Martin C. Golden

Martin Golden Killed by Highwayman

Grand Haven Daily Tribune - April 24, 1906


Martin Golden Killed by Highwayman


Dennison Scene of Murder

The little village of Dennison was last night the scene of one of the most desperate and cowardly murders ever recorded in Ottawa County.  Martin Golden, a young law abiding merchant of the little village, was shot and robbed within hearing distance of his own home, where his wife and babe were awaiting his arrival home from the store.


The shooting took place about 8:45.  Golden had locked up his store and started toward his home.  He had had a number of callers in the store in the evening but there were no strangers among the customers.  Ed McCarthy known as “Sport” McCarthy with a companion were in the store during the evening but they left and according to their story they were sitting on a horse block a short distance from the store when Golden came out.


Whoever it was that shot and killed Golden did it for robbery undoubtedly for when the terribly wounded man was picked up, $100 in currency and a gold watch which he carried, were missing.


It was about 8:30 last night that Golden locked up his store and prepared to go home, less than 200 feet from the store.  Just before locking up, the McCarthy boys, who had been in the store all evening, left the building.  They heard the shots fired a few moments later and heard Golden crying for help.  The men who had jus left the store assert that a few seconds after the shot a tall man ran between them, and they believe that he was the murderer.


The McCarthys hurriedly ran to where Golden was lying and carried him to his home.  He was unconscious and blood was spurting from his forehead.


Mrs Golden heard the shots fired but did not realize what had happened until her husband was carried into the house.


Dr. Smith of Coopersville was summoned and hastily arrived but there was nothing to do for the injured man.  The murderer stood so close to Golden that the man’s face was blackened by the powder.


The theory is that the murderer lay in wait for his victim and that when he left the store he commanded Golden to halt and throw up his hands.  Golden perhaps resisted and paid his life.  Then the highwayman hastily rifled his pockets and ran away and either caught a car or is still in hiding in the vicinity.


The night was clear but the only light was afforded by the stars.  All that the McCarthy’s can say of the murderer is that he was a big man of stocky build.  When this man passed them he was running toward the Grand Trunk tracks and it is possible that he caught an east bound freight from Grand Haven which went through some minutes later.  The officers in Grand Rapids were notified of this fact and they searched the train at Fuller without success.


Sheriff Woodbury was notified and went to Dennison at about 10 o’clock with Frank Salisbury.  They have their deputies scouring the country but learned nothing particular last night.


Clyde Tissue, an employee of the Interurban RR. States that a man got on his car at East Dennison at about the time of the murder last night.  He was a dark man, wore dark clothes and a dark shirt.  On the car he pulled his hat down and appeared to be sleeping.  This man got off at Coopersville.  The officers believe that he was the murderer.


A farmer named Brixton Wilton and his wife, drove up to Golden’s store last night to make some purchases.  While the husband went in his wife remained in the buggy.  She noticed a man standing in the dark near the store.  This was probably the murder waiting for his victim.


At Dennison, this morning the whole country side is stirred by the cowardly crime but the officers as yet are completely baffled and the murderer is still at large.  There is no clew, not the slightest bit of evidence to work upon and the best that is left for Sheriff Woodbury and his assistant to do, is to run down wild clews and stories, which came in rapidly from every hand.


The store is the old land mark which has for so many years served as the Grand Trunk station and ticket office of the village.  Hardly one hundred feet away to the east is the home of the murdered man.  About half way between is a tiny little house in which was stored gasoline and other combustible oils.  It was behind this little house that the cowardly murderer crouched, to spring upon his unsuspecting victim.  The little board walk running from the store to the house is stained with blood at this point and a portion of the xxx shot from the victim’s brain was spattered on the green yard.  The walk was broken and the grass was torn up which indicated a struggle. However, as to that nothing is known.


It was shortly after eight o’clock when Martin Golden gathered his cash together and prepared to lock up for the night.  This was done at his post office counter behind which was a small window facing east.  Foot prints show that some one stood on a box and looked into the window, and in all probability the wretch watched his victim from outside as the money was being sorted.


The McCarthy boys, Tom and Ed, had been in the store during the evening and when they left, they walked west along the road to a point no much over three hundred feed from the store.  There is a milk stand there and they stopped to talk.  Suddenly, according to the boys’ story, two shots rang out and they state that they heard Golden cry out, “Hear! Hear!” a moment after a man came running west along the road and passed the McCarthy’s hardly fifteen feet away.  As to his description the McCarthys are not at all sure.  One says he wore a long coat and the other that he had a short over coat.  It was very dark and his features could not be distinguished at all.  Upon reaching the Grand Trunk track he turned and ran due west disappearing in the darkness.  This morning early tracks were found making west on the track.  They were clearly visible because of the distinct clear cut foot prints indicating that the murderer was wearing new shoes.  At Malone’s crossing about 3/4 of a mile from the store, the tracks left the railroad and turned south.  Here the grass put an end to further tracing and that is all of the known flight of the slayer.


The injured man never recovered consciousness.  He was carried into the house by tender hands where he lay until after the Doctors Smith and Hughes arrived from Coopersville.  Nothing could be done for the wounded man, however, and according to Dr. Hughes, hje died at nearly one o’clock.  While it is stated that two shots were fired, Dr. Hughes is of the opinion that but one of the shots took effect.  The wound is almost directly in the middle of the forehead.  The course of the bullet appears to have been through the head, passing out of the top.  It was believed at first that two shots had entered his head, this theory appears to have been discarded


The whole country side is being scoured by officers and today there was talk of organizing a posse.  Sheriff Woodbury and Deputy Sheriff Taylor were at work early this morning but no clew at all had been found up to noon.


Coroner Thomas Kiel went up from here this forenoon and over the remains empanelled the following jury; Edgar E. Hasted, Abraham Smith, John Cooney, Michael Malone, Alex Carr and Ed D. Lawrence.  The inquest will be held at ten o’clock Thursday morning at Coopersville.  The funeral of the murder victim will be held Friday and the services will be held in St. Michael’s chapel.


The victim of last night’s tragedy was highly regarded in his community and the whole country side is sorrow stricken over the sad end.  He was about thirty five years old and leaves a grief stricken widow and baby.  Two brothers, William and John, and his mother, Mrs. Bridget Golden are living in Dennison.


The murder is one of the most mysterious, which has yet fallen into the hands of the local officers.  It may be likened to the Oom murder in Grand Rapids last fall, when Josephine Oom was shot and killed while driving near east Bridge street.  A stranger committed the crime and he disappeared entirely.  Just in this manner did the criminal of last night slip away into the darkness leaving the bloody traces of his awful deed behind him.


Deputy Sheriff Ed Brown of Nunica is inclined to believe that the shooting was done by crooks, who had been seen in the vicinity.  At about ten o’clock yesterday morning Hugh Harmon, who was plowing a field for John Cooney, east of Dennison, saw two men board an Interurban car and go east.  One of the men had arrived at the crossing first and had allowed several cars to pass before getting aboard of his car.  This called the attention of the farm hand to the stranger and he watched him.  The man waiting at the crossing was finally joined by a companion and the first arrival said, “Well you’ve got here at last, haven’t you?”


Deputy Sheriff Brown saw two fellows in Nunica at about one o’clock who answered the description given by Harmon.  They were suspicious looking characters and hung around town all afternoon.  Toward night they begged something at James Demru’s house but were not seen after that.


These men are the only ones who seem to be liable to furnish any clew whatever.  The big man was xxxxx more particularly and, according to Ed. Brown’s description, he was a heavy man with a full mustache; he wore a long overcoat and slouch hat.  Both men were dressed rather shabbily.


It may be that these two men had visited Dennison in the morning to take observations of the store and its surroundings.  Then, under cover of darkness one of the men went back and finished his bloody night’s work.  Golden’s bag of money, containing about $100, and a gold watch were taken.  On the back of the watch were Golden’s initials and a picture of his wife.  There were also believed to be some checks mixed in with the money.


The McCarthy boys state that after they heard Golden call and the two shots rang out, it was but a moment before the man came ruining toward them.  One of the boys admitted this morning that he was to frightened to have attempted to stop the fugitive.  Mrs. Golden, however, found a piece of orange, which he was eating in her husband’s mouth when she run out to him after the shooting.  This showed that he had been taken completely unawares and had little chance to cry out much or protect himself in the least.  The powder burns on the forehead of the dead man show that he was killed at close range.  The officers here are keeping a sharp lookout and Under Sheriff Salisbury picked up a stranger in the railroad yards today.  However, the officer soon satisfied himself that the fellow had no connection with the Dennison crime.


No arrest had been made today and the crime now looks as if it might go unpunished.