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Colonial Cases

New Jersey




A man of some property, named John Taylor, residing at Red Bank, and who it is said had been subject to fits of insanity for several years, became most ferociously deranged on Saturday last, but it was not deemed advisable to secure him.  During the evening, however, he attacked his aged mother, who lived in his house, with a pair of tongs, and beat her brains out upon the hearth.  His hired man, being present, and endeavoring to save the life of the old lady, Taylor next made towards him, and  seizing a butcher knife from off the table, overcame the man, and cut his throat from ear to ear!  He then returned to the body of his murdered mother; which he threw upon the fire; and soon after fired the building, which before assistance arrived was enveloped in flames.  His dwelling was entirely consumed with its contents.

   Further particulars show, that Taylor is a man of respectable connections, and has lived at Red Bank for many years.  His father left him a handsome property worth now perhaps, eight thousand dollars.  He has a wife and  seven children - the eldest less than a dozen years old.  Two of his children, a boy and a girl, were living at home when the murders were committed.  Their mother and brothers and sisters have resided in this city sometime, in fear of their lives.

   For a year or two past, Taylor has been addicted to intemperate drinking, which at last made him a complete madman, so that it became impossible for his wife and children to live in the house - they being daily in fear of their lives.  So Mrs. Taylor accordingly entered a complaint against her husband, and he was taken into custody about six weeks ago, and confined in the Alms-house in Middletown.  When he was arrested he swore he would kill her if he could get away.  In fear of such an event, Mrs. Taylor sold a portion of her husband's property, and removed to this city with her children, his mother remaining at home.  As Taylor nevcer seemed vexed with the old lady, and as she did not entertain the slightest fear from him though he was insane, she persuaded her daughter-in-law to let two of the children return and live with her at Red Bank; and a week or two after Mrs. T.'s arrival here she sent home the little boy & girtl.  These, with the hired man, composed the entire family, besfdes the mother, which Taylor found at his house, on his discharge from the alms-house, after a months confinement.  He was discharged because keepers thought that he was perfectly sane and rational.

   When he entered the house, his mother told him that Mrs. Taylor had gone to New York, when his malady again seized him, and he swore he would have her life.  Without stopping to enquire the street or number in which she lived, he set off post haste for this city.

   Meeting one of his friends aboard the steamer, the latter, supposing Taylor had recovered, joked him a little and rermarked, "I suppose you are going to York to kill your wife?"  The maniac's eyes glistened with desire for revenge - but his cunning thoughts kept him from violence.  He answered the query very sharply - remarking that he would cut any man's throat who insulted him, and extending rhe same threat to his impertinent friend.  The latter was so frightened that he left the steamboat, a few moments after, the boat happening to make a landing.

   Taylor stopped in New York seeking out his wife in vain.  It is supposed that he indulged in drinking very freely, while he remained here, as he returned home in a high state of excitement.

   It is unnecessary to repeat the horrible details of the tragedy which was enacted last Saturday evening - suffice it to say that the bodies of the unfortunate victims were both consumed in Taylor's dwelling - which he fired after murdering them - the two children having escaped to a neighbor's house in safety.  We have not learned the name of the hired man, but understand that he was an Englishman.

   Taylor is a fine looking man, about 35 years of age.  He has been arrested, and is in prison at Middletown. - N. Y. Sun.


THE CORRECTOR (Sag Harbor), Wednesday 13 February 1839

Awful Effects of Intemperance. -  A man named Isaac Thorp was found dead in the woods at Woodbridge, N. J. on Monday last, with a jug near him empty.  On an inquest held over him it was ascertained that about three weeks ago, the deceased went to Bonhamtown, and bought two quarts of rum.  Since which he has never been seen, until found dead as aforesaid. - N. Y. Gaz.



WILLAMETTE FARMER (Salem), 1 June 1877.

The jury in the case of Dr. Warren C. Westlake, on trial in Elizaberh, N.J., for manslaughter in killing Walter Lewis with choroform while extracting a tooth, rendered a verdict of not guilty.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School