The Unexplained: Death at the Coffee Pot Tavern

The Coffee Pot Cafe and Tavern for years was a landmark in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. Phot: Ozark Alive

When Trooper Dosing began to open the door, he was shot dead by an army private who was AWOL and packing to leave with the woman he wanted to marry.


It is unbelievable that a couple would be meeting, even temporarily in a coffee pot, but that is exactly what they were doing.

An old print ad for the Coffee Pot Tavern advertises that it offered “barbecued” sandwiches, and an open-air dance pavilion outside the Tavern-Cafe in Galloway, Missouri.  Galloway was at the time, south of Springfield but has now been swallowed up by the city, and the Coffee Pot Tavern is gone.  It was a quaint sight to see.

As for the couple in the upstairs apartment above the tavern—in the top half of the Coffee Pot—one of them was a young waitress, 19-year-old Margie.  She may have been too naive to know what she was doing.

The person she had allowed to visit in her upstairs apartment was a character with a bad reputation.  He may have just been using her, looking for a soft spot to land.

One account says that they did know each other back in Wisconsin, and they hoped to marry and move to Florida.  No one knows the truth, for sure.

Sara Marie Hogg

Army private Milan J. Nedimovich was AWOL.  Nedimovich had been AWOL before,  and authorities had found him asleep in a stolen car.  Now he was a candidate for being questioned about the murder of a night watchman on duty at a Little Rock car dealership.  The man was beaten to death.

Apparently the law had been tipped off as to Nedimovich’s whereabouts—his hiding place at Margie’s.  Local constable, John Love, and Justice of the Peace, A. T. Stubbs, met two Missouri State Troopers in the parking lot of the Coffee Pot Cafe and Tavern.

On the day December 7, 1941, a day that would live in infamy, another horrific event was about to occur.  Troopers Victor Dosing and Samuel Graham made their way up the exterior staircase of the Coffee Pot Tavern.

At the top of the stairs, Trooper Dosing was ready to jiggle the doorknob and when he began to pull the door open, he was shot dead by Nedimovich, who was using a.38 caliber pistol made by Harrington-Richardson.

The soldier then fired at Trooper Graham and wounded him critically.

Nedimovich was able to barricade himself in the room when Justice of the Peace Stubbs ran up the stairs and crossed the entryway, firing on Nedimovich.

Nedimovich turned his attention to Margie who was screaming hysterically.

“Shut up!  Shut up!  Shut up! He became so agitated that he started pumping shots into Margie.  It was her extreme good fortune that the pistol would only go click, click, click. The couple had been in the middle of packing to go on the lam when they were interrupted by the law.

Stubbs was planning another attack on the upstairs apartment when Nedimovich was able to get his hands on the dead Trooper Dosing’s gun in the doorway.

Who knows what went through Nedimovich’s head then.

It seems he made the decision to stop shooting at other people and shoot himself, instead.

Perhaps he knew he was doomed to a sorrowful fate.  Perhaps he knew he would get the maximum sentence for killing the trooper.

He was also suspected of killing another man in Washington, Missouri.  The body was found near Fort Leonard Wood.

People with his kind of self-serving tunnel vision seldom seem to take their own lives.  They are too self-absorbed and think they are too important to die.  When an autopsy was done on him powder burns were discovered on his head that proved the fatal wound was not from another source.

Trooper Dosing was 34 at the time of his death and had been a Missouri State Trooper since the Troopers were established in 1931. He had been a chemist.  Dosing had a wife and two daughters.

Trooper Graham, 30, was taken to a Springfield hospital where his fellow troopers stepped forward and gave him several blood transfusions, saving and prolonging his life.

The land where the Coffee Pot once stood is now the Pet Cemetery of Galloway.  The unusual tavern burned down before 1947.  It was north of the old James River Bridge on the west side of the road.

It is hard to find out much information about the coffee pot building.  An old folding calling card ad says: S. W. Baker, Coffee Pot Tavern, Tasty Sandwiches, Galloway, Missouri, On 60 & 65

The card art was drawn in 1935 and copyrighted by artist W. H. Eisey.

It cannot be confirmed that Baker built the Coffee Pot structure, but he is in records as leasing the land beneath it from Mrs. Lula Galloway, one of the original  Galloway family members of Galloway, Missouri.

Baker actually ran the establishment until September of 1941, then he subleased it out to U. R. and Rachel Coble who were operating the tavern on the day of the dreadful and bizarre event.

A Hester Lee took over the lease in 1947.  The building burned down not long after that.  Hester Lee built another hot spot in Galloway.

A fellow Trooper wrote a book about the shootout, and it is a fine tribute to Trooper Dosing.  Don’t Eat My Pie Squirt, by Donald R. Richardson, is still available if you hunt around for a while.

The big mystery here is:  What makes a person take the wrong turn?  What makes someone go bad?


Please click HERE to find Sara Marie Hogg’s mystery novel Dark Continent Continental on Amazon.

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