The  Cherryvale  Bender  Museum

Katie Bender, as she was sometimes called, engages the unfortunate stranger in flirtatious conversation at the iron cooking and heating stove while she prepares to serve up her main course, DEATH. She was an expert at drawing out information, learning all she could of his affairs. Meanwhile, young John would be caring for the horses, making a quick check of the contents of the wagon or the saddlebags. If the traveler seemed worth the risk, the stage was set.

Often buxom Kate would station herself at the roadside in front of the Inn when a unsuspecting stranger was approaching. When he drew nigh, she would accost him pleasantly. She would inquire in a friendly manner where he was going and if it was near evening, would assure him that it would be impossible for him to reach his destination before nightfall. She would propose that he should remain over night at the Inn with them. Most travelers generally accepted the hospitable proposition.

Under circumstances when the victim would not sit in the chair against the curtain or moved the chair, killer Kate would propose a game. The part the doomed guest played would be to get on his knees as if he were praying. When in the required position, a family member would sneak softly from behind the curtain and strike him dead as he knelt.  They always aimed to make death certain, provided they thought the unwary traveler had valuables worth stealing.

Two beds, covered by old quilts and having feather ticks and straw mattresses, also occupied this section of the house along with chamber pots, cooking vessels and skillets, and personal provisions. Lighting is provided by coal oil lamps. A wooden water bucket is on one wall, as is a gourd dipper. Clothes are hung on the walls. Postcard Cherryvale Museum Collection