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 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.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Baptized in Blood and Flames.

About four a.m. the morning of February 16, 1896, Robert Laughlin appeared at his sister’s door clad in his nightclothes and bleeding from the neck. He told a harrowing story, he had been awakened by someone drawing a knife blade across his throat. He grappled with his assailant, arose from the bed and knocked him down with his fist. Then the man’s confederate hit Laughlin across the face with a burning torch. He ran to the door, chased by one of the men but was able to outrun him. His wife Emma and his niece May Jones—who was reported variously as 12, 13, or 14 years-old— were still in the house. Laughlin and his brother-in-law went back and found the house in flames. When the fire was put out, they found the bodies of Emma and May, burned nearly beyond recognition.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Murder by Little Girls.

(From Macon Weekly Telegraph, September 26, 1884).

Murder by Little Girls.

St. Louis, September 24. – The story from Ottawa, Kan., that on Monday last Carrie and Bessie Waterman, aged 12 and 11 years, daughter of James Waterman, a farmer, tied a rope around the neck of a half brother, 6 years old, dragged him about and beat him with sticks until he was dead. The girls stated at the coroner’s inquest that they hated the child and wanted him dead. They were held for murder.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

First Avenue Butchery.

Charles Jacobs, a 27-year-old German immigrant, ran a butcher shop at 262 First Avenue in New York City. His business was being hampered by loafers loitering on the sidewalk outside the shop. On Saturday, January 4, 1868, one of the loafers, a man he knew only as Kelly, decided to loiter inside the  shop. Kelly was clearly drunk and loudly making his presence known so Jacobs tried to rush him back outside. In the scuffle that followed Kelly grabbed a butcher knife from the counter and plunged it into Jacob’s abdomen. Reportedly, the wound was so ghastly that Jacob’s bowels could be seen protruding.

Kelly fled, and Jacobs was taken to Bellevue Hospital. The hospital staff knew that Jacobs was beyond saving, and they sent for Coroner Schirmer to take his ante-mortem statement. Jacob declared Kelly was his killer; he died soon after. As of January 25, Kelly was still at large; it is unlikely he was ever arrested for this crime.

“Carnival of Crime,” Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, January 25, 1868.
“City And Suburban Facts,” Commercial Advertiser, January 6, 1868.
“Murder in First-Ave,” New York Tribune, January 6, 1868.
“Stabbing Affray,” The Buffalo Commercial, January 6, 1868.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

A Fiend's Work.

Birdie Baugh, the 20-year-old daughter of C. C. Baugh, was much admired in the town of Alliance, Ohio. She was “a handsome girl of pleasant, winsome ways,” and quite accomplished for an Ohio farmer’s daughter as a student of the music conservatory of Mt. Union College. The family had a large farmhouse outside of Alliance where Birdie lived with her parents, her younger brothers Herman and Garfield, her uncle Thomas, and a farm hand named Curt Davidson.

Mr. and Mrs. Baugh went to visit some friends in Pennsylvania, on November 14, 1893, leaving the rest of the household alone. Curt Davidson had gone out that night and at 10:00 he had still not come back. This was odd because he was usually in the house much earlier, but his behavior was known to be somewhat eccentric. Birdie told her uncle and brothers that they could go to bed, she would wait for Davidson and close up the house after he came in. She was  exasperated with Davidson and said she wished her father would fire him.

It was not the first time Birdie had expressed this sentiment. 40-year-old Curt Davidson was gruff and surly and did not hide the fact that he had become infatuated with Birdie Baugh. She did not return his affections and after repeatedly fighting off Davidson’s advances she had asked her father to get rid of him.

When the boys awoke the morning of November 15, they found that Birdie had not gone to bed the night before. In the kitchen, they found signs of a struggle, a pool of blood on the floor, and bloody footprints leading outside toward the barn. On the floor of the barn, they found Birdies body. Her skull had been crushed and her face and throat had been slashed with a razor. Later, a post-mortem examination would determine that she had been ravished as well; it was unclear whether this occurred before or after her death.

The neighbors were alerted, and a search began for Curt Davidson. They found him lying near a near a neighbor’s barn about a quarter mile away. He also had a gash across his throat. The wound was self-inflicted, the bloody razor still in his hand as he lay unconscious.

Davidson regained consciousness while in police custody. He denied any knowledge of the crime, saying he had been in bed all night. He got up at 5:00 and met a man who was drunk. They quarreled, and the man slashed his throat. But Davidson's bed had not been slept in, and the razor was his own.

As the news of the murder spread through Alliance, men were calling for vengeance and a lynch mob gathered around the jail. A physician addressed the crowd saying that Davidson was near death and not worth lynching, but he was not believed and his words did nothing to reduce their anger. Neither did the arrival of Company K, Eighth Regiment of the Ohio National Guard, ordered to Alliance for Davidson’s protection.

Under a strong military guard, Davidson was loaded onto a train and taken to Canton, Ohio. He did not last long in Canton, on December 4, Davidson died from blood poisoning as a result of his wound.

“Birdie Baugh Murdered,” Daily Illinois State Journal, November 16, 1893.
“A College Girl's Throat Cut,” National Police Gazette, December 2, 1893.
“Died in Jail,” Cincinnati Post, December 4, 1893.
“A Fiend's Work,” Omaha World-Herald, November 15, 1893.
“A Foul Crime,” Cleveland Leader, November 16, 1893.
“In Cold Blood,” Repository, November 15, 1893.
“A Lynching,” Repository, November 16, 1893.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Sudden Death, Foul Suspicions.

Maria Hendrickson
Sudden death seemed to be John Hendrickson’s constant companion. When his six-week-old baby died suddenly, it was viewed as a tragedy. When his father-in-law died suddenly in a farm accident it raised a few eyebrows. But when his healthy teenaged wife died suddenly with symptoms of poisoning, foul suspicions ran wild.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Curley Confesses.

(From Harrisburg Patriot, July 12, 1877).

Curley Confesses.

Miss Whitby’s Murder—The Result of a Bloodthirsty Impulse.

The New York Herald publishes the following dispatch from Pottstown:

“Thomas Frances Curley, who has been sentenced to hang at Norristown on the 9th day of August next for the murder of Mary Ann Whitby, near the Trappe, in May 1875, has made a full confession of his terrible crime to his counsel. At his trial Curley was convicted on purely circumstantial evidence, and doubts existed in the minds of many persons as to his guilt, but these are removed by the startling statement which has been made to his legal advisers. Though the facts were known to his attorneys some time ago, they have just been made public, and though it is denied by the counsel, it is generally believed to have been made in order to have the death penalty commuted to imprisonment for life. This belief is strengthened by the fact that, at the meeting of the board of pardons at Harrisburg, today, Curley’s case was postponed until the September meeting, and thus a new lease of life is given the condemned man.

“From the meagre facts that can be obtained, Curley, in his confession, states that he has had an insatiable desire for blood form childhood up; that he had previously inflicted unnecessary cruelty to dumb animals—stuck a penknife into calves, in order to see the blood flow, and committed other inhuman acts. In the killing of Miss Whitby he says that a desire to murder her seized him on his way home to dinner and that he struck her with a hoe handle and not the stove lifter, which was believed  to have been the instrument of death from evidence give at the time of his trial. He states that no words passed between them; that no quarrel took place, but he came directly home from the field, secured a hoe and dealt her the murderous and fatal blow.

“The ground on which the commutation of the sentenced to imprisonment for life is asked is that the murderer is a monomaniac and is not responsible for his acts. His whole demeanor during and since the trial proves him to be, what is now beyond question, a person of low, brutal instincts, devoid of all human feeling and sympathy, and but little above the brute creation. It will be a relief to the community to know that Curley was justly convicted of the awful crime, and it is but a just atonement that he shall suffer the death penalty.”

Saturday, October 14, 2017

A Deliberate, Damnable Murder.

William B. Baldwin
Around 2:00 a.m., the morning of November 25, 1879, the citizens of Hastings, Nebraska, were awakened by frenzied cries of “fire!” The Burlington & Missouri Railroad Depot was burning. Firemen were dispatched to the blaze but, in the words of The Nebraska State Journal, Hastings had “as poor a Fire Department as could be well conceived.” The depot burned to the ground along with two freight cars, for a loss estimated at $20,000.

When the smoke cleared an even greater loss was revealed, the partially consumed body of Allen J. Yocum, a brakeman on the B&M line. Two other men at the scene Ralph M. Taylor, another brakeman, and William B. Baldwin, the telegraph operator at the depot said that an oil lamp had exploded and they managed to escape the fire. Baldwin expressed regret that he hadn’t tried harder to rescue Yocum.

But Baldwin and Taylor were clearly drunk when they were questioned and their stories were confused and contradictory. Witnesses stated that they had heard two or three gunshots prior to hearing the alarm. Rumors began to circulate that the fire was not accidental. Yocum’s body which was in the process of being transferred to his parents in Albia, Nebraska, was stopped in transit. A post-mortem examination revealed that Allen Yocum had two bullet wounds on his left side.

A coroner’s jury determined that Yocum had been murdered, shot by either Baldwin or Taylor. William Baldwin had a 22-caliber revolver which had recently been discharged. It was supposed that Baldwin had quarreled with Yocum and killed him, then set the fire attempting to hide the crime. He forced Taylor at gunpoint to keep quiet. “A Deliberate, Damnable Murder,” said The Nebraska State Journal.

But when the case went to trial the following June, the charge had been reduced, probably due to the circumstantial nature of the evidence. William B. Baldwin was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to ten years at hard labor in the Eastings Penitentiary.

“Burned to Death,” The Nebraska State Journal, November 26, 1879.
“Caught By the Fire,” Chicago Tribune, November 26, 1879.
“A Hardened Villain,” National Police Gazette, November 27, 1880.
“The Hastings Affair,” The Nebraska State Journal, November 29, 1879.
“Murder and Arson,” Chicago Tribune, November 29, 1879.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Culture of Murder.

(From Grand Forks Daily Herald, December 10, 1888.)

The Culture of Murder.

How Impulsive Organisms Are Prepared to Do Dark Deeds.

No fact is more patent to science than the direct effect of influences exerted through the medium of the senses upon the brain—that particular part we of the organism whose function we call “mind.” Darwin, Ruskin and all the great students of development have labored to bring this fact within the cognizance of the general thinking public. That they have failed is only too painfully evidenced by the persistence and surprising ingenuity of the practice of cultivating homicidal propensities, and collatorally murder, by a refined use of the art of mural decoration.

While we empower the police to put down with a strong hand the exhibition in shop windows, and the censor of stage plays and spectacles to interdict the parade in theatres of pictures and scenes of an “immoral” character, because it is recognized that these have a tendency to corrupt the mind of youth—and age too—nothing whatever is done to restrain the daily increasing evil of pictorial placards displayed on every boarding, and of highly wrought scenes produced at nearly all the theatres, which not only direct the thoughts, but actively stir the passions of the people in such way as to familiarize the average mind with murder in all its forms, and to break down that protective sense of “horror” which nature has given us, with the express purpose, doubtless, of opposing an obstacle to the evil influence of the exemplification of homicide It cannot be disguised that even the most sensitive nature is to some extent brutalized by the display of these pictures.

We are none of us as shocked at the spectacle of a knife driven into the chest of a young woman, and do not recoil as violently from the idea of this form of murder, as before the display on all sides of an elaborate, nearly life size picture of the deed. Nor do two men grappling, together and stabbing each other, or one man shooting another with a revolver, strike us as presenting spectacled of such hideous enormity as they would have done had we not been familiarized with these scenes by impressive placards staring us in the face at every turn. It does seem strange—passing strange—that this murder culture by the educationary use of the pictorial art has not been checked by public authority.

We have no wish to make wild affirmations, but knowing what we do, as observers of development, we can have no hesitation in saying that the increasing frequency of horribly brutal outrages is by no means unaccountable. The viciously inclined are, in a sense, always weak minded—that is to say, they are especially susceptible of influences moving them in the direction their passions incline them to take; and when the mind (or brain) impressed through the senses, and particularly the area of sight, in such manner as to produce menial pictures, either in waking thought or dreams, of homicide, the impulsive organism is, as it were, prepared for the performance of the deeds which form the subjects of the consciousness. We are, of course, writing technically, but the facts are indisputable, and we trust they will be sufficiently plain. It is high time that this ingenious and persistent murder culture should cease.— Lancet

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Confession of Jacob Harden.

Reverend Jacob S. Harden felt he had been roped into an unhappy marriage by Louisa Dorland and her conniving parents. His new wife threatened his promising career and put a damper on his active social life as well. When the young bride passed away mysteriously, Harden acted like a guilty man but professed innocence almost to the end.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Avenged Her Father’s Murder.

Around 1:00 a.m., the morning of September 7, 1892, Richard Wright was awakened by a man calling his name, outside his farmhouse in Payne, Indiana. He recognized the voice as that of his son-in-law, Dell Judah, and went outside to see what he wanted. Judah told him angrily that his wife had walked out; he thought she had gone back to her father and he had come to take her home. Wright assured him that his daughter was not there, but he had not assuaged Judah’s anger. As Wright turned to walk away, Judah drew a revolver and shot him in the neck. Wright turned and grabbed him and as they clinched two more shots were fired.

Wright’s eldest daughter, Minna, ran from the house then, wielding an axe. Seeing her brother-in-law struggling with her father, she hit Judah in the head with the axe, knocking him off. She continued to hit him until he was dead. When she turned to her father, she found that he was dead as well. Minna walked a mile through the woods to their nearest neighbor to alert them to what had happened.

The Wrights were highly regarded in Payne, but Dell Judah had a bad reputation and was known as a rough character. Many believed that he had gone to Richard Wright’s house specifically to murder his wife and her father. Minna Wright was not arrested.

“She Killed Him,” Kalamazoo Gazette, September 18, 1892.
“A Terrible Tragedy,” The Topeka Daily Capital, September 9, 1892.
“Too Bloody to Believe,” The Indianapolis Journal, September 8, 1892.
“Two Lives Wiped Out,” The True Northerner, September 14, 1892.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

An Indignant Husband’s Crime.

In April 1891, Mrs. Sophia B. Dunham of Montgomery, Alabama received the following anonymous letter:

April, 1891,
Mrs. B. Dunham.

Dear Madame,

I guess it is quite a surprise and something very unusual for you to receive a note of this character from a stranger, but, my dear woman, it is very much to your interest for me to write it, not that the matter in the least interests me, but that I feel it is my duty as a man not to conceal from you a thing which will cause you no little trouble if not corrected at once. Now, if you will meet me on Catoma Creek Road Sunday afternoon at 4 o'clock, I shall inform you of something, that by your not hearing and acting accordingly will cause you an abundance of trouble. Oh, woman, don't fail to meet me, for the result would be certainly disastrous; and you may be assured I shall not say anything that would be improper for any man to say to one of your sex. Now, do not fail to come, for by doing so you shall reap benefit. I am not one whom you have never seen, but one to whom, perhaps you have never paid the slightest attention.

I am, yours truly,
light tan leggings with brass buttons, on a black horse of good gait, around the park, Sunday.

Mrs. Dunham immediately took the letter to her husband, Colonel Bradford Dunham, General Manager of the Alabama Midland Railroad Company. Though the matter to which the letter alluded was never revealed, Col. Dunham viewed the anonymous letter as a grave insult to his wife’s honor. He planned to uncover the writer’s identity by replying with a decoy letter in which Mrs. Dunham agreed to the meeting in the park. He then arranged to have the meeting place watched.

Mrs. Dunham did not keep the appointment, but the letter writer did; it was 19-year-old, James Cunningham, an employee of Alabama Midland Railroad Company. Col. Dunham put an end to the problem by summarily discharging Cunningham.

Five months later, Col. Dunham learned the Cunningham had been showing the decoy letter around town, saying he had received it from Mrs. Dunham. The colonel was so enraged by this that he procured a shotgun and went looking for Cunningham. He was sitting in the doorway of a drugstore, and when James Cunningham passed by, he picked up the shotgun, loaded with buckshot, and without a word, fired both barrels into the young man’s chest. Cunningham died instantly. Col. Dunham then walked to the police station and surrendered.

Public sentiment in Montgomery was divided regarding Col. Dunham’s case. The coroner’s jury called it first-degree murder, but some felt the Colonel’s action was justified. At the grand jury hearing, a detective testified that Cunningham told him he had lost his position with Midland Railroad for undue intimacy with Mrs. Dunham and intended to kill Col. Dunham on sight. In a decision harshly criticized by the friends of James Cunningham, the grand jury failed to find an indictment against the Col. Bradford Dunham. The colonel was released from jail and resumed his position as General Manager of the railroad.

“Col. Bradford Dunham's Case,” Evening Star, September 29, 1891.
“Col. Dunham's Examination,” Baltimore Sun, October 3, 1891.
“Defended Her Honor,” Fort Worth Gazette, September 28, 1891.
“The Grand Jury Criticized,” Bradford Era, October 24, 1891.
“An Indignant Husband's Crime,” National Police Gazette, October 17, 1891.
“Killed His Man,” Evansville Courier and Press, September 28, 1891.
“Sunny South,” Cincinnati Post, December 7, 1892.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Another Boy Murderer.

Near Rockport, Indiana, on the banks of the Ohio River, the morning of September 29, 1883, a boat was found, burned to the water’s edge. It had been a small trading boat, large enough sleep two or three and carry goods—most notably liquor—to sell along the river. Inside were the charred remains of a man who had been shot to death.

Rockport police soon learned the names of the men lived aboard the trading boat—R.T. Arnett, who lay dead in the smoldering boat, and Francis J. Kelly, the presumed murder, who had fled the scene. Detective Hales of Rockport undertook the task of locating Kelly and after three weeks of investigating he found the culprit in Ashley, Illinois, some 140 miles inland. Hales arrested Kelly and brought him back to Rockport.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

"Handsome Little Dandy."

Frank Stark (or Starke) angrily burst into the dressing room of the Vicksburg Opera-house where David R. Allan and his wife, May, were preparing to go on stage, the evening of November 14, 1883. Allan, 55 years old, was a veteran performer and the manager of the John F. Ward Comedy Company. He had recently fired Stark, age 22, from his position as advance agent for the company. The two men exchanged words then Stark drew a pistol and pointed it at Allan. May Allan grabbed the pistol from his hand and D. R. Allan thrust Stark out of the room. Stark snatched the pistol back from Mrs. Allan, and as D. R. Allan followed him into the hall, Stark turned and fired four shots at Allan. Two shots hit their target, one passing through Allan’s heart.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Charley Cook.

Charles Cook.
The afternoon of September 22, 1840, Polly Cornell was surprised to see her niece and nephew running toward her house crying. The girl, about six years old, and the boy about four were the children of her sister Catherine who lived with her husband Eli Merry, on a farm in Glenville, New York, not far from her own. They told their aunt that Charley Cook, a laborer at the farm, had killed their mother. She took the children and hurried to the house of another relative, Peleg Cornell who sent his son for more help.

They all met at the Merrys’ house, and when no one answered their knock on the kitchen door, they went inside. They found Catherine Merry in the cellar, lying on the floor with her throat cut. She had been beaten as well, and her clothes were in disarray. By now several other people had arrived at the house, and they carried the body upstairs to the kitchen. On the kitchen table, they a found shoemaker’s knife with a four-inch blade; on it were blood and hairs.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Wicked Victorian Boston.

a new book by Robert Wilhelm
Now Available at Amazon!
More information at:

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Stranger Than a Dime Novel.

Little Murders
(From St. Louis Republican, December 31,1878)

Stranger Than a Dime Novel.
 Murder Revealed by an Old Letter After Two Years’ Concealment.

The Vandalia train which arrived at the Union depot yesterday morning had on board Sheriff Heber, of Greene county, Mo., and a young man named James Hickman. The latter was a prisoner to the hands of the Sheriff. The two were bound for Ash Grove, Mo., a station on the St. Louis and San Fraucisco road, not far from Springfield. The two were bound train did not leave until ten minutes to nine P. M., and in the interim the Sheriff took his prisoner to the Four Courts as the easiest place to keep him. It was there that the Sheriff was interrogated by a reporter. He said that Hickman was charged with murder. This caused the reporter to get his pencil out and get to work. The Sheriff told the story of the crime and it is an interesting one.

Only a year ago James Hickman was a thriving young farmer. He kept company with a girl named Kate Rice, The was one of the belles of Ash Grove. They loved too well, as the saying is, and ere the marriage day arrived a child was born. She hid her shame, living on and not letting her friends or his know of her trouble. He seemed true to her for a while and always promised to keep the vow that he had made, that he would marry her, but the marriage day never arrived. One day he went to her and told her that he loved another and intended to marry her. This cruel confession so wrought upon the girl’s feelings that she threatened to expose him, if he did so, to people of the village and to his father and mother, who were alive and who were well thought of. He did not expect this, promised to break off the new engagement which he had already made and marry the woman he had wronged as soon as the banns could be duly proclaimed. Instead of doing this he returned his new love. Time flew by and the day came when Hickman had to marry at least one of the women. That one was his latest love who had brothers who had an inkling of Hickman’s treatment of his first victim and who were determined that he should jilt no sister of theirs. Hickman, finding himself between two fires, wrote a letter to Kate Rice. He told her as she valued her life to keep the contents of it secret and to meet him that night in an out of the way place. She obeyed his request and leaving her home on the night of September 10, 1879, She was never seen alive again, but two days later her body was found at the side of a field with a bullet through her brain and a pistol by her side. There were no signs of a struggle. The pistol no one had ever seen before. Those who knew of her troubles supposed that It was a case of suicide, and those who did not know of them thought the same thing. The body of the girl was laid in a grave. Hickman, it would appear was so overburdened with guilt that he resolved to leave the scene of the murder. He transferred his worldly goods into cash as soon as possible and left, telling those who took the trouble to ask that he was going East to embark in a mercantile enterprise. But little was said concerning his departure and less thought of it until one day about three months ago the mother of the dead girl made a discovery. While looking over some of her daughter's old letters she found the one that had been written to her upon the very night of the murder. The mother concluded almost at once that that letter was the decoy which led to her daughter's death. She consulted the authorities and they were quick about investigating the case. The mother still held the revolver that had been found with her daughter's body. She had never found the real owner of it—in fact, no one had looked for the real owner. The authorities looked, and, strange to say, found upon very short inquiry that Hickman had purchased the revolver but a few days before the girl's death. This fact, together with his sudden disappearance, caused further inquiry to be made. His parents professed ignorance as to his whereabouts. This itself, it was thought, implied guilt. They were watched. and it was found that they did receive letters from him. These were postmarked Paris, Ill. The deputy sheriff was sent to hunt up the supposed murderer. He found him farming upon a piece of ground not far from Paris. The result was his arrest and transfer to the scene of his crime. Since the authorities first commenced investigating the murder they have found overwhelming, evidence of Hickman's guilt.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Death for an Insult.

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 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.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Boston Detectives—So Called.

(From the New York Herald, November 5, 1875.)

Boston Detectives—So Called.

A Startling Record of their Inefficiency—
When Did They Ever Work Up a Murder Case to a Successful Issue?

Boston, Nov. 4, 1875
The recent failure of the so-called Boston detectives—the pets of the daily press of the “Hub”—in the handling of the Langmaid murder case in New Hampshire, recalls their inefficiency in and around Boston. In the matter of the score of horrible murders which have been committed in the city and vicinity it is difficult, if not absolutely impossible to single out a solitary instance where they have worked a case to a successful issue. Even the case of Jesse Pomeroy, who committed two murders, the smartest of them were baffled by the shrewd youth and final detection was owing the accidental discovery of Katie Curran’s body in the cellar of a house once occupied by his mother by some workmen who were digging for a new foundation. In the case of Pemberton, who was hung a few weeks since the murder of the Bingham woman, in East Boston, their stupidity was equally prominent. Some rings taken from her finger were described to the so-called detectives, and the information was treasured by them as sacred. The Boston Herald accidentally got hold of and published a description of the rings. A man in Salem who bought them of the murderer saw the account, followed up the assassin, had him arrested, and trial, conviction and hanging followed in quick succession. Thus the press served the ends of justice in this as in the Langmaid case, and in spite of the so-called detectives. In the case of Piper, who is charged with the murder of Mabel Young in a church belfry, he was first apprehended by citizens, then turned over to the Boston officers, since which time his case has slumbered. Over in the Bunker Hill district a man named Kimball killed his wife and daughter, and as promptly apprehended; but such a circumstance would probably never have occurred if the murderer had fled instead of committing suicide. A man named Jones who killed Mrs. Barry, his paramour in the immediate vicinity of the Kimball horror, also aided the so-called detectives materially by killing himself in the same room. Then there is the murder of the Joyce children in Buzzy’s woods, the case where a prominent man was found beheaded in a floating barrel in the Charles River, The Bridget Landergan horror, the Dennahy tragedy and the mysterious shooting of a Boston merchant in the door of his own residence in the Dorchester district. All of these  cases and others of less renown are as much shrouded in mystery to-day as they were at the moment of their discovery. In view of such a record it is no more than justice to accord the so-called detectives of Boston the championship of inefficiency.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Kitty Mulcahey.

Little Murders

Kitty Mulcahey
A pistol shot from the churchyard of the Second Presbyterian Church, in St. Louis, at around 11:45 the night of December 18, 1881, caught the attention of several people who had been outside nearby. Alfred Tonkin, a horse-clipper, was found on the church terrace with a gunshot wound to the abdomen and was rushed to City Hospital. Witnesses said that they had seen a man and a woman run from the scene; the woman had left behind a sealskin cap.

The churchyard and adjoining cemetery were popular spots, even in December, for prostitutes and others engaging in illicit relationships. Before he died, Tonkin told police that he had seen a man and woman acting suspiciously and followed them into the churchyard where he caught them in an “improper act.” As the couple fled, Tonkin tried to stop the woman. He thought it was the man who shot him, but his statements were confused and contradictory, another witness said that it was the woman who fired.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Spiritualism as a Witness in a Murder Case.

It would scarcely be safe as a general thing to trust the intervention of spiritual powers for the detection of crime and for the evidence sufficient to convict its perpetrators. But in a murder case in Connecticut a grand juror, an able counsel, a learned judge and we know not how many others seem bound to convict a person of the capital offense of murder on the strength of revelations made to a pretended spiritual medium. The story is told by the Herald’s special correspondent in another column. We are assured on the authority of one of the prosecuting lawyers that all the circumstances attending the cruel murder of poor Mary Stannard were minutely described to a member of the Grand Jury by the medium, even to the description of the weapons used and the words spoken during the enactment of the tragedy. An interview between our correspondent and the clairvoyant confirms the wonderful tale. Exactly how the evidence is to be used on the trial of the Rev. Mr. Hayden, who has been rearrested, is not explained. Perhaps the medium is to be induced to pass into the clairvoyant state and describe the murder after the fashion of Hamlet’s players. But then how is the oath to be administered that is necessary to make the testimony legal? What is to become of the right of the defense to a cross-examination? Who is to vouch for the credibility of the witness when the mediums themselves do not seem to know whether they are used by good spirits or bad spirits—by truthful spirits or lying spirits? Many such legal difficulties suggest themselves in such a case. Even should they be overcome, who can vouch that the jury will not be composed of men of common sense, who will remember that the medium’s wonderful disclosures were made after he had enjoyed the opportunity to examine the spot, measure the distances and arrange blood-stained stones at his pleasure, and so make up their minds that he is an arrant humbug?

It would be fortunate for the accused if more material circumstances had not occasioned his second arrest. Should it be proved that he purchased arsenic on the morning of the murder, and that the poison was found in the stomach of the victim, it will not need a spiritual medium to convict him of the cruel crime,  nor will any efforts of Spiritualism save him from the full penalty of the law.

Reprinted from “Spiritualism as a Witness in a Murder Case,” New York Herald, October 10, 1878.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

She Didn’t Do as He Wished.

Little Murders

Shortly after 4:00, the afternoon of November 4, 1893, Fred L. Buck rushed into the police station in Elgin, Illinois and announced, “I’ve just killed my wife; she’s been leading a fast life and I had to end it.”

Police went to the Bucks’ residence and found Fred Buck’s wife, Julia, in the bedroom, lying face down in a pool of blood. He had shot her in the temple at such short range that the bullet went straight through her head and was found embedded in her hair, which she wore knotted in the back. A second shot he fired in her back had been unnecessary as the first shot had killed her instantly.

Fred Buck was the Illinois State Game and Fish Warden and had been in charge of the government aquariums in the Fisheries Building at the World’s Fair in Chicago. He was also engaged in the manufacture of a patent lantern and had previously been a private detective. His wife Julia, 30-years-old, was the brother of Theodore F. Swan who owned a large department store in Elgin. Both Fred and Julia were previously married and divorced.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Dedham Tragedy.

Finding the Bodies
In September 1865, the family of Dr. Carlos Marston rented rooms in a house that had previously been a hotel in South Dedham, Massachusetts. The family consisted of the doctor, a forty-year-old homeopathic physician; Susannah, his wife of fifteen years; and their 10-year-old adopted daughter Cora, whose natural mother had been Susannah’s sister. They slept on the second floor, while on the first floor Miss Susan Hill, an invalid being treated by Dr. Marston, had a room.

The Marston Residence
At around 2:00 am, the morning of Friday, September 1, Miss Hill was awaked by the sound of a scuffle from the room above, followed by a thud, as if someone had fallen to the floor, then a pistol report. She ran out to the stairs, but afraid to go up she called loudly asking if everything was alright. She received no response, but a few moments later Mrs. Marston appeared in the darkness at the head of the stairs and said in a calm but firm tone, “Be still—go to your room—or I’ll blow your brains out!”

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Sin and Sorrow.

Little Murders
When neighbors heard two muffled gunshots, the afternoon of September 20, 1880, coming from the home of George Ware and family on Maple Street in Dayton, Ohio, it caused little concern; they assumed someone inside was trying to kill rats. But a few moments later Lee Brumbaugh hurried from the house, bleeding from a wound in his side. He was staggering when he reached the grocery store on the corner. Entering the store, he said to the proprietor, “I’m shot; George Ware did it.” The proprietor caught him and laid him on the floor. Less than five minutes later Brumbaugh was dead. George Ware then entered the store carrying Brumbaugh’s coat, vest, and hat and said, “I shot Lee Brumbaugh, but I am sorry now for it.”

Lee Brumbaugh was a prominent attorney, well known in Dayton, and news of his murder spread quickly through the town. It was first rumored that the motive had been political, Brumbaugh was a member of the Democratic Central Committee, and Ware was president of the Republican Central Committee. But a second rumor, that Ware had caught his wife and Lee Brumbaugh in flagrante delicto, proved true.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Foulest Murder Yet.

Little Murders
(From Oregonian, August 17,1878)

The Foulest Murder Yet.
The Tullis Murder in Sacramento County – A Confession by the Public Administrator that he Instigated It.

San Francisco, Aug. 15.—Troy Dye, public administrator of Sacramento county, has made a full confession concerning the recent murder of A. M. Tullis on Grand Island. He confesses to have instigated the murder for the purpose of getting control of the estate of the deceased. He implicates as perpetrator of the deed Edward Anderson, a Swede formerly in his employ and another party, name not yet ascertained. Anderson has also made confession corroborating that of Dye. Anderson was to receive $6,000 for the job. They had previously tried to kill Tullis by poison. They had also discussed the murder of other citizens. The details are replete with cold-blooded cruelty. Dye has heretofore borne a good reputation in the community, and his connection with the affair has created the utmost surprise and excitement. The details of the confessions of Dye and Anderson are to the following effect:

Dye had found the office of public administrator unprofitable, and had remarked occasionally in jest the he would have to kill some one to make it pay. The idea obtained a deep hold on his mind and he took Anderson, whom he had for a long time employed in his butcher shop, and another party yet unknown into his councils. Dye and Anderson charge each other with being the tempter. They finally fixed on Tullis as a victim. Dye had been his friend and neighbor for 12 years and knew the value of his property, and as Tullis had never been communicative concerning his family affairs it was supposed he had no relative to claim the estate. Over two months ago Anderson and the unknown party went to Tullis’ place to put the plan into execution, but their courage failed them. Dye urged the crime persistently and Anderson conceived the idea of a murder by poison. A bottle of poisoned cocktails was prepared in a saloon kept bye Dye & Clark in Sacramento and Anderson went to Tullis’ ranch ostensibly in search of work, and gave him the bottle after taking a number of drinks together from a bottle of good liquor, and left. For some reason this plot miscarried. It was then decided that bold work was required. A boat was built at Dye’s house, Sacramento. Anderson pulled it down the river and was joined by his confederate below the city, and they proceeded to Tullis’ ranch, found him in the orchard and knocked him down with a sand bag and shot him in several places. This was the evening of Thursday, the 1st inst., at 7 o’clock. Dye, that evening, staid at his house in Sacramento till 8’oclock entertaining a visitor. He excused himself and took a buggy, drove down the river about 16 miles, met the assassins at the place appointed and drove them back to Sacramento. During the ride they related all the circumstances of the murder to Dye. The trio returned much under the influence of liquor. Dye says Anderson had revealed to him the crimes of his past life, including the murder of two sheep herders in vicinity of Sacramento. Dye’s plan for realizing on the estate of Tullis was to compound with the creditors. His legitimate commissions would have been about $3,200. Dye has always borne a good reputation, but parties now coming forward affirm he was a bushwhacker during the late war and pillaged and murdered indiscriminately. The confession cover about eight closely printed columns, developing every stage of progress to the commission of the crime. Neither party will be allowed to turn state’s evidence and the district attorney is confident of convicting both.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Newmarket Murder.

Around 1:00 am, the morning of February 26, 1867, Israel Coriell, of Newmarket, New Jersey,  was awakened by frantic knocking on his front door. It was Bridget Durgan, servant girl of his cousin, Dr. Lester Wallace Coriell, carrying the doctor’s two-year-old daughter. Nearly hysterical, Bridget told him that burglars were ransacking the house, the doctor was out on a call, and she feared that his wife, Mary Ellen, was being murdered. Coriell sent her to awaken his neighbor, Rev. William Little, while he went to Main Street and rang a large bell as a signal of general alarm. Reverend Little and two other men followed Bridget back to Dr. Coriell’s house.

They found the house filled with smoke and traced the source to a smoldering fire in one of the bedrooms. When they doused the fire and brought some light into the room, the men were shocked by what they found. There were signs of a fearful struggle; clothing was strewn in ragged heaps, and feathers torn from the pillows lay on the floor, all stained and matted with blood and gore. A broken chair was splintered and covered with blood. The body of Mary Ellen Coriell lay in the middle of the floor covered from forehead to breast with hideous gashes, her jugular vein had been torn out, and the deep imprint of four teeth was visible on her neck. It was later determined that she had been stabbed twenty-three times.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Augusta Schmidt.

Little Murders
J. Oscar Walton, a tenant farmer in Walton, Indiana, had an argument with his landlady, Mrs. Augusta Schmidt, the morning of October 21, 1893. They shared a house on the rented property, Mrs. Schmidt and her family in one half, Walton and his family in the other. They stood in the doorway between the two halves as they argued. Walton was upset that geese and hogs owned by Mrs. Schmidt had been let loose in his cornfields and were scattering the corn all around. As the argument became more heated, Walton threatened to take his gun and shoot the livestock. Mrs. Schmidt went into her side of the house and returned with a revolver, and while Oscar Walton’s mother and ten-year-old son watched, Augusta Schmidt shot him in the head and killed him.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Murder and the Ghouls.

Little Murders
(From Cincinnati Daily Gazette, March 24, 1879)

The Murder and the Ghouls

The course of several of the city papers on the terrible tragedy of the murder of Harry Baldwin is an example of the way in which a mere mercenary desire for a sensation scandal, to sell a few more papers, can overcame all principle, all conscience, all the instincts of decency, all sense of justice toward the dead, and all regard for the feelings of the living relatives. Harry Baldwin was found on the street, after his arrival in the night by railway from Indiana, shot through the head and dying, and with signs of having been robbed. Men have been murdered on our streets for the purpose of robbery before now. And even if the police did not at the moment know who did it, this was no reason for throwing themselves into wild inventions. He was found in this dying slate leaning against the wall of a house nearly opposite the public house of which Kate Bennett is mistress. With no other ground than this, the theories of the police and of these newspapers have centered upon and circulated round Kate Bennett's house, and have persisted in connecting Baldwin’s death with that.

From the first, and up to this time not a particle of evidence has been produced to show that Harry Baldwin ever had any illicit relations with any girl, or was ever in that house, yet the police and these papers have insisted that the solution of the mystery was in that house, and have invented and given currency to a mass of wild fancies of his relations with a woman who had become desperate because of his marriage. No such girl has yet been found nor heard of.

The police arrested the Bennett and all persons in her house—boarders and servants. This was accepted and published as positive proof that Baldwin went from the cars to that house and there met his death at the hands of a desperate woman. Then a woman of the lowest degree of prostitution, living in that vicinity, was arrested with her two daughters, one of them described as having had her face partly eaten up with disease. This conveyed the idea that Harry Baldwin was a companion of all sorts of degraded women. A paper remarked that it did not know which of these Dalton girls was his paramour.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Confession of a Wife Murderer.

Charles Herman
Charles Herman and his wife Eva lived in the upper part of a house on Blossom Alley in the German section of Buffalo, New York. He was an unemployed butcher, and she was worked for a man named Christopher Ziegler, running a small fruit stand in a public market. What little money Eva made went primarily to Charles’s worsening alcohol problem. When he drank, he turned violently jealous, irrationally believing that Mr. Ziegler was too intimate with his wife.        

Their marriage had been on the rocks for several years, and nearly every night Charles and Eva engaged in loud, sometimes violent fights, so neighbor took little notice when they heard the couple shouting on the night of Sunday, November 1, 1885. But the days following that Sunday were quiet, and although Charles Herman left in the morning and returned at night, there was no sign of Eva. On Wednesday, November 4, one of the neighbors became concerned, and after Charles had left in the morning, she went to call on Eva. Finding the door locked, she forced it open and found Eva lying on the floor with her throat cut from ear to ear. Her fingers had been cut as well, and the room showed signs of a terrible struggle. A post mortem examination determined that Mrs. Herman had been dead since Sunday.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Murderous 1850s.

Reports of sensational murders had proven so successful at selling newspapers in earlier decades, that by the 1850s murder had become a front page staple of American newspapers. Murder stories, unfolded in the daily papers as if they were serialized mysteries, and readers could not get enough.

An Unfortunate Organization -1850

Phrenology, the theory that a person’s character is determined by the size and shape of his head, was quite popular in America during the 1850s. A phrenological analysis of Reuben Dunbar in 1851 found him to be excessive in Destructiveness, Combativeness, Aqusitiveness, Secretiveness and Firmness, while being deficient in Self-esteem and Philoprogenitiveness. He had “an unfortunate organization” in which his moral faculties were not sufficiently large to balance his animal propensities. While the phrenologist professed scientific objectivity in the analysis of Dunbar’s head, she may have been somewhat influenced the fact that, at the time, Reuben Dunbar was charged with murdering his two young stepbrothers to protect his inheritance.

The North Carolina Tragedy. -1852

The Reverend George Washington Carawan, prominent and powerful North Carolina Baptist minister was a man of violent temper and strong animal passions, more apt to inspire terror than piety in those around him. The sorrows he begat in his relationships would follow him to the courtroom for the last savage act in Carawan’s tragedy.

Arthur Spring Jr. vs. Arthur Spring Sr. -1853

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.

The Veiled Murderess -1853

In 1854, a woman calling herself Henrietta Robinson stood trial in Troy, New York, for poisoning a neighbor and his sister-in-law. Despite the judge’s admonitions, she sat through the trial with her face covered by a black veil, hiding her appearance from the throngs of spectators who had come to watch. Everything about the defendant was a mystery—her motive for murder, her behavior before and after the crime, and even her true identity. It was well known that “Henrietta Robinson” was an assumed name, but who she really was has never been determined.

The Killing of Bill The Butcher -1855

Bill “The Butcher” Poole was a champion New York City pugilist in 1855—before the Marquess of Queensbury rules—when kicking, biting and eye-gouging were acceptable tactics and “fight to the death” was more than a metaphor.  It was also a time when a challenge was likely to be issued out of pure hatred for your opponent.  When John Morrissey, the Irish enforcer for Tammany Hall challenged Bill Poole of the the anti-immigrant “Know Nothing” Party it promised to be the ultimate grudge match. But when the fighters turned to knives and guns, all pretext of sport was gone.  It would be Bill “The Butcher” Poole’s last fight.

The Bond Street Tragedy -1857

The townhouse at 31 Bond Street was, to all appearance, a model of staid middleclass Manhattan decorum. In 1857 it was a boardinghouse run by Mrs. Emma Cunningham with the dental office of Dr. Harvey Burdell on the second floor. But after Dr. Burdell was found in his office strangled and stabbed fifteen times, 31 Bond Street was shown for what it was—a hotbed of greed, lust, intrigue and depravity.

The Manheim Tragedy -1857

On a sunny December morning in 1857, Mrs. Anna Garber and Mrs. Elizabeth Ream were raped and murdered in Mrs. Garber’s home in Manheim, Pennsylvania. Evidence overwhelmingly pointed to Alexander Anderson and Henry Richards, two African American workmen seen in the neighborhood. Though there was little doubt as to who committed the murders, a question still remained: would they be tried by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or would the case would be handled by "Judge Lynch."

Dan Sickles's Temporary Insanity -1859

Dan Sickles, congressman from New York, was married to the most beautiful woman in Washington but his other interests, including his mistresses, often kept him away from home. Feeling lonely and abandoned, his lovely young wife, Teresa, found comfort in the arms of Philip Barton Key. When Sickles learned of their affair, he armed himself and confronted Key on the street. Blinded by rage he shot and killed his wife’s lover. Was it premeditated murder or temporary insanity?

A Balance of Probabilities. -1859

The morning of December 11, 1859, eleven-year-old Priscilla Budge carried a cup of tea to her mother’s bedroom. There she found her mother dead, lying on the bed with her throat cut. Mrs. Budge was known to be mentally unstable and her husband, the Reverend Henry Budge, immediately declared that his wife’s death must have been suicide. The coroner’s jury agreed and Mrs. Budge was soon buried—a quick conclusion to an unpleasant event. But as it turned out, it was not the conclusion, just the opening argument of a debate that would go on for years.