SEVEN DEAD BODIES FOUND BY TURTLE LAKE FARMER
I have searched high and low for information no else has for this story. I want it to reflect the person's involved and their family trees. I will start with the victims.
Jacob Wolff was born on 18 Apr 1879 in Pawlowsky, Odessa, Russia. He married in 1905 Turtle Lake, ND to Beata Bossert born 15 Apr 1885 in Hoffnungstal, Bessarabia, Russia. Jacob came to America in 19 when he was 21 years old. Beata about 1902.
According to the 1900 Census, he was a servant for the Ketterlings in McIntosh Co, ND. Very few short years later he is married and living in Lake Williams, McLean County, ND in 1910 (Census) with 4 children.
|Jacob & Beata (Bossert) Wolff with daughter (not sure which one).|
The Wolff's had the following children
|Mrs.Wolff's sister holding Emma the only survivor|
Thousands of families and friends and neighbors all came to the funeral to say goodbye and give condolences to other family members.
Emma was raised by her Aunt and Uncle (Her Mom's sister) until she finished high school This is the only photo I could find of her.
Here are photo's of the Wolff family and 13-year-old Jake Hofer. The dates of birth for Mr. and Mrs. Wolf is wrong.
THE MURDERED FAMILY, is the English translation of the German inscription -- "Die ermordete Familie" -- that appears on the front of the Wolf family tombstone.
Now for the other innocent people's lives ruined.
Henry C Layer the accused. was born 12 Nov 1885 in Eigenfeld, South Russia. Came to America on 12 Oct 1886 landed in New York.
His first wife was Mathilda Miller I could not find a marriage date for them They had two children.
Elizabeth Katherina Layer born 1908
Edward Layer 1910
They were divorced 11 Mar 1911
Second wife was Lydia Brokofsky they married on 30 Jan 1912 in Ashley, ND
Their children were.
Blanche Rose Brokeofsky born 1910 (Stepdaughter, who always referred to him as her dad even after his death).
|Blanche Rose Brokeofsky|
Emil Berthold Layer born 17 Mar 1915
Berthold Layer born 01 Aug 1916 died 14 Oct 1922 (This story I will add after the children).
Edwin John Layer born 26 Jul 1917
Willard A. Layer born 09 Jun 1919
All the children except for Blanche and possibly Willard were placed in the Ward Home for children in Fairmont, MN After Henry was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of the Wolff Family.
Here's a clipping describing what happened.
Little Berthold Layer Falls Under Wheels of Heavy Load of Sugar Beets---One of Seven Children Without Parental Care.
There was sadness at the Ward Home today as the little orphans gathered around the stilled form of Berthold Layer, aged 6, who was instantly killed this morning when a wagon loaded with sugar beets passed over his head, fracturing the skull just at its base.
Among the orphans were three of Berthold’s brothers and a sister. Edwin, aged 4, was too small to realize just what had happened, and tears welled in his eyes as he attempted to comfort his sister, Blanch, and brothers Alvin, and Emil.
The little boy had gone to the beet field south of the orphanage with the other boys and F.C. Fuller, the driver of the wagon. He was returning to the house with them about 9 o'clock this morning. Mr. Fuller had driven into the lane and was about to drive through the gate when the accident occurred.
"I told the children to stay away from that wagon," said Mr. Fuller, "and did not see Berthold, who was on the opposite side. The bang-board obstructed my view, and the first thing I knew was when the back end of the wagon rose up. 'Berthold had been run over' shouted one of the boys. I picked him up, but the life must have left him instantly. He made no outcry.
Dr. Richardson, who hurried to the orphanage to make an examination, said that death was practically instantaneous.
Berthold was one of a family of seven children, four of whom were brought to the Ward Home last June. The father and mother of the children are living, but have parted and Berthold and the three brothers and one sister who to the Ward Home this year, made their home with their mother and grandmother. Their home was at Turtle Lake, N.D. The children were brought to Fairmont by Rev. George Newcombe of Bismarck.
Funeral arrangements are being held up pending word from the he boy's mother."
|Henry C Layers|
Henry maintained his innocence even as he laid in the prison hospital, he told the warden he was innocent and that a man that was admitted to the State Hospital in Jamestown was responsible for the murders. Unfortunately according to the warden he gave no name of this man.
Two families destroyed. Hurt. Betrayed.
Hopefully, someday the whole truth will come out and these families can heal. There are still family members out there very hurt on both sides. I pray they find peace and the unanswered truth.