In the Best of Families: Biel-Goodwin Tragedy and Shame in 1900

In the Best of Families: Biel-Goodwin Tragedy and Shame in 1900 - Jean Goodwin Messinger From In the Best of Families: Biel-Goodwin Tragedy and Shame in 1900 by Jean Goodwin Messinger with Carole (Biel) Graft, 2009
White Pelican Press, ISBN978-0-615-32045-8 S    84 pages | soft cover  | $11.95

A True Story of Murder and Attempted Murder in a Well-to-do Family


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Table of Contents - click here

Acknowledgements      ix
Preface     xiii
Introduction     xv
I. My Beaver Dam     1
2. Change     5
3. Discovery     9
4. The Family     13
5. Lost Lake     19
6. Revelations     27
7. Researching     37
8. Interim Courtroom Appearances     41
9. The Trial     47
10. The Lean Years     61
11. Aftermath     65
12. A Mere Oversight     71
13. The Rest of the Story     75

This is a true story based on the author's paternal grandparents' drama in southern Wisconsin, where the family owned a prosperous farm and inn at Lost Lake (still a popular bar and restaurant), near Beaver Dam. Grandpa was a successful entrepreneur who took up with one of his female employees. Rather than divorce Grandmother, mother of his five young children, he pushed her into the well, a common way at the time to get rid of an unwanted wife. The book recounts the social setting of this tragedy. Grandmother's rescue, his trials and final incarceration, the family's poverty as Grandmother struggled as a helpless quadriplegic to raise the children. An interesting aspect of this story, which was the most notorious Wisconsin scandal in the media of the day, was that the author first learned of it nearly eighty years later.