Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower



Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

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Nov 22

Mysterious Murders of Frogtown

Posted on November 22, 2019 at 10:54 AM by Melissa Dalton

This week, we conclude our report on the events of our Halloween program, Spooky Tales from the Greene County Archives, with a highlight of the murder of Lou Keys and George Koogler in Igo’s story, “The Ghosts of Frogtown.”

According to Igo’s story, George Koogler, a former soldier, had his sights set on Lou Keys, a local woman known for being a vivacious, dusky woman. George was known to sing “Oh, My Pretty Qaudroon” to Lou, his pet song. However, there was another man who fancied Lou… Andy Hunster. Andy ran an ice cream parlor across from the post office, and had lost a leg to frostbite. Andy would tell the locals that he and Lou were going to get married.

One morning, Koogler and Keys were found dead at her home. Both had been struck in the head with a blunt object, with Koogler found on the lawn, and Keys found inside on the floor. Suspicion instantly was on Andy, and he was arrested.

Andy was tried, but acquitted, not once, but twice. Shortly after his acquittal, Andy had a strange encounter. He burst into a local barber shop, telling a tale that he had just run into Lou and George! They were walking arm and arm and George was singing his signature song… then they walked right through him! The men in the barbershop thought him mad (or maybe drunk), and told Andy to just go home and forget. Andy might have gone home, but he never forgot (Fig 1).

Fig 1. The Ghosts of Frogtown by Harold Igo, published in Yellow Springs News on May 13, 1943 (JPG)
Fig 1. “The Ghosts of Frogtown” by Harold Igo, published in the Yellow Springs News May 13, 1943

So, what do we actually know? What do the records tell us?

Frogtown was a swampy part of Yellow Springs, and located along Dayton Pike, running from East Enon Road to Wright Street (was once known as Gravel Pit Road) (Fig 2). Today, you will find Antioch Midwest around this region. There were many Irish immigrants who settled in this area, and it was also home to Lou Keys.

Fig 2. Greene County Road Record of Yellow Springs area (JPG)
Fig 2. Road Record of Yellow Springs (Greene County Archives)

The key players in this story are Lou “Keys” Roberts, George Koogler, and Andy Hunster. Lou Keys, also known as Lou Roberts, was an African-American woman, about 35 years old. The newspapers claim she had an “unsavory reputation,” but do not comment further. George Koogler was 52 years old, a widowed farmer and ex-soldier, and was believed to be quite wealthy. Koogler was quite smitten with Keys, had been courting Ms. Keys. The third person in this potential love triangle is Andy Hunster. Hunster was about 40 years old, and the son of Edward and Margaret Hunster, restaurateurs in Yellow Springs (Fig 3). He was listed on the 1880 census as mulatto and “maimed, crippled, bedridden or otherwise disabled.”

Fig 3. Cincinnati Enquirer, dated December 14, 1892 (JPG)
Fig 3. Cincinnati Enquirer, dated December 14, 1892 (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)

On the night of the murder, Koogler and Keys were seen at a local restaurant, owned by Hunster’s parents. According to one news article, a “suspicion character” watched the couple while eating dinner, but no one really thought much of it at the time (Fig 4). However, the next morning, Koogler and Keys were found dead, with their heads split open. Keys was found just inside the home, and Koogler was found on the front lawn. The murder weapon was a small hammer, which was found (covered in blood) in the Keys’ coal house. There also was an icepick/dray pin found near the scene. The detectives and coroner believed it may have been a robbery as Koogler’s pockets were rifled through, and it was known that he had come to town earlier in the day to receive his pension (although it had not arrived in the post).

Fig 4. Cincinnati Enquirer, dated December 15, 1892 (JPG)
Fig 4. Cincinnati Enquirer, dated December 15, 1892 (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)

Andrew Quinn, a neighbor of Keys, reported that he heard three voices as the group returned to Keys’ home, and recognized the third voice as Hunster. Hunster was known to “hang about” Keys’ house, but the newspapers indicate that Quinn’s testimony was quickly discredited (although the reasoning is not clear) (Fig 5).

Fig 5. Xenia Gazette, dated December 14, 1892 (JPG)
Fig 5. Xenia Gazette, dated December 14, 1892 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

The case went unsolved for almost a year, but then there was a break (Fig 6). In August 1893, another man, Allen Wilson, was murdered in a similar fashion. He had received his pension the previous day, then found dead at his home with his head smashed in, and a dray pin found nearby. Not long before, another man in town, a farmer named Hoppings, was left unconscious after being struck in the head. He awoke to find William Whaley going through his pockets, and Whaley was frightened off. Whaley was hunted down and arrested. According to the newspaper, Whaley requested to make a confession. He claimed that he and John Hones (aka Friday Jones), Clifton (aka Diamond) Johnson, and Jim Sanford plotted the murder of Wilson and to steal his money. Upon hearing the confession, the three other men were arrested. However, Whaley denied murdering Koogler and Keys (Fig 7).

Fig 6. Xenia Gazette, dated December 15, 1892 (JPG) Fig 6. Xenia Daily Gazette, dated December 20, 1892 (JPG) Fig 6. Xenia Gazette, dated December 22, 1892 (JPG)
Fig 6. Various articles from Xenia Gazette in December 1892 (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)

Fig 7. Headline from Cincinnati Enquirer, dated September 9, 1893 (JPG)
Fig 7. Headline from Cincinnati Enquirer, dated September 9, 1893 (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)

Whaley was tried and convicted of the murder of Wilson, and sentenced to death by hanging (Fig 8). Although Whaley never confessed to the double murder of Koogler and Keys, many believed they died by his hands. However, their murder remains a mystery today.

Fig 8. State Record Vol 9 p 464 (JPG)
Fig 8. State Record Vol 9 p 465 (JPG)
Fig 8. State Record Vol 9, pgs 464-465

That completes this year’s recap of our Spooky Tales event! We hope everyone enjoyed learning about these stories. Next year, we plan to delve into more spooky stories of mystery and murder in Greene County, so be sure to follow us for all the details!

Until Next Week!

Sources:
Ancestry.com
Greene County Archives, State Record Vol 9
H. Igo (1943, May 13). The ghosts of Frogtown. Yellow Springs News.
NewspaperARCHIVE.com
Newspapers.com
ProQuest Historical Newspapers


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