Saturday, April 29, 2023

The Murdered Congressman.

The Honorable Cornelius S. Hamilton was the Congressional Representative of the Eighth District of Ohio. In December 1867, he received word that his son Thomas was in a bad way, so the Congressman hurried back from Washinton, DC, to his home in Marysville, Ohio.

18-year-old Thomas Hamilton had been experiencing some mental problems—“mild insanity,” the newspapers said, “such as would only be readily detected by medical men.” But recently, Thomas had been exceedingly melancholy, prompting his teacher to take Thomas to Columbus to be examined by his uncle, Dr. J.W. Hamilton. After meeting with his nephew, Dr. Hamilton advised his brother and the teacher to watch Thomas closely. The diagnosis prompted the Congressman’s return. 

Saturday, April 22, 2023

The Dansville Poisoning Case.

David J. Wood and his wife Rhoda lived happily in Dansville, New York until David's younger brother Isaac came to live with them. In 1855, David died of a mysterious illness. Rhoda died the same way a few days later, and Isaac took control of their estate. When the coroner determined that the Woods died of arsenic poisoning, Isaac was arrested and convicted of Rhoda's murder.

The newspapers called Isaac L. Wood's hanging in 1858 a "theatrical execution." Sixty witnesses viewed the hanging inside the Genesee jail, while 500 spectators waited outside. Two military companies maintained order, and a band was playing. Wood's long-winded, self-righteous last words added to the drama.

Read the full story here:

A Theatrical Execution.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

A Trunkful of Trouble.

On November 24, 1883, Thomas Samson went to the home of his friends James and Rosa Ruddy, wheeling a huge trunk that he said was full of household goods. Mrs. Ruddy agreed to temporarily store it for him. What she didn’t know was the trunk actually contained the body of Jane Ford, the first victim of a murder spree that would take the lives of her husband, her infant son, and very nearly herself.

Read the full story here: The New Hampshire Horror.

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Cowardly and Unprovoked.

The night of April 26, 1871, while stepping off a Manhattan horse-car, Avery Putnam was struck from behind and killed by William Foster wielding an iron car-hook. This cowardly and unprovoked attack outraged the people of New York but before its ultimate resolution, outrage over “The Car-Hook Tragedy” would be overshadowed by a bitter public debate on the morality of the death penalty, and allegations of political corruption and bribery to prevent Foster’s execution.

Read the full story here: The Car-Hook Tragedy.

Saturday, April 1, 2023

A Husband's Vengeance.

John Kolesko, a Slavonian laborer, met Lizzie Mattis in a small town in Hungary in 1884. Six weeks later, they married and sailed at once to America. They settled in Denver, Colorado, where John found work in a glass factory.

The couple appeared to live happily together until Paul Weber, a friend of John’s, came to board at their house. After a few months, Paul began paying undue attention to Lizzie. Then, one night in 1889, John came home to find that Paul and Lizzie had left together for parts unknown. 

It took John Kolesko two years to track Paul and Lizzie to Cleveland, Ohio. On the morning of November 16, 1891, he went to their house and begged Lizzie to return with him to Denver. She refused, claiming John had beaten and otherwise ill-treated her. When his pleading failed, he went to the police department and tried to obtain a warrant to force his wife to return to him, but he was not able to prove that they were married.

That afternoon he went back to the house and commanded Lizzie to return with him. When she refused again, he shot her four times killing her instantly. Kolesko did not try to escape. He cooly walked to the police station and gave himself up.

“A Deliberate Murder,” Jersey Journal, November 17, 1891.
“A Husband's Vengeance,” National Police Gazette, December 5, 1891.
“Killed His Wife,” Bucyrus Evening Telegraph, November 17, 1891.
“Shot His Truant Wife,” Delaware gazette and state journal, November 19, 1891.