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Full text of "The Holmes-Pitezel case; a history of the greatest crime of the century and of the search for the missing Pitezel children"

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Holmes -Pite^el 



Greatest Crime of the fentury 







By permission of the District Attorney and Mayor of the 
City of Philadelphia 







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It is not possible to find in the annals of crim- 
inal jurisprudence, a more deliberate and cold 
blooded villain than the central figure in this story, 
nor would the most careful research among the 
records of the prominent murder trials that have 
absorbed public attention during the past century, 
disclose the careful planning that made possible the 
apprehension of Holmes, the prosecution to an 
almost miraculous ending of the search for the 
missing children, or the equal of the forensic skill 
and cunning that wove the close web in which this 
man of many names and many murders was en- 

That Holmes committed four murders has 
been proven beyond the shadow of a doubt, and 
that his timely arrest prevented three more mur- 
ders is ecLually sure. If the Chicago "Castle" 
could give up its guilty secrets, there is more than 
a strong suspicion that the list of Holmes crimes 
would be materially lengthened. We do know that 
fraud, deliberately planned and coolly executed, the 
blackest treachery toward his associates, a long term 
of brutal cruelty toward the helpless woman and her 
children who were in his clutches, and the marvel- 
ous duplicity and falsehood practiced upon the 
three women who each believed herself to be his 
lawful wife, are to be added to the list. 

A remarkable thing about a murderer who has 

ackieved the notoriety of Holmes, is the fact that 
no flowers nor gifts were sent to him by morbid 
sympathizers. The story of the search for the 
missing children reads like a romance, and its 
almost miraculous conclusion is another proof that 
detective acumen and tireless patience will find the 
unguarded spot which always exists in the armor 
of the most wily criminal. The reader will echo 
the remarks of the learned judge, who, in charging 
the jury that convicted Holmes, said: "Truth is 
Stranger than Fiction, and if Mrs. Pitezel's Story 
is true— (and it was proven to be true)— it is the 
Most Wonderful Exhibition of the Power of Mind 
Over Mind I Have Ever Seen, and Stranger than 
any Novel I Have Ever Read." 

It is fitting that this true story that outrivals 
fiction should be published. The tone of the narra- 
tive is wholesome. Even youth may profit by it. 



Who was Perry ? 13 

lusurance Money Claimed . . . . . 23 

The Insurance Co, Suspicious .... 43 

The Clang of the Cell-Door .... 53 

The Wages of Sin 99 


In the Toils 138 

' ' A Slippery and Subtle Knave " . . 145 

The Pitezel Children 155 

On the Trail 173 

The Untiring Pursuit . . . . . . 183 


An Expert in Crime 203 

The Search Rewarded 215 


Forging the Links ...... 237 

How to Find the Boy 255 

The Detective Puzzled 267 

The Beginning of the End 281 

"When He Came" 289 

The Chain Complete 299 


Justice Cried " Amen " 305 

Looking Backward 317 

A Triple Alliance 325 

A Friend in Kced 333 

The Excluded Testimony 337 


Chronology 346 


Speech of Hon. George S. Graham ... 371 


Motion for New Trial 406 

The Decision of the Supreme Court , . . 489 

List of Illustrations^ 


No. 131'' /'allowhill St., Philadelphia, Pa. , . 19 

Alice Pitezel 38 

Benjamin F. Pitezel 55 

RearofNo. 1316CallowhillSt 74 

Holmes' " Castle " at Chicago, Ills. ... 91 

Poplar Street House, Cincinnati, Ohio . . . 110 
No 26 Winooski Ave., Burlington, Vt. . . .127 
Fac-simile of Holmes' Letter to District Attorney 

Graham 149 

Fac-simileof the Worthless Promissory Note . .160 

Detective Frank P. Geyer 182 

Nellie Pitezel 199 

Howard Pitezel . ... . . . 218 

No. 241 Forest Ave., Detroit, Mich. . . .235 

Rear of No, 241 Forest Ave 254 

Fac-simile of Alice' s Letter to Her Grandparents 264, 265 
No 16 St. Vincent St., Toronto, Canada . . . 275 
Spade Used by Holmes in Burying Alice and Nellie 294 
Little Teeth of Howard Pitezel . . . .311 

Cottage at Irviugton, Ind 362 

Rear of Cottage at Irvington, Ind 379 

Fac-simile of Letter from "Jim'' to Holmes . . 398 
Fac-simile of the "Ritual" Letter. . . . 415 

"Foul Deeds will rise, 
though all the earth o'erwhelm them, to men's eyes." 

" Let guilty men remember, their black deeds. 
Do lean on crutches made of slender reeds." 




Meeting of Eugeue Smith and B. F. Perry — Smith sees 
Holmes — Perry disappears — Discovery of a Corpse — Con- 
dition of the Corpse — Coroner's Inquest — Identification as 

I^r the latter part of August, 1894, Eugene 
Smith, a house carpenter, was passing along Cal- 
lowhill Street, between Thirteenth and Broad 
Streets, in the city of Philadelphia, when his at- 
tention was attracted by a somewhat conspicuous 
sign in the bulk window of the house numbered 
1316. The house was one of a row of red brick, 
two and a half stories high, and immediately op- 
posite the old abandoned station of the Philadel- 
phia & Reading Railroad. The sign was made 
out of a sheet of muslin stretched across the win- 
dow, and on it was printed in black and red let- 
ters, " B. F. Perry, Patents Bought and Sold." 



Smith was an inventor and had recently pat- 
ented an ingenious device for a saw sett which he 
was very desirous of turning into money. So 
stopping a moment, he decided to seek the advice 
and assistance of Perrj-, wlio was in tlie business 
of buying and selling patents. 

When Smith walked into the store, he was 
greeted by a tall, raw-boned man, witli a some- 
what sharp countenance, who announced himself 
as the proprietor Perry, and who readily listened 
to Smith's explanation of the merits of his new 
saw sett. Perry requested Smith to furnish him 
with a model of his invention, which the latter 
promised to do. 

The next day Smith called again, taking with 
him the model, the merits of which he explained 
more fully and in greater detail. In the course 
of the conversation, Smith informed Perry that 
he was a carpenter by trade and was anxious to 
secure work, whereupon Perry employed him to 
construct a rough counter required for business 
purposes, in the first floor storeroom of the 
house. It was while working at this counter, 
that Smith saw a man enter, give a sign to Perry, 
and pass up the stairway in the rear of the front 
room, into the upper or second story of the house. 


Perry followed this man upstairs and shortly re- 
turned to the first floor and resumed his conversa- 
tion with Smith. Smith never saw this man at 
the house but once, but he afterwards identified 
him as H. H. Holmes. 

In the afternoon of Monday, September 3d, 
Smith called at No. 1316 to see Perry again, and 
to ascertain if any progress had been made in the 
sale of the patent. As he stepped into the store, 
he discovered it was vacant, and observed also 
that there was no one in the rear room of the first 
floor. Thinking that Perry was in the upper 
floor, or was temporarily absent upon an errand 
in the immediate neighborhood, Smith took a 
seat, and had an opportunity of observing the 
contents of the store. On a nail were hanging a 
hat and a pair of cuffs, and on the counter were 
several bottles and a few other articles of incon- 
siderable value, which appeared to make up the 
stock in trade of the patent dealer. After wait- 
ing a short time. Smith halloed at tlie top of his 
voice, but received no answer. He then went 
out and asked a neighbor if she had seen Perry 
about. She told him that very often Mr. Perry 
went around the corner to a saloon and would 
probably return shortly. Smith remained for 


half an hour, and then as Peiry did not letuni, he 
departed, closing the door ufier him. Saiilli \\as 
annoyed at Ids i'ailure to see Peny, and also be- 
cause the place had been left (^pen and aj piaently 
uuprotected, and he made it a point to re'aun 
early the next morning, Tuesday the -1th 
He found the door shut, but not locked, just as 
he had left it. The chair in which he had si.t the 
day before, was in the same place he had left it, 
and apparently had not been moved. The hat 
and cuffs still hung upon the nail. He hallooed; 
"Perry" several times, but received no answer. 
He then walked up the stairs leading to the 
second floor, and looking towards the front room, 
observed a cot, but it was unoccupied. He then 
turned to the left and looking into the back room, 
his gaze met a sight that chilled his blood. Ly- 
ing prostrate on the floor, with his feet towards 
the window, and his head to the door, was a man, 
dead, — the face disfigured beyond recognition by 
decomposition and burning, and surrounded ap- 
parently by evidences of an explosion. The sun 
was shining brightly through the window, and 
directly on the upper part of the body, and it 
needed no second glance from Smith to convince 
him of his duty to summon the police. 


Leaving the house without delay, he hurried to 
the nearest station house and returned with two 
officers, who on their way, stopped for Dr. Scott, 
the nearest physician. 

The upper part of the body was found to be 
much decomposed. The left arm was extended 
along and close to the left side, the right arm 
across the breast, — altogether a very peaceful 
posture. He was rigid and straight as if lie 
had been ceremoniously laid out in death. The 
left side of the shirt and the left brenst had 
been burned, and the nuistailie on one side and 
the forelock of hair was singed. The body under 
the arm was not burned at all. From the mouth 
had flowed a consideiable quantity of fluid, 
slightly tinged with blood, which stained tlie floor 
for a foot or two alongside the bod}-. 

By reason of decomposition and the burns, it 
seemed impossible to identify the body lo a cer- 
tainity, as that of Perry, although the clothing 
was the same which Smith had seen Perry wear. 
The color of the hair and the length of tlie body, 
and the general appearance was the san:ie as 
Perry. At the side of the body lay the fragments 
of a large brcken bottle, a pipe filled with tobacco 
and a burnt match. The tobacco in the pipe had 


been but slightly charred. The outside window 
shutters were bowed, the window was up, and the 
fireboard at the chimney near which the body lay 
was open at an angle of about eight inches. 

The body was at once removed to the city 
morgue, ivhich is in the immediate rear of No. 1316 
Callowhill Street., and on the same day the cor- 
oner's physician made an autops3^ The brain 
was normal, the body well nourished, the lungs 
were congested, the heart empty and normal and 
free from clots, indicating that death had been 
very rapid with him. The stomach exhibited 
alcoholic irritation and emitted a strong odor of 
chloroform. Whatever caused death, caused pa- 
ralysis of the involuntary muscles, as the bladder 
had emptied and regurgitation took place from 
the mouth, where the body lay. 

The burns on the body as described, were also 
noted by the coroner's physician. An inquest by 
the coroner quickly followed and a verdict of 
death from congestion of the lungs, caused by the 
inhalation of flame, or of chloroform or other poi- 
sonous drug was rendered ; although the coroner's 
physician testified that he believed death was due 
to chloroform poisoning. The police and the few 
neighbors of the vicinity discussed the case in a 

No. 1316 Callowhill St., PHrLADELPHiA, Pa. 

( Where Holmes murdered B. F Pitezel ) 


desultory sort of a way for some days. The cor- 
oner's jury had found the body to be that of B. 
F. Perry, and the question of the identification of 
the body as Perry appeared to be established. 

But who was Perry? From whence had he 
come? Was he murdered or had he committed 
suicide ? Or was he killed by the explosion of an 
inflammable substance in the bottle which was 
found broken at his side? He appeared to have 
just lighted his pipe. Was this the act which 
ignited the flame that destroyed his life ? If so, 
how came his body to recline in sucli a peaceful 
attitude? But the lungs were found to be con- 
gested, and the stomach when opened, gave forth 
a distinct odor of chloroform. Could lie, in com- 
mitting suicide, have caused the explosion when 
dying? If he had inhaled chloroform, how came 
this drug in the stomach ? These and a thousand 
other questions were propounded, only to be un- 
answered. It was a mystery, and the solution did 
not appear to be in sight. 



Letters from Jeptha D. Howe — Cashier Cass Calls on Mrs. 
Holmes — Holmes Writes to Cass — Holmes Calls on Presi- 
dent Foiise — Howe Presents Letter of Attorney from Mrs. 
Pitezel — Perry and Pitezel tlie Same — President Fouso 
Talks with Alice — Holmes Meets Howe — Marks of Identi- 
fication—The Body Disinterred— Howe Paid $9,715.85 
Insurance Money — Affidavits of Alice Pitezel aud H. H. 
Holmfes — Smith Fails to Recognize Holmes. 

In all great cities, unclaimed bodies are held at 
the morgue for a certain length of time, to await 
identification and a claimant. Perry's body lay in 
the Philadelphia Morgue for eleven days, and 
was then buried in the Potters Field. 

Before the burial, however, two letters were re- 
ceived in Philadelphia, one by the coroner, and 
the other by the officers of the Fidelity Mutual Life 
Association. These letters came from Jeptha D. 
Howe, a young attorney of St. Louis, Missouri. 
He stated that he. represented Mrs. Carrie A. 
Pitezel, the wife of Benjamin F. Pitezel. That 
Pitezel was insured in the Fidelity Company 



for Ten Thousand Dollars and that his wife was 
the beneficiary named in the policy. That the 
man who was found dead at No. 1316 Callow- 
hill Street, and who was known as B. F. 
Perry, was Benjamin F. Pitezel, and tliat he 
(Howe) would shortly visit Philadelphia with a 
member of the Pitezel family for the purpose of 
identifying the body, and claiming the insurance 

The books of the company showed that a 
policy had been issued on the life of Benjamin 
F. Pitezel on November 9th, 1893, and that 
the insurance had been effected through the 
branch office of the company in Chicago, 

A communication was at once forwarded by 
the company to its manager in Chicago, instruct- 
ing him to learn all that was possible concerning 
Pitezel, and particularly to ascertain the names 
of persons who had known Pitezel in Chicago. 
The situation as presented to the officers of the 
company at this time, aroused their suspicions, 
and they proceeded with caution. 

The company then received word from Mr. 
Cass, the cashier of the Chicago office, that 
the only man who knew Pitezel well, was H. 


H. Holmes, who lived at Wiliiiette, Illinois. 
Mr. Cass was instructed to go to Wilmette and 
interview Holmes. He found that Holmes was 
away, but he saw Mrs. Hohnes, who offered to 
communicate with her liusband. She said her 
husband was moving about all the time anil was 
not at home, but that she would communicate 
anything to him the agent had to say. She 
would not tell the agent tvhere her husband was, 
although she admitted slie heard from him every 
day or so. Mr. Cass gave the woman a clipping 
from a Chicago paper, which stated that Perry 
had been found in Chicago^ and she promised to 
send it to her husband. 

On September 18th, tlie Chicago manager of 
the company received a letter from Holmes, 
dated Columbus, Oliio, September 17th, and the 
next day a second letter, dated Cincinnati, Sep- 
tember 19th. 

These two letters here given in full, exhibit the 
enormous capacity of Mr. Holmes for duplicity 
and deceit. In view of the subsequent develop- 
ments of the case, they portray his niaiiy resour- 
ces for meeting an occasion, and a sagacity, 
which would have served him well, had he chosen 
to earn an honest living. 


Columbus, Ohio, 

Sept. 17, 1894. 
E. H. Cass, Esq., 

R. 46,-115 Dearborn, 

Dear Sir : — 

I am iu receipt of a letter from my 
wife, stating that you called on her in regard to 
Mr. Pitezel. She also enclosed me clipping from 
paper, which I presume j^ou gave her. Tlie ad- 
dress given in same is wrong. It should be Madi- 
son St. or Avenue on the south side of the city, and 
if I remember correctly, it is No. 6343, as stated 
in the clipping. At all events it is very near the 
63rd Street entrance to the World's Fair grounds, 
in some hotel that was formerly used as a flat 
building and on E. side of Street. 

Following tlie question asked, I would say, that 
I do not know who did his dental work, thougli I 
do not think he took ver}^ good care of his teeth 
and may have had none done. 

I remember that seven or eight years ago when 
working for me, he had to give up work for some 
time on account of neuralgia in his teeth. Mr. 
Fay should be able to identify him readily, as he 
knew him quite well, as I remember Chat when 
Mr. Fay and I occupied an office on Dearborn 
Street, Mr. Pitezel was there almost daily, he 
having a patent coal bin on exhibition there. In 
a general why I should describe Ijim a man nearly 


six feet high, (at least five feet ten inches) always 
thin in flesh and weighing from one hundred and 
forty-five to one hundred and fiftj'-five fbs., hav- 
ing very black and somewhat coarse hair, very 
thick, with no tendency towards baldness ; his 
mustache was a much lighter color and I think of 
a red tinge, though 1 have seen him have it col- 
ored black at times, which gave him quite a dif- 
ferent appearance. I remember also that he had 
some trouble with his knees, causing them to be- 
come enlarged directly below or in front of same, 
as a result of floor laying when he was in the con- 
tracting business, but wliether this was a tempor- 
ary or permanent affair, I am unable to state. 
He also Ijad some sort of a warty growth on tlie 
back or side of his neck, which prevented him 
from wearing a collar when working. Aside from 
these points, I can think of nothing to distinguish 
liim from other men, unless it be that his forehead 
was lower than the average and crown of head 
higher, causing one to notice same. I do remem- 
ber, however, that he had, or at least had late in 
1893 a boy about twelve years of age who looked 
so much like him, that if compared with body 
supposed to be his father would show the identity 
I should think, and if he is still unburied, there 
are plenty of people there who have known him 
intimately, among them being a Mr. Heywood, 
near 69th and Peoria or Paulina Streets, who 
is, I think, a relative ; also a Mr. William Coyler 


or Collier living on West side, who was with him 
a great deal. If the identity is not cleared up by 
the time you receive this letter and you wish me 
to, I will go to Chicago any time after Wednesday 
next, provided you will pay my transportation 
tlieie and return. I should want same extended 
several days, however, so that I could stay a 
short time while there. I feel sure that Mr. 
Fay and myself could pick him out among a 
hundred. I would be willing to go without pay 
in ordinary times, but can hardly afford to do so 

Mr. Pitezel is owing me One hundred and eighty 
Dollars, and if he is in reality dead, I should be 
glad to have that amount retained from the sum 
payable on his policy and apply same on my own, 
as I very much need it. I sent you a check from 
Indian Territory early in the spring to partially 
cover my insurance and incidentally directed it to 
Montreal, instead of Fidelity and it was returned 
to me at a time when I needed money very much 
to complete a trade, and used it then hoping to 
replace it soon. 

My affairs are not in a good condition and I 
need insurance more than at any time. I have 
done a good deal for his family within the past 
eight years and I think if need be, I could get an 
order from his wife, authorizing you to retain the 
amount due me. 

If you see fit to wire me, please do so by Western 


tJiiion and I will act in accordance with your 

Yours Respectfully, 

H. H. Holmes. 

Holmes, of course, knew when he wrote this 
letter, that Pitezel's body was not in Chicngo 
awaiting identification. He knew that it was in 
Philadelphia, and yet how cleverly he uses the 
niis statement in the Chicago pa])er, to his advan- 
tage, and as a cover for himself! But he was 
anxious to be on the ground when the final act in 
the scheme of fraud, intrigue and deception, 
should be performed, and so two days later, he 
addresses Mr. Cass again as follows : 

Grand Hotel, 

C:incinnati, Sept. 19, 1894. 
E. H. Cass, Esq., 

115 Deaiborn St., Chicago. 
Dear Sir : — 

Since writing to you yesterday, I 
have seen from a file of Philadelphia papers, that 
the supposed body of Pitezel is in the hands of 
the coroner there instead of in Chicago, as per 
clipping you sent me. I shall be in Baltimore in 
a day or two, and I will take an afternoon train 
to Philadelphia and call on your office there, and 
if they wish me to do so, I will go with some rep- 


resentative of theirs to the coroner's, and I think 
I can tell if the man there is Pitezel ; — from what 
I read here, I cannot see anything to lead me to 
think tliat the person killed was other than a man 
by the name of Perry. 

Yours Respectfully, 

H. H. Holmes. 
Will you kindly ask Mr. Fay to write me at 
Columbus, Ohio, if he will, I shall return there 
about Saturday. 

To these letters, a polite response was sent to 
Holmes from Mr. Cass, stating in substance that 
the officers of the company were grateful to him 
for the information which he had so kindly fur- 
nished, and that after Mr. Holmes had finished his 
business in Baltimore, he would oblige them still 
further by coming to Philadelphia, examining the 
body and giving the company his views as to its 
identity. He was also assured that his expenses 
to and from Baltimore would be defrayed. 

After reading this story of crime to the end, 
the reader is requested to turn back to these two 
letters and re-read them. One may then ask, if 
this great criminal has not proved himself to be as 
expert and as audacious in deceit and fabrication, 
as he has been bold and heartless in murder, — 
veril}' an artist in roguery. 


On September 20th, Holmes culled at the office 
of the company in Philadelphia, No. 914 Walnut 
Street. He saw Mr. Fouse, president of the com- 
pany, and told him the correspondence he had had 
with the Chicago manager, of which, of course, 
j\lr. Fouse had knowledge. 

Holmes asked Mr. Fouse about the circumstances 
of the death, which were related to him very briefly. 
Holmes said it was a peculiar case and asked Mr. 
Fouse the cause of death, and the verdict of the 
coroner's jury was communicated to him. He 
was then asked to give a description of Fitezel 
which he did. 

Mr. Fouse told Holmes that Mrs. Pitezel's at- 
torney, Jeptha D. Howe, had telegraphed him that 
he was coming to Pliiladelphia with a member of 
the family, and the body which had been interred 
in the Potter's Field, would no doubt, be taken up. 
Mr. Fouse said he did not know precisely the time 
Howe would arrive and that Holmes had better 
leave his address, so in case the body was taken 
up, he could secure his (Holmes') opinion of its 
identity. Holmes replied that he had business in 
Nicetown, (a suburb of Philadelphia) and if he 
went away the next day he would leave word 
with the company, where he could be found. He 


also promised, if possible, to call at the office the 
next niorning. The next day, September 21st, 
Jeptha D. Howe called at the office of the com- 
pany and presented to President Fuuse a letter 
from R. J. Linden, Supeiintendent of Police of 
Philadelpliia, introducing him. This letter was 
accepted as a sufficient voucher for Mr. Howe. It 
had been obtained from the superintendent on the 
strength of a letter presented to him by Howe, 
and from a friend of the superintendent's in St. 
Louis. The letter was given to Howe to identify 
him, and for no other purpose. Howe produced a 
letter of attorney from Mrs. Pitezel, and also 
quite a number of letters which Mrs. Pitezel had 
received from her husband, while lie was living as 
B. F. Perry at No. 1316 Callowhill Street. He said 
that Pitezel had assumed the name of Perry, be- 
cause he had some financial transactions in Ten- 
nessee, which for the time embarrassed him and 
made it advisable for him to change his name and 
his location. Howe did not go into this matter 
very minutely. Mr. Fouse told Howe that the 
company had become quite convinced that Perry 
and Pitezel were one and the same, but they were 
not convinced that the dead man found was Pite- 
zel^ the man whom they had insured, Howe ex- 


pressed astonishment at this, whereupon Mr, 
Fouse asked him to give a description of Pitezel, 
which he did. This description tallied in all re- 
spects with the description furnished. 

This conversation took place in the forenoon of 
September 21st, and Howe informed the president 
that Pitezel's daughter, Alice, had come with him 
from St. Louis; that Mrs. Pitezel was ill from 
nervous prostration and was unable to make such 
a long journey. He was asked to bring Alice to 
the office after dinner. Mr. Fouse talked with 
Alice when Huwe brought her in the afternoon. 
She was a girl fourteen or fifteen years of age, 
very reticent, embarrassed and stupid. She cor- 
roborated tlie descriptions given of Pitezel by 
Howe and Plolmes. Mr. Fouse then informed 
Howe of the visit of a Mr. Holmes, a gentleman 
who claimed to be an old friend of Pitezel's, nnd 
who had been his employer in years past. He 
asked Howe if he knew Holmes. Howe replied 
he did not. At this juncture, word was received 
by Mr. Fouse that Holmes had returned and was 
in the building. Mr. Fouse so informed Howe 
and asked him whether he would like to meet 
Holmes. He said he would. Holmes was then 
conducted into the room, and Mr. Fouse intro- 


duced Howe to Holmes. They both accepted the 
introduction^ and met ajyparently as strangers. 
They both shook hands. Holmes, hoAvever, at once 
recognized Alice, and told her he supposed she 
recognized him, and she said she did. She had 
been carefully instructed in the part she was to 
play in the performance, and she did it well. 
Holmes had evidently told her that her papa 
\\as really dead, and the company would never 
l»ay the insurance money if they discovered that 
Holmes and her papa had been so intimate. Mr. 
Fouse then took up the statements that had been 
made by the three persons, Holmes, Howe, and 
Alice Pitezel, and then said, as they intended to 
disinter the body, marks of identification had 
better be prepared to which thej^ all could sub- 
scribe. Before assenting to this, Hoive straightened 
himself vp and said : (j-ef erring to Holmes') Who is 
this mail ? Why is he here? What is his purpose ? 
Mr. Fouse at once proceeded to fully and frankly 
explain to Howe how Holmes had come there, 
and referred to the letters the company had re- 
ceived from the Chicago manager. Howe said 
that this was satisfactory. 

The marks of identification, — a wart on the 
neck, a cut on the leg, and a bruised nail of the 


thumb, together with certain peculiarities of the 
teeth were then agreed upon, and an engagement 
was made for all parties to report at the coroner's 
office the following day, Saturday, September 
22d, and with the coroner's physician proceed to 
the Potters Field, disinter the body and look for 
the marks of identification. The next day the 
party, consisting of the deputy coroner, his physi- 
cian. Inspector Perry, Howe, Holmes, Alice Pite- 
zel, Eugene Smith, and President Fouse, all went 
to the Potters Field. When the party arrived, 
they discovered that the body had been disin- 
terred by order of the coroner, and was in the 
dead house. The sight was terrifying, as the 
corpse was greatly decomposed. 

The coroner's physician put on his rubber 
gloves, tore away the garments at places where 
the marks were supposed to be, but he was un- 
able to find them. At this moment. Holmes 
pulled off his coat, rolled up his sleeves, took a 
surgeon's knife from his pocket, put on the rubber 
gloves, turned the body over, cut aAvay the gar- 
ments, washed off the skin at the back of the 
neck, and pointed out the wart, which he re- 
moved. He also showed the cut on the leg and 
the bruised nail of the thumb, which he also re- 

36 MBS. FITEZEL PAID $9,715.85. 

moved and handing them to the coroner's physi- 
cian, he requested that he preserve them in alco- 
hol. Alice Pitezel was not permitted to witness 
this scene, but after Holmes liad finished his self- 
imposed task, and after all portions of the body 
had been covered up, save the mouth, she was led 
sobbing to the table, and after looking at the 
teeth, said they appeared to be like her papa's. 

The party then left the field and Howe asked 
Mr. Fouse for his opinion, and if he was satisfied. 
Mr. Fouse said he would hold the matter under 
consideration. On the following Monday, Sep- 
tember 24th, the ofiicers of the company held a 
conference and concluded that the identification 
was satisfactory and complete and so informed 
Howe. Howe then represented Mrs. Pitezel as 
being very poor and sick and greatly in need of 
money ; that her husband had left her nothing, 
and he wanted to know how soon the claim could 
be paid. After some little consideration, the 
officers of the company decided to pay the claim 
at once, provided the expenses to which this com- 
pany had been put in the effort to identify the 
body were deducted. To this Howe reluctantly 
assented, and thereupon a check to his order as 
attorney in fact for Mrs. Pitezel for $9715.85 was 

Alice Pitj:zel. 


drawn and delivered to him, and the policy of in- 
surance was surrendered. The company also 
paid Holmes ten dollars to defray his expenses 
incurred in coming from Uiillimore. The com- 
pany within the next two weeks received letters 
from Mrs. Pitezel, Alice Pitezel, Holmes and 
Howe, expressing their appreciation of tlie prompt 
manner in which the claim had been settled. 

On Sunday, September 23d, 1894, in response 
to the urgent request of Holmes, wlio said he de- 
sired to leave the city as soon as possible, the cor- 
oner permitted him and Alice Pitezel to subscribe 
to affidavits, in which they certify to the indentity 
of the body as that of B. F. Pitezel. The folio- 
ing are copies of these statements. 

Benjamin F. Pitezel, 

1316 Callowhill Street. 

E. Alice Pitezel. 
I live at No. 6343 Michigan Avenue, St. Louis, 
Mo. I am in my 15th year. Benjamin F. Pitezel 
was my father. He was 37 years old this year. My 
mother is living. There are five children. My 
father came East July 20th. He first went from 
St. Louis to New York, and left there August 
11th. We learned of his death through the 
papers. I came on with Mr. Howe to see the 
body on Saturday, September 22d. I saw a body 


at the city burying ground, and fully recognized 
the body as that of my father by his teeth. I am 
fully satisfied that it is he. 


E. Alice Pitezel. 

Jeptha D. Howe. 
O. LaF. Perry. 
Sept. 23d, 1894. 

H. H. Holmes, 

701 63rd Street, Chicago, 111. 
I knew Benjamin F. Pitezel 8 years in Chicago. 
Had business with him much of that time. More 
recently he had desk room in our office. I received 
a letter from E. H. Cass, agent of the Fidclitj- 
Co. about Benjamin F. Pitezel, sending a clipping. 
I came to Philadelpliia and saw the body on Sat- 
urday, September 22d, at the city burial ground. 
I recollect the mole on the back of the neck, and 
low growth of hair on the forehead, and general 
shape of the head and teeth. His daughter had 
described a scar on tlie right leg below the knee, 
front. I found this on the body as described by 
Alice. I have no doubt whatsoever but what it is 
the body of Benjamin F. Pitezel, who was buried 
as B. F. Perry. I last saw him in November, 
1893, in Chicago. I heard he used an assumed 
name recently. I never knew him to use any 


other name but his own. I found him an honest, 
honorable man in all dealings. 

Harry H. Holmes, 

O. LaF. Perry. 
Jeptha D. Howe. 

Eugene Smith was present at this disinterment 
and examination in Potters Field. He had seen 
Holmes once at No. 1316 Callowhill Street, but 
failed to recognize him at the exhumation of the 
body. Had he done so, the scheme of fraud and 
murder would have been disclosed then and there, 
and the lives of the three children saved. He 
says now that he had a suspicion that the man he 
saw at the Potters Field was the man whom he 
had seen at No. 1316 Callowhill Street, and that 
he was more than once on the point of speaking 
of it to Mr. Fouse, but feared making a mistake 
and so remained silent. 

In this instance at least, silence was not the 
" eloquence of discretion." 



Inspector Gary not Satisfied — Gary Visits Major Harrigan 
at St. Louis. — Letter from a Train Robber — Gary Visits 
Hedgepeth — Search for Holmes — Pinkerton Aid Secured — 
Holmes Arrested in Boston — Holmes True Name Herman 
Webster Mndgett— Mrs. Pitezel Decoyed to Boston and Ar- 
rested — Holmes' Several Wives — Holmes Regrets His Con- 
fidence in Hedgepeth. 

The Fidelity Mutual Life Association, has a 
detective department of its own. It is under the 
direction of Inspector W. E. Gary, a very shrewd, 
painstaking and capable ofiicets who has had a 
long experience in investigations relating to life 
insurance risks. 

Mr. Gary not only questioned the proof of the 
identity of the body as that of Pitezel, but he 
was dissatisfied with the conclusion then reached, 
that the man found, dead, had died as the result 
of an accident, as the appearances of the body 
with the broken bottle and pipe and the dead 
match at its side, seemed to prove. 

The officers of the company, however, had paid 

the claim, and the matter was soon forgotten in 



the multiplicity of duties incident to the business 
of a great insurance company. 

Early in October, about two weeks after Jeptha 
D. Howe departed with the check for $9,715.85, 
business of importance, having no relation what- 
ever to the Pitezel case, called Inspector Gary to 
St. Louis, Missouri. 

On October 9th, while sitting in the branch of- 
fice of the company in St. Louis, a messenger 
called with a letter from Major Lawrence Har- 
rigan, Chief of the St. Louis Police, stating that 
he, (Harrigan) had received a communication 
from a prisoner in the city prison, about an insur- 
ance case which the Fidelity Mutual Life Associa- 
tion had investigated, and suggesting that some 
officer of the company should at once call upon 

This message caused Inspector Gary to visit the 
chiefs office without delay, and there Major Har- 
rigan handed him a letter he had received from 
Marion C. Hedgepeth, a prisoner who was tiwait- 
ing sentence for train robbing. This letter which 
is here given in full will be more fully understood 
when the reader is informed, that Mudgett (or 
Holmes) was known in St. Louis, Missouri, as H. 
M. Howard, and that in July of 1894 he had been 


incarcerated in the city prison under that name 
on a charge of swindling in connection with the 
purchase and sale of a drug store. 

" St. Louis, Mo., 
Tuesday, October 9th, 1894. 
Major Lawrence Harrigan, 
Chief of Police. 
Dear Sir : — 

When H. M. Howard was in here 
some two months ago, he came to me and told me 
he would like to talk to me, as he had read a great 
deal of me, etc.; also after we got well acquainted, 
he told me he had a scheme by which he could 
make $10,000, and he needed some lawyer who 
could be trusted, and said if I could, he would see 
that I got $500 for it. I then told him that J. D. 
Howe could be trusted, and he then went on and 
told me that B. F. Pitezel's life was insured for 
$10,000, and that Pitezel and him were going to 
work the insurance company for the $10,000, and 
just how they were going to do it ; even going 
into minute details ; that he was an expert at it, 
as he had worked it before, and that being a drug- 
gist, he could easily deceive the insurance com- 
pany by having Pitezel fix himself up according 
to his directions and appear that he was mortally 
wounded by an explosion, and then put a corpse 
in place of Pitezel's body, etc., and then have it 
identified as that of Pitezel. I did not take much 


stock in what he told me, until after he went out 
on bond, which was in a few days, when J. D. 
Howe came to me and told me that that man 
Howard, tliat I had recommended him to, had 
come and told him that I had recommended Howe 
to him and had laid the whole plot open to him, 
and Howe told me that he never heard of a finer 
or smoother piece of work, and that it was sure 
to work, and that Howard was one of the smooth- 
est and slickest men that he ever heard tell of, etc., 
and Plowe told me that he would see that I got 
$500 if it worked, and that Howard was going on 
East to attend to it at once. (At this time I did 
not know what insurance company was to be 
worked, and am not sure yet as to which one it is, 
but Howe told me that it was the Fidelity Mutual 
of Philadelphia, whose office is, according to the 
city directory, at No. 520 Olive Street.) Howe 
came down and told me every two or three days, 
that everything was working smoothly and when 
notice appeared in the Globe Democrat and 
Chronicle of the death of B. F. Pitezel, Howe 
came down at once and told me that it was a 
matter of a few days until we would have the 
money, and that the only thing tliat might keep 
the company from paying it at once, was the fact 
that Howard and Pitezel were so hard up for 
money, that they could not pay the dues on the 
policy until a day or two before it was due, and 
then had to send it by telegram, and that the 


company might claim that they did not get the 
money until after the lapse of the policy ; but 
they did not, and so Howe and a little girl (I 
think Pitezel's daughter) went back to Philadel- 
phia and succeeded in identifying and having the 
body recognized as that of B. F. Pitezel. Howard 
told me that Pitezel's wife was privy to the whole 
thing. Howe tells me now that Howard would 
not let Mrs. Pitezel go back to identify the sup- 
posed body of her husband, and that he feels al- 
most positive and certain that Howard deceived 
Pitezel and that Pitezel in following out Holme's 
instructions, was killed and that it was really 
the body of Pitezel. 

The policy was made out to the wife and when 
the money was put in the bank, then Howard 
stepped out and left the wife to settle with Howe 
for his services. She was willing to pay him 
il,000, but he wants 82,500 and so -12,500 of 
the money is held until they get over squabbling 
about it. Howard is now on his way to Germany, 
and Pitezel's wife is here in the city yet, and 
where Pitezel is or whether that is Pitezel's body 
I can't tell, but I don't believe it is Pitezel's body, 
but believe that he is alive and well and probably 
in Germany, where Howard is now on his way. It 
is hardly worth while to say that I never got the 
8500 that Howard held out to me for me to intro- 
duce him to Mr. Howe. Please excuse this poor 
writing as I have written this in a hurry and have 


to write on a book placed on my knee. This and 
a lot more I am willing to swear to. I wish you 
would see the Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance 
Company and see if they are the ones who have 
been made the victim of this swindle, and if so, 
tell them that I want to see them. I never asked 
what company it was until to-day, and it was after 
we had some words about the matter, and so 
Howe may not have told the proper company, but 
you can find out what companj^ it is by asking or 
telephoning to the different companies. When I 
asked Mrs. Pitezel's address he waited a long time 
and finally said it was No. 6342 S. Michigan Ave. 
Please send an agent of the company to see me if 
you please. 

Yours Resp., etc., 
Marion C. Hedgepeth. 

It was in compliance with this request that In- 
spector Gary, accompanied by a stenographer, 
visited Hedgepeth in the city prison and obtained 
from him a sworn statement, which was in effect a 
reiteration of the declarations made in the letter, 
except that in addition to all that had been dis- 
closed by Howe after his return from Philadel- 
phia, he told Hedgepeth that he verily believed 
that the body was really Pitezel's, and that 
Holmes had either murdered him, or Pitezel had 


been killed in the explosion when setting up the 
job of substitution. 

With a cop3' of this letter and the statement 
Inspector Gary returned at once to Philadelphia 
and promptly reported the new revelation to the 
officers of the company. These gentlemen con- 
sidered the story to be a fake, — a tale manufac- 
tured by a wily criminal for selfish purposes, and 
they refused to believe it or attach any importance 
to it whatever. Not so, however, with Inspector 
Gary. He believed the statement to be true. 
He pointed out matters referred to in Hedgepeth's 
letter, which could not have been known to 
Hedgepeth, and must have been communicated by 
either Howe or Howard, and precisely as he had 
related them. Hedgepeth states that the premium 
on the policy was sent by a telegram from New 
York, as indeed it was, and on the very day it tvas 
due, August 9th. How could he have known that 
fact? It was known onlj' to the officers of tlie 
company and the conspirators. Gary finally 
persuaded the officers of the company to permit 
him to make a search for Holmes, and as the work 
progressed, proofs that the company had been 
made the victim of a swindle, multiplied. The 
aid of the Piukeiton Detective force was now 


secured. Holmes was first searched for in Kings- 
ton, Canada, and then in Detroit, but without re- 
sult. He was finally traced to Burlington, Ver- 
mont, thence to Tilton and Gilmanton, N. H. 
At the last named place it was found that Holmes 
or Howard, two of his aliases, was really Herman 
Webster Mudgett ; that his father's home was in 
Gilmanton, and that he was visiting his old home 
while under the surveillance of detectives. He 
was kept under a close shadow and followed to 
Boston, where on November 17, 1894, he was 
arrested and taken to the police station. 

Strange to say, his arrest was effected not on 
the charge of swindling the insurance company, 
but on a telegram from Fort Worth, Texas, charg- 
ing him with horse stealing, — another of his 
criminal operations. At the time of the arrest, 
Mr. Perry, one of the officers of the company, 
(who had seen Mudgett at the company's office in 
Philadelphia, and in the Potters Field at the ex- 
humation of the body) went to Boston. Upon 
seeing Mr. Perry at the city police station, Mud- 
gett or Holmes, as we shall call him, threw up 
his hands and said he guessed he was wanted in 
Philadelphia by the Fidelity, and not in Fort 
Worth for the horse business. In fact he ex- 


pressed a decided disinclination to revisit Fort 
Worth, Texas, as he knew that horse thieves and 
swindlers are liable to receive much more per- 
emptory attention from the populace in that sec- 
tion than in the north. 

Holmes had rented a house in Burlington, Ver- 
mont, for Mrs. Pitezel, who had with her, her 
baby and eldest daughter, Dessie, about sixteen 
years of age. She was brought to Boston by a 
decoy letter, devised by the Pinkertons and writ- 
ten by Holmes, and was arrested and placed iu 
the city police station. When arrested. Holmes 
was found in the company of Miss Georgiana 
Yoke, whom he had married under the name of 
Henry Mansfield Howard. This lady soon 
proved herself to be an estimable and an honest 
woman. She had been cruelly and heartlessly 
deceived, and soon learned that she was one of 
several victims, for he had not only a lawful wife 
living near his old home in New Hampshire, but 
he had married at least one other woman, who 
honestly believed herself to be his wife. 

His confidence in Hedgepeth can only be ex- 
plained by his evident admiration for a man who 
had achieved great notoriety as a train robber. 
It was a weakness, which Holmes has many times 


regretted. He has just as much deplored the 
other mistake he made, in omitting to pay Hedge- 
peth his promised reward and share of the money, 
for it is quite evident that while Hedgepeth told 
the truth in his letter to the chief of police and 
in his statement to Inspector Gary, his expose was 
in revenge for the chagrin he suffered, when he 
realized he was forgotten at the time of the dis- 
tribution of the proceeds of the robbery. 



Holmes' First Confession — Admits Conspiracy to Defraud — 
Substitution of a Corpse — A Plausible Statement — Details 
of the Conspiracy. 

The eclio of the clang of the cell door through 
the corridor of the police station in Boston, had 
scarcely died away, before Holmes inaugurated a 
system of fabrications, the chief object of which was 
to deceive and mislead the police authorities and the 
officers of the company he had robbed. He admitted 
that a fraud had been perpetrated, and that he was 
one of a band of conspirators, who had successfully 
imposed upon a life insurance company, and had 
secured upwards of ten thousand dollars, by the 
substitution of a corpse, for the supposed dead 
body of the insured. He said the cadaver had 
been obtained from a medical friend of his in New 
York, whose name he refused to disclose. Holmes 
is greatly given to lying with a sort of florid 
ornamentation, and all of his stories are decorated 
with flamboyant draperies, intended by him to 



strengthen the plausibility of his statenienLs. li\ 
talking, he has the appearance of cunclor, be- 
comes pathetic at times when pathos will serve 
him best, uttering his words with a quaver in his 
voice, often accompanied by a moistened eye, then 
turning quickly with a determined and forceful 
method of speech, as if indignation or resolution 
had sprung out of tender memories that had 
touched his heart. 

Here is his first confession, made November 
19th, 1894, to O. M. Hanscom, Deputy Superin- 
tendent of Police, Massachusetts, and John Corn- 
ish, Superintendent of the Pinkerton Detective 
Agency of Boston, Massachusetts. 

Boston, Mass., 

November 19, 1894. 

Q. (By Mr. Hanscom.) What is Pitezel's 

A. B. F., I think Benjamin Fuller. 

Q. When did you last see Pitezel ? 

A. I cannot give the day. I will leave a blank 
and fill it in. 

Q. State it in your own way. 

A. Well, I saw him last in Detroit and it was 

Benjamin' F. Pitkzei. 


in the neigliborliood of three weeks ago, but I can 
give the exact date by consulting my wife. 

Q. Do you know where he was stopping in 
Detroit ? 

A. No, I don't know. He had been there 
several days before waiting for me to come 

Q. When was the last time before that that 
you saw him ? 

A. Well I had not seen him but once since this 
Philadelphia occurrence and that was in Cin- 
cinnati, probably two weeks before that. 

Q. You went from New York with the trunk 
and body ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. And turned the check over to him ? 

A. That was on Sunday. 

Q. You know what date? 

A. No, it was the Sunday nearest the first of 

Q. After turning over to him the check for 
the trunk when did you see hini next? 

A. About ten days or two weeks, I should 
say, in Cincinnati. 

Q. Then you gave him your instructions as ti> 
how to proceed with the body? 


A. He had tJiose before. 

Q. Those had been given to him some time 
before ? 

A. Ves, sir. 

Q. So that you did not see him after turning 
over to him the checks until you next met liim in 
Cincinnati ? 

A. No, sir. I think there must have been two 
weeks. It must have been more, because it was 
three weeks before I went on to Philadelphia. 
It must have been at least ten days or two weeks 
after the payment of the money. 

Q. You had no occasion to meet him in Phila- 
delphia during the interim between giving him 
the check and the finding of the body ? 

A. He went right away, or was to go to New 

Q. As soon as he prepared the body his in- 
structions were to go to New York ? 

A. Yes, sir, and I went that night really 
within three hours after the body had landed in 

Q. You next saw him in Cincinnati? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. Some two weeks? 

A. Well, it must have been nearer five weeks, 


about ten clays or so after the payment of the 
money. I have no means of knowing just how 
many clays between. 

Q. How did he get possession of the tlireo 
children ? 

A. Well, one he got in Cincinnati and the 
other in Detroit. The boy he '^ook there. 

Q. Did you see the child with him in Cincin- 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. By whom was it turned over to him ? 

A. The three children,— or rather to be more 
explicit, after we came to Philadelphia to identify 
the body, the little child Alice, who was there 
with Mr. Perry about the identification, went as 
far as Indianapolis with me and I left her there 
and "went further on to St. Louis where the 
mother was, and as soon as the money was paid 
over to the attorney and given to this .woman, 
why a portion of it I took and the other two 
children and went to Cincinnati calling for this 
one in Indianapolis. 

Q. By " this woman " you mean his wife? 

A. Yes, sir. Now, when I landed in Cincin- 
nati I had three children ; two I took at St. 
Louis, boy and girl, and one from Philadelphia 


that I Lad jnst stepped off the train at Indian- 
apolis and took from there where she had been at 
the Stebbins Hotel. 

Q. In whose charge at the Stebbins Hotel was 
this child ? 

A. She was hardly with any one, she was four- 
teen or fifteen years old. 

Q. Was she stopping under her own name? 

A. No, under the name of Canning. 

Q. You took three children and went to Cin- 
cinnati ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. Where you met the father ? 

A. The father, and then it was arranged, — the 
mother wanted to see him if she could without 
the children knowing he was alive. 

Q. Was the mother with you ? 

A. No, not then, but she was to follow. I was 
to go to Cincinnati and get a house and have 
them go there and stay for the winter, all the 
whole family, and it was arranged that he should 
see her fur a few days and then he was going 
South where he used to be in the lumber business, 
but he had been drinking and before I knew it 
he went in where the children were stopping and 
saw those three, and the mother had threatened in 


case that they knew that he was alive she would 
not go any further in it, because she thought it 
would all come out. He is a man that drinks 
some. So we compromised there by his taking 
enough to go there and keep these three chil- 
dren away from tlie mother, so he took one of 
them and I took the other two to Chicago, be- 
cause I had business there, thinking that it would 
not call anyone's attention so quick if he travelled 
with the boy alone as if there were three. Then 
I took them to Detroit and he was already there 
and took the other two, dressed the smallest girl 
as a boy, but this girl Alice is dressed, I suppose 
now, as a girl and there are two boys and one girl. 

Q. The two boys, would that mean the eldest 
and the next to the eldest? 

A. No, there is only one boy really. 

Q. Which other one was dressed as a boy ? 

A. The youngest girl. 

Q. How old is she ? 

A. Not over 11 years old. 

Q. Did you get a suit of clothes in Detroit? 

A. He got them. 

Q. How long did you remain with him in De- 
troit ? 

A. Oh, I think 1 got in there Saturday and he 


went away Monday, I think. Anyway, we had 
intended to get the children there and let the 
mother know that they were there, but still he 
■wanted to see her very bad. 

Q. He did not succeed in seeing his wife iu 

A. No. 

Q. She did not join him there ? 

A. No. 

Q. Did you see him leave Detroit? 

A. No, I did not. I kept away wholly from 
him ; that is, he met me. I can't think of the 
street, it is a street they have been repairing. 
We went out on the street cars. 

Q. It is not really clear to my mind now why 
the family should be broken up, why the three 
children should go one way and she with the two 
children the other way. 

A. The first intention was to have them all 
go to Cincinnati and stay there for the winter, 
get a furnished house and have her stay there un- 
til any noise might blow over, and he was going 
into the South on lumber business and I about my 
general business. When I got down there I met 
him. I had the three children and he had been 
waiting there some days and 1 stayed there with 


him that uight, and the next day instead of doing 
as he agreed, he had been drinking a little and he 
went and saw the children which he agreed nut 
to do under any circumstances. 

Q. That, of course, gave it away that he was 
alive ? 

A. Of course, we could not get them away in 
a moment. 

Q. Your theory was that it was necessary for 
the three children to accompany him for the 
safety of the scheme? 

A. Well, if the mother knew that they knew 
then she would immediately throw it over as she 
said, and I think she will tell you so herself. 

Q. At the same time I suppose there was 
some fear that they might in some way, betray 
the fact that he was still alive ? 

A. Well, they could not all be together and 
go to school ; you could nut depend upon 10 
or 11 year old children to keep the fact : keep 
them from speaking among themselves or before 
strangers, neither could 3'ou get them to go 
under another name and carry it out at that 

Q. Do you know what his next point was ? 

A. He was going to New York and then if he 


could get through on the boats, if thej had not al- 
ready been taken off he was going tliat way, and 
if they had he was going to go down by land as 
far as Key West I think, some very southern 
point. He knows the South, which I don't. I 
have been on the Eastern coast more. He had 
some lumber business there. And I think tlie 
safest way is to go to the railroad brokers to see 
if he went by boat, because he always buys these 
scalpers tickets when he can. 

Q. About what date then do you place him in 
New York ; according to your reckoning, what 
dates should he have been tliere ? 

A. I am thoroughly honest in saying that I 
cannot say what day, but if you will leave it I 
can get it. It was about a month ago. 

Q. Under what name was he travelling at that 

A. Well, T. H., or anyway it was made out 
of the name he used in the South, only he turned 
it round about. He was there under the name 
of Benton T. Lyman, and I think it was L. T. or 
L. B. Benton. Benton was the name which was 
agreed upon quite a while before. 

Q. That is the name under which he corres- 
ponded with you ? 


A. I was going to address him through either 
Chicago or New York Personals. 

Q. Had you any cipher code that he under- 
stood ? 

A. Yes sir, but that was only fur his writing 
to me, because of his going from place to place, to 
places where the mails did not go ; very often I 
hardly thought it was safe. After I got his letter, 
anything of importance I was to put in either the 
Chicago Tribune, or the New York Herald in the 
way of a personal letter. We have done that a 
few times in years past. 

Q. Was it agreed what the '' ad " should be ? 

A. No, it would be in shape so that he would 
understand all well, or if anything new that came 
up should cause him to move again, it would be 
taken through them. 

Q. Then you believe that he and the children 
are all alive and well ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. You have every reason to believe that? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. Would there be anything about his effects 
that would in any way serve to give notice if any- 
thing had occurred to him ? 

A. No, I am sure of that because I was in a 


little difficulty in St. Louit> last suimuer, and so 
we talked over at that time all the names aud 
everything. I had a good many pa[)er6 on me at 
that time. He had allowed his beard to grow and 
he has new teeth. He had them all extracted. 
He said he was going to have them the first thing 
when he got to New York. He has not nearly 
as many as the body and that can be easily estab- 
lished. In fact, it is easily proven also, that I 
left Philadelphia also on Sundav night before the 
time when lie was last seen by the coroner's 
witnesses, — outsiders saw him after I left Phila- 
delphia. My wife and I went through on a Pull- 

Q. If you were obliged to establish the fact, 
can you show any meetings with him after leaving 
him in Philadelphia at the time you gave him the 
check for the trunk ? 

A. Yes, sir, I think I can. While they were 
made as secret as they could be, we sat for a good 
hour in the hotel. I took the children to a cer- 
tain hotel in Cincinnati and kept them upstairs, 
and I sat down for a good length of time in their 
writing room, and I was writing and they knew 
me well by sight there, and I think I can estab- 
lish that fact. 


Q. Was he there ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. You sat there with him ? 

A. Yes, sir. No, it was at the other hotel. 

Q. What hotel ? 

A. Well, I would have to see a Cincinnati 
directory. I could pick them out. 

Q. Now at any other point? How about 
Detroit ? 

A. He slipped in there where the girls stayed 
and I happened to be in there at the time once. 
We kept as far apart as we could there and I 
took him out of Detroit, that is, from the centre 
part out where the children met him, in a big 

Q. The same as you had shipped his body 

A. Yes, sir. We had a scare there. I got 
some word from Chicago, but it pertained to this 
Fort Worth matter, that officers had been there, 
looking for us, and I knew if they obtained a clue, 
they could easily trace me to Detroit, so I came 
out from his place there and took him outside the 
city almost, and took the children out in a buggy 
to where he was. The children were apparently 
with me. They knew me as their uncle. 


Q. You were known to the " children as their 
uncle ? 

A. They knew different, but in the houbc 
where they stayed, I was known as such. 

Q. That was in Detroit ? 

A. Yes, sir. By getting a plan of Detroit, I 
could tell where it was, the streets where th^ girls 
stayed, if it became necessary to substantiate my 
statements, and I go there, they would know me 
also as being there. 

Q. (By Mr. Cornish.) Where did you take 
the trunks from ? 

A. I took it more than two miles and let him 

Q. In a house or in the woods ? 

A. Way outside of the city. I went to a 
stable and got a horse and wagon there. 

Q. (By Mr. Hanscom.) Did you drive the 
wagon ?• 

A. Yes. 

Q. It must have been an express ? 

A. No, it was a buggy with sort of heavy 
back. I tried to get an express wagon and they 
had not anything except a very large one, so the 
trunk went on behind by tying it on. I don't 


think he went more than a mile in tliat way, a 
mile or two. 

Q, (By Mr. Cornish.) Who helped you to 
put the trunk in the buggy? 

A. I put in the trunk. 

Q. Did you put it in alone ? 

A. I put it in alone. 

Q. Did you take it nut alone ? 

A. No, all I liad to do was to put the lid back 
when he got out. 

Q. Was that on the roadway ? 

A. Yes, sir. Well, it was outside of the city, 
about two miles from the centre of the town. 
The occasion of it was that I thought that officers 
were then watching him, but not me. 

Q. Did you see him after that? 

A. Yes, just long enough to drive out with the 
children in the buggy. 

Q. The children did not go with you on this 
first trip ? 

A. Oh no, I took him in a light buggy, and he 
waited there for the children. 

Q. That same day did you drive out with the 

A. Yes, sir. 


Q. (By Mr, Hansconi.) Wliat was the object 
of going out there that way? 

A. I had got word from Chicago tliat officers 
from Fort Worth were there. I thought then 
it was on this matter, and said they liad got 
track of both of us. He was at Fort Worth with 

Q. Then the last time you met was when you 
took the children out there to see him. The last 
time that you actually saw him ? 

A. Yes. It was somewhere about 4 o'clock in 
the afternoon of the day that I carried him out in 
the trunk. He had gone across from there, from 
a certain place where I left him, over to another 
place of meeting. 

Q. Did you go across the bridge ? 

A. No, I did not go over with him. I did not 
go for a C'luplo of days. I had to wait to get 
them. I cariied the children out to him. He 
W!is to send in a boy for the satchel. I did not 
take it away because I feai-ed the officers were 
watcliiiig and we were only going out to ride. 

Q. From that j)oint he started ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. Towards Canada? 

A. No, I don't think so. It was spoken of 


that he would go to Detrnit after Toronto, aiid 
wait there until I could get the wife and the other 
two children, and he hated to go aw.ay without see 
ing them. 

Q. Have you heard from him since ? 

A. No, sir. 

Q. All you know about New York and about 
his taking a steamer for any point in tlie South or 
for South America is what had been previously 
agreed upon ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. And you have not heard yet? 

A. No, sir, it is hardly time. 

Q. Under what name was he to address you ? 

A. Well, I can't tell you that, any more 
than he asked me particularly what name, and I 
said it was safe enough to address me as Howard 
at Room 30, No. 69 Dearborn St., Chicago. 

Q. Under the name of Howard or Holmes? 

Q. Yes, almost any strange name to them, 
either those two, or some name that did not be- 
long in the office. 

Q. Was this correspondence to be sent in any 
care ? 

A. In care of Mr. Frank Blackman. 

Q. Who is Frank Blackman ? 


A. A real estate dealer, and during my ab- 
sence from the city he was liaving charge of my 
money affairs there. 

Q. How many weeks ago or days ago, was 
this final and last meeting with him in Detroit? 

A. As near as I can guess it was three weeks 

Q. About three weeks ago that you left De- 
troit ? 

A. Possibly a little more. I can give those 
dates by referring to others, that is, my wife. 

Q. Have you any reason to believe that there 
is any mail waiting for you at this Chicago, Dear- 
born St. office ? 

A. We got some this morning. It comes as 
fast as it is received. 

Q. Since delivering the children to him on the 
outskirts of Detroit, you have not seen or heard 
from him directly or indirectly? 

A. No, sir. 

Q. Has his wife been in search of him lately? 

A. Oh no, because after this break that he 
made in regard to seeing the children, I have had 
to tell her while I could get her in shape to send 
her to him, that he was here and there and put 
her off. 

Eeau of No. 1316 Callowhill St., Philadelphia, Pa. 


Q. You have put her off by telling her that 
her husband was at different points about the 
country ? 

A. Yes, sir, I acted under him. 

Q. Such is the fact ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. And she has been to Toronto in pursuit of 
them ? 

A. Yes, sir, and Ogdensburg and Burlington, 
Vt. I have expected every day to get w^ord 
where he was, and that was my idea of getting 
her here, so to ship her and the children from 

Q. I want to know whether or not you have 
taken her from point to point with the under- 
standing that she was to see her husband ? 

A. She was to have met him at Detroit. In 
fact, she was to meet him in Cincinnati. 

Q. She was to have met him in Cincinnati and 
then she went from Cincinnati to Detroit ? 

A. No, sir, she went to Galva, her old home, 
and was to wait there until I telegraphed her and 
got their homes in Cincinnati. 

Q. Did she do it ? 

A. No, sir, because when he saw the children 
I sent word then for her to go to Chicago and 


from there to Detroit. It broke her plans com- 
pletely up when he saw the children. He begged 
of me not to let her know it, because he wanted 
to see her and I agreed to go as far as Detroit 
and take a house there and see her alone, 
and then let the children go and tell her after- 

Q. But he did not see her in Detroit ? 

A. No. When he was sober he saw the diffi- 
culty of having the children stay with her after 
he had seen them on account of their talking. 

Q. (By Mr. Cornish.) You said that your 
wife could fill out certain blanks that you have 

A. She remembers everything for a year past. 

Q. Have you remembered where you stopped 
in Philadelphia? 

A. Yes, it is near 

Q. Was it 13th Street at the house of a Mrs. 
Dr. Alcott ? 

A. That is the name, but it is on 11th Street, 
unless I am very much mistaken, near No. 1900 on 
11th Street. Dr. Howell is the name that I went 
under. The doctor s name is Alcott. (Alcorn.) 

Q. At the time that you went to Detroit, your 
wife was in Indianapolis ? 


A. Well, which time ? 

Q. The time that you were going to meet 
Pitezel. Your wife left Indianapolis on October 
12th, and joined you somewhere near Peru ? 

A. I think it was near Peru, it was an adjoin- 
ing place on the road. 

Q. Then you arrived in Detroit, Friday, Oc- 
tober the 12th ? 

A. I will not say as to the date. 

Q. That is from your wife's memorandum ? 

A. I think you can depend upon her. 

Q. Do you remember where you stopped in 
Detroit ? Was it Park Place ? 

A. Well, we first went to a hotel. 

Q. No. 40 Park Place ? 

A. I can't tell as to numbers. It was near 
what they call, — yes. Park Place. 

Q. And you took your meals at the Cadillac ? 

A. Yes, mostly. 

Q. Do you know when you left Detroit to go 
to Toronto ? 

A. I think we were there just a week and two 
days, in Detroit. 

Q. You arrived in Toronto on October 18th 
in the evening ? 

A. I don't think those dates will corres- 


pond, because I think we were at this house a 

Q. This is taken from a memorandum book in 
your wife's hand. " Arrived at Toronto October 
18th and went to the Walker House." 

A. Then you can depend upon it. 

Q. On Saturday the 20th you went to Niagara 
and stopped at the Imperial Hotel on the Canada 

A. Yes, sir, that is right. 

Q. On Sunday the 21st you returned to To- 
ronto and went to the Palmer House ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. October 25th you went to Prescott and 
stopped at the Imperial Hotel ? 

A. I don't think that was the name of the 

Q. On October 27th you crossed to Ogdens- 
burg. New York ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. On the 31st went to Burlington, Vermont, 
and took up your residence at No. 19 George 
Street ? 

A. Yes, sir. In all the places, in Ogdensburg 
I tried to get a suitable place to leave the family. 
I did not want to keep them around. 


Q. Did Mrs. Pitezel go to all these places with 

A. Well, she left Toronto the day before we 
did and went to Ogdensburg direct. 

Q. She did not touch Prescott or Niagara, that 
is, only through Prescott to Ogdensburg. 

A. That is all. 

Q. On November 5th, did you obtain any money 
from your wife in Burlington ? 

A. She was carrying a thousand dollars for me, 
and, without being explicit as to date, she gave it to 

Q. What did you tell her you were going to 
do with it ? 

A. I told her I was going East to meet some- 
one from Chicago. 

Q. You stated where East? 

A. Kingston, and in fact I used it to pay bills 
in the East that I was owing years ago for my edu- 
cation in Gilmanton, N. H. where my father and 
mother live. 

Q. So that it was expended at Tilton and 
Gilmanton ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. On that same day on arrival in Tilton you 
went to the Adams Express Office ? 


A. States Express, I think it was. 

Q. And got a box about four feet long, two 
and a half feet wide, and one and a half feet 
thick, what did that contain ? 

A. That was filled with blankets and things 
from my buildings in Chicago, new ones, blankets 
and spreads. 

Q. To whom did you take the box ? 

A. Well, I gave my part of them, in fact I 
guess all of them went to Gilmanton to my mother 
and one of my brothers. 

Q. During all the time that you were at Til- 
ton, Franklin and Gilmanton, your wife thought 
you were witli this lawyer in Kingston ? 

A. Yes, sir, she did not know that I had any 
relatives ; and I will say, that she has not known 
that this woman or any of the family has been go- 
ing from place to place. I had to send her ahead 
or to follow. 

Q. That is, Mrs. Pitezel ? 

A. Yes, sir. My wife has known nothing of 
the insurance matter in any way, shape or form. 

Q. When did Mrs. Pitezel first become ac- 
quainted with this scheme? 

A. Well, it is pretty hard to tell, because I 
found out a week or two ago here, that her oldest 


daughter had known of it in the summer ; that her 
father had told her if anything happened to him 
not to be worried ; that he wauld not be dead, and 
whether it was the same case with Mrs. Pitezel or 
not, I cannot tell, but my object in leaving Phila- 
delphia a little ahead of when it should come out 
in the papers, was so to get there, to sort of break 
it to her, tell her if she saw it in the papers it was 
not a fact. Now, to the best of my knowledge 
and belief that was when she first knew of it. 

Q. Did she know from the papers, anything 
about the finding of the body of Perry before you 
saw her ? 

A. They found it out in the morning in the 
papers, that is, the family, the entire family read 
it and naturally supposed it to be true. 

Q. (By Mr. Hanscom.) Did it seem to be gen- 
uine grief on their part ? 

A. Yes, sir, the doctor even was called. 

Q. Then really you believe that was the first 
they knew ? 

A. Yes, this oldest daughter was taking on just 
as bad as any and I know now that she knew or 
supposed it was not really death. 

Q. The mother is rather an illiterate, plain 
person ? 


A. Yes. 

Q. (By Mr. Cornish.) Then you saw her the 
day she read this in the paper ? 

A. The night. 

Q. What conversation did you have with her 

A. I told her then that she need not worry. 

Q. Did you on that evening tell her that her 
husband was alive ? 

A. Yes, I am sure of that. 

Q. Then if you told her that her husband was 
alive, there must have been some conversation that 
you had with her in regard to the job that was put 
up in Philadelphia ? 

A. Oh yes, I spoke to her the next day. That 
is why I hastened there. In fact, I told him to 
hold on, not to leave the house, not prepare this 
body until Monday some time, but the evidence 
seems to show that he got scared or something 
and did not want to stay with it over night. 

Q. Before calling on Mrs. Pitezel did you see 
Jeptha D. Howe ? 

A. I did not see him until the next morning. 
I remember that I got in on the six something 
train and went to the office to see him and he had 
gone, and I saw him the following morning. I 


had seen him previously about the arrange- 

Q. Did you tell him of your interview with 
Mrs. Pitezel ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. Did he then see her ? 

A. I think it was the next day. 

Q. Were you with him at the time ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. At her house or his office ? 

A. At his office. 

Q. Did she go alone to his office or did you 
take her there ? 

A. I think I took her the first time and intro- 
duced her. Oh, I remember she was there in the 
morning waiting and we were both there waiting 
when Mr. Howe ciime on the landing there. 

Q. Was there anybody at the interview or 
conference, except yourself, Howe and Mrs. Pite- 

A. I don't think there was, unless a young 
lady that sat there, a stenograplier. I am almost 
sure a stenographer was there. 

Q. Was she engaged in taking dmvn this con- 
versation ? 

A. No, I don't tliink so. 


Q. When was the next conference, and where ? 

A. I think she went there the next day at Mr. 
Howe's office and was there before I got there ; in 
fact, I don't think I saw her much that date only 
as she came out of there just for a minute or two, 
on the landing to talk. 

Q. Did she object very strenuously to carrying 
out this sclieme ? 

A. No, not then after I explained it. She said 
she ivas in it and would do her best to carry it 

Q. What inducements did you hold ovit to her 
to carry on this scheme ? 

A. It was the money. 

Q. Was she promised any amount of money? 

A. No, it was agreed that this money sliould 
be used to protect the property in Fort Worth, 
that her husband and I were both interested in. 

Q. At that time was there anytliing stated to 
Howe, or by Howe, as to what his fees were to 

A. It was spoken of and he said it would be 
all right, he would not set a price, but really the 
object he had in going to take hold of the case 
was to get money to liberate his other client who 
was in jail. (Marion Hedgepeth.) 


Q. How many interviews did you have alto- 
gether with Howe, when Mrs. Pitezel was pres- 

A. Oh, perhaps half a dozen. 

Q. Running over how many days? 

A. Well, perhaps ten days, because in the 
meantime I went away to Franklin, I know, and 
then there was an interview after I got back, after 
he got the money. 

Q. In each of these interviews in which Mrs. 
Pitezel was present, she knew, or was led to be- 
lieve that her husband was still alive ? 

A. Oh yes, she did. And one thing, it was 
agreed between Howe and myself, that Mrs. Pite- 
zel should not know but what he thought it was a 
genuine death. 

Q. What was that ? 

A. It was agreed between Howe, the attorney, 
and myself, that Mrs. Pitezel did not know that 
he was acting in an underhand way. 

Q. (By Mr. Hanscom.) Has Mrs. Pitezel re- 
ceived any letters from her husband since she was 
in Detroit ? 

A. I think it was since then, one in a sort of 
cipher. I have been in the habit for years of 
using cipher and they fixed one up, a simple de- 


vice, using figures instead of letters. Aside from 
this there was none. 

Q. She has received one ? 

A. Yes, sir, she read part of it to me. 

Q. Where was it from ? 

A. Well, it was written, I know, in Detroit. 
He had me keep it so if she got anxious and wor- 
ried to say he was all right. 

Q. He wrote a cipher letter to his wife and 
that was entrusted to your custody ? 

A. Yes, sir. I think it was given to her in 
Ogdensburg, at some point on my travels since. 
She might not recall it, it was all in figures. 

Q. (By Mr. Cornish.) You stated that there 
was to be some arrangements made so that you 
could communicate through the New York Htrald 
or Chicago Tribune ; did you have any such com- 
munication ? 

A. No, sir, that was after he got away. There 
was no occasion then. But instead of my writing 
him, I was to communicate with him there and 
my mail was to have come from Chicago, I was 
not to have it direct. 

Q. Now, I am going to ask you a question. 
From whom did you get the body in New York ? 

A. Well, I have refused thus far to state. I 


told Mr. Perry I thought I would, but if Pitezel 
comes up in a few days I would rather not tell 
that, because I was concerned years ago with this 
doctor, in something not exactly of this nature, 
but so intimately that in the position he is in, it 
would hurt him very much. Of course, I will if 
it comes right down to saving myself. 

Q. I think that while you are telling this thing, 
you should tell the whole truth right as it is. It 
is a matter that must come out in time and now 
is as good a time as any other. 

A. I think you will agree with me, that I have 
tried since I told Inspector Watts that I would 
not tell anything but the truth, that I would try 
to make it plain, but it is more than that. He is 
a man now well enough to do, so that if my wife 
becomes penniless, if I am shut up for a term of 
years, I think I can call upon him for help. 

Q. Then you understand that the party who 
furnished you the body had no guilty knowledge ? 

A. They did, they knew well enough while it 
was being talked over ; they knew from our past 
connection well enough, from the receipts that we 
got from the insurance company, he knew what 
the body was going to be used for. The very 
fact that I wanted one with a wart on the neck. 


Q. Was the body placed in the trunk in the 
house there ? 

A. I'd rather not answer that. I don't want 
to antagonize you in the least, but for the time be- 
ing I'd rather wait. 

Q. Where was the trunk purchased? 

A. It was a trunk that we had back and forth. 
It had been tliere in his house, an old trunk pur- 
posely, so as not to draw attention to it. I can- 
not tell where it was purchased, years old. The 
trunk belonged to him. 

Q. How much money did Mrs. Pitezel give 
you? You said that she gave you -11,800 to be 
given to Pitezel ? 

A. It came in a lump sum. I can give you 
a rough guess within a few hundred dollars that 
was paid by the insurance company and I cannot 
tell. (Figures it up). In the neighborhood of 

Q. That is what she gave you ? 

A. I can put it in this way, that Howe gave 
Mrs. Pitezel just about $7,000 and she gave me 
^5,000 something odd. 

Q. Tliat is, that Howe gave Mrs. Pitezel 
$7,000 about and Mrs. Pitezel gave you $5,000 ? 


A. Yes, and before that to pay a certain bill 

Q. What was the bill, a bill to Becker? 

A. Yes, and |400 that I was owing, attorne3''s 
fees on another matter, so directly and indi- 
rectly she caused to come into my hands about 

Q. What disposition was made of that ? 

A. Well, to make it clear I will have to ex- 
plain the business in the South to a certain ex- 
tent. We took of a party by the name of Will- 
iams, a certain piece of property to build upon, 
agreed to pay her $10,000 for it, and last spring 
from time to time we paid her $2,500. This we 
sent to her, and the receipt was in the shape of 
several pieces of paper, notes, and quite a con- 
siderable amount was sent to take them up. I 
forget how much, less than $5,000. 

Q. Do you remember one night in Indianapo- 
lis telling your wife that you had sold certain 
Fort Worth property for $35,000, $10,000 to be 
paid in cash, and the balance in bonds and mort- 
gages ? 

A. Yes, sir, this very piece of property she 

Q. Now then you took a roll of bills out of 


your pocket, was that supposed to be part of the 
$10,000 ? 

A. I think she has got the two dates con- 
founded, because I went to Detroit to consum- 
mate this sale that she was so anxious to have 

Q. This took place in Detroit? 

A. Yes, the last time. 

Q. And you told her that Blackman had 

A. The question was naturally where was the 
$10,000. I told her that |5,000 I sent to Chicago. 
I don't think I said to Blackman, though she was 
led to think that. 

Q. Part of it you entrusted to her ? 

A. I gave her a thousand dollars. 

Q. In Cincinnati how much did you give Pite- 

A. In Cincinnati only a very little, a couple of 
hundred dollars. 

Q. In Detroit ? 

A. I think it was $1,825, or twenty odd dol- 
lars, making the two sums $2,000 with what I had 
given him in Cincinnati. 

Q. That is the amount that Pitezel got out of 
the whole affair? 


A. Hardly, because he profited out of what 
was got out of this Fort Worth. Tliat was all in 

Q. How much had Mrs. Pitezel ? 

A. Oh, very little, a few hundred dollars. His 
orders were to give it to her from time to time. 

Q. How much was allowed to Jeptha D. Howe? 

A. He took $2,500. 

Q. Do you remember how many times you saw 
Pitezel in Philadelphia after or before j^ou had 
taken the house on Callowhill Street? 

A. Once or twice I guess before and perhaps 
three times, very few times publicly. I would try 
to meet him perhaps on the street cars or corners, 
I kept away purposely from his place of business. 

Q. How many times did you visit the house on 
Callowhill Street? 

A. I think three times. 

Q. You ivent zvith him to buy the furniture ? 

A. I think I was with him when he bought 
the first of the furniture, but he went one way 
and I another, to hunt up furniture houses, and I 
think it was at one of those places that we had 
found what we bought. 

Q. Who paid for it ? 

A. He paid for it. 


Q. Do you remember the name ? 

A. No, I can go to it readily. It seems as 
though it was on 13tli Street. 

Q. Do you remember the man from whom you 
purcliased it ? 

A. I could tell him by sight. 

Q. Did you have an invoice of what you 
bought ? 

A. No, he paid. I don't think there was any 
bill. It was sent down the next day, and then he 
told me he went back again and bought some 
other things. 

Q. Were you with him in any other store in 
Philadelphia, outside of this furniture store ? 

A. It don't seem to me as though I was. 

Q. Prior to that? 

A. Yes, prior, I think we went into one or two 
places together to see about furniture. 

Q. Prior to his securing the house on Callow- 
hill Street, where did he room ? 

A. It seems to me it was on Arch Street. It 
was near 11th. I know I had to come down from 
where I was rooming and go a little ways on Arch, 
where it said " boarding house," on Arch or Vine 
Street. ^ 

Q. Did you visit him in his room there ? 


A. Yes, I think once or twice. 

Q. Had you any correspondence or made any 
arrangement with this party in New York in re- 
gard to securing this body ? 

A. I saw him personally when I was in New 
York just before going to Philadelphia, and then 
after that I went up once, I guess the Thursday 
before I got it on Sunday. 

Q. What was the occasion of your going to 
New York from Philadelphia ? 

A. Why we found afterwards we were right in 
front of the morgue, but we did not know it then, 
and I know this man there and I had no other 
place to go for it. 

Q. Then your purpose for visiting New York 
was simply to see this man in regard to getting 
the body ? 

A. Yes, I don't think there was any other 
business transacted there, though he sent from 
there some of his insurance premiums, but that 
was before we had gone to Philadelphia, that was 
paying the six months' premium or the balance, I 
don't know how much. 

Q. That was telegraphed to Chicago? 

A. Yes. 

Q. Did you furnish the money ? 


A. Yes, in a sense, on account of his drinking 
some, I generally carried the money. 

Q. It was sent by him ? 

A. I cannot tell that particular money, 
whether is was through him or me, but between 
us we furnished the money. 

Q. It was telegraphed ? 

A. Yes, I had nothing to do with the sending 
of it. He went on himself to see about it. 

Q. Where did you meet this party in New 
York about the body ? 

A. It was at the house — I would rather leave 
that out. 

Q. I tell you again, that unless Pitezel is pro- 
duced alive we must consider Pitezel dead. 

A. I understand it and that is why I say that, 
which I can prove in Philadelphia to the contrary. 
I don't care how soon Pitezel is brought to the 
front now. I have almost got to do it to protect 
myself. It is not that I wish to go back on him 
by any means. 

Q. (By Mr. Hanscom.) You expect in any 
event that there will be imprisonment go with it ? 

A. I certainly do. I told my wife, I begged 
her to go away and drop it because I expected a 
term at the penitentiary. 


Q. Of course, it is desirable for you not to be 
held for the greater offence ? 

A. I certainly don't want to be held for mur- 
der. While I am bad enough on smaller things, I 
am not guilty of that and I certainly can prove in 
Philadelphia by records, etc., they would remem- 
ber because I was sick at the time, fees to por- 
ters, etc., prove that I was out of Philadelphia ; 
that he was seen alive after that, if I am allowed 
a chance to do it. 

Q. (By Mr. Cornish.) I understand you to 
say, that you had previously had connections with 
his doctor in New York ? 

A. Yes, that is the greatest reason why at this 

Q. Of a criminal nature ? 

A. Well, I cannot be expected to answer that, 
I don't think. It was not an insurance arrange- 
ment hardly, but any way, we both profited by it. 

This statement it will be observed, leaves ob- 
scure the whereabouts of the three children. He 
places them in South America with their father, 
and describes one of the girls as being dressed as 
a boy. The main purpose of the interview was to 
ascertain, whether Pitezel was alive or dead, and 


if alive, how the substitution of a dead body, ob- 
tained in New York, had been effected. The fate 
of the children was overlooked for the time. 
That they had been murdered was not dreamed 
of ; in fact, the case was too fresh, and oppor- 
tunity had not yet arrived for either the police or 
the detectives of the company to verify or disprove 
the statements of the prisoner. The authoritie 
were yet groping in the dark. 



Mrs. Pitezel Questioned by the Police— Her Pitiable Condi- 
tion — Complicity in the Plot — Tries to Shield Her Hus- 
band — Prepared for His Disappearance — Believed Him 
Alive— Gives Holmes $7,000— Had Parted with Three 
Children — Other Details of the Examination — The Pris- 
oners Taken to Philadelphia — Holmes Tries to Bribe De- 
tective Crawford — Committed for Trial — Howe Brought 
from St. Louis — H. H. Holmes, Benjamin F. Pitezel, 
Carrie A. Pitezel and Jeptha D. Howe Formally Indicted 
by the Grand Jury. 

Poor Mrs. Pitezel ! What a wretched plight 
she was in ! Her husband had disappeared ; 
Alice, Nellie and Howard were in unknown 
hands, her other two children, Dessie, her eldest 
daughter, and her year old infant, were witliout a 
protector, and she was in prison, under suspicion 
of having been a party to a conspiracy to cheat 
and defraud an insurance company. 

After Messrs. Hanscom & Cornish had obtained 
the statement from Holmes, given in full in the 
previous chapter, they turned their attention to 
Mrs. Pitezel. She occupied a cell in the same 



police station in which Holmes was detained, and 
her grief and surprise over her arrest and incar- 
ceration were so great, that the hearts of the 
officers were moved to pity. 

It is to be regretted, that in this interview, 
Mrs. Pitezel was not as truthful and as frank as 
she subsequently became with the authorities in 
Philadelphia. She was evidently inspired by a 
desire to shield her husband, whom she then be- 
lieved to be alive, notwithstanding her statement 
to the contrary. Her denial of her complicity in 
the scheme to cheat and defraud the insurance 
company by the substitution of a body, was un- 

She had been informed of the scheme from its 
inception, both by Holmes and her husband, and 
although at first she earnestly and sincerely ad- 
vised against it and pleaded with her husband 
not to join Holmes in such a nefarious piece of 
business, she ultimately acquiesced in it, and was 
quite prepared for the disappearance of her hus- 
band for a time, in accordance with an under- 
standing between them. When Howe paid to 
her, her share of the money, about 17200, she be- 
lieved the plot had been successfully carried out ; 
that her husband was alive, and would ultimately 


disclose his whereabouts to her and would, when 
prudent, return to his home. 

This much may be said for her. She was lead- 
ing a miserable existence in poverty, with a large 
family of five children. She was in ill health, and 
tied by marriage to a crook, a man whose instincts 
were low and criminal, — much given to drinking 
alcoholic stimulants excessively, and who had 
been for j^ears a close associate and companion of 
Holmes'. Her participation in the crime, how- 
ever, was without excuse, and she was properly 
apprehended and charged with conspiracy. It 
was her plain duty to have prevented the con- 
summation of the scheme at all hazard, — even if a 
bold stand for truth and honor had caused a sep- 
aration from her husband. 

Her punishment, however, has been severe, 
much more dreadful than any that could have 
been inflicted by the law, and while some may 
condemn her, many will not hesitate to pity one, 
who now carries with her such a weight of woe. 

Upon being questioned by the officers, she an- 
swered as follows : 

Q. (By Mr. Hanscom.) Where is your home ? 

A. My home is in Galva, 111. 

Q. Now this matter about the death of your 


husband and the identification of the body, the 
collection of the insurance, etc., when was the 
matter first brought to your attention? 

A. Why, I saw it in the paper first. 

Q. You saw that a death had occurred? 

A. Yes. 

Q. The death of whom ? 

A. B. F. Perry. 

Q. And did you understand at the time that 
your husband was living in Philadelphia under 
the name of Perry ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. Did you know what street and number he 
had located on ? 

A. No. 1316, I think, Callowhill Street. 

Q. Before the time that you got this news 
from the press or in some other way, had you 
known anything about this scheme ? 







No, they did not tell me anything about it. 
Nothing had been said to you about it ? 
No, they did not tell me anything about it. 
Have you one of your daughters here with 

Yes, sir. 

Is she the eldest daughter? 



Q. Is she the one that went to identify her 
father ? 

A. No, slie is not the one. 

Q. After seeing the death in the paper, who 
was the first to speak to you about it'^ 

A. Mr. Becker was tlie first one that I spoke to. 
He saw tlie account in the paper, of course, and he 
was our groceryman and I talked to liim about it. 

Q. Where were you living then? 

A. In St. Louis. 

Q. What street and number? 

A. It is Carondelet; it is a part of St. Louis. 

Q. How long had you been living there? 

A. Oh, we moved there in May ; about the 
first of May. Well^ maybe it was the middle of 

Q. Did 3Ir. Holmes come to your Jiouse soon 
after the annou7icem('nt of the death to see you ? 

A. J think it was a week after. 

Q. Now what did he say to you about it ? He 
then told you the scheme, did he, tliat 3'our hus- 
band was not dead? 

A. Why, I told him that I saw something in 
the paper in regard to my husband and I wanted 
to know if that was my husband and if it was 
true, and he said, " You need not worry about it, 


there is no use in worrying about that," and he 
would not say much more about it. He went and 
talked with the children and only stayed a little 
while that evening and went away. 

Q. Up to that time had you mourned your 
husband as dead ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. Did you believe he was dead ? 

A. Yes, I believed he was dead. 

Q. Had you taken any steps in the matter? 

A. I spoke to Mr. Becker and he went down 
to the police, and then there had been one or 
two reporters out. 

Q. But a week had elapsed ? 

A. I think it was about a week, I won't be 
positive about that. 

Q. Had you sent any word to Philadelphia? 

A. No, I had not. 

Q. Had you written ? 

A. No, I did not try it, I did not know what 
to do. 

Q. What did Mr. Becker tell you to do ? 

A. He thought I had better employ an attor- 
ney and have it attended to. 

Q. Did you employ an attorney ? 

A. I did not just then, not right that day. 


Q. Did you make any arrangements to recover 
the body ? 

A. No, I did not. 

Q. Had you received a telegram or any word 
from Holmes before he called upon you ? 

A. No, I did not. 

Q. Had it been talked over w^ith you that such 
an occurrence might take place, that is, that your 
husband might absent himself and let the report 
go out that he was deacl? Had such a report 
ever reached you ? 

A. No, not up to this time. 

Q. Never had been talked over with you ? 

A. No. 

Q. Had you no intimation, not the slightest 
sign that it had been talked over ? 

A. Not before that, I had no knowledge of 
what was to be done. 

Q. Had you any money by you at the time 
this occurred ? 

A. No, I did not have but little. 

Q. How much did you have ? 

A. Five or six dollars, I think. 

Q. He had not sent you much money ? 

A. No. 

Q. Well, on this first visit that Holmes, or 


Howard, whoever he is, made to you, did he tell 
you before lie went out that your husband was 
living, that you need not worry about it? 

A. Well, he spoke to that effect, I don't know 
as those were the exact words. 

Q. Did he ease your mind regarding the death 
of your husband befoi'e he went away, telling you 
that your husband was not dead? 

A. Yes. 

Q. Did he go into tke story that your husband 
was insured ? 

A. No, he did not go into the story then. 

Q. Did you know that your husband had an 
insurance on his life ? 

A. I knew he had an insurance on his life, 
but I did not know whether it was all paid or not. 
It was not paid up, and I did not know even 
when I heard of the death, whether it was all 
paid up. 

Q. Did you know the amount of the insur- 
ance ? 

A. I did at the time he insured. 

Q. How much? 

A. $10,000. 

Q. Who collected that money? 

A. Mr. Howe. 

777^ WAGES OF SIN. 107 

Q. As your attornej ? 

A. Yes. 

Q. Did he turn that money over to you? 

A. Well, most of it was turned over to me. 

Q. What did you do with it ? 

A. Well, Mr. Howard had some of it. 

Q. How much did Mr. Howard have of the 

A. I don't know exactly that. 

Q. You understood they paid the full amount, 

A. Yes, 

Q. After Mr. Howe had made the payments 
then you turned over a large portion of that 
money? This is not an}^ effort to entrap you. 
We simply want to get at the facts. 

A. Well, I understand you, and am trying to 
give you the facts as well as I can. 

Q. How much of that $10,000 did you turn 
over to Howard, (Holmes) ? 

A. I don't know as I can tell you the exact 

Q. Can you remember ? 

A. No, I can't. 

Q. Was it 17,000? 

A. It must have been pretty well on to that. 


Q. He States it was about $7,000. 

A. Well, that is correct, I think. 

Q. Did you turn over that money to any other 
person than him ? 

A. No, no person only what the attorney and 
the expenses were, that was all. 

Q. How much did that amount to, the attor- 
neys and the expenses? Can you remember that ? 

A. No, I can't. They made out a memoran- 
dum of it, Mr. Howe did. He just made it out, 
and I don't know, they got into a kind of fussing 
about it, and, by the way, they did not give me 
the statement of it. 

Q. You did not get that ? 

A. No, I have no statement of it at all. 

Q. After having paid the expense and $7,000 
more or less that 3^ou gave Howard, what portion 
of the $10,000 had you left ? 

A. Well, I guess about $500. 

Q. You had really about $500 out of the 
whole business? 

A. Yes. 

Q. Do you know how much of it your hus- 
band had? 

A. No, that is something I can't answer, for I 
don't know. 

The Poplar Street House, Cincinnati, Ohio. 

( Wliere Holmes intended to murder the children.) 


Q. When did you last see your husband ? 

A. I saw him last the 9th day of July, and I 
have not seen him since. 

Q. The 9th day ? 

A. It was either tlie 8th or 9th of July that 
he left home in the evening, and I went down to 
the Union Depot and that was the last. 

Q. In St. Louis? 

A. Yes. 

Q. Did he correspond with you after that ? 

A. Up to the time that I saw it in the paper 
he did, but I have never heard from him since, 
only just what Mr. Howard says, that is all. 

Q. Now, what has Mr. Howard said to you 
about the whereabouts of your husband since that 
time ? 

A. Well, the only place that I know of where 
he has been, is Montreal and Toronto. 

Q. How do you know that he was in Mon- 
treal ? 

A. I don't know for a certainty, I could not 
swear only as I have heard it. 

Q. From whom ? 

A. From Mr. Howard. 

Q. That he was in Toronto and Montreal ? 

A. Yes. 


Q. Has he told you that you would meet him 
at any other place ? 

A. He said I might see him at Detroit, or 
Toronto, or Burlington, but I have never seen 

Q. Then you had hopes when you went to 
Burlington, that you might meet him ? 

A. Yes. 

Q. And failing to find him in Burlington, 
where did you expect then to see him ? 

A. Well, I don't know. I gave up all hopes 
of seeing him. 

Q. He has kept you moving, hasn't he ? 

A. Yes. 

Q. I wish to ask you one question direct. Do 
you believe now that your husband is alive ? 

A. Well, there must be something in it. I am 
sure I could not swear to it for I don't know for a 
fact that he is alive. All I know is, what you 
have been telling me, and what he has been telling 
me, and that is all I know. 

Q. But he has kept you moving from point to 
point ; I would like to have you tell it in your own 

A. Well, I have been moving from one point 


to another. I have been just heartbroken, that is 
all there is about it. 

Q. Yes, I know, we are sorry for you. Can 
you tell me the points in the order of them, 
how you have been moving about since you left 
home ? 

A. I went to my parents, from there to 
Chicago, from Chicago to Detroit, and from there 
to Toronto, from there to Ogdensburg, from there 
to Burlington. 

Q. And that is where you were yesterday ? 

A. Yes, Burlington. 

Q. Have you had confidence in Howard all the 
way through, that he would finally take you to 
your husband ? 

A. Why, I thought so. 

Q. Has your confidence ever been shaken ? 

A. Well, sometimes I thought maybe he was 
fooling me or something. 

Q. By the way, did you have a cipher, any- 
thing in the shape of a cipher, by which your 
husband could communicate with you privately, 
any system of communication, numbers, char- 
acters ? 

A. Oh no, we do not write that way. 

Q. You never wrote that way ? 


A. No. 

Q. Did you ever expect to get any such letter 
from your husband, written in any mysterious way, 
ciphers of any kind? 

A. No. 

Q. Did Holmes ever read to you at any time 
since the money was collected, say at the time you 
were in Detroit, did he ever read anything to you, 
purporting to be a letter from your husband writ- 
ten in cipher, did you receive something of that 

A. Well, I think he did have something of 
that kind that was written in that way, and said 
it was from him. That is all I know. 

Q. Was it in any envelope ? 

A. No, I guess not. 

Q. Did you see the paper that he had ? 

A. Why, it was just a small piece of paper. 

Q. He read something to you from that 
paper ? 

A. Yes. 

Q. Did you have the paper in your hand ? 

A. No. 

Q. What did it say ? 

A. Why, just said that he was well and all 
right and I need not be worrying all the time. 


Q. You went to Detroit, expecting to meet 
your husband there? 

A. Yes. 

Q. When he read that letter to you, do you 
remember where you were then ? 

A. In Toronto, I think. 

Q. You went to Detroit and from Detroit to 
Toronto ? 

A. Yes. 

Q. In Detroit did you expect to meet your 
husband there ? 

A. I thought I would see him, he said I 

Q. How many of the children had you with 
you ? Just had the little girl and the babe ? 

A. Yes. 

Qo And the other three children were with 
whom, so far as you know ? 

A. They were at Covington. 

Q. With whom ? 

A. I don't know who they were with. I 
asked him the name and he simply told me who 
they were with, said she was a widow, a nice 

Q. Now, how long ago was it that you parted 
with these three children ? 


A. I have nut seen Alice for two months, and 
have not seen the others for 

Q. Alice went awa}- first ? 

A. Yes sir. 

Q. She went to identify the body of her 
father ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. And you have not seen her since ? 

A. No. 

Q. In whose keeping was she, into whose 
charge did you give her at the time she went on 
to view the body ? 

A. Mr. Howe took her. 

Q. Who is he ? 

A. He is the lawyer, the attorney. 

Q. That was acting for you ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. A St. Louis man ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. Do you know where his office is in St. 
Louis ? 

A. Well, it is in the Commercial Building. 

Q. Into his keeping you placed the girl? 

A, Yes, they wanted me to go, but I was very 
.Mck at the time. 

Q. And Alice went on with him? 


A. Yes. Well, he turned Alice over to Mr. 
Holmes then, and he brought her on to Coving- 

Q. Did you see her in Covington ? 

A. No, sir, I was not in Covington at all. 

Q. Have you some friends in Covington ? 

A. No, sir. 

Q. You have not seen her since she went on 
to view the body ? 

A. No, sir, I have not seen her since. 

Q. Into whose custody did you place the 
other two ? 

A. He took the other two, that is, Holmes, 
took them from St. Louis to Covington, where 
Alice was. 

Q. You don't know whether they actually 
went to Covington or not ? 

A. No, I am just telling you. 

Q. That is right. What was his reason fur 
taking them ? What reason did he give ? 

A. The only reason was he said he would take 
them there and I could go home and make my 
parents a visit, and not to be bothered with them, 
because my parents were getting along in j^ears, 
and he would take the children and then I could 
go over there when I got through visiting. 


Q. He was going to take them to meet Alice ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. And that they would all be stopping M'ith 
some widow lady. 

A. Yes. 

Q. Did he give the name ? 

A. No, sir, I told you he did not. 

Q. Did he say anything about that they were 
going to Covington to meet their father ? 

A. No, sir, he did not say that. 

Q. Has he ever told you since then, that they 
were with the father? 

A. No sir. 

Q. Then you still believe that they are in 
Covington ? 

A. No, sir, he told me he took them to To- 
ronto, that is all I know about it. I don't know 
where they are. All I know is that he said he 
would take them from Covington to Toronto. 

Q. You understood from him that they are 
there ? 

A. At Toronto. 

Q. With friends of his, or whom do you be- 
lieve them to be with, your husband ? 

A. No, he said he would give them to some 
friends there. I don't know whether he has. 


Q. We believe this man to be a very bad man, 
and we want to get at all the truth. 

A. Well, that is as far as I know. I can't 
tell you anything more, because I don't know. 

Q. You did not understand then that these 
children were going to join their father? 

A. No, sir. 

Q. Has he ever told you about dressing one of 
the girls in boy's clothing ? 

A. No, sir. 

Q. He never told you about those things? 

A. Well, I have one boy. 

Q. There is a boy and two girls ? 

A. Whoever told you that ? 

Q. We have been talking with him. We are 
not doing anything to undertake to make you feel 
bad, we are trying to get at the matter and sift it. 
He has kept you moving about the country from 
point to point, and you look as tliough you had 
been through a good deal and we want to get all 
the light we can. We don't believe in this man 
very much. That is why we are asking you these 

A. Do you know where the children are ? 

Q. No, that is one of the things we want to 
find out. We want to find them as much for your 

i20 iMHs. pitezeL quEsrtoMt) bT the PottcE. 

sake, as well as for any other reason in the world. 
In fact, we may say that all these questions that 
are being asked you now regarding these children 
are in your behalf. Holmes is locked up in this 
very building, and we have been talking with him. 

A. / thought maybe I ivould see the children 

Q. Holmes is locked up, you knew that, didn't 

A. I didn't know it until I came up here. 

Q. He has not given you to understand that 
the children were with their father ? 

A. No. 

Q. Is there anything else that you can think 
of that he has said about the whereabouts of the 
children ? 

A. That is the last that I know about it. 

Q. You have met him a number of times at 
these different points ? 

A. Yes. 

Q. He has kept you moving on ? 

A. Yes. 

Q. (By Mr. Cornish.) Have you heard from 
Alice since she has been away ? 

A. I have not heard from her from Covington 
since I was home. 


Q. Have you received a letter from her from 
Covington ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. Had she written it herself ? 

A. Yes, sir, she and Nellie had written it 

Q. Did you keep the letter ? 

A. No, I did not keep the letter. 

Q. Do you remember what they said ? 

A. Well, they said they were well and the 
woman was real good to them, said she was an 
awful kind lady, that they would like to see 
mama, and wanted to know how the baby was, if 
it could talk yet and how grandma and grandpa 
were and they hoped they would see mama soon. 
I think that is about the extent of it. 

Q. That was sent where, to Galva ? 

A. Yes. 

Q. Did you receive any letters from them from 
any other point except Covington ? 

A. No, I think not. 

Q. Did you get any from them from Toronto? 

A. No, sir. 

Q. The only correspondence you had from 
them was in Covington ? 

A." Yes, sir. 


Q. And that was during the time you were in 
Galva ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. Did you ever write to your children ? 

A. Wh}', certainly. 

Q. How often ? 

A. Well, I wrote them several letters while I 
was home in Galva. 

Q. (By Mr. Hanscom.) But you only heard 
from them once ? 

A. Well, I think I got two letters. 

Q. (By Mr. Cornish.) How did you direct your 
letters ? 

A. Directed them to Alice Pitezel, Covington, 


Q. Did you mail it yourself? 

A. My father mailed it. 

Q. Have you written to them since at Coving- 
ton or Toronto ? 

A. Why, yes, I have sent them several letters. 

Q. Who did you send them by, mail them 
yourself ? 

A. No, I did not mail them myself. 

Q. Who mailed them ? 

A. Holmes mailed them, I suppose. I had 
given them to him to mail. 


Q. Did you write to your father and mother at 
Galva ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. Did you mail any of them ? 

A. I mailed one from Chicago. 

Q. Have you written to them since ? When 
you were in Toronto and Detroit and those other 
places ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. Did you mail those ? 

A. No, sir. 

Q. Who did? 

A. I gave them to Mr. Holmes to mail. 

Q. Who suggested that you should employ Jeptha 
D. Howe as counsel? 

A. Mr. Howard. {Holmes). 

Q. The first time that he called upon you in 
St. Louis did he suggest that you employ Mr. 

A. No, not that night. 

Q. The next day ? 

A. I don't remember that I saw him the next 
day, I think it was two days after that. 

Q. Then he suggested that you should employ 
Mr. Howe ? 


A. Yes, I think it was a couple of days, I can't 
give it exactly. 

Q. You went by the name of Adams in Detroit, 
Toronto and Ogdenshurg ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. And by the name of Cook in Burlington 

A. Yes, that is right. 

Q. Did Mr. Holmes tell you to use those 
names ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. Where were you stopping in Burlington? 

A. Winooski Avenue, No. 26, I think. 

Q. How many times did you see Holmes in 

A. Well, that is kind of a hard question to 
answer, I don't remember, four or five times. 

Q. Did he call at the house ? 

A. Yes sir, but he never stayed any length of 

Q. Did he give you any money there ? 

A. No, sir. 

Q. Did you receive a package from him last 
Saturday by express ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. What did that contain ? 

A. It contained two tickets, railroad tickets. 


Q. And a letter ? 

A. A short letter in it. 

Q, What did the letter contain ? 

A. Just for me to pick up my things and come 
to Lowell Sunday night, and then Sunday morn- 
ing this Mr. Lane came and gave me another let- 
ter from him, that just stated for me to come 
straight on to Boston, that he would see me 

Q. You have told all you know about this 
matter ? 

A. Yes, I have told about all I can remember, 
it is mixed up anyway. 

Q. Did you make an}' attempt to find the chil- 
dren there in Toronto ? 

A. They were not there when I was there. 

Q. After you had left, lie told you that tliey 
were there ? 

A. That was when I was in Burlington, he 
said tliey were there. 

Q. That was the first that you knew of the 
children being in Toronto ? 

A. That was the first I knew that they were 
there, and this letter came for me to come on down 
here, and, of course, that ended it. 

Q. How did he explair .o yon tliat the chil- 


dren had left Covington for Toronto ? Why did 
he change their location ? 

A. Well, he said he thought it would be bet- 
ter to have them up there, and I could go and see 
them there, that they would be closer to me. I 
thought, of course, I should go there to see them. 

Q. Where were you, when he told that they 
were in Toronto ? 

A. I was in Burlington. It is just lately. 

Q. He did not tell you where they were in 
Toronto ? 

A. No, sir. 

Q. Whether they were in school or at a pri- 
vate house ? 

A. No, sir, I could not find them if it was a 
case of life and death. 

Q. When your husband went away from St. 
Louis, did he tell you that he was going to Phila- 
delphia or Chicago ? 

A. He went to Chicago. He told me that he 
was going there to dispose of some lumber. He 
did not say he was going to Philadelphia when 
he went away. 

Q. And then you heard from him in Chicago 
that he was going to Philadelphia ? 

A. Yes, sir. 


Q, That was under the name of Pitezel ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. Did he tell you in that letter from Chi- 
cago, that he was going by the name of Perry ? 
A. No, sir. 

Q. In the letter'after that ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

On Monday, November 19, 1894, Thomas 
Crawford, one of the detectives of the Bureau of 
Police of Philadelphia arrived in Boston, with 
warrants for the arrest of Holmes and Mrs. Pite- 
zel, both of whom, however, consented to go to 
Philadelphia without the formality of a requisi- 
tion from the Governor of Pennsylvania. The 
party consisted of Detective Crawford, Inspector 
Perry of the Insurance company, H. H. Holmes, 
Miss Yoke, whom he had married under the name 
of Howard, Mrs. Pitezel and her infant and 
Dessie Pitezel. On the journey, Holmes reiter- 
ated his statement that Pitezel was alive, and in 
South America, and that the children w^ere with 
him. That he had given Pitezel $1,600 and had 
sewed $400 in Alice's dress or chemise. He said 
he left Alice in Indianapolis, (after taking her to 
Philadelphia) and then got the other two children 
and bronght them to her. He then took them all 


to Detroit, where they met Pitezel, and then the lat- 
ter and the three children sailed for South 
America. He said he and Pitezel were to keep 
track of each other through the personal column 
of the New York Herald. 

He said to Dessie Pitezel : " Don't worry Des- 
sie, you and your father will meet before long, and 
you will see your sisters and 3^our brother." He 
told her she might expect to see her father in 
Philadelphia. He reiterated to Crawford his 
story of the manner in which the corpse had been 
obtained in New York, and laughed at the bun- 
gling manner in which Pitezel had left tlie body ; 
that he had particularly instructed Pitezel how to 
place the body, to put the chloroform in its mouth 
and to press the sides, so as to work it down the 
throat ; that Pitezel had left the body with its 
hand across the breast, looking as if it had died a 
peaceful death, whereas the man was supposed to 
have died a horrible death. He said he instructed 
Pitezel how to fix the bottle and the pipe, so as to 
have it appear as if in lighting the pipe the ben- 
zine had exploded and killed the man. On the 
train Holmes asked Crawford, if he believed in 
hypnotism. Crawford said " No." He said he 
could hypnotize people very easily, and wanted to 


try his powers on Crawford, but the invitation 
was declined. The sort of hypnotism Holmes 
was most proficient in was best exhibited when he 
offered to give Crawford |500 dollars for a pur- 
pose not stated, but quite well understood. That 
bait was also declined. 

On Tuesday, November 20th, 1894, the party 
arrived at the Central Station, City Hall, Phila- 
delphia. Holmes and Mrs. Pitezel were given a 
hearing and were at once committed to prison to 
await trial. Dessie Pitezel and the baby, were 
placed in the kind care of Benjamin Crew, Esq., 
Secretary of the Society to Protect Children 
from Cruelty. Within the next few days, Jeptha 
D. Howe was brought on from St. Louis, on the 
charge of conspiracy and was held in $2,500 bail 
to answer at court. In due time the case reached 
the office of George S. Graham, Esq., District At- 
torney. In this office an indictment was pre- 
pared, charging H. H. Holmes, Benjamin F. Pite- 
zel, Carrie A. Pitezel, and Jeptha D. Howe with 
having fraudulently and wilfully conspired to 
cheat and defraud the Fidelity Mutual Life 
Association, out of the sum of 110,000 dollars, 
by means of the substitution of a body for 
that of Benjamin F. Pitezel. This indictment 


Wits formally presented to the Grand Jury and a 
true bill was found, and tlie matter rested in 
that shape until Holmes created another sensa- 
tion by making a second so-called confession. 



The Insurance Company Not Idle — Efiforts to Locate Pitezel— 
Holmes in His Cell — The Arch-Scoundrel Changes Hie 
Base — Sends for the Superintendent of Police — Admits 
Lying — Pitezel Dead and the Children in London — Holmes' 
Second Confession in Detail — Efforts to Verify or Disprove 
It — The Children Still Missing — Groping in the Dark — 
Thomas W. Barlow, Esq., Retained for the Insurance Com- 
pany — A new Indictment — The Trial — Holmes Happy — 
Sentence Deferred. 

Between the arrest of these parties and their 
indictment, the officers of the Insurance Company 
were not idle. Mrs. Pitezel soon learned the 
wisd(nn of sincerity and truthfulness, and became 
communicative, and day by day the history of the 
crime was laid bare. Every effort was made to 
locate Pitezel and to find the children, and no ex- 
pense was spared in running out all sorts of clues. 
While this was going on, Holmes was occupying 
his solitary cell in the county prison. He had 
been for years a very busy man and never before 
had such an opportunity for reflection and self-ex- 
amination. As time passed, the probability that 



Pitezel was not only not alive, but had been mur- 
dered at No. 1316 Callowhill Street, pressed itself 
upon the officers of the Company, and the District 
Attorney as well, and this impression soon found 
its way to Holmes in his prison cell. He now dis- 
covered that a change of base was necessary. He 
remembered a conversation that had taken place 
between him and Inspector Perry, after his arrival 
in Philadelphia. In this interview, Mr. Perry 
a-ked him this question : Who helped you to 
double up the body in New York City and put it 
in a trunk? Holmes said: "I did it alone. It 
is a trick I learned at Ann Arbor, Michigan, while 
studying medicine there." 

Mr. Perry knew that when the body which had 
been found at No. 1316 Callowhill Street, was re- 
moved to the morgue, it was straight and rigid 
and two men had carried it, one at the head and 
the other at the feet, — so another question was 
asked Holmes : " Can you tell me where I can 
find a medical man or a medical authority, which 
will instruct me how to re-stiffen a body after 
rigor mortis has once been broken ? " To this 
inquiry. Holmes made no answer. 

On December 27th, 1894, Holmes sent for R. 
J. Linden, Esq., Superintendent of Police of the 


Department of Public Safety of Philadelphia. He 
told the superintendent that he was very sorry 
he had been so untruthful in his former state- 
ments, when he had declared that Pitezel was 
alive, and was in South America, and that the 
children were with him. He said he was now pre- 
pared to tell the truth, the whole truth and noth- 
ing but the truth ; that Pitezel was not alive, but 
dead, and that it was really Pitezel's body which 
had been identified in the Potters Field; that the 
children were not with their father, but with Miss 
Williams, who had taken them to London, where 
they could easily be found. He then dictated to 
a stenographer, the following statement, which is 
called by the police. Confession No. 2. 


I contemplated defrauding the insurance com- 
pany in August or September, 1893, in connection 
with Benjamin F. Pitezel. No one else was in the 
plot until July, 1894. Mrs. Pitezel was then in- 
formed of it by Pitezel. About August 1st, on 
my release from jail in St. Louis, I outlined the 
conspiracy to Howe and showed him how L in- 
tended raising money to liberate Hedgepeth from 
jail, I having told Hedgepeth of it while in jail 


and agreed to raise $300 to help him out. Howe 
at that time had no idea of joining in the con- 
spiracy. I went from St. Louis to Chicago to 
raise some money there, and went to New York 
where I got $600 from Minnie Williams. I then 
arranged with Pitezel that he should provide a re- 
treat to stop at after the conspiracy was consum- 
mated and also to get his teeth altered. Leav- 
ing him in New York, I came to Philadelphia to 
look for a house. I took part of No. 1905 I'iorth 
lltii Street. Three days later Pitezel caiue and 
took the house No. 1316 Callowhill Stree^*., which 
he furnished partially with chemicals and bottles 
to represent a patent dealer. 1 visited this house 
I think four times besides the day on which he 
died. I visited the house about the last of August 
and stayed five or six hours. At that time Pite- 
zel was despondent. I found he had been drink- 
ing and took him to task for it. He remarked 
tliat he guessed he had better drink enough to kill 
him and have done with it. He borrowed %\b from 
me and I left about 4 o'clock. To the best of my 
knowledge I next saw him on the following Sat- 
urday, September 1st, at the Mercantile Library, 
and quite late that evening he came to my house 
on North 11th Street and said he had received a 


telegram that his baby was sick and he had to go 
home. I said we had better arrange how his busi- 
ness should be run and he told me he could get a 
party to come to the place. I raised no objection 
to his going. When we got the arrangements all 
made he said : " You will have to let me have 
some money to go with." 

I asked him where the $150 were that he told 
me he had a few days ago. He said : " Well I 
haven't got it." T could not give him any at that 
time. This was about 9 o'clock in the evening. 
I promised to go down in the morning, but before 
leaving we arranged that I should go in his place 
and take care of the sick baby and start the body 
there. The next morning, Sunday, about 10:30, 1 
went to his house. I had been provided with a 
key to go in with. I found no one there either on 
the first or the second floor, where his slee[)ing 
apartment was. He had a cot there which I do 
not think he ever made up. I went over to the 
Mercantile Library and stayed there about an 
hour, and then went up on Broad Street where I 
had a private mail box, but did not get any mail, 
bought a morning paper and went back to the 
Callowhill Street house. I found no one there and 
knew that no one had been there while I was 


away. T went upstairs and laid down on the cot 
and read the paper. It was probably about 12 
o'clock when I got back. After reading the paper for 
about a half hour, I went to his desk to write some 
letters, and found there a scrap of paper with a 
figure cipher on it that we used, and it said : 
" Get letter out bottle in cupboard." I kept that 
piece of paper until in Toronto, where I used it in 
sending a cipher to Mrs. Pitezel and tried to 
imitate his figures. I got the letter and it told 
me that he was going to get out of it, and that I 
should find him upstairs, if he could manage to 
kill himself. I went upstairs and looked in the 
clothes press on the second floor, which was the 
only place I had not been on that floor. Not find- 
ing him there I ran up to the third story, opened 
the door, and saw him lying on the fioor appar- 
ently dead. I felt his pulse and laid my hand on 
his and found it was cold. His eyes were partially 
closed. I then had to leave the room on account 
of the fumes of chloroform being so strong. I 
went and opened the window in the other room 
and came back and started to go in again, but had 
to give it up, and went to the second floor again. 
As soon as I could, I did go in again and found 
that he was lying on his back with his left hand 


folded over his abdomen and his right hand lying at 
his side. I did not keep the letter which was in 
the bottle, but destroyed it with other papers the 
next day on the train going from Philadelphia to 
St. Louis. I removed the furniture from the third 
story room and took it to the second storj^ leaving 
the body until the last. Then I brought the body 
down into the second story, and arranged it in 
the way it was found. This was about 3 o'clock. 
I had arranged with Pitezel, that when he should 
place the substitute body, a bottle should be 
broken which it was supposed that he had in his 
hand when the explosion occurred, and that the 
fragments should be scattered around the room. 
I held the bottle up and broke it with a blow of 
the hammer upon the side. That bottle con- 
tained benzine, chloroform and ammonia, which 
was to be used for burning the floor to indicate that 
an explosion had occurred. I took some of this 
fluid and put it upon his right hand and side, and 
on the right side of his face and set fire to it. I 
then arranged the articles that he had taken from 
his pocket putting them back again, and hung his 
vest in the second story bedroom, and the coat in 
the first story where he had been in the habit of 
keeping it. I gathered together the rubber tube, 


towel, and a bottle of chloroform and left the 
house as soon as I could, about a quarter of four. 
I then went to Broad Street station and found 
that the train for the west would leave in thirty 
minutes, and another at 10:25 P. M. I went im- 
mediately to No. 1905 North llth Street and 
packed my things, and started for St. Louis that 
night. I found a letter to Mrs. Pitezel in liis 
clothing, which I took with me and put with the 
other papers in my inside vest pocket. I think I 
threw away the key to the house, which I had and 
put back the regular key where lie usually kept it, 
and instead of locking the door, I left it open a 
few inches. I got to my house about 5 o'clock. 
M}^ wife was not well, and I went to work and 
straightened things and got the packing done 
before it was dark. When I found the body, the 
pockets of the pants were turned out, and his 
knife and the key of the house were lying on a 
chair. Up to this time, Howe was in the con- 
spiracy. The following Wednesday night I got 
to St. Louis, and on that day I had seen in a St. 
Louis paper, a report that the body had been 
found. I went immediately to Howe's office, 
having made up my mind, that as he knew of it, I 
had better let him settle up the insurance. He 


was not there. I went to Mrs. Pitezel's and 
found that they had also seen the report. The 
children were greatly worried, but Mrs. Pitezel 
was not, as she believed that the scheme had 
been carried out. We talked the matter over a 
couple of hours, and I came back that night and 
saw Howe and explained what had been done, not 
telling him that it was Pitezel, but leaving him to 
believe that the plan of placing a substitute had 
been carried out, and retained him on behalf of 
Mrs. Pitezel to procure the money from the Com- 
pany, He suggested that she have some of her 
neighbors write first, inasmuch as it would not 
look well for her to immediately run off and get 
a lawyer ; this was done. At the time of the dis- 
covery of the body, a towel was over his face. 
The tube was fastened to the bottle by a cork with 
a quill ; then he had tied around a string to keep 
the chloroform from running too fast. I think the 
rubber tube was four or five feet long. I took the 
tube with me. His wife asked me what that was 
for. I think I took the cork and quill out of the 
house also. 

(In answer to questions) : It did not occur to 
me when I found that Pitezel was drinking, to 


give him a little chloroform. I had nothing to do 
with his taking the chloroform. 

This statement Holmes reiterated to the officers 
of the company and efforts to verify or disprove 
it were renewed with vigor. January, February, 
March and April of 1895, came and went, and yet 
the most earnest work failed to discover the chil- 
dren, or obtain any clue of them, after tliey had 
disappeared from Toronto on October 25th, 1894, 
to which place they had been traced. Furtlier- 
raore if it was Pitezel's body that was found in 
the Callowhill Street house, there was no substi- 
tution, and an indictment charging the conspira- 
tors with having substituted a body, would not 
meet the case. 

At this juncture, the officers of the Company, 
under the advice of District Attorney'' Graham, 
retained Thomas W. Barlow, Esq., a member of 
the Philadelphia bar. The District Attorney had 
associated Mr. Barlow with him in many cases in 
previous 3'ears, and they were in thorough accord. 
A brief of all the facts of the case was carefully 
prepared and eventually a new indictment was 
found, charging H. H. Holmes, Marion C. Hedge- 
peth, and Jeptha D. Howe, with having conspired 
to cheat the Insurance Company, by alleging that 


one B. F. Pitezel, who had been insured in said 
company had died as the result of an accident. 
This indictment was ingeniously constructed to 
meet the facts of the case, within the grasp of the 
Commonwealtli. If a body had been substituted 
and Pitezel was alive, it was good ; if the body 
found was really Pitezel's and he was dead and 
had committed suicide, it was equally good, as a 
clause in the policy made it null and void, in case 
of self destruction. It was then determined to 
hold any further investigation of the case in abey- 
ance, until a trial should be had under this new 
bill, the prisoner convicted, and remanded to 
prison to await sentence. 

On June 3d, 1895, the prisoner was called for 
trial on the new bill. He was defended by able 
counsel, who presented a bold front on behalf of 
their client on the first day of the trial. On the 
second day they weakened and advised their cli- 
ent to plead guilty. This he did with alacrity, as 
he thought the end of his troubles was in sight. 
He was informed by his counsel, that the maxi- 
mum term of imprisonment in Pennsylvania for 
conspiracy, was two years, and if he pleaded 
guilty he might possibly get less. The prisoner 
hastened to take advantage of such a comfortable 


means of retreat. He really looked happy when 
the Judge said he would not sentence him then, 
but would consider his case at a later day. 

In the Court Room closely observing the pris- 
oner, was Detective Frank P. Geyer, of the 
Bureau of Police of Philadelphia. Mr. Geyer 
had been requested to be present by the District 
Attorney and Mr. Barlow. A few days later, Mr. 
Barlow was made Special Assistant District Attor- 
ney, and the great work of uncovering one of the 
greatest criminals of modern times immediately 



Holmes' Interview with the District Attorney — The Human- 
ity of Justice — Holmes Urged to Produce the Pitezel 
Children — His Apparent Candor — Disposition of the Chil- 
dren — Four Hundred Dollars Pinned in Alice's Dress — 
Nellie Disguised as a Boy — The Loudon Address — Holmes 
and Miss Williams Agree upon a Cipher — The New York 
Sunday Herald — Correspondence with Scotland Yard. 

Holmes was removed from the couit room to 
an apartment in the City Hall, designated as the 
cell room, where prisoners are detained after trial, 
or while waiting their conve3ance to the county 
prison. As Holmes sat cheerfully chatting with 
one of his counsel, a message reached them from 
the District Attorney, requesting a conference at 
once, touching the whereabouts of the children. 
This meeting took i)lace in ]\Ir. Graham's (>ffice. 
In the middle of the office was a long table. 
Holmes and his counsel sat on one side of this 
table, and Mr. Graham and Mr. Barlow on the 
other. The District Attorney opened the confer- 
ence by informing Holmes, that the cfficers of the 



Commonwealth were very anxious to find the 
Pitezel children and restore them to their mother ; 
that he had decided to abandon the case against 
Mrs. Pitezel, as she had suffered quite enough for 
any part she had reluctantly taken in the perpe- 
tration of the fraud on the Insurance Company, 
and that he intended to set her at liberty without 
delay ; that the uncertainty of the fate of Alice, 
Nellie, and Howard, coupled with the death of her 
husband, (of which she and all parties were now 
quite convinced), had almost dethroned her rea- 
son, and that every instinct of humanity dictated 
a pressing necessity for haste in any effort which 
could be made to bring her children to her, and 
that the immediate recovery of the children would 
remove a growing suspicion that they had been 
foully dealt with. 

" It is strongly suspected, Holmes," said Dis- 
trict Attorney Graham, " that j^ou have not only 
murdered Pitezel, but that you have killed the 
children. The best way to remove this suspicion, 
is to produce the children at once. Now where 
are they? Where can I find them ? Tell me and 
I will use every means in my power to secure their 
early recovery. It is due to Mrs. Pitezel and to 
yourself, that the children should be found. You 


were arrested in November last and j-ou said the 
cliildren were with their father in South America. 
It is now May, and we have heard nothing of 
them. We know your November statement to be 
untrue, because I am quite convinced that their 
father died on the second day of September last, at 
No. 1316 Callowhill Street. You subsequently said 
tliat Pitezel was dead and that you gave the children 
to Miss Williams in Detroit, and you have further- 
more given several variations from this last state- 
ment. I am almost persuaded that your word can- 
not be depended upon, yet I am not averse to giv- 
ing you an opportunity to assist me in clearing u}) 
the mystery which surrounds their disappearance 
and their present abode, and I now ask you to an- 
swer frankly and truthfully. Where are the chil- 
dren ? " 

While Mr. Graham was talking. Holmes listened 
quietly and attentively, and made no response un- 
til he was sure that the District Attorney had 
paused for a reply. He then said with every ap- 
pearance of candor, that he was very glad of the 
opportunity thus afforded him to assist in the 
restoration of the children to their mother. 

" The last time I saw Howard," he said, " was 
in Detroit, Michigan. There I gave him to Miss 


Williams, who took him to Buffalo, New York, 
from which point she proceeded to Niagara Falls, 
After the departure of Howard, in Miss Williams' 
care, I took Alice and Nellie to Toronto, Canada, 
where they remained for several days. At Tor- 
onto I purchased railroad tickets for them for 
Niagara Falls, put them on the train, and rode 
out of Toronto with them a few miles, so that 
they would be assured that they were on the right 
train. Before their departure, I prepared a tele- 
gram which they should send me from the Falls, 
if they failed to meet Miss Williams and Howard, 
and I also carefully pinned in the dress of Alice, 
four hundred dollars in large bills, so Miss Will- 
iams would be in funds to defray their expenses. 

" They joined Miss Williams and Howard at 
Niagara Falls, from which point they went to 
New York City. At the latter place. Miss Will- 
iams dressed Nellie as a boy, and took a steamer 
for Liverpool, whence they went to London. If 
you search among the steamship offices in New 
York, you must search for a woman and a girl and 
two boys, and not a woman and two girls and a 
boy. This was all done to throw the detectives 
off the track, who were after me for the insurance 
fraud. Miss Williams opened a massage estab- 

4;^5<A.<^ /^.^^^•:>-t^,*-:::^^.^.^ ^:^ c^^v^ c^^ ^z.^^ ^ ^A-^ ^— "^ 

j ^ 4ii!3u, .<;;fc^ ^ 0<i^ju-^ (i./w-_^ -7^«-. — -Tt---^ ^^ 2^-o ^7^-Ji, ^l^yi-t. 
Fac-Simile of Holmes' Lettek to District Attorney Graham. 


lishmeiit at No. 80 Veder or Vadar Street, Lon- 
don. I luive no doubt the clnldren are with her 
now, and veiy likely at that place." 

Holmes said further that he and Miss Williauis 
had agreed upon a ci[)her, which they were to use 
in counnuuicating with each other in the personal 
colunni of the New York Herald, and that if an 
advertisement were prepared in accordance with 
this cipher, very doubtless she would be heard 
from in a very short time, and the children re- 

He further denied with great emphasis, that he 
had killed Pitezel, or had harmed the children and 
became almost tearful when he exclaimed to the 
District Attorne}", " Why shonld I kill innocent 
children ? " 

The conversation then became general, during 
which time Holmes exhibited no embarrassment 
whatever until he was asked by Mr. Bailow : 
"Please give me the "name of one respectable 
person to whom I can go, either in Detroit, Buf- 
falo, Toronto, Niagara Falls, or New York, who 
will say that they saw Miss Williams and the 
tliree children together." This question staggered 
him for a moment, but he ({uickly recoveixl him- 
self and said in an injured tone, that the question 


implied a disbelief in his statement. He was 
promptly told that it certainly did, and further- 
more, that the speaker believed his entire story to 
be a lie from beginning to end. This drew a 
vehement protest from Holmes and he declared 
his readiness to furnish the cipher, with which an 
advertisement in the Herald should be made up, 
and by means of which the children would be re- 

He Avas told to prepare the cipher and he said 
he would send it to the District Attorney from the 

A day or two later, this letter was received by 
District Attorney Graham, from Holmes : 

May 29, '95. 
District Attorney Graham. 
Dear Sir : — 

The adv. should appear in the Neiv 
York Sunday Herald and if some comment upon 
the case can also be put in body of paper stating 
absence of children and that adv. concerning ap- 
pears in this paper, etc., it would be an advantage. 
Any word you may see fit to use in adv. will do 
and if a long one, only one sentence need be in 
cipher as she will know by this that it must come 
from me as no one else, unless I told them, could 
have same. 


Perhaps the first sentence should be — Impor- 
tant to liear before 10th. Cable. Also write 
to Mr. Massie. Aplbcnliun — iib — CBRc — etc. 

The Xetv York Herald is (or was a year ago) to 
be found at only a few places regularly in London. 
Very Respectfully, 
H. H. Holmes. 

REPUBLICAN republican ^,, ^^epBc 

ABCDEFGHIJ klmnopqrst uvwxyz. holmes 

The suggestions contained in this letter were 
strictly complied with. The Philadelphia corres- 
pondent of the Neio York Hrald, was taken into 
the confidence of the District Attorney's office, 
and an article was prepared, commenting upon 
the case and published in the same edition, Sun- 
day, June 2d, 1895, in which the following ad- 
vertisement in the personal column appeared : 

lOtli PREeB ABnucu PCAeUcBu RubuPB. Also write 
pk PRaaAB cbepBa. Address, GEORGE S. GRA- 
HAM, City Hall, Philadelphia, Penn., U. S. A." 

This cipher would have conveyed to Miss Will- 
iams, the following message : 
ALSO AplbcnRun nb CBRc EBLbiB 10th 


PREeB ABiuicu PCAeUcBu Ru buPB. Also 
write pk PRaaAB. CbepBa. 
Address, etc. 

It was determined to open a correspondence 
with the Scotland Yard offices in London, and ask 
their aid in searching for the childi'en. It was 
soon discovered, however, that there was no Veder 
or Vadar Street in London and a request for the 
assistance of the police authorities in that city 
was abandoned for the present. 



Holmes' Story not Credited — Nettie aud Miuuie Williams — 
Holmes Declares Sliuuie Murdered Her Sister — Tlie Search 
lor the Children Decided upon. The Route Proposed — 
Holmes' Cunuing — Iniportaut Clues— Release of Mrs. 
Pitezel — Mrs. Pitezel's Statement — Nitro-Glyceriue — 
Holmes' Letter to Mrs. Pitezel — Detective Geyer. 

No one in the District Attorney's office be- 
lieved a word of the story that Hohnes had told 
about the children, and it was determined to 
make a patient and persistent search among tlic 
cities in the West for information or clues which 
would lead to their recovery if alive, or the 
discovery of their bodies if dead. It was a gigan- 
tic task and almost a hopeless one, but neither its 
great size nor the strong improbability of success, 
was permitted to interfere with the plans which 
were then perfected. 

Rumors of the remarkable disappearance of 
two sisters, Nettie and Minnie Williams, had be- 
come current. They had been last seen in the 

jompany and under the protection of Holmes, 



and a piece of real estate in Fort Worth, Texas, 
of which they were owners, was found to have 
been conveyed to Benton T. Lyman, (which was an 
alias of Benjamin F. Pitezel) and into the pos- 
session and control of Holmes. Holmes had ad- 
mitted his intimacy with these women and told a 
startling story of the Holmes type, describing 
his return one night to the home of the Williams 
sisters, of his discovery that Minnie in a moment of 
rage had killed Nettie and how he had shielded 
the former, by taking Nettie's body out on the 
lake at Chicago and quietly sinking it. This story, 
as untruthful and as improbable as any he ever 
told, had left an impression upon the minds of the 
officers of the Insurance Company and of leading 
police officials. They reasoned, and with some 
force, that while they were quite ready to believe 
that Holmes had killed the little Pitezel children, 
they did not think it possible that such an astute 
and wily criminal, had left a trace behind him, 
and that most probably the bodies of the children 
had been sunk in some lake or river, just as 
Nettie Williams had been. They further reminded 
the District Attorne}' and his Assistant, that the 
children had disappeared in October, 1894, and it 
was then June, 1895, and it was hardly to be ex- 


pected that after such a hipse of time a clue which 
would lead to the discovery of their bodies or the 
means adopted in disposing of them, could be dis- 

The proposition therefore, to go over the route 
taken by Holmes, in company with the children, 
starting from Cincinnati, thence to Indianapolis, 
Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, and Burlington (Ver- 
mont) savored very much of a wild goose chase, and 
■would be moreover a waste of time and mone3^ 
After Holmes had been arrested in Boston, the 
detectives of the insurance company had 
traced the children to Cincinnati and thence to 
the cities above named, until Detroit was reached, 
ivhen Howard disaj^jjeared. The two girls with 
Holmes, were then traced to Toronto, whe7i they 
disappeared, and so it looked very much as if the 
story Holmes had told of having given Howard to 
Miss Williams in Detroit, and then sent the girls to 
her from Toronto, was true. 

Holmes however did not tell this story nntil 
after he knew that the insurance detectives had dis- 
covered the houses he liad rented in Detroit and 
Burlington and so he adjusted himself to the sit- 
uation from time to time as it arose. 

The newspapers were regularly served to 


Holmes in the county prison and he employed 
his time in keeping pace with the news as it came 
to him. 

A few important clues had, moreover, been 
overlooked. When he was arrested, a tin box con- 
taining title and other papers and private memo- 
randa, were found. Among the papers Avere ten or 
twelve letters from Alice and Nellie, written to 
their mother and grandparents from Cincinnati, 
Indianapolis, and Detroit, and which they had 
evidently given to Holmes to mail. A number of 
letters written by Mrs. Pitezel in Detroit and 
Toronto, were also found in the box. She said 
she had given them to Holmes to mail and was 
surprised when informed that they had been found 
in his box. These letters constituted a ver}^ im- 
portant clue and they will be given in their proper 
place in this narrative. The other clue was a 
small bunch of keys, found by Miss Yoke (Mrs. 
Howard) in her truidc and surrendered b}- her to 
the officers. 

District Attorney Graham and his Assistant, 
Mr. Barlow, were not affected by any pessimistic 
view of the situation. They did not believe that 
a man could kill three children and escape dis- 
covery. They believed that the children were 






alive or in hiding, or if they had been murdered 
all previous efforts to find them had been unskill- 
fully made, and they resolved to undertake a care- 
ful and patient search for the blunder which a 
criminal always makes between the inception and 
the consummation of his crime. 

About tiiis time the District Attorney, as already 
stated, determined upon the release of Mrs. Pite- 
zel. She had given a full, frank and truthful 
statement of all she knew of the case. She stated 
she had given Holmes about !i!^6,700 of the 87,200 
she had received from Howe, and Holmes had 
given her a note drawn to the order of B. B. 
Samuels for 'llGiOOO. Here is an exact copy of 
this note. 

There was no endorsement on the back of this 

That after she had given Howard and Nellie to 
Holmes, to take to Cincinnati, to join Alice, she 
had gone to the home of her parents in Galva, 
Illinois. That in response to a letter from Holmes, 
she went on October 13th, 1894, to Deivoxt, ivliere 
he said she ivonld meet her hnnhand. 

That upon her arrival in Detroit, Holmes met 
her and said, that V>q\\ had found it impossible to 
remain in Detroit, and had gone to Toronto. That 


on October 18th she went to Toronto, where 
Holmes told her, that Ben got frightened because 
of his belief that the detectives were after him, 
and had gone to Montreal. He showed her a note 
written in cipher, which he said Pitezel had sent 
to her. That under the advice and direction of 
Holmes, she journeyed with her children wearied 
and worn out with travel and anxiety, to Pres- 
cott, thence to Ogdensburg, and finally to Bur- 
lington, Vermont, where Holmes rented a house 
for her, — he giving her name as Mrs. Cook, and his 
own as Judson, and alleging that she was his 
sister ; that while in Burlington, Holmes, brought 
a package of nitro-glycerine to the house and 
placed it in the cellar. That he wrote her a note^ 
requesting her to carry the packaye to one of the 
%ipppr floors^ which she did not do. That while in 
the Burlington house. Holmes came there and 
went into the cellar, and after a while she followed 
him and found him removing some boards on the 
cellar floor. She says he exhibited much con- 
fusion when he found her observing him, and 
shortl}' after left the house. 

On June 19, 1894, Mrs. Pitezel entered lier own 
recognizance to appear when wanted, and was at 
once set at liberty. 


On the day of her discharge, she received the 
following remarkable letter from Holmes: 

Philadelphia, June 17th, '95. 
Mrs. Carrie A. Pitezel. 
Dear INIadam : — 

I have been exceedingly anxious 
during the last mouths to communicate with you, 
but have been completely headed off in every 
direction. I learn that you will shortly be set 
at liberty, and I shall take this letter to City 
Hall with me and then give it to my attorneys 
to be sent to you, as the prison regulations do 
not prohibit my doing so. I have been re- 
peatedly called cruel and heartless during the 
past six montlis, and by those who were at tlie 
very time doing more than I, that was both cruel 
and heartless towards you. Within ten days 
after you came here arrangements were made 
with my attorney to furnish bail for you and a 
house to live in. We were refused permission 
to see you, although you remember coming here 
from Boston, it was promised I should see you. 
Later I offered to make arrangements with your 
lawyer for tlie same. jNIr. Barlow of the District 
Attorney's ofQce, told me I could do nothing and 
that I need not worry myself about you as you 
are being cared for. Within three days after you 
came here you had been made to believe so much 
from others that you forgot that for years I had 


done all 1 could do for you and yours and that it 
was hardly likely that all at ouce I should turn 
and do all I could against you. 

Facts you should know are as follows : Ben 
lived West, and while drunk at Ft. Worth, Texas 
married a disreputable woman by the name of 
Mrs. Martin. (Write E. Otto, also Boarding 
House bet. Houston and Throckmorton Sts., on 
1st St., where they lived as Mr. and Mrs. Lyman.) 
When he became sober and found what he had 
done, he threatened to kill himself and her, and I 
had him watched by one of the other men until 
he went home. When we straightened up the 
bank account, he had fooled awaj^ or been robbed 
by her of over $850 of the money we needed there 
so much. Later he wanted to carry out the in- 
surance work down in Mississippi, where he was 
acquainted, and I ^^•ent there with him, and when 
I found out what kind of a place it was, would 
not go any further with it thei'e and told Jiim so, 
and he said if I did not, he would kill himself and 
get money for you, etc. To get him out of the 
notion. I told him I would go to Mobile and if I 
could get what was wanted would do so, if nut, I 
would go to St. Louis and write for him to come. 
I did not go to Mohile. Was never there in my 
life. When I reached St. Louis I wrote him, and 
in the letter he left me after he died, he said he 
tried to kill himself with laudanum there, and 
later I found out this was so. (Henry Rogers, 


Prop, of Hotel at Perkinsville, Ala.) Where lie 
was very sick. He also wrote you he was sick 
there, I think you told nie. Here in Phila. \^e 
were not ready. He got word baby was sick and 
he had to own to me he had drank up the $35.00 
I gave him extra in N. Y., and then I told him I 
would settle up everything, as if we carried it 
out, he might get to drinking and tell of it. He 
begged me not to do it, and at last I concluded to 
try again, but thought it best to have him think 
for a week or two that I was not going on with it, 
so lie would sober up and be himself. I blame 
myself for this and always shall, for the next day 
when I went to his store I found him as I have 
described, and Perry or the detectives have got 
the cipher slip he left me, or at all events, it was 
in the tin box they took. He asked me to get 
you a house in Cincinnati, on ac. of good schools, 
etc., and I did so, but did not dare take you tliere 
after Howe and McD. threatened my arrest, and 
so made arrangements with Miss W. to live with 
you. She took Ploward with her from Detroit be- 
cause he would quarrel with the girls if no grown 
person was with them, and he wanted his father's 
watch and Alice wanted to keep it, and so I took 
it, telling them I wanted to show it to you and 
Dessa, and bought all three of them each a cheap 
watch. When I found the conditions in Toronto 
were not as Miss W. thouglit they were, and I 
was getting word from Chicago every day that I 



was being followed, I thought best to go out of 
the country altogether, and the Ins. Co. know 
the children A. and E. were at their hotel at 1 
o'clock the afternoon you left Toronto, and be- 
tween then and when I saw you at 4 o'clock at 
the store where I was buying some things for 
them, I had been to my wife's hotel twice and 
was with you again at 6:30, and had meantime 
started the children to J\Jiss W. and eaten my 
supper. From that time until my anest in Bos- 
ton, if I could now be allowed to sit down with 
you and my wife, I could show where every half 
hour was spent. In Boston I recvd. letter 
from Miss W. that the}^ would leave there in a 
few days, and if the detectives would now go, as 
I beg of them, they could trace out the N. Y. end 
of the matter and stop all the unnecessary delay 
and expense. This would spoil their theories and 
would not be a sufficiently bloodthirsty ending of 
the case to satisfy them it seems. As soon as 
they got a house and were settled, they w^ere to 
send word and you were to then go to them, and 
this was why I wished you to take a furnished 
hduse so you could get rested and not be at ho- 
tels. I made arrangements for Miss W, to tell 
3'ou all, when you Avere settled. If you had 
known they were following you, you would have 
been worried, and I think you will remember I 
tried to do all I could to keep you from it, and 
we had to get rid of the old trunks and get the 


things into bundles, so there would be no check- 
ing. There is a bundle of yours now at the Bur- 
lington Depot marked with the name you Avent 
by there, which I have forgotten. I was as care- 
ful of the children as if they were my own, and 
you know me well enough to judge me better 
than strangers here can do. Ben would not have 
done anything against me, or I against him, any 
quicker than brothers. We neve?- quarrelled. 
Again, he was worth too much to me for me to 
have killed him, if I had no other reason not to. 
As to the children, I never will believe, until you 
tell me so yourself, that you think they are dead 
or that 1 did anything to put them out of the 
way. Knowing me as you do, can you imagine 
me killing little and innocent children, especially 
without any motive ? Why, if I was preparing 
to put them out of life was I (within an hour be- 
fore I must have done it if ever) buying them 
things to wear and make them comfortable, even 
underwear for them to take to Miss W. for How- 
ard, (which I can prove I bought in Toronto,) if 
as they would have you believe, Pat had taken 
him and killed him weeks before. Don't you 
know that if I had offered Pat a million dollars, 
he would not have done a thing like this. I 
made a mistake in having it known that Miss W. 
killed her sister, as it tends to make her more 
careful about her movements, but I could hardly 
do otherwise, when I was accused of killing them 


both. Now after they get ck~)ne trying to make 
the case worse than it is, you will fiiul that they 
will trace the children to N. Y. and to the steamer 
there. Next to you, I have snffered most about 
them, and a few days ago gave the District Attor- 
ney all facts I could, and if nothing comes of it 
soon, I hardly expect anything new to occur until 
I can be taken to Ft. Worth and arrange the 
property so Mr. Massie, her old guardian, can take 
lier part of the money to her in London. By ad- 
vertising, if she knows there is mone}" for her, 
and it conies through Mr. Massie safely, she will 
find some way, (probably through her Boston 
friend,) to get it. As long as there is nothing to 
gain, she will hardly come out openly and lay 
herself liable to arrest. I dislike fearfully to go 
to Ft. Worth to serve a term, as the prisons there 
are terrible. I had rather be here five years than 
there one, and in going, there is no better way to 
have you know I am still willing to do all 1 can 
for you and yours. I blame tlie Company here for 
keeping you shut up six months in this den, for 
worrying yon about your children not being alive 
and for their trying to separate my wife from me, 
for these things do not concern them, but 1 have 
never blamed them for otherwise making me all 
the trouble they can. I would do the same with 
another if the tables were turned. As matters 
now stand, I have got here, in Illinois and in 
Texas, between fifteen and twenty years of im- 

The riTEZEL children. im 

prisonnient a\^■aiting nie. If the children can be 
found, 1 want to finish here and in lilinois first., 
hoping by that time the Texas matters may blow 
over or that I may die ; l)ut if they are not found 
before my sentence expires liere, if any arrange- 
ment can be made so papers can be filed in Texas 
to bring me back here or to Illinois, after I have 
served tliis first small charge in Texas, so I do n(»t 
have to stay and serve the others there until after 
my northern term is served, I will go and dm all I 
can to both get the property straightened there, 
so you can liave a small income and arrange for 
recovery of the children. Hen's death was genu- 
ine and you were entitled to the money, and if it 
had not been for H. and McD., you would to-day 
have been in Cincinnati with all the children. 

About the money — Ben asked me to use most 
of it to pay debts and ari-ange so some steady in- 
come should come to you from the South. The 
note you got in St. Louis was made by him in the 
spring and some money was due on it. We were 
f)wing Miss W. about 15,000. T gave -$1,000 to 
her in Detroit (also S400 to Alice in Toronto) 
and you have no reason to think I was not intend- 
ing to take care of you then, more than in years 
before, and now if I can get to Ft. Worth with- 
out running risk of staying there more than one 
year, I will soon straigliten so as to get you 
money while I am there in jail. Mr. Shoemaker 
went there two weeks last winter and started mat- 


ters, but until I can go there and be taken into 
court, nothing more can be clone I fear. There 
are some letters at the City Hall that I promised 
Alice I would save for her, as I did not dare let her 
carry them with her, and if after they get through 
with them, you can get them, I wish you would do 
so, also Ben's watch. Howard has the other things. 
I don't know what you will do meantime, if you 
gain your liberty here, but rest assured I will do 
all I can at the earliest possible moment. So far 
as the children's bodily health is concerned, I feel 
sure I can say to you the}- are as well to-daj' as 
though with you, also that they will not be turned 
adrift among strangers, for two reasons. First, 
Miss W., although quick tempered, is too soft 
hearted to do so; second, if among others where 
their letters could not be looked over and de- 
tained, the}^ would write to their grandparents, 
(not to 3'ou, as I instructed Miss W. from Boston 
in answer to her letter to me. if she heard of my 
or our arrest, to have children think we were lost 
crossing to London.) They have no doubt writ- 
ten letters which Miss W., for her own safety, has 

If there are any questions you wish to ask me, 
make a list of them and send to one of my attor- 
neys. I have refrained from asking you anj^lest 
you would think that the object of my letter. I 
have no desire to do anything to cause your 
lawyer or the prosecution any unnecessary work 

The pitezel children. i7i 

or annoyance, and if you write me, shall isimply 
answer questions asked. Shall not advise or ques- 
tion you, nor would 1 have done so if allowed to 
have seen you during past months, though it 
would liave saved them much unnecessary delay 
and expense to have had us eliminate some of 
the features of the case by comparing memories. 
I, at least, hope your suffering here is nearly 

Yours Trul3^ 

H. H. Holmes. 

The foregoing narrative substantially presents 
the case, known to, and considered by the District 
Attorne3''s office at the time arrangements were 
perfected, which permitted of the release of Mr. 
Geyer from his routine duties in the Police De- 
[)artment. He had been for twenty years an 
esteemed and trusted member of the Philadelphia 
Detective Bureau. He had had a vast experience in 
detective work, and more particularly in murder 
cases and justly enjoyed the friendship and confi- 
dence of the District Attorney, and his assistant, 
as much because of his high personal character, as 
his skill and dexterity in his profession. Funds to 
defray the expenses of the search were readily fur- 
nished by the officers uf the Insurance Company, 
notwithstanding their belief that little more could 


be accoinplislied than threshing over old straw. 
On the evening of June 26th, 1895, full of hope 
and courage Detective Geyer started on his 
journey. But we will let him tell his own story. 




Defective Geyer Uudeitakes the Seaicli — Arrival at Ciucin- 
nati — Searching Hotel Registers — Holmes Located at two 
Hotels under Two Aliases — Hotel Clerk Reoogviizes Photo- 
graphs of Holmes and the Children — Holmes Rents a 
House under Another Alias — Holmes gives Away a Stove 
—Geyer Starts for Indianapolis. 

About the time of tlie trial and conviction of 
Holmes, I was sent for by Mr. Barlow, to call 
upon liim at the District Attorney's office. On 
my arrival there, 1 was informed that Mr. Graham 
liad decided to send me West to make a search for 
the missing Pitezel children. Arrangements were 
then made with the snperintendent of police to 
detail me for the task, and preparations were com- 
pleted for the start. Several conferences were 
held with the officers of the insurance company, 
and the District Attorney and his assistant, and I 
soon became familiar witli every point of the case. 
Eight months having elapsed since the children 
liad been heard from, it did not look like a very 
encouraging task to undertake, and it was the 



general belief of all interested, that the children 
would never be found. The District Attorney 
believed, however, that another final effort to find 
the children should be made, for the sake of the 
stricken mother, if for nothing else. I was not 
placed under any restrictions, but was told to go 
and exercise my own judgment in the matter, and 
to follow wherever the clues led me. I was well 
piovided with money, and with a Godspeed and 
well wishes from all Avho weie interested, I started 
on my journey. 

I left Philadelphia on Wednesday evening, 
June 2Gth, 1895, for Cincinnati, Ohio, arriving 
there on the 27th at 7.30 P. ^[., registered at the 
Palace Hotel, and after partaking of some lunch, 
I proceeded to police headquarters, where T met 
ni}- old friend, Detective John Schnooks. I ex- 
plained to him the nature of my visit to Cincin- 
nati, and he requested me to call in the morning 
and have a conference with Superintendent Philip 
Dietsch. An hour or two was spent with 
Schnooks rehearsing some of our old stories, after 
which I returned to the hotel for a good night's 
rest. Bright and early the next morning, I arose 
and after eating a hearty breakfast, I started for 
the city hall, where I met Superintendent 


Dietsch. One half hour or more was spent 
with him going over the case and givhig liim my 
reasons for believing that Holmes had had the 
children in Cincinnati, Ohio. Reaching his hand 
under his desk, his finger was placed on a touch 
button that summoned a messenger from the 
detective department, who was instructed to send 
Detective Schnooks into the office. A moment 
or two later Schnooks made his appearance, and 
the superintendent instructed him to render me 
all the assistance in his power, in the effort to 
locate the children. Bidding the superintendent 
good da}-, Schnooks and I left the office and com- 
menced the greatest search I have ever had in my 
twenty years' experience in the detective business. 
When I left Philadelphia, I was provided with 
photographs of Holmes, Pitezel, Alice, Nellie, and 
Howard Pitezel, Mrs. Pitezel, Dessie and the 
baby, also of Mrs. Pitezel's trunk, (the one 
Holmes borrowed from her in Detroit, Michigan, 
saying that he wanted it for the purpose of get- 
ting Ben out of the town, as the detectives were 
onto him), a photograph of a missing trunk which 
belonged to the children ; also of a trunk belong- 
ing to Mrs. Howard. As I knew that Holmes 
had left St. Louis on September 28th with the 


two children, Nellie and Howard, I suggested to 
Schnooks, that we first search the hotels around 
the depots to see if a man registered there on 
that da\-, who had three children with hiui, a boy 
and two girls. We called at a number of hotels, 
but niet ^^•ith no success. We finally struck a 
cheap hotel at Xo. 164^ Central Avenue, known 
as the Atlantic House, and upon examining the 
register, we discovered that on Friday, Sejjtember 
28th, 1894, there aj^peared tlie name of Alex. E. 
Cook and three chihlren. The photographs of 
Holmes and the three children were shown to the 
clerk, who could not s;iy [)Ositively that they were 
the photographs of the people wh(; had sto})ped 
there, but thought they resembled them very 
much. Recalling to my mind that Holmes had 
Mrs. Pitezel living in Burlington under the name 
of Mrs. A. E. Cook, I felt convinced that I was on 
the right track. The clerk informed us that these 
l)arties only remained over night, leaving the fol- 
lowing morning. Tiianking the clerk for his kind 
attention, we left the hotel and continued our 
search among such hotels as we had not visited, 
and when we arrived at the Hotel Bristol, corner 
of 6th and Vine Streets, we discovered that on 
Saturday, September 29th, 1894, there appeared 


on tlie register the name of A. E. Cook and three 
childieii, Clevehuid. They were assigned to room 
No. 103, a room whicli contained two beds. Mr. 
W. L. Bain, a clerk at tlie liotel, recognized tlie 
photographs of Holmes and the children, as the 
party who registered there under that name. The 
register showed that they left the Bristol on Sun- 
day, September 30th. 

Knowing that Holmes was in the habit of rent- 
ing houses in most every city he visited, I deter- 
mined to give up the search among the hotels and 
make some inquiry among the real estate agents 
and ascertain whether he had rented a house in 
Cincinnati. After visiting quite a number of 
them,, we called at the office of J. C. Thomas, No. 
15 East 3d Street. His clerk informed us that 
Mr. Thomas had gone to his home in Cnmmins- 
ville, a suburban town about five miles from Cin- 
cinnati. A photograph of Holmes was siiown the 
clerk, who had a distinct recollection of having 
seen the original in the office with a small boy. 
The photograph of Howard was then produced 
and he identified it as the boy who was with 
Holmes. The clerk was unable to give us any 
further information in regard to the renting of the 
houses, as the books were locked up, and Mi'. 


Thomas Lad tlie keys. We then delermiued to go 
to Cumminsville and find Mr. Thomas, so off we 
started, and when we reached Cumminsville, we 
were unable to locate our man, — nobody appeared 
to know him, and in consulting the directory his 
name did not appear in it, ([)robably he had not 
lived there long enough.) We returned to Cin- 
cinnati somewliat disappointed, and as it was after 
business hours, we were cum2)elled to give np the 

The next morning we were at the real estate 
office of Mr. Thomas again, and as soon as he 
arrived, we lost no time in consulting him. We 
showed him the pictures of Holmes and Howard 
Titeze], which lie immediately recognized as that 
of a man who had a small boy v.ith him, and who 
rented a house from him at No. 305 Poplar Street, 
on Friday, September 28th, 1894, paying $15 in 
advance for it and giving the name of A. C. Hayes. 
Mr. Thomas informed us that his tenant had only 
remained in the house about two daj^s, when he 
left for parts unknowji, but suggested tliat we call 
on Miss Hill, who lived at No. 303 Poplar Street, 
(next door), as he thought she would be able to 
give us some information concerning him. We 
immediately left for No. 303 Poplar Street, where 


we met Miss Hill, whom we found to be very will- 
ing to tell us all she knew about the strange ten- 
ant. She said there was really very little to tell. 
The first she noticed of him was on Saturday 
morning, September 29th, when a furniture wagon 
was driven in front of No. 305 Poplar Street and 
a man and small boy alighted. The man took a 
key out of his pocket, and after opening the door 
of No. 305, a large, iron cylinder stove, such as is 
used in barrooms or a large hall, was taken out of 
the wagon and carried into the house. As there 
was no other furniture taken in, it aroused her 
curiosity and she spoke of it to several of her 
neighbors. She was doubtless observed by Holmes 
doing this, for on tlie next morning, September 
30th, (Sunday) he rang her bell, and told her he 
was not going to occupy the liouse and that she 
could have the stove. 

Having located Holmes and the children at 
two hotels in Cincinnati, and discovered the two 
false names he assumed. Cook and Hayes, I felt 
justified in believing that I had taken firm hold 
of the end of the string which was to lead me ul- 
timately to the consummation of my difficult mis- 
sion. I was not able to appreciate the intense 
significance of tlie renting of the Poplar Street 


house and the delivery of a stove of such immense 
size there, but I felt sure I was on the right track 
and so started for Indianapolis, from Avhich point 
several of tlie cliildren's letters found in Holmes' 
tin box had been dated. 




The Search iu ludiauapolis — Holmes Took Alice Pitezel to 
Cincinnati — The Three Canning Children Identified as the 
Pitezel Children — Mrs. Holmes Registered as Mrs. Georgia 
Howard — Represents Her Husband as Wealthy — Holmes 
as an Uncle — Holmes' Schemes to Get Rid of Howard — 
The Children Homesick — Chicago — The Search for a Trunk 
— Geyer Calls on Pliimmer — Plnmmer Admits Knowing 
Holmes, bnt Denies Ever Seeing the Children— A German 
Chambermaid Recognizes Photographs of the Children — 
How the Children Passed Their Time— The Picture of the 
Trunk Identified— Holmes as Harry Gordon — Mrs. Gordon 
— Interview with a Janitor — The Williams Girls Again — 
Search for a Bricklayer. 

Saturday evening, June 29t]i, at 7:30 o'clock, 
I arrived at Indianapolis, Indiana, registering at 
the Spencer House. After partaking of a lunch, 
I started out in search of police headquarters, 
which I found to be located on Alabama Street, 
south of Washington Street. Entering the build- 
ing, I met Captain Splann, who is in charge of the 
detective corps. Introducing myself, I told liim 
what my business was in Indianapolis and he re- 
quested me to see Superintendent Powell. About 
this time a report came in that a man had been 


shot and killed in the Jiorthern part of the city, 
and that the murderer had escaped. The captain 
was compelled to start for the scene of the mur- 
der, and invited me to accompany him, which I 
did. On our arrival at the house, we learned that 
the man was not dead, but was suffering from the 
result of a pistol shot wound in the neck. The 
usual preliminaries were gone througli with, and 
after obtaining an accurate description of the 
would-be murderer, we left the house in search of 
Superintendent Powelb and while looking for 
him, I met several of the city detectives. Cap- 
tain Splann gave them a description of the man 
who was wanted, and requested tiiem to make 
search for him at once. Shortly after we met the 
superintendent, who advised me to call at police 
headquarters the next morning, telling me that he 
would detail a good man to aid me, and that he 
would render me all the assistance in his power. 

Sunday morning, bright and early, I called at 
police headquarters, where I met Superintendent 
Powell, who introduced me to Detective David 
Richards and informed me that he had assigned 
him to assist me in my investigation in Indianap- 
olis. Richards and I retired to a private room 
and after explaining the case to him we left head- 


quarters to continue the searcli for the missing- 

I suggested to Richards that we first make in- 
quiry among the hotels near the Union Depot and 
on going to tlie Stubbins House and examining 
the register, we found that on September 24th, 
1894, was an entry in tlie name of Etta Pit- 
sel, St. Louis, Mo., and that the hotel records 
showed she left on the morning of September 
28th. Further inquiry elicited the fact that the 
girl was brought there b}- a man known to Mr. 
Robert Sweeney, the clerk, as Mr. Howard, and 
that on Friday morning, September 28th, he had 
received a telegram from Mr. Howard, dated St. 
Louis, requesting him to have Etta Pitsel at the 
Union Depot to meet St. Louis train for Cincin- 
nati, Ohio. This was the day Holmes left St. Louis 
with Nellie and Howard Pitezel, telling their 
mother that he was going to take them to Indian- 
apolis, where they would be taken care of b}- a 
kind old lady. Mr. Sweeney full}^ identified the 
picture of Alice Pitezel, as the girl who stopped 
at the Stubbins House ; also that of Holmes, as 
the man whom he knew as Howard and to whom 
he had given Alice Pitezel on the St. Louis train 
for Cincinnati, Ohio. 


Feeling confident that Holmes had returned to 
Indianapolis, 1 continued to search among the 
hotels. The register of a number of hotels was 
examined in the neighborhood of the depot, but 
we failed to get any further information regard- 
ing the children. We then went to the place 
known as the Circl'3, where there are severat 
liotels. We called upon the proprietor of the 
Hotel English, and asked permission to examine 
his register of Septem!)er, 1894. Turning to Sep- 
tember 30th, we discovered on the register tUe 
three Canning children, Galva, Illinois, room No 
79. i\Ir. Duncan, the clerk was shown the pic- 
tures of the children who were registered there 
under the name of Canning, and positively identi- 
fied, them. He also identified the picture of 
Holmes, as that of the man who had brought 
them there and who took them away on the next 
morning, Monda}^ October 1st. Knowing that 
tiie children's grandparents' name Avas Canning 
and that they lived at Galva, Illinois, I was con- 
vinced that I was on tlie riglit track, and with re- 
newed energy, I determined to find out where 
they were taken to ou Monday morning, October 
1st. Every hotel and lodging house in Indian 
apolis was searched, but no record could be found 


of where the chiklreu had stopped. Finally it 
dawned upon Kicliaids, that in September, 18*.'4, 
there had been on Meridian Street within fifty 
feet of the Circle, a small hotel known as the 
Circle House. This hotel had been closed for a 
long time, but we determined to find the proprie- 
tor, a Mr. Merman Ackelow. Inquiry around the 
Circle as to where we could find him, brought 
fortli the information that he had moved to West 
Indianapolis, but that we could find his clerk, 
a ]\Ir. Reisner, near the Union depot. Off we 
started at once to find the clerk and located him 
in a hotel south of the depot, and ascertained 
from him that the register and all the records be- 
longing to the Circle House, were in charge of 
an attorney named Everett. We then made ar- 
rangements with Mr. Reisner to meet us at the 
lawyer's office the following morning, ^londay, 
July 1st, 1895. According to promise, Richards 
and I were at lawyer Everett's office at 9 A. M. on 
Monday, where we met clerk Reisner. The reg- 
ister was produced, and turning over to October 
1st, found a similar entry to that in the Hotel 
English, three Canning children, Galva, Illinois, 
room -No. 24. ^Ir. Reisner in looking over tlie 
cash account, informed us that thev had left there 


October 6tli. It was easily observed that the 
books of the Circle House were kept without 
much system, cuusequently we had to rely ou 
dates giveu us by Reisuer as being accurate. 

In making my search among the hotels, I dis- 
covered that Holmes had his wife registered at 
the Circle Park Hotel under the name of Mrs. 
Georgia Howard. The entry was made Septem- 
ber 18th, and slie remained there until September 
2-lth. This was tlie time when Holmes, with 
Howe and Alice Pitezel was in Philadelphia for 
the purpose of identifying Pitezel's body. While 
at the Circle Park Hotel, Mrs. Howard became 
very intimate with the proprietress, a IVIrs. Rodius. 
She informed her that her husband was a very 
wealthy man, and that he owned real estate and 
cattle ranches in Texas; also had considerable 
real estate in Berlin, Germany, wJiere they in- 
tended to go as soon as her husband could gel Ijis 
business affairs into shape to leave. 

The Circle Park Hotel is also situated in the 
phice known as the circle and is within one hun- 
dred feet of the Circle House, where Holmes had 
the children. September 30th, Mrs. Howard's 
name re appears on the Circle Park Hotel register 
and she remains there until October 4th, showing 


that she was almost within speaking distance of 
the Pitezel children, yet she was in absolute 
ignorance of it. 

I suggested that we go to West Indianapolis 
and have an interview with Mr. Herman Ackelow, 
the former proprietor of the Circle House, to see 
if he could throw any light upon the whereabouts 
of the children. When we reached West Indian- 
apolis, we found that Mr. Ackelow was running a 
beer saloon. It did not require a great deal of 
ceremony to introduce ourselves, after which I 
spoke to him about the children. He had a dis- 
tinct recollection of them and recognized the pho- 
tograph of Holmes as the man who brought them 
and took them away from his hotel. Holmes 
represented to INIr. Ackelow, that he was their 
uncle, — their mother, who was a widow, Avas his 
sister, and that she would be with them in a few 
days. Holmes said that Howard was a very bad 
boy and that he was trying to place him in some 
institution, or bind him out to some farmer, as he 
wanted to get rid of the res]3onsibility of looking 
after him. 

Mr. Ackelow also informed me, that on numer- 
ous occasions he had sent his oldest boy up to the 
children's room to call them for their meals. His 


son Avould return to liini and tell liini tlitit he 
found the children crjing, — evidently heart- 
broken and homesick to see their mothei", or liear 
from iier. 

From the fact that Holmes had told Mr. vVcke- 
low that he wanted to get rid of Howard, I came 
to the conclusion at once that he had murdered 
him, but where, up to this time, I was unable to 

]n an interview I had with Mrs. Pitezel in the 
Moyamensing Prison, Philadelphia, she told me 
that the trunk the children had with them when 
they left her at St. Louis, Mo., was missing. 1 
then interviewed Holmes, as to what he had done 
with it, and he informed me that lie had left it in 
a hotel on West Madison Street, about lift}- feet 
from the corner of Ashland Avenue, Chicago, 

Information had also been sent me by the 
Fidelity Company, that their general manager in 
Detroit, Michigan had positive informat^ion that 
Holmes and the boy were seen in Detroit, Michi- 
gan, where Holmes had rented a house. 

While I felt somewhat reluctant to leave In- 
dianapolis, as something seemed to tell me that 
Howard never left there alive, I decided I would 


abandon the searcli there for the time being, and 
go to Chicago, Illinois and see it" 1 could verify 
the trunk story. At 11:40 A. M., July 1st, ISUl, 
I left Indianapolis, Indiana, l\)r Chicago, 111., ar- 
riving there at 5:30 P. M., and registei'ed at tlic 
Imperial Hotel. After supper I went to Police 
Headquarters, and after going through the usual 
preliminaries of introducing myself, I informed 
the ("aptain in charge of Detective Headquarters, 
why I was in Chicago. He listened with much 
interest to my story and requested me to call early 
in the A. M., when he would introduce me to In- 
spector Fitzpatrick. 

Tuesday morning, July 2d, I called at Police 
Headquarters, and learned that the Inspector had 
been detained on some business and would not be 
at the office for some time. I was then introduced 
to Detective Sergeant John C. McGinn, and was 
informed that he was assigned to assist me in my 
investigation in Chicago. 

llie story of the finding of the body at No. 
1316 Callowhill Street, and the mysterious disap- 
pearance of the children was all told to i\Ic(iinn. 
We then left Police Headquarters, and I suggested 
tliat we call on Wliarton Plunnner in room No. 
1218 Chamber of Commerce Puilding. Plummer 


was Holmes' attorney and had represented him in 
S(;me of his business ventures. Holmes had in- 
formed me prior to leaving Philadelphia, that 
Plummer had taken dinner with him at the hotel 
where tlie children were stopping on West Madi- 
son Street, and that he (Plummer) had seen the 
girls. Entering the office, I handed m}^ card to 
Mr. Plummer, who requested ns to be seated. I 
then opened up a conversation with him regard- 
ing Holmes and the missing children. He ad- 
mitted having seen Holmes in Cliicago about the 
time referred to and said that he met him on the 
North side, and thought it was on Division Street, 
and that they went into a restaurant and had some 
lunch. Pie positively denied having been at 
the hotel where Holmes stopped, and declared 
most emphatically that he had never seen the 

Having learned in Indianapolis, that the cham- 
bermaid, Caroline Klausmann, who had charge of 
the room in the Circle House, which the children 
occupied, had moved to Chicago, I determined to 
locate her if possible. We learned that she was 
stopping at No. 223 West Clark Street and upon 
making inquiry at the above number, we ascer- 
tained that she was employed at the Swiss Hotel, 


on Wells Street between Ohio and Indiana 
Avenues. We then proeeeded to the Swiss Hotel 
where we met Miss Klausmann, whom I found to 
be a middle aged German woman, unable to speak 
English. As I was familiar with the German 
language, I explained wh}^ I came to see her and 
showed her the photograplis of the children. 
She recognized them at once, and with tears in 
her eyes described to me how they would employ 
their time while she was at tlie hotel in Indian- 
apolis. She said that the children were always 
drawing pictures of houses, or engaged in writ- 
ing, and that she frequently went into their room 
and found them crying. Observing that they 
were alone at the hotel, she naturally believed 
they were orphan children, and when she found 
them crying, she thought they Avere crying over 
the loss of their father and mother. She said it 
grieved her very much to think she was unable to 
speak English, so that she might have sympatliized 
with them. She identified the picture of the 
missing trunk, as the one the children had with 
them at the Circle House. After leaving Miss 
Klausmann, we concluded we would go to the 
West side and endeavor to locate the hotel where 
Holmes claimed to have left the missino- trunk. 


We went to West Madison Street and Ashland 
Avenue, but were unable to locate any hotel as 
described by Holmes. However, we made a 
search of the register of every hotel within a mile 
of where Holmes had said the children had 
stopped, but were unable to h)cate them. We 
returned to the City Hall, and after a half hour 
consultation, we agreed to return to Ashland 
Avenue and West Madison Street and make an- 
other search for the hotel. We did not find a 
hotel, but succeeded in finding a lodging house, 
about fifty feet from the corner of Ashland 
Avenue on West Madison Street, just as described 
by Holmes. This house had beeu occupied at that 
time by a Miss Jennie Irons, whom we found about 
five blocks further west on West Madison Street. 
The photographs of Holmes and the children 
were then shown to Miss Irons, but she failed to 
identify the children, but thought she had seen 
the man. Subsequent developments have proved 
that Holmes, under the name of Harry Gordon, 
occupied apartments with ]\Iiss Irons in 1893, 
having witli him a woman who was known as 
Mrs. Gordon, and has been since identified as 
jNIiss Emily Cigrand, a wonuin who mysteriously 
disappeared from No. 701 Sixty-Third Street, 

THE rxrrnrxa rrn.'^rFr. i!tr. 

Chicago, tlie lioiise that lias since hecoiue famous 
as " The Castle." 

As Holmes had lived with INIiss Irons, he had 
no difficulty in describing the place to me. How- 
ever, neither the children, nor the tiamk had been 

As there was nothing to be learned from Miss 
Irons, I concluded that my next move would bo 
to visit Pat Quinlan, Holmes' janitor at the 
block, Sixty-third and Wallace Streets, opposite 
Englewood Station. So getting on a cable car, 
we started for Quinlan's home, and on our arrival 
there we discovered there was only one entrance 
to the upstairs of the big building. Going up a 
dark winding stairway, we reached the second 
story, and knocking at the door, we Avere re- 
quested to come in. Quinlan is a man about five 
feet, eight or nine inches, slim build, light curly 
hair, sandy mustache, and looks to be about 
thirty-eight j-ears old. I presented my card to 
hiui and he requested me to be seated, after 
which I began my conversation about Holmes 
and the missing Pitezel children, trying to im- 
press Quinlan all the while, that I believed he 
knew all about them. Quinlan told me the last 
time he saw Holmes, was in the fall of 1894, on 


the North side in Chicago. He was with another 
man, whom Qiiinhm says he did not know. 
Quinlan spoke to Holmes and said: "Hello, 
where did you come from?" Holmes answered 
and said : " I have just come from home." Quin- 
lan thought he meant Wilmette. I questioned 
Quinlan closely in regard to the Pitezel children. 
He admitted that he knew them very well, but 
positively denied knowing anything whatever of 
their whereabouts, and that if he did know he 
would be only too willing to render all the assist- 
ance he could to locate them. He expressed liis 
belief, that if the body found at No. 131G Callow- 
hill Street was that of Pitezel, that Holmes had 
murdered him, and subseqnently murdered the 
cliildren, and if such were the case. Holmes 
should be liung for it, and that he, (Quhilan) 
would only be too willing to spring the trap. 
Quinlan said from what he had read of Holmes 
since the case has gained publicity, he sincerely 
believed that Holmes set fire to the block and in- 
tended to destroy him and his famil}'. 

During my last interview with Holmes in Moy- 
amensing Prison, he told me he had given the 
children to a man named Edward Hatch, who 
was formerly a bricklayer and had done odd 


chores around the block in Chicago. He said 
that QuinLin and Dr. Robinson were well ac- 
quainted with him, so while at Quinlan's, 1 
thought I would take advantage of the oppor- 
tunit}', and question Pat as to wliat he knew 
about Hatch. He informed me tJiat he knew a 
bricklayer by that name, who had done some 
work for Holmes, and that he was a hardworking, 
industrious man. I then told him about what 
Holmes had said about giving Hatch the children. 
Quinlan denounced Holmes as a dirty, lying 
scoundrel and said that Hatch would not be 
guilty of doing anything tliat was Avrong. I also 
interviewed Qainlan in regard to the Williams 
girls, who were formerly at tlie Castle. He said 
he knew Minnie and had met her at the block. 
No. 701 West Sixty-third Street, and that Holmes 
introduced her to him and his wife, as his cousin, 
and also introduced her to Mrs. Holmes as his 
cousin. He said positively, that he never saw 
Nettie Williams after this case was made public. 

I next interviewed Dr. Robinson, the proprie- 
tor of the drug store on the first floor in the 
Castle. He had no recollection of knowing a 
man named Hatch, but said he had seen both 
Minnie and Nettie Williams tosrether at the block 


ill June, 1804, and saw iMinnie tliere alone about 
one month later. The Doctor's opinion of 
Holmes was not a very good one. 

The story Holmes gave me about Hatch and 
the children, was his very latest, and was told 
immediately after he learned that I was about to 
make a new search for the children. He had al- 
ways stuck to his romance about giving them to 
Minnie Williams, but he was evidently anticipat- 
ing tlie possibility of just what followed, so he 
rigged up the Hatch tale and arranged it to suit 
possible future developments. 

The next move we made was to try and locate 
Hatch. We found by consulting a directory, that 
a man by the name of Edward Hatch, a brick- 
layer by trade, lived at No. 6248 Sangamon 
Street. This is about six blocks from the Castle, 
so we concluded to go there at once and see if 
we could find him. On our arrival at the house, 
we found that it was occupied by a colored fam- 
ily and that Hatch had moved out about ten 
months before. Inquir}' was made in the neigh- 
borhood, but no one appeared to know where he 
had gone. We then visited a Mr. Glenister, who 
resides on Union Street above Twenty-eighth 
Street, who is the Secretary of the Bricklayers' 

Nellie Pite/el. 


Union and tried to ascertain from him if there 
was such a person connected with their Union as 
Hatch. Mr. Glenister searclied the records for 
ns, but ^^•as unable to find the name. We then 
went to a number of buildings in course of erec- 
tion and made inquiry among the brickhayers, but 
no one appeared to know a man b}' that name, 
wlio followed the trade of a bricklayer. 

I then decided to leave the search for Hatch in 
tlie hands of Detective McGinn, and to go to 




Detroit — Holmes Rents a House — Howard with Him — Alice 
jind Nellie at the New Western Hotel — Holmes as G. 
Howell — Search iu Holmes' House — Alice and Nellie 
Again Identified — Picture of the Trunk Again Recog- 
nized — Mrs. Pitezel at Geis' Hotel — Under Great ]\[ental 
. Strain — Mrs. Pilezel and Her Children but a Few Blocks 
Apart — Holmes' Skillful plotting. 

On Wednesday morning, July 4th, I left Chi- 
cago for Detroit, Michigan, arriving there at G 
P. M. and registered at the Hotel Normaiidie. I 
Avent at once to police headquarters, where I met 
Detective Thomas Meyler, an old personal friend 
of mine, to whom I explained the nature of my 
visit. I was then introduced to the captain in 
charge and repeated my story of the missing chil- 
dren. He requested me to call in the morning 
and see Superintendent Starkweather. 

Early on the morning of the 5th, I was at 
police headquarters, where I met the superin- 
tendent who assigned Detective Tuttle to assist 
me in my search in Detroit. The same old story 
was told to him and off we started. 



The first jilace at wliicli we called was at the 
ciffice of the Fidelity j\Iutual Life Insurance Com- 
pany, where we met Mr. Frank R Alderman, the 
general manager for JNJicliigan. After obtaining 
from liim the name of the real estate agent who 
rented a house to Holmes, we left the office and 
went to No. 60 Monroe Street, where we met a 
Mr. Bonninghausen, the agent referred to. Hand- 
ing him my card, I requested a private interview 
which he granted, and after propounding several 
questions to him, I learned that on or about the 
13th of October, 1894, a gentleman called at his 
office, representing that he wanted to rent a liouse 
for a widowed sister who had three children. lie 
said he desired a house that was on the outskirts 
of the city, if it were possible to get one. 

This just suited the agent, as he had a house at 
No. 241 E. Forest Avenue in wdiich he had a per- 
sonal interest, and which had been without a ten- 
ant for a long time. The agent identified the pho- 
tograph of Holmes, as that of the man ^^ho in- 
quired for the house and said that Holmes took 
tlie number and was informed tliat he would find 
the kej's at Mr. McAllister's drug store on Forest 
Avenue, which is just a few doors below No. 241. 
About two hours later Holmes returned to Mr. 


BdiHifiigliauseiis office and inforiued liiui tljat tlie 
lioiibe was just what he wanted. He paid five 
dollars in advance, and said that when his sister 
arrived, which would be in tliree or four days, he 
would return and pay six months' rent in advance, 
as he did not intend living with her, and wanted 
to see that she was properly provided for. Mr. 
Ijonninghausen said he was under the ini[)ression 
that Holmes had a small boy with him when he 
rented the house, describing him as a boy about 
nine or ten years old. A Mr. Moore, who was in 
the office at the time Holmes rented the house, 
and who by the wa}' is the present occupant, cor- 
roborated Mr. Bonninghausen as to Holmes hav- 
ing the boy Howard with him while in Detroit. 

Leaving the real estate office, I was somewhat 
impressed with the belief that my theory, that 
Howard had never left Indianapolis alive, was 
wrong. However, I decided to make a search 
among the hotels, and see if I could locate the 
children, suggesting to Tuttle that we first visit 
those near the depot. The first few we visited 
failed to give us any further information, but 
when Ave examined the register of the New West- 
ern Hotel. P. W. Cutter, proprietor, we discovered 
the name of Etta and Xellie Canning, St. Louis, 


Mo., room No. 5, made October 12th, and evidently 
about midnight. The photographs were shown 
Mr. Cotter, who positively identified the girls as 
having stopped there, and that of Holmes as the 
man who had brought them there, registered their 
names, and who called tlie next day and took them 
away. Mr. Cotter was quite positive that there 
were but two children and that they had no trunk 
with them. The register of the Circle House in 
Indianapolis, showed that the children had left 
that hotel on the 6th of October, and they ap- 
peared to have arrived in Detroit, ^Michigan, Oc- 
tober 12th. Tliis was a matter for serious consid- 
eration, as it made an interval of six days to be 
accounted for between Indianapolis and Detroit. 

Having satisfied myself that the two girls had 
been in Detroit, I determined to try and locate 
Holmes, and ascertain if the boy had stopped with 
him, so we continued our search among the hotels, 
and on the register of the Normandie, I found an 
entry October 12th, 1894, " G. Howell and wife, 
Adrian." Having become thoroughly familiar 
witli Holmes' handwriting and knowing that the 
name " G. Howell " was one of his many aliases, I 
felt convinced that it M^as his registry. The pho- 
tographs of Holmes and his wife were shown the 


Clerk, who was not positive as to Holmes, but was 
sure that tlie woman liad stopped at the hotel 
about that time. The record of the hotel proved 
that Holmes and his wife left there October 13th 
after supper. 

After leaving the Normandie, I decided to visit 
the house No. 241 East Forest Avenue. On 
arriving there we were met by Mrs. INIoore, who 
very kindly admitted us to the house and gave us 
the privilege of examining the cellar. I found 
that it was divided into three parts. The front 
which extended across the entire width of the 
house, had a cemented floor and contained a wood 
and coal bin, and a large portable heater about 
four feet in diameter. The part in the rear to the 
west side of the house, was used as a wash room, 
having a large stationary washtub in it and a 
board floor. The part to the east side was used 
for storage purposes, and it also had a cement 
floor and cellar steps leading to kitchen on first 
floor. A careful examination of both the cement 
and board floor, proved that they had not been 
tampered with. 

There was a dijor opening out of the wash room 
to a stairway, which leads to the back yard, and 
is covered with a cellar door. The stairway w^as 


encased by a brick wall, which served as a foun- 
dation for a rear porch. Tlds foundation is about 
three feet six inches above the cellar floor and it 
was tliscovered after Holmes left the house, that 
a hole had been dug back of the wall facing the 
cellar steps, about four feet long, three feet wide, 
and three feet six inches deep. 

Mr. Boninghausen and INIr. Moore having in- 
formed me that they had seen a bt)y with Holmes 
when he rented the house, Detective Tuttle and 
I searched every spot of ground adjacent to the 
premises to see if the earth had been disturbed, 
but we could find no evidence of it. We then 
made an examination of tiie cellar heater and dis- 
covered the door to be thirteen inches wide and 
eight inches high, and the cylinder about four feet 
in diameter, but there was no evidence, nor had 
there been, that the furnace had been used for 
any improper or unusual ])urpose, so JNlr. i\loore 
said. I called on Dr. McAllister who had posses- 
sion of the keys. I showed him the picture of 
Holmes, and he identified it at once as that of a 
man to whom he had delivered the keys. We 
then returned to Police Headquarters, and after a 
short consultation, we decided to keep up the 
hunt for Alice and Nellie, and also to locate 


Holmes and liis wife. 1 had a iiieiuoraiiduin of 
the address given by Aliee in her letter written 
in Detroit, October 14th, 1894, at No. 91 Congress 
Street. This house was ke[)t by Mrs. Iviieinda 
Burns. She distinctly lemembered having ac- 
commodated two little girls, who came thei'e on 
October 13th and left October 19th. She said u 
gentleman had called on her on tiie morning of 
tlie 13th of October, rented the room and paid 
one week's rent in advance, after which lie left 
and returned again in less than an hour, bringing 
the little girls with him. He introduced them to 
j\Irs. Burns as Miss Annie and Miss Amy. 

jNlrs. Burns said the children were never out of 
their room and occupied their entire time reading 
and drawing. They had no trunk w ith them, but 
each carried a small satchel. They were very 
<j[uiet and reserved, and at no time did tliey reveal 
their identit}-. 

When shown the pictures of Holmes, and Nellie 
and Alice Pitezel, she identified the girls at once 
as the children who had stopped with her, and 
Holmes as the man who had rented the room for 

Not having been able to trace Hulmes to any 
other hotel, we concluded to try the boarding 


houses, so away we journeyed, and the reader can 
imagine the task in going to many, many houses, 
ringing the bells, showing the pictures and telling 
the story to every person who came to the doors. 
We finally located a house at No. 54 Park Place 
kept by a Mrs. May Ralston, who when shown the 
pictures of Holmes and his wife, identified them 
as a couple who had come there in October, 189-1, 
paid the rent for a room for one week, but onlj^ 
remained four or five days. While at Ralston's 
they were known as Mr. and Mrs. Holmes, and he 
represented that they were members of the 
theatrical profession. The pictures of the trunks 
were shown Mrs. Ralston and she picked out 
the picture of Mrs. Howard's canvas covered 
trunk as the one the couple had in use at her 

The disappearance of the children"s trunk was 
the source of much annoyance to me, and I de- 
termined, if possible to locate it. Several days 
were spent among expressmen, freight depots, 
omnibus companies, express offices, hackmen, and 
liver^mien, but we could get no clue to it. 

Mrs. Pitezel having informed me that she liad 
stopped at Geis's Hotel while in Detroit, I deter- 
mined to go there and interview the jiroprietor 


and others connected with the hotel, from whom 
I might obtain information which would be of serv- 
ice to me in the effort to locate the children. I 
found in looking over the register, that the only 
party who had stupj)ed there, and who would an- 
swer the description of Mrs. Pitezel, Dessie and 
the baby, had registered on October 14th, 18iJ4, m 
the name of Mrs. C. A. Adams, and daughter, 
Chicago, room No. 33. Miss Minnie Mulholland, 
the housekeeper, identified the picture of Mi-s. 
Pitezel, Dessie and the baby as the parties who 
had registered there in October under the name of 
Adams, and had occupied No. 33, having with 
them two trunks, one a large top flat trunk, and 
the other very small. Miss Mulholland identified 
the picture of the flat top trunk I showed her, as 
one similar to that which Mrs. Pitezel had with 
her while at the hotel. 

Miss Mulholland in describing Mrs. Pitezel, alias 
Adams, says she looked like a woman who was 
bowed down with trouble. She was never out of 
her room, and was apparently suffering great men- 
tal anxiety. She occupied a back room, but as 
Miss Mulholland had a room facing the street, she 
consented to allow her the use of it during the 
da}'. When Mrs. Pitezel said she was going to 


leave, Miss Mulholland told her she would send 
for the omnibus company to move her trunk for 
her. Mrs. Pitezel objected to this, and said thai 
she would look after that herself, and went out 
and emploj^ed an ordinary car man. This was 
evidently done so that the detectives could not 
trace her baggage through the express office. In 
doing this, she was acting under instructions from 
Holmes, who never transferred his baggage by ex- 
press, but always secured a man on the street to 
do it. 

Geis's Hotel is not more than three or four 
blocks from Mrs. Burns' house at Xo. 01 Congress 

The children, Alice and Nellie had arrived at 
the last named place on October 13th, and Mrs. 
Pitezel and Dessie and the baby had registered at 
(ieis's on the 14th, so it become perfectly evident 
that the mother, Alice and' Nellie were in Detroit 
at the same time, and but a i(i\\ blocks apart, the 
former supposing her children to be in Indian- 
apolis, and the latter led to believe by Holmes 
that their mother was in Galva, Illinois. At this 
very tin^e the children wrote a letter from No. 
91 Congress Street to their grandparents at Galva, 
in which thev sent a messaoe to their mother. In 

AX F.xrEur IX crime. 213 

botli })laces I learned tliat the travellers 011 this 
sad journey kept close within their rooms. 

What falsehoods, what fabrications were made 
up hy this accomplished liar, to induce or loice 
tlie little girls to keep in doors may never he 
told, Tuiless he for once sjjeaks the truth. To 
Mrs Pitezel, of course, he held up the terrible 
possibility of Ben being traced by tile detectives 
through her movements, hence the necessity for 

I found that Mrs. Pitezel and the two children 
who were travelling witli her, Dessie and the 
baby, had left Geis"s Hotel on October 18th, and 
Alice and Nellie from No. 91 Congi'ess Street on 
October 19th, and that Holmes and his wife from 
No. 54 Park Place on October 18th. 

It must have taken very careful management to 
have moved these three separate parties from De- 
troit to Toronto, without either of the three dis- 
covering either of the others, but this great ex- 
pert in crime did it, and did it successfully. His 
wife (or j\Irs. Howard, who supposed she was his 
wife) was in total ignorance of the whole scheme. 
She was not only unaware of the proximity of 
Alice and Nellie, and of Mrs. Pitezel and her 
other two children, but she did not know them 


and liad never seen them, and supposed that her 
husband (Holmes) was travelling from city to city 
selling leases upon an alleged patent copier, or col- 
lecting mone3'S from corporations and merchants 
using such copiers. This was his story to her, 
and it is the only bright spot in this entire story. 
It might be said to the credit of Holmes, that al- 
though he had deceived and betraj^ed this woman 
into marrying him, when he had a lawful wife 
(and still another wcmian who called herself liis 
wife) living, he never permitted Miss Yoke to dis- 
cover that he was a swindler or worse. He evi- 
dently desired to hold her respect for him until 
tlie very last. 

I concluded my search in Detroit on Sunday, 
July 7th, and in tlie evening of that day, took the 
train for Toronto, at wliich place I arrived the 
next morning at half past nine o'clock. 



Arrival at Toronto — The Telltale Register — G. Howell aud 
Wife Again — The Children in Toronto — H. Howell and 
Wife — Gej'er Plans a Campaign — Meets the Newspaper 
Men — The Aid of the Press Invoked — A Disheartening 
Search — The House in a Field — The Pile of Loose Dirt — 
Sales of Half-tickets — Geyer Visits Prescott and Niagara 
Falls— Back in Toronto— Holmes Traced to No. 16 St. 
Vincent Street — Spades are Trumps — The Search in the 
Cellar — Finding the Bodies of Alice and Nellie Pitezel — 
Disposition of the Remains — The St. Vincent House Be- 
sieged by Reporters and Sketch Artists. 

I WAS not a stranger in Toronto. M^- business 
had previously called me to that city on several 
occasions, and so when I arrived at the station, I 
directed the cabman to take me to the Rossin 
House, where I had stopped before. After break- 
fast and a short rest from ni}^ long and tiresome 
ride, I gathered up my bundle of papers and 
photographs and proceeded to the police head- 

On entering the detective department, I met 
another old friend, Alf. Cuddj^ and after shaking 
hands with all the boys, whom I had met before. 


I was t;ikeu into tlie office of the ever kind, affa- 
ble and courteous inspectoi-, Mr. Stark, to whom 
I told the oft repeated story. He listened to nie 
very attentively, and then took nie into the room 
of Chief Constable Grassett, whom I had not had 
the pleasure of meeting before. To him 1 pre- 
sented my letter of introduction from the super- 
intendent of police of Philadelphia, and recounted 
to him the object of my errand. The chief as- 
sured me that his department would do every- 
thing in their power to assist me, and sent a mes- 
senger for Inspector Stark to come into the room. 
He instructed the inspector to detail a man to 
work with me as long as he was needed. Tliank- 
ing the chief for his courtesy and attention, I re- 
turned with the inspector to the detective de- 
partment, where my old friend Cuddy ^-as as- 
signed to help me out in Toronto. Tliis suited 
me very well, as I knew Cuddy to be an energetic 
fellow and not afraid of work, and willing to 
keep on until every clue liad been run out, and 
the investigation either a success or a failure. 
Into a private room we went, and I narrated the 
entire story to Cuddy, so that lie would know 
what lie was doing. 

Proceeding as I did before, I thouglit it wise to 

Howard Pitezel. 


examine the registers in the hotels around the 
Grand Trunk Depot, and we first wended our 
way to the Walker House and asked permission 
to see the register of 1894. We were informed 
that it had been packed away in the storeroom, 
but if it was important they would send a bell 
boy to get it. We told the clerk we would con- 
sider it a great favor if he would do so, and in a 
few minutes we had the register iu our possession. 
Turning over the leaves until we came to October 
18th, we found that " G. Howell and wife, Co- 
lumbus," had registered for supper that day and 
left after dinner on the 20th, occupying room 
No. 14. 

Our next visit was to the Union House. There 
the same request was made and complied with, 
and on the 18th of October we found the name of 
" Mrs. C. A. Adams and daughter, Columbus." 
Having located Holmes and Mrs. Pitezel, the next 
thing to do was to locate the girls, so we contin- 
ued our search among the hotels, until we reached 
the Albion, and upon examining the register there 
found the names of " Alice and Nellie Canning, 
Detroit." This registry was made October 19th 
and had evidently been written by one of the 


The photographs of the girls were then shown 
to Mr. Herbert Jones, the chief clerk of the hotel, 
who positively identified them as the pictures of 
the children who were brought to the hotel by 
their porter, George Dennis, on Friday evening, 
October 19th. Mr. Jones also informed us that 
on the morning following their arrival, a gentle- 
man called to see them and was there on almost 
every succeeding day during their stay at the ho- 
tel, with the exception of Sunday. The picture 
of Holmes was shown Mr. Jones. He recognized 
it as the man who called at the hotel for the chil- 
dren in the mornings of the days they stopped at 
the hotel. He said this man took the children 
away with him for the day, but they usually re- 
turned alone in the evening for supper. On the 
morning of the 25th of October, this same man 
called as usual at the hotel, paid the children's 
board bill, took them away with him, and that is 
the last time they were seen by him or any one in 
the hotel. 

Holmes having left the Walker House on the 
afternoon of October 20th, and knowing that he 
was in Toronto as late as the 25th, I determined 
to discover whether he had registered and re- 
mained in another hotel, — so I continued my 


search until we arrived at the Palmer House, and 
there, under date of October 21st, we found him 
registered under the name of " H. Howell and 
wife, Columbus," room No. 32. 

So thoroughly convinced was I that Holmes had 
rented a house in Toronto, Ontario, that after 
hearing Mr. Jones' story, I wrote in my report to 
the Superintendent of Police in Philadelphia, 
dated at Toronto, July 9th, 1895, the following : 

^'It is my impression that Holmes rented a 
house in Toronto the same as he did in Cincin- 
nati, Ohio, and Detroit, Michigan, and that on 
the 25th of October he murdered the girls and 
disposed of their bodies by either burying them 
in tlie cellar, or some convenient place, or burning 
them in the heater. I intend to go to all the real 
estate agents and see if they can recollect having 
rented a house about that time to a man who only 
occupied it for a few days, and who represented 
that he wanted it for a widowed sister." 

Inspired by the belief that perseverance and 
energy would bring forth some good result, I de- 
termined to get a Toronto directory and prepare 
a list of real estate agents, and interview each 
and every one of them, — so on Wednesday morn- 
ing, July 10th, I went to Police Headquarters, 


where I met Cuddy and suggested my idea to 
him. It was a big task, yet it had to be done, so 
in we started upon the directory, — Cuddy reading 
off the names while I copied them. It took some 
time to prepare the list, and when finished we 
started, first going to those who were in the busi- 
ness portion of the city. It took considerable 
time to impress each agent with the importance 
of making a careful search for us, and before we 
knew it, night was upon us and the real estate 
offices were closed. Seriously meditating as to 
the best method to pursue to arouse the citizens 
of Toronto, I then determined to meet the news- 
paper men, give them my views of the case and 
explain to them my theories, so that the matter 
would be brought before the public, and the story 
of the disappearance of the children read in every 
household in the city. That night I was besieged 
by a number of reporters who called at my room 
in the Rossin House. I gave them the whole 
story, and told them I was prepared to let them 
have the photographs of Holmes and the children, 
and would esteem it a favor if they would publish 
them. I also requested them to call the attention 
of real estate agents and private renters to the 
matter, so that if any person had rented a house 


under such circumstances as I described, I would 
be glad to have them communicate with me. The 
next morning every newspaper published in Tor- 
onto, devoted several columns to the story of the 
disappearance of the children, and requested all 
good citizens to forward any information they 
might have to Police Headquarters, or to me at 
the Rossin House. 

Thursday morning, July 11th, Detective Cuddy 
and I continued our search among the real estate 
agents. We found a majority of them prepared 
to meet us, for they had read the morning papers 
and our task was thus facilitated very much. In 
the afternoon, we decided to visit several suburban 
towns, known as Mimico and North and South 
Parkdale, so away we went singing the same old 
story to each and every agent we came across. 
However, we kept fighting on, hoping against 
hope, with no word or sign of encouragement. 
Another day went by and there was not the slight- 
est clue to give us a grain of comfort. On our 
return to Police Headquarters, we received word 
that a man giving the name of Holmes had rented 
a house on the outskirts of the city, — a house that 
stood in the middle of a field, and was surrounded 
by a board fence six feet high. This house was 


situated at Perth and Bloor Streets. We wanted 
nothing more, and away we journeyed. We found 
the house situated as already described, and occu- 
pied by an aged couple with a son about twenty 
years old. After introducing ourselves as officers, 
we ascertained from the old gentleman, that they 
had only lived there a few months, and did not 
know who occupied the house tlie previous Octo- 
ber. We explained to them our suspicions and 
said that we believed that Holmes had murdered 
the children, and had buried them somewhere 
under the house. " That accounts for that pile of 
loose dirt under the main building," said the old 
man. " Get a shovel " was Cuddy's suggestion, 
so the old man led the way to show us how we 
could get under the house, while the young man 
went in search of a shovel. He soon returned, 
and taking off our coats, we crawled into a small 
hole and were soon underneath the floor of the 
main building. The floor was not more than two 
feet above the earth, and it did not take us long 
to discover what the old gentleman meant by the 
pile of loose dirt. As it was getting dark, we le- 
quested that some light be furnished. The boy 
crawled out from under the floor and in a short 
time we had several coal oil lamps burning and 


commenced digging, feeling positive that we 
would unearth the children. A hole was dug 
about four feet square, when it was decided to 
give it up for the night and return the next morn- 
ing. Friday morning, July 12th, I called at Police 
Headquarters and met Cuddy, and proposed to 
him that we go and see the agent who rented the 
house Perth and Bloor, and see if he could iden- 
tif}^ tlie photograph of Holmes as the man who 
had rented the house. The agent was not a very 
early riser, consequently our patience was taxed 
in waiting for him. However, when he came and 
looked at the picture, he said that it was not the 
man. Again were we disappointed, and the bal- 
ance of the day was spent at the Grand Trunk 
Depot, in trying to ascertain if there had been 
any half tickets sold on the morning of the 25th 
of October from Toronto to Suspension Bridge. 
The ticket agent treated us very courteously, and 
examined his records and found that on that day, 
there had been only one whole ticket sold for 
Niagara Falls, or Suspension Bridge. In answer 
to a question, whether a conductor would take a 
whole ticket for two children, he said he would, 
so we were unable to say positively that Holmes 
had not sent the girls to the Suspension Bridge to 



meet Minnie Williams, as he claimed to have 
done, — he going as far as Parkdale. We then 
endeavored to learn through the freight office, 
what amount of baggage was shipped to Prescott, 
Canada, on the night of the 25th of October and 
the morning of the 26th. We learned that two 
pieces had been sent there on the night of the 
25th, and one piece on the morning of the 26th. 
This corresponded with the amount of baggage 
carried by Holmes and Mrs. Pitezel, and con- 
vinced me that Prescott was the place they had 
gone to, and in the event of not meeting with suc- 
cess in Toronto, I determined that Prescott would 
be my next stopping place. As Flolmes had left 
the Walker House on the afternoon of October 
20th, and his whereabouts from that time until 
the afternoon of the 21st not being known, I was 
impressed with the belief that he had taken his 
wife to Niagara Falls ; so on Saturday morning, 
July ]3th, I concluded that I would go tliere and 
see if I could locate them, and if so, ascertain 
whether the}^ had the children with them. Tak- 
ing the boat to Lewistown, and from there the 
trolley cars, I arrived at Niagara Falls, (Canada 
side) about eleven A. M., and began a search 
among the hotels, and in a short time my labor 


was rewarded bj locating them at King's Imperial 
Hotel, where they arrived on the afternoon of the 
20th, and left on the afternoon of the 21st. There 
were no children with them, and they had evi- 
dently gone there simply to view the Falls. I re- 
turned to Toronto and visited a number of the 
newspaper offices for the purpose of examining 
their files, and made a list of private renters who 
advertised their houses to rent, as I intended to 
call upon every one of them in person. I was so 
positive that Holmes had disposed of the children 
in Toronto, that I could not think of leaving, 
until I had made a more extended search. Tliat 
evening I met Cuddy, and we discussed our plans 
for Monday morning. 

Sunday, July 14th, was devoted to writing home 
and to meditating over the case, and the probable 
chances of success. 

Monday morning, July 15th, I went to Police 
Headquarters and joined Cuddy, He appeared to 
be somewhat more cheerful than usual, and when 
I suggested that we would start out and search 
among the private renters, he informed me that 
they had received another report about a man 
who had rented a house on St. Vincent Street, 
whose description corresponded with that of 


Holmes, and he suggested that we run this clue 
out before doing anything else. Notwithstanding 
his fine spirits, he remarked that he guessed it 
would prove to be a wild goose chase, similar to 
the many that we had already enjoyed. In look- 
ing over the newspaper files, I discovered that 
there was a house to rent at No. 16 St. Vincent 
Street and to inquire of Mrs. Frank Nudel, at No. 
54 Henry Street. Detective Cuddy was person- 
ally acquainted with Mr. Frank Nudel, who is 
connected with the Educational Department of 
Toronto, and he suggested that we stop and see 
him before going to the St. Vincent Street house. 
We found Mr. Nudel, who told us that his wife 
was the owner of the house No. 16 St. Vincent 
Street and that she had rented it to a man some 
time last October, who only occupied it for about 
one week. Thanking him for this information, 
we started for the St. Vincent Street house, but 
instead of going to No. 16, we called at No. 18 to 
see an old Scotchman named Thomas William 
Ryves, who had notified one of the inspectors of 
police that a man answering Holmes' description, 
and whose picture with the Pitezel girls he had 
seen in the Toronto papers, had occupied the 
house No. 16, next to him, and had told him he 


had rented it for a widowed sister, who was at 
Hamilton, Ontario, and that he expected lier there 
in a few days. We found Mr. Rj^ves a very 
pleasant old man to talk to, and after propound- 
ing the usual questions to him, lie immediately 
recognized the photograph of Alice, but he was 
not positively sure of Holmes. He said he never 
got a good look at Nellie and could not say 
whether or not it was her picture. He told us 
that the man asked him to loan him a spade, as 
he wanted to arrange a place in his cellar for his 
sister to put potatoes in. He said that the only 
furniture that was brought to the house was an 
old bed and mattress, and a big trunk. The 
trunk was taken away from the house, but the bed 
and mattress were left there. By this time we 
had heard sufficient to convince us that we were 
on the right track, and bidding the old gentleman 
good day, we requested him to meet us again at 
his house in one hour. We lost no time in going 
to Mrs. Nudel's house, and ringing the bell the 
summons was answered by her daughter. We 
asked if Mrs. Nudel was at home and received an 
answer in the affirmative ; " Tell her," I said, 
" we want to see her at once, it is very impor- 
tant." We were requested to take a seat in the 


parlor, and in a few minutes Mrs. Nuclei made her 
appearance, and without giving her a cliance to 
say much, I produced the pliotograph of Holmes, 
and asked her if she had ever seen the original of 
that picture. Mother and daughter both looked 
at it at the same time, and answered together, 
" Why, yes, that is the man who rented the St. 
Vincent Street house last October and only occu- 
pied it for a few days." Mrs. Nudel said the 
man represented that he wanted it for a widowed 
sister, who was coming on from Detroit, Michi- 
gan. This seemed too good to be true, and our 
anxiety to examine the house was so great, that 
we hurriedly thanked her and left. We at once 
returned to No. 18 St. Vincent Street where we 
met Mr. Ryves anxiously awaiting for our return. 
Requesting him to loan us a shovel, he went into 
the house and came out with the same spade he 
had loaned to Holmes. We rang the bell at No. 
16 St. Vincent Street. The door was opened by 
the lady of the house, a Mrs. J. Armbrust. Mr. 
Ryves introduced us and told her we would like 
to go into the cellar. She kindly consented and 
ushered us back into the kitchen. Lifting a large 
piece of oilcloth from the floor, we discovered a 
small trap door, possibly two feet square in about 


the centre of the room. Raising this, I discovered 
that the celhir was not very deep but it was very 
dark, so I asked Mrs. Armbrnst to kindly provide 
us with some himps. In a short time she had 
them ready, and down into the cellar we went. 
The cellar was very small, about ten feet square, 
and not more than four and a half feet in depth. 
A set of steps almost perpendicular lead to it 
from tlie old-fashioned trap door in the middle of 
the kitchen floor. 

Taking the spade and pushing it into the earth, 
so as to determine whether it had been lately dug 
up, we finally discovered a soft spot in the south- 
west corner. Forcing the spade into the earth, 
we found it easy digging, and after going down 
about one foot, a horrible stench arose. This con- 
vinced us that we were on the right spot, and our 
coats were thrown off, and with renewed confi- 
dence, we continued our digging. The deeper we 
dug, the more horrible the odor became, and 
when we reached the depth of three feet, we dis- 
covered what appeared to be the bone of the fore- 
arm of a human being. Throwing some dirt into 
the hole, in order to keep down the stench as 
much as possible, we left the cellar and went into 
the kitchen, where I had a conference with Cuddy 


and advised him to communicate with Inspector 
Stark and tell him of our discovery and have him 
suggest over the telephone what undertaker we 
should employ to remove the bodies. Cuddy ac- 
quiesced in what I said, and we started for the 
nearest telephone, which we found in a telegraph 
office on Yonge Street, a short distance from the 
St. Vincent Street house. Cuddy called up the 
inspector, told him of our discovery, and re- 
quested him to recommend an undertaker to take 
charge of the bodies. The inspector after con- 
gratulating us, told us to go to B. D. Humphrey, 
an undertaker on Yonge Street, and make any 
proper arrangements with him. We found Mr. 
Humphrey at his establishment, and requested 
him to assist us in the exhumation of the bodies. 
I suggested to him to take several pairs of rubber 
gloves with him, as the bodies were in such a state 
of putrification, it would be impossible to lift them 
out of the hole without them. We then returned 
to the St Vincent Street house, accompanied by 
Mr. Humphrey and into the cellar we went again. 
Mr. Humphrey after preparing himself for the 
task, jumped into the hole already made by Cuddy 
and myself and assisted us in the work. In a 


short time we unearthed the remains of the two 
little girls, Alice and Nellie Pitezel. 

Alice was found lying on her side, with her 
hand to the west. Nellie was found lying on her 
face, with her head to the south, her plaited hair 
hanging neatly down her back. While we were 
making preparations to lift them out of the hole, 
a messenger was dispatched to Humphrey's under- 
taking establishment to send two coffins to No. 16 
St. Vincent Street. In a short *»te the wagon 
arrived and the coffins were taken into the 
kitchen, and we proceeded to lift the remains out 
of the hole. As Nellie's limbs were found rest- 
ing on Alice's, we first began with her. We 
lifted her as gently as possible, but owing to the 
decomposed state of the body, the weight of her 
plaited hair hanging down her back, pulled the 
scalp from off her head. A sheet had been spread 
in which to lay the remains, and after we suc- 
ceeded in getting it out of the hole, it was placed 
in the sheet, taken upstairs, and deposited in the 

Again we returned to the cellar, and gently 
lifting what remained of poor Alice, we placed 
her in another sheet, took her upstairs, and placed 
her in a coffin by the side of her sister. The 


bodies were immediately removed to Mr. Humph- 
rey's establishment, after which they were sent 
to the nioigue. By this time Toronto was wild 
with excitement. The news had spread to every 
part of the city. The St. Vincent Street house 
was besieged with newspaper men, sketch artists, 
and others. Everybody seemed to be pleased 
with our success, and congratulations, mingled 
with expressions of horror over the discovery 
were heard everywhere. 

I then telegraphed the first result of my search 
to District Attorney Graham and to superintend- 
ent of the Philadelphia police, and thus it was 
proved that little children cannot be murdered in 
this day and generation, beyond the possibility 
of discovery. 



iSO. IG St. Vinceut Street — Fair Without, a Charnel House 
Witluu— Tlie Little Wooden Egg— Clothing Identified— 
Great Excitement in Toronto — Mrs. Pitezel Summoned 
from Galva, Illinois — The Preliminary Inquest — Arrival 
of Mrs. Pitezel — A Mother's Anguish — Mrs. Pitezel Iden- 
tifies the Bodies — Mrs. Pitezel's Testimony — Testimony 
of Mr. Ryves — The Burial — Mrs. Pitezel in Kind Hands, 

The house where the children were found, is a 
quaint little two-story cottage of an old and sim- 
ple style of architecture. It stands back a few 
feet from the sidewalk, — the narrow plot of lawn 
in front being enclosed with a wire net fence five 
feet high and beautified with a few blossoming 
flowers. A veranda tastefully decorated Avith a 
clinging clematis, adds much to the homelike ap- 
pearance of the place. The front doorway opens 
into a hallway, which divides the house in half 
and continues to the kitchen. The cottage con- 
tains six medium sized rooms, below, including a 
kitchen and a pantry, three on either side of the 

hall, and there are four small rooms above. A 



single gable window looks from the upper stor}- to 
the street. At each end of the house are three 
small windows, none of them much larger than 
the window in the front. The back yard is 
small, and is reached from the kitchen by a short 
set of steps. 

Feeling somewhat fatigued over the day's work, 
I determined to spend the evening at the Rossin 
House in writing to my superintendent and others, 
and to map out a plan for the next day, as our 
work was not completed. As the bodies were 
badly decomposed, personal identification might be 
difficult and I determined if possible to find some 
evidence which would aid in establishing tlieir 
identity, — so I concluded to learn if possible, who 
had occupied the house after Holmes had left it. 
The next day, after meeting Cuddy at police 
headquarters, we started off to find the tenant 
who succeeded Holmes in the St. Vincent Street 
house. We were not long in ascertaining, that 
after Holmes had left, the house had been occupied 
by a family named MacDunald, who only re- 
mained a very short time, but no one was able to 
tell us where they had moved to. However, hy 
diligent search we located them at No. 17 Russell 
Street. We called at their home, where we met 


Mrs. MacDonald and after introducing ourselves, 
told her the object of our visit. She said that all 
she had found at the house No. 16 St. Vincent 
Street, was an old bedstead and mattress. I 
then questioned her as to whether she had any 
children, and she informed me that she had a boy 
about sixteen years old whc was not at home at 
that time. I requested her to send him to police 
headquarters as soon as he arrived home, and 
bring with him anything he had found in the St. 
Vincent Street house. Bright and early the next 
morning young MacDonald, appeared at police 
headquarters with a little wooden egg, which 
when parted in the middle, would disclose a 
snake, which would spring oat. He said he had 
found this egg in a small leather caba, in one of 
the closets on the second floor. I had been sup- 
plied with a list of the playthings the children had 
with them, and one can imagine my surprise and 
elation when I found in this list, a description of 
just such an egg as the MacDonald boy found. 
It was one of the links which contributed to mak- 
ing the identification sure. Another link in this 
chain was supplied by Mrs. Armboust. The 
children were found buried in a nude condition, 
and the manner in which their clothing had beao 


disposed of was one of the points of my inquiries. 
A part of a waist, and wliat appeared to be a 
piece of ribbon were found when the children 
were exhumed. When Mrs. Armbrust was clean- 
ing the house after moving in, she noticed some 
rags and straw hanging from the chimney in the 
north front room. These she pulled down and 
found a part of a striped waist of a graj^ish color, 
a piece of a woolen garment of brownish red, and 
a part of a dress of bluish color. The straw had 
been lit but had not burned, as the clothing had 
been shoved into the chimney too tightly. A 
pair of girl's button boots were found in the wood 
box ; also one odd boot and other parts of the 
clothing of a female. All this had been thrown 
away by Mr. Armbrust, but they answered the 
description of the clothing worn by the Pitezel 
girls, given by their mother. 

The missing trunk had not been forgotten dur- 
ing all this time, and it was frequently spoken of 
by Cuddy and myself. After having heard from 
Mr. Ryves, that a large trunk had been brought 
to the house, the idea suggested itself to us, that 
possibly Holmes might have murdered the boy in 
Detroit, placed him in the trunk, and shipped 
him to the St. Vincent Street house to dispose of 


the body. I determined if such were the case, 
not to leave Toronto until I had satisfied myself 
on this point, — consequently we employed sev- 
eral men to dig. up every inch of the entire cellar 
and we thoroughly examined the barn and out- 
houses, but without result. 

The finding of the bodies, as I have said before, 
caused great excitement in Toronto, and if the 
good people of that city had been furnished with 
an opportunity, I am sure they would have made 
sliort shrift of Holmes. Preparations were made 
for the inquest, which was to be conducted by 
Coroner Johnston, and in the meantime I was re- 
ceiving dispatches from District Attorney Gra- 
ham, of Philadelphia, regarding Mrs. Pitezel, who 
was at Chicago, Illinois, and whom he had in- 
structed to go to Toronto, Canada, to meet me, 
and if possible identify the children. 

On Tuesday morning, July 16th, Coroner Johns- 
ton summoned a number of jurors to be present 
at the morgue that evening at half-past seven 
o'clock, also requesting my attendance there at 
the same hour. This was to be the preliminary 
inquest to view the bodies. 

7:30 P. M. we all appeared at the morgue, and 
Coroner Johnston opened the inquest, after which 


the jury was sworn. Then the superintendent 
of the morgue was sent for and everything being 
ready, the coroner directed the jury to examine 
the bodies. In the dead house they went, but I 
assure you that their stay was a very limited one, 
as the odor from the decomposed remains was un- 
bearable, and Coroner Johnston adjourned the in- 
quest until Wednesday evening, July 17th, to be 
held in the Police Court, City Hall. On Wednes- 
day evening I attended the inquest and was re- 
quested to recite the story of Holmes, and the in- 
surance swindle, and the disappearance and the 
finding of the children. I was kept on the wit- 
ness stand about two hours and a half, and then 
after hearing several other witnesses, the investi- 
gation was adjourned to await the arrival of Mrs. 
Pitezel. Thursday morning, July 18th, I re- 
ceived a dispatch from her, stating that she had 
left Chicago and was on her way to Toronto. I 
watched all incoming trains during the day, and 
at 7:30 P. M. I again went to the Grand Trunk 
Depot, and was surprised to see so many people 
there. This was due, however, to the fact that 
Mrs. Pitezel had been interviewed by a number 
of newspaper men before leaving Chicago, and 
they had wired her time of departure for Toronto 


to the Toronto papers. Shortly after my arrival 
at the station, the Canadian Pacific train from 
Chicago came in, and I observed Mrs. Pitezel 
getting off the car. I had a difficult task to make 
my way through the crowd to reach her, but as 
quickly as possible I placed her in a carriage and 
took her to the Rossin House, where I had made 
arrangements to have her placed in a room oppo- 
site my own, and I requested that no one should 
disturb her. Mrs. Pitezel reached her room in an 
absolutely prostrated condition. The cliamber- 
raaid had very kindly volunteered to render her 
such assistance as was possible, and after apply- 
ing restoratives, she soon revived sufficiently to 
talk to me. Amid her tears and moans, she said, 
" Oh, Mr. Geyer, is it true that you have found 
Alice and Nellie buried in a cellar ? " I did all I 
could to calm her, and told her to prepare for the 
worst. She told me that she would try to bear 
up with it and would do the best she could. I 
then told her as gently as possible, that I had 
found the children, but did not describe to her 
their horrible condition, nor under what circum- 
stances they were discovered. After remaining 
with her a short time, I asked several of the 
ladies connected with the hotel to visit her room 


and say a comforting word to her, which they did, 
and it seemed to have a good effect upon her. 

Frida}^ morning, July 19th, I knocked at Mrs. 
PitezeVs door, and I found that she had improved. 
She said she had not slept very well, but felt 
somewhat rested. I then left her and told her 
I would go out and make arrangements for tak- 
ing her to the morgue during the day to look at 
the children. I then went to Police Headquarters 
and met Cuddy, after which we called at Coroner 
Johnston's house. He informed us that he would 
have the bodies so arranged that we could bring 
the mother to look at them at four o'clock that 
afternoon. Cuddy and I then returned to the 
hotel, where every care that human forethought 
could suggest, had been taken to prepare Mrs. 
Pitezel for the awful task necessity imposed upon 
her. I told her that; it would be absolutely im- 
possible for her to see anything but Alice's teeth 
and hair, and only the hair belonging to Nellie. 
This had a paralyzing effect upon her and she al- 
most fainted. At -i P. M. we had a carriage at 
the Rossin House, and I informed her that we 
were ready to proceed to the morgue. In a few 
minutes she was ready, and after supplying our- 
selves with brandy and smelling salts, we started 


for the morgue, where we found a number of cu- 
rious people on the outside awaiting our arrival. 
Mrs. Pitezel was seated in the waiting room, 
while I went into the dead house to see that 
everything was in readiness, before we conducted 
her in. 

I found that Coroner Johnston, Dr. Caven and 
several of his assistants, had removed the putrid 
flesh from the skull of Alice ; the teeth had been 
nicely cleaned and the bodies covered with can- 
vas. The head of Alice was covered with paper, 
and a hole sufficiently large had been cut in it, 
so that Mrs. Pitezel could see the teeth. The 
hair of both children had been carefully washed 
and laid on the canvas sheet which was covering 
Alice. Coroner Johnston said that we could now 
bring Mrs. Pitezel in. I entered the waiting 
room and told her we were ready, and with Cuddy 
on one side of her, and I on the other, we 
entered and led her up to the slab, upon which 
was lying all that remained of poor Alice. In an 
instant she recognized the teeth and hair as that 
of her daughter, Alice. Then turning around to 
me she said, "Where is Nellie?" about this time 
she noticed the long black plait of hair belonging 
to Nellie lying in the canvas. She could stand it 


no longei", and the shrieks of that poor forlorn 
creature are still ringing in my ears. Tears were 
trickling down the cheeks of strong men who 
stood about us. The sufferings of the stricken 
mother were beyond description. We gently led 
her out of the room, and into the carriage. She 
returned to the Rossin House completely over- 
come with grief and despair, and had one fainting 
spell after another. The ladies in the hotel visited 
her in her room and spoke kindly to her, and ex- 
pressed their sympathy with her in her sad be- 
reavement and this seemed in a measure to ease 
her mind. At 7 P. M., I received word from 
Coroner Johnston, that if it were possible, he 
would like to have Mrs. Pitezel attend the in- 
quest that evening and give her testimony. 
While I did not think she was in a fit condition 
to leave the hotel, I communicated to her what 
Dr. Johnston had said, and she said she thought 
she would be able to go and get through with it. 
About 7:30 P. M. I called a carriage and we started 
for the City Hall, where I gave Mrs. Pitezel in 
charge of the matron and then went into the 
court room and informed Coroner Johnston that 
Mrs. Pitezel was ready to testify. He requested 
me to bring lier into the room, whereupon Detect- 


ive Cuddy and I led her in and placed her on a 
seat beside the Coroner, and in a few moments, 
after taking the necessary oath, she began her 
story. For two hours and a half this poor woman 
was kept on the stand and prodded with all kinds 
of questions. So weak did she become, that at 
times her voice was inaudible, and several times 
we feared she would totally collapse. Finally the 
Crown's Assistant Attorney thought he had heard 
enough and consented to allow her to leave the 
stand. She was returned to the matron's j'oom 
and was scarcely there, when she became hyster- 
ical, and her shrieks for Alice, Nellie and How- 
ard, could have been heard a block away. Sev- 
eral doctors present at the inquest immediately 
prescribed for her, and after working with her 
about one hour, we got her in a condition to move 
her to a hole.. The matron at the City Hall was a 
professional nurse, and volunteered to accompany 
Mrs. Pitezel to the hotel and remain with her 
during the night, if I so desired it. I was only 
too willing to have her join us and render the 
poor woman all the assistance and sympathy pos- 
sible. I sent for a carriage and we returned to 
the hotel, where Mrs. Pitezel spent a terrible 


The story as revealed by the witnesses at the in- 
quest was very clear, after it had been unravelled. 
Holmes and his wife had left Detroit on October 
18th, arriving in Toronto the same day, register- 
ing at the Walker House as G. Howell and wife, 
Columbus. Mrs. Pitezel and Dessie and the baby, 
left Detroit the same day, but two hours later, 
registering at the Union House under the name of 
Mrs. C. A. Adams and daughter. 

Alice and Nellie left Detroit the following day, 
October 19th. Holmes met them at the Grand 
Trunk Station and turned them over to George 
Dennis, a hotel porter, who took them by direc- 
tion of Holmes to the Albion Hotel, where they 
remained until the morning of October 25th. 
Holmes called for the girls on the morning of the 
20th and returned them to the hotel about six 
o'clock in the evening of the same day, and this 
he repeated every morning and evening except 
Sunday until the morning of the 25th, when he 
took them away finally, for they did not return. 
He paid for their board every morning and the 
last payment was made on the 25th. 

On October 20th Holmes rented the house No. 
16 St. Vincent Street of Mrs. Christiana Niidel, 
and said he wanted it for his widowed sister, who 


was coming from Detroit. He rented the house 
for six months, at ten dollars for the first month, 
and twelve dollars per month for the remainder of 
the term. He took the key and went awa}^ 
Mrs. Nudel heard nothing more until nearly the 
end of the month, when she learned that the house 
was empty, and that the key liad been left with 
Mr. Ryves, the next door neighbor. 

Mr. Ryves saw the little girls on the veranda of 
the house and once in the yard. He saw Holmes 
there. Holmes told him different stories. The 
first day he met him he said he was renting the 
house for a sister who was coming from Hamilton. 
He said she had a family of four children, and 
that he would board with them as he had secured 
a situation in Toronto. He brought a trunk with 
him first, and later on a mattress and bedstead 
Avere brought and remained on tlie veranda for 
two days. Tiie day Ryves saw the girls in the 
yard, Holmes came over and borrowed a spade 
from him, saying that lie was going to fix a place 
ill the cellar to hold potatoes. He borrowed the 
spade about four or five o'clock in the afternoon 
and returned it between eight and ten o'clock 
the next morning, handing it over the fence to 
Mr. Ryves. Mr. Ryves never saw the girls again 


after seeing them in the yard. The day after 
Holmes returned the spade, he came to the house 
and removed the trunk, and left the key with Mr. 
Ryves. The latter went into the house the next 
day and into the cellar to look where the potatoes 
were to go and he found fresh earth scattered 
around the bottom of the cellar and some loose 
boards lying on top. Mrs. Pitezel identified the 
little wooden egg as a trinket which Alice had, 
and which she used to carry in a little leather 

Nothing could be more surprising than the ap- 
parent ease with which Holmes murdered the two 
little girls in the very centre of the city of To- 
ronto, without arousing the least suspicion of a 
single person there. It startles one to realize how 
such a hideous crime could be committed and de- 
tection avoided. Surely if the investigation and 
search for the children had not been made by 
the Philadelphia authorities, these murders would 
never have been discovered, and Mrs. Pitezel 
would have gone to her grave without knowing 
whether her children were alive or dead. This 
was the one consolation she had in the very dark- 
est hour of her life. She knew the fate of her 
unfortunate daughters— the mystery of their dis- 


appearance had been solved, and the only remain- 
ing problem was the discovery of her little son, 
Howard. She could not believe he was dead, and 
clung fondly to the hope that he would ultimately 
be found alive. 

Holmes was successful in maintaining the same 
conditions in Toronto, as he had in Detroit. Mrs. 
Pitezel was at the Union Hotel, and Alice and 
Nellie at the Albion, although each party was ig- 
norant of the proximity of the other. 

On the afternoon of July 19th, 1895, the re- 
mains of the little girls were buried in St. James' 
cemetery, the expense being borne by the author- 
ities of Toronto. It was a sad scene. In the 
meantime I received orders from District Attor- 
ney Graham to return to Detroit and resume my 
search for the boy Howard. I left Toronto, Sun- 
day, July 20th, (in company with Mrs. Pitezel) 
and arrived in Detroit on the afternoon of the 
same day. Mrs. Pitezel did not stop in Detroit, 
but continued on to Chicago in charge of some 
good women, of a Christian Endeavor Society, 
who volunteered to see to her. 

I had finished a part of my task, and the ful- 
fillment of the other part now confronted me. 
Where was the boy Howard? Had he been 


placed in some institution, as Holmes had inti- 
mated his intention of doing, or was he hidden in 
some obscure i)lace beyond reach or discovery ? 
Was he alive or dead? I was puzzled, non- 
plussed, and groping in the dark. I could not 
turn back, — I was directed to go on, and I deter- 
mined to do so, hoping that patience and persist- 
ent hard work might finally lead me to the light. 



Geyer Agaia iu Detroit — Where is Howard Pitezel ?— Did He 
Leave Detroit Alive? — Reviewing the Evidence — Another 
Search at No. 241 E, Forest Avenue — Geyer Does Some Hard 
Thinking — Review of Holmes' Movements — Copy of Letter 
From Alice to Her Grandparents, Found iu the Possession 
of Holmes — Its Pitiable Tale — Holmes' Fiendish Treat- 
ment of Both Mother and Children — A Friend Warns 
Holmes to Leave Detroit — The Murder of the Children 
Postponed — The Furnace Theory. 

About 5 P. M. I went to the Detroit Police 
Headquarters, where I met Detective Meyler, who, 
after congratulating me upon my success in To- 
ronto, informed me that the Superintendent would 
not be in his office until the following morning. 

That Sunday evening I spent in recounting to 
Meyler the story of finding the girls, after which 
I retired for the night. 

Monday morning, July 22d, I reported at Police 
Headquarters and met Superintendent Stark- 
weather, who agaiu detailed Detective Tuttle to 
assist me in Detroit. I decided to go over with 
greater care, the evidence which proved Howard 
to have been seen in Detroit, and called with 

Tuttle on Mr. Frank R. Alderman, the manager 
15 (255) 


of the Fidelity Mutual Life Association for Mich- 
igan. When the case was first investigated by 
the detectives of the insurance company, Mr. 
Boninghausen, the real estate agent who rented 
No. 2-11 E. Forest Avenue to Holmes, said that 
the latter was accompanied by a small boy, but 
when I called upon him again, in company with 
Mr. Alderman, he declared that he had no abso- 
lutely positive recollection of the matter, but that 
Mr. Moore, who subsequently rented the same 
house, had said that he had noticed a boy with 
Holmes. This knocked out one of the supports of 
the Detroit theory, and we then sought out Mr. 
Moore and found him at No. 241 E. Forest Avenue. 

Mr. Moore said that he had never been positive 
about the presence of the boy with Holmes. Sev- 
eral persons with children were in Mr. Boning- 
hausen's office at the time, and he said he tliovght 
one of them, a small boy, was with Holmes, but 
he was not sure. 

At this time we made, with Mr. Moore's per- 
mission, another thorough search of the premises, 
No. 241 E. Forest Avenue, including the barn, out- 
houses and yard, and I felt fully convinced that 
if the boy had been murdered there, his body had 
been consumed in the large furnace of the house. 


We then went to the Wabash railroad station 
to ascertain the number of half tickets, which ar- 
rived from Chicago at 11:15 P. M., on October 
12th, 1894. An effort was made to find the can- 
celled tickets of this date and train, but they had 
all been destroyed. I was still very much at sea 
about Howard, and I did some very hard thinking 
on the subject. Time and time again I reviewed 
the facts known to me. Holmes arrived in 
Detroit on the evening of October 12th. He sent 
the girls into the station and told them to remain 
there and wait for him. He then rejoined his 
wife, (who was also with him, but ignorant of the 
presence of the children) and took her to the 
hotel. He then left his wife and returned to the 
station and took the girls to the New Western 
Hotel, where they were registered as Etta and 
Nellie Canning. The next day, the 13th, he 
moved them to a boarding house kept by Mrs. 
Lucinda Burns, No. 91 Congress Street. At this 
house Alice wrote a letter to her grandparents, 
which she gave to Holmes to post, and which he, 
as usual, omitted to do. This was one of the let- 
ters found in the possession of Holmes when he 
was arrested. 


This letter was unsigned, but it was written by 
Alice, because it is in her handwriting and she re- 
fers to her sister Nell. The letter enclosed two 
pages of note paper, on which the children had 
made rude drawings of houses, one of which bore 
the caption " Uncle Tom's Cabin." This was 
copied from a picture in Mrs. Stowe's book, which 
the girls had. Under the drawing of the cabin 
was written, "All these pictures was drawn at 
No. 91 Congress Street, Detroit, Mich." 

This letter is dated October 14th, 1894, just 
two days subsequent to their arrival in Detroit, 
and on the very day their mother, (Mrs. Pitezel), 
their sister Dessie, and the little baby, Wharton, 
ariived in Detroit, where they were to meet Pite- 
zel, so Holmes said. This little party registered 
at Geis's Hotel, as Mrs. C. E. Adams and daugh- 
ter. Geis's Hotel is not over five blocks from No. 
91 Congress Street, so when this poor child Alice, 
was writing to her grandparents to Galva, Illinois, 
complaining of the cold, sending a message to her 
mother, asking for heavier and more comfortable 
clothing, wishing for little Wharton, the baby 
who would help them to pass away the time, — 
while this wearied, lonely, homesick child was 
writing this letter, her mother and her sister and 

sow TO FIND THE BOY. 259 

the much wished for Wharton, ivere ivithin ten 
minutes ivalk of her^ and continued there for the 
next five days. More than that, — this unparalleled 
villain who had robbed the Insurance Company of 
Ten Thousand Dollars, and in turn fraudulently 
secured Sixty-Seven Hundred Dollars of the swag 
from Mrs. Pitezel, was at that very moment mak- 
ing arrangements to kill the girls and bury them 
at No. 241 East Forest Avenue. The hole wliich 
he had dug, (which he admitted he had dug to 
bury therein, he said, a tin box containing valu- 
able papers, — a hole four feet long, three and a 
half feet deep and three feet wide) was intended 
as a grave for the little girls. This was the rea- 
son he did not purchase them any warmer cloth- 
ing, notwithstanding it was coming winter. It 
was unnecessary to spend any money for clothing, 
when they were to die so soon. 

The reason this plan was not executed in De- 
troit, was because of a notice he received from 
one of his Chicago friends, wlio knew of the in- 
surance swindle and from whom he received a 
friendly tip, warning him that detectives were on 
his track. This notice came to him by telegram 
and caused him to move his field of operations to 


To me the significant part of this letter was the 
expression, " Howard is not with us now." Why 
did not Alice say to her grandpaients where tliey 
had separated from Howard? A simple phrase or 
sentence would have told the story. I believe 
these children, after leaving Indianapolis and 
reaching Detroit, the city to which Holmes had 
brought her mother, and sister and her little 
brother, were kept in a state of fear or apprehen- 
sion. The evident design of Holmes was to keep 
the children in ignorance of the proximity of 
their mother and he quite likely told them that if 
their identity were discovered, their father, wlio 
was being hunted by detectives, would be appre- 
hended. They gave their name as Canning, (the 
name of their grandparents) at his suggestion, 
and kept close indoors just as he advised. The 
proposed boat ride the}' speak of in their letter, 
and which was not taken because the weather was 
too cold, was deferred most likely by their sup- 
posed friend. 

In one of his numerous statements made in 
prison to various persons, and to District Attorney 
Graham, Holmes said he had given Howard to 
Miss Williams in Detroit, who had taken him tu 
Buffalo. I did not believe a word of the Wil- 


liams part of this statement, but still my suspi- 
cion of Mr. Holmes' character for truth and verac- 
ity did not assist me in clearing up the veil of 
mystery which surrounded the disappearance of 
the little boy. 

The hole in the cellar of the Forest Avenue 
house, and the great size of the cellar furnace, the 
expression in the letter I have quoted, and the 
uncertainty of Mr. Moore's memory as to the 
presence of a boy in Boninghausen's office, be- 
came the basis of numerous theories. One idea 
clui]g to me tenaciously. I could readily imagine 
Howard separated from his sisters the night of 
the arrival of the party in Detroit : of Holmes 
taking him to a quiet place until he was wanted ; 
of the renting of the Forest Avenue house and 
the digging of the hole ; of the discovery by 
Holmes of the great size of the cellar furnace, 
which caused him to change his proposed means 
of disposing of the body ; of the murder and in- 
cineration of the corpse by the method so readily 
at hand. 

Nothing had ever been discovered in the fur- 
nace by the new tenant, Mr. Moore, which indi- 
cated that a body had been consumed therein, — so 
after the fullest consideration of all that the most 


persistent search could reveal, I finally concluded 
that the separation from Howard had taken place 
prior to the arrival of Alice and Nellie i)i Detroit, 
and not after, and I decided to search for him else- 
where, and wired to Philadelphia my purpose to 
return to Indianapolis. 

-^^^— c-—^^ ^:X^ -^vo---t^-^ 

Fac Simile of Letter from Alice to her Grandparents. 

(Found in Holmes' Posession when Akricsted.) 



Once More in Indianapolis — Days of Fruitless Work — Every- 
body Willing to Aid — Scores of People Suggest Clues- 
Has the Clever Criminal Outvpitted the Detective? — 
Copies of the Children's Letters — Keen Analysis of their 
Contents — The Evidence of an Envelope — Geyer Ordered 
to Chicago — Chicago Police Dig up the Skeleton of a 
Child — The Skeleton is not Hovrard's — Geyer Goes to 
Philadelphia for Consultation and Rest. 

I LEFT Detroit on the afternoon of July 23d, 
and arrived in Indianapolis the next morning, 
having been delayed on the route at Peru, In- 
diana. I again registered at the Spencer House 
and lost no time in going to police headquarters, 
where I met Superintendent of Police Powell, to 
whom I confided my purpose of resuming my 
search for the Pitezel boy in Indianapolis. De- 
tective Richards was again detailed to assist me, 
and we at once mapped out a plan of operations. 
We procured a directory of the city and made a 
list of every real estate agent in Indianapolis and 
vicinity and commenced to interview every one of 

them with the hope of finding a house that had 



been rented early in October of 1894, to ii man 
who wanted it for a widowed sister, and wlio oc- 
cnpied it but a short time. Holmes had given 
this " widowed sister " story in Cincinnati, De- 
troit, and Toronto, and I believed he had told the 
same falsehood in Indianapolis. 

Our search continued in this manner for days, 
yet I learned nothing which gave me the least as- 
sistance in obtaining the clue for which I was so 
anxiously seeking. The newspapers had published 
columns of the Toronto story and my return to 
Indianapolis was heralded abroad in conspicuous 
head lines. All of the papers published pictures 
of Holmes and Howard Pitezel, and it seemed as 
though every man, woman and child in Indiana 
was alert and watchful, and aiding me in the work 
of finding the missing child. 

Scores of citizens called upon me at the Spencer 
House, making suggestions and giving me many 
supposed clues, all of which were faithfully run 
out. The number of mysterious persons who had 
rented houses in and about Indianapolis multi- 
plied from day to day, and Detective Richards 
and I were not permitted to rest a moment. 
Days came and passed, but I continued to be as 
much in the dark as ever, and it began to look as 


though the bold but clever criminal, had out- 
witted the detectives, professional and amateur, 
and that the disappearance of Howard Pitezel 
would pass into history as an unsolved mystery. 

About this time I received a communication 
from Assistant District Attorney Barlow, who 
was holding up the Philadelphia end of the line 
with great hopefulness and patience. He sent me 
an anal3^sis of three of the children's letters writ- 
ten from Indianapolis, which threw more light 
upon the matter, and brought me more closely to 
the track of the destroyer of innocent children. 
These three letters now given, are exact copies of 
the originals. 

" Indianapolis, Ind , 

October 6, 1894. 

Dear Mamma, Geandma and Grandpa : — 
We are all well here. It is a little warmer 
to-day. There is so many buggies go by that you 
cant hear yourself think. I first wrote you a let- 
ter with a crystal pen, but I made some mistakes 
and then I am in a hustle because Mr. H. has to 
go at 3 o'clock I don't know where. It is all glass 
so I hafto be careful or else it will break, it was 
only five cents. Mr. H. went to T. H. Indiana 
last night again. Their was a poor boy arrested 


yesterday for stealing a shirt he said he had no 
home the policeman said he would buy him a suit 
of clothes and then send him to a reform school. 
The patrols are lots different here than they are 
in St. Louis & Chicago, they couldnt get away 
if they wanted to. We hafto get up early if we 
get breakfast. We have awful good dinners 
pie fruit and sometimes cake at supper and this 
aint half. They are all men that eat at the tables 
we do not eat with them we have a room to our- 
selves. They are dutch but they can cook awful 
nice. Their is more bicycles go by her in one day 
than goes by in a month in St. Louis. I saw two 
great big ostriges alive and we felt of their 
feathers they are awful smooth | they are black 
with white tails they are as big as a horse. Why 
have buffaloes got big rings in their noses for I 
want Grandma and grandpa to write to me. Is 
the baby well and does he like coco I want you to 
all write why dont you write mama. I will close 
for this time goodby wiite 

Yours truly, 
Nellie Pitezel 

Alices ej-es hurts so she wont write this time. 

Indianapolis Ind. 

Oct. 6th 1894. 
Dear Mamma. 

We are all well except I have got 
a bad cold and I have read so much in Uncle 


Tom's book that I could not see to write yester- 
day when Nell and Howard did. I am wearing 
my new (ders) dress today because it is warmer to 
day. Nell Howard and I have all got a crystal pen 
all made of glass five cents a piece and I am writing 
with it now. I expect Grandma and Grandpa 
was awftd glad to see you. The hotel we are stay- 
ing at faces right on a big wide bulvard and there 
is more safties and bugies passing than a little bit 
and how I wish I had a safty. Last Sunday we was 
at the Zoological Garden in Cincinnati, O. And I 
expect this Sunday will pass away slower than I 
dont know what and Howard is two dirty to be seen 
out on the street to-day. Why dont you write to 
me. I have not got a letter from you since I have 
been away and it will be three weeks day after 
tomorrow. It is raining out now quite hard. 
Nell is drawing now. The hotel is just a block 
from Washington Street and that is where all the 
big stores are. There is a shoe store there And 
there has been a man painting every day this 
week. They give these genuine oil painting away 
with every $1.00 purchas of shoes with small 
extra charge for frames. You cant get the 
pictures with out the frames though I wish I 
could get one you dont know how pretty they 
are. We go there every day and watch him 
paint. He can paint a picture in IJ minutes aint 
that quick. Nell keeps joring the stand so I can 
hardly write I mad half a dozen mistakes on the 


other side just because she made me. This letter 
is for you all because I cant write to so many of 
you I guess I have told all the news so good bye 
love to all and kisses 

Your loving daughter 

E. Alice Pitezel. 

P. O. Write soon Howard got a box of col- 
lars and took one out and lost box and all the 

Monday morning. 
Do Mamma 

J ust got a letter from you say- 
ing that the babe was cross and Dessa and 
Grandma was sick. How is Grandpa I hope you 
will all feel better I thought you would not be 
home sick at all when you got there but it seems 
as though you are awful homesick Who met you 
at the depot did you get there Satarday or Sun- 
day. I dont like to tell you but you ask me so I 
will have to. H. wont mind me at all He wanted 
a book and I got life of Gen. Sheridan and it is 
awful nice but now he dont read it at all hardly. 
One morning. Mr. H. told me to tell him to stay 
in the next morning that he wanted him and he 
would come and get him and take him out and I 
told him and he would not stay in at all he was 
out when he came. We have written two or 
three letters to you and I guess you will begin to 
get them now I will send this with my letter that 


I wrote yesterday and didnt send off Hope you 
will all keep well 

I have just finished Uncle Tom's Cabin and it 
is a nice book. I wish I could see you all. This 
is another cold day. We pay $12.00 a week for 
our room and board and I think that is pretty 
cheap for the good meals we have Yesterday we 
had mashed potatoes, grapes, chicken glass of 
milk each ice cream each a big sauce disli full 
awful good too lemon pie cake dont you think 
that is pretty good. They are Germans. I guess 
I will have to close so good bye, love to all and 
kisses. Write soon keep well 
Yours Truly 

E. Alice Pitezel. 

In Mr. Barlow's view, these letters negatived 
the statement made by Mr. Ackelow, the proprie- 
tor of the Circle House, that the children had 
left that hotel on October 6th. The first letter 
written by Nellie, is dated October 6th. The next 
letter written by Alice, is also dated October 6th, 
but it was evidently written the day after Nellie 
had written her letter and should have been dated 
the 7th. 

"•Alice's eyes hurts," writes Nellie, "so she 
won't write this time." " I have read so much in 


Uncle Tom's book," writes Alice, "that I could 
not see to write yesterday when Nell and Howard 

October 6th was on Saturday, the next day, 
was of course, Sunday, the 7th. It is quite evi- 
dent, that Alice wrote on Sunday, the 7th, be- 
cause she speaks of wearing her new dress ; that 
slie expects " this Sunday to pass away slower 
than I don't know what," that " Howard is too 
dirty to be seen out on the street to da}-, etc." 
If there is an}^ doubt that this letter was written 
on Sunday, October 7th, it is completely dispelled 
by the third letter with its simple heading, 
" Monday morning," without any date affixed in 
which she sjDcaks of having written tivo or three 
letttrs to her mother, and "I will send this with 
my letter I wrote yesterday and didn't send off," 
and that they had ice cream and an extra good 
dinner the day before. This letter was evidently 
written, Monday, October Sth, and the children 
had evidently continued at the same hotel, the 
Circle House, and had not left it on October 6th. 

I again interviewed Mr. Ackelow the Circle 
House proprietor, and examined the books of the 
hotel with greater care and soon discovered, that 
the last payment of their board was made on Octo- 


her lOtli, on which day they had left., and not on 
October Glh, ;is first stated. As I had ascertained 
to a certainty tliat the 'cliildren liad arrived in 
Detroit on tlie evening of October 12th, I found I 
was hot on the track, and with only forty-eight 
hours to be accounted for. Howard had disap- 
peared in the forty eight hours, and either in 
Indianapolis, or between that city and Detroit. 
The Monday morning letter was of great signifi- 
cance in its relation of Howard's alleged misbe- 
havior. " One morning Mr. H. told me to tell 
him to stay in the next morning, that he wanted 
him and would come and get him and take him out 
and I told him and he would not stay in at all, he 
"vas out when he came.''^ ' 

This is precisely what Holmes did at the Albion 
Hotel in Toronto; he called for the gi7'ls and took 
them out on the morning of October 26th, and they 
never returned. Poor little Howard, if he had 
known the fate that was in store for him, he 
would have continued to stay out " when he 

Mr. Ackelow told me that Holmes spoke of 
Howard as a mischievous boy and hard to con- 
trol, and said he intended placing him in some in- 
stitution or in some good home on a farm. 


Holmes told this story so that when Howard 
was separated from his sisters, his disappearance 
would arouse neither curiosity nor suspicion. It 
worked well too, because neither Mr. Ackelow 
nor any attache of the hotel was able to say, 
whether Howard left before or at the same time the 
girls left. 

Mr. Barlow further informed me, that the en- 
velope which had enclosed a letter written by 
Alice to the Fidelity IMutual Life Insurance Asso- 
ciation, thanking them for the prompt payment of 
the insurance policy had been mailed on October 
11th, and was postmarked " Chic. Richmond & 
Cin. R. P. O.," — a government post route between 
Chicago, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Detroit. 
Thus it appeared reasonably certain, that the 
party were on a train somewhere between these 
cities on October 11th. 

Thursday morning, August 1st, I received a 
telegram from District Attorney Graham, direct- 
ing me to go to Chicago and have an interview 
with the police authorities in the city, who were 
reported to have dug up the skeleton of a child at 
Holmes' Block, No. 701 West 63rd Street, Chi- 
cago. That evening I left Indianapolis and 
reached Chicago the next morning (Friday). At 


police headquarters, I met Chief Brandenaugh 
and Inspector Fitzpatrick, with whom I had a 
conference lasting several hours. I heard enough 
to convince me that they had not found the re- 
mains of Howard. 

Another telegram then reached me from Mr. 
Graham, requesting me to return to Philadelphia 
for a consultation, and I immediately left on the 
Pennsylvania Limited, arriving home the next 
day at 4:17 P. M. 

I went direct to the District Attorney's office 
in the City Hall, where I was warmly greeted by 
Mr. Barlow, who informed me that I had been 
summoned home for a few days rest and for con- 
sultation, and that I was to resume work in the 
case again as soon as the preparations for a fresh 
start were completed. 

Mr. Barlow's confidence in our ability to find 
Howard never faltered. The mere fact that I had 
searched every real estate office in Indianapolis, 
and had for days run out every supposed clue 
presented, and had failed to find even a trace of 
the boy, had no effect upon him. He believed 
that skill and patience would yet win, and said, 
that when Mr. Graham and he and I met on Mon- 
day, we would consider further plans for search- 


ing in Indianapolis and vicinity, and if not success- 
ful there, then among the junction towns between 
Chicago, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Detroit. 



Consultation in the District Attorney's Ofl&ce — Holmes 
Again Questioned — The Monumental Liar Repudiates 
His Former Statement — Introduces the Mysterious Hatch 
— A Fresh Start — W. E. Gary Associated with Geyer — 
Chicago Again — The Janitor of the "Castle" and His 
"Wife Interviewed — Outlying Towns Searched for Clues — 
Third Return to Indianapolis — Kindness of Authorities 
and Citizens — Nine Hundred Clues Run Out— Irvington, 
Ind.— The Veil About to Lift. 

Monday morning, August 3d, I met the Dis- 
trict Attorney and his assistant in their office in 
the city hall, and remained in consultation with 
them the greater part of the day. After Alice 
and Nellie had been found in Toronto, Holmes 
had been brought to the city hall in Philadelphia 
and vigorously examined in the hope of securing 
from him some admission which would assist me 
in finding Howard, but not a word did he say, 
which threw a particle of light upon the matter. 
His former statement in which he had given with 
great detail, the particulars of his meeting with 

Miss Williams, and how he had given Howard 



into her care in Detroit, whence she had taken 
him to Buffalo, he repudiated, and he now intro- 
duced the mysterious Hatch. According to 
Hohnes, Hatch was the miscreant who had prob- 
ably shed the blood of innocent childhood, and 
not he, and he was willing, he said, to do all in 
his power to ascertain what this bad man Hatch 
had done with Howard. 

This examination, which had been conducted 
by Mr. Barlow, was fully related to me, but we 
obtained not a grain of comfort from anything 
that this king of fabricators had said. 

The officers of the insurance company now 
took a new grip on the case, and expressed their 
determination to hold on until the mystery which 
shrouded the disappearance of the little boy was 
cleared up,^so the preparations for a fresh start 
included the assignment of Mr. W. E. Gary, the 
chief inspector of the company, to accompany me 
on the journey. This was agreeable news to me, 
because Mr. Gary was not only a pleasant com- 
panion, but he was able and skillful in detective 
work, and possessed a large stock of patience, — 
an absolutely essential element in such a case as 
we had in charge. 

On Wednesday evening, August 7th, we left 


Philadelphia and went direct to Chicago, arriving 
the next afternoon. In company witii Inspector 
Fitzpatrick, we w^ent to the Harrison Street Sta- 
tion and had an interview with Mr. and Mrs. 
Patrick Quinlan, who were under arrest on suspi- 
cion of having been associated with Holmes in 
alleged crimes committed in the Sixty -third Street 
house, known as the " Castle." Our object was 
to ascertain if Holmes had taken the children to 
Chicago, after leaving the Circle House in Indi- 
anapolis on October 10th. Both Quinlan and his 
wife stoutly maintained their ignorance of any 
knowledge of the children, and I am bound to 
say I believed them. 

On Sunday, August 11th, Mr. Gary and I left 
Chicago for Logansport. From Logansport we 
went to Peru, Indiana, thence on following days 
to Montpelier Junction, Ohio, and Adrian, Mich- 
igan. In each of these towns we spent days in 
searching among hotels and boarding houses and 
in interviewing real estate agents, but all to no 
purpose, and we finally concluded to return to 
Indianapolis and settle there and search until 
District Attorney Graham and his assistant, Mr. 
Barlow, told us to stop, or until we had found the 
boy. I must <3onfess that I returned to Indian- 


apolis in no cheerful frame of mind, and the large 
jtock of hope which I had gathered up in the 
District Attorney's office in the Philadelphia City 
Hall was fast dwindling away. There was noth- 
ing to do, however, but to go at it again, so head- 
quarters at the Spencer House was once more 
established. My confidence in our ultimate suc- 
cess, was sustained at all times by my continued 
faith in the Indianapolis theory. I believed the 
boy had been murdered in Indianapolis, or in some 
nearby town, but my ill success in locating the 
house, after so much effort and such wide pub- 
licity, greatly annoyed and puzzled me. The 
mystery seemed to be impenetrable. 

The desire on the part of the police authorities 
of Indianapolis to assist me in the search, never 
wavered. On this, my third return to that city, 
I was greeted with the same kindness and un- 
varying courtesy I had enjoyed on the previous 
occasions. In fact, this can truthfully be said 
of the police authorities in all the citi'es embraced 
within the circuit, from Cincinnati to Toronto, 
where my mission had taken me. Everywhere I 
found kind hearts and willing hands, ready to 
assist me in running to earth one of the most ac- 
complished villains of modern times, and if ancient 


times produced his equal, I have yet to read of 

The Indianapolis newspapers, published an- 
nouncements of the renewal of the search in that 
city, and reports from many kind and well dis- 
posed persons, of mysterious people who rented 
houses for a short time and then disappeared, 
came pouring in again. Not a single suggestion 
was unheeded and every report was carefully and 
patiently investigated. The advertisements of 
private houses for rent early in October of 1894 
were listed and each one visited and examined. 
No less than nine hundred supposed clues were 
run out. We then commenced a search of the 
small towns just beyond the city of Indianapolis, 
and finally finished the work in all, except Irving- 
ton. About this time I wrote a letter to District 
Attorney Graham, repeating to him all that I had 
reported almost daily to Superintendent of Police 
Linden, and concluded by saying : " By Monday 
we will have searched every outlying town, ex- 
cept Irvington, and another day will conclude 
that. After Irvington, I scarcely know where we 
shall go." On Tuesday morning, August 27th, 
we took the trolley line for Irvington, a most 
beautiful town, about six miles from Indianapolis. 


As there are no hotels in the town, we decided to 
look up the real estate agents. A short distance 
from wliere the cars stop, I noticed a sign of a 
real estate office, and in we went. Opening up a 
package of papers and photographs which I had 
carried, and which I had untied and tied over a 
thousand times, until it had become soiled and 
ragged from wear, I asked a pleasant faced old 
gentleman who greeted us as we entered the 
office, if he knew of a house in his town, which 
had been rented for a short time in October of 
1894, by a man who said he wanted it for a wid- 
owed sister. I then handed him a photograph of 
H. II. Holmes. The old gentleman who proved to 
be Mr. Brown quietly listened, and then adjusting 
his glasses took a long look at the photograph. 

" Yes," said he, " I remember a man who rented 
a house under such circumstances in October of 
1894, and this picture looks like him very much. 
I did not have the renting of the house, but I had 
the keys, and one day last fall, this man came into 
my office and in a very abrupt way said, I want 
the keys for that house. I remember the man 
very well, because I did not like his manner, and 
I felt that he should have had more respect for 
my gray hairs." 


While the good old man was talking, Mr. Gary 
and I stood still. When he had finished, we 
looked at each other and sat down. We had 
found the clue at last. 

All the toil ; all the weary days and weeks of 
travel, — toil and travel in the hottest months of 
the year, alternating between faith and hope, and 
discouragement and despair, all were recompensed 
in that one moment, when I saw the veil about to 
lift, and realized that we were soon to learn where 
the poor little boy had gone with Holmes, " when 
he came." 

" Truth, like the sun, submits to be obscured 
but like the sun, only for a time." 



A Warm Trail— The One and a Half Story Cottage— Search- 
ing the Cellar — Broken Trunk Under the Piazza — A Strip 
of Blue Calico — Amateur Detectives — Finding the Charred 
Eemains — The Boy's Coat — Geyer Has a Good Night's 

Mk. Gary and I did not remain seated very- 
long. Mr. Brown offered to take us to Dr. 
Thompson, the former owner of the house, and we 
thankfully accepted his invitation. Dr. Thomp- 
son's office was near by and when we entered, 
Mr. Brown introduced us as two detectives from 
Philadelphia in search of one of the Pitezel chil- 
dren. The doctor at once recognized the photo- 
graph of Holmes and identified him as the man 
who had rented the house he formerly occupied. 
He said further that a boy in his employ, named 
Elvet Moorman, had seen Holmes and a little boy 
he had with him at the time. A messenger was 
dispatched for Elvet, and the instant he saw 
Holmes' photograph he said : " Why tliat is the 

man who lived in our house, and who had the small 



boy with him." He also recognized Howard's 
picture as that of the boy whom he had seen at 
the house with Hohnes. Our anxiety to get to 
the house and to search the premises can be im- 
agined. We asked the doctor to show us the 
way. On our arrival at the house, I found it to 
be a one and a half story cottage, standing some 
little distance from Union Avenue, in the extreme 
eastern part of the town. Across the street is a 
Methodist church and two hundred yards to the 
south are the Pennsylvania railroad tracks. The 
house stands in a secluded place, and there are no 
other houses in the immediate neighborhood. To 
the west is a small grove of young catalpa trees, 
and to the east is a large common. There are two 
roads leading to the street cars which run into In- 

On entering the house, we searched the cellar 
first. I found it divided into two apartments, — 
the rear having a cement floor and evidently in- 
tended for a wash room and the front having a 
clay floor, but as hard as flint. It was quite evi- 
dent that there had been no disturbance of the 
floor in the cellar, and so we decided to make a 
search on the outside. To the right wing of the 
house is attached a small piazza, with open lattice 

" WHEN HE CA3IE." 201 

work under the floor. In looking through this 
lattice work, I discovered the broken remains of a 
trunk. It took but a moment to remove the 
steps leading up to the piazza floor, and crawling 
under I brought out what proved to be a strong 
piece of evidence against the distinguished crim- 
inal who was sitting in his cell in the Philadelphia 
County prison, and wondering how near I had set 
my feet on his tracks. When I brought out the 
piece of the trunk, I discovered that a strip of 
blue calico had been pasted along the side seam 
and evidently intended to repair and cover it. 
The calico was about two inches wide, and had 
printed on it the figure of a white flower. I felt 
sure that I had found at least a portion of one of 
the trunks that had given me so much anxiety, 
and I was very careful to see that it was deposited 
in a safe place for future use as evidence. I ob- 
served, under the piazza, that the earth had been 
disturbed, and procuring a shovel dug very deeply 
to ascertain if a body had been buried there, but 
no evidence of that nature was discovered. We 
then turned our attention to the barn and other 
outhouses. In the barn I found a large coal 
stove, called the " Peninsular Oak," and some 
other articles of furniture. 


The stove was three and a half feet high, and 
about twenty-two inches in diameter, — the entire 
top working upon a pivot. On the top I found 
what appeared to be blood stains. We then ex- 
amined the floor of the barn and the grounds 
about the house, and wherever we discovered a 
soft spot in the earth, we dug deeply to see if a 
body was buried there. 

By this time, several hundred people had gath- 
ered about the house, seriously interfering with 
our operations, but all expressing great sympathy 
with us in our work, and as it was almost evening 
I decided to defer a further search until the fol- 
lowing day. I ascertained also that the house 
had been rented by an agent in Indianapolis by 
the name of J. S. Grouse and I wanted to see him 
before the sun went down. Mr. Gary and I then 
took the trolley car into Indianapolis and called 
at once upon Mr. Grouse. I learned that the 
house had been rented to a man who wanted it 
for his widowed sister by the name of Mrs. A. E. 
Gook, who intended to open a boarding house. 
He paid one month's rent in advance, and was 
never seen again. When I produced the plioto- 
graph of H. H. Holmes, it was promptly identi- 
fied as that of the man who had rented the house. 

The Spade with which Holmes Buried Alice and Nellie 
JN the Cellar 

" WHEN HE came:' 295 

As Holmes had registered at the Hotel Bristol in 
Cincinnati as A. E. Cook and three children, I 
felt certain that I was working in the right direc- 

After leaving the real estate office, I sent the 
following telegram to Mrs. Pitezel, Galva, Illi- 

" Did missing trunk have a strip of blue calico, 
white figure over seam on the bottom." To this 
telegram I received the following reply : 

" Yes, missing trunk had a strip of blue calico 
white figure on the bottom." 

Cakrie a. Pitezel. 

While I was at the telegraph office, I received 
a telephone from the Indianapolis Evening News 
Office, requesting me to call there without delay. 
At the news office I met Mr. Brown, their city 
editor, who told me that Dr. Barnhill the partner 
of Dr. Thompson was on his way from Irvington 
and that he had something of importance to com- 
municate to me, and that I should wait for him. 
The doctor arrived in a few moments and opened 
a small package containing several pieces of 
charred bone, which he declared were a portion of 
the femur and skull of a child between eight and 
twelve years old. The piece of the skull showed 



the sutures plainly. Dr. Barnhill then explained 
that after Mr. Gary and I had left the Irvington 
house, he and Dr. Thompson had continued the 
search. They were accompanied by two boys, 
Walter Jenny and Oscar Kettenbach. One of 
the boys suggested that they should play detective 
and they went together into the part of the cellar 
having a cemented floor, and in which there was 
a chimney which extended above the roof of the 
house. In the chimney was a pipe hole about 
three feet six inches from the floor. Young 
Jenny put his arm in the opening and pulled out 
a handful of ashes, among which was one of the 
pieces of bone, which Dr. Barnhill brought to me. 
The boys continued to bring out ashes and pieces 
of bone and then ran and called the doctors, who 
soon determined the character of the discovery. 

This information induced me to return to the 
house that evening, and upon our arrival, we 
found the entire neighborhood assembled there. 
I requested the Marshall of Police who was pres- 
ent to clear the house, which he did in short or- 
der. The doctors and several members of the 
Press were then admitted, and we. proceeded to 
the cellar, and with hammer and chisel I took 
down the lower part of the chimney. I then took 

"WBEN HE came:' 297 

an old fly screen which I found in the house, and 
used it as a sieve, and as the ashes and soot were 
taken from the chimney, I passed it through the 
screen and found an ahiiost complete set of teeth 
and a piece of the jaw, which I turned over to 
Dr. John Quiucy Byram, a dentist, for examina- 
tion. At the bottom of the chimney was found 
quite a large charred mass, which upon being cut, 
disclosed a portion of the stomach, liver and 
spleen, baked quite hard. The pelvis of tlie body 
Avas also found. All this was handed to Dr. 
Barnhill for examination. 

In tlie chimney we also found some of the iron 
fastenings which belonged to the trunk, some 
buttons, a small scarf pin, and a crochet needle. 
Upon searching for outside evidence, we found a 
boy's coat in possession of a grocer in Irvington. 
The grocer said that early in October, of 1894 a 
man called at his store and left the coat with him, 
saying that a boy would call for it the next morn- 
ing, but the boy never came. Thoroughly con- 
vinced that we had found all that remained of lit- 
tle Howard Pitezel, we returned to Indianapolis 
and at once repaired to the City Hall where we 
had a consultation with Superintendent of Police 


The superintendent advised us to see the cor- 
oner, Dr. Castor, a suggestion which we acted 
upon the next day. 

That night I enjoj-ed the best night's sleep I 
had had in two months. I was sure that my work 
was complete, and as I fell into an easy slumber, 
I thought that after all, the business of searching 
for the truth was not the meanest occupation of 
man. It is the manner in which it is searched 
for that sometimes makes it ignoble. 



A Coroner's Inquest Again — Mrs. Pitezel Summoned from 
Galva, 111.— Identifies the Piece of Trunk— Identifies the 
Clothing and Toys — Moorman's Testimony — Other Perti- 
nent Testimony— Surgical Instruments Sharpened— Thanks 
for Generous Aid — Return to Philadelphia — This Monster 
Must be Punished. 

The day following our discoveries at the Ir- 
vington house, we were requested by the Sheriff 
of the county in which Irvington is situated, to 
appear before the Grand Jury. This request we 
complied with, and we recited the whole Holmes - 
Pitezel story to that body. 

The coroner, Dr. Hiram A. Castor, held an in- 
quest. To this sad scene, Mrs. Pitezel was jigaiii 
summoned. She had hoped to the last that her 
little son had been placed in some institution, or 
in the care of some person in a secluded part of 
the country. 

It will be remembered that Holmes declared 
this to be his purpose to Mr. Ackelow, the pro- 
prietor of the Circle House, and Mrs. Pitezel al- 



ways clung to the hope that Howard would ulti 
mately be found alive. The Irvington revelation 
came to her, therefore, with all the force of a 
dreadful shock and it was a great tax on her 
strength to leave Galva again and make another 
sad journey to Irvington. 

She identified the overcoat found at the 
grocer's, as Howard's. She had repaired it in a 
number of places and sewed a new pocket in it, 
and had no difficulty in proving the identification. 
The piece of trunk was easily recognized, because 
of the strip of calico which her father had pasted 
along the bottom. A little spinning top and a tin 
man, which Pitezel had bought for Howard at the 
World's Fair and which I had found in the house, 
were also identified. Mrs. Pitezel had placed 
them in the trunk herself at the time of the de- 
parture of Holmes with Nellie and Howard from 
St. Louis. A little scarf-pin and a pair of shoes 
she also identified as Howard's, and a crochet 
needle that belonged to her daughter Alice. 
These had all been found in the Irvington house. 

Elvet Moorman testified that he went over to 
the house one afternoon early in October of 1894 
and saw a transfer wagon with furniture unload- 
ing, and a man and a boy assisting in transferring 


the articles to the house. Later in the afternoon 
of the same day he went over to milk a cow that 
was kept in the barn, connected with the house. 
While he was milking, the man who was with the 
boy, came to him and asked him to assist him in 
putting up a stove, which he did. Moorman 
asked the man why he did not make a gas connection 
(for natural gas) and use a gas stove, and the man 
said that he did not think gas ivas healthy for chil- 
dren. A photograph of Holmes was shown the 
witness and he identified it as the man whom he 
had assisted in putting up the stove. He also 
said that the photograph of Howard Pitezel shown 
him, was that of the boy he had seen with 
Holmes, and who was present when the stove was put 
up. He also said that after Holmes and the boy 
disappeared, he had examined the house and 
found a lot of corn rubbish on the floor that 
seemed to indicate that a fire had been made with 
corn cobs. 

Dr. Byram, a dentist, identified the teeth and 
portion of the jaw as those of a child between the 
ages of eight and eleven years, and Dr. Barnhill 
declared the bones found to be portions of a 
skeleton of a child between the ages of seven and 
ten years. The large portion of charred remains 


found, contained the liver, the stomach and por- 
tions of the intestines. 

Albert Schiffling testified that he keeps a repair 
shop at No. 48 Virginia Avenue, Indianapolis. 
On the 3d of October, a man, whom he identified 
as Holmes, came into his shop accompanied by a 
small boy. Holmes had two cases of surgical in- 
struments, which he wanted sharpened. He re- 
turned for the instruments on October 8th, paid 
for the repairs and took them away. Other testi- 
mony and identifications of Holmes and Howard 
were heard, but all in corroboration of the evi- 
dence which I have briefly stated. Dr. Byram, 
the dentist, very cleverly and skillfully mounted 
the teeth on wax jaws, which exhibited their 
character and their age most admirably, and Doc- 
tors Barnliill and Thompson, made a very exhaus- 
tive and scientific report of the other contents of 
the chimney which had been found, and the 
coroner's jury had no difficulty in finding tjjat lit- 
tle Howard Pitezel had come to his death at the 
hands of H. H. Holmes. 

Our work being done, we visited the City Hall 
and thanked Superintendent Powell and his as- 
sistants for their kind and courteous treatment 
during our stay in Indianapolis. In fact we were 


grateful to everybody, for we had received from 
all citizens the most generous and unselfish aid in 
tlie performance of our task, — so bidding farewell 
to our many friends, we left for Philadelphia, ar- 
riving home Saturday, September 1st. 

The District Attorney and his Assistant, Mr. 
Barlow and I had a happy meeting. They, like 
myself, had been giving to the case, the days and 
weeks of a summer of almost unprecedented heat 
and we all rejoiced over the success and end of the 

Much remained, however, to be done. The 
greatest of criminals had yet to be brought to an- 
swer for his foul deeds. All that had been un- 
earthed, would count for but little, if this wretch 
were permitted to elude the firm grasp of the law 
or to avoid a punishment, not such as he deserved, 
but that which is provided under the orderly 
forms of legal procedure, and we then and there 
fully and freely consecrated the best that was in 
us, to the consummation of that great end. 



The Trial — Desperate Fight for Postponement — Application 
for Postponement Refused — Holmes Dismisses his Coun- 
sel — Holmes Conducts His Own Case — Holmes' Shrewd- 
ness — Playing for Sympathy — Holmes' Lawyers Re-enter 
the Case — Mrs. Pitezel's Heart Breaking Narrative — The 
Murderer Unmoved — Testimony of Miss Yoke — Holmes 
Cross-examines the Woman He had Foully Wronged — Ad- 
missions of Prisoner's Counsel — Testimony of Physicians 
— The Worthless Note — How Holmes Deluded Mrs. 
Pitezel — All Doubts Dispelled — Murder in the First De- 
gree — Press and People Congratulate Prosecutors and 

Herman W. Mudgett, alias H. H. Holmes, 

was indicted on the day of September, 1895, 

by the grand jury of Philadelphia County, for the 
murder of Benjamin F. Pitezel on September 2, 

1894. On September 1895, the prisoner 

was arraigned and entered a plea of "not guilty," 
and in answer to the question propounded to him 
by the crier of the court, " Pleading not guilty, — 
How will you be tried ? " He answered, " By 
God and my country." 

Upon this occasion he was represented by two 



young attorneys, who had been advising him 
since his incarceration in the county prison in 
November of 1894, and one of whom assisted in 
his trial for conspiracy in June of 1895. They 
had visited him in prison, scores of times and were 
familiar with every point and detail of his case. 
The officers of the commonv\^ealth had been grop- 
ing in the dark, following this clue and then that, 
but his own attorneys were, or should have been 
in the broad light of knowledge of all that Holmes 
knew concerning Pitezel and his fate, and the de- 
struction of the children. After the entry of the 
plea of " not guilty " by the prisoner, and issue 
had been joined between him and the Common- 
wealth of Pennsylvania, the District Attorney 
asked the court to fix a day for the trial. He 
suggested that a time be set so remote, that ample 
opportunity should be given for the prisoner, as 
well as for the commonwealth to 23repare for the 
great contest which should decide the guilt or in- 
nocence of the accused. The court then stated 
to all parties, that the trial should take place on 
Monday, October, 28th, five weeks distant, and 
gave notice to both sides to be prepared. In spite 
of this notice, when the day fixed arrived, Octo- 
ber 28th, the prisoner and his counsel made one 


of the most desperate fights for postponement 
ever witnessed in a criminal trial. 

One of the city newspapers said : " It was not 
that the struggle was long, or conducted with any- 
fine display of legal generalship, but it was fierce, 
painful and impressive while it lasted, suggesting 
the wild mad cries and writhings of a murderer, 
already condemned and battling with inexorable 
jailers on the way to the scaffold." 

The application for a postponement was refused, 
thereupon counsel asked permission to withdraw 
from the case. This was also refused, — the Court 
reminding counsel, that they had represented the 
prisoner for many months, and had ample time 
for the preparation of the trial. Counsel then 
had a consultation with the prisoner, and returned 
to the bar of the court with the astounding state- 
ment that the prisoner had dismissed them from 
the case, and that he had declared it to be his 
purpose to conduct his own defense. The court 
then warned counsel not to leave the case, even 
in the face of a dismissal by the prisoner, and 
directed them to proceed and defend their client. 
This the attorneys refused to do, and they left 
the court room. The Hon. Michael Arnold, who 
presided at this trial, is not only a good lawyer 


and a wise judge, but lie is conspicuous for his 
abundant stock of good common sense, so not- 
withstanding the desertion of the attorneys for 
the defence, he directed the case to proceed. 
Then followed one of the most remarkable scenes 
ever witnessed in a court room. The prisoner, on 
trial for his life, cross- questioned each juror as he 
appeared for examination on his voire dire, and 
with an ability and shrewdness which astonished 
every person within hearing. It soon became 
quite evident, that the wily criminal was playing 
for sympathy, but he did it all too well, for not a 
few among the spectators in the court room 
quickly determined that Holmes was quite as able 
as his counsel, and that their absence was no loss 
to him. Apart from this, amid the examination 
and challenging of the jurors, both the Court and 
District Attorney were careful to see that a fair 
and impartial jury was empanelled, — not a man 
being accepted who exhibited any prejudice or 
bias against the prisoner. The American love of 
fair play, even to one so base and vile as Holmes, 
protected the prisoner in his rights, and nothing 
was permitted to enter the case which would jus- 
tify the slightest criticism. When the examina- 
tion of witnesses commenced, the Court repeatedly 


instructed tlie prisoner as to his rights, and when 
sustaining or overruling his objections, explained 
to him the reason for so doing. 

On the second day of the trial, the young law- 
yers, who had departed with such dramatic effect 
the day before, returned, and the trial proceeded 
in an orderly manner to the end. 

The trial was distinguished by a dignity and 
decorum, which was maintained at all times, de- 
spite the sensational and dramatic disclosures 
which came naturally from the testimony, or the 
characteristic behavior of the prisoner, as he 
squirmed in tlie net in which he was caught. 

When the entire audience was dissolved in 
tears at the pitiful, lieart-breaking narrative of 
Mrs. Pitezel, the prisoner sat unmoved in the 
dock, scribbling notes and occasionally glancing 
at the woman, whose husband and children he had 
so cruelly murdered. 

When Miss Yoke, the young woman whom he 
had so grievously wronged, appeared upon the 
stand, the prisoner suddenly began to weep, and 
industriously applied his handkerchief to the tears 
which came or appeared to come from his eyes. 

At the close of lier examination in chief, Holmes 
insisted upon conducting the cross-examination 


himself, iii the face of the protest of liis counsel 
and he did his best to catch her eye and to break 
the face of the terrible disclosures she had made. 

The character of the prisoner's grief may be 
better understood, when a remark he made to his 
counsel, just before he arose to cross-examine Miss 
Yoke, is known. He was overheard to say : " I 
will now let loose the fount of emotion." Who 
has ever seen or heard of his equal ? 

The details of the trial have been widely pub- 
lished. Whatever doubt existed as to the death 
of Pitezel was dispelled by the admission of the 
prisoner's counsel at the trial, who said that the 
body found at No. 1316 Callowhill Street on the 
second day of September, 1894, was Benjamin F. 
Pitezel, and therefore the testimony of the more 
or less numerous citizen, who had declared that 
he had seen Pitezel alive in St. Louis, Mobile, 
Chicago and other places a week or so before the 
trial and who was so evidently drawing upon his 
imagination, was not required in evidence- 
Prisoner's counsel also admitted that Holmes 
was present at No. 1316 Callowhill Street on Sep- 
tember 2d, but contended that Pitezel had been 
found dead, — that he had committed suicide. 
Three physicians, one of them an eminent expert 


in toxicology, Dr. Henry Leffman, all testified 
that the condition of the body wlien found ex- 
cluded the possibility of suicide, and that the man 
had been killed by chloroform poisoning. His 
robbery of Mrs. Pitezel of the insurance money, 
his repeated assurances to her that her husbaiid 
was alive, the manner in which he had taken her 
from Galva to Detroit, " to meet Ben," then from 
Detroit to meet him " because Ben was followed 
by detectives," on to Toronto to meet him there, 
then upon her arrival in Toronto, his declaration 
that Ben had gone to Montreal, their subsequent 
trip to Burlington, Vermont, and his many, man}' 
lies to her were all recited in pitiful tones by the 
distressed and grief-stricken widow ani mother. 

One of the hardest blows received by the pris- 
oner, was from the testimony of Sidney L. Sam- 
uels, Esq., a member of the bar of Fort Worth, 
Texas, an accomplished lawyer and gentleman, 
who when upon the stand referred to Holmes, 
(much to his disgust) as " the individual sitting 
in the cage." Mr. Samuels came all the way 
from liis home in Texas to Philadelphia, to prove 
that the note which Holmes gave to Mrs. Pitezel 
was worthless. Mr. Samuels had written the 
body of the note himself and gave it to Holmes to 


have it signed by Benton T. Lyuuin, who was no 
other than Titezel himself, who in Jiinuary and 
February of 1894 was in P^ort Worth assisting 
Holmes in the perpetration of one of his Minnie 
Williams schemes. When Holmes returned, he 
produced another note, and told Mr. Samuels 
that he had lost the first note. This note he gave 
Mrs. Pitezel. It was not endorsed on the back, 
and had never been negotiated, and it Avas a 
worthless piece of paper. The note he alleged he 
had lost, he pahned off on the poor deluded 
woman, taking from hev all but five hundred dol- 
lars of the seven;y-two hundred dollars she had 
received from Howe. 

Miss Yoke was with Holmes in Philadelphia at 
the timie of the murder. She said that in the 
evening of September 1st, a man called at No. 
1905 TTorth 11th Street, where she and the man 
slie s apposed ivas her husband were stopping. 
The /isitor, Hjlmes told her, was a me.ssenger 
from an official of the Pennsylvania Railroad 
Coripany, who had advised him that this gentle- 
man would meet him the next morning at Nice- 
town, a suburb of Philadelphia. (He afterwards 
admitted to her that this man who called, was 
Pitezel.) She said that Holmes left the house on 


the morning of September 2d at ten or ten-thirty 
o'clock, and returned about four o'clock. He 
then said he. had seen the Pennsylvania Railroad 
man but had not completed the business matter 
with him and might return, and that he would 
like to leave for the West that evening. He told 
her to tell Dr. Alcorn, that they were going to 
Harrisburg, Pa., and not to let her know that 
their destination was Indianapolis. This was the 
time he said he went to No. 1316 Callowhill 
Street and found Pitezel dead in the third story 
of the house, discovering that he had committed 

His presence at the house at the time of death, 
his concealment of the death both from the au- 
thorities and from Mrs. Pitezel, the proof that the 
man had not died from chloroform self-adminis- 
tered, his robbery of Mrs. Pitezel and the insur- 
ance swindle, mingled with his audacious fabrica- 
tions, made up one of the strongest cases of cir- 
cumstantial evidence ever presented in a criminal 
court, and when the jury returned a verdict of 
murder in the first degree, in the language of Mr. 
Samuels, Justice cried " Amen " to the verdict, 
and the people and press poured in their congrat- 
ulations upon the District Attorney and his As- 


sistant and the able and faithful detective, Mr. 
Geyer, whose noble work, revealed the bloody 
tracks of a human monster, whose like we hope 
never to see again. 



The Motive For the Murders— Pi tezel Knew too Much — The 
Entire Family in the Way of The Arch Plotter— The In- 
surance Fraud the Means to the End — Separating the 
Family — A Grave Dug for Alice and Nellie — Chloroform 
Found in the Burlington House — Mrs. Pitezel's Suspicious 
Aroused — The "Eye That Never Sleeps" — Holmes' 
Arrest Prevents Three More Murders. 

What was the motive for these murders? 
Why did he kill Benjamin F. Pitezel? And after 
committing that foul deed, why was it necessary 
to remove Pitezel's family? That he fully in- 
tended to murder Mrs. Pitezel and Dessie and 
the baby, Wharton, is too evident for contradic- 
tion. Apart from his suspicious behavior at Bur- 
lington, recited by Mrs. Pitezel in her testimony 
at the trial, the commonwealth had further evi- 
dence on this point which it was not permitted to 

The cellar of the Burlington house was never 

searched until the week of the murder trial in 

Philadelphia, when a thorough investigation of 



the premises was made by request of District At- 
torney Graham. Jerome Dumas, the Burlington 
cliief of police ordered every part of the cellar to 
be carefully examined, with the result of finding 
in a little recess back of a joist in the cellar 
and under the first floor, a bottle containing eight 
or ten ounces of chloroform. As every step of 
Mephistopheles is marked by a track of fire, so do 
the devious paths of Herman Webster Mudgett, 
alias Holmes, bear tlie scent of the deadly chloro- 
form. Holmes found that it was a more difficult 
task to dispose of Mrs. Pitezel and her eighteen 
months' old baby and her daughter Dessie, a vigor- 
ous girl of sixteen years, than it had been to de- 
stroy the younger children, so he deferred that 
part of his scheme until it was too late, and hence 
the discovery of the bottle of chloroform just 
where he had placed it. He was arrested before 
he was able to return to Burlington, Vermont, 
after his visit to Gilmanton, New Hampshire. In 
fact he knew he was being shadowed by detect- 
ives while he was visiting Gilmanton, and jour- 
neyed to Boston, where he believed his chances 
for escape were greater. 

But we have asked what was the motive for 
these murders? The reader will remember a 


statement Holmes makes in liis letter to Mrs. 
Pitezel just before she was released from the 
Philadelphia county prison. He said " VVe never 
quarreled," alluding to the relations which 
existed between Pitezel and himself. This was a 
base falsehood ; — they had quarrelled. They had 
a dispute in Chicago in June or July of 1894. 
The subject of the dispute was the interest wliich 
Pitezel claimed to own in the Castle property in 
Chicago, and the Williams real estate in Fort 
Worth, Texas. He told Holmes that he was tired 
of scheming and wanted to return to his home, 
(which was in St. Louis) and lead a quiet and 
peaceful life with his family. He declared that he 
was part owner of the Chicago real estate, and 
that the title to the Fort Worth property was in 
his alias, Benton T. Lyman, and he wanted to be 
paid the value of his interest and play quits. 

Pitezel drank heavily and while under the in- 
fluence of liquor, talked a good deal. It is im- 
possible to say just how much of the past life of 
Holmes, Pitezel knew ; what secrets of the Castle 
he carried in his breast and whether if he opened 
his lips he could have sent Holmes to prison or 
the scaffold. He certainly knew enough to make 
him in his cups a dangerous associate. 


Holmes quieted Pitezel, by suggesting that they 
should work out one more scheme together and 
that should end their relations. That scheme was 
to cheat and defraud the Fidelity Mutual Life As- 
sociation of Philadelphia, in the perpetration of 
which, Holmes saw the opportunity to rid him- 
self of every person, Pitezel, his wife and his 
cliihlren, who could lay claim to a dollar of the 
value of the real estate. Incidentally he proposed 
to reap every dollar of benefit from the insurance 

Proceeding to carry out his scheme, he directed 
Pitezel to lease a house in Philadelphia, to which 
he Si! id he would bring the body which was to be 
substituted for Pitezel's. Pitezel advertised him- 
self as a dealer in patents, but Holmes showed him 
a splendid recipe for a solution for cleaning 
clothes, containing chloroform., benzine, and am- 
monia and which they should manufacture and 
sell. Thus chloroform was introduced into the 
house in an unspicious manner. While poor 
Pitezel was waiting for the cadaver which Holmes 
assured him he was arranging to obtain. Holmes 
murdered him. He went to St. Louis and saw 
Mrs. Pitezel. He did not dare to tell her that her 
husband was dead. No tale of suicide would have 


been accepted by Mrs. Pitezel, who had been re- 
ceiving cheerful letters from her husband., and mure- 
over he wanted to dispose of her eventually and 
the opportunity to do that would present itself, 
when he led her from city to city to meet her 
husband. He told her that Ben was alive, and 
suggested that some member of the family should 
return with him to Philadelphia to identify the 
body. This was the first move he made in sepa- 
rating the family. Alice Pitezel went to Philadel- 
phia and after identifying the body as that of her 
father, he took her to Indianapolis where he left 
her in the Hotel English. Holmes went back to 
St. Louis again. By this time the insurance 
money was paid. He then robbed the poor woman 
of most of the $7,200 she had received from her 
attorney Howe, and holding up to her the horror 
of discovery of her husband by detectives, said the 
family should separate. " The Insurance Company 
knows that you have five children, and you must 
separate," said Holmes. Nellie and Howard were 
then handed over to his tender care and they went 
with him to Cincinnati, "where Alice was under 
the care of such a good woman, and where they 
could go to school until all the clouds had rolled 



He moved the tliree children October 1st, 1894, 
to Indianapolis and on the 10th of that month 
killed Huward in the house at Irvington. Thus 
two of his victims had been disposed of, the father 
and the son. 

He now moved Alice and Nellie to Detroit and 
hired the Forest Avenue house where he intended 
to kill them and bury them in the hole he had 
dug. To Detroit he also invited Mrs. Pitezel and 
Dessie and the baby, " where Ben was Avaiting to 
see her." 

Some hitch occurred in Detroit, and he moved 
his three parties to Toronto, where on October 
25th, two other members of this obnoxious family 
were disposed of. He wasgetting along very well. 
He had killed four people in three different places, 
and without arousing the interest or any inquiry 
from anyone. The promise to see Benin Toronto 
was not fulfilled. Ben was in Montreal, so he re- 
moved the remainder of his company to Burling- 
ton, Vermont, where he thought he would be able 
to clean up the job, by removing Mrs. Pitezel and 
her youngest and eldest child. 

He found the task a hard one. Mrs. Pitezel's 
suspicions w^hich had been dormant so long, were 
now aroused and she was on the alert. To give 


himself an opportunity to think over the matter 
more carefully, he concluded to visit his old home 
in Gilmauton, New Hampshire, where for the first 
time tlie " eye that never sleeps " rested upon liim. 
No one more quickly discovered tliis than Holmes 
himself, and he went hurriedly to Boston, but only 
to walk into tlie cell of tlie felon. His scheme 
had failed after all. He was quite content to 
stand the punishment of imprisonment for the in- 
surance fraud, but he was awfully afraid of the 
gallows. He used all tlie cunning for which he 
lias become famous, in avoiding an issue which 
might end in death to him. He who had dealt de- 
struction to others, was afraid of it himself, and so 
followed his confessions and statements and 
counter statements as he squirmed and struggled 
in the net. 

The destruction of Pitezel and his. family with- 
out detection, would have left Holmes the sole 
and undisputed owner of the real estate, they 
jointly held, as well as of the money received 
from the Insurance Company. 



Holmes' Desperate Fight to Exclude Miss Yoke's Testimony — 
Declared Her to Be His Lawful Wife — His Unexampled 
Duplicity With Women — Mrs. Herman Webster Mudgett 
— Mrs. Harry Howard Holmes — Mrs. Henry Mansfield 
Howard — He Lies About His Parents When the Truth 
Would Have Done as Well— He Tells to His Sister Ihe 
Greatest Lies He Ever Told. 

There is just one clean, bright spot in the 
career of Mudgett, alias Holmes, alias Howard, 
alias etc., etc., for which he should have some 
credit, and that is, the care he exercised in keep- 
ing from the women whom he had deceived, his 
various schemes and crimes, and especially is this 
true of Miss Yoke. He told her that his name 
was Holmes, but that his uncle, Henry Mansfield 
Howard, of Denver, Colorado, had devised prop- 
erty to him, provided he would assume his name 
and thus he married Miss Yoke in Denver under 
the name of Howard. 

From the time of their meeting, during their 
engagement, and after the marriage ceremony 
that followed, Miss Yoke was taught to believe 



that her supposed husband was engaged prin- 
cipally iu the business of selling or leasing a new 
and improved patent copier, and had acquired 
considerable property by devise from his Denver 
uncle. Their journey to Texas was made for the 
alleged purpose of taking possession of a ranch, 
which his uncle had willed to him. Upon arriving 
at Fort Worth, he told her, that squatters were 
in possession of the ranch and as squatters' rights 
received more seiious recognition in the South 
than in the North, and as he was afraid he might 
be in personal danger if he announced himself or 
ajipeared as the owner of the ranch, Henry ]\Ians- 
field Howard, they had better, for the time being, 
take the name of Pratt. Thus he appeared in 
Fort Worth with Pitezel as D. T. Pratt, and 
Pitezel, who was also there at the time, took the 
name of Benton T. Lyman. 

Miss Yoke never knew that Lyman was Pitezel, 
until Holmes was arrested in Boston. Although 
she had accompanied Holmes on the tour from 
Detroit to Burlington, she never knew that Mrs. 
Pitezel and her children were travelling from city 
to city, under the care of her supposed husband ; 
nor had she the slightest knowledge of the scheme 
to defraud the insurance company, or of the ficti- 


tious names lie was giving, or of the hideous crimes 
Holmes had committed on the way. Nor did Mrs. 
Pitezel know that Holmes was travelling with 
Miss Yoke, nor had she ever heard of her and 
never knew of her until the arrest in Boston. 
Upon the trial, Judge Arnold in charging the 
jury said: "Truth is stranger than fiction, and if 
Mrs. Pitezel's story is true it is the most wonder- 
ful exhibition of the power of mind over mind I 
have ever seen and stranger than any novel I ever 

The claim made by Holmes at the trial, that 
Miss Yoke was his lawful wife, is entirely in keep- 
ing with his record for deceit and audacity. He 
was married to Clara A. Lovering on July 4th, 
1878, and this woman is now living in Tilton, 
New Hampshire. He was married to Myrta Z. 
Belknap on January 28th, 1887, under the name 
of Hariy Howard Holmes. 

On February 14th, 1887, a little over two u<eeks 
after his marriage to Miss Belknap, he filed in the 
Supreme Court of Cook County, Illinois, in the 
city of Chicago, a petition praying for a divorce 
from Clara A. 3Iuclgett nee Lovering on the ground 
of infidelity. On June 4th, 1891, this petition 
was dismissed for failure of prosecution and hence 


it clearly appears that his lawful wife is Mrs. 
Clara A. Mudgett, who now resides at Tiltoii, 
New Hampshire. 

On September 19th, 1893, he made application 
to the Fidelit}' Mutual Life Association for a 
ilO,000 policy of insurance and named therein 
in his own handwriting as beneficiary, "My wife, 
Myrta Z. Holmes." At this very time, Septembei", 
1893, he was engaged to be married to Miss Yoke 
and in fact married lier in Denver in the following 
January, 1894. 

It need cause no surprise therefore, to learn 
that when Miss Yoke was called to the witness 
stand at the trial, she gave her maiden name. 
She had become familiar with the marriage record 
of her supposed husband, and was fully convinced 
that she was not his lawful wife and had been 
grossly and cruell}^ deceived. 

When arrested in Boston, Miss Yoke met the 
sister and brother of Holmes, and her eyes were 
opened and her real position made clear. Holmes 
had told her that he was the last of his race and 
that his parents and brothers and sisters had long 
since departed this life. This lie he had evidently 
told also to Miss Belknap, for in his application 
for insurance in September, 1893, he declared 


that his mother had died at the age of fifty-eight 
years of a disease he did not remember, and his 
father at the age of sixty-two from injur}- to his 

One may readily imagine Miss Yoke's amaze- 
ment when she learned of the existence of Mrs. 
Mudgett, at Tilton, New Hampshire, and of the 
further shock she experienced when she learned 
that upon leaving her at Burlington, New Hamp- 
shire, "to go on a business trip," he had revisited 
his real wife at Tilton, resumed his relations with 
her, took her to the house of his parents who were 
living and in good health at Gilmanton, and re- 
mained with her and them at the homestead for 
two or three days, and upon leaving promised his 
wife to return the following April, and never 
desert her again. 

This is the position in which Holmes found 
himself at the homestead : — a wdfe at Wilmette, 
Illinois, another waiting for his return at Bur- 
lington, New Hampshire, and his real wife, taking 
him back and receiving him with a loving and 
forgiving spirit,— notwithstanding his petition for 
divorce for alleged infidelity, a charge which was 
doubtless as false and as wicked as his own de- 
praved heart, 


His situation was one fraught with peril, so he 
concluded to open up a line of retreat. He told 
one or more members of his family, that he had 
had a remarkable experience. (His introduction 
to this story was certainly true.) He said he had 
been in a railroad collision in the West and had 
teen severely injured. When he awakened out 
of the unconscious condition caused by the injury, 
he found he was in a hospital. He further dis- 
covered to his amazement that all memory of his 
former self had been blotted out. Who he was, 
his name, his occupation, his home, his parents, 
his friends, — the memory of all had fled. On tha 
night of the accident a curtain had dropped be- 
tween him and his past, and all idea or knowledge 
of his former self had been swept into oblivion. 
To the hospital in which he was treated, came a 
beautiful woman, who brought flowers to the sick 
and read to them from good books, and with her 
gentle voice sought to bring cheer into the dull 
hospital wards. This sweet woman brought 
flowers and read to him, and finallj' fell in love 
with him and he with her. Upon his convales- 
cence they were married. This good woman was 
very rich and was deejily touched when she ob- 
served the suffering he constantly endured, as he 


in vain endeavored to regain the threads of 
memory of his past. Finally, through her in- 
fluence and wealth, she secured the assistance of 
a great surgeon who performed a wonderful oper- 
ation upon his head. When he came out of ether, 
to his amazement his memory had like a flood 
come back upon him and to his unspeakable 
horror he realized what a wrong he had committed 
in marrying the sweet woman who had adminis- 
tered to him as lie lay helpless and sick in the 
hospital. Pie remembered then that he was a 
married man and that his real wife, Carrie 
Mudgett, was living. 

He further said to his family that he had not 
told this lovely woman that she was not his wife, 
and betrayed to them the deep grief and distress 
from which he was suffering in the unusual situa- 
tion in which he found himself and for which he 
was really not responsible. 

This alleged patroness of the hospital and reader 
to the sick was Miss Yoke, for this he told his 

It is scarcely necessary to say that there was 
not a word of truth in this story, from beginning 
to end. Miss Yoke was not the patroness of a 
hospital, nor had she visited or read to the sick, 


nor had she met him in such an institution, nor 
was she wealthy. 

What a wonderful meeting it would be, between 
these three women, — Mrs. Mudgett, Mrs. Holmes, 
and Mrs. Howard. If each would tell the other 
the tales he had told, what an *' infinite and end- 
less liar " they would prove him to be. 



Geyer Receives a Cipher Letter, with the Key Attached — Was 
It an Efifort to Divert the Detective from His Pursuit? — 
Letters from the Insane — Holmes Taught Ciphers to His 

Holmes was never so much in need of his 
friends as he was in the summer of 1895. The 
hunt for the missing children, was known to the 
uttermost ends of the country, and if the District 
Attorney's office received suggestions of all sorts 
and kinds, anonymous and otherwise, so did Mr. 
Holmes. That he had sympathizing friends out- 
side, friends who would have been helpful to him 
had opportunity offered, cannot be questioned. 

These friends were aware that all mail sent to 
Holmes to the Philadelphia County prison was 
inspected before delivery to the prisoner, and 
some of it for proper public reasons, never reached 
the prisoner. One of these friends undertook by 
a device to divert Detective Geyer from the pur- 
suit of the track of Holmes, just as he was leav- 
ing Indianapolis after his second visit. The de- 



tective received at the Spencer House an anony- 
mous letter in cipher, ivith the key attached, advis- 
ing him that an important letter had been sent to 
Holmes to Philadelphia ; that the writer was ad- 
vising the detective at great personal risk and 
that the letter should be opened and inspected 
before delivery to the prisoner. The letter came 
in due course and a copy of it is given elsewhere. 

This letter tells Holmes not " to worry about 
the boy ; he is safe and sound," and at first it gave 
the impression, that Holmes had in some way con- 
veyed to an outside party the place where the re- 
mains of the boy had been buried, and that the 
boy's remains had been removed from the place of 

After careful deliberation, the District Attor- 
ney's office concluded that it was a trick or device 
for a purpose not very clear and it was totally dis- 
regarded, and the search subsequently continued 
with the result already narrated. This is one of 
the many letters, some in cipher which were re- 
ceived and are now among the great mass of 
manuscript which have accumulated in the case. 
Newspapers evidently make their way into lunatic 
asylums, for letters from the insane came in by 
the score. The name of Holmes also seemed to 


become as common as Brown or Smith, for many 
letters referring to this person and that person by 
the name of Holmes and requesting infoimation 
as to comparisons of points of identity with the 
prisoner were received. 

One of the letters received in cipher is given 
below. This letter is very easily read by drop- 
ping every other sentence, separated by commas. 

'Aug. 2d, 1895. 
Friend H. H. H :— 

I, and Jim, will not, saw and, 
split, the wood. They, can't and, don't, want to, 
know, whether there is, anything, around or, 
about, the, conservatory or, green house, I, think, 
will leave, the dog, for, Mrs. John, Cleveland, at 
Bleak House, to-morrow. Will, join him under, 
cover, and fix, all, circus board, signs, there. 
Same, time I will, sigh for, Ponto's fate and yours 
in his misfortune. 
R. I. T. U. A. L. Friend, 

L. S. Page. 

" Friend H. H. H :— 

I will not split. They don't 
know anything about conservatory. I will leave 
for Cleveland to-morrow. Will cover all signs. 
Same cipher." 


This letter was apparently written by some one 
familiar with the famous Chicago " Castle," and 
referred to a place, a " conservatory " not known 
to the police. As it had no relevancy to the 
Philadelphia case, it created little or no comment 
and is given simply to illustrate how the habit of 
writing ciphers into which this great criminal had 
drifted, had been taught to his friends and was 
made a method of communication between them. 



Witnesses liom Six States and the Domiuion of Canada — 
Thirty-five Witnesses Positively Identify Holmes — Holmes 
Grows a Beard — "The Individual in the Cage " — The Dis- 
trict Attorney Thanks Officials and Witnesses — Devoted 
Services of the Officers of the Insurance Company. 

Thirty-five witnesses, who were not citizens 
of the state of Pennsylvania and who were not 
subject to the subpoena or process of the Phila- 
delphia court, responded to the request of the Dis- 
trict Attorney to appear at the trial. These wit- 
nesses were from Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Irving- 
ton, Detroit, Toronto, Burlington (Vermont), 
Boston and Fort Worth, Texas. 

At the proper time after Mrs. Pitezel had told 
her sad story, District Attorney Graham offered 
to prove that Holmes had murdered Howard Pite- 
zel at Irvington, Indiana, and Alice and Nellie 
Pitezel at Toronto, Canada. This offer was made 
to show what the prisoner had done during his 
flight from Philadelphia around the circuit of the 
cities he made until he reached Boston, where he 



was arrested. Tliat the murder of Pitezel and 
the murder of the children were really paits of 
one transaction, with one design, to wit, the ex- 
termination of the Pitezel family, and the evidence 
was admissible in proving the motive and purpose 
of the prisoner. The Trial Judge sustained the 
objection of the defence to this offer and the case 
went to the jury on the testimony produced by 
the commonwealth, which related simply and 
solely to the murder of Pitezel at No. 1316 Cal- 
lowhill Street. 

The witnesses, produced with so much labor 
and expense, were, in consequence of this decision 
of the Court, not called, and what they would 
have said on the witness stand was not given to 
the public. 

It will be, therefore, of much interest to note 
that they each and all identified the prisoner. 
Holmes had permitted his beard to grow during 
his confinement, but his active participation in the 
examination of jurors and witnesses as the trial 
proceeded, together with large and finely executed 
pliotograplis of the prisoner as he appeared with- 
out a beard at the time of his arrest, enabled every 
witness to identify him at once and beyond a 
question or shadow of doubt. He was identified 


by W. L. Bain, clerk of the Hotel Bristol, Cincin- 
nati, as the man who brought the three Pitezel 
children to that hotel on Saturday, September 
29th, and registered as " A. E. Cook and three 
children " ; by J. C. Thomas as the person who 
rented No. 305 Poplar Street, Cincinnati, under 
the name of " A. C. Hayes " ; by Miss Etta Hill 
as the person whom she saw take a large stove 
into the Poplar Street house and who the follow- 
ing day came to her, said he had concluded not to 
keep the house, presented her with the stove and 

Of the Indianapolis witnesses, Wm. Sherman 
Welch, of the Stubbins House, said Holmes whom 
iie saw in court, was the man who brought Alice 
Pitezel to that hotel on September 24th, registered 
her as " Etta Pitsel," and took her away four days 
later. He was also identified by Herman Acke- 
low, proprietor of the Circle House, as the person 
who brought the three children, Alice, Nellie and 
Howard, to his hotel on October 1st and took 
them away on the 10th ; also by J. C. Wands as 
the man who rented the Irvington house " for his 
sister, Mrs. A. E. Cook;" by Dr. J. L. Thomp- 
son, who saw him at the house at Irvington, after 
he had taken possession, and by Elvet Moorman 


who assisted hira in putting up the stove, while 
Howard Pitezel, the little hoy, stood hy looking on. 

The Detroit witnesses were equally positive as 
to the identification. 

Peter Cotter, of the New Western Hotel, iden- 
tified the prisoner as the man who brought Alice 
and Nellie to his hotel and registered them as 
"Etta and Nellie Canning." Mrs. Lucinda Burns 
was positive he was the man who brought Alice 
and Nellie to her boarding house. No. 91 Congress 
Street. It was from tliis house that Alice wrote 
her last letter, in which she complained of " al- 
most freezing in that thin jacket," and said, 
" Howard is not with us now." No one can read 
that letter without the conviction that Holmes 
had cautioned the children about speaking of 
when and where Howard had left them. It is in- 
conceivable that Alice would have written a let- 
ter to the home folks, simply saying that Howard 
was no longer wath them, and no more, unless she 
had been following the instructions of the arch- 
fiend who was waiting for his opportunity to put 
them to death, and who had already made an end 
of the boy. 

George Dennis, runner for the Albion Hotel, 
Toronto, said Holmes was the man who placed 


Alice and Nellie in his care on the evening of 
October 19th, and instructed him to take them to 
his hotel. Herbert Jones, clerk of the Albion, 
identified Holmes as the man wiio called for the 
little girls every morning, returning them ev^ny 
evening, until the morning of October 25th, when 
he paid their board in full, and took them away. 
They never returned. 

Mrs. Nudel and her daughter, Miss Minnie, 
said Holmes was the man who rented the house 
No. 16 St. Vincent Street, for "his widowed sis- 

Thomas W. Ryves of No. 18 St. Vincent 
Street, identified the prisoner as the man who on 
October 24th, borrowed his spade, " to dig a pit 
for potatoes," in the cellar of No. 16 St. Vincent 
Street, and who returned it the next day, the 
25th. He told Mr. Ryves that his widowed sister 
and her children were to occupy the house. 

W. B. McKillip, said Holmes was the man who 
rented the house in Burlington, Vermont, gave 
his name as Judson and said he wanted the house 
" for his widowed sister, Mrs. A. E. Cook." 

Sydney L. Samuels Esq., a lawyer of Fort 
Worth, Texas, at the request of District Attorney 
Graham, journeyed all the way from his home to 


the city of Philiideli)hui, to testify :is to his 
knowledge of the fraiululeut and bogus note wliieli 
Holmes used in robbing Mrs. Pitezel. Mr. 
Samuels came North on this long and tiresome 
journey, to assist the law officers of the Common- 
wealth in administering public justice, and. re- 
fused the compensation which he could have 
properly claimed for such a protracted absence 
from his professional duties and business at home. 
His identification of the prisoner. Holmes, as 
"the individual in tlie cage," (meaning the 
prisoner's dock) will never be forgotten by those 
who witnessed it. The tone of contempt with 
which Mr. Samuels used the expression, drew the 
hot blood to the prisoner's cheek, and he threw a 
quick glance at the lawyer-witness, full of 
malevolence and which boded ill for him, had the 
prisoner been free, and a bottle of chloroform 

The reader will not fail to observe how plainly 
marked was the track of the prisoner, once it was 
discovered. He used the same names repeatedly 
and rented a house in each of the cities, Cincin- 
nati, Indianapolis, Detroit, Toronto and Burling- 
ton, and told practically the same falsehood in 
each instance. 


The detection of tliis great eriniiiial and tlie 
preparations for tlie trial, was a work of great 
labor, but the burden was made easier by officials 
and citizens in all the cities and towns where 
Holmes and his victims had been traced. 

After the trial had ended, District Attorney 
Graham sent to each of the police officials of Cin- 
cinnati, Indianapolis, Detroit, Toronto, Burling- 
ton and Boston, and to all the witnesses who had 
attended the trial from distant parts, the follow- 
ing official communication : 

Nov. 6th, 1895. 
I desire to express to you my warm 
appreciation of the manner in which you so kindly 
aided the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in the 
recent trial of Hermann W. Mudgett, alias H. 
H. Holmes charged with Homicide. 

Your loyalty and fidelity, and your willingness 
to so cheerfully assist in dispensing justice, deserve 
my highest commendation. 

The result of the trial will be of benefit, not 
only to Pennsylvania, but to all communities 
wherever justice is vigorously and impartially 
administered through the orderly procedure and 
under the forms and protection of Law. 
Sincerely Yours, 

George S. Graham. 


In this connection and as a conclusion to this 
story of unparalleled crime, it is proper to speak 
of the unselfish and devoted services of the of- 
ficers of the Fidelity Mutual Life Association. 
Mr. L. G. Fouse, the distinguished President of 
the Company and his associates furnished the of- 
ficials of the county, charged with the prosecu- 
tion, with every possible aid and assistance, 
measured neither by what it cost in money nor in 
effort, and prompted by the highest considerations 
of humanity and the demands of public justice. 



1800. Herman Webster jNIudgett born at 
ifinu teth. Gilmanton, New Hampshire. 

1S7S. He is married to Clara A. Loveriiig 
July -ith. at Alton, New Hampsliire, by John 
W. Canrrier, Justice of the Peace. 
1SS7. He is married to Myrta Z. Belknap 
Jan. 2sth. under the name of Harry Howard 
tsst. He files in the Superior Court of 
Feh. 14th. Cook county, Illinois, a libel in di- 
vorce against his wife, Clara A. Lev- 
ering Mudgett, praying that their 
marriage may be dissolved. 
isoi. The said court orders this suit to be 
j-ii«e 4th. dismissed for default of appearance 
of complainant. 
1S03. He meets Miss Georgiana Yoke in 
March Chicago. 

1S93. He makes application for a twenty 

Sept. Moth. year optional insurance for 110,000 

in the Fidelity Mutual Life Associa- 




Xoi'. Oth. 

Snuie Slottth. 


Jan. iifh. 





tiou in wliich lie avers: ^'^ Mother died 
at oS, doiit remember tlie disease, tio 
acute disease. Father died at 62 from 
ivjary to Ids foot.'" 

Fidelity Mutual Life Association in- 
sures Benjamin F. Pitezel in the sum 
of 'tl 0,000. 

Holmes is engaged to be married to 
Miss Yoke under the name of Henrj' 
Mansfield Howard. 
He is married to Miss Yoke in Den- 
ver, Colorado, by the Rev. Mr. Wil- 
cox, and the}' journey on their honey- 
moon to Fort Worth, Texas. 
Mudgett and Pitezel, (the former 
under the name of D. T. Pratt and 
the latter under the name of Benton 
T. Lyman) in Fort Worth, Texas, 
where they engage in building a 
store property on land formerly 
owned by Minnie Williams. 
Pitezel leaves Fort Worth and goes 
to Chicago. 

Mudgett and Miss Yoke leave Fort 
Worth and journey to Denver, Col- 



June Sfh. 
June lath. 

July tOth. 

July 3Stti. 
July 29th. 

July 3l8t. 

Tliej- make their appearance in St. 

About this date Holmes (Mudgett) 
and Pitezel go to Memphis, Tennes- 
see. In this vicinity they first con- 
sider the location of tlie place Avhere 
they propose to execute the insurance 

Holmes and wife return to St. Louis. 
Holmes purchases a drug store in St. 
Louis, Missouri, under the name of 
Howard, upon which he gave a mort- 

Holmes is arrested in St. Louis by 
the Merrill Drug Company and sent 
to prison under a charge of fraud and 
for selling mortgaged property. The 
man " Brown," to whom he sold it is 
supposed to have been Pitezel., Dur- 
ing his imprisonment in the St. Louis 
jail, he meets Marion C. Hedgepeth. 
He is released on bail. 
He is rearrested and again committed 
to prison. 

He is again released on bail furnished 
by Miss Yoke. 


Anattut 9. He is in New York and Philadel- 

3 atiii s. pliia. 

Aua. 4th. Miss Yoke (Mrs. Howard) leaves 
Lake Bluff, Illinois, where she was 
visiting, and journeys to Philadel- 
1S04. Sunday. Holmes meets Miss Yoke 

Aug. 3th. at Broad Street Station, Philadelphia, 
and takes her to a boarding honse, 
No. 1905 N. 11th Street (Mrs. Dr. 
Alcorn's.) He tells Miss Yoke he is 
selling a patent letter copier. 

Aug. 9th. Holmes telegraphs $157.50, (the half 
yearly premium on the Pitezel policy), 
to the Chicago office of the Fidelity 
Mutual Life Association. 

Aug. 17th. Pitezel, under the name of B. F. 
Perry, rents No. 1316 Callowhill 
Street and pays |10 on account of 
the rent to Walter W. Shedaker, 

Aug. mn. Holmes and Pitezel purchase second 
hand furniture of John F. Hughes, 
No. 1037 Buttonwood Street, which 
was sent to No. 1316 Callowhill 


Aug. tsth. 

Aug. ana. 

Aug. 22a 
to Sept, 1st. 

Sept. 1st. 

Sept. Xd. 

Pitezel calls at the furinciire store 
alone and purchases a cot and some 
old matting. 

Eugene Smith calls upon Pitezel and 
sees Holmes pass into the house and 
go upstairs. 

Pitezel is seen in and about No. 1316 
Callowhill Street by a large number 
of persons. 

Evening. Pitezel calls upon Holmes 
at No. 1905 North Eleventh Street. 
Holmes leaves No. 1905 N. 11th 
Street at about 10.80 A. M. He re- 
turns about 4 P. M. He tells his 
wife (Miss Yoke) that the man who 
called the evening before, was a mes- 
senger from the Pennsylvania Rail- 
road Company and that he could 
have an interview with a Pennsyl- 
vania Railroad official the next day 
at Nicetown. This Sunday morning 
he said he was going out to Nice- 
town to see the official and that if 
he was successful, and as their week 
was up, they would probably start 
West that night. 












Evening. Holmes and Miss Yoke 
leave Philadelphia on the 10.25 train 
and went direct to Indianapolis. 
They arrive in Indianapolis and reg- 
ister at the Stubbins House. 
They take boarding at No. 488 North 
Illinois Street, Indianapolis. 
Pitezel's body found at No. 1316 
Callowhill Street by Eugene Smith. 
Coroner holds first inquest. 
Holmes goes to St. Louis, calls upon 
Mrs. Pitezel and tells her to go to 
Howe with the papers, meaning in- 
surance policy, etc. She takes papers 
to Howe. Holmes told her that a 
body had been substituted for her 
husband and that " Ben was alive 
and all right," and not to worry. 
Fidelity Mutual receives a telegraphic 
dispatch from George B. Stadden, 
Manager for Missouri, at St. Louis, 
stating that " B. F. Perry, found 
dead in Philadelphia, is claimed to be 
B. F. Pitezel, who is insured on 
044145. Investigate before remains 
leave there." 



About this time Howe writes to the 
company in Philadelphia, stating that 
he was counsel for Mrs. Pitezel, the 
beneficiary under the policy and 
would come on with a member of the 
family to identify the body, etc. 
Sept. 13th. Pitezel's body buried as B. F. Perry 

in Potters Field, Philadelphia. 
Sept. oth Holmes was with Miss Yoke at her 
to Sept. 10th. mother's home in Franklin, Indiana, 
leaving her he said to go to St. Louis 
again or to Cincinnati, and then to 
Indianapolis. At this time Holmes 
was occasionally with his other wife 
at Wilmette, Illinois. He was likely 
with her on September 11th. At 
Indianapolis he tells Miss Yoke that 
he had heard from the Pennsylvania 
Railroad ofBcial in Philadelphia about 
the copier and they were ready to 
pay over the money, and they had 
directed him to come on at once. He 
left her at the Circle Park Hotel, In- 
dianapolis, and went to Philadelphia. 
Sept. inh. He writes a letter to Mr. Cass, Chi- 
cago Cashier of the Fidelity, stating 


that his wife (Wilmette wife) had 
told him that information was wanted 
of B. F. Pitezel, who was found in 
Chicago as B. F. Perry. 
Sept. istit. He writes another letter to Cass, say- 
ijig that he overhears the body was iu 
Philadelphia and not in Chicago, and 
that he would go to Philadelphia if 
his expenses were paid. 

See these letters. Pages 26 and 29. 

Sept. ioth. Holmes leaves Indianapolis for Phila- 
delphia. He again stops at No. 1905 
North 11th Street ; Mrs. Alcorn's. 

Sept. zoth. He calls at the office of the company 
in Philadelphia, No. 914, Walnut 
Street. He tells Mr. Fouse, Presi- 
dent of the Company that he had 
corresponded with Cass. He asks 
Fouse about the circumstances of the 
death, which Fouse relates briefly. 
Holmes said it was a very peculiar 
case, and asked INIr. Fouse the cause 
of death, etc. 

Bept. 20th. Alice writes her first letter to the 
home folks. 


Philadelphia, Pa., 

Cor. Filbert & llth sts., Sept. 20, 1894. 
Dear Mamma and the rest : 

Just arrived in Phila- 
delphia this morning and 1 wrote you yesterday 
of this. Mr. Howe and I have each a room at the 
above address. I am going to the Morgue after 
awhile. We stopped off at Washington, Md., 
this morning, and that made it six times that we 
transferred to different cars. Yesterday we got 
on the C. and O. Pullman car and it was crowded 
so I had to sit with some one Mr. Howe sit with 
some man we sit there quite awhile and pretty 
soon some one came and shook hands with me. I 
looked up and here it was Mr. Howard. He did 
not know my jacket, but he said he thouglit it 
was his girl's face so he went to see and it was me. 
I don't like him to call me babe and child and 
dear and all such trash. When I got on the car 
Tuesday night Mr. Howe ask me if I had any 
money and I told him 5 cents so he gave me a 
dollar How I wish I could see j^ou all and hug 
the baby. I hope you are better. Mr. H. says 
that I will have a ride on the ocean. I wish you 
could see what I have seen. I have seen more 
scenery than I have seen since I was born I 
don't know what I saw before. This is all the 
paper I have so I will have to close & write 
again. You had better not write to me here 
for Mr. H. says that I may be off to-morrow. 


If you are worse wire me good-bye kisses to 
all and two big ones for you and babe. Love 
to all. 

E. Alice Pitezel. 

Sept. atat. Howe and Alice Pitezel called at In- 
surance Office. Holmes calls same 
time. Tliey meet as strangers, al- 
though they had travelled together 
from some point in Ohio to Washing- 
ton, D. C. Howe and Alice got off at 
Washington and Holmes took train 
for Philadelphia. Howe and Alice 
came to Philadelphia on later train. 
That day Holmes took Alice out to 
see the sights of the city and then 
to Mrs. Alcorn's that night, stating 
that she (Alice) was his little sister. 
Alice slept in the 3d story next to 
Holmes' room which communicated 
with it. Alice had stopped with 
Howe at the Imperial Hotel, 11th 
and Filbert Streets, from which place 
she wrote two letters. Following are 
copies : 


Imperial Hotel, 

Eleventh, above Market Street, 

Hendricks & Scott, Propr's., 

Philadelphia, Pa., Sept. 21, 1894. 
Dear Mamma and Babe : 

I have to write all the 
time to pass away the time. 

Mr. Howe has been away all morning. Mamma 
have you ever seen or tasted a red banana? I 
have had three. They are so big that I can just 
reach around it and have my thumb and next 
finger just tutch. I have not got any shoes yet 
and I have to go a hobbling around all the time. 
Have you gotten 4 letters from me besides this? 
Are you sick in bed yet or are you up ? I wish 
that I could hear from you but I don't know 
whether I would get it or not. Mr. Howe tele- 
graphed to Mr. Beckert and he said that he would 
write to you toniglit. I have not got but two 
clean garments and that is a shirt and my white 
skirt. I saw some of the largest solid rocks that 
I bet you never saw. I crossed the Patomac 
Itiver. I guess that I have told all the news; So 
good bye Kisses to you and babe. 

Yours loving daughter, 

Miss E. A. Pitezel. 
If you are worse telegraph to the above address. 
Imperial Hotel, 
Eleventh above Market Street. 


.'.mperial Hotel, 

Eleventh above Market Street, 

Hendricks & Scott, Propr's., 

Philadelahia, 189-. 

Dear Dessa : 

I thought T would write you a little 
letter and when I get to Mass. you must all 
write to me. Well this is a warm day here how 
is it there. Did you get your big washing done 
if I was there you would have a bigger one for I 
have a whole satchel full of dirty clothes. I bet 
that I have more fruit than all of you. Dessa I 
guess you are without shoes for I guess they don't 
intend to get me any. H. has come now so I 
guess I have to go to dinner. 

Dessa take good care of mama. I will close 
your letter and write a little to Nell and Howard 
next time so good bye love to you with a kiss. 

Dear Mama : 

I was over to the insurance office 
this afternoon and Mr. Howe thinks there will be 
no trouble about getting it. They asked me 
almost a thousand questions, of course not (;[uite 
so many. Is his nose broken or has he a Roman 
nose. I said it was broken. I will have to close 
and write more tomorrow so good bye love to all 
with kisses to all. Your loving daughter, 

E. Alice Pitezel. 


Sept. 21st. At the conference at the company's 
office on tliis day, the marks of iden- 
tification were agreed upon. 
Sept. S2d. Pitezel's body exhumed at Potters 
Field. Holmes finds wart on neck 
and other marks of identification, and 
says the body is that of B. F. Pitezel. 
Alice recognizes teeth of her father. 
He takes Alice to No. 1904 North 
11th Street. 

Sept. 23€i. Holmes and Alice make affidavits be- 
fore Coroner Ashbridge that the body 
found as B. F. Perry at No. 1316 
Callowhill Street was that of Benja- 
min F. Pitezel. That evening Holmes 
and Alice leave for Indianapolis. 

Sept. 24th. They arrive in Indianapolis. He 
registers Alice as Utta Pitsel in his 

Sept. 24th. Insurance Company pays Howe <f9- 
715.85, face of insurance policy, less 

Sept. 24ih. Alice writes another letter home. 
The person alluded to in these letters 
as 4, 18, 8, is the children's cipher 
for Holmes. 

358 crrRoxoLonv. 

Stubbins' Euro[)ean Hotel, 
One square north of Union Depot on Illinois 

Indiana POL rs, Ind., 

Sep. 24, 1894. 
Dear Ones at Home, 

I am glad to hear that yon 
are all well and that you are up. I guess you 
will not have any trouble in getting the money. 
4, 18, 8 is going to get two of you and fetch you 
here with me and then I won't be so lonesome 
at the above address. I am not going to Miss 
Williams until I see wliere 3'ou are going to live 
and then see you all again because 4, 18, 8 is 
afraid that I will get two lonesome then he will 
send me on and go to school. I have a pair of 
shoes now if I could see you I would have a nough 
to talk to you all day but I cannot very well write 
it 1 will see you all before long though don't you 
worr}'. This is a cool day. jNIr. Perry said that 
if you did not get the insurance all right through 
the lawyers to rite to Mr. F'oust or Mr. Perry. I 
wish I had a silk dress. I have seen more since I 
liave been away than I ever saw before in my 
life. I have another picture for your album. I 
will have to close for this time now so good bye 
love and kisses and squesses to all. 
Yours daughter, 

Etta Pitezel. 

P. O. I go by Etta here 4, 18, 8 told me to O 



Howard O Dessa, O Nell O Mamma, O Baby. 
Nell you & Howard will come with 4, 18, 8, &' 
Mamma and Dessa later on won't you or as 
Mamma says. 

Etta Pitezel. 

Sept. atth. 

Sept. ftSth. 

Holmes goes to St. Louis and re- 
mained there until the 28th. 
Holmes gets $6,700 of the insurance 
money out of the S7,200 received by 
Mrs. Pitezel from Howe. He gives 
her the bogus note. 
Holmes takes Nellie and Howard 
from Mrs. Pitezel at St. Louis. Alice 
joins them at Lidianapolis and she 
goes with Holmes, Nellie and Howard 
to Cincinnati, where Holmes registers 
at the Atlantic House under the 
name of Alexander E. Cook and 
three children. 

He rents No. 305 Poplar Street from 
Mr. J. C. Thomas and takes a large 
stove to this house. Over night of 28th 
he remains at Atlantic House and on 
the 29th he takes them to Hotel Bris- 
tol, registers there as A. E. Cook and 
three children, and remains there un- 


til Sunday, September 30th when he 
left with the children for Indianapolis 
and registers them at Hotel English 
as " Three Canning children." 
Oct. 1st. Mrs. Pitezel left St. Louis for Galva, 
Motuuiii. Illinois with Dessie and the baby. 
Galva was the home of her parents. 
Holmes takes the children to the Cir- 
cle House, Indianapolis (registers as 
"Three Canning children") where 
they remained until October 10th. 
oet. 1st. Alice and Nellie write letters as fol- 
lows : 

Indianapolis, Ind., 

Oct. 1st, 1894. 
Dear Mamma. 

We was in Cincinnati yesterday 
and we got here last night getting that telegram 
from Mr. Howe yesterday afternoon. 

Mr. H. is going to-night for you and he will 
take this letter. We went us three over to the 
Zoological Garden in Cincinnati yesterday after- 
noon and we saw all the different kinds of animals. 
We saw the ostrich it is about a head taller than 
I am so you know about how high it is. And the 
giraffe you have to look up in the sky to see it. 
I like it lots better here than in Cincinnati. It is 
such a dirty town Cin. 


There is a monument right in front of the hotel 
where we are at and I should judge that it is 
about 3 times the liight of a five story building. 
I guess I have told all the news so good bye love 
to all & kisses. Hope you are all well. 
Your loving daughter, 

Etta Pitezel. 

Indianapolis, Ind., 

Oct. 1st, 1894. 
Deae Mamma, Baby and D. 

We are all well here. 
Mr. H. is going on a late train to-night. He is 
not here now I just saw him go by the Hotel He 
went some place I don't know where I think he 
went to get his ticket. 

We are staying in another hotel in Indianapolis 
it is a pretty nice one we came here last night 
from C. 

I like it here lots better than in C. It is quite 
worm here and I haveto wear this warm dress 
becaus my close an't ironet. We ate dinner 
over to the Stibbins Hotel where Alice staid and 
they knew her to. We are not staying there we 
are at the English H. 

We have a room right in front of a monument 

and I think it was A. Lincolns. Come as soon as 

you can because I want to see you and baby to. 

It is awful nice place where we are staying I don't 




think you would like it in Cincinnati either but 
Mr. H. sais he likes it there. 

Good bye your dau. 

Nellie Pitezel. 

Oct. 5th. Holmes rents the house at Irvington 
from Mr. Grouse (J. C. Wand's 
clerk.) He said he wanted it for his 
sister, Mrs. A. E. Cook and her chil- 
dren, and that she intended using it 
as a boarding house. 
Oct. eth, 7th, Children write letters home. 

Oct. loth. Howard disappears on this day. 

Same day. Holmcs takes Alicc and Nellie from 
the Circle House. 

Oct. lath. Evening. Holmes arrives in Detroit. 
Himself and Miss Yoke in one party ; 
Alice and Nellie in another. He 
registers the children at the New 
Western Hotel as Etta and Nellie 
Canning, St. Louis, Mo. He regis- 
ters himself and Miss Yoke at the 
Hotel Normandie " G. Howell and 
wife, Adrian." 

Oct. lath. Mrs. Pitezel, Dessie and the baby 
leave Galva, Illinois for Detroit, stop- 


Oct. 15th. 

Oct. ISth. 

ping in Chicago. Holmes has writ- 
ten to her that " Ben " was waiting 
to see her in Detroit. 
Holmes and Miss Yoke remove from 
Hotel Normandie to No. 54 Park 
Place. He gave their names as Mr. 
and Mrs. Holmes. 

Mrs. Pitezel, Dessie and the baby ar- 
rive in Detroit, and register as C. A. 
Adams and daughter at Geis's 

Alice writes her last letter. 
Holmes takes Alice and Nellie to 
boarding house of Lucinda Burns at 
No. 91 Congress Street. 
About this date, Holmes rents of Mr. 
Boninghausen the house No. 241 E. 
Forest Avenue. Mr. Boninghausen 
does not remember name Holmes 
gave. In the rear of cellar under 
porch of the house, Holmes digs a 
hole four feet long, three and a half 
feet wide, three feet six inches deep. 
Holmes and Miss Yoke leave Detroit 
for Toronto, Canada. He tells Mrs. 
Pitezel that Ben had gone to Toronto. 


At Toronto Holmes registers at 
Walker House as Geo. H. Howell 
and wife, Columbus. Some day Mrs. 
Pitezel, Dessie and the baby left 
Geis's Hotel, Detroit for Toronto ; 
were met at Grand Trunk depot by 
Holmes and taken to the Union 
House, where they register under 
the name of C. A. Adams and 

Alice and Nellie leave Detroit for 
Toronto ; arrive in the evening about 
8 o'clock ; were met by Holmes who 
turned them over to George Dennis, 
a hotel porter, for the Albion Hotel, 
and they were registered as Etta and 
Nellie Canning, Detroit. 
Holmes rented house No. 16 St. Vin- 
cent Street of Mrs. Nudel. Said his 
name was Howard and that he 
wanted it for his sister. 
Same day Holmes and Miss Yoke 
went to Niagara Falls. 
They returned and registered at the 
Palmer House under the name of 


Oct. 24th. Holmes borrows a spade from Mr. 
Ryves, No. 18 St. Vincent Street to 
dig a hole in the cellar, " for the 
storage of potatoes." While in 
Toronto, Holmes called at Albion 
Hotel for Alice and Nellie every 
morning, returning them in the even- 

Oct. 25th. On the morning of this day, he takes 
Alice and Nellie from the Albion 
Hotel, paying their account for board 
in full. The children disappear. 

Oct. 2sth. He requests Mrs. Pitezel to go to 
Ogdensberg. He tells her Ben is in 
Montreal. He said that he had 
rented a house in Toronto, but that 
two detectives on bicycles were 
watching it, and it would not be safe 
for Ben to visit h-er there. 

Oct. 2eth. Holmes and Miss Yoke leave Toronto 
and go to Prescott, Canada ; remained 
there over night. 

Oct. 3ist. He is found at Burlington at the Bur- 
lington House ; registered as G. D. 
Hale, Columbus, Ohio. He moved 
to rooms at Mr. Aherns, where he 


Xov. leth. 

Nov. 17th. 

gave the names of himself and Miss 
Yoke as " Mr. Hall and wife." 
He rents a house No. 26 Winooski 
Avenue of W. B. McKillip under the 
name of J. A. Judson, for his sister 
Mrs. Cook. 

Between these dates visited his par- 
ents at his old home in Gilmanton, 
New Hampsliire ; resumes his rela- 
tions with his real wife, Mrs. Mud- 
gett. He tells a romantic story ac- 
counting for his absence from home. 
He is arrested in Boston. 
He makes his first confession. He 
says Pitezel is alive in South 
America, or on his way there, and 
that the children were with him. He 
said Pitezel was bound for San Salva- 
dor. That their means of communi- 
cation was to be in the personal 
column of the New York Herald. 
Mrs. Pitezel is arrested on the same 

Holmes and Mrs. Pitezel brought to 
Philadelphia; committed to county 



nee. iSth. 

nee. 17th. 

Mrs. Pitezel makes a full statement to 
Mr, Fouse and Mr. Perry of the 
Fidelity Mutual Life Association. 
Holmes now says Pitezel is dead, and 
that the children were given to Miss 
Williams, who took them to Europe. 
Makes another confession, declaring 
that Pitezel was dead and that he 
had committed suicide. 
1S9S. Holmes is tried for conspiracy to 

June 3€j. cheat and defraud the Insurance Com- 
pany, and on the second day of the 
trial, pleads guilty. 

June filth. Detective Geyer leaves Philadelphia 
and commences his search for the 

July 15th. Geyer finds the bodies of Alice and 
Nellie in the cellar of the Toronto 
House, No. 16 St. Vincent Street. 

Aug. 27th. Geyer finds the remains of Howard 
in the house at Irvington, a few miles 
from Indianapolis. 

Sept. 12th. Holmes is indicted in Philadelphia 
for the murder of Benjamin F. 

Sept. 23d. He pleads not guilty. The Court 


fixes the day of the trial to be 
October 28th. 

Oct. xsth. Motion for continuance denied. Trial 
commences, and continues until 
November 2d. Jury render a ver- 
dict : " Guilty of murder in the first 

Nov. isth. Motion for a new trial argued. 

Nov. 3oth. Motion for new trial overruled. 
Holmes sentenced to be hung. 



With submission to your Honor ; Gentlemen of 
the Jury : I am quite sure that it is with a feel- 
ing of relief that you see the end of this trial rap- 
idly approaching, and that you, who have been 
taken from your homes, your places of business, 
and practically imprisoned during the whole 
length of these proceedings, are now to be re- 
leased and permitted to return and resume your 
usual places and duties in society. I know, also, 
that you feel relieved, because the speaking at the 
conclusion of the case is to be somewhat limited. 
Instead of the three speeches that were contem- 
plated yesterday afternoon, in view of the illness 
of Mr. Shoemaker, T have voluntarily waived that 
which is the right of the Commonwealth— to 
close ; the right of the Commonwealth is not only 
to open or sum up, but to close the argument in 
this case. 

I propose, therefore, to ask you now, to join 
with me in reasoning for a little while about the 


evidence which you have heard — the testimony in 
this case. I am going to ask you to give me your 
best attention, and your best thought, while I try 
to refresh your recollection, and aid your reason 
in reaching right conclusions from the evidence. 
After which I propose to leave the final argument 
to my young friend who represents the prisoner 
at the Bar. I ask you to listen to him, and the 
reasons he may assign, and if they are consistent 
with the evidence in the case, and in your judg- 
ment more nearly accord with the truth, as you 
see it, adopt them ; and if the firm finger of duty 
points you in that direction, acquit this prisoner 
and set him free. 

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is the 
prosecutor in this case. You will take up this 
Bill of Indictment and read, "The Commonwealth 
of Pennsylvania, against Herman W. Mudgett, 
alias H. H. Holmes." The Commonwealth of 
Pennsylvania wants no victim. The Common- 
wealth of Pennsylvania does not ask for the con- 
viction of this man, though he may be covered 
with the evidences of guilt in other matters, un- 
less in this specific case now on trial, the testi- 
mony that you have heard points indubitably to 
his guilt and authorizes his conviction. I ask 


your attention to the evidence, because I propose 
to say to you that, after a careful perusal of it, 
my mind is forced to the conclusion that I must 
press upon you the discharge of a great, and per- 
haps to you, a trying duty. I believe that I can 
take up the testimony in this case just as it stands 
to-day, and lead you through it by a straight path 
to but one conclusion, and that conclusion abso- 
lutely inconsistent with the innocence of the pris- 
oner at the Bar. If it were not so, it would be 
my duty to abandon this case. If it were not so, 
or if, in that review, my mind would hesitate in 
reaching a conclusion, because of the weakness of 
the evidence or any defect in the proof, then it 
would be my duty to say that there is a doubt of 
this prisoner's guilt and he is entitled to the ben- 
efit of that doubt, and upon that doubt he ought 
to be acquitted. 

The task laid before me is this : I must point 
out from this evidence the facts which prove con- 
clusively that this prisoner at the Bar murdered 
Benjamin F. Pitezel, at No. 1316 Callowhill Street, 
on the 2d day of September, 1894, — so conclu- 
sively that there will not be a single doubt left 
lurking in your minds — so positively that you will 
feel under your oaths as jurors that there is but 


one course left open for you, and that is to find 
the verdict pointed out to you in the opening of 
this case — the higliest known to the law — a ver- 
dict of murder in the first degree. 

It is true, as my friend on the other side has 
said, this case has consumed five days. It is true 
that a large amount of testimony has been pro- 
duced; that a great number of witnesses have 
been called to the stand for the purpose of estab- 
lishing the Commonwealth's case ; but that ought 
not to be a subject of complaint from the defend- 
ant — that care has been taken ; that the testimony 
has been carefully selected ; that it has been mar- 
shalled in court ; that it has been presented to 
you, with all the time necessary for its inspection 
and consideration — that ought not to be a subject 
of complaint from the prisoner; for the Common- 
wealth is bound to prove its case from the initial 
step, down to the very last syllable of testimony 
requisite to make it complete. 

The Commonwealth has done so in this case. 
The Commonwealth has proved by testimony 
every step in this important proceeding, out of the 
lips of thirty-five witnesses who have been ex- 
amined before you. We have endeavored to es- 
tablish it link by link, one by one, each one sepa- 


rate and distinct from the others, but together 
making the chain complete and perfect. 

May I recall to your attention, without attempt- 
ing to read this mass of testimony, but with a 
word here and a suggestion there, what we have 
listened to during these past five days ? 

I am sure there is not a man in that jury-box, 
but will be grateful to me for redirecting his at- 
tention to that which must be the basis of his ac- 
tion — to wit, the evidence in the case. I am sure 
you want to know it ; I am sure you want to re- 
member it ; I am sure you want to act intelli- 
gently upon it : and I am firmly convinced that 
you wish to reach a right conclusion from it. 

The testimony began with the calling of Miss 
Jeannette Pitezel to the stand. You remember 
her. That was her first appearance in the case. 
She has been called quite a number of times since. 
She was called then but for one single purpose. 
This picture (liolding up picture of Benjamin F. 
Pitezel) was shown to her, and she was asked the 
question, *' Whose picture is that ? " That wit- 
ness identified this picture, used so frequently 
during the trial — the picture of the dead man. 
" That's the picture of my father, Benjamin F. 
Pitezel." That was her identification. 


The next witness called was a young man from 
the Detective Bureau, who established the iden- 
tity of two other pictures that you and I have 
used so often in this case. These are the pictures 
of the prisoner (holding up two pictures of 
Holmes). We feared, since the prisoner during 
his imprisonment had chosen to cultivate a beard 
upon his face, that when the witnesses would be 
called into this court room during the trial, there 
might be difficulty in identifying him, and the 
Commonwealth's case might be imperilled for lack 
of identification, and so, as a precautionary meas- 
ure, we procured these pictures of him as he was 
when these witnesses saw him, in order that we 
might have them here, in this enlarged form, for 
the use of the witnesses in identifying him, and so 
that they might not be puzzled in so doing by his 
changed appearance. When he entered the prison 
cell, his face was like that (holding up the picture 
of the prisoner without a beard). He has not 
shaved since that time and this beard has grown. 
Why ? Of course, I do not know ; but it was my 
duty — and that of my colleague, Mr. Barlow, who 
attended to these arrangements — it was our duty 
to see that no injury should come to the Common- 
wealth's case by reason of any change in his ap- 


pearance while in the prison cell, and that our 
witnesses might be aided in their identification by 
this counterfeit presentment of what he was at 
the time of these occurrences. 

The next witness you listened to was Mr. Eu- 
gene Smith. I am not going to read the testi- 
mony he gave you, but simply ask your attention 
to it again. He came in here and told you the 
story of the finding of the bodyo He knew No. 
1316 Callowhill Street. He had visited the place 
on business several times. He went into the store 
or office on this Monday afternoon, the 3d of Sep- 
tember, and he saw no sign of Pitezel, everything 
was in place there, but no man was there ; the 
door closed, but not locked. He found articles of 
clothing hanging in the room. After waiting 
some time and unable to wait any longer, he 
passed out, but returned again the next morning. 
He found the room precisely as he had seen it on 
Monday afternoon — no change in appearance; 
even the articles of clothing that were hanging in 
the room were in the same place. It looked sus- 
picious to him ; it immediately excited his atten- 
tion, and he commenced to look through the house. 
He tells you how he went through that office or 
store part of the building, back to the entrance to 


the stairway, and passed on up to the head of the 
stairs, or the landing on the second floor. He 
tells you how the door to his left on this landing 
opened into the back room, and that along the 
entry way in front of him there was another door 
leading into the front room. Hastily glancing 
from where he stood into that front room, he saw 
a cot, but it was empty ; no one seemed to be 
there. Then turning, he looked into the open 
door at his side, when, lo ! there upon the floor he 
discovered the body of a man. Looking in hast- 
ily, and supposing that the man had probably 
been killed or shot, he did not enter. Instantly 
descending the stairs, he summoned two police 
officers ; and they, in turn, summoned Dr. Scott, 
who lived in the neighborhood. All of them re- 
turned to the house, and he tells you what they 
saw ; the position of the body lying perfectly 
straight on its back on the floor, the right arm 
laid across the breast, the left hand down at the 
side, the limbs straight out from the body, the 
heels together, the feet in position, the whole in- 
dicating all absence of struggle and a condition 
of perfect tranquility and repose. 

Smith was examined and questioned on this 
matter with a wonderful amount of insistance, 


where it v/as wholly unnecessary, about a little 
incident which occurred and which he related of 
the prisoner. Of course, the Commonwealth 
wanted to show that the prisoner had been there ; 
that he knew this house ; that he was in the habit 
of visiting it ; that he was not a stranger to Pite- 
zel. This was one of the steps in that direction, 
and therefore Mr. Smith was asked to relate what 
occurred on the occasion of one of his visits to 
this store. He had visited this store before the 
Monday and Tuesday to which I have called your 
attention. He says, " I went in there ; I had some 
business with Mr. Pitezel. While I was there, 
this prisoner came into the room and, with some 
sign or motion, that called Pitezel's attention, he 
passed directly on." He seemed to be familiar 
with the place — to be no stranger there. He 
knew where to go ; that house was no un- 
known place to him. Pitezel was his tool, his 
creature, and with a wink, or a nod, or a beck, or 
whatever it might be called, he silently sum- 
moned him to attend him, and then passed, as the 
witness said, through this door (indicating on the 
plan of the house) up the stairs. He was asked 
by the prisoner, " Well, did you see me pass up 

the stairs?" Of course he did not. The wit- 


ness said what any witness would say under those 
circumstances, — " I saw him — that door being 
open, and the stairs being there and starting at 
the door, and my chair being down near the front 
of the room with a direct view to the door — I saw 
him pass and turn in that direction." Of course, 
that meant, speaking about such an event as you 
or I or any other person would, that he saw him 
pass upstairs. That is what he meant. There 
was no other exit in that direction, but to go up- 
stairs. But the prisoner, with insistance, thought 
he had made a point upon Mr. Smith that might 
effect his credibility and said, " Did you see me go 
upstairs? How could you see me go upstairs 
when the stairs are not in view from where you 
sat?" Why it was perfectly plain. He saw him 
turn in that direction, and possibly step upon the 
first step ; that would be within the line of his 
vision, and therefore he would say, I saw you go- 
ing upstairs to the upper story. 

But, gentlemen, that is only a little incident in 
the case, and is of very minor importance ; 
whether or not they went up in the second story, 
or whether they went out into the back yard, 
does not matter at all, so far as the Common- 
wealth's case is concerned. The fact that this 


man Holmes was there — the fact that he was on 
terms of intimate acquaintance with the pro- 
prietor of that place, and had knowledge of the 
place itself as shown in his leading the way after 
beckoning the deceased to follow — these are the 
facts that rise out of this little circumstance, and 
are important as showing how completely he was 
at home in Pitezel's house. That was the testi- 
mony of Smith. 

Then you will remember that the prisoner, who 
had been conducting his own case, interrupted the 
examination of Smith and said that he would like 
to have a plan of the house. We complied with 
his request and called Marshall Pugh, who was 
employed in the Board of Surveys, one of the City 
Departments, and proved the making of this plan, 
and that it had been correctly made. The exam- 
ination of Mr. Smith was then proceeded with to 
its end. 

Our next step was to call Mr. Ran, the photog- 
rapher, who presented for our better understand- 
ing of the situation, two pictures, one picture of 
the front of the house No. 1316 Callowhill Street, 
where the body was found, and the other a picture 
showing the rear of the same house and for our 
information the double window, in the second- 


story room, with its large white shutters. These 
photographs were then offered in evidence. 

We then proceeded with the facts of the case, 
and called Dr. Scott, whom you will all remember 
— a clear, bright, intelligent witness ; crisp, plain, 
and strong in his talk. He came to the stand and 
told you what he saw when he went into No. 1316 
Callowhill Street, when summoned by the officers. 
We have the advantage in Dr. Scott of not simply 
an ordinary witness. We have an intelligent phy- 
sician ; an observing man, who looks closely and 
scans everything in that room ; who takes partic- 
ular note of the body, who pays particular atten- 
tion to everything there. He corroborates Smith 
in all the details with relation to the position of 
the body, and the position of the man's arm, and 
the burning of the body, the singeing of the mous- 
tache, the singeing of the hair on his head, and 
how the skin was taken off his hands, how the 
clothing over the chest was burned through to the 
flesh, and the flesh underneath burned ; how, in 
the position in which the arm was placed, the un- 
der side of the arm being against the body, it was 
absolutely protected from the flame, so that not one 
particle of fire touched the under side of that arm ; 
and demonstrating that it was burned while lying 


in that position upon the body, and also described 
the skin hanging off the hand where the fire and 
flame had blistered it. He tells you about these 
points. He goes into minute description of the 
clothing — how it was tucked down into the 
trousers, with nothing disturbed — everything as a 
man fixes his own clothing when about to start 
out upon the highway, or go about his business. 
He gives you all these details, and tells you how 
reposefuUy and how tranquilly the body was ar- 
ranged. There it lay. I want you to remember 
in this connection, gentlemen, another circum- 
stance that may be of some importance to you in 
arriving at the truth. When we take up the 
story of this prisoner, as told in his confession, it 
may be important to remember another thing 
stated by the Doctor. There was a discharge 
from the mouth. There was a fecal discharge, and 
the bladder also was empty. These were the re- 
sults of a condition that comes on when death is 
imminent — the relaxation of the involuntary 
muscles of the body, so that what a man could do 
in health to prevent these discharges could not be 
done in that condition, and the contents of his 
bowels and bladder flowed from him. That, gen- 
tlemen of the jury, was the condition of this body 


on the second floor of this house — the flow from 
the mouth, and the other discharges from his per- 
son, occurred on that floor. The dead man died 
there. There was no trace of any discharge on 
the tliird-story floor. 

Dr. Scott not only testified to what took place 
at No. 1316 Callowhill Street, but he also testified 
to what took place at the post mortem examina- 
tion. You will remember his testimony. You 
will recall that he covered two points — what was 
found in the room No. 1316 Callowhill Street and 
what Dr. Mattern found in the body at the time 
he made the post mortem examination of it. He 
told you about the congested condition of the 
lungs. He told you about the empty condition 
of the heart, indicating speedy death — paralysis 
of the heart — that the man died instantly, quickly. 
He told you about the condition of the stomach, 
the kidneys, and tlie liver, these all denoting an 
alcoholic condition, showing that the man was a 
heavy drinker of alcoholic stimulants, and that 
irritation of the stomach due to alcohol was also 
present, but that there was no irritation there due 
to the action of chloroform, although he told you 
another thing, — that there were about two ounces 
of chloroform found in the stomach. The doctors 


both told you the smell was strong, and could not 
be mistaken. Otherwise the stomach was what 
they call an empty stomach. That does not 
mean literally void of every particle of food, but 
practically an empty stomach. There was mucus 
there, but remember he testified that that chloro- 
form in the stomach had not produced any irrita- 
tion of the membrane or lining of the stomach — 
not a particle. That chloroform in the stomach 
had never produced the slightest effect upon the 
dead man. That was Dr. Scott's testimony. 

Maintaining the order of proof, we next call 
Dr. Mattern : Dr. Mattern told you very much 
the same things that Dr. Scott did. He repeated 
to you the story of the post mortem examination 
of the body of Pitezel. He told you of the con- 
gested condition of the lungs. He told you of 
the condition of the heart, the condition of the 
stomach, the liver, the kidneys, and all the vis- 
cera. The result of the examination of the body 
of this man was to enable these doctors to say to 
you, as a positive fact in this case, and one that 
is not disputed, for there is no one to contradict 
the statements that they make, (and that is one 
of the things it is important for you to remember) 
— that this man died from chloroform poisoning. 


That you have an undisputed fact in this case. 
He was poisoned with chloroform ; there is no 
doubt about the cause of his death. That is a 
fact that stands before you undisputed. This 
man died from the effects of chloroform. It was 
chloroform poisoning that took away his life, so 
that, although you may find in the description 
given by Dr. Scott, and by Mr. Smith, that there 
was an attempt to create an appearance in the 
room where the body was found whicb would lead 
one into the belief that an explosion had taken 
place in that building, you are freed from the fur- 
ther consideration of all idea of an explosion hav- 
ing taken place. Indeed it is admitted that no 
explosion killed this man. While it is true that 
the flames touched his clothing, and partially con- 
sumed it, and burned and blistered his flesh, — yet 
they did not kill him. While the broken jar, and 
the other evidences of that explosion were pres- 
ent, they were artificially produced by somebody 
with the intention to mislead and deceive. There 
was no explosion. Holmes now admits that he 
himself broke this jar, and Doctor Scott demon- 
strated the fact that it had not exploded. Even 
the smartest, even the brightest, even the keenest 
criminal will make mistakes, and when Holmes 


broke that jar, he broke it leaving the glass par- 
ticles or fragments lying inside the bottle, whereas 
an explosion would have scattered them all about 
the room. I want you to remember, therefore, 
gentlemen, at this stage of the argument, that the 
Commonwealth has established one fact beyond 
contradiction, which is that this dead man was 
killed by the use of chloroform poisoning. Two 
witnesses have sworn to this fact — no one has 
contradicted them — and the defence admits that 
this was the cause of death. 

The next witness was a very important wit- 
ness in this case. I will now simply call your 
attention to what he testified to, and to the sub- 
ject upon which he testified, for I do not propose 
to discuss the effect of his testimony at this point. 
I refer to the testimony of Dr. Henry Leffman, 
one of the most distinguished analytical chemists 
perhaps in this country — a man of fine scientific 
attainments, of splendid intelligence and culture. 
He comes upon the stand and gives to you his 
story as an expert upon the subject of chloroform, 
and states certain facts to you, to which I will 
advert in a short time, and by the help of which 
I will discover to you, not only that this man was 
poisoned with chloroform poison, but that that 


chloroform poison was not self-administered. In 
other words that the deceased did not commit 

After Dr. Leffman, comes Samuel H. Ash- 
bridge, the Coroner. You will remember, of 
course, that he did not testify to any facts from 
his own knowledge. That was not the object in 
calling him. The Commonwealth was talking a 
second step in the progress of this case. It had pro- 
duced the evidence of the finding of a dead man, 
and that this dead man had been poisoned. It 
had shown by the aid of Dr. Leffman, and the 
circumstances of the finding of the body and the 
post mortem examination, that he was not self 
poisoned. Now the Commonwealth must proceed 
to show you, for we can assume nothing, that that 
dead man was Benjamin F. Pitezel, the man 
named in this indictment as the subject of this 
murder. We called Coroner Ashbridge ; why ? 
We could not call Alice Pitezel, the child who 
identified him before the Coroner ; we could not 
call her to prove that that stiff and disfigured 
corpse, upon which her young eyes gazed at the 
Potter's field, was the body of her dead father. 
We could not produce her for that purpose, for 
the mother had told us that the last she saw of 


her was her dead body in the morgue in the 
city of Toronto, in a foreign jurisdiction. No, 
that piece of evidence the Commonwealth could 
not produce, but the Commonwealth proceeds 
formally, and in an orderly manner, to establish 
to your satisfaction that this body was the body 
of Benjamin F. Pitezel. Is it not strong proof to 
take the prisoner's own statement for it? Is it 
not beginning at a good point to ask the Coroner 
to identify the prisoner's own affidavit, in which 
he swore that that was the body of Benjamin F. 
Pitezel that lay in that upper room ? Fortunately 
for us, for the prisoner was the man who handed 
it to the Coroner, and so made it evidence against 
him, we were able to get Alice Pitezel's affidavit 
on that point, as delivered by him to the Coroner. 
By Coroner Ashbridge we begin to establish the 
second point, and take the second important step 
by proving the identity of this corpse. 

But, gentlemen, we did not stop with the two 
affidavits, one made by this prisoner, and the 
other by Alice Pitezel. The Commonwealth had 
abundant evidence, I think, to prove that this was 
Benjamin F. Pitezel. We determined to do it 
thoroughly, for we did not know how much of an 
attack would be made by the defence upon the 


question of identity. We had no knowledge 
where the attack might be made, and as this 
seemed to be one of the points threatened, we 
marshalled one bit of evidence after another, 
until there can be no doubt in the mind of any- 
one about the body of Benjamin F. Pitezel. That 
it was his body cannot be gainsaid. Let me say 
to you once more gentlemen, and let it be said so 
as to set at rest this question forever, the man 
who was sent from time into eternity in that sec- 
ond-story room at No. 1316 Callowhill Street was 
Benjamin F. Pitezel, the companion, the friend, 
the colleague of the prisoner who sits in the dock, 
and he knows it as well as I, for he identified him 
to the Coroner, and he took the dead man's little 
daughter there to swear that it was her father's 

We next went into the neighborhood ; we pro- 
duced William Moebins, a bar tender in Mr. 
Richards' saloon. He waited upon Perry, as 
Pitezel was called while living in Callowhill 
Street, the Saturday night before his body was 
found. He had seen him before. He had seen 
him in there, talking with Mr, Richards, the 
saloon keeper, and he knew Mr. Perry — Mr. B. 
F. Perry. Now, of course, it would have done us 


very little good to have simply stopped there, and 
proved that this was B. F. Perry, who lived in 
that house, but we go a step further, and we hand 
this picture to him, and ask him, " Is this the 
picture of the man that you knew as B. F. 
Perry ? " (handing to the witness the picture of 
Pitezel.) He said, "Yes, that is the picture of 
the man I knew as B. F. Perry." So we estab- 
lished clearly that that man who lived in No. 1316 
Callowhill Street as B. F. Perry was B. F. Pitezel. 

We called the last witness's employer, the sa- 
loon keeper himself, Mr. Richards. Mr. Richards 
had changed two ten dollar bills for him that day, 
the Saturday before the murder, the Saturday be- 
fore this body was found, and he says he knew 
Benjamin F. Perry. He was asked, " Is that the 
picture of the man you knew as Benjamin F. 
Perry ? " and he replied, " It is." That is Pite- 
zel's picture. Another witness says Pitezel and 
Perry are one. 

We also called Mr. Hubbard and Mr. Lampen, 
and they established that this picture was the pic- 
ture of Perry. Well, now, all that, gentlemen, is 
persuasive, but it only goes part of the way in es- 
tablishing the identity of the corpse, for I want to 
discuss this testimony with you frankly, and as I 


would with my own self, trying to ascertain only 
the truth. We prove but a single fact, to wit, that 
B. F. Perry and B. F. Pitezel are the same. You 
understand that that proves the identity of one 
person under these two names, which is corrobo- 
rative only, of the identity of the body that was 
found there. But we went further, and now, 
abandoning for an instant the order of proof, I 
wish to call your attention to this fact. Not only 
were these five or six neighbors called to prove 
that Perry was Pitezel, but we produced the 
patrol sergeant of police. And here came in a 
new kind of testimony. The other witnesses had 
looked on the living man called B. F. Perry, and 
then they had looked upon this picture, and said, 
" The man who was living was the same man 
whose picture you present to us." But Police 
Sergeant Sauer comes upon the stand, and he is 
asked the question, " Were you in that room that 
day ? " He says, " Yes." He was asked, " Did 
you see the man that lay stretched out on the 
floor ? " He says, " Yes, the body was beginning 
to decompose ; it was considerably discolored," 
and all that. He was asked further, " But are you 
able to identify that picture?" Why, you re- 
member gentlemen how that man told you he was 


standing or sitting over there in this court room 
among the witnesses for the Commonwealth, when 
he happened to see this picture, as it was handled 
before you and identified by the witnesses, and 
subsequently placed by me standing upright on 
that desk and facing where he sat, and identified 
it as the likeness of the dead man from that distant 
point. " Why, that is a picture of the man I saw 
lying on the floor at No. 1316 Callowhill Street," 
he stated to you when placed on the witness stand. 
That is identification. That picture of B. F. 
Pitezel is the picture of the man who was killed 
by the use of chloroform poison in No. 1316 Callow- 
hill Street. 

But, gentlemen, we did not stop even there in 
our efforts at identification. Not only has Holmes 
or Mudgett identified him ; not only has Alice 
Pitezel identified him ; not only have these half 
dozen people said Perry and Pitezel were the 
same ; not only has the police sergeant told you 
that that picture was the picture of the man who 
was poisoned ; but we go out to the grave itself, 
and from its dark recesses, we bring forth silent 
but persuasive testimony on the question of iden- 
tity. Pieces of the clothing that was around the 
dead body were taken from it by the Doctor. 


Here is a piece of the shirt that this man wore ; 
poor Mrs. Pitezel was called back again to that 
stand, and you may remember the broken sobs 
with which slie exclaimed, " Oh, that's Benny's 
shirt that he took with him Avhen he left St. Louis 
for Philadelphia." That burned fragment is 
part of the clothing that the wife identifies as 
that of her husband's, buried with the body, deep 
down in that dark grave, it comes forth to the liv- 
ing light to proclaim that the body resting there 
was not the " stiff " gotten from New York, but 
was the body of Holmes' friend, Benjamin F. 

Look at this necktie ; the necktie of a poor 
man. This has been disfigured by being in the 
grave, for it was taken from his dead body. Mrs. 
Pitezel said it was Benny's. Dessie, the daugh- 
ter, comes upon the stand, and tells you a little 
incident that must have impressed you with its 
truthfulness. One part of the necktie is better 
than the rest, you observe, and she says, " I asked 
papa before he left, one day, if he wouldn't let me 
take that lower portion to put into a crazy quilt." 
What more natural than for a girl to do that very 
thing ? That piece of silk that was fresh and 
clean, because it had been covered by the vest 


Fac-Simile of Letter from "Jim" to Holmes. 



and the coat when worn and was thus protected 
and preserved — she wanted to cut off that portion 
to make up into a crazy quilt, just as girls will 
do. She says, " That's my father's necktie." 
Does anyone doubt it ? 

The trousers were identified in the same way. 

So that, gentlemen of the jury, out of the very 
tomb comes the voice of identification, confirming 
what all these living witnesses have said, and what 
the police sergeant has so emphatically said " This 
is Pitezel." Pitezel's identification is complete. 

So the Commonwealth has taken the second 

step in this trial. It has reached another point of 

advance. It has proved to your satisfaction that 

this man was killed by chloroform poison. It has 

proved, in addition, that the man who was thus 

killed was Benjamin F. Pitezel, the friend of this 

prisoner. Before finally leaving the question of 

identity, I simply, in a word, call your attention 

to what took place in the Potter's Field; you 

will remember that the body was exhumed in the 

presence of Dr. Mattern, Mr. Fouse, Mr. Perry, 

the prisoner, Jeptha D. Howe, of St. Louis, and 

Alice Pitezel, whom, the prisoner had taken from 

her mother, and sent in company with Howe to 

Philadelphia, and whom he had with him up at 


No. 1905 N. 11th Street at that boarding house. 
He had taken her out to the Potter's Field. This 
body was identified by the marks upon it, the 
wart upon the back of the neck, the mark across 
the bone below the knee, the bruised finger, the 
color of the hair and of the mustache. It was 
there identified as the body of Pitezel again. 

Now after this testimony had been offered, the 
next witness was Dr. Alcorn. You will recall 
Mrs. Alcorn ; she kept a boarding house at No. 
1905 N. 11th Street, at which Holmes boarded 
with Miss Yoke, under the name of Mr. and Mrs. 
Howell. She came upon the stand to prove that 
he was there, and to prove that Miss Yoke was 
there as Mrs. Howell, as she honestly believed 
herself to be; to prove the length of time that he 
was there, from the beginning of August — about 
the first week in August — down to that fateful 
second day of September, and to prove that he 
left this city hurriedly, quickly, on that second 
da}' of September 1894, although his wife was 
sick, and part of the time confined to bed, unable 
to be up and about — not in a fit condition to take 
a long journey — yet on that Sunday night, that 
fateful Sunday night, when this man was killed 
in No. 1316 Callowhill Street, Holmes in company 


with his wife practically fled from the city of 
Philadelphia, and went out to the West. Think 
of the circumstances under which he left! Not 
those of an honest man, travelling in the ordinary 
way. You or I would have said to Mrs. Alcorn, 
" It's none of your business, Madam, if we did 
not wish to tell her where we were going"; but 
that is not the characteristic of this man ; wher- 
ever a lie could serve the purpose, he preferred it 
to the truth. But he had a reason for concealing, 
if possible, where he was going, fearing subse- 
quent inquiry as to what his destination would 
be, so he told Miss Yoke to say so, and he himself 
told Mrs. Alcorn, " We are going to Harrisburg," 
when in point of fact, they were not, but took the 
10:25 train for Indianapolis. 

Why did he go away hastily? Why did he 
conceal the place of his destination ? Was it be- 
cause all that transpired on that Sunday in No. 
1316 Callowhill Street was haunting him and pur- 
suing him ? As lie tells you, he came into Miss 
Yoke in an excited condition ; he helped to pack 
her trunk ; he hastened to catch the 10:25 train, 
and left Philadelphia leaving a lie behind him at 
the boarding house, as to where he v/as going. 
That was Mrs. Alcorn's testimony. 


The next witness called was John Grammar. 
You will remember that he lived in the same 
house ; that he was one of the boarders in Mrs. 
Alcorn's house, and he corroborates what she says 
as to their residence there, and their time of leav- 

Then came three witnesses upon the question 
of identification. I have already adverted to what 
their testimony was. One witness procured Perry 
or Pitezel his boarding house. Mrs. Harley, with 
whom he boarded, identified his picture. Miss 
Alice Pierce, who kept the cigar store, testified as 
to how he came in to buy cigars, identifying him. 

We then took up another branch of the case — 
the insurance conspiracy. Mr. Perry was called. 
He began to tell the story of the insurance con- 
spiracy ; the policy of insurance was identified ; a 
policy issued on the life of B. F. Pitezel ; the re- 
ceipt was also identified, showing the settlement 
that was made, and how, by reason of this con- 
spiracy, nearly 110,000 were taken out of the 
treasury of that company. This is only an inci- 
dent. The insurance matter, except as it plays the 
part of being the beginning of these occurrences, 
each connected with tlie death of Pitezel, and 
sheds light on the motive of the prisoner, is prac- 


tically uniiuportant. The insurance company it- 
self is not a factor in this case. The Common- 
wealth of Pennsylvania is the prosecutor. The 
insurance company has nuthing whatever to do 
with it, beyond having been the victim of the con- 
spiracy and having paid its money upon the policy 
of insurance, on Pitezel's life. 

The money was paid. The conspiracy had been 
successful appaiently. Holmes was profiting by 
the result. Pitezel was dead, and out of the way, 
and very soon his widow and children were taken 
on a curious journey, and the effort is made by 
the prisoner to conceal everything pertaining to 
the family. 

Mr. Gary comes upon the stand, and gives us 
an inkling as to how the conspiracy was first dis- 
covered awa}^ out in the St. Louis jail. Hedge - 
peth, a fellow prisoner with this man, to wliom 
part of the proceeds had been promised, tells the 
Cliief of Police of St. Louis that he and Pitezel 
and others had perpetrated a fraud upon the insur- 
ance company. Gary interviews him. What was 
said in that interview is not given in evidence to 
you, but in consequence of that interview, search 
is made for this man, the prisoner, and an earnest 
effort was made to find him, only, at that time, be- 


cause it was supposed tliat he was guilty of a 
fraud and a cheat, and that he had succeeded in 
cheating the insurance company out of money. 
The search for him led through the States, up into 
Canada, back into the States again, and finally n[) 
to Boston, where he was arrested and brought 
back to Pliiladelphia. Then it was that we 
proved that part of our case to which Mr. Hans- 
corn, the Deputy Superintendent, from Boston, 
has testified. Holmes was not arrested in Boston 
upon this charge of cheatii]g the insurance com- 
pany, but was arrested npon another charge — that 
of being a horse thief. He was accused of being a 
horse thief, who was wanted in Texas. He was 
wanted in Texas to be dealt with according to 
their law, upon the information that he was a 
horse thief. He was arrested in Boston, held 
there until he voluntarily said to the Chief, fear- 
ing the kind of Southern justice that is meted out 
to horse thieves, for they do not stand in high fa- 
vor in the South, or among the rural populations, 
the prisoner bethought himself, " Well, all they 
have got on me in Philadelphia is the charge of 
conspiracy, for which I will get two years' impris- 
onment at the outside; I will- be comfortably 
housed and fed and taken care of, and at the end 


of two years, I'll get out again, and probably es- 
cape this pending accusation down at Fort Worth, 
Texas," and so — shrewd, skillful fellow that he is, 
he says to the Chief of Police, " I'll volunteer to 
go to Philadelphia." It speaks well for the hospi- 
tality of our City. He preferred it to Texas. 
He was willing to go to Philadelphia. It did not 
need any warrant to bring him here. He was not 
waiting for any requisition from the Governor of • 
Pennsylvania upon the Governor of Massachu- 
setts, asking for the return of Hermann W. Mud- 
gett, alias H. H. Holmes. These formalities were 
dispensed with. Ho said, *' I'll go to Philadel- 
phia," and Detective Crawford brought him to 
Philadelphia. Before he left the city of Boston, 
he made a statement to Mr. Perry. He confessed 
the fraud that had been perpetrated upon the in- 
surance company, and voluntarily and of his own 
free will and accord, told Mr. Perry about this 
cheat and this fraud. You remember, I am sure, 
what Mr. Perry related as his statement to him. 
It was to the effect that himself and Pitezel, and 
Jeptha Howe, of St. Louis, and Hedgepeth, who 
was in jail, had joined in a conspiracy to cheat 
the insurance company, and he said that they had 
sent to New York to procure a dead body that 


would look as much like Pitezel a^i possible, and 
that they were going to use that dead body, and 
that they did use it, and tliat Pitezel himself, you 
Avill remember, was living and in South America 
at that time, and had the boy, little Howard, with 
him. That is his first story. I want you to listen 
to these statements. They are marvellous produc- 
tions in the line of fiction ; they are wonderful 
statements, with scarcely an element of truth in 
them. The facility with which this man could 
utter one falsehood after another must be appar- 
ent to you in your observation of this testimony, 
and from the statements that you have heard, not 
only from the officials, but from the lips of this 
pure, good woman, whom he called his wife, Miss 
Yoke. Think of it ! Think of it ! Think of tlie 
deception and the falsehood ! Think of his deceit 
to her I He meets her in St. Louis. He is gohig 
to engage her as his wife. He then tells her the 
story of a fictitious uncle, with his millions, or 
whatever the estate may have been, and who had 
requested that he, H. H. Holmes, should take the 
name of Henrj^ Mansfield Howard, and thence- 
forth be known as his heir. He enters into one 
of the most sacred relations in life with deception 
and deceit upun him. He marries her as Henry 


Mansfield Howard. Then he goes down to Fort 
Worth masquerading as Pratt. " Why," said 
he to this confiding woman, "I have been out 
to one of tlie ranches that my uncle left ; " — one 
of those ranches of this fictitious uncle — a ficti- 
tious ranch, — " and fonnd squatters down there, 
and you know the people of the South favor 
squatters more than the people of the North do ; 
so it wouldn't be safe for me to be known as Mr. 
Henry Mansfield Howard, the heir of my uncle, 
and the claimant of this ranch ; oh, no ! " Then 
he masquerades as Pratt. In the line of this 
story, during all his journeys, he never once places 
his own name upon the register of a hotel, and 
never once places upon the register the real name 
of anyone that is with him. Lies supply the place 
of the truth at every point, and false registry is 
the order of his journey at every hotel. Upon 
every step, from point to point, as we go through 
this evidence, we find Mudgett, alias Holmes, a 
fabricator and a falsifier. 

But this is a degression, so I ask your attention 
to his statement again. He tells you that a body 
was substituted. Was there a body substituted ? 
Don't you believe with me that that man (point- 
ing to Pitezel's picture) was the man who was 


buried in Potter's Field? Don't you think with 
nie that that man was the man whose body was 
fijund in tliat second story room ? Lie No. 1. 
But he says, "B. F. Pitezel is down in South 
America, and he has little Howard with him." 
Oh, gentlemen, that is an awful, a frightful state- 
ment. What fearful twisting and destruction of 
the truth! Pitezel in South America ! He had 
seen his body taken up out of the Potter's Field, 
and made little Alice testify that it was the body 
of her father — down in South America ! It is a 
wonder that the lie did not scorch his lips, as the 
flames scorched the dead body of Pitezel and con- 
sumed the flesh. Little Howard with his father 
in South America ! Gentlemen, think of it, and 
then recall in that connection the broken utter- 
ances of that poor woman, Mrs. Pitezel, as she was 
about to leave the stand, when she said, in answer 
to the question where did you see Howard last ? 
" I last saw little Howaid's belongings in the cor- 
oner's office in Indianapolis." Little Howard in 
South America with his father ! God help such a 

But he is not done yet. I now call attention 
to his statement to Mr. Hanscom. I am not 
going to repeat all this statement of his to Mr. 


Hanscom. I do not want to weary you, but I do 
feel obliged to go over the testimony at some 
length in the performance of what I conceive to 
be a solemn duty. Therefore 1 ask you j^atiently 
to listen to me while I call your attention to a 
few more of the things which this man has said. 

A statement was made by him in Boston, and 
was taken down at that city. Mr, Hanscom, the 
police official, who came upon this stand, told you 
how it was taken by Miss Annie Rtjbbins, a ste- 
nographer, word for word. We do not depend 
upon the frailt}^ of human memory to recall what 
this man said in this instance. It comes to us 
with all the strength and power of a written 
statement, taken down question and answer, just 
as it transpired in that office in Boston, where he 
poured out new fabrications for the purpose of 
misleading and deceiving. He was examined as 
follows : By Mr. Hanscom : " Q. What is Pite- 
zel's name? A. B. F., I think — Benjamin Fuller. 
Q. When did you last see him ? A. I can't give 
you the da3^ I'll leave a blank and fill it in." 
Oh, how sly and sharp he is — how skillful in 
fencing in his answers ! Mr. Hanscom says : 
" State it in your own way. A. Well, I saw liim 
last in Detroit. It was in the neighborhood of 


three weeks ago, but I can give you the exact 
date by consulting my wife." The alleged wife 
who was with him then was Mrs. Howard. She 
has been on tlie stand. Did he consult her as to 
that date, when he had seen Mr. Pitezel alive in 
the city of Detroit ? Did he make any effort to 
find out the date? Not a single one. Why, gen- 
tlemen, no effort was made solely because he 
knew that Pitezel was then rotting in his grave, 
and was not in Detroit. He could gain nothing 
by consulting or questioning tliis woman. She 
had not seen him in Detroit. He had never seen 
him in Detroit; that was a falsehood told to mis- 
lead the authorities. He was then asked, " Do 
you know where he was stop[)ing in Detroit ? " 
'* A. No, I don't know ; he had been there several 
days waiting for me to come there." Would he 
not have known where he was stopping? Why 
did he not name some hotel and thus seem candid 
in his answer? He was afraid the officers might 
send to the hotel to find out. He is covering it 
up. " Q. When was the last time before tliat 
that you saw him ? " " A. Well, I had not seen 
him but once since this Philadelphia occurrence." 
(Quoting further from the statements made in 


He told Mr. Hanscom that he had seen Pitezel 
in Philadelphia, and having procured a corpse in 
New York, had packed it in a trunk, and that he 
put that trunk on the express, and had given the 
check for it to Pitezel. Of course, he made it 
near the first Sunday in September. He was 
telling a falsehood for the purpose of misleading 
the officer, and yet it was with relation to the 
frauds that he had confessed. 

Gentlemen, there is one point in this connec- 
tion that has always been a subject of thought with 
me, and I conceive it to be a strong argument 
against this man and his defence in this case. 
Will you follow me a moment, while I point it 
out. Remember that he had confessed to the 
story about the fraudulent insurance. There 
was nothing in that to be concealed, because he 
had confessed that he was guilty. He had 
cheated this company. He had confessed, and he 
was going back to go into prison for it. Wh}-, 
under those circumstances, was it necessary for 
him to lie ? The truth would have been sufficient 
then. It cannot be said that it was to get the 
money from the insurance company, for that was 
already secured, and was in his pockets. It was 
not for that purpose. Why did he lie? What 


was his motive ? What was he concealing by these 
falsehoods about Pitezel living? The insurance 
fraud was exploded ; he had confessed his guilt in 
cheating the company. The money had been re- 
ceived ; nothing was to be gained either in the 
way of money or freedom from imprisonment, for 
he had admitted his crime, and he was going back 
to Philadelphia to go to jail. Gentlemen, there 
is only one thing that explains that falsehood, ut- 
tered by the prisoner to Mr. Hanscom. When he 
said he saw Pitezel alive, he knew that Pitezel 
was dead, murdered by him. He feared prosecu- 
tion for that murder. There is no other explana- 
tion — no other reason. The cheating of the in- 
surance company had been confessed ; the money 
secured upon the policy had been divided, yet he 
lied about Pitezel and about the children. To 
Perry, he said, " Pitezel is in South America, and 
Howard is with him." To Mr. Hanscom, he said, 
" Pitezel was in Detroit three weeks ago," and 
then subsequently he said, " I saw him in Cincin- 
nati." Then he tells about the use of a dead 
body. That it was not Pitezel, but merely some 
corpse that was used to stand for his body, and 
goes through the long story of the cheat and fraud 
upon the insurance company, with which you are 


familiar and with vvhicli I will not now weary 

While we were on the line of proving these 
confessions of his, we proved another, which was 
taken after he came to Philadelphia. The first 
confession was simply taken by question and an- 
swer. This one is in a more solemn form. We 
now come to an oath bound statement. I wonder 
if, when he has taken the solemn obligation of an 
oath, he will tell the truth. I wonder if now, 
when he is sworn, he will tell us really what has 
taken place ; let us see. Being first duly sworn, 
he says, " That while incarcerated in jail in St. 
Louis, Missouri, he met one Hedgepeth." — Well, 
then, it was true that Hedgepeth was with this 
man out in the St. Louis jail, and was his com- 
panion in the conspiracy — " who said that for 
$400, he could secure his release from imprison- 
ment." (Quoting further therefrom.) 

Think of the audacitj^ of the man, afterwards, 
in Mr. Fouse's office, after these occurrences that 
he is speaking about, but before this confession 
was made. After the insurance was claimed by 
Jeptha D. Howe. When Jeptha D. Howe came 
into the office, Mr. Holmes was announced. Mr. 
Holmes was in waiting outside. ]\Ir. Holmes 


walked in. Mr. Howe Wcas sitting there. He pre- 
tended he did not know Mr. Howe — not he. An- 
other deception ; another fraud ! He does not 
know Mr. Howe ! JMr. Fouse has to turn and say, 
"Why, INIr. Howe, let me present Mr. Holmes," 
and Mr. Holmes bows and shakes hands with 
Mr. Howe, and makes a new acquaintance. 
Think of it, and remember he lias known him 
out there in St. Louis for some time. Howe had 
been sent for by Hedgepeth, and as Miss Yoke 
said, was brought to the jail to act as this prison- 
er's counsel, and saw him in the jail and talked 
with him in the jail. Oh, how deceit and decep- 
tion and fraud run all through every statement, 
from beginning to end I 

Then he goes on telling about the relation of 
Howe to the conspiracy ; that Howe was in it 
How he got word while in Philadelphia, that they 
had a body which could not be used, and that he 
sent to New York and got another body which 
had a small wart on the neck ; that he then con- 
cluded not to take any more chances to carry out 
the scheme, and that he brought that body to 
Philadelphia and left it in the care of Pitezel. 
This "stiff" that he procured in New York, and 
brought to Philadelphia, he left with Pitezel, who 



































































































































































































































































































was to carry out the details of the scheme at that 
place. He then left Philadelphia at 10:30, in 
company with his wife, and she was taken sick, 
as lie says. But no, that is not true for she was 
sick when he took her away. The truth is that 
he hurried her away while she was sick. Then 
he stopped off at Indianapolis, and stayed there 
one night, reaching St. Louis on Tuesday night, 
when he went directly to the office of McDon- 
ald & Howe ; that he afterwards went to Pite- 
zel's house, in St. Louis, and found his wife and 
children very much excited about the news which 
they had seen in the paper ; that he then went 
about 9 o'clock the next morning to Howe's of- 
fice, and asked him to help out in the matter, etc. 
He then goes on with the story of the identifica- 
tion, and tells the story of the fraud. He then 
tells about the meeting in St. Louis, when they 
met to divide the plunder at INIcDonald & 
Howe's office. Mrs. Pitezel was there present. 
The spoils were divided ; Mrs. Pitezel got her lit- 
tle share out of the proceeds of the money from 
her husband's death. Ten thousand dollars were 
paid, but how much of it went to poor Mrs. Pite- 
zel? She was a party to the conspiracy, as the}^ 
say, but she was in the hands of a sharper. Five 


thousand dollais were taken on one pretext, and 
with reference to how it was taken, departing 
again, slightlj-, from the order of testimony, I ask 
that you will remember Mrs. Pitezel's testimony 
on that subject. She tells you that Holmes said, 
" Now, we'll go to the bank and pay a note there 
that your husband owes,"' and he took her to the 
bank. They went inside, and there Holmes ob- 
tains from this woman, out of her satchel, -15,000. 
He then walks around in the bank to another 
window, and pietends to be paying this note. I 
say " pretends," because the evidence in this case 
shows conclusively the falsity and deception of 
the man beyond question, and that he was literall}- 
and absolutely deceiviug her in what he said and 
did. Fortunately, we have this note. Here it is, 
and we have also a picture of it, which we can 
handle with more safety. You ^^ill notice that 
the note is for $16,000, dated May 16th, 1894, and 
due September 16th, 1894, drawn to the order of 
Mr. Samuels. You will notice on the original note 
that it bears no endorsement. Mr. Samuels never 
endorsed that note. Y'ou can see, therefore, that 
it was not negotiable. It could not pass from one 
man to anotlier. That simply says that Mr. 
Lyman owes Mr. Samuels this money. If it had 


been deposited in Lank for collection, upon the 
back would have been found the words "de- 
posited for collection," and the signature of Mr. 
Samuels, and his signature would have given the 
bank the right to collect it. But no, this note 
has never been negotiated. In point of fact, no 
note was at that bank. There was nothing to be 
paid there, and a fraud was being perpetrated 
upon Mrs. Pitezel. 

But if we had any doubt before, I am sure that 
doubt is absolutely removed when we hear Mr. 
Samuels on the stand. You remember him, the 
lawyer from Fort Worth — his clear-cut, plain, and 
frank answers. He had no trouble in telling you 
the story of that false note. " Why," says he, 
"the body of that note is in my handwriting, I 
filled that in for this man," or " for that individ- 
ual there," for that is the way he designated him, 
if you may remember^" I filled it in for that in- 
dividual ; he came to negotiate a loan from my 
brother ; the note was drawn for $16,000, and he 
took the note away to get it signed by his partner, 
Benton F. Lyman," that being the name used by 
Pitezel. He was to take the note away and get 
Pitezel to sign it, and then bring it back. What 
did he do? He came back to Mr. Samuels, and 


lie said, " Oh, I mislaid that note or lost it ; T 
doiTt know where it is, but I iiave had this new 
note made to take its place," and the new note is 
handed over to Mr. Samuels, and upon it he loans 
this man $2,500, and that new note — that real 
note is in the hands of these gentlemen in Fort 
Worth, Texas, and this dead man stands debtor 
to them upon it to-day, unpaid, uncancelled, while 
this note written by Mr. Samuels in his own hand- 
writing is fraudulently concealed by Holmes, and 
fraudulently produced to Mrs. Pitezel as if it 
were a living debt, though it is nothing more than 
a piece of paper, and does not stand for a single 
dollar. So the story goes. The money is divided 
and Holmes gets this $5,000. He has matle his 
profit by the transaction. He is the man who re- 
ceived the proceeds from the insurance on the 
life of Pitezel, and he starts away. 

Then c ^mes the story of Mrs. Pitezel. Gentle- 
men, you remember that story; I am not going to 
weary you by its repetition. In all the fifteen years 
of my service in this office, I do not remember a 
story that stirred my heart or moved my sensibili- 
ties like the broken sentences of that womnn, 
when, Avith evident suffering in every line and 
jnark upon her face, in the supreme effort that she 


made to control herself, and to avoid breaking- 
down, she told that pitiful, yet uiurvellous story, 
of how this man led her from place to place in 
the pursuit of her husband. I do not see, for the 
life of me, how he coukl sit there in the dock un- 
moved and look her in the face, conscious, as lie 
must be, of the awful wrong that he has perpe- 
trated upon her — how he could sit there and look 
her in the face, and listen to the harrowing tale of 
suffering and agon}-, without wincing, without 
changing a muscle — he is a man of steel 5 with a 
heart of stone, and remains utterly unmoved. 

Gentlemen, there was once during the course of 
this trial that tears seemed to come to his eyes, 
and he appeared to be moved when Miss Yoke 
came upon the wituess stand the first day. But 
it was a subject of such universal comment that 
you must have noticed it as well as I, and others 
that when she was recalled to the stand the sec- 
ond day, no tear dimmed his eye. The questions 
of his lawyers showed that the tears of the first 
day were summoned to influence her-, to excite 
her pity for him so that in telling her story she 
might be induced to favor him. But on the sec- 
ond day, when his lawyer's shafts were dipped in 
malice, and question upon question was thrust 


at her regardless of liow tlie}^ placed lier before 
the world or the coiiimuiiity, he sat as stony, as 
immovable, as when jMrs. Pitezel told her pitiful 
story from the witness box. 

That was a strange stor^-, gentlemen ; if you 
and I had read it in fiction, we would say perhaps 
that the novelist had overdrawn or overstated 
the facts ; that he had overdrawn the story, and 
made it stronger than our imagination or fancy 
could tolerate. 

Now, let us return to that story. After Alice 
was taken to Phikidelphia to identify the father, 
she was taken back to Indianapolis. He went to 
St. Louis, and saw tlie mother, and took from her 
the other two children. There are now three 
children started upon the journey in one group. 
In a few days, he starts the mother upon lier 
travels, and with her are Dessa and the baby, 
forming a second group. In a little while after 
that, Miss Yoke proceeds with him. They are 
travelling in three detachments, each utterly ig- 
norant of the location and proximity of the other. 
Mrs. Pitezel does not know where the three chil- 
dren are located : Miss Yoke does not know that 
Mrs. Pitezel is travelling with Dessa and the 
babv, and that the three children are also under 


his control. Another exhibition of the marvellous 
ingenuity, craft, cunning, and power of this man. 
Travelling in three separate detachments, and in 
the city of Detroit, stopping within a few blocks 
of each other. The hotels have been named at 
which they stopped, within a few blocks,— the 
mother yearning to see her children, and yet ig- 
norant of their whereabouts, and kept from com- 
municating with them; the children pleading to 
communicate with their mother, and yet, kept 
from communication with her ; within four blocks 
of each other in the same city, and kept apart. 
Poor Mrs. Pitezel ! The will o'the wisp, the 
hope of meeting Benny, held out, and held out to 
her day after day! " Oh," said he, "Benny will 
be in Detroit." She is at Galva, Illinois, with her 
parents. He tells her to come in the middle of 
the week, but no, her eagerness to meet her hus- 
band prompts her to start early, and she leaves 
for Detroit from her home on the 13th of October. 
" Where is Ben ? " " Well, well find Ben in To- 
ronto." They go to Toronto. You remember 
the days they spent there. "Oh, he'll come over 
here and see you when I get a house; he wanted 
to come and see you without the children being 
present ; it'll never do to permit the children to 


know that lie is living; he can't show himself in 
the presence of the children." That is Holmes' 
story. Gentlemen, right in that connection, let 
me call your attention to something he said to 
Mr. ITanscom. In that statement to Mr. Hanscom, 
\\v tells this remarkable story. Said he, "Pitezel 
\\ ;is in Detroit, and of course I was keeping hira 
<!!i! (jf the sight of the children, but one day he 
gii; to drinking while in Detroit, and before I 
knew it, he walked right in to the children, where 
tin' three children were, and they all saw him, 
;iii.l they all knew him, and he was there with the 
chiUlren, and I permitted him then to take the 
cliiMren away with him." That is what he told 
[{.ijiscom. Let us now see how that fits with 
what he told Mrs. Pitezel. "Oh," says he to 
Mrs. Pitezel, " wait until I get a house; it will 
never do to have Mr. Pitezel come and visit you, 
and have your children see him." Why he told 
Hanscom that he had called on those three chil- 
dren in. that hotel in Detroit, and that the chil- 
dren knew all about his being alive. — " Oh, wait 
until I can get a house for you, and then with the 
children away, he can come into the house and 
see you, and the children will not know it." A 
man has to be a good liar, with a strong memory. 


if he wants to make all the stories that he tells fit 
each other. His story told to Haiiscom is vitally 
different from his story told to Mrs. Pitezel. 
Poor Mrs. Pitezel, however, was lured on and on 
and on, and finally is taken to Prescott, in Canada, 
thence to Ogdensburg, New York ; thence to Bur- 
lington, Vermont, and at last to Boston to be ar- 
rested. He brings her to Boston to be arrested. 
What talent he displays! Here are the three de- 
tachments travelling separately, each kept in ig- 
norance of the existence of the others, with this 
prisoner the postmaster for Mrs. Pitezel and the 
children ; with orders to collect her letters at 
every post-office upon their route; this postmaster 
for these innocent little children, who wanted to 
write letters to Dear Mamma — every letter inter- 
cepted, and those letters found in his tin box, 
identified in broken sentences by Mrs. Pitezel on 
the witness stand when she exclaimed in anguish ; 
" Oh, that's Alice's " ; " That's Nellie's " ; " That 
was done by Alice " ; " That's my letter." Was 
ever power over a family more complete than this 
man's power over these people ? Every letter in- 
tercepted — no communication between them. Not 
one syllable from child to mother ; not one sylla- 
ble from mother to child. Did I speak wrong- 


fully, geiitleiiien, or was I cruel in making the 
statement when I said that this man was a man of 
steel, with a heart of stone ? Anyone that would 
take tliese children's letters addressed to their 
mother, and hide and conceal them, may justly be 
charged with being heartless, and with being 
cruel beyond comparison. He is the jailor of the 
family. He suppresses and destroys their mail. 
No, lie does not destroy it ; for in almost eveiy 
case of villainy, and criminality, somehow or 
other, whether it be Providential for the detection 
and punishment of the rascal or not, I cannot 
tell, but somehow the villain overreaches himself 
in his efforts at concealment, and here and there a 
telltale fact comes to light and points the uner^ 
ring finger of accusation at him, saying " That's 
the guilty man." Yes, this is a marvellous story, 
and tlie conclusion of it is not less marvellous 
than the rest. 

Mrs. Pitezel and Dessa have appeared before 
you. Mrs. Pitezel was asked, " When did you 
see those children again?" and her heartrending 
answer some of us may remember for many, many 
years to come ; it was pitiful, it was infinitely sad 
coming from a heart broken with grief — " Oh, I 
didn't see them acfain until I saw Alice and 


Nellie in the morgue in Toronto, and the last be- 
longings of little Howard in the Coroner's office 
in Indianapolis." What a tale of horror and of 
woe is infolded in tliat harrowing sentence. How 
this woman's pitiable plight should have moved 
ever}' man of us to treat her with the^ utmost 
consideration and kindness, yet I say to you, 
gentlemen, that my blood boiled with indignation 
yesterday when counsel, with mistaken zeal, at- 
tempted to harrow up that poor woman's soul, 
and attempted to press her with questions under 
disguise, for the purpose of making her appear a 
party to the conspiracy in this case. Wliy, of 
course, she knew what her husband was going to 
do ; she was particeps crhimiis to the extent that 
she concealed that fact to protect her husband, 
and that is all that they can charge against her. 
The counsel for the prisoner was compelled to 
probe with questions, and he said, "Weren't 3-ou 
arrested in Boston ? "' " Weren't you brought back 
under arrest? " " Weren't you put in the county 
prison ? " " Weren't you indicted for conspiracy ? " 
In the name of justice, has there not been enough 
done ? Yes, they think this is necessary. One 
nnn-e burden must be added. This man wants to 
make her appear to have been as black as he in the 


conspiracy. That was the object — to aigiie against 
her credibilit}^ — to make her appear to be a co-con- 
spirator with him, and therefore not worth}^ of be- 
lief. But every step of that journey was coriub- 
orated practically by Dessa ; everything that oc- 
curred in it was corroborated by her. Think of tiie 
cipher letters that he prepared ! What a disingen- 
uous, uncandid, and villainous man it is who would 
prepare a cipher letter to bring into that mother's 
presence, and read to her as if coming from her 
little children. Those children whose voices she 
could never hear again were to be misrepresented 
by that cipher letter as if speaking to her. Think 
also of the other cipher letter, purporting to have 
come from her husband. \\''ell might they be in 
cipher. Well might he attempt to disguise them 
in some form, pretending that one came from the 
children, (then dead,) and that one came from 
Benjamin F. Pitezel, (who was mouldering in his 
grave,) telling her of his whereabouts in Montreal. 
Was there ever a case of moi-e wicked and inex- 
cusable deceit than this ? Why did he adopt all 
this duplicity? Why was he guilty of all this 
subterfuge ? Why was it that he deceived every- 
body with these stories ? Gentlemen, there is but 
one answer, and it is that in the room on the 


second story of No. 1316 Callowhill Street, he 
took the life of Benjamin F. Pitezel. Now why 
do I say that? I say it because this evidence 
shows it, and I am going to demonstrate to you 
that fact out of this testimony — demonstrate to 
you the fact that this man did destroy Benjamin 
Pitezel in No. 1316 Callowhill Street. He was 
telling these malicious lies to cover up a horrible 
murder. In the first place, there is no doubt that 
it was Pitezel, whose body was found as described. 
There is no doubt that he came to his death from 
chloroform poisoning. That is an unquestioned, 
uncontradicted fact in this case. There is no 
duubt that he was seen alive up until about ten 
o'clock on Saturday night, out buying his whiskey 
to take his dilnk — buying his cigars at the cigar 
store to smoke. He had written to his wife a 
few days before that he expected to go home and 
see her, and he had told her that if he could 
succeed, he was going to bring her and the chil- 
dren on to Philadelphia. Nothing in the whole 
case, from beginning to end, to indicate a suicidal 
intent or purpose on his part — not a particle of 
evidence produced for the purpose of showing that 
he ever attempted to commit suicide. Not one 
word from the wife ; not one word from his 


letters; not one word IVdm liis neighbors, but 
what indicated u hopeful outlook on the future — 
a building up of plans a« to what he was going to 
do in that future. He saj'S, " I am going to visit 
St. Louis ; but if I can succeed in establishing a 
business here, I'm going to bring you and the 
children on to Philadelphia." That was the out- 
look of the man. He was buying his whiskey; — 
he was a free drinker; he was buying his cigars; 
he was a smoker, laying in a stock for that 
Sunday — not laying in death for himself — he 
was going to live ; he was going to drink his 
whiskey, and since he could not, under the Excise 
laws, get it on Sunday, he was laying in a stock 
on the Saturday night before, so that everything 
indicated a purpose of life, and not a purpose of 

Now, then, we see him alive and well, and ap- 
parently all right at that time. There is no 
doubt, gentlemen, in this case, for it is proved 
out of this man's own lips, (pointing to the pris 
oner) and out of the lips of ]Miss Yoke, that on 
that fateful Sunday, he, the prisoner, spent the 
greater part of the day at No. 1316 Callowhill 
Street ; in other words the day that Pitezel was 
done to deatli, Holmes was ni that house ; he is 


fixed in that house by liis own statements made 
more than once, and by the testimony of his al- 
leged wife, Miss Yoke. Remember that what she 
says is very significant. 

" Somebody came on Saturday night to his 
house, and sent a message upstairs; the man, 
wlioever it was, would not come upstairs, so 
Holmes went down to see him, and came back 
and told her " — and there again comes in the old 
deception — "it is a man from the Pennsylvania 
Railroad Company, with whom I am about to 
close a deal, and I am going out to Nicetown to- 
morrow to see him." This was not true for 
afterwards in Philadelphia, he told Miss Yoke 
that the man who called on that Saturday night 
was Benjamin F. Pitezel. Benjamin F. Pitezel 
called on that Saturday night. The man with 
whom he had an engagement the next day was 
Benjamin F. Pitezel ; and I asked Miss Yoke tlie 
question whether Holmes was at home the next 
day. The answer was : " No, he went out about 
ten or half past ten in tlie morning, and did not 
come back until the afternoon, about half past 
three or four o'clock." All of those intervening 
hours he spent in No. 1316 Callowhill Street, on 
the day of the murder. Here, then, we find Pite- 


zel was alive and well on Saturday night, at Ox 
about ten o'clock. His body is found on Tuesday 
morning in a state indicating that he had been 
dead fur probably two days. On Monday, no 
living person was about tliere; Smith came in on 
Tuesday and found the deceased. On Sunday, 
Pitezel was killed; on Sunday Holmes was in the 
house with him ; on Sunday he spent several 
hours in that house. He is the man who was 
present when Pitezel died. Benjamin F. Pitezel 
and Herman H. Mudgett, in No. 1316 Callowhill 
Street met on that Sunday. Now we can under- 
stand why he tells these stories about Pitezel 
being alive. If this was a substituted cor])se, 
then he cannot be convicted of murder. He has 
confessed the insurance fraud. He has got the 
money for the insurance. No motive or induce- 
ment to lie on that account; but because back of 
that is the crime of murder, therefore he denies 
these stories, explaining that Pitezel lives, and 
tliat a substituted body has been put in that 
place, and he tells you himself that he was there. 
He tells you, by his questions to the witnesses on 
the stand, that he was there. You remember 
M'hat he said to Miss Yoke. He did it with one 
purpose, but I argue to you a totally different 


effect. He said, "Miss Yoke, did you notice my 
appearance when I came in on thai Sunday after- 
noon, between hali past three and four?" She 
said "Yes." He aslced, "V/asn't I excited?" 
Now this man, with liis story of Pitezel's suicide 
discovered by liim, wants to make us believe that 
he came in excited, because of that discovery, but 
I will tell you the secret of his excitement. Miss 
Yoke said to him, '' No, you looked worried, and 
you were hot," Why, of course, lie was worried, 
and had reason to be worried, because those hours 
were spent in doing a fellow-being to death — 
worried — yes. It was worriment that made him 
start for the West that night with his wife ; it was 
fear that made him get away from this city before 
the body was discovered. He had cause to be 
worried that night ; there is no doubt of that. 
He was excited. I suppose such a thing would 
make him excited. I do not know of much else 
that would. You have seen him ; you have a 
right to observe him, not only as he sits here 
now, but as he stood there and conducted his own 
case. Y^ou observed him as he addressed physi- 
cians, as a physician, a skillful man, addressing 
them upon scientific subjects. You observed him, 
the man whose very life is at stake, in this awful 


4;m AnavMFXT or the Disriurr attorney. 

ordeal, displaying more calmness than even I 
could, conducting the examination of the wit- 
nesses, one after the other, and manifesting an 
absolute want of all fear, nervousness, or fright. 
Yet I think there is one thing that Avould make 
him nervous; I think there is one thing that 
would make him \vorried, and that was what took 
place at No. 1316 Callowhill Street on that day, 
not the discovery of a suicide, but the recollection 
of a murder. 

Now let us consider all his stories of what took 
place there. We have put in evidence his confes- 
sion or statement to Captain Linden. Months 
have elapsed since the murder before this state- 
ment is made. These stories that he has told about 
the substitute body — about Pitezel living and the 
children have been discounted and disbelieved ; 
everybody who has come in contact with him has 
told him that they did not believe them. He tliinks 
it is necessary to frame a new story, as he sits down 
in Moyamensing Prison, with nothing else to do 
but to coin narratives to exculpate himself. He 
fashions a new statement which is to be palmed off 
upon the authorities, and upon the public. Now, 
what is that statement? That statement admits 
that it is Pitezel who is dead ; no longer are we 


sent roaming- into Soutli America, or off to De- 
troit or up to Montreal, in Canada, to find Pitezel. 
He now admits that Pitezel is dead, and that this 
was Pitezel. It has become evident that the 
story of a substituted corpse has been so much 
discredited and is so generally disbelieved that it 
is now necessary to bow to the inevitable and ad- 
mit the body to be that of Pitezel. " Oh," he 
says, " but I did not kill him ; he died from sui- 
cide." This man who was out the night before, 
apparently happy, and making provision for his 
comfort for the next day, not intending to die, 
but intending to live, and intending to have some 
of those things that he considered necessar}' fur 
his comfort tlie next day — Holmes claims has 
committed suicide — that this man who was writ- 
ing to his wife, " I am coming out to see you, and 
if I can make arrangements to conduct business in 
J'hiladelphia, I am going to bring you and the 
children and the baby " — and that baby seemed 
to be very dear to him — " I am going to bring 
you to Philadelphia, and we'll live here " — this 
man, Holmes says, committed suicide. All the 
surroundings in this case deny that he thought of 
suicide ; the evidence springing from the finding 
of the body denies that he committed suicide, and 


the story that Holmes tells of how the suicide 
which lie alleges was committed is absolutely im- 
pof^sil)lt\ and is rebutted by the testimony in this 
case, and I will show you, I believe, as clearly as 
mathematical demonstration, that Pitezel was not 
self-destroyed, but that he was destroyed by a sec- 
ond person in that house, and in that room. Why 
do I say that? I say it because the evidence war- 
rants it. Holmes tells you that when he went in 
there, and I want to direct your attention specially 
to this remarkable story — " When I went into that 
room, I found Pitezel lying on the floor dead." 
Then lie constructs a remarkable story telling of 
a wonderful arrangement, all coined in the mint 
of his own fancy, intended to explain how Pitezel 
had committed suicide, Avhich you can readily see 
is wortliy of his keen mind and thought, and 
which never came from the mind, or from the 
thought of Pitezel, — an ignorant man, as he calls 
him in one of his confessions. Why, up there on 
the till id floor, he says, Pitezel had arranged a 
mpchnnical contrivance that would do justice to 
the ingenuity of a Holmes — to the skill of a IMud 
gptt. On a chair, according to his story, is a gal- 
lon bottle — a bottle that would hold a gallon of 
chloroform — an enormous quantity — put on a 


chair; underneath the bottle on the seat of the 
chair on each side is a block holding up the bot- 
tom of the bottle so that as the bottle reclines on 
the chair, the bottom is higher than the neck. 
There is carefully inserted through the cork, which 
cork is fastened tightly into the mouth of the bot- 
tle, — a quill, and then over the quill is fixed a 
rubber tube, which leads down fioni the chair, 
down to a towel that is spread over the face of the 
deceased, the rubber tube, using his own language, 
being " constricted at the center." The tube was 
tied at the center so as to i)revent the fluid from 
flowing rapidly down, and he says that, in that 
condition, this man came to liis death. That he 
found him there — that he found him there in that 
third-story room, and that he took those things 
away from this man, and took this man himself — 
this slight, slim built, thin man, Holmes, took 
Pitezel, weigliing 175 or 180 pounds, who must 
have been then a stiff, rigid corpse, and dragged 
him—he did not attempt to carry him across — but 
dragged him down the stairs from the third-storv 
room to the second-story room, and there placed 
him in the position of repose in which he was 
found lying, and he tells you that that condition 
of repose in which he was found on the second- 


story floor was precisely the same as that in which 
he was found on the third-story floor, describing 
him in precisely the same position down there. 

Was he describing a real scene or a fancied one? 
Where is that gallon bottle ? Where is that tube? 
Where is any part of this strange suicidal device! 
Nothing of it found, not a trace of it anywhere 
Why has it so mysteriously disappeared ? Gentle 
men, it never had an existence except in the fab 
ricated story of this prisoner. The first question 
I ask is why, in the name of common sense, did he 
not leave him on the third-story floor? What ne- 
cessity was there for bringing him down to the 
second-stor}^ ? Could he not just as well have 
burned and disfigured him up there on the third- 
story floor, as he could on the second-story, and 
would not his deception have been as successfully 
practiced on the third floor as on the second floor? 

Gentlemen, that body was never on the tliird- 
story floor. The relaxation of the invokintary 
muscles, and the involuntary discharges from the 
person took place at or immediately before disso- 
lution. These discharges were found on the sec- 
ond-story floor, not on the third-story floor, clearly 
indicating that death took place where the body 
was found. This is a very significant fact. 


The next tliiiig to which I ask your attention is 
this. When that body was found down on the 
second-story floor, it was in perfect order. The 
perfect order in which everything was showed 
that it had never been dragged down those stairs 
by a second person. The clothing was not dis- 
arranged. Dr. Scott is careful to tell you that 
the shirt and underwear were carefully tucked 
down into the trousers, with everything in their 
perfect place, just as a man would fix himself, and 
just as no one else could do it for him, and any- 
body who knows anything about the preparation 
of a corpse for burial, will readily understand 
why. A corpse is not dressed in clothing, as a 
rule, but covered, because of the difficulty of 
dressing the corpse, and a second person not being 
able to adjust the clothing in nice order all over 
the person. This man's body showed tliat he had 
never been dragged down those stairs. It was 
not disordered. 

Now gentlemen, unless he had found him be- 
fore rigor mortis set in — that is, the stiffening of 
the corpse — he could not have fixed him in that 
position on the second floor ; he could not have 
done it; it would have been perfectly impossible 
for him. Yet the very period that he fixes — the 


very time that he fixes as the time of his visit to 
that place is after that corpse is stiff and cold ; 
after it is dead and rigor mortis has set in. 

I now ask your attention to another thing. He 
said that the body was lying upon its back and 
flat. I wish one of you would tr}', when you go 
to your room — I do not want to do it here, for it 
might appear like an effort after theatrical effect 
— to lie down upon the flat of 3^our back, with 
your head on the floor, and the head turned to one 
side, and see whether any fluid, in order to go 
through that tube called the oesophagus, into the 
stomach, would ni^t have to run up hill. Put your- 
self in that position, and see if it is not so. Ac- 
cording to the prisoner's story the chloroform 
passed from the bottle down the tube to the 
towel, thence into the mouth and then into the 
stomach. Gentlemen that chloroform did not 
run up hill. 

Now, the prisoner must account for this fluid or 
chloroform in the stomach. Do you remember 
what Detective Geyer said he told him ? He said 
he told him that, as part of what lie had informed 
Fitezel to do — he had told Pitezel to take this 
stiff, as they called it — this dead body that was to 
be substituted and to put chloroform in its 


st.)mach. He said to put it in the mouth of the 
dead corpse, and then work the body like a bel- 
hnvs, so as to force it down into the stomach. 
That is what he said. And I argue to you that 
that is the way he passed the chloroform into 
Pitezel's stomach. This man who told Pitezel 
how to do it knew how to do it himself, and the 
chloroform which was found in that body, that 
had never irritated the walls and surface or lining 
of the stomach, was put in there after death, and 
the testimony of two physicians positively shows 
that it never flowed into that stomach, as Holmes 

Now let me call your attention to another 
point. In his questions to Dr. Leffman, and to 
Dr. Scott, he tried to create the impression that if 
this bottle was eighth-tenths full, would not 
chloroform flow down that pipe, and on to the 
towel, into the man's throat, filling up the throat 
and forcing itself through into the stomach. Now 
there are two difficulties about that theory that he 
did not anticipate, and I could see when Dr. 
Leffman made his answer to him, what the effect 
was. It was like a stunning blow in the face. 
When Dr. Leffman answered him, "Why," said 
he, " it couldn't flow hardly faster than it would 


evaporate in the condition in which you put it." 
Now think of that. Here is a bottle corked 
tightly, a quill drawn through the cork, a pipe 
leading from that quill down to the towel ; not one 
particle of air can get into that bottle, and unless 
the air can get into the bottle, the fluid will not 
flow out. The fluid will not flow faster than the 
air can pass it in the passage wnj of that pipe, 
and that pipe was tied in the center so as to con- 
strict it. You and I have seen it illustrated. 
When a barrel of liquid of any kind is opened, 
they knock the bung out in the top or bore a 
hole through to let the air in, or the contents will 
not flow out freely at the spigot. They bore a 
hole in a barrel, when they put the spigot in, so 
that the air may get in and cause the liquid to 
flow out. Dr. Leffman says, in speaking of this, 
" It would not flow out faster than it would 
evaporate." Gentlemen, if it would not flow out 
faster than it would evaporate, how in the name 
of common sense could it collect in the throat in 
such quantity that it would force itself down into 
the stomach after death? Again, another diffi- 
culty. The Doctor has said to you, and that is 
uncontradicted here, that a dead oesophagus will 
not pass any liquid. With the beginning of every 


act of swallowing, there is a voluntary act on your 
part. The will transfers food beyond the point 
of the tongue, and you start it upon its way down 
to the stomach. After that, it is involuntary, by 
the closing of the oesophagus behind, and the 
opening of it in front, pressing the food down to 
its place. A dead cesophagus or a dead tube 
leading to the stomach will not pass any liquid in 
that way. There must be artificial aid, or there 
must be a second person. A second person stand- 
ing in his position could do it. He would take 
the body and make a bellows of it, and create a 
vacuum, and draw the liquid down. That is what 
he would do, and that is what he did do. But the 
dead oesophagus is another difficulty in the way 
of his story. 

Now gentlemen, you are to try this case accord- 
ing to the evidence — not according to anything 
else, but according to the evidence. It is the duty 
of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to make 
out this case beyond a reasonable doubt. It is to 
be decided according to the evidence that you 
have heard, the testimony that is before you, and 
the only testimony before you is the testimony of 
these witnesses to whom I have referred. It is 


from their testimony, standing uncontradicted, 
that this man's fate must be determined. 

Let me now read you a few important answers 
from Dr. Leffman's testimony. This is very im- 
portant, and it is testimony to which I ask your 
careful attention. He testified as follows: 

" Q. You are a graduate of what school ? 

A Jefferson Medical College. 

Q. Are you an analytical chemist? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. You have taught chemistry, I believe? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. You are a professor of that branch ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. Are you connected with any institutions ? '" 
(He then goes on and tells what institutions he is 
connected with.) 

" Q. Are you familiar with the effects and use 
of chloroform ? 

A. I have seen chloroform administered a great 
many times in the course of my attendance in 
college, and I have administered it a great many 
times to small animals. I have never seen a death 
from chloroform in my experience. 

Q. What are the immediate effects of the iii- 
lialation of chloroform ? 


A. The first effect of the mhahitioii of chloro- 
form is some excitement and stimulation, \vhirh 
varies a great deal in different individuals, and 
also varies with regard to the administrator. Ex- 
pert operators can administer chloroform so as to 
produce very little disturbance. It is not exactly 
a spasmodic condition ; it is rather one of intox- 
icating excitement, which is soon followed by a 
condition of relaxation and insensibility. In 
animals the effect is usually violent, in the nature 
of a fright, but the effect soon becomes that of in- 

So that the tendency of a person under the in- 
fluence of chloroform would be to move restlessly, 
there being an inclination to motion, and a man 
could not compose himself and lie down, saying, 
" I will put this towel over my face, and I'll have 
this tube come down and feed the towel with 
chloroform, and I'll just go to sleep." He couldn't 
do it. It is physically impossible for him to do so. 
There would be a spasm; there would be con- 
tortion ; there would be motion of the body that 
would displace that pre-arranged condition. And 
why? Because he cannot control himself in ap- 
proaching unconsciousness. I think a man at the 
beginning might say, " I'll do this," yet the chloro- 


form takes away liis Ihought and his reason, so 
that he is unable to do it, and becomes uncon- 
scious in the very act of struggling. If any of 
you gentlemen have ever taken any anesthetic 
preparatory to having a tooth extracted, yon may 
remember that while you breathed the gas, you 
found it grew harder, and that suddenly, with a 
gasp and a struggle, you passed into unconscious- 
ness. Well, you could not arrange yourself after 
that, because the next thing you know is when 
the dentist taps you on the chin or on the head, 
and says, " Sit up ; it's all right." You have been 
unconscious all that time, absolutely ignorant of 
what was done to you, with no power to place 
yourself in any position. Now Dr. Leffman was 
furtlier examined : 

"■ Q. Is there any struggle before insensibility 
takes place ? 

A. There very often is a struggle by the pa- 
tient being apparently not exactl}- aware of the 
character of the struggle. It is rather an involun- 
tary struggle, or at least, a semi-conscious con- 

Q. An effort of nature, is it not, to resist the 
effects ? 

A. To resist the effects. Also it is probably 


connected with the dh"ect intoxicating effect of 
the drug. 

Q. The description given us in this case by 
those who found the body describe it as being 
found lying upon the back with one arm placed 
thus (indicating) across the bod}-, the right arm, 
and the left arm close to the side, the feet stretched 
out, heels together, in a composed condition, lying 
on the back. I want to ask you whether or not it 
is possible for a man to administer chloroform to 
himself and then compose himself into such a po- 
sition as that? 

A. I think not." 

Now this is the only testimony you have on that 
subject, and his answer is, " I think not." That 
is his opinion as an expert — that it cannot be 

'' Q. Why ? 

A. No one is aware of the time when con- 
sciousness ceases. Judging from my own expe- 
rience, I have been four times under the influence 
of anesthetics, there is a condition of confusion 
before true insensibility comes on, and it would 
be, I think, impossible for anyone to arrange the 
body in a perfectly composed condition like that 
entirely by the person's own act. It would not, I 


think, be a natural position into which the body 
would come by a person administering chh)roform 
to liimself." 

A man would be apt, if he had had it put to 
his lace, to have fallen forward on the floor, or 
caused a struggle, and have thrown down and 
displaced that tube. He could not have been 
found as this man describes him, in that composed 
condition, if the chloroform was self-administered. 
Dr. Leffman said that it could be administered 
in sleep without awaking a person. This man 
Holmes did not have to ring the doorbell to enter 
this house. He had a key. The testimony has 
shown you that, and he could enter it when he 
pleased. If the man happened to be in a drunken 
sleep, if he had a pint of whiskey, and was in an 
intoxicated sleep, then how easy the task to ad- 
minister chloroform to him, and then compose 
him, while the body was still fresh and warm, and 
put him in this position — how easily that could 
be done ! Holmes could enter with his key ; he 
had access to the house — access to the man — 
knowledge of the condition around the house — 
ability to use the chloroform — everything in his 
favor ; it was no trouble to him. 

Dr. Leffman was further examined as follows ; 


" Q. Is chloroform easy to swallow ? 

A. It is rather objectionable ; the taste. It is 
an irritable substance, and its taste is of a disa- 
greeable sweet character, so that it is even diffi- 
cult for persons to swallow it in small amounts." 

He illustrated by a few drops in water. 

This question was then put to him : 

" Q. If a person was lying on his back, flat on 
the floor, with a tube leading from a bottle con- 
taining chloroform to the mouth, could there be 
any of that pass into the stomach in that posi- 
tion ? " 

Now this is the testimony of a competent ex- 
pert on the subject, a man of keen, clear judg- 
ment ; it is the uncontradicted testimony in the 
case, and there has been no effort to conti'adict it 
— not one word said against it by anybody. It 
is the absolutely uncontradicted testimony, and 
counsel accepted it on the other side as a true 
statement. The answer was : 

"A. If it ran into the mouth in considerable 
quantity it would produce a choking effect which 
would cause the prisoner to move about and dis- 
turb the condition. I do not tliink it could flow 
quietly without disturbing the individual, from 

the tube down into the stomach. 


Q. State whether or not the direction would 
be rather up hill than down hill, to flow into tlie 
stomach through the oesophagus ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. If lying on the back> it would have to flow 

A. Rather up hill, a little higher level. 

Q. How about the bronchii and the lung cav- 
ity connecting with it in that position ? 

A. They are always distended. The bronchii 
are stiff walled and there would be some possibil- 
ity of the chloroform, probably of some of it get- 
ting into the bronchii. It is a volatile vapor, and 
some of the vapor would pass in there also. At 
the temperature of the body it is decidedly vola- 

Q. The absence of chloroform in the bronchii 
would indicate what, under those circumstances?" 

You will remember that there was none found 
in the bronchii. His answer was : " A. It 
would indicate that there was no very great 
quantity in the mouth." So that the physical 
conditions in this dead man's case deny the piis- 
oner's theory. His theory and his story is that it 
flowed down in such quanlllios that it forced it- 
self down into the stoinaeh, but none was found 


in the bronchii ; none was found to have pene- 
trated there, and I said to him, " Doctor, wliat 
does the absence of it there indicate ? " He said, 
" It indicates that there was never very much in 
tlie mouth." There could not have been. There- 
fore, there was not this quantity that Avould have 
forced it into the stomach, and the very physical 
condition of this corpse denies the story of the 
other side, that was artfully pahned off upon the 
officials, to explain the death of Benjamin F. Pite- 

Dr. Leffman further testified : 

" Q. Could the chloroform pass a dead oesoph- 
agus without outside aid of a living person ? 

A. I think not. The oesophagus is collapsed 
in its active condition, and I do not think a dead 
oesophagus could swallow any appreciable amount 
of chloroform. 

Q. Explain to the jury what the oesophagus is? 

A. It is the tube leading from the mouth to 
the stomach. It is the tube through which the 
food passes. It is a muscular tube which the 
food is passed down by a sort of contraction, the 
tube contracting after the food and expanding be- 
fore it, so that the food is quickly passed on into 
the stomach. The bronchii, or trachea, which are 


the bronchial divisions of trachea, are the tubes 
leading to the lungs. They are stiff walled, al- 
waj's open, and rather larger than the oesoiDhagus. 
At the upper part, at least. They divide and 
sub-divide, becoming very small, penetrating all 
parts of the lungs. 

Q. Does or does not the act of swallowing re- 
quire an effort of the will ? 

A. It requires an effort of certain muscles. 
Not exactly of the will. 

Q. A voluntary act ? 

A. It requires 'the act of certain muscles, of 
living tissue. It is really involuntary in the sense 
that when the food once starts we cannot control 
it. After it starts we cannot control it. The 
first part of the act is voluntary, but back of tlie 
back part of the tongue the food goes without our 
control. It requires the action of living tissue. 
It is a reflex effect ; that is, it requires an irrita- 
tion of tlie surface of the mouth and swallowing 
tube, which is returned by a nerve current back 
to the muscles that perform the act. 

Q. Would tliere be any effect upon the lining 
of the stomach visible in a post mortem examina- 
tion due to the taking of chloroform in the 
stomach in life ? 


A. I would expect to see tlie stomach irri- 
tated — the lining membrane irritated as by an 
ordinar}^ irritant. 

Q. Would the absence of that irritation indi- 
cate that the chloroform had been inserted in life 
or after death ? 

A. The absence of the irritation would indi- 
cate that the chloroform had not been in the 
stomach long enough to produce any of its effects. 
It would indicate at least an introduction of the 
chloroform very near to death. 

Q. After death would it produce an irrita- 
tion ? 

A. It would produce no irritation after death. 

Q. So that if it were inserted after death, you 
would not find the irritation ? 

A. No, sir." 

Now both doctors are positive that an examina- 
tion upon the post mortem disclosed no irritation 
of the walls of the stomach due to chloroform. 

Q. So that if it were inserted after death, 
you would not find the irritation ? 

A. No, sir. 
■ Q. If it were inserted in life, you would ex- 
pect to find that as one of the natural conse- 


A. Yes, sir." 

Now I ask your atteutioii to this question: 

" Q. Taking the history of this case as I have 
given it to you, could you say whether or not, in 
your opinion as an expert, the chloroform in this 
case was self-administered or administered by a 
second person ? 

"The Prisoner: 1 object to that question, 
for this reason, that I think it should be stated 
distinctly as to wliat the District Attorney means 
by ' as this case has been stated.' " 

The District Attorney then stated : 

" I will repeat it, I have stated to you. Doc- 
tor, that this body was found lying upon its back 
upon the floor, with one hand laid across the body 
in this wise (illustrating), and the other lying 
close to the side, both limbs stretched out, heels 
together, and the whole body in a condition or 
pose of repose, and there was congestion of the 
lungs, and empty heart, and while there was an 
alcoholic condition of the stomach, there was no 
irritation of the lining, but there was chloroform 
in the stomach, a pipe filled with tobacco lying at 
the side, a burned match beside it. Those are 
the conditions as I intended to describe them.'* 

That is the answer to the statement of this 


man ; the very condition physically and other- 
wise of this body indicate that it could not have 
been self-administered. That man did not die by 
his own hand. If he did not die by his own hand 
then it was by the defendant's hand, for he was 
the only person who was with him at the time. 

"Q. It could not have been self -ad ministered 
under those conditions ? 

.\. No, sir." 

Now you are to try this case according to the 
evidence, and that is the uncontradicted evidence 
in this case ; the evidence that this could not 
have been self-administered, the finding of that 
body, the place where it was, the surrounding 
conditions all clearly indicate that this man was 
not self-poisoned, but was poisoned by a second 

See how far in our progress we have come. We 
have established that this is Benjamin F. Pitezel, 
we have established that he has died of chloro- 
form poisoning, we have established that that was 
not self-administered, but administered by a sec- 
ond person ; we have shown that he was there in 
that house on that fateful Sunday alone with the 
dead man , we have' shown that every story told 
by him to explain his presence was false , we have 


shown lliut his theory and therefore his allegation 
of suicide was false; we have shown the effort at 
concealment when there was no other object unless 
it be that the defendant knew he had committed a 
murder and was telling these falsehoods one after 
the other to conceal it. Upon no other hypoth- 
esis can his conduct be explained than that lie 
was concealing the crime of murder. That is 
what made him flee from city to city, that is what 
made him take this wife with him upon this won- 
derful journey, that is what made him take even 
the children along, that is what made him conceal 
the letters and that is w^hat made him shut off 
communication between the different members of 
that household. This man was fleeing from the 
shadow of murder ; that was the crime he was 
seeking to avoid, that was what he was fleeing 
from. It w'as the menace of pursuit and detec- 
tion that made him take this journey which, if it 
had not been interrupted at Boston, would only 
have terminated when he reached Berlin with his 
alleged wife. Miss Yoke. 

I have now occupied joxxv time a great. deal 
longer than I expected, and I trust you will at- 
tribute it only to the desire I have to fully aid you 
by every thought I can present on this testimony. 


You are to listen to counsel upon the otlier 
side. I do not know what they will say, I do not 
know what their line of defence will be. You 
must remember that the Commonwealth is 
obliged to grope in the dark ; we have not the 
aid of an opening speech from my friend to in- 
di' "^e the line of defence, so I am left completely 
\n the dark as to what course the argument on 
the other side is going to take. But I want 
to call your attention to the limitation put upon 
it by the evidence. Under this evidence there 
is only one thing the counsel can argue to you, 
which is that Pitezel committed suicide and was 
not murdered. There is nothing else in this case 
but that narrow question, and it is in the line 
of that thought I have called your attention to 
the facts and circumstances, and the testimony of 
the experts which exclude the theory of suicide. 
It is in that connection I have called your atten- 
tion to Pitezel's own declaration and what he said 
and did, indicating his hopeful outlook on the 
future, and shown that there is not a scintilla of 
evidence here to indicate any intention upon his 
part to commit suicide, and I ask you if it is pos- 
sible upon the statements of this man concerning 
the mechanical contrivance of a bottle, a tube 


and a towel ; the condition in which the deceased 
was [ihiced and the circumstances under whicli 
the body was found, you are going to set aside the 
weight of this mass* of testimony pointing to 
a guilty crime and say that this subterfuge, this 
tricky statement shall work an acquittal of the 
prisoner, when the charge is so thoroughly and 
completely brought home to him by the evidence 
in this case ; such evidence as that of Dr. Leff- 
man, who says it would be impossible for the 
chloroform to be self-administered, the untenable 
description of the contrivance ftir the alleged self- 
adminstration in which, the Doctor says, there is 
no provision made for an air vent so that the air 
might enter and the liquid flow out of the bottle. 
The story of the explanation of how suicide was 
committed will not stand the test of criticism, and 
how the defence of suicide is going to be sup[)orted 
by any reasonable argument I am at a loss to un- 
derstand. I ask you to confine yourselves to the 
testimony concerning the facts in this case : not 
the statements of counsel, not the things outside 
of the case, but to the evidence as you have heard 
it and as I have endeavored to review it and re- 
call it to your memory so that you ma}^ be able to 
be guided by it in reaching a proper result. 


Now this btrange trial is drawing rapidly tu a 
close. It has been dramatic in its incidents, but 
those incidents have nothing to do with the case. 
The fact that this man appears without counsel 
and then with counsel has nothing to do with the 
question of his guilt or innocence. The simple 
question is, Has the Commonwealth of Pennsyl- 
vania, as it is bound to do, made out its case 
beyond a fair and reasonable doubt ? If you 
believe it has, then your duty is to find a ver- 
dict of murder of the first degree against this 

I told you in the opening that, while iu this 
bill of indictment there were several degrees of 
guilt which you might find in your verdict, and 
that you might also find a verdict of not guilty, 
yet the evidence would point indubitably to one 
result ; this man is either innocent and ought to 
be acquitted, or is guilty of murder in the first de- 
gree. There is no middle ground in this case. It 
is the highest crime known to the law under the 
circumstances surrounding the deceased, fur he 
was poisoned to death, and the poisoning itself 
indicates a clear intent to kill. If this man were 
poisoned then there was the purpose to kill, and 
it was a wilful, premeditated and deliberate mur- 


der, and lliis prisoner is responsible in the highest 
form of verdict you can render. 

I know it is not a pleasant or agreeable duty to 
be called upon as you are, taken from your ordi- 
nary pursuits and selected to sit here and as part 
of the administration of criminal justice, to sit in 
judgment upon the life of a fellow man. You 
doubtless find it repugnant and disagreeable, ai.d 
I can readily understand how you might shrink 
from finding such a verdict as the one I ask in- 
volving the consequences it does; so as my con- 
cluding thought I appeal to your manhood and 
sense of right and ask you to do what the crier of 
the court has asked you to do, " Stand together, 
good men and true." 

You have hearkened to the evidence. I ask 
you to complete the work Avhich the law has cast 
upon you by fearlessly, manfully and honestlj' de- 
claring your judgment upon this evidence, no 
matter what that judgment may involve to this 
man ; no matter what its consequences may be to 
the Commonwealth. It requires courage to dis- 
charge one's duty in times of peace ; in the tem- 
ple of justice, as part of the administration of the 
criminal law, just as it does upon the field of bat- 
tle in its flame and smoke. The man who faces 


the cannon's month, the man who faces the charg- 
ing legiment, has no greater or higlier conrage 
tlian tlie man who sits calmly in the place of a 
juror, rising in his majesty, might and strength as 
an individnal man to discharge fearlessly a great 
and solemn duty. I ask you to stand as men, and 
if you believe this man is guilty, aye, though it 
consign him to punishment that involves death, he 
true to your conscience, be true to your oaths, 
discharge that duty fearlessly in the sight of God 
and man, and remember you are not responsible 
for his fate. That was sealed in the silence of 
that Sunday in No. 1316 Callowhill Street. He 
wrouglit the facts and fashioned the circumstances 
that brought him here. You are not responsible 
for his being here or for his trial upon this charge ; 
you are only respojisible as good men and true for 
the finding of a righteous, an honest, and a just 

I ask you, therefore, while guarding against 
prejudice, while guarding against any false ap- 
peal, not to be afraid to do your duty like men 
and not to cower in the presence of that duty 
though it involves things upon your part whicii 
are repugnant, things that are repellant, things 
that you would far rather shift away from you and 


uvoicl encountering. I ask you to Tace the duly 
raid acquit j-ourselves like men. I \iwo\\ that 
great stress will be laid upon " A i easonable 
doubt." "If you have a doubt this man is enti- 
tled to the benefit of it." So he is, but it must 
not be a doubt suggested by the desire to avoid 
tlie performance of an unpleasant duty. If the 
evidence fails to make the case out he is entitled 
to his acquittal, but you are asked to perform no 
higher function here than in your own home or 
office or place of business. If this evidence would 
convince you as men outside of this Court of this 
man's guilt it ought to convince you equally in 
the jury box. 

There are no tuo standards of judgment, there 
are no two standards by which to reach the result. 
Your minds must operate siin])ly and only as plain 
lioiiest men. Isecause 3"0u are sworn as jurors; 
you are given no higlier [lOwer of discrimination, 
no greater judgment ; you are asked sini[i]y io ae- 
([liit yourselves as in the everyday affairs of life. 
If this testimony convinces you of his guilt you 
must say so ; if it convinces you of his innocence 
lionestly then yt)U should acquit. 

I ask 3'ou to remember this testimony, I ask 
you to remember that it is uncontradicted, that 


there is not one scintilla of evidence to attack tlie 
statement of Dr. Leffnian, that there is not one 
scintilla of evidence to attack the statement of 
Dr. Scott or of Dr. Mattern ; those statements 
stand before you unchallenged. Nay, I go further 
and say they stand before you admitted. They 
are admitted in this case. In the face of this evi- 
dence and his statements ; in the face of his flight 
far away, there can be but one conclusion in your 
minds I am sure, and that is that the man in the 
dock is guilty in the manner and form in which 
lie stands indicted of this ciime. 

I thank you for your patience and earnest atten- 
tion. I iiave been talking to you for nearly two 
liours and a half, very much longer than I ex- 
pected, and although perhaps uninteresting and 
rather prosaic and full of detail, you have given 
me your earnest attention from beginning to end. 
I ask you to give it now to my adversary and then 
to the Court and to the end, and with your ver- 
dict whatever it may be conscientiously reached I 
will be satisfied. 


Commonwealth 1 Court of Oyer & Terminer 

vs. I Philadelphia County. 

Herman W. Mudgett, alias ( Sept. Sessions, 1895. 

H. H. Holmes. J No. 466. 

motion for new trial, 

Arnold, J. The first three reasons assigned for a 
new trial, to wit, that the verdict is against the evi- 
dence and the law, render necessary a statement of the 
facts, a? +,hey were developed by the evidence at the 

The defendant aud Benjamin F. Pitezel,the deceased, 
were engaged in a conspiracy to cheat and defraud the 
Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Company of Philadel- 
phia. In pursuance of their scheme, Pitezel obtained 
a policy of insurance on his life, dated November 9th, 
1893, for $10,000, payable to Carrie A. Pitezel, his wife. 
Pitezel lived in St. Louis, and the defendant at Wil- 
mette, a town about fourteen miles from Chicago. 
Pitezel left St. Louis to come to Philadelphia on July 
29th, 1894, rented and occupied the house No. 1316 Cal- 
lowhill Street, assumed the name of B. F. Perry, and 
held himself out as a dealer in patents. The defendant 
appears to have come to Philadel[)hia shortly there- 
after, and took board for himself and putative wife on 
August 5th, 1894, at No. 1905 N. 11th Street, a distance 
of nearly two miles from the house in which Pitezel 
lived. On Tuesday, September 4th, 1894, Pitezel was 
found dead in his house ; his body was lying on the 
27 (465) 


floor, composed in position, but decomposed in condi- 
tion ; his right arm was laid across his breast; his left 
arm was lying by his side ; his breast was burned, ex- 
cept that part of it which was covered by his arm ; his 
face was black from decomposition, and there was a 
strench arising from his body, which indicated that he 
had been dead for several days. Beside him was a 
pipe, filled with tobacco, but not smoked ; also a burnt 
match. There was also a broken bottle, containing a 
mixture of benzine, chloroform and probably ammonia, 
near to his side, so that the appearance of things indi- 
cated that there had been an explosion. Pieces of the 
bottle, however, were not scattered about the floor, nor 
sticking in the side of Pitezel, as might have been ex- 
pected in case of an explosion, but they were all on the 
inside of the bottle. 

Pitezel was last seen alive by several witnesses on 
Saturday, September 1st, 1894, on the evening of which 
day he purchased a pint of whiskey, and took it home 
with him. Subsequent developments proved that Pite- 
zel came to his death on Sunday, September 2d, 1894, 
and that his body lay unseen by any witness, so far as 
knuwn, until Tuesday, September 4th, 1894, when it was 
discovered by a man named Eugene Smith, who had 
called to see Pitezel on the day before, but not finding 
Pitezel, and getting no response to his call for Pitezel, 
went away and returned the following day, Tuesday, 
and upon going to the second story, saw Pitezel's body 
lying on the floor. Smith went immediately to the 
police station, obtained two officers, and also a neigh- 
boring doctor, with all of whom he returned to the 
house, and found the body in the condition above de- 
scribed. The coroner's physician was also sent for, 
and upon an examination of the organs and vital parts 
of the deceased, the conclusion of the coroner's physi- 
cian, and Dr. Scott, who took part in the examination, 
was that Pitezel had been killed by chloroform poison- 
ing, and that the chloroform was not self-administered. 


His lungs were congested ; his heart was empty, which 
indicated sudden death ; there was very little food in 
his stomach; his kidneys were alcoholic and so was his 
stomach. The doctors found half an ounce or more of 
chloroform in the stomach, but as the stomach was not 
irritated, their conclusion was that the chloroform was 
put in after death. On the night of September 2d, 
1894, the defendant suddenly and hurriedly left Phila- 
delphia, giving a false destination to his landlady. He 
had been away from his boarding house from 10:30 A. 
M. to 4 P. M. that day, and when he returned he was 
excited, nervous and worried, and his underclothing 
was wet with perspiration. Pitezel was buried, under 
the name of Porry, as a pauper in the Potter's Field. 
Several days thereafter, the officers of the life insur- 
ance company received word from the defendant that 
the man who was buried under the name of B. F. 
Perry, was the person who was insured in their com- 
pany under the name of Benjamin F. Pitezel, and he 
offered to furnish proof of identification of the body. 
The agent of the company went to see the defendant at 
his house at Wilmette, but did not find him. He 
found, however, a lady who said she was the defend- 
ant's wife. Shortly thereafter, a letter was received 
from the defendant, stating that he had heard, through 
his wife, that he was wanted, and in due course the 
defendant came to Philadelphia after having arranged 
that Alice Pitezel, the daughter of the dead man, 
should also come here for the purpose of identify- 
ing the body. Accordingly the body was exhumed on 
September 22d, 1894, and was fully identified by the 
defendant and by Alice Pitezel as the body of B. F. 
Pitezel. On that identification, the insurance com- 
pany paid the amount of the policy, on September 
24th, 1894, to one Jeptha D. Howe, attorney in fact for 
Carrie A. PitezeL After the money was obtained, it 
was taken to St. Louis, where Howe retained $2,500 for 
a fee ; $5,000 was obtained from Mrs. Pitezel by the de- 


fendaat, upon his statement that her husband owed 
that amount on a note; and the balance was used in 
paying sundry expenses, Mrs. Pitezel retaining only 
$500 of the money. The note which the defendant 
stated he paid with the $5,000 was not a valid note; 
nothing had ever been advanced on it; nothing was 
due upon it ; and nothing was actually paid upon it, the 
defendant, in fact, keeping the money. After the 
money was received, the defendant deceived Mrs. Pite- 
zel by telling her that her husband was not dead ; that 
he would return to her as soon as possible, coming to 
her by way of Puget Sound. He also obtained from 
her the custody of her two children, Howard and 
Nellie, taking them to Indianapolis, as he said, to meet 
their sister Alice, where the family were to be reunited. 
He also induced Mrs. Pitezel to leave her home, taking 
her remaining daughter and a babe with her, and going 
to Detroit, upon the promise of the defendant that he 
would produce her husband in that city. There he 
registered her under a false name, kept her two or 
three weeks without producing her husband, giving 
her, among his excuses for not doing so, his assertion 
that Pitezel was being watched by detectives. From 
Detroit, he led her to Toronto ; thence to Prescott, 
Canada; thence to Ogdensburg, New York; and thence 
to Burlington, Vermont, all the while promising to 
produce her husband to her, and her children also. In 
some of these places, he rented furnished houses for 
her to live in, and set her to housekeeping. In Bur- 
lington, Vermont, he put dynamite in the cellar among 
the potatoes, telling her to take the dynamite from the 
cellar and carry it to the top of the house. She did 
take it from the cellar, but did not take it to the top of 
the house, for the reason, as she said, that it might ex- 
plode, and do damage to the things stored there. From 
Burlington, Vermont, Mrs. Pitezel, and the two chil- 
dren she had with her, went with a messenger sent l-.y 
the defendant, to Boston, where the defendant and 


Mrs. Pitezel were arrested about November 19th, 1894, 
aud held to await requibitiou. The defeudant was 
wanted by the authorities iu Texas upon a charge of 
horse stealing, aud also by the authorities in Peuusyl- 
vania to answer for cheating aud defrauding the life 
insurance company, or any offense which miglit be 
alleged against him During all the journey in search 
of her husband aud children, the defendant told Mrs. 
Pitezel that ho was in correspondence with her chil- 
dren, and had seen her husband, and would produce 
him and them at the various places to which he took 
her; but all this was a deception and a falsehood, for 
she never saw her husband, and all she saw of her chil- 
dren were the dead bodies of two of them at the morgue 
in Indianapolis. After the defendant was brought to 
Philadelphia, he was indicted upon the charge of con- 
spiracy to cheat and defraud the life insurance com- 
pany, by palming off a spurious body as that of Pitezel, 
and on that indictment, pleaded guilty, and sentence 
was suspended awaiting further investigation by the 
authorities. Mrs. Pitezel was confined iu prison seven 
months aud then discharged. In consequence of 
further investigation, an indictment was found by the 
Grand Jury on September 12th, 1895, charging the de- 
feudant with the murder of B. F. Pitezel on September 
2d, 1894. At the tiial, it was proved by several wit- 
nesses, and admitted by the defendant's counsel, that 
B. F. Pitezel was dead. It was also proved by the 
statement of the defendant to the superintendent of 
police, and one of the detectives of Philadelphia, as 
well as admitted by defendant's counsel, that the de- 
fendant was in Pitezpl's house on Sundaj^ September 
2d, 1894, the day on which, according to the evidence, 
Pitezel was killed. The theory of the defendant's 
counsel, for no evidence was offered by him to sub- 
stantiate the theory, was that it was a case of self- 
murder; and that the defendant, fearing that the 
policy of insurance would be vitiated by the suicide of 


Pitezel arranged the body in the manner in which it 
was found, set fire to and burned it, and placed tlie 
broken bottles alongside of it, for the i)urpose of mak- 
ing it appear that Pitezel had died an accidental death, 
caused by the explosion. 

Three questions were submitted to the jury to de- 
termine. First, was Benjamin F. Pitezel dead. Sec- 
ond, did he die a violent death ; and third, if he died a 
violent death, did he commit suicide or did the defend- 
ant kill him. An answer to either one of these ques- 
tions in favor of the defendant would have entitled 
him to an acquittal. The jury resolved them all 
against the defendant, and found him guilty of murder 
of the first degree. Upon the hearing of the motion 
for a new trial, I had the valuable aid of my colleagues, 
Judges Thayer and Willson. The evidence was le- 
hearsed and it is our unanimous opinion that the ver- 
dict of guilty of murder of the first degree is fully jus- 
tified by the evidence, and upon the facts of the case, 
there is no ground shown for a new trial. 

The fourth reason assigned is new matter discovered 
since the trial. At the argument it was developed that 
this so-called after-discovered evidence was manufac- 
tured for the purpose and is utterly unworthy of belief, 
and we will not notice it farther. 

The fifth and sixth reasons assigned are that the 
District Attorney, in his opening speech, made state- 
ments which were not proven, and which related to 
other crimes which could not be part of the evidence; 
and that the Court erred in not allowing an affidavit to 
be filed, and an exception to the statements made in 
the District Attorney's opening speech. These rea- 
sons, no doubt, are based upon a recent ruling of the 
Supreme Court, in Holden vs. The Penna. E. E. Co., 
1G9 Pa., 1, in which that Court granted a new trial be- 
cause of the remarks of counsel in summing up the 
evidence ; abuse of witnesses, and other outrageous 
misconduct, which the Supreme Court properly re- 


buked, by granting a new trial. A similar decision 
was niade in Waldron vs. Waldron, 156 U. S. 360 and 
cases cited, ''t is manifest that there is a difference 
between opening speeches and summing up. In sum- 
ming up a case, counsel can be and should be kept 
strictly within the evidence given at the trial, and 
abuse of witnesses without cause, and without decency, 
should be promptly checked, and if repeated, should 
militate against a verdict obtained by such means. In 
the opening, however, counsel often state matters 
which they expect to prove, but fail to prove^ either 
from want of witnesses, or by reason of the evidence 
being excluded by the Judge, who cannot be expected 
to know in advance whether the case outlined by coun- 
sel will be permitted to be proven. As to the exception, 
it must be noticed that an exception is always pre- 
ceded by an objection, and the exception is then taken 
to the act of the Judge in sustaining or overruling the 
objection. In this case, no objection whatever was 
made, and consequently an exception has nothing 
upon which it can be based. An exception, like an ob- 
jection, must be taken at the time the objectionable 
act is done, either in offering evidence; or in remarks 
to the jury. The District Attorney's opening speech 
was made on Monday, October 28th, and no exception 
thereto was asked for until November 1st, or four days 

The remarks of Judge Dean in Commonwealth vs. 
Welier, 167 Penna., 164, are so apropos in this connec- 
tion, that we quote them verbatim : " The attitude of 
defendant's counsel, as exhibited by the record, is in 
substance this: Counsel for the Commonwealth erred 
in the matter of his addressing the jury. I erred by 
remaining silent when I should have promptly brought 
his error to the notice of the Court by objection ; the 
Court committed no error, but its judgment should be 
reversed because I did not perform my duty." This 
illustrates the dilemma in which counsel are placed by 


their own conduct. According to all law and reason, 
the exception was- asked fur too late, even if it had 
been preceded hy an objection made in time. 

If it be said that the defendant was at this time 
without counsel, the answer is that it was his volun- 
tary and deliberate choice. He was indicted Septem- 
ber 12th, 1895. On September 23d, he was arraigned. 
The record shows that his two counsel were present 
with him at the arraignment. October 28th, or five 
weeks thereafter, was fixed for his trial. Counsel 
stated at the arraignment that they would not be 
ready, and when the case was called for trial moved 
for a continuance, which being refused, they first 
threatened to withdraw from the case, and on being 
told that they could not wiilidiaw without leave of the 
Court, tliey entered upon the trial by questioning the 
talesmen, as they were called to serve as jurors. 

After being thus engaged for some time they held a 
consultation with their client, and the defendant then 
announced that he had dismissed his counsel and 
would thereafter conduct the case himself. Other 
counsel were assigned him, but he rejected their serv- 

The Constitution of Pennsylvania as well as of the 
United States, secures to persons accused the right to 
have counsel to assist them at their trial, but it does 
not attempt to force counsel upon them. The right of 
ever}' man to plead his own cause is a natural inherent 
right. The right to have counsel is given by the Con- 
stitution, and no man can be deprived of the right to 
defend himself or be compelled to have the services of 

The Constitution also secures to the defendant the 
right to a speedy public trial. This was given in re- 
turn for the right which the Commonwealth possesses 
to a like speedy public trial, and it is not within the 
power of persons accused to say when they will be 
willing to be tried, or to defeat a trial by dilatory mo- 


tions and practices such as were resorted to in tliis 
case. Nor was the defendant without counsel, for dur- 
ing the recesses of Court and in the morning before 
the openiog of Court he was in consultation with the 
same counsel whom he had dischai'ged, and on the 
evening of the second da3^ the counsel determined to 
return and take part in the trial, but [permitted the de- 
fendant to make another dilatory motion, which was 
overruled, and the counsel immediately returned to 
the conduct of the case. 

The opening speech ot" the District Attorney con- 
tained no statement not induced and justified by the 
remarks of the counsel for the defendant at the very 
beginning of the trial, when they asked for a continu- 
ance, because, as they said, there were to be three 
cases of murder tried, two of which were alleged t<j 
have been committed out of the jurisdiction of this 

In Commonwealth vs. Hanlon, 8 Philadelphia Ee- 
ports, 423, it was decided by Judge Ludlow, that refer- 
ence in opening by the prosecuting attorney to the fact 
that the prisoner had been guilty of other crimes is not 
a reason for a new trial. The Court very properly con- 
sidered an opening speech like an offer of evidence 
which is rejected. An offer of evidence, which is re- 
jected, does not furnish a reason for the release of a 
prisoner charged with murder or to annul the verdict 
and require a new trial. Com. vs. Crossmire, 156 Pa., 

In the summing up of the District Attorney, no 
allusion was made to these extra-territorial murders, 
evidence of which had been excluded, for the reason 
that no such connection between them was shown, as 
was required in Shaffner vs. The Commonwealth, 72 
Pa. 60, another case of murder by poisoning in order 
to obtain insurance money; although there are c;ises 
in which evidence of two murders at the same time 
may be given on the trial of one, as in Brown vs. The 


Commonwealth, 76 Pa. 319; or cases in which an in- 
heiitauce is secured by the killing of two persons at 
different times, as in Goerson vs. The Commonwealth, 
99 Pa. 388, and 106 Pa. 477. 

In charging the jury I was careful to instruct them 
that it was their duty to lay aside all impressions, and 
not be influenced by anything which they heard of 
other cases than the one on trial and decide the case 
only on the evidence given at the trial. Here I am 
tempted to say that the offer by the District Attorney 
of evidence of the murder of other members of Pite- 
zel's family might well have been admitted to show the 
defendant's purpose to kill them all in order to rid 
himself of their claims for the money he had illegally 
obtained horn Mrs. Pitezel, and therefore the opening 
speech of the District Attorney was not open to ob- 
jection. The violent death of at least four members of 
the family after they were within the defendant's toils, 
woidd justify the belief that they were murdered by 
the defendant, and that the murders were all part of 
one common design, and included the entire Pitezel 
household. The dynamite placed in the Burlington 
house by the defendant with his directions to Mrs. 
Pitezel to remove it, looks as if he intended to take her 
off by an explosion. 

The seventh reason is that the District Attorney, in 
his closing speech, mentioned the death of the children, 
and the finding of their dead bodies in the morgue. 
In all cases of crime, especially cases of alleged mur- 
der, we naturally want to know what was the motive 
for the killing, although absence of proof of motive is 
not fatal to the prosecution. Commonwealth vs. Buc- 
cieni, 153 Pa. 525. The motive alleged for the killing 
in this case was a desire to obtain the insurance upon 
the life of Pitezel. The insurance money was payable to 
his wife. When she received the money, the defendant 
obtained from her at least $5,000 of it, in payment of 
an alleged debt which Pitezel did not owe. It became 


necessary i'or him to induce Mrs. Pitezel to believe 
that tiie money was obtained by fraud, and tlierefore 
did not belong to her; that her husband was still alive, 
and the defendant promised to produce Pitezel to his 
wife in the several cities to which he took her. He 
also obtained possession of three of her children, and 
lured her through the several cities in the vain search 
for her children, as well as her husband. As his 
motive was thus to obtain her money by deceiving her, 
it was necessary to receive her evidence of the decep- 
tion practiced upon her in the several cities to which 
he took her, and having entered upon the story of her 
travels with him it was impossible, as well as improper, 
to receive only part of that story, and not hear all of 
it to its conclusion, which was that she did not find her 
husband, and that she never saw her childien until she 
saw their dead bodies in the morgue. No evidence was 
received as to the manner of the death of the children, 
or who caused their death, if they had been killed, but 
a simple statement completing the story of his decep- 
tion and falsehood practiced upon her, without in any 
way whatever incriminating him in their murder, if 
they were killed. 

Eighth, ninth, and tenth reasons. Much of what 
has been said under the seventh reason applies to 
these reasons. As Mrs. Pitezel's story was clearly 
competent evidence in the case, it could not be broken 
up into pieces and only part of it given. The effort of 
the defendant to drag into the case troubles which 
Pitezel had in Terre Haute, Indiana, had nothing 
whatever to do with the case, and we think the evi- 
dence was properly rejected. 

Eleventh reason, (a) Puling that defendant's wife 
was a competent witness. A lady named Georgiana 
Yoke, who was married to the defendant under the 
name of Howard, on January 17th 1894, was called as a 
witness to testify against the defendant. It was 
alleged that, at that time, he had a wife living at 


"Wilinette, Illinois, to whom tlie agent of the insurance 
Company went when he was looking for the defendant. 
The agent of the company obtained from the lady who 
answered to the name of Mrs. Holmes a photograph of 
herself, with a babe in her arms, which ai)pears to be 
from three to six months old. Shortly thereafter, the 
agent of the company received a letter from the de- 
fendant, stating that he wrote it in consequence of the 
message left with his wife. In another letter from the 
defendant he alluded to his marriage to this lady in 
Illinois. Upon these statements made by the defend- 
ant in writing, it was considered that tlie marriage 
with Miss Yoke was null and void ; that she was not his 
wife; and consequently she was permitted to testify 
against him. When the testimony was offered, I was 
inclined to believe that the jury were to pass upon the 
question of his previous marriage, in order to deter- 
mine the competency of the witness, but subsequent 
reflection, led me to the opinion that, as the Judge is 
the trier of the competency of the witnesses (Lyon vs. 
Daniels, 12 Pa. 197) the matter should not be referred 
to the jury, and consequently it was not in my charge; 
but I quoted her testimony to the jury and treated it 
as competent, upon my judgment that the marriage 
between the defendant and Miss Yoke was absolutely 
null and void. Second marriages, where there is a 
former husband or wife living, are not only voidable, 
but they are absolutely void ah initio. Thomas vs. 
Thomas, 124 Pa. 646. Divorces are not granted in such 
cases, but decrees of nullity of marriage may be ob- 
tained, according to the forms of procedure followed 
in divorce cases. But a decree of nullity is not es- 
sential, the only object of obtaining a decree being to 
make certain, positive, and record evidence of the 
nullity of the marriage. 

In 1st Greenleaf on evidence, Section 339, it is said 
that, " On a trial for polygamy, the first marriage be- 
ing proved and not controverted, the woman with whom 


the second marriage is had is a competent witness, for 
the second marriage is void." . . . "It seems, 
however, that a reputed or supposed wife may be ex- 
amined on her voir dire, as to facts showing the in- 
validity of the marriage." * * * "Where the parties 
had lived together as man and wife, believing them- 
selves lawfully married, but had separated on discover- 
ing that a prior husband supposed to be dead, was still 
living, the woman was held a competent witness 
against the second husband, even as to facts communi- 
cated to her by him during her cohabitation." 

In this state, it was decided by Judge Pearson, of the 
Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, that a 
party to a second marriage is a competent witness to 
prove its illegality. Shaak's Estate, 4 Brewster, 305. 

In the present case. Miss Yoke testified that, after 
her marriage, the defendant talked with her about his 
first wife, who lived in Gilmanton, New Hampshire, 
and told her that he had received word that the woman 
in Gilmanton was dead. At the argument, the District 
Attorney produced a certified copy of the record of a 
proceeding in divorce in Cook County, Illinois, by Her- 
man W. Mudgett against Clara A. Mudgett, and in his 
petition sworn to December 11th, 1886, the present de- 
fendant swore that he was married to Clara A. Mudgett 
on July 4th, 1878, at Alton, New Hampshire. The case 
was dismissed by the court on June 4th, 1891, for want 
of prosecution. As the competency of this witness was 
a question for the court, the production of this record 
satisfies me that he was not only married to the lady 
in Wilmette, Illinois, but that he had a former wife liv- 
ing in New Hampshire at the time he married Miss 
Yoke, and consequently the marriage with her was null 
and void. 

Proof of the ceremony of marriage in such cases is 
not necessary. No better evidence is required than a 
man's declaration against himself in a question involv- 
ing the competency of a putative wife to testify against 


him. This is called direct proof, and is as effective as 
proof of a ceremony. Heffner vs. Heffuer, 23 Penna. 
104; Greeuawalt vs. McEnelley, 85 Penna. 352; even in 
criminal cases arit^iug out of marriage ; Commonwealth 
vs. Wyman, 3 P>rewster, 338; 2 Greenleaf on Evidence, 
section 461, and note. 

In Forney vs. Hallaeher, 8 Sergeant & Eawle, page 
159, Judge Gibson decided : — 

That, "to support an action for criminal conversation 
there must be an actual marriage, but it is quite an- 
other thing to say that such marriage shall be proved 
only by the oath of an eyewitness to the marriage 
ceremony. We at once feel the good sense of the rule 
that excludes the mere reputation of marriage which 
always arises fi'om the declarations or ads of the plain- 
tiff himself. But how a defendant's unqualified and 
positive acknowledgment of the marriage in fact can 
be excluded on any principle or rule of evidence I am 
at a loss to discover." 

Inasmuch as the defendant had in writing admitted 
that the lady in Wilmette was his wife, and also written 
about his marriage to her, I have no doubt whatever 
that his declaration against himself justified me in con- 
sidering him a married man at the time he entered into 
the contract with Miss Yoke, and therefore that she 
was not his lawful wife. Consequently she was a com- 
petent witness against him, and as such she was prop- 
erly admitted. 

Eleven, (b) Allowing evidence of the whereabouts 
of the children and finding their dead bodies in To- 
ronto. This has been sufficiently answered in the con- 
sideration of the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth rea- 

Eleven, (c) Permitting jurors to enter the box who 
upon their voir dire stated that they had formed or ex- 
pressed an opinion regarding the guilt or innocence of 
the defendant. The question raised by this reason has 


been so often considered by the Supreme Court of this 
State, and decided in favor of the competency of such 
jurors, that it would be a work of supererogation to 
cite all the authorities in support thereof. 

I refer to Commonwealth vs. Crossmire, 156 Penna. 
304, as probably the latest decision on the subject. No 
more can be required of persons called as jurors than 
their oath that they can decide the case according to 
the evidence, laying aside any impression they may 
have or opinions they have formed. That evidence 
may be required to change their opinion does not mili- 
tate against them as jurors, for it is manifest that with 
jurors as well as judges evidence is required to change 
impressions or opinions. There was no talesman re- 
ceived as a juror who did not come clearly within the 
rule laid down, and was not entirely competent to serve 
as a juror according to all the law on that subject. The 
jury was an uncommonly intelligent jury, selected by 
the prisoner himself, who seemed disposed to reject all 
who were untidy and unintelligent in appearance. The 
defendant certainly had twelve intelligent and thought- 
ful men to decide his case. They were selected by him- 
self, with discretion and judgment. They were un- 
biased by fixed immovable opinions, listened atten- 
tively to the evidence, and rendered a verdict accord- 
ing to their oaths on the evidence only. 

The twelfth reason is that the court erred in charg- 
ing the jury by giving undue prominence to the evi- 
dence given by the Commonwealth, and not sufficient 
prominence to the evidence favorable to the prisoner. 

The statement upon which this reason is based is not 
true. There was no evidence given by the defense, 
and, therefore, nothing of that character for the judge 
to call to the attention of the jury. 

In the argument it was alleged that the cross-ex- 
amination furnished the prisoner's defense. As before 
said, there was a theory advanced that Pitezel com- 
mitted suicide ; that he arranged a bottle containing 


chloroform and attached it to a rubber tube with a 
quill outlet; that he put the bottle on a chair beside 
him, and that the chloroform ran down through the 
tube into or upon a cloth on his mouth, and thus pro- 
duced his death, but there was no evidence that such a 
bottle or tube was found in the house. 

Detective Geyer stated that the defendand told him 
that the body found at No. 1316 Callowhill Street was 
a substituted body which he had procured from a 
medical friend in New York, and brought to Phila- 
delphia in a trunk; that he met Pitezel in Philadelphia 
and gave him the check for the trunk, and then left for 
the West, and the next place he saw Pitezel was in 
Detroit, Michigan. He stated that he told Pitezel how 
to prepare the substituted body, by laying it on the 
floor, placing an arm across its breast, pouriug a liquid 
iuto the stomach and then setting fire to it. 

Geyer testified in a subsequent interview, that the 
defendant told him that the story about there being a 
substituted body in No. 1316 Callowhill Street was not 
true, and that the body found there was really the body 
of Benjamin F. Pitezel. He also told the detective that 
when he went to the house on Sunday, September 2, 
1894, he found Pitezel dead on the third story, lying on 
the floor, with his arm across his breast, with a bottle 
of chloroform on a chair with a gum hose and quill at- 
tached to it, so arranged that the chloroform would fall 
on a piece of cloth across Pitezel's mouth; that he 
found a note which told him to look in a bottle in a 
closet, that he broke the bottle and found a note in 
cipher from Pitezel, which told him that Pitezel was 
tired of life and had committed suicide ; that he found 
the body in the third story and dragged it to the second 
story back room and placed it in the position in which 
it was found, taking a bottle of liquid and placing it 
alongside the head, breaking it, lighting a pipe, throw- 
ing the pipe on the floor, lighting matches and throw- 
ing them down, to make it appear as though an ex- 


plosion had taken place there. He told Captain Linden, 
superintendent of police, the same stories, retracting 
the first before telling him the second. The testimony 
of Detective Geyer and of Captain Linden on this sub- 
ject was read in the charge to the jury. 

Tliat the first story, to wit, that there had been a 
substituted body placed in the house, was false, is 
proved by the defendant's own admissions. In an affi- 
davit made before the Coroner on September 23, 1894, 
the defendant swore that he learned of Pitezel's death 
through the newspapers, and saw and identified the 
body at the City Burial Ground. He also swore that 
the last time he saw Pitezel alive was in November, 
1893, in Chicago, which was another deliberate false- 
hood. The truthfulness of tiie second assertion, to 
wit, that Pitezel had committed suicide, was submitted 
to the jury with as much emphasis as any other part of 
the case. A repetition in detail of these inconsistent 
stories would only tend to bring out in a stronger light 
the untruthfulness of the defendant, and his utter un- 
reliability. To dwell on these inconsistent stories 
would only bear so much the harder upon the defend- 
ant. The condition of the body when found, to wit, a 
discharge of the bowels and the bladder, which the 
physicians testified generally accompany death, and 
which takes place at or immediately before dissolution, 
showed that Pitezel was not killed on the third floor, 
but on the second floor, where he was found. 

There was evidence in the case which proved that 
the defendant was furnishing money to support Pite- 
zel, that Pitezel was addicted to the use of liquor to 
excess, and that he had purchased a pint of whiskey 
the night before the day on which he was killed. It is 
not a violent presumption to infer that the defendant 
found Pitezel under the influence of liquor and then 
resolved upon killing him in order to get rid of the 
burden of supporting him and to obtain the money 
from ihe insurance company. Confiimation of this 


may be found in a question put by the defendant to 
Dr. Mattern in Avhich the defendant aslced the doctor 
whether he was prepared to give a professional opinion 
as to the effect that one-half hour before Pitezel died 
or at the time of his death, he was not in an insensible 
condition from the excessive use of alcohol. This sug- 
gestive question, like several other questions put by 
the defendant to witnesses, indicates his knowledge of 
Pitezel's condition, and justified the inference of the 
jury that the defendant administered the chloroform 
to Pitezel. 

Under our code of criminal procedure it is not neces- 
sary to set forth in the indictment or prove in detail 
the exact manner in which a murder has been com- 
mitted. If it were it would be impossible in many 
cases to furnish such proof, and therefore many guilty 
persons would escape. 

In Twitchell's case, 1 Brewster's Eep., page 551, the 
defendant was convicted on the theory tliat he killed 
his mother-iu-law by striking her on the temple with 
the angle of a poker. After Twitchell's death it be- 
came generally known that he had killed his victim 
with a sluDg-shot. 

In Bell's case, 164 Penna. 517, the defendant was 
convicted of killing his victim by choking her. This 
was inferred from well defined thumb and finger 
marks on the neck of the deceased. 

In The Commonwealth vs. Johnson, 162 Pa. 63, the 
defendant was convicted of killing his own child by 
drowning it. There were no marks of violence on the 
body, which was not found until six days after the 
last day the child was seen alive. 

In Crossmire's case, 156 Penna. 305, the defendant 
was convicted of strangling the deceased, which was 
the opinion of a medical expert, and there was no di- 
rect proof as to the manner of killing. 

In Gray vs. The Commonwealth, ini Pa. 380, the de- 
ceased was last seen alive on February 20th, 1877. On 


April 4th, 1878, or nearly fifteen months thereafter, a 
human skull and jawbone were found in the river near 
by. The skull was identified as the skull of the de- 
ceased. There were wounds on it which it was testi- 
fied were sufficient to produce death. The defendajit 
while in prison for another ofTence, admitted to a fel- 
low prisoner that he had murdered the deceased with a 
hatchet. The defendant was convicted and executed, 
yet there were no eyewitnesses to the murder. 

The present case is not singular by any means. 
There is much similarity between it and Udderzook vs. 
The Commonwealth, 76 Penna. 340, in which Chief 
Justice Agnew commenced his opinion with this 
phrase : " This is indeed a strange case, a combina- 
tion of two to cheat insurance companies, and a mur- 
der of one by the other to reap the fruit of the fraud." 

In that case the murdered man was supposed to 
have been burned in his shop on February 2d, 1872. 
On July 1st, 1873, which was seventeen months after- 
wards, the prisoner and the man who was supposed to 
have been burned were seen together. On July 9th, 
1873, a man travelling on the turnpike observed buz- 
zards in the woods, and smelled a very unpleasant 
odor. Obtaining aid, he uncovered the earth and 
leaves around the place, and found the body of a man, 
with the legs and arms cut off, and hidden sixty-five 
feet away. This body was subsequently identified as 
the man who was supposed to have been burned. The 
defendant was indicted, convicted and executed upon 
circumstantial evidence. There was no proof as to the 
manner of killing. The deceased, like Pitezel, had an 
alias name, was in the habit of drinking to excess, and 
his clothing was found burned in the woods like Pite- 
zel 's was in the house. 

In the present case, as in the cases above referred to 
as examples of kindred cases, there was no eyewitness 
to the crime. The defendant was convicted on what is 
called circumstantial evidence; that is to say, a sue- 


cession of circumstances tending irresistibly to the 
conclusion that the defendant killed and murdered the 
deceased, as charged in the bill of indict uient. That 
condition of his victim, that is, whether he was aslerp 
or under the influence of liquor, is a matter not only 
difficult of proof, but entirely unnecessary. The maiu 
question was whether Pitezel had been killed, and, if 
killed, whether by himself or the defendant. The jury 
found that the defendant killed Pitezel, on evidence 
which was as convincing as human evidence can be 

The thirteenth reason is that the Court erred in 
charging the jury as follows: "You will notice by the 
testimony which w-as read to you that the doctors who 
examined him say his death was caused by chloroform 
poisoning, and that it could not have been self-admin- 
istered. Now if it was not self-administered who w;is 
it administered the poison to him ? Who poisoned 
him and who took his life ? " 

Exactly what error appears in this reason I confess 
myself unable to see. It was simply a submission to 
the jury of the question they were sworn to try, which 
was whether the defendant killed Pitezel, without in any 
manner whatever indicating any opinion on the subject. 

The fourteenth reason is that the court erred in 
charging the jury as follows: "If you are not fairly 
satisfied with the evidence of his guilt he is entitled 
to the benefit of the doubt." 

It has been so often said that it is not necessary to 
cite authorities to prove it, that a charge is to be con- 
sidered as a whole and not by selecting sentences and 
criticising them by themselves. If it is not proper to 
select sentences apart from the entire context, how 
much more important is it that parts of sentences 
should not be separated and alleged as error. 

The sentence from which the above is taken is to be 
found in that part of my charge in which I was treat- 
ing of the question of doubt, wJiich was fully and era- 


phatically laid before the jurj\ The entire sentence 
as found iu the charge is as follows : 

"If, after considering the testimony, you are unable 
to come to the conclusion that he is guilty, there is 
a doubt about it and you hesitate, or, iu other words, 
if you are not fairly satisfied by the evidence, of his 
guilt, he is entitled to the benefit of the doubt and 
should be acquitted for that reason." 

The counsel for defendant omitted the first, as well 
as the last and most important part of this sentence, 
to wit: "That if the jury are not fairly satisfied by 
the evidence of the guilt, he is entitled to the benefit of 
the doubt and should be acquitted." The word 
" fairly," when used in connection with the measure of 
proof required as a defense has been held by the Su- 
preme Court to be the proper word to use in such cases. 
Commonwealth vs. Bezek, 168 Pa. 603, is the last case on 
this subject. It is true that the word was used in con- 
nection with the proof offered by the defendant as to 
his insanity, and the Supreme Court said that the de- 
fendant was bound to satisfy the jury by fairly pre- 
ponderating evidence, while to hold him to proof by 
clearly preponderating evidence was to hold him to too 
strict a burden ; in other words, that the rule is that 
the defendant's proof should, like the Commonwealth's 
proof, be of a character that will fairly satisfy the jury 
of the matters attempted to be proved. 

The word "fairly" was not the only word used in 
this connection. In the next sentence, the jtiry were 
told that if upon a consideration of the entire evidence, 
they were firmly convinced of the defendant's guilt, 
then it is a case of murder as charged ; and in answer 
to defendant's fifth point, the jury were told that un- 
less they were thoroughly satisfied with the evidence 
that the defendant is guilty, he cannot be convicted. 

In Turney vs. The Commonwealth, 86 Pa. 54, it was 
held that, "A conviction can be had only after the 
jury have been convinced beyond a reasonable doubt 


of the defendant's guilt." There no qualifying adverb 
WHS used. The jury must be convinced or satisfied 
by the evidence. 

Having in view the decisions of the Supreme Court 
in which this subject has been considered of late years, 
I used the word " fairly " because it is the jjroper 
adverb to be used in that connection. 

The fifteenth reason is that the court erred in not 
affirming points No. 3 and No. 6 submitted by the de- 

These points were based upon the theory that Pitezel 
committed suicide, and asked the Judge to decide as a 
matter of law that the evidence does not establish beyond 
a reasonable doubt the commission of the crime alleged. 

These points were refused, and the question was sub- 
mitted to the jury upon the evidence to find whether 
Pitezel had been murdered by the defendant or com- 
mitted suicide. 

As to the question of doubt, that is a condition of the 
minds of the jurors after they have heard the testimony. 
It is not for the Judge to say that there cannot be a 
conviction for murder, because it was possible that 
Pitezel killed himself. In every case of murder such 
possibilities may exist. A man who is shot may have 
died from heart disease caused by the fright of being 
chased by another with a pistol in his hand. A man 
who is struck with a club may not receive his death in 
consequence of that blow, but may strike his head 
upon a stone and thereby come to his death. But in 
all cases, and especially in a case like the present, 
where the evidence tended unmistakably to prove the 
willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing by the de- 
fendant, the mere theory of his counsel that the de- 
ceased committed suicide, without any evidence what- 
ever to sustain the theory, does not create a legal 
doubt, such as to require the Judge to decide the 
question as one of law. The case is for the jury, and 
to the jury it was submitted. 


If a mere theory without evidence is to prevail over 
facts alleged by the commonwealth and proved by evi- 
dence, tending irrisistibl}' to but one conclusion, then 
it will be impossible to convict anyone of crime except 
by the proof of eyewitnesses ; and not even then if cun- 
ning devices such as were resorted to in this case shall 
be set up as probable truths and accepted as positive 
facts, to be declared and enforced by the Judge, to the 
exclusion of every other possibility. 

Upon the whole case, we are convinced that the com- 
monwealth proved such a chain of circumstances as 
lead irrislstibly to the conclusion that the defendant 
did kill and murder Benjamin F. Pitezel on September 
2d, 1894, as charged in the bill of indictment; that Pite- 
zel was killed by chloroform poisoning administered by 
the defendant ; and whether Pitezel was asleep or under 
the influence of liquor at the time the chloroform was 
administered is not important. The theory advanced 
by the defendant, and argued by his counsel to the 
jury, that Pitezel committed suicide, and that the 
defendant arranged his body in such a manner as 
to make the death appear to have been the con- 
sequence of an explosion, has no substantial evi- 
dence upon which it can be based. An act of that 
kind would require coolness and deliberation, whereas 
the testimony shows that the defendant, immedi- 
ately after he had left Pitezel, was excited, nervous 
and worried, and his underclothing was wet with per- 
spiration. This was the condition of a man who had 
committed a great crime, rather than one who was try- 
ing to conceal the evidence of a suicide. The defend- 
ant's flight must not be overlooked in this case. If 
Pitezel had committed suicide, and the defendant 
simply tried to conceal the suicide, it is not probable 
that he would have fled from the city. Flight is the 
act of a guilty man, and not the act of a cunning man. 
Being firmly convinced of the guilt of the defendant, 
we approve the verdict and refuse a new trial. 



This is a voluminous record. An examination of it 
shows tliat the trial of the defendant furnished some 
unloolied for situations and dramatic incidents, but no 
one of them seems to have been the result of anything 
irregular or sensational in the manner or rulings of the 
learned trial Judge. On the other hand, it is apparent 
that they were due to the extraordinary character of 
the circumstances with which the defendant had sur- 
rounded himself, and to his interference with the usual 
methods of trial. Indeed, the assignments of error, 
although thirteen in number, have been intended to 
raise no questions except such as may be characterized 
as general questions of law, and they have been pre- 
sented in this Court and discussed in the oral argu- 
ment in a thoroughly lawyer-like manner and with de- 
cided ability. We proceed to consider them in their 

The first, second, third and fourth assignments re- 
late to the admissibility of the testimony of Georgianna 
Yoke who was called as a witness by the Common- 
wealth and whom the defendant alleged to be his law- 
ful wife. At the time this witness was called there was 
evidence before the Court showing that the defendant 
had an establishment of some sort at Willmette in the 
State of Illinois which was known, at least to some of 
his acquaintances, as his home, where as H. H. Holmes 
he lived with a woman who was understood to be his 
wife. The evidence further showed that a letter which 
had been left at this establishment with this woman in 
his absence by the witness Cass, had been promptly 



replied to by H. H. Holmes; and that in the answer he 
referred to this woman as his wife saying, "I am in 
receipt of a letter from mj' wife stating that you called 
on her in regard to Mr. Pitezel. She also enclosed me 
clipping from paper which I presume you gave her." 
All this evidence tending to show that the prisoner 
was a married man, and that his wife lived in Illinois 
and was known as Mrs. Holmes, wtis before the Court 
when Georgianua Yoke was called. There was noth- 
ing in the name of the witness and there was nothing 
in her testimony when she was first on the stand to 
suggest that she was the wife of the prisoner, or to 
throw any doubt upon his being, as he appeared to be 
at that stage of the evidence, the husband of the 
woman of whom he had written as his wife. 

An objection to her competency taken when she was 
first called and examined would have had nothing on 
which to rest. At a later stage of the trial she was re- 
called by the defendant and examined upon this sub- 
ject. She then stated that she had been married to 
the prisoner by a clergyman in the city of Denver in 
January, 1894: ; that his name was then Howard, and 
that she was married to him by that name. She stated 
further that, during much of the time between January 
and the following November, she had lived with him 
as his wife supposing that she occupied that position 
towards him, but that she had learned before his ar- 
rest that he had been married some time previously to 
a woman living in Gilmanton, N. H., whom she under- 
stood to be still living. She had heard still earlier of 
the woman at Willmette, but did not understand that 
Howard had been lawfully married to her. She had 
talked with him about the woman at Gilmanton while 
they were at Boston, not long before his arrest. His 
sister had told her that the prisoner had accounted for 
having married her while his wife was living at Gil- 
manton by telling his father's family that he had been 
seriously injured in a railroad wreck; that she (Miss 


Yoke) had nursed him and had been instrumental in 
saving his mind, but had married him before he linew 
where he was or what he was doing. This story she 
told the prisoner. He did not deny or explain the 
story, but said in his own defence that when he mar- 
ried lier he had been told that the woman at Gil man- 
ton was dead. The witness was apparently satisfied 
that her marriage was not valid, and she had resumed 
the use of her maiden name. 

As she was competent, prime facie, when called and 
examined, the burden of showing her incompetency 
was on the prisoner who alleged it. The testimony of 
Miss Yoke, to which we have just referred, was given 
for that purpose, and it was all the evidence upon that 
subject. The fair effect of it was to show that no legal 
marriage had taken place, that Miss Yoke had been 
cruelly deceived, and that the legal wife of the prisoner 
lived at Gilmauton, N. H. Let us grant that if the de- 
fendant had been on trial for bigamy the testimony of 
Miss Yoke might not have been sufficiently definite as 
to the fact of the first marriage to justify a conviction 
of the <lefendant, yet we must remember that, so far as 
the competency of the witness was concerned, the bur- 
den of proof was not on the Commonwealth. She was 
apparently competent. The burden of establishing 
her incompetency by proof of a lawful marriage be- 
tween himself and her was on him who alleged it. The 
learned Judge would have been justified in doing 
what the prisoner's counsel complain that he did not, 
viz: treat this question of competency as a question 
of law, and overrule the objection to her testimony at 
once. What he did was more favorable to the prisoner 
than he had a right to ask. He submitted the ques- 
tion of the legality of the marriage to the jury, in- 
structing them that, if they found it to be valid, they 
should reject the testimony of the witness altogether. 
We do not see how the prisoner can expect success- 
fully to complain of a ruling that gave him one more 


chance for a favorable decision upon tlie question of 
the competency of tlie witness than he had a right to 

The fifth and sixth assignments are in effect but a 
different mode of raising the question we have just con- 
sidered. They complain of the submission of the testi- 
mony of Miss Yoke to the jury. She had been exam- 
ined very fully as to the movements of the prisoner on 
that Sunday on which he had stated to Mr. Linden, 
Superintendent of Police, that ho saw and arranged the 
dead body of Pitezel in the Callowhill Street house. 
This evidence the learned Judge referred to and sub- 
mitted to the jury. It is not suggested that her evi- 
dence is not fairly repeated, nor that any statement is 
attributed by the Court to her that she did not make. 
The burden of the assignment of error must therefore 
be that the testimony was treated by the learned Judge 
as competent and as properly before the jury. This 
was not an error for the reasons given when treating 
of the question of the competency of the witness, and 
we do not see that it was inconsistent with the action 
of the learned Judge in submitting that question to the 
jury, since it was necessary, at least provisionally, to 
call their attention to the effect of the testimony and 
the questions to which it was related. These assign- 
ments are therefore overruled. 

The thirteenth assignment should be considered in 
this connection, as it is directed against the action of 
the Court in submitting to the jury the question of the 
existence of a legal marriage between the prisoner and 
Miss Yoke at the time she was called as a witness, and 
the direction to them to consider, or to exclude from 
consideration, her testimony as they might find upon 
that question. We have already said that while the 
submission 'of the question might not have been neces- 
sary, we cannot see that it did the prisoner any harm. 
The verdict undoubtedly shows that the jury decided 
this question against the prisoner, but so we think the- 


learned Judge should have done if he had undertuken 
to pronounce upon the effect of Miss Yoke's testimony 
iu regard to the legality of her marriage to the pris- 
oner. The prisoner cannot complain that he should be 
taken at his word upon this question ; and the story 
told by him to his father's family, which Miss Yoke 
afterwards called to his attention and his excuse made 
to her for marrying her while he had a wife living at 
Gilmanton, are enough to discredit the alleged mar- 
riage. We do not see how the jury or the Court could 
have done otherwise than say that the prisoner had not 
successfully shown the witness to be incompetent; and 
whether the Court had disposed of the question in the 
first instance by an instruction, or allowed the jury to 
dispose of it without any controlling direction upon the 
subject, the prisoner had no ground for complaint. 

The twelfth assignment is to the refusal by the learned 
Judge to allow an exception to the opening address of 
the District Attorney, As we understand the situation, 
the objection to the opening address was not made at 
the time of its delirery, but several days later, near the 
close of the trial. The District Attorney had in his 
opening stated the case of the Commonwealth. He had 
detailed in their order the incidents connecting the 
prisoner with Pitezel, with the procurement of the policy 
of insurance on his life, with his subsequent death, the 
identification of the body, the absorption of the insur- 
ance money by the prisoner and his subsequent move- 
ments. He called attention to the part taken by Alice 
iu the identification of her father's body, and to the 
fact that she was kept thereafter from a meeting with 
her mother whom the prisoner had led to believe that 
her husband was still alive. He then spoke of the re- 
markable journeys upon which Alice and her brother 
and sister were moved in one group, Mrs, Pitezel 
and her other children in another, and Georgianna 
Yoke by herself or in company with the^prisoner in a 
third. He told how they went from place to place, near 


to each other, were housed at the same time in the same 
city, but always without meeting, until one by one the 
three members of one group disappeared. He then 
spoke of the finding of their remains, and of the power- 
ful array of circumstances connecting the prisoner with 
their death, and the disposition of their bodies. 

The theory of the Commonwealth was that the motive 
for the killing of Pitezel was to secure the insurance 
money; and the killing of Alice and the two children 
who were with him grew out of his desire to prevent 
Mrs. Pitezel from knowing of the death of her husband, 
and of her consequent right to the insurance money. 
The several homicides were thus alleged to be con- 
nected, to have a common motive and to form parts of 
one general plan. In opening his case it was natural 
for the District Attorney to state, indeed it was his duty 
towards the prisoner, to state fully what he intended 
to offer for the consideration of the jury bearing upon 
his guilt. This he did do, and, so far as we are advised, 
without objection from the Court or the prisonei*. 

The trial proceeded upon the lines indicated in the 
opening, until the subject of the disappearance and 
murder of the children was reached. An objection was 
interposed by the prisoner's counsel on the ground that 
the evidence offered was intended to show the commis- 
sion of an independent crime not charged in the indict- 
ment. After some consideration the objection was sus- 
tained by the learned Judge and the evidence excluded. 

Then, as we understand the course of the trial, and 
not until then, the application was made for leave to 
except to so much of the opening address of the Dis- 
trict Attorney as related to the excluded evidence. 
The learned Judge well said, in answer to this request, 
that there was no method by which an exception could 
be sealed by the Court to statements in the address of 
an attorney, days after they had been made ; and that, 
if any statement made by the District Attorney had 
been deemed objectionable, the attention of the Court 


should have been called to it at the time when it was 
made, and when its correction was possible. To this 
we are disposed to add another consideration — viz, 
that such a practice would require the trial Judge to 
anticipate the course of the trial and decide upon the 
admissibility of evidence in advance of its being of- 

We have no doubt of the power, nor in a proper case 
of the duty, of the Court to supervise the addresses of 
counsel so far as may be necessary to protect prisoners 
or parties litigant from injurious misrepresentations 
and unfair attack, and the jury from being misled. 
When this power should be exercised must be left to 
the sound discretion of tlie Judge, and he should not 
hesitate to act where the fair administration of justice 
requires him to do so. 

But there was nothing in the addiess of the District 
Attorney in the opening of the case of the Common- 
wealth that either the defendant's counsel or the Court 
seemed at the time to think required the exercise of 
this discretionary power. The subsequent action of 
the Court in rejecting a part of the case of the Com- 
monwealth did not have a retroactive effect upon the 
opening address. 

It is probable that the learned Judge entertained 
some doubt about the admissibility of this evidence 
and gave, as he should always do, the benefit of his 
doubt to the prisoner. But if he had admitted it, we 
are not prepared to say it would have been error. As- 
suming the correctness of the theory of the Common- 
wealth, the evidence was admissible under the author- 
ity of a line of cases, among which are Turner vs. the 
Commonwealth, 8G Pa. 54; Kramer vs. the Common- 
wealth, 87 Pa. 299; Commonwealth vs. Goerson, 99 Pa. 
398, and the Commonwealth vs. Bell, 166 Pa. 405. But 
the decision of this question is not necessarily involved. 
It is enough for the purposes of this case to dispose of 
the question raised by the assignment and hold that 


there was no error in refusing the request for an ex- 
ception to the address of the District Attorney made 
several days after the address liad been completed. 

Tlie next question, following the natural order of the 
assignments, is that raised by the eighth. It relates 
to the admission of the story told by Mrs. Pitezel 
about the manner in which she saw and recognized the 
remains of three of her children within a few weeks 
after the death of her husband. This was part of the 
general story of her search after her husband, whom 
she supposed to be still alive, and the three children, 
who were kept just a little ways ahead of her until, one 
by one, they had disappeared. The search was made 
under the control and direction of the prisoner. She 
followed on where he promised her husband would 
come and her children would meet her. During all 
this time he knew her husband was sleeping in the 
Potter's Field. He knew that first the boy and then 
Alice and her sister had gone out of sight while under 
his general care and their bodies had been mutilated 
or concealed. She saw them, or their remains, at last. 
When and how she saw them she was allowed to state, 
and to that extent, at least, it was competent for her to 
speak of her children regardless of the question raised 
by the assignment of error last considered. The whole 
story of Mrs. Pitezel has a unity of character, and its 
incidents are so affected by the prisoner's acts and dec- 
larations in regard to her husband and his where- 
abouts, that we do not see any reason for rejecting as 
irrelevant any portion of it. We think also that it had 
a direct bearing upon the question of motive. At 
least it was for the jury to say from it whether the per- 
sistent concealment of Pitezel's death from his wife 
and his representations to her that the insurance 
money had been obtained by fraud were not induced 
by his desire to escape litigation over the money and 
to avoid the suspicion of murder being started against 
him in her mind. 


The ninth assignment is directed towards a state- 
ment made by the learned Judge in his charge to the 
jury. Speaking of the death of Pitezel, he said : " You 
will notice by the testimony which was read to you 
that the doctors who examined him say his death was 
caused by chloroform poisoning, and that it could not 
have been self-administered." This, it is alleged, was 
wholly unwarranted by the evidence. As to the first 
part of this statement there could be no complaint, for 
the fact that the deceased came to his death by chloro- 
form poisoning was practically conceded by the pris- 
oner. The contest was over the question whether the 
poison from which he died was self-administered and 
his death was due to suicide, or was feloniously ad- 
ministered by the prisoner and his death due to mur- 

In the interview which was testified to by E. J. Lin- 
den, Superintendent of Police, the prisoner gave his 
own account of Pitezel's death. He found him, as he 
alleged, on the floor of a third-story room in the Cal- 
lowhill Street house, dead. He said he was led to the 
third floor by a note left for him on the table in the 
front room on the first floor, directing him to search 
for a letter in a bottle in a closet opening off the same 
room. In the bottle, he says, he found a long letter 
telling of the purpose of the writer to commit suicide, 
and that his body would be found on the third floor. 
Going to that floor he alleges he found Pitezel, dead. 
A large bottle with the chloroform stood near by, and 
leading from it to the dead man's mouth was a tube 
with a quill inserted in it so as to reduce the aperture 
for the flow of the fluid. 

He says he felt that the appearances of suicide should 
be removed or a defence might be made to the policy 
upon that ground. To do this he dragged the body 
down to the second floor, broke the bottle, scattered 
some inflammable liquid over the face and beard of the 
dead man and set it on fire to give to the body and the 


room the appearance of an explosion and the happen- 
ing of death by accident. 

The theory of the defence included, therefore, the 
idea that Pitezel's death was due to chloroform poison- 
ing, and the objection must relate, therefore, only to 
the statement that the doctors had testified that the 
poison could not have been self-administered. The 
post mortem examination had disclosed the presence 
of an ounce and a half of chloroform in the stomach at 
that time. How did it get there ? As the story of the 
prisoner indicated, by a slow process of self-adminis- 
tration by means of the tube, or in some other manner? 
Upon this subject medical experts were called. They 
explained the effects of the drug upon the nerves and 
brain, and upon the lining of a living stomach. They 
gave two reasons why the chloroform could not have 
been self-administered in the manner alleged by the 
prisoner. In the first the intoxicating quality of the 
drug would cause such semi-conscious or purely invol- 
untary motions of the muscles, and changes in the po- 
sition of head and body, as would break the connec- 
tion between the bottle and the mouth by means of the 
alleged tube. In the next place the chloroform had 
not affected the lining of the stomach, in other words, 
it had been introduced into the stomach after death. 
This testimony fully justified the statement of the 
learned Judge now complained of, and the assignment 
of error is overruled. 

The eleventh assignment alleges error in the answer 
to a point submitted on behalf of the prisoner. The 
instruction asked by the point was somewhat involved. 
It was in substance a request for an instruction that, 
if the jury should believe the deceased died from 
chloroform poisoning, and that it was possible for him 
to have administered it to himself, and that this theory 
was as consistent with the facts in the case, as that it 
was administered with criminal intent by the prisoner, 
then the verdict should be not guilty. This was an- 


other way of saying that if the theory of suicide was as 
consistent with the facts as the theory of murder, then 
tlie prisoner should be acquitted, and it might have 
been affirmed without more. The answer, though not 
categorical, was in effect an affirmance. It was, "If 
you believe he (the deceased) did it himself, why of 
course the prisoner is not guilty." When to this is 
added the general instruction that the burden of prov- 
ing the guilt of the prisoner beyond a reasonable 
doubt remains upon the Commonwealth from the be- 
ginning to the end of the trial. 

If, therefore, the jury adopted the theory of suicide, 
or if, being unable to adopt it, they were yet unable to 
accept beyond a reasonable doubt the theory of mur- 
der, in either event they were told the verdict should 
be not guilty. This fully guarded the rights of the 
prisoner, even if it be conceded that a categorical 
affirmance of the point would have been in better form. 

This brings us naturally to the tenth assignment of 
error which denies tlie clearness and adequacy of the 
exposition by the learned Judge of the doctrine of the 
reasonable doubt. The passage from the charge em- 
bodied in the assignment of error is the least important 
part of the instruction given to the jury upon this sub- 
ject, and does not fairly represent the learned Judge. 
He said in immediate connection with the passage 
complained of : " In all criminal cases, gentlemen, it is 
essential that the defendant shall be convicted by evi- 
dence which persuades the jury of the guilt of the 
prisoner beyond a reasonable doubt. By a reasonable 
doubt I do not mean an obstinacy or a resolution not 
to consider the testimony of the witnesses carefully. 
But it is that condition of the mind in which hesitancy 
arises after having given the evidence a fair consider- 
ation, and you find yourself unable to come to a con- 
clusion as to the guilt of the prisoner." This was a 
full and adequate presentation of the subject. Take 
the passage embodied in the assignment in connection 


with that we have just given (and they stand in imme- 
diate connection in the charge) and it is apparent that 
the prisoner has no just ground of complaint because 
the doctrine of the reasonable doubt was not fully 
stated and brought into sufficient prominence. 

The remaining assignment is to the whole charge, 
which, it is insisted, was wanting in clearness, was not 
impartial, but was calculated to prejudice the minds 
of the jurors against the prisoner by giving undue 
prominence to such circumstances and considerations 
as were hurtful to him. It must be borne in mind that 
the defendant called no witnesses. The evidence be- 
fore the Court and jury was only that of the Common- 
wealth, which had been gathered together for the pur- 
pose of clearing up the mystery surrounding the death 
of Pitezel and fixing responsibility for it upon the 
prisoner. His real reliance was upon the reasonable 
doubt. The web of circumstantial evidence that had 
been woven about him consisted of many threads, but 
the web taken as a whole was strong. 

It was impossible for the learned trial Judge to pre- 
sent the case to the jury in an intelligent manner with- 
out the strength of the circumstantial evidence being 
felt. This was not due to the rhetoric of the learned 
Judge, for he indulged in none. It was due to the 
convincing character of the facts and circumstances 
themselves, and to the completeness with which an 
adroitly arranged and badly executed scheme had 
been unravelled by the Commonwealth, and its detail 
laid before the Court and jury. 

"We have examined this charge as a whole carefully, 
and with a view to the question raised by this assign- 
ment, and we cannot agree that it is inadequate or that 
it is wanting in fairness of spirit. The evidence was 
reviewed, for the benefit of the jury, with reference to 
its bearing upon the great questions submitted to them 
for final determination. These were stated in their 
proper order : 


First. Was the body that was found in the Callow- 
hill Street house the body of B. F. Pitezel? This 
seemed to be quite clear of any difficulty. 

Second. If the body was that of Pitezel, did his death 
result from chloroform poisoning ? This was asserted 
as a fact by the medical witnesses, and was assumed 
by the prisoner in his statement to Superintendent 

Third. If Pitezel died from chloroform poisoning, 
was the poison self-administered, with suicidal intent, 
or was it feloniously administered by the prisoner? 
This was the only real point of controversy. 

Finally, was there upon the whole case a reasonable 
doubt of the prisoner's guilt of the murder charged in 
the indictment ? 

This review was not elaborate, but it was adequate. 
It presented the questions of fact clearly, and laid down 
the legal rules by which the jury should be guided in 
investigating and determining them. "We are satisfied 
that this assignment is without merit and that it should 
be overruled. 

The defendant had a fair trial, and that is all he has 
a right to demand. At one stage of the trial he was 
placed perhaps at a disadvantage for a short time by 
his own conduct in dismissing his counsel and assum- 
ing the responsibility of conducting his own defence; 
but the Court was in no sense responsible for this. 
The prisoner and his counsel were; and the learned 
Judge did all that could reasonably be done to protect 
him from himself, as well as to secure to him a fair 
trial, upon evidence restricted to circumstances of the 
admissibility of which there was no reasonable doubt. 
In no respect has any just ground of complaint been 
made to appear, and the judgment must be affirmed. 

It may be well before concluding this case to say that 
the object of a trial before a jury is to ascertain with 
as much certainty as can be attained in a human tri- 
bunal the guilt or innocence of one charged with crime. 


When, as the result of such a trial, a verdict has been 
reudered against the prisoner, it ought not to be set 
aside by the trial Judge, or by proceedings in a Court 
of Error, unless in some essential particular the trial 
has been erroneous. No merely technical or formal 
objection not affecting the result should be listened to. 
It is neither for the credit of the Courts, for the inter- 
ests of society, nor does it tend towards the repression 
of mob violence or the preservation of good order, that 
the course of justice should be blocked or turned aside 
by technical objections which, however valuable they 
may once have been, are now, and long have been, 
empty shells; or by verbal distinctions that in this age 
mark no real differences. The prisoner has been found 
guilty of murder in the first degree by a jury after a 
protracted and a fair trial. No substantial error in that 
trial has been pointed out. The evidence fully sustains 
the verdict and we are not disposed to disturb it. All 
the assignments of error are overruled and the judg- 
ment appealed from is affirmed.