1816: Attacked by Foot-Pads

Middletown, Nov. 21.

On Monday evening last between 7 and 8 o’clock as Mr. Samuel Allison of this city was returning from Durham, he was attacked by three foot-pads, on the turnpike, about three miles below the city, who first capsized the waggon, then knocked him down several times, stripped him to his shirt, and then demanded his money!–he gave them his pocket book which contained but about five dollars and assured them it was all he has as they might have seen. Finding the booty so small, they returned him his pocket book and money, helped him on with his clothes and into his waggon, gave him the reins, cursed him, and told him to go about his business. The probability is, Mr. Allison was not the man they were lying in wait for. They had with them a sword, pistol and dark lantern. As our country is full of such characters, it would be well for people to be cautious about travelling in the night.

From the Dedham Gazette (Dedham, Massachusetts), Friday, November 29, 1816.

1902: Roaring Bill Kennedy at Large

New York, Nov. 20.–A man shouted that he was “Roaring Bill” Kennedy, the terror of Middletown, Connecticut, fired three shots at the elevated railroad structure in front of No. 10 Bowery, today, and was about the fire again when he was arrested.

When arrested and taken before Sergt. Murtha, he lost his blustering manner, and said in a weak voice:

“I’m nothing but a poor steamfitter, from Middletown, Conn. You can telephone up there and get my character.”

He was locked up.

From the Stamford Advocate (Stamford, Connecticut), Thursday, November 20, 1902.

1889: Vandals in a Graveyard

Middletown, Conn., Nov. 8.–The people of this city were greatly shocked this morning to learn that during the night over thirty graves in Mortimer Cemetery had been desecrated by vandals. Tombstones and monuments were torn down, many fences broken, railings rooted up, and thousands of dollars damage done. The mounds over many graves were literally ploughed up. It was afterward learned, however, that no bodies had been stolen. The town was in an uproar and hundreds of people flocked to the scene of ruin all day. The chief-of-police believes the perpetrators are Wesleyan College students.

From the Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York), Saturday, November 9, 1889.

1921: Schutte Sentenced to Die, But First Tries Suicide

Cuts Wrist, But Is Haled to Court, Where He Denies Murdering Ball Family

Middletown, Conn., Oct. 25.–Emil Schutte, who was convicted of the murder of three members of the Ball family last week, was sentenced to be hanged on April 10, 1922, at the state prison, by Judge W. M. Maltbie to-day.

In the jail at Haddam this morning Schutte attempted to kill himself by cutting his left wrist with a piece of tin. Surgical attention prevented loss of much blood, and he was taken to court. Judge Maltbie did not rule on the motion to set aside the verdict on the ground of insufficiency of evidence, saying that he would further consider the motion.

Schutte when placed at the bar said: “I have been robbed of my lands, my money, my bonds, worth $50,000, and my family. I swear by God Almighty that I did not burn the Ball family. I am absolutely innocent.”

Sentence was imposed and Schutte was taken immediately to state prison. His counsel expects to carry the case to the Supreme Court of Errors. Counsel claimed that aside from testimony of Julius Schutte, a son, there was no direct evidence to connect Schutte with the crime.

From the New-York Tribune (New York, New York), Wednesday, October 26, 1921.


1885: Chapel Dedicated

Exercises at the Middletown Industrial School To-Day.

Middletown, Conn., Oct. 17.–This afternoon took place the formal dedication of the new chapel of the Industrial school, a large number of ladies and gentlemen from different parts of the state being present. The exercises were of a very interesting character.

In 1866, several petitions were presented to the general assembly asking the state to create an institution in which girls whose surroundings were likely to lead them to vicious or criminal lives could be cared for and educated. In response to these petitions the legislature appointed a commission consisting of the Rev. Thomas K. Fessenden of Farmington, Professor D. C. Gilman of New Haven and Dr. J. P. Whitcomb of Brooklyn, to investigate the subject and report the next year. These gentlemen made a favorable report, but no action was taken in 1867. In that year was subscribed for the school by the citizens of Hartford, and about the same amount by residents of New Haven. In other towns numerous persons donated various sums, all showing that the benevolent people of the state were much interested in the enterprise, which was chartered in 1868 as the “Connecticut Industrial School for Girls.” The state appropriated $3 per week for the board and clothing of each girl sentenced to the school, and also made a conditional appropriation for the establishment. The towns of Winsted, Farmington and Middletown, asked that the school be located within their borders. The trustees selected Middletown, which, at a cost of $11,500, purchased nearly fifty acres of land and presented the same to the school. The first two buildings erected were named the “Pratt Home” and “Street Home,” in honor of Miss Esther Pratt of Hartford, and Mrs. Street of New Haven, each of whom had given $5,000 to the institution. In 1874 the third building was raised and named the “Allyn Home,” in recognition of a $10,000 donation from ex-Mayor Allyn of Hartford. The fourth building was named the “Rogers Home,” in honor of Mrs. Martha Rogers of Middletown, who gave $5,000 toward the cost of it. In 1881 the legislature appropriated $10,000 to the institution, and the fifth building was erected and named the “Russell Home,” a legacy of $5,000 having been received from Mrs. Samuel J. Russell of Middletown. The state also appropriated $10,000 for a water supply, which cost $10,419. In 1884 the state appropriated $15,000 for the erection of a building to contain a chapel hall and school room. This is the building which was dedicated this afternoon. The school has more than 200 pupils.

From The New Haven Register, Saturday, October 17, 1885.

1911: Stolen $1.00 Rooster Costs, To Date, $1,000

Accused Man Spent His Nest Egg, and State Scratched Up $770 to Prosecute.

Middletown, Conn., Oct. 3.–Neither the State of Connecticut nor Peter Kelly is crowing over the reduced cost of justice in the Nutmeg State. Kelly’s little nest egg of $400 has been sacrificed and the State has had to scratch up $700 to meet the cost of Kelly’s trial for the alleged theft of Frederick Gavitt’s game rooster.

The Gavitt rooster, value $1, disappeared four months ago. Gavitt, who lives at Waterford, four miles from this city, accused Kelly, who had left Middletown and was scratching for a living at Fayville, Mass. Officers had some difficulty in finding Kelly’s roosting place and spent a lot of valuable time and money before they were able to arrest him.

Requisition papers were prepared, but Kelly got a hearing in Massachusetts, at which he indignantly denied he had “flown the coop” when accused of the theft. Kelly’s attorney finally induced him to return to Waterford for trial. He strutted into court denying his guilt, and spurred to fight by his friends, appealed the case to the higher courts when found guilty in the lower tribunal.

From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World (Lawrence, Kansas), Tuesday, October 3, 1911.


1843: A Horrid Murder!

Was committed in Westfield Society, in this town, this afternoon, on the person of Mrs. Bacon, wife of Mr. Eben Bacon, one of the most respectable farmers of this place.

It is supposed to have been committed between the hours of one and two o’clock. When the family returned from meeting, she was found on the floor with one eye torn out, a gash across the forehead, with her skull broken in. She undoubtedly defended herself, as a chair was found broken to pieces near her, and a knife. She was lifeless.–The house was robbed of the money it contained. It is hoped that every friend to justice and humanity will exert himself to the utmost to discover the perpetrators of one of the most daring murders ever committed in this State.

Middletown, Sept. 24, 1843.

From the Daily Times of Monday.

A man was arrested in this city to-day, and examined on suspicion of his having committed the murder in Middletown yesterday. His story was contradictory, but there was not sufficient evidence against him to warrant his detention, and he was accordingly discharged. The murder was one of the most cold-blooded affairs we ever heard of. Such cases do not occur often in New England. We hear sometimes of a murder committed under the excitement of passion, in quarrels, &c., but not for plunder merely. The murderers will assuredly meet with justice–they cannot, in all probability, go unpunished.

We learn by a slip brought by the cars this afternoon, that two foreign peddlers were arrested in New Haven this morning. It is supposed from various circumstances that they are the murderers.

A store was broken open and robbed in Meriden on Friday night last, and two peddlers, probably the same who are now arrested, were suspected. They were seen about there during the day.

Intense excitement prevailed in Middletown and Meriden this morning. The persons arrested are about 40 years of age, and have been peddling razors on the road from Meriden, Middletown, &c.

Tuesday.–The two men arrested in New Haven, have been examined and discharged.

Wednesday.–Two men named Bell and Roberts, have been arrested in Middletown. They resided near Middletown, and it is believed they are guilty.

We learn by the driver of the Middletown stage of Thursday, that the persons arrested had not been examined when the stage left. The people were active in searching for facts, but nothing new had transpired.

From The Times (Hartford, Connecticut), Saturday, September 30, 1843.


1901: Further Talk of Plots

A Connecticut Lawyer Gives Information to Secret Service Men.

Middletown, Conn., Sept. 21.–Eugene Culver, an attorney of this city, has placed in the hands of the Secret Service officers at Washington, D. C., all the facts that have been given to him regarding a plot to assassinate McKinley here last June had he visited Wesleyan University then, as was planned.

The news leaked out through a drunken man’s talk in a saloon. This man, whose name is Cyzak, or something like it, came here, it is said, from Paterson, N. J., several months ago. He was seen by his fellow-workmen to be very jubilant when news was received of the shooting of the President. He and his companions acknowledge that they are anarchists. What Cyzak said was this:

“I’m glad McKinley is dead. He would have been killed here last June; I know that, for all plans had been made.”

The shooting was to have been done at the parade or at the reception. When asked where plans were made, he replied not here, but elsewhere. Then he seemed to realize that he had said too much and he got out of sight as soon as possible and has not been seen since.

George Coles, a New York school book agent, came here yesterday on business. He notified the prosecuting attorney that a resident of South Farms told him that he had heard a man say he would as soon shoot Roosevelt or any other ruler as he would a skunk. This man was a Pole. Mr. Coles stated that he was positive that the man had made this threat.

From The Washington Times (Washington, D. C.), Sunday, September 22, 1901.

1910: Talented Young Lady Carried Away in Auto

Middletown, Conn., Sept. 16.–Miss Electra Warner, eighteen years old, an accomplished musician and organist at the Baptist Church in Cromwell, was mysteriously spirited away from the town by two men in an automobile after being enticed from the church, where she was attending a rehearsal of the choir.

The family of Howard Broadman, with whom she has made her home, believe she has been kidnapped, and they are anxiously seeking news of her whereabouts.

Miss Warner came to live with the Broadmans six years ago. Her mother, who was poor, was unable to care for the child, and she was pleased to give her into the care of Mr. and Mrs. Broadman. Since coming to the Broadmans Miss Warner has been well educated.

Mrs. Broadman was with her at the Baptist Church Saturday night when a well dressed stranger came in and told the young women there was a man outside who wished to see her. Miss Warner was surprised and demurred at going, but the man laughingly told her she would know the person outside when she saw him.

Persons outside the church say they saw two men seize Miss Warner and force her into an automobile, which was driven away at a rapid pace, the girl struggling with her captors. Mr. Broadman refused to discuss the case tonight, but from the neighbors it was learned the girl had been corresponding with her mother, who had been trying unsuccessfully to get Miss Warner to return to her. It was said that Mr. Broadman had found a letter from the girl addressed to her mother in Bridgeport, and that he had been there, but could get no trace of Miss Warner.

From the Santa Cruz Sentinel (Santa Cruz, California), Saturday, September 17, 1910.

1958: Deposited in Jail

Middletown, Conn.–(UPI)–A few minutes after Mrs. Mabel Hajek of the Middletown Savings Bank finished reading a notice to be on the lookout for John Olson, an accused bad-check artist, in walked Olson asking to open an account.

Mrs. Hajek had another worker call police, who arrested him.

From the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (Fairbanks, Alaska), Saturday, September 13, 1958.