Crime

Harvard Professor Webster: His Execution for Murder

The execution of Harvard Professor Webster happened in 1850 on 30 August. (It occurred the same year that the famous wax sculptor Madame Tussaud died.) John W. Webster was a professor of chemistry and geology at Harvard Medical College and found guilty of murdering Dr. George Parkman. To learn more about the case click here….…...

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Execution of Mary Pearcey: The Hampstead Murderess

The execution of Mary Pearcey happened on 23 December 1890 at the Newgate Gaol after she was convicted and sentenced for the killing of Phoebe Hogg and her 18-month-old daughter, also named Phoebe. (You can learn more about these murders in this post, Mary Pearcey and the Hampstead Murders). Pearcey was to be executed under……...

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Contemporary Police Jack the Ripper Suspects

An unidentified assailant nicknamed Jack the Ripper committed a series of murders in the East End of London. (The murders began in 1888 on 31 August, when Mary Ann Nichols was found with her throat slashed in the impoverished Whitechapel district. Three more women were found with their throats cut in September (Annie Chapman* on……...

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A Hanging Known as English Open-air Entertainment

The following article (part of a much larger article) starts off with a visitor planning to attend the Lewes Fair but instead finds himself at a hanging in Lewes. The article was first published in Dicken’s Household Words on 8 May 1852 and then appeared in the Leicestershire Mercury and General Advertiser for the Midland……...

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Jack the Ripper: Contemporary Press and Public Suspects

An unidentified assailant nicknamed Jack the Ripper committed a series of murders in 1888 from August to November in the East End of London. Since that time the identity of the killer has been widely debated and over 100 Jack the Ripper suspects have been named. Despite all the suggestions, experts have not found any……...

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Belle Starr: An American Female Outlaw

Belle Starr was an American outlaw born Myra Maybelle Shirley on her family’s farm on 5 February 1848 near Carthage, Missouri. Her father was John Shirley, and her mother was his third wife, Elizabeth Hatfield.* john Shirley was a prosperous farmer but also the “black sheep” of a well-to-do Virginia family. In 1860, he sold……...

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William Marwood: British Hangman from 1874 to 1883

William Marwood was born in 1818 in the village of Goulceby. He was the fifth of ten children born to William and Elizabeth Marwood and became a cobbler like his father. However, he harbored a deep desire to be an executioner and eventually did becoming the chief executioner for London and Middlesex from 1874 until……...

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Onion Pie Murder in 1852 by Sarah Ann French

In 1852, the Onion Pie Murder occurred. The case involved Sarah Ann Piper who married William French on 14 September 1844 in Hellingly, Sussex, England. She was heavily pregnant at the time and later delivered a strong healthy boy who they named James. As far as anyone knew Sarah and William had a happy marriage,……...

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Mary Pearcey and the Hampstead Murders

Mary Pearcey was born Mary “Nellie” Eleanor Wheeler in 1866 and was convicted of what became known as the Hampstead Murders.* These killings happened on 24 October 1890 and involved the murder of 31-year-old Phoebe Hogg and her 18-month-old daughter, nicknamed “Tiggy.”… This content is for All Access members only.Login Join Now...

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Joseph Vacher: Serial Killer Known as “The French Ripper”

Joseph Vacher was a nineteenth century French serial killer. His place in French social history was much like that of England’s “Jack the Ripper” and so he became known as “The French Ripper” in Paris. Although he was tried and convicted of murdering just two victims, he was thought to have killed somewhere between eleven……...

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