14 May 2023

The Hatchet Attack of 1933 at 863 E 600 S SLC

Rulon Stevenson in 1929, from the Utionion Yearbook

One sensational event that occurred in the house at 863 E 600 S in my last post occurred in the middle of the night on Nov 13 1933 when 27-year-old Rulon E Stevenson smashed a window with a hatchet and entered the vacant half of the house, which by now was converted into a duplex.

Rulon began hacking the interior woodwork of the parlor and eventually chopped a hole in the partition dividing the duplex. This awakened and terrified the young family living there, Anthony and Caroline Schetselaar, along with their 2 young children.

The Schetselaar family fled the house through a window and Rulon followed them outside the house. A neighbor tried to help and Rulon threw the hatchet at him, which missed its target.

By then, the SLC Police had arrived and taken Rulon into custody. Rulon was placed in the city jail under a “hold for investigation” charge. Soon after, Rulon’s father who was a prominent physician, Dr. Hyrum Stevenson arrived and the SLC Police Night Captain E. E. Brown released Rulon to his father’s custody with only a charge of drunkenness.

In the morning, SLC Chief of Police W. L. Payne changed the charges to second-degree burglary (later dropped) and assault with a deadly weapon. Chief Payne also demoted Captain Brown and transferred him to day duty where there would be more supervision over him.

In Aug 1934, Rulon pleaded guilty to assault and was imposed a 6-month sentence in the Salt Lake County Jail, with 3 months of that suspended. After serving about 2 months in the Salt Lake County Jail, Rulon was granted a reprieve and parole by Utah Governor Henry H. Blood.

A few years later, Rulon moved to San Francisco. The Schetselaar family remained in Salt Lake but soon moved out of this house.

Where the attack happened, The house at 863 E 600 S SLC, Photo taken in Jan 2023.

The Salt Lake Telegram 1933 Nov 14
The Salt Lake Tribune 1933 Nov 15
The Salt Lake Telegram 1934 Aug 11
The Salt Lake Tribune 1934 Oct 5
Deseret News 1934 Sept 5

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