Friday, June 1, 2018

Really Depressing Research

I am working up a comprehensive list of American mass murders.  The 19th century mass murders are generally families, usually by an alcoholic father.  In some cases, mental illness is clearly an issue.  But even the whiskey ones may be mental illness related because substance abuse and mental illness are comorbid.   Here is one that did not involve alcoholism:
Monroe Co., Ill. (1878)Father murdered his wife and six children apparently with an axe or blunt object, and burned the house down around them and him. 
There were at first news accounts suggesting the deaths were accidental or even that a vagrant in the area might have done it, but examination of the remains of two of the seven dead demonstrated death was by some method that crushed the skulls.  The remaining corpses were too badly burned for a postmortem cause of death. [1]
The prospect of impending poverty for his children appears to be the cause of his murder of his family: “how can I move into that log house.  My poor wife and children to be so reduced.” [2]Category: Domestic
Suicide: Yes
Cause: Fear of poverty.
Weapon: Crushing weapon, perhaps arson.

[1] “The Monroe County Tragedy,” Chicago Daily Tribune, Mar. 5, 1878, 5.
[2] “Horrible.  A Family of Seven People Murdered,” Sedalia (Mo.) Weekly Bazoo, Mar. 12, 1878, 3.
And yes the newspaper was really the Weekly Bazoo!

If you are one of those weirdos who reads 19th century newspapers, and you find a non-governmental mass murder, tell me about it.

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