Submitted by SVM
Editor’s note: Life has never been easy. Some people are cursed within the generations and others just bruise easily under the stresses of life. This is about a tragic hanging in what was known as Lange Store, a one-time popular country store and gathering place just south of Morrison, near the Gasconade River. It was a place where country customers went for their mail, to get a wagon fixed, stock up on necessities and to socialize with a snoot of wine. Several decades back, a resident from St. Charles renovated the old Lange Store which was not in the best of condition. With perseverance, money and time, the old store has come back to life as a second home for the family, but not without many surprises along the way.
There was the ghost that came to visit, smoking pipe and all (“Tales from Lange Store: A ghost story” was published in the June 26, 2019 edition of the AC.) But more tragic tales were to be discovered, as told by the owner, known only as “SVM.”
Selma Weisman now deceased, owned Memory Lake behind Lange Store. She told us that Minnie Epple had hung herself in the stairway going to the attic and that the tattered rope dangling from three large nails had been the devise. No one had taken down the rope since 1918. We looked up Minnies death certificate and sure enough, death by hanging was listed. The death certificate says William Epple her father-in-law found her. William (Bill) Epple, was the second owner of Lange Store, purchased in 1903. We searched and found Minnie’s husband’s (Bill Epple’s son) death certificate from 1916. He died from severe alcoholism.
On September 27, 2015, we attended the Gasconade County Historical Society Cemetery Walk. One of the volunteers portrayed Anna Lange Zander. As we were listening to the tragic story of how Anna Lange Zander drowned herself in the river, the actor said her daughter, Minnie Epple, had hung herself in a rock house just down the road. By 1918, the name Lange Store appears to be out of use on maps and only Morrison is listed, so it took some digging to pinpoint the place of the tragic event.
After some investigation, we knew our rock house was the one where Minnie hung attached a rope and hung herself.
I never thought much about the old scrap of rope that had hung from three large nails for 100 years. We renovated the attic and I pulled the nails and threw the old scrap in a shed. Now, this scrap of rope that ended a young person’s life all those years ago is hanging from one small roofing nail, just below its original deadly place.