Obituary Details

Edwin Joseph Pahlow

(11/30/-0001 - 03/23/1929)
Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 03/28/1929

Sheepherder Victim of Own Gun; North Country Scene of Tragedy


Edwin Joseph Pahlow, about 46 years old, a sheepherder in the employ of Charles Grieves of Newcastle, whose range is in the northern end of Niobrara County, either accidentally or intentionally killed himself some time last Saturday evening, or early Sunday morning, with a 32-20 rifle. The body was not discovered until Sunday afternoon, lying on the floor of the sheep wagon, with a gaping wound in the head.

A coroner's jury was empaneled by Coroner George Earl Peet, who with Sheriff Hassed went to the scene as soon as notified, returned a verdict of accidental death, but many indications point to suicide, the coroner's jury giving the dead man the benefit of the doubt.

The position of the body indicated that he had received the fatal wound standing up, and had fallen to the floor, the gun falling beside him. On the floor were several empty shells, which might indicate that he had been shooting at coyotes from the door of the sheep wagon. The theory was advanced by other workers at the sheep camp that Pahlow had heard a coyote howl and had jumped up quickly, grabbed his gun off the wall of the wagon, and that the trigger had caught on something and was accidentally discharged.

The bullet from the 32-20 rifle entered the head just above the ear, ploughed its way through the brain, and flattened itself out against one of the bows of the wagon.

The herder's death was discovered when the camp tender discovered the sheep scattered in small bands along Snyder creek. After the sheep had been rounded up, a trip to the wagon revealed the tragedy. Pahlaw had evidently been dead about 18 hours when the body was discovered.

As soon as the news was sent to Lusk by the nearest phone, Sheriff Hassed and Coroner Peet started for the scene, taking the Peet funeral car, accompanied by Hubert Keller to assist in shoveling the way through the drifts in the north country. It took the men eight hours to make 80 miles, and the last four miles to the sheep camp were made with a wagon and team.

As soon as possible Coroner Peet empaneled a jury composed of Hubert Keller, Robert Dixon and Gus Frahm, who, after investigation, rendered a verdict of accidental death.

Charles Grieves, owner of the band of sheep which Pahlow was herding, started from Newcastle as soon as notified, and met the Sheriff and Coroner at the scene of the tragedy and accompanied the body to Lusk.

The Grieves sheep camp is located in the extreme northern end of the county on Snyder creek. Pahlow had been herding the band for about two months and little is known of him in Lusk. His brother, John Pahlow, of Alliance, Neb., came to Lusk as soon as notified of his death. He viewed the remains, but did not stay for the funeral, leaving shortly before noon for his home. He said he had a family of a wife and ten children, and did not have the means to take the body to his home, leaving the funeral and all other arrangements to the county authorities.

The funeral will be held some time Wednesday afternoon, with burial in the Lusk cemetery.

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