Obit: Grossbeier, Mathias (1875 - 1903)

Contact: Stan

Surnames: Grossbeier, Grossbeier, Grosbaier, Brey, Hirth, Scherr, Brazeau, Pors, Wahle, Galligan, Juno, Sewing, Gerwing, Fischer, Specht, Beine, Wagner, Mulenbach, Dumas, Stangl, White, Feit, Mertle, Thompson, Schimmel

----Source: Colby Phonograph (Colby, Clark County, Wis.) Thursday, 05/14/1903

Grossbeier, Matt. (30 July 1875 - 25 May 1903)

Mrs. Matt. Grossbeier shot and instantly killed her husband at Marshfield, Wisconsin last Monday, the bullet penetrating the heart. They had not lived together for a month and it is claimed he broke into the house and assaulted her with a pocket knife.

----Source: Marshfield Times, Wood County, Wisconsin, Friday, May 29,1903, Page 1


Home Monday Noon. Coroner's Jury Exonerates the Woman.

The Sixth ward was the scene of a shocking tragedy about noon Monday, Matt Giossbeier being shot and instantly killed by his wife, Frances Grossbeier, at her home on North Central avenue. The sound of the shot and the; screams of the woman attracted neighbors and passers-by, but Grossbeier was dead before any witness reached him and made no ante-mortem statement. The ball was lodged in the victim's body passing just above the heart, fired at close range from a thirty-two caliber revolver.

Grossbeier and his wife were married by Judge Hirth several year ago and have had a somewhat turbulent time in the married state. The woman was formerly the wife of a railroad man named Water man with whom she failed to agree, and both she and Grossbeier were of violent temper and uncertain ways. They parted over a month ago and since Mrs. Grossbeier has occupied the house while her husband boarded with Philip Scherr.

They have had numerous quarrels owing to the jealousy of the wife and she has frequently indulged in threats and entreaties to keep him in line, while he in turn has threatened and abused her, resorting to physical violence on several occasions. On Sunday he attended the picnic it is alleged in Company with another woman and his wife in a fit of jealous rage went to his boarding place at Scherr's and punched several holes in an ^enlarged portrait of Grossbeier's, at which he was greatly incensed on his return.  

He told several of his associates that he intended to go down to his wife's place and retaliate for the injury of his picture. He put this threat into execution shortly after noon and failing to gain admission by-the front door of the dwelling went to a rear door and forced an entrance. As to what took place inside the woman's testimony is the only evidence. She claims that she was lying half-dressed in bed when her husband came in and that he immediately attacked her, seizing her by the throat and throwing her down upon the floor. She was carrying a revolver which she claims to have secured for protection from invaders as her home is somewhat isolated, and after a short struggle drew the weapon from her gown and placing the gun against his breast, fired. Grossbeier rolled over and expired instantly. She also claims that he was armed with s a large clasp knife which was found near the scene of the struggle by William Galligan, one of the first persons to enter after the shooting. In corroboration of 'the woman's story the furniture was overturned and there were signs of a hard struggle in the room.  

A coroner's jury was impaneled by Judge Hirth and the body was viewed at once, further action being deferred until the arrival of District Attorney Brazeau Tuesday afternoon when a hearing similar to a preliminary examination was commenced at the opera house, Mr. Brazeau appearing for the state and E. C. Pors for the defendant. The proceeding was somewhat unusual, the district attorney aiming to thoroughly investigate the matter at once and save all expense of future examinations and trials, while Judge Pors was confident that his client's act was justifiable on the grounds of self defense, and made a masterly and successful effort to free her at once. The coroner's inquest on the body of the deceased resolved itself into a virtual trial of Mrs. Grossbeier.  

Numerous witnesses were examined, among them Dr. Wahle, who saw the corpse shortly after death William Galligan and William Juno who were first on the ground after the shot was fired, and William Sewing who was at work near the house when the killing took place. Marshal A. F. Gerwing corroborated Messrs. Galligan and Juno. Philip Scherr, Adam Grossbeier, Louis Schubert. Lena Fischer, Peter Scherr, Peter Specht, Mrs. Mary Beine, Mike Wagner, A. Mulenbach, Lee Dumas, Jake Grossbeier, Mrs. Shetf, Alois Stangl, Jos. Kohl and George Specht also testified. Their statements showed that relations between the couple have been strained for some time and repeated threats were made by both parties. Nothing developed in the examination, however, to break the self defense theory which Judge Pors had set up.

After several hours deliberation, the jury brought in a majority verdict exonerating the woman, with a dissenting verdict signed by two jurymen, to the effect that the killing was not justifiable. Following are the two verdicts: State of Wisconsin, Wood County, City of Marshfield, ss—An inquisition taken at Marshfield, in the county of Wood, on the 25th day of May, 1903, before Wm. Hirth, one of the justices of the peace of said county, upon the view of the body of Matthias Grossbeier, there dead, by the jurors whose names are hereunto subscribed, who being duly sworn to inquire on behalf of the state, when, where and in what manner and by what means the said Matthias Grossbeier came to his death, upon their oaths do say that the said Matthias Grossbeier came to his death on Monday, May 25th, 1903, at the city of Marshfield, Wood county, Wisconsin,, from a revolver shot fired by his wife, Mrs. Frances Grossbeier, in self defense.





We, the undersigned jurors in the above inquisition, dissent from the above report and respectfully report that the said Matt Grossbeier came to his death from a revolver shot fired by his wife, Mrs. Frances- Grossbeier, and that the shooting in our opinion was unjustifiable.



On the order of the district attorney, Mrs. Grossbeier was released from custody without bonds. Relatives of the deceased are now making an effort to secure a complaint and have her arrested and tried for the killing. They have stated their intention to bring the matter before the district attorney at once.  

Family Notes

1900 Federal Census, ED 148 Marshfield city Ward 1-3, Wood, Wisconsin, United States, pg. 3, family 60

Francis Grossbier, white female
father's birthplace: Germany
mother's birthplace: Germany
marital status: Married
years married: 1, 1 living child
estimated marriage year: 1898

Household Members
head Matt Grossbier M 25 (May 1875) Wisconsin, both parents b. Germany
wife Francis Grossbier F 29 (May 1871) Wisconsin

Wisconsin Birth Records

Mathias Grosbaier
gender: Male
birth date: 30 Jul 1875
birthplace: Eaton, Manitowoc, Wisconsin
race: White
father's name: Killian Grosbaier
mother's name: Maria H. Egidy

Francisca Brey
gender: Female
birth date: 28 Feb 1867
birthplace: Eaton, Manitowoc Co., Wisconsin
father's name: Joseph Brey

Wisconsin Marriage Records

Mathias Grosbeier
bride's name: Francis Brey
marriage date: 27 Sep 1898
marriage place: Wood, Wisconsin
groom's father's name: Kilian Grosbeier
groom's mother's name: Mary (Anna) Schimmel Grosbeier
bride's father's name: Joseph Brey
bride's mother's name: Barbara Forster Brey




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