Martin C. Golden

Murderer is Still at Large

Dennison Storekeeper Given No Chance for Life.


Whole Countryside is Aroused and Men with Guns Are Scouring the Country for Slayer.


Large posses of armed officers are scouring Ottawa and Kent counties for the murderer of Martin Golden of Dennison.


The slayer, who was seen hurrying from the scene of the crime, is described by “Sport” and Tom McCarty as being a heavy set man wearing a slouch hat and baggy trousers.


An interurban employee claims a man answering that description boarded a car near Dennison immediately after the time of the murder and rode to Coopersville, where he alighted.


Several persons in Dennison claim to have seen one or two strange men in the vicinity of the Golden store during the day.


Relatives insist the murderer must have been familiar with the habits of the victim and that the latter would have money on his person on that particular night.


One theory is that the murderer is some Grand Rapids crook, who has sought refuge in his home town.  Another is that he is the remaining member of the trio of Sand Lake post office robbers, who was wounded in the gun fight with the officer at Lowell.  Still another is that the murder was committed by an amateur.


The officers have no definite clew.


(By a Staff Correspondent)


Grand Haven, Mich., April 24. – Sheriff Woodbury’s officers are working on the murder of Martin Golden in Dennison without success in obtaining clews so far.  That Golden was killed by a bold highwayman they are convinced.  The most important clew so far is that obtained from Clyde Tissue, an employee of the Interurban railway, who says he saw a stranger wearing dark clothes and dark shirt take an interurban car at East Dennison shortly after the murder last night.  This man rode as far as Coopersville, getting off there.  He wore a hat pulled down and was smooth shaved.  He appeared to be sleeping while on the car.  Sheriff Woodbury has all his officers on the lookout.


It is believed here the murder was committed by a Grand Rapids crook, who escaped into that city.  A man named Wilton drove up to the Golden store at about 7:30 last evening and saw a dark stranger standing in front of the store.


Story of the Murder.


Coopersville, April 24 – With the evil eyes of his assassin watching through the window not a foot behind his head, Postmaster Martin C. Golden of Dennison, three miles west of Coopersville, gathered up his cash at 8:30 last night, and grasping an orange as he went, strode into the night to meet death.


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at the hands of a desperate robber, who stopped to rifle the pockets of his dying victim.


Rising from the shadow of a gasoline tank, not fifty feet from where the unsuspecting postmaster’s wife and four weeks-old babe awaited his coming, the cowardly assassin stood face to face with Golden, demanded his money, and when the nervy storekeeper, still chewing upon his orange made a show of resistance, fired twice with the pistol, the muzzle not five inches from the man’s forehead.


Ed, “Sport” McCarty and his cousin, Tom McCarty, had left Golden’s store but twenty minutes before and were standing together at the milk stand in front of Ed McCarty’s home, and not two hundred yards from the scene of the shooting.  They heard Golden’s exclamation: “Here! Here!”


Heard Two Shots Ring Out.


Then came the two shots.  Golden’s scream, and a moment later a fleshy fellow with a revolver in one hand dashed wheezing past them, to turn west on the Grand Trunk tracks.  Golden’s wife and her domestic, Hilda Oleson, heard the cries, groans and shots, and Mrs. Golden, who is in delicate health, seized a lamp and was first to reach her dying husband.  Golden died at 2 a.m. today without having regained consciousness.


About $100 in currency, some checks, a canvas bag of change and Golden’s watch and chain were taken by the murderer, after his victim fell unconscious with a bullet through his brain.


Martin Golden was favorable known to practically every family between Grand Rapids and Grand Haven, and the entire countryside is up in arms.  Under the direction of Deputy Sheriff E. A. Brown, L. D. Taylor of Nunica and Coopersville, and Sheriff Jesse Woodbury of Grand Haven have organized posses and fully armed with shotguns and revolvers are scouring the woods.  Not a few of those who have looked over the situation believe that it is quite within the realm of possibility that the murderer of Martin Golden is none other than the third and still uncaptured member of the Sand Lake post office robbers gang.


With his supply of money exhausted, wounded and desperate, unable to cope in hand to hand fight, they figure this man may have happened along and stepping upon the broken birdhouse under the store window, looked in upon Golden while he was getting his cash together.  Then when the plucky postmaster showed signs of resistance the man shot him and went through the victim’s clothes with the facility of a practiced hand.


Located Near the Tracks.


Dennison post office is located in Golden’s store just south of the Grand Trunk and Muskegon interurban tracks that run close together at this point.  Golden rented the store and has been doing a thriving business ever since he took over the general store and postmastership, about three years ago.  Prior to that time he was a teacher in the public schools of Coopersville and the district schools of the vicinity and was one of the best known men anywhere in the country between Coopersville and Nunica.  Mrs. Golden was, prior to her marriage four years ago, a scholar of Mr. Golden, who was then teaching in the Coopersville High School.


She is one of the older children of the widowed Mrs. Julia Fitzpatrick of Coopersville.


Wife Tells the Story.


The brave little woman who was widowed by the cowardly shot in the dark last night, tells a most graphic story.  “Mart was later than usual,” she said.  “We were waiting for him when Hilda and I heard shouts.  We could not distinguish the voice, but somehow my blood seemed to stop circulating.  I mentioned my apprehension to Hilda, who said it was nothing  but the boys shouting as they left the store.  Even as she spoke there came the two shots.  Then such a mournful cry that I recognized as Mart’s voice.


Hilda insisted that I not go out, but I just had to, and it wasn’t a minute before I had the dining room lamp and ran down the board walk.  I found him lying on his back with that awful hole in his forehead.  He was gasping and seemed unconscious, but I could see in his eyes he knew me and when I screamed and grasped his poor hand his fingers closed on mine.  I saw the orange in his mouth.  I took a piece of it from his lips and prayed of him to speak to me.  Then Ed and Tom McCarthy came running and I screamed, before I recognized them.  I knew them, and while I held his nerveless hand they carried him gently to the house.”


Dr. William Fuller of Grand Rapids was summoned and Drs. Smith and Baer of Coopersville, to the house.  The bullet had penetrated the skull just above the left eye and ranged upward at a sharp angle, passing through the brain and coming out of the skull at the top of the head.


Escape of the Murderer.


Except for that brief flash of intelligence when he grasped his wife’s hand, he never regain consciousness and died shortly before 2 o’clock this morning.


Golden was to have received, and probably did, some cash or checks in payment for butter and eggs shipped to Grand Rapids.  It was due on last evening’s mail train.  His wife knows of some $100 in currency in the pocketbook he carried always in his hip pocket.  Then there was two sacks of change, one containing nickels and the other larger change.  The bag of nickels the robber overlooked, but the other, together with Golden’s gold watch and the key to the store and post office, was missing.


It was thought at first that the night eastbound Grand Trunk freight might have been boarded by the murderer, but Ed and Tom McCarty, who were within fifty feet of the track are certain the freight had passed and was laboring up the grade east of East Dennison crossing when they saw the lights in the store extinguished and heard Golden lock the door and start along the rattling broken board walk that leads to the kitchen entrance of his home, not one hundred feet removed from the store.  There were no interurban cars immediately after the shooting and the crews of those that followed assert no stranger boarded their cars within a radius of five miles of the Dennison post office.


“Sport” McCarty and What He Saw.


Edward McCarty, who is known about Grand Rapids under the sobriquet of “Sport,” does not bear an unblemished reputation but his only fault lies in a relish for intoxicants.  “Sport” according to police and sheriff’s officials, is absolutely harmless.


Upon Ed’s description and that of his cousin Tom, however, the authorities must depend largely in their work since these two and the murdered man alone saw him.  Ed and Tom returned to the scene of the shooting after a night’s rest and went out later, fully armed, with the posses that are scouring the woods and swamps.


Ed McCarty unhesitatingly tells of the affair.  He is living with his parents at their homestead only about one hundred feet from the Golden store and post office.  His cousin Tom lives a half mile farther down the road.  The cousins, with George Carr and Jacob Knipe, were in the store during the evening.  It is the regular hanging-out place for the younger men of the community, who spend their evenings there swapping stories and smoking.


Last night Golden was later than usual in closing up.  The McCarty boys went away first, closely followed by Carr and Knipe.  Tom and Ed McCarty went to the milk stand in front of the McCarty homestead.  They say they were leaning against this stand talking when they noticed the lights in the store being extinguished.  It was perhaps twenty or twenty-five minutes after they had bidden Golden good night, they estimated, when the lights went out.  A moment later they heard Golden fastening the door and heard him picking his way along the rickety board walk.


Metallic Object in His Hand.


There was a silence and they heard Golden’s favorite exclamation: “Here!  Here!”  The McCartys and Golden’s wife, in fact, all who were in the store today, said this was an expression he invariably resorted to.  Following Golden’s exclamation there were two shots in rapid succession.  The two young men thought little of this since Golden had once or twice before fired his revolver and they were not particularly startled when a heavy-set fellow with distinctly baggy trousers and a short overcoat came puffing along the road from the direction of the store.


As he passed them, however, the men saw what looked to be a revolver, or at least some shining metal object in one hand.  The man rushed past them to the railway crossing, stopped a moment and gazed back and then ran west on the track.  As he disappeared the young men looked back toward the Golden house.  They saw a light flash and Mrs. Golden appeared with a lamp and made her way toward the store.  Midway she halted and her agonized scream sent the two running toward her.  At her command they lifted the unconscious man and carried him into the house.


A call was sent to Coopersville and Grand Rapids for doctors and the sheriff was notified at Grand Haven.  Deputy Taylor of Coopersville was first to reach the scene, followed by Brown of Nunica and Undersheriff Woodbury of Grand Haven.


The Crime Quickly Planned.


The investigation showed how the crime was committed almost as plainly as though there had been actual witnesses.  In the southeast corner of the store is the post office desk and Golden’s private cash desk and till.  Right back of him is a half sized window, looking toward the house.  Under this window an old birdhouse had been thrown.  It was turned upside down and made a capital stepping place for a man of medium height to gaze into the window, in front of which Golden must have stood as he folded his currency in his pocketbook, piled the silver into the money sacks, and placed all in his pockets preparatory to closing up.


In the soft ground at the side of this birdhouse was a footprint made by a nailed shoe sole.  The robber, with his face glued to the pane behind Golden, saw him make up the cash.  Thirty feet from the store, about midway between the store and dwelling, is a little shed that protects the kerosene and gasoline tanks from the weather.  Behind this the robber waited for his victim.  Unsuspecting Golden, busily peeling and eating an orange, came along and when opposite this tank was confronted by the robber.  It is believed the fellow presented the revolver with muzzle close up to the face of the astonished man.  Golden probably did not heed the warning to throw up his hands.  Instead according to Dr. Fuller’s theory, Golden reached for the arm holding the revolver.  That he succeeded in grasping the hand or the pistol itself is believed to be certain.  But he only turned the muzzle a trifle before the finger on the trigger send a bullet through the man’s brain and followed it as fast as the mechanism of the double action pistol could respond with a second shot that went wild.  Golden fell to the walk and rolled off to the ground.  Mrs. Golden cannot explain why, but she asserts as positively as though she had been a witness that she could tell from the body that it had been turned over on its back by the robber, the vest torn open in the attempt to loosen the sticking watch chain and other pockets rifled.


Authorities Have No Clew.


The mystery bids fair to be as deep as that surrounding the now celebrated Oom case.  There is no clew upon which the authorities may work.  On first hearing an outline of the story not a few were inclined to implicate the McCarthy cousins, but the authorities who are working on the case dismissed this idea at once, apparently, and went after other theories.  Today, in the gathering at the grief stricken home, there were no fewer than a score of statements of strange men having been seen about the premises.  Deputy Sheriff Brown of Nunica had his attention attracted to two hoboes, one of whom answered to the description of the man seen by Ed and Tom McCarty.  They were hanging about Nunica yesterday afternoon, and this statement tends to strengthen a belief that there were two men implicated in this cowardly murder.


One story is from an interurban conductor to the effect that a man barded his car, going east, at a point east of Dennison.  If this man had anything to do with the murder he must have been an accomplice of the fellow who passed the McCarthy boys going in a westerly direction from the scene of the crime.


Henry Venema, a farmer living about a mile southeast of Dennison, was asked by a heavy set man for permission to sleep in his barn.  The man left, going toward Denison.  So far as could be learned, however, no stranger has been at the store within a few days.  All these facts tend to strengthen the belief that the man who shot down Martin Golden last night knew Golden and was known by his victim.  It is the belief of the widow that the murderer knew her husband’s habits, knew he expected some money last night on the mail train and planned to waylay, rob and kill him.  The fact that the watch was taken and the checks would strengthen the theory that the robber was an amateur, for the professional never takes a timepiece since that is so easily traced.


Pockets Had Been Rifled.


Golden had $100 in currency in his pocketbook and possibly twice that much.  He must have had checks among them, several from the Sanitay Milk Company of Grand Rapids.  It is safe to estimate, according to the family, that the robber realized at least $150 in currency some $100 in checks and perhaps $10 or $15 in coin.


Golden was 35 years of age and leaves besides the widow and the four-weeks old daughter a mother, who lives with her son William and two brothers, William and John, both residents in the immediate vicinity.  Everyone who knew Golden assert positively that he had not an enemy in the world.  He carried two $1,000 life insurance policies, running to his wife.  The inquest will take place Thursday morning at Coopersville and a post mortem examination will probably be made in the meantime.  The funeral will take place Friday morning from the Dennison Catholic church.

Grand Rapids Press - Tuesday, April 24, 1906




Officers Who are Conducting Search Have but Slight Clew in the Golden Case.



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