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 Charles Lee “Charlie” Houser

Charles Lee “Charlie” Houser

Missouri, USA
Death 2 Jan 1932 (aged 28)
Brookline, Greene County, Missouri, USA
Burial Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri, USA
Memorial ID 23918483 · View Source
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Charles Houser was one of six law officials who were killed in the Young Brother's Massacre which was known as the "deadliest single law enforcement gunfight in the "20th century. Paul, Harry and Jennings Young were known as "small town thieves" and until Harry Young and a friend killed a Republic, Missouri city Marshall named Mark Noe on June 2, 1929, law officials had considered them to be 'non-violent.' On January 2, 1932, upon hearing that the Young brothers were visiting their family's farm near Brookline, Missouri, Greene County Sheriff Marcell Hendrix and his posse surrounded the house; ordering the brothers to come out. A total of 10 officers and one civilian were waiting for the trio to surrender and all had arrived without any weapons, other than handguns. There was also little extra ammunition. No one replied from the house after the Sherriff Hendrix yelled for them to come out, Ollie Crosswhite was the first to hear movement from within the house. Deputy Sherriff Wiley Marshburn kicked the door down in the back and entered the house. After that action, two people from inside the house opened fire; one with a 12-gauge shotgun and the other with a .25-20 rifle. Even though it wasn't totally clear who from the house had fired, all the evidence had showed that Harry and Jennings Young were indeed in the house. Hendrix and Mashburn were the first to fall, mortally wounded. The shooting continued and three more officers quickly fell: Tony Oliver, Sid Meadows and Charles Houser. The last few officers had run out of ammunition and was pinned down. They had no other choice than to leave their fallen and dying commrades and run for their lives. At that time, none of the officers who left knew that Officer Crosswhite was still alive and uninjured; kneeling behind a storm cellar to the back of the house. When the brothers inside learned of Crosswhite's hiding place, one of them pinned him down with rifle fire while the other one crept up behind him and killed him with a shotgun blast to the back of his head. While a relief group was being quickly formed in Springfield Missouri, the murderous brothers took all the money and weapons from the fallen policemen and fled the scene. A national manhunt was started and the Young Brothers were soon tracked to a rented house in Houston Texas. Lawmen entered the house and the brothers retreated to the bathroom. Others were called into the house to help and the brothers started shooting. The officers returned fire, then there was a period of silence. Several more shots were heard from inside the bathroom then one of the brothers yelled, "We're dead--come on in." The brothers had taken their own lives. A monument stands in front of the Springfield Missouri police headquarters that bears the names of all six slain officers.

Since Findagrave doesn't consider him "famous," I'll go ahead and enter his personal bio:

Charles Lee Houser was the second son born to Walter Altrie Houser and Maude Wolf Houser. His older brother, Mark Altrie Houser had been born Feb 1 1902. Two more brothers would follow: Ralph Leroy Houser born on June 15 1905 and Fred S. Houser born on May 12 1910.

In 1918, Charlie lost his older brother, his father, his maternal grandparents, an aunt and uncle and a cousin from the 1918 flu epidemic. His mother then later died in 1925. Three years later his brother Ralph was killed in a motorcycle accident. Charlie never legally married, but his common law wife's name was Augusta Sutton who had been born in 1908. They had at least one child which would have been born about 1931 or 30.

Something that my grandmother, his first cousin told me about Charlie:

One day he was out in the yard doing yardwork. While doing that his "wife" was nearby watching him. They lived in town and at that time people walked more than drove cars. He took his tie off and for the "heck of it," tied it around her arm. The next few days when all those ladies walked by their home, they too had a man's tie tied around their arm as they thought it looked stylish.

Unfortunately, Charlie was gunned down by the Young Brothers near Brookline, Missouri. Afterward money was collected for a "widow's fund," helping the remaining wives and their children to have money to live on. Because they had never legally married, Charlie's "widow" never received any of that money.

After that time period, I've lost the trail of what happened to Augusta Sutton and her child/children.

As of April 8th, 2016... Charles Houser now has a headstone courtesy of:

Missouri Peace Officers Association
Millard Family Chapels

Thank you so very much!

Family Members


  • Created by: Sarah Capps
  • Added: 12 Jan 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 23918483
  • Beth
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Charles Lee “Charlie” Houser (7 Jul 1903–2 Jan 1932), Find A Grave Memorial no. 23918483, citing Forest Park Cemetery, Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri, USA ; Maintained by Sarah Capps (contributor 46927696) .