Photo by Arlan Heiser (Picture taken with infrared camera.)
The last murder committed in Summit Co. for which the perpetrator was hung, was done in the Highjack House.
Frank was the last of the Highjack’s to live on the family farm located on Hawkins Rd., Richfield Twp. Somewhat later in his life, he could be seen walking thru the woods on his way to Pete & Al’s, a part grocery/part bar in the center of Richfield. Frank, who was nicknamed Funka, was said to have greatly enjoyed a beer. When he died, the house and farm went empty. Years later some city folks bought the place and decided to burn it all down.
Along about 20 years ago, shortly before the burning, I asked if I could have the house and 12×12 oat crib. Again, I could, but there was a time crunch. I jacked up the crib and put it on two telephone poles and drug it home by tractor. I pretty much blocked both lanes so I was anxious to pull in my drive before anyone happened along. As luck would have it, 30 seconds after I made it, a police car drove by. The house took a bit longer to move.
It was a full two stories tall, with a one story kitchen off the back. The main hse. was 25′ by 20′ and the addition was 12 by 15. It had an asphalt roof over wood shingles, the inside was fully plastered, the wall joists were 3″x3″ poplar sawed on the farm, and the main structure was hand hewn 8×8 beams. The basement was full of a rusty furnace and other rusted and sharp metal.
All the wall and ceiling plaster went into the basement, then I pulled off the roof. Next I removed the first and second floor boards (which may have been a poor move). Then I took down the roof rafters. As I was standing on one of the attic joists, working on the rafters, the joist broke. I fell two stories and almost landed on the quite sharp furnace pieces. Fortunately (sorta) I landed across a first floor floor joist and came to a sudden stop. It was kind of eye opening.
I pulled off all the siding and diassembled the beams and dropped them to the ground. I got the whole thing home on various hay wagons.
…Years ago early in the century, the picture of one of the young daughters of the family appeared in the local paper. A young man from Hudson became enraptured with her visage, and came calling. They courted a bit, but the young lady decided to spurn his further advances. This drove him to great dispair, and then to rage.
The young man came bursting into the house thru the back door, pulled a pistol, and shot the girl’s mother dead. The young girl ran up the stairs and jumped out the window onto the porch roof, then to the ground. She ran across the road to an old lady neighbors house. The old lady went stomping across the yard, walked in the back door, slapped the newly made killer across the face, and said “Behave yourself and sit down”. He did and the lady called the police.
Not long after, he was hung in front of the Akron Court House.
(This is the story I was told. Someday I’ll look up the old newspaper accounts and see just how accurate the teller remembered the events.)
The Highjack House has been reassembled in its entirety as an addition to the back of the Garman house on the museum’s property. It now serves as a Victorian furnished sitting room. …..The rest of the Highjack farm buildings were burned and a rather modern house stands in place of the once beautiful and useful farm house and buildings.