Saturday, March 7, 2015

Murderous Pennsylvania.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was the site of quite a few brutal and sensational 19th century murders. While many of the crimes occurred in secluded rural areas, the city of Philadelphia saw some of the worst. Here is Murder by Gaslight’s chronological list of Pennsylvania murders:

“…cut off in her youthful bloom”

Polly Williams was last seen alive on August 13, 1810, on her way to see her fiancé. Her battered body was found at the foot of a cliff in Uniontown, Pennsylvania.

The Cuban Con Artist

In May 1831, Cuban exile, Lino Espos y Mina begged a meal from William and Lucretia Chapman in Andalusia, Pennsylvania. A month later William had died of arsenic poisoning and Lino and Lucretia were married. .

Arthur Spring Jr. vs. Arthur Spring Sr.

As suspects in the murders of Honora Shaw and Ellen Lynch, Arthur Spring Sr. and Arthur Spring Jr. accused each other of committing the crime. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 1853.

The Manheim Tragedy.

When Anna Garber and Elizabeth Ream were murdered by two itinerant workmen in Manheim Pennsylvania, December 15, 1857, the challenge would be keeping the suspects from the hands of a lynch mob.



Antoine Probst had a plan to rob from his employer Christopher Deering, and did not rule out murder. The plan went out of control, resulting in the axe murder of seven members of Deering’s family, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Cheating the Gallows

November 22, 1868, George Twtchell beat to death his mother-in-law Mary E. Hill, and threw her body out of a second story window in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

He Knew Too Much

Winfield Goss and William Udderzook had a plan to fake Goss’s death to collect insurance, July 1873 in Jennerville, Pennsylvania. But Udderzook feared that Goss would not stay hidden, so he took steps to make sure his partner would not be found alive.

The Blue Eyed Six

Six men in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, conspired to kill Joseph Raber, a local recluse, after insuring his life. The plan was discovered and at their trial a reporter noticed that all of the defendants had blue eyes. They were known ever after as “The Blue Eyed Six.”

A Matter of Honor

On Christmas Eve 1882, Nicholas Dukes murdered Capt. A. C. Nutt in a fight over a matter of honor, in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. The following June, Capt. Nutt’s son James murdered Nicholas Dukes.


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