|#1-Published in the Pilot 29 Aug 1917|
One of the most brutal murders that has ever occurred around here was perpetrated last Sunday afternoon along the railroad track just south of the C. L. Nethaway home between Coffman and Florence when some human fiend murdered Mrs. Nethaway in cold blood, cutting her head almost off her body. She was on her way to meet Mr. Nethaway at the overhead bridge and they were going to Florence. When she failed to meet him he drove on to the house and not finding her there he drove back to Florence, thinking she might have gone down with someone else. He didn’t find her there and he became frightened lest some harm had come to her. He went down along the track where she would have passed to meet and asked if he had seen anything of her or of any suspicious character. The operator told him of a negro who has passed by there some time before and together they began a search that resulted in finding the body. The alarm was given the police officers in Omaha and was telegraphed here. Sheriff Mehrens met the freight train that got in here at about 5:10 and found an ugly looking negro between the third and fourth freight cars from the engines. He was crunching apples and continued to do so until his supply was gone. Mehrens took him to the jail. Alvine Nelson, who was braking the freight, said he saw the negro get on the train at South Cut. He admitted having been at the Nethaway house and there was no one home. He denies having committed the murder but circumstantial evidence points in his direction very strongly. Chief Dempsey and an auto load of Omaha policemen came up and took the negro to Omaha, having to make a pretty hot race with several cars loaded with men who would have made short shrift with the brute had they been able to lay their hands on him. The body was taken to Omaha and brought up from there in an auto hearse today, the funeral being held at the Methodist church at 3 o’clock, Rev. W.H. Underwood officiating, assisted by Rev. C.M. Foreman and Rev. J. B. Williams. Mrs. Nethaway was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Urban Cachelin, of DeSoto, and was 40 years of age. Besides her aged parents she leaves five sisters and one brother. Mrs. Daisy Belding, Mrs. Maud Badgerow, and Mrs. Ada Dalby, all of Omaha, Lizzie and Goldie, who live at home, and Ed, who lives on a farm no far from his father. Mr. Nethaway lived at DeSoto for some time and was well known here. The bereaved husband and relatives have the sincere sympathy of many friends, which was well shown by the large attendance at the funeral and the many beautiful flowers sent in her memory.
#2-Published in the Blair Democrat August 30, 1917
Mrs. Nethaway, who was killed at south cut, was a grand woman, daughter of the grand pioneers, Urban Cachelin and wife, of DeSoto, where she was born. As all the papers will enlarge on the harrowing details, we will not go into particulars of this sad case.
#3- Published in the Blair Democrat August 30, 1917- and in the Tribune August 29. 1917. These obituaries are on file at the Blair Public Library. They do not report any additional information as reported in the other newspaper articles on file.
#4-Published in the Blair Democrat August 30, 1917
VICTIM OF A FIEND LAID TO REST IN BLAIR CEMETERY
The remains of Mrs. C. L. Nethaway, who was so foully murdered last Sunday afternoon near her home a short distance below the Coffman station, were brought to Blair yesterday by her sorrowing husband and relatives and laid to rest in the Blair Cemetery, the funeral services being in charge of Rev. Underwood of the local Methodist Church.
Overtaken on a lonely stretch of track a few miles north of Florence Sunday afternoon, Mrs. Nethaway, 49 years old, wife of a Florence realtor and a former resident of DeSoto, was brutally assaulted and then murdered, her throat being slashed in such a manner that her head was nearly severed from her body. Mrs. Nethaway was on the way to meet her husband at a bridge half a mile from the house, when the crime was committed.
The murdered woman was last seen by A. R. Herdman, operator for the C., St. P., M. & O., and his wife. Their shanty is located beside the track at South Cut station, four miles north of Florence. The Nethaway home is located less than 100 yards from the operator’s shanty. At 2 o’clock Mrs. Nethaway came to the operator’s home and told Mrs. Herdman to come over and get the butter which she had ordered as she, Mrs. Nethaway, was going to town at 3 o’clock with her husband.
Mrs. Herdman went to the Nethaway home and got her butter, that being the last time Mrs. Nethaway was seen alive.
At 3 o’clock Mr. Nethaway was at the appointed place but his wife was not there. He drove around to the house, which is reached by a round-about road, and could find no trace of her there. Becoming somewhat anxious, Mr. Nethaway drove to Florence, thinking that his wife might have gone in another machine, but no one had seen the missing woman in town.
Going back to his home, the distracted husband enlisted the services of Operator Herdman and went down the track over which he thought his wife would have gone to meet him. At a point less than a quarter of a mile from the home Mrs. Nethaway's mutilated body was lying in the weeds upon the high bank bordering the track.
Her clothing was torn from her body, her hands being tied to the waist band of her skirt with strips torn from an underskirt. Her throat was slashed from ear to ear, another strip of the torn underskirt being tied over the wound. Nearby was the knife the miscreant had used to commit his foul deed. Shreds of clothing, her hat, handkerchief purse and several strands of her hair were found in the slope of the embankment up which the woman was carried, testifying to the desperate struggle put up by Mrs. Nethaway before she was overcome by the superior strength of her assailant. The knife was a large size hunting knife with a ten-inch blade and a deer foot handle. The blade bad been torn from the handle and the two were thrown a few feet away.
About thirty minutes before the body of the murdered woman was found Operator Herdman observed a negro walking north along the railroad tracks. “I did not pay much attention to him,” said Herdman, “for tramps are common enough sights along the railroad but I did take a second glance at him because he was so very black and a man of particularly husky appearance. His clothes I did not pay attention to except to note that he was fairly well dressed but I believe his clothes were dark as was his hat."
This statement given to the Omaha police officers who answered the call to the scene of the crime led to the belief that the act had been committed by a colored man. Descriptions of the man were telephoned to surrounding towns and authorities asked to be on the lookout for him.
Shortly after the call was sent out a message was received from this place that Sheriff Mehrens had taken a negro, answering the description of the man wanted, from a passing freight train. Officers from Omaha immediately came to Blair and took the man to Omaha. He is Charles Smith, who claims to hail from Mississippi, but his stories varied so greatly that one could not gain much information from him.
However, he admits being near the scene of the murder at about the same time it was committed and says he took the train from which he was captured in the cut where the body of Mrs. Nethaway was found.
When the Omaha officers arrived at the county jail, Smith dropped on his knees and started to pray. “Good Lord, I was born of a Christian mother and I need you,” he wailed, “come to me! now. I ain’t done nothing and I need your help.”
“What’s the matter with you? You haven’t done anything, have you?” asked a detective, “We want you for shooting dice.”
Upon hearing this the negro quieted down somewhat and thinking that he was not connect¬ed with the crime of which he is charged he told the officers of his whereabouts during the afternoon.
According to the police Smith admitted that he went to the Nethaway home to get a drink of water, but found no one there after which the negro says he walked up the track. Here his story became confused again and he could not say where he was going or where he had come from.
Officers also say that Smith ad¬mitted that he was connected with the Yankee Robinson circus, but as to how or where or when he left the organization he does not know. They also say that Smith was in Le Mars, Ia., at the time of the brutal assault and murder of a 12 year-old girl last week.
When reports of the capture of the negro reached the infuriated citizens of Florence a mob of men and boys congregated with the avowed intention of getting the slayer and hanging him to the tallest tree in the city. After considerable talk the gathering dispersed to await developments.
The body of Mrs. Nethaway was removed from the scene of the crime only after her husband had been taken home. Mr. Nethaway was prostrated with grief and was watched all night to pre¬vent. him from making an at¬tempt to take his own life. His grief is the greater because of the fact that he assumes all re-sponsibility for the death of his wife on account of having asked her to meet him at the bridge instead of coming to the house to get her.
Mrs. Nethaway is survived by her husband, her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Urban Cachelin, of DeSoto, a brother, Edward Cachelin, of Calhoun, and five sisters, Mrs. Badgerow, Misses Elizabeth and Goldie Cachelin, Mrs. D. Belding of Twenty-fourth and Fort street, and Mrs. Lynn Dalby, also of Omaha.
#5-Published in the Enterprise August, 31, 1917
A Dastardly Murder Sunday-A Native of DeSoto Well Known In Blair-Mrs. C. L. Nethaway The Victim-Body Found In Weeds About 300 Yards east of “South Cut” Near Nethaway Home
A telephone message to Sheriff Mehrens from the Omaha Police Department last Sunday afternoon telling that a woman had been found murdered somewhere in the vicinity of Coffman and asking him to search a freight train coming north on its arrival at Blair and arrest any colored man that he might find, resulted in the arrest of a negro giving his name as Charles Smith. It was learned that the murdered woman was Mrs. C. L. Nethaway, a daughter of Urban Cachelin, a well-known pioneer farmer living southeast of DeSoto railroad station. Detectives from Omaha came to Blair immediately they were notified of the arrest of the negro and took him to Omaha in an automobile.
The Nethaway’s, husband and wife, formerly lived near DeSoto but some years ago moved to a small truck farm on the west side of the Omaha railroad telegraph station at what is know as the “South Cut” only a short distance from her home. Then story of the tragedy is best told, briefly as possible in the Calhoun Chronicle as follows:
“Mrs. Nethaway had arranged with her husband to meet him at the road crossing south of their place where he would meet her with his auto and take her to the home of her sister, Mrs. Daisy Gelding, at 24th and Fort Streets, Omaha, for an afternoon’s visit. On not meeting her at the appointed time Mr. Nethaway supposed that his wife had gone to Omaha another way, and he returned to the city, but on finding that she had not arrived at her destination he drove back to the farm residence where he found the doors locked. Becoming alarmed he got Operator Herdman, broth of E. R. Herdman, of Calhoun, to assist him in tracing Mrs. Nethaway. They walked south from the station, Mr. Nethaway on the west side and Mr. Herdman on the east side of the track, and in a few minutes Mr. Nethaway was horrified to discover the body of his wife lying on a declivity near the track, her throat cut, her hands tied with a strip from her underclothing, and her clothing nearly all torn off her, showing the desperate struggle she made against the fiend. A hunting knife was found a short distance from the spot, as was Mrs. Nethaway’s pocket book, containing money, showing that robbery was not the motive for the crime. Mr. Herdman immediately wired the Douglas County authorities and remembering that he had seen a negro around the Nethaway home a short time before boarding a northbound freight, also telegrapher the sheriff at Blair. Sheriff Mehrens took the negro off at Blair and placed him in jail pending the arrival of the Douglas County officers. He appeared unconcerned when first arrested, but when confronted by the detectives he began to deny the murder before any mention whatever of the crime had been made to him, emphasizing his protests by praying vigorously. He admitted, however, getting a drink of water at the telegraph station that afternoon. He was taken to Omaha that evening, being driven through Calhoun, at a good speed, while it is staid that in went through Florence at 75 miles an hour to avoid the crown which had gathered.”
The negro has been under investigation since taken to Omaha and the Omaha police authorities are quite confident that he committed the crime. It has been discovered that he is an ex-convict from the Kansas penitentiary and that he is a consummate liar, the stories he tells of his wanderings on Saturday previous to the murder in the northwestern outskirts of Omaha being very conflicting when he was taken to the neighborhood by the Omaha authorities on Wednesday.
The remains of the deceased were brought to Blair by auto-hearse on Wednesday accompanied by numerous friends from the vicinity of her home and from Omaha and Florence. Funeral service was held at the Methodist Church, Rev. Underwood preaching the funeral sermon to a crowded congregation and was assisted in the services by Revs. Foreman, of the Baptist Church and Williams, of the Christian Church. A long concourse of automobiles followed the remain to the cemetery.
The Enterprise is obligated to Mrs. Fred Bugeon, a friend and associated of deceased from childhood, who has kindly
penned the following account, from her intimate acquaintance with deceased during a life-time of associations, of her life and character:
When the body of Nellie (Cachelin) Nethaway was brought to Blair for burial, it was a sad homecoming for all of the family. The blow was so swift and sudden that they were unable to give any account of her life. The funeral was held from the Methodist Church at 3 o’clock, Wednesday p.m. and a large concourse of relatives and friends fill the church. She was the eldest daughter Urbin and Frankie Cachelin, born in DeSoto July 7, 1868; was married to Claude Nethaway, Feb. 7, 1898. Their first little home was at Wahoo, Neb., and from there they moved to the little store by the roadside north of Florence, call “Forgot Store.” When they sold out there they moved to a farm in DeSoto and prospered. They afterwards bought the 40 acre farm on which they lived at the time of her death.
“Besides her husband, she leaves her aged parents, five sisters and one brother, namely: Maude Badgerow, of Florence, Daisy Belding, of Omaha, Goldie Cachelin, Omaha, Ada Dalbey, Omaha, Lizzie Cachelin, at home and Ed Cachelin, of DeSoto.
“Her sudden death has toiled heavily on her bereaved relatives. Nellie had not an enemy but many, many friends. She was a most loving companion and a Christian woman, pure as a lily and no one will be more missed then she, by all. Everybody was welcome to her home; if any were happy she rejoiced with then, and if in sorrow, she sympathized. She was a most loving daughter, her greatest desire was to be useful to God and to those about her. She never neglected her home but she was never too busy to help others. Such a beautiful character is rarely found. The bereft family have the sympathy of many friends as well as the writer.
“Urbin Cachelin, father of the deceased, is an old settler and a civil was veteran; he fought and helped free the negro race, that has now brought sorrow and grief to his tottering steps. He was at Wood, S. D. on a claim that was awarded him by Uncle Sam, and received a telegram that ‘Nellie had met with an accident; come immediately.’ Upon reaching Omaha his first inquiry was, ‘how is Nelli?’ Daughter said, ‘Father, didn’t you read the papers on the train?’ He replied ‘I didn’t have my glasses.’ His grief was equal to that of the husband and family which you all witnessed.”
~~~The correct spelling of her father is Urban~~~
~~~Blair Cemetery records list her name as Nethaway, Nellie (Cachelin) Born: 7 Jul 1868 Died: 26 Aug 1917 Wife of Claude L. Block 72 Lot 3 Grave 5
~~~ Obituaries courtesy of the Washington County Genealogical Society. Newspaper clippings on file in the Blair Public Library at Blair, Nebraska.~~~