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Murder of Joseph Raber

In July 1878, Henry F. Wise, Josiah Hummel, Israel Brandt and George Zechman took out a life insurance policy totaling $10,000 on Joseph Raber. Mr. Raber lived in poverty with his housekeeper in Lebanon County. He mainly lived on the charity of his neighbors. The men told the insurance agent they agreed to take care of Mr. Raber for the rest of his life and wanted the insurance policy to cover his eventual burial expenses. The insurance policies were sold with Joseph Rabers cooperation.

Not long after the paperwork was signed, they hired Charles Drews and Frank Stichler to drown Joseph in Indiantown Run. Joseph’s death was ruled an accident - he had an attack of vertigo while walking across a plank, fell into Indiantown Creek and drowned. Two months later Charles Drew’;s son-in-law, reported that he was a witness to the murder. He claimed the blue-eyed-six murdered Mr. Raber to collect his insurance policy. They received the nickname of blue-eyed-six from newspaper reports because all the accused had blue eyes.

All six men were found guilty of murder in April 1879. George Zechman was granted a second trial and acquitted due to lack of evidence against him. Zechman died in 1887. Drews & Stichler who committed the murder were hanged on November 14, 1879.. Wise, Hummel and Brandt were hanged on May 13, 1880.

Joseph Raber is buried at Moonshine Church. Brandt and Drews are buried side by side in the veterans section of Mt. Lebanon Cemetery. Hummel and Zechman are buried at Sattazahn Lutheran Church Cemetery. Wise is buried at Evangelical United Brethren Church. Stichler is buried in a family plot on McLean Road.

Murder Site

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