The Bloody Benders were a family of serial killers who owned an inn and small general store in Labette County of southeastern Kansas from 1871 to 1873. [7] Brockman would be arrested again 23 years later for the rape and murder of his own 18-year-old daughter.[8]. In May of 1871, the body of a man named Mr. Jones, who had his skull crushed and … 20) May 1873: Dr William York. Judge Calvin dismissed Mary Gardei's affidavit as she was a "chip off the old block"; he found that other affidavits supporting Gardei's were sufficient proof that the women could never be convicted, however, and he discharged them both. The Bloody Benders were a family of serial killers who lived and operated in Labette County, Kansas, from May 1871 to December 1872. All four had crushed skulls and throats cut. These hammers were given to the Bender Museum in 1967 by the son of LeRoy Dick, the Osage Township trustee who headed the search of the Bender property. When attempts were made to relocate the museum it became a point of controversy, some locals objecting to the town being known for the Bender murders. Mrs. Davis claimed that Mrs. Monroe was Ma Bender, but that she herself was not Kate, but her sister Sara; she later signed an affidavit to that effect, while Monroe continued to deny the identification and in turn accused Sarah Eliza of being the real Kate Bender. Some say that they escaped, others that they were executed by a vengeful posse. At this point, the customers began to feel uneasy and decided to leave, a move that almost certainly saved their lives. Body found in Drum Creek with a crushed skull and throat cut. Originally scheduled for February 1890, the trial was held over to May. Wilder says, “while Pa watered the horses and brought us all a drink from the well near the door of the house. From those who knew them and have written about them, we gather the following: Locals began scouring the area after reports of people who had gone missing in their community began to surface. The Bender cabin was destroyed by souvenir hunters who took everything, including the bricks that lined the cellar and the stones lining the well.[1][2]. 5) December 1872: W.F. The Bloody Benders—a.k.a. One might have been Jack Bogart, whose horse was purchased from a friend of the Benders after he went missing in 1872. Colonel York, leading a company of some fifty men, questioned every traveler along the trail and visited all the area homesteads. [18], A historical marker describing the Benders’ crimes is located in the rest area at the junction of U.S. Route 400 and U.S. Route 169 north of Cherryvale. The "Bloody Benders" Kansas Historical Marker. A historical marker erected near the site says, "Although stories abound, the ultimate fate of the murderous Bender family is uncertain. It was confirmed that in Thayer the family had bought tickets on the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Galveston Railroad for Humboldt. The Benders’ story begins, like many from this time period, thanks to the Homestead Act of 1862. Their attorney also produced a marriage certificate indicating that Mrs. Davis had been married in Michigan in 1872, the time when several of the murders were committed. 13-15) December 1872: Various body parts. Travelers would often stop at the house for supplies and a meal. The media speculated that some of the victims had attempted to fight back after being hit with the hammer. "The old man was a repulsive, hideous brute, without a redeeming trait, dirty, profane and ill-tempered." "Kate proclaimed herself responsible to no one save herself." (3 August 2016). The former property of the "Bloody Benders" is up for sale. "[19][20] Some have cast doubt on the story, saying that Laura would have been only 4 when her family moved away from the area, and that the Benders were exposed in 1873, two years after the Ingalls left. The Bender family home was a one-room house that was divided in half by a curtain. By the time a deputy from Cherryvale arrived, identification was impossible due to decomposition. Once in the cellar, the body would be stripped and later buried somewhere on the property, often in the orchard. ISBN 978-1-5368-9341-0. From there, they traveled to an outlaw colony thought to be in the border region between Texas and New Mexico. Dr. York had two brothers: Colonel Ed York living in Fort Scott, and Alexander M. York, a member of the Kansas State Senate from Independence who, in November 1872, had been instrumental in exposing U.S. In Fargo (Season 4, Episode 9), outside the entrance to The Barton Arms, a Kansas Historical Marker plaque for “The Mellon Mounds” recounts the story of the Mellon family, who lured unsuspecting travelers into their home, killed them with a hammer, and buried them out back. She also conducted séances and gave lectures on spiritualism, for which she gained notoriety for advocating free love. Well, you're in luck. The ghastly discovery of eight bodies, including the corpse of a little girl, plus the bloody, stench-filled cellar, told the grim tale. One of the families was John Bender Sr. and John Bender Jr., who registered 160 acres (65 ha) of land located adjacent to the Great Osage Trail, which was then the only open road for traveling further west. [7], A bad odor was noticed and traced to a trap door underneath a bed, nailed shut. Stein and Day. [18], The Ingalls family, made famous in the books and television series Little House on the Prairie, lived near Independence, and Laura Ingalls Wilder mentioned the Bender family in her writing and speeches. Mrs. Monroe resisted, declaring that she would not be taken alive, but was subdued by local deputies. With the victim's back to the curtain Kate would distract the guest, while John Bender or his son would come from behind the curtain and strike the guest on the right side of the skull with a hammer. CS1 maint: ref=harv ; Gibson, Dirk C. (19 November 2009). No one ever claimed the $3,000 reward ($64,025 as of 2021), however. The stone slab floor was broken up with sledgehammers but no bodies were found, and it was determined that the smell was from blood that had soaked into the soil. The Bloody Benders were a family of serial killers who lived and operated in Labette County, Kansas, from May 1871 to December 1872. Washington, D.C.: Photoduplication Service, Library of Congress,1913. In 1937 she gave a speech at a book fair, which […] The Benders’ cabin was demolished long ago, and the precise location of the home and its garden are not known. XLIV, No. In 1992, Fern Morrow Wood, a Cherryvale teacher, wrote The Benders, Keepers of the Devil's Inn. The message is accompanied by a link of unknown origin—one that is likely an attempt to gather personal information. The Bender Family—Some New Light on Their Mysterious Disappearance. On the high prairie by the nearby Mounds which bear the name, the Bender family ~ John, his wife , son, and daughter Kate ~ in 1871 built a small house. [7], A Kansas newspaper reported that the crowd was so incensed after finding the bodies that a friend of the Benders named Brockman, who was among the onlookers, was hanged from a beam in the inn until unconscious, revived and interrogated as to what he knew, then hanged again. A number of researchers question the ready acceptance of the affidavit's authenticity and suggest that the county was unwilling to accept the expense of boarding the two women for an extended period. The Bloody Benders had a remote little inn not far from the Kansas homestead of Laura Ingalls Wilder.. Wilder mentions two brushes with the Benders, who are sometimes referred to as America’s first serial killers. Relocating to Independence from, 7) December 1872: Johnny Boyle. Provides commercial,industrial and residential Pest Control Services at exterminator in nyc. Try this feature for free with a MyRouteYou Plus trial subscription. In February 1872, the bodies of two men were found who had the same injuries as Jones. $10 (2021: $213), a, 8-9) December 1872: George Newton Longcor and his 18-month-old daughter, Mary Ann. [1][2] A knife with a four-inch tapered blade was reportedly found hidden in a mantel clock in the Bender house by Colonel York. They were not pursued, as lawmen following outlaws into this region often never returned. The "Bloody Benders" were made up of John Bender Sr., his wife and two children. Several groups of vigilantes were formed to search for the Benders. In mid-October, Deputy Sheriff LeRoy Dick, the Osage Township trustee who had headed the search of the Bender property, arrived in Michigan and arrested the couple on October 30, following their release on the larceny charges. Buried in the apple orchard. The Bender artifacts were eventually given to the Cherryvale Museum, where they remain in a wall-mounted display case. ‎In this episode, we head to Kansas and explore the Wichita Troll, the Sallie House, and the Bloody Benders. [citation needed], Coordinates: .mw-parser-output .geo-default,.mw-parser-output .geo-dms,.mw-parser-output .geo-dec{display:inline}.mw-parser-output .geo-nondefault,.mw-parser-output .geo-multi-punct{display:none}.mw-parser-output .longitude,.mw-parser-output .latitude{white-space:nowrap}37°20′56″N 95°29′10″W / 37.349°N 95.486°W / 37.349; -95.486, According to one of the myths that has grown around the murders, after dinner, Colonel York was sitting in the front room when he noticed a gold, List of serial killers in the United States, "The Bloody Benders – Serial Killers of Kansas", "The Bloody Benders, Kansas, ca. After the Civil War the Osage Indians were moved from their home in Labette County to Oklahoma, in order to make the Kansas Territory available to European settlers. This is a direct reference to the Benders. Senator Samuel C. Pomeroy's bribery of state legislators in his bid for re-election. By 1873, reports of missing people who had passed through the area had become so common that travelers began to avoid the trail. Contemporary newspapers reported his name as either "George W. Longcor" or "George Loncher", while Mary Ann is similarly reported as being either eight years old or 18 months old. Kate Bender, who was around 23, was cultivated and attractive and spoke English well with very little accent. This is the story of the Bloody Benders, America’s first family of serial killers. The texts read "Johannah Bender. 10) December 1872: John Greary. "[4], In May 1871, the body of a man named Jones, who had his skull crushed and his throat cut, was discovered in Drum Creek. Co D 123rd Ill Infantry. After a cabin, a barn with a corral, and a well were built, in the fall of 1871, Elvira Bender and daughter Kate arrived, and the cabin was divided into two rooms by a canvas wagon-cover. Mrs. McCann's story came from dreams that she had about her father's murder, which she discussed with Sarah Eliza. The affidavits and other papers are missing from the file in LaBette County, so further examination is impossible. According to the Pittsburgh Dispatch, the daughter of one of the Benders' victims, Mrs. Frances E. McCann, had reported the pair to authorities in early October after tracking them down. In the 19th century, Kansas was a bloody place, especially before the Civil War as “Free-Soilers ” and slavery advocates “duked” it out for control of the new territory. She maintained carnal relations with her brother, and boldly proclaimed her right to do so, in the following words found in her lecture manuscript: "Shall we confine ourselves to a single love, and deny our natures their proper sway?...Even though it be a brother's passion for his own sister, I say it should not be smothered. Page 1. There was a trap door that led to a stone cellar below. ?," "big slaughter day, Jan eighth", and "hell departed. Elvira allegedly could not understand English, while the younger Benders denied the claim. [2], Two men who had traveled to the inn to experience Kate Bender's psychic powers stayed on for dinner but had refused to sit at the table next to the cloth, instead preferring to eat their meal at the main shop counter. When he did speak it, it was so guttural that it was usually unintelligible. No documentation or definitive proof of their relationships to one another, or where they were born, has ever been found. The St. Joseph Weekly Gazette (St. Joseph, Missouri). The family consisted of John Bender, his wife Elvira Bender, son John, Jr., and daughter Kate. Buried in the apple orchard. Kate's popularity became a large attraction for the Benders' inn. [5], Detectives following wagon tracks discovered the Benders' wagon, abandoned with a starving team of horses with one of the mares lame, just outside the city limits of Thayer, 12 mi (19 km) north of the inn. The body was then dropped through the trap door. She professed to be a medium of spiritualism, and delivered lectures on that subject. [1], One detective later claimed that he had traced the pair to the border, where he had found that John Jr. had died of apoplexy. In 1937 she gave a speech at a book fair, which was later transcribed and printed in the September 1978 Saturday Evening Post and in the 1988 book A Little House Sampler. The Benders in Kansas. Often, two women traveling together were accused of being Kate Bender and her mother.[10]. One of the searchers identified the body of his brother, with the back of his skull smashed in and his throat slit. At her hearing, Mrs. Monroe denied any knowledge of Shearer or the manslaughter charge and remained incarcerated with her daughter. The front section also contained the kitchen and dining table, where travelers could stop for a meal or even spend the night. However, once the property was searched, the townspeople discovered a far grislier truth: The family had gruesomely murdered at least 11 people and buried their bodies throughout the land. Body found in Drum Creek with a crushed skull and throat cut. Records of the incarceration back up this affidavit. Later, she married William Stephen Griffith. to be Elvira's fifth daughter. Another group claimed they had caught the Benders and lynched them before throwing their bodies into the Verdigris River. Before York left, Kate asked him to return alone the following Friday night, and she would use her clairvoyant abilities to help him find his brother. According to the May 23, 1873 edition of The Emporia News, he was identified with the name of William Bender. The "Bloody Benders" were a German family of four that settled a claim in southeastern Kansas in Labette County in 1871. Buried in the apple orchard. Their murders were carried out by use of a canvas curtain that divided the house into two rooms. When the party arrived at the inn they found the cabin empty of food, clothing, and personal possessions. "Old Mrs. Bender was a dirty old Dutch crone. The owner of the Drum Creek claim was suspected, but no action was taken. The women's identities were later confirmed by two Osage township witnesses from a tintype photograph. [5][18] Newspapers: The Kansas Murders - New York TImes, May 13, 1873 Says They're Not the Benders - New York Times, January 11, 1890 Website: The Bloody Benders … 6 The Bloody Benders’ House. Despite the lack of identification, the man's skull was displayed as that of "Pa Bender" in a Salmon saloon until Prohibition forced its closure in 1920 and the skull disappeared. Photo credit: The Lineup. Much folklore and legend surrounds the Benders, making it difficult to separate fact from fiction. John Bender Jr. was around 25 years old, handsome with auburn hair and a mustache, and spoke English fluently but with a German accent. 16 Feb 1888. Located at the rest area at the junction of US Hwy 169 and 400 in NE Labette County, Kansas. This page was last edited on 7 January 2021, at 03:06. Bloody Benders : biography – Connection to Little House on the Prairie The Ingalls family made famous in the books and television series Little House on the Prairie lived near Independence, and Laura Ingalls Wilder mentioned the Bender family in her writing and speeches. [11] Whether John Flickinger was really John Bender is unknown. Kate then became abusive toward them, and a short while later the two Bender men emerged from behind the cloth. The Bloody Benders were a German Immigrant family who lived in Southeast Kansas from 1869–1872. Both knew of William's travel plans and, when he failed to return home, an all-out search began for the missing doctor. Some of the Benders' neighbors claimed that John and Kate were not brother and sister, but actually husband and wife. The meeting was attended by 75 locals, including Colonel York and both John Bender Sr. and John Bender Jr. After discussing the disappearances, including that of William York, it was agreed that a search warrant would be obtained to search every homestead between Big Hill Creek and Drum Creek. It was in the nearby orchard field that the victims were found buried. The Bloody Benders Historic Marker. As a family of psychopaths, the Bloody Benders often killed their victims simply for the sheer thrill of it, but they also profited well from the property they got from guests. It is unknown if the Bender family committed any other murders there. According to the 1870 census, George and his wife, Mary Jane, were neighbors of. [5][6], Around the same time, neighboring communities began to make accusations that the Osage community was responsible for the disappearances, and a meeting was arranged by the Osage township in the Harmony Grove schoolhouse. Tole reported the fact to the township trustee, but because of inclement weather, several days lapsed before the abandonment could be investigated. A self-proclaimed healer and psychic, she distributed flyers advertising her supernatural powers and her ability to cure illnesses. "To my knowledge, there have been no efforts to excavate the property during the time my clients have owned the farm," Brent Wellings, auction manager for Schrader Real Estate and Auction Co., told CNN. (CNN)Ever wanted to own a gruesome piece of American history? In the winter of 1872, George Newton Longcor and his infant daughter, Mary Ann, left Independence, Kansas, to resettle in Iowa and were never seen again. Vol. Many innocent men under suspicion were also run out of the county by these committees.[5]. Now that land is going up for auction. Approximately 152 acres of land that once belonged to the "Bloody Benders". Inscription. The township trustee called for volunteers, and several hundred turned out to form a search party that included Colonel York. • 1) May 1871: Mr. Jones. [5], Three days after the township meeting, Billy Tole was driving cattle past the Bender property when he noticed that the inn was abandoned and the farm animals were unfed. Then neighbors remembered finding additional bodies on the prairie the past winter that had been mutilated in much the same fashion. Coordinates: 37°20′56″N 95°29′10″W  /  37.349°N 95.486°W  / The Bloody Benders were an alleged family of serial killers who owned a small general store and inn in Osage township, Labette County, Kansas from 1871 to The inn was a simple one room house divided into living quarters and the kitchen and store area. Property Belonging to the 'Bloody Benders', America's First Family of Serial Killers, Up for Sale this link is to an external site that may or may not meet accessibility guidelines. William Pickering said that when he had refused to sit near the wagon cloth because of the stains on it, he was threatened with a knife by Kate Bender, whereupon he fled the premises. Mrs. Almira Griffith) and Mrs. Sarah Eliza Davis had been arrested in Niles, Michigan (often misreported as Detroit) several weeks earlier for larceny. The approximately 152 acres of land that was once the property of the "Bloody Benders," who may be the first serial killer family in America, is up for auction. The inn was a simple one room house divided into living quarters and the kitchen and store area. Many stories say that one vigilante group actually caught the Benders and shot all of them but Kate, whom they burned alive. But in the spring of 1873, on the frontier prairie where the field is now, the Benders lived in a little wood-sided house that doubled as a general store near the Osage Trail. Located on a main road, the Benders sold meals and supplies to travelers. While there is no definitive number, estimates report that the Benders killed at least a dozen travelers before their crimes were discovered and the family fled, with their fate uncertain. It was speculated that she had been strangled or buried alive. The 'Bloody Benders' are known as America's first family of serial killers. 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