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Saturday, September 29, 2018

Rum, Jealousy and Murder.

George Widman and Thomas Brownlee accompanied a young lady name Miss Norris on an excursion up the Hudson River from Yonkers, New York to Newberg, aboard the steamer Grand Republic on Sunday, October 5, 1879. Widman, a 25-year-old carpenter, and Brownlee, a 27-year-old blacksmith were good friends, members of the same hose company of the Yonkers fire department. Widman was a steady man with quiet, temperate habits; Brownlee was a hard drinker known to become quarrelsome when drunk.

As the trip progressed, it became clear the Miss Norris favored the attention of Widman, who had taken her to the circus the previous Friday. Brownlee drank heavily on the boat and expressed his feelings toward Widman in very intemperate language.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

The Annie Dorman Mystery.

John Dorman left the farmhouse to work in his fields at about 1:15, the afternoon of September 1, 1897. His wife, Lizzie, had some banking to take care of and left for Philadelphia at about 2:00. As usual, they left their children in the care of John’s half-sister, Annie. 18-year-old Annie Dorman had lived with John and his wife at their Cobb’s Creek home off and on for the previous five years, working as a nurse to their four children. Around 3:00 that day a neighbor, Mrs. Myers, came by to chat with Annie leaving about ten minutes later. At 4:30 one of the children found Annie lying on the floor of the second story front room, dead from a gunshot wound.

The children ran for their father who returned to the house with Al Myers, stable boss at nearby Melbourne Mills. They found Annie stretched out on the floor with a pistol lying by her hand. There was no sign of a struggle and nothing had been taken; the men could only conclude that Annie had taken her own life.

But suicide was unlikely for a number of reasons. No one who knew Annie could imagine what would have driven her to kill herself. She was bright and pretty, with an even and sweet temperament and was always cheerful. Her boyfriend, Ernest L. Pendlebury, was steady and honest. She was a religious girl, healthy in mind and body; a favorite among the congregation of Sarah D. Cooper Methodist Church.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Disorder in Court.



Henry Miller went to the home of his doctor, Zachariah Walker, in Brownsburg, Virginia, to pick up some medicine on Wednesday, November 13, 1889. Dr. Walker was under the weather and could not see Miller, but his wife, Bettie, knew the prescription and she took him to the office while she prepared the compound. Though 50 years old, Bettie Walker was a strikingly attractive woman, delicate and refined, her black hair sprinkled with silver. Henry Miller, nearly 70 years old, could not control himself alone with Mrs. Walker; he tried to kiss her, “offering other indignities which were repulsed.”

Mrs. Miller did not tell her husband what had happened until Friday morning when the doctor was fully recovered.  He was immediately incensed and went out with his manservant and his shotgun looking for Henry Miller. He made it generally known that he intended to kill Miller on sight. 

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Girl Killed in Elevator, A Mystery.

(From New York American, January 3, 1898.)


Girl Killed in Elevator, A Mystery.


Engineer Farrell Can’t Explain the Strange Facts, and is Held.



RECALLS SMITH MURDER.

Janitor Titus Is Now Serving a Life Sentence for he Hackettstown Crime.

Queer Evidence in the Case.

Al the explanations made by Marten Ferrell, engineer of the building No. 119 Mercer street, to account for the strange death of Ellen Ryan, a pretty girl of 22, who was found dead and mangled at the foot of the elevator shaft are regarded with a great deal of skepticism by the police.

This case, in its mystery and its dramatic features, strikingly recalls the murder of Tillie Smith, eleven years ago in Hackettstown, N.J. She was employed in the seminary about a quarter of a mile form Hackettstown, and was found choked to death in the basement of the seminary.

James Titus, the janitor of the seminary, was convicted of the crime and is now serving a term of life imprisonment in the New Jersey State Prison.

THE PRIONER REMANDED.

He protested his innocence when taken to the Jefferson Market Police Court today, but was remanded by Magistrate Meade into the custody of the Coroner.

Coroner’s Physician O’Hanlon testified that the dead woman’s injuries were such as could only have been produced by powerful machinery, such as an elevator.

WHY DID ELEVATOR START?

No case of violent death in this city within a long period has held such elements of mystery or such tragic possibilities. There is, of course, no positive evidence against the prisoner, but his story is regarded as possessing many weak spots.

The police see no reason why he gilr should have tried to start the elevator which he suggested as the cause of the accident, unless she may have been trying to escape from him.

KNEW HER MANY YEARS

Farrell and his wife and two children live on the top floor of No. 226 East Ninety fifth street, and Ellen Ryan has been living with them.

Years ago, when Farrell lived in Carlow, Ireland, he knows a family named Ryan, and went to school with the daughters, Ellen and Stacia.

When he grew up he married and came to this city, where he became engineer in the big feather house on Mercer street.

Six months ago the Ryan girls came to this countgy and the Farrells harbored them until they could get work. Recently Ellen, who was out of employment was again living there.

WENT TO FACTORY WITH HIM.

Yesterday morning Mr. and Mrs. Farrell and Ellen Ryan attended mass at the Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel, in East Ninetieth Street. They had an early dinner, and Farrell sad he would go downtown and look after his fires.

Mrs. Farrell suggested that he take Ellen with him and leave her off on his return at the house where Stacia was working on Fifth-seventh street. This he agreed to do, and he and Ellen went to the shop.

THREW OFF HER WRAPS.

What happened there is the question. Farrell says he raked down his fires and then hoisted the elevator from the sub-basement to the street level, so that Ellen could get to the boiler room and warm herself.

He also says that she took of her hat and cloak and skirt and put them on a chair in the elevator so they would not get soiled by the coal dust. She sat on the edge of the elevator with her feet hanging over, while he went to finish up his work.

FOUND HER DYING.

A few minutes after he says, he heard her scream. He ran to the shaft. The elevator was at top floor, and Ellen lay crushed and insensible at the bottom.

He ran out and summoned Policeman Curtin who rang for an ambulance.

Curtin and several other policemen ran into the building and saw the body of the young woman mangled frightfully. She was still conscious and between her moans and sobs policemen say they heard her say: “My God, forgive me.” She was dressed in her underskirt, her skirt, waist and coat lying on a chair in the elevator carriage, ten feet distance.

A priest from St. Anthony’s Church in Sullivan street was summoned.  The young woman had expired before his arrival.

NEARLY EVERY BONE BROKEN 

Coroner’s Physician O’Hanlon says that almost every bone in the unfortunate woman’s body was broken and almost every vestige of clothing had been stripped off. He will perform an autopsy today.
Our police theory is that Farrell quarreled with the girl and she, in trying to escape from him, started the elevator and was crushed.

Both Mrs. Farrell and the dead girl’s sister do not believe Farrell is guilty. They both say that he is incapable of doing such a thing. Both were in court this morning. The neighbors also say he has an excellent reputation.

FARRELL’S STAEMENT

To Detective Delancey, Farrell mad this statement:

“Miss Ryan, my wife and I went to church yesterday morning. After mass the girl accompanied me to the store, where I went to oil up. We had to get into the basement by means of a manhole and a perpendicular ladder.

“There was so much oil about the placed that Miss Ryan removed her coat and skirt. There was nowhere for her to sit, so I raised the elevator a foot or two from the ground that she might sit on the front of that.

“I was going about the basement doing my work when I heard a scream. I found the girl dead and ran out to fetch a friend and a policeman."

This statement conflicts slightly with the one first made by Farrell.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

The Confessions of Mickey Sliney.

Frank Hronister, the butcher boy at Lyons’s butcher shop on Cherry Street in New York City, wasworking in the rear of the store on November 25, 1891, when Michael Sliney entered the store to speak with his boss, Robert Lyons. Mickey Sliney and Bob Lyons were close friends but that day Sliney was there on business, he and his father owned a coal and ash business and the Lyons family owed them money. 

Frank heard Sliney say, “I want the $35 and I want it quick, see!”  Lyons said he did not have the money but would pay when he was good and ready. There were more angry words exchanged then Sliney left the store.

After he left, Lyons noticed an envelope near the door. He opened it and found a note in red ink saying “Please send boy up to vestry right away.—Rev. John B. Kane.” Lyons sent Frank Hronister to St. James church to see what Father Kane wanted.  Father Kane looked at the note and said it was not his signature, the note was a forgery. When Frank returned to the butcher shop he found the mother of his boss crying over his lifeless body. Robert Lyons had been murdered.