Limerick Roughs: the Political Killing of young John Hubbel

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John Philip Hubbel, son of a German snuff maker and roughly nineteen years old, was shot and killed at a half-past ten o’clock the night of 12 October 1859 in front of Jackson Hall. “The ball entered near the right ear and came out on the left side of the head.” (DE, 14 October) He died only “one hundred and fifty feet from his father’s house” on Constitution Street (Sun, 14 October). Living in Limerick (8th Ward Baltimore), Hubbel made the brash decision to vote the Know-Nothing Ticket in the stronghold of the Democratic Party.

  • Frank Shaw [Francis Sholl], a youth, living on Somerset street, between Chase and Eager streets, met the deceased on Wednesday at the Central police station, and proposed to go to the 11th ward polls; deceased said he was afraid to go there; witness left him and went there, but had not been there long when [Hubbel] came up; heard him say that he had voted in the 11th ward, also saw him at the 10th ward polls; did not know whether he voted there (Sun, 14 October); leaving the latter place after 5 o’clock, deceased going off by himself; heard that he had voted the Know-Nothing ticket; deceased had said that he was almost afraid to go in his own neighborhood, as there were some who had a grudge against him.” (BAnC, 14 October)

  • Miss Chrysenthia Constance of No. 7 McElderry; around 3 pm, a slightly intoxicated Hubbel: “first stopped at the house next door, and called to witness at an upper window in the rear, and told her that he had voted the American ticket;… and like to have been killed, that a young man named Philip Davis offered him a reform ticket at the 8th ward polls, which he refused to take, and then Davis told him that he would kill him on the first opportunity (Sun, 14 October); had not intended to have got tight, but meeting some of his companions they had induced him to drink. [H]e took supper at witness’s house (BAnC, 14 October); witness induced him to remain at the house until 8 o’clock [Sun gives the time as half-past ten]; he told witness that he was afraid to go home (DE, 14 October); witness asked deceased to stay all night, but he said he could not (Sun, 14 October); he had not been [home] since morning, and his mother would be in misery” (BAnC, 14 October); before going he remarked that the man Davis was watching for him, and he expected to be killed” (Sun, 14 October)

  • “Mrs. Catherine Miskelly, …Lives at 55 Front street; heard hallooing, and on looking out of the window saw deceased running; also saw the flash of a pistol and deceased fell; at the time there were four men standing on the corner of Centre and Front streets (DE, 14 October), under the lamp post from whom the deceased was running; when he was shot; they immediately ran away down Centre and back by High.” (BAnC, 14 October)

  • “Mrs. Mary Cox of 46 French street: “the report [of the gun] did not excite any surprise, as they had been shooting in the street all night.” (Sun, 14 October)

  • “Sarah Ann Cape, resides at the northeast corner of High and French streets… was sitting with her daughter awaiting the return of her son, when she was aroused from sleep by the report of firearms from the direction of Centre street (Sun, 14 October); when she went to the door, saw a party of men coming from the tannery toward High; saw three others pass from Front street down High; witness heard some screaming at the house of Mrs. Rock’s (BAnC, 14 October); She saw the deceased lying on the pavement opposite, when she exclaimed, ‘My God, there lies a man dead!’ When she used the expression a man dressed in light clothing passed her house, stopped, gazed in her face, and although she repeated the exclamation he passed heedlessly on. (DE, 14 October)” Cape owned a grocery and the same corner store was the site of Jourdan’s death two years earlier.

  • “Philip [Daley] visited the house of a Mrs. Slee, on Forrest street, near Eager” (Sun, 14 October); Coroner Sparklin with officer Talbott went to Mrs. Slee’s where they learned he lived in Willow Street. Arriving there, “his mother stated that he was not at home” (DE, 14 October).

The next day on the 13th, at his mother’s house, “Thomas alias Philip [Daley] was arrested between ten and eleven o’clock” (DE, 15 October). Thomas Daley was only eighteen years old and born in Ireland. The police arrested Samuel Donohue, nineteen years old, as a witness and at his bail-hearing Nativist politics surfaced. Samuel’s bondsman was James Donnelly, “‘who said he owned eight houses in the eighth ward.’ Judge Henry Stump responded, ‘In Limerick? (Laughter.)'” I have found nothing indicating this case went to trial. Thomas is listed in his father’s household in the 1860 census. This is the last record I have for him.

NOTES:

  • Other witnesses to Hubbel’s murder included: Mrs. Ellen Houseman [Howser], resides no. 44 Front street; Mary Smith, 12 years old, of the corner of Front and Lefferman’s alley; Miss Elizabeth Jackson, daughter of Mrs. Cape; and Eva Bunce of Lefferman’s alley.
  • Judge Stump was removed from office in 1860 because of routine intoxication on the bench, and the frequent laughter from the gallery was cited as an example of the contempt he held for the court.
  • In 1870, Thomas’s brother Hugh Daley was sentenced to six months in jail with John alias Dixon Woods and Barney Barnes, and levied a fine of $50 and costs each, “for assaulting officer James E. Roberts, on Saturday night, 20th instant, on Monument street” (Sun, 29 August 1870).

SOURCES:

Baltimore American and Commercial. 14 October 1859. GoogleNews. 

Baltimore Sun. 14 October 1859; 29 August 1870. Proquest.

The Daily Exchange. (Baltimore, Md.), 14 October 1859, 15 October 1859. Chronicling America.

The Removal of Baltimore City Criminal Court Judge Henry Stump, 1860, Maryland State Archives, Govpub Image No: 821075-0001. MSA SC 5339-41-8.

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