Saturday, October 19, 2019

Liquor and Jealousy.

In October 1893, 64-year-old Patrick Finney of New Bedford, Pennsylvania, was visiting his old friend and drinking buddy James Campbell in Hazelton, Ohio.  Campbell had been a saloonkeeper in Pittsburgh before retiring and moving with his wife to Hazelton, a suburb of Youngstown. 

As was their custom, Finney and the Campbells were drinking heavily the night of October 9. James Campbell had a reputation as a man of ungovernable temper when intoxicated and this night was no exception. Around 10:00, when it became clear that Campbell had exceeded his limit, a neighbor who had been drinking with them helped Campbell to bed. Finney and Mrs. Campbell stayed up and continued talking. 

Around twenty minutes after going to bed, Campbell came back downstairs. Still drunk and angry, Campbell was holding a 22-caliber revolver. 

“I’ll fix you,” he said, then fired three shots. One went through his wife’s chest, killing her instantly and the other two hit Finney in the head and abdomen.

The police arrived quickly, arresting Campbell and rushing Finney to the hospital. Campbell told the police he had shot his wife and friend because he had caught them in a compromising position, but once he was locked in a cell he said, “I don’t know what made me do it.” The newspapers concluded that liquor and unfounded jealousy were the cause.

In January 1894, James Campbell was indicted for the murder of his wife and attempted murder of Patrick Finney.  He announced his intention to plead insanity but being “crazy drunk” has never been a good defense. The following March, Campbell was found guilty of second-degree murder.

Sources:
“An Old Man's Murderous Jealousy,” Evening Herald, October 10, 1893.
“Commits Double Murder.” Daily Inter Ocean, October 10, 1893.
“Jealousy Causes Murder,” Patriot, October 10, 1893.
“On Trial for his Life,” Plain Dealer, February 27, 1894.
“Plenty Of Indictments,” Plain Dealer, January 18, 1894.
“Shot his Wife Dead,” National Police Gazette, November 4, 1893.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

A Troubling Spirit.

John Delaney met Mary Jane Cox in October 1886; she smiled at him as they passed each other on Fulton Street in Brooklyn, and he turned to follow her. She was 17-years-old, he was 15. Mary Jane did not refuse his advances outright, but gave him her address and told him to write to her. Their relationship progressed quickly, and eight months later, Mary Jane told John she was pregnant, and he had to do something about it.

John said he had already told her he would marry her, but Mary Jane rejected this saying they were both too young; he would have to find something else. On June 2, 1887, he gave her a glass bottle containing a clear liquid. What he told her at the time is uncertain, but the next morning Mary Jane was found dead in the kitchen of the house where she worked as a domestic servant. An autopsy showed that her death was caused by some irritant poison like arsenic, and the bottle found in a pocket of her dress was half-filled with a solution of arsenic.

Delaney admitted to the police that he had obtained the poison at Mary Jane’s request but did not think it would kill her. He said he had no idea that she contemplated suicide, though she had been angry with him and in one of her letters had said she would rather kill herself than be disgraced.

The police held Delaney in custody pending the grand jury’s decision. The jury ruled that Mary Jane had committed suicide and that Delaney had purchased the poison for her, “intending that it should be used not for suicidal purposes but to relieve her of her trouble.” John Delaney was released.

That is how matters stood until one night the following December when Delaney, under the influenced of liquor, appeared at the Adams Street police station in Brooklyn and requested a private interview with Captain Campbell. He was quite agitated as he recalled the story of Mary Jane’s death and asked the Campbell what the penalty would be for poisoning a person. He said the girl’s spirit had been troubling him every night and he was suffering from remorse. Delaney wanted Campbell to arrest him but not for two or three days because he had something he had to do. Campbell told him to go home and sleep it off; they would talk about it when he was sober.

Captain Campbell was surprised to see Delaney the following night, sober, telling the same story. He could not sleep and was continually seeing Mary Jane’s face. He said that he knew at the time he gave her the poison that it would kill her.

Mary had told him to get some medicine to end her trouble, so he bought some Rough on Rats—a commercial rodenticide made with arsenic—and mixed it with water. George Staff, the night clerk at the Keystone House, where Delaney worked as a janitor, gave him the bottle and watched him mix the poison. “I knew it was going to kill her,” Delaney told Captain Campbell.

Delaney seemed greatly relieved after making his statement and was not surprised when Campbell arrested him. The police confirmed that Delaney purchased some Rough on Rats at a drug store on Second Avenue and took a statement from George Staff saying he saw Delaney mix the poison.

The Grand Jury took up the case again, and 16-year-old John J. Delaney became the youngest person to date to be indicted for first-degree murder in Kings County. However, the court expressly stated that no conviction shall be had on the uncorroborated confession.

The following January, Delaney celebrated his seventeenth birthday as he awaited his trial the following February. His court-appointed attorney had Delaney plead not guilty, and the defense was that Delaney was the victim of a practical joke. He was madly in love with Mary Jane Cox, and when he learned she was in trouble his friends told him to give her Rough on Rats. The advice had been a joke, but Delaney did not know it and, contradicting his confession, he testified that he did not know it would kill her. Friends and relatives of the defendant testified that had been injured when 9-years-old and had been light-headed ever since.

The prosecution introduced evidence beyond Delaney’s confession, but not enough for a conviction of first-degree murder. After deliberating for an hour and a half, the jury convicted Delaney of manslaughter in the second degree, with a penalty of one to five years in prison.

Sources:
“A Confession of Murder,” Trenton Evening Times, December 6, 1887.
“Defense of Wilson,” Philadelphia Inquirer, June 4, 1887.
“Delaney's Defence,” New York Herald, February 10, 1888.
Defenders and offenders (New York: Buchner & Co, 1888.)
“Killed His Sweetheart,” Evening News, February 9, 1888.
“Mary Cox's Murderer Indicted,” New York Herald, December 8, 1887.
“Miss Cox's Lover,” Sun and New York Press, June 7, 1887.
“Miss Mary Cox's Murder,” Sun and New York Press, December 6, 1887.
“Poison for His Girl,” New York Herald, February 9, 1888.
“Tears Were Trump,” New York Herald, February 11, 1888.
“Young Delaney Not Guilty of Murder,” Sun and New York press, February 11, 1888.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

The Poughkeepsie Tragedy.

Antone Werner came to America from Austria in 1885 and settled in Poughkeepsie, New York. There he worked as a shoemaker along with his good friend and fellow immigrant Joseph Fischer. He and Fischer had probably known each other in Austria.

Werner adapted well to life in Poughkeepsie and had even met and married a young woman there—the only problem was that he already had a wife in Austria. In 1887, Werner’s Austrian wife came to America, and he left his second wife and went to live with his first wife in Brooklyn. Before long he decided he liked his second wife better and returned to Poughkeepsie to live with her. His first wife sought assistance from Joseph Fischer and together they had Werner arrested for bigamy.

The Grand Jury failed to indict Werner, and after his release from jail he threatened to kill Fischer. He went back to his second wife, but without any income, she was forced to sell furniture for money. Werner asked her for some cash, and she gave him $2; he went to a gun shop and bought a British bulldog pistol. Stopping at a lager beer saloon he drank a glass of beer and smoked a cigar then walked to the shop where Fischer worked. No one was in the shop but Fischer; Werner waked in and approached him, raising the pistol he shot Fischer once in the chest killing him almost instantly. Werner was immediately arrested and taken to jail.

At his trial, the following March, Antone Werner was found guilty, but after a day of deliberation, the jury could not agree on whether the degree was first or second. The judge angrily sent them back to decide, but after an additional forty minutes they were still deadlocked, and they were discharged. Later that day, rather than face another trial, the District Attorney accepted Werner’s plea of murder in the second degree. Werner was sentenced to life in the state penitentiary at Sing Sing.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Andrew Hellman, alias Adam Horn.

Andrew Hellman Murdering his Wife.
(Serious Almanac, 1845-1846.)
Andrew Hellman was 25-years-old when he traveled from Germany to Baltimore in 1817. He had been apprenticed to a tailor, but when his apprenticeship ended, he decided to see the world, after a few years of wandering around Europe he set sail for America. 

In 1820 he was boarding at the farmhouse of George M. Abel in Loudoun County, Virginia and working on neighboring farms. Hellman professed a strong dislike of women and was quite outspoken in his belief that their only role in the world was as servants to men. In spite of this, he engaged the affections of George Abel’s 20-year-old daughter Mary. The Baltimore Sun described her as “a blithe, buxom and lighthearted country girl with rosy cheek and sparkling eye, totally unacquainted with the deceitfulness of the world.” Mary and Andrew were married in December 1821.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Shot by a Jealous Husband.

Daniel Monahan, aged 45, lived with his wife, Maggie, and their children on Henry Street in Binghamton, New York, and kept a saloon in a building adjoining the house. In 1885, a young man named Patrick Garvey began working as a bartender at Monahan’s saloon. Garvey, an attractive 34-year-old Irishman, grew especially close to Maggie Monahan. Before long she expressed her love for Garvey, and the two began an intimate relationship. Garvey became a frequent visitor at the Monahan home when Daniel was away, and their romance became the subject of rumor in Binghamton.

Daniel had already suspected that improper relations existed between his wife and his bartender, so he fired Garvey and openly accused his wife of adultery. Maggie replied that, yes, she did think more of Garvey than she did of her husband, and she would go with Garvey as much as she pleased. Daniel pleaded with Maggie to abandon the romance and not disgrace their little daughters, but she ignored his pleadings and continued to meet Garvey, not only at home but at various places in the city. In desperation, Daniel told her if she did not leave Garvey, he would shoot him. Maggie told Garvey about her husband’s threats and bought him a revolver to defend himself.   
Maggie Monahan

Saturday, September 14, 2019

The Assassination of Corlis.

Charles G. Corlis kept a bowling saloon on Broadway between Leonard and Franklin Streets in New York City. On the evening of March 20, 1843, several bowlers saw a woman wearing a veil and a straw hat, enter the saloon. They saw her leave the place with Henry Colton, owner of the Colton House hotel, a few doors away on Leonard Street. Sometime later, witnesses saw Charles Corlis talking with the unidentified woman in the doorway of the Colton House.

Around 7:00 a pistol shot rang out on Leonard Street. Witnesses saw someone running from the scene—maybe a man, maybe a woman, maybe a man dressed as a woman. Lying on the ground in front of the Colton House was Charles Corlis, with a bullet wound in the back of his head. Next to him lay a five-barrel pistol with one shot fired. Corlis was carried into the hotel where he died about three hours later.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

“A Romance of Crime.”

Jimmy Logue was a professional thief whose life of crime spanned more than forty years. He was born in Philadelphia in 1835 and was arrested there for larceny at age 10. After his release became an apprentice to Joe Keyser, a noted Baltimore pickpocket. He eventually graduated to bank robbery and became quite accomplished at it, when he wasn't caught. Logue spent much of his time living a life of prosperity, the rest he spent behind bars.

His personal life was just as erratic. At age 23 he married Mary Jane Andres and left her after two years. Without the formality of a divorce, he married Mary Gahan soon after. She already had an illegitimate son who took his father’s name, Alphonse F. Cutaiar. Logue mistreated Mary, so she left him, went home to her father and died in 1869. Before Mary Gahan left him, Logue had taken up with her sister Johanna. Jimmy Logue and Johanna Gahan were married in the dock of the Central Police Station in 1871 as Logue was preparing to serve a seven-year sentence at Cherry Hill Prison for burglary. 

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Hattie Woolsteen.

The body of a man was found in the charred ruins of a barn that burned about a mile west of Compton, California, the morning of October 7, 1887. The man’s face was burned beyond recognition, but a bullet hole through his right temple indicated that the fire had been deliberately set to cover up a murder.

The case was handed over the Los Angeles Police Chief Darcy who set out to identify the victim. In the rubble, investigators found some cloth from the man’s suit and some sleeve buttons near the body. Dr. Charles N. Harlan, a Los Angeles dentist, had been missing for several days and his tailor recognized the fabric and buttons from a suit he had made for Harlan. Chief Darcy ordered the body exhumed, and the skull was shown to Harlan’s dentist who was able to identify his dental work. The victim was Dr. Harlan.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Lunatic Dougherty.

James M. Dougherty was an industrious young man in Brooklyn in the 1880s. He worked as a lineman for the Postal Telegraph Company and in his spare time he studied meteorology, electricity, astronomy and other sciences. He dabbled in a little of everything until after watching a play he became obsessed with the leading lady, Mary Anderson, and his love for her became his sole controlling passion.

He would go wherever she was performing and do whatever he could to be close to her. In 1887, Miss Anderson traveled to Europe, and Dougherty followed. By this point, he believed that Mary Anderson loved him as well, but she was surrounded by a group of conspirators dedicated to keeping them apart. They were controlled by Antonio Fernando de Navarro, his chief rival for Mary’s affections, who would marry her in 1890. While in Liverpool in 1887, Dougherty believed that the conspirators had tried to poison him, so he moved back to America.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

A Mount Holly Tragedy.

(sic)
Mary Catherine Anderson—Katie to her friends—was in good spirits when she went out the evening of Monday, February 7, 1887. 16-year-old Katie Anderson was a domestic servant living at the home of her employer, Stat Colkitt on his farm in Mount Holly, New Jersey. She said she was just going out for a walk, but Katie was not seen again until Tuesday morning when a neighboring farmer found her laying down an embankment alongside a public road, barely clinging to life with a gunshot wound to her temple. She was recognized by people at the Colkitt house and was taken by wagon to her uncle’s house; a doctor from Mount Holly was summoned.

Around dawn that morning another neighbor, Mrs. Brewer, on her way to Colkitt’s house saw some vomit on the road, and near it a pistol with one chamber discharged. At the Colkitt’s house, a young man named Witcraft recognized it as the pistol he had traded to Barclay Peak the week before.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

The Lawrenceburg Shanty-boat Mystery.

When John Keys and Eva Dickenson were married in Cincinnati on August 21, 1890, they told their relatives that they planned to honeymoon on the Atlantic coast, but John had another plan. He purchased an Ohio River shanty-boat and planned a slow trip downriver to St. Louis. It would not be their last deception; in fact, what transpired on that fateful journey would remain forever shrouded in mystery.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Ebenezer Stanyard.

Ebenezer Stanyard and Alice Hancock (sometimes spelled “Hancox”) were next-door neighbors in Youngstown, Ohio. Both of their families had emigrated from England and Ebenezer, and Alice had been playmates from an early age. But by 1887, when Alice turned 17, their paths had diverged. Alice, a pretty, petite brunette, was bright and popular, while Ebenezer, who could barely read and write, was considered weak-minded. Alice had moved on to more congenial company, but Ebenezer had become obsessively in love with her.

When Alice refused Ebenezer’s advances, he became more determined to have her. He was often loitering around her house, and her brother had caught Ebenezer peeking through her window. After that, the Hancock family kept their doors locked out of fear that Ebenezer might enter and commit assault. Reportedly, Ebenezer had asserted that Miss Hancock would not live to marry anyone else.

Friday, July 26, 2019

The Wolf Creek Tragedy.

The Shanks family and the Keller family lived on opposite sides of the border between Fountain County and Parke County Indiana; the Shanks on the Fountain side, the Kellers on the Parke side. During a drought in the summer of 1895, the Kellers gave the Shanks family permission to access water on their property. The job of fetching the water fell to Clara Shanks, the beautiful 18-year-old daughter of Frederick Shanks, and she would visit Kellers’ yard several times a day.

Nannie Keller, the wife of 34-year-old Daniel Keller, kept an eye on Clara and began to suspect the young girl had begun flirting with her husband. Her suspicions grew to the point where she publicly accused Clara of having improper relations with Daniel.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

A Day of Blood.


Adolph Stein was a 35year-old Polish immigrant living in Cedar Rapids, Iowa when he met Lizzie Loering, a widow with two little children and $30,000 in assets. After a whirlwind courtship, the two were married in June 1880.

Stein had been prominent in political circles in Cedar Rapids, but earlier that spring he was indicted for illegally selling liquor. He decided to move his new bride to Iowa City and open a saloon there with his wife’s money. Lizzie’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hess packed up and moved to Iowa City as well.

Before long, the marriage turned sour. There were several opinions as to what had gone wrong. Lizzie’s mother, who was always present, had never liked Stein and Lizzie, began to share her mother’s opinion. Together they made Stein’s life miserable. The saloon had acquired a bad reputation, and Stein took to drink. Some said that Stein had been determined to marry money and had only married Lizzie for her $30,000. He treated her badly, and when he turned violent, she left him and moved back with her parents. 

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Murder at the Pool Table.

Thomas H. Jones, aged 21, was planning to leave Brooklyn on October 5, 1880, to start a new life in San Francisco. The night before his planned departure he went to say goodbye to his friend George Secor and the two young men went to a lager beer saloon run by N. Debrowski on Atlantic Street to play billiards.

Between games, they went to the bar for some soda water. As they were placing their order John J. Dwyer entered the saloon, extremely intoxicated. He stood next to Jones and Secor and said, “I’ll take whiskey for mine.”  Neither man knew Dwyer and they ignored him; Debrowski told him that he had no whiskey.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Shot Down Remorselessly.

In January 1881, Adolph Sindram was a boarder at the home of Mrs. Catherine Crave on Charlton Street in New York City. Catherine was the second wife of a Frenchman named John B. Crave and gladly took over the responsibility of mothering his five children. She was a kind woman, loved by the children and esteemed by all who knew her. 

The house on Charlton Street was larger than the family needed, so they took in boarders and lodgers. Adolph Sindram, one of her boarders, approached Mrs. Crave to ask if his brother William could share his room. Adolph was an amiable and agreeable young man, well-liked by the other tenants of the house. He told her that William worked as a printer as he did. She thought Adolph’s brother would be a welcome addition to the house and agreed to let him share the room with an appropriate increase in the rent.

But William’s temperament was the opposite of his brother’s. He was irascible and sullen by nature with a tendency to become irrationally violent. He had once assaulted his father with a knife, and later, after his father’s death, he broke into his mother’s house and stole some money. He was completely self-centered, spending most of his time concocting schemes to make money without working. At Charlton Street, he was surly and disagreeable to all who lived there. 

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Money Matters.

Michael Heenan and his wife Delia had an argument over money matters in the kitchen of their home in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston on August 31, 1886. 60-year-old Michael Heenan owned the house where the couple lived and was said to be quite wealthy, but when Delia, aged 45, requested money he would plead poverty. 

When the argument grew heated, Michael went outside to the woodshed and returned with an axe. He gave Delia three savage blows to the head with the blunt end of the axe then grabbed her by the hair and dragged her as far as he could into the yard, leaving her in a pool of blood.

Michael went back to the house and into the parlor, locking the door behind him. He took out a roll of bills containing $4,000 and counted them leaving bloody fingerprints on the bills. Then, while facing a mirror, he took his razor and cut his throat from ear to ear, severing his windpipe. 

Michael and Delia were still alive when they were found, but they both died later that day at City Hospital.


Sources:
“Brained by her Miser Husband,” National Police Gazette, September 19, 1896.
“Fatal End of a Family Quarrel,” Kansas City daily journal, September 1, 1896.
“Murder and Suicide,” Worcester Daily Spy, September 1, 1896.
“Probable Murder and Suicide,” New Haven Register, August 31, 1896.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Butler County Tragedy.


Christina Hassler, 50-years-old, grew quite wealthy from several oil wells operating on her farm in Butler County, Pennsylvania, but she was not so fortunate in her personal life. She married a man named Nordheim and had four children by him. They lived together until, for some unspecified reason, Nordheim made a murderous assault against her father. He was sent to the penitentiary and Christina secured a divorce and resumed her maiden name. 

In 1878, one of Christina's three daughters married a man named Harper Whitmire. They borrowed money from Christina, giving her a mortgage on the property. Whitmire later induced her to cancel the mortgage and put the farm in his wife’s name and consider it her full share in her mother's estate. But Whitmire had already borrowed money on the farm, representing himself as the owner. When the loan came due, he had to continue borrowing money to stay out of trouble. 

Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Maggie Hourigan Mystery.

Two children playing near their house in Greenwich, New York, the morning of Saturday, October 20, 1889, found a woman’s hat and jacket lying on a log and reported them to a group of men who were working on a road nearby. Reuben Stewart, Superintendent of Streets who was also President of the Village, thought the circumstances were suspicious and went down to take a look for himself. It was a secluded spot about halfway between two villages with a small pool of water near the road. Stewart found the owner of the hat and jacket floating face down in the pool.

The woman was soon identified as Maggie Hourigan. A hasty autopsy conducted by Dr. S. Walter Scott and several other physicians determined that she had drowned, and a coroner’s jury concluded that it had been suicide. 

Saturday, June 8, 2019

The Dunham Murder.


William H. Dunham owned a roadhouse on Washington Avenue, in Belleville, New Jersey, that catered to the roughest citizens of that town and was a noted stopping spot for sporting men and fast women from Newark and Passaic. He owned a second roadhouse—referred to as the “upper house”—near Nutley which had an even worse reputation. Dunham own reputation was not so good either; he was a short, stoutly built, ill-tempered man of 38, who was ready to fight at the slightest provocation, especially when drunk.