Murder at Millen Ralston’s Farm 1886

16 Feb

Kate Caven Murdered 

CAVEN, MCCULLOUGH, RALSTON

Posted By: Ken Wright (email)
Date: 3/6/2013 at 19:15:17

Jackson Sentinel, May 13, 1886

Kate Caven Murdered

On Monday, May 3, Miss Kate Caven left her home at the house of her brother, Perry Caven and was found on the Wednesday following in the Ralston cave, shot through the heart. The Ralston cave is a half a mile or so from her home and is situate on the farm of Milan Ralston, the Canton and Maquoketa mail carrier. The cave is like hundreds of others which Jackson county abounds, but this one is unusually large, being large enough for a team to turn around in. The body of the girl was in good state of preservation, the air in the cave being nearly ice cold, however, some wild animals had slightly eaten one hand and one foot.

Miss Kate Caven was 25 years of age and has been affected from infancy with St. Vitas dance, and of late years her mind seems to be affected. On the day of the tragedy Kate packed up her valise as if to go away, whereupon Mrs. Perry Caven went to the field to call her husband and try to have him persuade her not to go, but when they returned to the house Kate was gone and was never afterwards seen alive, but her departure caused no surprise, for it was her custom to often go over to the house of W. B. McCullough, her brother-in-law who lived near and also she had a way of leaving without notice and staying three or four days with friends of the family living near Garry Owen. However, on Wednesday, two days after the disappearance, the Caven family found out casually that Kate was not with the people above mentioned, and search was begun in earnest and in the afternoon the same day Mrs. W. B. McCullough found the body. In the search Mrs. McCullough had a faint clue, from the fact that Kate had frequently mentioned of late that she had found “such nice caves,” and further, that on Easter (May 25th), Kate had brought her father to visit in her company, the cave in which the tragedy occurred. Mrs. McCullough then went directly to the cave mentioned and found Kate shot dead with two revolvers lying at her side. One revolver had two empty chambers, the other was fully loaded. Her kinspeople were taken wholly by surprise by the event, for after missing her it was discovered that Perry Caven’s revolver had been taken from the house. The other revolver had formerly belonged to W. B. McCullough, but had disappeared three years before.

The event is casting a gloom over the whole community, but the calamity falls with especial weight upon her aged and respected father. Miss Kate Caven awaits the “last day” in the cemetery in Hickory Grove, Brandon township, where her remains were laid to rest Thursday, May 6th, by a large concourse of sorrowing friends.

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