It’s always gratifying when a bit of ephemera leads me to an interesting story—one obscure enough that it wouldn’t ordinarily have caught my attention, but that I’m driven to investigate by its tangible connection with the object at hand. In this case, the object is a carte de visite (CDV)—a small, mounted photograph format popular in the latter half of the nineteenth century—of a drawing of a ramshackle old house. It came in an eBay lot of twenty-six CDVs, all photographic copies of artworks such as paintings and sketches rather than photographs taken from life, all dating apparently from the 1860s and 1870s, many of them blogworthy. This particular CDV stands out not only for the picture on it—as cool as it is—but also for the inscription written in pencil on its back: “House where Uncle Jake Allen was murdered.”
A keyword search on “Uncle Jake Allen” and “murder” hit pay dirt almost immediately, and within a few minutes it was clear that I’d found the right incident: the “Turkey Bottom Tragedy,” as newspaper headlines called it back in March 1876. The deceased was Jacob Allen, an eccentric hermit who had lived (and died) in the tumble-down house shown on my CDV, which was the subject of a lot of colorful journalistic reportage in its own right. As near as I can make out from comparing old maps with new ones, it was located on the site now occupied by the Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport, near its border with the Reeves Golf Course. The task of investigating Allen’s death fell to Dr. Patrick Francis Maley, who had been Coroner of Hamilton County since 1872 in addition to pursuing a private medical practice in Cincinnati. Born in Ireland in 1838, Maley had come to America in 1851, graduated from the Cincinnati College of Medicine and Surgery in 1861, and served the Union as a surgeon during the Civil War.
With that introduction, I’d like to let the contemporaneous accounts speak for themselves so that you can experience the story unfolding much as the people of Cincinnati did at the time (or at least the ones who subscribed to lots of newspapers). But before you dive in expecting some kind of resolution at the end, let me state up front that the murder case was never solved. Several suspects were taken into custody, and there was a lengthy inquest, but nobody was ever found guilty of the bloody deed. Murder mystery enthusiasts are encouraged to speculate about “whodunnit” in the comments section below. Maybe someone out there would even like to use the Turkey Bottom Tragedy as the kernel for a work of fiction. There are plenty of colorful characters in it, that’s for sure.
THE ALLEN MURDER.
A Horrible Tragedy in Turkey Bottom.
[Cincinnati Daily Star, March 3, 1876, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85025759/1876-03-03/ed-1/seq-3/]
Jacob Allen, an old farmer owning and cultivating a farm of sixty-two acres in the region known as Turkey Bottom, a strip of bottom land lying between Columbia and the Union Bridge, has been living alone in his house without a housekeeper for over a year. The fact that he lived alone and owned such a productive farm gave rise to the belief that he had a snug fortune in money about him. Word reached the city last night that a murder had been committed in his dwelling. An examination proved that the report was true.
The old farmer himself, clad in common working clothes, lay dead upon the floor, and near him an overturned chair and a hatchet smeared with blood told the manner of his death. The appearance of the room indicated a fierce struggle. Chairs and tables were overturned, and everything was splashed with blood. The weapon which probably gave the fatal stroke was found near the door. It was a long knife, such as is used for cutting corn. The left hand of the murdered man was terribly hacked with the knife. The cuts were apparently received in endeavoring to ward off the blows of the assailant, and though no one of them would have caused death, the loss of blood from all was a sufficient cause.
Allen was an elderly man, and is not known to have had any relations save a number of nephews and nieces living in Columbia. His home was a dilapidated old shanty of two rooms, scantily furnished and guarded by a mongrel dog, which was tied near the door. The first discovery of his death was made by three boys who went yesterday evening to play a game of euchre with the old man.
Coroner Maley last night, after impaneling a jury and making an examination, ordered the arrest of Mahala Brown, who had previously been his housekeeper, and who is known to have been at enmity with him, together with her daughter, Mattie Brown, and a young man named George E. Tibbs, who has been boarding with the family in Columbia.
Mrs. Scott and Edward Scott, her son, were also arrested. The pocketbook of the old man has been brought to the Coroner’s office. It contained $40.40 in money and a number of papers. Each bill was carefully wrapped in paper and the whole surrounded in oil-cloth. It was found in the pocket of the deceased.
A large trunk and a box filled with papers are now at the Coroner’s and will be examined as soon as the heirs of the old man can be called together. During several years Allen has been in constant dread of the fate which at last befell him.
Two guns were found in the corner of the room, but neither had been used. It is supposed from the old man’s fear of an attack that he had large sums of money in his possession, although the search thus far has not resulted in the finding of any more than was discovered in the pocketbook.
An Old Farmer Killed in His Home.
EVIDENCES OF THE DEATH STRUGGLE, AND ARREST OF SUSPECTED PERSONS.
[Cincinnati Daily Gazette, March 3, 1876, p. 8]
And now the peaceful Miami Valley has contributed its bloody page to the annals of crime in this vicinity. Jacob Allen, an old and very generally respected farmer, was, as appearances indicate, most cruelly and horribly murdered in his own solitary home some time during the night of last Wednesday. The intelligence reached the city last evening, and the results of the investigations of a reporter for this paper, omitting the incidents learned which bear remotely on the case, as rendered necessary by a crowded paper, are here given.
THE VICTIM. The victim has been known for over a generation in the farming district east of this city, as Jakey Allen, a bachelor farmer, owning and cultivating a farm of sixty-two or sixty-five acres of corn-land in the region known as Turkey Bottom, a strip of country about a mile in width, lying between Columbia and the Union Bridge. He had been on the farm so long as the memory of many of the inhabitants of Columbia runs. The farm was a fine one, being in the heart of the famous corn region, and was valued at $300 per acre. The fact that he lived alone, not having had a housekeeper for over a year, and that his farm was so productive, gave rise to a popular belief in that region that he was possessed of a snug fortune in money, though where it was was unknown. He is not known to have had any living relations, save a number of nephews and nieces, grown up and living in and about Columbia. One of his nephews is Joe Allen, a fireman in Company No. 18, located at Pendleton, and another is Ethan Allen, a farmer in the same region of country.
THE SCENE OF THE MURDER. The murder was committed in Allen’s house, on the farm, an old, dilapidated frame building, so rickety, indeed, as to hardly afford shelter from the elements. It contained two rooms, one used to sleep in, and the other for general purposes. The furniture was of the simplest kind and scanty, and several barrels stood in the room. There was but one door which opened into this room and it had no lock. The fastening was merely a so-called “button” on the inside, and beside it a hole had been cut through the door to enable a person desiring to open it from the outside to turn the button. His burglar alarm was a mongrel dog, which was always fastened with a rope within the room immediately below the opening described above.
THE DISCOVERY. Regarding the discovery of the murder, two stories reached the ears of our reporter last night. One was that John Tierney, a neighbor of Allen’s, had called at the house at noon and found the door closed. Looking through the window, he saw the lifeless form of the old man stretched on the floor and the appearance of the room was as we shall describe it below. He then came to Columbia, and gave the intelligence to the police authorities. The others differ only as to who reported the murder. It is said that three boys, including one George Colby, of Columbia, found him.
APPEARANCE OF THE ROOM. When the mysterious murderer left the house he closed the door after him. The dog was still tied beside the door by a common manila rope, and the dead body of the old man lay opposite near the wall. He lay upon his back, clad in his usual dress and boots, and near him was an overturned chair, and a hatchet smeared with blood. The appearance of the room indicated that a fierce struggle had taken place; in front of the door was a large pool of hardening blood, and the furniture, the walls, the barrels mentioned above, and in fact almost every article in the room and the whole floor was covered with blood. The weapon with which the fatal stroke was probably given, was found lying near the door. It was a long knife such as is used in cutting corn. Like everything else it was clotted with blood. The marks of injuries upon the body were few; a blow upon the bridge of the nose had driven it inwardly, and this was all upon the head. The left hand and wrist had been awfully hacked with the corn-knife, the forefinger had been almost severed from the hand by a diagonal stroke, and a long and deep gash extended across the side of the hand back of the base of the thumb. Other cuts on the wrist and remaining fingers seemed to indicate that they had been received in attempts to ward off the blows of the murderous assailant. None of the wounds appeared to be such as would themselves have produced death, and this is the expressed opinion of several physicians who examined the body. It was evident that death resulted from the loss of blood, though more as to the direct cause will probably be developed by the post-mortem examination to be made to-day by Dr. Robert Carver. Coroner Maley viewed the remains and the scene of the murder at 6 o’clock last evening, and impaneled a jury to hold the inquest. The body was then taken to the undertaking establishment of W. A. Watkins & Brother, at Columbia.
Allen was rather short of statu[r]e, with small features, in contour pleasant and affable rather than surly or vindictive. The lower part of his face was covered with a full beard, closely trimmed, and of silvery whiteness.
SUSPICION AND ARRESTS. Mystery shrouds the motive of the murder. If robbery was the object it can not be learned from the appearance of the house, since nothing indicated that the rooms had been ransacked. Allen was known to live peaceably with everybody save one old woman, Mahala Brown, who for many years was his housekeeper, and who had lived in feud with him since she left him, about a year ago. Exactly what the causes of enmity were, the investigations last night did not develop, though it appeared that she sued for and recovered form him $1,000 some time since for services rendered. Coroner Maley ordered her arrest on suspicion, and she and her daughter, Miss Mattie Brown, together with a young man who boarded with the family in Columbia, were last night taken in custody by Officers O’Conner and Butler. None had anything to say regarding the matter, save young Tibbs, who, it appears, was the last man who saw Allen alive. He says he was over to the house, and cut wood for him on Wednesday night. When talking of the old man’s death he dropped the rather singular remark that he must have fallen against the back of the stove. The development of the Coroner’s inquest will be awaited with great interest by the inhabitants of Columbia and vicinity, who are much excited over the horrible affair.
THE HORROR OF TURKEY BOTTOM.
FARMER ALLEN MURDERED IN HIS OLD HOME.
Mysterious Surroundings of an Awful Tragedy.
A Ghastly Corpse and a Blood-Smeared Corn Cleaver.
HIDEOUS EVIDENCES OF A TERRIBLE STRUGGLE.
A WOMAN UNDER SUSPICION.
SEVERAL PERSONS ALREADY ARRESTED.
[Cincinnati Commercial, March 3, 1876, p. 8]
An old gray haired man, with mutilated body, lying dead on the floor of his farm house, where he had lived a hermit, articles in the room scattered about in confusion, indicating a struggle, blood stains on the floor and walls, a heavy corn knife with its blade and handle covered with blood and white hairs—these were the evidences discovered yesterday afternoon of a cruel and mysterious murder having been committed in the near vicinity of this city.
The name of the murdered man was Jacob Allen, familiarly known as old Uncle Jacob Allen. He lived alone in an old dilapidated two story frame house two rooms to each story, in what is called “Turkey Bottom,” on the west side of the Little Miami River, near its mouth, opposite Undercliff, in Spencer Township, not far from the eastern city limits. He had live in the house for about fifty years, and, we understand, was born in the vicinity. He was about seventy-one years of age.
Uncle Allen, an old bachelor, owned the farm upon which he lived, some sixty five acres of excellent bottom land. He was a good farmer, worked hard, owned good stock, and was in comfortable circumstances. For several years, until about two years ago, a woman, a Mrs. Mahala Brown, lived with him as housekeeper. Mrs. Brown had a husband, but preferred living with old man Allen. She was a strong, brawny woman, and was used in working in the fields, dressed in male costume, doing the labor of an ordinary man. At length she had a falling out with Allen, and left him. During the time she lived with him there was no settlement as to the services tendered and after she left there was trouble on this subject. Mrs. Brown brought suit against Allen, and recovered $1,500 or $2,000 from him.
The old man was well liked by his neighbors. He was kindly disposed and quite a favorite with the boys, who frequently visited him, smoked and played cards with him and rode his horses, of which he had some good ones. He would ride into town on horseback occasionally, and take a few drinks, but he was never regarded as a drunkard.
About 5 o’clock on Wednesday evening Allen’s nephew, Eph Allen, walked home with him and left him, which was the last seen of him alive by any one now known. Yesterday afternoon, three young men named Colby, Baldwin and Gibbs [sic, Tibbs], went to the house for a game of euchre with the old man, and found him lying dead on the floor, his long white hair and whiskers partially dyed red, matted with dried blood. He was lying on his back, with one leg drawn up, and an arm resting on his breast. An alarm was at once given, and the news of the murder soon spread, causing a good deal of excitement.
DIAGRAM OF THE ROOM
A. Entrance door.
B. Position of the brown watch dog. A large clot of blood found here.
C. Corn knife covered with blood found here.
D. Door leading to bed-room.
E. Stairs and Closet.
F. Fire-place and stove.
H. Here the body was found
The body was found in the room on the ground floor, occupied by Allen as a kitchen and living room. In the other room on the same floor was his bed. On one side of the room in which the body lay is a door, the only entrance to the house, and opposite the door, a window. In the middle of one side of the room is a fire place with a stove set in it, and near it a stairway leading to the story above, which was not occupied. Under the stairway is a closet. There is also a closet in another corner. Opposite the fireplace is a doorway leading to the bedroom. With these points fixed, a description of the scene, on the discovery of the murder, may be understood. Between the corner cupboard and the window the body was found, near the wall. Between the outside door and that leading to the bedroom was found the bloody knife, with the gray hairs sticking to it. Blood was thick on the blade, and blood was on the handle, showing that the hand of the murderer was red after the gory deed had been committed. The knife is a short, heavy one, made of a piece of a scythe-blade, and such as are commonly used in cutting corn stalks. The handle is about six inches long, and the blade fifteen or sixteen inches.
Tied near the outside door, inside the room, the old man kept for his own protection a dog, a brown colored animal, and outside was kept a large white dog. Still tied near the door, in the presence of its dead master, in a room rank with human blood, was found the brown dog yesterday. Blood stained its neck, and near it, on the floor, was a large clot of the same matter. There was blood on the floor in various parts of the room, on the walls and on the door posts, in blotches and finger marks. A lot of old rubbish that was always kept in the room was scattered around. There had been a violent scuffle. Pieces of clothing, torn away in the fight for life on the one hand and for death on the other, were found here and there in the room. Old Jacob Allen, with the infirmities of age upon him, was a plucky man. He would fight, it is said, when exasperated, at the drop of a hat, and would fight anybody, no matter who it was. It appears that he had some forewarning of this last deadly encounter.
Two or three times within the last two years, since the trouble with Mrs. Brown, it is said the old gentleman had been much troubled by a certain party, who made several attempts to get at him in his house, which he barricaded and prevented an entrance. Once or twice he is known to have been shot at, and it seemed to his neighbors that he knew who did the shooting, but when questioned he would not tell. About a week ago he informed young George Colby that he was in mortal terror of his life, that somebody had designs on it.
There are indications that the party guilty of the murder was acquainted about the premises. The door was not broken, nor was there found evidence anywhere that the house had been violently entered. The old man must have admitted the murderer. Then the dogs are savage ones to strangers, particularly the one tied inside the door, and which was found with blood stains on it. Besides the door was found, yesterday, carefully fastened on the outside. Furthermore, the murder could hardly have been committed for the sake of robbery. Nothing seemed to be disturbed in this purpose about the house, and nothing was missing except three shot-guns. In the old man’s pocket was found a book containing money, and some loose change was discovered in another pocket. In his bed, consisting of a feather bag and a straw mattress, between which he slept, was found a revolver, with two chambers discharged. Within a stone’s throw of the house is that of a neighbor, and none of the family heard anything unusual in the direction of Farmer Allen’s home during the night.
Coroner Maley was notified last evening and took charge of the body, which was sent to Watkins’ undertaking establishment, in Columbia, to be washed. The only serious wounds discovered were a cut across the nose, between the eyes, and one across the left hand by the corn knife, mashing the fingers and cutting deep into the hand between the thumb and forefinger. It is the opinion of the Coroner that the radial artery was severed, and that the old man soon died from the loss of blood.
Last evening Mrs. Mahala Brown, Matt. Brown, her brother, Mrs. Scott, a relative, Ned Scott and George E. Tibbs were arrested on suspicion, and taken to the Fulton Police Station. Young Tibbs stated that he had worked off and on for Mr. Allen. He said that he was at the house Wednesday evening, and took supper with Allen, who insisted that he stay over night. Tibbs said the old man had been to Mount Lookout that day, and came home worried and frightened. He seemed to be afraid to stay over night at the house alone. Tibbs did not stay, however. When he went back at 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon, he found that some other young fellow had already been there and discovered the murder. Mrs. Scott said Mr. Allen was childish and wild of late, and seemed to be afraid of spirits or something.
Jacob Allen has a brother living at Vevay, Indiana. Two nephews, Eph. and Joseph Allen, live in this vicinity, the latter being fireman for the Eighteen’s Fire Engine Company, at Crawfish.
Dr. B. F. Carver will hold a post mortem, and a Coroner’s inquest in the case will commence next Wednesday at 9 o’clock.
Horrible Bloodshed in Turkey Bottom.
A Hermit Hacked to Pieces in His House.
A Veil of Mystery Over the Tragedy.
Evidence of a Plot to Do the Deed.
Arrest of Men and Women Suspected.
[Cincinnati Enquirer, March 3, 1876, p. 8]
Turkey Bottom is a name applied to that stretch of rich Ohio bottom lying between the Linwood and the Union bridge on the north, the Ohio River on the south, the Little Miami on the east, and the Little Miami Railroad and Columbia on the west. It is classic ground. In this tract the first white settlers of Hamilton County camped before going to North Bend, and from there to old Fort Washington, the kernel of Cincinnati. There, before the white men came, the Indian built his village and raised his maize. To the aboriginal lords of the forest it was classic ground, and in the history of the settlement of the great West it was classic. The soil is extremely rich, but lying a little below high water in the Ohio, and therefore subject to inundation, it has not rivaled the hills in offering inducements to those seeking suburban homes, and therefore is now as bare of dwellings and as exclusively devoted to agriculture as it was seventy years ago. Night before last a mysterious tragedy stained the name of that classic ground. Jacob Allen, “Uncle Jacob” the neighbors called him, a gray-haired man, hale and hearty and seventy-one, was BRUTALLY MURDERED in the dark of night, alone in his own house, where he had lived half a century and not a hundred yards from the spot where he was born and on the farm where he had lived and labored for seventy-one years. Jacob Allen was a hermit—at least for the last thirty years he has been his own cook and housekeeper, and farmed his farm of fifty-seven acres all alone. Yet he was fond of company, loved his neighbors and was loved by them, especially by the young men. He has a brother in Vevay, Indiana, and several nephews in East Cincinnati, among them Ephraim Allen, in Columbia, and Joe Allen, member of Fire Company No. 18. His nephews and other young men were in habit of visiting him nearly every day and playing euchre with him, and often staying all night to keep him company. His habits were good, and he was as thrifty as a man living alone in the world could be. To enable the reader to draw his own conclusions from the facts, we give AN EPISODE in his life before going into particulars of the murder. About four years ago Mahala Brown, a woman now residing in Columbia, who has a husband living from whom she was separated without a divorce, went to live with him—he used to say as his servant. At all events, she stayed with him two years and then left. About that time—two years ago—she sued or was about to sue him for her wages. The story is that he settled with her by paying her in all about $1,500, to obtain $1,000 of which he mortgaged his farm, paying ten per cent. for the money and the note is still outstanding. It was whispered in the neighborhood that the old man kept money about him, but those who knew the above facts and knew his aversion to debt did not believe any such thing. The experiment of living with this woman was not a happy one. Uncle Jake seldom spoke of it, but it was no secret that the pair not only disagreed, but often quarreled.
A MU[R]DEROUS CONSPIRACY. The old man was rugged and muscular and heavily-built, though scarcely up to medium stature, and he had pluck. People have asked him, “Aren’t you afraid of being killed?” The old man’s answer was always, “Whoever tries to kill me will have a good time of it.” Only a week ago he told George Colby that there was a conspiracy to murder him, and he named the suspected conspirators, four of whom were arrested last night on Colby’s information. Another party who lives in Undercliff, an adjacency of Columbia, has said, in the last week, that he knew of parties who were plotting to murder Jacob Allen. What there is in this will come out in due time.
THE HERMIT’S HOME was at two-story frame house, on one side of his farm, about a mile and a half east of Columbia, and near the bank of the Ohio. The mud road that leads past the graveyard in Columbia goes near it. It is two stories high, with two rooms in each story. A more dilapidated old hulk of a house could hardly be conceived. The shingles on the roof are curled up and covered deep with moss and lichens; the weatherboarding is moss-covered, warped and weather-beaten, and some of it has rotted off. Out of every window but one, that of the cooking room, sash and panes are gone, and the opening has been covered up. Every thing about the house and the yard smacks of dilapidation and decay. The chairs, the beds, the stands, tables, drawers, stove, trunks, and the old wooden bolt to the door within—all totter with age and savor of decay. Daylight and wind and cold creep in through crannies in every wall.
LAST SEEN. Pat Tierney lives two hundred yards distant from Allen’s house. At Pat Tierney’s he took supper on Wednesday night, and left for his house at nine o’clock. Yesterday afternoon George Colby, Edward Tebbs [sic, frequent misspelling of “Tibbs”] and John Baldwin went to see the old man. They arrived at three o’clock. Tebbs appeared a little nervous—so his companions thought—but went along to the door. They knocked; no answer. Peeping through the panel, which from time immemorial has been out of the door, they saw the old man dead, and the floor around him covered with blood. The door was bolted. One of the party crawled through the panel and let the others in. There the old man lay on his back, a deep wound on his nose and another cut on his left wrist, severing the artery and the two fore-fingers of his left hand cut off. His right had was reaching out across a chain toward a hatchet lying in the corner of the room—its place from time immemorial. All around was blood—a clot near the door, to which his feet pointed; a splotch on the back of the dog tied near the door; a splotch on the cupboard; specks of it on the stove, on the barrels, on the facing of the door and on the wall. Chairs were upset, cobs scattered about the room, barrels of shelled corn upset, and every other evidence of a hard struggle. Clutched in the dead man’s right hand was a piece of a blue blouse, which he had evidently torn off his antagonist. Search was made by Coroner Maley yesterday, and two pocket-books and a roll of bills were found in his pockets. Nothing was taken from the house but three guns—that is, so far as his relatives and those who know the premises best can ascertain. A heavy revolver, with four barrels, loaded, was found between the feather bed and mattress in his sleeping-room. His boots were off, but all his other clothing was on, and his coat was buttoned up. This would indicate that the deed was done shortly after his return from Tierney’s; at all events, before he had retired to bed. One of the Allen boys—a nephew—visited him Wednesday afternoon, and the old man wanted him to stay all night. He could not, and they parted at five o’clock.
MYSTERIES AND SUSPICIONS. Outside the house was guarded by two large, fierce dogs, and inside a fierce dog guarded the opening in the panel of the door. The neighbors say that it would be impossible for any one except persons admitted by the old gentleman or acquaintances with the dogs to get in. There was only one door and only one window, and that was bolted and guarded, that was not nailed up. The murderers must have been acquaintances, and probably met the old man as he went home from Tierney’s and accompanied him. Tierneys, who live only two hundred yards away, say they did not hear the dogs bark, and they were certain they would had strangers approached the house. Coroner Maley caused the arrest of Mahala Brown (the woman he lived with), Mattie Brown, her daughter, Ned Scott and Ed Tibles [sic, Tibbs], the latter one of the three who found him dead. The body of the deceased was taken to Columbia, and Dr. Corwin [sic, Carver] was authorized to make a post-mortem. The inquest will begin to-day. One circumstance not to be left out is that the old man was shot at while working in his cornfield shortly after separating from Mahala Brown. This woman and her daughter Mattie as soon as they heard of the murder yesterday posted down to the city.
They were arrested on their return by a watch set over her house. The inquest will commence at nine o’clock this morning.
THE TURKEY BOTTOM TRAGEDY.
Extraordinary Eccentricities of the Victim’s Life.
Results of the Post-Mortem Yesterday—Death from Cerebral Hemorrhage.
[Cincinnati Commercial, March 4, 1876, p. 8]
The mystery of old Jacob Allen’s tragical death has not so far had any additional light thrown upon it, and but few fresh facts regarding the tragedy have as yet been learned. Dr. Carver completed the post-mortem examination shortly before noon yesterday, but the results, though pointing clearly to murder, do not appear to furnish any clue serviceable to the ends of justice.
Uncle Allen was a short, broad, muscular old man, with great depth of chest; and the post-mortem rigidity of the corpse was very strongly marked, as in most cases of vigorous men who perish by violent deaths. There was an incised wound about an inch and a half long in the left knee of the corpse, apparently inflicted by a blow with some sharp and heavy instrument, or, possibly, by a heavy fall over some sharp edged article of household use. Above the left eye, on and over the eyebrow, several superficial contusions were visible, such as a fall might cause. The old man’s nose was not cut with the knife, as at first supposed, but fairly driven flat upon the face by a tremendous blow, which crumbled the nasal bones to splinters. This injury bears evidence of having been inflicted with some blunt instrument, perhaps a hammer or the back of an axe. the left hand was horribly mangled with the knife, the wounds being inflicted on the back of the hand, as though the old man had instinctively raised his left arm to shield his face and throat from the assailant’s knife. the left thumb was disarticulated at the metacarpal articulation, and at the last phalangeal joint, by a bone deep slash which severed flesh and tendon together. In short, the hand was nearly cleft in twain, the radial artery being severed. There was also an incised wound on the left fore finger; and the middle finger was slightly cut; but the cutting of the radial or ulnar arteries would alone be sufficient to cause death eventually. Internally, the body presented every aspect of strength and health. The thoracic, abdominal, and pelvic organs were unexceptionally sound. There were some marks of old adhesions found in the lungs, but old Uncle Jake was famed among the neighbors for his soundness of lung and strength of voice. It is said he could sometimes be heard cussing on his farm for more than a half mile westwardly, and he had “such a clear an’ healthy holler as ye never heard,” we were yesterday informed.
On opening the skull and examining the brain, a blood clot, weighing about two ounces, was found in the postero-inferior portion of the cerebrum. This might have been caused by the concussion consequent upon striking the head in falling, or even by the violent excitement of sudden passion or fear. The rupture of this cerebral blood vessel, the Doctor holds to be the direct cause of death, and gives it as his opinion that it resulted from concussion rather than from excitement.
The latent [sic, but should maybe be “latest”] theory in regard to the tragedy is that the old man managed to beat off his assailants before he died. Force is lent to this supposition by the manner in which the door was secured; by the peculiar location of some of the blood-splashes, and especially by the fact that a large iron kettle, standing a little to the right of the front door within contained a considerable quantity of blood which seemed to have dripped from the wound in Allen’s hand. It is supposed that he held the wounded member over the kettle, until, feeling the weakness and dizziness of death approaching, he staggered to the spot where he fell and died. the axe found close to his right arm, rigidly extended in death, does not appear to have been used, but a broken chair found in the apartment might have served as a weapon. The huge dog whose thick neck yet bears the crimson marks of bloody fingers, was unusually savage, and would suffer no one except his master to lay hands upon him. Yet there is evidence that he was seized by the back of the neck with a bloody hand; and it might be that Allen, after being wounded, had attempted vainly to set the great brute loose upon the intruders. All the dogs about the place were ferocious animals, so much so, indeed, that those who rode to the old man’s farm never dared to alight from horseback until he had quieted the animals. The dog which wears the red stain on his neck was always kept within the kitchen, fastened up with a long tether; and Allen had made a hole in the front door to allow the dog to go in and out when he pleased, so far as the chain would allow. It is very odd, however, that the Tierneys, living but a hundred yards off, did not hear the barking of the dogs or any sound of the scuffle. When the old man was stoned and shot at upon a former occasion, the barking of his dogs and his cries of “Murder!” brought the Tierneys to his rescue. But on Wednesday night all appeared to be quiet.
Another theory of the murder is that the old man was assaulted outside the house on his way home, but managed to enter and fasten himself in after receiving his death wound. The room bears, however, marks of a terrible struggle; chairs and household utensils overthrown and strewn about, blood on the walls, floor and stairs, on the stove and household utensils; on the barrels of corn which he kept in the building, and even sprinkled heavily over the corn itself.
Probably there is no other homestead in the county at once so ruined, neglected, desolate and dirty as this homestead of old Jacob Allen. The house without is a weird looking wreck, built after an obsolete fashion, patched rudely in places with planks loosely nailed on, and altogether curiously dilapidated. The old chimney has partly crumbled, and the out-buildings are little better than sooty, skeleton frameworks. Within the house is gloomier and darker than a ruined blacksmith shop, everything is foul with thick, oily dust, immense spiders have built themselves graded tiers of cobwebs in every corner of the room, like those which hung in the bed-chamber of the horrible inn described in the Legend of Croquemitaine. The bed was simply a shuck-mattress, with a feather-bed on it, without coverlets or sheets. There was an ancient clock in the bed-room; but it had ceased to tick for long years, and it was used only as a receptacle for bills and papers yellow with age. In so gruesome and lonely a building, which must have cracked dismally in all its sooty joints through the still night hours, one would suppose that the ticking of a clock would have been a companionable sound. There was but one window to the kitchen, but daylight struggled with difficulty through the muddy colored panes; and here and there, where the glass had been broken, planks had been rudely nailed over the orifice. What wonder that the childless old man, living nightly in all this silence and desolation, alone with the darkness and the spiders, and the dead pale faced clock, and the shadows and dust of years, talked wildly and strangely of goblins—things visible to no other eyes.
He was certainly a savage, in the sense which implies an utter lack of refinement and a personal antagonism to all minor social rules. He lived half naked at home, dressing only to go up town. He seldom or never washed or put on clean clothes, and he did all his own cooking. In rainy seasons, the neighboring rivers swamped his farm and crawled into his dwelling, but he contented himself with changing his bed-room to the upper story, and when he wanted to visit a neighbor he would often swim his horse through deep water for a quarter of a mile or more. To his animals, however, he was notoriously cruel. At one time he possessed seventeen hogs; and it is said that he neglected to feed them until the poor ravenous creatures devoured one another. A cow which belonged to him was starved for days until it was compelled to seek sustenance from a heap of raw manure; and it was popularly said that he regularly fed his horses only every two days. This was not from miserliness or purported cruelty, but simply from neglect, for Allen often made a practice of staying at a friend’s house in Columbia for several days, forgetting his animals altogether. His eccentric inhumanity in this respect was, however, attributed to miserliness; and aided, perhaps, in originating the rumor that uncle Allen had ever so much gold buried somewhere on his farm. He neglected not only his animals, but his vehicles and buildings. The wagons rotted to pieces in the rotting sheds; and the harness mouldered on the mouldy walls of his bed-room.
All this was, of course, subsequent to his quarrel with Mahala Brown, some two years ago. While she managed his affairs the place was not desolate, and the rich soil brought forth crops worthy of it. Judging from the fact that she sued him for services rendered at the rate of three dollars a week, and received $1,500, she must have lived with him for not less than ten years. Neighbors remember how she toiled in the field, attired in men’s clothes, plowing and reaping. She was stronger than most men. Brown, her first husband, was a dissolute, drunken fellow, who abused his family considerably; and the Columbia boys once organized and ducked him in the river for his notorious bad conduct. Mahala finally tiring of his abuse, one day knocked him down with a blow from the shoulder, which marked his face for weeks, and Brown finally learned to fear her. So did neighbors with a propensity to tell tales. She had two daughters by her first husband, one of whom, Mrs. Scott, was evening before last arrested, together with her sister and mother. Mattie Brown, the other daughter, is a handsome, spirited girl, with the best of reputations. The origin of the difficulty between the deceased and the vigorous widow is not known; for both parties kept their troubles to themselves. It was at one time supposed that Jacob Allen had privately married his housekeeper.
Whether the Browns or their relatives entertained subsequent to this quarrel so bitter a hatred to the cynical and savage old farmer as to attempt his life is considered doubtful by most of the neighbors. Yet it is strange that Jacob Allen always refused to hint who those were that attempted his life one dark night last year. All the information ever obtained from him on the subject was that he feared “parties” in Newtown. Detectives were yesterday scouring Newtown in search of two men upon whom suspicion has fallen. Mahala Brown and her relatives were yesterday morning brought to Ninth Street.
Few of the neighbors visited the farm house yesterday, the roads being deep in mud and the way long. A few went over on horseback. It is curious that news of the murder reached Columbia before most of the neighboring farmers heard it. Many, however, visited the remains at Undertaker Watkins’. Old Jacob Allen looked quite a fine old man in his burial attire; his face had a firm, natural appearance and a clear color, despite his injuries, and the silver beard lent it a mild and venerable look. The body was dressed in the only good suit of clothes which Uncle Allen owned, but which he had not worn for a quarter of a century, and which belonged to the fashion of the days when Cincinnati was yet unimportant.
THE ALLEN MURDER.
Statements of the Parties Arrested on Suspicion.
[Cincinnati Daily Star, March 4, 1876, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85025759/1876-03-04/ed-1/seq-1/]
This morning, learning that Miss Mahala Brown, her daughter Miss Mattie Brown, William N. Scott and Edward Tibbs, the parties who have been arrested by order of Coroner Maley on suspicion of knowing about the circumstances connected with the brutal murder of “old Jake Allen” at his rookery in Turkey Bottom last Wednesday, were locked up in the Ninth-street Station-house, a STAR reporter visited them in their cells and learned from them their individual statements which are as follows:
Mrs. Brown and her daughter occupied one compartment, and seemed to be perfectly calm and collected. The mother is a woman of not unpleasant exterior. Her hair and eyes are black, and she is very neatly dressed. For a woman of fifty-eight years, as she states that as her age, she looks remarkably young, and converses with fluency and ease, though earnestly.
Miss Mattie is but twenty-three years old, and bears a slight resemblance to her mother, though her eyes are blue. Both seemed perfectly willing to talk to the reporter of the affair and manifested no uneasiness as to the result of the investigation, which, by the way, will not be commenced by the Coroner until next Wednesday.
Said MRS. MAHALA BROWN, I have lived in the house of Allen as his housekeeper for fourteen years. It has been two years since I left him, and I have not been near the farm since. There was always the kindest of feeling between us while I lived with him. I have not seen Mr. Allen for at least six months, and before that only to see him ride by on his horse, when we would greet each other pleasantly. Isn’t it awful that I have lived fifty-eight years, and then at last to have to be locked up here on such a charge. I was just saying to Mattie, as you came in, that I did not even know for what I was arrested when Mr. Butler and the officer came with the warrant. I have lived in Columbia since the 12th day of December, 1847, and in all that time have never had a quarrel with any one. The only trouble, the only unpleasantness that I and Mr. Allen ever had was nearly two years and six months ago. He would never give me anything for my labor on the farm and for housekeeping, until one day we came down together to Judge Pruden’s office, and he drew up and signed three notes, amounting in all to $800, to be paid in installments, for my past work. One day after two of the notes were past due, I asked him for a little money as I wanted to have a vault built on my property in Columbia. He said “hold on old woman and I’ll give you some after a while.” So one day after this he came home and gave me $50, and asked for a receipt. I told him he should have it, if I was scholar enough to make it out, and just at this time neighbor Brooks came along and I asked him to come in and fix up the receipt, which he did. Nothing more was said by me about money until all three of the notes were past due. I then asked him for some more, and he got mad and refused to pay me a cent; I told him I would collect it if there was such a thing to be done; so along in the summer (and this, remember, was two years and six months ago) I came then to the city and consulted Mr. Champion, a lawyer, but telling the lawyer not to push the old man. He then promised to pay me in two weeks, and he kept his word; he paid Mr. Champion all that he owed me, and I got my money from Champion. That’s all the fuss or hard words that I and Allen ever had in all those fourteen years. I had left his place at this time, and was living in Columbia, where I do now. Sir, I know nothing whatever of this murder, and if I’m hung I’ll declare with my dying breath that I did not do it. I have been a widow for twenty years. My husband’s name was Wm. Brown, and he was a laborer. He is not dead, though, as I know of. He was a drunken, reckless man, and I left him. I have not heard anything about him for five years, when at that time I heard that he was arrested in Philadelphia for counterfeiting. I don’t know anything about the murder, and I don’t think Scott nor Tibbs do. The day of the murder Tibbs and Wm. Gregory came to our house, about supper time, stayed a while and then went away, saying he was going over to Scott’s. I have never lived with Allen as his wife nor cohabited with him.
MISS MATTIE BROWN said: I live at Lookout; I know no more of the murder of Uncle Jake Allen or who did it than a babe; I am entirely innocent, and don’t know how anybody can accuse me of killing the old man; he was always kind to me. I had but just heard of the murder when the officers came and arrested mother and I. I was visiting at ma’s house last Thursday, and it was about 3 o’clock in the afternoon when I heard the news of his death.
WM. N. SCOTT, a sandy-haired man aged thirty-four years, and how is now running a billiard-room and beer saloon in Columbia, is a son-in-law of Mahala Brown, and until recently boarded with her. He said: I don’t know anything of this affair, any more than you do. There was never any trouble between me and old Jake Allen; we were always on good terms. The day of the murder I was home all the time hanging window curtains, and Wednesday night I didn’t go outside of the house; I can prove that by my wife. I used to live with Mrs. Brown, but am now living at the corner of Main and McCullough streets, in Columbia. The last time I saw Allen was yesterday week, when I went to his house on horseback. He lived about one mile and a half from Brown’s residence. I have no idea who killed him. I did not hear he was killed until next day at 5 o’clock. I used to be a salesman at J. G. Sextro & Co.’s furniture house, at No. 138 W. Second street. I am keeping saloon now, but was about to sell out and go into the huckstering business.
EDWARD TIBBS. I was at Uncle Jake Allen’s last Wednesday afternoon. I went that day to cut some wood for him. I have been in the habit of working for him for a number of years; so has father and my brother. I left his house at 6:30 o’clock that night. I took supper with him and he wanted me to stay all night, but I told him I must go home and feed my horse. He was sober when I left him, and he started out to do the feeding. I am twenty-one years old the 15th of next May. Was never married. I never had any trouble with Mr. Allen. My father is a nephew of his. I board with this Mr. Scott here. I used to drive a furniture wagon for him. Since that time I have worked at Seaver & Co.’s candy factory, at 15 Commerce street.
The above parties were all brought before Judge Lindemann this morning, A. B. Champion appearing as counsel for the women, and Hon. Jas. Fitzgerald for the men.
The affidavit, which originally charged them with murder, was changed to murder in the second degree so as to allow bail to be taken, as the parties are held only on suspicion. The bail was fixed at $5,000 each, and the examination set for March 10.
The Turkey Bottom Tragedy.
[Cincinnati Enquirer, March 4, 1876, p. 8]
Coroner Maley will commence the inquest next Wednesday on the body of Jacob Allen, the man murdered in Turkey Bottom on last Wednesday night. In the meantime every effort will be made to ferret out the murderers. If good citizens in Columbia will do their duty, there is no place on or under the earth dark enough to hide the bloody-handed and dark-souled assassin. The Coroner found $44.40 in the two pocket-books taken off the person of the dead man. Every suspicious man—every man within reach of the scene of murder who can not give an account of himself for every hour between the time the old man was last seen alive and that when he was discovered dead should be vigilantly shadowed. One bloody witness remains in the hands of the Coroner—the bit of corn-cutter found lying in the room. It was made of an old mowing-scythe, and about half of it had been broken off, leaving a square corner at the end of the blade. The handle was coated thick with gore, and dried blood thickened with gray hairs reddened the murderous blade. It is an awful witness with which to confront the guilty fiend, and well fitted to conjure up before his eyes a gory face, terrible, if he has the seed of a soul, as the ghost of Banquo to the eyes of Macbeth. Seek out this murderer and prove his guilt, and for a generation you will fortify homes around Columbia against men of blood.
THE TURKEY BOTTOM MURDER.
Four Persons Arraigned on the Charge of Murder.
What Account They Give of Themselves.
[Cincinnati Enquirer, March 5, 1876, p. 1]
Four persons suspected of implication in the murder of Jacob Allen last Wednesday night were arraigned in the Police Court yesterday, namely: Mrs. Mahala Brown, Miss Mattie Brown (her daughter), Ed. Tibbs and Wm. N. Scott. The charge, murder in the first degree, was changed to murder in the second degree, so as to admit the party to bail, and they were held to await the action of the Cor[o]ner’s jury, and their bail was fixed at $5,000 each. In the Police Court all the prisoners were self possessed.
Wm. W. [sic, N.] Scott, son-in-law of Mrs. Brown, says in private conversation, that he has always been on the best of terms with the murdered man, and knows nothing about the killing. He never had any difficulty, even the slightest, with Mr. Allen. Mr. Scott says that he had some trouble of a domestic character, and that on Mardi-Gras day—the day before the murder—he left his mother-in-law’s house and rented a house from Richard Mathews, the station-house keeper in Fulton. He says further that the residence of Mrs. Brown is a mile from the house where Allen was killed. The last time he saw Allen, he says, was on Friday evening—five days before the murder. He also states that he has been out of employment for some time, and that his objection to supporting his mother-in-law and another member of her family was the cause of the trouble which forced him to change his residence. He did not hear that Allen had been killed until late on Thursday. On Wednesday he says he was home all day, arranging the house, he having moved into it on the day previous.
Ed. Tibbs, whose father is a nephew of old Jake Allen, says in conversation that he was at Allen’s during Wednesday afternoon, cutting wood. He eat [sic] supper with Allen, and says that after eating supper he mounted his horse and started for home; old Mr. Allen at the same time went out to feed his stock. Allen wanted him to stay at is house all night, but that he refused, stating that he would go and sleep at Scott’s house. The prisoner said that he had no regular employment during the past few months, but was formerly in the candy manufactory of Seaver & Co., 15 Commerce street. He says he worked for Allen off and on during the past three years and had no trouble whatever with him. The dog in the house used to be very savage, but during the past few months, owing to the want of proper food, he had become quite docile. Tibbs remarked: “I desire to state that the whole stock on Allen’s place has not been properly fed during the past several months.”
Mrs. Mahala Brown says, in private conversation, that she has not known much of Allen of late years, and that she left his home nearly two years and six months ago. She had been his housekeeper for about fifteen years, but denied that there had ever been any improper relations between herself and Allen. She says that when she left Allen’s house, over two years ago, they parted in a friendly manner, and that he did not want her to leave. At that time he owed her a considerable amount for work, for services rendered, and that she presented to him a bill afterward of $800, without interest. As security for this claim he gave her three notes, but they were not secured. After waiting a very long time, during which she could only collect $50, Mr. Allen paid her attorney, Mr. A. B. Champion, the full amount claimed, and Mr. Champion handed the money to her. Mrs. Brown and her daughter both stated that they were at home all of Wednesday night and Thursday, and knew nothing of the murder until half-past three o’clock on Thursday afternoon. She had not seen Allen for several weeks. She had been separated from her husband for something like twenty years, but did not know whether he was dead or alive. The last she heard of him was in Philadelphia, about five years ago, arrested for passing raised bank bills. Her husband was a drunken, worthless fellow, and she was compelled to leave him.
Mrs. Brown says in regard to Edo [sic] Tibbs that he came to her house between half-past six and seven o’clock on the night of the murder, and, after remaining a short time, went out, stating that he was going to Scott’s, as they would be waiting supper for him. He returned to the house with a young man named Wm. Gregory about an hour later, and remained until a quarter after ten o’clock.
The examination in the Police Court is set for March 10th, and the inquest by the Coroner will be commenced next Wednesday.
The Allen Murder.
[Cincinnati Daily Star, March 6, 1876, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85025759/1876-03-06/ed-1/seq-4/]
Coroner Maley visited the old home of Jake Allen, the man who was murdered in Turkey Bottom last Wednesday. In examining the house he found a bull’s-eye watch, $100 in money of ante-war times, and two hatchets covered with blood. He also learned that on the night of the murder Allen took supper at the house of J. Tiernan [sic, Tierney], a neighbor.
He left at 9 o’clock, saying he was afraid to go home, as he had been attacked four times by some unknown persons. He said that one night when his niece, Emma Harlow, of Williamsburg, was stopping with him, somebody tried to chloroform him while he was in bed. He believed it was a woman dressed in men’s clothes.
Dr. Maley finds that the suspicions in that neighborhood point to Mrs. Mahala Brown as the murderess.
THE ALLEN MURDER.
Pointers to the Perpetrators.
[Cincinnati Enquirer, March 6, 1876, p. 8]
Coroner Maley spent the day yesterday looking up facts in reference to the Turkey Bottom tragedy. He visited the home of old Jacob Allen, the man murdered, and had talks with the neighbors. In the house, which he examined thoroughly, he discovered an old bull’s-eye watch wrapped up in no end of rags, a bundle of ENQUIRERS, fifteen years old, $100 in old bills on Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana ante-war banks, and two hatchets covered with blood, more as if it had spurted on them than as if they had been used as weapons. On the night of the murder Jacob Allen stopped and took supper at the house of J. Tiernan, a near neighbor, and left as we related last Friday. When he left, at nine o’clock, he said he was afraid to go home, and that he had been attacked four times by unknown persons seeking his life. He said that once while Emma Harlow, his niece, now living at Williamsburg, was living with him, some one tried to chloroform him while in bed, and he grasped the party, who fled. He believed this was a woman dressed in men’s clothes. She jumped out of the window and ran, crying “Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!” The tracks in the yard, seen next morning, looked like those of a woman. This story he also told to Emma Harlow, who slept up stairs, while he slept down stairs. The Coroner will have this lady’s testimony at the inquest. The suspicion in the neighborhood is directed against Mrs. Mahala Brown—whether justly or unjustly is another question.
The Allen Murder.
[Cincinnati Daily Times, March 7, 1876, p. 4]
The inquest in the case of the old man, Jacob Allen, the victim of the Turkey Bottom tragedy, will be commenced before Coroner Maley, and a jury, at the Court-house, to-morrow morning, at 9 o’clock.
Dr. Maley informed one of our reporters, this morning, that he had obtained some important clues, and that he was positive he could fasten the crime on at least two persons now under arrest. He says that tracks have been found which correspond with the size of the shoe worn by Mrs. Mahala Brown, and others in which the boots of young Tebbs fit exactly. Furthermore, blood was found both inside and outside of Tebbs’ boots.
Coroner Maley has gone out to the scene of the tragedy this afternoon, for the purpose of obtaining additional facts concerning the murder, if there are any.
THE TURKEY BOTTOM TRAGEDY.
The Mysterious Murder of Jacob Allen.
COMMENCEMENT OF THE CORONER’S INQUEST.
[Cincinnati Daily Times, March 8, 1876, p. 4]
Coroner Maley and a jury, consisting of B. F. Shott, C. Bowen, Andrew Pancost, E. Dennison, Samuel Bloom and James Fahl, this morning, shortly after 10 o’clock, commenced an investigation into the alleged murder of Jacob Allen. The murder, as our readers are doubtless aware, occurred on the night of February 29 or the morning of March 1, at the home of the deceased in Spencer Township, about a mile above Columbia. His body was found on the morning of March 1, and the facts in the case so far as ascertained have appeared in full in the TIMES. The office of the Coroner was crowded with friends of the deceased, and of those arrested on suspicion of the murder, long before the hour announced for the commencement of the inquest, and the greatest interest in the proceedings seemed to be manifested.
DAVID ALLEN, a brother of the deceased, was the first witness called, and, on being sworn, stated that he was 67 years of age, was born on the farm where the body of the deceased was found and at present resided near Vevay, Ind., where he had a farm. I have not seen him for five years, but he was of sober and temperate habits, and of a peaceable disposition. I know nothing concerning the cause of his death, and I don’t remember that he ever told me that he was afraid that any person would injure him. I do not know that he ever had an enemy.
ETHAN ALLEN, the next witness called, stated that he was forty-nine years of age, was a nephew of the deceased and resided in Columbia, about a mile from the residence of the deceased. I was born and raised on the farm where Allen was killed. I moved from there about nine years ago, and have never been in the house but once since. The cause of this visit was, that before my removal I notified him, in accordance with the law on the subject, to keep his stock shut up, as they were trespassing on my land. He became angry, and never afterward spoke to me, except when we happened to meet accidentally, and then we only passed the compliments of the day. After this, he did not come to my house until about two years ago. About four weeks ago, in company with Edward Orr and my son, I went to his house to purchase some chickens. I did not get them, Allen saying that he did not know that he had any to spare. I did not go there again till after his death. Mrs. Mahala Brown was at his house when I moved from the farm, and her two daughters were with her when I moved from the farm. My impression was that the deceased, though not married, lived with Mrs. Brown as man and wife; I suppose she lived with him about fourteen years; she left his house about two years ago; I have frequently heard them quarrel, but I never knew the cause; I heard him say to her one day: “I am boss of my own house, and you can go as you came; you are nothing to me.” I never heard them threaten each other’s lives, and I don’t know of any person ever living with or working for him. I never visited his house much when I lived on the farm. He was of temperate habits, and a hard worker, but displayed very poor management, and things about his house were sadly neglected. I do not know who was in the habit of calling on him of late, and I never heard of him having any enemies, and he never told me that he had any. After his settlement with Mrs. Brown, as to some transaction that passed between them, I think it was for wages for labor, he told me that his house had often been stoned, but never molested any way else. He told me one night, about a year ago, that he went home, and not wishing to get any supper made no light, and retired in the dark. He was awakened during the night, and felt as if under the effect of chloroform. He said that he was under the impression that some one was in the room. Reaching out he caught some one by the arm and felt a kind of knit jacket. Jumping up he caught the person on the breast and discovered that it was a woman. Afterward he released her.
He said there were two persons in the house, who must have been there before he returned home. He then reached for his gun, which lay by his bed-side, and found that it was gone, and knew that some person must have taken it. They broke out the lower sash of one of the windows and escaped. One of them called back, “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot, Uncle Jake.” I said to the deceased, “I suppose you know who the people are that annoy you,” and he replied, “yes,” but never told me who they were.
About fourteen years ago he used to keep a large amount of money in a trunk at my house. It was in gold and silver, and amounted to about $1,000. When we had our falling out, he took the money away, but I do not know what became of it. He was a very miserly man, and never spent any money that I knew of, nor improved his farm. He raised and sold stock, but never bought any, and I can not tell what became of his money. Mrs. Brown worked for him while he kept his money in the house. I have known him to borrow large sums of money and pay interest, and at the same time have the gold and silver in my house. My impression is that he must have money somewhere. I do not know of any one that he ever loaned money to, and I never saw him carry any except what he had in an old red pocket book which he kept wrapped in oil silk. I have seen a large number of bills in the pocket book, but do not know whether they were of large or small amount.
POST MORTEM. Dr. R. F. Carver, under instructions of the Coroner, made a post mortem examination of the body, and submitted the following as the result of his investigation:
“CINCINNATI, March 3, 1876.
“By direction of P. F. Maley, Coroner of Hamilton County, Ohio, I have, this day, assisted by Dr. H. A. Langdon, held a post mortem examination of the body of Jacob Allen. Post mortem rigidity well marked, incised wound on left knee one inch in length, superficial contusions over the left eye, and on the forehead; nose broken by a blow from a blunt instrument; left thumb disarticulated at the carpo; metacarparl [sic] articulation by incised wound which, also, cut the radial artery of the left wrist; left thumb disarticulated at the last phalangeal articulation by incised wound; incised wound two inches in length on left index finger; all the incised wounds had the appearance of being made by a sharp cutting instrument.
“On examining brain, found extensive extravasation of blood in post-inferior portion of right hemisphere of cerebrum. Lungs were slightly tuberculous with old adhesions. Heart healthy. Abdominal and pelvic viscers healthy. Cause of death, in my opinion, was hemorrhage from left radial artery. R. F. CARVER, M. D.”
MRS. EMELINE HARLOW, the next witness called, testified that she was fifty years of age; was a niece of the deceased, and resides at Marantha, Clermont County, in this State. I first lived with the deceased about thirty-two years ago, and his mother was living at that time. I did the housework for them for a short time, but getting homesick, I returned to my parents, who lived where I now live. Since then I have visited him occasionally, and two years ago this month my husband and the deceased made some arrangement to farm the place together, and I came down with part of the family and kept house for him five months. My husband was there a part of the time, and a part of the time at our own place. I only came down to remain at the place until the crops were gathered, and if we had got along we intended to remain there most of the time. Mr. Allen accused our boys of taking some of his things, and this causing ill feeling, we all returned home. Mrs. Brown had left Allen’s place before we got there, but she called there three times during our stay. She appeared to be pleasant on each occasion. The deceased and Mrs. Brown visited our home once, and my mother once, and we supposed they were married, for they occupied the same bed. I never, however, heard the deceased say they were married. About three years ago I came down to attend the Exposition, and stopped at his house, and from the conversation I had with Mrs. Brown I was led to believe they were married. I never saw or heard them quarrel, and they appearee [sic] to live happily together. A year ago last fall we came down to gather our crops, and stopped at Mr. Tierney’s, the nearest neighbor of the deceased, and remained there until the same were gathered. I remember that during one night of our stay, I heard the deceased call out, “Oh, John,” meaning Mr. Tierney. This was about 12 o’clock, and being awakened by the call, I answered him. He seemed to be inside the house, and called out that there were “some robbers trying to kill him.” He called again, saying to my husband, “Jerry, come quick, robbers are here and will kill me.” I could hear no one running away from the house, but I awakened the folks in the house, and they started for his house. They met him coming on the road, and he appeared to be frightened. He remained at Tierney’s all night and told us next morning that he was first awakened by feeling a hand pass over his face, and trying to get at his throat to choke him. It was a woman and I grabbed her by the arm. He said, “I knew who she was for she wore the knit jacket she used to wear, and it was the old woman” (meaning Mrs. Brown). He said they escaped by getting out of the window near his bed, and that, when he had hold of her arm, she cried out, “Don’t shoot.” The supposition was, that the persons in the house were Mahala Brown, her daughter, Mattie, and her son-in-law, Ned Scott. On one occasion, the deceased remarked that he thought Mrs. Brown would kill him if she dared to. He also said that the cause of the trouble was that she wanted him to deed his property to her and he would not do it; Mrs. Brown was the only person he thought would kill him. Last January I asked Ed. Tebbs if they were still troubling Uncle Jake; he replied not lately, and then asked me who I thought it was that was troubling him. I told him that I thought it was Mahala Brown and her daughter Mattie, and he said, “Mat. had nothing to do with it.” He did not say anything else or who it was. I judged from that, that he knew who the persons were. The witness, in reply to a question, said that she had known the deceased to carry as much as $500 about his person, sometimes in a pocket-book, and sometimes wrapped up in a piece of calico.
About two years ago Allen borrowed $1,000 from Thomas Brooks, of Columbia, at ten per cent. interest, and mortgaged the farm for the same. I said to him, “What is the use to borrow more than $500, for you have that much?” He replied, “I know what I am doing,” but he did not say he had any money. This money was borrowed to take up three notes which he had previously given Mrs. Brown. The deceased told me that Mrs. Brown wanted to be boss, and that he would not be bossed by any woman, and that she was a d——d old b——h.
GEO. W. COLBY, the next witness called, stated that old man Allen told him that Mrs. Brown and some other persons, whom he did not name, were plotting to take his life. The witness knew nothing about the killing, and had not seen Allen for some time.
The inquest was then adjourned till Monday morning at 9 o’clock.
THE MURDER OF JACOB ALLEN.
Testimony Taken Before Coroner Maley, This Morning. [Cincinnati Daily Times, March 13, 1876, p. 4]
Coroner Maley, this morning, resumed the inquest in the case of Jacob Allen, who was found murdered in his own house, in what is know[n] as Turkey Bottom, about a mile and a half from Columbia, on the morning of the 2d inst.
J. P. HOGAN, the first witness called, stated that he resided at Columbia, and that he was agent of the Little Miami Railroad Company at Tusculum station, about a mile and a half from the residence of the deceased. I had known him for twenty-nine years, and he was of sober and industrious habits. I never knew anything about the relations of Mr. Allen and Mrs. Brown, or in what manner they lived. He often came to the station, and would talk about his affairs. Last August he told me that the high water had ruined him and he had nothing left. He further said that they had tried to chloroform him, and then rob him, but he woke and caught them in the act. He said, “it was that d——d b——h, Mahala Brown, and that another woman and some man were with her.” He also said that they had stoned his house, and that they had fired a pistol at him. He said he would not have them arrested because it was too much trouble, and perhaps, after a while, they would let him alone.
HENRY SMITH, who was next called, testified that he lived at No. 51 East Third street, and that he was the driver of a peddling wagon. I have known the deceased about 10 years, and became acquainted with him at the house of Mahala Brown in Columbia. She was living with him at that time. While living there I often called at his house. I moved from there 7 years ago, but have since called there often during the summer season. I have slept in his house, and always supposed Mrs. Brown was his wife. In fact, I always called her Mrs. Allen. They always occupied the same bed, when I was there, and I never knew that they were not married until about 2½ years ago, she having left him, and sued for her wages. She did not say why she left, and I never heard them have any hard words. He would call her the old woman and take her on his lap. He would come to the city about once in every six weeks, and he would then stop at my house and take dinner. Shortly after Mrs. Brown left him, he told me that his house had been stoned, but he did not say who did it. He told me that a party had tried to chloroform him, and that one of the party was Mahala Brown. he said he wanted a couple of pistols, and I went with him to Hyams’ pawnbroker establishment, corner of Third and Sycamore streets, and he purchased two revolvers there. He remarked that if they bothered him any more, he would “give them some lead.” I have often seen him since, but he never said anything more to me about any one. I never saw him with much money, and he never told me that he had much loaned out or laid away. The witness concluded by saying that he knew Ed. Tebbs, Ned Scott and Mattie Brown, and that he never heard them speak ill of the deceased.
SARAH H. GLAUB, the next witness called, stated that she lived in Columbia, and was in the sewing machine business, having a store there; she had known the deceased for about eleven years, but he had never spoken to her about Mrs. Brown or his troubles; he never dealt at my place of business; I have known Mrs. Mahala Brown about thirteen years, and at present reside about two squares from where she does. She owns a house near me, and sometimes deals with me. She never spoke to me about Mr. Allen. Between 8 and 9 A. M., on March 2, and about four hours before I heard of the murder of the deceased, Mattie Brown came to my place to purchase some machine oil, and gave me a quarter in currency, and remarked, that that was all the money they had in the world, for her sister had left on Monday, and stripped them of everything. Not having change, I told her she could pay it some other time, and about one and a half hours afterward her mother, Mahala Brown, came in and paid the amount, five cents, and told me that her nephew had just come and given her a little money. She had some money in her hand, but I did not notice whether there was any bills or not. She did not say that she had plenty of money, and I have not seen her since.
SIDNEY W. BALDWIN testified that he was 18 years of age, that he was a surveyor by occupation and that he resides in Columbia. I have known the deceased most of my life, and have been calling on him for the last eight months in company with Ed. Tebbs, Wm. Gregory and Geo. Colby. Sometimes all four of us would go, and at other times only two of us. When there were only two, we would sleep with him, and when there were four, two would have to sleep in the hay loft. We went out for pleasure—to ride his horses and play euchre. Some of the boys would take liquor with them, but not enough to have any effect on them. The deceased appeared glad to see us, and would ask us all to call again. Sometimes he would sit up as late as midnight, and play cards with us. about six weeks before his death, while Colby and myself were at his house, he told us about some one stoning his house, and thought the parties were Mahala Brown, Mattie Brown, Ned. Scott and Ed. Tebbs. He never told me of any other trouble, and never said he was afraid of any one. He however said he felt lonesome.
About a month ago Ed. Tebbs and myself remained with him all night, and during the night we were awakened by the dogs and the fowls making an unusual noise. we all got up and went out, but could find nothing. On March 2, about 1½ P. M., Wm. Sedam, Geo. Colby and myself went out to see the deceased, thinking that it would be a nice day to ride his horses. I had not been there since the Monday previous; the dogs seemed to know us, and we could go there during the day, but at night we were afraid of them; we got to the house about a quarter to 2 o’clock; when we got to the house everything appeared as usual, and Colby was ahead; he looked through the broken panel in the door and exclaimed: “Look, there is something the matter in there!” I did so, and noticed that the chairs were upset, and saw the deceased lying on the floor. Colby called him, and getting no answer, we became frightened, and went over to Mr. John Tierney’s and told him about it. We then went over and tried to open the door, but it was fastened on the inside, and the dog would not let us in through the panel. Tierney then opened the back windows, and looking in said “He is dead.” He told us to stay there, and he would get his horse and go to Columbia. The dog that was tied behind the door was very savage, and no one could get in that way. As well as I knew the animal I would not undertake it. During all the time that I have been calling at the house of the deceased I never saw any corn-cutter there. I saw a revolver in the bed, but never asked him why he kept it there. I never saw him with any money.
KATE WEIDRECHT being sworn testified that she lived in Columbia. About a year and a half ago I was at the house of my brother-in-law, Enos Woods, and the deceased, who was my uncle, came in. I asked him if the boy (meaning Ed. Tebbs) had said what I heard he had, and was it true? (I was referring to the time the attempt was made to chloroform him.) He replied that he caught the boy, Ed. Tebbs, by the arm, and as soon as he caught him, he said, “don’t shoot, Uncle Jake, we are not going to hurt you,” and they got out. He said he then looked, and saw a man and woman outside. The woman was Mahala Brown. Never since that time has he ever mentioned the matter to me.
LOUIS VINSON testified that he was a carpenter by trade and lived in Spencer Township, about a mile from the home of the deceased. He had known the deceased for 39 years, but had never visited him while Mrs. Brown kept house for him. Until after the murder, I had not been in his house for 20 years. He never told me anything about his troubles, and I know nothing about the murder.
J. W. MATTHEWS testified that he lived in Spencer Township, about a mile and a quarter from the residence of the deceased. He had known him for forty years, and had called to see him frequently during the time that Mrs. Brown lived there. I thought she was his wife, and called her Mrs. Allen. I don’t know how they got along, and he never talked to me about his personal affairs. On the afternoon of March 1, about 5:30, I noticed Mrs. Brown on her way home, but I can not say where she had been. She walked very rapidly and appeared to be excited. I spoke to her, but we merely passed the compliments of the day. I did not see her again. Mr. Schram told me his wife saw Mrs. Brown going up the railroad track, with a basket under her arm, partially filled, and a paper over it.
MORTFORD DAVIS, who was next called, stated that he was 17 years of age, and that he lived in Columbia. He had known the deceased all his life; a year ago I worked for him three days, and slept in the house one night; the dogs barked a great deal, and the old man said, “Something is wrong,” and then he pulled out a long dagger and pistol, and said, “damn ’em, I will use it on them now, if they come around, for I now have a witness to see it.” He did not mention any names, but remarked that he had often been annoyed. He said further that one night he had been chloroformed, and that he knew it was a woman, because he caught her by her arm. I asked him who it was, but he simply replied that he knew. About 5:30 o’clock on the afternoon that the deceased was murdered, I met Mrs. Brown on the railroad track in Undercliff. Mrs. Brown asked me “how he was cut,” “where he lay” and “how the house looked.” I told her, and she said, “it is too bad that they could not let him alone.” She then started toward her house, and I have not spoken to her since.
ENOS WOODS, the next witness called, stated that he lived in Columbia, and that he was a blacksmith by trade. He had worked for Mr. Allen, and he told me that Mrs. Brown had tried to chloroform him, and that he was afraid of his life. The witness knew nothing concerning the murder.
Several other witnesses were examined, but their testimony threw no new light on the tragedy.
The inquest then adjourned till Friday morning next, at 9 o’clock.
The Allen Murder.
[Cincinnati Daily Star, March 13, 1876, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85025759/1876-03-13/ed-1/seq-1/]
The investigation before the Coroner is still in progress. Several witnesses were examined this morning. Among the number were J. P. Hogan, station agent of the Little Miami Railroad, Henry Smith, Sarah A. Glaub, of Columbia, Sidney B. Baldwin and Kate Weidrecht, the evidence of whom is of no material importance, save perhaps that of the last mentioned, who is a niece of the deceased, and that which follows:
Kate Weidricht [sic] testified—I live in Columbia, and about a year and a half ago I was at the house of my brother-in-law, Enos Woods, in Columbia, when the deceased came in. While there I asked him if the boy (meaning Ed. Tibbs) had said what I heard he had, and was it true, referring to the time the attempt was made to chloroform him. He said he caught the boy Ed. Tibbs by the arm, and as soon as he caught him he said “Don’t shoot, Uncle Jake, we are not going to hurt you.” Then he got out. He then looked and saw there was a man and woman outside. The woman was Mahala Brown, and just then some one spoke to him and he stopped talking to me, and never since that time has he mentioned anything more to me about it.
J. W. Matthews, who lives in Spencer Township, about a mile and a quarter from Allen’s house, stated that on the afternoon of March 1, [the day previous to that on which the body was found,—Ed. STAR,] he was Mrs. Brown on her way home to Columbia. Couldn’t say where she had been. She walked very rapidly, and appeared to be excited.
[Cincinnati Daily Gazette, March 13, 1876, p. 8]
Dr. D. Hartringe, of Middleport, O., arrested at the insistence of Coroner Maley, upon a suspicion that he was concerned in the killing of Jacob Allen, was brought to Columbia last Saturday, and released on bail. He is a nephew of Mahala Brown, and was visiting her when the murder was discovered. He left for home shortly afterward. Hence the suspicion, which was probably unfounded.
THE MURDER OF JACOB ALLEN.
Testimony Taken Before Coroner Maley This Morning.
[Cincinnati Daily Times, March 17, 1876, p. 4]
Coroner Maley, this morning, resumed the taking of testimony in the case of Jacob Allen, who was murdered at his residence, in Spencer Township, on the 2d inst.
MRS. ANNIE FAGIN, the first witness called, testified that she lived in Columbia, and the second house from Mrs. Mahala Brown, and that she had known her for twenty-four years. I never called on her, or she on me, while she lived at Jacob Allen’s; since she left there we have frequently; she always spoke well of the deceased, and told me that often since she left there she had gone out in the day-time and looked for him; she told me they were married, and would get angry if I did not call her Mrs. Allen; she told me the reason she left him was because he did not build another house, and she was afraid to live in the old one; he said he would not live long, and she wanted it for some other man, and he would not build another house. She told me he had money, but never carried it about his person, and would hide it about the place. The gold and silver were in the old boots up stairs in some out of the way place, and he would hide the paper money down stairs. She said he never gave her any money, but that he had borrowed $300 from her. On the morning of the day that the body of the deceased was found I called on Mrs. Brown, and she told me that she had no money or coal in the house; that her son-in-law had moved, and taken everything with him. * * *
About 4 o’clock Mrs. Brown and her daughter Mattie called on me and asked if I had “heard the news.” I asked what it was, and she told me Uncle Jake Allen had been murdered. She did not seem agitated, but seemed very sorry that he could not live out his natural life. She did not say that she suspicioned any one. About 9 P. M. on that night I passed the house of Mrs. Brown, and heard some voices in there. I recognized Mahalas’, Mattie Brown’s, Ed. Tebb’s and another male voice. I did not see any clothes burned in the house. I have heard the boys say that Allen said when he died he would will all his property to Ed. Tebbs. He appeared to think more of him than of any other person.
GEORGE EDWARD TEBBS, who was next called, testified that he lived in Columbia, and was 20 years of age. He had known the deceased for 15 years, and about four years ago did his first work for him. When I first went to work for Mr. Allen, he and Mrs. Brown got along together well. They would occasionally have some words concerning the feeding of the stock. I slept in the house and in the same room with Mrs. Brown. Mr. Allen and I slept together, and Mrs. Brown and Mattie together. I did not believe Allen and Mrs. Brown were married, because they did not sleep together. I never knew that Allen had been shot at or stoned. He never told me that he was afraid of any one. I know nothing of the murder or who committed it.
Mrs. Ellen Ladley was next called, but knew nothing about the murder.
ALEXANDER BLACK, the next witness called, testified that he lived at No. 377 Eastern avenue, and was a policeman. He was detailed to hunt up the particulars in the case. On the Monday following the murder, in company with Mr. Biggs, about a quarter of a mile or so from the house of Mr. Allen, we discovered horse-tracks and those of a woman and a man going west. I took one of the shoes off of Ed. Tebbs’ horse and got one of his boots, and one of Mahala Brown’s shoes, and then went back and found that they corresponded with the tracks. The tracks looked as if they had been made only three or four days before. I also searched Mrs. Brown’s house for the purpose of finding some garment having a button on corresponding with one found in front of the house the Sunday following the murder. I found no garment with any on, but did find some of the same kind in a trunk in her house.
The case was then continued till to-morrow morning at 9 o’clock.
The Allen Murder—Testimony Before the Coroner this Morning.
[Cincinnati Daily Star, March 17, 1876, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85025759/1876-03-17/ed-1/seq-1/]
[Largely duplicates the preceding article, except for this passage:]
Mrs. Ellen Ladley being sworn, stated: About half-past four of the evening of the discovery of the murder I called upon Mrs. Brown and her daughter. While there I said “I wonder what time he was murdered.” Mrs. Brown said, we do not know, but it was not done after midnight. She further said, we have lived there fourteen years and know all about the house.
The Turkey Bottom Tragedy.
[Cincinnati Enquirer, March 19, 1876, p. 1]
Coroner Maley yesterday concluded the inquest in the case of Jacob Allen, who was killed in his house in Turkey Bottom, Spencer Township, on the night of the 2d inst. A number of witnesses were examined yesterday, but their testimony threw no new light on the matter, and the jury, after a short consultation, returned the following verdict:
“We find that the deceased came to his death from hemorrhage of the left radial artery, caused by some sharp cutting instrument in the hands of parties unknown to the jury; but from the evidence in the case we believe Mahala Brown to be one of a party implicated in committing the deed.”
Mahala Brown, her daughter Mattie, Edward Tebbs and W. N. Scott, who are suspected of complicity in the affair, were before the Police Court yesterday, and had their cases continued until next Tuesday. They are all out on bail. the morning after the murder an imitation moss agate dress-button was picked up just outside the house of the murdered man. A number of buttons, mates to it, have since been found in Mahala Brown’s trunk. She states that she gave the button to some children to play with, some twenty-five months ago, but its rim of bright oxidized brass does not look as if such was the case. She also states that the buttons have never been sewed on a garment, but this is doubted by Prof. E. Wayne, who has procured a number of the buttons, and he will ascertain the effect of exposure to the atmosphere on them. The following letter, written in German, was sent to Dr. Maley yesterday. It was anonymous:
“MARCH 16, 1876.
“MR. DR. MALEY—Sir: Have David Duncan arrested with regard to the Jacob Allen murder. This neighborhood has strong belief that he is connected with it. Send to Linwood. Any man can tell you where to find him. He has since that murder a great deal of money given out, and no one knows from whom he got it, and he does not work any. David Duncan, the boy, not his father.”
The Coroner has given orders to have Duncan arrested.
The Allen Murder.
[Cincinnati Daily Times, March 21, 1876, p. 4]
Mahala Brown, her daughter Mattie, Edward Tebbs and W. N. Scott, were arraigned before the Police Court, this morning, on the charge of being implicated in the murder of Jacob Allen, on the night of the 2d instant. Mattie Brown and Mr. Scott were discharged, and the cases of Mrs. Brown and young Tebbs were continued for one week.
Turkey Bottom Murder. [Cincinnati Commercial, March 23, 1876, p. 8]
Coroner Maley received another anonymous communication yesterday, alleging that a nephew of Jacob Allen must have committed the murder. Upon investigation, the Coroner discovered that the nephew aforesaid had left the city some five months before the murder was committed, and had not returned.
The Turkey Bottom Murder. [Cincinnati Enquirer, March 28, 1876, p. 4]
An examination of the case of Mahala Brown and Ed Tebbs, charged with the murder of Jacob Allen, commenced in the Police Court yesterday afternoon, Messrs. Campbell and Champion counsel for defendants. A large number of witnesses were examined, but no material evidence was adduced. Robert A. Black, policeman, testified to seeing tracks in a field near the Allen house the Monday after the murder which corresponded to the measure of Tebbs’ boots, and tracks in a run near by that corresponded with Mrs. Brown’s shoes. The case proceeds to-day.
The Turkey Bottom Tragedy. [Cincinnati Enquirer, March 31, 1876, p. 8]
The case of Edward Tebbs and Mahala Brown, charged with the murder of “Uncle Jake Allen,” was concluded yesterday. The result was the dismissal of both the parties, thus leaving the dismal affair still wrapt in mystery. Against Tebbs there were some suspicious circumstances. The tracks testified by officer Black, the blood upon his boot, his presence at the house on the evening of the murder, and like evidences, were all, however, explained away, and the young man’s discharge secured. Logan & Champion appeared for Mrs. Brown, and T. C. Campbell for Tebbs.
So that’s the story behind the murder of Uncle Jake Allen, or at least as much of it as Cincinnati newspaper readers came to know. But what’s the story specifically behind my CDV?
The Turkey Bottom Tragedy was moderately big news in Cincinnati during March 1876, so I suppose someone might have gone out to the Jacob Allen house, sketched it, and offered photographic copies of the sketch for sale to the public, hoping to cash in on popular curiosity. I have to admit that the story of the murder doesn’t strike me as quite sensational enough to have warranted such efforts—or the house as central enough to the story, for that matter—but this is still a possible explanation, and the most plausible one that comes to mind. Alternatively, the sketch could have been made and copied as part of the gathering of evidence for the coroner’s inquest itself, maybe to help the jury visualize the scene of the crime. Any other theories?
- By the time of the 1880 federal census, Mahala Brown had left her old neighborhood in Columbia along with William N. and Mary E. Scott, her son-in-law and daughter, and moved around thirty miles southeast along the Ohio River to Franklin Township, Clermont County, where William had taken up farming.
- George Edward Tibbs turns up in Cincinnati city directories in the late 1870s and the 1880s as a teamster and driver, and the 1880 census identifies him as a “laborer.”
- Dr. Maley sought another term as Coroner of Hamilton County in August 1876 but left office at the start of 1877 after a surprise defeat in the Democratic primary. A decade later, he was convicted of embezzling the pension fund of a mentally ill Civil War veteran named James Kelley whose guardian he had been and served a year in a Dayton prison. In 1905, Maley’s photograph appeared in newspapers around the country alongside a testimonial for Peruna, an alleged cure-all (27% alcohol) manufactured in Columbus: “I attribute my success in practice,” he wrote, “to this wonderful remedy.” He died in 1907.