Case 73

The Lady in the Barrel 

On September 15 1878, three teenage boys were tending to cattle in the woods near Silver Lake in Staten Island when they discovered a wooden barrel sticking out of the mud. Excited about the potential treasure that lay within, they frantically dug at the barrel with sticks. 

The mysterious contents had been sealed with a length of carpet. As the boys pulled the fabric out, something fell out that wasn’t treasure at all. It was a human arm.



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Murder & Mayhem on Staten Island – by Patricia M. Salmon (Chapter 1 only: The Body In The Barrel)



A collection from – Archives of The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Tennessean, The Saint Paul Globe, The Cincinnati Daily Star, The St Louis Post

16.09.1878 – “A Ghastly Discovery Made by 3 boys.”

20.09.1878 – “Moving the body, the fingers dropped off” Most interesting to note though is the early suspicion of childbirth or abortion.

09.10.1878 – “A recent tragedy in New York has excelled all others”

10.10.1878 – A reporter for the Sun visits wife #2

10.10.1878 – Married 2nd wife six days before disappearance

10.10.1878 – Annie’s ring is found at Broome St.

11.10.1878 – People had come in droves to claim the body. “Where are all these comely girls, with long brown hair whos friends have been visiting the Staten Island coroner?”

11.10.1878 – Mystery indeed solved


24.05.1879 – Sentenced by Judge Dykeman – death by hanging next July 11, 1879

10.12.1879 – “Why the doomed man should have another trial – life & death in the balance” – Writ of error before the Brooklyn Supreme Court

10.01.1880 – Dead woman’s parents have her body exhumed (again) so they could give her a proper burial. Edward reacts dramatically

21.01.1880 – Accused of theft in jail

18.03.1880 – Approved to go to the court of appeals – stay is approved

05.06.1880 – County clerk demanding his fee

06.06.1880 – Tries to escape jail – again! Good article about what they found in his cell, train tickets etc.

26.06.1880 – Escape attempt

11.07.1880 – Tries to escape a 3rd time “3 fatal falls”

13.12.1880 – Sentenced to death for the 3rd time. January 14, 1881

13.12.1880 – Court of appeals upheld death sentence

15.12.1880 – He is noted as being about 26 yrs old. (b. Approx 1854)

12.01.1881 – Fences built around jail

14.01.1881 – “I will die bravely”– account of the execution itself

15.01.1881 – Another good emotive account of his death

15.01.1881 – Best retrospective article about the murder



Death Penalty USA

New York Post visits Silver Lake, Staten Island

Silver Lake Park History

Staten Island

Silver Lake Park



‘One Sea-Side Grave’ – by Christina Rossetti

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