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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Death for an Insult.

Little Murders
In 1881 J.T. Carter married Alice Thorpe; he was a successful saddler and she the accomplished and highly-regarded daughter of W.L. Thorpe, a contractor and lumber merchant. All were prominent citizens of Pensacola, Florida. The marriage was never a happy one and after six years, Alice Carter could no longer tolerate her husband’s irascible temperament and the couple separated. They tried to reconcile but J T Carter could not suppress his temper and they separated again. This time Alice obtained a divorce and took refuge at her father’s house.

She was soon courted by J.M. Thompson, a prominent young grocer. Wasting no time, Thompson soon proposed to the pretty young divorcee and she said yes.

J.M. Carter had never accepted the divorce and his ex-wife’s subsequent remarriage, and he reacted by insulting her every time they met. Reportedly, men were shocked at the vile expressions he used against Alice. Her new husband became the butt of Carter’s jests and “he was made to feel the blush of shame at indecent allusions made to his wife.”

Shortly after noon, on December 21, 1889, Alice and J.M. Thompson were walking down Tarragona Street in Pensacola. As Carter approached them on the other side of the street, he made an insulting remark toward Alice. When Thompson indignantly replied, Carter crossed the street and struck Thomson, knocking him to the ground. Carter fell on top of them and they began to tussle. Alice screamed and attempted to pull Carter off, but as she stooped, the blood of her former husband spurted in her face. Thompson had pulled out his pocket knife and stabbed Carter in the neck, cutting his jugular vein. He stabbed four more times and J.M. Carter died soon after.

The tragic outcome had been expected by those who knew the parties involved. Public sentiment generally sided with Thompson. When the case went to trial the following March, testimony lasted only one day. The defense successfully proved threats had been made against the defendant’s life by Carter previous to the knifing. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty.

“An Ex-Husband's Offense,” The Atlanta Constitution, December 23, 1889.
“Death for an Insult,” New York Herald, December 23, 1889.
“Pensacola,” The Times-Picayune, March 16, 1890.
“Stabbed by his Ex-Wife's Husband,” National Police Gazette, January 11, 1890.
“Tragedy at Pensacola.,” Elkhart Daily Review, December 23, 1889.
“Trial of J. M. Thomson,” The Times-Democrat, March 15, 1890.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Nellie C. Bailey.

Nellie C. Bailey.
William Dodson led a drive of 2300 head of sheep from Kansas through Indian Territory to their new home in Texas in October 1883. A mile behind them the owner of the new ranch, a widower named Clement Bothemly, and his sister Bertha traveled in a wagon outfitted with bedrooms. Pulled by two yoke of oxen, the wagon was so large that observers compared it to a railroad car. The night of October 7, Dodson heard Miss Bothemly calling from a distance and ran to see what was wrong. She took him to the wagon and led him inside where Clement lay dead from a gunshot wound to the head. 

He killed himself, she told Dodson. Clement had been suffering from rheumatism, and the pain had become unbearable. He had been taking large doses of morphine, but even that had not alleviated the pain. Bertha had been awakened by the gunshot and found her brother lying dead. 

They realized that they would have to dig a grave and bury him on the trail. A wagon heading for Kansas had passed them several hours earlier, and Dodson rode to them to ask for assistance. The men came back with him, and they buried Clement Bothemly near Skeleton Ranch. After a brief ceremony, Bertha and Dodson continued on the drive.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Fatal Cutting Affray.

Little Murders
Thomas Reveley

Thomas Reveley, a prominent St. Louis attorney, went into Peckington’s Golden Lion saloon at Seventh and Pine Streets a little after 9:00 pm on February 8, 1896. He had gone to the Golden Lion for his evening meal, as he often did, and ordered a plate of sausages. A widower, about 50 years old, whose right arm was almost totally paralyzed, Reveley lived with his father who was in the middle of a contentious lawsuit. It was clear that Thomas Reveley was going through some hard times. Reveley was already drunk when he arrived at the Golden Lion; one observer remarked, “He looks like a man who had drunk himself down in the world.”

Reveley ate his sausages rather quickly prompting Mike Green, a 60-year-old waiter, popular and good-natured, to jokingly ask, “Did you eat all that by yourself?” Reveley replied rather savagely that it was none of Green’s ---- ---- business. Green, astonished by the force of his remark, turned away and waited on another customer. Reveley made a few more harsh remarks then left the Golden Lion and went across the street to Schweikhardt’s saloon.