Midnight Assassin: A Murder in America's Heartland
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The Hossack Case

Ivan Hossack

The youngest of the Hossack children, Ivan was born on September 16, 1887. He was sleeping downstairs with his brother, Jimmie, on the night of the murder. Ivan was the last family member to acknowledge handling the ax on the night before the murder, so his testimony as to where he had put the ax was pivotal at both trials. Ivan initially claimed that that he had put the ax in the granary, but later he testified that he could not be sure.

He was sent to live with a neighbor family while his mother was tried for murder. A few years after the second trial had ended, Ivan joined the Ringling Brothers Circus and learned the trade of barbering. He spent a few years living near Will in Colorado. Ivan served in the US Army during World War I and fought in Europe. After he returned from the war, he married and settled in Mitchell, South Dakota. Ivan had one child—a daughter named Maxine—and he operated a barbershop for many years. Later, he worked for the police department, until he was forced to retire because of poor health.

Ivan never spoke of the tragedy of his boyhood. He became a highly-respected member of his community, and he was a devoted husband and father. He kept in touch with his siblings, often traveling to Iowa to see relatives, including Annie, May and Jimmie. Ivan also provided some financial support to his older brother, Alex. Ivan died in Mitchell in 1952.

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Midnight Assassin copyright © 2017; Patricia L. Bryan and Thomas Wolf