Originally what perked my interest in this story was the following quote from Cuero Daily News on Jan 27, 1904. “J.C. Williams of San Antonio is here to assist in the defense of Miss Johanna Gerhardt now on trial before district court on the charge of murder.”
Johanna was accused of killing her father Charles Gerhardt. The incident took place in the rural areas of DeWitt or Goliad County, TX. Charles lived close to the county line. The murdered man had a son named Charles F Gerhardt who in 1900 was mayor of Yorktown in DeWitt County. He took part in the early investigation until his mother, brother, and sister were arrested. Here is a timeline:
A.Charles/Karl Gerhardt Murdered The Dallas Morning NewsTitle: Robbed and MurderedDate: 1900-01-31 Page: 1
B.Elizabeth Hardt Gerhardt (Wife) Herman (Son)Johanna (Daughter) arrested for the murder The Gerhardt Murder (News Article)Date: 1900-02-08; Paper: The Daily Express
C.Hired Mexican (no name given) who lived on Gerhardt place also arrested Cuero Daily News Title: Another Charge and ArrestFeb 19, 1900
D.Mexican (still no name given) released by Grand Jury. Other 3 family members charged. Trial dates pending The Dallas Morning NewsDate: 1900-04-05Page: 8
E.Herman’s case dropped. Elizabeth goes on trial. Johanna trial date set The Dallas Morning NewsTitle: Woman Accused of MurderDate: 1900-12-14
F. Elizabeth Acquitted The Dallas Morning NewsTitle: Mrs. Gerhardt AcquittedDate: 1902-07-05 Page: 8
G.Johanna Acquitted Johanna Gerhardt Acquitted (News Article)Date: 1904-02-08; Paper: The Daily Express
H.Finally this article appeared in Jan 29, 1905 Cuero Daily News under the title “Killed Himself”
“One Joe Mollina, a Mexican living… near Yorktown accidentally shot and killed himself…”
“The deceased was the Mexican who was in the employ of old man Gerhardt, when he was murdered … was arrested on the charge of murdering him and later discharged, but most of the old man’s relatives believe until this day that he was guilty of the crime.”
I hope someone can add more information. I would love to know a family oral history. My primary research interest is the descendents of Johann and Marie Heinrich Gerhardt and the descendents' impact on Yorktown and DeWitt County, Texas to this day. The aforementioned murdered Charles was the son of Johann Gerhardt and the brother of my 2nd great grandmother Anna Elise Gerhardt Metz.
One final comment: I almost left out the paragraphs about Joe Mollina because of racial overtones; however, I thought it was a reflection of the times to automatically blame the Mexican so they were included. My reflections in 2008 are of a tragic family that never was able to heal from the trauma of the murder so it was easier to blame the outsider than look within the family unit. Even though everyone was aquitted, my hunch is that someone within the family got away with murder.
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