The Gilded Age Plains City

The Great Sheedy Murder Trial and the Booster Ethos of Lincoln, Nebraska


Explore the City

Spatial Narratives

Interpretation and Narrative



After Lingering in an Unconscious Condition for Twelve Hours He Quickly Passes Away.

Wherein Was the Motive.

John Sheedy was the victim of a cowardly assault Sunday evening. At half past seven o'clock Mr. Sheedy stepped out of the front door of his residence at the southeast corner of Twelfth and P. with the intention of strolling over to the Capital hotel. Just as he closed the door he was struck a heavy blow over the left eye by a blunt instrument in the hands of some unknown supposed assassin. Mr. Sheedy was momentarily stunned by the blow, but quickly recovering himself, drew his revolver and perceiving his would-be assassin fleeing away in the darkness toward the rear end of the lot he fired five shots at him. The first shot startled Mrs. Sheedy, who came running to the door just as her husband fired the last time. The shooting startled the neighborhood and in a few moments a large crowd of people were gathered about the house, eager to ascertain the cause of the commotion.

After Mr. Sheedy had emptied his revolver he stepped into the house and remarked to his terror-stricken wife that he believed that he had been shot. Drs. Everett and Hart happened to be close at hand and at once hurried into the house. Upon examination they found that Mr. Sheedy had been struck just above the left eye by a blunt instrument and a gash cut extending over an inch across and an inch downwards. The cut was almost half an inch deep and it was necessary to put six stitches in it. Mr. Sheedy also received a blow over the back of his left wrist which caused it to swell to twice its normal size.

Shortly after the shooting Officers Otto, Kinney, Adams and Bob Malone were on the premises and immediately began a search for traces of the assailant. On the porch just a few feet from the door Officer Kinney found a heavy leather cane, the upper end of which was bent as if by a blow. Further investigation revealed a lot of blood stains on the south end of the porch, which were traced through the back yard to the alley, showing the Mr. Sheedy had hit his assailant. In the lattice work that divides the front yard from the back was a bullet hole within a few inches of the door out of which the fellow passed.

After lingering in an unconscious condition for twelve hours the spirit of John Sheedy winged its flight. It was not until midnight Sunday night that any alarming symptoms manifested themselves, everybody believing that Mr. Sheedy was only slightly injured. Near the hour of midnight. Mrs. Sheedy ascertained that her husband was relapsing into an unconscious condition. She immediately gave the alarm and Drs. Hart and Everett were called in. The physicians upon a brief examination found that hemorrhage of the brain had set in and that there was no possible hope for the patient. Mr. Sheedy continued in an unconscious condition and at four o'clock Monday afternoon five physicians held a consultation and decided that an operation would not relieve the patient. The blood was slowly clogging about the brain and it was impossible for the physicians to stop it. Everything in the power of the attending physicians was done but of no avail and just a few moments before 10 o'clock Mr. Sheedy breathed his last.

John Sheedy was one of the best known citizens in Lincoln. He came here in 1870 and resided here continuously from that date. He amassed considerable wealth in the city and erected the Sheedy block on P Street now known as the Hotel Mack. In all charitable movements Mr. Sheedy was a prominent figure and invariable gave liberally. The deceased freighted across the plains several times prior to his location in this city and was a typical frontiersman. He was in his fifty-sixth year and was hale and hearty. There are several theories regarding the cowardly assault that robbed Mr. Sheedy of his life, but they are too vague to bear repetition.

Hart, Charles S. [Brief Biography]
Sheedy, John [Narrative] [Brief Biography]
Sheedy, Mary [Narrative] [Brief Biography]

"After Life's Fiful Fever.," Semi Weekly State Journal January 16, 1891

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Directed by Timothy R. Mahoney, Plains Humanities Alliance, in collaboration with the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities.
Funded by the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, the Nebraska Humanities Council, and the Plains Humanities Alliance.
© 2007–2008, University of Nebraska–Lincoln