A standing-room-only crowd turned out Sunday afternoon, Sept. 18, for a history program on the Smoyer-Wathen shootings in the Boone County Museum
Attendance was estimated at nearly 150 people for the program and discussion.
Although the case is nearly eight decades old, the story of the 1937 Smoyer-Wathen shooting in western Boone County still attracts interest.
Most Boone County residents already know the basics of this story.
Sheriff Lawrence Smoyer had been notified by area farmers of two men in a car that had been seen in some of the more isolated pasturelands of western Boone County.
He and Constable William Wathen were investigating those reports when they met a black Ford car in the Sandhills pasture. Sheriff Smoyer activated his siren to pull the car over. Two men were in the car. One of them got out with a gun as Smoyer and Wathen were exiting Smoyer’s vehicle.
Smoyer, 41 at the time, was shot and killed, while Wathen, 54, was shot through the hips and lay paralyzed along the Sandhills trail northwest of Akron on June 17, 1937.
Mary Jane Noble, mistress of ceremonies, introduced guest speaker, Seward County Sheriff Joe Yocum, who has been investigating the unresolved shootings since the 1980s. He continues to investigate and add detail to the story. Several speakers, some of whom were at the scene when law enforcement officers were investigating in 1937, spoke during the program.
Details in the Sept. 21 Albion News Print & E-Editions.