Ear Hustle

In History: School Treasurer Andrew Kehoe Responsible For The Bath School Massacre; What Evil Looks Like 89 Years Later

Sometimes it’s hard to not wonder what goes on in the mind of a person who chooses to kill but then why becomes more important and it is often insignificant.  Nothing is that detrimental to warrant killing anyone especially children.  We are going to take a look at what evil really looks like.  89 years ago a deadly massacre occurred at the Bath Consolidated School in Michigan where Andrew Kehoe used several pounds of dynamite to blow up the school where 45 people were killed and Kehoe in a last cowardly act blew up himself and the school superintendent in his truck. This act of violence is still the most deadliest killing at a school overshadowing Virginia Tech, Columbine and Sandy Hook.   Apparently Andrew Kehoe was the school treasurer at the time and was quite disturbed because of the tax levy placed upon the residents to pay for the school and amid her own personal financial problems took it upon himself to make the townspeople pay.

Read more as reported by The Daily Journal:

andrew kehoe

photo credit: Bath School District)

 

BATH TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The passing of nearly nine decades hasn’t diminished a 104-year-old man’s view of Andrew Kehoe, the evil mastermind of the May 18, 1927, Bath School Disaster, a bombing that took the lives of 38 children as they attended class.

George Baird, 104, now lives in an assisted living facility in Bath Township. He is one of the last remaining students who attended the Bath Consolidated School at the time of the bombing.

The Bath bombing remains the deadliest school murder spree in U.S. history, still eclipsing mass shootings at Columbine, Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook.

In all, 45 people died, including Kehoe, his wife and five other adults, in the May 18 blast at the school, fire at Kehoe’s farm and a second blast when Kehoe drove his truck to the school after the first explosion. Kehoe’s final act was to blow up his truck, killing himself along with the school superintendent, Emory Huyck, who was hailed as a hero for his calm in rescuing victims in the aftermath of the first bombing.

George Baird, who is frail and quiet these days, sat in a chair in his room at Timber Ridge Senior Assisted Living Facility and spoke about the dynamite planted under first floor of a school filled with young, innocent children just before summer break nearly nine decades ago.

Kehoe, 55, was a disgruntled school treasurer with personal money woes. Upset about taxes levied to pay for the Bath Consolidated School, which opened in 1922, he carefully planned a catastrophe designed to wipe out all of the children in the community.

About 250 attended school there. In that regard, he failed, as many children survived the mayhem and the community rallied to rebuild the school.

Though a disaster of unimaginable proportions in the farming community north of East Lansing, it could have been worse. A clock triggered the explosion at 8:45 a.m. but it ignited only part of the dynamite that leveled the north wing.

The horrific details included Kehoe tying the hooves of his horses together to die in a fire he set in his barn. He murdered his wife, Nellie. Her charred remains were found later lashed to a cart inside a burned shed on the Kehoe farm.

He then drove to the school to explode his truck for more destruction, shortly after 9 a.m. that day.

BATH-SCHOOL-DISASTER3

photo credit: Bath School Museum

George Baird, then a 15-year-old sophomore, was not in class when the bomb went off. He was excused from final exams because his grades were good, his son, Stan, 80, of DeWitt Township, explained.

“I was out in the field,” George Baird recalled. “I heard the explosion.”

Baird’s mother was alerted by phone about the blast, five miles away. “My mother called out and said, ‘The Bath school blew up.’”

George and his father, William, thinking a boiler may have exploded, drove five miles to the scene of the disaster in the family’s Durant.

“We went out there, Dad and I. Dad helped get some of the children out of the school,” Baird recalls. “I took some of the girls to the hospital.”

He had a farmer’s driving permit at the time and drove to Sparrow Hospital with two blast victims. He only recalls that they had facial injuries. Baird remembers other images of the aftermath, with children’s bodies laid out on the school lawn as a temporary morgue and parents lifting the blankets to identify the victims.

BATH-SCHOOL-DISASTER12

photo credit: Lansing State Journal

One of his neighbors was a family named Bauerle who lost their 8-year-old son, Arnold. They visited each grieving family to comfort each other. The heartbreak in the aftermath was enormous.

“My dad would break down and cry like a baby, it got him so,” George Baird recalled.

He also remembers seeing a police car with its back seat piled high with unexploded dynamite recovered from the school.

George Baird also knew Kehoe.  A few days before the blast, he went to Kehoe’s house to give him tuition money to attend the school, he said an interview from about 2005 for a 2011 documentary by Ahptic Productions of Lansing.

Kehoe answered the door in slippers, a strange sight for a farmer in the morning. At that time of day, he should have been out in the fields working.

“He wouldn’t look you straight in the face,” George Baird recalled.

Kehoe was an electrician who volunteered as a handyman at the school. His access allowed him to set up an intricate bomb system under the classrooms.

Authorities’ main clue to the motive of the disaster was a sign at the Kehoe farm: “Criminals are made, not born.”

Arnie Bernstein, a Chicago author who wrote a 2009 account of the bombing, said it’s important to remember the tragedy.

“We have to bear witness,” he said. “A whole generation of a town was affected because of a madman. We cannot forget these kids. We owe it to them to tell the story and keep their memory alive.”

Four survivors were interviewed for the book. All have since died.

After the disaster, U.S. Sen. James Couzens donated $75,000 for the rebuilding of the school, renamed James Couzens Agriculture School. Classes  reconvened in Bath businesses while the school was rebuilt.

Stan Baird and his three younger brothers grew up knowing that the name “Kehoe” was synonymous with evil and seeing the remains of the chimney on the farmstead on Clark Road, just west of Watson Road. They attended high school at the repaired structure.

The cupola from the school, used until 1975, is in a memorial park across the street from the Bath Middle School. A Bath School Museum is housed in the auditorium of the middle school.

Bruce Baird, 79, said his father always expressed his wish that Kehoe suffered in the afterlife.

In the 2011 documentary, George Baird talks about Kehoe’s spitefulness in blowing up the school while children were in classes instead of a time when the children were gone. Many of the victims were ages 10 or 11.

“I hope he’s roasting in hell, yet,” George Baird said. ~ Source: The Daily Journal

 

This is unfortunately a part of history but one EarHustle411 and the writing staff prays never happens again.  In this day and age people will have to learn to handle their frustrations better than resulting to violent acts.  The issues we deal with are often classified by race or something of that nature however all issues we go through are of a human aspect first.  Evil is evil regardless of what color it looks like and to kill people especially innocent children is just plain evil.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Most Popular

To Top