Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Walworth Patricide.

The name Walworth was an old and venerable one in the state of New York. William Walworth arrived there from London in 1689; during the American Revolution, Benjamin Walworth fought in the Battle of White Plains; Reuben Hyde Walworth, in 1828, was named Chancellor of New York, the state’s highest judicial office. But in 1873 the name Walworth was forever tarnished when Frank Walworth murdered his father Mansfield Walworth.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Mrs. Sarah Rhodes.

Little Murders:
From Defenders and Offenders:

Mrs. Sarah Rhodes.

“This remarkable woman, who sports a moustache, is accused of murdering Farmer Blizzard, a married man, and who seemed to be infatuated with this woman.  He called upon her at Greenville, Va., where she resided on the evening of January 28, and took her riding in his buggy. At a lonely spot while crossing a bridge, the woman first shot the farmer and then hacked his body with an axe. She then dragged him from the wagon and threw his body over the bridge to the river below.”

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

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Guest Blogger: recently celebrated its 2,000th consecutive day posting execution stories from all times and places—that’s every day since October 31, 2007. You’d think they would run out of material but there is no end in sight.
This is the second guest post from and once again it is an honor to include one of their gallows tales on Murder by Gaslight. This one is a hanging in Nebraska for a murder that was never committed.

1887: William Jackson Marion, who’d be pardoned 100 years later

Originally posted on March 25th, 2011 by Headsman
On this date in 1887, William Jackson Marion was executed in Nebraska for the murder of his best
friend, John Cameron.

Jackson had always upheld his innocence and his ignorance of Cameron’s fate; he was the picture of “utmost coolness” on the scaffold, declaring only “that I am a sinner, the same as other men. I have made no confession and have none to make. Go to the court dockets and see where men have been tried and acquitted and compare my case with them.”

And then, as given by the Gage County Democrat, the first, last, and only man hanged in Beatrice “stood erect upon the trap-door while his hands and feet were bound, the black cap drawn over his face, and the noose adjusted,” the trap sprung, and after a thousand-plus people had taken the opportunity to view this infamous corpse, it was buried in the potter’s field.

It was then 15 years since young “Jack” Marion and John Cameron had hauled out from Grasshopper Falls, Kansas, looking for work on a railroad.

Somewhere in the wilderness, John Cameron disappeared, and Marion returned to his mother-in-law’s saying his buddy had left. Marion’s whereabouts fade; he’s supposed to have drifted in Indian country: was it flight? It sure looked that way a year later, when a body turned up with clothes that matched Cameron’s … and bullet wounds in the head.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Settling an Old Feud.

Little Murders
(From New York Herald, New York, New York, October 20, 1885)

Settling an Old Feud.

A serious stabbing affray occurred in a lonely portion of South Orange, N. J., on Sunday night, which will probably result in a murder. About eleven o’clock on Sunday night Morris Foran, of South Orange, entered the tavern kept by Mrs. Mary Briarton on the Ridgewood road. James Tanzey, of Milburn; William P. Brown and Ira Smith, of South Orange, entered the barroom a little later, and, having drunk some whiskey, were about to leave, when Tanzey saw Foran and scowled. His companions left the saloon, but he stood in the doorway until Mrs. Briarton went into a back room. He then walked over to Foran, and inquired in a surly tone, “Are you Morris Foran?”

Mrs. Briarton could not hear the answer, but in a minute she heard a scuffle and heard Foran exclaim, “I am stabbed!”

Rushing into the room, she saw Tanzey and Foran struggling on the floor. Tanzey had a large clasp-knife in his hand and Foran was making desperate efforts to wrest it from him. He was covered with blood, and after shaking off his antagonist by a desperate effort, he fainted. Fanzey was about to rush upon him again when Brown and Smith seized him and dragged him from the saloon.

Dr. Chandler was summoned, and when he arrived he found that Foran was terribly wounded. There was a gash in his stomach five inches long, from which the entrails protruded. He was moved to Memorial Hospital in Orange, where he lingers in a critical condition.

Justice of the Peace O’Reilly arrested Tanzey, whom he found on the Valley road. On being asked the cause of the stabbing, Tanzey, who bore two slight cuts on his face, replied that it was a woman affair. Becoming excited, he waved his fist in the air and exclaimed:--

“I’ve been waiting two years for this chance.”

“For what chance?” asked the Justice, “To stab Foran or go to jail?”

“Go to jail,” replied Taney quickly.

The prisoner formerly kept a saloon in Millburn, but lately he was employed as a mason in Short Hills. It is rumored that two years ago he and Foran quarreled about a woman. Foran is a contractor and has a wife and three children.


New York Herald, New York, New York, October 20, 1885