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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Bowie Knife Killing in 1838

The following is a report of a bowie-knife killing published in the Daily National Intelligencer, December 20, 1838:
Cincinnati, Dec. 10. An atrocious murder was committed in this city on Friday night last, at a house of ill fame, by a man (retained in the establishment) by the name of Thomas Butler, who, with a Bowie knife, stabbed a young man by the name of James T. White, a clerk in a commission house on Broadway. Mr. White was married, but his wife is not residing in this city.
We understand that some disturbance took place in an upper room of the establishment, (but with which Mr. White had nothing to do,) which attracted the notice of Butler, who immediately started for the scene of riot. In going upstairs, he met Mr. White coming down, and instantly gave him two fatal stabs in the region of the heart, and so far as is known, without the slightest provocation. White died almost instantly. Butler made his escape, and has not yet been arrested. The Mayor offers a reward of $250 for his apprehension.
The unprovoked character of this murder, the place where it was committed, the domestic ties and character of the deceased, all contribute to render the occurrence exceedingly shocking to every virtuous and well-regulated mind. We trust that it will furnish a salutary lesson to the young men of this city, and will teach them to avoid all such detestable places of vice and rowdyism as they would the pestilential effluvia of the plagues of Egypt.
Nineteenth-century journalists did not hesitate to offer a moral at the end of a story!

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