No. 584
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
December 8, 2022

So Far from Home

The Pearl Bryan Murder.
December 21, 2021
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Not George Talkington, but there must have been a strong resemblance.Many people could be called “accident prone,” but, fortunately, few take it to the level of the subject of today’s post.  From the “Bath Chronicle,” November 21, 1833 (via Newspapers.com):George Talkington, once a celebrated horse-dealer at Uttoxeter, who died on the 8th of April, 1826, at Cheadle, Cheshire, in his eighty-third
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Strange Company - 12/7/2022
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Wishing you a happy and bountiful Thanksgiving Day! Lizzie is thankful for turkey and all the trimmings – and no mutton broth in sight!
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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 11/22/2022
CAME NEAR LOSING HIS MONEYSan Francisco ChronicleMay 6, 1893(Click image to enlarge)  San Francisco Man Taken in by Denver Card Sharks "First time I ever got caught" (Soapy Smith) This post was originally supposed to be about a new "victim" (Charles Anderson) swindled by the soap gang that I recently uncovered during a search through newspaper archives, but in looking through my files I found
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 12/6/2022
On this date in 2002, Pakistani Mir Aimal Kansi, Kasi, or Qazi was executed by lethal injection in Virginia, U.S.A. “Real angry with the policy of the U.S. government in the Middle East, particularly toward the Palestinian people,”* Qazi on January 25, 1993 revenged himself on Central Intelligence Agency commuters queued for a left turn […]
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Executed Today - 11/14/2022
 When tried for the 1840 murder of Catherine Merry, Charles Cook pled innocent by reason of insanity. Despite a history of medical treatment for extreme melancholy, and strange behavior such as running through the streets of Schenectady, wearing nothing but a blanket, proclaiming himself to be the Savior of the world, the jury rejected his plea and found him guilty.Before his execution, Cook
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Murder By Gaslight - 12/3/2022
For years I’ve walked by the delightfully shabby Joe’s Tavern sign at the corner of Tenth Avenue and 25th Street. I’ve never seen the vintage vertical beauty lit up, unfortunately. Even stranger, I’ve never seen any sign of life inside 258 Tenth Avenue, which once housed what I imagine to have been an old-school neighborhood […]
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Ephemeral New York - 12/5/2022
An article I recently wrote for the British online magazine, New Politic, is now available online. The article, “The Criminal Origins of the United States of America,” is about British convict transportation to America, which took place between the years 1718 and 1775, and is the subject of my book, Bound with an Iron Chain: […]
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Early American Crime - 12/17/2021
Taking a Criminal's Measure. | Nothing But Wind!

So Far from Home

her struggle (Illustration from: The Mysterious Murder of Pearl Bryan, Or, The Headless Horror. Cincinnati: Barclay & Co., 1896.)

Yes. they drove far from the city,

To a place so far from home,

There they left her body lying

Headless and all stained with blood

Pearl Bryan (traditional ballad)


New Book!

So Far from Home
The Pearl Bryan Murder
by Robert Wilhelm

FrontCoverWeb2The headless corpse of a young woman, discovered in the woods of Northern Kentucky in February 1896, disrupted communities in three states. The woman was Pearl Bryan, daughter of a wealthy farmer in Greencastle, Indiana, and her suspected killers, Scott Jackson and Alonzo Walling, were dental students in Cincinnati, Ohio. How Pearl Bryan died so far from home is an enduring mystery.

 
It was the age of yellow journalism when sensational murder cases drove newspaper circulation, and daily papers competed to print the most gruesome details and explicit illustrations. Local crimes became national news, and readers followed the daily progress of police investigations and murder trials as if they were serialized mysteries. The murder of Pearl Bryan in 1896, featuring a headless body, remorseless villains, and threats of civil unrest, fit the bill perfectly. So Far from Home: The Pearl Bryan Murder revisits the story as it unfolded in the daily press.
 
Available at Amazon.