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Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Confession of Jacob Harden.


Reverend Jacob S. Harden felt he had been roped into an unhappy marriage by Louisa Dorland and her conniving parents. His new wife threatened his promising career and put a damper on his active social life as well. When the young bride passed away mysteriously, Harden acted like a guilty man but professed innocence almost to the end.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Avenged Her Father’s Murder.

Around 1:00 a.m., the morning of September 7, 1892, Richard Wright was awakened by a man calling his name, outside his farmhouse in Payne, Indiana. He recognized the voice as that of his son-in-law, Dell Judah, and went outside to see what he wanted. Judah told him angrily that his wife had walked out; he thought she had gone back to her father and he had come to take her home. Wright assured him that his daughter was not there, but he had not assuaged Judah’s anger. As Wright turned to walk away, Judah drew a revolver and shot him in the neck. Wright turned and grabbed him and as they clinched two more shots were fired.

Wright’s eldest daughter, Minna, ran from the house then, wielding an axe. Seeing her brother-in-law struggling with her father, she hit Judah in the head with the axe, knocking him off. She continued to hit him until he was dead. When she turned to her father, she found that he was dead as well. Minna walked a mile through the woods to their nearest neighbor to alert them to what had happened.

The Wrights were highly regarded in Payne, but Dell Judah had a bad reputation and was known as a rough character. Many believed that he had gone to Richard Wright’s house specifically to murder his wife and her father. Minna Wright was not arrested.


Sources:
“She Killed Him,” Kalamazoo Gazette, September 18, 1892.
“A Terrible Tragedy,” The Topeka Daily Capital, September 9, 1892.
“Too Bloody to Believe,” The Indianapolis Journal, September 8, 1892.
“Two Lives Wiped Out,” The True Northerner, September 14, 1892.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

An Indignant Husband’s Crime.

In April 1891, Mrs. Sophia B. Dunham of Montgomery, Alabama received the following anonymous letter:

Montgomery,
April, 1891,
Mrs. B. Dunham.


Dear Madame,

I guess it is quite a surprise and something very unusual for you to receive a note of this character from a stranger, but, my dear woman, it is very much to your interest for me to write it, not that the matter in the least interests me, but that I feel it is my duty as a man not to conceal from you a thing which will cause you no little trouble if not corrected at once. Now, if you will meet me on Catoma Creek Road Sunday afternoon at 4 o'clock, I shall inform you of something, that by your not hearing and acting accordingly will cause you an abundance of trouble. Oh, woman, don't fail to meet me, for the result would be certainly disastrous; and you may be assured I shall not say anything that would be improper for any man to say to one of your sex. Now, do not fail to come, for by doing so you shall reap benefit. I am not one whom you have never seen, but one to whom, perhaps you have never paid the slightest attention.

I am, yours truly,
light tan leggings with brass buttons, on a black horse of good gait, around the park, Sunday.

Mrs. Dunham immediately took the letter to her husband, Colonel Bradford Dunham, General Manager of the Alabama Midland Railroad Company. Though the matter to which the letter alluded was never revealed, Col. Dunham viewed the anonymous letter as a grave insult to his wife’s honor. He planned to uncover the writer’s identity by replying with a decoy letter in which Mrs. Dunham agreed to the meeting in the park. He then arranged to have the meeting place watched.

Mrs. Dunham did not keep the appointment, but the letter writer did; it was 19-year-old, James Cunningham, an employee of Alabama Midland Railroad Company. Col. Dunham put an end to the problem by summarily discharging Cunningham.

Five months later, Col. Dunham learned the Cunningham had been showing the decoy letter around town, saying he had received it from Mrs. Dunham. The colonel was so enraged by this that he procured a shotgun and went looking for Cunningham. He was sitting in the doorway of a drugstore, and when James Cunningham passed by, he picked up the shotgun, loaded with buckshot, and without a word, fired both barrels into the young man’s chest. Cunningham died instantly. Col. Dunham then walked to the police station and surrendered.

Public sentiment in Montgomery was divided regarding Col. Dunham’s case. The coroner’s jury called it first-degree murder, but some felt the Colonel’s action was justified. At the grand jury hearing, a detective testified that Cunningham told him he had lost his position with Midland Railroad for undue intimacy with Mrs. Dunham and intended to kill Col. Dunham on sight. In a decision harshly criticized by the friends of James Cunningham, the grand jury failed to find an indictment against the Col. Bradford Dunham. The colonel was released from jail and resumed his position as General Manager of the railroad.

Sources:
“Col. Bradford Dunham's Case,” Evening Star, September 29, 1891.
“Col. Dunham's Examination,” Baltimore Sun, October 3, 1891.
“Defended Her Honor,” Fort Worth Gazette, September 28, 1891.
“The Grand Jury Criticized,” Bradford Era, October 24, 1891.
“An Indignant Husband's Crime,” National Police Gazette, October 17, 1891.
“Killed His Man,” Evansville Courier and Press, September 28, 1891.
“Sunny South,” Cincinnati Post, December 7, 1892.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Connell Homicide.


A little past midnight, January 4, 1868, William Connell, age 21, was standing at the corner of Bowery and Bayard Streets, New York City, conversing with Maggie Brown and Emma Gardner, two young women in their teens. Richard Casey came up to them and flourished some bank notes in the faces of the women in an insulting manner, implying that they were prostitutes—which in fact they were. Connell took offense to the action and asked Casey what he meant by it. Casey asked if he was going to defend the women and Connell replied that he was a stranger there but did not like such conduct.

“Well I’m no stranger here,” said Casey, and knocked Connell’s hat off his head.

As Connell stooped to pick up his hat, Casey drew a revolver from a breast pocket and fired at his head. Connell cried out in agony and fell into the gutter; Casey shot him again. Then he pointed the pistol at Maggie Brown and said with a foul epithet, “I’ll finish you too.”

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Another Boy Murderer.


Near Rockport, Indiana, on the banks of the Ohio River, the morning of September 29, 1883, a boat was found, burned to the water’s edge. It had been a small trading boat, large enough sleep two or three and carry goods—most notably liquor—to sell along the river. Inside were the charred remains of a man who had been shot to death.

Rockport police soon learned the names of the men lived aboard the trading boat—R.T. Arnett, who lay dead in the smoldering boat, and Francis J. Kelly, the presumed murder, who had fled the scene. Detective Hales of Rockport undertook the task of locating Kelly and after three weeks of investigating he found the culprit in Ashley, Illinois, some 140 miles inland. Hales arrested Kelly and brought him back to Rockport.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

"Handsome Little Dandy."

Frank Stark (or Starke) angrily burst into the dressing room of the Vicksburg Opera-house where David R. Allan and his wife, May, were preparing to go on stage, the evening of November 14, 1883. Allan, 55 years old, was a veteran performer and the manager of the John F. Ward Comedy Company. He had recently fired Stark, age 22, from his position as advance agent for the company. The two men exchanged words then Stark drew a pistol and pointed it at Allan. May Allan grabbed the pistol from his hand and D. R. Allan thrust Stark out of the room. Stark snatched the pistol back from Mrs. Allan, and as D. R. Allan followed him into the hall, Stark turned and fired four shots at Allan. Two shots hit their target, one passing through Allan’s heart.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Charley Cook.

Charles Cook.
The afternoon of September 22, 1840, Polly Cornell was surprised to see her niece and nephew running toward her house crying. The girl, about six years old, and the boy about four were the children of her sister Catherine who lived with her husband Eli Merry, on a farm in Glenville, New York, not far from her own. They told their aunt that Charley Cook, a laborer at the farm, had killed their mother. She took the children and hurried to the house of another relative, Peleg Cornell who sent his son for more help.

They all met at the Merrys’ house, and when no one answered their knock on the kitchen door, they went inside. They found Catherine Merry in the cellar, lying on the floor with her throat cut. She had been beaten as well, and her clothes were in disarray. By now several other people had arrived at the house, and they carried the body upstairs to the kitchen. On the kitchen table, they a found shoemaker’s knife with a four-inch blade; on it were blood and hairs.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Dark Kentucky Tragedy.

Col. A.M. Swope and Col. William Cassius Goodloe happened to enter the Lexington, Kentucky post office at the same time on the afternoon of November 8, 1889. They greeted each other with icy glares then went about their business. Both men were leaders in the Republican Party in Kentucky, and both had national reputations. Swope was the former Internal Revenue Collector for the district, Goodloe had been Minister to Belgium, a state senator, and was the current Internal Revenue Collector; both men fought for the Union in the Civil war, and both rose to the rank of Colonel.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Wicked Victorian Boston.

a new book by Robert Wilhelm
Now Available at Amazon!
More information at: WickedVictorianBoston.com

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Baldwinsville Homicide.

The discovery of a body in the Seneca River, decomposed beyond recognition, left the town of Baldwinsville with a nearly unsolvable mystery. But the clues unraveled to revealed a dastardly plot against an honest man by a craven murderer and his hapless cohort.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Stranger Than a Dime Novel.

Little Murders
(From St. Louis Republican, December 31,1878)


Stranger Than a Dime Novel.
 Murder Revealed by an Old Letter After Two Years’ Concealment.

The Vandalia train which arrived at the Union depot yesterday morning had on board Sheriff Heber, of Greene county, Mo., and a young man named James Hickman. The latter was a prisoner to the hands of the Sheriff. The two were bound for Ash Grove, Mo., a station on the St. Louis and San Fraucisco road, not far from Springfield. The two were bound train did not leave until ten minutes to nine P. M., and in the interim the Sheriff took his prisoner to the Four Courts as the easiest place to keep him. It was there that the Sheriff was interrogated by a reporter. He said that Hickman was charged with murder. This caused the reporter to get his pencil out and get to work. The Sheriff told the story of the crime and it is an interesting one.

Only a year ago James Hickman was a thriving young farmer. He kept company with a girl named Kate Rice, The was one of the belles of Ash Grove. They loved too well, as the saying is, and ere the marriage day arrived a child was born. She hid her shame, living on and not letting her friends or his know of her trouble. He seemed true to her for a while and always promised to keep the vow that he had made, that he would marry her, but the marriage day never arrived. One day he went to her and told her that he loved another and intended to marry her. This cruel confession so wrought upon the girl’s feelings that she threatened to expose him, if he did so, to people of the village and to his father and mother, who were alive and who were well thought of. He did not expect this, promised to break off the new engagement which he had already made and marry the woman he had wronged as soon as the banns could be duly proclaimed. Instead of doing this he returned his new love. Time flew by and the day came when Hickman had to marry at least one of the women. That one was his latest love who had brothers who had an inkling of Hickman’s treatment of his first victim and who were determined that he should jilt no sister of theirs. Hickman, finding himself between two fires, wrote a letter to Kate Rice. He told her as she valued her life to keep the contents of it secret and to meet him that night in an out of the way place. She obeyed his request and leaving her home on the night of September 10, 1879, She was never seen alive again, but two days later her body was found at the side of a field with a bullet through her brain and a pistol by her side. There were no signs of a struggle. The pistol no one had ever seen before. Those who knew of her troubles supposed that It was a case of suicide, and those who did not know of them thought the same thing. The body of the girl was laid in a grave. Hickman, it would appear was so overburdened with guilt that he resolved to leave the scene of the murder. He transferred his worldly goods into cash as soon as possible and left, telling those who took the trouble to ask that he was going East to embark in a mercantile enterprise. But little was said concerning his departure and less thought of it until one day about three months ago the mother of the dead girl made a discovery. While looking over some of her daughter's old letters she found the one that had been written to her upon the very night of the murder. The mother concluded almost at once that that letter was the decoy which led to her daughter's death. She consulted the authorities and they were quick about investigating the case. The mother still held the revolver that had been found with her daughter's body. She had never found the real owner of it—in fact, no one had looked for the real owner. The authorities looked, and, strange to say, found upon very short inquiry that Hickman had purchased the revolver but a few days before the girl's death. This fact, together with his sudden disappearance, caused further inquiry to be made. His parents professed ignorance as to his whereabouts. This itself, it was thought, implied guilt. They were watched. and it was found that they did receive letters from him. These were postmarked Paris, Ill. The deputy sheriff was sent to hunt up the supposed murderer. He found him farming upon a piece of ground not far from Paris. The result was his arrest and transfer to the scene of his crime. Since the authorities first commenced investigating the murder they have found overwhelming, evidence of Hickman's guilt.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Death for an Insult.

Little Murders
In 1881 J.T. Carter married Alice Thorpe; he was a successful saddler and she the accomplished and highly-regarded daughter of W.L. Thorpe, a contractor and lumber merchant. All were prominent citizens of Pensacola, Florida. The marriage was never a happy one and after six years, Alice Carter could no longer tolerate her husband’s irascible temperament and the couple separated. They tried to reconcile but J T Carter could not suppress his temper and they separated again. This time Alice obtained a divorce and took refuge at her father’s house.

She was soon courted by J.M. Thompson, a prominent young grocer. Wasting no time, Thompson soon proposed to the pretty young divorcee and she said yes.

J.M. Carter had never accepted the divorce and his ex-wife’s subsequent remarriage, and he reacted by insulting her every time they met. Reportedly, men were shocked at the vile expressions he used against Alice. Her new husband became the butt of Carter’s jests and “he was made to feel the blush of shame at indecent allusions made to his wife.”

Shortly after noon, on December 21, 1889, Alice and J.M. Thompson were walking down Tarragona Street in Pensacola. As Carter approached them on the other side of the street, he made an insulting remark toward Alice. When Thompson indignantly replied, Carter crossed the street and struck Thomson, knocking him to the ground. Carter fell on top of them and they began to tussle. Alice screamed and attempted to pull Carter off, but as she stooped, the blood of her former husband spurted in her face. Thompson had pulled out his pocket knife and stabbed Carter in the neck, cutting his jugular vein. He stabbed four more times and J.M. Carter died soon after.

The tragic outcome had been expected by those who knew the parties involved. Public sentiment generally sided with Thompson. When the case went to trial the following March, testimony lasted only one day. The defense successfully proved threats had been made against the defendant’s life by Carter previous to the knifing. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty.

Sources:
“An Ex-Husband's Offense,” The Atlanta Constitution, December 23, 1889.
“Death for an Insult,” New York Herald, December 23, 1889.
“Pensacola,” The Times-Picayune, March 16, 1890.
“Stabbed by his Ex-Wife's Husband,” National Police Gazette, January 11, 1890.
“Tragedy at Pensacola.,” Elkhart Daily Review, December 23, 1889.
“Trial of J. M. Thomson,” The Times-Democrat, March 15, 1890.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Nellie C. Bailey.

Nellie C. Bailey.
William Dodson led a drive of 2300 head of sheep from Kansas through Indian Territory to their new home in Texas in October 1883. A mile behind them the owner of the new ranch, a widower named Clement Bothemly, and his sister Bertha traveled in a wagon outfitted with bedrooms. Pulled by two yoke of oxen, the wagon was so large that observers compared it to a railroad car. The night of October 7, Dodson heard Miss Bothemly calling from a distance and ran to see what was wrong. She took him to the wagon and led him inside where Clement lay dead from a gunshot wound to the head. 

He killed himself, she told Dodson. Clement had been suffering from rheumatism, and the pain had become unbearable. He had been taking large doses of morphine, but even that had not alleviated the pain. Bertha had been awakened by the gunshot and found her brother lying dead. 

They realized that they would have to dig a grave and bury him on the trail. A wagon heading for Kansas had passed them several hours earlier, and Dodson rode to them to ask for assistance. The men came back with him, and they buried Clement Bothemly near Skeleton Ranch. After a brief ceremony, Bertha and Dodson continued on the drive.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Fatal Cutting Affray.

Little Murders
Thomas Reveley

Thomas Reveley, a prominent St. Louis attorney, went into Peckington’s Golden Lion saloon at Seventh and Pine Streets a little after 9:00 pm on February 8, 1896. He had gone to the Golden Lion for his evening meal, as he often did, and ordered a plate of sausages. A widower, about 50 years old, whose right arm was almost totally paralyzed, Reveley lived with his father who was in the middle of a contentious lawsuit. It was clear that Thomas Reveley was going through some hard times. Reveley was already drunk when he arrived at the Golden Lion; one observer remarked, “He looks like a man who had drunk himself down in the world.”

Reveley ate his sausages rather quickly prompting Mike Green, a 60-year-old waiter, popular and good-natured, to jokingly ask, “Did you eat all that by yourself?” Reveley replied rather savagely that it was none of Green’s ---- ---- business. Green, astonished by the force of his remark, turned away and waited on another customer. Reveley made a few more harsh remarks then left the Golden Lion and went across the street to Schweikhardt’s saloon.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Boston Detectives—So Called.

(From the New York Herald, November 5, 1875.)


Boston Detectives—So Called.


A Startling Record of their Inefficiency—
When Did They Ever Work Up a Murder Case to a Successful Issue?

Boston, Nov. 4, 1875
The recent failure of the so-called Boston detectives—the pets of the daily press of the “Hub”—in the handling of the Langmaid murder case in New Hampshire, recalls their inefficiency in and around Boston. In the matter of the score of horrible murders which have been committed in the city and vicinity it is difficult, if not absolutely impossible to single out a solitary instance where they have worked a case to a successful issue. Even the case of Jesse Pomeroy, who committed two murders, the smartest of them were baffled by the shrewd youth and final detection was owing the accidental discovery of Katie Curran’s body in the cellar of a house once occupied by his mother by some workmen who were digging for a new foundation. In the case of Pemberton, who was hung a few weeks since the murder of the Bingham woman, in East Boston, their stupidity was equally prominent. Some rings taken from her finger were described to the so-called detectives, and the information was treasured by them as sacred. The Boston Herald accidentally got hold of and published a description of the rings. A man in Salem who bought them of the murderer saw the account, followed up the assassin, had him arrested, and trial, conviction and hanging followed in quick succession. Thus the press served the ends of justice in this as in the Langmaid case, and in spite of the so-called detectives. In the case of Piper, who is charged with the murder of Mabel Young in a church belfry, he was first apprehended by citizens, then turned over to the Boston officers, since which time his case has slumbered. Over in the Bunker Hill district a man named Kimball killed his wife and daughter, and as promptly apprehended; but such a circumstance would probably never have occurred if the murderer had fled instead of committing suicide. A man named Jones who killed Mrs. Barry, his paramour in the immediate vicinity of the Kimball horror, also aided the so-called detectives materially by killing himself in the same room. Then there is the murder of the Joyce children in Buzzy’s woods, the case where a prominent man was found beheaded in a floating barrel in the Charles River, The Bridget Landergan horror, the Dennahy tragedy and the mysterious shooting of a Boston merchant in the door of his own residence in the Dorchester district. All of these  cases and others of less renown are as much shrouded in mystery to-day as they were at the moment of their discovery. In view of such a record it is no more than justice to accord the so-called detectives of Boston the championship of inefficiency.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Crazy John Daley.

Little Murders

John Daley rushed from his house on Chouteau Avenue, St. Louis, bleeding profusely from the neck, at around 11:00 the night of May 11, 1883. He surrendered himself to Officer Jones, saying that he had just murdered his wife. Officer Jones summoned a patrol wagon to take Daley to the Four Courts, then went to Daley’s house to see about his wife.

Daley, a 55-year-old machinist, lived in a two-room house on Chouteau Avenue, with his 35-year-old wife, Eliza, and eight children, ranging in age from 5 months to 12 years. Inside the house Officer Jones found Eliza lying on the bed, her skull crushed and her throat cut. He found a rusty axe with blood on both ends of the blade. It appeared that Daley had first struck her head with the butt of the axe, then cut her throat, finishing the job with a knife.

There were no signs of a struggle. Eliza Daley was in her nightclothes, her shoes, and stockings by the side of the bed. The incident woke none of the children; the youngest lay by her mother’s side with blood on her head.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Kitty Mulcahey.

Little Murders

Kitty Mulcahey
A pistol shot from the churchyard of the Second Presbyterian Church, in St. Louis, at around 11:45 the night of December 18, 1881, caught the attention of several people who had been outside nearby. Alfred Tonkin, a horse-clipper, was found on the church terrace with a gunshot wound to the abdomen and was rushed to City Hospital. Witnesses said that they had seen a man and a woman run from the scene; the woman had left behind a sealskin cap.

The churchyard and adjoining cemetery were popular spots, even in December, for prostitutes and others engaging in illicit relationships. Before he died, Tonkin told police that he had seen a man and woman acting suspiciously and followed them into the churchyard where he caught them in an “improper act.” As the couple fled, Tonkin tried to stop the woman. He thought it was the man who shot him, but his statements were confused and contradictory, another witness said that it was the woman who fired.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Spiritualism as a Witness in a Murder Case.

It would scarcely be safe as a general thing to trust the intervention of spiritual powers for the detection of crime and for the evidence sufficient to convict its perpetrators. But in a murder case in Connecticut a grand juror, an able counsel, a learned judge and we know not how many others seem bound to convict a person of the capital offense of murder on the strength of revelations made to a pretended spiritual medium. The story is told by the Herald’s special correspondent in another column. We are assured on the authority of one of the prosecuting lawyers that all the circumstances attending the cruel murder of poor Mary Stannard were minutely described to a member of the Grand Jury by the medium, even to the description of the weapons used and the words spoken during the enactment of the tragedy. An interview between our correspondent and the clairvoyant confirms the wonderful tale. Exactly how the evidence is to be used on the trial of the Rev. Mr. Hayden, who has been rearrested, is not explained. Perhaps the medium is to be induced to pass into the clairvoyant state and describe the murder after the fashion of Hamlet’s players. But then how is the oath to be administered that is necessary to make the testimony legal? What is to become of the right of the defense to a cross-examination? Who is to vouch for the credibility of the witness when the mediums themselves do not seem to know whether they are used by good spirits or bad spirits—by truthful spirits or lying spirits? Many such legal difficulties suggest themselves in such a case. Even should they be overcome, who can vouch that the jury will not be composed of men of common sense, who will remember that the medium’s wonderful disclosures were made after he had enjoyed the opportunity to examine the spot, measure the distances and arrange blood-stained stones at his pleasure, and so make up their minds that he is an arrant humbug?

It would be fortunate for the accused if more material circumstances had not occasioned his second arrest. Should it be proved that he purchased arsenic on the morning of the murder, and that the poison was found in the stomach of the victim, it will not need a spiritual medium to convict him of the cruel crime,  nor will any efforts of Spiritualism save him from the full penalty of the law.

Reprinted from “Spiritualism as a Witness in a Murder Case,” New York Herald, October 10, 1878.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

She Didn’t Do as He Wished.

Little Murders


Shortly after 4:00, the afternoon of November 4, 1893, Fred L. Buck rushed into the police station in Elgin, Illinois and announced, “I’ve just killed my wife; she’s been leading a fast life and I had to end it.”

Police went to the Bucks’ residence and found Fred Buck’s wife, Julia, in the bedroom, lying face down in a pool of blood. He had shot her in the temple at such short range that the bullet went straight through her head and was found embedded in her hair, which she wore knotted in the back. A second shot he fired in her back had been unnecessary as the first shot had killed her instantly.

Fred Buck was the Illinois State Game and Fish Warden and had been in charge of the government aquariums in the Fisheries Building at the World’s Fair in Chicago. He was also engaged in the manufacture of a patent lantern and had previously been a private detective. His wife Julia, 30-years-old, was the brother of Theodore F. Swan who owned a large department store in Elgin. Both Fred and Julia were previously married and divorced.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Dedham Tragedy.

Finding the Bodies
In September 1865, the family of Dr. Carlos Marston rented rooms in a house that had previously been a hotel in South Dedham, Massachusetts. The family consisted of the doctor, a forty-year-old homeopathic physician; Susannah, his wife of fifteen years; and their 10-year-old adopted daughter Cora, whose natural mother had been Susannah’s sister. They slept on the second floor, while on the first floor Miss Susan Hill, an invalid being treated by Dr. Marston, had a room.

The Marston Residence
At around 2:00 am, the morning of Friday, September 1, Miss Hill was awaked by the sound of a scuffle from the room above, followed by a thud, as if someone had fallen to the floor, then a pistol report. She ran out to the stairs, but afraid to go up she called loudly asking if everything was alright. She received no response, but a few moments later Mrs. Marston appeared in the darkness at the head of the stairs and said in a calm but firm tone, “Be still—go to your room—or I’ll blow your brains out!”

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Sin and Sorrow.

Little Murders
When neighbors heard two muffled gunshots, the afternoon of September 20, 1880, coming from the home of George Ware and family on Maple Street in Dayton, Ohio, it caused little concern; they assumed someone inside was trying to kill rats. But a few moments later Lee Brumbaugh hurried from the house, bleeding from a wound in his side. He was staggering when he reached the grocery store on the corner. Entering the store, he said to the proprietor, “I’m shot; George Ware did it.” The proprietor caught him and laid him on the floor. Less than five minutes later Brumbaugh was dead. George Ware then entered the store carrying Brumbaugh’s coat, vest, and hat and said, “I shot Lee Brumbaugh, but I am sorry now for it.”

Lee Brumbaugh was a prominent attorney, well known in Dayton, and news of his murder spread quickly through the town. It was first rumored that the motive had been political, Brumbaugh was a member of the Democratic Central Committee, and Ware was president of the Republican Central Committee. But a second rumor, that Ware had caught his wife and Lee Brumbaugh in flagrante delicto, proved true.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Foulest Murder Yet.

Little Murders
(From Oregonian, August 17,1878)


The Foulest Murder Yet.
The Tullis Murder in Sacramento County – A Confession by the Public Administrator that he Instigated It.

San Francisco, Aug. 15.—Troy Dye, public administrator of Sacramento county, has made a full confession concerning the recent murder of A. M. Tullis on Grand Island. He confesses to have instigated the murder for the purpose of getting control of the estate of the deceased. He implicates as perpetrator of the deed Edward Anderson, a Swede formerly in his employ and another party, name not yet ascertained. Anderson has also made confession corroborating that of Dye. Anderson was to receive $6,000 for the job. They had previously tried to kill Tullis by poison. They had also discussed the murder of other citizens. The details are replete with cold-blooded cruelty. Dye has heretofore borne a good reputation in the community, and his connection with the affair has created the utmost surprise and excitement. The details of the confessions of Dye and Anderson are to the following effect:

Dye had found the office of public administrator unprofitable, and had remarked occasionally in jest the he would have to kill some one to make it pay. The idea obtained a deep hold on his mind and he took Anderson, whom he had for a long time employed in his butcher shop, and another party yet unknown into his councils. Dye and Anderson charge each other with being the tempter. They finally fixed on Tullis as a victim. Dye had been his friend and neighbor for 12 years and knew the value of his property, and as Tullis had never been communicative concerning his family affairs it was supposed he had no relative to claim the estate. Over two months ago Anderson and the unknown party went to Tullis’ place to put the plan into execution, but their courage failed them. Dye urged the crime persistently and Anderson conceived the idea of a murder by poison. A bottle of poisoned cocktails was prepared in a saloon kept bye Dye & Clark in Sacramento and Anderson went to Tullis’ ranch ostensibly in search of work, and gave him the bottle after taking a number of drinks together from a bottle of good liquor, and left. For some reason this plot miscarried. It was then decided that bold work was required. A boat was built at Dye’s house, Sacramento. Anderson pulled it down the river and was joined by his confederate below the city, and they proceeded to Tullis’ ranch, found him in the orchard and knocked him down with a sand bag and shot him in several places. This was the evening of Thursday, the 1st inst., at 7 o’clock. Dye, that evening, staid at his house in Sacramento till 8’oclock entertaining a visitor. He excused himself and took a buggy, drove down the river about 16 miles, met the assassins at the place appointed and drove them back to Sacramento. During the ride they related all the circumstances of the murder to Dye. The trio returned much under the influence of liquor. Dye says Anderson had revealed to him the crimes of his past life, including the murder of two sheep herders in vicinity of Sacramento. Dye’s plan for realizing on the estate of Tullis was to compound with the creditors. His legitimate commissions would have been about $3,200. Dye has always borne a good reputation, but parties now coming forward affirm he was a bushwhacker during the late war and pillaged and murdered indiscriminately. The confession cover about eight closely printed columns, developing every stage of progress to the commission of the crime. Neither party will be allowed to turn state’s evidence and the district attorney is confident of convicting both.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Newmarket Murder.

Around 1:00 am, the morning of February 26, 1867, Israel Coriell, of Newmarket, New Jersey,  was awakened by frantic knocking on his front door. It was Bridget Durgan, servant girl of his cousin, Dr. Lester Wallace Coriell, carrying the doctor’s two-year-old daughter. Nearly hysterical, Bridget told him that burglars were ransacking the house, the doctor was out on a call, and she feared that his wife, Mary Ellen, was being murdered. Coriell sent her to awaken his neighbor, Rev. William Little, while he went to Main Street and rang a large bell as a signal of general alarm. Reverend Little and two other men followed Bridget back to Dr. Coriell’s house.

They found the house filled with smoke and traced the source to a smoldering fire in one of the bedrooms. When they doused the fire and brought some light into the room, the men were shocked by what they found. There were signs of a fearful struggle; clothing was strewn in ragged heaps, and feathers torn from the pillows lay on the floor, all stained and matted with blood and gore. A broken chair was splintered and covered with blood. The body of Mary Ellen Coriell lay in the middle of the floor covered from forehead to breast with hideous gashes, her jugular vein had been torn out, and the deep imprint of four teeth was visible on her neck. It was later determined that she had been stabbed twenty-three times.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Slaughter Ends a Wedding Feast.

Trinidad Romer was a wealthy, young Mexican living in Douglasville, Texas, a few miles southwest of Abilene. He was in love with the daughter Julius Larinski, a Polish settler, but her affections were fixed on another man. Miss Larinski was enamored with Nathan Sorowski, another Polish immigrant, who had little to offer other than his love.

Mr. Larinski preferred the wealthy Mexican and told Romer that if he could arrange to put Sorowski out of the way, he would give him his daughter’s hand in marriage. Not long after this, Nathan Sorowski disappeared from Douglasville without a trace.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Augusta Schmidt.

Little Murders
   
J. Oscar Walton, a tenant farmer in Walton, Indiana, had an argument with his landlady, Mrs. Augusta Schmidt, the morning of October 21, 1893. They shared a house on the rented property, Mrs. Schmidt and her family in one half, Walton and his family in the other. They stood in the doorway between the two halves as they argued. Walton was upset that geese and hogs owned by Mrs. Schmidt had been let loose in his cornfields and were scattering the corn all around. As the argument became more heated, Walton threatened to take his gun and shoot the livestock. Mrs. Schmidt went into her side of the house and returned with a revolver, and while Oscar Walton’s mother and ten-year-old son watched, Augusta Schmidt shot him in the head and killed him.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Murder and the Ghouls.

Little Murders
(From Cincinnati Daily Gazette, March 24, 1879)


The Murder and the Ghouls

The course of several of the city papers on the terrible tragedy of the murder of Harry Baldwin is an example of the way in which a mere mercenary desire for a sensation scandal, to sell a few more papers, can overcame all principle, all conscience, all the instincts of decency, all sense of justice toward the dead, and all regard for the feelings of the living relatives. Harry Baldwin was found on the street, after his arrival in the night by railway from Indiana, shot through the head and dying, and with signs of having been robbed. Men have been murdered on our streets for the purpose of robbery before now. And even if the police did not at the moment know who did it, this was no reason for throwing themselves into wild inventions. He was found in this dying slate leaning against the wall of a house nearly opposite the public house of which Kate Bennett is mistress. With no other ground than this, the theories of the police and of these newspapers have centered upon and circulated round Kate Bennett's house, and have persisted in connecting Baldwin’s death with that.

From the first, and up to this time not a particle of evidence has been produced to show that Harry Baldwin ever had any illicit relations with any girl, or was ever in that house, yet the police and these papers have insisted that the solution of the mystery was in that house, and have invented and given currency to a mass of wild fancies of his relations with a woman who had become desperate because of his marriage. No such girl has yet been found nor heard of.

The police arrested the Bennett and all persons in her house—boarders and servants. This was accepted and published as positive proof that Baldwin went from the cars to that house and there met his death at the hands of a desperate woman. Then a woman of the lowest degree of prostitution, living in that vicinity, was arrested with her two daughters, one of them described as having had her face partly eaten up with disease. This conveyed the idea that Harry Baldwin was a companion of all sorts of degraded women. A paper remarked that it did not know which of these Dalton girls was his paramour.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Confession of a Wife Murderer.

Little Murders

Charles Herman
Charles Herman and his wife Eva lived in the upper part of a house on Blossom Alley in the German section of Buffalo, New York. He was an unemployed butcher, and she was worked for a man named Christopher Ziegler, running a small fruit stand in a public market. What little money Eva made went primarily to Charles’s worsening alcohol problem. When he drank, he turned violently jealous, irrationally believing that Mr. Ziegler was too intimate with his wife.        

Their marriage had been on the rocks for several years, and nearly every night Charles and Eva engaged in loud, sometimes violent fights, so neighbor took little notice when they heard the couple shouting on the night of Sunday, November 1, 1885. But the days following that Sunday were quiet, and although Charles Herman left in the morning and returned at night, there was no sign of Eva. On Wednesday, November 4, one of the neighbors became concerned, and after Charles had left in the morning, she went to call on Eva. Finding the door locked, she forced it open and found Eva lying on the floor with her throat cut from ear to ear. Her fingers had been cut as well, and the room showed signs of a terrible struggle. A post mortem examination determined that Mrs. Herman had been dead since Sunday.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Murderous 1850s.

Reports of sensational murders had proven so successful at selling newspapers in earlier decades, that by the 1850s murder had become a front page staple of American newspapers. Murder stories, unfolded in the daily papers as if they were serialized mysteries, and readers could not get enough.


An Unfortunate Organization -1850

Phrenology, the theory that a person’s character is determined by the size and shape of his head, was quite popular in America during the 1850s. A phrenological analysis of Reuben Dunbar in 1851 found him to be excessive in Destructiveness, Combativeness, Aqusitiveness, Secretiveness and Firmness, while being deficient in Self-esteem and Philoprogenitiveness. He had “an unfortunate organization” in which his moral faculties were not sufficiently large to balance his animal propensities. While the phrenologist professed scientific objectivity in the analysis of Dunbar’s head, she may have been somewhat influenced the fact that, at the time, Reuben Dunbar was charged with murdering his two young stepbrothers to protect his inheritance.

The North Carolina Tragedy. -1852

The Reverend George Washington Carawan, prominent and powerful North Carolina Baptist minister was a man of violent temper and strong animal passions, more apt to inspire terror than piety in those around him. The sorrows he begat in his relationships would follow him to the courtroom for the last savage act in Carawan’s tragedy.

Arthur Spring Jr. vs. Arthur Spring Sr. -1853

On the morning of March 11, 1853, the bodies of Mrs. Honora Shaw and her sister Mrs. Ellen Lynch were found brutally stabbed and beaten in the front room of their home on Federal Street in Philadelphia. Circumstantial evidence pointed to Arthur Spring, a frequent guest of Mrs. Shaw’s, as the murderer. But the most damning evidence against Spring was the testimony of his nineteen-year-old son, Arthur Jr. who directly accused his father of the murders. Arthur Spring vehemently denied the charge and countered by pinning the murders on his son.

The Veiled Murderess -1853

In 1854, a woman calling herself Henrietta Robinson stood trial in Troy, New York, for poisoning a neighbor and his sister-in-law. Despite the judge’s admonitions, she sat through the trial with her face covered by a black veil, hiding her appearance from the throngs of spectators who had come to watch. Everything about the defendant was a mystery—her motive for murder, her behavior before and after the crime, and even her true identity. It was well known that “Henrietta Robinson” was an assumed name, but who she really was has never been determined.

The Killing of Bill The Butcher -1855

Bill “The Butcher” Poole was a champion New York City pugilist in 1855—before the Marquess of Queensbury rules—when kicking, biting and eye-gouging were acceptable tactics and “fight to the death” was more than a metaphor.  It was also a time when a challenge was likely to be issued out of pure hatred for your opponent.  When John Morrissey, the Irish enforcer for Tammany Hall challenged Bill Poole of the the anti-immigrant “Know Nothing” Party it promised to be the ultimate grudge match. But when the fighters turned to knives and guns, all pretext of sport was gone.  It would be Bill “The Butcher” Poole’s last fight.

The Bond Street Tragedy -1857

The townhouse at 31 Bond Street was, to all appearance, a model of staid middleclass Manhattan decorum. In 1857 it was a boardinghouse run by Mrs. Emma Cunningham with the dental office of Dr. Harvey Burdell on the second floor. But after Dr. Burdell was found in his office strangled and stabbed fifteen times, 31 Bond Street was shown for what it was—a hotbed of greed, lust, intrigue and depravity.

The Manheim Tragedy -1857

On a sunny December morning in 1857, Mrs. Anna Garber and Mrs. Elizabeth Ream were raped and murdered in Mrs. Garber’s home in Manheim, Pennsylvania. Evidence overwhelmingly pointed to Alexander Anderson and Henry Richards, two African American workmen seen in the neighborhood. Though there was little doubt as to who committed the murders, a question still remained: would they be tried by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or would the case would be handled by "Judge Lynch."

Dan Sickles's Temporary Insanity -1859

Dan Sickles, congressman from New York, was married to the most beautiful woman in Washington but his other interests, including his mistresses, often kept him away from home. Feeling lonely and abandoned, his lovely young wife, Teresa, found comfort in the arms of Philip Barton Key. When Sickles learned of their affair, he armed himself and confronted Key on the street. Blinded by rage he shot and killed his wife’s lover. Was it premeditated murder or temporary insanity?

A Balance of Probabilities. -1859

The morning of December 11, 1859, eleven-year-old Priscilla Budge carried a cup of tea to her mother’s bedroom. There she found her mother dead, lying on the bed with her throat cut. Mrs. Budge was known to be mentally unstable and her husband, the Reverend Henry Budge, immediately declared that his wife’s death must have been suicide. The coroner’s jury agreed and Mrs. Budge was soon buried—a quick conclusion to an unpleasant event. But as it turned out, it was not the conclusion, just the opening argument of a debate that would go on for years.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

"Yes, I Shot to Kill."

Little Murders

Commerce on the busy intersection  of Twenty-Fourth and J Streets, in Omaha, Nebraska, was interrupted, the evening of October 16, by the crack of three pistol shots. A young woman fired once in the air, trying to get the attention of the man who had just walked away from her. When he continued walking without turning around, she aimed at his back and fired again. Then she pointed the revolver at her own head and fired a third shot. Two bodies fell to the pavement.

Both were still alive and were quickly taken to Presbyterian Hospital. The man was Henry J. Reiser, a well-known, single, man-about-town, connected to the Armour meat packing company. The shot had severed his spinal cord, and he was not expected to live. The woman was Mrs. Eloise Rutiger, a prominent Omaha social leader, whose husband was also associated with Armour. The bullet had only grazed her head, and she was in no danger.

“Is he dead yet?” Mrs. Rudiger asked when she came to in the hospital, “Yes, I shot to kill. It was for my husband to do, but he would not, so I did it myself. The wretch has given me enough cause, and I hope I have accomplished what I undertook.”

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Maniac at Des Moines.

Little Murders
(From Jackson Citizen, July 17, 1883)

The Maniac at Des Moines.

The fight with a maniac at a Des Moines (Iowa) hotel, briefly chronicled previously, was as follows: At noon Sunday a man who apparently alighted from the Rock Island train going west registered his name at the Morgan House, near the station as Henry Seage, of Swans, N. Y. He paid for his room and went thither at once. About 4:30 o’clock a boarder heard the cry of murder, and called the landlord. The latter hurried to Seager’s room, and found the door barricaded with the bed. Seager fired a shot at the landlord, and he fled. Other shots were fired, one of which carried off the door plate, and following in quick succession until thirteen had been fired through the door and wall, several of which scarred the wall across the narrow hall. Seager then demolished the furniture of his room, and did the same in several adjoining rooms, and threw his money, a considerable amount, into the gathering crowd below. He then had a collision with a boarder named Joseph Holmes, in a room at the end of the hall, but breaking away from Holmes he escaped to the roof of the wing to the building, Holmes followed, and while trying to grab seager he was felled by a blow from a bottle in the hands of the maniac, a bad gash being inflicted on the head.

By this time five policemen had reached the roof. A shot was fired, whether by Holmes or Seager is not certain, but it took effect in one of Seager’s legs, and he partly fell. In staggering, Seager fired again, aiming at the center of his forehead. He was then overpowered and taken to the city hospital, where he wounds were dressed. Seager’s skull was crushed by the ball aimed at his forehead, and the bullet that entered his thigh is thought by doctors to have entered his body. They consider his case fatal. He seems to be a mechanic or laborer. His luggage consisted of a pair of shoes, and inside his hat band was written the name of Mary Frew.



Saturday, March 4, 2017

Murder Among the Whyos, Part 2.

Daniel M. Lyons (burglar),
Dan Driscoll and Dan Lyons were the successful leaders of New York City’s Whyo gang in the early 1880s. After Driscoll’s arrest for murder in 1886, Dan Lyons became the sole leader, but his reign did not last long. Confusion surrounds the cause of Lyons’ downfall in 1887—most modern accounts say he was executed for murdering a popular amateur athlete, but in fact, he was shot to death by an angry saloonkeeper. Either way, murder led to the demise of the Whyos.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

A Mystery Solved by a Skeleton.

Little Murders
(From New York Tribune, September 12, 1884)


A Mystery Solved by a Skeleton.

Complicity of a Wife in the Murder of Her Husband and Children.
[By Telegraph got the Tribune]

Beaver Falls, W. Va., Sept 11.—The mystery surrounding one of the most remarkable crimes committed in the Coal Valley has been cleared up by a singular chain of circumstances. Some fifteen years ago the family of John Ireland lived in a cabin a short distance from this town. The family consisted of husband, wife and three children. One Thompson, who had been in the neighborhood for some months was a frequent visitor at the Ireland cabin, called there one morning and found, so he at the time reported, the dead bodies of the three children, all young lying on the floor in pools of blood. Ireland and his wife were missing. Thompson gave an alarm at the nearest house a mile away and a search for the missing people was made. After some time Mrs. Ireland was found gagged and bound to a tree. She affected to be nearly frantic and claimed that her husband had committed the deed. As he was missing she was believed. Soon after Thompson and the woman began living together. They quarreled frequently and one day she was found dead in her bed. No inquest was held and it was given out that she died of heart disease. Thompson disappeared four or five years ago.

On Tuesday, a party of boys came to the mouth of a shaft that had been sunk years before for coal, but for some cause was abandoned. While standing at its edge one of them dropped a knife into the shaft. They determined to recover it. Precautions were taken against foul air and by the aid of a rope and torch the boy was lowered to the bottom a distance of twenty-five feet. A scream of terror caused him to rapidly draw up when he declared there was a skeleton in the shaft. The authorities made examination and brought up few bones and a rusty tin tobacco box. In it was found a document written by Ireland saying that Thompson aided by Ireland’s wife had attempted to kill him but at first only stunned him, that recovering he discovered the three children dead. Seeing he was alive they again beat him and carried him out for dead and threw him into the shaft. He recovered and wrote the note after vainly calling aid. Undoubtedly Mrs. Ireland was bound to the tree by her accomplice to throw suspicion on the husband.




Saturday, February 18, 2017

Murder Among the Whyos, Part 1.

The Whyos, in 1886, were the strongest and most brutal criminal gang New York City had ever known. Under the joint leadership of Dan Driscoll and Dan Lyons, the Whyos grew to control criminal activity throughout the city. But Driscoll and Lyons were too violent and reckless to rule for long and their mistakes led to the demise of the gang. The Whyos’ downfall began when Dan Driscoll stole Beezy Garrity from her pimp John McCarthy. 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Murderous Shooting in a Bagnio.

Little Murders
(From Cincinnati Commercial Tribune, June 2, 1875)


Murderous Shooting in a Bagnio.
A Girl Attacked with a Pistol.
Case of Jealousy and Revenge

The after-dark sporting fraternity was all agog last night over the report of a shooting of the inmate of a house of ill character on Longworth street. The particulars, shorn of the reportorial dressing up and exciting bristles, are these. Shortly before 10 o’clock last night a young man, well dressed, pulled the door bell of Kate Riley’s house, located on Longworth street. He was admitted by the mistress of the mansion, and shown to a seat in the waiting room, where he asked for Kate’s sister, Marla Riley, with whom the young man was well acquainted. Kate agreed to all Marla down form her room in the third story, and in a few minutes the young woman appeared to greet her guest. She found him, on entering the room, seated by a table, with a strange expression on his face and his hand behind his back. She misconstrued the expression and the attitude, cordially greeted the visitor, and advancing toward him, asked him what he was holding behind him—was it a present for her? The man responded with a menacing speech, presented a pistol, cocked it and fired at the girl, who, surprised and sorely wounded, and wildly shrieking, fled into a side kitchen. She was followed by her assailant, who fired at her again, and after she had thrown herself behind the stove for protection he fired another shot, while in the arms of the poor girl’s sister, endeavoring to restrain the murderer. In the struggle he dropped the pistol, and it is said he snatched it up again and fired at the prostrate and screaming girl the only load remaining in the chambers of the weapon, which was a four barreled Sharp’s pocket pistol.

Officers Sullivan and Daley, on their beat in the vicinity, hearing the shots, rushed to the place and arrested the man. He was taken to the Ninth Street Station and locked up giving there his name as George Wilder. He was recognized as Frank Wilder, a three-card monte man, and a character who has latterly made a living by following shows with trick and gambling apparatuses.

Doctors Freeman and William Judkins were called in to see the wounded girl. It was found that she had been struck by but one of the pistol balls, which entered her abdomen and came out under the skin of the left thigh. Dr. Judkins pronounced the hurt mortal, though Dr. Freeman thought it was not necessarily so.

The girl’s account is, substantially, that she is about twenty-five years of age, and has lived at her sister’s house for some time. She had known Frank Wilder intimately, as she had known a number of other men. She had not seen him for three years, until last Wednesday morning. He spent Monday night at the house in company with the girl, and left in the morning. The next time she saw him was last night when he accosted her with the pistol.

Wilder came here last from Newtown, Ohio. Some time ago, it is said he attacked the girl in Indianapolis, and attempted to shot her. This is one of the old cases, undoubtedly, of jealousy resulting from fast life and bagnio attachments.

At last accounts, the wounded girl was sinking, and it was thought she would die before morning.
Wilder, in his cell at Ninth Street Station, did not seem to regard the affair in a very serious light last night, but he refused to make any statements whatever in regard to it. In reply to interrogations of the arresting officers he said, “Oh, let up, now, I am just as ‘fly’ as any of you, and do not propose to give myself away.” He was perfectly sober when the shooting took place, and it is said was trying to borrow a pistol early in the evening.

After he had been left alone, he undressed and hung up his clothing in his cell with as much ease as if he were resting in a first-class hotel, and soon after laid down on the bench and fell asleep, in which condition he remained at 2 o’clock this morning when our reporter left the Station.

It looks very much like a clear case of premeditated murder, without the usual accompaniment of “emotional insanity.” The prisoner gave his age as twenty sever years, and his is rather genteel in appearance, about five feet seven or eight inches in height.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Monster or Maniac?

Sarah Jane Whiteling
On March 17, 1888, Mrs. Sarah Jane Whiteling of Philadelphia sent for the family physician, Dr. George Smith, to examine her husband, John, who was vomiting and suffering from abdominal pains. The doctor diagnosed John’s illness as inflammation of the bowels and prescribed some medicine. It did not relieve the suffering, however, and three days later John Whiteling was dead.

Dr. Smith was summoned to the Whiteling home again about a month later, this time to attend Mrs. Whiteling’s daughter Bertha. She expired as well, and Dr. Smith attributed her death to gastric fever. When Dr. Smith was called again in early June, to treat 2-year-old William Whiteling he refused; having already presided over two deaths in the Whiteling household he referred the case to Dr. George Dietrick. When William died, Dr. Dietrick gave obstruction of the bowels as the cause of death.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Murders, Murder Trials, Confessions of Murder, Discoveries of Murder, &c., &c.

Little Murders
(From Richmond Enquirer November 6, 1845)
The last Chicago Democrat 22d ult., is little better than a continued chronicle of horribles. First comes a confession said to have been made by Birch, one of the murderers of Col. Davenport, in which he discloses all the particulars of that horrible transaction.

“The Redmans, (or Redings,) kept a house which was used as a general rendezvous for the fraternity of rascals in their visits to that part of the country. It was at the house, (on Devil Creek, Lee county, Iowa,) that the plan was devised and conceived of murdering Col. D., and the father of the family, (there are three of them—the father and two sons) was present and assisted in the arrangement for the bloody deed. He has been indicted by the Grand Jury of Rock Island, as an accessory before the fact. A son of this old man (William) assisted at the robbery of Knox and Drury’s office, in Rock Island, about the time of Davenport’s murder, for which an indictment was also found against him.”

The trial of Birch, and two of his accomplices in the murder, was to have commenced last Monday:
“Fox of Indiana, alias Sutton of Illinois, alias Johnson of Iowa, is still at large In the violent indignation of the people against him, woe to the man or woman who secrets him. We fear that any discovery of the kind would lead to Lynch law; and unless he is found soon, some persons who have heretofore secreted him had better leave the State until the excitement is past. There is a point beyond which such knaves as Fox, Big Davis, Favor, Baker , Aiken, Land, Dean, Driskell, Button, &c., &c., cannot go in Illinois.”

Next comes the solution of a mysterious murder, committed some months since:
“It will be remembered that, soon after the two Hodges were hung, one of the brothers of the Hodges was killed in Nauvoo. Among other developments at Rock Island, it has come out that, out of fear of his confessing, he was shot by Jack Reding, or Redman, whose father and brother are now confined at Rock Island. Jack is still at large.”

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Did He Murder His Namesake?

28-year-old Cornelius Callahan and his 23-year-old cousin also named Cornelius Callahan, took a train, on October 24, 1883, from Hartford, Connecticut to Meriden, Connecticut where Daniel Callahan, the brother of the elder cousin had a job opportunity for the younger. After transacting their business, the three had a few drinks before the cousins took the limited express that evening back to Hartford. When the train arrived in Hartford, only the elder Cornelius got off.

The arriving Cornelius Callahan told the family that his cousin had been standing on the platform outside of one the cars and had fallen off the train near the town of Berlin. He said he told the conductor and a porter, but was not believed. The family was also slow to believe this story, but the following day the brother of the missing man and the father of his cousin, walked the track near Berlin. They met a crew of railroad men who said they had found a body underneath a pile of crossties; it was their missing relative, almost exactly where Cornelius had said it would be.