Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Defenders and Offenders

I found a very colorful book of lawmen and criminals published in 1888 entitled Defenders and Offenders (no author). It includes color portraits and brief but fascinating biographies of each subject.

Some of the offenders are well known— like Thomas G. Woolfolk who chopped up his family in Georgia in 1887—but most are fairly obscure. If I can find enough information I will feature some of the murderers, if not, they will probably turn up from time to time in the Little Murders series.

The defenders are all New York City police superintendents and inspectors like Thomas Byrnes who led the investigation of Carry Brown’s murder and most other major New York criminal investigations in the 1880s. Though not as interesting as the offenders, I will occasionally post their portraits as well.

Defenders and offenders . New York: D. Buchner & Co., 1888.


Tammi Thiele says:
February 9, 2011 at 12:30 PM

Great find!

Anonymous says:
May 31, 2011 at 12:14 PM

Get your facts straight. Thomas Woolfolk was innocent. A diary with a confession (by a braggart) was found in the guilty party's clothing after Thomas' hanging. Carolyn DeLoach wrote 2 books on the Woolfolk murders. Ms Deloach took painstaking care to research all the facts before publication.

Robert Wilhelm says:
May 31, 2011 at 5:21 PM

Actually, I have read both of Carolyn DeLoach's books and I make reference to the diary in my post on the Woolfolk murder:

It is true that Woolfolk was convicted on circumstantial evidence, but an entry in a criminal’s diary is hardly conclusive proof that he was innocent. I doubt if it would get him a new trial today.

In any case, in the eyes of the law, Tom Woolfolk chopped up his family.

Anonymous says:
June 10, 2011 at 1:53 PM

I love this story; once a resident of the town Woolfork was hanged in, I have yet to read both books. I have done a lot of online research over the years as well as reading your blog, it's good.
I would like to point out that Tom Woolfork never had any clothes on, none were ever found with blood that I am aware of. Of course it being the middle of night. One set of fingerprints found on his sock/stocking he was wearing. Wouldn't he have had more blood on him to be the murderer? I like to believe it was Simon Cooper, but that's me. :)

Anonymous says:
June 6, 2012 at 5:53 PM

Tom committed the murders. There was never a Simon Cooper. Tom was broke, a drunk, and mad about his father's money. There was no diary and the information from this fictious diary was a lie. Ms. Deloach should be ashamed. By the way, Tom was my great great grandfather - my great great grandmother was one of the so-called undesirables he loved and fathered children with, a black woman.

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