The Horror of 1888: The True Story of the Crime, Escape, and Capture of John Kuehni, by Betty Plombon

The Horror of 1888 is the true story of two brothers fishing in a creek leading off the Sugar River in the township of Primrose, Dane County, Wisconsin, in 1888. They noticed a sack in the shallow waters of the creek and inside found body parts belonging to someone who had evidently been murdered. The identity of the murderer was soon determined, and the bloody crime scene discovered and searched, disclosing the details of one of the most horrible murders ever known to Wisconsin at that time.

This book continues the story in great detail, following the murderer across the Atlantic to Ireland, where he was arrested before he could reach his native country of Switzerland, and brought back to Wisconsin for trial. It would be eleven months before an unusual confession emerged.

The events of this crime and the extradition process that returned the criminal to Madison generated international notoriety. The operation of the legal systems in England and Wisconsin in 1889 are woven into the story, along with sketches of contemporary life in Dane County. The fact that the author of the book is related to the murderer just adds to the intrigue…

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