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The following report appeared in the Caldwell Citizen's Press on 11 Nov 1880: 


 Two Women and a Two Babes Brutally Murdered

 And One Young Lady Struck Senseless by a Drunken Fiend

 From Our Regular Correspondent  Batesville, O., Nov. 8, 1880

             The most fearful tragedy that ever paralyzed this community was enacted last Saturday night [6 Nov 1880] about two miles south of Calais, Monroe county, near the Noble county line.  A wealthy young German, Frank Biedenbach in a fit of insanity or drunkenness committed the horrible deed. 

            About three years ago Biedenbach was married to Miss Jeffers, daughter of John Jeffers, the well known surveyor, the fruit of the marriage was a boy baby, a lovely child. 

            Last night Biedenbach returned home, it is said under the influence of strong drink.  He entered the house without arousing the inmates, who were his wife and babe, Betsey Stephens and child who were guests of Mrs. B. and a servant girl.  Mrs. B. and her child occupied one room, Mrs. Stephens her child and the young lady occupied an adjoining room. 

            The fiend, it is supposed, entered the room where his wife and child slept first taking with him an ax, with which he began his inhuman work.  With one blow, the skull of his wife was crushed, and then the little boy received a blow across the throat from the ax wielded by his unnatural father.  This was done with the sharp edge of the instrument and almost severed the head from the body.  This did not satisfy the monster, but blow after blow was administered to both mother and child until their heads were beated into an almost unrecognizable mass of quivering flesh. 

            After becoming satisfied with his hellish work in this apartment the murderer passed into that occupied by Mrs. Stephens and her child and the servant girl.  From appearances it would seem that both were killed by receiving one blow each, as there is but the mark of one wound upon the unfortunate woman and one upon her child.  The awakening of the servant girl at this time no doubt prevented the victims from being as horribly mutilated as the first two victims of the murderer, who lay weltering in their life-blood in the adjoining room. 

            Upon awakening the servant girl sprang from her bed and ran toward the door, but was knocked senseless and left for dead by the murderer.  She lay upon the floor sometime in this condition, when she recovered and gave the alarm.  As soon as notified by the girl, several neighbors ran to the scene of the tragedy, and were almost paralyzed with terror at the sight which met their gaze.  In one room upon the bed lay Mrs. Biedenbach, with her head pounded into a jelly and almost beyond recognition, and by her side the lifeless body of her child, with the head almost severed from the trunk.  Mrs. Stephens and child were found in bed in an adjoining bedroom with their skulls crushed in.  The blood of the four victims had dropped from the bed-clothing and had settled in pools upon the floor.  Search was at once made for the fiend incarnate, but it was not until morning that he was found.  He was discovered in a tobacco house with his throat cut, but not sufficiently deep to prove fatal.  He was taken into custody and the ugly gap in his throat sowed up, after which he was taken to Woodsfield and placed in the county jail. 

            Different theories are advanced as to the cause of the horrible tragedy, some claiming that it was jealousy, while other say the murderer is insane, but the generally accepted theory is that whisky is the responsible agent of the blood-curdling affair.  Heretofore Biedenbach has borne a fair reputation, and is a man well known in this county. 

            Mrs. Biedenbach and child were interred in St. Mary’s cemetery on Monday.  Betsy Stephens and child were interred in the cemetery near Calais. 

            Mrs. Stephens was a daughter of Washington Stephens and was born in the neighborhood of Point Pleasant, Guernsey county.  We did not learn the name of the hired girl, who escaped. 

            LATER – The murderer died from his self-inflicted wounds on Sunday, the hired girl died on Monday.  Instead of being killed in the house with the other victims, the wife was found dead some distance from the house, where she had gone to milk the cows.  It is said that the poor woman was near her confinement.  The murders were committed in the evening as indicated by milking time, but was not discovered till his brother, who had been at a husking bee, returned sometime in the night. 


A follow up report appeared in the same paper on 25 Nov 1880:

            Last week’s Barnesville Enterprise says the report that Mary L. Stephens, the wounded girl had died, was incorrect. She is, in fact, getting better and the probabilities are that she will recover.  Her skull was not broken, as first reported, but the blows were glancing and her wounds did not prove fatal, and she may be able to tell many important particulars concerning the tragedy. 

            The funerals of the victims occurred on Monday of last week.  The remains of Bedenbaugh, his wife and babe were interred in one grave at the Catholic Church of Wills Creek, while Mrs. Stephens and her little boy were buried in one grave in the vicinity of Calais. 

            A new theory of the killing of Mrs. Bedenbaugh has been advanced, that she was in the house when her husband commenced his fiendish work, and that, fearing the fate of the others, she fled from the dwelling, was pursued by her husband, overtaken in the milking field, and there struck down and killed.  She was struck in the back of the head, but there is no evidence that this was the first blow.  A desperate struggle commenced between husband and wife.  Bunches of the long hair of the woman were scattered over the ground evidently pulled out of her head in the fierce encounter. 

            Evidence of the occasional insanity of Bedenbaugh accumulates.  Among other things, it is mentioned that he tried to obtain a revolver from Mr. Burkhart, to shoot people, and that he told Burkhart that he thought it best to kill his little child that it might go to Heaven.  It is also thought that he was insanely jealous, without the slightest cause. 







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