Marshfield, March 1913: Getting an earful
Wrong man shot following barroom scuffle
By Kris Leonhardt
On a cold and stormy Sunday evening in March of 1913, Joseph Grall was busy attending to the numerous customers in his Marshfield saloon. The crowd was boisterous, so Grall remained alert for any trouble that might arise.
From his location at the northeast corner of Central and Blodgett, he could see that the rain was not letting up and feared what might become of the large crowd if it remained much longer.
He checked his watch. Nearing midnight, he turned to watch two men indulging in the wine room. As his gaze reached the area where the men once stood, he observed one of them making his way to the Grall apartment upstairs.
Leaping from behind the bar, Grall grasped the man by his collar, escorted him back downstairs, and threw him outside.
Grall was then accosted by the man’s friend. The intoxicated man was no match for Grall, and he soon found himself outside in the driving rain as well.
By this time Grall had grown irate with the situation. Returning to the bar, he grabbed his revolver, ran to the door, and fired two shots northward — in the general area of where the men were now retreating.
In all of the commotion, Grall had not noticed Tom Krieg, a local boxer who had been making his way home and ducked into the saloon to get out of the rain. When the scuffle began, Krieg quickly made an exit and was now running toward his home.
When the shots were fired, one of the bullets mistakenly struck Krieg behind the right ear.
The following day, the district attorney made his way to Marshfield holding a warrant. Grall was arrested at the saloon and charged with assault with intent to kill. Grall furnished two bonds and was scheduled for a hearing later that month.
Krieg was taken to Saint Joseph’s Hospital with a scalp wound and was discharged later that week.
At Grall’s hearing he was bound over for trial in October. With his liquor license due for renewal on July 1, Grall was sure that he might not be approved. He had no other choice but to sell the bar.
In October Grall’s lawyer asked for a continuance in January when court would next convene. In January of 1914, Grall pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of assault. He was fined $75 plus costs.
Kris Leonhardt may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.