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Dakota Datebook

A Clever Ruse


On this date in 1909 North Dakotans learned of a clever plan that Deputy Sheriff Brown used to capture a fugitive. Joseph Schuber was charged with kidnapping a fourteen-year-old girl. It was alleged that Schuber had enticed Caroline Hatzenbueler to go with him to Dickinson. He planned to marry her and move to South Dakota. If they were unable to get married in Dickinson – she was, after all, only fourteen – they would go to South Dakota and get married there.

Caroline’s older sister had spurned a proposal by Schuber, who then said he’d marry Caroline instead. When the sister realized Caroline was missing, she figured Schuber had made good on his threat. She told her father, who got to Dickinson in time to stop the marriage, but Schuber disappeared.

The irate father swore out a warrant for Schuber’s arrest. His family told Deputy Sheriff Brown that Schuber had gone out of town, but they didn’t know where he was. Brown stayed on the case. There were indications that the fugitive had been in South Dakota, Minneapolis, and Winnipeg. Then Brown got word that Schuber had returned home, thinking the matter had blown over.

Brown went to the farm of Schuber’s brother Fritz. He explained that he was in the area to serve a warrant on a neighbor. He also told Fritz that the warrant against his brother Joseph had been dismissed. Fritz took Brown to his father’s house where they found Joseph. Joseph was pleased to learn that the warrant had been dismissed. It was getting late, so Joseph invited Brown to spend the night. In the morning, however, Joseph got quite a shock when Brown arrested him! 

Schuber’s story was that he went to propose to the older girl. When she wasn’t home, he proposed to Caroline. He insisted that he did not kidnap her as she came of her own free will.

After evading the law for two months, Schuber had finally been brought to justice, but before a court hearing could be held, the matter was settled out of court. The result was said to be acceptable to both parties, although the terms of the agreement were not made public.


Dakota Datebook written by Carole Butcher



The Evening Times. “Caught Culprit by Clever Ruse.” Grand Forks ND. 3/9/1909. Page 2.

Fargo Forum and Daily Republican. “Charge Kidnapping.” Fargo ND. 1/6/1909. Page 2

Dickinson Press. “Elopement Case Settled.” Dickinson ND. 1/6/1909. Page 3.

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