All posts filed under: Uncategorized

Loyal Weller, “Conspiracy”, 10 March 1933

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Cora Cunningham’s father graduated from medical school as the civil war started. He spent four years as a battlefield surgeon. Both armies were using a new type of bullet—a conical thing that shattered bone rather than being deflected by it, as a musket ball would be—so his work mostly involved sawing off the arms and legs of young men after each engagement and stitching their stumps closed with squares of skin cut from the discarded […]

Loy Powell, “Drunk & Dis” 28 July 1951

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Loy Powell had been drinking in the Lincoln hotel for some time when he saw another customer, James Wise, arguing with Walter Tewell, an off-duty policeman. He watched as Tewell ended the argument by arresting Wise, who continued to struggle. When a patrol car arrived, Loy saw an officer beat Wise unconscious with a nightstick. Loy ended up becoming involved, one way or another, and the officer beat him, too. The hospital gave Wise eight […]

Zear Mack Hogan, “Burglary”, 28 July 1958

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Zear Mack Hogan got married while on parole from a prison farm in Ohio. A week later, he broke into the office of Castle Roofing and Sheet Metal, just west of New Castle. Sometime after midnight, the owner, Russell Delaney, saw someone moving around inside the place and went to investigate. When he opened the door, Zear hit him with a wrench and ran off. Delaney’s arm was broken. He called the police. Zear broke […]

Chester Tomski, “Parole Vio & Auto Theft”, 15 January 1939

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Chester Tomski ran away from home at the age of thirteen. He hitchhiked around the Franklin and Oil City area, stealing what he could to get by—like the $2 in the pocketbook he took from ten-year-old Bernice Hazlett—and selling stolen bikes for $1.50 or so. He was caught after a week and sent home. Four years later, when he was seventeen, Chester was arrested behind the wheel of a car he’d stolen from the parking […]

“My Colorful Past”

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Matt Loughrey, an Irish photographer and digital artist has been doing good work colorising black-and-white photographs of criminals from 19th century, immigrants on Ellis island and heroes of the Irish rebellion and other famous and obscure historical figures. (You can see more of his work here.) He recently got in touch to let me know he’d colorised some of the mug shots I’ve posted on Small Town Noir, and he sent a video showing the transitions from black-and-white to colour. I’ve taken […]

Sophia Lyskooka, “Abduction”, 2 Feb 1946

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James Stone was a manager at Johnson Bronze. He and his wife lived in a large Victorian house on North Mercer street with a four-year-old girl named Helen who they had adopted the year before. About 5 o’clock one February in 1946, Mrs Stone answered a knock at her front door, Helen following just behind her. Two young women stood there. One of them knocked Mrs Stone down and the other grabbed the child. They […]

Robert Tipper “Susp”, 17 July 1943

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Robert Tipper married Josephine Mills in the summer of 1939. The week before their fourth anniversary, at one o’clock on a Sunday morning, Josephine hit Robert with a meat cleaver, splitting his forehead and his nose. They had been drinking. The police found Robert in the street by the post office. They took him to the hospital, where he remained for two weeks. When he was discharged, he was arrested on an open charge of […]

James Aeschbacher, “Larceny Auto”, 3 April 1945

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Late one Monday night in 1945, James Aeschbacher stole a car from a garage on Beckford street. The police found him in the car about a mile away a few hours later. The battered face in his mug shot suggests he resisted arrest. The following year, James stole a car in Midland, near Pittsburgh. Two days later, he drove it to Butler, fifty miles away, to meet a friend. The friend suggested that they pick up […]

Richard Bartley, “Breaking and Entering”, 7 April 1938

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Although it was April, thick snow had fallen throughout the day, turning to slush by the time Richard Bartley was arrested, at two in the morning, on the roof of Book’s shoe store. He’d been seen by a man walking home, and police had surrounded the block. The officer who caught him also found some large empty blue bags and a screwdriver, wrench and pliers wrapped in a bundle of rags lying on the stairway […]

Daisy Gray, “Material Witness”, 14 May 1951

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When Daisy Gray was a young girl—Daisy Watkins, then—she lived with her family on Preston avenue, close to the tin mills. One night in 1934, Daniel Laws, who lived a few doors away, entered her home and beat her with an iron poker because she wouldn’t have sex with him. She was able to stop him only by stabbing him with a butcher knife. Both were so badly hurt that they ended up in hospital. […]