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

Margaret Lucretia (Louie) Hossack Kemp

Named for her mother and nicknamed “Louie,” Margaret Lucretia was born on January 4, 1877. Like her older sister, Cassie, Louie was a schoolteacher, and she lived at home until her marriage to Joe Kemp on March 21, 1900. Louie's wedding was a fancy affair; the ceremony and reception were held at the Hossack farm, with a large crowd of family and friends in attendance. After they were married, Louie and Joe moved to a farm just a few miles away, in Liberty, Iowa.

On the night of the murder, Louie and Joe were awakened in the middle of the night with the news that Louie's father had been attacked. They went to the Hossack home immediately and were there when John Hossack died. Less than a week later, when Louie was visiting her siblings at the scene of the crime, she unexpectedly went into labor. She gave birth to her first child at the Hossack farmhouse, naming him John after her father.

Louie's husband, Joe, joined the Hossack sons in the first meeting with William Berry, who defended Margaret Hossack. After the murder conviction was reversed, Joe was also instrumental in arguing for a change of venue for Margaret Hossack's second trial.

When her mother's legal ordeals ended, Louie and Joe moved with their children to Colorado. A few years later, on April 20, 1909, Louie died of complications from childbirth. Her body was transported to Warren County, Iowa, where she was buried.

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