The Ashland Horror

The Initial Report

On Friday December 23, 1881, Mrs. Gibbons and her youngest child went on a trip to Ironton to stay with her daughter and son in law. Mr. John Gibbons had moved out of the house five weeks earlier. Teenagers Robbie (17) and Fanny (14) stayed in the family’s one and half story house along with another 14 year old girl who lived nearby, Emma Thomas. Emma arrived at the Gibson house at 6 pm. Fanny was already there and Robbie got home between 9 and 10 pm. None of the three were seen alive again. It was also noted that Robbie only had one foot, having lost the other seven years earlier.

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Crushed Under Stone

The Explosion

On October 4, 1905, an explosion shook the Hamilton County Courthouse. For years, county workers had complained about the smell of gas in the building and had been trying to find the source of the leak. They went so far as to tear up the floors and the walls where the smell was the strongest. At about 3 o’clock, on the afternoon in question, the County Clerk called for the Superintendent of Buildings and asked that he try to solve the problem before the weather got too cold. The Clerk was concerned that if they had to close the windows the smell would be so strong they wouldn’t be able to work in the room.

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Murdered By A Maniac

The Dastardly Crime

The Hartnett family lived at number 25 Walker street, near where sycamore street wound up to Mount Auburn. Patrick Hartnett (38) and his wife Mary (34) shared five children and Mary was expecting their 6th. Patrick, a laborer and alcoholic. Being more alcoholic than laborer, he decided that he didn’t want to work in the winter. He’d worked in the summer and it was somebody else’s turn. To try to close the gap, Mary took in laundry and the couple’s oldest son, John (14), got a job.

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Killed With Her Paramour

On August 26th, 1906, five shots rang out in the early evening on a dark Chillicothe, Ohio street. The crowd that gathered found a “man cold in death and his woman companion writhing unconscious with a bullet wound in the breast” (Chillicothe Gazette, 27 Aug 1906). The shooter ran away into the darkness, knocking into several pedestrians in the process before disappearing. The victims were identified as Mrs. Flora H- and Mr. John B-. John died at the scene. There was an attempt to save Flora, but she died in the ambulance as she reached City Hospital.

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