Country Facts and Folklore
By Andy Reddick


Occasionally over the past few years, people ranging in age from their early teens into their forties have been arrested in Van Buren County and charged with possession of a controlled substance, or substance abuse. However, cases involving drug abuse are not necessarily new.

According to Tharpís History of Farmington, Dr. Lonnie A. Coffinís office was broken into and robbed of morphine in February, 1931. The thief was caught in Milton. A drug addict named Charles Williams confessed to the crime and was sentenced to a jail term.

Dr. Coffin had moved to Farmington in 1914 to practice medicine after his father died. Competition was great, as five other doctors were practicing medicine in Farmington at the time. Itís too bad that the Wahner family did not live near one of these doctors.

In October, 1922 Adam Wahnerís brother heard Adam go outside around 9:00 PM, and when he awoke around 2 oíclock, he discovered that Adam had not returned. Upon careful investigation of the premises, he found his brother in the chicken house, unconscious and bruised. Wahner carried him into the house, and left him lying on the floor until the next morning. There was no phone, the nearest neighbor was a half mile away, and he was afraid to leave his brother alone.

The next morning, the young man was dead. Authorities ascertained that the intruder(s) probably expected to find money in the Wahner home. A bar of iron smeared with blood was found in the chicken house. Governor Kendall posted a $500 reward for the murderer(s), but I have found no indication that the crime was solved.

I donít know if the Wahner murder involved any controlled substance, but crimes of this nature today are often and usually related to drugs. Fortunately the forensics science has progressed so that DNA testing can be used to solve these horrible mysteries.

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Contributed to the Van Buren Co. IAGenWeb Project by Andy Reddick