Individuals & Stories

Newman-Rankin Tragedy, Peebles, Ohio (1920)

Posted by Tamera1974 on September 26, 2013 at 12:00 AM



Volume LV, Number 18, West Union, Ohio                                  

Thursday, Aug 5, 1920


Deplorable tragedy enacted near Peebles Monday morning - Mrs.Milton Rankin, who did shooting, claims self-defense and was acquitted at hearing before Squire J P Jackson.

 The shooting was result of family disagreement - Mrs. Newman had divorce suit pending and her husband armed with shotgun and revolver, had gone to Rankin home after making threats against his wife and daughter.


L A (Lafe) Newman, aged 60 years, well known farmer near Peebles, was shot and killed by his daughter, Mrs. Milton Rankin about nine o'clock Monday morning, at the Rankin home about two and one-half miles fromPeebles.

   Mrs Rankin claimed she shot in defense of herself and her mother, her father having a shotgun in his hands at the time, and at the preliminary hearing before Squire J P Jackson at Peebles Monday afternoon whichhearing was attended by the Prosecuting Attorney, she was relieved from custody under any criminal charge.  The testimony delivered the fact that in addition to the shotgun in his hands at the time he was shot, Newman also had a revolver in hiscoat pocket.   The shooting tragedy Monday was the result of family troubleof many years standing brought on it is said by Newman's ungovernable temper. Recently Mrs. Newman filed divorce proceedings against her husband in the common pleas court here, and since that time Mrs. Newman has been making herhome with her daughter, Mrs. Rankin.  The father was staying at the home ofanother married daughter, Mrs. Clyde Dixon, about one mile distant from the Rankin place.

According to the story told by Mrs. Dixon, her father, whenhe left the house early Monday morning made threats of going over to the Rankin home and the whole bunch there.

However, he just went to Peebles, and by the time he reached the Rankin place, Mrs.Dixon had hurried there ahead of him and warned her mother and sister of thethreat made by her father that morning. When Newman approached the home, Mrs. Dixon went out in theyard and tried to persuade her father to leave the premises.  He then became enraged at her and threatened to shoot her if she did not keep out of his way, pointing thegun at her.  Mrs. Dixon jumped behind an out building and still called toher father to leave.  Every time she leaned forward to see what he wasdoing he would point the gun in her direction. Finally, he started toward the house and Mrs. Rankin, after calling to him to leave, fired through the window of the sitting room, the load of shot tearing it's way through the window glass.  A few of the shot from thesingle barrel gun stock struck Mr. Newman in the breast, but inflicted only slight injury. Newman then went around the house and tried to break in the kitchen door, but all the doors had been locked and barred against him. When he again came around to the front side of the house, Mrs.Rankin whohad reloaded her gun fired the second time at her father.  This time thecharge struck him in the lower breast and he fell to the ground.  When he rolled over directly, Mrs. Rankin who said she thought he was trying to get up fired the third time, the load of shot entering the lower back.

 When Mr. Rankin, his son-in-law, arrived at the scene of theshooting, he found the body of Newman lying about 20 feet from the house.  He was in the field about a half mile away when he heard the shots and jumped on one of hishorses and hurried to the house to investigate the shooting.  The man wasdead when Mr. Rankin arrived at his side.  He had lived but a few minutesafter being shot the third time.  The second shot, however, was sufficient to have caused his death. The body was removed to the undertaking establishment of Thomas and Trefty at Peebles and prepared for burial.  Sheriff Charles H Pettit, Prosecutor A Harmon Holderness and CoronerW T Warner went to the scene of the killing, reaching there before noon and conducting an investigation, which revealed the facts of the shooting as above related.

Besides the widow and two married daughters, two sons survive. The family has lived in Adams County in the vicinity of Peebles for years. They had lived near Peebles for years and only last spring moving to Purtee Ridge.  Mr. Newman's funeral and burial will be held Friday, the funeral havingbeen postponed to await the arrival of a brother from out west.

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