Saturday, October 27, 2012

Death in the Family.

Family murders are always the most tragic and inexplicable. Whether the motive is greed, jealousy, or pent up animosity the killer is driven to a state of animal rage (or in the case of Lydia Sherman, single-minded determination) that knows no mercy. Here, in chronological order, is a list of murders where two or more family members were killed by the same hand.

The Lester Brothers, 1850 – Reuben Dunbar clubbed and strangled his two young stepbrothers out of fear they would inherit property he believed was rightfully his.
Lydia Sherman, 1864 – Over the course of seven years, Lydia Sherman poisoned three husbands, five children and two stepchildren.
The Deering Family, 1866 – In a plan to rob his employer, Antoine Probst murdered six members of the Deering Family—including four children—with an axe and a hammer.
The Christensens, 1873 –There have been several theories concerning the axe murder of Karen Anne Christensen and her sister-in-law, Anethe Matea Chretensen on Smuttynose Island, but the most likely killer was the man executed by the state, Louis Wagner.
The Woolfolk Family, 1887 – Thomas Woolfolk was convicted of the axe murder of nine members of his family ranging in age from 18 months to 84 years.
The Bordens, 1892—America’s most famous unsolved crime. Lizzie Borden was acquitted of the brutal axe murder of her father, Andrew Borden and her stepmother, Abby Borden.
The Meeks Family, 1894 – Four members of the Meeks family where shot and beaten to death as they were traveling on the road. Only six-year-old Nellie Meeks lived to tell the tale.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Mysteries Cleared Up

Little Murders

This headline from the Davenport Daily Leader, December 9, 1894 references two sensational murder cases. The second case, the murder of Catherine Ging in Minneapolis, has already been covered in detail in this post: The Minneapolis Svengali.
Here is the "Packing Box Victim at Chicago:"
(From The Davenport Daily Leader, Davenport, Iowa, December 9, 1894.)

Mysteries Cleared Up
Two Sensational Murder Cases Made Plain.
Packing Box Victim at Chicago.
He was Killed by His Assistant, Jordan, According to a Confession Made by a Man Who Agreed to Help Dispose of the Body—Confession of Adry Hayward Clears Up the Murder of Miss Catherine Ging at Minneapolis.

Chicago, Dec. 8 – The mystery surrounding the murder of A. D. Barnes, the janitor of the Hiawatha building, whose remains were found in a packing box near Sixty-third street, has been solved. Two men and a woman were arrested. One, named Jordan, was Barnes’s assistant. The other was known as Jersey and sometimes did odd jobs about the place. The woman in the case is the wife of another janitor and from appearance was intimate with Barnes. She says that Jordan and Barnes often quarreled about her. The mystery was solved, however, by a confession, and Jersey was the man who confessed. To police officials he told the following story:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Mrs. Martin Steinhauser.

Little Murders:
From Defenders and Offenders:

Mrs. Martin Steinhauser.

"In the early part of 1888, Mrs. Martin Steinhauser was convicted of murder in Palmyra, Wis., the victim being her husband. The shooting was done at night, after the couple had retired. It appeared she had a lover by the name of Henry Rohrmason, who lived in the house with them. They conspired to rid themselves of the husband, and he also was convicted as an accomplice. She maintained that her husband continually abused her, and on the night in question he attempted to shoot her. In endeavoring to take the pistol away, it exploded, killing him. The evidence proved the contrary, and she received a life sentence."

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

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Matter of Honor.

In the autumn of 1882, in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, Nicholas L. Dukes learned that his fiancĂ©e, Lizzie Nutt, had been intimate with other men. An honorable man would have confronted his betrothed and ended their engagement face-to-face. Dukes chose to break the engagement in a letter written to Lizzie’s father, Civil War hero and Cashier of the Pennsylvania State Treasury, Captain A. C. Nutt. The resulting conflict was so divisive and violent that it would take two murders and two controversial trial verdicts to restore honor to Uniontown.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Five Surprising Facts about Salem Witchcraft.

Visit The History Press Blog to read my guest post, Five Surprising Facts about Salem Witchcraft.