Freaky Flint History with Joe Schipani: Fear of War Seizure February 19th, 1917

Flint is well known for its modern violent crimes but Flint's history is filled with little known stories that read stranger than fiction. Gruesome murders, weird accidents, and violent deaths. Join us every Thursday as Joe Schipani details some of the odd but true deaths he found in Flint's archives.

Fear of War Seizure February 19th, 1917

On a cold Monday morning, factory worker Daniel Skinder left work early to withdraw money from the bank.

He had emigrated from Austria and had only been in the US for about six months. With the country at war he was afraid the United States government would seize his bank account.

He withdrew about eight hundred dollars and hid it in a custom made belt under his clothes. He was saving money so his wife and kids could come to the US.

Daniel road the streetcar to work, he exited about a quarter mile from the Mason Motor factory.

Daniel walked down Industrial Avenue along the Buick City border, it was still dark out. When he arrived at the train tracks he was struck in the head and beaten to the ground.

A watchman at Buick City saw two men jabbing at an object but could not see what the object was. After about ten minutes the two men fled the scene and went running down the tracks.

After the men ran off, the watchman investigated and found Daniel beaten to death.

The watchman pulled out his gun and fired a few shots. A nearby officer heard the shots and quickly arrived on scene. The watchman told him about the two men and the officer called for backup.

The police found a metal rod with a large nut tied to it covered in blood and believed it to be the murder weapon.

An officer visited the boarding house on Easy Street where Daniel was renting a room. He spoke to the owner of the boarding house and got information about the suspects. The owner thought it was odd that two men had returned home so early.

During a search blood was found spattered on their shoes and in their rooms the officer found clothes covered in blood.

The men were laid off work and desperate for money. They must have learned of Daniel’s plan to withdraw the money from the bank.

The two men were arrested and convicted of murder.

One of the men was Daniel’s nephew Joe.  

~ Joe Schipani is the Executive Director of the Flint Public Art Project and the FFAR Project Assistant at the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.  Find him on Facebook at 

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