Saturday, October 9, 2010

Axe Murder

Though not unknown today, axe murder was far more common in the 19th century. Axes had dozens of uses around a farm, from chopping wood to killing chickens; even in urban settings a small axe would likely be close at hand for fireplaces and wood stoves. It was a weapon of convenience—easy availability of an axe turned robbery into murder and fits of rage into bloody tragedy. There were cases of premeditated axe murder as well. Whoever killed Andrew and Abby Borden with an axe almost certainly planned ahead. And Richard Robinson – regardless of what the jury said—brought an axe with him to murder Helen Jewett.

So here, in chronological order, is our far from comprehensive list of axe murders:

The Ballad of Frankie Silver - 1831
Helen Jewett - The Girl in Green - 1836
The Smutttynose Murders - 1873
Bloody Woolfolk - 1887
Lizzie Borden Took an Axe...Or Did She? - 1892
False Witness - The Lucy Pollard Murder - 1895


Anonymous says:
October 12, 2010 at 8:13 AM

Surely you mean Andrew Jackson Borden, not Alexander.

Robert Wilhelm says:
October 12, 2010 at 12:16 PM

You are right. I was posting on vacation, not paying attention.

Anonymous says:
November 3, 2010 at 9:48 PM

Yes, the axe was as common back then as cell phones are today. Heaven help us if people figure out how to kill with their cell phones!

bundyphile says:
July 29, 2012 at 8:24 PM

The Axe-man of New Orleans is missing.

bundyphile says:
July 29, 2012 at 8:25 PM

The Axe-man of New Orleans is missing.

Robert Wilhelm says:
July 30, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Heard you the first time. This is a blog devoted to 19th Century American murders. The Axeman of New Orleans was early 20th Century.

Since this post went up nearly two years ago, MBG has added at least half a dozen more axe murders. I will have to update this list.

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