A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

History: Triple Murder on Farm Near Wickatunk (1908)

The 21 May 1908 edition of The Matawan Journal had a three column front page story about the murder of a Wickatunk farmer, his wife and their house maid by a recently hired farm hand. Frank Zastera shot and killed William B. Sheppard, his wife Josephine, and their maid Jennie Bendy using the farmer's own rifle.

Sheppard came from New York City three years earlier, leaving his job at Metropolitan Life Insurance Company seeking a life out of doors. He purchased a 100-acre farm in Monmouth County and raised squab. He was having trouble finding farm hands locally, so he hired Zastera and a couple of other young in New York. All of the boys seem to have been troubled in one way or another..

Zastera provided an eerie verbal walk through of the evening's horrible, senseless events.

Jennie Bendy's father lived in Matawan. The 1900 Federal Census showed Edward (38) and Elizabeth (30) Bendy living in Matawan with children Jennie (10), Phebe (8), Maria (5), Edward (3) and Ada (2). Head of household was a farmer. He and Elizabeth had been married 14 years. 3 of her 8 children had not survived at the time of the census enumeration.

1 comment:

  1. My grandfather was Frank Zastera. Born the same time as this one, and also in Bohemia. People keep mixing the two up. Mine lived most of his life in North Dakota.