On February 28, 1884, two young men and two boys went rabbit hunting. William Abney, 17, William Mallus, 12, Jack Stitt, 10, and Christian Madsen, 19, were evidently good friends, but what happened that afternoon has never been clear.
They all lived in the vicinity of 6th and Pierce Street, where Christian’s father owned a very profitable groceries, provisions and liquor business. William Abney’s father was an engineer at Willow Springs distillery, and Jack’s father, at one time a carpenter, was paralyzed after he was stabbed by his brother in an argument.
Memorial to the four boys
The boys went hunting by the Steele and Johnson powder magazine in south Omaha, and whether a stray shot from one of their guns hit some of the powder or something else more deliberate happened no one will ever know. All four were killed instantly in the ensuing explosion, and all four are buried in Prospect Hill. This memorial was erected in their remembrance.
At one time there was a stone vase in the middle of the broken columns; the monument was vandalized some years ago. Even one of the broken columns, deliberately carved that way, has been broken further by vandals.