The Josiah B. Moore Family Home

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Josiah Moore home June 10, 1912. Villisca Review Photo

508 E. Second Street, Villisca IA 50864

Sometime during the night of Sunday, June 9 or early morning Monday, June 10, 1912, a person or persons unknown entered a modest house in Villisca, Iowa and bludgeoned to death the eight people sleeping there: Josiah and Sara Moore, their children: Herman, Katherine, Boyd and Paul and two overnight guests: Lena and Ina Stillinger.   These killings, known thereafter as the “Villisca Axe Murders," is easily the most notorious murder in Iowa history.  The murder spawned nearly ten years of investigations, repeated grand jury hearings, a spectacular slander suit, and murder trial, and numerous minor litigations and trials.   It made and broke political careers.   Legislation was written in response to the murder, including the establishment of the current State Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s predecessor.  In addition, the murder proved an unmitigated tragedy for Villisca. 

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Josiah Moore family home rear view today. Fourth Wall Films photo.

The house, originally built in 1868, has had a number of occupants since that time and was sold to a local privately-owned museum in 1994.   In 1997 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. (Written by Edgar V. Epperly)


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