Fourth-of-July
-"drunks." Tho list of cities In which It
'Is believed Hoch operated Is as follows.
Nt Ynrk. NorrolK, va.
I uuu.uv r , .
Bin and Iowa towns repon uv.m ui ..
work. Somo of tho names used by the
German aro as follows:
Count Otto von Kern. Healy.
Strange as it may seem, no clear cases
of Johann Hoch's work had come to the
Iknowiedge of tho police anywhere in the
.United States until tho present dis
closure, although his marriage business,
it is declared, has been carried on ever
.since 1881. Thi3 fact may be due to tho
desire of many sensltlvo women who
havo been duped by. this man to keep
,their desertion from the public.
Wheeling, w. Vo.,
Argos, Ind ,
Aurora, 111 ,
St. Paul. Minn.,
number of Wiscon
I Worked from Town to Town.
' JHoch's policy, it seems, was always
to extract as much money as his Intend
ed victim could summon without a waste
(Of time, and, after begging leave of ab
sence on some pretext, would disappear
as it tne earth had completely swallowed
.him up. Then tho talo of a wlfo in a
near-by town, who would pitifully de
clare that she had given her. newly ac
quired husband all her money, and that
-he had not been homo for several dajs
sand somo accident must have befallen
,hlni, would bring to light the fact that,
In all probability, Mr Hoch was carry
ing on operations in the neighborhood,
i Hoch's method was to advertise In
the dally papers, preferably tho German
publications, saying that his loneliness
,had forced him to seek a life companion
who could tend his wants.. Some women
answered out of curiosity, others who
felt tho same absence of somo porson
to share their confidences, would com
municate with him. Then the German
vould select what ho considered tho best
ilot his purpose and dovote his whole
energies In that direction, Hoch noer,
according to reports, sought out those
women whoso beauty or othor charms
;would mako them tho target for other
-men's affections, but women whom, by
his superior will, ho might find easy to
persuade. Theso women, mostly German,
.iad had llttlo sympathy expressed for
fthelr welfare during tholr lives, and tho
-tender passion which Johann Hoch ex
pressed in his letters seldom failed to
,-exccuto its aim.
Samples of His Courtship.
All through his missives to his in
tended Uctlma runs a strain of feeling
-which would do credit to tho most high
ly accomplished "Beau Brummel" of
tho old days of chivalry. Ono repre
sentative epistle that came to a Chi
ago woman, supposedly from Hoch
when he was in San Francisco, simply
breathed lovo to the woman who read
It. A portion of It follows:
"Dear child, you took my kcar,t by
Btorra. I can't get over It, my dear Jo
hanna. How is it with you, dear child,
you like to spend tho rest of jour llfo
alone? If you only feel toward mo as
I feel and could bring ono-half your
jovo to mo as I to you, how lucky I would
be. If you could wed your heart to mlno
for the rest of our days I would bo the
luckiest man In the world." The In
tended vloUm, who had almost suc
cumbed to the tender passion of Hoch,
.whoa so rU a Utter sunt to him In
her caro from another ono of the fair
sex, ending with "love and kisses," be
came suspicious and upon Hoch's arriv
al in Chicago refused him.
fourteen Thought Murdered.
Reports state that tho following 14
women havo been murdered by Hoch in
furthering his plans:
Mrs. Emily Welker Hoch, 6030 Union
avenue, died suddenly January 10, 1905.
Coroner's physician found large Quan
tity of arsenic in her stomach.
Mrs. Julia Stcinbrcchcr, 333 Belmont
avenue, died suddenly.
Mrs. Lena Hoch, died In Milwaukee,
Mrs. Mary Becker Schultz Hoch, St
Louis, 1003, disappeared.
Mrs. Maria Schulz, Argos, Ind., died
Mrs. Hoch, sister of Mrs. J. H. H.
Schwartzmann, Milwaukee, died 1898.
Mrs. Hoch, another sister of Mrs.
Schwartzmann, Milwaukee, died 1897.
Mrs. C. A. Meyer Hoch, died May, 1892.
Mrs. H. Irlck, Chicago, died suddenly,
Mrs. Jacob Huss Hoch, Wheeling, W.
Va., died suddenly, 1896.
Mrs. Hoch, Norfolk, Va., died sudden
Mrs. Henry Bartel, Baltimore, died
Mrs. Wllhelmlna Hoch, died Buffalo,
Mrs. Justina Loeffler, Elkhart, Ind.,
May Have Been Hatch.
Authorities from Englewood, one of
Chicago's suburbs, havo become pos
sessed of tho most' sensational stories
relating to the character and past life
of Johann Hoch. It is actually believed
thero that this Hoch was a pupil of
"Bluebeard" Holmes, tho wholesale
murderer, who, In his famous Sixty
third street "castle," crushed out the
Hvos of almost two scores of men, wom
en and children until his discovery, trial
and confession finally brought him to
the gnllow s. Tho Englewood people de
clare that the methods of the two men
aro so similar and that the pictures of
Johann Hoch so nearly resemble the
well-remembered face of Edward Hatch,
said to be the right-hand man of Holmes,
that they hao little doubt but that
Hatch and Hoch are one and the same
Awful Methods of Holmes.
Holmes' operations were of an awful
character and would havo done credit
to the accomplished Spanish inqulsl-
tlonlst, whose tortures were achieved by
means of weapons of force. Holmes,
with honeyed words, enticed his ictims
to his so-called "castle" and with prom
Isoof futurehapplness would thrustthem
Into a dungeon or secret vault and turn
on the deadly gases which would soon
end their 11 ves. It is believed that many
of the unfortunates who disappeared
whllo attending the world's fair In 1893
came to their end through his enigmat
ical lust for human lives. Holmes ad
mitted doing away with nearly 30 men,
women and children, and how man
more persons were victims of his cun
ning will probably never be known.
This Holmes has been classed as the
archfiend of history, and tho very Idea
that Hoch should havo been connected
with his awful crimes makes one shud
der for tho realization of tho facts which
tho near future Is likely to bring forth.
Holmes derived financial profit from his
fiendish acts by doing away with many
trusting innocent llttlo children. The
bodies were Invarfably burned In qulck
llmo, and so cunningly were the deeds
accomplished that it Is little wonder
that so many years passed before his
crimes were brought to light The part
which Edward Hatch, supposed by tho
suburban authorities to be Johann Hoch,
took, was that of handy man around tho
Sixty-third street "castlo." Such a man
was Indlspensableln covering the tracks
of tho multi-murderer. Hatch's duty
was to build searet walls and passages,
lay floors and In many other ways pro
vent tho discovery of the awful carni
val of slaughter which had been carried
on within tho "castlo" walls for years.
Naturally such a helper was very much
In tho confidence of his employer.
Holmes bofore bis hanging accused this
same Edward Hatch with tho murder of
tho Peltzal boy, whoso disappearance
caused such a furor in tho suburb at
Hoch Appeared in Many Holes.
If all reports of tho sudden appear
ances of Mr. Johann Hoch aro to be ac
counted truo, then that versatllo Ger
man gentleman has appeared In almost
as many roles as thero aro leaves on the
tree3. Ho has gone about, sontetlmqs as
a poor but honest artist, several times as
a wealthy Btock holder, very often as a
gentleman of leisure tquring for his
health and endeavoring to rid himself
in if Millllk
JOHANN HOCH, THE MODERN "BLUEBEARD."
house at Austin, Minn., and upon being
presented with a picture of Mr. Hoch,
declared that tho photograph was a
Hfo-llko reproduction of her lost
How His Downfall Came About.
The last of Johann Hoch's alleged
dupes, however, -proved his dowpfall,
and with the accusation of Mrs. Ame
lia Fisher, a Chicago woman, came the
apprehension of a man whose career,
the police say, Is without an equal or
even rival In tho history of any city
in this country. Last December Hoch
inserted n matrimonial advertisement
in alocal German publication, stttinghis
longing for companionship and asking
that some kind woman become his life
companion. Mrs. Mario Welker, a
widow who owned a prosperous con
fectionery business, replied to his ap
peal by answering tho "ad." After a
brief courtship she allowed herself to
be persuaded that she was the only
woman who could relievo his loneli
ness. Hoch, who had previously rent
ed and furnished a small flat, took his
latest wife to the house, which, inci
dentally, happened to be near the lo
cation of the notorious Holmes "cas
tle." Sho had disposed of her store
and turned the money derived from Its
sale over to her husband, who, repre
senting himself to bo wealthy, said he
did not caro for tho cash, but desired
to invest it in a safe project, for her
benefit. Tho day following her mar
riage she became deathly sick. A phy
sician was called, and Mr. Hoch was
informed that his wlfo was suffering
from kidney trouble. The arrival of
a trained nurse followed, but, although
her condition was worse, the nurse was
sent away tho following day. Then
Mrs. Fisher, the sister of the sick
woman, came to caro for her. Ono day
later, while Mr. Hoch was alone with
his wife, sho died. Mr. Hoch went
downstairs to inform the dead wom
an's sister, after which Mrs. Fisher
went upstairs to clean the death cham
ber. Very soon after this operation
tho alleged bigamist proposed to Mrs
Fisher that sho become his wife.
"I am an unfortunate man," Mrs,
Fisher reports Hoch to have said to
her. "Mario was not my first wife. I
was married before, and my first wlfo
was an Invalid, and now, just as I
thought I was to havo another happy
home, my new wife is dead. I am
lonoly and hnvo no means. You aro a
good woman and a,gqod,housewIfe, and
I want you to marry me. I will bring
your children horo from Germany nnd
you can be happy with me."
Repulsed Then Accepted Hoch.
Mrs. Fisher has nlno children in Ger
many. Continuing her narrative of tho
occurrence, sho said:
"I resented his proposal, and told him
ho should not talk of such things so
soon after his wife's death. January
15 I rode with hlra to tho cemetery,
and again, over his wlfo's grave, ho
asked me to marry him. Tho follow
ing Wednesday ho came to my homo
and I consented to become his wife.
Ho told mo we would go out of town
and no ono would know of It until my
ulster had been dead a long tlmo. I'
wont with him to Jollet that afternoon
and wc wk'o married. Wo eame back
and went to my house that night. The
next morning ho asked mo to give him
?760 I had saved to pay oft a mortgage
ho claimed was held against tho house
tonslvely In all those cities in tho same
manner as Hoch is thought to be tho
"Bluebeard." It is believed that more
wives will bo heard from in each of
these cities as the picture of Hoch is
more widely circulated.
Hoch's method with such of his
wives as ho did not find it necessary
to otherwise dispose of Is illustrated
in the case of Mrs. Anna Schmidt Hen
drickson Hoch, one of the women ho
deserted. He married this woman in
Hammond, Ind., in 1903, and took her
to live at 111 Watt street Two days
later he fled with ?500 she had saved.
"The day after tho marriage," Mrs.
Hendrlckson told Inspector Shlp
pey, who Is In charge of the Hoch case,
"my husband told mo he was heir to
an estate In Germany. A few hours
later he hurried in from downtown
with a fake cablegram which read:
'Father Is dead. Your brother, Wil
liam.' "He told mo ?21,000 was coming to
him from his father's estate and I
must preparo to leave for Germany
with him tho next night He said he
had no money for the voyage and
asked how much I had. I told him
$500 in the Illinois Trust and Savings
"He asked me to draw it out and
give it to him for our trip to Germany.
Just to show that he was on the square
with me, ho said, he made his will in
my favor. Then we went to the bank.
I drew out the money and gave it to
him. At the same timo he handed me
tho will ho had made out. Then he
hurried away to buy tho tickets. That
is the last I have ever seen of him."
Calls Police "Foolishnesses."
Hoch, when approached regarding
his alleged multi-marriages, emphat
ically denied ever having Indulged In
such an escapade as bigamy and in his
quaint German way indicated that the
very thought of such a thing was ex
tremely repulslvo to his highly toned
character. He strenuously denies mar
rying as many persons as havo ap
peared claiming Mr. Hoch ns their
long-lost life companion. In broken
English ho said that there were 8,000
deserted wives in Chicago, and if tho
polico perslstod In connecting him with
so many, they must be "big foolish
nesses." Mr. Hoch gives tho follow
ing version of his trouble: "That's all
humbug about 1881. How could I be
running around marrying womon when
I wasn't hdre? I camo-to-thla country
in the first week of July, 1895.
"When I first got to Chicago I
opened a saloon. I paid ?1,000 for it
to a man named Louis WItto, but my
trade is sheet metal working, and I
found out In a few monthB that the
best thing I could do was to go back
"After that I worked for the Pullman
company and the Northwestern, rail
road and the Rock Island. In 1900 I
married Mary Hendrlckson, and I had
trouble with her, I guessed then I
wouldn't stny home any moo.
"Last December I got lonely, and I
got my eyo on a widow that I thought
would mako mo a good wlfo. That was
Marie Wolker. I was told Mrs. Hen
drlckson had got a divorce, and so I
got tied up again, but no sooner did I
gel tied than Mario died, und I am
just tho same as before.
"Then I said to myself: 'I'll marry
liked mo. Sho said sho did, so I mar
ried her, and hero I am.
"But I am not afraid. Lot thorn
como on, all theso other women, 21,
61, 101. Let thorn nil como who havo
been deserted and robbed by mo."
"What about tho arsenic, then, that
tho Chicago polico say thoy havo dis
covered in tho stomach of your dead
"Arsonio? Pooh! It was hor kid
neys that killed her. Sho was sick."
Ono Woman Hypnotized.
Mrs. Loo Prager, 1810 Cortez street,
has bcon added to tho list of "Mrs.
Hochs." When sho married Hoch,
somo tlmo ago, it is said that ho gavo
tho nntno of Leo Prager. Mrs. Prager
secured ?6,500 through tho death of her
former husband, and shortly after tho
marriage to "Prager" sho gavo him
?3,500, with which ho started a second
hand furnlturo store at 704 Sixty-third
street. They fitted out a flat at 4431
Ono day "Prager" purchased ?1,200
worth of rugs from tho A. S. Klein
Carpet company, and when tho goods
wero delivered tho Sixty-third street
storo was found closed. "Prager" dis
appeared and has not been heard from
Amelia Hohn, 5122 Princeton avenue,
declared sho was married to "John
Healy" December 12, 1900, and desert
ed by him after ho had secured $100
of her money. She believes from the
description that Healy was Hoch.
Tho story came to light through tho
good memory of Policeman Ward, of
tho Hyde Park station. Ho recalled the
story the woman had told him, and,
struck by tho similarity of it to Hoch's
methods, after a search of several days
found the woman. Sho said tho man,
after six days' acquaintance, showed a
roll of money nnd proposed marriage
After the wedding ho disappeared.
"He hypnotized me. I was compelled to
oboy him," Miss Hohn said.
Career Began Early.
It Is very clear that Hoch's career
has not been of tho meteoric variety
as have the developments in the lives
of many great crlminnls. He began
his career in this sort of life, It is said,
in Germany, his natlvo country, by
petty swindling. From this, which he
carried on in Blngcn, Germany, ho
went to greater things. He was a wlno
merchant in Bingen nnd associated in
high society, where ho learned his
charming manners, that have proven
so captivating in this country. A swin
dle in a German town compelled his
departure, and, leaving a wife and
three children destitute, he "skipped."
All oyer Germany where he has per
petrated his swindles there is great
rejoicing because of his apprehension,
and the belief Is expressed, that the
magnitude of his crimes will be
found to Increase as developments pro
ceed. A dispatch from Berlin contrib
utes the following to the known facts:
Berlin. Johann Hoch, whoso many
mysterious marriages are vexing the
Chicago police, was compelled to leave
Germany January, 1895, to escape Im
prisonment as an embezzler and com
mon swindler. His real name is Jacob
Schmidt. Ho was born In tho town of
wlfo and thrco children In utter desti
tution. A receiver was appointed for
his business, but his creditors aro still
waiting for a dividend. Tho pcoplo in
Bingen aro grimly rejoicing thnt their
former townsman is at last in tho tolla.
Hoch Will Feign Insanity.
From previous experiences Inspoctor
Shippy declares that ho bolioves tho
alleged bigamist will, as is usually tho
case when ho has been placed on trial,
profess insanity. His actions on the)
train en routo to Chicago mado it ap
pear that possibly this might bo his
schema when brought to account His
rambling talk, and repeated declara
tion that ho was "an educated man nnd
a gentleman" glvo tho authorities tho
belief that this is to bo tho defenso of
Johann Hoch. And judging by what
old men on tho police forco who havo
seen Hoch say, tho man Is no mero
novice nt tho "insanity gag," and thoy
declare that even tho insano officiate
who havo to deal with such cases ot
shamming almost every day, wero
fooled at a provlous appearance before
a law court In Chicago. "I rather ex
pect Hoch will sham Insanity," said
Inspector Shippy. "When caught and
charged with selling mortgaged furni
ture In 1898, ho played tho samo dodge,
"On trial in Judge Baker's court ho
cut up queer antics, shook his head at
F. J. Magerstadt, who had furnished
four flats for him, and declared ho
nover had seen him before, and when
Mrs. J. H. Schwartzmann, ot Milwau
kee, pointed a dramatic finger at him
and said: 'That man poisoned my two
sisters,' ho mado faces at her. In the
county jail ho kept up the farco, rav
ing like a wild man until tho guards,
who believed In the genuineness of tho
seizure, feared to como near him. Aa
soon as Hoch realized his pretended
Insanity would not save him from hard
work, he suddenly became as sano aa
Summary of His Life.
In an interview Johann Hoch vouch
es for tho following .summary of his
career, ending with his arrival In Chi
cago, in 1895. It has been reported
that his operations began In 1881, or
about that time, but according to hla
own story ho did not nrrlvo in thia
country until two years later. The his
November 21, 1860, born in Horr
weller, Germany. Father, Wilheln
Hoch; mother, Margaret Hoch, neo
1865-1876 Attended common school
1876-1880 Learned trade of sheet
1880-1882 Served as soldier.
1882-1884 Served as reserve.
1884 Left natlvo town, went to
1884-1888 Worked at trade In Paris;
lived at Rue de Seine, 43.
1888 Went to London.
1888-1895 Worked at trade In Lon
don; lived at 132 Eugenia avenue.
June 15, 1895, sailed from Southamp
July 1, 1895 Arrived In Chicago.
July 15, 1895 Bought saloon at 1108
When speaking of events during hl
hoch. J "MAWCLKERHOCH.-V t'
y ""-- Q roR VJH03 J-IOROCR HOOiVlUBflRIW JW s" "V.
mi MnvVwN,J3K:WKMr - ....... XrMnmm'mxfl?A
BECKER-HO CHiall' T"
A FEW OF HOCH'S NUMEROUS ALLEGED WIVES.
Horrweller, In the province of Blngcn
on tho Rhino, November, 1862. After
getting married he kept a small storo
In his natlvo village and later became
a broker and wine merchant in tho city
of Bingen. ,
In his capacity as a wino merchant
ho lived pretentiously and used his
acquaintance with high society as tho
means of extracting largo sums of
money from business men, whom he
impressed as a good fellow. There it
was that Hoch learned the winning
ways that captivated his American vic
tims. Howover, tho paco grow too fast
for Schmidt in Blngon and after a fare
1, l.ll- .......... n..-., ha
her sister and I asked Emlle it sho j sailed for -the United State-, leaving a
stay In Chicago, tho bigamist becomes
greatly confused, denying his state
ments tlmo and again.
Will Hoch Be ConviotedP
Whether this character will bo con
victed of tho crimes with which he la
charged Is merely a mutter of conjec
ture, but whatever turns up it will be,
rocorded In tho annals ot crime in th
United States, and doubtless In tho
world, that no greater case of whole
sale marrying and pitiless swindling
has ever como into tho public lime
light than that which Is charged
against Johann Hoch, a man whoso
operations havo boon felt nationally la
two countries and havo attracted al
most universal attention.