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Colonial Cases

Suffolk County

THE CORRECTOR (Sag Harbor), Saturday 26 January 1839

We learn with deep regret says the Augusta Chronicle, from a highly respectable gentlemen, who arrived in this city on Saturday evening from the upper part of South Carolina, that General William S. Bull, of Abbeville district, has been shockingly murdered.  The horrid deed is supposed to have been perpetrated by his own negroes, seven of whom had been lodged in jail, upon suspicion.

   The steam quack Chauncey, (the over-strained magniloquence of the times denominates doctor), who has been on trial for the murder of a young woman named Eliza Sowers, has been found guilty of murder in the second degree.  Wm. Nixon, who is understood to be the person who had the principal interest in procuring an abortion in the case, and a quack practitioner of the name of Armstrong, tried with Chauncey, were acquitted. - N. Y. Gaz.

Coroner's Inquest. - At No. 172, Broome street, on the body of Sarah Jam, aged three years.  The child's mother went out for about half an hour, leaving it alone in a room where there was a fire, and during her absence its clothes caught fire, and it was so dreadfully burned as to cause its death. - Verdict accordingly.


THE CORRECTOR (Sag Harbor), Wednesday 30 January 1839

Murder. - Oliver M. Pierce, of Maria, N.Y., was killed by his own son on the 10th instant.  They were both chopping in the woods, where, after a trifling altercation, the father struck the son, who immediately raised his axe, and returned a blow upon his father's breast, severing three of his ribs.  Mr. Pierce survived but a short time.  The son was but sixteen years old, and is now in prison. - N. Y. Whig.

Coroner's Inquests. - Suicide. - A man named Redmond Cowdey, who lived in Greenwich street, poisoned himself yesterday by taking arsenic.  It appeared that his wife was buried on Sunday last, and that the loss of her, in addition perhaps to intemperate habits, so depressed his mind, that on Monday he procured a dose of laudanum and swallowed it, with a view of committing suicide.  The laudanum, however, had not the wished for effect, and only sickened him for a day or two, and having recovered from its effects, so as to be able to go out, he yesterday procured a dose of arsenic, and swallowed it, which killed him in a few hours.  Verdict accordingly. - Jour. Com.

Lamentable Death and Dreadful Suspicion. - The Montgomery, (Alabama) Advertiser of Jan. 11th says:

   A gentleman informs us that the wife of Mr. John Smith, a wealthy and intelligent citizen of Lowndes county, was found dead in her bed a few mornings since, and that suspicion has fastened strongly upon the husband as the cause.  The coroner's inquest over her body was, that she came to her death by violence.


THE CORRECTOR (Sag Harbor), Wednesday 13 February 1839

Melancholy Disaster. -  A gentleman has just called at our office, and informed us that last evening the house of Andrew Otis of Saranac was burned, and four of his children consumed by the firfe, - Plattsburg Whig.

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.


THE CORRECTOR (Sag Harbor), Wednesday 27 February 1839


Joseph Laugel, convicted of the murder of Daniel Rapp, was sentenced to be executed on the 12th day of Feb. next.  Application has been made to me to commute his punishment to imprisonment for life.  [Long discussion of capital punishment.]


THE CORRECTOR (Sag Harbor), Saturday 9 March 1839

Bates, the murderer recently hanged at Burlington, Vt. appears to have been the idol of his family, as is evidenced by that fact that among those who signed a remonstrance to the Governor against granting him a pardon were his father, mother and sister !  - N. Y. Gaz.


THE CORRECTOR (Sag Harbor), Wednesday 20 March 1839

Distressing Homicide. - Mr. David Hume, of Blount County, was shot through the head about eight o'clock on Saturday night last, while sitting by his own fire side, and died in about two hours.  He was engaged at the time in playing at drafts with a neighbor, resting his head on his hand - the balls, for there were two in the gun, entered through the window, penetrated his hand and into his scull.  Mr. Hume had lately returned from Scotland, his native country, whither he had gone of r a legacy left him by his ancestors.  No discoveries have been made as to the perpetrator of this diabolical act.  Mr. Hume was an intelligent and enterprising citizen, and has left an amiable and affectionate family to lament his sudden and afflictive death. - Knoxville (Ten.) Register.


Supposed Loss of Life. - A letter was received by the coroner on Friday morning, from Henry T. Jollie, which stated that a vessel had sunk in the North river near the foot of 37th street, and that it was supposed that several persons were drowned on board of her.  The coroner proceeded to the spot, where he gathered from the persons residing in the neighborhood that the vessel was the schooner Experiment, and that she sailed from Manhattanville on Tuesday morning, with a load of stone for this city.

   About o'clock at night, cries were heard to proceed from the vessel but those who were on shore were unable to render any assistance.

   It was subsequently ascertained that two colored men had reached the shore by swimming, who stated that the vessel was commanded by Captain McMahon, who, with his wife, two children, two passengers, and themselves, was on board at the time the vessel sank.  The masts of the schooner were perceptible yesterday morning above the water, but nothing had been done at that time to ascertain whether there were any bodies on board, and no farther information had been received at the coroner's office this morning \upon the subject. - N. Y. Paper.


THE CORRECTOR (Sag County), Saturday 23 March 1839

A Shocking Murder. - The details of a murder that has few parallels ion the annals of crime, are thus given in the Morgan, Alabama Observer:

   We are informed from private sources, that on Saturday, a poor man who was moving westward with his wife and three little children, and driving a small drove of sheep and perhaps a cow or two, which was driven by his family, on arriving at Florence, and while passing through, met a citizen of that place, who rode through his flock, and caused him some trouble to keep it together, when the mover informed the individual that he must not do so again, or he would throw a rock at him, upon which some words ensued, and the individual again disturbed the flock, when the mover as near as we can learn, threw a [????] at him.  Upon this the troublesome man got off his horse, went into a grocery, got a gun and came out and deliberately shot the poor man [???] [???ger] in the presence of his wife and three children.  The wounded man then made an effort to get into some house, when his murderous assailant overtook and stabbed him to the heart with a bowie knife.  This revolting scene, we are informed, occurred in the presence of many citizens, who, [????] says, never even lifted their voices in defence of the murdered man.  The blood of a stranger rests upon them; and the cries of a  widow and three poor little orphans, amongst strangers, who suffered a father's blood to be spilt for so trivial a cause must certainly.


THE CORRECTOR (Sag County), Saturday 30 March 1839

From the Albany Journal.


Long letter.


THE CORRECTOR (Sag County), Saturday 13 April 1839

A Patient and Investigating Jury.

We cut the following from a city paper, and put it on record, that hereafter times may see, with what patience a Jury of the eighteenth century investigated a case, where the life of a fellow-citizen was concerned. MORRISVILLE, Feb. by. Conviction for Murder.

The jury in the case of the people vs. Lewis Wither, indicted for the murder of Robert Barber, on the 30th of August, 1837, near the canal in Sullivan, have just come in with a verdict of GUILTY.  The trial occupied three days.  The evidence of guilt was entirely circumstantial, but too strong to be resisted.  The jury were out about two years ! - Argus. *Perhaps two hours would have answered.


THE CORRECTOR (Sag County), Wednesday 1 May 1839


The Auburn Journal (Whig) has an article on this subject, from which we make the following extract:


II. On the first of last month, a Coroner's inquest was held in the prison over the body of a convict, who, having asked for food, had been given a potatoe - and then, his hunger probably unabated, caught up a piece of boiled meat, in his haste to swallow which, unobserved by the keeper, he was choaked, and lost his life.  So much for the [starving?] system !


THE CORRECTOR (Sag County), Wednesday 8 May 1839

From the N. Y. Whig.


On Wednesday morning last, in the U.S. Circuit Court, Judges Thompson and Batts presiding, Cornelius Wilhelms and Joseph Ver Bruggen, were put upon their trial for the murder of Captain Armel F. Turley on board the Braganza, on the 5th of August last, while on her voyage from Philadelphia to Genoa.  [Long account]


THE CORRECTOR (Sag County), Wednesday 18 May 1839

Further particulars of the wreck of the Whaling ship Edward Quesnel, which we mentioned in our last, as wrecked off East Hampton, on Monday night, the 13th. ... Four of the bodies have been recovered, viz: Samuel Christian, 2d mate of Nantucket.  Seth Bowen, of Warren, R. I. James Miller, of east Greenwich, R. I. John W. G. Gaugh, London, (Eng.)

An Inquest was held by Mr. Charles H. Fordham, the Coroner upon the bodies, who gives us this information.  James O. Flien, steward, of Boston, Ebenezer Basten, cook, (colored) of Philadelphia, John R. Williams, Baltimore, (colored) not found.  ...


THE CORRECTOR (Sage Harbor), Saturday 1 June 1839

Death by Lock Jaw. - At Bridgehampton, James Lewis Edwards, aged 12 years.  His death was occasioned by a fall from a horse, which broke his leg, and after lingering about three weeks, his life was ended by the Lock Jaw.


Murder. - A coroner's inquest was held on Sunday, over the body of a colored man, named Isaac Day, found lying in the Bloomingdale Road, at the junction of the 8th avenue, about 3 o'clock on Sun day morning, with the cheek bone and part of the temporal bone broken; the bones of the nose c rushed, and the brain much congested.  -  N. Y. Gaz.

   At Lincoln, Mississippi, Philemon Plummer killed his brother with a pitchfork last month.  They had been quarreling, and while the father held one with intent to stop the brawl, the other killed him.

   Fratricide. - David Thayer murdered his brother, Jacob Thayer, at A?????borough, Mass. A few days since by striking him on the head with an axe.  Both brothers were intoxicated.


THE CORRECTOR (Sage Harbor), Saturday 29 June 1839

The trial of Lawrence [McCarty] for the murder of Abel Ashford, came on at [Marionsburgh], Lewis county, on the 13th and ceased on the 15th.  The prisoner was found guilty, and sentenced to be executed on the first day of August.


THE CORRECTOR (Sage Harbor), Wednesday 10 July 1839

Drowned. - At Easthampton, on Monday morning last, Betsey, widow of Isaac hedges, aged 58.

   The following particulars we received from Mr. Charles H. Fordham, Coroner. 

   The deceased had nearly prepared breakfast, when she left, and was seen to go into the water, but it was supposed, for the purpose of bathing.  A few moments after, she was found floating - dead.  A Coroner's Jury was summoned, whose verdict was - Drowned from some cause unknown.


THE CORRECTOR (Sage Harbor), Saturday 20 July 1839


From the Gazette (Little Rock) June 26.

Murder by Wholesale. - Early on the night of the 15th instant, the family of Mr. William Wright, residing in Washington county, near the Cherokee line, were disturbed by several men demanding admission.  Mr. Wright, answering the summons, was immediately dragged from the door, and murdered by stabbing.  His wife, being alarmed by his cries immediately seized one of the children, and fled to a house about a mile distant, where she gave the alarm, stating that the persons who attacked the house were Indians.  In the morning a party proceeded to the place of Mr. Wright, and found the house burnt to the ground, and Mr. Wright and four children killed.  Two others of the children had been severely wounded, and one escaped unhurt, who were found concealed on the bank of a creek near the premises.  Mr. Wright having been known to have recently received a considerable sum of money, suspicion rested on several white men living near the line, who were arrested and examined in relation to the bloody transaction.  Most of them were discharged, nothing appearing to warrant their detention.  Two, named Taylor Barnes and Archibald Dillingham, have been retained in custody, circumstances warranting the suspicion that they were concerned in the murder - a piece of the vest of one of them having been found in the yard of Mr. W. and the feet of the horses of both corresponding with tracks found near the spot.  The money which is supposed to have been the object of the attack, had been deposited by Mr. Wright with his brother, and thus were the murderers foiled in their design, after the commission of a crime which humanity shudders at.


THE CORRECTOR (Sag Harbor), Saturday 17 August 1839

It appears from the annual returns of the Coroner of New York that of the inquests which occurred in that city last year, there were no less than fifty-five cases of suicide.  This would seem to be a vast proportion, compared with the number of occasions on which the services of the above mentioned officer were required, and cannot be accounted for except it be on the ground that New York is the point at which a great many foreigners in indigent circumstances land, and finding themselves in a strange country without means or friends, put an end to their own existence.


THE CORRECTOR (Sag Harbor), Wednesday 28 August 1839

From the Cornwall, (U.C.) Observer, Aug 8.

Last Saturday morning a young girl about 16 years of age, the daughter of a widow resident in this town, was killed by her brother, a boy about 14 years of age, who struck her, in a fit of passion, with a hoe which he happened to have in his hand.  She died on the spot.  A coroner's inquest was held and the jury returned a verdict in accordance with the circumstances we have mentioned.  The boy is in custody.


THE CORRECTOR (Sag Harbor), Wednesday 7 September 1839

Distressing Accident. - A friend at Poquonnock writes us the following particulars of a distressing accident which occurred in that place:

   On Monday noon, two or three girls went into the cotton factory of Super & Clark in Rainbow, and descended into the wheel pit.  The overseer, returning from dinner, started the wheel as usual; it being an "overshot" the water rushed over the top.  While attempting to make their escape, one of the girls, named Hannah Eno, about 14 years old, was pushed against the wheel, which immediately caught one of her hands between the large gears, drawing her on to the wheel, then down until wedged in between the wheel and the side of the building.  In this situation the wheel stopped, but on account of the pressure of the water in the buckets, she was extricated with much difficulty.  Her left leg was much torn and her hands were nearly stripped of their fingers.  It was found necessary to amputate her leg, and she bore the operation with great fortitude and patience.  She survived, however, but half an hour afterwards. - Hartford Courant.

Murder. - A most foul and brutal murder was perpetrated on Saturday night last at Hastings, in the town of Greenburgh.  John Arle, an Irish ;laborer on the 53d section of the Croton aqueduct, was dragged from his bed between the hours of 12 and 2, by a gang of about twenty of his countrymen, carried out by his door, and there most cruelly murdered.  The ruffians were armed with clubs, guns and bayonets, with which they cut and mauled their victim literally to pieces. Preparations are on foot to arrest the murderers, and bring them to justice.  The coroner Capt. Peter B. Lynch was called on Sunday to hold an inquest on the body, the result of which was a verdict of "wilful murder."

   The same gang also entered several other shanties during the same night, dragged out the men, and bruised and beat them most cruelly, but it is believed that none of these are injured mortally. - Hudson River Chronicle.


THE CORRECTOR (Sag Harbor), Wednesday 18 September 1839

Teaching the young Idea how to shoot.

The Lexington, Ky. Intelligencer states that a bloody affray took place at Richmond, Ky. On the 29th between Mr. Mazzey, principal of an academy at Richmond, and Mr. Thomas M. Stone, a merchant of that place, which resulted in the death of the latter.  The parties met in the street, both armed with pistols, and fired three rounds apiece, two of which, from Muzzey, took effect upon his antagonist, causing immediate death.


THE CORRECTOR (Sag Harbor), Wednesday 2 October 1839

Fatal Accident. - On Tuesday last, about 9 o'clock, Mr. John C. Poole, one of the conductors on the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road, was killed by being pressed between two cars.  He was engaged in attaching two cars together when the train of cars were backed up against him by the locomotive, crushing him horribly.  He lived till the next day at 2 p.m. when he died. - Baltimore Patriot.


THE CORRECTOR (Sag Harbor), Wednesday 2 October 1839

From the Cambria County, Pa. Mountaineer.


The borough of Johnstown, in this county, was made the scene of one of those dreadful tragedies, last Monday, which have of late become very frequent in this country, but we believe never before enacted in this county.

   The circumstances of the case, as they came to our knowledge, are as follows:--- The cry of murder was heard in the house of a man named Fulmer, about noon on Monday last, which alarmed the neighborhood, who forced their way into the house, and found Fulmer and his wife weltering in their own gore in the agonies of death.

   He had stabbed his wife twice in the abdomen and once near the heart, and then stabbed himself in the abdomen and cut how own throat, severing the jugular vein before those alarmed by her cries arrived on the spot.  We have heard no reason assigned for this horrible act, but learn that Fulmer has frequently threatened to kill his wife and then destroy himself.  We know nothing of his previous character, but learn that he was about 60 years of age, and the father of a large family.


THE CORRECTOR (Sag Harbor), Saturday 19 October 1839



THE CORRECTOR (Sag Harbor), Saturday 26 October 1839



THE CORRECTOR (Sag Harbor), Saturday 29 February 1840



THE CORRECTOR (Sag Harbor), Saturday 16 May 1840

Singular Suicide. - We have just heard of the death of one of the most beautiful Mexican girls we ever saw; Guadaloupe Laso, who had lived with her mother, also a beautiful woman, in easy circumstances, for the last eighteen months, at a place called Don Carlos' Ranch, or New Labie, on the San Antonio Rover.  She was urged by her mother to marry a man for whom she had no attachment, and rather than enter into such an alliance, she chose to destroy herself. She deliberately shot herself through the heart with a pistol a few days since, and instantly expired.  She was buried by the villagers, Americans as well as Mexicans, with all the respect due to a being so lovely, and so pure in the sentiments of her heart.  Guadaloupe (Warloope, it is pronounced) will be long remembers by many American travellers in Western Texas, as the most beautiful and accomplished Mexican in the region.  In fact she has been wooed, though never won, by some of the most respectable citizens of this country.  Alas ! she has fallen a misguided victim to a fidelity of heart that does honor to her sex. - Charleston Courier.

Horrid Murder. - A woman named Thompson was recently killed at Chicago, a short distance from her home, by an Irishman named Stone, under circumstances of peculiar barbarity.  She was missing some days before her body was found - and a dog was devouring it when discovered.  At the coroner's inquest it appeared that club s covered with brains and hair had been found, and marks in the ground of a scuffle over a distance of twenty paces.  It seemed as if the woman was running towards home, and would occasionally stop to fight.  Something like a dozen clubs were found about the premises.  Her back was broke, and her skull stove all to pieces.  Stone has been apprehended and will be tried.


Murder. - A Mr. Miller, near Clarksburg, Montgomery county, Md., a few days since, had a quarrel with a Mr. Young, his brother in law.  He took a loaded pistol and going to Young's house, shot him.


THE CORRECTOR (Sag Harbor), Wednesday 27 May 1840

An inquest was held on Saturday last, by Mr. Chas. H. Fordham, the Coroner of this place, over the body of MANUEL C. EDWARD, (Portuguese) found drowned off Fireplace point (East Hampton) on that day: he was lost out of a boat about four weeks prior to the day on which the body was taken up. - His head and boots were gone.



From the Philadelphia Gazette.

Horrible Murder of a Wife by her Husband. - The districts of Southwark and Moyamensing, and more particularly the neighborhoods of Sixth and Shippen streets, were thrown into the greatest excitement last evening, between seven and eight o'clock, by the perpetration of one of the most foul murders that has occurred for a long time.  The victim's name is Ann Shuster, and the perpetrator of this cold blooded act is her own husband, Thomas Shuster.  From what we can learn, the parties have not been married for about a year, and have lived unhappily together, owing to some jealousy on the part of the husband.  On Saturday last Shuster purchased some arsenic from Dr. Strafford, who keeps a drug store in Passsyunk road above Catharine.  He stated that it was for the purpose of killing a dog.  On his own confession, he gave it to his wife with the intention of destroying her life, and on tasting it, she spit it out; so his intention was not then effected.  Since that time he has not staid in the house with her.  Last evening he was observed in the neighborhood of where they lived, walking up and down the sidewalk, as if in waiting for some person.  Soon after, his wife came along, and he walked up to her, looked her in the face to make sure of his victim, and shot her with a pistol, the ball entering her left breast.  She was immediately taken into her house, and medical assistance procured, but she expired in about ten minutes after.  The murderer, after firing the pistol, ran about a square, and then walked ... tbc

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