Saturday, June 29, 2013

Arthur Spring Jr. vs. Arthur Spring Sr.

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.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Deserved Double Lynching.

Little Murders
(From The Wheeling Register, Wheeling, West Virginia, June 6, 1885)

Deserved Double Lynching.
Two Brothers Swing for Murder – Wholesale Murder Plot Revealed
Marshalltown, Iowa, June5. – Fin and Mans Rainsbarger were taken from jail at Eldora, Hardin county, at 1 o’clock this morning, by a mob of seventy-five masked men and riddled with bullets, so as to be unrecognizable. They are brothers of the two Rainsbargers now in the Marshal county jail here, for the murder of Enoch Johnson, and were arrested yesterday for an alleged attack on Doctor Underwood, who is prominent in the Rainsbarger prosecution.

Results of a Feud

The lynching of Rainsbarger at Eldora, last night, is the result of an old feud that has be brewing in Harden county for many years. It originated in a family quarrel a great many years ago and culminated last year in the murder of Johnson. For this crime the two Rainsbarers, Nathaniel and Frank, are now in jail at Marshalltown, charged with murder. Accusation was made by the wife of Nathanial, who is a daughter of Johnson. Among the most prominent men in the county , who testified at the preliminary examination was Dr. Underwood, of Eldora. His life was threatened by the gang a few days ago. Suspicious movements were discovered by a party upon whom a watch was set. It was discovered in a secret communication with the Rainsbagers. It was finally found that a plot was being concocted

To Murder a Number of Leading Citizens

of the county. These facts developed only a day or two ago. Night before last Dr. Underwood and Dr. Riedenour, a dentist, were shot as they were driving along in the country. The former was wounded and hit once. Only though a number of shots were fired, this attempt drove the citizens to desperation, and Rainsbargers having  been arrested  last evening, were, during the night, taken out and lynched as stated. The brothers lynched were known as Fin and Mans. Fin was a pardoned convict charged with murder. The family and their followers are hard characters and have given peaceable a great deal of trouble. Great excitement prevails. Public sentiment, however, generally approves of the lynching. It is doubtful if any prosecutions are made.


The Wheeling Register, Wheeling, West Virginia, June 6, 1885

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Vanderpool-Field Tragedy.

Though he was only twenty-one years old in 1869, Herbert Field had already faced death numerous times in a variety of exotic locations. Field had lived an adventurous life and seemed to attract danger, but he never encountered a danger he could not overcome until he settled down in Michigan to become a banker.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

James H. Jacobs.

Little Murders:
From Defenders and Offenders:

James H. Jacobs.

“On the night of 11th of December 1886, Jacobs stabbed Elmer E. Quigley in the stomach with a butcher knife. The affair occurred near Jacobs house, at Lancaster, Pa. Jacobs was abusing his children, who were outside the house. Quigley came along and remonstrated with Jacobs for abusing his children, who were crying. After some words, Jacobs went into the house, got a knife, came out and plunged it into Quigley, killing him.”

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

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A Visit to the Tombs.

Reprinted from New York Herald, December 22, 1868.

A Visit to the Tombs.

An Interview with the Prisoners Committed for murder—What They Say and Think—Drink and Bad Company the Pathway to the Gallows—Pistol, Knife and Stiletto Freely Used.

The Tombs (NYPL)
The Tombs of New York has become as familiar to the people of America s the Bastille of Paris to the people of France. There the contrast ends. Once in the living tomb of the Bastile the victim might exclaim with Sterne’s Starling, “I can’t get out, I can’t get out;” for the grave was the only release to the poor victim of some petty tyrant’s hate whom a lettre de cachet swept from his path.

How different in the Tombs! Though human laws and the good society demand the punishment of criminals, it is divine to temper justice with mercy and kindness, and this, it is believed, is done there. The prisoners are treated kindly, allowed to partake of the sympathy of their friends, and even more substantial favors.