Saturday, December 26, 2020

The Connell Homicide.

A little past midnight, January 4, 1868, William Connell, age 21, was standing at the corner of Bowery and Bayard Streets, New York City, conversing with Maggie Brown and Emma Gardner, two young women in their teens. Richard Casey came up to them and flourished some bank notes in the faces of the women in an insulting manner, implying that they were prostitutes—which in fact they were. Connell took offense to the action and asked Casey what he meant by it. Casey asked if he was going to defend the women and Connell replied that he was a stranger there but did not like such conduct.

“Well I’m no stranger here,” said Casey, and knocked Connell’s hat off his head.

As Connell stooped to pick up his hat, Casey drew a revolver from a breast pocket and fired at his head. Connell cried out in agony and fell into the gutter; Casey shot him again. Then he pointed the pistol at Maggie Brown and said with a foul epithet, “I’ll finish you too.”

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Rough on Rats.


Rough on Rats was a cheap but effective over-the-counter rat poison. It was a very popular product, and in the 1880s, the company published an almanac and had its own theme song.


R-r-rats! Rats! Rats! Rough on     Rats,

Hang your dogs and drown 

    your cats;

We give a plan for every man

To clear his house 

    with Rough on Rats.

Reportedly, Rough on Rats also caused an increase in human deaths by poisoning. While that might be difficult to prove statistically, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence. Here are three cases, from the 1880s, of murder by Rough on Rats:

Monster or Maniac?
Though Sarah Jane Whiteling poisoned her husband at the devil’s request and murdered her daughter to save her from a life of sin, her jury did not believe her insane.
A Troubling Spirit.
Haunted by his victim’s face, John Delaney confessed to poisoning Mary Jane Cox.
The "Rough on Rats" Murder.
After deliberating for 18 hours, the jury found Mrs. Korun Larson guilty of poisoning John Guild with Rough on Rats.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

A Fatal Jealousy.

Deidrich Steffens, a bottler of lager beer, was making a delivery on Park Avenue in Brooklyn, the afternoon of April 17, 1883, when he was called to by John Cordes, a wholesale grocery dealer. Cordes was standing in front of the grocery store of Steffens’s friend, Diedrich Mahnken, and as Steffens crossed the street, Mahnken emerged from his store brandishing a “British bull dog” revolver. Without a word Mahnken fired five shots into Deidrich Steffens—four to the head, one to the chest.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Fiend, or Innocent Victim?


The prosecution claimed that Adolph Luetgert, "Sausage King of Chicago," dissolved his wife Louisa in a vat of lye, but without a body, how could they prove she was dead?

Read the full story here: The Sausage Vat Murder.