Saturday, January 30, 2016

Jack the Ripper in St. Louis.

(From Salt Lake Tribune , January 10, 1889)

The Whitechapel Murderer.

St. Louis, Mo., Jan. 8.—A thorough scare exists in the worst haunts of vice in St. Louis to-night over a letter received today by chief of Police Huebler. The writer claims to be the genuine author of the horrible murder atrocities committed in Whitechapel, London. The letter is dated in St. Louis and is as follows:

     Chief Huebler and the City Police:-- Gents:--
I want you to have fare warning. I am for business, coming Frida from N. York and have canvassed Clark Avenue and some other places and have spotted four victims already. My knives are in good order and I will send you the lungs of every other woman I kill. You need not look for me. You can’t find; I don’t hide, have been all over town and talked to all your detectives. I can fool this town easier than London. I will operate in three streets, Spruce, Clark Avenue, and Thirteenth Streets. The word of God must be obeyed and sin must be abolished. My nerves are strong and true as ever. I have seen you once, now you have warning enuff. Tell them to repent soon. Ha. Ha. Look for blood in ten days. They call me
Jack the Ripper

Whether this correspondent is ”Jack the Ripper,” or a crank, he has succeeded in alarming the localities mentioned and Chief Huebler has promised the score or more wayward women who have appealed to him that extra police precautions will be taken in the threatened district.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A New Jersey Mystery.

Little Murders
The body of Francisco Avidois was found lying among the cat-tails in the meadows outside East Newark, New Jersey, on September 8, 1889. His throat had been cut to the bone, and he had been shot three times by a .32 caliber revolver, twice through the heart and once through the upper chest. Avidoir, between 55 and 60 years of age, was a bootblack in Newark, his shoeshine kit lay near the body. He was an Italian immigrant who had been living in New York City but fled two months earlier after stabbing his son-in-law for paying too much attention to Avidoir’s young wife.

Avidois had not been killed where the body was found. There was no sign of a struggle, and no trace of blood on the ground, though the neck wound would have bled profusely. The pistol had been fired at such close range that the shots left powder marks on the body. However, the shirt was not marked. Holes on the shirt corresponded to the bullet wounds, but they appeared to have been punched out of the cloth, and the shirt had no blood stains. Apparently, the shirt had been changed after death.

A money pocket stitched on the inside of the shirt had been torn open implying that robbery had been the motive, but it was hard to imagine such a violent killing over a bootblack’s earnings. The motive and circumstances of the murder remained a mystery, but the Boston Herald had suspicions: “…it might have been a murder ordered by one of the murderous Italian societies, the Maffia, for instance.”

"Another New Jersey Mystery." National Police Gazette 28 Sep 1889.
"Found Murdered." Jersey Journal 9 Sep 1889.
"Mysterious Murder." Boston Herald 9 Sep 1889.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Illicit Infatuation.

On the surface, George and Fanny Crozier were a well-bred, churchgoing couple in a happy and stable marriage. But not too far beneath the surface, George’s “illicit infatuation” with 18-year-old Minerva Dutcher, had long been the subject of rumor in the small town of Benton, New York. With Fanny Crozier’s sudden death in the summer of 1875, George’s desires became public knowledge, and small-town gossip turned to damning evidence against him.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Murderous Chicago.

Referring to an 1889 book entitled The Crime of the Century or, The Assassination of Dr. Patrick Henry Cronin, noted crime writer Edmund Pearson remarked, “…anyone with the faintest knowledge of Chicago will remember that that city has a Crime of the Century every four or five years.” With that in mind, this small list of big Chicago crimes is presented in full awareness that it merely scratches the surface.

A Shrewd Rascal.

Samuel Smith and his wife Emma appeared happy and affectionate, but they hid a turmoil, not revealed until Emma was found dead in their apartment, her head blown apart by a shotgun blast.

Clan-na-Gael and the Murder of Dr. Cronin.

When Dr. Patrick Henry Cronin accused the leaders of Clan-na-Gael, of embezzling funds, he was denounced as a traitor and a British spy, and ultimately assassinated.

H. H. Holmes - "I was born with the devil in me."

Dr. Henry Howard Holmes was probably America’s most prodigious serial killer. He perfected his skills in his self-styled “murder castle” during Chicago’s Columbian Exposition.

Louise Luetgert - The Sausage Vat Murder.

Adolph Luetgert, “Sausage King” of Chicago, was constantly fighting with his wife Louise. Did he solve his domestic problems by dissolving her in body in one of his sausage vats?

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Elmira Tragedy.

Two boys playing near a bridge at Carr’s Corners outside of Elmira, New York on Sunday, January 6, 1884 found the body of a young woman frozen in the snow under the bridge. The coroner determined that the woman had been murdered, causing a sensation in the small town of Elmira, on New York State’s Southern Tier.

The unidentified woman had been seen in several Elmira beer shops the previous Friday afternoon, accompanied by a young German man. She had displayed a large roll of bank notes and was wearing some distinctive jewelry—a gold watch on a slender gold chain, large old-fashioned gold bracelets, a large ring, earrings with long pendants, and a gold breastpin. Neither the money nor any of the jewelry were found on the body.