He Stole Her
A remarkable story which came from the Town of Ludington in Eau Claire County.
Eau Claire Daily Leader | December 13, 1891
A young farmer comes to town and carries off the wife of another man.
Ludington township is enjoying a rich sensation. The story goes that a farmer in that precinct, whose name is withheld for the present, made a trip to Eau Claire about one month ago and stole away the young wife of a man living not two miles from Barstow street. How he managed to get the woman to his little farm in Ludington township secretly and without resistance has not been explained. But Friday the woman returned to her hubby repentant and humiliated, and declared she had been stolen away and kept a prisoner. And he believed it. The facts are vouched for by a reliable citizen of Eau Claire, but the names of the parties are withheld for the present.
Chad’s Take: Lock up your spouse
First off, let me save you the trouble of having to ask Frank Smoot where the town of Ludington is located. The town of Ludington is just east of Fall Creek in Eau Claire County. Consisting of nearly 1,000 people, the rural town normally gets lumped in with Fall Creek.
Now that I have done Frank’s job, let’s move on to the real heart of this article. Before any of you add this case to your running total of Chippewa Valley kidnappings, you should be aware that stories like this one were fairly common during this time period. Perhaps this woman really was the victim of a kidnapping and held hostage at a Ludington farm. Although stranger things have happened in the Chippewa Valley, I am a bit skeptical of this story only because over the years, I have discovered dozens of cases in which the woman simply ran off with another man, and when the forbidden romance did not work out, they inevitably returned to their waiting husbands. Upon returning home some of the women followed the advice of this article and told an amazing tale of being kidnapped by some unknown man. However, many other returning “kidnapped” women were much more creative and clever. These women claimed to have been drugged, hypnotized, and even tricked into leaving with another man. You see, during this time period men mostly thought that women were weak minded, and therefore they could easily be tricked or fooled by any suave and cunning man that came along.
However, these bizarre kidnappings were not exclusively reserved for women. Men also left their wives for other women, and many times when their new love did not flourish, the men also retreated to the safety of their previous home and spouse. Yet these strong and proud men could not claim that they had been kidnapped by some mysterious woman. No, these tough and rugged men had to suffer from amnesia, or have been robbed and beaten by a gang of traveling thieves.
So what really did transpire in Ludington? The simple answer is that I do not know. The article stated that it was withholding the names of the parties involved, and I was unable to find any other article that followed up on this kidnapping story. I did fin it interesting that the paper also hinted at its skepticism toward the kidnapping when it wrote “and he believed it,” referring to the outlandish story told by the wife. In the end I guess this case will remain unsolved, but maybe you should lock up your spouse just in case.
Keep an eye out ...