Warren Tate, the original owner, and builder of the Tate Mansion, infamous for how he conducted his public business and personal affairs, is best known as the person who murdered a witness in the Marion County courthouse in 1878. Indianapolis newspapers reported Tate shot and killed William Love, a home appraiser, during a court recess in the court hallway.
As the owner of 228 N East St, Tate, had his eyes set on the property just north of his. However, the owner, Milton Pouder, refused to sell. So, Tate purchased the mortgage from the bank and foreclosed on the property, which led to a court hearing that didn't end well. After failing to convince his neighbor to sell his house Tate purchased his next-door neighbor's mortgage from the bank. Tate then foreclosed on him to gain ownership of the corner property. In November of 1878 they found themselves in a court dispute over the value of the property Tate had foreclosed on. Consequently, after Love testified to what he believed the questioned property to be worth the judge called for a recess which led to tete shooting Love. Arrested and even before he was tried, Tate was found innocent of shooting an unarmed man twice without being justly provoked.
Outraged with disbelief, nearly one thousand city residents gathered at the courthouse and wanted Tate hanged for the murder. Ironically, the judge overseeing the court hearing concerned with the property value of the adjacent property, fined Tate $10,000 for discharging a firearm in the courthouse.
Tate appealed to the Indiana State Supreme Court where it was overturned and the next year the Indiana State legislature abolished that superior court, and the judge lost his job. The judge left Indianapolis and moved to Colorado where he practiced law as an attorney.
It is interesting to note that Helen Jennie Daily, who later became Tate's wife, was once arrested for running a house of ill repute in downtown Indianapolis. Her boarding house was located next to Warren's Window and Sash Company, which is now the site of Cummings Diesel Distribution Headquarters. During her trial, Warren showed support for Jennie by sitting with her defense attorney. Jennie made bold claims to the press, stating that she had connections with influential people in Indianapolis and would therefore not be convicted. Although the jurors had a difficult time reaching a verdict, Jennie was eventually fined $5 by the court. The Indianapolis News criticized the court and the jurors for the lenient punishment. However, Jennie's conviction was later overturned by a higher court, and she was refunded her $5.
In 1872, before Jennie's arrest, Warren and his 14-year-old daughter, Mary Helen Tate, signed an agreement that would indenture Mary into Jennie's service until she turned eighteen. Warren believed that Jennie was the best person to take care of his daughter.
Warren passed away in 1896 while residing in the Tate Mansion. He left behind an estate worth over $200,000 to his wife, Helen Jennie Tate. Despite being one of the wealthiest and most influential residents of central Indiana, it was reported that Helen was equally wealthy in her own right.
Helen Jennie Tate died in 1900, and she bequeathed the bulk of her estate and home to the Catholic Church. However, her decision was contested by her servants, nurses, and former adopted women. Over the course of ten years, several court decisions significantly reduced the estate's value.