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Vital Records – Indiana Weekly Messenger May 6, 1874


Feb 16, 2016

Indiana Weekly Messenger
May 6, 1874

Executor’s Notice

Letters testamentary on the estate of Wm. Bell, dec’d, late of Washington twp., having been granted the undersigned, notice is hereby given to all persons indebted to said estate to make immediate payment, and to those having claims against the same, to present them duly authenticated for settlement.
John Prothero
Apr 22

Administrator’s Notice

Whereas letters of administration on the estate of R.W.F. Walker, late of Armstrong tp., having been granted the undersigned, notice is hereby given to all persons indebted to said estate to make immediate payment, and to those having claims against the same, to present them duly authenticated for settlement.
S. Marlin Lowman,
R.M. Walker,
Mar 18, ’74

Administrator’s Notice

Whereas letters of administration on the estate of Elizabeth Hopkins, late of E. Mahoning twp., dec’d, having been granted the undersigned, notice is hereby given to all persons indebted to said estate to make immediate payment, and to those having claims against the same, to present them duly authenticated for settlement.
John Hopkins,
Feb 11

Executor’s Notice

Whereas letters of letters testamentary having been granted the undersigned on the estate of Wm. C. McCrea, late of Blacklick tp., dec’d, all persons indebted to said estate are requested to make immediate payment, and to those having claims against the same, to present them duly authenticated for settlement.
Thomas C. M’Creas,
John Shields
Mar 19 ’74

Terrible Tragedy
Five Persons Murdered
Indiana Weekly Messenger
May 6, 1874

On Wednesday night last, a most terrible murder was committed near Homestead, on the Monongahela river, a few miles above Pittsburgh. On Thursday morning, about 4 o’clock, the house of Mr. Hamnett, a well-to-do farmer, was discovered to be in flames, and before aid could be rendered the house was totally destroyed. none of the family, consisting of Mr. and Mrs. Hamnett, two children aged respectfully 9 and 13 years, and a bound boy, could be found, and it was supposed they had perished in the flames. As soon as possible the ruins were searched and the blackened remains of the family were found, when it was discovered they had all been murdered and the house burned to hide the crime. A hired man, a German named Love, was missing, and suspicion pointed to him as the murderer. A reward of $2,000 was offered for his apprehension, and on Friday he was arrested in a saloon in Allegheny city. A reporter of the Pittsburgh Telegraph, with the assistance of Mr. Holderman, as an interpreter, interviewed the man at the Allegheny lock-up, the substance of which we give below:

“Going inside the cell, Mr. Holderman stood beside the prisoner and in answer to his questions, he gave the following account of himself: His right name, he said, is Ernest Mintsinger, and his native place is Stuttgart, in Germany. His father and mother are dead, but he has two sisters and three brothers living in Germany. He came to this country a year and a half ago, and first worked for a Peter Ramsey, on a farm at Okley, N.Y. In Germany he was a brewer, though he has never followed that trade in this country. The next place he worked was on a farm near Brooklyn, N.Y., and he remained there until he came to work for the Hamnetts, three months ago. Although Mint zinger at first stated that he could give no reason for committing the crime, he now acknowledged that the object was money, but he expected to get more than he did. When asked how much he did get, he replied, fifteen dollars. He gave the details of the murder as follows:

He had been at work digging post holes all day, and when he came home in the evening Mr. and Mrs. Hamnett were calling at the house of a neighbor, leaving their daughters and the adopted boy at home. When Mint zinger was about to take the money he says he thought the children might detect him and tell on him, and to prevent this he would murder them. Accordingly, he procured an ax and murdered them while they were in bed. He first killed the boy, and then the younger girl – though he did say when he murdered her elder sister. They did not make the least resistance he says, and is supposed that they were sleeping peacefully at the time, in utter ignorance of the terrible instrument in the hands of a murderer which was hanging o’er their heads.

When the parents came home, Mintzinger, who was lying in wait for them, struck the father on the head with the ax as he came in the door, felling him at once to the floor. The woman, he says, gave two or three screams, and then a blow of the murderous weapon silenced her forever.

In personal appearance the prisoner is rather heavy set, five feet eight or nine inches in height, has dark-brown hair and a light, sandy moustache, and gives his age at twenty-eight years. The effects of the excitement and the liquor he has lately drank have combined to give him a dissipated appearance, his face being flushed and his eyes read and bloodshot. His new suit of clothes, which he said he purchased in Ohio street, were considerably soiled and his gaiters were quite muddy.

Below we give another account of the murderer:

I left Hamnett’s house, just after supper on the evening of the murder, and went directly to Homestead, I called at a saloon and drank two glasses of beer; that was all I had that night; after leaving the saloon I went to a grocery store kept by a German, and purchased some cigars and five cents worth of candy for the children; I don’t know the name of the store keeper, but I had been there several times; think I was at the store about nine o’clock in the evening. Just as I was leaving it came into my head that I must have Hamnett’s money.

The “Love of Money” the motive

I thought he had a great deal of money in the house, and as I felt so queer all at once in my head I thought I must get it. I went directly to the house, but don’t know how I got there. I suppose I must have been out of my mind. After getting into the house I found Mr. and Mrs. Hamnett had not come home. It occurred to me that to get the money I must kill the children. I found the ax in the kitchen, and taking that with me, I went up into the room over the kitchen, where Robert Smith and myself slept. The bed was in the corner of the room, and I saw that Robert was sleeping soundly, with his face toward me.

Murdering the innocents

I took a position at the foot of the bed, and with one blow killed the boy. He never moved. I can’t say how it was that the boy’s throat was cut; I may have struck him twice, but he never groaned. After the boy was dead, I went into the adjoining room, where Ida and little Emma were sleeping. There were two beds in the room – one in the corner and the other, the one occupied by the children, near the entre. Both of the girls were sleeping. I struck Ida first, and she never moved. I then raised the axe and struck at Emma; she uttered a cry and I hit her a second time, and she did not groan again.

The Butchery of the Parents

After this I went down stairs and took a position just inside the door of the room adjoining the kitchen, and waited for Mr. and Mrs. Hamnett to come home. They came between ten and eleven o’clock. Mr. Hamnett came into the room first; I was standing so that he could not see me, and I struck him from behind using the same ax; he fell to the floor; Mrs. Hamnett then came rushing into the room, and as she passed through the door I struck her but did not kill her; she shrieked once or twice “Oh God, John!” and I struck her a second blow which killed her instantly; Mrs. Hamnett and the baby were the only ones that I hit twice; the others were killed with one blow; I used the ax all the time.

The Plunder Only Fifteen Dollars!

I committed the deed to get Mr. Hamnett’s money. I searched Mr. Hamnett’s pockets and obtained his pocket book. It contained only fifteen dollars in paper money. I found Mrs. Hamnett’s pocket book on the sewing machine; there was only fifty cents in it. I looked over the house, but all the money I got was fifteen dollars. The silver money I spent yesterday I brought with me from Germany. I did not get it from the house. My only motive for doing this deed was to get money.

Flight of the Monster

I never had any ill feeling towards any of the Hamnetts; I always liked the little children, and always brought them candy when I went to Homestead. The boy Smith and I were always good friends, and I always liked Mr. and Mrs. Hamnett. I did not fire the house, and it was not a part of the plan to cover up the murder. When searching the house, I put an oil lamp in the settling room, and when rushing away from the building it was overturned. I thought it would go out; I did not think the house would burn. As soon as I left the building I proceeded at once to the railroad, and walked direct to Pittsburgh.

Administrator’s Notice

Letters of administration on the estate of Adam Learn, late of Green tp., dec’d, have been granted the undersigned, notice is hereby given to all persons indebted to said estate to make immediate payment, and to those having claims against the same, to present them duly authenticated for settlement.
John Learn,
May 6, ’74

Executor’s Notice

Letters testamentary on the estate of Alex McCoy, late of Cherryhill twp., dec’d having been granted the undersigned, notice is hereby given to all persons indebted to said estate to make immediate payment, and to those having claims against the same, to present them duly authenticated for settlement.
Mary McCoy,
Wm. L. McCoy
Apr 29, ’74

Notice to Heirs

Whereas, at an Orphan’s Court held at Indian, in and for said county, on the 15th day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy four, before the Honorable James A. Logan, Esq., President, and Peter Dills and William Irwin, Associate Judges of the same Court. The petition of James Altimus late of the township of Brushvalley. In the county afor said, deceased, humbly showeth that the said Nicholas Altimas lately died intestate, leaving a widow name Mary Altimas and issue, as follows, to-wit: Margaret intermarried with Frank Herlinger; Adam, Elizabeth, intermarried with C. R. Weaver, David, James, Evaline, intermarried with Robert Prinkle, of New Florence; Sarah F., Charlott Lavina intermarried with John Shaffer, residence unknonw; William and Mathias Altimas and Mare E Ross, of Nebrask, a grand child.
The heirs above mentioned will take notice that an inquisition in portion will be held on the estate of said deceased on
Tuesday, May 26th., 1874
on the premises.
J.R. Daugherty,
April, 29, 1874

Fearful Rail Road Accident,
Four Indiana County Men Killed.

The following particulars of a most disastrous accident, we clip from the Ebensburg Freeman

“Aside from the terrible railroad wrecks and wholesale destruction of human life which sometimes occur on the several lines of travel, nothing so frightful has ever taken place on the Pennsylvania Railroad as the shocking accident which on Wednesday morning last, midway between Cressona and Gallitzin, hurried four men into eternity at one fell swoop and injured another quite severely. The facts of this shocking affair are that five men named respectively Jacob Boder, aged 40 years, married and the father of four children, Edwin Pardae, aged 28, Amos Pardae, aged 20, Persifer Smith Irwin, aged 18, and William W. Irwin, who were on their return home to Indiana county from rafting trip down the river, got off the Johnstown accommodation at Gallitzin for the purpose of pursuing the rest of their journey on foot, but finding the snow too deep, afterwards concluded to walk to Cresson and take the Branch train for this place. In the doing of this and while passing through a comparatively deep cut at the point indicated, a coal train east came dashing along, which they avoided by stopping from the south to the north track, but in so doing they got almost immediately in front of the Pacific Express west, which was just then rounding a short curve in the cut spoken of, and in almost the twinkling of an eye four of the unfortunate men were hurried into eternity and the fifth, Wm. W. Irwin, had a bone in one of his legs broken. Bowder was the only one of the party who was run over by the train, two of the others being thrown to the right and two to the left of the track. One of Boder’s arms was nearly torn from the socket . the Irwin brothers resided near Gettysburg, the Pardae brothers lived near Decker’s Point. The dead bodies were taken to Cresson and an inquest was held by Coroner Harrold, after which they were coffined and boxed by John Sharbaugh, Esq., of Summitville, and on Thursday they were brought to the place and sent to their respective friends by two wagons and eight horses provided for the purpose. the injured man was also brought here and is now lying at Crawford House. It is worthy of being put on record that some eighteen persons in all have been killed on the very spot where these unfortunate men met their terrible deaths.”

Woman Drowned – On Wednesday of last week. two women, one of whom was named Mrs. Garris attempted to cross the Conemaugh river in a skiff at Northwest, a few miles below Saltsburg, when the boat began drifting towards the rapids. Becoming alarmed, they jumped out and tried to gain the shore. This one of the woman succeeded in doing, being a good swimmer. Mrs. Garris, however, was drowned, and although diligent search has been made for her body it has not been recovered.


Henderson – Hunt – On April 29th, at 12 o’clock m., by Dr. John F. Ringer, of Elizabeth, N.J., assisted by Rev C.S. Woodruff and Rev. Horace Doolittle, the Rev. W. Henderson, formerly of Indiana county, Pa., (now pastor of the Clarksville church, N.J.,) to Meta, eldest daughter of Dr. T. Edgar Hunt, of Clarksville, Hunterdon county, N.J.

Getty – Huston – On the 23rd ult., at 8 o’clock P.M., in the First Presbyterian church of Chase City, Va., by the Rev. T. Drew, assisted by the Rev. J.Y. Ashenhurst, Mr. J.C. Getty of Indian county, Pa., to Miss Mollie E. Huston, of Chase City, Va., formerly of Indiana county, Pa.

Emigh – Ryckman – On the 28th ult., at the residence of the bride’s father, in Marion, Indiana county. Mr. A.L. Emigh, of Cambria county to Miss Lizzie Ryckman.


Peffer – On the 9th ult., Mrs. Ann E Peffer, wife of Michael Peffer, near Covode, Indiana county, Pa.
While her bereaved husband and motherless children, stand without the sepulcher weeping, may they hear the angel of truth saying, “She is not here – for absent from the body, the Good are present with the Lord.”

Robbins – On the 18th inst., in White Township, Daniel Robbins, aged about 75 years.

Mitchell – On April 28th, after a brief illness, Jane, wife of Robert Mitchell, of Canoe tp., aged 67 years 8 months and 26 days.

Brown – On the 6th of April at her residence in White tp., Elizabeth, wife of Henry Brown, aged 74 years, 5 months and 12 days.
Deceased was a woman of elevated character, a tender and affectionate mother and loving wife, and was very greatly respected by all with whom she was brought into intercourse. Peace to her ashes.

Hill – On the 6th inst., in Indiana, James Hill, aged 78 years.

Alice Rigby was burned to death in Mifflin county, on the night of the 12th ult. She and her husband were intoxicated, and being belated on the road, built a fire and went to sleep. The woman’s clothes caught fire, with the result stated.


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