JESIAH HUMMEL – Age 31 – Gentle Jesiah
FROM THE BOOK “BLUE EYED SIX” BY Wayne H. Anspach: A true story from the late 19th century about four men who insured the town hobo and then hired a humble butcher and local ruffian to murder him so they could collect the insurance money…. all six having blue eyes!
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: On Sunday, going from Brandt’s up the valley we both had beer in us and been traveling together often, I says “Jess, I will tell you something, if you will promise me never to tell on me.” He reached out his hand and swore he never would tell on me as long as he lived, let be what it will. I said, “Me and George Zechman and Brandt have something going here, but I don’t know how it will turn out yet.” Says he, “Can I have a chance in too?” I said, “If you want to.” “All right” he says, “what is it?” “Won’t you say if I tell you?” “Be damned if I do,” he said. “Why” says I, “Israel Brandt has been at me since spring to insure Raber and I wouldn’t, then me and George Zechman got a talking and he wouldn’t no other way but do so.” “Well all right I be in too, if we can only get this money now, if not, I can’t till pay-day.” I told him, “I would get money and I would give him $10 I owe him.” (alleged conversation between Jesiah Hummel and Henry Wise)
JESIAH HUMMEL – Born in Union Township, Lebanon County. His ancestors were identified with the sons of toil. His father was in the business of farming and Josiah resided about seven miles from the scene of the tragedy. He first went to school at the age of eight years and continued going on and off until twenty-one, attending however only in the fall and winter. He was known for his quiet inoffensive disposition, slow to learn and rather careless, making but slow progress in his studies. The predominant trait in his character was his great respect and admiration for the gentler sex, and he was considered a species of “Knight Errant” by the belles of the surrounding country, and related many incidents of his escapades with the fair sex.
From his early boyhood, when he could be trusted with a gun, he was a great lover of hunting, and says that almost the pleasantest time of his life was spent with his dog and gun in the free mountain air on the sharp lookout for pheasant or rabbit. At the time of his arrest he was engaged to be married to the lady of his choice, thus sustaining the old saying that the course of “true love never runs smooth.” He affirmed that his fiance still remained true and held the memory of her “gentle Jesiah” enshrined in the inmost depths of her heart which consoled him in the long weary hours of his confinement. He was rather partial to strong drinks and sometimes got gloriously drunk, and also was a great lover of the weed. He was identified with the Lutheran doctrine and regarded religion.
LOBO COMMENTS: Though Jesiah (the ladies man) appears to be a mild and meek specimen of a man, he chose his friends unwisely and spent much time with Israel Brandt though nothing was said of him taking part in the illegal activities in the valley of stealing and butchering residents livestock. He farmed a lengthy time with his father until age 21 after which he tried boiler making (maybe in the Lebanon Steel Foundry) for a short time and then, like many others, took a job in the coal mines. Engaged to be married, he likely saw a “pot of gold” waiting at the end of the insurance scheme so that he could provide quickly for his new bride. He was in the vicinity the night of the murder as he and Brandt were the ones who went for the coroner upon the discovery of the lifeless body of Joseph Raber in the creek. After Stichler and Drews had confessed to the killing of Raber a shock went through the jail house and Hummel quickly called for his lawyer, but rather than confess to his part in the plot said, “As sure as there is a God in heaven I know nothing about this entire thing!”
THE BIBLE: The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray. He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed. My son, if sinners entice you do not consent. If they say Come with us, let us lie in wait to shed blood, let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause, we shall find all kinds of precious possessions, we shall fill our houses with spoil, cast your lot among us! My son, do not walk in the way with them, keep your foot from their path. Be sure your sin will find you out. If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (Proverbs 12:26; Proverbs 13:20; Proverbs 1:10-15; Numbers 32:23; 1 John 1:9)
Next up George Zechman – Not Guilty?