Saturday, August 31, 2013

Who Killed Benjamin Nathan?

Benjamin Nathan, a wealthy stockbroker and philanthropist, was found brutally beaten to death in his Manhattan home the morning of July 29, 1870. Some jewelry and a small amount of cash were stolen and the police were quick to rule the incident a burglary gone bad. But if so, how and when did the burglars enter? And how could four others staying in the house sleep through the violent attack? In fact, the Nathan murder looked more like a classic “locked-room” mystery—a mystery that remains unsolved.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Murder Will Out.

Little Murders
(From Cincinnati Daily Gazette, Cincinnati, Ohio, April 27, 1880)

Murder Will Out.

Startling Developments of a Dying Man in Indiana.

After Sleeping Twelve Years in the Wilds of Brown County, the Spirit of Jamison Arises to Confront his Slayer.

Special Dispatch to the Cincinnati Gazette.
Columbus, Ind., April 26.—A few days ago a man by the name of Wm. J. Gillaspy died in Johnson County, and on his deathbed told of a murder that he was a party to that has been a mystery in the vicinity where it happened to the present time. About twelve years ago a prominent farmer and stock trader, of Johnson County, named Jas. Jamison, was missing, and no clew could be found of his whereabouts, and nothing has been heard of him except that his horse, saddle, and bridle were found a short time after the disappearance in the possession of a man by the name of Elias Curry, who lived in Hamblen Township, Brown County. Curry claimed days before that he bought the horse of Jamison a few days before he disappeared and suspicion rested on him at the time, but no steps were taken against him at the time. The man Gillaspy, when he found he was about to die, told that he and Curry, and a son of Curry’s and one of the most prominent citizens of Brown County, shot and killed Jamison on Hurricane Ridge, in Hamblen Township, Brown County, three-fourths of a mile from Curry’s house, and buried his body in a dense thicket by the road. They got $1,665 in cash and $3,000 in notes as the fruits of the foul deed, but the notes were destroyed as nothing was ever heard of them.

Curry, Gillaspy said, took the horse, saddle, and bridle in at $100, in the division of the spoils, which accounts for his being in possession of it. Curry has had an unenviable reputation as a suspicious character, and at one time narrowly escaped being lynched by his neighbors. The revelation of Gillaspy has created great excitement in the community and the matter will be probed to the bottom. John Jamison, son of the murdered man, resided in this place for several years, and lives at the present time in Jonesville, in this county. He left this mooring for Gillaspy’s former home to get all the information he could of the diabolical deed. It hardly seems possible that the man named in the confessions of Gillaspy can be guilty, as he has the respect of all who know him. Nothing has transpired in this part of Indiana for years that has created such widespread amazement, and further developments are looked for with the deepest interest.

Cincinnati Daily Gazette, Cincinnati, Ohio, April 27, 1880

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Murder! Murder! Murder!!

Little Murders
(From Flake's Bulletin, Galveston, Texas, January 15, 1870)

Murder! Murder! Murder!! 
 Last night, about half-past eight o’clock, the residents of Penn street were aroused by hearing the cries of “murder, murder, help, for God’s sake, help!” Visions of cut-throats, robbers and foot-pads arose in the minds of those who heard the terrible cries of distress. For five minutes the cries continued, until the whole vicinity was awakened and had lit their lanters, armed themselves in case of danger, and went forth to relieve the distressed

In a few more moments Messrs. J. L. Cravens, Tomlinson and Bishop, and a few others arrived at the spot where the cries were heard. The scene that they beheld was truly horrible. Two men named Shannessy and Brown, were facing each other, one with a pitchfork and the other with a butcher’s knife. They were both literally covered with blood. Shannessy had stabbed Brown severely with the pitchfork in the shoulder, and Brown had cut his opponent in the face.

The men both boarded with Mr. Chas. Dwyer, and the difficulty had started in the house. How they came to be so far away from their home bare-footed, bare-headed, and without coats on, we are unable to tell. After separating them, the crowd dispersed.

The difficulty occurred in front of the residence of J. K Cravens, Esq, on Penn street. What became of them after that we have yet to learn.—[Kansas City, Mo., News. Jan 3.


"Murder ! Murder ! Murder!!" Flake's Bulletin, Galveston, TX,  15 Jan 1870: 1.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Scenes from the Fisk Assassination

Illustrations from the 1872 book Life, Adventures, Strange Career and Assassination of Col. James Fisk, Jr. provide a good graphic presentation of events surrounding the murder of Jim Fisk:

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Boston Belfry Tragedy.

In the early 1870s, the city of Boston experienced a rash of gruesome murders. In October 1871, 18-year-old Kate Leehan was raped and murdered. A year later the dismembered body of Abijah Ellis was found floating in the Charles River. In 1874, Jesse Pomeroy killed two children and tortured several others. And, perhaps most disturbing to the people of Boston, a series of violent sexual assaults committed between 1871 and 1875 resulted in the deaths of two young women. These crimes remained unsolved until a Sunday in May 1875 when the body of five-year-old Mabel Young was found in the bell tower of the Warren Avenue Baptist church shortly after Thomas W. Piper, was seen leaping from the belfry.