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Murder on the Prairie

120 Years Ago Newspapers Covered a Horrific Crime

This is that Story



Linda Kuipers

Copyright 2013 Linda Kuipers

Smashwords Edition



The information for this story was taken from The Arlington Sun Newspaper 1892; Daily Huronite July 8, 1892; Brookings Register August 19, 1892 and October 13, 1893; Kingsbury County Independent October 6, 1893 also a follow-up story from the Arlington Sun December 9, 1937. Also used were Court Records from the Trial and divorce located at the County Seat in DeSmet, South Dakota.

Many women settlers were over-worked, bore child after child, and had very little contact with their families and the outside world. If these women were abused they had very few options they could try to leave their husbands or stay and maybe be further abused or killed.

If the women did leave they had little chance for employment because Western employment, for the most part, belonged to the predominantly male work force. Regardless of their education, the majority of women were offered only the most menial and the lowest paid work. Some became prostitutes and ended up with sick and abused bodies; others remarried and faced an unknown future.

This Story shows one woman’s struggle to survive the abuses she suffered on the prairie.

Thompson Household

The Thompson household had not been a happy one for many years; Nathaniel was a heavy drinker with a very heavy fist. Severina, his wife, had been the brunt of his fist for several years until the domestic differences finally culminated one early spring day in 1892.

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