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George and Theresa Huber of Arkansas

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Re: George and Theresa Huber of Arkansas

Posted: 1259195274000
Classification: Query
I got hte articles copied onto my tree, I figured I would post them ehre too. I also have a picture of George too but can't add it into the forums here.

“Two Men Killed, One is Seriously Wounded”

The Times has secured meager details of a triple shooting affray over in Van Buren township on the western border of Newton County, as a result of which two are dead and the third seems to have only a slight chance to recover. The tragedy took place some time Wednesday last week.

The dead men are Mike and Fred Fitches, two aged brothers, and George Huber is hovering between life and death. The parties to the tragedy are all native-born Germans it is said. There is a little settlement of Germans, some five or six families having settled there ten or fifteen years ago, and it was some of these that got mixed up in a row which ended so disastrously for the Fitches.

It is said that Huber was passing near the home of Mike Fitch when he met the two old men. Trouble ensued which resulted in Huber shooting the two men. In the melee somehow Huber’s gun was wrenched from his hand and he was shot by one of the Fitches. In the meantime it appears that some of Mike Fitche’s family being aroused and took a shotgun to the scene, and Huber undertook to run away but received a charge of squirrel shot in the back at some distance. Huber is himself somewhat aged. He moved to this country from Germany about fifteen years ago and had only recently become a naturalized citizen.

None of the men were thought to be dangerously wounded at the time, but word came from what seems to be a reliable source that both of the Fitches died Saturday morning and Huber was rapidly growing worse with poor prospects for recovery.

Printed in The Madison County Record, June 23, 1949

“An editorial which came to our attention recently recalls a double killing which occurred near Kingston in the edge of Newton County, 27 years ago. The editorial entitled “Thou Shall Not Kill” was published in The Times of Jasper, county seat of Newton County, of date October 21, 1922, and was occasioned by the conviction of George Huber for second degree murder for the killing of Michael Ficht and Fred Ficht, brothers. The name of the publisher is listed as Boyd Pruitt. The Editorial follows:

THOU SHALL NOT KILL: The conviction of George Huber for second degree murder came like a thunderbolt from a clear sky. If the writer has been correctly informed -- that was a most atrocious, cold blooded, premeditated - for years- cunningly planned murder. It is reported that Huber stated that he was drunk when he committed the murders. But, that is not a mitigating proposition. Life is too cheap in this age. For years the writer has been personally acquainted with both Michael and Fred Ficht, always found them to be men four-square. Better men than they God never created, men who were 100 percent American in the new Fatherland, loyal to their families, and to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe. They were honorable gentlemen, in the highest sense that term implies. Their kindness to everybody, will long linger as a fragrant memory in the home which their presence brightened and which their untimely death has now darkened. Though they are gone their record has been made and will remain with us a lasting treasure.

Some years ago the Arkansas penitentiary was pictured as being worse than hell. It was charged that inmates had to labor when the physician to that institution claimed they were too sick to leave their cells, that the guards knocked convicts down and kicked in and broke their ribs - and the most brutal treatment that could be given the human kin was inflicted upon the convicts. And Governor Davis vowed that he would turn out of the Arkansas penitentiary all of the convicts if they were not better fed. Twelve years for Huber -- if the same regime existed now-- would be even worse than going to the electric chair - which our people were almost unanimously anticipating, but when Mike and Fred Ficht, in Abraham’s bosom up in Heaven can look down into Hell and see George Huber sent there for their murder, pleading for one drop of water to cool his parched tongue, then they will know that if the earthly jury failed to discern the true degree of murder, the heavenly jury never fails to find a righteous verdict. The writer is a firm believer in Retribution in this life, coming to all those who commit crime. Retribution will come to George Huber just as it always has come to first degree murderers in this life, and Hell in the life to come.

After reading the above editorial, I conversed with Mike Ficht, son of one of the slain men. He recalled the day that the affray occurred on the 22nd day of May 1922. The shooting occurred while the Ficht brothers, with three of Michael’s sons (including Mike), and two neighbors, Louie and Ciriack Heitzman, were working on a house on the Ficht farm in the edge of Newton County. According to Mike, George Huber, a neighbor who lived about one mile away, came by and encountered Fred Ficht in the road as he was leaving. After an exchange of a few words he pulled a .45 automatic pistol from his pocket and shot Ficht through the chest. He then turned the gun on Michael Ficht, some distance away, shooting him through the abdomen. He again turned the gun on Fred shooting him a second time through the stomach. Fred, who did not fall as a result of either of the shots, then ran to Huber, grappled with him, wrestled the gun from his grasp and shot him through the upper body as he fled.

All three wounded men were taken to their homes about one mile apart. Fred Ficht died on the morning of the 24th and his brother on the morning of the 25th. The Newton County Sheriff, as Mike Ficht recalls was a man named Hudson, with other officers came to the home of Huber and arrested him on a charge of first degree murder. He was guarded at his home, Mike recalls, until he had sufficiently recovered to be removed to the Newton County jail, where he remained until the trial in the fall.

Mike recalls that it took a day and a half to pick the jury, and another day to hear the testimony. He related that Huber testified that he was drunk at the time of the shooting and did not realize what he was doing. Karl Greenhaw was the prosecuting attorney. Huber had a battery of five lawyers, one of which was Ab Arbaugh of Jasper. The Heitzman brothers and the three sons of Michael Ficht, Mike, 18; Roosevelt, 19; and Emil, 21, were the main witnesses for the state. Mike Ficht recalls that the jury’s findings of second degree murder was a surprise to everyone. Huber was sentenced to eight years in the Arkansas penitentiary.

Two years later the governor (Mike doesn’t recall whether or not it was Governor Jeff Davis) turned out 300 convicts at one time. George Huber was one of them. He did not return to that section, and his whereabouts, if yet living, is not known.

Ficht recalled that Monroe Meadows, an old man from West Virginia, was the editor of the paper at the time the editorial was written. Michael Ficht, at the time he was slain, was the father of ten children. All are yet living. Fred Ficht did not have any children. The Ficht brothers had come to that section from Germany in 1898. George Huber was also a native of Germany.
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