History 1

Thomas Chesney, a Whitewater farmhand, sits handcuffed in a Rock County Sheriff’s squad talking to District Attorney Robert Daniel. This was after Chesney was sentenced to life in prison in 1950 after murdering two brothers with an ax outside of Milton.

This is the second part of the 1950 Fanning brothers murder.

The worlds of the Fanning brothers and Chesney collided on St. Patrick’s Day when Chesney decided to end a full day of drinking by heading out to the Fanning farm in search of cash. In his confession, Chesney said he’d been drinking in Whitewater taverns most of the day until about 6:30 p.m. when he caught a bus heading west on Highway 59. He got off the bus at the Lima Cemetery and then walked about two miles south to the Fanning farm.

History 2

Then-Rock County Sheriff Miles Sweeney (left) takes murder suspect Thomas Chesney, 44, into custody after Chesney’s uncles were found dead just outside of Milton. Chesney later confessed killing his two uncles, according to a 1950 article in the Janesville Daily Gazette.