Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thriller Thursday - The Attack on Joseph Bowman - 1884

[This particular Joseph Bowman was the son of Robert Todd Bowman and Elizabeth Dickerson. Robert Bowman was a brother of John Parker Bowman, my great-great grandfather.]

From the Cincinnati (Ohio) Commercial Tribune, April 29, 1884. 


And Attempted Murder of a Railroad Engineer,


Pat Muldoon and Mike McDermott Cut and Rob Joseph Bowman, and Leave Him to Die--After Assaulting Another Citizen, They Are Captured on a Ferryboat, with the Open and Bloody Knife Still in Hand -- Muldoon Says He Has Done as Bad Before and Escaped Justice.

About 8 o'clock last night Patrick Muldoon and Michael McDermott, two well known desperate characters, whose bloody exploits have often been recorded by the Commercial Gazette, and whose villainy has made their presence a terror to the locality of Front and Broadway, were taken into custody, after an attempted murder, and a desperate fight with the police, and landed safe behind the bars of the Hammond Street Police Station.

These two men have for some time carried on their nefarious work of shooting, cutting, and robbing men, with impunity, for so long a time that they now defy the law. Last night they spotted a man named Joseph Bowman, an engineer on the C., H. & D (Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton) Railroad, whom they saw with $280 last Saturday, and evidently determined to murder him and rob him of his money. About half past 7 o'clock they followed him into a saloon at the corner of Broadway and Front street, when several drinks were indulged in. Their talk to Bowman was such as to stir his temper, and they used every manner to draw him into a fight.

Muldoon said to him "See here, old boy, I want a drink."

"Well," said Bowman, "you can have it, but I am not going to pay for it."

Muldoon called for a drink, and wile drinking it Bowman left the saloon. He was followed by Muldoon and McDermott, who caught up with him just as he reached the corner. Muldoon slipped up to him and said:

"D--- your heart, we want that money," at the same time dealing him with a terrific blow over the head with a bung starter, which he had in his pocket. He then called to McDermott to take the money from Bowman, who, recovering somewhat from the effects of his blow, offered some resistance. Muldoon then took a knife from his pocket and slashed Bowman across the back of the neck, cutting a gash from ear to ear, reaching to the spinal column, and from which blood gushed violently. McDermott and Muldoon then robbed Bowman of what money he had and his watch, and left him, as they thought to die.

After contemplating their bloody work they walked down toward the river and took refuge on the Newport ferry float. Bowman, soon after the villains had left, managed to walk to the corner of Third and Sycamore, where he fell from exhaustion, caused by the great loss of blood. Here he was found by two men who took him to the office of Dr. Knox. The character of the wound was so serious that Dr. Knox refused to attend the man, and consequently Patrol No. 3 was called and removed him to the hospital.

In the meantime, a man named Hoffner, who lives in Newport, reported to Officers Smith and Whalen that two men assaulted and attempted to rob him on the Newport ferry float, but that he succeeded in breaking away from them before they accomplished their purpose. The officers proceeded to the ferry float, and there found Muldoon and McDermott. Muldoon still had his knife, which was covered with blood, open in his hand, and when their arrest was attempted a fierce and desperate fight between the villains and the officers ensued, but the scoundrels were soon put under subjection. On their way to the Police Station they were met by Hoffner, the man they attempted to rob, who stated that he was not hurt and did not wish to prosecute them. The officers were about to release the two men, when a boy ran up to them and informed them that the men in their custody had just nearly murdered a man . At the Police Station they were taken to the patrol wagon in which Bowman lay and recognized by the victim as the men who had assaulted him. They registered as Pat Muldoon, aged twenty-three a porter in the whiskey house of D. Rohrer & Co., No. 9 Sycamore street, residing at No. 170 Locust street, Newport, Ky., and Michael McDermott, a laborer employed at Third and Butler streets, living at No. 409 West Third street. The charge of cutting with intent to kill was placed against Muldoon, and both were charged with highway robbery. The money and watch which were taken from Bowman were found on them.

A reporter saw the prisoners in their cells. They refused to make any statements in regard to the affair.

Muldoon said "That is all right. I have been arrested four times before this for things just as bad, and they did not do anything with me. I will get off all right, and you can bet on it."

Muldoon, it will be remembered, was shot in a saloon, at Fifth and Culvert streets, about a year ago, while in a fight which resulted from a Sunday game of baseball. The reporter called at the City Hospital and saw Bowman, who was in a very critical condition. The attending physician stated that had the cut extended a half an inch farther, it would have resulted in instant death. They have strong hopes, however, of saving his life. His account of the assault was about as given above. He said that the men kept telling each other to kill him; and when Muldoon by cutting the back of his neck McDermott said. "You d---- fool, that won't kill him, cut his throat." He was very weak and was not able to talk further. A call at the Manchester building, at the corner of Third and Sycamore streets, where Bowman lives, found his wife much excited over the affair. She said that her husband was paid $280 on Saturday last, and that he had been drinking hard and when under the influence of liquor would show his roll. Before he left her last night she made him give her all the money except $20, which proved to be a fortunate thing.

Word from the hospital late last night said that Bowman was still in a critical condition, but was resting as easy as could be expected.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

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