Iowa

Skull in the Ashes: Murder, A Gold Rush Manhunt, & the Birth of Circumstantial Evidence in America

Skull in the ashes - cover

On a February night in 1897, the general store in Walford, Iowa, burned down. The next morning, townspeople discovered a charred corpse in the ashes. Everyone knew that the store’s owner, Frank Novak, had been sleeping in the store as a safeguard against burglars. Now all that remained were a few of his personal items scattered under the body.

Gentlemen Bootleggers: The True Story of Templeton Rye...

Gentlemen Bootleggers cover

During Prohibition, while Al Capone was rising to worldwide prominence as Public Enemy Number One, the townspeople of rural Templeton, Iowa--population just 418--were busy with a bootlegging empire of their own. Led by Joe Irlbeck, the whip-smart and gregarious son of a Bavarian immigrant, the outfit of farmers, small merchants, and even the church Monsignor worked together to create a whiskey so excellent it was ordered by name: Templeton Rye.

The Iowa Honey War

honey pot and bees

In 1839, a boundary dispute erupted between Iowa and Missouri.  Missouri claimed the boundary was further north and Iowa claimed it was further south.  The original boundary was based on the Sullivan line.  In 1817, J.C. Sullivan surveyed Iowa to mark boundaries for Osage Indian lands.  As northwest Missouri and southwest Iowa were settled, confusion set in on where exactly this line was.

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