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THE PBKKY&BURG JOURNAL, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 1905.
S I fc "- REMARKABLE CAREER OF BLUEBEARD HOCH j- 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 "Next-to. Finger at Record 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. Chicago. iPhllauelphla, .'Baltimore, JBrooklyn, St. Louis, Cleveland, .Buffalo, .Milwaukee, T)ncMH theso 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. !B-hmltl. BUSl'iu-pi fchml'ith, mitt, JHock, :iIoch, .Ilohc, Hoe, Hon, Hoff, .Hauff, Jlauk, IUU3, Irlck, i?i aeger, 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. r Wheeling, w. Vo., Elkhart, Intl., Argos, Ind , Aurora, 111 , Evanston, III., St. Paul. Minn., "Wurtcmuurs, Ger'y, Berlin. Germany, number of Wiscon Bustebergh, Adolph, James, Lucas, Doctz, Doess, Bartel, Mayer, Brown, Braune, Schultz, Bruescke, 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, 1897. Mrs. Mary Becker Schultz Hoch, St Louis, 1003, disappeared. Mrs. Maria Schulz, Argos, Ind., died suddenly, 1S0O. 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, 1892. Mrs. Jacob Huss Hoch, Wheeling, W. Va., died suddenly, 1896. Mrs. Hoch, Norfolk, Va., died sudden ly, 1899. Mrs. Henry Bartel, Baltimore, died 1896. Mrs. Wllhelmlna Hoch, died Buffalo, 1898. Mrs. Justina Loeffler, Elkhart, Ind., disappeared. 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 person. 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 tho time. 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 "count." 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 bank. "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 ta it "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 wifo?" Hoch fldgotod. "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 State street. 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 since. 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 any man." 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 tory Is: November 21, 1860, born in Horr weller, Germany. Father, Wilheln Hoch; mother, Margaret Hoch, neo Schiller. 1865-1876 Attended common school and gymnasium. 1876-1880 Learned trade of sheet metal worker. 1880-1882 Served as soldier. 1882-1884 Served as reserve. 1884 Left natlvo town, went to Paris. 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 ton, England. July 1, 1895 Arrived In Chicago. July 15, 1895 Bought saloon at 1108 Western avenue. 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" ."AHHM irtDRKXiort' 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.