Saturday, September 28, 2019

Andrew Hellman, alias Adam Horn.

Andrew Hellman Murdering his Wife.
(Serious Almanac, 1845-1846.)
Andrew Hellman was 25-years-old when he traveled from Germany to Baltimore in 1817. He had been apprenticed to a tailor, but when his apprenticeship ended, he decided to see the world, after a few years of wandering around Europe he set sail for America. 

In 1820 he was boarding at the farmhouse of George M. Abel in Loudoun County, Virginia and working on neighboring farms. Hellman professed a strong dislike of women and was quite outspoken in his belief that their only role in the world was as servants to men. In spite of this, he engaged the affections of George Abel’s 20-year-old daughter Mary. The Baltimore Sun described her as “a blithe, buxom and lighthearted country girl with rosy cheek and sparkling eye, totally unacquainted with the deceitfulness of the world.” Mary and Andrew were married in December 1821.



After just a few months of marriage, Hellman gradually began to lose affection for his new wife. They were still living with her parents, so he kept his fiendish disposition reined and treated Mary with indifference. When their first child, Louisa, was born the following year he viewed the birth as a serious misfortune.

Andrew Hellman, alias Adam Horn.
In 1823, despite his apparent dislike of his wife, he became irrationally jealous, and when Mary became pregnant again, he accused her of infidelity. Henry Hellman was born that September and Andrew wholly disowned him, and denounced Mary as a harlot. 

The following spring, they moved out of Mary’s father’s home and rented a small place nearby. In 1827, their third child, John, was born, and Andrew declared that if she ever had another child, he would kill her. During this period, he would leave home for months at a time then return home with promises of reformation. When he was home his wife and children live in constant fear of his disposition. 

Mary’s father, wanting to give his children a start in the world, sold a portion of his farm and bought pieces of land in Ohio for Mary and her two brothers. In 1831, Andrew, Mary, and their children moved to Carroll County Ohio. They lived in Carroll County for five years during which Andrew became a successful farmer owning two fine farms. In 1836 he sold the farms and moved the family to Logan County, Ohio, where Mary’s brother lived.

Andrew became more morose and sullen, but his family had become used to has dark moods and expected nothing better. In 1839, all three of the children were suddenly taken sick and in 48 hours Louisa, now 17, and John, 12, were dead. Mary believed that Andrew had poisoned them, but there was no way to prove Andrew did it, and he vigorously denied it.

On September 26, Mary’s brother George was unwell, and she gladly sent Henry to assist in his uncle’s farm work. Two days later, George’s wife Rachel went to see her sister-in-law, and when she entered the door she saw Andrew Hellman lying in bed in the front room, with his head, face, and clothing covered with blood. He told her that two nights earlier two robbers had entered the house and beat him unconscious with a club. When he came to he was lying on the bed, suffering too much to move. Rachel asked how Mary was; Andrew said he didn’t know and told her to look in the back room. There he found Mary’s mangled corpse lying in a pool of blood with blood spattered all over the walls and ceiling. 

A coroner’s jury was hastily assembled in the house, and John Abel accused his brother-in-law of the murder. The jury seeing Hellman lying prostrate on the bed asked John what evidence he had. He said he had none but suggested that a physician examine Hellman’s wounds. The examination was made, and the result was that not a scratch, cut or bruise could be found anywhere on Hellman’s body. 

Mary’s body, however, had six distinct cuts in the head, her hands and arms were dreadfully bruised and two of her fingers broken form warding off blows, and a large gash laid open he flesh of her right thigh as if inflicted by an axe. An attempt had been made to sever the head; three separate gashes passed nearly through the neck. 

Andrew had apparently poured some of Mary’s blood over his own head to make his story more believable. This was evidence enough to charge Andrew Hellman with murder.

As he awaited trial, Andrew was held in jail in Belfont, Ohio. He was held there for fourteen months and during cold weather, he was confined to his cell only at night; during the day he was allowed to occupy an upper room. One cold evening in November 1840 he was left upstairs longer than usual and finding no fastenings on the door, he simply walked out. Though a reward of $300 was offered for Hellman’s capture, all attempts to track him down in Ohio failed.

In April 1843, in Reisterstown, Baltimore County, Maryland, Catherine Hinkle was searching for her 17-year-old sister, Matilda Horn, wife of Adam Horn aged 51. Catherine had not believed the story Horn had told her, that Matilda had left the house late one night two weeks earlier wearing just her night-dress. It had snowed heavily that night and if she had gone out she would not have gotten far. A search party was looking for any trace of her.

In a ditch, a quarter of a mile from the Horns’ house found a coffee sack under two feet of ground. Inside it was the trunk of a young woman. Assuming it was the body of her sister, Catherine and the party went back to search around the house. Inside a building attached to the house, they found another coffee bag, this one contained the arms and legs that had been severed from the trunk. Though the head was not found, Catherine was able to identify her sister’s foot. They notified the police who went to arrest Adam Horn for her murder of his wife, but Horn was nowhere to be found.
When the police circulated Horn’s description—bald, German, about 50, speaks broken English—authorities in Ohio noted the similarity to that of Andrew Hellman, even down to details such as the third finger of the right hand was crooked. Horn was arrested in Philadelphia and extradited back to Maryland. Sheriff Slicer of Logan County, Ohio, arrived in Baltimore soon after to get a look at the prisoner. When Slicer went to the jail, Hellman, alias Horn, recognized him immediately and greeted the sheriff as an old friend.

Sheriff Slicer was carrying a requisition from the Governor of Ohio to the Governor of Maryland requesting the delivery of the prisoner to Ohio to stand trial for the murder of his wife. Governor Thomas of Maryland denied the request saying he must first stand trial in Maryland. If he escaped conviction Maryland would hand him over to Ohio.

Ohio never got the opportunity to try Hellman/Horn. In November 1843, he was found guilty of the first-degree murder of Matilda Horn and the following January his hanging in the yard of the Baltimore Jail was witnessed by an estimated 10,000 spectators.


“Adam Horn,” Sun, April 24, 1843.
“Adam Horn Alias Andrew Hellman - Requisition from the Governor of Ohio,” Sun, May 4, 1843.
“Andrew Hellman, Alias Adam Horn,” Sun, December 2, 1843.
Andrew Helmann Murdering His Wife, The Library Company of Philadelphia.
“Arrival; of Adam Horn in Custody,” Sun, May 1, 1843.
“Horrible Murder,” American and Commercial Daily Advertiser, April 19, 1843.
“Horrible Murder,” Carroll free press, April 28, 1843.
“Horrible Murder in Baltimore County,” Sun, April 19, 1843.
“Supposed Murderer Arrested,” Sunbury American and Shamokin Journal, April 29, 1843.

1 comments :

Edward Carney says:
October 9, 2019 at 12:57 PM

What a stunningly grisly tale!

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