Martin C. Golden

Golden Murder Suspect Arrested

Grand Haven Daily Tribune - May 17, 1907


Prosecuting Attorney Coburn Issues Warrant


Martin C. Golden, the popular Dennison storekeeper was murdered near his store building on the night of April 23, 1906, over a year ago.  The crime has been a mystery from that day to this but the prosecuting Attorney and the sheriff’s force now believe that they have the man who so cowardly took the life of the Dennison storekeeper.

Prosecuting Attorney Corie C. Coburn on Thursday issued a warrant for the arrest of William Shimmell, Shimmell was supposed to be working in Muskegon in a factory and Under Sheriff Frank Salisbury went up after him yesterday.  Salisbury’s quest became known by relatives of Shimmell who it is believed tipped him off that the officers were after him for when Salisbury arrived at the place Shimmell was not there.  He had been working there but he did not return all afternoon and this convinced Salisbury that Shimmell had skipped out.  Before going to the factory the Grand Haven Officer had visited Shimmell’s brother who operates a blacksmith shop in Moorland.  Some one must certainly have apprised the wanted man of the officer’s presence.


This morning Salisbury telephoned here that the bird had flown but that he had clews to where he was heading and that officers were patrolling every road and highway out of Muskegon.  A few minutes later came the report from Moorland that Shimmell had been caught near that village while walking east on the S & M tracks, evidently making haste to get out of the country.  The arrest of Shimmell was made by Deputy Sheriff Salisbury, one of the many officers who were on the scout for the hunted man.


The arrest of Shimmell may solve the Golden murder mystery.  Ever since the crime of a year ago last April Shimmell has been one of the men who the officers have suspected had guilty knowledge of the crime.  But for some reason he was never arrested.  Suspicion has been upon him but because of the fact that the evidence against the man was purely circumstantial, there was hesitancy about arresting him.  Part of the time too, his whereabouts were unknown for Shimmell has not been in one place long since the night of the killing of Golden.  At the time of the murder Shimmell was living in Casnova, Muskegon County.  He answers almost perfectly the description of the stranger who was noticed loitering about Nunica and Dennison a day or two before the killing and also of the sneaking figure who customers at Martin Golden’s store, the night of the murder, saw lurking in the shadow of the building.  The fact that Shimmell left Muskegon yesterday when he heard that officers were afte him looks very bad.


The murder of Golden was one of the most dastardly in the criminal annals of this or any other county.  He was shot down at about 9 o’clock in the evening after locking his store and starting down the board walk toward his home.  About $100 in currency, some checks, a canvas bag of change and the victim’s watch and chain were taken from the body by the murderer.  Ed “Sport” McCarthy and his cousin Tom McCarthy had left Golden’s store but 15 minutes before and they were standing together at a milkstand in front of Ed McCarthy’s home when two shots rang out.  They were not two hundred yards away from the Golden store.  They heard Golden utter his favorite exclamation “Here-Here”.  But a moment later while they were standing in the road a man went by them on the dead run.  He carried a revolver in his hands and appeared to be a fleshy man.  He was wheezing as he passed the two young men and seemed to be pretty near all in.  The McCarthys did not follow the fleeing man but instead ran to the Golden store and picked up Golden, who was breathing but unconscious.  Golden died a few hours later without regaining consciousness.  The officers were called to Dennison that night and they began a search for the slayer which has never been discontinued from that day to this.  Suspect after suspect has been detained and questioned; for days the officers scoured a bit of woods near Whitehall only to find that they were chasing shadows.  Trips were taken to various parts of the state to quiz men in jail who it was thought may have been in this vicinity on the night of the tragedy.  But not until today was an out and out arrest for the murder made.


Weeks after the crime, on the land of Emerson Averill in Dennison was xxxxx xxxx aggett a satchel containing a revolver, a cap and a pocket book.  The cap was of Scotch pattern with a few gray and light hairs in the lining.  The pocket book was identified by his widow as the one taken from the pocket of Martin Golden the night he was so foully slain.  The cap and the revolver were undoubtedly the property of the murderer.  He had left these evidences of his guilt hidden behind a log while he was making haste across country to get away from the pursuing officers.


A well known resident of Chester said today that from the first he had believed that Shimmell could tell a great deal about the killing of Martin Golden and that since the crime considering all the officers knew he had wondered that the man had not been arrested.  This man says that he believes the grip containing Golden’s pocket book and the revolver was tossed off from a T. S. & M. train and that Shimmell is known to have traveled from Muskegon to Grayling via that route shortly after the murder.


Murder Suspect Arrives.


Heavily manacled and carefully guarded by officers, William Shimmell, the suspected murderer of Martin Golden was brought to the county jail on the 1:30 G. R., G. H. & M. by car this afternoon.  Sheriff Woodbury and Undersheriff Salisbury had the man in custody.  Shimmell is not a prepossessing looking fellow at best and a several days growth of beard did not add to his personal appearance.


Shimmell was arrested this forenoon by Officer Salisbury, not by Deputy Sheriff Lillibridge as first reports stated.  He was detected in an old barn and when Salisbury first arrested him he denied his name to be Shimmell.  Afterwards he admitted that he was the man sought after.  Shimmell demurred against the menacing process but when told that he was wanted for murder he gave in without resistance.  Officer Salisbury says that he did not question Shimmell at all in the journey to Grand Haven and does not know what his defense will be or what his claims are.


Shimmell was seen in his cell by a Tribune man today.  He denies strenuously being the murderer of Golden.  He says that he was in Nunica the Sunday before the murder of Martin Golden and that he was the guest of Alvin VanBerg and family.  He claims that he left for his home in Moorland the Monday afternoon before the murder and drove straight home.  Furthermore he claims that he has not been in Dennison in years and that he saw the murdered man but once and that was years ago.


Shimmell gives as his reason for leaving Muskegon so hastily yesterday that a cousin of his from up country informed him that the officers were after him again for the Golden mystery and that he was riding home with his cousin to get an uncle to prove that he was home on the night Golden was killed.  He says that when arrested he was on his way back to Muskegon a foot.  This statement does not jibe with a previous one to the effect that he had been unable to work for two weeks because he had run a nail in his foot.


Shimmell talks vary freely about himself.  Evidently he has his story well studied but at that makes many contradictory statements.


In Muskegon he has been working for several weeks in the Continental Motor Works.  He has been living with a woman of evil repute.  Shimmell is about 48 years of age.  He has coal black hair and swarthy complexion.  He has been married but divorced.


He has lived for years in northern Ottawa and parts of Muskegon county.  He is known by the sobriquets of “Alcohol Bill” and Whispering Bill.”  There is something the matter with his vocal organs which causes him to wheeze.  This fact had something to do with his arrest for the man who ran by the McCarthy boys the night of the murder was wheezing as he ran.


Shimmell was one of the early suspects and he knows it.  He is banking on his uncle Jacob Shimmell and other relatives to make good his alibi.


Shimmell will be arraigned before Judge Wachs about 9 o’clock Saturday.