All On Fire



Cando Herald, 25th: W. H. Fee, an apparently inoffensive man, who has lived in the south part of town for several years, was arrested this morning at the instigation of Postoffice Inspector Noile, charged with using the United States mail for the purpose of blackmailing. It seems that R. P. Myers was, one day the past winter, telling a friend of a murder that was committed in Greene county, Iowa, in the neighborhood where he had lived, and Fee was sitting by the stove and overheard the story. A short time afterward a friend handed Myers a copy of the Marshalltown, Iowa paper, which contained a long article saying that a Mr. Moss, of near Scranton, Greene county, had received blackmailing letters purporting to be from one Wm. "Fan," of Cando, N.D., in which he was told that if he did not send the writer one hundred dollars he would make trouble for him by divulging what he knew about the murder that was committed in that vicinity, and that R. P. Myers, who formerly lived there, could prove all that he "Fan" would tell. He directed Moss to enclose that envelope in another which was to be directed to "W. H. Fee, Cando, N.D."

Mr. Moss took no notice of the first letter, and burned it, but he soon received a second and then notified the authorities, when the postoffice department went to work on it. In one of the letters Moss received he was told he must send the full amount of one hundred dollars, and that ninety-nine dollars would not suffice to insure silence. He was told, also, that he must not send a draft, money order, or check, but that he should put two fifty dollar bills in the inside envelope. When the postoffice department took up the matter a letter was sent as the blackmailer had requested, with the exception that the money was not enclosed. The outside envelope was marked and Postmaster Hill was notified of the facts and instructed to make note of the facts of its delivery, etc. Inspector Noile arrived last evening and collected a few links of evidence, and this morning Fee was arrested and locked up in the county jail. This afternoon he was given a hearing, but refused to talk at first, but when he was told he would be detained in jail for contempt of court he weakened and, after a short consultation with an attorney in regard to his position he was willing to talk. He acknowledged writing several of the letters of which there were six or seven, but denied writing the remainder. He also implicated Wm. Vader, who, he said, was as guilty as he was, and he said that they had at first planned to bleed Moss for five hundred dollars, but concluded to let him off for one hundred. He will be held to answer at the U. S. court.

Bismarck Tribune, 4/29/1901


Posted 05/17/2014