Obit: Ayer, Cullen (1870 - 1931)

Contact:  Stan


----Sources: COLBY PHONOGRAPH (Colby, Clark County, Wis.) 05/07/1931

Ayer, Cullen (22 Jan. 1870 - 3 May 1931)

Cullen Ayer, sixty year old farmer living four miles west of Unity, was clubbed to death by his neighbor, George Engeldow, age thirty-nine, during an argument at the Engeldow farm Sunday morning. Ayer, it is reported, was of a quarrelsome nature, and recently was placed under peace bonds, and, for about four years, he and Engeldow had minor difficulties and Sunday morning their troubles came to a climax when Ayer went to the Engeldow farm to get his three horses which had strayed from his farm pasture Saturday night. The horses had strayed into Engeldow’s pastures on several other occasions and would be there for weeks at a time, but, on this occasion, Engeldow was going to put them in his barn which angered Ayer, who went into the Engeldow farm yard with a club. He was warned not to come through the fence but did not pay any attention to the warning and went after Engeldow with the club. After two wild blows at Engeldow, the latter procured another club and hit Ayer on the head, fracturing his skull. He died where he fell, two hours later. In falling, Ayer struck his face on a rock, causing slight bruises, it was said.

Shortly after the fight, Engeldow telephoned to town officials who turned him over to Frank Pickett, Jr., constable of the town of Unity. Engeldow willingly accompanied District Attorney Hugh C. Haight and Coroner Horace A. Frank to the county jail at Neillsville where he was turned over to Sheriff William Bradford.

According to information learned from members of Engeldow’s family, Engeldow had planned to make a complaint about Ayer’s horses to town authorities and that he was going to hold the horses pending the filing of the complaint. He told the authorities that he struck Ayer in self defense. The county coroner impaneled a jury Sunday afternoon and the jury viewed the body and the scene of the killing.

District Attorney Haight said that as far as he had learned there was no verbal quarrel at the time of the fight and that it was intimated by authorities that Engeldow’s story of "self-defense" may have been true.

Mrs. Engeldow and six children, ranging in age from four to eighteen years, saw the fatal fight from the porch of their farm home.

Ayer had recently rented his farm but had retained the farm granary for his living quarters. Neighbors report he was of a quarrelsome nature and often had altercations with Engeldow.

Ayer is survived by three sisters, Mrs. Mogen Schjonemann, Unity; Mrs. Arthur Wisnowsky, Riplinger; and Mrs. Belva Loney, whose home is in the west, and by four brothers, Jonas Ayer, Spencer; Edgar Ayer, Unity; Walter Ayer, Riplinger; and Owen Ayer, Spooner.

Funeral services will be held this Thursday afternoon at the M. E. church at Unity, Rev. F. M. Blish officiating, and internment will be made in the Unity cemetery.




Cullen Ayer was buried in the Brighton Cemetery in Unity, Wis.



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