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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Murderous California.

In the early 1800s, California was a region filled with outlaws, drifters, and gold-seekers, with too many murders to document. By the end of the century, though, the Golden State began to see some eastern style murders.

The Woman in Black. -1870

A prominent California legislator was sitting with his wife and son on board the Oakland-San Francisco ferryboat El Capitain the evening of November 3, 1870. They did not notice the woman, dressed entirely in black, wearing a broad brimmed black hat with a black veil covering her face, as she approached them. From the folds of her dress the woman pulled a derringer and shot the man in the chest. The family recognized the woman in black then; it was Laura Fair and she was finally ending her tumultuous affair with Alexander P. Crittenden.

"Thus She Passed Away." -1880

George Wheeler fell in love with his wife's younger sister Della. When she planned marry someone else he was faced with a dilemma: he could not marry her himself and he could not bear to see her wed to another. The solution he chose pleased no one.

The School-girl Murder. -1886

14-Year-old Mamie Kelly, murdered by the boy next door.

Theo Durrant - The Demon of the Belfry -1895

Theo Durrant, Superintendent of Sunday School at San Francisco’s Emanuel Baptist Church, was seen entering the church with Blanche Lamont on April 3, 1895, the day she disappeared. Though several people had seen them together that day, Durant was not a suspect in her disappearance. But when Minnie Williams, another girl he had courted, was found murdered and mutilated in the church library and the corpse of Blanch Lamont was found in the bell tower, the innocent Sunday school teacher was recast as “The Demon of the Belfrey.”

Saturday, June 18, 2016

A Domestic Tragedy.

Little Murders

Annie Schau rushed from her home in Erie, Pennsylvania, on December 18, 1886, and ran to the neighbors screaming, “I am shot and Minnie is shot dead.” The neighbor ran to Annie’s house and saw her father, Christian Schau, running through the backyard with a smoking revolver in hand. Inside the house, Annie’s 22-year-old sister Minnie lay dead, shot through the heart. The girls’ mother was wild with grief, surrounded by her other six children mourning piteously.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Murder in a Saloon.

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Little Murders
(From New York Herald,  New York, New York, May 8, 1876)

Murder in a Saloon.
A Cripple Beaten to Death with his Own Crutch.

Port Jervis, N. Y., May 7 1876.
.
Much excitement has been occasioned at Beach Ridge, near Stevensville, Sullivan County, by the perpetration of a murder in that usually quiet and law abiding community. The facts of the tragedy ae substantially as follows:--On Saturday James Morgan became engaged in an altercation with one James O’Hallen, the proprietor of an unlicensed drinking saloon. Morgan is a cripple, and during the trouble he
RAISED HIS CRUTCH
and struck O’Hallen a heavy blow with it. O’Hallen snatched the instrument from Morgan and knocked him down and left the saloon. Soon after, however, he returned and beat the still unconscious man until he was dead, The murderer then started to leave the village, but was arrested and imprisoned. There are said to be facts that will prove the murder to have been premeditated by O’Hallen for some time, and  the matter is to be thoroughly investigated.




"Murder in a Saloon." New York Herald, 8 May 1876.



Saturday, June 4, 2016

Chicago Tragedy.

Little Murders


Oscar Grundman and his wife Annie were living unhappily in a Chicago tenement in 1891. Annie’s excessive drinking had been a continual source of trouble for her husband. He complained that she spent all of his hard-earned wages and neglected her domestic duties; he was running out of patience.

That September Oscar Grundman had Annie arrested and wanted to have her sent to the Washingtonian Home, an institution for the treatment of alcoholism. The judge dismissed her case, however, and sent her back home. After that, Annie lived in fear of her husband and locked him out of the house.



On September 15, Oscar persuaded a neighbor boy to knock on Annie’s door and tell her the police wanted to see her. When she came to the door he struck her on the head with a hatchet. Oscar ran away, escaping arrest, leaving Annie with a serious scalp wound. At the hospital, she was told that her thick hair had probably saved her life.



A week later, Oscar called on Annie again. This time, believing he had come to reconcile, she let him in. “Annie,” he said to her, loud enough for the other tenants to hear, “I have determined that we must part. We can’t live together happily. I have put our children in good hands. Now we must say goodbye.



Annie protested, pleading with him not to leave her. But leaving her was not what Oscar had in mind. The neighbors heard him say, “It’s no use Annie, we must die. Don’t scream. It will soon be over, Annie, and we will be happier than now.”



Oscar pulled out his revolver then and shot Annie once in the head, then turning the pistol on himself, fired a second shot. The neighbors heard the gunshots and heard two bodies fall to the ground. They forced their way into the room and found the unhappy couple lying dead, their blood mingling in pools around their bodies.

Sources:
"Chicago Tragedy." Elkhart Daily Review 23 Sep 1891.
"Double Tragedy in Chicago." National Police Gazette 17 Oct 1891.
"Murder and Suicide." Daily Inter Ocean 23 Sep 1891.
"Struck with a Hatchet." Daily Inter Ocean 16 Sep 1891.