Saturday, February 24, 2024

Alice and Lillie.


Alice Hoyle last saw her sister, Lillie, the night of September 1, 1887, in the room they shared in Webster, Massachusetts. Lillie left to use the outhouse, and Alice fell asleep. Lillie never returned. The next morning, Alice went out, thinking Lillie had already left for work. That is the story Alice told the police— as the investigation progressed, she would change it several times.

Read the full story here: The Webster Mystery.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Katie and Albert.

A postmortem examination revealed that Katie Dugan was four months pregnant when her body was found beaten and slashed in an empty field in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1892. A two-year investigation led police to believe that Albert Stout, Katie’s former employer, was her killer and the father of her unborn child. But Stout was a prominent, well-connected businessman, and despite evidence that he and Katie had been together the night of the murder, the grand jury failed to indict him. The case remains unsolved.

Read the full story here: The Katie Dugan Mystery.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

East Side Story.

This week, we have a guest post from Howard and Nina Brown, frequent contributors to Murder by Gaslight, on matters pertaining to the 1891 murder of Carrie Brown. This article chronicles events leading to the release of Ameer Ben Ali, who was convicted of the murder but was released in 1902. 

Howard and Nina have written a book on the Carrie Brown murder, East Side Story: 1891 Murder Case of Carrie Brown, available here:

They also run Carrie Brown: Murder In The East River Hotel, a discussion site on the Carrie Brown case.

East Side Story.

It isn't often that the perpetrator in one case of murder becomes the catalyst for the revision of the narrative in another murder case.

This revision to a crucial aspect within the 123-year narrative in the 'Old Shakespeare' murder case ( the nickname of Carrie Brown, murdered in the East River Hotel on April 23, 1891) came unintentionally from James M. Dougherty when he wrote a letter to NY Governor Benjamin Odell on June 22nd, 1901. Dougherty was a convicted lunatic in Dannemora Prison in 1901.

Saturday, February 3, 2024

A Fool and His Folly.

Orange Terrell, of Terrell, Texas, had, for a number of years, been “paying his respects” to Sophia Wickson. In the spring of 1886, Sophia had another admirer, Miles Henderson, who was proving to be a successful rival to Tarrell. Around 9:30, the night of June 7, Tarrell went to the house of Austin Thomas, where he knew Sophia was stopping. Expecting trouble, he took his revolver with him.

When he got to the house, Tarrell found Henderson already there. Without a word, he opened fire on the couple. He hit Henderson in the chest then turned his attention to Sophia. He emptied his pistol, hitting her once on the leg. Then he fled.

While Tarrell was gone, Dr. J. A. Stovall was summoned to attend to the wounded. After reloading his revolver, Terrell returned to the house. He gave his pocketbook to Dr. Stovall and told him the money in it was to pay his room and board, as he did not expect to leave that house alive. He took off his shoes and lay down on a bed in the front room.

When City Marshal, Jim Keller, learned of the shooting and that Terrell was still in the house, he went with several other men to surround the place. Keller went in the back door, through the kitchen, into the front room. Seeing Tarrell lying on the bed, he ordered him to throw up his hands and surrender. Tarrell’s hands went up, but he was still holding the pistol. He fired at Keller, barely missing him. Keller then fired five or six times, riddling Terrell with bullets, killing him instantly.

Two days later, the coroner impaneled a jury. After hearing the evidence, they ruled that Marshal Keller was justified in his action. 

“Baffled Lover Multiplies Murder,” Akron Beacon Journal, June 9, 1886.
“A Desperate Lover,” Saint Paul Globe, June 10, 1886.
“A Jealous Lover's Act,” National Police Gazette, June 26, 1886.
“Love Leads to Murder,” Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, June 10, 1886.
“A Texas Love Tragedy,” Lancaster New Era, June 10, 1886.