On a late summers eve in Waynesville, at half past 11:00 P.M. on Tuesday, August 26th, 1879, a deeply troubled young man of 18, who felt overwhelmed by responsibility and domestic troubles, who was obsessed with violence and death, became entangled in a horrendous carnival of blood, whether willingly or unwillingly, it is hard to tell. Two adult women and a young girl of eleven lost their lives that night most horribly. Willie E. Anderson (William Evert Anderson), a mere 18 years and barely 5 months old, with an accomplice, participated in some way or had guilty knowledge of the murdered his own mother, his aunt and his cousin in their rented home on South Main Street. The ghastly scene in the house would not be discovered until Tuesday, September 2nd by Constable Manington, who pried open one of the windows, and by recently retired Probate Judge John W. Keys , who forced open the front door, after hearing reports of an overpowering stench coming from the house. Worried townspeople had become concerned about the whereabouts of Willie, last seen on Sunday morning, August 31st, and the three women who had not been seen since Wednesday, August 27th. According to friends it was unlike Mollie Hatte, age 37, Willie’s mother, to leave without telling anyone. As they would discover to their horror, she hadn't left.
The Death Notices of the three victims were printed in the Cincinnati Commercial newspaper, September 6th, 1879, on page 5:
DEATHS ~ HATTE ~ At Waynesville, O., August - , 1879, Mary Hatte. WEEKS ~ At Waynesville, O., August-, 1879, St. Clem Weeks, wife of Stephen H. Weeks. WEEKS ~ At Waynesville, O., August -, 1879, Myrtle Edith Shaw, daughter of St. Clem and Stephen H. Weeks.
The father of Willie Anderson was Daniel R. Anderson, a well known personage in Waynesville, Ohio. Willie was his only son. For some of the memories of Daniel R. Anderson see:
Waynesville's First Fire Engine in the 1850s ~ "The Buckeye"
More Reminiscences of D. R. Anderson ~ Businesses in Waynesville
More Memories of Businesses in Waynesville by Daniel R. Anderson
Boyhood Memories of Daniel R. Anderson
A "Young American Guard" in Waynesville in the 1850s
For more information about this triple murder in Waynesville read:
Murder in Waynesville: The Anderson Tragedy. Tuesday, August 26~Saturday, September 6th, 1879. “The Wrecked Life” of Willie Anderson, et al. by Karen S. Campbell, Genealogy Librarian, The Mary L. Cook Public Library. Copies available through the library, firstname.lastname@example.org.