Editor’s Note: This is the first of four in a series about some of the forgotten murder mysteries in Kansas history.

Mica Marriott
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Muscatah, Kan., located in the Atchison County, boasts a 2010 population of 200. With its quiet streets, it seems the ideal place for a pie baking competition. But baking competitions and scrapping for the war effort aren’t what put the northeastern Kansas town on the historical map at the outbreak of World War I.
Instead, a scandalous relationship that led to murder caused the Kansas town to make headlines all over the country in 1915.
George Morton Field was the wealthiest man in Muscatah in the 1920s. He was also a religious leader.
As a prominent citizen, Field donated the majority of the money need to the local church building. On Sundays, if a pastor was unavailable, Field would write and perform a sermon for the congregation.
While he opened his Bible to the world on the occasional Sunday, he kept one secret under wraps: He was having a sexual relationship with Gertie Day.
Day, 20 years Field’s junior, sang in the church choir. She, too, had a secret. She was pregnant.
When she informed Field of her predicament, he offered to pay her $2,000 to leave town, have the baby and never come back.
After arranging this proposition, Field became worried that she might turn on him and blackmail him.
He decided to kill Gertie Day instead.
He asked Day to meet him at the church to collect the money. Beneath the building, he’d planted a dynamite bomb.
When Gertie arrived to pick up the money the church exploded killing her and leveling the church building.
When investigators rummaged through the rubble to determine the cause of the explosion, they found a paper in which the dynamite had been wrapped.
The paper was a sermon written by George Field. Investigators had a suspect.
When they located a store in Kansas City where clerks witnessed Field purchasing dynamite prior to the explosion, Field was arrested. He was later convicted of the murder of Gertie Day.
He was sentenced to life and died in prison 11 years later in 1926.