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Saturday, December 30, 2017

Murder by Wholesale.

Little Murders
(From Portland Daily Press, December 25,1878)

Murder by Wholesale.

A Nebraska Man Confesses to Nine Murders.

Cincinnati, Dec. 21—A special from Steubenville says that Stephen D. Richards, who was placed in jail charged with the murder of the Harebon family at Kearney, Nebraska, has made a full confession acknowledging having committed nine murders within the last three years. The first murder was committed near Sand Hills, Nebraska. He had an altercation with a man unknown to him, and shot him through the head. The next was that of Mrs. Harebon and three children last October. He met Mrs. Harebon in jail, she having been arrested on a charge of aiding her husband to escape. When released, Richards visited her, staying two weeks when he concluded to murder her and take charge of her farm, which he had pre-empted. He broke her jaw and smashed the back of her head with a smoothing iron. He then killed the two oldest children with the same instrument, and seizing an infant dashed its head against the floor. He then gave out that Mrs. Harebon had gone to Texas to join her fugitive husband, but suspicion was aroused, search instituted, and the bodies found under a straw stack. Richards fled. Before the Herbon murder he was assisting a Swede named Peter Anderson in putting up a building. Anderson told some neighbors he believed Richards had poisoned him. The neighbors called next day but Anderson could not be found. Richards was in possession of Anderson’s horses and wagon. While the neighbors were searching the house for Anderson, Richards escaped. Richards admits he killed Anderson with a hammer. He states that he committed two other murders but refused to give the names of the victims. The sheriffs of Kearney and Buffalo counties will take Richards to Nebraska today. They think he is one of an organized gang of outlaws and cut-throats in that region.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

A Christmas Poisoning.

Mrs. Mary Paye.
On Christmas Day, 1882, Captain David W. Paye lay dying with symptoms so severe and unusual that three physicians had been called to his home in Fishkill Landing, New York, to consult on the case. For the previous week, Paye had been violently ill, with a burning in his throat, pains in his stomach, and an unquenchable thirst. Doctors Tiel, Wilson and Jones concluded that Paye was stricken with arsenic poisoning. Late that night, in great agony, Capt. Paye died.

At the time, arsenic in small doses was believed to be a cure for impotence, but Capt. Paye swore, as God was his judge, he had never taken anything to cause this illness. Though he did not accuse his wife, Mary, of poisoning him, he believed that the poison had been in a pie that she had baked; he had eaten heartily of the pie, he said, while his wife had just a little. Mary Paye tearfully denied this, saying that she had eaten most of the pie herself.

It would have been an act of contrition for Mrs. Paye to bake her husband a pie. They had just recently reconciled after a very tumultuous month. David Paye was a 44-year-old Hudson River boatman who was planning to retire from the river due to rheumatism. About four years earlier he had married 18-year-old Mary Ferguson, daughter of a brickyard laborer, and two years later they had a daughter. All seemed well with the marriage until Capt. Paye began to feel the effects of a life on the river. As he spent more time at home he began to suspect that his wife was unfaithful.

Captain Paye confided to his friend, J.D. Tallardy, that a young man named William Crawford would come to his house when Paye was out and stay with his wife until late at night. Sometimes she would meet Crawford at the house of Allen Horton where Crawford boarded. Paye said once he had gone to Horton’s looking for her and found Crawford lying with his head on Mary’s lap.

In the bitter argument that followed, Mary Paye told her husband that he was not the father of their daughter and accused him of drinking and spending money in the society of disreputable women and made other accusations “not of a character to be published.” She moved out and went to live at Horton’s. Over the course of the following month, articles of furniture and bedding were removed from his house by Mary and taken to Horton’s.

In spite of his anger, Capt. Paye pleaded with his wife to come home. She finally relented after they both signed a written agreement, in the presence of the Justice of the Peace, stating the conditions under which she would return. One of the conditions was that he not make trouble for her because of an alleged forgery of his name to draw money from the bank. Mary returned to her husband, but it was not a happy household.

A post-mortem examination of Capt. Paye’s body confirmed what the doctors had suspected, he had died of arsenic poisoning. The coroner’s inquest concluded that Capt. Paye had been murdered by poison administered by his wife, and Mary Paye was arrested for the crime.

The case was brought before a Dutchess County grand jury but there was no hard evidence against Mary Paye. The testimony against her was all gossip and speculation. The jury failed to find a bill of indictment and Mary Paye was released. She was appointed administrator to his estate, amounting to a few hundred dollars.

“Brief Mention,” Port Jervis Evening Gazette, February 12, 1883.
“Mrs. Capt. Paye Arrested.,” The Sun, December 30, 1882.
“Mrs. Paye Discharged,” New York Times, January 6, 1883.
“A Mystery,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 28, 1882.
“The Paye Poisoning Case,” The New York Times, December 29, 1882.
“A Woman Under Suspicion,” National Police Gazette, January 20, 1883.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Shot by Her Lover.

Jane Finlay was a young woman employed as a lady’s maid by the family of T.B. Stork, in Germantown, Pennsylvania, who had recently discarded her lover, William Dunlap. Dunlap went to the Stork house at around 11:00, the night of September 1, 1894 and called Jane out of the house. They spoke for a few minutes on the front lawn. Passers-by heard two shots and ran to the scene to find the young woman lying on the grass with a bullet wound in her left breast. She was only able to say that Dunlap had shot her before becoming unconscious. Dunlap was nowhere to be seen. Jane Finlay died in the hospital at around midnight. Police had a good description of Dunlap but it does not appear that he was ever caught.

“Shot by Her Lover,” Philadelphia Times, September 3, 1894.
“Shot by Her Lover,” National Police Gazette, October 13, 1894.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

A Romantic Story.

(From New York Tribune, September 20, 1871)

A Romantic Story.
A man accused of murder proved innocent after death.

Some workmen, digging holes for the posts of a fence, in Unionville, Westchester Co., a fortnight ago, unearthed the skeleton of a man, evidently long buried. From the position of the bones, the skill resting between the knees, it was surmised that the unknown deceased had not received the customary burial, and that murder had been committed. A shoemaker—Ephraim Jones—lived near the spot where the skeleton was found, and the gossips of Unionville quickly connected him with the supposed murder. It was remembered that nearly 23 years ago, Thomas Brown, a journeyman shoemaker, had suddenly disappeared from the village. Some one of tenacious memory called to mind that Brown had been paid $175, due as wages, by Jones, and that the shoemaker had removed his shop from its site in former years. Upon further investigation, it was found that the old shop stood directly over the place where the skeleton was discovered.

With these facts in their possession, Coroner Weeks and Detective Stoway of Westchester County determined to search for further proof against Jones. The story of the finding of the skeleton and the suspicions of the community against Jones soon came to the newspapers of this city. When the journals reached Unionville the account was read by Jones, who appeared greatly horrified that he should be accused of murder. He was an old man, and was so greatly shocked at the charge that the following day, while lamenting it, he was prostrated by some sudden attack, and died in a few moments. The neighbors loudly hinted that Jones has poisoned himself, but a Coroner’s inquest disproved this suspicion, and proved that the deceased died of heart disease.

On Monday evening a nephew of Jones visited Police Headquarter in this city, and asserted that facts were in his possession which fully proved his uncle’s innocence. He said that Sergt. Louis Young of the Twelfth Precinct, testified that 23 years ago he had witnessed the death of Brown at No. 43 Courtlandt St. The Sergeant was a step-son of Brown, and was 12 years old at the time. He recollected clearly Brown’s return from Unionville, the money he had with him, and his death soon after.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Laws of Compensation.

John Dougherty, a sixty-year-old farmer in Big Bend, Washington, decided he needed a wife and in 1892, he placed an advertisement in a Chicago matrimonial paper. He received a response from Mary E. Phillips, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. They corresponded, and she agreed to move to Washington and marry him. It was not a happy marriage, however; for a year they “lived a cat and dog life,” constantly fighting and threatening each other.

On October 30, 1893, the body of Mary Dougherty was discovered partially hidden under a pile of straw. She had been hacked to death with such ferocity that her face was mutilated nearly beyond recognition. In a vacant building not far away, John Dougherty was found dying from exposure and hunger. He was arrested and taken to jail in Waterville. 

While in the Waterville jail, Dougherty made a full confession. He and his wife had been fighting as usual and he suspected that she had poisoned his tea. As an emetic, he drank a glass of salt and water, but it was too late. She laughed at him as he vomited saying, “You old Irish son-of-a-bitch, I’ve got you now. I’ll sit on your grave before a week.” At this point, Dougherty grabbed a butcher knife and chased her out of the house, overtook her in the straw stacks and stabbed her to death. Dougherty expressed no remorse.

Shortly after making his confession, Dougherty died in jail. A post-mortem examination of Dougherty’s stomach proved that he died from consuming rat poison.

This would have been the end of the story, but the sheriff began receiving letters from people related to both of the deceased. A young woman who had read about the murder believed that she was John Dougherty’s daughter from his first marriage. The family had sold their farm in Salem, Oregon and moved to San Francisco, where Dougherty abandoned them and moved to Chicago. A letter from Dougherty’s second wife bore this out. They had met in Chicago, married and moved to Arizona where Dougherty decamped, carrying off $3,000 of his wife’s money.

Perhaps the most interesting letter came addressed to John Dougherty from a Mr. M. D. Brown in Minneapolis. It read, “A friend of mine just handed me a paper with the account of the murder. I think Mary Phillips Brown Dougherty got what she deserved. I was her second husband and tried to live with her, but it was three years and a half of hell upon earth.”

Before meeting Mary Phillips, John Dougherty had already, bilked and deserted two wives. “In his third venture, however,” wrote the Tacoma Daily Ledger, “he appears to have met his match and by the laws of compensation they both met with terrible and tragic deaths.”

“Dougherty Dies of Rat Poison,” The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, November 9, 1893.
“Hacked Her to Pieces,” National Police Gazette, November 18, 1893.
“Killed his Wife,” Muskegon Chronicle, November 2, 1893.
“The Last Chapter Told,” Tacoma Daily Ledger, December 15, 1893.
“Murdered His Wife. ,” Idaho Statesman, November 1, 1893.
“Murderer Dougherty's Three Wives,” The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, December 1, 1893.