The murder weapon used in the 1912 Villisca, Iowa axe murders of the Josiah Moore family and two overnight guests will be on display during the 100 Year Anniversary Villisca Axe Murders Commemoration Event at the Montgomery County History Center, 2700 N. 4th Street in Red Oak, Iowa on Sunday, June 10, 2012. The axe is on loan from the Villisca Historical Society and the State Historical Society of Iowa.
The murder weapon was donated in October 2006 to the Villisca Historical Society, Inc. by its long-time owner, historian Dr. Edgar V. Epperly. Epperly has researched the still-unsolved case for more than 50 years and the axe was given to him by fellow researcher and writer Don Brown. Brown acquired the weapon from the widow of State law enforcement official James Risden, a special investigator in the 1912 murder case.
"On behalf of the Villisca Historical Society, I want to thank you for your faith expressed in us by offering the axe to our organization," said acting Historical Society president Dr. Mary Hansen in a letter to Epperly.
Although the murder of eight people in 1912 was a great tragedy for the small rural community, public interest in the crime continues today, and the axe is the most significant surviving historical artifact related to the case.
The Commemoration Event includes the historical exhibit, a preview screening of Tammy and Kelly Rundle's new short documentary AXMAN, and encore screening of their award-winning VILLISCA: LIVING WITH A MYSTERY and Q&A with expert historian Dr. Edgar Epperly and the filmmakers after the film presentations.
The Villisca Historical Society is in the process of developing and presenting some of its collection in space donated to the organization by the Montgomery County History Center.
The Villisca Historical Society, Inc. is an organization that collects, preserves, interprets and displays artifacts, photographs and documents to shed light on the natural, civil and political history of the City of Villisca, Iowa. It develops and presents programs and services to promote public awareness, scholarly research, and appreciation of Villisca’s unique history. VHS is committed to fostering excellence and leadership, and historical inquiry, believing that an understanding of the past illuminates the present and gives vision to the future. Visit www.VilliscaHistory.org for more information.