How a Tillotson family member escaped the Omaha ax murderer’s attack in 1928

By Charles J. Tillotson

Another tidbit of info on the Tillotson family I wanted to mention was about the attack in November of 1928 by the ax murderer otherwise known as the Chopper.

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Mom used to tell the story of how Grandpa’s sister Mary Alice‘s daughter, Mary, and her husband, Harold “Guy” Stribling, were attacked by the Chopper in the middle of the night in their home near Carter Lake.

Harold was beaten severely about the head with a blunt instrument thought to be an ax, an Mary was also struck by the intruder with the same instrument.

Harold suffered a huge head depression and other lacerations, and Mary was beaten and cut up–but both of them survived.

Mary begged the intruder to save her baby girl, Minerva and somehow talked him into leaving the house.

The intruder, later on named as Jake Bird, agreed to let them all live if Mary would walk with him. It is said that after about three miles of walking, Jake let Mary go.

Jake Bird was accused and convicted of other Chopper murders in and around Omaha.

Both Harold and Mary eventually recovered, but Mom used to say that Guy was never the same.

She knew how to scare us with stories like this. I’m sure it was as a means of making us realize that danger lurks everywhere. She was so right!

Note: Thanks to blogger Brianna Wright for delving into the archives of the Omaha World-Herald to revive this story.

Seed money: Roggen safecrackers use welding torch, net $34 for the trouble

Roggen Elevator Safe Robbery Investigated

Sheriff’s officers Thursday investigated a safe robbery at the Farmers Grain and Bean Association elevator at Roggen. The safecrackers got $34 in cash.

Photo by Gary Rich

A similar safe job, but unsuccessful, was done in Denver Thursday night, Sheriff William C. Tegtman was informed.

Deputies Harry Mills and Robert Patterson reported that the Roggen building had been entered by breaking a south window. The office window was then broken, and welding equipment moved to the safe to cut it open.

Greeley (Colo.) Tribune, Feb. 18, 1955