Beaverton’s Sunday morning reverie was shattered on January 13, 1957 when a domestic dispute turned lethal. The story involved two men, one a WWII veteran, the other, his younger cousin; a failed marriage, and the woman who at different times loved both men. Now, years later, I suspect there were a lot of unresolved issues lingering from Mr. Lidster’s combat days in World War II that also played a big part. Harold Lidster was the son of Mr. and Mrs. C. Lidster. He received an honorable discharge at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, on January 19, 1946, after serving two years and eight months in service, of which 23 months were spent overseas in New Guinea, Netherlands, East Indies, Philippines and the last three months in Japan. Harold was in the 41st Division of the theatre of Operations, receiving the Victory medal, Asiatic Pacific Theatre Ribbon with two Bronze Battle Stars, Bronze service arrow head, Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one Bronze Battle Star, three overseas service bars, Good Conduct Medal and Combat Infantry Badge. At present he is at the home of his parents in Beaverton. Mr. and Mrs. Lidster have another son in camp at Fort Bliss, Texas. This same man, eleven years later, confessed to shooting and killing his own cousin after a failed marriage. We are still learning about, but many of us still reject the idea that combat experience can have long-term psychological effects that destroy lives long after the combat has ended. I submit that it has always been so, but that we are finally learning about it – and some of us are trying to do something about it. Attached is a photo similar to the one published by the Gladwin County Record in the January 16, 1957 issue. The accompanying article from that issue, is below.
Surrenders to Sheriff After Shooting
May Arraign Slayer in Circuit Court Later This Week
Harold Lidster, a 32-year-old Tobacco Township man, who fatally shot his cousin, Clyde Priest, 20, early Sunday morning in Beaverton, waived examination in Justice Walter Hopson’s court Monday and was bound over to circuit court on a charge for first degree murder.
He is being held in the new Arenac County Jail at Standish for maximum security reasons, Sheriff Victor Edick said, until he is brought back here for arraignment.
Priest was killed as he slept in his bed less than eight hours after his marriage to Lidster’s former wife, Esther, 30. Mrs. Priest fled through a window in her nightclothes and ran barefooted to a neighbor’s home. After shooting Priest, Lidster had Mr. and Mrs. Louis DeRosia, who were sleeping in another room, bring him to Gladwin where he surrendered to Sheriff Edick.
The scene of the shooting was the home of Mrs. Priest, a block off M-18, south of the Beaverton school.
Priest, a Beaverton High School graduate in 1955, was struck by three bullets and officers say it is doubtful if he ever knew what hit him. One wound was in the left chest, one in the groin and the third in the left knee. A fourth bullet went into the bed and the fifth through the wall of the house. The weapon was a nine millimeter Mauser pistol and was not registered in Lidster’s name. He told officers that he traded a rifle for it.
Lidster made a signed statement Sunday afternoon to Sheriff Edick, Prosecuting Attorney George C. Johnson and State Trooper Gary Leitz, in which he said the slaying was prompted because his former wife “had lied to me.” “I was mad at Esther because she lied to me many times. She told me last week she was not going to get married. I asked her if she was going to marry Priest and she told me no.”
Officers said that Lidster told them he went to a tavern east of Gladwin Saturday evening with a woman companion and while they were there the wedding party came to celebrate the marriage.
Conflicting stories have been told about events at the tavern, officers report. Lidster said there was no trouble, but others present say there were several arguments that nearly ended in blows before being halted.
Apparently the wedding party left the tavern about midnight and Lidster and his friend went to his home in Tobacco Township about 1:30 a.m. In her statement, Lidster’s companion said he left the house at 3 a.m. with the gun to go to Beaverton. She related she begged him not to go and after he left she ran across the road to a neighbor’s house. There was no phone there and thinking that he wouldn’t go through with his threat, they didn’t call anyone.
Arriving at Beaverton, Lidster knocked on the back door of the four-room Priest house. Mrs. Priest heard him and opened the door, thinking it was her brother-in-law, Lawrence Priest. When she saw her former husband standing in the door with the gun, she ran into the other bedroom occupied by Mr. and Mrs. DeRosia. Mrs. Priest escaped through a window while DeRosia, who is her brother, held the bedroom door.
Lidster went into the front bedroom and fired at the sleeping Priest. He then tried to push into the DeRosia bedroom, but DeRosia held the door and talked to him. Lidster told DeRosia to take him to the sheriff’s office in Gladwin.
The DeRosias say that he forced them with the gun to drive Lidster’s car to Gladwin. Lidster denies it.
Priest has been employed by the Dubey Trucking firm at Three Rivers for some time.
Lidster is a World War II veteran and has been an employee of the Dow Chemical Company at Midland for the past 10 years. A divorce was obtained by Mrs. Priest last February. They were the parents of two children, six and seven years old. They were spending the night with friends. Mrs. Priest is also the mother of two other children by another former marriage, but they do not live with her.
Lidster will be arraigned in circuit court as soon as Judge John C. Shaffer returns from Gaylord, where he is holding court this week, possibly Thursday or Friday, Prosecutor Johnson said. Record and Clarion 1/16/1957