Saturday, April 28, 2012


For several days there had been no activity on the Deering farm, just south of the city of Philadelphia, so on April 11, 1866, their neighbor, Mr. Ware, went over to see what was wrong. He found the house empty, but in the barn, he saw a human foot protruding from the hay. Ware ran for help, and together they uncovered the brutally mutilated bodies of Christopher Deering, his wife Julia, four of their children—ranging in age from eight years to fourteen months—and Elizabeth Dolan, a visiting cousin. Outside the barn they found the body of Cornelius Cary, seventeen-year-old hired hand, similarly mutilated.

The following day, the headline in the Philadelphia Inquirer bore the single word: “Horror!”.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Joseph Crawford.

Little Murders:
From Defenders and Offenders:
Joseph Crawford.

Joseph Crawford is serving a term of seventeen years in Joliet State Prison, for a most cold blooded murder. He was a typical Chicago hoodlum, ready for any deviltry or crime. He, with two other companions were carousing in the streets, making night hideous with their ruffianly revelry, noticed a poor laboring man approaching, when they proceeded to hold him up. The poor man showed he did not have a cent, when the ruffian Crawford out of spite and disappointment, shot the poor man dead.

Defenders and offenders. New York: D. Buchner & Co., 1888.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Jack-Pot in Alaska

In an old book, recently, I found a story about a murderous 1897 card game in Alaska which featured the notorious outlaw, Soapy Smith. To get an expert’s opinion, I sent the story to Jeff Smith at Soapy Smith’s Soap Box. It turns out, the story is very likely true.

Here is a link to the story and Jeff’s take on it: A Jack-Pot in Alaska: The story of an unknown gunfight.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Our Murderers.

Little Murders
(From Fort Wayne Daily Sentinel, Fort Wayne, Indiana, November 6, 1875)


Eleven Men Awaiting Trial for Homicide in Allen County.

The Recent Record of Bloody Crimes in this Vicinity.

 Some of Whose perpetrators Were Never Apprehended.

Brief Account of the Terrible Deeds to be Avenged.

During the past few months Fort Wayne and Allen county have gained an unenviable reputation abroad by reason of the number of murders and other deeds of violence and lawlessness which have been committed within its limits during that time. The result is seen in the fact that we how have in this county the alarming number of eleven men awaiting trial for murder in some of its degrees. In addition to the crimes for which these men have been arrested, three probable murders have been committed within little over a year, of which no clue to the perpetrators was ever obtained—we refer to the cases of Andrew Tiernan, David Boesch and James W. Chaney.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Poor Mary Stannard!

A little after 1:00 pm on Tuesday, September 3, 1878, Charles Stannard saw his twenty-two-year-old daughter, Mary, leave their home in the Rockland, Connecticut carrying a tin pail; she was off to pick berries, just a few hundred yards away. Mary never reached her destination. At 6:00 that evening, Mary’s father found her lifeless body lying in the path leading from the house. She had been stabbed in the throat and left lying on her back with her hands folded across her stomach. As the news spread through town, so did rumors and speculations as to her killer. By Thursday all speculation pointed to one man: Mary’s Methodist pastor and onetime employer, the Reverend Herbert H. Hayden.