Friday, December 10, 2010


Overlooked by history, one of the USA's first
serial killers becomes subject of this book

SERIAL KILLER: The Frederick Hollman Story is a new book written by Kevin Collier published by The Book Patch. Author Kevin Collier assembles the most complete record on one of the nation's first serial killers, Frederick William Hollman, who came to Grand Haven, Michigan in 1883 from Brandenburg, Germany. He is also history "forgotten" serial killer, until now. After being run out of Grand Haven Hollman moved to Wisconsin in 1889 where his violent nature took over and by June 1896 he would begin a shocking murder spree from Kenosha to Ford County, Illinois making him one of our nation's very first serial killers. Hollman's unmarked and empty grave is in Lake Forest Cemetery, Grand Haven, Michigan. Executed on May 14, 1897 for the murder of Wiebke Geddes, Hollman was suspect #1 in the murder of five other women and the attempted murder of eight others. Authorities attributed Hollman to being the killer of Grethe Seifkin of Melvin, Illinois, Bertha Hilgendorf of Kenosha, Wisconsin, Anna Catherine Mohr of Somers, Wisconsin, and Caroline Lenz of Gilman, Illinois, and Geddes. Read all about about the twisted life of Frederick Hollman, his crimes and the path of destruction he left behind for others. The book was originally published under the title, "Final Doom," but has been updated and rereleased in this astonishing new edition!


Order by mail, in one of two editions available.  Both are identical, except for the title. SERIAL KILLER IN FORD COUNTY is the nationally available edition of the book. SERIAL KILLER IN GRAND HAVEN is only available in Ottawa County, Michigan, and bookstores in the city of Grand Haven. But, either can be ordered from Amazon! Click on the version you wish to buy below!
Watch an Interview with the Author

Kevin Collier interview about the book, during its original title "Final Doom" on the FOX-17 (Grand Rapids, Michigan) Morning Show August 6, 2012.

Hollman's Many Names

For the most part Friederich Wilhelm Hoellman went under the name of Frederick Hollman in America. The many aliases he used included: Fred Lange, William Holman, Fred Hollman, Fred Hartman, Fred Hoetman, Fred Hellman, William Hoellmann.

Hollman Poses On The Gallows

Above: May 13, 1897, one day before his execution. Pictured from left to right: Sheriff Benjamin Franklin Mason, Ira Gilmore (or possibly Laurence Campbell) and Frederick Hollman posing with his bible held in his hand. Hollman made an arrangement with the photographer to sell the picture to the general public and requested a portion of the sales go to the expense of shipping his remains back to Grand Haven, Michigan, to be buried beside his first wife and two children by her. Click on photo to enlarge. Below: the outside of the Ford County jailhouse, rear of building, as it appears today. In red the image (presented backwards) shows the exact location where Hollman stood when he had the above photo taken.

Two Faces in Hollman's Life

Fred Hollman’s second wife, Augusta Pauline Hollman (pictured), remained in Green Lake County, Wisconsin until her death in 1945. She lived in poverty after Fred Hollman abandon her and their two children in 1892. Augusta remarried on February 3, 1903 in Princeton taking Herman A. Boettcher as her second husband. Boettcher, born in Germany in 1870, was a blacksmith by trade. Fred Hollman's children by Augusta, Minnie and Herman, never knew what truly had happened to their birth father. Augusta told the children that their father had been killed in a railroad accident in Chicago around 1900. It would be a story that would be passed on from generation to generation. Augusta died on January 3, 1945.

Professor of Psychology Rudolph H. H. Blome (pictured), of the Rice Collegiate Institute at Paxton, was Frederick Hollman's 'counselor' while the accused was in jail. Blome’s experience with Fred Hollman undoubtedly motivated him to further his career in psychology and philosophy. There can be little doubt during his lifetime he would never encounter a case the magnitude of serial killer Fred Hollman again. Blome was the person who worked diligently after Hollman's death to grant the killer's final request that his body be returned to Grand Haven, Michigan to be buried in Lake Forest Cemetery next to his first wife and their two children. Blome became the president of Northern Arizona Normal School in 1909. In 1921, her moved to Pasadena, California, where he died in 1923.

The Murder of Carrie Lenz

One of the saddest victim cases of the Hollman murder spree was that of Caroline (Carrie) Lenz, who was murdered in her Gilman, Illinois home on Thanksgiving Day 1896. Carrie's husband Albert had left their home for town to buy heating oil when the killing took place. The two young Lenz children, Charles and Florence, were in the home at the time of the murder. Hollman had stolen a gold watch owned by Carrie Lenz from the residence and showed it to others in the days after the tragedy, but authorities were unable to find the key piece of evidence connecting Hollman to the murder scene, thus he was not charged with or prosecuted on this death. The murder of Wiebke Geddes, committed on December 2 less than a week later, was chosen over the Lenz death as prosecution-worthy as the evidence was stronger and insured a conviction. This greatly upset the woman's father, Matthias Baumann, as well as her husband, Albert. The court assured the family if Hollman escaped a conviction on the Geddes case, they would prosecute Hollman for the murder of Carrie Lenz. Hollman was convicted in the Geddes death, and hanged on May 14, 1897 for that crime. The Lenz and Baumann families were left without justice, some say. However, in late August 1899, Carrie Lenz's stolen gold watch was found in the mattress of a bed Hollman had slept in while boarding at the Stuhmer farmhouse, where he was arrested on December 5, 1896. The recovered watch served as proof Hollman had indeed killed Carrie Lenz. The watch, today, is in a bank vault, and owned by the daughter-in-law of Florence Lenz-Schmid. Pictured: Carrie and Albert Lenz, 1894.

 Last Direct Descendants Die in March 1981 

There were two deaths in March of 1981 that quietly closed the direct descendant door to murderer Fred Hollman. It was the passing of Hollman's daughter Minnie, born on June 3, 1889, and the death of Florence Lenz (Schmid), born June 19, 1896, who was the daughter of murder victim Carrie Lenz. The two earned the distinction of being the longest living persons connected to Frederick Hollman. Florence was 6-months-old and at home when Hollman murdered her mother on Thanksgiving Day, 1896. Hollman abandon his second wife, Augusta, and children Minnie and Herman in January 1892. Minnie was 19-months-old when her father left home. Never saw him again. Minnie Hollman (Wilke) died on March 3, 1981 in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin.  Florence Lenz (Schmid) died on March 26, 1981 in Gillman, Illinois. Pictured: Minnie Hollman's headstone.

New Findings in New Version of Original Book

Read all-new entries in this re-release of the original book - including information on the killer's cousin, what the church had to say about Pastors not ministering to Hollman in jail, and much more!
Is the Paxton Jailhouse Haunted?

WWMT 3 report investigates the Ford County jailhouse at Paxton, Illinois.  Broadcast October 31, 2012.
CORRECTION: In the video when it speaks of Hollman's first wife Amelia, the photo that appears is not Amelia, but rather Hollman's second wife, Augusta Pauline Hollman. Augusta did not die in 188y in Grand Haven. Frederick Hollman married her in the city in 1888, then moved to Wisconsin with her. Augusta Pauline Hollman married Herman Boettcher after Frederick Hollman was hanged, and lived until 1945.

  1897 Hollman Newspaper Clippings

Illustration of Frederick Hollman published in 1897 during his trial, however, the Chicago Tribune drawing that appears on the book cover at the top of the page is more precise as to his appearance. Find many articles on the trial and execution on the Library of Congress project "Chronicling America." Click here to see many newspapers with Fred Hollman stories highlighted in pink.

Article published upon Hollman's murder conviction. Note his name is presented as "Hartman" in the story.

The Old Ford County Jailhouse
Terry Garlock, of Will-O-Wisp Paranormal, sits inside Frederick Hollman's jail cell.

Efforts to save the 138-year-old Ford County jailhouse were underway in early 2011. The fate of the building, which may be torn down is unknown. Once the state's oldest operating jail concerned citizens want to get the brick structure named to a list of the 10 most endangered historic places in Illinois. The only execution that ever took place there was Frederick Hollman, on May 14, 1897.

One idea is to renovate the jailhouse into a bed and breakfast.

"I think that would really be appealing for people – the intrigue, the mystery," Royce Baier, president of the Paxton Foundation told the News-Gazette newspaper in January 2011. "That's the appeal: Staying all night in a spooky, old jail and having the key to yourself. Of course you'd want to make sure you have the key."

In 2011 paranormal investigators visited the Ford County jailhouse several times and believe Hollman made good on his threats to come back to "haunt" those who sentenced him to hang.

Contact the Author