Grave obsessions

Murder and mayhem in my family tree
My grandmother told me the story of her parents' foray into the restaurant business. it didn't end well!

My grandmother told me the story of her parents owning a restaurant in Rock Rapids, Iowa.  She was just a wee one, and would play in the kitchen while her parents worked.  Well, one day the cook shot his wife and then took his own life.

For years I've sought to validate this story.  I've often checked online newspapers and came up empty handed.  Planning for a trip to the midwest this summer, I thought before adding this search to my itinerary I'd take one last perusal at online newspapers.  I wasn't disappointed!

The bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Steigel (sic), mention of whose deaths were made last week, were taken to Fort Dodge for burial.  Stiegel's parents came here in response to word that their son had killed his wife and then committed suicide.  They said that Stiegel had been erratic at times.  They said that Steigel blamed their troubles on the unfaithfulness of his wife, and the interference of E. L. Simpson, proprietor of the restaurant.
- Lyon County (Iowa) Reporter, originally published 21 December 1922.

What my grandmother never shared, or perhaps was unaware of, was that the cook, Floyd Striegel, was actually not simply an employed hand at the restaurant, called the Home cafe.  Floyd was actually the son of my grandmother's cousin, making him her first cousin once removed. 

After this traumatic event, my great grandparents, Ernest and Susan (Stanwood) Simpson, are said to have sold the restaurant and moved on to other ventures.  Where that is I don't yet know, as they didn't show up in the Minneapolis City directories until 1927.

Another mystery for another day!

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