The "Good old days" might mean different things to different people. The list of death and murder in a time so often envisioned as idyllic, is unsettling. The truth of the matter is that people have always been - good and bad - people. These 'clusters' or 'outbreaks' do give pause and make one wonder if it was something in the water that drove people to such violent lengths. Here is an update with some additional ax murders added to the time line.
• In November of 1901, the Wilcox family of Los Angeles was 'knifed horribly' while they slept. (“Horrible Crime”, Oklahoman, Nov. 29, 1901, pg. 1).
• In Nov. 1904 the entire family of Julius Weber was shot and stabbed before the house was burned in Auburn, Ca (Oklahoman, Nov. 12, 1904, pg. 1).
• In March 1905, San Rafael, CA a man “Murdered His Entire Family”, Oklahoman, May 25, 105, pg. 7).
• In October 1909, James McMahon confessed to killing the Van Royen family in Kansas City. (“I Killed Them” -Yells Murderer”, Oklahoman, Oct. 27, 1909, pg.11).
• In November of 1909 in Bluebird, W. Va. a George Hood family was killed and the house burned down to try to cover the deed. (“Charred Bodies of Four found in Ruins of House.” Oklahoman, Nov.2, 1909, pg. 10).
• December 1909, Cleveland, OH woman Josephine Mangero and her two children fatally stabbed. (“Mother and two children Slain”. Oklahoman, Dec.5,1909, pg. 1.).
- December 1909, Cleveland, OH the body of Anna Lloyd was found with wounds from a knife or ax along the railroad in or near the Canal Ridge section.
• In March 1910, the New Orleans area saw the murders of numerous families.
• In December 1910, Savannah, Georgia a race war almost ensued after the deaths of Mrs. Elizabeth Gribble, Mrs. Carrie Ohlander, and Mrs. Maggie Hunter. The local police rounded up over a hundred local African Americans to be 'questioned'. (“Woman Slain by Fiendish Negro.” Oklahoman, Dec.12, 1909, pg. 18).
• In January 1911, Rayne, LA an unnamed mother and her four children were killed.+
• In Spring 1911, Lafayette, LA the Norbett Randall family was killed.+
In August 1911, Booneville, Indiana, Richard Lee, his wife, and son where killed in their sleep “skulls caved in” by an ax and a fire started to hide the deed. Another son charged but doubts linger.
•In September 1911, Colorado Springs, Co. People in several neighboring houses were discovered dead with crushed heads while they slept. Victims were a H.C.Wayne, his wife and child; a Mrs. A. J. Burnham, two children (including a one year old).*
•In October 1911, in Monmouth, IL a William E. Dawson, his wife, and daughter were killed.
•In October 1911, in Ellsworth, Kansas a William Showman, wife, and three children were killed as they slept.* (“Showman Family of Five Murdered.” Ellsworth Reporter, Oct.11, 1911).
• In February, 1912, in Beaumont, Texas a family was killed. +
• In 1912, Crowly, LA a family was killed as they slept. + (+=Some assume these LA and TX murders to be racially motivated as they are all African-American family units. Some included 'Mulatto' or mixed race children which further complicates and confuses the matter. The simple truth might also be that these families were convenient kills providing a prey separated from the major part of the society by racial prejudice, thus making them targets of ease. Others suggest some obscure church of sacrifice was involved yet the evidence appears weak to non-existent for this line of reasoning.)
• In 1912, Lake Charles, LA, a family was killed as they slept.+
• In April 1912, San Antonio (Police suspected the man was using the Southern Pacific Railroad since November 1911. (If the theory of the killer using the rails was correct he would next hit there and he did).
• In June 1912, in Paola, Kansas a Rollin Hudson and wife were murdered. (“Murder Came in the Night”, Western Spirit, June 14, 1912).
• In June 1912, in Vilasca, Iowa, eight were murdered as they slept. Victims: J.B. Moore and wife, four children, and two local girls, guests of his children. (“Recent Ax Murders”, Oklahoman, July, 14, 1912, pg. 1).
• In December 1912, two women were killed in Columbia, Missouri. (“Horrible Murder Committed”, Columbia Herald, Dec.20, 1912).
• In 1919, New Orleans, more axe murders thought to be the work of gangs but also as likely a serial killer. Perhaps the work of the same killer?
• In 1920 in Turtle Lake, N.D. eight are killed on the Jacob Wolf farm. (“Police Seek Clues in Dakota Murder”, Oklahoman, April 25, 26, 1920, pg. 2, 33).
• In January of 1922, a mother and son are killed in Chicago. (Oklahoman, Jan. 23, 1922, pg.12.)
• In November 1928, Omaha was stricken by a 'hatchet slayer' who killed at least three times. (Oklahoman, Nov. 21, 1928).