You Can Trust It!

Bible Vs

Over my last four decades of living the Christian faith, I have found the most consistent argument leveled against my faith is when people attack the Bible. Can it be trusted? Is it accurate? Does it apply to today? How can we believe it since there are so many translations? These questions and more are on the minds of skeptics. First of all, we must realize what a miracle book the Bible is in the first place. The Bible is made up of 66 books, written over a period of 1,500 years, on different continents by 40 different authors. It was written by kings, peasants, fishermen, tax collectors, shepherds and more. It was written in different places,  Moses in the wilderness, Jeremiah in a dungeon, Daniel in a palace, Paul inside prison walls, Luke while traveling, John on an island and even in three different languages! And yet the Bible contains a consistent theme of the redemption of mankind. It does it by revealing to us in its pages the one and only true and living God, revealed to us through the person of Jesus Christ. This is a miracle!

Many have described the salvation theme as a scarlet thread that winds through the volume from front to back. How could God make all this happen? The answer is that God moved upon these men and by using their own intellect and in their own situation or setting He inspired them or led them what to write. The Apostle Peter said, “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21 NKJV).

What about trusting it today? A lot of people say it is less trustworthy as time goes on and as the number of translations increase. I believe the opposite! When the Bible was first translated from the original writings there were enough, but not that many manuscripts were available. As time has proceeded and archeology findings have increased there are now hundreds more manuscripts which give us more confidence in what we believe than ever before. To put it another way, the Bible is stronger today than it has ever been. You can trust it!

My B-I-B-L-E

I couldn’t sleep so I figgered why not do a blog? So here goes…


When JoJo and I got married we had one of those 15 pound white leather-bound coffee table Bibles with the gold leaf edging sitting proudly on our coffee table in the living room. Remember those? If it fell on you it would have broken your foot! Can I get a witness? There were locks of hair in there, baby pictures, obituaries, wedding programs and a couple of those royal blue book marks with the gold lettered list of the 10 commandments that we got in vacation Bible school. You have one of those right? Unfortunately that Bible didn’t do us ANY good, because a closed book will never help you. Kind of like a loaded 30-06 in the gun cabinet building up rust which will never stop a thief, slay a dragon or put meat on the table.

My pastor was preaching on marriage last Sunday and he said something that hit home. He said that the 5 year point in most marriages is the critical time period. Get past the 5 year mark and you very well could make it! Well, JoJo and me were just over the 5 year mark in 1975, and there were unhealthy stress marks showing in our marriage. The fact that neither of us had fathers in the home from practically little on up didn’t help. Mine was pretty much absent, hers was killed in a plane crash when she was just two years old. So we didn’t have much of a model to follow when it came to a functional traditional family. But God knew that, especially since He said He would be the Father to the fatherless. So He cared for us in ways we didn’t know and when we hit the 5 year mark in 1975, He sent a messenger who opened up his Bible and showed us the way to eternal life. You can read about that in detail in my blog “Bud’s Decision and Destiny. (link below)

So once we both had trusted Jesus as our Savior, God gave us a new-found passion and thirst for, guess what, the BIBLE! I got me one of those Schofield Study Bibles in the King James Version and I wore that sucker out! As they say, a Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t! I read that Bible, I studied that Bible, I marked up that Bible, I preached from that Bible and I put important information right inside the front cover like “Brian Wolfe born Oct 20, 1951, Born Again May 2, 1975. There’s nothing like having a place to go when Satan tempts you about whether you’re saved or not. Many a time I had to take him right inside the front cover of my Bible and say, “See that? There’s the evidence! Now scram!”

I also have the dates in there when our 3 sons trusted Jesus as well, Eric on April 26,1977 at a Theron Spurr Crusade, Daniel on March 10, 1979 at a Word of Life Basketball Marathon and Jason on January 18, 1981 kneeling with me one night at prayer time beside his bed. Now those are the kinds of things to put in your Bible!

I found a verse in the Bible this morning that really struck home with me, especially since lately I’ve entered into this world of writing for God’s glory. It’s Psalm 45:1 (NKJV) My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.”

The B-I-B-L-E, yes that’s the book for me, I stand alone on the Word of God the B-I-B-L-E!

Next time I’ll share some amazing things about the Bible that you can use!

But God!


Calamities, accidents, temptations, trials, sorrows, challenges, tragedies, hurts, offenses, needs of all kinds just keep on coming! The Psalmist David had all of these and more and you and I are not unlike him in any way. What did he write? “Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
BUT GOD remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.” (Psalm 73:25,26 NLT)

As weak human creatures with a tendency, when things fall apart, to look within rather than without, let us remember there is a “BUT GOD” for every situation. The All Knowing, All Seeing, All Powerful Savior is always available. The key is to run toward Him and not run away from Him. I can’t help but think of my friend who I wrote about weeks ago who has cancer. Rather than curse God, he ran to Him and was given peace and assurance that He was in control no matter the outcome. I have heard it said, but have not experienced it myself, that in deep deep trials there is a special kind of grace and a sense of God’s presence accompanied by His peace, for all those who find refuge there.

The blind hymn writer Fanny Crosby wrote these powerful words in her song “He Hideth My Soul” A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord, A wonderful Savior to me. He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock where rivers of pleasure I see. He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock that shadows a dry thirst land. He hideth my life in the depths of His love, And covers me there with His hand, And covers me there with His hand.

The Psalmist in chapter 73 closes with these words, “But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things You do.” There is a BUT GOD for you today no matter what you face.

Blue Eyed Six & The Faith – Chp 15 (The End)

Blue Eyed Poster

GLEANED FROM THE BLUE EYED SIX BOOK BY Edna Carmean: 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!

The system of justice moves forward for the three remaining members of the Blue Eyed Six, Israel Brandt, Jesiah Hummel & Henry Wise. Their partners in crime Charles Drews and Franklin Stichler are dead & George Zechman got off scot-free. What would happen to them? Henry Wise thought he got a get out of jail free ticket but did he? Brandt and Hummel clung to a thin hope that an appeal which was filed on their behalf to the Supreme Court would be approved giving them a re-trial, or as a last-ditch effort they prayed for grace from the Pardon Board. Time would tell and the clock ticked on.

A chance meeting would move the decision on Wise forward. District Attorney Adams, an outspoken young man would be accosted by a reporter while waiting at the train station. In response to a question he said, “Zechman’s acquittal is to be regretted. We had a clearer case against him than the first trial, and I fully believe that he was in the conspiracy. He was the lucky one of the gang.” When asked about immunity for Wise he said, “That rumor is false. Wise stood his trial and was convicted. When he sent for us to make a statement he was informed that this could not possibly affect his case in the eyes of the law. If he turned State’s evidence before his trial, perhaps the law would have felt it a duty to interfere, but it will not do so now. He will be sentenced in December.”

As the DA predicted, in the first week of December Wise was sentenced. With Wise standing before him in a neatly clad black suit Judge Henderson said, “Henry F. Wise, you were convicted of murder. Have you anything to say why sentence should not now be passed upon you?” Wise appeared calm and his voice was loud and distinct. “I have,” he said. “and I will show that the evidence against me was incorrect. May I have a Testament?” The Testament was provided. Wise opened it and raised an accusing finger. “I would like to show that Christ was condemned an innocent man, and it is much easier to condemn a sinful man.” He took from his breast pocket a written statement in which he had dissected the evidence and contradicted all the parts harmful to him.

The judge scanned it quickly, then said, “There is nothing new here. The evidence in your case has all been heard and carefully considered. Put all such from your mind and place your trust in Him who has all power to forgive.” He paused a moment and then said solemnly, “The sentence of this Court is that you, Henry F. Wise, be taken back to the jail from whence you came, from there to the place of execution within the jail yard, there to be hanged by the neck until you are dead and may God have mercy on your soul.”

Christmas came and went. Then in the second week of January 1880 the Supreme Court met in Philadelphia to hear the appeals of Brandt and Hummel and it’s decision was announced a month later. It affirmed the decree of the Lebanon County court. There would be no new trial. Likewise, when the attorneys for the remaining three Blue Eyed Six argued their case before the Board of Pardons in the month of March the board could find no reason to interfere in the death sentences. Governor Hoyt fixed the day for execution, naming Thursday the 13th of May and sent the death warrants to a new Lebanon County Sheriff, Simon Crall. On the last day of March Crall went to each prisoners cell and read to them the death warrants. There was no more hope.

As their day of reckoning approached, two of the men Brandt and Wise sought to make public their statements of faith. Brandt, who had earlier scoffed at the idea of accepting spiritual guidance, showed at last some stirring of religious fervor in a poem he wrote and gave to a reporter from the Harrisburg Independent. Brandt’s poem had no title but read: Verse 1: O loving wife and children dear; I love from heart you all; But I am here in jail secure; Hemmed in by lock and wall; But here I sing and pray; O Jesus take me o’er the way; Forgive me all my sins. Verse 2: Yes, Israel I was christened, Jesus’ name I see; In him I’ve found all comfort; O precious blood for me; Holy home I wish to go; My faith in Thee alone I show; For You will be my Savior. Verse 3: On God and not on mortal man; To build my hope I must; To gain my life’s salvation; With all my soul I trust; And when my walk is ended here; O take me to you Savior dear; O God Thy will be done.

Not to be outdone, Henry Wise described his last meeting with his wife to the same reporter as follows: “My dear wife left me with a sorrowful heart and great sobbing but I did not shed a tear. I said Glory to Jesus and she gave me her hand and word and kisses that she will take the word of Jesus today. So I trust her that she is praying to God for forgiveness of her sins at home and I am praying here for me and for us all, and trust that we soon may meet in that happy home above where we may never part again and praise our blessed Jesus forever and ever. Brother and sisters, do not forget me, my dear wife and eight dear loving children, in your prayers before the Lord.”

Face to face with the inevitability of morning and the waiting gallows, the three men spent their last hours in preparation for death. The YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) group came and held a service in each cell. Then Brandt expressed a wish to become a member of Salem Lutheran Church, and its pastor, the Reverend Trabert, received him as a member in his cell. Hummel was already a Lutheran and the two men took communion together. Pastor Trabert remained with them until after midnight. Wise had been baptized by immersion in Rausch Gap Creek in 1871 by the Reverend Israel Hay of the Church of God. Hay came to his cell to administer to him the Lord’s Supper and the rite of foot washing. After that Wise seemed completely happy and confident that his sins had been forgiven.

The morning of May 13 dawned bright and sunny which was a sharp contrast to the cold November day on which Drews and Stichler were hanged. Birds sang and the air was sweet with the scent of lilacs and apple blossoms. Pastors for the three men were on the scene early in spite of having left the prison after midnight, and they stayed with their charges until the end. The prisoners, looking quite fashionable, wore white shirts and fresh paper collars with new suits which had been made for them by a Lebanon tailor. Their lapels were adorned by Lily of the Valley flowers provided a Miss Agnes Hartman of Lebanon. A few minutes before ten, Wise was visited briefly by Brandt and Hummel who told him they forgave him for what he had done against them. Wise replied that he had done nothing that required forgiveness and his visitors left. They never spoke to each other again.

Wise had requested time to make a speech from the gallows and when Brandt and Hummel heard of it they protested, so an agreement was made for Wise to go the gallows first, give his speech and then the others would be brought out. It ended up being anticlimactic for when Wise was perched on the platform with clergy on either side of him he simply said, “I want you to know that we are all guilty as I testified. That is all I have to say.” His clergy continued and led the gathering in a hymn and the reading of Psalm 32 then closing with a prayer. Wise took part in everything, praying and singing more fervently than the ministers. After another hymn was sung by the crowd, the sheriff emerged from the jail with Brandt and Hummel. They were accompanied by two Lutheran pastors who read from the Lutheran Book of Prayer as they walked. On the gallows, neither Brandt or Hummel spoke to Wise and he gave no sign of recognizing them. They all knelt for a brief prayer after which the ministers shook hands with the prisoners and left the scaffold.

Sheriff Crall came up the steps and asked Brandt and Hummel if they had anything to say. They merely shook their heads in the negative. Then as the three men stood in a line facing the crowd their legs were tied together, their arms pinioned behind them, the ropes were adjusted around their necks and the white caps drawn over their faces. As Crall walked down the steps he struck the spring, the trap door opened, and the men dropped with a thud to the end of their ropes. They hung still and unmoving in spite of the fact that all had died of strangulation. No necks were broken, the knots had slipped. The fragrant flowers of Lily of the Valley in their lapels hung limp and drooping.

The crowd dispersed quietly and soberly. The case of the Blue Eyed Six had ended!

LOBO COMMENTS: I began these blogs on the Blue Eyed Six almost a month ago on September 19th thinking it would be a simple thing. After an estimated 60 hours of writing not to mention all the reading, I have learned so much! I knew that two of these men were in my family tree but could not have told you which ones for the life of me. After scouring through my Uncle Wayne Anspach’s book, and then being given a copy of Edna Carmean’s book as well (by my twin brother Bruce) my mind is now indelibly imprinted with each man’s face and story. When I’m out in the community, most recently at the Levitz Park Apple Festival, I continue to meet people who say, “I’m related to one or even two of the Blue Eyed Six!” As a Christian, and student of God’s Word for over 40 years, I am fascinated by the thread of religion (man’s efforts to reach to God) and true Faith in Jesus (God’s way to reach man) which is clearly seen in this story. For me, the age-old fascination of their story of evil and murder was enlarged to also include the story of a faithful God who continues to pursue the sons of Adam until their dying day, in order that they might receive new life through His message of love and forgiveness which Jesus accomplished on the Cross. As a poet once said, “God sent his singers on the earth, with songs of gladness and of mirth. That they may touch the hearts of men, and bring them back to heaven again.” Walk with the King today and be a blessing!

Brian A. Wolfe – Worship Leader & Writer

Blue Eyed Six & The Faith – Chp 14 (Prison Angels)

Chuck Colson

Prison Angels: We know that mankind is capable of some of the most horrible sins and crimes against their fellowmen. In the 21st century the ugliness of man’s sins continue to streak across our TV screens week in and week out. The Bible, from practically day one, reveals the fallen nature of man in all of its ugliness as it shows that Cain, the firstborn son of Adam, murdered his brother Abel because of jealousy. The prophet Jeremiah said it correctly when he said, “The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.” (Jeremiah 17:9 NKJV). And yet, the Lord Jesus Christ as He was being crucified on the Cross, having two condemned men hanging on the right and left of Him, gave opportunity for them to place their faith in Him before their death. One did, one did not. It didn’t matter their crime, their religion or their good works. All that mattered was where was their faith. Was it in the Son of God or was it not?

Chuck Colson (pictured above), after serving his time in prison, became a Prison Angel and went back there to do what Jesus did, give fallen men the opportunity to turn from their sins and trust Jesus for forgiveness and find new life, eternal life. The chaplains in the time of the Blue Eyed Six did the same thing. The accounts of the chaplains endeavoring to encourage and reach the souls of the prisoners is heart warming. They began their work as soon as the men were incarcerated and continued it right up onto the gallows. They were there in love and mercy doing the work of Jesus in order that the free gift of salvation could be received by the condemned men. It would be up to each prisoner to receive the grace and forgiveness of God, humbling themselves in true repentance and as it were casting themselves at the foot of the Cross where they could by faith find forgiveness and trust in the Savior for eternal life. Did they become true believers? You be the judge as you read the accounts of the work of the Prison Angels and the responses of Drews and Stichler.

THE EXCECUTIONS of DREWS and STICHLER: (from the “Blue Eyed Six” by Wayne H. Anspach) When the day arrived, at about 9 o’clock in the morning, four ministers of the Gospel entered the jail. The corridor resounded with the echo of prayer and praise first in the cell of each man alone. In Stichler’s cell the holy sacrament of communion was administered and afterward Stichler offered up a very fervent prayer manifesting full consciousness of his condition and showing a peaceful frame of mind. While this was going on Drews had gone to visit his other companions and gave them a final farewell. When he came to the “squealer” Henry Wise, he expressed his discontent at what Wise had done, but nevertheless he spoke the words to him, “I forgive you.”

After this, solemn and impressive services were held in Drews cell, both the condemned men being present with the addition of another minister. Here prayer and praise worship continued from about 10 o’clock to the arrival of the sheriff who announced all was in readiness for the execution. They sang the songs “Grace Be With You”, “Soon Be Over There” with others calculated to inspire thoughts of the other world. Drews and Stichler joined heartily in these impressive services. At 10:45 a loud voice rang through the corridor, intended as a general notice to prepare for the execution. The service ended with one of Moody and Sankey’s hymns about trial and temptation, the sentiment of which was explosive and the effect apparent. The sheriff got them ready to move and while the procession was being formed they all sang, “O Lamb of God, I come” (today’s hymn “Just As I Am”) and the march to the gallows was begun, with the sheriff and his deputy at the head and two ministers walking in front of the inmates and three behind them with one reading an invocation and the prisoners repeated each line as they walked. Ascending the steps of the platform the condemned men stood for a few moments with hands folded and showing no signs of fear. More service were conducted as a minister read the 14th chapter of Job as a light rain began to fall.

Stichler continued to mutter silent prayers invoking the grace and mercy of the High Court above. Another hymn was read and the two prisoners joined in singing. Another prayer was offered as Drews and Stichler knelt on the platform with their eyes looking heavenward with Stichler’s fixed gaze as if seeking to penetrate the veil of the future. It was a scene long to be remembered and visibly affected many who stood by. The court-house clock struck the hour of eleven as they all joined in repeating the Lord’s Prayer. To close the service a minister read the hymn, “A Fountain Filled With Blood from Emanuel’s Veins”. (LOBO COMMENT: As a worship leader, I believe this was a powerful worship service. The hymn they used to close is one of my all time favorites, known today as “There Is A Fountain”. Here are just a portion of the powerful words: “There is a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Emanuel’s veins, and sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains. The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day, And there may I so vile as he wash all my sins away.” )

Drews and Stichler’s legs and arms were pinioned by stout straps. Stichler, who was the last one bound, being engaged in silent prayer all the while. The rope was first adjusted around Drews’ neck and the white cap drawn over his head, and as they were performing the same operation on Stichler, Drews cried out, “Frank, now we go to heaven, now let go, oh, Father, help.” Both men trembled all over like Aspen leaves for a moment before the fatal blow was struck and they shot through the trap launching them into eternity. Neither struggled except a slight drawing up of the feet of Stichler. Their bodies were placed in very plain coffins, furnished by the Directors of the Poor. Drews was buried in the military section of the Mt. Lebanon Cemetery and Stichler in his mother’s garden in the backyard of his father’s house in Indiantown Gap.

NEXT UP: The end of Brandt, Hummel & Wise!

THE BIBLE: For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light. For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. And He said to me, It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. (Psalm 36:9; Revelation 7:17; 21:6 NKJV)

Blue Eyed Six & The Faith – Chp 13 (Zechman Re-Trial)

Blue Eyed Poster

GLEANED FROM THE BLUE EYED SIX BOOKS BY Edna Carmean & 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!

ZECHMAN’s RE-TRIAL was held November 7, 1879. It was amazing that George Zechman slipped the hangman’s noose but he did. He was seen as a member of “the four” many times at Israel Brandt’s hotel. He was even at the creek after Raber was drowned. He also met with the insurance man to sign the death proof forms in order to collect his money! So why did he get off? The legend passed down through the years is hat he hired a slick lawyer and guess what? He did! Sixty-four year old Francis Wade Huges from Pottsville was hired and the country bumpkin attorneys of Lebanon County were just no match for this formidable court adversary. He was reared with cultural advantages which conferred a stature denied the sons of the Pennsylvania Dutch dirt farmers. He started studying law at seventeen, was admitted to the bar when he was twenty, and had a highly successful law practice. He also served eleven years as deputy attorney general and was white-haired and handsome and exuded a powerful courtroom presence.

Henry Wise who was the first to confess to the crime was the Commonwealth’s star witness against Zechman and ended up being Attorney Hughes first victim. Hughes picked Wise apart like a vulture over a roadside skeleton. Wise testified that he told Charles Drews and others on many occasions that he didn’t want Raber drowned but through the piercing questioning of Hughes, it was revealed that no one but Wise ever could substantiate that statement. It apparently never happened and as that statement was disproved Wise’s whole testimony against the others began to unravel and the thought that Zechman may be innocent began to take hold. Hughes also proved that though Zechman might have purchased insurance on Raber, which was legal, he was never seen encouraging Stichler or Drews to commit the crime like the others were. Other than the word of the other defendants, no one testified that Zechman was in on the plotting of Raber’s death.

Here’s an example of Hughes argument in the courtroom from Edna Carmean’s Blue Eyed Six book: Francis Wade Huges approached the twelve men in the jury box and surveyed them silently for a few moments. An impressive figure with his keen dark eyes, white hair and solid bulk, he dominated the room like an actor in his favorite role. His resonant voice and immaculate diction added to the effect. “You have no right,” he said quietly, “to rely on the testimony of Henry wise. He is a convicted accomplice, and he testifies here to save his own neck! I have tried many men accused of crimes, and I never asked a jury to convict a single man upon the evidence of an accomplice unless he was corroborated in every material instance.” Huges raised his right hand in a fist and looked along the line of jurors. “There is no human eye,” he thundered, “and I suspect not even the All-Seeing Eye, that ever saw Zechman in communication with Drews. You have not a single iota of testimony showing that Zechman ever spoke to Stichler or Drews prior to the murder of Raber.”

Others testified for and against Zechman but the above argument was the most powerful and so it prevailed. On November 13, 1879 eleven months after the crime was committed, George Zechman was found not guilty. Zechman’s attorney gave a shout of joy and burst into tears and threw his arms around Zechman’s shoulders. Zechman stood motionless without any change of expression. He was dismissed from the court room and was met out on the street by his wife and a group of friends who drove him to his home in the mountains, and to the obscurity he had ardently desired during his long months in the public limelight. Local legend in subsequent years says that he lived a tormented life and had excruciating boils break out on his body time and time again until he met his Maker just 7 short years later, dying at the young age of forty-seven.

Once Zechman’s trial was over the wheels of justice moved quickly forward for Charles Drews and Franklin Stichler. In the afternoon, after Zechman was freed, Sheriff Deininger visited Drews and Stichler in their cells to give them bad news. Their lawyers were unsuccessful in getting them a reprieve from Governor Hoyt. A telegram was received from him that stated he would not interfere with the executions and so they would be hanged soon after 10 o’clock the next morning! Stichler said, “I am ready.” Drews said, “Let it be so.” Then added, “Just one thing Sheriff, do a good job.”


THE BIBLE: Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LordAnd He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7 NKJV)

Blue Eyed Six & The Faith – Chp 12 (Confessions)

Blue Eyed Poster

FROM THE BOOK “THE BLUE EYED SIX” BY Edna Carmean:  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!

CONFESSIONS: After George Zechman was granted a new trial, the other men requested the same but were refused. They all had professed their innocence but after two weeks of mulling their fate the pressure and the strain continued to build.

Henry Wise, known as the hymn-singer, was the first to crack. The Commonwealth attorneys spent two hours closeted with Wise but nothing was made public. Nevertheless, word spread like wildfire through the jail and the town that Wise had made a complete confession implicating the other men but exonerating himself. The court convened two days later and the room was jammed to the full. All the prisoners but Zechman filed into the room with Henry Wise bringing up the rear. Wise was noticeably shaken while the others remained hard faced and stern.

District Attorney Adams moved for the sentence to be announced on all but Wise. The prisoners were asked if they had anything to say about why the sentence of death should not be pronounced. The prisoners each responded. Drews: “Nothing, I am not guilty”. Hummel: “I have nothing to say at present.” Stichler, who trembled as he spoke: “I am not guilty, and I did not get justice here.” Brandt: “No, not now, but when the time comes, then I’ll tell.”

Judge Henderson said, “We have patiently considered and re-considered everything that has been advanced in your defense. Your cause has been zealously guarded by most able counsel. You are judged guilty of murder in the first degree and its punishment is death. It is wisdom to punish crime and has Divine sanction. We commend you to the mercy of Him who will hear the cry of the penitent and cleanse the guilty of all unrighteousness. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” (LOBO: Wow! You would never hear that kind of pronouncement in court today!) The judge continued, “It is considered by the Court, that you be taken by the sheriff to the prison from whence you came, and then to the place of execution within the walls of the jail yard of Lebanon County and there be hanged by the neck until you are dead, and may God have mercy on your soul.” From that point on the team spirit of the Blue Eyed Six was breaking up. Zechman’s new trial was set for November and he was suspicious of Henry Wise since the judge didn’t pass sentence on him. The other five were convinced that Wise had made a deal with the judge by giving damaging information about them.

Charles Drews was the next to make a move and called for the Commonwealth attorneys and his story was printed in the newspapers. His testimony implicated the other five men as he told his winding tale from the first day going to Israel Brandt’s hotel the previous summer when Brandt, over a mug of free beer, asked him to drown Raber and he ended with the details of how Stichler, who he had asked to do the drowning, tossed Raber into the cold Indiantown Creek. He said that he didn’t even see Raber’s struggles and had not gone into the water. He also told of an earlier plot with other characters at Kitzmiller’s dam which was not carried through. When the DA asked him it there was anything else he said, “If you hang me you will hang an innocent man!”

Franklin Stichler was next as he called for his attorney, the Commonwealth attorney Gobin and the sheriff, plus a reporter from the Courier newspaper. When asked why he wanted to talk now he replied, “Because there is no hope for me. I know it. Nothing more can be done. I only want to tell the truth and have it known,” as tears ran down his face. Like Drews, he started at the beginning and told of meeting with “the four” conspirators at Brandt’s hotel when they revealed to him their plot. The next time he heard about it was when he was coming back from Harrisburg and ran into Drews, Peters and Raber returning from Kitzmiller’s dam, where they had a plan to drown Raber but didn’t follow through. Stichler went on to further implicate Peters as he revealed that he had gone to Jonestown to buy chloroform or ether to use on Raber but they ended up not using it. Then he gave the details of the afternoon of the drowning including that Drews had assisted by pushing on his shoulders in order to help him hold Raber under the water, which is in fact what Peters testimony  had described. He finished with, “I make this confession because there is no hope for me and I want to tell the truth. This is a correct history of the affair and I am perfectly willing for it to be published.”

Israel Brandt was now ready to talk. There was considerable excitement in the town when this became known since he was considered to be the ringleader of the Blue Eyed Six. He was taken to sheriff Deininger’s office where his and the commonwealth council and one reporter was present. Brandt’s confession was more devious than the plan he designed in the first place! Of course it was everybody else’s fault. Wise was the mastermind who brought Raber, the insurance man and the doctor to his hotel to examine Raber. He was not involved at all, he was just a spectator! The insurance man owed him money and offered a policy on Raber in order to pay him back. He said, “I know nothing of a conspiracy to put Raber out of the way.” He described his involvement after the drowning, sending for the doctor and the coroner as acts of a good neighbor. He further accused Wise of forging his name to letters. He finished with, “I stake my eternal salvation upon the assertion that I know nothing of this conspiracy. I never offered Drews one cent or anything else to drown Raber.” (LOBO: So much for a confession!)

Hummel’s statement was brief. “I know nothing more of this thing except the policy of insurance which I got from Henry Wise. I bought it as others buy policies in that neighborhood. I didn’t have anything to do with the drowning, as sure as there is a God in Heaven!”

LOBO COMMENT: Who do YOU think was telling the truth? If you’ve been following this closely and recall all of the other testimonies it appears to me there is a bit of truth and lies in Drews and Stichler’s confessions, but I think Brandt and Hummel were totally fabricating! Of course Drews didn’t want to admit to pushing on Stichler’s shoulders in helping to drown Raber, which made him a direct accomplice in the murder. Stichler I believe was jealous of Peters who now had Lena all to himself, so he tried to implicate him and smear his reputation. A confession is not a confession if it is not true, period. The Lord knows the heart of every person, and it is best to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God!

Next: A Retrial Granted

THE BIBLE: I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for one–fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the Lord their God. (Psalm 32:5; Nehemiah 9:3)