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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Murders, Murder Trials, Confessions of Murder, Discoveries of Murder, &c., &c.

Little Murders
(From Richmond Enquirer November 6, 1845)
The last Chicago Democrat 22d ult., is little better than a continued chronicle of horribles. First comes a confession said to have been made by Birch, one of the murderers of Col. Davenport, in which he discloses all the particulars of that horrible transaction.

“The Redmans, (or Redings,) kept a house which was used as a general rendezvous for the fraternity of rascals in their visits to that part of the country. It was at the house, (on Devil Creek, Lee county, Iowa,) that the plan was devised and conceived of murdering Col. D., and the father of the family, (there are three of them—the father and two sons) was present and assisted in the arrangement for the bloody deed. He has been indicted by the Grand Jury of Rock Island, as an accessory before the fact. A son of this old man (William) assisted at the robbery of Knox and Drury’s office, in Rock Island, about the time of Davenport’s murder, for which an indictment was also found against him.”

The trial of Birch, and two of his accomplices in the murder, was to have commenced last Monday:
“Fox of Indiana, alias Sutton of Illinois, alias Johnson of Iowa, is still at large In the violent indignation of the people against him, woe to the man or woman who secrets him. We fear that any discovery of the kind would lead to Lynch law; and unless he is found soon, some persons who have heretofore secreted him had better leave the State until the excitement is past. There is a point beyond which such knaves as Fox, Big Davis, Favor, Baker , Aiken, Land, Dean, Driskell, Button, &c., &c., cannot go in Illinois.”

Next comes the solution of a mysterious murder, committed some months since:
“It will be remembered that, soon after the two Hodges were hung, one of the brothers of the Hodges was killed in Nauvoo. Among other developments at Rock Island, it has come out that, out of fear of his confessing, he was shot by Jack Reding, or Redman, whose father and brother are now confined at Rock Island. Jack is still at large.”

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Did He Murder His Namesake?

28-year-old Cornelius Callahan and his 23-year-old cousin also named Cornelius Callahan, took a train, on October 24, 1883, from Hartford, Connecticut to Meriden, Connecticut where Daniel Callahan, the brother of the elder cousin had a job opportunity for the younger. After transacting their business, the three had a few drinks before the cousins took the limited express that evening back to Hartford. When the train arrived in Hartford, only the elder Cornelius got off.

The arriving Cornelius Callahan told the family that his cousin had been standing on the platform outside of one the cars and had fallen off the train near the town of Berlin. He said he told the conductor and a porter, but was not believed. The family was also slow to believe this story, but the following day the brother of the missing man and the father of his cousin, walked the track near Berlin. They met a crew of railroad men who said they had found a body underneath a pile of crossties; it was their missing relative, almost exactly where Cornelius had said it would be.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Unsolved Massachusetts.

Massachusetts was the site of America’s most famous unsolved murder – the shocking daylight axe murder of Andrew and Abby Borden. The prime suspect, Andrew’s daughter Lizzie, was acquitted, a verdict that remains controversial. A number of lesser known nineteenth-century Massachusetts murders have also remained unsolved and are shrouded in mystery just as deep.

Lizzie Borden Took an Axe...Or Did She? -1892

Either Lizzie Borden got away with murder or someone else did. Lizzie was acquitted of the axe murder of Andrew and Abby Borden and no one else was ever arrested.                    

Her Miserable End. -1885

Alone and troubled in a strange town, Carrie Whitney fell prey to despicable men who were never brought to justice.

Two Shots, a Shriek. -1891                   

Josephine Brown, a Boston prostitute, was murdered on Christmas Eve, 1891. Her alleged killer was never captured.                   

The Medford Mystery. -1892

The mystery of Walter Debbins murder in Medford, MA, grew more dense with each new revelation. No motive was ever determined and the mysterious suspect was never captured. 

The Webster Mystery. -1887

Alice Hoyle must have known something about her sister Lillie's violent death, but each time she was questioned she told a different story. What actually happened that night in 1887 remains a mystery and her killer or killers were never punished.                   

The Boston Barrel Tragedy. -1872

The dismembered body of Abijah Ellis was found stuffed inside two barrels, floating in the Charles River. Despite impressive detective work by the Boston Police and the most advanced blood analysis available in 1872, no one was convicted of his murder.                   

Saturday, January 7, 2017

A Murderer’s Death Dance.

Little Murders
(From New York Sun February 10, 1888)


A Murderer’s Death Dance.
      
Fiddling and Singing the Night Before His Execution.


The Utica, N.Y., Feb. 9—Clement Arthur Day was executed in Utica jail at 10:24 ½ o’clock this morning in the presence of 24 citizens, including all officials. He was declared dead in 11 ½ minutes. His neck was broken. Before he left his cell, he declared that he had nothing further to say to the public. On his knees, in the presence of the Rev. E. Owen, his spiritual adviser, he declared himself guiltless of premeditated murder. Four drams of croton oil, sufficient to kill four men, were found in his cell within a week. His father declared he would never be executed.

Day clapped his hands after the death warrant was read, and smiled. On walking over the ice in the jail yard he laughed heartily over the falls of the sheriff, Rev. E Owen, a newspaper reporter, and Special Deputy Burke, exclaiming: “That’s four of them.” He yawned while his legs were being strapped on the scaffold. He shook hands and kissed Deputy Burke, and assisted Deputy Ballow in adjusting the rope about his neck, He smiled as the cap was drawn over his face and the smile was still there when the body was cut down.

The crime for which Day was hanged was the murder of his paramour, Johanna Rosa Cross. The crime was committed on the banks of the Black River canal the 9th of last June. Day’s father, a lock tender, was the only witness of the tragedy. Day was jealous of his mistress and feared she would leave him. She had tried many times to get his permission for her to visit her mother, but he always refused, saying she would never return. The day before the tragedy she received a letter from her mother saying she was dying and asking the daughter to come to her. She wrote a reply to the letter and she and Day started down the bank of the canal toward Boonville, where they intended to mail it. They had gone but a short distance when Day turned on her and struck her with a butcher knife. She fell and he continue cutting until eight distinct cuts were made, one of which entered the heart and another the abdomen. The father informed the authorities of the crime, and after spending a day in the woods the murderer gave himself up. In the interviews with him after his arrest not a particle of regret for what he had done could be drawn from him. He pretended to have been converted and to be penitent, but his conversation and instincts were vulgar and beastly to the end. The condemned man passed the last night of his life on earth without displaying any nervousness. On the contrary, he seem to enjoy his violin, and sang and danced with jail officials and others with apparent unconcern for his future until 12:30 this morning. He then went to bed and slept until 6:30.