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Saturday, March 31, 2018

A Mysterious Murder.


The body of an unknown man with a gunshot wound to the head was found on the corner of 100th Street and 2nd Avenue in New York City, the evening of March 7, 1866. At the time, it was a lonely and isolated corner with no houses nearby; the murder could have been committed after nightfall without any witnesses. Near the wound was a large quantity of power, indicating that he was shot at close range.


The man was about 30 years old, about five feet seven inches tall, with light brown hair and a goatee. He was fashionably dressed in a dark blue overcoat, light brown jacket, black woolen vest, black and white mixed woolen pants, white linen shirt with black silk tie, and fine calfskin boots. Robbery did not appear to be the motive because one pants pocket contained fifteen dollars in U.S. Treasury notes.

At the section of 2nd Avenue where it crossed 100th Street was an eight-foot embankment with a small stream of water running through the low grounds on the other side. The body was lying in the creek and wagon tracks and men’s footprints were seen in the mud nearby. A thorough search of the site produced a Colt Navy revolver, and the man had a box of Colt’s pistol caps in his overcoat pocket, but suicide was ruled out because the revolver was fully loaded and had not been fired. It was believed that the man was killed in another part of the city and was thrown into the creek to avoid detection. After the coroner’s inquest determined that the unidentified man had been murdered, the mayor offered a $500 reward for the apprehension of his killers.

In spite of the widely published description of the dead man and the mayor’s substantial reward offer, it does not appear that he or his killers were ever identified.
 

Sources:
“More Violence,” New York Daily Herald, March 10, 1866.
“A Mysterious Murder,” Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, March 10, 1866.
“The Mysterious Murder Case,” The New York Times, March 10, 1866.
“Mysterious Murder in 100th Street,” New York Daily Herald, March 9, 1866.
“Supposed Murder in Second Avenue,” New York Daily Herald, March 8, 1866.

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