Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Captain William Hoel, Part 2

            Captain William Hoel led an exciting life.  He also died a violent death.
            Hoel married Elizabeth Hunt on February 11, 1869.  She was beautiful and eighteen years his junior.  They had two children: Sarah born in December of 1869 and Rion born two years later. 
            The family lived at “Kildere”, a 100 acre farm located on
Clarksville Road
near the village of Corwin in Warren County.
            The couple was active in St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Waynesville. A stained glass memorial window in the sanctuary has an anchor inside a circle with the inscription “In Memory of a noble Man, William Rion Hoel, one of the founders of this Church, Died May 23, 1879.”
            His death was recounted in many newspapers.  One article, in the May 29, 1879 issue of the “Western Star” was titled “Tragic Death of Captain W.R. Hoel”.  It told the following story:
            Captain Hoel was jealous of his wife and suspected she was having an affair with Dr. Hough, a Waynesville physician.  The Captain told everyone, including the doctor, he was taking an early morning train to Cincinnati.  Instead, he hid somewhere on his property.  Dr. Hough came to the house and he and Elizabeth Hoel went into the parlor.  Captain Hoel rushed into the room with a pistol.            
            Dr. Hough afterward said he and Mrs. Hoel were seated on chairs when the Captain burst into the room with a pistol, fired a shot which missed, and then holding the long muzzle of the navy Colt began to club him about the head.  The doctor said the gun discharged and the ball entered the Captain’s chest.  Captain Hoel fell saying, “I am shot.” Death quickly followed.
            The reporter stated that the doctor’s face was swollen and cut.  His left cheek had a gash and two teeth were knocked out. 
            An inquest was held by Squire Mannington. 
            Dr. Hough explained there was no cause for jealousy.  Mrs. Hoel suffered a chronic ailment, thus his visits.  He said she “is a woman of spotless character”.
            Eleanor Allen, a girl working for the Hoel’s said, she looked into the parlor before Captain Hoel entered and she saw Dr. Hough sitting in a chair with Mrs. Hoel on his lap.  She said Captain Hoel shot at the doctor and then began to beat him three or four times about the head.  The pistol went off again and shot the Captain.
            Mrs. Hoel said she had left the room after the first shot and did not know what happened.  
            No legal action was taken for months.  Dr. Hough finally printed a letter in several newspapers explaining what happened and proclaiming his innocence.  He was eventually exonerated.
            Hoel is buried in Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati.   Elizabeth Hoel continued to live at Kildere with her children.  At her death she was buried in Miami Cemetery in Corwin. It is unclear what happened to Dr. Hough.

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