Saturday, June 24, 2023

A Mafia Murder?


In 1896, Salvatore Serrio was killed in a shootout at the Brooklyn saloon of Joseph Catanazaro. The police arrested several Italian men allegedly involved in the melee. Throughout the summer, the police and newspapers referred to the case as a Mafia vendetta. Saloonkeeper Catanazaro and other prominent members of Brooklyn’s Italian community vehemently denied the existence of any such organization as the Mafia.

Read the full story here: Italian Vendetta.

Saturday, June 17, 2023

A Convenient Murder.

Amos J. Stillwell, a wealthy and prominent businessman in Hannibal, Missouri, was 65 years old in 1889. His wife, Fannie, was 30 years younger. On December 29, 1889, someone crept into their bedroom and murdered Amos with an axe while Fannie lay sleeping in a separate bed with their children.

Dr. Joseph C. Hearne, who lived nearby, had been treating Fannie since before the murder. He and Fannie were married the following December. After a long investigation, the police arrested both for Amos’s murder. Neither was convicted.

Read the full story here: The Stillwell Murder.

Saturday, June 10, 2023

The Murder of Uri Carruth.


Charles Landis and Uri Carruth had been feuding for years. Landis founded the town of Vineland in 1861. It was a teetotaling community built on 50,000 acres of New Jersey wilderness which Landis owned. Carruth, the publisher of the Vineland Independent, was critical of Vineland’s policies and printed articles to humiliate Landis. In 1875, Carruth went too far when a story he published offended Landis’s pregnant wife. Charles Landis went to Carruth’s office with a revolver and shot the publisher. Though it took Carruth four months to die, Landis was charged with his murder.

Read the full story here: Tragedy at Vineland.

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Escape from the Death-House.

The death-house of Sing Sing Prison, on the Hudson River in New York State, was a separate building attached to the south end of the main prison. It housed up to eight condemned men in 8’x10’ cells along the south wall in groups of four separated by a corridor. The cells were 8 feet high with iron bars on the front and brick partitions between the cells and on the top, with space between the top of the cell and the roof of the building.

At the south end of the corridor was a lean-to building called the death-cell, which housed the electric chair. Sing Sing installed the electric chair in 1891, and on July 7 of that year, four condemned murderers were electrocuted. The chair sat idle for nearly two years, but in April 1893, the death-house had five inmates awaiting execution— Carlyle W. Harris, John L. Osmond, Michael Geoghegan, Frank Rohle, and Thomas Pallister.