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Full text of "The startling and thrilling narrative of the dark and terrible deeds of Henry Madison, and his associate and accomplice, Miss Ellen Stevens, who was executed by the Vigilance Committee of San Francisco, on the 20th September last"

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And Ms AsSociate and Accomplice, 


Who was Executed by the Vigipnce Committee of San Franci&feo, on the 20th 
v of September htst 

Arrrst of Miss Ellen Stevens. 







And his Associate and Accomplice, 


Who was executed by the Vigilance Committee of Saa Francisco, 
on the 20th September last. 

Miss Ellen Stevens. 



according to Act of Congress, In the year 1907, by 

tn tin Clerk'a Office of the District Court of the Southern Dtatrlct of 

4-H- oco 

Bancroft U 






WHEN I think on the past contemplate the future the excited 
blood of imagination boils through my veins ; my mind becomes ex 
cited to a pitch of desperation unknown to those who have not suffered 
as I have done, those who have not seen the world go against them, 
those who have been smiled and favored on, whilst I have been tram 
pled, spat upon, kicked on one side as if I were a very monster. I am 
that ; I have done all driven by contempt and desperation I am worse ! 
But I must complete my tale, and think not of my misfortunes. 

I was born in Walnut street Philadelphia above Tenth. My father 
was a wealthy merchant keeping his office on the wharf; prosperous and 
rich, he gave freely to the needy, educated myself and my sisters (I was 
an only son) in a manner princely at the same time substantial. My sis 
ters had Italian, French and dancing masters, I Hebrew, Greek and 
Latin, drawing and painting everything that would fit us to move in 
the highest circles in this or more aristocratic countries. With all this, 
he did not neglect to have my sisters instructed in sewing, embroidery, 
and other useful household arts. At the age of sixteen he took me into 
his counting-house. I was there till I became twenty-one years of age, 
when the progress I had made in becoming fully acquainted with mer 
cantile transactions, and the inclination which my disposition shewed to 
follow such pursuits, induced him to admit me a junior partner ; this was 
in the year 1846. At that time great exportations of corn and flour were 
taking place from Philadelphia, New York, New Orleans, Baltimore and 
other ports to famine-stricken Ireland. We were extensively engaged in 
this shipping trade, and during the first year made great profits. Our 



connections became enormous. The year 1847 came ; the tide of affairs 
took a different turn. Our correspondents in Europe failed in their 
engagements and the house of G., K., L. & Co. stopped payment. My 
lather who had been in a delicate state of health for some months past 
through over excitement from the speculative business he was engaged 
in, soon gave way to the disease which had firmly seized upon him. On 
his death bed he charged me to give up all to his creditors, pay every 
cent he owed as far as his assets would admit of, and trust to God and 
our own industry for the maintainance of my sisters and myself. 

What a change from wealth to poverty 1 We who have been accus 
tomed to every luxury and want that the former supplied, reduced to 
what the latter scantily afforded ! However, the good education that 
both I and my sisters had received now saved us. They took in sewing 
etc. ; I got a situation as salesman or clerk in a large dry-goods store in 
Market street. There it was I became first acquainted with Miss All- 
worth. One day a gentleman from Baltimore walked into our store ac 
companied by Miss Allworth ; he was her uncle and a good customer to 
the house. I was immediately struck by her handsome appearance, for 
she was indeed a lovely girl. During their stay in the store, I became 
quite enamored of her, and hearing from the conversation that passed 
between her uncle and my employer, whereabouts they stopped in town, 
1 resolved at all hazards to call at the United States Hotel where they 
stopped, and endeavor to become acquainted with her. Fortune 
favored me ; during her stay in the store, I succeeded in getting into con 
versation with her ; she had known one of my sisters who had been on a 
visit to a friend in Baltimore. I called accordingly, saw her, spoke, and 
on the third visit, found to my joy that I had made some impression I 
imagined a sure one. Her uncle left her at a friend's in Chesnut street, 
to spend a few weeks, while he returned to Baltimore. Daily my suit 
progressed ; I was her accepted lover. Woman, how deceitful is thy sex. 
We had settled between ourselves that we should be married in about 
three months if her uncle consented, as he was her guardian. I had 
informed my sisters of our engagement, and they were delighted at my 
happiness, as great affection existed between us. One evening I called, 
and as I entered the house a handsome looking Frenchman left it 1 
was received by Kose with a degree of coldness never before experienced. 
In two or three days, I found to my mortification, that the wily French 
man had ingratiated himself into Kose's affections. In vain I pleaded 
to the heartless coquette. She was sorry that we had become so inti 
mate, as she found our tastes did not suit. I would be happy with some 


one else. I left the haughty beauty with rage and mortification. I re 
solved to be revenged. Having heard that an old woman who told 
fortunes, cured all sorts of diseases with herbs, lived in an alley at the 
corner of Christian and Third streets, I went thither and by the aid of 
gold obtained a deadly poison, but at the same time that it killed it left 
no traces of itself in the human frame whereby it could be detected. 
My object now was to get this administered to my intended victim. 
She had a maid who had been in our secret, and who had professed a 
great liking for me. She had been very much hurt at her mistress's 
treatment of me. I pretended to her that it was a love potion capable 
0f restoring the affection of her mistress to myself, and that together 
with a bribe succeeded in obtaining her consent to administer the powder. 
A week, nearly a month, passed by. The object of my revenge still lived 
apparently in all her former health and beauty. 

I doubted her maid, but she assured me that Miss All worth had taken 
the powder, and condoled with me on its apparent want of success, in 
restoring the lost affections of my former mistress. Another week, 
and Rose was to become the bride of my rival. Daily, as I passed the 
kouse in which she stopped, I saw numerous deliverings of goods of all 
descriptions taking place ; they were preparing for a happy wedding I 
was passing one evening three days before the bridal ; a carriage drove 
by me and stopped ; in it sat Rose and her affianced. A frown passed 
over his countenance, as he recognized me. She looked coldly at me as 
if she merely gazing on a stone. My bosom swelled ready to burst with 
anger, mortification and revenge. I hurried away, my brain on fire, every 
sense maddened and excited. I directed my steps to the residence of the 
old hag from whom I had bought the poison ; she recognized me at once. 
I upbraided her in no measured terms for her deceit ; she listened to 
me patiently, and when I had exhausted my abusive vocabulary, she 
quietly remarked, " How long since the potion had been given 3" I re 
plied, twenty-seven days. 

" It'is well," she replied, "wait patiently three more, and your object is 
accomplished. I have never known it fail." 

I could get no more information. The bridal-day has come at last 
She has been married there is a grand entertainment. Her gratified 
husband leads her to the dance, and as she passes through the crowded 
rooms, words of admiration of her beauty and accomplishments, fall 
quick upon her ear. The musicians struck up ; she advances in the , 
dance, and falls a lifeless corpse. Hurrah ! my revenge is accomplished. 
I read from the morning Ledger : 


" Horrible occurrence. We have to record a most melancholy and 
heart-rending occurrence last night. As the friends of Miss All worth, long 
known in this city as a reigning belle, were enjoying the wedding festivi 
ties, the young lady advanced with her newly-married husband to take 
part in a quadrille. She had not taken above two steps, when she sud 
denly fell, and on being raised was found a corpse. Truly in life we are 
in the midst of death." 

My revenge is complete, but now the remorse of a guilty conscience 
attacks me. I have drank of the cup of crime, and I must now, like the 
drunkard, constantly renew the cup. 
* * * * 

Time flew by. No suspicion as to the cause of Miss Allworth's death 
was excited, as the coroner and jury gave it as their opinion, that she died 
of apoplexy. My revenge was complete, but my mind was not at ea'se. 
I could not rest. I resolved to leave Philadelphia. An aunt had lately 
died, leaving money sufficient to keep my sisters comfortably. I left, 
and went to San Francisco. One of the many crimes that I committed 
there I will relate. Disgusted at the duplicity of woman, I resolved to 
trust none again. I had not been many months in California, when I be 
came acquainted with a beautiful, accomplished and affectionate young 
lady. Though I had forsworn the fair sex, her charms soon affected me. 
I found in her that which I had began to fear no woman possessed, but 
I, like many others who have been disappointed in the first love, was de 
ceived. There does exist among woman the most pure and devoted 
love, for I found it to my joy in Miss Wilson. We both loved with 
strong fervor. Would those happy days had never past, that the demon 
of jealousy had never seized upon me. We were married and pleasantly 
passed the first three years of our married life. One lovely child was 
born to us. The horrid memories of the past were nearly obliterated 
from my mind, amid the domestic happiness that I enjoyed the bitter 
thoughts of my past crimes gradually gave way to the more soothing 
influence of the former. My wife, though, had seen by my manner that 
something preyed upon my mind, and never attempted by undue curiosity 
to find out what it was that weighed upon my thoughts. Gentle, kind 
and loving, she endeavored to the best of her power to soothe my troubled 
mind. She succeeded, and I may say I was comparatively at rest. But 
it turned out that events of the past had taken too deep a hold on my 
nature. Keturning one evening from my store on the south wharf, 1 
found my Ellen gloomy and sad. I could discover no cause, and though 
I questioned her, she merely pleaded a little fatigue. My conscience 


me. Attracted by the features of a new actress who had just made 
her first appearance on the boards of San Francisco, whom my wife and 
self had been to see, I had visited her. Lured on by her fatal attrac 
tions, I yielded the affections due to my wife. In the excitement of my 
passion, I became fearful that the latter had discovered some clue to my 
transgressions. On returning to our chamber, I questioned her still 
more closely as to the cause of her indisposition, and at length after im 
mense persuasion and with scalding tears in her eyes, she informed me 
of the following. That morning about eleven o'clock, she was surprised 
by the visit of her brother from Philadelphia, who came to inform her 
of the crime of which I had been guilty. Thunderstruck at my dupli 
city and crime, he had hurried to San Francisco, accompanied by the 
proofs of my guilt, to inform his father and relations, and at once to 
take proceedings against me. Ellen told me all, and added that she 
did not believe it. I soothed her agonized feelings, assured her that it 
was all a conspiracy ; her brother was deceived by some designing 
villain. Calmed by my asseverations, she slept soundly on my bosom. 
The morning came ; I rose early, as was always my habit, for with my 
brain clear and unclouded I felt better able to decide on the best course 
of action in this trying embarrassment. I resolved to see her brother at 
once. Our morning meal over, I kissed Ellen and started for his hotel. 
Now it was that I indeed repented of my former guilt and revenge ; 
yet I felt that it was a just punishment for my unfaithfulness to my 
loving and devoted wife. I found him at home, and at once demanded 
what was the meaning of the false accusations that he had made against 
me. He answered, by requesting me to be seated, and stated as fol 

" You are aware, Mr. Madison, that shortly after your marriage 
with my sister, I went to Philadelphia, where I had got an engagement 
in a large wholesale general store. In a large city, a young man unac 
companied or restrained by those who have an interest in his welfare, ia 
likely to mix with company who may lead him into the paths that he 
ought not to follow. I, situated as I describe, have mixed in improper 
society ; and it was among that society that I heard first of what you 
have called a false accusation." I started with indignation from my 

" Listen," said he, pointing to the chair ; " when I have done you 
shall be heard, and I hope, for your sake as well as my sister's, that 
your assertions may be true. About two months ago, walking up Ches- 
nut street one afternoon, I passed a rather pretty young woman. I fan 


cied her glance peculiar, and, turning, I repassed her quickly; and 
when I had proceeded about a square, again turned round and met her. 
She ave a kind of half-smile. It was just at the crossing of I 
6treet I turned and walked into the square at the back of the state- 
house I looked back two or three times, and found that she was follow 
ing As soon as she entered the square, I walked by her side and soon 
became well acquainted. I met her that evening, by appointment, at a 
house of rather suspicious character. We became intimately acquamt- 
ed and, I must say, I felt drawn toward this girl Ellen Stevens. 

I started again, (the very person I had employed to 1 
worth was here brought against me). I trembled to hear the rest. 
" Are you ill 2" inquired Wilson, in a tone of alarm. 
Merely a spasm," I repeated. It was over, and I managed 
trol my emotions. He continued : 

" I met her frequently for several months. One day she 
asked me what I intended to do as she informed me that she was preg- 
nant-and did I intend to fulfill a promise once made of marrying her 1 
1 evaded the latter portion of her question by stating that I would see 
the child properly cared for, and allow her a maintainance sufficient 
live upon This meeting occured about three months since. She grew 
furious at my reply, called me the worst of names ; and, upbraided now 
by tears then by the most violent passion, unable to calm her and un 
willing to yield to her demands, knowing that she was a guilty creature 
previous to my meeting her, I left her to her own thoughts in hopes that 
L absence would soothe her ruffled and violent temper, 
desired effect, for the following morning I received a note from her re 
questing me to come to her that day and that she would forgive all if I 
kept the promise I had made the day previous, namely, provide a suit- 
able maintainance for her and the offspring that she expected I wen 
and found her calm and reasonable. I left and returned in the after 
noon with a friend who witnessed the agreement I had had diawn up 
by an attorney. She was perfectly satisfied or at least seemed _ to .to. 
Three days afterward I visited her again, and found her m a state of 
beastly intoxication. Though I had often seen her drunk, I never saw 
her m tiau" ate before. SlTe flew at me the moment I entered the room, 
S d me a monster and a villain, declared I should marry her or she 
wou'd expose me. In her maddened frenzy, she gave utterance to the fol- 
lowC ^ You are as great a monster as Henry Madison who poisoned 
MrAllwlth, and alerward went to California.' Whatt I replied, 
thunderstruck with amazement, and married my sister 


" { Ha, ha !' she replied, with a brutal laugh, c if you ruined me, I 
have revenge in knowing that your sister is as bad as lam. 5 Monster, 
I exclaimed, and maddened by her taunt I rushed from the room. Foi 
some hours my senses seemed gone astray. Could her accusations of 
you be true? I inquired of myself; if they were, what ruin and dis 
grace had you brought upon me and mine ! I resolved to sift the matter 
out. I accordingly went to a friend who, though not known to you per 
sonally, had often seen you in Philadelphia ; from him I learned of your 
former love for Miss Allworth, of her slighting you and marrying an 
other, and of her awful and sudden death on her bridal night. There 
seemed a degree of mystery about the matter which we both felt bound 
and determined to penetrate. He inquired the name of the woman with 
whom I associated. I replied, Ellen Stevens. ' Why, he replied,' that 
is the very girl who was maid to Miss Allfporth at the time of her en 
gagement to Madison. There may be some truth in it, we had better 
proceed at once and inquire further of her.' We started for her resi 
dence, and found her somewhat more sober than before. She rushed to 
me on my entrance, and besought me not to mind what she had said in 
her passion, that it was not the truth, and that it might get her into 
trouble. I replied, that it was now too late ; asking her to state the full 
particulars, and assuring her that no harm should come to her for so 
doing. For some time she obstinately refused, stating that she knew not 
what she said. At length, on my informing her that if she did not 
voluntarily inform us, we would be obliged to bring her before a magis 
trate, and convinced by our manner that we were serious, she said : 4 Be 
it so ; all I know is that Henry Madison bought the poison of an old 
hag living in an alley near the corner of Christian and Third streets, who 
sold herb medicine, etc. You can easy find her by inquiring for Madge 
Faust. He endeavored to persuade me to administer it to Miss Rose, 
stating that it was a love powder. I refused. He afterward informed 
me, he had succeeded in doing so himself, at the same time saying that 
her affections would soon return to him. A month was nearly passed, 
and full arrangements had been made for Miss Allworth's marriage with 
Mons. Silvester, when one day I accidently met Madison in the street ; 
I said, your love potion does not seem to take much effect. Wait a 
little, he replied ; I will be revenged on her bridal night. You know 
the rest fear kept me silent. From her who sold him the powder I 
heard of its being poison.' When she had concluded we rose, inform 
ing her that I would soon be back, and that she would have to appear 
as witness against you, if we found her statement correct, we hastened 


to the poison seller's habitation. On onr way thither, it was resolved 
between us that I only should go in and endeavor to procure some of 
this poison from her. After a little search we found her residence out 
I entered and found her sitting by the dying embers of a pitiful fire 
she turned on her stool as I entered, and in a squeaking and angry tone 
demanded my business. After a few preliminary remarks, I stated that 
1 required a love powder to restore me the affections of my mistress. 

" ; Ha ! ha !' said she, in a hoarse and feeble laugh, c such powders aa 
tell no tales, leave no trace behind, whereby the hangman is defrauded 
of his duties. Do you know my price ?' she demanded, staring me full 
in the face and reading witn her searching and cat-like eye every feature 
and movement of my countenance. I replied not ; but I supposed five 
dollars would pay her. Fiye dollars', she screamed, in reply ; c nor ten 
times five; out with you all, some silly fool has sent you here; out 
with you ; leave me,' she exclaimed, pointing to the door. I remained, 
resolving to parley with her and endeavor to obtain the information, 1 
required^ Money I am willing to give whatever you demand name 
your price. ' Four hundred dollars ;' she abruptly replied. ^ Agre ed, 
said I. c Who told you to come here V she inquired ; ' there is but one 
that I have lately sold to, one Madison, his lady love was Miss Allworth, 
a haughty beauty ; her affections returned to him in the grave ha, ha !' 
she continued, with a wild and brutal laugh. She went to a corner of 
the room, and from out a cup-board took a small bottle containing some 
white mixture or powder. She put about five grains in a paper, and 
folded it up. Whilst doing this, she kept half addressing me, and 
half to herself. ' Oh !' this is beautiful in its effects ; it does the deed 
BO calm, and quietly ; it has been handed down from generation to gen 
eration 'of our family since my ancestress, Gunnora, poisoned the good 
King Edward by base Northumberland's order. Ay ! in the land I came 
from, it is often used by the nobles of the land. I have known one fail- 
girl, 'the daughter of a peer, who sacrificed her honor to love ; her 
father indignant at the stain that was likely to appear upon his name, 
and too proud to allow her, though her lover longed to marry her, ad 
ministered a small portion of this every week for a month, and in three 
more she was a corpse by a slow and torturing death. One half this 
will have its effect in a month. And now the money ;' she continued, 
drawing her stool close to the chair on which I sat. Depositing the 
paper of poison in her pocket, she watched with eager eyes while I drew 
forth my pocket-book and counted to her the money, which I had in 
tended to have given Ellen Stevens, and for which purpose I had it 


about me. Her looks kindled with a wild and hellish animation as she 
gazed upon the gold, and when I gave her a twenty-dollar bill, to make 
up the required sum, her eyes flashed with rage. c Give me gold,' she 
said ; C I want not your flimsy paper. I like the gold, the bright and 
beautiful gold, that sparkles with love and happiness ;' and as she spoke 
she grasped the coin with a violence that made the blood swell up her 
withered veins. I have no more gold, I replied, but will bring you 
more to-morrow, and will add the like sum to it, on your informing me 
who administered the powder to Miss Allworth as I would like to en 
gage that person to do the same for me. 'Bring me the gold,' she re 
plied, ' and I will tell you.' Tell me now, I answered, and I will double 
the sum. ' How arn I to know that you will keep your promise ?' said 
she ; ' however, I will trust you one Ellen Stevens, an ungrateful 
hussy.' She handed me the powder, and I rose from my seat and said : 
Now, monster, in woman's shape, I go to get those who will punish you 
for your crimes. She made a rush at me but she was too feeble to pro 
ceed far. She stopped, and shaking her withered arm at me, said : c Go, 
I defy them to punish me ; they can not swear that powder kills ; they 
can find no trace of poison in it ; it defies all their skill !' I waited to 
hear no more, but joining my friend, we returned to Ellen's, and told 
her "that what she had stated was true, not saying anything about our 
having ascertained that she administered the poison. We then pro 
ceeded to the mayors, and procured a warrant for their arrest ; they are 
both in the city. There is a warrant from the chief magistrate of this 
city to arrest you. I wish to give you time to collect evidence to defend 
this charge, as I, as well as my father, am concerned that you may prove 
yourself guiltless ; and I have therefore delayed the execution of the 

He stopped, and waited for me to reply. There was yet a chance of 
escape. Delay was all I required. I knew and felt my guilt. I replied 
firmly and calmly that I was not guilty of the deed attributed to me ; 
that it was a gross conspiracy, and that, if he would get bail for my ap 
pearance to answer the charge, I was confident I could procure two ma* 
terial witnesses from Philadelphia who would prove that it was 'all a. 
got-up conspiracy a pack of most flagrant lies, as well as of imposi 
tion. The very idea of thinking for a moment that poison would show 
no effects of its existence in the human frame for the space of a month, 
and that there it left no inward trace behind, was perfectly preposterous 
Convinced by my arguments, and anxious to prove me guiltless, he 
consented to my proposal. We went at once to a magistrate ; I de- 


livered myself up ; bail was entered for my appearance, and I 
again free. By the advice of the lawyer engaged to defend me, a trustj 
messenger was dispatched to Philadelphia to procure the two witnesses 
I required, or rather professed to require. As I knew of none, it was 
merely a scheme to gain time to develop a plan I had made in my own 
mind. By blood I had fallen into trouble ; by blood I should escape. 
There was no other means by which to get two months to complete my 
plans ; for before that time nothing further could be heard from Phil 

Ellen Stevens and the old hag remained in custody, though treated 
kindly and well. 

I attended to my business as formerly. Five years had passed since 
the death of my father. When I looked back upon it, what a short 
space it appeared, yet through what a variety of changes had I gone ! 
Then I was innocent, happy, and free from guilt ; now, I was a self-con 
demned wretch, deserving the punishment which others less guilty have 
often received. Ellen, my loving, doting wife, was fonder, more de 
voted than ever ; she believed firmly that my accusers were base, and 
their asseverations false ; and daily, as I received her kind attentions, 
how I repented my former hastiness of temper, that had brought me 
into such trouble, and utter ruin, both of body and soul. There seems 
to hang over some in this world a fate which guides them to that which 
their conscience dictates to be wrong. I am one of those. 

A month had passed. I found there was no longer time for delay ; 
so I collected all the ready money I could possibly call together, and en 
gaged a passage in a vessel bound for Liverpool, on board of which I 
had sent a quantity of goods. The agent of the vessel knew nothing 
about me, save that I was an extensive merchant. 

The vessel was to sail on the 28th of July, 1852. This was the 27th 



I bad determined and agreed to join a party going by an overland route 
to New York, via St. Louis, on the same day. They knew nothing of 
me. The crime I have contemplated I was resolved on committing ; 
first to gratify my revenge on Ellen's brother ; secondly, for jealousy 
lest another might hereafter enjoy her affections. 

My reason for engaging the two routes will be shown hereafter. 

The evening of the 27th came. I left my office, my pockets well 
lined with cash. On my way home I met the two marauders whom I 
had employed to execute my purpose. They followed me, and after en 
tering the house, I admitted them privately by a gate into a small garden 
at the rear of the house, where they were enabled to conceal themselves. 
I had told them, when they heard a pistol-shot, to commence operations 
by entering the kitchen, binding the servants, and after rifling the house 
to make off as fast as they could. The house was situated in a lonely 
part of the town, well fitted for the purpose we were engaged in. 

I went up stairs unnoticed by the servants, as I had a latch-key to ad 
mit myself. Not finding my wife in the sitting-room, I entered our 
chamber. She lay asleep, with our infant in her arms ; how beautiful 
she looked so innocent so happy and so lovely ! 

Had I not the heart of a monster, I would have fallen upon my knees 
and embraced her, praying God to forgive me for the crimes I had com 
mitted and the thoughts I entertained. As it was, I walked to the bedside, 
stooped, and softly gave her a kiss ; and as I did so a happy smile seemed 
to cross her countenance ; tears burst involuntarily from my eyes, and 
I was on the point of relinquishing my foul ideas, when revenge, love 
of life, selfishness name it what you will an evil thought predomi 
nated ; the tempter succeeded. I had previously quietly bolted the 
door ; ascending from the kitchen to the other apartments, I drew a 
pistol from my breast, fired, and lodged the contents in Ellen's body I 
I rushed from the room ; and as I reached the hall-door, I heard the 
Stifled screams of the servants as the two burglars secured them, warned 



the side of the boat. We then both she h,m 

spit e of his m ost ^^iSXtS And as ho 
weaker; let go our ^a.dheB^o ^ 

sank, what a look he gave '* J ^ e , From the time 
drea-ns, aye my 

drea-ns, aye m It ^ < 

our crime was committed we neUher spoke a -o ^ x 

my partner in guilt rowed us ashore^ He ^ t t ^ ^ 
handed him the price nominated for 1 

we parted. * * * * 

* T am still free,-wandering about and 

Nine months have gone by. am stO 1 ^ ^ ^ ^ 

knowing not where to lay my head J g ^ ^^. 

in of 


y*st a few hundred dollars left. In an old paper which I took up acci 
dentally, my eye was caught by the following : * 

" SAN FRANCISCO. The whole of our city has been thrown into 
greater excitement (save by the revolutionary cities of Europe), than 
we have ever heard or read of. The circumstances, as near as we can 
gather, are as follows : On Thursday last, the bark Mary was to sail for 
Liverpool. A large portion of the cargo belonged to Mr. Henry Madi 
son, well known to the mercantile world. On Wednesday evening rather 
late Mr. Madison, accompanied by his brother-in-law, Mr. Wilson, came 
along side of the vessel, rowed by a single man. Mr. Madison inquired 
of the mate whether all his goods were aboard, and was answered in the 
affirmative. Wishing the mate good-night, the boat pulled toward the 

" In the morning, when inquiry was made for Mr. Madison, as a sad oc 
currence had taken place at his residence, which we shall presently relate, 
he was nowhere to be found ; neither were his companions, Mr. Wilson, or 
the boatman. Strict inquiries were made, and the vessel alluded to was 
boarded. The mate stated what we have already placed before our read 
ers. On the return of the boat from the vessel they discovered the head 
of a man above water. They rowed quickly toward it, and were horri 
fied in finding it to be the body of one of those for whom they were 
searching, Mr. Wilson ; they took the body in and came ashore. In 
the course of the day, the boat in which the drowned man and Mr. 
Madison were known to have been in, was found driven by the tide 
beating against one of the south wharves. No sign or trace of the boat 
man has been discovered. As each incident of this most extraordi 
nary occurrence has only reached us piece by piece, our readers must 
pardon us for not giving it in a more regular form. We now give a 
few more particulars regarding this mysterious transaction, and hope in 
our second edition to place before our readers full particulars in a con 
densed form of the whole story. On Wednesday evening about half- past 


seven o'clock, the report of a pistol, proceeding from their mistress's 
chamber, was heard by the servants of Mr. Madison, who lives in the 
outlets of the city. They, with one accord, rushed up stairs, but 
found the door which led from the kitchen to the apartments above 
fastened on the other side. On their descending again to obtain some 
weapon whereby to burst the door in, two men with their faces blackened 
and well armed, rushed into the kitchen, and, before the servants were 
able to make any resistance, firmly secured them. They then proceeded 
to rifle the house. They first went to the butler's pantry where the 
plate was kept, and finding sufficient there to satisfy their fastidious taste, 
they decamped, leaving the unfortunate servants in durance vile. They 
remained in this unpleasant situation till the morning, when the milkman, 
who came in by the rear of the house, relieved their excitement and sus 
pense. Notice was immediately dispatched to the city, and the mayor, 
accompanied by three, officers, proceeded to the spot. What was their 
horror, on arriving there, to find the body of Mrs. Madison weltering in 
blood, and her infant child smothered oy her side, from the blood that 
flowed from the pistol shot that killed her ! We can inform our readers 
no further, but hope in our second edition to be able to announce the ar 
rest of the villains and perpetrators of this most murderous outrage." 

Let me pen the rest quickly. I have one crime more to relate ere I 
extinguish that life which has been a curse to the world, and a burden to 

I left New York and went to Boston. I had ftot been more than 
three months there, when, one day, I met Ellen Stevens. She was little 
altered. We both started on recognizing one another. I felt that I was 
in her power ; that she, if no other one, truly devised the San Francisco 
affair. I thought it best to curry favor with her, secure her friendship, 
and then take my own time and place to get rid of her. Love of life 
now predominated over all other feelings, either of revenge, hatred, or 
elfish gratification. 


I feared the punishment from man due for rny crimes, and thwefor* 
dreaded to meet my God. 

Ellen Stevens received my overtures, and we became more closely 
bound than ever ; however, as we were both fond of pleasure, oui 
funds, which were already scanty, began quickly to disappear. She pro 
posed for us to go to her father's, in the village of Cambridge near Bos 
ton, who had often written to her to come and visit him and her mother 
both understanding her to be married. As she stated they had some 
money which we might be able to secure ; and as I had become a 
gambler and a drunkard, in addition to my other heinous villanies, I 
neither heeded nor cared whither I went or what became of me. 

We accordingly started for the old couple's. I passed as Ellen's hus 
band. They received us affectionately. Little did they imagine the 
viper they were receiving into the bosom of their friendship, 

We stopped for four weeks. Getting tired of the monotonous course 
of life which they pursued, 1 inquired of Stevens what she meant to do I 
,iShe replied : stop with her father and mother, repent the past, and en 
deavor to behave better for the future and she hoped I would leave, as 
if on business a few days after my absence she would break all to her 
parents, pledging her most solemn oath, that she would never tell aught 
concerning my past life. flttGKOtt Lib: 

I agreed to this, and left the house, resolving to be avenged, and to 
make sure of her death who held my life in her hands. I repaired to 
the village inn, and on entering the bar-room, I rejoiced to see the boat 
man of San Francisco. His appearance there at the very time I needed 
such service as he could render, seemed almost as if the evil one had 
specially sent him there to help to pkinge me into more crime. 

Our arrangements were quickly made. We were to attack the farmer's 
house that night. I promised McGee, the boatman, a rich booty. 

Night came. We reached the family yard. No lights burned in the 
house. When we were within forty yards of the house, a dog began to 


bark furiously ; a window was raised, and a voice, which I recognized 
to be the old man's, demanded, " Who is there." We still advanced. 
Th^ question was again asked. No reply from us was given. A gun 
shot and McGee fell a corpse. I rushed to the hall door, and with a 
email crow-bar which I had taken from McGee as he fell, burst it open. 
I rushed up stairs, and at the door of his room met the farmer armed, 
and about to fire ! In a second, I dashed the gun from his hand, and 
with one blow laid him lifeless. His wife, alarmed by the fall of her 
husband, had risen from the bed, and was rushing to his aid, when I 
served her in the same manner. 

Footsteps coming up the stairs now warned me to depart. I leaped 
from the window, and narrowly escaped being caught by two laborers, 
that had come from the rear of the house. 

I fled ; I reached the village ; waited till the earliest dawn, and then, 
hiring a horse from a party who knew me, started for Boston. Ar 
rived there, I put up the horse at a stable, saying I would call again, 
and started by train for New Jersey. I arrived at Camden, stayed a 
day there my mind in a state of madness. 


It must be so life is no longer endurable I will die the river 
flows swiftly by no eye is^pon me this rock suits well my pur 
pose the pistol fired and I drop into the stream to be hurled into 
the ocean's depth. Farewell then to life ! which to some has been a 
blessing, but to me a curse. One gratification bears me through I 
ain revenged on those who did me harm ! ! 


THE body of Madiscx. was found lying on the rock, on which he was 
seated when he committed the act of suicide; he had apparently fallen 
backward on the discharge of the pistol. The top of the skull was 
blown off, a portion of the brain was scattered on the rock, and the 
weapon, with which he committed the act, lay by his side. 

The journal from which the foregoing extracts were taken, was found 
on his person. 

The curiosity of the reader will undoubtedly be excited, and indeed 
he will be anxious to know the subsequent fate of Ellen Stevens, who, 
according to the tenor of the journal, was left at Cambridge. 

On the discovery of the body and papers of Madison an inquest was 
held on the body, and the papers were placed at the disposal of the 
police of Camden. A telegraphic communication was sent to Cam 
bridge ; the premises of Ellen's father were searched, but it appears 
that she had decamped, from the fact that she was not to be found. 

The police of Boston and the neighboring towns were then put on 
the alert, but their vigilance failed in the apprehension of the criminal. 
She was then advertised in the public prints, but with no better suc 
cess. No intelligence could be obtained of her, until about a year 
after the discovery of the body of Madison. A girl calling herself 
Adeline Myers, was at that time arrested, and executed in California, 
at the instance of the Vigilance Committee, on a charge of murder. 

Adeline, on being convicted of the charge on which she was 
arraigned, confessed herself as the original Ellen Stevens, and made 
disclosures which led to the following information : 

It appears that, with the death of her parents, vanished all her reso 
lution with regard to reformation. 

The assassination of her parents, at that particular time, naturally 
led her to suppose, that Madison was in some way connected with the 
act, and that he had some ultimate design with regard to herself. She, 
therefore, availed herself of the opportunity to get possession of such 

money and valuables, as were then in her father's house, and made her 



way to the city of New York, assuming the name of Harriet Frame, 
She there succeeded in obtaining a situation as waiting-maid to an 
elderly lady, who chanced to be married to a young man of good 
appearance and address, and who, it appears, had married the lady on 
account of her fortune. 

The age of the lady was forty-nine, that of the gentleman only 
twenty-two. The family name was Master. 

"Whether or riot the gentleman had been addicted to profligacy 
previous to his marriage, we have no account. 

The disparity of the ages, however, of the married pair, would lead 
us to suppose, that there could be but little of affection existing 
between the couple. 

The health of Mrs* Master being delicate, she spent most of her 
time in travel ; that mode of living having been recommended by her 

At the time of the engagement made with Ellen, Mrs. Master and 
her husband were preparing for a tour through the northern part of 
the States, by way of Niagara and Detroit, and thence to St. Louis. 

The preceding extracts have said but little of the comparative 
beauty of Ellen. We may safely say, however, that, compared with 
that of Mrs. Master, the preponderance was decidedly in her favor. 

Ellen, also, being considerably the younger of the two, her health 
being unaffected, and vivacity being somewhat a feature in her compos 
ition, it is scarcely to be wondered at, that she should receive a share of 
attention from Mr. Master. 

All things being in readiness Mr. and Mrs. Master, accompanied by 
Ellen, set out on their journey. Nothing of importance occurred until 
they reached Niagara. 

At that place the visible dislike of Mr. Master for his consort, was 
first made manifest. In fact, it was at that place he formed the reso 
lution of ridding himself of her, by some means. 

Many induced her, on account of her infirmities, to give him full 
power as to the management of her estate, &c., he could lay his plans 
with perfect security, so far as the loss of property was concerned. 

Ellen was not tardy in observing the dislike of the husband for the 


wife, and she determined to profit by it, as far as circumstances would 
admit. She, therefore, spared no pains, nor neglected any artifice, to 
ingratiate herself into the favor of Mr. Master. 

As matters were progressing from one step to another, Mrs. Master 
could not help noticing the preference which her husband entertained 
for her maid, and at length began to take measures for her dismissal, 
but a trial soon proved that her efforts were altogether futile. Having 
become satisfied of her impotence, she was under the necessity of 
bearing the insult of her position, with as good grace as the nature of 
woman could admit. 

When about to leave Niagara, a plan was devised by Mr. Master 
and Ellen, to rid themselves of Mrs. Master before their departure, 
and journey without her. 

Accordingly, when all things were arranged for their departure, 
they induced Mrs. Master, one evening, after the shades of night had 
settled, to walk with them in the neighborhood of the Falls. They 
managed to induce her to walk near -the precipice, then, they gently 
and in a very apparently proudly manner, raised her over the pre 
cipice when, accidently letting go their hold, they let her drop 
and left her playing with the bubbles of water below. 

Having thus dispatched his wife on her final journey, Mr. Master 
and his paramour hastened to a conveyance which they had prepared 
for the occasion, and drove immediately to Chippewa. Thence they 
crossed to Buffalo and took passage for Detroit. 

Arrived at Detroit, Master disguised himself with a wig, mustachios, 
&c., and assumed the name of Fenton; Ellen, of course, became Mrs. 

Being now possessed of unbounded wealth, and Fenton, also, being 
somewhat accomplished in music, and those little "et ceteroes" which 
are calculated to make one agreeable, they found no difficulty of ming 
ling in the best society, and of allaying suspicion of any kind. 

Detroit, however, was not the kind of a place to detain them long, 
it being more in accordance with their disposition to seek some larger 
city, in which places of amusement were conducted on a larger and 

more magnificent scale. They, therefore, took a formal farewell of the 


acquaintances which they had formed during their stay at the "Bidela 
House" of that city, and started in a private conveyance, through the 
southern part of Michigan, traveling in the direction of Toledo, in the 
northern part of Ohio. 

There being nothing in Toledo of sufficient moment to detain them, 
they drove immediately to the " Island House," discharged their con 
veyance, took some little refreshments, and immediately engaged a 
passage to Cincinnati. 

At Toledo, a circumstance occurred, which liked to have proved 
fatal to the further progress of the guilty pair. 

Toledo, it should be observed, is situated at the head of navigation, 
or near the western extremity of Lake Erie, is the great thoroughfare 
of the tide of emigration which is flowing West, via the " Lake Shore 
Railroad." It is also the starting point for trains to different parts 
of the States of Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. 

Whilst waiting the time of the train for Cincinnati, Ellen, in the 
temporary absence of Fenton, turned her attention to her personal 
appearance being, in perfect accordance with human nature in such 
cases, anxious to stand as high in the affections of her pretended 
husband, as neatness in the dress, and other matters connected with 
the person, could please him. 

The accommodations in the " Ladies Parlor" of that house offering 
such superior facilities for adjustment, Ellen did not fail to avail 
herself of the opportunity to scan herself before the extensive mirror. 

She^ accordingly unveiled herself, and while in the act of contem 
plation, a laborer, formerly a resident of Cambridge, Mass., who knew 
Ellen, when she resided at that place, and who was now emigrating to 
Indiana, chanced to pass through the hall, on his way to the ticket office. 

The door entering the ladies parlor was open at the time, and by 
chance, he caught a glimpse of Ellen, as she was standing before the 
mirror. He, at once, thought he recognized her features, but was at a 
loss to account for her superb and costly dress. His suspicions, how 
ever, were excited, and he determined to watch. 

He, therefore, seated himself in one of the accomodation chairs in 
the hall, and opposite the door entering the parlor. 


Presently Fenton made his appearance, and escorted his lady to tho 

The laborer then enquired of the landlord, who, it appears, by some 
means, had learned the name of Fenton, although his name was not 
entered on the book. On hearing that the name was Fenton, the 
laborer concluded there must be some mistake, and let the matter drop. 

Mr. and Mrs. Fenton were now snugly escorted in the cars for 
Cincinnati, with no other object in view than the pursuit of pleasure ; 
and the abundant means which they now had at their disposal, rendered 
it possible for them to gratify their desires, so far as desire can be 
gratified, by any earthly enjoyment. 

Arrived at Cincinnati, they put up at the "Burnet House," at which 
place they remained for a time, and occupied themselves in visiting 
the theaters, and such other places of amusement, as the city at that 
time afforded. 

" Variety is the spice of life," is an old adage, and experience taught 
Mr. pJid Mrs. Fenton its truth. Having remained in Cincinnati, until 
they had become cloyed with the amusements afforded by that place, 
they concluded to set forward, in quest of other objects of enjoyment. 

In pursuance of this design, they embarked for St. Louis, at which 
place, they arrived in safety. 

Here, again, Ellen was recognized by some person, and as she was 
promenading one evening, in company with Fenton, she was accosted 
as Miss Stevens. 

The address of the person alarmed her, but as the person who 
addressed her disappeared immediately in the crowd, and was obscured 
by the shades of the night, she lost sight of him, and consequently had 
no means of ascertaining by whom she was recognized. 

Guilt is always cowardly, and fear immediately took possession of 
the bosom of Ellen. She determined immediately to take further 
measures against recognition, and possible apprehension. 

Concealing her real object from Fenton, she proposed to him, as a 
sort of novelty, that she should dress herself in male attire, that they 
should provide themselves each with a mule, and that they should tako 
an overland route to California. 


Fenton, whose affection for Ellen, was as yet unalloyed, -without 
much hesitation, assented to the proposal. 

Accordingly, they made arrangements for the journey, and embarked 
in company with a caravan, then about to start for Santa Fe. 

Nothing extraordinary occurred on the route ; they saw the usual 
number of Indians and buffaloes, slept on the prairie, killed rattle 
snakes, forded rivers, crossed mountains, arrived safe at Santa Fe, and 
ultimately at San Francisco. 

Here, however, affairs took a change. 

"Whether the appearance of Ellen, in her male attire, was too mascu 
line, or whether it was from some other cause, yet, it is certain, that 
the affection of Fenton for his paramour, began to decline. 

Subsequently, he fell in, with what, in common parlance, is called a 
"flashy piece," from New Orleans. 

Ellen now became altogether supplanted, and finally, was cast off 
entirely. She at this time took the name of Adeline Myers. 

Destitution created -a desire for revenge, and revenge she was c'eter- 
mined to have. 

Accordingly, she provided herself with a dirk, and watching her 
opportunity, as Fenton, on one occasion, was walking with his new 
mistress, she stabbed him to the heart. 

A mob was the natural consequence, and some of the "Vigilance 
Committee" happening to be on the ground, Ellen was immediately 

She protested against the legality of her arrest, imprisonment, and 
the subsequent trial, which was granted her, in accordance with the 
forms adopted by the Committee. She was constrained, however, to 
succumb to the principle, that " might makes right," and was ordered 
to prepare for execution. 

A clergyman was provided for her, at the instance of the Committee. 
When on the scaffold, she was asked, if she had any thing to say, or 
any thing to disclose. 

She then avowed herself as the original Ellen Stevens, stated the 
circumstances attendant upon her brief career, and died, protesting 
against the legality of the acts of the "Vigilance Committee. "