Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Notorious Hans Margerum Dead 1883

Hans Margerum.
His death at 2 o'clock this morning from the Effects of a Blow on the Head Last Saturday Night.

This morning about 2 o'clock, Hans Margerum breathed his last at his parents' residence, corner of High and Poplar streets, from the effects of a blow on his head by a stone or rock at the hands of a man unknown, in front of "little George's" saloon, on Poplar street, last Saturday night, Esquire Quigley was notified and this forenoon held an inquest.  The testimony was confused and conflicting, but it seems that the deceased had an altercation in the saloon and was ejected by the man, it is supposed, who subsequently seized a piece of sandstone used to keep the door back and hurled it at Margerum, while the latter was being held by a man named Charles Uptonroe.  Margerum was taken home, where he remained until death came to his relief.  The man who threw the fatal missile immediately disappeared after the affair and has not since been seen by the police.  He boarded at "Little George's" house and had been there one week, having paid his board in advance.  Both the landlord and his wife disclaim any knowledge of the man's name or whereabouts.  All that is known of him is that he is a German, fairly tall and an engineer by calling.  The jury, composed of Messr.s R.C. Graves, John W. Currin, R.J. Morgan, H. Bensdorf, T. Keith, Wm Dean and Harlow Dow, returned a verdict in accordance with the statements presented.  Hans Margerum led a checkered career, the greater portion of which is well known to many citizens and over which the mantle of charity is drawn.
Originally posted in the Public Ledger, December 27 1883.

The Checkered Past
The checkered past of Hansell Margerum included desertion.  
He had been a private in the prestigious 154th Senior Regiment TN but on September 28, 1862 at Shelbyville, Kentucky, he chose a different path from his compatriots.  He left.

"The criminal court yesterday convicted the notorious Hans Margerum of larceny, and sentenced him to three years imprisonment in the penitentiary."  Memphis Daily Appeal June 26 1873
"Yesterday Hans Margerum, a noted rough and well known in police circles, licked a constable who sought to arrest him on a warrant for clubbing a citizen on Poplar street.  Officer Tim Hope marched out and took margerum in without trouble.  Hope is not a man to be fooled with."  Public Ledger June 18 1874
Headline for January 14 1875 "Jail Delivery: Nine Prisoners Disarm a Turnkey, and make Their Escape from the Jail-Four of Them Recaptured"  Hans Margerum was among the escapees.  Memphis Daily Appeal

"This afternoon Hans Margerum one of the escaped prisoners from the county jail, was recaptured by deputy Sheriff Murphy in the suburbs of the city."  Public Ledger January 16 1875.

"Fannie Malone and Hans Margerum were committed by the Recorder to-day on the charge of assault with a knife upon the person of a white man whom Margerum held while the festive Fannie cut him a few times with a pocket knife."  Public Ledger May 3 1875

"Hans Margerum, who a few days since, with Fannie Malone, a soiled dove, was sentenced to the penitentiary for two years on the charge of malicious stabbing, possesses a charmed life.  He is a well-known rough who has been in scores of bad scrapes for which he has been arrested, tried and convicted, but has so far managed to escape on new trials and appeals to the Supreme Court.  The bright oasis in his worthless life is the Spartan-like devotion of his old mother (Laura A. Willingham Margerum), who sticks to him in all adversity, and begs and pleads for his release just as if he was a worthy citizen instead of a professional criminal.  There is a sublimity in the devotion of his good mother to her worthless son that commands the respect and attention of all who frequent the stationhouse and the Criminal Court." Public Ledger May 31 1875

"Complaints have been made at police headquarters that criminals from President's Island are permitted to come to the city on leave of absence.  Several penitentiary convicts were prowling around town last week on leave of aabsence.  Last night one of these President's Island prisoners, on leave of absence, Hans Margerum, assaulted a citizen and was arrested by the police."  Public Ledger Dec. 30 1875

"Hans Margerum, the notoriuous youth, was actually acquitted of the charge of vagrancy on a fair and impartial trial in the Criminal court.  His lawyer, Colonel Turner, argued that Hans was not a vagrant, but had for a long time furnished business for the officers of the court, and thereby contributed to the support of their families.  It was a humorous speech, and hans was discharged upon the merits presented."  Memphis Daily Appeal Jan 26 1876
"Hans Margerum, a well-known boarder at the station-house, was fined and bonded on a charge of assault and battery."  Public Ledger March 9 1876

Headline for May 2 1877:  "Outrage on Board a Train:  A Lot of convicts attack a passenger and rob of him of his watch and chain--Hans Margerum on the War-Path, with other Jail Birds"  Memphis Daily Appeal

The Jackson Sun for may 4 1877 referred to Margerum as "Handy Hans".

"He (Jeff Logan) was engaged with Hans Margerum in the attempt to rob Martin Curry on the Louisville Train near this city, April 30th 1877.  Curry resides in Nashville."  Public Ledger February 4 1878

He's listed in the 1880 Census for Nashville at the State Penitentiary as a prisoner, age 39, birthplace Georgia, occupation Engineer.

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