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Where Mrs. Luetgert Was Seen:
This incident seems to have occurred in Lake Zurich, Illinois, even though the Chicago Tribune referred to the location as Lake Zurich, Wisconsin. No such town appears to exist, and the Illinois town of Lake Zurich would appear to fit the description of the locale discussed here.
From the September 28, 1897, Chicago Record:
Armadale Opdyke, a fruit peddler living at 99 Ada street, swore positively that he saw Mrs. Luetgert on June 9. Cross-examination did not shake him. He said that he was sure that he saw the woman and he held to his original declaration tenuously.
Opdyke's story was that while he was driving his horse and wagon toward Janesville, Wis., he met two women about forty-five miles from Chicago. He camped beside the road at night and the women came along and inquired the way to Elgin, he said. Opdyke identified a photograph of Mrs. Luetgert and said again and again it was the likeness of one of the women he had seen.
From the September 29, 1897, Chicago Tribune:
He testified that he was a fruit seller, and on the afternoon of June 9 was at Lake Zurich, Wis., [sic], where he remained all night.
[Questioned by defense attorney Albert Phalen:]
"I pulled up there and staid all night off from the Looking-Glass River road and about 150 feet from me staid two women. They both had shawls on their heads. One weighed about 120 or 125 pounds and the other 100, about. I could not say exactly, but about that number of pounds. I pulled in to feed my horses and staid all night, staid outside. These women came down about a quarter to 8 I pulled in about half-past 7 and they came down a quarter to 8, and pretty soon I went after a pail of water. I came back with it and they came down where I was and asked me how far it was to Elgin. I told them about twenty or twenty-five or thirty miles, something about that."
[He identified her in a photo.]
[Cross-examined by State's Attorney Charles Deneen:]
"You only saw her for a moment?"
"Saw her quite a long while. Staid all night."
"Staid all night?"
"Staid all night right near."
"When you were not asleep you saw her all the time."
"Not every moment, no, sir."
"You saw both women all night, did you?"
"I saw them from a distance. They came up and talked to me."
"You saw them all night, didn't you?"
"Saw them all night."
"Weren't they together all night?"
"They were together all night when I was awake."
"You were camping out, were you?"
"Yes, sir, that night."
"They camped out, too?"
"They camped out, too."
"No one was with you, I suppose?"
"No one with me, no, sir, not at that time."
"Where did you sleep that night, Mr. Opdyke, in reference to them? How far were you away from them?"
"About 150 feet."
"Did they sleep out in the open air?"
"Did they have any blankets or covers?"
"Come and got a piece of my hay off my wagon."
"Did they have any blankets or covers?"
"No, sir. Took their shawls and spread over them."
Julian Hawthorne of the New York Journal described the testimony:
When Armadale Opdyke came to the chair we had a good time. He is the picturesque figure of the trial thus far. He is a wandering fruit vendor and camper-out on country roads; ready and fluent, smart and imaginative: but not quite up to the curves of State Attorney Deneen. He told us that he had been belated on the highway forty-five miles out of Chicago, and had made his bed by the roadside. His solitude, however, was agreeably disturbed by the advent of two ladies, one weighing 125 pounds, the other 100 pounds. They both had shawls drawn over their heads and the garments of both were dark whether dark brown or black he declined to say... So Mr. Phalen passed up his tintype, which Armadale promptly and positively identified: "That's the woman yes, sir."
Mr. Deneen rose. He discovered that Armadale's places of residence had been many, and that none of them had succeeded in retaining him long. Had he ever seen the lady's picture in the newspaper? He had; but what else the paper contained he knew not; not was he cognizant of the day, the week, or the month when it was brought to his attention... How long had he seen her on this occasion? He had seen her all night. That is, not quite all night; he was sleeping some of the time. Was it a moonlight [sic] night? Well, Mr. Opdyke could not say; unlike all other roadside peddlers, he had no eye for the moon; but he though there were stars. What day of the month was this? It was the 9th of June. Warm night? No, cold. Snow? No, no snow. And the ladies lay down by the road and slept, did they? Yes, that's what they done. "How near were you to them when they slept?" the State's Attorney had the curiosity to inquire; but Armadale repelled the insinuation by declaring that the distance which separated them was not less than 150 feet... By how many a gypsy campfire will he tell the story of how he testified in the Luetgert trial!
Read about other places where the missing Mrs. Luetgert was supposedly seen.