Throughout history, murderers have always seemed to rivet the attention of the public. Hapless victims, their calculated killers, and all the gruesome details of the crime seem to fascinate most people, and the trials are oftentimes sensational events that attract the masses. Killers committing their heinous crimes during the 19th century were no different than the ones of today, but a few of these criminals stand out in history.
Champ Ferguson – The story of Champ Ferguson is set in the mountains of Tennessee during the height of the American Civil War. For reasons not completely clear, Ferguson became a staunch supporter of the Rebel cause; some say Union soldiers raped his wife and daughter, while others say that the Confederacy promised him clemency on an existing murder charge if he promised his support. Whatever his reasons were, Ferguson became one of the most notorious and feared guerrillas in Tennessee, and also one of the most prolific killers of Union soldiers and supporters in the area. Noted for his sadistic tendencies when he found a new victim, Ferguson is estimated to have killed over 100 people, though he was only tried for the murders of 53. Ferguson was arrested and tried for murder in May of 1865, creating something of a spectacle for a public eager to see him sentenced to death. Though Ferguson freely admitted to committing the many murders, he maintained that his acts were part of military activities and he only killed those who would have killed him. Ferguson was convicted of war crimes and sentenced to hang on October 20, 1865. His death closed the chapter of one of the South’s most notorious guerrilla fighters, feared by some and revered by others.
H. H. Holmes – Known by many as America’s first documented serial killer, H. H. Holmes is responsible for the deaths of as many as 100 people, though he confessed to only 27 of those murders. Born in New Hampshire in 1860 under the name Herman Webster Mudgett, Holmes is best known for the time he spent in Chicago during the World’s Fair in 1893. After graduating from medical school in Michigan, Holmes moved to Chicago to practice pharmacy. Dispensing medicine, however, was not high on his priority list, and instead he became involved in a number of shady business deals swindling people out of their money. In 1893, construction began on The Castle, which would serve as his home/office, a hotel for visitors to the fair, and ultimately, his killing grounds. The building was three stories high, covered an entire city block, and had a floorplan that…
Source by Michael Keene
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