No. 424
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
March 20, 2019

Driven by Delusion

November 14, 2011
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Coming Soon!
Map of Alaska (Click image to enlarge) oapy Smith arrives in Skagway aboard the Utopia, between 10 and 11 a.m., August 20, 1897 When did Soapy arrive in Skagway, Alaska? This is a question with an on-going quest to answer. With each new lead we get closer to finally solving the mystery. As of this post it would appear that Soapy arrived in Skaguay Bay on-board the small
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 3/20/2019


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I’m not sure when the low-rise buildings at the southwest corner of Mulberry and Grand Streets were torn down. But if there’s any upside to the bulldozing of another old New York corner, it’s that we now have an amazing side view of the Federal-style house at 149 Mulberry. The view is almost a portal […]
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Ephemeral New York - 3/17/2019
Swiss officer and military engineer Nicolas Doxat de Demoret — also referred to as Doxat de Moretz or Doxat von Morez — was beheaded on this date in 1738 for surrendering to a Turkish siege. Native — as his name suggests — of Demoret, Doxat was a career soldier who had served the Austrian empire […]
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ExecutedToday.com - 3/20/2019


[Editor’s note: Guest writer, Peter Dickson, lives in West Sussex, England and has been working with microfilm copies of The Duncan Campbell Papers from the State Library of NSW, Sydney, Australia. The following are some of his analyses of what he has discovered from reading these papers. Dickson has contributed many transcriptions to the Jamaica Family […]
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Early American Crime - 2/7/2019
Perry Harrington and his wife, Maria, were spending a quiet evening at their farmhouse in Geneva, Ohio, on December 18, 1884, when the door burst open, and a masked man boldly entered the house. He pointed a cocked revolver at Mr. Harrington and demanded his money or his life. Seeing that he and his wife were at the mercy of the intruder, Harrington went into an adjoining bedroom to get his
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Murder by Gaslight - 3/16/2019
via Newspapers.com This odd little--UFO?--tale appeared in the "Philadelphia Inquirer," September 27, 1950: South Philadelphia police officers had a new explanation last night for what happens to those flying saucers people are always seeing: They dissolve. That's what happened last night to the airborne object first seen about 10 PM. by Patrolmen John Collins and Joseph Keenan. The two
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Strange Company - 3/20/2019
So- did Lizzie have a sweetheart? It would seem one Curtis I. Piece had high but unrequited hopes of winning …

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Lizzie Borden : Warps & Wefts - 2/3/2019
He Hit the Pipe | Whipped By Women

Driven by Delusion

Delusions

Lawrence, Mass., August 29, 1885 - Inventor Henry Goodwin visited the Lawrence, Massachusetts, office of his business partner, Albert Swan today. The two men spoke quietly for about half an hour, then Goodwin pulled out a revolver and shot Swan in the head, killing him. A crowd of people rushed to the office to see what had happened and Goodwin calmly told them “I have shot him, I meant to do it.” [more]

With the same calm determination Goodwin went to the Lawrence police station and turned himself in. When asked why he had killed Swan, Goodwin replied, “I told him a year ago that unless he came to some settlement with me about our matters, I would have his heart’s blood. He has robbed me of my papers and my patents, and when I have undertaken to sell them I could not give a good title. He has robbed me of $40,000. I did it, I meant to do it, and I am here to take the consequences.”

The patents in question were for telephone switches; Henry Goodwin was a gifted inventor in the nascent field of telephony. He had turned to his boyhood friend, and successful businessman, Albert Swan, for help in securing patents for his new inventions. They successfully patented one of his switches but the patent for his greatest invention, a switchboard that could route hundreds of calls through a central location, was lost to the Molecular Telephone Company of New York, because Swan did not finish the paperwork on time. As it turned out, Albert Swan had a business interest in the Molecular Telephone Company.

On his attorney’s advice, Henry Goodwin pled temporary insanity. Even before the patent deal, Goodwin had a history of irrational fear that his ideas were being stolen. He left two lucrative contracts in South America because in each case, he believed his employers were stealing his proprietary work. The same thing happened in the Midwest of the United States and by the time he returned to Lawrence his reputation prevented him from working anywhere.

But the jury did not buy it. The bad blood between Goodwin and Swan was well known in Lawrence. Goodwin had admitted to the murder and had admitted to warning Swan a year earlier. That sounded like premeditation and Henry Goodwin was sentenced to life in prison.

For the details on this case and about two dozen other historical Massachusetts murders, buy my new book, Murder & Mayhem in Essex County.