While searching Colorado newspapers for Trezise articles I came across the murder of wealthy farmer, Robert E Showalter.  Not being able to leave it alone I followed the newspaper trail and delved further into the background of Clayton Pattison and his family.  As I don’t have any connections to Colorado I was prompted to blog my findings when I found Jim Sanders, Hidden Genealogy Nuggets website.

Clayton Margaret PattisonRobert E Showalter, 50 a Loveland farmer, was shot three times and probably fatally wounded shortly before noon today in a rooming house at 1753 Curtis street by 56 year old Clayton Pattison, who asserts he found his victim in a compromising position with his wife, Mrs Margaret Pattison, a woman past 50 years of age. (Photo of Clayton and Margaret adjacent).

Upon hearing the gunfire, other roomers in the house, pushed opened the door and found the partly clothed Showalter lying on the floor and Pattison standing over him with the still smoking revolver gripped in his right hand.

Pattison said he became acquainted with Showalter in 1908 when he and his wife accepted a contract to dig beets on Showalter’s farm, five miles from Loveland.  The acquaintanceship had ripened into an intimate friendship and he had no suspicion that there was anything of an untoward nature in the relations existing between Showalter and Mrs Pattison until several days ago when he walked into the kitchen of his home and found Mrs Pattison sitting on Showalter’s knee.

“Came to Denver for Turkish Baths:  It is said, the excuse he offered to his wife for his frequent trips here was that he had been advised by a physician to take Turkish baths and Denver was the nearest place the baths could be had”.

This morning (on the day of the shooting) Showalter came to my home and we talked for an hour or more.  Shortly after he left, my wife told me she had to go down town.  The thought came to me then, that she had found one excuse or another to go down town every time of late that Showalter had visited our house, and it made me suspicious, so after she had gone, I decided to do a little sleuthing.

SHOWALTER MURDER FRONT PG  9 MAR 1915I knew that Showalter stopped at the Curtis street rooming house whenever he came to the city, so I went there.  I had some trouble locating his room, but I finally found it and when I tip-toed up to the door and peered thru the keyhole the sight I saw made my blood boil.  Did Pattison peer through every keyhole in the rooming house until he found his wife?

I didn’t stop to knock.  I just kicked the door in.  Showalter jumped up from the bed.  My wife didn’t move.  I guess she was too much frightened – or maybe it was shame.  Pattison’s blood is boiling, he kicks the door in, and in his anger remembers to close the door?

I asked Showalter what he meant by violating my friendship in such a manner, instead of replying he made a lunge at me.  He is a younger man than I am and much more powerful.  I realised that I would have no chance with him in physical combat, so I just began to shoot.

Pattison fired four shots.  Three of them found their mark in Showalter’s body all within a radius of a few inches.  He fell in his tracks.  Pattison made no effort to harm his wife.

Mrs Pattison gave her age as 47 years to Police Matron Archer when she was being booked, but her hair is snow white and she appears to be much older.  Married at Logan, Harrison, Iowa on 16 September 1883, Margaret was 15 years of age and in the 1910 census, Margaret’s age is recorded as 42; her genetic disposition may have contributed to an early greying of the hair.

Of her five children, the oldesSHOWALTER MURDER CONTD 9 MAR 1915t is 29 years of age and the youngest 10.  There are two boys and three girls.

I can’t account for my actions with Showalter just now, she declared.  I suppose that I sinned for the same reason that hundreds of other women before me have sinned.  My life has been more or less filled with trouble – nothing of a serious nature, but trouble just the same and Showalter was a sort of diversion.

I became acquainted with him at the same time my husband did.  We lived in his home all one summer when we had the beet contract on his farm.  He seemed to take a liking to me and I might say, forced his attentions upon me.

I have been meeting him recently on an average of twice a month and we always went to the rooming house where the shooting happened.  I had no idea that my husband was suspicious of me.  I suppose I grew clearless.  When he broke into the room I was so surprised that I didn’t know what to do.  Then, I became frightened.  I couldn’t move until the shooting started and then I jumped up and ran into a corner, where I crouched to get out of the way of the bullets.

I guess Showalter deserved what he got.  My husband asked him what he meant treating him in such a manner and wanted him to sit down and talk it over, but he wouldn’t.  He just made a lunge at him as if he wanted to get his hands around his throat and choke him and then my husband began to shoot.

KIND HEARTEDHusband always provided for her:  I have been married 31 years.  My husband has always provided me with a fairly good living.  He has done the best he could, at least and I should not have acted as I have, but it is too late to cry about it now.  For the children’s sake I would like all this stuff kept out of the newspapers but I guess that’s hopeless too.  While she talked, Mrs Pattison showed not the slightest trace of emotion.  She was dry-eyed and calm when Matron Archer led her to a cell and locked the barred door behind her.  (This clipping appeared in the The Denver Post, Wednesday February 25, 1903)

An hour after being taken to the county hospital, Showalter was placed on the operating table.  Dr C B Lyman, the attending physician, operated immediately to remove the bullets and stop the internal hemorrhaging.  Before submitting to anesthetic Showalter requested that his wife be notified and asked to hurry to his bedside.  “I want to talk with her”, he declared.  “That’s all I care about”.

Newspaper articles from Genealogy Bank.

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